Saturday, June 30, 2012

Friday Fotos 6/29 (Better late than never)

Faith and fear
are battling it out in my
tummy and mind.

Faith is winning
4 to 2,
but these last few days have
been tough.

I think
it was quite
a plunge
from the high of a weekend away.

The car is back
my wallet is lighter
I am in a state
of flux.

Only in a Palm Springs thrift store can a girl find a $1.99 turban.

He said these are the stars in space.

Frozen watermelon, orange juice, and a banana.  Delicious.

He is the consummate bus partner.

I've been escaping in books again...

No Car + Walking - Waiting for the Bus = Sunburn

Homemade pizza.  We like fungus.

Me and my people.

Bus days.

Bus days Part Deux.


Lumineers - Ho Hey

I've been trying to do it rightI've been living a lonely lifeI've been sleeping here insteadI've been sleeping in my bed,I've been sleeping in my bed
So show me familyAll the blood that I would bleedI don't know where I belongI don't know where I went wrongBut I can write a song 
1,2,3 I belong with you, you belong with me you're my sweetheart
Exactly.

Happy weekend folks. xo.




Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Palm Springs is for Lovers

The last time 
I celebrated Paul's birthday
with him
he was turning 18.

I made his mom's enchiladas,
blindfolded the poor guy,
and took him to my favorite spot in the world;
the sand in front of the beach house
I shared with my girlfriends
every 1st week of August 
since my freshman year.

Before this past weekend,
the only time we had
ever gone away together
we spent a day and night
camping in San Onofre
and we were freshmen in college
and our parents were pissed
and we never...ahem...left the tent.

This birthday he will be 30
and we have a few more bucks
and our parents watched our kid
and we managed to...ahem...leave the room.

Honestly
I only have a few pictures
and a few words
because it was such
a precious time
I didn't want to spoil it
then
with a camera in my face
or now
with too many details.

I over-packed.

We left Friday around 11am
and time pretty much
became play dough 
after that.

Paul works graveyard in the ER
and had done so Wednesday
and Thursday night
so I drove his car.

This is a point of contention
between us
because admittedly 
I am a terrible driver
and he is a control freak.

For all my hopes and wishes
he never fell asleep
and so I had to listen to a litany of 
"Don't rev the engine"
and 
"Eassssy...easssssy".

At one point when I thought 
he'd drifted off
I reached for my phone 
to check the directions
and without moving his
head he plucked 
the phone from my hand.

It's all very funny to me now
but ask me again in 30 years.

We pulled into town
as the Germany/Greece match began
which meant the birthday boy's 
first request was to find a sports bar.

For those of you not dating 
soccer fans,
it is Euro Cup time,
which means every few days
90+ minutes are dedicated to intense
soccer viewing.

We stopped at a place called
which was comfortably cold
and host to a few German fans
and a pretty yummy steak salad.

Afterward we checked into
our room at Los Arboles
and my guy who had been up
since 6pm the night before
finally fell asleep.

I napped and then spent
a few blissful hours
watching cable from the comfort
of the world's biggest, softest
most amazing bed.

We had dinner and dessert
where I had shrimp tacos and gucamole
and then we walked it off
around Downtown Palm Springs.

She was hanging in Downtown too.

The next morning we did
what we really wanted to do
with our time alone...
we slept in.

When we finally got up and going
we stopped at Wal-Mart for snacks
and Woody's for lunch
and then headed to the Aerial Tram
for a mid-day hike and adventure.

Tram bound.

Let's paint some happy trees.

The weather was beyond beautiful at the top
and we hiked for a few hours
before stopping at the viewing deck
to eat trail mix and apples
and watch little kids chase squirrels.

We came down and drove back
and finally got in the pool.

The water was delicious.

And so were the margaritas
and chips
and my second serving
of gucamole.

We had an 8 o'clock reservation
where we ate 4 courses of amazing
under the stars.

Lobster risotto anyone?

After that,
I think it was my terrible idea
to head to Morongo casino.

I am an ex-smoker from hell
who doesn't like crowds, 
so a smoke-filled casino
filled to the brim
with frenzied gamblers
was probably not the best place
for me to be on a Saturday night.

I lost 20 of Paul's dollars
on a slot machine
and was ready to go home after that.

The next morning we headed to
El Mirasol,
a Mexican restaurant
attached to our hotel
where I had the world's best
Chilaquiles and eggs.

And more guacamole.

After we checked out
we headed to the 
to watch the Italy/England match
with a bunch o' Brits.

Mixed in with the rest
of the weekend
was a bunch
of snuggling
and chatting
and laughing
and a photo booth
and a $1.99 red turban too.

It was bliss.


And Paul drove home.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Fotos 6/22

This shall be short and sweet
because I must leave in a few
to drop off my car
for what will probably
be a gazillion dollar repair.

But nothing's gonna rain
on my parade
because I also get to spend
the weekend in Palm Springs
celebrating my guy's upcoming
30th birthday.

I lost my job this week
which of course makes
me want to cancel all fun
and hoard every penny
but this trip
was planned weeks ago
and we both need the break.

SO
sunshine and relaxation
here we come!

I rested a'plenty
last weekend.

Re-charged my batteries,
spent time with the boys,
had a wonderful Father's Day
with my favorite men.

Homemade waffles and blueberry compote = smiles

Lucas and I had a date.

What does it say about me
that all my favorite childhood movies
are by Tim Burton?

So stoked to spend ToysRUs money.

STOKED.

The man behind the legends

We look like our mom.

This is us.

My grandpa is a STUD in that hat.

Love.

Gratuitous shot of the peonies that stayed alive for 10 days.

Had an interesting week
and re-committment
to my belief that it's all
gonna be
A-OK.

Life's good,
kids are healthy and happy,
all needs met.

And I love La Blogotheque
and I love Local Natives.

They were my favorite band at FYF
a few years ago.

This video is a big *siiiiiiigh*

Local Natives - Who Knows Who Cares

Because REALLY
who knows?

And REALLY
(when the basics are well taken care of)
who cares?

Happy weekend yo. xo.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Let's Get Blindsided!



I was going to write about somethng else today.

And then I put on my brightest, friendliest skirt,
blow dried my hair,
and came into my fabulous office
to start the day.

I was well-rested and positive-vibed.

Good thing too
because my boss walked in
shortly after me,
closed the door behind her,
and gave me the option of a pay cut
or 2 weeks to find a new job.

And the boys and I
wouldn't be able to survive
with the pay cut,
so I guess I have 2 weeks
to find a new job.

No pressure.

The strange thing about me is
that last week I couldn't find my ATM card
and nearly had to be committed to the looney bin
but here the sledgehammer drops
and I get focused.

Super quiet
zen-like
focus.

I mean I want to barf a little
and maybe later I'll cry
but right now:

survival mode.

I'm really fucking scared
but I know deep down
it's going to be OK.

I'm really fucking disappointed too.

Because I love my job.

What I do
and where I work.

Who I meet every day.

Because this was supposed to be IT.

But it's not.

Apparently there is another IT
on the horizon.

Something grand after another 
uphill climb.

But oh that damned uphill climb.

I've climbed so many mountains
I should be an Eagle Scout.

And sometimes I don't want to be the strong one.

Oh that Christina...
she's just so strong.

Well you know what
sometimes I want to crawl
into the fetal position
and give up.

But that's not an option
so I guess I'll just dust off that resume
start making calls
cross my fingers and toes
plug my nose
put on my seat belt
and dig in. 

Game on.

Kicking ass in a cute skirt since '83.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Fotos 6/15

I'm tired.

And when I'm tired
everything seems
like a big deal.

I get frustrated
by what I perceive to be
my own emotional fragility.

I make mountains out of mole hills
and then I can't take anymore.

Game over.

Someone please
hit the reset button.

On Monday I was in a rush
and Lucas was carrying a watermelon
and he dropped it
and I yelled at him.

And I felt like an asshole.

I said sorry a million times.

On Tuesday I left $180 cash
on top of my desk at my office.

And I spent the entire night
worrying about it not being there
in the morning.

It was.

High fives to the cleaning crew on their trustworthiness.

Last night I couldn't find my ATM card
and it was midnight
and I was ripping my car apart
in the bank parking lot
because I had to make a deposit
and I couldn't find it
and I was afraid I was going to get robbed
and wondering
WHY James insists on dumping
his entire toy box into the backseat
OHGODWHYYYYY!?!?!?

And that was it.

Commence mental break.

There was too much laundry
and too many personalities
and too many end of school year activities
that I've had to miss
and too much budgeting
and too many bills
and too much shit in my purse
andandand forever more.

So I had a good long cry
and I was embarrassed.

And when I finally gave up looking
I went home
and one of my favorite ladies
had to put me back together
and my sweet guy
(who must have felt like he was dealing with a toddler)
sent me off to a hot shower
while he continued the search
for my card.

And it wasn't there
but that had to be OK
and I had chamomile tea
and went to bed
and only slept for 5 hours
but things weren't
as heavy
when I woke up.

And my card was at
the parking garage office.

So...yeah...there've been better days.

And worse ones.

I'm just tired.

Picture time!


I spent Saturday on the beach
with my favorite expatriate.

The weather was beautiful
and I couldn't get over being at the beach
without my kids.

Reading gossip magazines
in the warm sand
without having to worry about drowning children
is a spiritual experience.


So is hanging with great chicks
at an adorable beach house.


And veggie burgers with fries and a strawberry malt.


And hugging one of your favorites
for the first time in forrrrrrreeeeeeeevvvvvvver.


I saw Music from the Big House on Wednesday.

It was a beautiful documentary
and the blues singer in the film
performed afterward.

So great.

It's playing here for the the next week or so.

And P.S. the film playing on Saturday at 7:30
is James Bond Octopussy.

The picture above is...uh...unfortunate.


I had lunch at Farm.
And this cappuccino was delicious.


This guy was on the train Monday as I headed home.
He was PUMPED.

And the Kings won
which meant that yesterday
this was outside my office building door:


I know next to nothing about hockey,
but seeing the Stanley Cup in person
was pretty rad.

And yes I'm bringing back the word rad.


Trader Joe's had peonies
and they've all opened up and are totally gorgeous.

And rad.


I worked a few side restaurant shifts this week.
Which might explain my inconsoleable exhaustion.
But at least I got to drink a Shirley Temple.

And I just realized
there aren't any pictures
of the boys.

This Friday Fotos
gets a C for content.

But an A for effort!
Anyway...
I have very little planned this weekend.

Of course I want to:

clean the house,
do laundry,
get an oil change,
wash the car,
go to the dentist,
bake something,
grocery shop,
see my grandpa,
be outside,
and
run around
like a crazy person
until I die.

But really...

I'm just gonna shoot for a bunch of
snuggles with the boys
and a few naps.

Preferably in a hammock.

To the tune of the following:

Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

Andrew Bird - Natural Disasters Une Soire de Poche #9

Happy Father's Day to one and all.

Happy weekend.

xo.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Man Who's Loved Me the Longest

My biological father died
suddenly and traumatically
when I was 2 years old.

A fact of life I often think
has little effect on me,
but my therapists over the years
may disagree.

Diagnosis: Fear of abandonment

But what do they know?

I've never wanted for a father.


Because I've always had one.

My dad met my mom
in the parking lot
of our apartment building
as he was walking
with a friend
and she was carrying
my sleeping 6 year old self.

He says it was love at first sight.

By their 2nd date
they were talking marriage
so she promptly had him over for dinner
for us to meet one another.

I don't remember that night specifically
but I do remember how fiercely protective
I was of my mom back then
and I'm sure I was suspicious
of this man and his intentions.

The best attack my little mind could muster:

I broke out my baby albums
and showed this stranger
pictures of the only dad
I had ever ever known.

His response...

"He is very handsome."

Proof to my mom
that Gregory Cesena
was in fact an exceptional man
and the first example of his knowing
exactly how to handle me.

6 weeks after they met
my dad took me to the mall
to pick out a Mother's Day present.

I chose an engagement ring.

AND. HE. BOUGHT. IT.

A single mother myself
I now see the true magnitude
of those days.

Things I only once took at face value
look so different in today's light.

Like the fact that he took me to pick a present.

(Something no one had done for my mom
in the 4 years my dad had been dead.)

Or that he made her breakfast in bed.

(A tradition that still lives on.)

Or that he took the chance and made the jump
for a woman and her little girl.

A decision to
commit to them both.

A package deal.

A promise he has never, ever wavered on.

Even when I have been at my most unlovable.

Even when I didn't deserve it.

Not bound by blood
my dad's love is all the more exceptional.

I am a daddy's girl to my core,
always have been,
but there were so many
days, months, years
when I forgot.

Years full of
leave me alone,
I hate you,
you don't understand me,
door slam slam SLAM!

Tears,
screams,
"You're so unfairs".

Not understanding
my own  thoughts and feelings
about this world
and taking it all out on him.

My dad.

My easiest target.

I sympathize with my poor dad now.

What it must have been like
to tuck in his little girl one night
and have her wake up the next morning
a three-headed monster.

In an attempt to figure myself out;
who I was and what I needed,
I pushed him far, far away.

And I pushed and pushed
until I had made a stranger.

But only to myself.

My dad never stopped
knowing exactly who I was.

When I found out
I was pregnant with Lucas
my mom was the first to know.

And while I had sworn her to secrecy
she immediately told my dad.

(Because that's how they roll.)

I remember sitting across from him
saying words he'd already heard.

 The disappointment.

A few weeks after I had moved home,
I remember him
peeking into my room and whispering,
"I'm excited"
before heading back down the hall.


The quiet, simple way
my dad has always loved me.

My dad:

told us we'd never have pets
and then promptly gave me a puppy
and has been Dr. Doolittle ever since,

coached our sports teams,

draws funny faces
on the backs of our birthday cards,

went to work every single day
to provide us with everything we needed
and most of what we wanted,

has been married to my mom
for 22 years,

mans the scary music and ambiance
every Halloween while my mom sits
under the front yard tree
and scares the neighborhood children
(because that's how they roll),

sat down at the dinner table with us
every single night,

makes coffee for my mom every morning,

is the best example to my boys
of what it is to be a man,

loves his wife and his children
and his grandsons with a consistency
I have never known elsewhere.


He is unconditional incarnate.

I am who I am
because of the rock
upon which I stand.

Love you dad.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Fotos 6/8

Life is just whizzing by.

Which I couldn't count
all the wonderful
on 3 zillion hands
but sometimes I feel like
a Mexican jumping bean.

That's had too much coffee.

And needs to get her car washed.

This past weekend was jam-packed
and so was the week
and so too will this weekend be
and the next and the next
and the next.

I'm not kidding.

So without further adieu,
I present...

A photo dump:

This is in a window in the Arts District.  I love it.


This is my 8 year old on a bike ride we went on.

His pose reminds me of Pepe Le Pew.

As Paul said, "Suave."


This is the final book in the Hunger Games series.

Thank God because I would like to return
to a normal bedtime.


This was on Monday.
The epitome of June Gloom.


This was on Wednesday.
The epitome of a beautiful day in sunny Southern California.


This is James eating an ice cream cone
and looking EXACTLY like his baby self circa 2008.
It was like a momentary glimpse into the past. *sigh*


This is Lucas pretty much in love with his ice cream cone.


This is the dough form
requested by the boyfriend.


These are the finished product.

My taste testers loved them.

I was like whatevs.

I think they'd be fun for St. Patty's
and I think with a little tweaking
I can bring them up a notch.

We'll see.


This is James dancing to LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem".

My boy loves to get his dance on.


This I found whilst walking down the street.

Why yes life,
you are grand!


This is a blurry picture of what the boys and I like to call Noodle Wars.

Essentially I chase them around and beat them with pool noodles.

It's pretty much a blast.


These are some of my favorite girls
at our sweet Daniel's prom-themed
30th birthday bash.


This is Lucas doing his best warrior pose
with the sword and shield he made out of blocks.

Well done son.


This is a picture of James being beyond adorable
and me looking like I'd been through the ringer.

Which I had.

Women's conferences on spirituality
are like brick walls.

That make me cry.
For 5 hours.

I'm a fan of emotional purgings.


Tomorrow I get to see this girl
for this girl's 30th birthday beach weekend.

HELLOOOOO Carpinteria and fun times to the nth degree!

And here are 2 of my new favorite songs.

Numero Uno:


Forever the undercover hipster
Paul has been playing it for a hundred years plus 3 weeks.

Numero Dos:


I'm a total Edward Sharpe groupie
and am seriously contemplating
making them Lucas' 1st concert.
We'll see.

Happy weekend folks. xo.