Oh by the way, I’m 35 now.

9 02 2013

The thing about 35 is that years ago my aunt casually mentioned that that was the age that both of her sisters (being the one I am named after and the one that birthed me) sort of lost their shit. So I’ve been counting down to my insanity for the last seven or so years. (Which brings me to the part about how isn’t it weird how time just keeps moving and how I’m not actually 17 anymore and who the hell put me in charge of these kids?) So, while I’m continually moving towards sanity and away from losing every last one of my marbles, I’ve often wondered how much I can handle. When I was reading through my mom’s old papers last year I had my first grown-up-perspective glimpse into what her life was like around that time and she really did have a lot on her plate. So part of me felt like I’d retain my sanity even beyond 35 because I am not my mom, but part was afraid that maybe 2011 had been the beginning of just Too Much. Once I arrived at 35, though, I felt pretty good about it. 35 is a nice, clean-feeling age. Not sharp and caustic like 33. Not slow and too-soft like 34. 35 feels nice and crisp and clear. (Let’s go ahead and go back to the part where I refer to myself as sane, mrmhrm?) Of course the next day I spent in tears for… no real reason. Even despite watching the Puppy Bowl. I’m hoping that might have been a cow dairy overload rather than anything more ominous.

But my birthday itself? Was lovely. Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting much out of it. My loneliness, my emo-ness, my broke-ness, and the fact that the latter point means we can’t renew our Disneyland passes right now so this was our last visit for awhile, all gave me low expectations.

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We need tiaras.

cuddles with my babies

But birthdays at Disneyland are never bad. And my kids were especially amazing on this particular visit. Interestingly, we spent more than half the day at California Adventure. If you’d have told me 10 years ago that I’d have done such I thing I’d have never believed it. At the time California Adventure was really kind of a disappointment. But they’ve made a lot of changes over the years, and especially with the opening of Buena Vista Street last year, it’s really become a fun park. And Cars Land? Just fantastic detail. So we headed over there first because the kids wanted to try the big ride there, Radiator Springs Racers. By 9:30 am they were already almost out of fast passes and the ones they were currently giving out were for 8pm, when we had plans to see a show, but the lines had gone down from the four hours back in the summer to only 80 minutes so we waited. The ride is really fun, and it’s one of my favorites for sure, but I won’t wait that long again, this was just a first time special. After people get used to it a little the lines (hopefully) won’t be so bad and we’ll get to ride it more often. Luckily the queue is very well decorated so there is lots of see while you wait. The kids LOVED the ride. When Elliott gets a little bigger he’s going to love roller coasters, but I think this ride is pretty much Margie’s limit (and mine).

Car things.

*snort*

We did some other stuff we don’t often make time for – riding the Sailing Ship Columbia, for one. I’d actually never been on that one, just the Mark Twain. Margie felt a little nervous being so high up, but she wanted so hard to make sure I had a good birthday, that she decided to be OK with it (and I made sure she wasn’t pushed beyond what she could handle).

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After dinner, we went to talk to Crush which is one of my favorite things at California Adventure. It’s MAGIC. Or else cartoons are real. One of those things. Elliott got the chance to talk to him and you can see the video here. (Everyone sees long hair and thinks he’s a girl.)

And then we ended the evening with a show we hadn’t seen yet. World of Color is a water-and-light show where they project images onto the water. Despite the fact that it is, um, a water show, I didn’t realize it was so, uh, interactive. We were warned that we’d get wet, but that it was “just a little mist”. By the end of the show we were soaked. Which turned out to be pretty OK since it was, for some strange reason, about 70 degrees that February night. Go figure. Elliott, who melts if he comes in contact with water outside of a bathtub (and sometimes even in) didn’t love that he got wet, but he also couldn’t keep his eyes off the show. He had that smile on his face that all the kids in every Disneyland commercial always have. I have never experienced such a stereotypical moment as a parent. It made me giddy with the warm fuzzies.

rainbows!

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i totally fake-instagrammed this in picasa

My quick review of World of Color:
It began with a simple (and yet amazing) show of lights and music and I thought for a second that it would be something like Fantasia, where they simply animated music. They were going back to one of Walt’s original ideas, pure imagineering, just experimenting with new ways to animate music in a 3D environment. I found it intellectual, exciting, honest, and heartwarming. That was the first 30 or so seconds. And the rest was all based on the bigger characters and movies. And it was still a really great show; I sang along almost the whole time and they used their various effects very, well, effectively. But I feel like they missed a big opportunity to make something unique and important. They, of course, feel like that would have missed a big opportunity for marketing of their bigger characters and movies. Ah well. At least Disneyland does commercials really well.

The point is that the show, and therefore my birthday, ended with rainbows. And that is, I hope, a good omen. At the very least it sure is pretty.

world of color

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Disneyland, Instagrammed

28 01 2013

Because even emo goths love Disneyland.

castle

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Listen in to an 1890 party line conversation.

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I think I’m technically too old for this.

26 01 2013

richmond

I’m at a very weird place in my life right now. It’s a bleak and jaded place. A little dark and a lot apathetic. In short, I’m emo as all heck*.

I think it’s because my 33rd year was such shit. And, somehow, I became very superstitious about my age being linked to it all, so once I turned 34 I was sure I’d be much happier or that life would be easier or something.

Go ahead. You can laugh.

I remember at the beginning of last year we did a New Year’s SoulCollage reading and I was so determined to find only good things on the horizon that I ignored whatever it may actually have been telling me. I was so sick of being depressed and having unhappy things happen that I determined to be happy no matter what, dammit.

Go ahead. You can laugh.

At some point well into autumn I finally realized what a charade that was and I sort of let go of my preconceived notions for what 34 held for me.

Perhaps because of this, or perhaps coincidentally, I am questioning everything I’ve ever believed. Wondering what the point to anything even is. Maybe I am just overthinking Life. Maybe I should care less. Maybe I just need to make peace with depression, with the crappy shit that life throws at me. Maybe this Pollyanna shit isn’t serving me.

So this year, when I sat down to do my 2013 SoulCollage reading, I was in a much different place. I was apathetic. If it was going to be another shit year, whatever. Bring it. I don’t care anymore.

This all sounds like I am more depressed than I am. I don’t think I am very depressed. And I realize that 34 was a hell of a lot better than 33. And there are very many things in my life that I love. I imagine that this is a place I have to go through right now to come to whatever is next, but I’m so emo that I don’t even know if I believe that all the time right now.

I think most people go through this phase when they are 16 and bad poetry and white face makeup look better than they do on someone who is about to turn 35. So I’m a little, um, slower than my peers, so what? Luckily I have Richmond up there to help me through it. I am going to be the MOST ADORABLE 35-year-old goth EVER.

*New blog tagline? I think so.





On Anxiety and Why I Need It

16 01 2013

Altar.

Or maybe why I “need” it. I really cannot tell the difference. And I don’t want to. Just in case.

That might not make sense. It’s because it’s all a big circular train of fucked-up thoughts. Let me see if I can explain.

And for all I know I’ve actually blogged this before, but it’s an issue right now so I’m blogging that shit again. Hopefully (or not, HAH) I’m on a deeper spiral this time.

I have a concern.

I hold on to said concern, very close to my heart. Partly because I am an emotional creature and that’s how I process everything, but possibly more because I’m too afraid to let go. Because if I let go of my worries the Universe might notice and be all, “Haha! She’s not worrying enough! Let’s punish her!”

OK. I don’t really think the Universe is that mean. But I do believe in that My-Name-is-Earl-type of Karma, and I believe in knocking wood to protect me from it. And I suppose I could replace the word “worry” with the idea of… maybe of some sort of meditation or prayer. Basically, I hold the belief that I must keep my concerns in my conscious to make them not come true. It is partly a belief, and partly also a method of protection: If I believe the worst will happen I won’t be hurt by it happening, but if it doesn’t happen it won’t be a problem to handle good news at all.

I am on all the time. It can be exhausting.

But then it gets worse.

Because sometimes, when something good might be on the horizon, I can’t tell how to feel about that. I don’t know what to hold in my heart. Do I focus on the negative to protect my heart and keep Karma at bay? Or do I visualize the positive in the hopes that I can make it happen with my mind powers? Sometimes I vacillate wildly between the two, sometimes I hold both in my heart at once. It can be exhausting.

So I can’t let go of my anxiety because I am too superstitious. And sometimes I think that’s the Crazy talking, but I try not to think too hard on that in case it’s just a Fact of the Universe. And so: Circle.

Right now I have a lot on my mind and today I’ve been trying to stay focused on the Things I need to do, but have been struck by anxiety attacks instead. Bloggers like Jen and Jenny have written extensively about anxiety and depression and how crippling it can be. And I relate to what they are saying, and I think they are beautiful and amazing when they acknowledge that sometimes they can do nothing all day except breathe and that it is OK. But I don’t think my anxiety is quite as severe as theirs is. And therefore I have a hard time being kind to myself when I have a down day like this. At what point is it “enough” to be forgiving of myself? I guess the self-abuser that lives in my head can’t (or won’t) tell the difference between lazy and legit anxiety.

So today has been a weird circle of anxiety, held together by superstition, and I hate myself for it.

I’ve spent years and years working on that asshole who lives in my head and says horrible things to me. And I still have so far to go.

The sky is insanely blue today.

But what else is there except to just keep working. Tonight I’m going to do two things that are good for me, and I’m going to tell myself the difference between anxiety and laziness, and how recovering from anxiety is absolutely legit and doesn’t make me lazy at all. Tonight I am going to try to shut the asshole in my head up.





Letting Go

6 01 2013

December was a hard month for me. It was the culmination of my grief, not just of losing my mother, but of losing my whole family, really. Technically I have family still, but they are far away, literally and/or metaphorically. Growing up my family was the center of my world, and, while it wasn’t really a huge family, it felt big for all the love that was there. Holidays, birthdays, other events or not-even-really-anything-in-particular throughout the year, my family would gather and we’d laugh and fight and hug and make memories.

And then my grandma died. And we tried for awhile to stay close. And we did. For awhile. But then my grandpa went into a home and everything was different. And then there were various fallouts with various members of the family. And then my grandpa died and he was the last thing holding us all together. I am close with some members of my family, but it is a friendship in some ways, not a familial relationship. Really, I am on my own in terms of holidays and birthdays.

The holiday season has always been my favorite time of year. The lights in the darkness of Winter, the warm homes in the coldness of the night, the entire world celebrating together. It is still holy to me for all these things.

For all the turmoil of my childhood, we had a solid holiday routine. We went to Christmas on the Prado every year at Balboa Park. We visited the Gem & Mineral Society where my grandpa often worked, we saw the tree display that my grandma had helped the Garden Club with, we visited all the free museums, we drank hot cider, we listened to the choirs. We’d go see our city’s Yule Parade. Us kids counted lit-up houses anytime we drove somewhere. My grandparents would haul the boxes and boxes of decorations out of the garage and my grandma would sing “It’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas,” at us while we figured out where to sit the elves and the nutcrackers. Christmas Eve was our big celebration. My grandma’s house smelled different on Christmas Eve; it smelled of warmth, of food, of coats piled on the couch, of branches cut from the coniferous tree in the back yard and trimmed with decorations and lights. We’d spend all evening pestering the grownups about presents even though we knew we’d have to wait until after dinner. At the end of the evening we walked a block to Christmas Circle to see the houses all lit up. Christmas day was quieter, just my mom and I. It didn’t feel as celebratory. I wonder now, if that was my mother’s own self-esteem, and anger at her life? I wonder now if I internalized that attitude and now need to reconsider it?

At some point in the last seven years my family stopped doing Christmas Eve. It was very painful for me, and I tried to fill it with a new tradition. I never really found one, but the pain dulled as time went on.

But I’ve tried to keep my family of origin alive all these years by holding on to the traditions I can hold on to. The kids and I go to Christmas on the Prado every year, we watch the parade, we still visit Christmas Circle.

As this year went on, I began to feel, more and more, as though I am the last. My kids don’t know my grandparents, and they, frankly, aren’t really interested in learning their stories. But even if they were, or grow to be someday, I couldn’t stop wondering what the point was, anyway? What is the point of passing on stories that will, eventually, be forgotten? Is it an attempt to keep my grandparents and family close to me? Is it a primal fear that someday I will be forgotten by my descendants as well? Is it a desire to have someone to share my history with, so that I am not as alone as I feel? I don’t know. I just know that it hurts to let go. And that I have a desperate need to not let go.

So December hit me hard. The kids and I went to Christmas on the Prado. And it was OK at first. But it is so very different from what it was when I was a kid. It’s far more crowded. There are lines to enter the museums. There are vendors selling crappy merchandise and scammy vacation homes lining all the walkways now. We pretend not to notice the carnival that sets up every year. So it was OK at first. But then we went to the art museum. And I’d told my kids before we went that I really wanted to enjoy it with them. But then they didn’t enjoy it at all. They sat on the benches to wait until I was finished. And that wasn’t what I’d wanted at all. What I wanted was for my family – my childhood family – to be there with me. It was unfair for me to expect that from my kids, from my life in 2012. But I expected it. And when I saw that I wasn’t going to get it, I left the museum. The kids were upset that they had hurt me, but I knew it wasn’t them. I wasn’t able to put my finger on it, though. Not for a few minutes. And then I named it: grief. I was alone. My family, at least metaphorically, was dead. I was an orphan. I couldn’t handle the heaviness, and I sat down in the place where it hit me, just across from Santa Claus in his sleigh, and I wept bitterly. I cried like someone had just died right at that moment. And when my tears were spent, the kids and I got up and did a few more things and I think they had fun. But I felt dead inside. And I realized that I have to let Christmas on the Prado go. And maybe everything else that ties me to my childhood.

And that was how December went. As with grief, some parts were darker, but others were lighter and filled with real joy. Last year I wanted desperately to have my home filled with people for our holiday, but this year I was content to make it a celebration with just us. And it really was beautiful; even if it was small, it didn’t feel empty.

I wonder if I can find a line between remembering where I came from, and living my life for what it is now? I don’t know what that might look like. For now I am sitting with the idea of my Alone-ness, and what it means for who I am and who I will be, both the positive and negative aspects of that. I feel like, as usual with grief, December was transformative for me. I am seeing things differently, and that means operating differently. I’m letting go, at least of some things, and that can be freeing and can provide a fresh start. Maybe 2013 is the year my life begins?





The rest of 7 Days and the Tweets for the last two months.

5 01 2013

Because I think the only people who read this blog have already heard all my tweets and seen all my pictures, but someday my old, senile future self will be reading through old diaries and will be all like, “BUT WHAT JUST HAPPENED? DID THE APOCALYPSE HAPPEN AFTER ALL? IS THAT WHY THERE ARE NO MORE 7 DAYS PICTURES??” This is for you, future senile self.

7 Days: Day 4 (Bony)

You know what’s stupid? How 5:30 becomes 7am without me even being asleep. Also that no one is making me bacon.
Nov 1

Honestly, Hogwarts really needs to implement some sort of anti-bullying policy. Why do the teachers never discipline the Slytherins?
Nov 1

Sometimes I think The Universe is sending people to slow me down & block me at every turn & then I remember I’m just driving on the freeway.
Nov 3

I was just about to head up into bed when I realized it’s only 9. You win again, Standard Time.
Nov 4

I say “up into” like I have stairs. Don’t believe it. It’s a sleep-deprived lie.
Nov 4

Sometimes I think someone is breaking in, but then it turns out it’s just the cat being “graceful” again.
Nov 6

“A Weimaraner hanging in the balance.” <–Best election quote ever. Even though I have no idea WTF it means.
Nov 6

It's the daily morning fight over who gets to sit in the sink and drink water from the tap. My position: NO ONE. The cat disagrees.
Nov 7

What kind of a world do we live in where Starbucks starts to run out of Salted Caramel Mochas before Thanksgiving?
Nov 9

Furthermore, what kind of a world do we live in where baristas think it's ok to ask, "We ran out of the salt, is that OK?" NO, IT IS NOT OK.
Nov 9

7 Days: Day 5 (Disneyland Geek)

Between the flea meds and the new sticky tape couch protectors, the cat is having a Very Bad Evening.
Nov 10

Hunting tip: If you meow at your prey, they will know you’re hunting them.
Nov 11

Elliott: Nobody ever forgets they’re in National City!!
Nov 14

Facebook is having a general funeral for Twinkies. What happened while I was in the shower? This is why we need waterproof internet.
Nov 16

Related: NOW what will we eat when the zombie apocalypse happens?
Nov 16

Two people just walked by and checked out my car’s ass. I know. My car is hot.
Nov 16

Attempted to see Cloud Atlas but it was FUCKING CANCELED FOR TWILIGHT. I just… No words. Moving to another planet.
Nov 17

My DSLR stopped working today. Hold me.
Nov 18

A watched pot never boils. But if I don’t watch it, I’ll forget it and burn the house down. Catch-22.
Nov 20

In other news I got a catalog addressed to my mom in the mail today. It’s entirely devoted to suspenders. I may keep this catalog forever.
Nov 21

So many suspenders! X-back AND Y-back style, hidden ones, maternity ones, one that looks like a ruler, camo for hunting, hip ones for teens.
Nov 21

I am one tiny, awkward, stripped screw away from a fixed camera. Mercury Retrograde, you are on my shit list.
Nov 21

WALT’S APARTMENT! YES! #EpicMickey #DisneylandNerd
Nov 23

When a person chooses to go into the military, how do they choose which branch to join? Is there a sorting hat for that, too?
Nov 26

Elliott: Have you ever seen an elephant naked? NO you haven’t. Because you never saw elephants.
Nov 27

Oops. I got another cat.
Nov 28

This cat sheds SO MUCH. And I’m warning you now that someday I *will* be that lady who spins her cat’s fur into yarn.
Nov 29

7 Days: Day 6 (Clearance Shopping)

I decided to leave the house today. That was obviously a stupid decision.
Dec 1

“Do They Know it’s Christmas” is one of the worst and most offensive Christmas songs I love and will never stop listening to.
Dec 1

When you put on pajamas before 3pm, 7:43 feels like midnight. #wisdom
Dec 1

Because, really, who shows dominance by humping their peers? #neverhavingaboycatagain #natureisfuckedup #traumatized
Dec 2

You know how it is when you try to turn off the car but accidentally turn off the radio because they’re just buttons next to each other? #PriusProblems
Dec 3

It’s so hard to have to ride the Jungle Cruise with people who don’t understand the Jungle Cruise.
Dec 4

I consistently get the lyrics to “Winter Wonderland” wrong so that I am always getting married by a circus clown.
Dec 9

Elliott, to Leia: Don’t sneeze on my face, please. It’s very expensive.
Dec 10

No, but really. Neiman Marcus at Target made me die a little inside.
Dec 10

PSA: If you watch Lost and play Epic Mickey in the same general time frame, your brain will make up very strange dreams.
Dec 13

Ok, Internet, I’m going to Toys R Us on a Sunday in December. If you don’t hear from me, send help.
Dec 16

Well that was oddly painless. Just another sign of the impending apocalypse, I guess.
Dec 16

7 Days: Day 7 (Nudist Colony)

If there is one thing Lost gave us that we should never forget and that we should always hold in our hearts, it’s time-traveling bunnies.
Dec 17

It’s the holiday season and I am incapable of producing adequate bokeh with any of my working cameras. My soul is a little bit dead.
Dec 19

I wish someone would recut all of Lost into chronological order. You know. Just for fun.
Dec 19

At least if the world ends tomorrow I’ll be free of this ant problem.
Dec 20

Autocorrect, sometimes I don’t understand you. But just now you correctly changed “slogghy” to “slightly” and I want to thank you for that.
Dec 22

Dammit, Brain, if you’re going to wake me at 5:30, you better figure out how to telekinetically bring me coffee in bed.
Dec 26

“Clean up your stuff before I steal your AT-AT.” <–A thing I just said to my son.
Dec 26

NO IT'S OK I DON'T NEED SLEEP I'LL JUST STAY AWAKE ALL NIGHT LONG AGAIN
Dec 28

Related: Googling Ed Wynn at 3am and I finally get the joke: Ed Wynn = Edwin #only34yearslate #thankgodimcute
Dec 28

Related: IT'S TOTALLY NORMAL TO GOOGLE ED WYNN AT 3AM. Don't judge.
Dec 28

Apparently Hot Dog on a Stick sells hot dogs not on sticks now. What kind of blasphemy is this?
Dec 29

Just overheard a kid in the the mall yell, "Hi, Grandma!" at a random old lady. Kids are awesome. As are old ladies.
Dec 29

Ok so WTF with the new trend where people play music on their phones loudly while shopping? Cause STOP IT, PEOPLE.
Dec 29





7 Days: Day 3 (The He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special)

23 12 2012

7 Days: Day 3 (The He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special)

I was a big He-Man fan as a kid, but had kind of lost interest by the time She-Ra came around (no one could ever top the Sorceress, anyway) so I don’t think I’ve ever even seen this, but Netflix told me I had to and who am I to argue with Netflix and the feeling of nostalgia and the opportunity to indoctrinate my kids into the show?

After dinner I think I’ll force them to watch Santa Claus the Movie.