It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… but not really. We attended the Free Times Best of Columbia party this past Friday night, which meant that Saturday was mostly slow and leisurely. The only strenuous thing I did was getting up on a 15 foot ladder to clean the gutters Saturday morning. The rest of the day was food, laying down, and relaxing outdoors at dusk. A common refrain among my friends and I is “How did we used to do this multiple nights in a row? Or on work nights?” Now I’m lucky to want to par-tay once a month, if even that.

The Free Times and Flock + Rally sure know how to throw an excellent party, now maybe I can up my social skills for next year because I suck at working crowds unless I have a purpose- like if I am there with a reason, say to talk up someone or to get information. But throw me in a crowd with no goal other than to have fun? Then I’m relying on my gives-no-damns husband to do the crowdsourcing and sweeping me along into the conversation. But it’s nice to be invited to these kinds of events, because it gives me more practice, plus I got to talk to a lot of fun, awesome, and best people.

Now that it’s almost midway into August I can really feel the shift towards the second half of the year settling into place. Just the way that the sun shines down and the blueness of the sky are little cues from nature to go ahead and enjoy this while it lasts, because the crispness is closing in and then the bitter freezing cold months and decisions that have to be made about all of the holidays and keeping everyone happy. I used to love the holidays, now it’s getting to be more of a burden. My favorite holiday was, and maybe still is, Thanksgiving because your only obligation is to eat and lay around all day. Sure, there might be cooking involved and possibly showing up somewhere, but the end result is still the same. Thanksgiving 2012 was the first without my grandfather, who loved the holiday as much as I did, so that set the tone for it not being what it used to. In fact, right about now he’d start planning the menu even though it never changed, and he’d bring it up at least three times a week until November. It got tiresome by the time Thanksgiving rolled around but I do miss it, even though I never thought that would be the case.

Anyways, on to a happier note, if you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably seen my deluge of dogge photos because this week a special, fun holiday came around: new toy day! This is a special holiday that comes at random times of the year, specifically when I ask Patrick to go get the dog food because I’m too busy. He gets overwhelmed thinking about how much fun the dogs can have with All Of These New Toys! and buys an armload, which results in frenzied fun for about two weeks, by which time they get destroyed or forgotten about.

This morning my beta fish died.

I got him four years ago, right after we moved into this house. That’s right, four years, including surviving the incident that earned him the name Lazarus. Oliver the cat knocked the tank of my dresser one day while we were at work, and when I got home I saw a huge mess on the floor freaked out. I ran and told Patrick to go flush the fish, but as he was scooping him out about to drop him in the toilet, the fish flopped around, miraculously! He apparently was surviving in a tiny bit of puddle that was pooled on the floor. I was worrying about putting the fish in unconditioned tap water but it was better than putting him in no water. I was expecting to find him floating the next day for sure but he survived it all!

To help myself get over this tragedy I went to the pool with Kara and Jenn for the first time this summer. I was a sloppy sunscreener and ended up like this…

Time for silky shirts and aloe.