Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A 700-lb Gorilla

I "surfed" Huntington Beach's River Jetty this morning and in all honesty it felt like I hucked a 700-pound gorilla off my back. 
I prefer the Seapoint's Jetty at Bolsa Chica. Do not even ask me why... Because nearly all the ugly stuff that has happened to me since I decided to get back on a board after 20-some-odd years has happened at Seapoint—my broken ribs and collapsed lung; bent and fractured fingers; multiple stingray shankings and slicings; concussions; split lips and black eyes. Yet, when asked my preference, I continue to beg the Caveman to load-up the boards and get in the car and drive up PCH and find parking and unload the whole shit-and-caboodle and hoof it all over the jetty's bridge. 
And the really ridiculous part is all I really need to do is put my own board and my own ass on my own bike, and ride it all about a mile to the Huntington Beach side of the River Jetty. I am so ridiculous.

But see, the River Jetty has some scary-serious surfers; guys that surf with no leashes or practice 360s on top of the waves like they were Snoopy riding his doghouse roof. And real surfer girls who walk the nose and paddle on their knees like they were born on a board. And I am intimidatedI feel like there ain’t no place for a 55-yo lady grom in the line-up. Especially, a lady grom who is unwilling to paddle-up and take her rightful place in that line-up. And the thing about taking your place in the line-up is you gotta believe you belong—NO! You gotta believe you deserve to belong in that line-up—and I never seem to be in that head space. Yes, the Caveman is my downfield block and he paddles interference for me and he’ll snap anybody in half that looks at me sideways, but he also makes me take my own place and call my own wave, and he is long done pushing my fat ass into those same waves. I gotta be paddling for me, myself and I if I want anything that resembles a wave.
He also reminded me today in a very impatient manner when my whining fully ramped-up how “goddamn patient I have been with YOU and YOUR anxieties, Darya...” and he said “Darya” like my parents meant to spell it with 4 letters but goofed that up, as well.
In the end, I did it; I surfed River Jetty. It was not pretty but it got done. 
So, suck it, River Jetty. The River Jetty, just like San Onofre State Beach are officially off my spreadsheet of anxiety-making shit. 
Because if nothing else, I ain't no quitter.

xoxo Darya

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Happy Birthday, Daddy

I know, I know, I know... it has been about a million years since I sat my seat down in my chair and put some words together and posted it here at my little bloggity blog. Shameful almost... But, I am not going to into a great big long song and dance about where I have been or what I have been doing all this time--there will be posts enough for that. What I do want to share with you is that today is my father's 78th birthday--or I should really say, today would have been Daddy's 78th birthday had he not died of stage IV distal esophageal cancer not even 30 days after the Hero and his Babydoll said their vows in front of all the very most important people in their lives EXCEPT my mother and father--my heart was thrilling and trilling and breaking into a million pieces all at the same time.

Tougher days to come, to be sure.

In honor of my father's birthday, and because I know he would be so proud of the Hero. And I only single out the Hero because my mother asked him to do the eulogy. And in all fairness, they shared the common bond and brotherhood of being firefighters, and we had lived with my parents for quite some time before the next grandson fell from heaven. So, when he stood up in that log-church on the day of my father's memorial, the Hero gave a eulogy deeply woven of both the personal and the professional.

If you were there that day to see the Hero in his dress uniform to read his eulogy in that small non-denominational country log-church my father and mother helped raise funds for, help build with their own hands, protect from outside ravages and administrate from the inside all on the side of a mountain in Utah, consider yourself supremely lucky because it is not often the Hero splits himself wide open and bears that much of his heart.

A large part of me views that as the measure of a man, not so much by the buckets of tears he can cry, but by his ability to walk up an ambo and stand tall at a pulpit and ask for a moment to dry his eyes and gather his thoughts and speak loudly enough for everyone to hear his voice crack and see his tears spill and feel his heart ache; still, as stoically as possible, tell his personal heartfelt truth held deep within himself and round it off with...

Well, I don't want to spoil the ending ; ) read on...


Eulogy - The Hero

My grandfather, Don to most friends, Dee to his immediate family, although my grandmother was NEVER allowed to call him that, and Grandpa to my three cousins and myself was born in Elmira, New York.

At age 13, Grandpa's family moved from upstate New York to California.

My grandpa attended and graduated from Arroyo High School in El Monte, California. It was there that my grandmother, asked my grandfather out on a date--she was 14 and he was 17-years old. Grandma was offered Grandpa's name as an option for an upcoming Sadie Hawkin's Dance because she had been told he thought she was cute. Grandma obtained his phone number than she was voice-to-voice with the boy--man--who would become the love of her life.

A love affair that would last nearly 60 years.

Because my grandfather had suffered a significant back injury playing football his senior year, and also being the last surviving male in his family, he was ineligible and excluded from the draft and military service. Even though he did not serve, it is only fitting we should sit here today memorializing my grandfather on Veteran's Day as he had such a huge respect for all men and women of military service.

On a light drizzly day in September 1961, my grandfather married my grandmother and he went to work for Southern California Edison. Soon after in 1962, their first daughter, Darya was born and my grandpa pursued his lifelong career goal of becoming a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy. Again, soon after in 1965, there would be another daughter, my aunt.

And life was good for a very long time.

As an avid outdoorsman and hunter, and because a good job waited at the end of a long highway, Grandpa moved his family from Southern California to a small town in Utah called, Alpine. He built his home on a beautiful plot of land that looked out onto Mount Timpanogos in Utah's Wasatch Mountain Range, and there he was able to hunt and fish and shoot. And as fate often comes into play, the time spent many years ago learning how to dove and grouse and quail hunt was put to good use. His first year deer hunting he shot a trophy-worthy buck that I looked at as a young boy, and I have heard stories of the vegetable garden Grandma hand-troweled and planted from seed so they could feed their family in that last lean Utah year.

There was a move back to California and that buck hung on the wall in the dining room in Fountain Valley for many years. But, by 2006 Grandpa had moved with Grandma up to the log cabin on the side of a mountain of their dreams.

There were many, MANY, repairs done to that cabin and it went from a log cabin to a beautiful log home and finally it fulfilled their shared dream of retirement.

For 11 years, while Grandpa worked on that cabin, he became embedded in the community of Duck Creek Village helping to physically build the church we sit in today. He also became a volunteer fireman retiring as Deputy Chief of the Cedar Mountain Fire Protection District.

And as a personal aside, I would just like to thank all the men and women of the CMFPD family. You truly gave my grandfather some of the happiest and most fulfilling years of his life. Thank you.

Only as recently as July, did Grandpa and Grandma decide to "move off the mountain". 
Unfortunately, my grandfather, did not know one healthy day in his new home. What he did know was the immense friendship and unwavering respect and companionship of his "mountain friends" and family.

Today, I believe he knows that his friends adored and respected him; that his daughters loved him like only daughters can; he showed his 3 grandsons, including myself what it is to be a man's man. And his 1 and only grand-daughter knows what it is to be loved by a man that hung the moon just for her.

Thank you.

xoxo Darya

PS - The strength and maturity and guidance the Hero extended to my mother, my sister and myself throughout this entire ordeal was extraordinary and beyond gratifying and amazing. He helped us to allow Momma the luxury to love on Daddy in those last few hours, while Sister and I did the "heavy lifting". Clearly, this is a debt I will spend a lifetime repaying to my own son and his wife.

Well done, Son, well done <3

xoxo D

Monday, July 4, 2016

Making It To The Line-Up

I am laying here waiting for the sun to come up so that we can try and go surfing, again. I write, "try", because a whole lot of planets and stars and tides and moons and traffic and parking spaces and temperatures and conditions have to align for me to be able to unload my board and get in the water and have a good time. It happened yesterday. And it happened Father's Day weekend camping at San Onofre State Beach--SanO.

I made it into the line-up yesterday. And at SanO.

AND I saw a shark to boot.

But that is not the point of my story.

Yesterday, the water looked inky and ferocious and big and like there was a lot of power in those waves, and then, when we got in, it was like a dream for me: There was time for me to think and to turn and to shoot and to stand; not too much to ride, but that was okay, too. And I was knocked off my board and I was sent into an actual somersault in the shorebreak--sand is still shaking out of my hair. I could hear my laughter in my own ears.

SanO was a whole 'nother story.

I was nervous, man. I had a brand new board, and the last time I "surfed" there, I was hurt so badly I did not touch the water for another 20 years--NO, like, I NEVER set a foot in the water long after the broken nose and the split skull and the loose teeth and the concussion were healed. The Caveman and the Hero and Papa Fig were there; they can testify.

I was up early Father's Day morning by about 4:00am, washing my face and brushing my teeth and Papa Fig and the Wedding Singer were up right after me. The Caveman and Baby Fig were still asleep. Normally, the boys go to the cliffs and take a look at the waves before we all load up and make the walk down Trail 6 with board bags and lunches and whatnot.

Papa Fig and the Wedding Singer were getting ready to go down to the cliff, and I was sitting on the bench drinking my tea thinking THEY will go take a look and I will pack the lunch and I said, "Do you want me to wake-up the Caveman?" And Papa Fig said the best thing he could have said in just about my whole lifetime, "Naw, just come on, Dweez. Let's go take a look." In all the nearly 30 years I have known Papa Fig, he has called me that; in all the nearly 20-some-odd years we have spent Father's Day at SanO, that was the first time I have seen the morning sets from the cliffs.

Man, it took all I had not to girl-it-up by bawling.

Andlemmetellyou, that was like making it to the line-up, right there.

I will tell you about the shark another day. Mostly, because I still cannot believe it happened. More importantly, I feel very special that I got to see something that huge and incredible up close. And there will be people that will not believe me and they will feel compelled to harsh my good feelings and make fun of me and just generally ruin it. Fuck that shit. I am owning this for as long as I want right now.

For today, all this lady grom wants to do is throw down on her belly and paddle and paddle and make it to the line-up and then maybe see a wave that will not crush her skull and turn her board around (quickly!!!) and paddle to the left (hard hard hard!!!) and get up (quickly!!!) and ride, just ride! And without going all Spicoli, I just wanna get stoked. That is all. Just once, well, now I am getting greedy.

I wanna get stoked...A LOT!

Happy 4th of July, my friends; be safe and sane!

xoxo Darya

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

My Silly Stuff

I freely admit that I do a lot of goofy shit. I never do any REAL damage or harm except for that one iPad by the pool at Talk to Me Johnny's and his Unicorn's, but for the sake of argument let's just agree that I am a Schleprock and where I go things get broken. But I would certainly rather die than hurt anybody.

I am talking more along the lines of opening the freezer and finding my bra. And I have trouble paying bills on time and I forget how to get to my work and my hair salon and my nearest Ikea, as well as two of my dearest friends' houses, so I have it all in my GPS because I will lose my way.

That kinda stuff.

I just cannot rely on myself. Except for when it comes to two things:

No. 1, I always know what time it is even without looking at a watch or a clock--seriously, I am always within 20 minutes of whatever time it is; whenever it is; wherever I happen to be at the time. I am supremely aware of my relationship to the personal space and time I am occupying on the planet, just not how I got there!

And, No. 2, I always know where my keys are at--oh, I may have to dig through my purse a lot to find them, but they are always there and if they are not in there, they are in the ignition. Period.

But damnitalltohell, I have gone and lost my entire set of keys.

And I am beside myself with grief and worry and sorrow. I am bereft. Dr. Headshrinker calls these words depressiogenic. Words that lead to overly negative thoughts. A mental quagmire that I have worked hard this last year to climb out of and rinse off of me. Basically, they make me sad.

Yes, yes, yes, I know. It can all be replaced; it is ALL just stuff. Just my keys. But that is not the point.

Because on that key ring was THE original house key the Caveman placed in my hand the day we closed escrow and moved into the nightmare that became our forever home 20 years ago this Thanksgiving. He actually carried me over the threshold holding a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine and a canister of salt--for luck and abundance! Because we needed a lot of luck and an abundance of money! And although, we do not eat bread, I still have that canister of salt. And that home.

But, I do not have that stuff; that key.

Also on that key ring was THE original key to my 1969 Porsche 912. The key was handed to me by the son of the original owner along with the original dealer's key fob luckily, the leather broke a little while ago on that fob so it sits in my vintage jewelry box.

I bought my beautiful little red dream car with my very own money. I bought it with the Caveman's ever-present assistance and the severance pay I received from my forever job that only lasted 15 years. That job is gone, but I built my own little business so no one could ever fire me again, excuse me, "remove redundancy in the workplace". I am still here and stronger than ever.

But, I do not have that stuff; that key.

Just stuff. So, silly. My silly stuff, but my head is swollen from bawling over losing my silly stuff; those keys.

In another lifetime, I walked away from all my stuff that is how I know I can call it stuff. When I left Sgt. Airborne, I simply packed-up my personal stuff and picked-up my baby Hero and walked out the front door leaving all our stuff behind. I mailed that ring of keys back to Sgt. Airborne from the safety of my parents home amidst their stuff, and I let him deal with all our stuff as I put my parent's house key on my new keyring.

I try not to think of that household full of that life. But when I do, I remember that when I REALLY let that stuff go and I had no stuff, there was nothing more for anyone to take from me ever again. And the stuff I DID possess was my love and integrity and my purpose and my child and the safety of 3500 miles.

In some ways, I already know the key to a meaningful life: That all a person's very most important stuff does not fit into a pocket nor a purse.

xoxo Darya

Monday, February 15, 2016

Less & More

I was in the middle of a pre-Lenten lifestyle purge brought about by so many factors, I cannot eeeeven begin to enumerate much less begin to understand myself, so the idea of putting one clothing item each day for the 40 days of Lent into a large bag and donating the whole shit-and-caboodle dovetails nicely into my overall goal of less AND more, and let's be honest, it gets me closer to that "capsule wardrobe" I keep prattling on about.

Less crap; less stuff; less negativity; less gossip; less bullshit food & nonsense drink; less excuse-laden energy; less caffeine (really, no caffeine); less pop (again, really, no pop); less angry slamming of cupboards & doors; less judgement; less offensive language, oh, there's a toughie; less standing around with my thumb up my ass; less crying into my pillow and stomping the ground; less annoying emails and chatty texts; simply less bitching.

And instead, more quality of life; more good food and clink-clink drink with loving supportive people; more stepping forward & giving a hug & stroking a friend's hair to say I care; more texts to check-up on friends (one gal pal plays mother hen to ME & has taught me this unabashedly & I am grateful); more laughing; more squatting, lunging and lifting especially my own ass, as in, off-the-ground, as in, just one GD pull-up; more strength (in all manner of the definition); more barbell work & more determination; more grace.

And, more kindness, and especially more mercy towards myself, because I have learned you cannot give away that with which you do not possess.

All this I know to be true regardless of what part of the liturgical calendar we happen to be celebrating or loathing depending on your point of view.

Maybe THIS really is my new year. Maybe I have beat my wings to exhaustion and it is time to break free and just change already--criminy!


Hell, I don't know.

xoxo Darya

Sunday, February 7, 2016

So Pissed About to Be Pissed-Off

 Put the kids to bed or avert your eyes or change the channel because this is gonna be a straight -up old-fashioned Dennis Miller mother fuckin' rant directed like a heat-seeking missile at the lady driving the white paper-plated BMW XB from Universal City Century West BMW from last Tuesday morning.

Dear Lady in The White BMW:

I will not divulge your race nor your ethnicity because it is immaterial--you were a shitty selfish self-centered self-absorbed "driver" who was either talking on your phone via the speaker that is hand-held that special and somehow significant 8" from your right ear, you know, that magical 8" that somehow transforms any regular cell phone into a completely and totally hands-free model even though it is still in your hands! OR you were being advised of directions via Siri or Mapquest or Google or whatfuckingever.

Regardless, the results were the same.

You do not even possess the sense God gave a goose to realize that while you were riding gangsta-lean-style in the No. 1 lane of the Northbound 405 Freeway at the 710 Freeway at 6:50 am Tuesday morning all the while stopping, starting, talking, listening, and I am only assuming here, looking for your off ramp when you slammed on your brakes because that looked like your off-ramp you had just passed only to realize, whoopsie hehehehe, that it was indeed NOT your off-ramp and then there was squealing tires and the sound of cars colliding not once, but TWICE! Two car crashes for the price of one--well, honestly, who does not love a bargain in LA and besides, there is hardly any traffic or confusion heading LA-way that time of day!

You dumb cunt.

And believe me, I am so unhappy and disappointed in myself for having allowed you to get to me in a manner that has reduced me to the level of THAT word. But, bravo, you did it *applauding slowly*.

And please, do not lecture me on the proper following distance when driving the freeway. There is no proper following distance from a driver like you unless it is with you in your garage; car parked and me and everyone else driving the exact opposite direction at the exact opposite time.

Even Mr. Boston Red Sox Man with the No Fat Chicks bumpersticker, who felt the need to insert himself and his vehicle in the mere one-and-a-half-car-length's distance that I had between me and you, had the good sense to get the hell out of your way when he had to slam-on his brakes so hard that he pitched so far forward his back wheels left our precious planet Earth, you know, the place I'd like to stay for at least a couple more years, as if you could care.

Maybe it is your first language; maybe it is not--I really do not care, but I feel it is only remotely germane to my post to point out that you spoke English clearly enough to understand and obtain a California State driver's license on that oh-so-fate-filled day. But it takes more than that to be a good driver in California.

Oh, yes, it does. In spite of what the rest of the country thinks of us, moving en masse every single day the 40+ miles into LA City proper and points past when we are all already dealing with multi-sized trucks and rigs; motorcycles that are nearly the size of cars that need only a moonroof and two doors and are unlawfully lane splitting and illegally moving at three-times the flow of traffic is no easy feat.

It is people like you: Vapid, stupid, self-absorbed and poorly prepared drivers that will continue to provoke the stereotype of the head-up-their-ass-California-driver we possess.

And I resent the hell out of that.

You, my dear, are a moving menace. You might as well have been drunk or a suicide bomber for the havoc you caused and the danger you imposed on the rest of us. And yes, I was the one that honked at you and motioned for you to "hang it up and fucking drive," and that was after the second collision behind ME because of your self-absorbed and selfish driving behavior!

I sincerely hope someday you have a child and they are subjected to exactly what I had to endure today. Because you scared the hell out of me. I have friends and family that pick-up and put back together the damage you unwittingly and unknowingly, or perhaps even uncaringly, perpetrated as you drove along happily and clearly without conscience on our state's already overburdened freeway system believing, I can only imagine, that the laws do not apply to you.

God be with you, because you are going to need it at some point as I believe that God protects the weak of mind, In light of your bizarre and unbelievably disrespectful and completely irrational driving behavior, you will probably live alone with the cockroaches.

xoxo Darya

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Happy Birthday Daddy

The family that I was born into is a hearty, humble Pennsylvania-Dutch, Protestant people as opposed to the first-generation Mexican-Catholic, if-you-ain't-flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-you-ain't-really-living kinda family brouhaha I converted and married into, and to a large extent have come to overwhelm my family's presence. It happens; the squeaky wheel gets the oil and the quiet one keeps rolling along putting in the miles and carrying the load.

There is a humility and piousness that comes from "my" people--ever been to Amish country. Yeah, there you have it. We are law-abiding; tax paying; ears pinned back; never ask for help; assholes and elbows; never let'em see you sweat; never drunk driving; in by 10pm kinda people. 

We do not wail nor lament; we get ulcers and have irritable bowels. And we never ever call undue attention to ourselves or our family name. So, personal blogs where one family member ::two thumbs up pointing at my big 'ol head:: dishes on a whole bunch of personal crap, spills the beans about her less-than-picture-perfect life and complains A LOT on a wide variety of subjects on the world wide web is in clear violation of two of the more-than-most basic of all the basic family tenets: privacy and modesty.

Anyhoo, with all that being said, and without further embarrassment or immodesty to my family, I will simply say, Happy Birthday, Daddy. I love you for a whole bunch of reasons and these are my top-10 in descending order 'cause I cannot for the life of me figure out how to reverse the numbered bullet point numbers.

Thank you most of all:
  1. For never letting me just "have" anything, but for giving me everything I ever needed to be a success.
  2. For never letting me twist in the wind.
  3. For never spanking, hitting or raising your hand to me. In the end, this more than anything helped me to say, "No more!" and to become the woman I am today.
  4. For allowing me a place to come home to when I had no home.
  5. For secretly hanging the moon just for me.
  6. For looking most like you, when everyone thinks I look most like Momma.
  7. For going to Father's Night at the Hero's pre-school and accepting his childish Father's Day trinkets.
  8. For instilling in me your puritan work ethic that helped me to find the man with the same work ethic who would help me raise my son to require that same work ethic of himself. 
  9. For never letting me feel that when you and Momma had two girls that that was anything less than having the six boys that I know you thought you really wanted.
  10. For walking me down the aisle twice but for never really once letting go and giving me away.

xoxo Darya