when the dust settled

The house has miniature cityscapes of boxes in every corner. The walls are still bare. The bruises from all the bumps are slowly fading back to their pale states. It’s an interesting feeling to go from being in a constant marathon state of “Go! Go! Go!” that you almost don’t know what to do with yourself once you’ve reached the proverbial finish line.

It’s crazy how quick it happened really. Josh left and within two weeks we were able to secure the place we wanted, 1 week later the movers were loading it up and we were all in the car, cats in tow, saying our goodbyes to Sonoma County and headed home. Sounds like a breeze but man was it hard on me. My body has been giving me the finger for weeks.

When all the signs are pointing in the right direction and you’re getting pretty much everything you wanted, you can’t help but feel like fate is reaffirming your decision. San Diego wanted us home.

Having been gone for 4.5 years, she is still the same city but a lot has changed. The familiarity is there, the sense of direction comes back like riding a bike but things are just different. You see it with a whole different set of eyes, a higher sense of appreciation and gratitude. It’s somewhat inexplicable unless you’ve been in that place. You leave only to come back and fall in love all over again.

She was the place I grew up in, the place that has seen our highs and lows, the place where we met and got married, the place where she was born, the place where the roots run deep and it was time for us to really acknowledge that. I am grateful for the opportunity and possibilities. The many possibilities I know I did not appreciate and took for granted.

Never. Fucking. Again.

newhouse
In any event, we found ourselves a cute little abode in an awesome neighborhood and slowly but surely we have opened the purple hardcover to yet another chapter of our lives. I am excited of the prospect of making new memories here with my family. Not to mention, getting to spend time with those who stood by us through the hardships and distances and welcomed us home with open arms. To creating new work in a space that just feels right.

All of it feels right. I can’t wait to share it with you.

 

SoCal Summer

I just got back from busy,  sunny hotter than shit, two week trip in SoCal to reunite with the family. Crazy town! Look, get a bunch of Mexicans who haven’t seen each other in a long time, it is going to be chaos and LOUD. Yes people, this is our speaking voice. Loud and louder… unless you are my father who watches his novelas at volumes only dogs can hear.

I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I should have (as usual) and carting around the DSLR everywhere is a pain in the ass. Of course I regret it later to here is a hodge podge of phone, camera and stolen photos from the family. Pic spam will ensue!

So without further ado, here is most of  what happened, was seen, etc.

My place to stay fell through the day I was leaving. Stressville galore but thankfully we had some friends bail us out and fuck if I don’t owe them my right kidney. You try looking at hotel prices in the middle of Comic Con, it would be more than your kidney.

We arrived at the beginning of Comic Con and were not able to see, do or partake in any of it. I am not bitter. Nope.

Got to meet with my ladies Tania, Michelle (and their respective nuggets) and Paige for quick hellos over grub. Always nice to squeeze up on my ladies.

Goal #1 – get there and give Chewbacca a lopping. My hair was in a sad state of affairs and luckily Jason & Eryc were more than happy to oblige. Off it went… two days later I am back to respectable, purple and edgy conditions. And who can beat Jason giving me a good boob squeeze while whispering in my ear, “I just grabbed your boobs in front of your Daddy”.

A small gathering at the beach and got to see tons of my cousins. This is just a very small fragment of my awesome family… bunch of wonderful, colorful people! It was great catching up with them.

Got some solo, quality time with these awesome people. Damn I miss my sisters already.

Reza and I boned out to Mexico to spend the rest of the trip in Baja with my sister Liz who was awesome enough to put us up. We were later joined by the rest of the Garcia posse. I love Liz, she doesn’t mess around, is an awesome host and cook and always manages to make us feel spoiled and right at home. She lives right on the beach which is a blessing and curse cause she has the influx of out of towners renting condos in her building. One night was a massive clusterfuck in the form of a building jam packed full of people from Mexicali, who seem to think the elevator was a clown car (lol, typical Mexican stereotype). They shoved in it so much that they broke one of the two elevators, the building blew a fuse somewhere and we were without power and water for several hours. Did I mention we were on the 12th floor? JOY. Dinner by grill and candle light it was. Funny enough there were some outlets that worked and yes, we had no power in most of the place but the wifi router still worked. PRIORITIES. Adventure time! Still, the views did not disappoint.


I knew there would be some downtime so I packed up a couple art supplies and still managed to churn out some of my favorite drawings to date.

Bee, Reza and I did a lot of beach time and despite my efforts to stay whiter than white, I failed. Reza came home looking like the damn Coppertone girl.

Trip didn’t come without some downsides in the form of family drama, one of which was butting heads with my Father whose middle name should be “No Es Cierto” (it’s not true). The man loves to argue with us about the validity of things. He asked us questions, we answer and it is quickly followed by “no es cierto”. He loves to contradict us about shit he knows absolutely nothing about and it makes me insane. I just can’t chuck shit up to “that’s just the way they are and you need to let it go” when it comes to anyone. Our relationship has never been the best and as he gets older, he only gets more crotchety and complicated. He is price tag obsessed and living in Mexico for such a long time, he has become completely out of touch with the cost of living in the USA. Everything is “too expensive”, he makes rude comments about people, makes comments about everything we spend on, going anywhere with him was a production about prices and if we took him to eat it had to be cheap or needed “lime and chile on it” as far as he is concerned. I just feel like nothing I do pleases him. Mom has become very vacant in her stare, like the life has gone from her eyes and it was very heartbreaking to see. She has become very forgetful and absent minded which is scary since Grandma had really bad Alzheimers. We have brought it up and denial is very present there. As much as I hate to admit it, they have never been the same since my brother passed away.  It makes me angry because he was never around, never called them, yet here they are, destroyed over his absence. I get the part about parents mourning a child, but they need to move on and enjoy the life they still have. It’s like he took a piece of them with him… motherfucker. All of this paired with my impatience was a ticking time bomb waiting to happen and it was probably for the best I cut out earlier despite my wishing to be around so I could spend more time with Bee and Liz.

Lots of FaceTime sessions with my favorite dude. It really sucked traveling without him even more when were in Mexico cause I know he would have loved it so much. Thankfully I had wifi and was able to have lots of conversations with him. The man is my prozac.

Our homie Adrian came down from LA with his buddy Joe and there were some awesome conversations, beach and taco times. I love sharing the insider guide to Mexico with friends cause when we do it, we do it right, dammit. Although, I have come to the conclusion that I just can’t drink anymore. The very few times I drank rewarded me with a full on headache the next day. It’s just not worth it.

Lots of hanging out, walking around looking at curios. I also scored some Dia De Los Muertos souvenirs and was hella inspired for the next round of pieces I want to make one of which is another annual, limited batch of sugar skulls for the shop. Mexico never disappoints.

I came home with a very small amount of things, like Day Of The Dead loot, my lock of hair, a quartz from Liz and this awesome case for my glasses that Bee brought me from Japan. How she knew I needed/wanted a new one? Who knows but it matched my old phone case perfectly.


My  god, the eating…. freshly made churros, gorditas, tacos of all kinds. Pair that with Liz’s amazing cooking? I am going to have to live in the gym and eat plants for the next few months to undo it. It’s not like I get that business on the regular anyway but lets just say I have some work to do. I had to steal that beer and banda on the beach photo from Bee, that is some classic Mexico right there.

Reza got a lot of family and cousin time. It was really nice to expose her to family and all the Spanish. All things considering she did pretty well and everyone ate her up. She did get overwhelmed and bitchy though which was a tap frustrating at times.

On our last night we had dinner at a cliffside joint called Splash that’s between Rosarito and Ensenada. Fish tacos at sunset? Hell yeah. I will never tire of Pacific Ocean sunsets. I still can’t believe I let Reza stand out on that rocky edge by herself. But that shot? So worth the anxiety.


And just like that, the two weeks came to a close. I did my best not to have a full on ugly cry when saying my goodbyes with Bee. It’s always the hardest part when it comes to these things… but we were also so ready to be home with Josh and the cats who cannot be happier to have us home. I slept like the dead last night. Tasty!

I have a lot more photos and a couple videos over on my flickr set  if you are so inclined.

 

Life! It’s happening!

Holy shit has it really been almost a month that I wrote a post? DUDE, Slacker McSlackerson in full effect. I have been keeping myself occupied around these parts and unfortunately blogging kind of goes to the back burner.

Now, I fully admit that a lot of these things really merit a post of their own but really, who has all the time for that malarkey? I know you don’t and lets be honest here, you are only going to sift through the photos. It’s cool, I can take it.

What has been going on in the past month? Well let me get you up to speed!

I attended a class all about linoblock carving and printing. It was taught by a local artist named C.K. Itamura and held in this AMAZING space full of vintage letterpress and printing devices. I wanted to pack up my bags and move in, it was that bad ass. We all did the same exercise carving work and at the end of the class they were all put together and ran a print. Of course it didn’t come without some carnage in the form of a poked finger and paint stains. But those are the best kinds of injuries. Want to guess which one of those blocks was mine? Hopefully once I free up some comission requests I can get back to playing with this a little more.

We went hiking at Armstrong Woods, another redwood cluster that is a little closer to our house and far less congested than Muir Woods. Let me tell you, you have to drive through some wine country to get there, absolutely hideous. 😉

We climbed up a steep ridge and holy hell am I out of shape but hey! You got to start somewhere, right? Nothing like getting out amongst that class of majestic beauty. Incomparable, really. There will be more of this business as it warms up, that is for sure. Beautiful sights, textures, scents and photos really do it no justice. I really need to get hiking kicks though. Dr Martens don’t work too good for this kind of thing.

Got to see two pretty awesome shows in SF, just a couple of the MANY we have tickets for: Forest Swords and Crosses. Those of you who know me, know how much I swoon over Chino Moreno. In fact, seeing him was on my bucket list and I am happy to say that despite the plague I woke up with that day, nothing was stopping me from being in the same room as that man and his delicious voice. It was AMAZING and the fact he sang some Prince and Goodbye Horses was the cherry of a sundae of awesome. A total fangirl dream come true. Props to my dude for putting up with my gushing, I know how obnoxious it must be… but if I got to cross off only one thing on my bucket list this year, I am glad it was this one, cause, lord… I recorded Goodbye Horses. Yes, I was one of THOSE PEOPLE. I never do that at shows but this was something I wanted to remember. You can see it here

With Reza being on Spring Break and having some newly acquired wheels, I suggested a trip to San Diego last month. The family and I piled up in the car that we have not yet named and road tripped to SoCal. We took The Brown Route through Bakersfield which was ugly as all get out and yielded one too many entomological specimens on our windshield. It was a lot quicker than the scenic 101 though and time was key.

While in San Diego we got to see and squeeze a handful of our most prized of peeps, saw my sister Liz, my ladies, some dancing and laughter with my boys Jason + Eryc, shopping for bras and saucy red lipstick, good eats and partook in one too many Vietnamese iced coffees. Overall it was a quick but wonderful trip, which now that we know what to expect, will happen more often. Well, except for having to drive through the hell that is Los Angeles.

And me and my ladies, resembling a bowl of neapolitan ice cream right here. Love them so much.

I have continued with my volunteer work with the kitties and it always makes me beam when I get the updates that some of them got homes. I continue to hold out faith for the saucy calico Leandra, someone will understand her ways eventually.

Save for the San Diego shenanigans, Josh and I have really been focusing on shifting our dietary lifestyles. It has been a little tough but we are hanging in there. In turn I am seeing the changes in us both, within ourselves and toward each other. It’s amazing when you feel the clarity that comes with a shift like that. Sure, I miss stuff but you life trumps a cheeseburger, ya know?

I have been working like a crazy woman on my artistic contributions for the Haunted Mansion Icons show in May. This is a large part why I have been neglecting the blog. I finished them, they’re fucking awesome and I am contractually obligated to not share them. I KNOW. As soon as I can, I will share them… trust me. They are all paper cuttings done by hand and those of you who are diehard fans will get them when you see them. More info about the show can be found at the Gallery 999 Facebook page.

Then there is this….

What can I say…. Reza has been all kinds of interesting these days. She has developed a strong inclination toward Lego building, came home with a report card of beautiful scores (save for the Chatty Kathy part), is looking forward to more of her fencing classes and drew this awesome scene of an alien coming out of a girl’s chest that couldn’t have made us more proud. It blows our minds how smart she is and needs little instruction on how to do her homework and her spelling tests are usually 100%. She also has been digging falling asleep to the audio book of The Hobbit. Total nerd. This photo is a nice example of her goofy attitude which seems to come out quite often. She’s a hurricane for sure, always keeping us on our toes.

Bay Area life has been so kind to us and the more time we spend up here, the more it grows on us. The other night Josh and I are driving back from the Crosses show, it’s midnight, raining and we’re breezing across the Golden Gate Bridge listening to Prince. Hours before that it was a stormy Pacific Ocean sunset. We are constantly aware of the signs, those magic moments where we are receiving countless reminders that CA is just where we belong. You don’t know how many of my SD peeps pointed out to me how “good” I looked… and I know it wasn’t a superficial “good” they were talking about. Lots of comments about just how much happier we both are and it shows. Lots and lots of gratitude here… I got a piece of my life back and I am not disregarding it by any means.

So yeah. That is where I have been.

Sandy Eggo

After some deliberation, it was decided that I needed a weekend away to recharge my spirit a little. Josh was awesome enough to not only encourage it, but held down the fort so I could take off to San Diego for some much needed friend time and spoiling.

I didn’t say much about it because my time was really limited and I had a few key people I wanted to spend my time with. Last time I was there ended up being a family affair due to my brother’s passing and I didn’t get to see any friends. There’s only one of me and I didn’t want to spend my trip like a pinball bouncing off the walls, so I kept it relatively incognito other than the small handful who knew of my arrival.

This time I flew out of the Sonoma County airport. One direct flight, small plane, small airport, and although the ticket price was about $40-50 more than flying out of SFO, it was well worth it. Time, gas and Golden Gate tolls add up. A much smoother travel experience save for having to listen to Shosh and Marnie’s long lost twins for 90 min, yakking like crack heads, non stop about more than anyone on the plane ever needed to know.

I stayed with Jason and Eryc who are not only the best of hosts and friends, but also sent me home with a much needed color job, haircut and freshly shaved down side of my head. I dig it.

In three days I managed to squeeze in:
– A tasty breakfast outing with Paige & Michelle. Three words: cinnamon roll pancake. Much needed girl time reconnection. Holy shit do I miss my ladies.

– Hair appointments so awesome I might as well have been touched by the hands of Zeus himself.

– Seeing my sister Liz an dinner at a Battali’s Mozza. It was delicious!

– Coffee with the bff Spencer

– Finally getting to meet The Sheriff’s nugget, Alexander, who rolled over for the first time while I was there. It was great getting to see her… Been far too long.

– A trip into Tijuana, Mexico for another dinner with my sister and her main cheese. We went to a fantastic gourmet joint called Misión 19. Don’t let the word “Tijuana” fool you… It was some grade “A” business, with a side of a grasshopper salt rimmed, mezcal martini. Umphhh.

– I came this close to a cameo appearance at Sabbat but chose sleep instead. I’m sure it would have been hilarious but when you have to return a rental car at 9 a.m.? Not so much.

– Speaking of rental cars, I was a tight ass and rented economy: Toyota Yaris. Holy crap that thing felt like driving a go cart on the freeway. I think the Autopia cars at Disneyland have more balls.

– Hillcrest Farmers Market for some blended chai and flowers for my boys. Still the best Farmers Market I’ve ever been to… and some “reading” at the Before I Die wall.

– A visit to the new, painfully breathtaking, San Diego Public Library. Truly a magnificent piece of architecture and the resources! Good god, I envy you people. I highly regretted not bringing my DSLR that day. 9 floors of educational enlightenment. A true thing of ephemeral and architectural beauty.

– A quick jaunt to the SD Zoo where I witnessed a grasshopper orgy of epic proportions.

– Dinner with Jason and Eryc, lots of fantastic conversation over a beautiful focaccia with melted soft cheeses and honeycomb. INMYMOUFF.

Yesterday I found myself on the plane, lamenting my culinary choices… Yeah. No. I really don’t regret being BAD… you have to be bad sometimes. I caught myself getting teary to be honest. Despite the fact I want to go home to my beloved people and cats, it is bittersweet because I hate leaving San Diego and the wonderful people I know in it.

It’s a trip how much it changes every time I go back. Same hands with a different manicure… Some of it magnificent, some leaving a lot to be desired but despite the visible facade of a city getting bigger than its britches, the growing pains of overpopulation didn’t phase me because breathing in her air and seeing her beauty, felt like bathing in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. A fresh bath of life and perspective and then I’m back on Prince’s purple steed, my hair flying behind me like Apollonia herself.

Being there once more really cements just how much I wouldn’t mind going back to it and planting the roots for good. I truly do feel that in my heart of hearts, the day will come where that dream becomes a reality. I know I am not alone in this feeling.

To everyone who shared this time/trip with me: thank you for your time, accommodation, hospitality and love. You are all wonderful.

And then I got home to some very happy people and kitties… shit, even our car was so happy to see me that it pissed out all the radiator fluid in the Barnes & Noble parking lot. GOOD TIMES. Can I tell you how much I hate cars and auto repairs? Shit… that’s a whole other post.

*****
Never enough photos… but the few I took can be found here

San Diego…

Sometimes the universe sends you things at a time in your life when you need them the most. This trip was exactly that. Our little battery icon was red and at 5%, it was signaling us to recharge. So we plugged in.

In going through our photos I realized I didn’t take nearly as many as I should have but I was just too happy enjoying my very limited time with everyone.

In 9 days we crammed in…

The first thing we did after getting our rental car we picked up Tom and Spencer and promptly headed to the closest taco shop we could find. Glorious SoCal Mexican foods.
Hit up Club Ascension (while running on fumes no less, damn jet lag and time change) – great seeing Tom spin again.
Had a follow up appointment with Dr for a 2 year post-op appointment
Drove to Irvine to see Cass, Liz and have lunch
Spent the night in Anaheim to go to Disneyland the following day
Disneyland with Jason & Eryc who are without a doubt some of the best people to do Disneyland with.

Lots of one on one visits with friends over awesome foodies or coffee.
Heartbreaking family drama.
MUCH NEEDED hair appointments with Jason & Eryc to get our respective mops done. I was sporting some roots in those Disney photos like WHOA.
Mexican food overload has occurred
A massage appointment with Ricardo who is still hands down my favorite masseuse ever.
A dinner outing on a rainy night with my ladies. I love how we just fell into it like time never passed and not sure what it is but they only seem to get finer with age. Rawr.
Took in lots of eye candy
Reza got playtime with K&K while I caught up with Michelle.
Threw a party for Reza who is now a bonafide 6 year old. SIX! Giving her a party plus getting to see everyone was just an awesome bonus. Paired with cupcakes and taco guy? Even better. It was like old times <3 (So grateful to the Kneelands for hosting)

Lots of couch snuggles with Tom and ball busting with Spencer.
Reconnecting with friends… jesus, you have no idea how invaluable this was. When you come back to those people with a new set of eyes you come to a deeper sense of appreciation for them. You have no idea how awesome this is and you have no clue just how many drawers the heart in my chest has for them. They know who they are.

Coming home didn’t come with a lot of awesome though, there were a couple moments of disappointment. We were so scheduled at times that I felt spread so thin. You try cramming a 15 month absence in 9 days. You can only see so many people, eat at so many old favorites, make so many plans that someone or something is left out. I know for a fact that there were hurt feelings about my lack of availability and in turn I suffered the same disappointment by being totally flaked on by one of my best friends on more than one occasion. Then there was my poor Sheriff who was laid up so sick and we didn’t get to see her as much cause she was on Drs orders. Boo on you stupid bug that got my Sheriff!

Either way, the trip accomplished as much as it needed to. It was a great re-group of thoughts, focus, a balance of the scales that were tipping to one side far too much. I fully expected to be at the airport bawling, lamenting our departure but as much as I wanted to stay, we were ready for our own bed and kitties. It was hard to leave though… you get a taste of what your life used to be like and you want more. It’s bittersweet cause our moving to NJ was a necessity but Josh and I have evolved so much from it that it really isn’t a loss. It needed to happen but now that we have taken what we need from it, we are charged and ready to gtfo out of this place who despite its looking like an inviting Autumnal Wonderland, just isn’t enough for us anymore.

The question now is where we go next.

Oh and check this out… Here is us at Disneyland in 2001 and 2012.

Home is and always will be where he is. Love this man like you have no idea and as long as we are together, there is no feat or place we cannot conquer together.

Hand in hand, onward and upward.

*****
The rest of the photos can be viewed over on flickr

I’m on my way

Time to bust out the duster and get rid of the cobwebs around here. Oh neglected blog, I oh so sorry, but life happened and off I was, relishing in what little time I had at the refill station. This is the thing about travel, it is a much needed step away from reality but then you get back to realize how much catching up you have to do. Sharing stories, photos? Awesome. Having to get back to being a “responsible adult” and dealing with plumbing drama the minute you get back? Boo!

On the 6th we packed up shop and took off to San Diego for a much needed reprieve and battery recharge. Sometimes you just need your familiarities and your people, ya know? It sucked getting up at 4:30 a.m. to make our flight but it was worth gaining a day cause of the time change. Check in and security was a breeze and I was thankful Josh’s dick didn’t set off the metal detector this time. As if they knew we were coming, the airport overhead was playing Motley Crüe’s “home sweet home” as we walked to our gate. I’m on my way, I’m on my way! Home sweet home.

The plane ride was far too long for my bones. Anticipation does that to you… you just want to get there, especially when you are on a plane full of asshats. We were unfortunately seated near the back of the plane which means I had every dick and ass in my face from the people waiting to pee despite the fact they tell people not to congregate in the aisle. Not sure what was on this plane but I have never seen so many people getting up to use the lavatory. You would think they were giving out free hand jobs back there. Fuck. Paired with the old lady who didn’t know how to silence her phone while game playing *ding* *ding* *ding*, the annoying Jersey broad behind us who thought everyone wanted to hear her convo, the fart cloud inhalation, Reza who appeared to have ants in her pants and one too many copies of 50 Shades Of Lame, I wanted to shank a bitch. I will just say it, I find planes revolting. It’s a flying petri dish that gets you from point A to point “I want to kill everyone on here”. I would like to think that first class would be a better section but after walking through it to head to our row with the rest of the coach peasants, I dunno if I could survive that much bad perfume/cologne abuse for the 5+ hours it took to get us there. All things considering, I shouldn’t complain. The airfare deal I scored was just that… cheap.

You know that moment as you’re in descent and you just feel like you lost 20 lbs? That is exactly what happened. You look out the window to the familiarity and it’s like the anvil comes off your shoulders and the vice press releases your rib cage. We walked off the plane and it took everything in me to not get on my knees and kiss the floor. All of a sudden time was not moving fast enough! Longest wait for luggage EVER. We got loved ones to squeeze dammit!

We were on the shuttle to the rental car place and I said to Josh, “you thinking the same thing?”. “What’s that?”, “You know, how in the fuck did we ever think we were bored with this place? What the hell were we thinking?”. “Right there with you”.

There are times where “too much of a good thing” applies. Anything in excess can get, well, excessive. San Diego, our friends, our life there, our lifestyle: it ruled. It was fantastic and we were too caught up in it and ourselves to truly appreciate it, to see it for what it was, to enjoy it with gratitude. We were gone for 15 months and it’s like running into the dude you broke up with and regretted… you fall in love all over again the minute you lay eyes on him. Amazing how your perspective changes when you step away and look at things with a brand new set of eyes. Consider me humbled to my core.

So yes, there are stories to tell, photos to share and heartbreak to shed. All in due time but for now I retreat to photo editing over my cup of pumpkin spice coffee and a very rainy, dreary Fall morning.