a belated good morning 41

My birthday came and went last week and I normally make it a point to write a post to celebrate and muse about being one foot closer to the grave. I kid. I am far from “old” but man do I love to make jokes about it. In any event, I turned 41 last week and I didn’t write about it. Yes! 41! Sure, I may not feel like a spring chicken at times and things are sagging yo. Going the F South! But I don’t feel the need to omit my track record and how far I have managed to come. I own that shit for age is wisdom and I am not in the business of denying truths, especially mine. Life is far too short for bullshittery.

That said, the day was lovely and I did everything that was meant to happen on birthdays from lovely messages, a couple surprises in the form of BPAL and calla lilies, to wonderful food and epic sex. Cause no birthday is complete without a good banging. Amen for babysitting.

I am suffering from the most epic of hangovers though. No, I am not puking up my guts lamenting having a go around with Don Julio… this is a different kind of hangover. October was the craziest whirlwind. I made and sold art like a crazy person, I traveled, I saw, I felt things and it was so damn intense. It was like a comet that burned and burned and then it just fizzled. I thought I would come back from Mexico fully charged for another round at it and the complete opposite has happened. Some people thrive on the constant flow, I am not one of those people. I am still “not back” from the trip and paired with the change in climate and exterior of the world, I am finding myself in a place where I just want to hold on to what’s closest and hibernate. The cool thing about hibernation is that eventually the sleepy spell wears off and you crawl out of the cave with a fresh set of eyes. Big stretch. That time will come so I am not going to stress myself out over it. I have a habit of doing that shit.

I just hate the fact that my creative juice tapped the f out. I really need to fix that because when I am not being creative, I go stagnant. I feel dry and insipid. It reminds me of the time my Tita Carmen (grandmother) took me aside at the ripe age of 15 and told me that “if you don’t use the hole it’s going to rust”. Mi Tita had no idea how true that sentiment is and just how well it applies to other “holes”, not just the ones meant for good times. Now you know where my filthy, inappropriate-at-times mouth came from. That shit is completely genetic. High five Grandma.

Carley house continues to shift and I go with it. From shifts and things I’m not ready to talk about, to Reza growing up far too fast for our own good. I cannot even begin to tell you the stories that come with the latter, cause damn son, this child needs to slow the hell down. STORIES.  The beauty is that despite that growth, Josh, Reza and I grow together at a fairly similar pace, a Kentucky Derby photo finish. They are by far the best gift I could have ever asked for… no amount of birthdays and x-mases (x-masses?) combined could ever sum up to a fragment of how happy they make me.

So yes, 41 came and will soon be went… I have lots of plans for 41 but I am going to focus on more “doing” than talking about it. Practice and far less preach. There’s way too much of that these days and the last thing I need to be is one of “those” people. No bueno.

I try and take one photo on the day of and all I could muster was this phone selfie.

and in previous years:
40 + 39 + 38 + 37 + 36 + 35

good morning 39

Good morning 39, today is the first day of my last year with a three in front of it.

I started my day off by cleaning up a gift in vomit form courtesy of Gomez, Josh had to go to work, the maintenance light came on in the car and I got a much needed 90 minute massage. As up and down as that all seems, this is the happiest birthdays I have had in a long time. The past two I was sick. Last year I was rendered useless and bedridden, on my damn birthday. What the hell Universe? Not cool.

Look, I can’t blame the Universe for that shit. Truth be told is that I was a reflection of everything that was inside me. I hated New Jersey and as much as I tried my best to like it, I was a miserable grinch. I look back at my posts and photos from that time and I was not a happy person. You could see it. It was like living in the Swamps Of Sadness. Between my diet and an overall distaste for my surroundings, that is why I was sick and pissy all the time. I don’t know how many times it has been pointed out to me that since we moved back to CA you can see the sparkle in my eyes again, that the general undertone in the way I represent myself is much more pleasant and agreeable. You would never believe just how much location plays a part in your overall happiness. It does and I am living proof.

The other day I was at Whole Foods getting some coffee and this barista type hipster boy with anchor tattoos was “ma’am-ing” the hell out of me. I get that it is courteous and respectful, blah, blah, blah. I wanted to slap him upside the head, shit son!

Look, I am normally not the kind of woman to get all head trippy about getting old. I realize it is a fact of inevitability and all things considering I don’t feel or look like a haggard broad. Sure, things crackle and I have a few more white hairs in places I don’t even care to see. It is hard to wrap yourself around that mentality that you are no longer in Spring Chicken territory. Can you blame me? We live in a society where women are valued for their image before anything else. We go from being desirable and fresh and then one day you turn the corner into Ma’am Land with a Fast Pass to Cougar Island. F that noise.

Last night Josh surprised me with VIP tickets to see Chvrches in Oakland. The Fox Theater is a kick ass venue and the small perks from the VIP upgrade were well worth the extra cash. I hate general admission with an undying passion. Find the tallest guy in the venue and he always is in front of my midget ass. I can’t see, I get shoved and then I just want to clock someone. No point in paying to just end up all kinds of pissy. Chvrches sounded spectacular and was a great show. The Bay Area crowd is just so different from the Philly crowd, night and day.

I only took a few photos cause I wasn’t going to be like the couple next to us who were both on their phones THE ENTIRE TIME. texting, selfies, face timing people, taping the whole damn show. Who does that? Why spend the cash to go out if you’re gonna be glued to the electronic leash. It’s kinda sad. But eft those hippies. I had a great time, even walking away with the set list I snagged from one of the sound board guys. Woot!

Last year I said I was going to accomplish some things and did I?
Bike more? A little, weather and health wasn’t the best.
Write more letters? Yes! Considering I have probably sent about 60-70 cards this far, I would say I am all right there.
Make and sell more art? I would say I broke even here.
See new places? Check.
Stay true? Always.

Between two massive cross country moves, two completely new areas and lots of isolation, you can see how it would be easy to feel a little disoriented. Those moves really served a purpose though because it brought on a lot of internal growth. Sure, a lot of that was at the expense of heart ache and the true colors of others revealing themselves but still.

I guess this is where things get kooky. When you spend a good year and a half wanting something so bad, you finally get it, then you’re left with “now what?”. That is where I currently find myself. Having goals is a wonderful thing but getting to the finish line is only the means to another beginning, another race, another prize. I haven’t quite figured what that one is yet.

Now that we are back in CA I can focus on myself a little more instead of wasting my energy pissing on my surroundings so much. Yeah!

So yes, the last year of my 30’s. Let’s see what it brings. I have no plan but to roll with it and see where it goes.

and in previous years: 38 + 37 + 36 + 35

good morning 38

The birthday… where do I start?

Josh, “Saturday you need to be at Green Eggs Cafe at 10:30 a.m…. you have a breakfast date”. Apparently he had been conspiring behind my back… you sneakers!

So Saturday morning I went… I was surprised by Angie, a long time e-friend who I met through my blog, who drove down from North Jersey with her sister Carly, and we had breakfast at Green Eggs Cafe. It was a pleasant surprise and the breakfast was divine. A salted caramel latte with cracked salt on the foam topping is one of the best inventions of the coffee drinking world. I caught myself licking the rim of the cup like I was drinking a margarita. I clearly chose the wrong dish when her creme brulee stuffed french toast arrived to the table. Good lord. There was also a stack of red velvet pancakes at the table which were also NOT MINE. I was blinded by the words “pork belly” and even though my dish was awesome, it wasn’t porn in my mouth like theirs were. Totally merited flock of people outside.

Afterwards I took them to take in a really beautiful Fall day at Laurel Hill Cemetery. I love that place and there is not a visitor that I don’t take there… it’s just worth it. I think they totally agreed it was worth the trek. Shortly after we parted ways and I came home to my family.

It’s always interesting when you meet people you have only known from the e-world. You never know what it is going to be like, will expectations be met? Are you/they the same person there and here? Here is this person who you really don’t “know” but you know a lot about one another from e-interaction. It’s a total trip but always cool when it works out, when they’re nice and it just all falls into place like nothing. Natural and unforced.

That evening, as I was putting away laundry I felt the doom creeping in and lord did it get me. I was up at 4 a.m. with throat of fire. Crap.

Since I was 35, I decided that every morning on my birthday I would take a photo of myself and write about my year. I am not in front of the camera nearly as much and if anything, I like to compare the changes. It was customary to do so on the morning of but yesterday I woke up and felt like hell had frozen over… and parked itself in my skull. Wow. Funny, cause now that I look at my post for 37, I was sick then as well. What gives universe? Why u no let me be healthy on my birthday?

Anyway, I took this photo of myself the day before my birthday. I liked it enough that it ended up plastered on a couple of my social media sites. Excuse the redundancy but if you saw the conditions in which I was in yesterday, you would understand why I would not want to immortalize that day. The flu and a migraine. Ouch. I will eventually take a better, non-cell phone photo and replace it… even if it’s not the day of. I make the rules here, I also break them. I couldn’t have written this post yesterday, there is no way! I couldn’t even see straight.

Josh and Reza were super sweet though, trying their best to make my day good even if it didn’t feel like it. They made me cards, brought me a red velvet cupcake with candles in bed… Josh sent her off to a friends house so she could play. He had made dinner reservations but ultimately I was far too sick to go. It would have been a waste of an amazing dinner so I requested a do-over day once I am back to my usual self.

What did 37 give me? On the outside, a handful of grey hairs and some age spots on my hands… as pale as I am, that business is all but inevitable. Inside? Wow. Where do I even begin? I said I was going to spend last year getting myself together, treating myself better, being a better friend, finding my place in the world and getting the creative juices flowing, surviving Winter. Did I do all of that? Yes and no.

My self is always work in progress. I don’t think anyone is ever 100% the person they want to be… I know I am not. There is always work on the outside and the inside is always changing. I am not the person I was years ago and despite the emotional hardships that I have crossed in the past year, I always search for the lesson to be learned in everything.

So did I get it together the way I thought I would? No. But I had some fleeting pockets where I was very content with a lot of things… riding my bike in the sun with fantastic music in my ears, collecting bugs, sending more mail to my friends than I ever have in my lifetime, watching my daughter grow up into this amazing person… testy and opinionated at times, but spirited and smart as fuck. I like that.

Josh and I hit a rough patch that inevitably took head and while it sucked to have to even say the things that were said, we realized that sometimes you have to fall in order to get back up. We came out of that stronger than ever. Even the best of us have our moments, the difference is I don’t publicize it. Not everything needs to be put out there, especially when it hasn’t been hashed out. Our place in this world is on the cusp of something… we don’t know where the next great adventure is going to be but we know that we are better than where we are now and we are working toward something greater.

The creative factor comes and goes… I hate that it is not something that I have as a constant. It is as temperamental as the tides and just like it rises, it sinks to all time lows. I don’t know why it has always been like that but I do know that it is fueled with lots of self doubts and insecurities. That is something I really need to get away from.

Winter? I’m still here aren’t I? It wasn’t nearly as bad as I made it out in my head and as much as I hate the fucking tundra (as I call it), it’s also nice to be thrown out of my element. Watch us get an epic blizzard next month. HAHHAHAH.

What will 38 hold? A lot more biking when the weather lets me, getting the hell out of New Jersey – wherever that ends up being, more exercise, better eating… being good to my house. Write more letters, make more art, SELL more art for that matter, see new places, have awesome moments to even more awesome music, cherish the ones that matter and let go of the ones that don’t and above all, try my best, be true/honest with myself and everyone else.

Yes! 38, it’s on! Let’s DO THIS.

and in previous years: 37 + 36 + 35

good morning 37

For the past couple of birthdays I have posted a self portrait and here we are, the morning of birthday 37. I find myself this morning still very much sick with bronchitis but it is getting better, thankfully, cause being down and out is one of the worst feelings. I have been powering through it though cause Spencer didn’t fly all the way over here to be around a Miss Cranky Pants which I can very much be when I am sick. Hey, if you were coughing, hacking and felt like an anvil was sitting on your rib cage, you would be too.

I spent the past year thinking I was going to be 38, goes to show you how old one gets that the lines become blurred and it doesn’t matter as much. Well, not to me anyway. Sure I am more rickety than ever, thanks to the NJ weather pointing out every single spot that has ailed me in my lifetime. The other day someone cursed me for not looking my age, which I kindly took as a compliment. Goes to show you that staying out of the sun and away from tanning beds pays off for something…. but fear not, I don’t get carded anymore either.

I went into 36 thinking it was going to be a year about balance and I have to say it was without a doubt one of the most difficult in recent years. A LOT happened to me last year, some of which I would like to make a thing of the past and then there is the whole uprooting to another part of the world. It sure has been a test, that I can tell you. I am doing my best to be resilient to the changes that life has thrown my way, take it all in stride and roll with the punches. It’s a lot harder than it seems, I just try to put on the happy face cause I don’t want to be “that girl” who burdens people with her woes. If you knew me the way some people do, you would know that is just how I roll.

What will 37 hold? Getting my shit together, treating myself better, being a good friend to those who have stood by me despite the fact I am now on the other side of the country, loving and working together with my husband to find our place in the world, get those creative juices flowing again and survive the Winter. God, I am so scared of the Winter and what it is going to bring. But hey, what else can I do? I am here, I have no choice but to pull up my big girl pants and deal. Heh.

So yes, 37. Welcome and let’s go!


and in previous years: 36 + 35


Yesterday Josh was sitting on the couch and looks down and this little guy was on his arm. How it got there is beyond us but I could not resist the photo op with this very little guy…

It has become clearly apparent that my camera needs to go to the shop to get a massive cleaning. When there are spots in the sky, you know it is time. I shouldn’t be spending so much time on clean-up so after this weekend, the ole girl is going to the shop for a bath. This is where I will feel naked for lord knows how long.

I have been taking a lot of photos on my phone as of late… I love my DSLR but the portability of it is not as user friendly. Plus, why lie… I have had this camera for a while now, with ONE lens and well, I am frustrated with it. Oh boohoo, she is bored with her camera. Brendan was saying, the best camera you have is the one you have with you. Touché.

What else is going on…

Lets see, I made cupcakes for the first time in eons. They were just a little something for Reza’s school Easter whatnot. I forgot how much I love baking… Of course I can’t do much of it cause all of it is a total no-no on the diet I am on and lets be truthful here, I cannot have that temptation in the house. Unless I know I can offload them to people, well, then maybe I would go back to it… but what fun is it if I cannot partake, ya know?

I also bought a new palette of watercolors that I am super excited to break in along with a “Sketch A Day” journal. I cannot wait til it gets here, who knows what interesting nuggets I will be pooping in it.

Ok, lets cut to the chase shall we? Where am *I* at?

A few weeks ago I pretty much came to terms with the fact that I was suffering from some degree of depression. Being sick for so long, along with our streak of not-so-good news really broke me. There is only so much one person can take ya know? I wrote a big long-winded post about it but it wasn’t open to public consumption. Usually that is not the way I am but it felt right at the time and I was so glad I was finally able to admit it to others as much as I was able to admit it to myself. I was met with a ridiculous amount of support and words from a lot of people, so much so that it was a huge push to get off my ass to get better. There is a lot to be said when you think you are alone only to realize there were always people there with you all along. If you were one of those people, the ones that reached out, called, emailed, commented or just gave me the “I so know how you feel” nod… You? Thank you so, so much.

So I started going to therapy. I have been to several sessions and while it was helpful at the time, I found myself not having my heart in it later on. Maybe it was who I was seeing, maybe it was me, who knows! but something did not feel right and to me that is the kind of thing that you have to be all in for, 100% or else it’s not going to evolve into something better. So, my gut told me to call it and I did. I stopped seeing my therapist… plus, that business is expensive! I know at any point in time if I need it again I can go back, but for now I feel like I can stand on my feet a lot taller than I have in a while.

My treatment with the Tibetan Dr. has been going well. I go back in a couple weeks for a follow up to see where I am at. Overall, as difficult as it has been, the removal of a lot of things from my diet has *really* helped with my frame of mind, clarity and focus. Now, it may all be subconscious but the truth is I don’t care. I have felt the best I have felt in a long time and I have a lot to do with that so I am gonna roll with it and see where it takes me. It has enabled me to go back to the gym, not get sick, I’m making my immune system and body stronger. It has been awesome.

I have been doing a lot more with myself…
catching up with friends I wasn’t able to see cause I was sick all the time
social engagements, getting out of the house
I am feeling the creative juices surge again which is always good
I cut a lot of loose ties out of my life
going to the gym and letting it kick my ass little by little
finding beauty and happiness in what is there, the present, the simple.

I won’t lie and say everything is super chipper and all… it isn’t. I have my moments but I do have a better grasp on it. It doesn’t feel so overwhelming. Amongst everything else I wish I wasn’t feeling disappointment toward a few people who have remained conveniently absent despite their knowing where I was at… It really sucks cause I am not the kind of person to reach out when I feel like I am sinking and I did… and it was ignored. But hey, such is life right? Some people disappoint and some surprise you. Despite those couple of let downs, I was more surprised than anything.

Overall, there has been a lot of progress made despite the hurdles and obstacles that seem to keep coming. I am just trying to roll with it as it comes… I have been listening to the new Duran Duran song and the title pretty much sums up where I am at: All You Need Is Now.

That is exactly what I am doing.

of mythology, snot and such

I really am starting to believe that the universe is punishing me. You know that scene in Clash Of The Titans where Zeus picks up the clay figure of Perseus and leaves him in the arena in Joppa? That’s how I feel right now. I think some greater force of nature dropped my clay figure in a child’s’ play pen and I am being tossed around cause here I am, sick, AGAIN.

Can’t a girl catch a break? So when I am not supporting the over the counter pharmaceutical industry, I am coughing to the point of vomit cause I gag easily or I am up inspecting the Rorschach paintings I am making into a tissue. SEXY. It is hard to focus when your brain is melting into your sinus cavities and you have more chemicals than a meth lab in your body. I *hate* having to take medicine but it’s either be a slave to the pills or be even more dysfunctional and well, my family won’t be having that. It’s bad enough they’re living with a person that resembles the lovechild of The Grinch and Calibos, rolling in snot. Picture this if you will. I would say I look like that too but I did manage to get a much needed dye job today despite my ailments, cause well, I won’t be looking like one of The Henna Sister Latinas, with dark roots. Getting your hairz did proper always helps the self esteem department.

So, universe, I am going to pull a psycho-girlfriend on you and tell you the the 4 words dudes just *love* to hear: We need to talk. There are things this girl wants to do but needs her health to do them. You know of which I speak, so, for the love of god and everything that is holy (which can be many things depending on who you ask), can I be 100% again? Shit, I will take 95% or anything after. Pretty please, with sugar on top? Please don’t make me resort to the sad kitteh eyes.

Hopefully when my health decides to make an appearance, I can focus on things like cleansing out all this crap I have been putting into my body. Maybe I will go get a colonic. I was just reminded of this today reading one of my favorite blogs, Joy The Baker and it has been far too long. Shit, if you’re lucky I will blog about it in great detail, pun intended. I am comfortable with my poop chute and why not, we are talking about a chick who is married to the guy who has photos of his colonoscopy results in his facebook profile photos after all.

I also got a lead on an amazing Tibetan medicine man and no, I am not joking. Clearly Western medicine isn’t getting me very far, I mean look at me, I am up at 3:30 a.m., writing whacked out posts about mucus and mythology. Only I, hopped up on Theraflu, can find a correlation between the two.

Subsequently, my Greek mythos references are in regards to the original and only Clash Of The Titans film as far as I am concerned. That recent remake was an atrocity cause not only did they diss on Bubo The Owl but they took two awesome actors like Liam Neeson and Ray Fiennes and clowned them. They can hide behind their Greek God Beards Of Shame, but Bubo? How dare you diss Bubo.

7 deadly sins

PRIDE: things that are great about me

  • My Mexican heritage. Don’t let my pale skin and hot sauce aversion fool you.
  • That I do a lot of things, and do them well.
  • My family. How can one not be proud when you know you did good? Great husband, rad kid. I’m lucky.
  • That I don’t have to do much to my eyebrows for them to look awesome.
  • My hands
  • My handwriting. No, really. If you ever got anything from me, you will agree.
  • mi pinche guacamole.

ENVY: things I lack/covet

  • I wish I was one of those people who can eat what they want and never see it show up on their ass.
  • A stronger sense of stability
  • Those who don’t ever have to worry about finances cause they were born into money.
  • Consistency
  • A more serene sense of being
  • The ability to tune it out
  • Endurance. I seriously am jealous of athletes who run miles on end and enjoy it. Thanks multiple injuries!

WRATH: things that piss me off

  • Pedophiles. Don’t even get me started.
  • When people who are adults act like they’re 12.
  • When I slave over dinner and it doesn’t come out to my standards.
  • People who cannot hold their liquor
  • Shitty drivers
  • Expectancies
  • Blatant disrespect

SLOTH: things I neglect to do (sometimes on purpose)

  • follow through on things
  • making the bed, like, ever.
  • flossing. I do it, just nearly not enough.
  • putting away laundry. At any given time there is a hamper of unfolded whatnot lying around. bad housewife!
  • shaving my legs. Dude, every day? Have you seen the cost of razors!?
  • Ok, so I forget to take the trash out and then am running out at 7 am in a bathrobe. SO?
  • check myself before I wreck myself.

GREED: worldly material desires

  • An endless bank account.
  • A place to call home that I can modify to my liking
  • That said house would have a killer, Japanese style bathroom
  • New camera gear
  • A studio where I can lay out all my art supplies and gear. Creative space is everything.
  • A privately commissioned portrait of my family by a world renowned photographer or painter.
  • Student loan forgiveness.

GLUTTONY: guilty pleasures (that I don’t feel guilty about, for the record)

  • My horrible yet equally awesome taste in music.
  • Running the heater in the car or house on a cold day but having the windows open.
  • Chocolate and if it has salt in it even better.
  • Crappy reality tv. Hey, sometimes you need some trash to tune out with. Nothing like relaxing at the expense of other peoples misery.
  • Putting certain sauces on shit it does not belong on.
  • My affinity for red meat. I don’t eat steak very often but when I do, it is not in ways that make other people comfortable.
  • I like a lot of food undercooked: especially pancakes and bacon

LUST: love/sex secrets (or not so secret)

  • I want to have sex in a moving car. Never had the opportunity.
  • I wish I was multi-orgasmic. Hah! What else is new, doesn’t everyone?
  • Without a doubt, Josh is the only person I have ever been “in love” with. The rest were a bunch of stupid infatuations.
  • I have faked it before… sometimes you just want the dude to stop so you can go to sleep. (and no, not with my husband either. He rules my pantaloons)
  • I lost my V card when I was 17.
  • I am not ashamed to admit that yes, I take care of my own business from time to time.
  • threesomes are seriously overrated and I say this from experience.

~and it’s here~

After much waiting, they are finally going to be ready for order. I know a few of you are all, “hey, I already have one (or more) and I don’t need another one”. That’s cool. I will say this though, a lot of people said that about my Day Of The Dead design and then missed out. The red+black edition will be limited so if you snooze you lose.

So happy with this collaboration, so click the banner to go to their site when the day comes.

anatomy of the cell phone photo

So the other day, I posted this photo on facebook and I got a ton of very nice comments on it. Whether they were genuine or throwing me a bone, I really don’t care. But, in the effort of fairness I am letting you in on my secrets. I have never been the kind of person that only posts the super good photos and if you have known me, you will know this is true.

I make a lot of really wonky and unflattering faces and make no apologies for the fact that people will see me that way, see the wrinkles, the bedhead and all the other crusty factors that make people double take and not in a good way.

So the photo in question….

Step 1:
take the photo. Work a decent myspace angle. I also happened to snag this one fresh out of the salon so the hair was working to my advantage. Shot? Meh, kinda dark but can be salvaged.

Step 2:
Brighten photo. This will help knock out some wrinkles, dark spots, sun damage on my chest… (thanks for teaching me how to use sunscreen as a teen Mom!). Brightening was done with Adobe Photoshop Express for iPhone app. The app is free and allows you to do a lot of basics like brightness, contrast, cropping, flipping, rotating, filter application. It rocks and the price is awesome.

Step 3:
Ok, so step 2, nice… nice, but could use a little punch. So I ran the photo from Step 2 in the ShakeitPhoto app. This app is 99 cents and dishes out awesome photos that annoy people cause you’re trying to be like, OMG, avant garde with your cell phone *cough* loser *cough*. It automatically crops the photo, punches some color and made it look all soft and fuzzy. Decent, if you will.

Step 4:
End result. Post it and lead people to believe you always take awesome photos of yourself. WOO!

So there you go. If you ever wondered how I manage to pull some of these camera phone photos out of my ass, it is cause I usually process them through multiple apps at any given point in time. Sometimes up to 2-5 steps to get them there too. No apologies y’all, I am a cheatress and now you know.