Thursday, December 12, 2013

Afterglow vs Aftermath

As anyone who knows me knowsmostly because I bludgeoned everyone with even the most minute of detailsI turned the big 5-0 on 12/12/12.  I threw myself a very intimate little party at the most adorable girlfriend-owned restaurant in Newport Beach called Sol Grill complete with an awesome live musician for background and then dancing music, as well as the Hostess's ah-mazing food.  I created a signature cocktail and the Caveman and the Hero toasted me with my own homemade lemoncello and we laughed and we celebrated and my guests signed the most current volume of my 7-volume guest bookoriginally started in 1987!and it was all I ever dreamed or dared to hope it could have been.  It was love, man, just pure L-O-V-E. 

But, just like the holiday hangover we all suffer after Christmas and New Year's, I got a triple-dose with my birthday's celebration being thrown in there as well last year.  As a side note, the Caveman's birthday is 12/15 and the Hero's birthday is 12/26 and my little family's anniversary is 12/1feel my triple-crush hangover now!  And a big birthday like that gets you thinking and wondering and considering.  Hmmm.  What do I know for sure--really for sure?  If you have read my prior blog entries, you are familiar with my strugglesno need to double-dip that chip here.  So, in honor of 12/12/13 and turning 51see, it just doesn't have the same cool ringI am sharing those things that I know to be true for sure for me.

1.      My life really didn’t begin until I met the CavemanI DO NOT even know how I breathed a breath of air before he came into my life.

2.      This is a tie with No.1:  Seeing the Hero fall from heaven into this worlddramatically and prematurelyand take his first breath.  This is my most treasured memory (made all the more treasured by the fact that there is no one left on this planet to share this memory with me). The only reason this isn't No. 1 is because the Hero was meant to be born, grow up and leave me.  The Caveman, on the other hand, was meant to meet me, fall in love and stay with me.

3.      Witnessing the Caveman and the Hero (age 2) meet for the first time—instant love.  Okayit's a three-way tie.

4.      I am horrible at paying my bills; so I make sure that I have none.

5.      In the hive of life, I am a drone, not the queen.  I know intimately the hard-hustle of everyday work.  Not even a career, just a down-in-the-trenches-day-in-and-day-out kinda work.  I am both embarrassed by and proud of this same point.

6.      I know in my heart that the Caveman wakes up every morning asking himself what he can do to make it the best day for me!  I want so much to be able to do that for him, but I am a selfish failure at loving him as much as I need to be loved by him.

7.      I am sensitive.  My eyes and heart cannot abide most of what they witness on the internet and TV.  Warning:  If you post abused pit bull puppies or abandoned kittens on my FB Newsfeed I immediately “hide” it.  The Animal Planet Channel is blocked on all my TVs.  I cannot endure these atrocities—it does not inspire nor rally me; it traumatizes and paralyzes me.

8.      I am desperate for structure and quiet.  I try not to yell any more than I have to.

9.      I need a solid work-out schedule for my mind and good food for my body and vice verse.

10.  I need a good bra, a sexy little black dress, an above-average Kentucky sipping whiskey and clean soft sheetsnot necessarily in that order.  Well, now that I look at that order, probably, exactly in that order ; )

11.  I must knit to retain even a modicum of sanity.

12.  I need a kitten to want to purr and knead on just me.

13.  The hard-hustle is killing me (see #5).  Slowly, painfully and without mercy the hard-hustle is sucking the soul from my body.  I must find a new way to “be” in this world.  Like Bowie says, “We live for just these twenty years do we have to die for the fifty more?”  God, I hope not.

14. Steely Dan is the greatest band ever.  Church.  Preach.

15.  I should be a better Christian.  I know God loves me, but, really, what have I done for him lately?

16.  I am basically scared of boys and their larger, hairier, scarier man-selves.

17.  The allure of shiny and pretty does not elude me.  Ever.

18.  I love dolls.  I wish I could design and make dolls for a living including knitting all their clothes and accessories even their little under panties.

19.  One of the greatest gifts I ever received was learning to sew—thanks Mom <3.

20.  I can do anything; I have never really failed at anything.  Now, don't get me wrong, some things have not always necessarily worked out so well, but I would never use the word "fail'.

21.  I bruise easily. But, I am also tough and resilient.

22.  I truly believe that most people, including my family just don’t “get me”.

23.  If you are my friend, there's nothing I won't do for you.  Please don’t abuse that because if you do, well, then, I will probably take it, and then, one day I will not take it anymore, and then, we will no longer be friends.  Period.

24.  I love our families and I feel a grave responsibility to take care of them—all of them.  Well, almost all of them; you know who you are and you WILL NOT be taken care of by me, ever.  If you are reading this and you are unsure if this means you, then you better check in with me.

25.  The sound of a barking dog at night will drive me slowly insane—like I want to hide drugs in a pork chop and heave it over the fence kinda crazy.

26.  I believe I am a better auntie and godmother than I ever was a mommy.

27.  I love completely with all my heart.  Unfortunately, my heart is only the size of a dried apple doll’s head (see #6).

28.  I envy girls who have girlfriends and girls’ nights out.

29.  My only regret is not having a better education; however, I have such a shitty education that I can’t even spell R-E-G-R-E-T; it’s not even in my vocabulary.  Clever how I did that, huh ; )

30.  I married my first boyfriend.  Hell!  I married all my boyfriends. 

31. The Caveman belongs at the right arm of God for raising another man’s son as his own.

32.  You don’t have to like me; you can even say bad things about me, but you are going to have to own it and you are only going to get to do it once because I will not stand to be disrespected twice.  Consider yourself warned.  Seriously.  After that go ahead and say whatever you want to say but you should be prepared to duck.  Better yet, just get screwed and keep walking.

33.  Just about any kind of –ism makes me physically sick, i.e. racism, sexism, ageism, radicalism, fundamentalism, etc.

34.  I absolutely love, adore and respect our military men and women.

35.  The Star Spangled Banner and the hymn Amazing Grace cause a visceral reaction in me that I cannot hide.

36.  I am basically a worry-wart insomniac perfectionist encumbered by not enough time to be rested, perfect nor worried enough.  See my dilemma.

37.  No man has ever worked harder for one woman than the Caveman does for me

This is what I know to be true; these are my Darya-isms.

Happy birthday to me <3

xoxo Darya 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

There Went My DIY Cherry

Just as a a word of warning , you are not going to see a whole lot of DIY projects here on my little bloggity blog.  This is my promise to you.  I may, however, show off some of my handknits or something I have sewn or maybe even embroidered.  While I have been sewing since before I knew how to read and I certainly know my way around with every manner of needles, I do not consider myself a particularly crafty person.  And to do DIYs you gotta be crafty and creative, man.  You gotta be able to look at a plastic gallon milk jug and envision and then cut and carve and turn it into something like a baby doll swing or a device to capture vermin or a bathmat or something equally absurd yet awe-inspiring.
I am keenly aware that I do not possess these talents.  I am the girl that reads your DIY and then goes and does it really, really well.  I am what is known as your target audience.

That all being said, my girlfriend and I found these loafers at Gap for 30%. In all honesty, I really wanted the already glittery and sparkly ones, but they were an extraordinarily odd goldy-pinkish hue that I just could not get behind, and they were stiff to boot.
Then...I remembered a DIY I had seen on Honestly WTF's website or maybe even Love Maegan where the girls recreated the glittery Miu Miu sneakers with a pair of Van's.  That's about it.  I just followed their directions.

Ta da damn da.  Clearly, I am an awesome photog, as well.  Be jealous.
I do need to say out loud that I have never worked with Mod Podge and I am still quite intimidated by the extreme volume of choices at Michael's--eventually, I just grabbed one and ran.  All in all, I like the way they came out and I am actually wearing my glitterfied versions and I think they are really pretty.  They are very sparkly and glittery and still pliable, and because I sprayed the extra sealant on them there doesn't seem to be any trail of sprinkles, which to be honest, kinda bums me out 'cause I like to think that I spread a little sparkle with every delicate little foot print I make ; )

 xoxo Darya

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Family Date Night

On December 1, 1990, the Caveman married the Hero and me.  We were married at the little Catholic church where the Caveman had taken his First Holy Communion as a second grader, and later where I converted and took my First Holy Communion and Confirmation as a 28-year-old-grown-ass woman.   It was a nuptial mass that was intimate and simple and afterwards we had a helluva party--we are good at that part.  We call it our Family Anniversary because that is the day that we officially became a family--pretty clever stuff, huh.

But when I really think about it, becoming a family actually started a few years before that day as I was putting the Hero to bed one Friday night.  Generally speaking, I didn't go out until after he had been put down for the night.  And on this particular Friday night as I was laying there talking with him or reading to him--fully made-up and dressed-up and ready to slide out from under the covers and sneak out the door to Benigan's or The Red Onion the exact moment after he fell asleep--and he asked me why he never got to have a date night.  Huh?  You wanna have a date with us?  The Hero was probably three-years-old and he was in daycare full-time and the Caveman was a first-year apprentice and I worked nights and from that one simple and honest question Family Date Night was born.  We chose Wednesday because it was pay day.  We chose Sizzler because it was cheap and close and the Earth wouldn't stop spinning on its axis if something got spilled or there was an emotional meltdown, but you had to sit at a table with silverware and a cloth napkin and there was proper table conversation about the workweek and the happenings of our lives.  The Sizzler--as well as the dining table at home--is where the bar was set; where the Hero learned to sit down and speak up and to eat like a human being and to say please and thank you and generally not act like a little punk.
Looking back on those Family Date Nights, I realize how important they were to us becoming a family even before we were a family.  It is a tradition that stays with us to this day.  The Hero now lives in LA.  He comes down once a month for date night with me and once in a while the Caveman joins us and we have Family Date Night again--or still.  We will do this Sunday night on the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of our little family.  And it will be a beautiful thing--to sit there as adults and speak of our workweek and the happenings of our lives. 

Happy Family Anniversary <3

xoxo Darya

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I Am Proud of Myself

Yes.  I am pretty damn proud of myself.

Simply put, I am proud of myself for choosing this man, the Caveman, to be my son's father.  This is not something that I waiver on or wonder about.  The Caveman is a man who chose to raise another man's son. 

And not just to get at me, but for the long haul. 

The Caveman fell in love with my only child, the Hero, the exact moment that they met and they have shared a special bond since that  millisecond in August 1986 when the Hero still wore cloth diapers!  I can honestly say that if they had not shared this love affair separate and apart from the love affair shared by the Caveman and me, I would have had no problem moving it along.  I was never going to sacrifice the Hero for the love of an average man.

The Caveman had to be a superb super-human man who was willing to deal with not only my own special brand of insecure insanity but also the sideways glances of the Family who were already convinced I had--have--a unique form of mental retardation that affected my decision making skills resulting in me choosing to fall in love with Sgt. Airborne way back in 1977!

Sgt. Airborne was my best friend, my first boyfriend and my first love my first and only love until the Caveman came along.  Yeah, do the math people.  And oh, how I loved Sgt. Airborne.  He was smart and funny and well read and a linguistically gifted and STRAC soldier and a very well-documented liar.  And as a child he was horribly and brutally abused by a stepfather, so there was that. 

No matter how much of a normal human being he tried to portray, the cray-cray was just underneath the normal waiting to bubble up to the top at the point of boiling.  That boiling point came about an hour after I brought Baby Hero home from the hospital.  I still had episiotomy stitches in me and he choked me into submission.  The rest is just ugly and embarrassing and not a testament to the woman I am.  Eventually, something snapped; he lost it; I split. 

I must have been quite a site running from one terminal to the next in Chicago O'Hare Airport with a baby on my hip dragging a car seat and a broken stroller I call it My Own Private Vietnam because it felt like what I imagine the fall of Saigon was like to those mothers on top of the American Embassy and I HAD TO GET MY BABY ON THAT PLANE!  Fast forward to 30 years later, and we are still with the Caveman and Sgt. Airborne is honorably buried at Fort Sam Houston.  I pray he found the peace in death that he never knew in life. Seriously.

And anyone who knows us knows the rest of the fairy tale.  I fell deeply, passionately, head-over-heels in love with the Caveman; the Caveman's mother became the Hero's Nana and she now lives with us and I care for her in her old age; the Caveman's friends who are more like family to the Caveman then his own siblings ever have been or ever will be embraced both the Hero and me.

The Caveman gave all he had to give to us.  He gave us his heart, his hard working hands and his uncompromising moral compass and his never-say-die attitude.  What more could a woman want for her son?  

So, when I say I am damn proud of myself, I speak from a place of absolute steadfast no-doubt certainty.

Darya, you did good, girl. 

xoxo Darya

Friday, November 15, 2013

From Where I Stand

On my list of Things I Learned in My Fiftieth Year, #22 reads, "I truly believe that most people including my family just don’t get me”.  This belief was deeply underscored recently at Sister's as I stood in the middle of her kitchen at a three-week-early birthday BBQ celebration piggybacking the Parents whirlwind visit to see their Grandson play in a varsity football game.  After greetings and kisses and hugs and settling down, I could feel the busyness of the kitchen and the buzz of the boys' conversation in the other room and all I could hear singsonging in my own head was, "Heigh-ho, the derry-o; the cheese stands alone."   I felt so exquisitely and simply not one of them.

And I'll tell ya, I really tried to be good.  I tried to make the proper small talk and to not make anyone mad and to not be confrontational or combative or contradictory--all things I have been accused of in the past.  And in spite of  my best efforts to be good, I still managed to piss someone off.  It is so very obvious that they all find me very trying and exasperating and just plain exhausting.  I hold beliefs dissimilar to theirs.  I ask messy favors and I expect honesty and truthiness.  Evidently, it is all very uncomfortable making.  So uncomfortable making that they are avoiding me.

All this turns my head inside out and breaks my heart and tightens my colon and keeps me wondering what I should be doing differently so that I can affect some sort of change in the situation, which is just plain silly, because I know deep in the center of my being that the only changes I can bring about are the changes within myself.  It is more about my reactions and not so much my actions that are going to bring about the most profound changes.  So, I am quietly working on me--well, maybe not so quietly.  Pretty groundbreaking stuff, huh?  Positively earth shattering *eyes rolling*.  Trust me, I am talking big here because this is all waaaay easier said than done.  Because life is complicated and people and relationships are even more complex and family dynamics are a goddamn Rubik's Cube.  And from where I stand, Dr. Headshrinker is going to be fat, dumb and sassy before he gets through unscrewing my head tightening whats loose and putting it all back together again. But, in my heart of hearts I truly believe that we--me--us--the family--are well worth it.  Totally worth it.

xoxo Darya

Monday, October 28, 2013

My 4th Grade Existential Crisis

I have never been a journaler nor have I ever been able to keep an authentic diary for more than three consecutive days in my entire life.  But, now I have my little bloggity blog and as I "write" I realize that I have had thoughts that have run deep and constant over the course of my life.  I understand now that I have been wrestling with my consciousness since before I was even capable of realizing I possessed a consciousness.

By the 3rd and 4th grades, I was truly not sleeping for weeks worth of nights.  I would lay my head down on my pillow and the thoughts and the worry would flood over and through me.  As a little girl, I had an 8:30pm bedtime and I would wake up at at all hours of the middle-of-the-night in some sort of crisis--if I was even lucky enough to fall asleep at all--knowing in my heart of hearts that no matter what I had done during the day I had never done that one last "thing" that would bring me closer to being "done"--bring me closer to nighttime peace.   I can actually remember pacing in my room with the light on--I was young enough to still be scared of a dark home, but my soul was old enough to be in crisis.

This describes my nights to this day.  Exercise and good food helps, as well as the Caveman's enduring patience, but eventually the anxiety catches up with me and the nights get really long and the days get really short or vice verse-- business suffers, already barely manageable chronic pain flares and the migraines escalate; I pace both physically and mentally and it's hard to sit still to even eat dinner; I am unable to read a book or knit my beloved handknits.  It's like I feel the other shoe is going to drop at any moment or something big is about to happen--just not sleep.

In an odd way, I feel kinda blessed to have this restlessness; this hand in the middle of my back; this tightness pulling in my chest; this thought constantly walking across my mind.  Because the this keeps me from residing in a place of complacency.  And I am really happy for that.  I just really wish I could lay my head down at night, close my eyes, fall asleep and wake-up in the morning on time like a normal effen human being.  *Sighing and shrugging shoulders*  Maybe if I was a better "writer", I would know of a way to neatly tie this all together--maybe, all I can do is write this out loud.  Maybe.  Who the hell knows.

So, I am simply going to say, "Goodnight; sleep tight."  Yeah, good luck with that.

xoxo Darya

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Slippery When Wet

We.  And by "we", I mean the Caveman, decided that having an entire bottle of homemade lemoncello on the bureau next to my bed was not the wisest of my life's most recent decisions. 

Caveman:  Well, it just seems that maybe that isn't the best idea.  That's all I'm saying.
Me:  Kinda a slippery slope, huh?
Caveman:  Yeah.  Slippery...

He ain't judging.  He never does.  He's just saying.  I like that he says so.

xoxo Darya

 PS - The fact that it is not an entire bottle of lemoncello further illustrates his point. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Taste the Cure

           --Isak Dinesen

When he is at work, I picture the Caveman sweating and cursing at 10-inch cast-iron pipe as he fits it into a 9-inch attic hole from atop a 12-foot ladder in the mid-day heat and the midnight cold on the rooftops of hospitals and universities and shiny glass buildings where bow-tied hipsters and prissy too-thin and inappropriately dressed women bitch about the thermostat controls being set too high and the noise of the pipe welding is too loud.  All this goes on while the Caveman makes sure they have potable water to make their precious cappuccinos and autoclaves sterilize uber-precise aerospace equipment.  When he comes home after work, I can smell the pipe and the hard work of his day on his long-sleeved shirts and Carhartt pants and I can see the sweat on the inside band of the welding caps I make for him. 

While I have certainly cried my fair share of tears--that fact has been pretty well documented in my prior articles so there is no need to double-dip that chip here--but the Caveman is one of those rare male creatures who can unabashedly and unashamedly shed a tear.  He cries them silently and handsomely--no big swollen red eyes or snot filled sinuses.  The tears come equally in joy and in sorrow.  They slide out the corners of his eyes when he watches the Iron Man Triathlon or he thinks of his sweet Roxy Girl or the father he lost to cancer or the son he raised to adulthood.  They roll down his cheeks while he is driving and he hears a song on the radio that reminds him of something sweet or sad or maybe even something that I have absolutely no clue about--I don't pry--I  simply wipe the tear away without a word.  We don't need words between us--I may not speak Spanish, but I do speak Caveman.

Surfing--the sea; the water--that's the real deal.  Most weekend mornings the Caveman goes out and meets up with his buddies either at Magnolia or Bolsa Chica.  They always stand on the edges of the fire pit rings and there is talk of the work week and the general quality of the surf and they sip their coffee and laugh and make boy talk; however, there is not always surfing.   Fact: I have always loved surfer boys.  So, you would think that after all these years I would be better at spotting whether or not there was actual surfing going on after these fire pit meetings.  It's true, I simply cannot tell by the way he parks the car in the driveway or  whether the board is in the front passenger side of the H3--where I usually sit, so that I have to adjust my seat from the most reclined position and then stare at the little mark that Sticky Bumps wax leaves on the dashboard--instead of on the actual mounted surf racks.  I definitely cannot tell by the way he gets out of the car or how he unloads his board or even the fact that there are little clumps of sand on the stairs because his feet are always covered in sand.  Believe it or not, it's not even when I lean in to him and hug him and feel the coolness of his skin--coolness from the cold sea water or the cold beach air or the cold water shower he took at the beach.  But, I can always tell when I kiss him.  Whether I kiss him on his lips or on his cheek, that is when I know for sure, because I can taste it--I can taste the saltwater on his skin.  I can taste the cure.

xoxo Darya

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hood Thoughts

It's not so much that it is a long story as it is a couple of stories that so clearly define our absolute love affair with each other.  And why the lobster is our mascot.  And I don't have time to go into all that right here and now--I am supposed to be seated in my seat at the hospital working on important cancer stuff.  But, as I placed my usual on-my-way-to-work-call to the Caveman this morning this was our conversation:

Me:  Good morning!
Caveman:  Good morning!  I was just thinking of you.
Me:  Oh, yeah.  What  were you thinking?
Caveman:  I was thinking just how much I care about you. Not, how much I love you.  Not, how much do we have to pay in taxes this year or are you working out tonight or how is your back or even how was my mom this morning, but how much I care about you.  This simply melts me into a little puddle of Darya and makes me feel like the most special girl in the whole wide world. 
Me:  Gulp.  What were you doing when you thought of that.
Caveman:  Just working--hood thoughts.

The Caveman calls these thoughts, "hood thoughts" or "thoughts behind the hood" because he is a pipe welder and he has to wear a welding hood...and he is alone with his thoughts...a lot...and he thinks of me...wheeeeeee.

He is my lobster.

xoxo Darya

Monday, October 7, 2013

A New Best Friend

The other night at dinner I really felt the sting of it all:  What I look like on the outside vs what is going on on the inside. Trying to be self-deprecating and oh-so-cavalier I admitted to a financial boo-boo.  My dear friend, EuroTrash Girl, seemed so surprised and said that I always seemed "to be so put together".  Liar.  I felt so much like I let her down; like I let myself down--like my panties were showing as I walked down the wedding aisle of life.  Now, EuroTrash Girl loves me and cares for me and wants nothing but the best for me, but I instantly wished that I hadn't said anything out loud about how much I suck at this life. Faker.

What I didn't share is how I wake up late for work every single day and that my roots are always grown out and how I don't have enough money in savings and I work only to pay my house and cover my roots.  Phony.  And how I have a limited education.  Stupid.  And how I now have to see a psychologist. Crazy. And how I want to be a perfectionist but I am really lazy and an expert at nothing and how I need friendship and acceptance and a decent nights sleep but get neither and none and don't know how to go about getting either or any. Complainer. And how I want to be an example and mentor to young women but have such trouble connecting.  Dumbass.  Like a broken record once it gets stuck in that groove--over and over and over--Darya's greatest hits of suckiness.  It becomes a kind of mantra and not in a good way.  Am I covering up for my inadequacies? Am I trying to distract you with the shiny and pretty because there is really nothing of substance behind the newest skinny cammo jeans that I am wearing?  I have my theories, and they vary from day to day and mood to mood.

But there is something about saying your fears/lies/stories/make-believe out loud--you don't have to be held prisoner any longer.  The worst thing that could have happened happened and life went on just like before.  EuroTrash Girl shook her head at me and said that she just never really would have guessed it, but she didn't really judge me and the dinner table talk turned to something better and we shared an entrees and a bottle of wine and our husbands talked about work and surf and EuroTrash Girl and her husband shared the details of their recent dream trip to Gibralter and all was good.  Really good.  We paid our share of the bill and teased with the waiter and closed the restaurant down.  So, while I felt judged--I really wasn't, well, at least not by her--I was doing the only judging against me that night at the table.  I sure didn't treat myself like my own best friend.  Maybe the only young lady I am really meant to mentor is myself.

Darya, I would like for you to meet Darya--now go be best friends!

xoxo Darya

Friday, September 27, 2013

Levy Made My Day

While texting and laughing with a girlfriend last Friday morning, the front door bell rang.  Now, if you know me, you know that you DO NOT just walk up to my front door and ring the bell and expect me to answer it.  First, I freeze.  Then, I do a little tactical security maneuver that culminates in me letting you just stand there until a) you go away or b) you call/text me from the front porch.  But I am so glad that I answered that doorbell because on the other side was Levy, the most adorable little Japanese man who talks to me about my plumerias.  On this day, he wanted to ask about the plumeria tree outside my dining room window (we call it the Sweet Tart) and why it wasn't blooming.

Let me back up a little.  A couple of years ago while we were having a garage sale Levy spotted what we call our 100-year plumeria.  The 100-year plumeria is yellow and white and super fragrant and was given to me by the only female secretary that ever treated and supported me exactly like she treated and supported the other male directors and VPs she assisted.  The 100-year plumeria was brought from Japan to Hawaii and then to the mainland by her father's grandfather and she gave a clipping with a single bifurcation to me in 2000 in a 5-gallon clay pot.  There it sat in that pot in our backyard for years blooming and slowly growing.  And then, we planted it on the corner of the house and it took off!  It is obviously very happy 'cause it is huge and it has produced an enormous amount of clippings that we have planted throughout the yard and given away as anniversary and birthday gifts and made the flowers into homemade leis.  Along the way, we have bought a plumeria here and stolen a clipping there; now I have quite a collection even though I am in no manner of speaking an expert.
Levy was so sweet and so respectful and so concerned with why that Sweet Tart wasn't blooming.  I invited him to the backyard where this year's clippings are starting to build roots and sprout leaves and bright little blooms.  Even a clipping from the Sweet Tart out front that isn't blooming is blooming!  He stuck his hand into all the pots and condoned my combo of sand to cactus mix ratio and then he asked what I fed them and then he showed me how to read the ratios on the fertilizer packages and told me I bought the prettiest packaging but not the best product--not the first time I have been led astray by the shiny-and-pretty, people, and he kept telling me again and again what a nice young lady I was for taking the time to talk to him and let him see my garden.  Then he asked if I would be willing to trade my Sweet Tart clipping and another clipping that we literally bought at the airport in Lihue on Kauai--yeah, one of those cigar-looking stalks hanging in the cello bag next to the lei's and the bottle openers shaped like flip-flops--for two little miniature reds.  In spite of my self-proclaimed plumeria growing successes, I really do not know that much about plumerias, but what I do know is that everyone wants a red one--they are beyond coveted.  He was adorable telling me how he had studied plant biology and pathology and horticulture and how he had worked at Home Depot in the garden department--like I was interviewing him to adopt my clippings!  Then he sealed the deal by telling me that I must have been such a beautiful child because I was such a lovely young lady--Levy's got game, man.

We made our trade and he loaded his stuff into his car and he gave me my little red and then he bowed--he bowed to me.  It was the most gallant and humble gesture that I have experienced in a long time.  He just made me smile; hell, he made my day; my week; I am still walking on air after that bow.
I really need to make this red one not die!  I am not even going to hope for it to grow just yet, just please do not die, man.  Please, oh please, oh please.  But just imagine if it does grow...oh, my...Levy, you really made my day

xoxo Darya

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Just For Today

  • Embrace the grind.
  • Do not worry so much.
  • Do not be so quick to anger or to judge.
  • Do not open your mouth in haste, anger or gossip
  • Honor your parents, mentors, teachers, and elders.
  • Earn an honest living.
  • Show your gratitude.
  • Be generous of spirit.
  • Be more gracious and ladylike.
  • DO NOT think that you are fat!
  • Make your work-out count and eat to fuel your body, not feed your fears.
This used to be taped to my wardrobe mirror--I would make it my morning prayer.  As a long time practicing yogi, I know that the sounds that words make carry great power--their vibrations send messages throughout our actual being just by being recited in our heads and hearts.  But some how, some way my Just For Today prayer got shoved into an obscure pile of papers in my home office and the "good vibrations" stopped.  Amidst the panic of not being able to find tax papers, I took more than 3 whole days to clean out; organize; cry and panic; declutter; panic some more; shred and label.  Besides having the feeling of being so much more organized and way less panicky, I had the added bonus of finding this once again!

Let's be honest, I should probably copy and laminate it and put it in my purse, and tape it to the inside of the medicine cabinet and the outside of the refrigerator and put it in a frame next to Original Darya  as these words truly speak to my deepest fears and insecurities, as well as to my most desperate longings.  I really want to do and be these practices not just for today, but every day.

xoxo Darya

Monday, September 16, 2013

Life is for Learning

Well, then can I walk beside you?
I have come to lose the smog,
And I feel like I'm a cog in something turning.
And maybe it's the time of year,
Yes and maybe it's the time of man.
And I don't know who I am,
But life is for learning.
    -Crosby Stills, Nash & Young 

Cannot lie; will not lie.  It's been a tough week what with 9/11 and Dr. Headshrinker's unavailability and a friend's house being auctioned off because she is too sick with cancer to fight the fight against the bastards at Well's Fargo (even after winning a class action lawsuit against predatory loan scams, yeah, feel my pain because I sure feel hers).  I heard these lyrics through my earbuds via Pandora today and they kinda made me feel just a little more relaxed--not even sure that's the right word or feeling.  At least for today, I felt a little more relaxed and a little more surefooted and a little more like there is a plan.  At least for today.

On a happier note, and I know Cancer Girl would want to hear some happy news today,  I would be remiss if I didn't send a shout out to the Parents as this is the day of their 52nd Wedding Anniversary.  Certainly, no easy feat in any day or age.  Well done Parents; well done.  Mazel Tov!  Congrats!  Many happy returns!  Auld Lang Syne!  Cheers and Salud!  We should all live so long and still be together.

xoxo Darya

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I Forgot to Never Forget <\3

Today was "off" from the get-go: I woke up confused by the Caveman's old extra emergency phone's low-battery chirp at 4:30am after he had already left for work but I could hear his work truck as he was parked the wrong way in front of the house; there was more confusion with me barefoot in the street in my pajamas in the welding rig's headlights handing him the wrong phone while he fumbled for forgotten sinus infection medicine. "Just plug it in and go back to bed, Baby."  By the time I got back in bed and the Caveman left for work, again, the sleep just wouldn't come back. I turned on the TV but I couldn't "see" the middle of the screen--tired eyes.  Way to be positive, Darya.  It was the aura before the migraine. The calm before the storm. Dammit. Gave myself an injection of Imitrex. Nausea. Vomiting. Tears.  Eyes slammed shut.  Finally, felt a bit better; got up; got a shower; felt a little more better.  Ran into my mom-in-law downstairs; the bus forgot about her and she needed a ride to her senior center arthritis exercise class.  No prob. "What's the matter, mijita? Are you OK."  I smiled; I would be fine--feeling better already.  Liar.  I cried putting on my foundation, my eyeliner, my mascara and while flatironing my hair. Migraine was better but maybe the Imitrex took its toll making me kinda off kilter.  Maybe.  Drop Mom-in-law off at the senior center but cry trying to get to work and inexplicably go to Staples instead where I wander and cry some more and the staff just follows and stares. I honestly think they wanted to call someone.  Finally got home and for the first time all day checked Facebook.  Oh, my God, my heart sank--there it was. Plain as day; the scream was so loud in my broken head.  A friend had posted,
"Never Forget 9.11.01".

But, I had forgotten; I didn't remember.  Exactly, what everyone was saying NOT to do I had done. It felt like the most egregious of failings; a patriotic failing.  For crying out loud, my son is a firefighter paramedic; my first husband died after serving stoically as a Special Forces Arabic-Egyptian linguist (98Golf for those who know) during the early and mid 1980s--my sensitivities are real and palpable and me who has remained an army wife even though I am now a pipe welder/steamfitter's wife, had forgotten. I had failed.  I instantly, intently and intensely said prayers of remembrance and forgiveness and wiped my tears and texted the Caveman and hung the flag and said another prayer of thanksgiving and felt a very little bit better.

But as the day wore on,  I felt an odd relief--my cerebrum may have forgotten, but my heart, my soul, the thing that makes me me and will pass last from me on the day I close my eyes for forever had remembered.  I just didn't know how to "read" my heart's calendar.  In a way, formal thought had protected my still broken heart and wounded soul from those horrible memories.   

It was good to realize that I had not forgot to never forget. 

xoxo Darya  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Porsche Girl

To say that I am a girly kind of girl would be an understatement—I like my nails and hair done and most of my spare time is spent knitting.  Cars, I don’t know so much—I do know that I like them red and cute and to at least look like they could go fast, but it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker if they don’t.  Anyone who knows me would never call me a “car kinda girl”.  So, it is funny that I would become such a smitten kitten over my 1969 Porsche 912.

We were like most young families in the 1960s, we weren’t poor, but Daddy worked and Momma didn’t, and if there wasn’t money for something then we went without it until we could afford it.  We only had one car at a time and Daddy usually drove it to work unless we had an errand to run, then Sister and I would hop into the back seat of the 1961 Chevelle or 1967 Mustang Fastback or 1969 Ford Cortina station wagon.  Over the years, in an effort to have a little extra during the holidays, Daddy would work evenings and weekends at a friend's Mobil service station and Momma would work nights on the assembly line at Mattel Toys. The year I remember most (and certainly, the year all the little boys in the neighborhood remember most), is the year she worked on the Hot Wheels line.  Suffice to say, my boy cousin had ALL the Hot Wheels—he even had the super bitchin’ carrying cases.  I loved those cases--nail polish would have fit perfectly!  That Christmas, Sister and I received a couple of the cars and some orange track (which like every other boy in the neighborhood, we nailed to the wall in an effort to achieve more height and ultimately enough speed to get through the loop-de-loop, but eventually we slapped each other in the small of the back with it on a hot summer day and in a fit of pique Mom took it all away).  I cannot tell you the cars Sister pulled out of  her stocking, but to this day I remember my 1965 convertible white Mustang with red interior and what I believe in my own heart was a red 1969 912, but let’s be honest, it was probably a 911.  Unto this world, a little Porsche girl was born. 

Fast forward to 2001, when at the age of nearly forty after fifteen years at a Fortune-500 company with a son getting ready to go to college, I was laid-off.  Now, I freely admit that any sensible woman who is nearly forty with a son getting ready to go to college would have come out of the free job-prep symposium freshly motivated with newly updated and printed resumes, hired a headhunter, had her hair cut into a respectable bob, secured a new career path and ultimately stayed on the freeway in a corporate-leased VW Passat.  Nope.  Not me.  Instead, this girl cut her hair boy-short and dyed it blonde, turned in her leased vehicle, sold all her suits and closed-toe shoes at a garage sale and—here’s the best part, peopletook her severance pay and bought the most adorable big-girl-Hot-Wheel-912 that her husband could hunt down for her—and started her own business.  Oh, my, what a difference a car can make.

Basically, that car is the only thing that I own outright, but it makes me feel nearly worth a million dollars.  I absolutely love that car—I am beholden to nothing when I am in it.  It makes me feel prettier, taller, thinner, smarter and way cooler than any girl has a right to feel.  It is simple and sweet and smells like when gas smelled like lead and that was a good smell.  The seat belts aren’t retractable, so I am the only one who drives the car, partly because it is mine and partly because it takes Herculean strength to adjust them.  The car still has the original black California plates and Solex carburetors and forty-some-odd years’ worth of registration tags. I only have to make sure the gas doesn’t get too low or something old and cruddy will chip off in the gas tank and get into the engine (so says Mr. Mechanic Man) or that the oil puddle on the garage floor is still there, because, “if it isn’t leaking oil, Darya then it is out of oil” (so says the Caveman).  There is no air conditioning, so you always end up getting where you were going a little less fresh than when you left, but that is okay—I always need a few extra minutes to sit on the aluminum door sill and put my shoes back on because I can only drive barefooted!  It is in those moments that I realize how very much I adore this car and its simplicity;  I am connected to this car that was hand-built the same decade I was born.  I am still not a "car kinda girl"; I am a Porsche girl.
xoxo Darya

Monday, September 2, 2013

You May Not Know This About Me

  1. I learned how to sew before I ever knew how to read. Thanks, Mom <3 This is so important to me and defines me so completely that it had to be No. 1. 
  2. I have been this exact size AND shape since the summer between 7th and 8th grade.  Yeah.  Think about it.  Yikes.
  3. I had never been behind the wheel of a car until the very first day of driver's ed class--yes, I was that girl.  To make matters worse, in my little town in Utah, if you were able to touch the break pedal, you were allowed to drive farm equipment--it was all very Footloose.  PS - Parts of Footloose were actually filmed in my little town!
  4. At 5-years-old, I swallowed a 36-inch, 14kt-gold neck chain. My dad's gold letterman football was hanging on it and Mom had worn it since their high school days. I was rushed to ER; X-rayed and Mom was told to watch for it to "come out".  To this day, it has never been witnessed "coming out".
  5. My father is the last surviving male in his family, which means when I married and changed my name, there is no one left to carry on his family name--my maiden name. This strikes me as so sad.
  6. I married my first boyfriend.  Hell, I married ALL my boyfriends! 
  7. I once paid an entire month's worth of bills with only my rolled change.
  8. I am allergic to tree nuts in general and deathly allergic to macadamia nuts, specifically. 
  9. I lived in Utah for 4 years and never learned to ski--mostly out of protest for being made to live in Utah for 4 years. 
  10. I was 26-years-old before I attended my first funeral. And it was a full-tilt, prime time Italian Catholic requiem mass with the body laid out in a blue satin casket.  Clearly, it remains fresh in my mind's eye. 
  11. When driving a car, I do not like to cross traffic to make a left-hand turn preferring rather to make 3 right-hand turns instead.  Absurd, I know. 
  12. I am P E T R I F I E D of vampires.  Not clowns, they are only creepy, and definitely not zombies, they are just gross, but vampires (((shudder))) are beyond frightening to me. It makes my hand go to my throat while I genuflect just thinking about them--it--those.
  13. My first job was working at a mink ranch--you really do not want to know the details of that summer.
  14. At the top of my game, I could type 95-words-per-minute on a typewriter with no errors and take shorthand dictation.  Sounds all very silly now that the '70s are over, but also just a little Mad Men sexy, dontcha' think.
  15. I have had two Spanish-speaking husbands, lived with two Spanish-speaking Mothers-in-law AND  lived in Texas--I still can't speak Spanish.  I am a linguistic failure.
 xoxo Darya

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Awesome Life 2.0

Recently, Sister and I were on an emergency road trip to be with our out-of-state parents.  It was a long drive that gave Sister and me ample opportunity to speak uninterruptedly about all sorts of things including her beautiful daughter's struggle with body image and starting high school in the fall.  And because I had made a promise to myself last New Year's Eve not to walk away when someone needs something that I might be able to provide, I made a call to my trainer to see if he would accept someone of Niece's age.  He would!  And now she is working out at the most adorable and appropriate and awesome CrossFitesque gym less than a mile from her house! 

Looking back to my own summer before high school, I realized  how much I could have used someone taking an interest in me.  Someone responsible and loving and without an ulterior motive; someone to help me to feel special; to feel worthy; to feel that I could do anything.   So, the night before Niece started at the gym I wrote her this letter, and as I wrote, I realized THIS letter was THAT letter--this was the letter to the way-back-then Darya that no one ever wrote to her!  THIS letter was really version 2.0.  I was giving to myself what nobody had given to me!  It is true:  When no one gives it to you the first time around, you have to find a way to give it to yourself--the 2.0 version!  I guess I am pretty proud of the THIS and the THAT letter, so I am sharing.

My dearest, angel. 

I am so excited for you to meet Mr. Trainer Man and for you to be a part of my gym.  Just remember that we ALL have to do something for exercise--it is just the way it is and the sooner we embrace this fact the better we all are for it.  You will become stronger and more durable; you will learn that you can step out of your comfort zone; your mind just needs to be taught; your heart needs to believe and your body needs to just do it.  You will hurt a little in the beginning, but you are not broken and you deserve good health and fitness. You are so worthy.  You WILL NOT believe the amazing things your body will learn to do and the shape it will change from and in to!  Let me tell you a secret:  Six weeks will pass whether or not you make this change.  As a matter of fact, a part of you will yell, "No, stay here where it is comfortable"; another part will say, "No, stop! You are hurting me"; still other parts will shout out, "Stop this nonsense right now! This is not good for us."  But you will have to decide to push aside these failure feelings because they don't understand that you are learning to do things differently from what you have been doing!  How great will it be to know you made a significant change in your own heart and body.  These are the lessons most women don't ever learn.  Many never.  And because I know these things, I have a deeper responsibility to teach them to you.  I cannot let you remain ignorant.  I cannot turn away.  I cannot let you slip through my fingers.

When you feel overwhelmed, just imagine days filled with the joy of movement and strength-gaining instead of anxiety and self-doubt or worse wondering what could have been if I had just done something differently.  Because clearly TV watching and computer playing and phone texting are not enough, Sweetheart!  I cannot promise you what your body will look like exactly, but I can promise you that the sadness in your heart will be replaced with blood pumping boldness; the loneliness in your soul will be replaced with a desire to surround yourself with other women who do powerful things; the empty feeling in your brain will be replaced with a passion for knowledge to know more and do better!  And you need to realize, too, that life is not a success-only journey; that sometimes you will have to keep at something until you get it right.  Just like when we were going to see Grandpa and I passed that turn on the highway.  I didn't just pull the car over and take the keys out of the ignition and STOP--we aren't still sitting in the exact same place this week that we were in last week.  No!  You identified the problem; I asked for help; your mom guided me and we were right back on track.  Boom.  Done.  That simple; that fast.  The gym, as well as the GPS, allows for U-turns--LOL.  

So, my dear one, just show up tomorrow, do what Mr. Trainer Man tells you to do and then do it all over again the next day and the next day and for the next six weeks after that and then for the rest of your life.  YOUR life. YOUR new awesome life.  But most importantly, Sweetie, enjoy!  Enjoy what you so deserve.

xoxo Darya

PS - Sister bought the same Groupon and now we are all doing what needs to be done to be fit and awesome at fifty, forty and nearly fourteen!  I am so proud of us girls--it's gonna be an Awesome Life 2.0.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Original Darya

This is my 2-year-old birthday picture.  

Now, if you are of a certain age, you recognize that this picture is just one in a series of at least three or five pictures that were printed in an insanely long portrait style that you definitely had to have custom framed!  Momma tells me that I am blowing the photographer a kiss in this pic--not too creepy, Mom--the next picture in the series has me turned completely backwards--the exact same setting, just backwards--so that you can see that the back of  my hair is past my waist!  But this is my very most favorite picture ever taken of me.  At this very moment, this picture sits on my bedside table--this is the very first thing I see when I open my eyes in the morning.

This picture reminds me to be more like this little girl everyday:  She didn't give a good-goddamn what people thought of her; she wore twirly-skirted dresses, as well as her grandfather's fedora; she dressed-up her dolly and kitty in baby clothes, and played office, over-the-line, house and doctor with the neighborhood boys.  Jeez, I miss that little girl.  I want to be more like that little girl.  I want to be that little girl now just in a grown-up woman version.

 xoxo Darya

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hope Is The New Hard

I cannot lie, it has been a REALLY hard year or two...or three.  Let me be the first to say that I have a remarkably rich, splendid and blessed life--what I am talking about here, I guess, is what people call depression or a funk or a REEEEAAAAALLLLLY long sad mood.  So, I get the selfishness of my bitching--it is not lost on me one little bit. 

And I have had much harder years.  Harder in the sense that I didn't have enough money to buy diapers or formula or even food for that matter (not like I couldn't go to Carl's Jr, but like I couldn't B U Y   A N Y   F O O D) and I had to pawn my sewing machine and other items precious to me--something that I am still quite embarrassed to write out loud.  Embarrassing hard times

Or even the year I left my first husband and moved in with my family and literally slept days and worked nights, exactly the opposite of Sister just so we could sleep in the same room in the same bed, just not at the same time because that is all my parents had to offer and believe-you-me it was A  LOT to offer because I had brought a two-year-old with a sippy cup into their house about an hour after they had laid brand new beige carpeting.   Now, if you have ever lived with a sippy-cup-aged child, you recognize the sprinkle pattern of red-any-kinda-juice stains and you can appreciate the depth and breadth of The Parents hospitality.  Thinking of this leads me to remember my son taking the cat's collar off that first weekend and tying it around the neck of a ceramic goose my mom had painted and fired herself and then he asked it to "walk duck".  Needless to say, it tipped over breaking the head off prompting him to cry and my colon to tighten.  Good hard times

I have had hard times that required me to be on the run from home to daycare to work and back to daycare then to soccer practice back home to fix dinner, do homework, go to bed and THEN do it all over the next day; I have had hard times when I thought we would never have a stick of furniture or a paid-off car.  Hard work times.

Then, there was the excruciatingly hard time I had watching my beloved husband and his family sit hospice care day-in and day-out for seventeen days straight while the father of their little family died at home of stage IV pancreatic cancer.  Heartbreaking hard times.  And then the very next year I had to sit in-patient hospital comfort care, which is entirely ironic because it is not at all comfortable, for the entire Easter weekend watching my much-adored 93-year-old grandmother die after breaking her hip never letting my son's still unborn children know what a great old broad she was.  Sad hard times.

This hard time has been hard in a slow simmer kinda way.  I have come to the realization that I have a two-to-ten-year-percolation period for my life's traumas and dramas.  And boy, oh boy, I have been hit by some of life's big three in the last couple of years--a trifecta of hard times.  Most days I have been treading water.  Some days--hell, ALL of the days of two summers ago--I have been going down for the third time.  But because of some very pointed advice given to me by my husband, The Caveman, "Baby, I love you with all my heart and all I have to give, but I just cannot do this any more.  Not one more day.  You need something I cannot give to you.  I cannot indulge in your constant dialogue on these subjects, Darya.  Seek help.  Now.  For God's sake; for my sake; for your sake and for the sake of our marriage."  So, because in the middle of this incredible cast of misfit, miscreant, misogynistic characters I am the one that cried the loudest and hurt the longest, I had to go get help.  I had to see a psychologist.  I had to get my head shrunk.  Crazy hard times.

I haven't been meeting with Dr. Headshrinker all that long--maybe a couple of months, but already the tide in me is starting to turn.  I can feel it.  The riptide is starting to stop dragging me under.  The current is changing.  I am changing.  Oftentimes, you just do not know how bad the undertow was sucking you down and under until you finally get to the whitewater and start to crawl and gasp and swallow a ton of saltwater--tears--to finally feel just how hard you had been working.  Hard times.  I am finally recognizing that these last three-and-a-half years have been hard in yet another different way than what I am used to calling hard.

But really, what does it matter?  If it's hard, it is hard.  Period.  I don't need to rate my life's painful experiences on the shit-o-meter of life.  Hard is hard.  Hopeless and helpless and desperate and in despair is a tough neighborhood to live in and honestly, I hope to be moving soon.  Hopeful hard times.

 xoxo Darya

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Golden Girls

We were all at San Onofre California State Beach to celebrate Chigirl's "golden birthday" but by my calculations, she was more than 25-years-old.  Whatever.  I was soon educated as to the reality of a golden birthday:  The occasion when your birth date and your birth years are the same.  Golden.  Silly.  Looking at these beautiful young women wearing golden bathing suits and sunglasses and drinking out of golden cups, I just could not see myself as their twenty-seven.

They come from both coasts and big cities in the middle of the country.  They are smart girls; employed girls; educated girls.  They au pair; they play professional football; they work as paralegals and they work in city government.  They support their boyfriends; two of which travel and train for a major CrossFit box teaching strength and fleet-of-foot, and so many things that are important to athletes and our military.  These girls are part of that community, the box; one is the box, as she is one of the two box-bound trainers; some sell T-shirts and set-up and tear-down at events and literally walk the walk--just look at those abs and arms!  Absolutely beautiful young ladies.  I am so proud of them.  They make me proud to be a girl, too! 

Looking at these young women, I want to tell them so many things and by this age, I know what is important and what is just noise meant to distract and derail and demean us as women.  I want to tell these girls to keep being nice to one another; to keep supporting and guiding each other.  Stay tight; stay connected; stay unified.  The world can be a hungry ugly place and you will need your girlfriends to help you through it.  

On my list of Things I Learned in My Fiftieth Year, #28 reads, "I envy girls who have girlfriends and girl's nights out".  I don't envy much; this I envy. A lot. It seems like such an odd thing to think about now, but in all my years of marriages and babies and jobs and gyms and laundry and grocery, I never had a group of gals to have my back.  This Darya is really sad for that Darya doing it all alone for so long.  I could have used a bunch of girlfriends--I really could have used a girlfriend. 

This isn't the only group of girlfriends I know.  And they all have common threads: They made their friendships in high school, college or as roommates.  They all have a bestie who held their hair back when they had to throw-up or held their purse when they had to pee.  They all have a BFF who understands what their dream wedding gown will look like and the song her and her daddy will dance to.  They all have a genuinely beloved friend who knows the names of her babies before they even fall from heaven.  HmmmGolden.  Maybe not so silly.    

I love these girls; I love what these girls are making of themselves; I love that they love each other; I love that they included me, me who is nearly twenty-seven years older than they are!  But that is okay--I can feel in my bones that it is true what they say about staying young at heart and body and spirit when you surround yourself with the young.  I was flattered to be included with these women that could have been my daughters and whose experiences are so different from my own. 

This makes me want to laugh and to cry all at the same time.  This is the first time that I have felt that my time is over; my hey day is gone; my opportunity for what these girls have has been missed.  True?  Most definitely.  Sad?  Kinda.  Jealous?  Maybe.  But it is what it is.  And maybe what it is is just the combination of caring for my mother-in-law and my own aging parents and my own age and my own son and my own friendships and my own questioning of my place in the universe.

Who the hell knows. Maybe I grew up just a little bit as well on Chigirl's birthday.  Maybe it is all true, after all; maybe this is just how life happens.  Golden And definitely not silly

Happy birthday!  

xoxo Darya