I never want the monthly pic to be the only thing I post on my blog, but it looks like October went by without anything else, so I am going to make up for that now. Buckle in.
Just kidding, it hasn’t been that eventful.
Let’s see, the last thing I posted about was my new coat, which I have had several opportunities to wear. Which brings us to topic #1, my first work trip since January 2020. Automattic has gotten very very large since our last Grand Meetup in late 2019, so they decided to have smaller division meetups instead. So I spent last week with almost 500 of my colleagues in Denver.
It was so nice to see them, but quite bittersweet not to see my other coworkers and friends who I might never see in person again! Don’t really like to think about that.
A truly random assortment of pics:
Let’s see, what else? Oliver went to homecoming, his brothers did not.
I made a hoodie dress. It’s exquisitely cozy.
I got another tattoo! Well, actually, I got two more since I last posted about tattoos. I hadn’t get posted about the one I got in August. I had been wanting one of star jasmine, because I love it, but I don’t really know a tattoo artist in New Orleans whose style I really wanted. Until someone I know posted a picture of a tattoo she’d gotten by Mecca at Hell or High Water Tattoo, and I immediately booked an appointment.
And I loved it so much I went back for a magnolia.
And I love that so much I made an appointment for my birthday, but I won’t spoil what I’m getting.
Everyone is asking “are you doing a sleeve” and I am a dorky middle aged soccer mom, I’m just getting flowers I like without much of a plan.
Speaking of flowers, the camellias started blooming again.
Ziggy remains cute.
Halloween was fun because I got to give out candy for the first time ever. I made a shirt to wear.
Well, I guess that’s it? School soccer has started, but the first two games happened while I was in Denver, so I’m looking forward to seeing them play this weekend. Linus scored a goal at their first game!
We (the boys and I) got home yesterday from ten days in Virginia and I’d better write it all down before I forget. The beginning of our trip already feels like a lifetime ago (but like, a really fun lifetime.)
We arrived after an early flight at around lunchtime on Saturday the 9th. Kiki picked us up, and we headed to my sister’s house to drop the boys off for their first day of Camp Aunt Jenny. She made shirts. After lots of hugs and pictures, Kiki and I left to go have lunch at a Mexican-Indian restaurant. (Yum!)
Then we got to go back to give hugs and goodbyes again because I left my wallet at my sister’s. (Convenient!)
After shopping for a lot of booze and food, we headed to Kiki’s house and got ready for Camp Kiki. I made shirts. We had a very fancy Wagyu steak for dinner. It was sublime. Also Maxie is very cute.
We loaded up Kiki and Mike’s car Sunday morning and drove a couple of hours to an amazing airbnb in Charlottesville. On the way, we stopped at winery #1, Early Mountain. We drank wine and ate delicious food, including this couscous that I need to figure out how to recreate. It was incredible.
The airbnb was amazing – very clean, well stocked, and with a huge pool, hot tub, and a gorgeous view. Perfect place for Camp Kiki!
Day 2 in Charlottesville:
Kiki went for a walk, then hit a few wineries before spending the afternoon in the pool. Everything was delicious and the scenery everywhere was stunning. We made s’mores around the firepit later and saw lots of fireflies, which was exciting for me.
Sadly, Wednesday was our last night there. And of course that’s when I discovered a friend lives less than ten minutes away from where we were staying. Isn’t that always the way?
But I couldn’t be too sad because the next phase of Camp Kiki was a trip to New York City!
We got back to Woodbridge Thursday afternoon, did a shitload of laundry, and repacked for the trip to NYC.
Friday morning, we hopped on a train like the fun-loving globetrotters we are.
After a few hours we arrived at Penn Station, and then made our way to our hotel (not before having some lunch and wine.) The hotel was adorable. It’s called the Library Hotel and see if you can guess what the theme of it is.
After relaxing, we headed out to dinner at a wine bar, and then to a play. The play was the main reason we went to NYC. One of the stars is Noah Reid from Schitt’s Creek and maybe you don’t know this about me but I am a little obsessed with Schitt’s Creek. Surprise! I was supposed to go in May but because SOME CHILDREN I WON’T MENTION got covid, I had to cancel that trip. So I’m glad I got to see it finally. Even if it was…weird.
The wine bar we went to was fancy (like us) and we had some delicious wine and food before heading to the theater. Our seats were very good, and it was neat to see Patrick Noah Reid up close.
We were only there for one night, but we made the most of our morning before the train back to DC. We walked down to the Union Square Greenmarket, which was very cool. And then wandered around for a while. Kiki was THE VERY BEST FRIEND EVER and agreed to let me go to Mood. Yay! I tried to be as fast as possible, but I get decision paralysis at smaller places than this, but I went in with just one goal (some cotton poplin) and I made it out with just that. Whew!
Afterwards, we got our stuff from the hotel and I cursed my sandals for reactivating my Achilles tendinitis, but it was worth it. We hobbled our way back to the train station, and, well, the rest of the day was fairly uneventful.
I mean, we’ve done so much already, wouldn’t you think our trip was almost over by now? It’s only Saturday at this point and we didn’t go home until Tuesday!
Sunday, we went and retrieved my offspring from my sister’s house. They had stayed up until 2am because my sister had promised them middle of the night ihop, so they were pretty tired, but we had a baseball game to go to!
Mike and Kiki have season tickets to the Nationals so that’s how we spent Sunday. We ate delicious food, drank delicious things (including a bloody mary with a raw oyster on top), and were good luck charms for the Nats, who won for the first time in a little while. Yay us! It was overcast, too, which was nice.
We were all pretty exhausted after that.
Monday was our last full day, boo! We took the boys to see the new Thor movie, which was fun. And then we picked up some dinner, and saw a rainbow, and packed up our stuff, and watched the Home Run Derby.
Tuesday morning we went home. Everyone (except us, apparently) is getting covid and it sucks. But it was nice to see Ziggy again and to sleep in my own bed. The end.
The last time I posted about the random little goings on in life was three months ago, so I guess it’s time for another quarterly recap of my extremely exciting life.
I visited Kiki twice. Her mom passed away in mid-March, and luckily I already had a flight booked for two days later, so I was able to be with her and hang out and help her go through stuff and get rid of stuff and drink wine for a few days. And then I went back again last weekend to help with the memorial celebration she had at her house. We did a lot of gardening and cooking. Everything we made was from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and I would be lying if I didn’t say I was cursing Julia Child’s name by the end of the weekend. But everything we made turned out well. It was pretty cool, actually. Kristina’s mom was a really amazing, adventurous, well-traveled woman who journaled everything, including her dinner party menus from the 1960s on, so we made dishes she frequently made for those dinners.
(If you’re interested, we made Orange Bavarian Cream, Cheese Puffs, Legumes a la Grecque, Salmon Mousse, Cheese Tartlettes, and Liver and Cheese Tartlettes.)
Since this is my blog, I can brag that I made the tartlette shells and the cheese puffs (and helped with the other stuff.)
We also did some gardening and I learned how to spread mulch, which is good because I need to mulch our gardens.
Speaking of gardens, kind of, we got a rain barrel from a local organization yesterday, which is exciting because I’ve been on the wait list for a year. It’s sad, though, because in that year, I got a different rain barrel so I couldn’t put this rain barrel in a prominent spot. It’s behind the house, which is a shame because LOOK HOW CUTE:
Oh, and also plant-related, Kiki sent me these beautiful flowers!
Okay, well that about covers the last 72 hours. What else? Hmm.
I guess it’s exciting, if a little sad, that the boys decided on a high school for next year, and it’s not the school they’ve been at for the past 11 years. (They could have chosen to stay there, but they did not.) On the bright side, it’s one of the top public high schools in the country, and a lot of their friends are going there as well. But a lot are staying, so it’s tough either way. At least since their classes are in English, I can help with homework now! Wait, hold on. That’s not a good thing. Heh.
I suppose I already blogged about the boys’ school dance and making jeans, but I also made another quilt for funsies (it lives on the couch, mostly under Ziggy):
And also this one for my friend Heather (I realize if you’re not a Saints fan it’s pretty ugly, but she and her fiance like it, so that’s all that matters.
I also made a red dress for her wedding this weekend, but I’ll save those pics for later.
Oh well I guess Mardi Gras also happened and we didn’t get Covid, so yay! It was pretty fun. We put the house float back up (and added a Rose Apothecary!) and Steph and I dressed up as Moiras on Mardi Gras day and I went to a parade and got a shoe and we saw our house float on a float, so all in all, it was good.
Okay. I think that’s it for real. Coming up: 8th grade graduation! A wedding! A new fridge! Summer! Another trip to Virginia! Camp Aunt Jenny! Quinceanera! Graduation parties! Bugs! Heat! Humidity!
I feel like maybe the last thing I want to do is revisit 2021, but you know, there were some real high points, so let’s do it.
I turned 46. I sat around the fire pit at my friend Jen’s house and it was all I wanted to do for my birthday – so it was perfect. Spending time with my friends was what made 2021 bearable, but it happened so infrequently, so that is what made it terrible.
Mardi Gras! I spent a lot of January preparing for this, the Schitt’s Creek house float that I participated in. It was one of the high points of 2021. I had so much fun making my Moira costume (and Jen’s!) and helping with the creation (mostly telling Chris what to do) and then on Mardi Gras day, seeing all the people and BEING INTERVIEWED BY THE BBC.
You know, in case you wanted to watch it.
That wasn’t the only excitement in February. The boys were also enrolled in a COVID vaccine trial (Moderna) and we learned later in the year that they actually did get the vaccine (first one in February, second in March.)
Really, not much happened. Well, I got my vaccine. That was nice.
Things were looking up. We found out the boys were fully vaccinated. Was it over? We were able to take off our masks and do things! I took the boys to a couple of soccer games. We ate at a restaurant! We booked a trip to California! Life was back to normal! I call this “the golden time.” Boy were were we naive.
We got devastating news in the middle of the month when my sweet cousin Molly died suddenly. I still can’t believe it.
The boys and I went to California to visit Evan and Jennifer and Ellie. It was a lovely trip, even though it was under a cloud of sadness. Things still felt normal. We went to Disneyland and to an LAFC game and to the beach, and I got to meet my best friend in person finally. (She’s 3.)
This is when the golden time ended. LA had re-introduced a mask mandate not long before we got there. Delta was coming. Thank god we went when we went, or we wouldn’t have been able to go at all.
There’s a cool store in Hattiesburg, Mississippi called the Lucky Rabbit that seems to be obsessed with Schitt’s Creek as my friends and I are. So Jen, Stephanie, Terry, and I made the two hour drive yesterday to go!
Anyway. There’s a little “Rosebud Motel” set right there in the store, and it’s pretty amazing how detailed it is, if not completely accurate. (For instance, Moira’s wig wall was not really in David and Alexis’s room as it was here.)
Me on the left, David on the right, in case you didn’t know.
(If you need more pictures to see what the actual room looks like to compare, well, just go to Netflix and start at episode 1 and watch it again if you haven’t already. Or even if you have!)
The boys and I went to California last week to visit my brother and sister-in-law and niece, and I will never be able to spell “niece” right the first time.
It was a tough decision to go, after we found out that Molly’s services were being held while we’d be away. She was never far from our mind during the trip, especially on Monday.
We arrived Wednesday evening, and were pretty exhausted, so we had some pizza and went to bed. I slept terribly that night, for some reason (oh right because I’m old and have insomnia) but fortunately, we didn’t have a ton planned for Thursday. Ellie and I went for a walk, where we did a little light celebrity stalking. Later, we went swimming in the neighbor’s pool and hit up Target for supplies because Friday we…
went to Disneyland! We got up super early and were on the road a bit after 6 so we could arrive around 7. In the cars on the way there (I was in the girl car with Jennifer and Ellie, and the boys rode with Uncle Evan) we all were on our phones at exactly 6:59:59 to get reservations (or whatever they call it) for the new Star Wars ride. I managed to get them for us, yay!
We spent the entire day at the park. This should really be its own post. We rode a bunch of rides (the Rise of the Resistance was completely worth the stress of getting on it, and we didn’t have to wait in any line at all, which was nice) and walked a zillion steps and had dinner at a Tiki restaurant (so good) and my feet are still disgustingly blistered, but it was worth it.
Oh, and Linus is now obsessed with Dole Whip. Hard to blame him, it was delicious!
Saturday we mostly rested, except we went and got some famous Italian sandwiches from a place down the road for lunch. In the evening, Evan and I took the boys to a LAFC (Los Angeles Football Club) game. It was fun. The food was good. I got a jacket which will come in handy during football season here (they have the same colors as the Saints) and the boys got jerseys and as usual when we go to pro soccer games, the score ended us 2-2.
(I guess we have a streak of draws too.) (When we got home, we watched Season 2, Episode 1 of Ted Lasso.)
Sunday, the kids and I went to visit my friend Robyn who used to work at Automattic, and I made a new best friend who is three years old. We had delicious ice cream after hanging out at her house and eating pizza.
Monday was the day of Molly’s service, and I still needed to take the boys to the beach, so we stopped for some flowers on the way and made a little tribute to her at the beach. Now, she probably preferred a more tropical beach, but I like to think she would have appreciated it, even if it was cloudy and the temperature was hovering around 68 degrees.
The boys filled their bathing suits with sand and Miles swallowed half of the Pacific Ocean, so we left after a couple of hours before heading back to Evan and Jennifer’s to relax and pack. (Boo!) A few of us went to the Huntington for a sunset stroll, which was stunning, but also, my feet were still killing me. So kind of painful too.
We came home yesterday after a long day of travel to a heat index of 105 after a week of 70s, but Daddy and Ziggy were very happy to see us!
While the boys watched soccer in our room, Kiki and I watched the finale of Sex Education (highly recommend, but not with kids around) in her room on an iPad while drinking wine out of plastic cups. Cheers!
(We are traveling for an archery tournament for Linus. More on that coming up!)
It’s been a week since I got home so I’d better post about my trip before I forget everything!
I left on Tuesday, and flew the long leg with Deborah and Erica, which was nice, since I had a five hour layover at Newark. We spent that time doing our nails and I got my boots shined and okay this part isn’t exciting.
We got to Lisbon Wednesday morning and got a tiny coffee and my first pastel de nata at the airport. Got to the airbnb, but the owner was running late meeting us so we stocked up on groceries in the store below our apartment (very handy, that!) Once we were in and settled, we…well, I don’t remember. Took a nap, I think. I was exhausted. Mahangu arrived and we went to walk around and get some dinner.
We walked down to the Time Out market, where I had another pastel de nata (this one warm from the oven and even tastier than the airport Starbucks one. Go figure.) We noticed flocks of Uber Scooters around, so Beckett, Mahangu, and I hopped on them while Erica decided it was best not to. We found a flat plaza and rode around and around and around.
Then dinner up a hill. It was yummy. There was ham and cheese and various other good food.
The next day was my birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!
We went to the bigger grocery store to get more provisions, and ended up having a very unsatisfying breakfast there. But we did get me a candy birthday cake! And we got followed around the store by security people. Turns out you’re not supposed to take photos in grocery stores. Weird. And then outside the grocery store was a pretty yellow tiled wall, so I made Mahangu take pictures of us all.
I’m a rebel and took this picture
Back to the apartment where we got some work done. We were going to have lunch but then we decided to wait for Karen, who was arriving that afternoon. And by the time she got there we just waited for dinner. But that was fine because we had lots of ham and cheese and other delicious snacks to eat.
We had a call early in the evening with some other colleagues around the world, and then it was time to eat again!
Dinner was at a lovely restaurant on top of a hill. We had to climb a lot of stairs to get to it. We dined on delicious Mozambiquan-Portuguese food. Happy birthday was sung to me in Portuguese. We walked around some more after dinner.
Friday was a work day – we left to get lunch at the Time Out market. I had a prego steak sandwich. So yum. Later, Erica and Mahangu and I went to the Benfica game! It was pretty cool, even though I knew the boys weren’t exactly happy with me for going to a professional game without them. I did bring them presents back, at least. Benfica won, thank goodness, but it was close. After the game we got these amazing pork sandwiches (bifana) and Erica and I split the most amazing waffle with Nutella on it.
Saturday we worked. And walked around some more between working. I found my favorite book in Portuguese at a book market and of course bought it. We also found a fabric store (shocking) where I…bought fabric.
After that we went up to this elevator that basically just goes up a hill. The line was too long to wait, but someone told us about a free elevator we could use that didn’t have a line. No brainer! The views were beautiful. Didn’t hurt that it was a gorgeous, sunny day.
We ordered in for dinner that night. And Erica and I finished a puzzle Beckett brought.
Sunday we worked some more, and in the afternoon, Beckett and Mahangu and I went to a different part of the city where he was meeting up with someone. Beckett and I went on this little gondola thing and then over to a mall that was like Black Friday packed. It was nuts. But it had a ginormous grocery store in it as well, and I do love a grocery store. Picked up some souvenirs to bring home (but didn’t take pictures, of course.)
Monday we decided to bring our work on the road. We took a train to Sintra, which is west of Lisbon. There’s a palace (Pena Palace). We had a driver bring us around, which was a great idea since it was cold and VERY STEEP. After the palace, we had lunch and the driver gave me a birthday present! (I mean, like I didn’t tell him my birthday was a few days prior? Do you even know me?)
Another pastel de nata
Some cod dish
That’s a palace down there
My birthday present
The westernmost spot of Europe!
After working for a little while at a coworking spot, the driver took us on a very winding and nauseating ride out to the coast, where you can stand on the westernmost spot of Europe. It was cold and windy, but beautiful!
We headed back to our apartment after that and got all packed up. Karen and Beckett and I had 5:20am flights, which was horrible. I slept for about an hour and a half, and then traveled for 24 hours and then made it home. Hooray!
It was a great, productive trip. Lisbon is beautiful! But thank goodness I practiced for the hills by power walking at Orangetheory. Those hills are no joke!
Technically this was taken on January 13 (in US time anyway) but it was 3:04am in Lisbon. This is one last view of our street when the Uber came to get us for a 5:20 am flight. It was so quiet. (Because smart people are sleeping at that time.)
At this point I still had 24 hours until my last flight landed in New Orleans, and I had slept about 90 minutes. So that was a fun day.
I went to a Benfica game with two of my teammates last night. It was fun but nerve wracking. They are the top ranked team and they played the bottom ranked team and were losing for much of the game. Pulled it off and won 2-1, thank goodness.
In related news, I think the boys are mad at me for going to a game. But I did get them souvenirs, at least.