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.

IMG_3250******
and in previous years:
40 + 39 + 38 + 37 + 36 + 35

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

December: the photo edition

In true slacker form, I am sharing some December photos in January. AWESOME.

First off, I couldn’t be more stoked for our yearly ornament acquisition in the form of mariachi calavera. I am even more excited to be back in the land of World Market.

Then there were one a many nerdy gifts on xmas morning.

Oh yeah, and Santa came *wink*

Gomez conquered the mountain of holiday carnage!

Three days later was Josh’s birthday. I surprised him in the form of Spencer! We went to the Haight…

and then to Ameoba! Josh scored some Cure vinyl and a David Bowie poster for Reza’s room.

Then we headed to The Tonga Room where he was surprised with even more friends, dangerous tiki drinks and one a many happy faces! Much fun was had and he was totally BAMBOOZLED by all the surprises I had planned for him!.

Me? Well, behind the camera as usual and I have been sick since xmas day so I am not in the “self portrait” kinda mood. You get my fingernail.

The end.

Seven

It’s amazing how time flies when you are watching someone grow. I know. A complete and total cliche but you never really grasp it until you are actually living it. Yesterday, we celebrated Reza’s 7th birthday. *sniff*

Like every year, I find myself looking back on her baby photos, the ones where we were the new parents bringing home our one and only bundle of joy. It seems like so long ago. It is hard to not to fall into the sappy pools of nostalgia when you still remember the feeling, the way your world changed and how everything looked different through your eyes. I could try and put it into words but nothing I can say would ever do it justice.

Finding ourselves in yet another new city we chose to not celebrate with a party, no point when we do not know anyone and going to San Diego to be with our friends wasn’t in the cards this year. To our dismay we were met with a very disappointed daughter who really had her heart set on a party. Bust.

She woke up to a house clad with streamers, balloons, gifts and ice cream cake for breakfast. Unfortunately I have been battling some cold/flu business and wasn’t at the best of my game but I powered through it for her.

We spent the day as a family at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and gave her the best day we could. There were rides, feeding sea lions, cotton candy, getting drenched by dolphins and taking photos with zombies and vampires. A feat she braved like only our kid could. I think we did a good enough job cause at some point I heard “best birthday ever” and no mention of the party she didn’t get to have. I felt a lot better after that. No parent likes to feel like they let their nugget down after all.

It’s a trip to see how she has gone from a spiky haired newborn to the person she is now. Reza has really grown up into a pretty cool kid and I am not saying that just cause she is mine. She’s quirky, smart as a whip, creative, inquisitive, brave, bold and outspoken. Sometimes too much for our own good. Sure, she tests our patience to no limits but I would rather have a kid that knows how to question than one that will cower.

She is at an interesting age cause there are times I look at her and she is full on little lady status. That heartbreaking moment when you realize that she is one step ahead in her independence. Then sometimes she is still the hand holding, baby cheeked child, who still calls me mama and loves to goof around with her daddy.

I am so proud of this kid… sure, she makes me want to pull my hair out at times but every day with her is a gift… the gift of grey hairs! HA!

Ever growing, always evolving, forever laughing.

Happy 7th Reza. I love you lemon.

jason

You ever have those moments when you realize that fate crosses your path with that of another for a reason? That is how I feel when Jason was brought into my life.

I managed to do that on a whim of vanity. It was around my early 20’s and I luckily ended up in his colorist chair. I knew at that moment he was a keeper. He is one of those people that no matter how things may be for him, he always makes you feel (and look) like a ray of sunshine, hilarious, outspoken, true to himself, loving, generous, talented and just, god, not enough wonderful words to describe what a brilliant person he is.

So today is his birthday and I cannot bring myself to post a stupid, shitty, one liner on facebook. He is too good for that and much more deserving than a sentence in a box can ever give him.

Jason, you are without a doubt one of my favorite people on this Earth and I have no idea how I got so lucky to cross paths with you, but I will always make sure you’re reminded just how loved and special you are.

Happiest of birthdays friend, see you tomorrow. oxox

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

good morning 36


Another year has come and gone. Has much changed since last year? You could say it has. Today I am 36 years old. So the morning of 36 arrived with a case of the flu and my period. FUN. But on the bright side at least I am not pregnant right? Happy birthday to you Ivonne, I give you the gift of not losing your mind to more screaming children of the corn!

I’ve been joking about the fact that 36 has bumped me up into another category of oldness… no longer can I check the box next to 30-35, instead I am lumped with the 36-40. You know, with those middle aged people. HA! Where is my Geritol?!

I went into 35 thinking it was going to be an amazing year and while a lot of good did occur, it didn’t come without its fair share of trials. You know, a wart on my face and the joys of unemployment…. FUN.

I started my year shedding some skin. Literally. It brought a new outlook with it and really brought some perspective to my life… and just as I was getting back to my normal routine, the rug was pulled out from under our feet. I thought 35 was going to be one thing and it turned out to be completely another. But hey, that is how life works right? If you got your way all the time, well, it’d be really effin boring, no?

The past year has been a lot of introspection, trying not to lose my composure, realizing what things really matter and weeding out the things that don’t. I am trying hard to learn the concept of surrendering myself to the now and not thinking about the then, cutting ties with those who choose not to evolve, and opening doors to those who want to grow with me. It’s an interesting place to be.

It’s funny what happens when you are forced to look at things and realize you could have done things differently. Sometimes we all need that getting knocked on the ass to test us… just to see if you’re gonna be a pansy and mope around or if you’re gonna have the set to get the fuck up and deal.

That is the balance that I am trying to figure out. That is what 36 is going to be for me… finding that balance and the place where I can find it best. If it is here or wherever fate takes us next, that I am not sure. One thing I do know, I am ready to embrace change when she finally decides to knock on our door.

Til next year November 18th, lets see what you bring me this time around.