Strawberry rows

My dad has four strawberry rows in his garden. Each is a different variety: Honeyoe, Brunswick, Kent, and one other I can’t recall. (Sorry, Dad.) Two of the rows aren’t doing very well. The other two have made enough strawberries to (nearly) make him sick of them. This is the first year Dad has ever had successful strawberries after years and years of experimental planting.

Strawberry season meant life was zooming along from springtime into summer. David and I were feeling proud of completing a year in London. Dad was fussing over strawberries and bees and all his other projects. My brother’s wife was pregnant (and has since brought my little niece into the world!) Mom was enjoying herself as she watched my brother’s other daughter everyday. My sister was just coming home from a great first semester at Radford University.

Then on a Tuesday night in mid-May he collapsed at home by himself. The short of it: two of his arteries were extremely clogged, and the walking pneumonia (that he unknowingly had) wasn’t helping. Obviously he was admitted to the hospital.  Continue reading “Strawberry rows”

One year later: It’s easy for the desert to be green

It’s been a year! We have lived in London for a year!

Today is the day when, one year ago, we emerged from the doors of our airplane after a red-eye to Heathrow. We collected Zeke from the Animal Reception Centre and took the world’s largest Uber to Angel, an area in London. We dumped our suitcases on the sidewalk. I stayed with Zeke and the suitcases while David figured out how to get inside our apartment. It took so long that I told Zeke, “This is where we live now.” I meant the sidewalk, not London.

When we left San Francisco a year ago, California still in a horrible drought. Today the internet is flush with images of the “super bloom” after (perhaps) too much rain.
Continue reading “One year later: It’s easy for the desert to be green”

Levain: the long rise

Bonjour!

I’ve just returned from Paris. I am still incredulous that I can go to places like Paris on the train in less than 3 hours. My dear friend and bread twin, Amy, braved the international airways all the way from Washington, DC to meet me there. Naturally our goals were to consume bread in all its forms: baguettes, croissants, pastry… as well as to see all the art. Oh, how we ate! Oh, how we drank! Oh, how we saw! Oh, how we walked… and walked… and walked.  Continue reading “Levain: the long rise”

Anxiety worksheets

Hello from my home studio filled with linseed oil smells, podcasts, to do lists, piles of papers, and half finished paintings!

It’s in this space that I solve painting problems like the weird, shiny shape that has taken over the background in my painting, or… how do I make Costco’s aluminum foil look sexy? Why does my brain sees two colors at once? (It’s red and yellow, which is entirely different from orange.) And then the constant crisis: what does it all mean? When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I find myself here in my studio to make a list or a schedule or a spreadsheet. While I don’t want to only write about mental health struggles, here I am again. Perhaps it’s a side product of moving to a new country as an introvert who is struggling to find a job? Perhaps writing helps me sort it a bit more.

Much like my beloved spreadsheets, worksheets organize data and help you to learn while filling them out. As an artist who likes to her use hands to learn things, they’re pretty helpful. Math problem sets taught me differential equations and calculus. I meticulously drew the areas under the curve and watched the magic of variables falling away to offer answers to the chaos. These days the chaos is in my own brain, and I’ve found a therapist who is helping me with breathing exercises, new thought patterns, and worksheets for my anxieties. My goal is to allay my social anxieties so as to be more confident in myself and career.

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Today is a good day. And I’ve been having a lot of those recently. I can feel my brain being healthier. Last Friday we looked at my Worry Journal together and laughed at two entries: “new American president” and subsequently “bagels.” Current politics are not helpful for someone with anxiety right now. These anxieties have moved from the “potential” to the “current” column on my worksheet. For someone who needs to do things with her hands, this felt impossible.   Continue reading “Anxiety worksheets”

Thankful in London

This last weekend was our first turkey dinner of thanks in London. My lovely friend, Amy flew in for a long weekend, and David took Thursday and Friday off so we could have a proper weekend. We were a little island of American celebration.

I loved that we decided to declare a holiday for ourselves. I need to do that more. I need to choose that today, this day, is a good day, and I can celebrate and remember what’s good. And make food to share with my friends. Unsurprisingly I have been struggling with the Depression Fog here in London. I knew it would happen and spent a lot of energy the first half of 2016 preparing for it. When my life is full of changes (like moving to a new country), questions (like When will I get a job? What am I doing with my life? Do I want to go outside today? No. It’s too cold), and having the work of making all new friends, I can struggle.  Continue reading “Thankful in London”

Happy 10th birthday, Zeke Dog!

Today, October 20, is Zeke’s 10th birthday. I can’t believe he’s been here for a whole decade. Here’s a timeline of his accomplished life.

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Today!

October 20, 2006: Zeke (or “Cricket” as they called him then) is born in Auburn, California at Golden Acres Ranch, where they breed Australian Shepherds for people who want pets. Continue reading “Happy 10th birthday, Zeke Dog!”

Autumn

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I live in that northwest borough with the bright yellow face!

Hello!

It’s been awhile. October is well upon us; and it is a strange combination of familiarity and homesickness. I’m starting to no longer notice anyone’s accents.

The crisp air and equally crispy leaves on the ground feel like home. I always, always missed fall the most when I was in California. It smells like autumn here. The light also has that cold, golden glow. The weather is almost the same as Virginia except a bit more mild and grey. The summer’s aren’t as hot, and the winter will see less snow.

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View from the living room window

Continue reading “Autumn”