This summer has been low key in the best way. I think for a few years, post college, you sort of yearn for the summers of your youth, where you have a real stretch of time with no obligation, no school, no work – a true break. You travel. You spend all your money just so you can start from scratch saving again in the fall. You “make it count.” Post college, when you have to sort of face the time of life you’re in, keep working hard straight through summer to keep getting by, and lose all that time to yourself, it feels weird. You haven’t come to terms with it yet and you just miss the way things were when you had fewer responsibilities and could sort of turn on and off like that. But as I get more content with my day-to-day life and fall into place with the way I actually want to be living ALL the time, just spending summer doing the routine doesn’t feel so bad.
I’ve been working part-time at a job I enjoy most of the time (nannying), filling in the money gaps by keeping up with a weirdly steady stream of cartoon commission requests, hanging out at home in a space that I’ve built up to feel truly comfortable and like a place I identify with as being “home,” and spending time with a handful of friends that I feel close with – doing summer things. I have some fun trips on the horizon, but just enough so that I don’t go stir crazy, and not so much that I feel scatterbrained and strapped for cash all the time. Overall, I’ve found a really good balance and I hope to keep riding that out. Hello, live journal.
Here are some photos from the past two weeks.
A day at the pool with little Luc, who isn’t so little anymore. This guy was only 5 months old when I started working with him! Look at my foot tan lines!
At home in my studio, a visit from Mikey while I was holed up working on drawings.
A silly photo that Laura took of me doing 30-day-shred. I’ve been doing these workout videos with Mikey and our roommate Sam. It’s been cool to stay pumped together and motivate each other, though since this photo it really steadily dropped off in regularity… We gotta get back on it.
Rover riding home from the groomers in my truck, with a fresh new bandana that the groomers gave him. It was the first time I’ve ever taken him to a groomer. I give him a bath at home once a month but he’s in the middle of his worst allergy season and shedding and itching like crazy, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt.
The same day, I picked up some planter boxes my friend Tim made for me during some downtime at his work.
I got right to work prepping them and filling them. A thing I’ve acknowledged about myself over the years is that if I have a plan to do something, I should always do it while I have the momentum. That often means dropping everything and doing it Now, even if I have some other more pressing things to do. I hate leaving something on the back burner if I can clear it from my plate. If I do leave it and plan to come back to it, often it means it’ll never get done, and it usually adds stress to the things I AM getting done because it’s on the back of my mind as something on my to-do list. Workflow is so weird and something I’m constantly thinking about. I mostly started thinking about this when it comes to this project because Tim’s roommate said to me ‘Tim made us some boxes a few weeks ago and we still haven’t even hung them up.’
So I ran to Lowe’s and bought stain and some soil and got it all done that night so my boxes would get some use this summer. I wasn’t sure if staining them was the best option but I think they turned out pretty cool.
Later that evening, I walked to get dinner with Mikey and our roommate Tiff.
Back at home, a typical night in Swoon City.
Sunday morning brunch at Honey’s.
I had last week off from nannying which gave me a lot of time to catch up on stuff. It also allowed me to take a jaunt over to Detroit, MI for a day to give a comics workshop for teens at a public library over there.
The Troy Public Library was putting on a young adult writers five-week series and flew me out as a guest presenter. It was pretty fun and a total whirlwind trip.
It’s wild to spend about 14 hours in airports to give a one hour workshop, but it was also weirdly relaxing to spend a day mostly by myself, forced to just slow down and do nothing.
A cool thing about our bedroom: The mirror on the closet door reflects the sky from the window toward the opposite wall, the sky from the West, and the actual window right next to the mirrored door shows the sky from the South and East. So we can see a full spectrum of sunset in the two windows right next to each other. I don’t even know if that made any sense but it’s the best way I can explain it.
Another standard night in Swoon City. I’m often self-conscious about the fact that I just take photos of the pretty corners of our house and crop out all the rest, so people get this idea that we live in a beautiful, picturesque home. Here’s a good example of how all the hallways look – pretty gnarly. There was wallpaper on the walls originally, and the home owners have just painted over it in several layers, sometimes with oil based paint, and then latex paint over that? So our hallways are all peeling and chipping, which makes paint chips stick to the wood floors. It’s not really fixable without the landlord completely scraping the walls, so we’re not bothering to waste our time. Definitely not photogenic though.
Now that the weather has cooled down, I’ve been spending hours at a time in my studio again. When it’s too hot I can’t be in there. It’s like a sauna and our only window unit is in our bedroom.
Dinner bike ride to Clark Park with friends.
Clark Park is a big spot for people with dogs in the neighborhood. Some of the dogs were very forward and trying to lick our to-go containers.
After eating Chaat in the park, we all went up to Little Babies for dessert.
The following day, my roommate Laura brought one of her clients’ dog to our house to hang out. She had to sit her for the whole day. Rover and Nala wrestled for a long time. Rover can be hit or miss when it comes to playing with dogs. Some dogs he has no interest in, while others he will be down to play with all day. He hit it off well with Nala.
After Nala went home and I finished a drawing, I spent all of Saturday night cooking with my roommate, Tiff.
We had a house trip planned for Sunday and needed to bring a picnic.
We made food for all six of us to bring on a kayak trip.
Packed conveniently in containers so we could each take one or two in our own kayak.
Then I straightened up my room a bit, prompted by a plant needing to change locations. I’ve been feeling too cluttered with all my plants lately, so I moved some things around and it feels much better. I love a lot of empty space in my rooms.
This corner is way less full of stuff than it used to be. Phew. The tall tree near my lamp used to be in this corner and it wasn’t doing so well because it needed more light. I thought the corner would offer more light when I originally moved it there, but realized it actually gave less. Who knew? Plants are a mystery. I move them around and repot them a lot until I find what works best for each one.
In the morning on Sunday, getting ready to leave for our kayak trip.
We drove an hour out to NJ to Mick’s Kayak and Canoes.
They offer 2 hour, 3 hour, and 4 hour kayak trips. They drop you at a point down the river with your boats, help you get in, and then tell you where the pick up spot is. Three hours down the river, you can pull off shore and they will pick you up and bring you back to the parking lot.
Only Tiff had gone before, so it was new to all of us. These are all my current roommates, Mikey, Sam, Guy, Laura and Tiff.
Our house rules, but Laura and Guy are both moving to different cities in a few weeks. It’s going to be really sad!
Waiting for our turn to get picked up by the van.
Here’s me taking a group photo of the group that took our group photo. Haha. Even trade.
We took a lot of photos just standing around I guess. Ha!
At the point where you get in the river.
The water on this river is really brown and red from all the tannin that comes out of the pine trees. The river was running through the Pine Barrens in NJ.
I really liked it. It felt like kayoing in coca cola.
Kayaking was surprisingly easy at first. The river was really calm and carried you around pretty quickly. It felt pretty intuitive to figure out how to maneuver it.
After kayaking for about an hour, we pulled off to a beach and had our lunch – spring rolls with peanut sauce, curry chickpea salad, and fruit salad.
Before we left, a few people grabbed hats, and then it turned into a ‘thing’ so we all found a hat we could wear. The only hat I had was this little camo hat that my 4 year old nephew picked out for me for Christmas two years ago at his elementary school gift sale, haha.
In the end, I was super glad I had a hat, because despite being in the woods, 3 hours of sun would have been a lot.
It was this quiet and beautiful the whole time.
After two hours, it didn’t feel easy anymore. My arms and shoulders ended up getting so sore. I liked feeling like we had been doing something physical, though.
Post trip, figuring out where to stop for food/snacks.
It was too early for dinner, so we got ice cream instead.
I’m pretty convinced that NJ is a magical place full of kayaking, mini golf, batting cages, beaches, haunted houses, pool parties, drive-in theaters, orchards and roller skating. Because that’s all I’ve done there. Why don’t we all live in NJ?