Last weekend really felt like a kick-off to Philly summer. I always associate Cha Cha Razzi with the place I was when Philly really started to feel like it clicked. It was at the spring fling dance that Zia had planned, with a Weezer cover band playing and all my new friends in one place. It was two years ago, only a month or two after I had moved to Philly from Chicago. In Chicago, I spent my three years there waiting for that feeling. I knew that feeling back then because I had it for Baltimore. It took a year for Baltimore to click, so I knew to give Chicago at least that long of a chance. But the entire time I lived in Chicago, it never had that spark or sense of home that Baltimore gave me. Chicago felt like a place I was passing time while Baltimore still felt like the place that had my heart.
Philly clicked more immediately than Baltimore, and has only continued to reaffirm that it is a place I can really call “home.” I just passed my two year anniversary here and I still feel like I’m just getting to know everything this place has to offer, but in the best way possible. In Chicago, I felt like I owed it a chance even though it never felt like me. I stuck it out for three years before realizing it wasn’t the right place for all sorts of reasons. After three years in Chicago I was really ready to leave. Those three years seemed to take forever to pass, and by the second year I was already trying to figure out where I might consider moving to. My first two years in Philly have blown by and I can’t imagine leaving any time within the next few years. It feels like such a relief. It feels very grounding. I can safely spend time building up things around me here because it feels like a real home already.
Back to last weekend. Punk Rock Karaoke was held at Cha Cha Razzi, and while it didn’t have the same vibes as the spring fling dance, it always feels nice to be in that space. The event was a benefit for Girls Rock Philly and Ladyfest.
It was a great cause and cool to see what Jay, an acquaintance from Chicago, has been up to with Punk Rock Karaoke the past few years.
Around the house the past week, the sugar snap peas were growing tall on the front porch.
and we set to work on a few house projects, including the yard, porch and my studio. We collected a bunch of stumps for the backyard for around the fire pit. One of only a few ways the truck has come in handy so far.
Mikey had also needed a night stand for his side of the bed, so he picked out a stump that would be perfect for it.
The new DIY PHL calendar came out last week, which is always really exciting. The artwork was done by Melissa Brain, who has an illustration style that I really love, naturally.
I also drove to IKEA to get parts for a big shelving unit in my studio. This drive was the one where I realized I’m finally pretty confident with stick shift and it wasn’t making my heart race to try to figure out how to get into first gear at every stop sign.
I haven’t owned my own car in my life, so you have to let me bask in it a little.
I’m pretty fortunate to live in a house with a big basement to work on projects. My roommate, Guy, uses it as a painting studio, too. I set to work making my IKEA shelves not look like they’re from IKEA by painting and staining them.
By the end of the week, I finished and am really happy with how it came out. I switched to a standing desk for my desktop computer since it’s not my primary work tool anymore and it keeps me from just spending dumb time on my computer messing around and being distracted. I also spend enough time hunched over a drawing pad that I don’t need to be sitting hunched at a computer. I could use the time on my feet (though, I do have a job that keeps me on my feet most of the day, unlike when I worked in an office, so it might be an unnecessary measure, but it’s great for the no-distraction purposes alone.)
One of the drawings I finished last week
Last week we also planned for a pool party and BBQ we would be attending that Saturday. My roommates Laura, Guy and Tiff are doing a nutrition challenge alongside me and Mikey. We’re doing it at our gym. So we had to plan ahead for food we would eat at the BBQ since the challenge eliminates most processed foods that would be at a vegetarian cookout (veggie burgers/dogs, buns, a lot of condiments, etc).
We prepared a big cooler full of stuff like veggie kabobs with marinated portabellas, fruit salad, sweet potato fries, etc!
Then we headed out for Zia’s parents’ house, about an hour outside of Philly. It was a party for Zia’s birthday!
We brought Rover, which was great because it meant we didn’t have to come back to Philly early to walk him. So we ended up spending most of the day out there in full-on relax mode.
There were some other dogs there too!
Rover finally met Henry, one of West Philly’s other best dogs on the planet. They got along famously.
My roommates, Tiff and Laura
We stayed from 3:30 until 9pm. It was the best summer day.
Zia’s family was also there and were so friendly, such welcoming hosts!
Tiff calling me sneaky for a picture I had just taken, haha.
Jordan and Gorgi
Since it was Zia’s birthday, we may have had a slice of cake…. full disclosure.
Best day for Rover.
Jordan’s dog, Boutros. One of West Philly’s other most famous and loved.
Tiff was doing all the heavy work!
A very near fall
Photos so fun they almost seem staged
I used to post a photoblog post every Monday, but it would be about the weekend immediately prior to that Monday. It meant I would be editing and uploading photos the same day they happened, which felt too rushed and made it not fun to do. I’ve decided now that I’ll post photos the Monday of the following week instead, which gives me a week to process photos and more time to generally reflect on things I want to write about.