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.
His curly head!
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.
Look at my gorgeous tomatoes.
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.
Being a prince.
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.
Marinated short ribs!
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.
Another day, another walk.
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.
“Can we go?”
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.
Look another dog!
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.
The cone is killing me.
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.