Just livin’

It’s a deplorable state of affairs in our nation, isn’t it?

I find myself wanting to immerse myself in the news, in writing my lawmakers, in sharing all the details that I’m so scared people won’t see and assimilate. They need to SEE IT ALL. If they do then they will understand. They will see how horrible it all is. They’ll see the hypocrisy. The cruelty. My goodness, they’ll see it, right? They’ll see the blatant crimes against humanity. They’ll stop accepting the lies. They’ll RISE THE FUCK UP and fight this disgusting monster making a mockery of our government.

That’s what I want to do. But I can’t. It sickens my soul to wade into the disgusting morass. People are so polarized. Listening to and believing sound bites. Tweets. Partial truths or full-on lies. What have we become? I feel like a foster child with abusive foster parents.

It’s just SO HARD to be real right now. So hard to face it all. At the same time, we have to keep living, working, raising our kids, and trying to eke out some enjoyment in life. We have to. For our sanity.

I’m trying to live my best life. I’m working. I have wonderful sons. I can watch NCIS reruns when I need normalcy & predictability. It’s a comfort. I’ve been re-reading my favorite book series. It’s a comfort too.

Remember when I was like, hey, I’m 42 and that’s a magical number, the answer to the universe and everything? Well it’s been a year of intentional change. Sold my house and bought another. By myself. BAM. I got a meaningful tattoo. BAM. I bought myself a car. BAM.

There were a couple other things I wanted to happen in my 42nd year and, with 3 months left, I’m not sure that’s going to happen but I think that’s okay. I think it’s going to be all right, no matter the outcome.

I’m working on my health. My age is starting to raise a hand and say, hey, recognize me and do something about it.

I’m enjoying my sons. They are so big, maturing like crazy, smarter than they should be, and wonderful. My oldest started his first job. My youngest started shaving. Wtf.

I love so many people. I just love them. I love so much. I love them whether or not they love me. It sucks sometimes. But I’d rather love than not. I’d rather feel love than hate. Yes I get walked on, taken advantage of, and sometimes discarded. But, dammit, what is this life if you can’t lead with love & trust & good intentions? I would rather feel it all than be safe – when safe means lonely, distrusting, and too cautious.

I’m still loving live music. I’m still writing poetry. I’m still trying to be the best me, and be faithful to myself and my heart. I hope you are too.

Here’s a sample of our last few months:

Turned over 100k. And promptly started worrying me with its oil consumption.
Oh hey Redfish Lake!
The new hot & sexy ride

5K for Dravet! It was a family affair
One school year. ONE.
At Live & Counting Crows!!

Let’s just keep lovin’ and livin’ and voting and writing or calling our lawmakers and let’s do it all with balance. To live and survive and thrive with a clean conscience. If I’m doing my part then I feel better. If I’m reading my book before bed every night I feel better. If I hug the people I love I feel better.




Slacky McSlackerton here

Hi, it’s me. Remember me? I used to try to post a couple times a week but lately not so much and I feel badly about it. There is life happening here, you see. And life takes precedence over blogging. It must otherwise I wouldn’t have anything to blog about, right? 
It’s after midnight on a school/work night and I’m going to have to make this brief. And full of pics. Instagram, to be more specific. Because I can’t find my real camera again. For reals. I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME. *sigh* Moving on. 
So these things have been happening:
We had a mini-twister hit our backyard. It was the weirdest thing. Knocked one tree down, and lifted and twisted a small tree nearly off its stump. And killed a duck. Sad. So this is the big tree that fell:
It leaned like that for a week before we got a tree service out to chop it down. For mucho moolah, might I add. Grr. But they left the rounds for us so we can use them as firewood next year. Can I just say that’s some pretty dang expensive firewood?
Since the weather has finally started to get Spring/Summer-like we’ve also been doing a lot of work in the yard. We’ve planted a few plants and have just been cleaning up some of the beds. I love that my kids get involved now so much more than they used to. I took this 2 days ago and the light was just perfect (you can see our oldest sweeping on the right):
We’ve also had a lot of this going on:
But this Saturday was the first time he actually made it home during a game so it was monumental. He has batted last in his previous two games, but on yesterday’s game he batted first. He’s doing great and getting better each game/practice we have:
I love that pic. Great light. But, because of that light I developed a sunburn. Unexpected and weird. I was wearing a cap and v-neck t-shirt so I have half a face sunburn and v-shaped redness on my chest. Weird. (I won’t torture you with that pic.)
After that game was over yesterday the rest of the weekend was about getting ready for my sister’s visit. My (step)sister from Australia, to be more specific.
She’s awesome. I first met her in ’98 and I’ve seen her maybe 2 or 3 times since then. The funny thing is, she went to my high school 5 years ahead of me but I never knew her. I didn’t meet her until after her mom & my dad had been together for quite some time because she had moved to Australia. She met an Aussie in SLO in the early 90’s and followed him back to AU and stayed. I like her a lot and we get along great. I wish I had known her a long time ago. Not that I wish my parents had split earlier than they did, but it would have been cool to have an older sister like her. She has a pretty awesome husband and two kids as well. Every time the kids speak I think they are going to sound like Americans and then they sound totally Australian and it’s too freakin’ cute.
So, interesting side note, my sister worked at the Australia Zoo with The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, and his wife, Terri. Terri is an American – she’s from Oregon – and she and my sister became friends. My sister has always been an animal NUT and the Zoo was an ideal place for her to work. Don’t believe me? BAM!:
That’s my sister feeding Harriet – a 166 year old tortoise.
So the cool thing about their visit tonight is that our husbands never met before and we hadn’t met their son (though my sister and her daughter were here a couple years ago). I was excited.

I got up Sunday morning and did a few things in the yard and then started the food prep for 10 of us. We were going to BBQ, but my husband has had performances (he’s an actor) both afternoons this weekend so a lot of the prep was left in my hands and it was a LOT of freakin’ work. I started the food prep about noon and didn’t finish until 4 pm. At which point I still needed to clean the house and shower before they got here at 6:30. I started to PANIC. Then I died. No, not really. Just felt like I might.

Food prep consisted of marinating both chicken & beef for kebabs, cutting up and marinating all the vegetables, making a greek spinach, feta & pasta salad with a homemade dressing, making a fruit salad and strawberry cheese fruit dip, and making cookies. 4 flippin’ hours, people, with nary a break – except to make lunch for the kids and occasionally play referee to their bickering:
But, thankfully, it all turned out lovely and oh so yummy:
And my boys got to play with their Australian boy cousin for the first time – as only boys do:
Once the wrestling stopped we got the older girl cousin to sit down with the stinky boys and we clicked a few pics of them:
Love it! Love them. Great night with fun people. Now I’m utterly exhausted and apparently I have to go to work tomorrow. Really? Because I feel like I’ve been working all bloody weekend. I guess it’s not the same. 
Off to la-la-land for me. G’day, mate!

Sometimes I’m a lucky girl

My company HQ is in San Francisco. Coincidentally, I love San Francisco. Always have. Sometimes I have to go visit my HQ to do work type stuff. When that happens I take full advantage of the opportunity to visit my California family.
So last Thursday night I packed a small bag for the weekend and got my booty into bed by midnight. I set the alarm for 5:30 AM. Then I lay there. And I tossed. Then I turned. Then I tossed again. Then I moved to the sofa. Sometimes I can sleep on the sofa when I can’t get comfy in my bed. 2 am, 3 am, and finally, blessfully, I fell asleep around 4 am. I had moved the alarm to 6 am. Yeah, you do the math.
On the way to the airport I saw this:
When I got to SFO I took the BART, because I’m thrifty like that, to my HQ’s BART stop near Market:
And schlepped the few blocks, partially UP HILL, to my office in SOMA. It was an absolutely, unbelievably gorgeous day:
I worked for a while. I had a successful, productive meeting. I found out that our HQ has a “Zen room” (more like a Zen closet) which I said was very Zen-like and my co-worker corrected me and said, no, it’s more IKEA-like. But, you know, that works for me.
After a few hours there, I took the BART back to SFO and picked up a rental car. In fact, I got a BRAND SPANKING NEW rental. It only had 70 miles on it. Sunroof, leather seats, satellite radio. I dug it. And I hit the road. And parked. In San Jose traffic. It took me 2 1/2 hours to travel 42 miles. Frick ‘n’ frack was I annoyed. And tired. Did I mention that I was operating on only 2 hours sleep?

Finally, around Morgan Hill, CA, I hit open road and I kept going until I hit Fresno County. At which point it was about 8 pm and I had to pee. And felt a powerful need to eat a little something too. But, thank goodness I didn’t need gas because that’s where I saw this:
Holy preposterousness, Batman. For reals.
And then I got a text from one of my best friends from high school, Alicia. I call her Leash. Her brother’s band was playing at a dive bar that night in my hometown and could I come? Pretty please? And bring my mom since her mom was going to be there too? Um, yeah, SURE! Because I may have only had 2 hours sleep and flew across 3 states at dawn, and been in meetings all day and on the road for 5 hours but OF COURSE I’m up for hitting a dive bar with friends to listen to a rockabilly band. Duh.
So this happened:
It was sorta dark in there and my mom couldn’t figure out how to work the camera on my phone. At this point we were all laughing at her. That’s Leash on the right. And on the left, Kristen. We all reminisced about getting into a fender bender in Kristen’s car on the first day of my Freshman year. Probably the first time my mom let a friend drive me anywhere. Yep. Kristen & Alicia look exactly the same since HS and I hate them. Except that I love them. Moving on.
I spent the weekend with my Mamacita. This is her in her backyard. It’s my own personal Zen place. Her house backs up to a field so it’s super quiet and there’s very little light pollution so I can lay out there in the patio loungers and listen to the fountain and look at millions of stars. Om.
One of the biggest reasons I came to my hometown this weekend was to see my Grammy. You see, she’s the best Grammy EVER. Without exception. Even my hubby says that she’s the best – and he had a pretty amazing Gram himself.
Here’s me and my Gram:
I was laughing in this pic because she was clutching her blouse up around her neck in order to hide her “turkey neck.” She is so silly. The best parts of me, my cousins, my mom & my aunts all came from her. She’s ornery, nurturing, loving, understanding, and the epitome of gracefulness. Except when she burps out loud. Man, can she burp. And snore. My goodness. Oh, how I love her.
I also spent a good part of the weekend with this dude:
Okay, so his hair is a little crazy in this pic, but he’s still cute right? And he has kind eyes. He’s my cousin. He’s my brother/cousin. And he’s single. Swoon, ladies, swoon. Also, he’s 30 and he likes older women. If you live in the valley and want to meet him just email me. (He’s also a journeyman/electrician looking for steady work so, you know, email me for that too).
Saturday night something momentous happened:
That’s JONI! Yeah, THE Joni. My blogging inspiration and altogether-awesome-person Joni. And that bitty baby is Ella. I tried to hold Ella. She took one look at me and screamed her adorable little head off. C’est la vie. But I did get to try one of Joni’s chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. Delicioso. (That baby WILL like me someday. I’m determined).
Sunday afternoon I packed up my fancy rental car and headed for the bay. I pit-stopped at Harris Ranch in Coalinga. I sang my way along I-5 and 152 over Pacheco Pass. I smelled the garlic in Gilroy. The drive went quickly and before I knew it I was standing at the window in the airport looking out at the bay and thinking how much I love California. Politics, finances, even pollution aside – I love California. I love the way I feel when I visit. I love the roads that I know by heart. I love the colors. I love the ocean, the country and the mountains and that in one afternoon’s drive I can experience all three. Until we meet again, California: 
Sometimes I’m a lucky, lucky girl. 

The week in photos: a recap

Warning: lots o’ pictures in this post. Some of food. Some of people. Some of other stuff. Some of teeth (or missing teeth). It was a busy week.

Unfortunately all the photos are from my phone because I have misplaced the cord to charge my camera. (I hope I didn’t leave it in the last hotel room I stayed in. I hope, I hope. I did that last year with my phone charger and have been kicking myself ever since.) Anyway, apologies for the quality of the pics. I really, really want a good camera but until I can afford that it would be nice if I could at least find the cord to my little Fujifilm point & shoot digital.

The boys (all three of them) were on Spring Break so they were all very, very happy about that. I had to work, a lot (end of the financial quarter and I was covering for my boss) but the fun stuff off-set the work stuff nicely.

We started the week by all going out to lunch.

We rented Just Dance 2. The boys thought it was going to be L.A.M.E. and that they couldn’t possibly get up and DANCE, like, in front of PEOPLE. But after watching me & the hubby do it, they were more than ready to try it. And, no surprise, they freakin’ loved it. (Note: if you are well-endowed, like me, then when your 7 year old begs you to play Just Dance before bed and you have already taken your bra off do NOT dance to “Jump.”)

We also had a wide range of weather (a friend of mine remarked that Mother Nature must be menopausal). Snow, rain, and later in the week sunny & 70 degrees. I never get tired of looking up and seeing the snow on the mountains just 20 miles away from us.

I went to the chiropractor 3 times (where, one day, an adorable 2 yo fell asleep on the table waiting for his adjustment and then SLEPT THROUGH THE ADJUSTMENT). Wow.

And I made flautas for the first time. They were oh so yum. (Fattening though. Warning: You may gain a pound just looking at the pic). I also made the Pioneer Woman’s Brother’s Chicken Tacos – but didn’t snap a pic of those. I make Mexican food at least once a week.

The sad news of the week was the untimely demise of my favorite pizza stone. I had it even before I had my children. Even before I was married. So sad. It was left on a hot burner and cracked down the middle. You can’t see the crack but it’s there. (The odd white round mark was left by a pan lid that was on top of the pizza stone.) Can you see how perfectly seasoned it was? Oh, the tragedy.

But then my little one wanted a pic with his mom & dad and the world was okay again.

I received this picture texted to me while I was at work so I’m not sure what happened, but the Tooth Fairy visited us again that night – just a week after her last visit. I really need to make this guy some Jello so he can learn how to shoot it out through the holes. Hee hee. (Oh, I WAS disappointed to find they didn’t buy any chocolate chips. Duh, they were right.there.)

On Saturday the hubby’s acting group premiered a new train show. It’s a Wild West idea, and the hubby is a bit of a bumbling but dedicated Confederate General. This is him the night before trying his costume and crazy face on.

We went to our nephew’s birthday party on Saturday. My little one insisted he wouldn’t go outside because of the dog – and then proceeded to follow the dog around and eventually try to ride him like a horse. Also my twin nieces are in the picture. So stinkin’ adorable I want to eat them up.

Then we marked World Autism Awareness Day, on April 2. You can read my post about it here. We put a blue light bulb in our front porch light and we all dressed in blue to show our support for the event. When we went outside to take this pic we noticed our neighbors next door had also put blue light bulbs in their outside lights. I WAS STOKED.

I hope your week was as fun as mine.

Hasta mañana, peeps.

Family Flashback Friday

In conjunction with my sisters post last night, here’s a family themed Flashback Friday:
From left to right, that’s my brother, my mom & dad, me holding my nephew, my sister holding my niece and my brother-in-law. I think this was when I was in 8th grade. I loved those white pants! They had zipper pockets just above the pleated front. Eeek. Go 80’s fashion.
This was back when our family was fairly normal. Or so I thought. My brother & sister were from my dad’s first marriage and I was from my mom’s first marriage – but then dad adopted me as a baby so he’s the only dad I know. Because I was a baby when this family “merged” it was a long time before I realized that we actually were a combined family. 

I was only 7 when my sister got married so my brother-in-law has almost always been my brother-in-law, you know? (Except now they are divorced, after 27 years of marriage, and he’s set up housekeeping (antiquated terminology – love it) with my cousin on my mom’s side. That’s another story for another day. At least he’s still in the family.)

Happy Friday, my friends.

My guys

In honor of Valentine’s Day I’m sharing my guys with you. There’s only one who is really my honey, but the others all have their own places in my heart.
This is our good friend Britt, and the hubby. getting ready to enjoy a postprandial cigar. I made them a special Valentine’s dinner tonight – steak sandwiches, broccoli with cheese sauce, roasted garlic on bread with butter and beer. (I also gave them both an awesome Valentine’s gift so they should look extremely happy).
Feb 13, 2011
They are handsome, witty, smart-assed troublemakers who like to get together and smoke cigars and I love them dearly. (No, they don’t smoke in the house. They smoke those nasty things outside even when it’s 20 degrees). I’m married to the one on the right (and he’ll have his own post one of these days) but the one on the left has a special place in my heart too. He’s been part of our family for nearly 5 years now and I don’t know what we would do without him. 
November 2006
 He brings us gifts every time he comes over. He takes out the garbage, if it’s needed, splits wood, helps with dinner and, on occasion, he babysits. He lets my kids jump on him like he’s a trampoline for goodness sake. See?
Oh, by the way, ladies – he’s single.
Of course, my other two Valentine’s are my little guys. I heart them with every fiber of my being. I mean, how could I not? Just look at them! The two cutest cutie-pies in the world. 
Happy Valentine’s Day!