About the end…

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Moved back to San Diego, CA
Reacquainted myself with legit Mexican food – Sorry NorCal and East Coast, SoCal wins #notreallysorry
Participated in 19 art shows and sold a lot of work
Celebrated 12 years of marriage
Took up Pilates again
Got bangs
Visited Chicago for the first time
New friends
Cried in front of a Monet at the Getty Center
Got my ass in therapy
Fixed a broken bridge and burned others to the motherfucking ground where they needed to be
Found a way to speak up for myself that was more productive
Wept like a baby when The Cure played A Letter To Elise
Turned 42
Cried with friends
Got in my first fender bender (not my fault!)
Took large risks that paid off
Shows seen: The Soft Moon, Chvrches, The Cure, Black Marble, Cold Cave, Deftones, Health
Many exquisite conversations that really broadened my perspective about so many things
Listened to a lot of killer music  (not all came from 2016, bite me)
Come to think of it, that was a lot of crying. What can I say? I am more of a softie than I care to admit.

2017 
Make an effort to close drawers and cabinets all the way. This isn’t a metaphor. Like, actual cabinets and drawers. Josh’s shins will thank me.
Keep working on OSA (aka Operation Shelf Ass)
Say what I mean, mean what I say
Give time to those who really want it and make an effort to return it
Write devastatingly beautiful letters
Speaking of, more emails and less texts… or how about longwinded texts? Fair compromise.
Learn a new skill
More snail mail
Procrastinate less and manage time more efficiently (HA!)
Stay away from pay to play situations
Practice the fine art of gratitude, surrender and vulnerability
Be a pillar, wall or shoulder to those who need it
Pay compliments
Smell good, well, better than I already do (no shame in this game)
Be present in the company of others even more by putting away my phone more
Call people out on their garbage. No being a bystander to garbage.
Read
Visit homies who live far (time and money permitting)
Elevate the levels of giving no fucks to the things that don’t deserve my fucks.
Speaking of fucks? Fuck. Nuzzle. Cuddle. More. I like this plan.
There REALLY needs to be more tattoo work this year
Dust off the Nikon and take more photos
Hug and kiss my people hello and goodbye. Honestly, more physical contact period. No more of this sterile ass whatnot, so prepare
Drag some of those hugs out more as required
Continue to say things like: I love you, thank you, I appreciate you.
Use my own words to convey a thought, this “memes and quotes of others” as a method of communication is no bueno
BE MOTHERFUCKING PRESENT

Is Summer Over Yet?

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 Tap tap… is this thing on? It has been a while hasn’t it? Shit.

You close a window and then you find you don’t revisit it for months. I mean, I have written but let’s be real, it hasn’t really been any substance. Like eating a veggie burger pretending it was something else. There was no meat in those buns.

Truth be told is I am pretty overwhelmed on so many fronts that I feel like I have to retreat in order to make any headway. It’s what I do. The minute the vulnerability starts to set in, the walls raise themselves automatically. Only a small few get to peek into that window. Or better yet, very few want to.

For starters, I have been knee deep in deadlines and commitments. Being an artist is tough when you’re managing a household. People can assume you just wake up and shit your talent out but in my case it’s a little tougher. Add that to being a graduate from Insecurity University, I always find myself in a state of second guess, a place where the rulers are always out wondering where I measure up. I would like to believe that what I have to offer and do has its place in the world. It does. But don’t think for a second it hasn’t come with nights of anxiousness and tossing, wondering whether my tiny little doodles will be viewed as something wonderful or is it one footstep away from tripping into the land of mediocrity. You put it out there only for people to spew their insecurities at you, make comments about my appearance or to go as far as insult the way I speak. Holy shit.

Blogging has really changed from the time I started writing publicly about my life in 2001. It was fun, exhilarating, I met some amazing people that to this day still “know” me. I wish I could go back to that place where people held each other up online. In that world I found the “me too!”, the “I am not alone”, the “we are so alike”. This amazing sense of community. Now there seems to be so much cutting down, haterade and negativity. So much so that at times it becomes unbearable to want to be a part of it. I hide, remove and unfollow at the drop of a hat. It’s hard to share with as much fearlessness as before. Granted, I’m writing now, but these types of posts where I cut the vein to bleed all over the screen are few and far between. (That was a metaphor btw, I don’t need a wellness check. No, really.)

But alas, I plug away and am trying to work and network harder than I have in a long time. It’s an internal struggle that will sooner or later manifest itself into something. When the juices flow and when I am busy on my terms is when I am at my best.

The past couple of weeks have been tough though. Our space wasn’t ours for a couple weeks. My parents came to visit and I hate to say, it was one of the toughest visits with them to date. My mother has Alzheimers and the change from the last time I saw her was pretty obvious. The forgetfulness is more present than ever and every time I had to remind her where the trash can was (daily), or tell her for the 10th time how old Reza was, my heart broke a little more. Every once in a while I would get a glimpse of the Mom I know and when that happened I smiled on the outside but inside I wanted to go to the bathroom, close the door and cry. Watching someone you love lose their cognizance and awareness is incredibly sad, even more when you know they’re afraid and aren’t in an environment that will stimulate them. I wish I could say there is a happy ending to this story but there isn’t. My sweet, doting Mother will not know who I am one day and that is a really tough pill to swallow.

Pair that with my Father and well, let’s just say things didn’t end on the best note. I am coming to terms with the fact that he and I will never really mesh. Daddy issues. How cliche. He comes from the Old School and I am not part of that alumni. Mexican culture has its “way” about things sometimes one of which entails back handed compliments and criticizing you under the guise of “opinion”. A strong case of a well intended message but an absolutely shitty delivery. Either way, none of those things have ever been my M.O. and honestly, it hurts when you’re getting it from one of your parents. All it does is make me feel like nothing I do is good enough. Truth be told is we have nothing in common other than family ties, that became painfully obvious. One can only get poked at so much before you finally blow your top, which I did. You have to understand that I rarely see discourse or argument in my home. It just doesn’t happen… and when you get a week of it? A week of getting a push back ON EVERYTHING? And it was crimson tide week? It was very overwhelming for me. I. Lost. It.

I can only end up in tears so many times behind closed doors before my husband chimed in to the mix and Dad didn’t like it. So much that he left refusing to look me in the eye and stood there like stick when I tried to hug him goodbye. I hope you never have that much pride in your body that you’d rather call a cab than get a ride to the airport from your daughter who had a moment of vulnerability. And then I wonder where my feelings of insecurity and inadequacy come from. Ha. Being kind, admitting you’re wrong, finding the middle of the road? Those things are not weaknesses. And then you come to the sad conclusion that in your adult life you cannot recollect your Dad ever telling you that he’s proud of you. Think about that for a minute.

The reality is a cruel one. You come to terms and grips with your own mortality when you know your family is on the slow decline toward theirs. All of a sudden I am envisioning what it will be like for Reza, or how hard it would be to be my Father, losing his life partner to an illness. It is all so complicated and age isn’t making it any easier… on anyone. You can only deny it happening for so long.

One thing I will say, I am so grateful for Josh. He has been a wall of support through all of it and not once has he ever discredited or invalidated my feelings with excuses. He above all others knows ME and who knows where I would be if I didn’t have him in my court. He has been in the best of headspace, working hard on himself and it shows so much in all of his actions and words. I really could not be more proud of him and all the work he has been doing and there are not enough words to express the love and gratitude I have for him.

I am ready for Summer to be OVER. I want my boring Sonoma County life back, my routine, ritual, quiet weekends in my home, couch snuggles watching Churrazo Friday.

Reza goes back to school on Wednesday and it is going to allow me far more free time to focus on me and my artwork. At the very least I have something to really look forward to. We booked a last minute impulse trip. We are going to Mexico in October for Dia De Los Muertos and you have NO IDEA how much I am looking forward to a vacation with my Triangle. It needs to happen like you have no idea.

Did you make it this far? Thanks for doing so, truly.

The Art Of Saying Yes

Allow me to dust off the cobwebs for some realness.

In order to be able to see the light, one must experience a little bit of darkness. One shouldn’t exist without the other, at least, that’s the way I feel.

For the past couple of months I have been living in the dark. In a more simplified way, you could say I was (am?) in a state of depression. It took me a while to recognize its presence, but once I realized it was there, it loomed like my shadow, even when the sun was its brightest. Getting out of bed required effort, I wanted to sleep a lot and the fog has lingered for weeks.

It took a while for me to recognize but once but I did it was pretty easy to accept, but my awareness of it only reinforced just how much I didn’t like it and I needed to do something about it.

I have always been a pretty emotionally driven person. My exterior wall is built with fun imagery, dirty jokes, my harmonious home life and what you get to see with your eyes. But the truth is that all of that fluff and fun is the bouncy house exterior to the wall I have guarding the inside. I don’t drop the walls very often and if you have had a chance to really peek inside my windows, I am a person full of drawers. You can imagine how I felt when I saw a sculpture of Salvador Dali’s “woman aflame” for the first time. It is to this day one of, if not my favorite pieces of art. She resonates something in me. (Note to self: find a replica)

photo by eyj1001 on flickr - click to see on his page
photo by eyj1001 on flickr

 

Each drawer represents a compartment of my life. I fill it with ideas, people, feelings, relationships, the things I hold closest and sometimes the things I need to put away. Some of those drawers are mint and functional, some are missing their handles or are stuck. It is probably with good reason that they are, some drawers are meant to stay shut.

I have been checked out for quite a while now. I tend to be one of those people that don’t like to burden others with my goings on. Save for Josh and a couple friends who actually took the time to ask, I have been relatively mum about the whole thing. Everyone has their “things” and I like to try and figure out what those “things” are instead of going on and on about it while trying to find them. If that makes sense.

So I retreated within myself to do some searching and trying to find what it was that ailed me.

I love Josh with everything in me, he is part of the threads that weave every fiber of my being. He has listened, encouraged, held, spoke and supported. We have done all the things partners should do but I also knew that the constant state of venting needed to be directed elsewhere, in neutral ground where I can see a little clearer.

I went to talk to someone about it. It was a short-lived round of therapy since a lot of that immediately gravitated toward medication. Well that and I seemed to be coming to conclusions on my own. Let me make it abundantly clear that I am not against the idea of medication if it would help. I get that people need it to function and if it works for others then awesome for them. I just know I am hypersensitive and I would probably get all the side effects. My gut told me that path wasn’t the best one for me… the last thing I need is for something to make me heavier and kill my sex drive. That within itself would only bum me the hell out even more.

With that said, I have been looking for pieces in order to make my picture feel whole again. A different path so to speak.

One thing that was pointed out to me, and was totally true, is that I seem to spend a lot of time doing for others and not doing enough for myself. I am the anchor of the home, the show scheduler, the cook, the mother, the wife, the nurturer and giver. You have no idea just how fast it happens and next thing you know, you have let your self go to the wayside We live in a society where it is engrained into our heads that the act of doing for yourself is an act of selfishness. “Selfish” is so far from who I am or ever want to be. Maybe it is the minuscule shred left of my Catholic upbringing, who knows, but guilt and the constant state of apology for doing for myself is something I need to shed.

Then there is the state of my personal relationships with people. I have been spending so much time hanging on to friendships who have given me little to nothing in such a long time. Yet I hang on and for what? The calls that never come, the messages never returned, the unreciprocated question that we all need to hear: “Hey, how are YOU?”. The constant state of disappointment. It’s a gut wrenching to know and feel like you have done nothing wrong yet you’re now an afterthought in the inevitable show of growing apart. The connection being clipped like a thread. A swift kick to the balls is what it is… and while I don’t have balls, I can imagine it hurts like a motherfucker. Just like losing people you thought better of.

In any event, it has been a process and will continue to be. For those of you who know the feeling, depression travels time like dog years. These things are slow and take time.

And if you’ve made it this far, I owe you a cookie…

Which brings me to my “AH HA!” moment.

When it comes to life and the interest of self preservation I have always made it a point to remember one thing: “Learn and master the art of saying NO. The sooner you learn how to say no, the happier you will be”. I have said it a lot and for the most part, that shit holds tried and true. But something hit me in the past couple of weeks  that made me look at that from another perspective. I have been so caught up in the constant state of “no” that I am also forgetting that there are so many things I want and need to say “yes” to. Saying “yes” has brought me so many rewarding experiences and I have been denying myself the chance at potentially wonderful opportunities out of fear. Because while I can dish a “hell no” like the best of them, I don’t have the skin to hear it back and that’s just not how it works.

So I have embarked on saying “yes” more.

Yes to forcing myself out of the house.

Yes to invites.

Yes to experiencing new things and people.

Yes to honoring my feelings and needs for a change.

Yes to finally growing a fucking pair and putting myself out there more.

Yes to giving my energy to those who want and appreciate it.

Yes to contacting galleries and trying to get my voice heard (and being incredibly surprised at the responses!!).

Yes to treating myself better.

Yes to wanting what I think I am deserving of.

Yes to knocking on doors, answering doors and walking through them.

And yes to taking dives off the cliff even if you know there may be rocks the bottom.

Yes. A thousand times YES.

Things I Would Tell Myself

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I have been doing a lot of soul searching in the past few weeks. Some of these quests are making me look at myself long and hard. I am finding a lot of things that aren’t pretty, trust me they aren’t. I guess you could say I am kind of going through a bit of an emotional low point. This doesn’t happen often, at least not for me but when it does it arrives hard. It’s crazy how all of a sudden it creeps up on you, a bite on the back of your shoulder and next thing you know the itch is there. The incessant, anxious itch you can’t seem to reach in order to satiate.

In any event, I guess you could say I have neglected this space. Along with so many other things. The reflection of the exterior is a portrait of what’s inside… and what is inside feels disjointed, uneasy, an unfinished puzzle with missing pieces that I am still trying to find. They will turn up eventually, I just need to look a little harder.

It’s hard not to beat myself up over previous decisions in my life. I know some of those things have made me who I am now. The wisdom that came from those things have helped form a foundation on which I stand. Even then, I can’t help but think about where I would be if I just had my current self go back in time.

If I could, this is what I would probably tell myself…

There is great power within you, you just need to know how to hone it and where to direct it. You’ll get there.

Convey your feelings often, hold nothing in. The good, the bad, they ugly. All have an appropriate outlet.

Ask for help when you need it. It’s ok. Needing help is not weakness.

Take your own advice.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you how or who you should be.

If a dude treats you like shit, you leave. It really is that simple. Life is too short to spend it with people who don’t think you’re rad. Same goes for friends.

Speaking of friends, sometimes the best ones will be in the most unlikely of places. Always pay attention to who is actually listening, get rid of the ones who don’t.

It’s ok to be a little shameless.

Stop placing so much value on how others perceive you. You will deny yourself so many wonderful, basic life experiences because of it.

Learn and master the art of humility, gratitude, giving a compliment, accepting a compliment and when to just say “no”.

Spend more time with critters. They will teach you far more about love than some of those stupid dudes you are dating.

Do lots of things for yourself, don’t wait for someone to do it for you.

Question everything but know when to surrender to uncertainty.

Get outdoors more. Some of the best places are outside and free. They will fulfill you more than clubs and bars ever will.

Be better at your finances. I know people say that shit doesn’t matter. It doesn’t buy happiness but it certainly helps keep you from being stressed out all the time.

Travel. See new places, road trip, try new things. You will come back a changed person and will teach you more than a book ever will.

Be honest. Speak loudly. Be heard.

No one likes a sourpuss. No One. So if you’re going to be that person, stay home and work on fixing what is making your puss sour.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Girl.

Trust.

 

 

 

where my discomfort is your entertainment

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It has been almost a month since my last confession blog entry. I looked at my last offering and thought, “Has it really been that long?”. Why yes Ivonne, it totally has. I can’t say it hasn’t been for good reasons though, one of which I will share with you now.

It is nothing new when I mention that I have been having weird abdominal pain that up until now has gone unexplained. Last week alone was a real winner where I spent a day starving and prepping for a colonoscopy and endoscopy. Look, I just turned 40 and getting a screening is good thing anyway and if you are doing one, might as well take advantage and get the other done. You just have to stay on top of that kind of stuff. Anyway, they have been trying to out-rule all kinds of stuff when it comes to my medical maladies and camera hoses were the last step. If talk about shit and anal probing makes your butthole quiver, this is where you exit.

If you have never had to have either of these tests let me tell you, the tests themselves? Cakewalk. You’re nicely drugged up and don’t recall any of the shame of being in room with many people watching as they put a hose up your ass. The worst part of it all is really the day before where you are confined to your house, starving and shitting water. The whole process is kind of embarrassing. One wrong move and you’re sharting… YES I SAID IT. Don’t act like these kinds of things don’t happen to us all, they totally do. Everybody poops.

I can handle the pipe cleaning ritual, whatevs. But not eating for 24 hours? That was a whole other level of hangry – so much so that I refused to make dinner, kicked my husband and kid out of the house so they could go eat in peace and not have to look at my bitter, Oswald Cobblepot mug, staring at the food I could not have. No really, I am pretty sure I made this face when Reza started talking about dinner….

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You have to take all this over the counter poop provoking juice, they tell you that you can have certain juices, specific colors and the consolation prize was you could drink clear Ensure, but only the peach flavor. Barf. When you’re starving it’s like the last Saltine on the Island, but only under those circumstances cause let me tell you, it’s revolting and how anyone drinks that shit of their own accord is incomprehensible to me. So, so gross.

The next morning I suited up in my finest 666 print knee highs, Josh dropped me off and I was turned into a lab rat. I was lucky enough to get the nurse who likes to give Lidocaine at the site before she impales your hand with an IV. I hate IV with a passion. They also put me in this fancy gown that hooks up to a heater hose from the wall. Whoever invented that shit deserves a medal because hospitals are ice boxes and when your ass is hanging out, trust me, that hose of hot air is your new best friend.

Once I was fully admitted, poked, vitals checked, they wheeled me back to the Room Of Orifice Doom. This is where I was all kinds of not happy. Imagine that you are starving and you’re wheeled past a table that has pie. You see said pie (see above photo again^). Then the nurses are talking about said pie and hoping there is still some left by the time they’re done with you. BITCHES. Give me the drugs so I can forget about these awful hunger pains NAO! “Ok Ivonne, we are gonna make you sleepy”…

I would love to be able to give you the gory details of how it all went down, or up in this case? Ha! But the truth is, I was so happily passed out I remember very little of it. I may have woken up mid ass probing but my memory is vague. It’s probably for the best. I do remember my Dr. saying “all done” and coming by to say hi in recovery. I kind of wished I had asked for copies of my photos like Josh did when he got his. No, really, he has copies of photos from the inside of his ass. They were his Facebook profile photo for a while. It was the least they could do after they paraded a whole troop of female students in to watch his anal invasion.

Josh picked me up a couple hours later, got me home and I slept like the dead. I was so doped out I didn’t even think about food. Then I woke up to pho. Amen and amen.

2014: the recap

Here we are, a few days away from a new year. I went back and gathered some of my favorite moments and posts.

Notable Moments!

Altered my letterpress tray to put all my collectibles. It is all full now. I already have a blank on backup for the next round.

Had a couple pieces in two group/gallery shows. I really need to do more of that next year.
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I really produced a lot of art I liked this year, more than ever. Lots and lots of sketching.

Took a linoblock printing class.

Cut my hair off and went back to brunette land.hurz

The Mary Blair art exhibit with my new friend Caitlin. Yay for new, awesome friends!

Started volunteering with a feline rescue group. One of the best things I have ever done.

Collaborated with Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and had my art used for their Ligeia collection.
10612575_339230029581425_7050001566437258625_nStarted my artist website! Now I just need to do a better job at updating it. Heh.

Made my first Day Of The Dead altar in our home, a tradition I plan on keeping up.

Stats: Josh and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary (13 years together) and our 40th birthdays, Reza turned 8, our cats turned 3.

Reza: won a cosplay contest, started 2nd grade, was in the local paper twice, rode a bike for the first time, shaved off the side of her head, lost 5 teeth and continues growing into an awesome little person.

Shows: Forest Swords, Washed Out, Chvrches, Lorde, The National, The Knife, ††† Crosses… CHINO, in person. Bucket list item achieved!

Travel: Two trips to San Diego, a road trip to Portland and a reconnection with the motherland in Mexico.

The Good: 
A new car! Well, new to us anyway and I love our VW.
Slowly but surely making new friends and getting closer to some existing ones. It is always nice to see things move to the next level with those who value you.
Lots of new memories with our friends. Being back in CA certainly has its perks.
Lots and lots perspective.

The Bad: Josh’s brother Jared died and certainly tossed up a lot of feelings, my Mom got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and of course the coming to terms with friendships (or lack thereof) and where you stand with them. With distance comes the inevitable drifting apart. All of these things really hit me with a massive dose of perspective, a renewed sense to really work on making things count.

The Ugly: Had a bit of stressful things go down. Drama, health issues that weren’t getting resolved. Thankfully all of that seems to be working itself out slowly but surely.

Favorite new phrase: “shit show”. And considering how some things went this year, it merited my using it, a lot.

Music: my favorite album as a whole was the soundtrack to Only Lovers Left Alive. It is the one I keep coming back to. Yes, my favorite album of the year was a soundtrack. Only-Lovers_CD_cover-art-660x660

This year was an odd one for music. Lots of good tracks but albums as a whole, not so much. I also felt this year was the year of the woman as some of the better tracks to come out were from Team Estrogen. Well played ladies. I made a playlist of some of my favorite tracks from this year, you can listen to it over on Spotify. There are way more but not everyone is on Spotify.

Goals for 2015: 

  • Make more art (and sell it) – girl has got to pay some bills.
  • Work on debt reduction so we can look into buying a home.
  • Less time on social media, more time making memories and art.
  • Stop taking so many photos with my cell phone and use a real camera for a change
  • Write more: on my blog, a personal journal, snail mail.
  • Read more.
  • Focus on health. All aspects of it.
  • Gratitude and humility. Lots of it.

*****
In previous years: 2013 + 2012 + 2011 + 2010

it’s not you, it’s me

No. Really. I wish I could say it was something else but I can’t.

I have been dealing with some medical/health bullshit the past few months and nothing seems to be getting better. The digestive system is a very complicated place you see, and no amount of describing what I am felling is getting me any solutions. I have seen a number of physicians, had more tests, many vials of goo removed. You name it. And I have more coming.

In the wee hours of Monday morning, I woke up with an unholy pain in my body, nausea, horrible cramps, urge to vomit… so much so that I ended up in the emergency room. I was poked, prodded and after they decided I had nothing threatening, they kicked me out. As I gathered myself up, in a drug induced haze, I pulled a full on Linda Blair in the bathroom. I haven’t puked like that in ages. Note to self: next time don’t let them give you dilaudid. That shit is awful and gave me a horrendous hangover.

Anyway, I won’t get into the gory and disgusting TMI that happened with me in the days to follow. All I know is that I haven’t been myself in weeks and as much as I try and put on my game face, I have been dealing with some really uncomfortable internal battles… physical and emotional. It’s hard to function when your belly feels like it has multiple hands shoving their fingers into you. It’s hard to feel emotionally whole when you’re in a constant state of pain, discomfort or fragility. Add all the other shit that happened in the month of November, I am a pretty overwhelmed.

An interesting development arose yesterday. I got a call from one of the ER Drs. to let me know that my lab work tested positive for a bacteria called H. Pylori. I have never even heard of this shit! 80% of people carry this bacteria and are asymptomatic but in my case it certainly doesn’t feel that way. So I seem to have a pretty nasty bacterial attack on my GI system. In looking it up, reading forums, a lot of it sounded like my symptoms. Could this be the cause? Who knows. They ordered me a pretty beefy regimen of antibiotics/meds for the next two weeks.

I only hope that this is the answer I was hoping for because I am so so so tired of feeling this way physically. I really want some relief. It has really been killing my creative output which only depresses me more. This isn’t who I am. I am a doer and right now I feel like Ada tied to the piano under the sea, the surface so close I can see it yet the weight beneath me keeps me from pulling up. I’m ready to break through and breathe.

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good morning 40

It’s not really that morning anymore and it arrives with a little lateness. Every year I write a post along with gratuitous self portrait whoring to commemorate yet another trip around the sun. I keep thinking about the things I want to say and share this year and can’t seem to properly formulate them so I felt I should just sit down, open this blank box and see what happens.

So yes, this past Tuesday I celebrated my 40th birthday. “But you don’t look THAT OLD”. YeaH, yeah. I would like to think so… I know I certainly don’t act like someone that is 40 and as far as I am concerned, I will continue to be in a perpetual state of growing up for the rest of my life . No one likes a stick in the mud.

In any event this was a big one on more than a few levels. It goes without saying that as you get older, you find yourself questioning all kinds of things about yourself: direction, purpose and mortality for starters. This resonated even more now than ever due to recent events in our lives.

A week ago, one of Josh’s younger brothers passed away suddenly. It’s a long, complicated story. While dealing with the chaos of that, I received some not so good news about my mother’s health. On the same day. Needless to say my soul finds itself on the Cliffs Of Fragility. One small thing can push me over at any given moment.

Despite the sadness and upheaval in Josh’s world, he made the best effort to not let it cloud my day. I didn’t expect him to, he has no control over things like that happening! Life doesn’t stop for special occasions and holidays. Yet, somehow he still managed to make me feel like the last unicorn of the forest.  I received a very large stack of cards in the mail that day as well as boxes of all kinds of amazing goodies from so many people, some I couldn’t even tell you who they were. They’re still coming in! Turns out he put out a blast on Facebook behind my back and orchestrated this awesome gesture. There was A LOT of crying on my end. Awesome, happy, tears triggered by my heart getting touched in places that felt so very neglected as of late. It was like a long drink of ice water after being in the desert for weeks.

As if it wasn’t enough, Josh also commissioned my friend Brit Rodriguez to write me a little dirty, birthday song. Not only did I cry from the feels, but it is funnier than hell. It sounds so sweet with Brit’s lovely voice and her ukelele but the song is NSFW so you’ve been warned. You can read the lyrics here.

 

The rest of the day was spent driving to SFO  to pick up Jenner who happened to be visiting from Germany and spent the day with us over sushi. Overall the day itself was awesome. Shit, I was just grateful I wasn’t sick like previous years! If you were one of the many people who dropped me cards, comments, texts, messages, mailed gifts… and every other form of reaching out and touching someone, THANK YOU. So very much. xo  – and my dude… gawd, he just brought it.

Want to hear something funny? The day after my birthday I got an automated phone call from my health care provider reminding me the importance of scheduling a mammogram. Thanks for waiting a day to not be the buzzkill Kaiser! Cause nothing says “Happy Birthday” like the thought of your tits flattened to pancake status. Well played!

I know a lot of women lament the passing of age with the whole “I’m getting old” whatnottery. Don’t get me wrong, it has been interesting to see how things change as I age. My perspectives, the way I handle things, the way I am changing physiologically. Things just don’t bounce the way they used to. Literally! And my god, I would like to think I have paid my dues but did I have get the never ending, refilling chin zit on my birthday? Doesn’t that shit stop? Clearly the answer is NO. Zits and saggy whatnot aside, I do not have a problem admitting that this is who I am, why deny the truth? I just don’t roll that way.

I have been thinking a lot about life/mortality. It’s hard not to when it has knocked so closely.  I am honestly scared of the end because I cannot bear the idea of it… and not because of me, but because of what it would do to others. I love my life and those who I have chosen to share it with me. I was lucky enough to find the perfect compliment and companion to share my life with and when you have that, you want every minute to last and count. Every year that passes, is never enough. It will never be enough. I try not to let these feeling stress and consume me, but it’s tough.

One thing I do know for certain: the next decade will be spent focusing on gratitude, valuing, reminding those I love where they stand, accepting what comes my way and changing things that no longer serve me. Life is so so fleeting and I don’t ever want to feel like I squandered it.

This is 40.

*****

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

SoCo > PDX

The beauty of living where we live, is that we are almost smack in the middle of two of our favorite places on the West Coast. An extended weekend presented itself and we jumped at the idea of a road trip up north to Portland to see family/friends and break up the scenery.

Road trips can be a royal pain but we have done it a couple of times already… this time I was prepared!
1. Do it with people you like and can talk to. This is key.

2. Clean your damn house after you’ve packed.  You have no idea how awesome it is to return to a completely clean place. It’s stressful but so so worth it. Trust me on this one.

3. Pack all kinds of snacks. It saves you the stopping in unknown territory and eating a bunch of BS.

4. Tunes. Lots of them. Between Spotify and Sirius XM we were covered nicely.

5. Do not rely on just your phone. “No coverage” will put you in a bind. Thankfully we had GPS.

We picked a good time to go because the Fall scenery just keeps getting better and better as we made the climb into Oregon. Beautiful, lush, colorful. The only bummer were the spots where the CA drought were very apparent. Dry fields and bodies of water that were much more shallow than they used to be. Kind of heartbreaking really. But then we hit the snow capped Mt. Shasta and it just melts you. A total beauty. (this shot was on the way back)


Portland was a whirlwind of awesome people and sadly, we never have enough time to see everyone. Way too many awesome foodies, weather that was far crispier than expected.. oof. We managed to escape before the cold snap really arrived.

Things about Portland you need to know!

The Fall is amazing there, especially if it isn’t raining.  Tons and tons of color every which way.

Portland takes their coffee very seriously and there is a lot to choose from. Don’t you dare set foot in a Starbucks or chain coffee joint, that is complete sacrilege. The food is ridiculous and fully expect to bring a portion of it home, as in parked on your ass. There was not one stinky dish the entire time we were there. Notables: the coconut banana cream pie at Papa Hyden and Pine State Biscuits. These donuts were cool to look at.


Lots of awesome shopping, or in my case, window shopping cause I’m on a budget. I did make a pit stop at Moonstruck chocolate to pick up something for a friend and one mayan truffle (my fav). There was also the necessary yet always overwhelming and jealousy induced visit to Powell’s City Of Books cause, lord. I don’t even with that awesome. Sorry but e-readers can eat a bag of dicks. Give me paper and covers any day of the week. Reza didn’t know what to do with herself.

Murals and wall art are some serious business. I haven’t seen that many since Philly. The Alberta area had some cool ones and I managed to slip in to Antler to catch a really rad art show featuring some of my recent favorite artists.

We spent a day in Eugene with Josh’s brother Jake who took us to Level Up. Reza had never set foot in a barcade before and she was absolutely stoked. I spent most of my time glued to the Centipede machine.

The trip was somewhat live blogged on my instagram account which was a lot of fun. Here are some more highlights…

As always, it was a wonderful trip and getting to see our peeps always feels like a refreshing cleanse in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. Thank yous to Carolin, Stephen and Mila for hosting us in their soon to be black house (\m/) and breaking our Cards Against Humanity cherries, Tanner and Connie for a lovely dinner/company and the awesome drive by with the Cutthroat Studio folks Erika & Drew who sent me home with a new skull friend and jar of blood gel. Portland just has so much awesome.

The rest of the photos/videos can be viewed over on our flickr page.

weekend recap

This weekend was lots of goodness which included the following:

Quiet morning at the shelter with nine kittens and Morrissey in my headphones. Lunch with my Mr.

Laughing on the couch to Louie CK stand up. I will never tire of a good “taking a shit” joke.

Rain. CA is lacking it so whenever water falls from the sky, it is always welcome.

Driving through freshly watered, Fall colored, wine country landscapes.

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Playing Bean Boozled with Reza who has been bitching about this game for months. I ended up with a moldy cheese flavor that I promptly spit out and declared game over. Sorry but I can’t even fathom the concept of willingly putting a dog food/vomit/booger/ear wax flavored anything in my mouth.

Walking around SF/Golden Gate Park with these handsome mofos, getting rained on, followed by delicious sushi dinner. Living so close to SF always allows us opportunities to hang out with many visiting friends and Jason & Eryc are some of our absolute favorites. photo 2
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My dude who makes me feel like every day is Christmas morning

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The smell of cinnamon swirl bread in the toaster.

Hearing from friends who were having a great time jamming to compilation CDs I made them. Totally makes my day when peeps tell me how much they’ve enjoyed the treats I have shared with them.

Reza absolutely handing us our asses in Dr Who Monopoly. Girl absolutely ruined us both. RUINED.

Crispy Sunday weather that very much felt like Fall should feel. Crispy day was followed by chicken enchilada soup in the slow cooker.  Such an awesome soup… with my personal tweaks of course, I can’t seem to follow a recipe to a T.

Awesome snail mail in my mailbox.

And of course, in the “huge life event” department. After many years of trying, Reza rode a bike for the first time yesterday. It was the one thing we just couldn’t get her to learn and rather than push too hard or embarrass her, we decided to ride it out. Yesterday Josh decided to give it another go to which he said, “Today is the day” and well, she did! We couldn’t be more stoked cause now we can take her with us on trail adventures. It’s such a rad feeling to see your kid turn a corner from insecure/doubtful to “I got this”. Josh was the one helping her while I watched from afar. At one point she stops, drops her bike and runs to him, “Daddy! I DID IT!”. Oh man, the tears and all the feels. Here is a small clip.

Songs on heavy rotation:
“Gods and Monsters” – Lana del Rey
“Memorial” – Russian Circles feat. Chelsea Wolf
“Jack The Ripper” – Morrissey