I was talking to a friend recently about how I have no idea what happened in June and July. They both feel like total blurs to me—I got sick, I mostly recovered, and then suddenly it was August. Turns out I did do a few things, and thanks to my inability to stop photographing on mostly insignificant days featuring only the mundane routines of life…I have proof!
The year is moving both fast and slow. Every day feels the same, but I’m not sad about it.
My momotaro tomatoes in June, the first three that grew up nice and juicy and big.
Early June I was just fussing over my plants. I had just planted some shiso seedlings that my mom had ordered me from Amazon. They were actually growing…
Zach started his outdoor repairs summer project. Lots of wood repair, wood putty, painting, sanding, etc.
The first of the pothos cuttings I water propagated made it into their new homes.
Also cut the tips of this giant’s buttons (is that what these are called) and hoped for the best. Sometimes you just gotta take a risk when your plants are so tall and yummy looking that a raccoon is sneaking them off as snacks.
YETI’S FIRST HAIRCUT
Yeti’s luscious long hair had to be cut. We scheduled an appointment for him at the end of June. They warned us that a puppy’s first time at the groomer can be really overwhelming, so we should expect that he may come home without a full haircut.
Yeti’s first walk! He got the last of his puppy vaccines and finally he was good to touch the ground away from our yard.
The morning of his first haircut.
*Shrieks* AFTER. This awful haircut still makes me cringe, this poor little face…so exposed. The groomer had to shave his face and forehead because of some intense matted fur around his eyes and snout. Apparently, Yeti was very uneasy and wouldn’t really let them touch his head or ears SO the rest of his hair was long. He looked…bonkers. Hahahah.
When the blow out hair texture settled and he regained his normal textured hair, he looked much more like himself, but…still that naked little face. He earned himself the loving nickname “Weasel face.”
Zach practicing his matzo balls.
RACHEL AND TAPAS
Our best attempt at a tapas-themed picnic in the backyard. I made patatas bravas and a paprika dipping sauce. Rachel and Stu brought a bunch of delicious cheeses and olives.
We also had sangria and empanadas from a local place. Yeti became a purse. It was soooo nice to see Rachel—we were supposed to celebrate our birthdays together in Spain in April. Sadly had to cancel everything due to the pandemic of course, so this was our little nod to the trip that never happened.
One mini-goal for the month was to spruce up the little backyard “living room” area with some new cushions, an outdoor rug, candle holders, etc. I also stained one of the wood pieces with an outdoor clear protective stain.
I realize how eclectic this probably looks to another eyeball, but I’m super happy with this little zone. I’ve spend soooo many hours out here reading, playing Switch, and just sitting with the dogs. I have suffered through many mosquito bites but it is worth it.
FOURTH OF JULY
Celebrated 4th of July with a socially distant Boiling Crab to go order and dogs. We sat outside all afternoon, garlic burped, and listened to the relentless fireworks.
The fireworks in Los Angeles had been popping the fuck off for the last few months, another night was no problem for Yeti. Sufi hated his life though, and ended up hiding in the fireplace.
Firework viewing from the roof.
BELATED FATHER’S DAY AND GRILLY
A delayed Father’s day celebration (I was sick during actual Father’s day).
Yeti is still working out how he feels about being brushed.
Was gifted a grill (thanks mom and dad!), and my parents spoiled us by bringing over some tri tip and lobster tails for lunch.
Saved the massive box the grill came in to make a “dig box” for the dogs. I read about a cute way for some mental stimulation is to hide treats and toys in the folds of some sheets in a box.
They didn’t really dig around for that long, but they do like to sit in there on the sheets.
Ordered a pizza making kit from Eataly. A blast.
Me and Grilly and the grilled meats and corn. We even used our beloved special sake set we got in Japan last October. A nice summer evening.
PUSHING YETI’S LIMITS
Now that Yeti is officially vaccinated, and has had a bit of practice walking on the leash around the neighborhood for a few weeks, we wanted to take him to a few new places.
He’s a little bit shy and nervous about…well…most things. I’ve never had a puppy before so I don’t know if that’s just all puppies or if he’s just had a hard time with proper socialization because we’ve been in quarantine. I hope he can get over some of his fears.
Practicing hiking! I had a few days off work planned and I wanted to drag the family to a hiking trail on one of them.
Tweedy and Sufi watching Yeti scramble on rocks.
We’ve been to this mini-Japanese garden at the park like a dozen times at least, and I’ve never seen the lotus or water lilies in bloom. So beautiful!
And then we met the pond protector. This turtle is definitely a mystical character in a Studio Ghibli film, right?
Another mini-goal I had for myself in July was to finally organize a space in the garage to build out a little pottery station. We also were really good at stacking items, but not actually organizing them in any way. Here is the before in all its glory.
Repositioned some of the furniture pieces we knew we’d keep. Also measured and spent way too long on the IKEA website to figure out extra what shelving to go with.
Peanut came to stay with us for a day. A blessing.
Peanut is waaaaaay more playful than Sufi and Tweedy, so Yeti loves running around with her and being dogs together.
Our first big harvest of shishito peppers from our little planter boxes. Damn good harvest.
Trying a miso marinade for some salmon.
Went to a secluded corner of the park with nobody around to test Yeti’s ability to focus and recall off the leash, and he did great! So proud of that tiny brain weasel face.
My pride and joy and my weakness and my nightmare all wrapped into one. That’s a puppy for you.
MINI-BREAK IN JULY
In July I took a mini-break and requested TWO WHOLE DAYS off work. This gave me a five day weekend, which is the most time I’ve had off work away from the Internet (I work on social media) since the lockdown started (not counting the days I was sick). This was such a relief, my brain was ready to explode.
I over-planned the five days, and had a whole sheet of to-do items that I wanted to accomplish over the break. But guess what. I did them all!!!!
First order of business? Yeti’s first big boy hike! We picked Solstice Canyon in Malibu. It’s a pretty flat and shaded hike, nothing too intense. It is also the first big excursion I did since getting sick, and wow, nature! It’s great.
I’ve had lingering symptoms from covid, and I’ve just felt so weak and unhealthy since early June. I used to be able to go on hour-long runs, no problem, so it is frustrating not to have the stamina and strength anymore. I can tell I’m doing even better than late July (a month ago at this point) and time will hopefully heal the last of my issues, so I want to try to get out more and more however I can.
A fun part of his hike is that there are the remains of a fancy house that sadly burned down. But you can kind of visualize the floor plan, and I imagine that living out in the Malibu wilderness next to a stream in this lovely indoor-outdoor home was probably pretty nice.
Who doesn’t love a tiny trickle of water.
We stood there and watched this grasshopper (is this even a grasshopper?) eat a blade of grass very slowly.
Garage update 3! We picked up and built the IKEA furniture pieces. I got some shelves and workbenches from the BROR line and made a little room divider shelf thinggy.
After cleaning and organizing it looked like this! I know this doesn’t really look like…pretty, but it is so much more practical than just piles of stuff. I also love the workbenches! At this point, I’m still waiting on a rolling worktable that I ordered from Home Depot, but that will be delivered and assembled another day.
On my second day of mini-break, I took the family to the dog beach.
Yeti has a little bit of a barking problem. Lord help us.
Turns out he LOVES sand and loves digging. Very cute to see his little nose covered in sand all day.
I took him into the water for a little bit of wading on the coastline. And…well, he didn’t *hate* it completely? SO I think that’s a win.
I let him dry off in my chair.
After a few hours we packed up and headed home, all three dogs slept the whole hour drive back.
Harvested the first of my zucchinis from the garden…LOOK AT THIS THING! It is nearly the size of Yeti. After much debate, we ended up making zucchini fritters from this. We ate fritters for days.
In August my mom volunteered to cut my hair—it has been growing for…so long. I wish I could return to my bob hairstyle, but I’m not feeling like going to a salon is super high priority. Los Angeles is *not* doing well in terms of new coronavirus cases.
My mom did a decent job—the whole time she told me to shut up and stop complaining which made the whole thing delightful and perfect.
Zach officially swapped the cactus light for the paper clip for “back to school season”
We had a super lazy Sunday afternoon—Zach claimed that I ran him ragged in these five days I had off. We went on one hike, spent time at the dog beach, took the dogs to the park, re-organized the garage and built a lot of IKEA, shopped for clay materials, hosted my parents in the backyard, and I worked on some freelance jobs…that’s it! What is he complaining about…
So spent the afternoon resting and starting a new puzzle. Zach kept working through the Last of Us 2 which is just…so sad.
Spent the early evening in the yard, enjoying the light and the dogs and my island in Animal Crossing.
ATTEMPT AT HOMEMADE SALMON MAKI SUSHI
Used my grandma’s lacquer rice container to mix and cool sushi rice.
This is my first time making maki sushi rolls at home, and I am no pro at all. I am pretty proud that they turned out at all, but they are NOT the cutest just a warning.
Not the most beautiful pieces, but not the worst!
I also made a salmon mayo filling.
So, I learned right away that you shouldn’t use *too* much rice. It’ll make the rolls too thick. But everything tasted really great, it just doesn’t look very good. I highly recommend eating some with shiso and mayo and shoyu of course.
SUNSET BEACH WALK
The next day Yeti was scheduled to be neutered, so we wanted to take a big walk all together with the dogs so he could have a nice last day with his nuts ahah.
Why have no dogs when you can have three!
Arrived an hour or so before sunset.
Yeti, huge fan of digging in the sand.
Loves sand, not loving water sadly. Maybe one day.
Not many people or dogs, and we realized oops this might not be a dog friendly beach…but we just kept walking and never paused for too long anywhere.
The light!!!! It’s so nice to be outside.
Zach had to break it to me that Yeti is funny looking, that most people would consider him weird looking. But I am blinded by love, and I couldn’t imagine having another dog. Look at his dumb face it’s so cute.
He has green eyes which makes them extra…piercing. Like he can see through you into another dimension.
The sun set really suddenly, it caught us by surprise and we decided to turn around and head back.
It took him a while to understand how to lay down comfortably, but now he is on day 6 of recovery and is doing great.
The light in the mornings is coming into the big window in a pretty way these days—that is one pleasant way to measure the time passing, the light in the morning changes.
I got super busy with a bunch of freelance jobs that all piled up on each other for most of August thus far—but I did find time to actually get my clay area done in the garage. I jumped straight into using it, I forgot to properly take some photos before it was messy. I made a little batch of items that are currently off getting fired at a friend’s kiln.
I am a novice at hand-building, I want to try all kinds of techniques. I’m just getting started, but excited to get deeper into it.
My shiso (not the seedlings, but starter plants I got at the beginning of summer). SO happy. I must find a use for the purple shiso…I found a recipe for shiso juice, maybe I’ll try that soon.
I now have seven potted pothos plants (two are in the kitchen) made from cuttings that I propagated. Don’t you love free plants? Soon I hope this will be a jungle.
A snapshot of some items in the kitchen. We are preparing for a big road trip to Texas, we’ll be spending a few weeks with Zach’s family living and working from Austin.
I took this this morning. I’ve been neglecting my photos—I spent about 8 hours today processing photos from the last few months and writing this post. So here I am finally at the end.
I’ll catch you all another time. Hope you are well. What is everybody up to? What are you listening to? Watching? Reading? Learning? Doing?
Much love friends.
13 replies on “SUMMER OF SELF-ISOLATION”
Yay, a post! It is so crazy that you are still feeling negative effects of covid! I hope you continue to feel better and get your strength back.
I am always amazed when I see pictures of your place that you are in LA! In a house!! I didn’t know LA had houses haha. It seems so big and gorgeous I love it. Does Zack work from home right now too? Your backyard area redecorating is perfect! I love it.
I loved all the Yeti pics, poor little guy has had a hell of a quarantine/life so far but at least he had a loving family! The beach pictures are amazing. He does like a little different than most dogs, but he is still cute, though!
I hope you are doing well Sarah! Thanks for the update! Love to see it. 🙂
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Oh, and to answer your questions:
Up to – isolating. I don’t really even go to the store, don’t visit friends, hardly seen family (my brother just got two 9 week old german shepards though omg so cute) but I live in OC and there are too many anti-mask anti-science people here for me to feel safe going out.
Listening to – podcasts! Finally started getting into them some. I love Upstream (renegade economics and super interesting about other economies other than capitalism) and Serial, mostly. And Stuff You Should Know.
Watching – more anime! We finished FMA:B (again cuz I love it) and watched the first season of The Promised Neverland which is so good. Also just finished the first season of Perry Mason on HBO, loved it.
Reading – tons of books lined up to read! I went on a spree at beginning of quarantine haha. Almost done with Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84. And also working on Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, a super interesting memoir from a 20-something working in a crematory. I highly recommend.
Learning – starting to get in on economics and trying to keep up on current politics. Subscribed to a few news sources and read their emails daily. Got a subscription to Jacobin mag. AOC has me inspired and I had a moment where I thought about going to law school so I have been looking into that and just other grad school stuff. Also been keeping up with the crazy conspiracy theories…spent five hours researching an anti-vax video my friend sent me and so I created a six page paper going over each point in the video and looking into their “sources.” Also, just been trying to educate myself in anti-racist resources and books, speaking up and out more (which is scary for me, but silence is unacceptable).
Doing – sitting around, drinking coffee, reading, playing Animal Crossing mostly. Bought a hand lettering book to learn the art of hand lettering, so gotta get on that! But today is my seventh anniversary with my partner so today we celebrate! Woo!
*Scribbles down a bunch of recommendations*
Listening to: If you liked Serial, you should try Nice White Parents, it’s produced by that team and covers race in public education. It’s super interesting—frustrating, but good.
Reading: I loved Smoke Gets in Your Eyes! She has another book about death cultures around the world called “From Here to Eternity” (and a youtube channel!) that are both super interesting.
Learning: A six page paper about all the misinformation in the anti-vax video? Omg. That level of patience is sooo inspiring, honestly. Your friend is lucky to have you!
And…HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! 🙂 Hope your celebration was special, even in quar.
Thank you for the well-wishes, I appreciate it! 🙂
We feel suuuuuper lucky to live in this house too, especially being at home all of the time, it is *such* a luxury to get to move between different rooms, it’s been a nice distraction to put effort into the different spaces. We’re both at home all the time, so it’s nice to have some distance hah.
Yay! Loving the updates. And I agree with Zach – Yet IS weird looking, but that’s a good thing! In my opinion the weirder an animal looks, the cuter they are so how about that? I agree with Tori, that is so trippy that you are still feeling the negative effects of covid. I hope you feel better soon. LOVE the outside living room, by the way! I dig eclectic, and to be honest I prefer those kind of spaces because they feel more organic and honest. I like spaces that feel like people actually live there instead of a showroom, y’know?
And to answer your questions!
What I’m up to – job hunting (I already was before covid, but now that’s kind of put a stick in it. The day job I have I admit I only took to keep the lights on while I job hunted for something in my field, but it has, to put it nicely, run it’s course. So fingers crossed I get the one I interviewed for this past week), freelance job hunting (working for an independent magazine has become a victim of covid so we’re looking for sidework there too), more job hunting (it looks like just because 45 passed an executive order, student loans may not abide by it so I’m looking for a PT job to make sure I can pay my monthly payment ugh
POSITIVE things I’m up to (because I feel like I opened with bummers) – I got back into art and drawing which has made me so excited! I haven’t drawn regularly or made art in years and it has been so cathartic. I also finally bit the bullet and bought an iPad (I’ve wanted one since they first released TEN YEARS AGO CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???) and an apple pencil and I’ve been teaching myself procreate, and dusting off my old graphic design skills. It has been so fun! Also, I’ve decided to get better with my photography skills! I’m a journalist so I’m a writer and do my own photography and it’s usually mostly…. editorial and basic. Which is fine but I want to teach myself to have more variety. Do you have any recommendations off hand like youtube videos or such? Also, because of covid comedy and theater has been stalled significantly so I’ve been making tiktok videos which has been such an incredible outlet believe it or not since I can’t do sketch right now.
Listening – I tried to catch up on my podcasts (I usually listen to them in the car or in the day job office, but since I’ve been home that’s a negative), but I’ve mostly just been listening to It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders. Love him.
Watching – I’ve been going on rewatch binges with new things here and there (which is now how I tell time by what I was watching at the time). Favorites of note so far have been Designing Women, New Girl, That 70s Show, and Daria. New favorites so far have been Mom, Morning Show, and Big Little Lies. I watched Ted Lasso today and like it so far!
Reading – SO much fanfiction. I’ve fallen back into 2014 and I can’t get up. Read Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, was bummed that I didn’t like it. Reading Midnight Sun now an I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying it. Next on deck is probably going to be finishing Theft By Finding that I bought…. last year. Woof.
Learning – I’ve been trying to force myself out of a cooking comfort zone that I noticed I developed during all of this, and intentionally picking out recipes that look a little more complicated. No fires so far!
Doing – Aside from all of the aforementioned, going to walks often, playing Animal Crossing, and now Mario Kart. Doing a lot of cleaning, I actually bought a new vaccum? Yay? Adult? IDK. Just trying to stay connected with people, working on my book. Making progress. Woo!
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(I wrote a really long reply and then wordpress fumbled the ball and it didn’t post I just realized, going to try to hit all the points)
1. Firstly thank you for such a long reply and comment, it’s so nice to get a glimpse into others lives during this time!
2. I wish you all the good luck for job hunting! Even though journalism is a strug, writing is a major skillset that is in demand…I hope your hunt is short and not too painful.
3. YETI. Is weird looking. But I agree, the weirder a dog is the more I love him—that is why I am so drawn to pugs, shih tzus and brussels griffons! Gotta catch em all.
4. PROCREATE! FUN! How is the ipad pro and pencil so far? I bought a wacom tablet so I could try some digital illustration, and I like it but the whole set up connected to my computer is not very mobile. Procreate also seems so much more flexible and intuitive than photoshop…
5. I am taking notes of all your recommendations, thank youuuu.
Be well! 🙂
Thank you so much for your well wishes! I’ve also been looking at things in marketing since like you said, writing translates (honestly almost anywhere) and I do have social media and graphics experience so. Fingers crossed.
In regard to ProCreate – LOVE IT. I’ve been playing with it a lot off and on, but I do enjoy the mobile aspect of it, and because art wise I mostly drew, it’s definitely made it a lot easier, I think. I actually didn’t get the pro, but I got the 7th gen (which I think is the newest version of the regular iPad? I did a LOT of research because spending more than $20 on… anything at all causes me stress. I’m fun at every party.), but I really truly love it so far. I have absolutely no regrets for it. I’ve been watching a lot of videos on TikTok regarding it because you would be surprised at just how many creators want to help others learn this app which is so nice and wonderful, and truly has been so helpful with this. If this is something you’re interested in, or even just curious because honestly some of them are just fascinating to watch (again, I’m fun at every party), e.mooreart is one of the main ones that I watch and she is so so so patient and breaks everything down like you have never even SEEN an iPad before.
Also – if this tells you anything about the last time I was in a library for pleasure and not school/studying (which says a lot since I’m a book nerd), I was TODAY YEARS OLD when I realized that you can download ebooks from your local library? WTF? It’s an app called Libby, I believe, and it asks you for your library card info so you can connect to your local library and borrow books and put in a request to get in line for books that are already checked out? I’ve already maxed out my holds since I’m still reading through Midnight Sun and IT IS SO EXCITING. AHHHH.
But yes. Do recommend getting an iPad and a pencil, for sure. Heyyyyy.
I’m so glad you’re posting again! I really missed it, somehow felt like a friend was gone (which sounds weird but I’ve been looking at your photos for years now…)
It’s so mindboggling that you’re still feeling the effects of covid, I hope it gets better and better!
Does Yeti get along with the other two? Also I love your house. And how is the pottery going???
Also to answer your questions!
I’m in Berlin and everything here is eerily normal; yes there are restrictions, etc but life just seemingly goes on. Over the weekend I went to the Baltic Sea and ran around in the sand and flopped around in the water.
Listening to: Courtney Barnett, David Bowie and Phoebe Bridgers, as well as a podcast about the Dating Game Killer by Wondery.
Watching: Just finished “Dare Me” on Netflix which was super engaging, if you like murder, teen drama and cheerleading.
Reading: I’ve returned to Stephen King, but also just read Sally Rooney’s Normal People which I didn’t love but couldn’t put down. I also finished “The Interestings” by Meg Wolitzer which was a perfect summer read, about a group of friends who meet at summer camp and then follows their lives until they’re in their fities.
Thanks for still posting 🙂
YAY I was so thrilled to see another update from you. I always love your posts and photos and hearing about what adventures you’ve gotten up to. How lovely to see these pictures today 🙂 I laughed out loud at your comment about Yeti getting to enjoy his last night with his nuts. And he does look a little weird, but truly in the best way possible where he’s also quite cute. So glad you are on the mend, sending well wishes that you continue to improve and gain your health back.
Hmm as for your questions, I’ve recently gotten into the podcast “Fake doctors, real friends” from Zach Braff and Donald Faison (JD and Turk) who are rewatching Scrubs and discussing as they go. It’s hilarious and entertaining and offers some fun insights into a show I love dearly. For music, I’m really digging Caamp for a chill, folksy vibe and the new Taylor Swift for the same vibes. Also, can’t wrong with listening to the Mamma Mia soundtracks on repeat hehehehe.
Reading, I just finished “The Library Book” by Susan Orlean, which was fascinating. It’ s a non-fiction book about libraries, centering on the LA Central library’s fire back in the 1980s. Really good, would recommend. Also, “The Vanishing Half,” “The Dutch House,” and “Olive Kitteridge” were all fantastic fiction books I finished recently that I’d recommend.
Awesome photos. I love the black dress with the happy…clouds? Flowers? Anyway, I love it. I’m glad that you have been doing some stuff during quarantine. And having been a dog breeder in a past life, along with just being around dogs my whole life, puppies are anxious/nervous about everything because they’re babies and just learning. They get better, and especially if there are other dogs that teach them how to be dogs. Yeti is a funny looking creature, but I like him a lot. Sufi and Tweedy are being good older siblings.
Currently, I’m back in America having a miserable time. I’m listening to a lot of Icelandic hip-hop. My favourite artists are Emmsjé Gauti, Aron Can, Sturla Atlas, Joey Christ and Logi Pedro, along with anyone who has every rapped/performed with these guys.
I’m watching loads of YouTube videos, my favourites being Legal Eagle, Marques Brownlee, Geoff Marshall, Thought Slime and TiffanyFerg. Mum and I are also watching nothing but Law & Order during the week and not much during the weekends.
I’m reading loads of current political books, and I’m juggling The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power by Jeff Sharlet and Mary Trump’s book, along with In the Room Where it Happened by John Bolton.
Learning: not much, I’m afraid, except what I’m reading in books, articles, etc. It’s all sort of dis-heartening so it depresses my curiosity some.
Doing: not much at all, waiting to see what happens next. Going to do necessary shopping with mum.
How are the fires affecting you? I hope you’re doing well. Have fun on your trip to Austin. I’m enjoying following you on instagram!
Do you guys own your home? The outdoor space is BEAUTIFUL. I’m jealous.
Listening: I’m in a music slump tbh.
Watching: Just binged “The Affair” on Showtime
Reading: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
Learning: Riso printing! I have a friend who works at a studio and is teaching me the basics. It’s hard.
Doing: Lucky to work from home so I try to spend a few hours on the beach per week “working” and also spending my evenings making things and redoing my sunroom/back patio! We are also in Socal but have no AC so it’s actually cooler being outside. Doing it all with a toddler so it’s hard to find time!
I used to follow you on Livejournal years and years ago and recently felt ~*nostalgic*~ so went onto LJ and I’m so glad I did and found your blog! Ahhhh.
So so glad you’re still posting. I also got nostalgic and found out you had switched blogs (RIP lj), so I’ll definitely make sure to check here again. I’ve been on/off following your ADIML’s and other posts since 2009!