Friday, December 26, 2014

A Letter to My Son

Happy Birthday, Son!

I like you so much!

That may not sound like much, but 31-years ago that was very important to this young mom. And when this young mom's water broke at 12:05am on December 26th after being in the hospital for 3 weeks with pre-term labor and placenta previa, and her baby was not due to make his appearance until early February, things were a little, shall we say, tense.

But long before that, each night when I would lay my head down on my pillow or when stopped at stoplights or while hurling up and right back out of me whatever little bit of food I could get down, I would pray, "Please, Lord, just let me LIKE this child."

It may seem odd or cold or even I-don't-know-what, but I knew I would LOVE my child; I knew I would care for my baby and be there for "him" and be the best mom I could be for "him". (As a side note, I was totally convinced I was having a Sweetheart, so imagine my surprise when Dr. Lady Army Captain said, "It's a Hero." and he was whisked away to the NICU without a a name or even a peek, but thats a whole 'nother story...). I just really needed to be assured that I would LIKE my baby. It was all very simple, yet so complicated and important.

Because I ALWAYS knew I would love my baby; the life growing inside of me; even before I knew him as the Hero, I knew I loved him. Without question, I loved my Hero.

I just did not always know that I would LIKE him. And that was so important to me.

This Christmas night, standing on the porch 
with my arms around the Caveman and waving goodbye to the Hero and his Babydoll, after an amazing day spent with friends who we consider our family simply because family has precious little to do with blood to our little family; I realized how very much I like this man I call my son. And I just wanted to thank God out loud for answering that young mom-to-be's prayers.

Happy birthday, Son! I love you with all my heart, and more importantly, I like you, too!

xoxo Darya

Monday, December 1, 2014

The 24th Year is Not For Shiny

I have never really considered it an inconvenient coincidence, but more a happy happenstance that my wedding anniversary follows on the heels of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Clearly, it keeps me mindful and grateful.  And I have a lot to be thankful for--an awful lot.

I have had the chance to be exquisitely reminded lately of fresh shiny pretty beginnings. As the saying goes, "I was on my way to conquer the world and then I saw something shiny and pretty..."

Recently, two sets of our good couple-friends have become engaged. They are going to begin their lives together. Their possibilities are endless. Their beginnings are so full of fun and passion, and life in general just seems so shiny. I have no other word for it. Shiny.

But, it only takes someone at their beginning to remind you that you are at your middle or at the very least not at your beginning, and in all honesty, I don't think I can live through another one of my own beginnings. 

I took a walk in the shore water this morning after I took the Caveman's mother to get blood drawn, and then to her chair yoga class at the senior center but before I dropped-off signed house refinance papers and then sat down to do 12-good hour's worth of work in 5-short hour's worth of daylight, and I thought of the ways in which the coupling of two people can beget a family either by marriage or by adoption or by birth, and also how simply that delicate coupling can be undone by someone's leaving either by death or by divorce or by the slamming of a door.

And then some shine wears off.

This year counting courtship and engagement and marriage, the Caveman and I have been together for nearly 30 years. As of today, 24 years of that time has been spent in wedded bliss. Pure shiny bliss--no joke. But a 24th wedding anniversary is kinda like being 20-years-old: still not quite a teenager, but not able to buy and enjoy a decent alcoholic beverage, either.

You are putting in the time and getting some patina; you are waiting to celebrate the shiny 25th.

We are a little tired and beat-up this anniversary, and once or twice this year we have been a little beat down--not quite so shiny. But, oh, Christalmighty, Cavemanyou sure do make me happy.

Happy, shiny 24th wedding anniversary!

xoxo Darya

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Never Step to God

I am a good girl and you never hear me say things like, "Oh, that's it! What more can God to do me?" Or, "God just doesn't love me!" Or, "Why does God hate me so much?"

I never step to God.

Truth be told, I live an incredibly blessed life of love and freedom and hard work and good fun and loads of friends. More importantly, I do not believe in a vengeful God. I believe in a loving and gracious and benevolent God. I do not even like writing those letters next to one another to form those words to make that sentence. But lemmetellyou, it has been one hell of a couple of years, and just when I think I have rounded the month and kinda sorta started to get ahead of the curve something else has happened, either by my own hand or by fate's, and then WHAM!

Hopefully, the last straw came with my mid-October four-day hospital stay brought about by my little surfing accident, which left me with two fractured ribs that punctured my left lung and slowly deflated it until I had no lung with which to breathe--better known as an acute pneumothorax from trauma. I am not even going to go into what it did to my 25-year-old Dow Corning silicone breast implant. Anyhoo...

I have posted a few pics and made a couple oblique mentions on my Instagram and FB Fan Page but I really have not been burning up my feeds like you would expect me to do if some kook had come from the outside and ran my kookie ass over and kept surfing right on by. That is because it was an accident of the greatest proportion--an accident distilled from the purest most authentic and unadulterated force majeure--it was an accident done to me by my own Caveman.

Yes, I know. I know.

I saw it all in his eyes and across his face. I heard it all in his voice. I felt it in his touch as he unzipped my wetsuit and peeled it off my shoulder. And it all made me instantly not want to bawl or howl or make a scene or be fussed over or anything that would make his pain or guilt or concern any more acute.

It was a Sunday morning spent surfing. It was pure perfection. We were coming in, and I ended my wave at the bottom of his wave hidden in his whitewater purely by accident--mainly because it is nature and you cannot always guarantee that where you go down is where you will come back up. When I did come up, I saw him; he did not see me; I even saw him looking for me. I even willed him to see me, but that plan did not work so well; I quickly moved to plan B, which was to cover my head and dive as deep as I could. I saw his board go over me, and I thought for an instant that he had cleared me. Then, there was the solid THUNK of the fin of his board hitting my back and dragging across to my arm; I heard my own scream under the water and then I had no air, I mean really,
(((I HAD NO AIR))) and I could hear the crinkling and bubbling of the air in me and I could feel my ribs moving at my back.

When I came to the surface and the whitewater had cleared and he finally saw me, the Caveman was at the shorebreak yelling if that was me that he had hit and if I was okay and "to get on my board and come here right now!" I was saying yes and yes and yes. I am a little embarrassed to say that I secretly wished the Caveman could reach across the water and just pluck me out and save me, you know, like he does on any given day.

Meanwhile, in my head, I was going through my own private checklist against panic and pain: Darya, you cannot even touch bottom! You cannot breathe! Fuck, this hurts! Calm your ass down. Just put your arm over the other arm and swim; pull on your leash; swim; pull; swim; pull. Grab your board. Get up on your board. Oh, thank God, there's a wave. Just ride it in. Get out of the water. Quickly! Untie your leash. Get away from your board! Yes, yes, yes, I am okay. I just need to take a knee--like a football player or a wrestler or a whatever. No, I am okay. Just let me catch my breath. No, I can walk. 

We walked down the beach to our stuff. He took another peek at my back to be sure nothing in me was not poking out of me and we looked at the three-inch gash in my wetsuit.  While he loaded up, I rinsed off at the showers thank God I did because that was to be my only shower for the next four days. We walked very silently and very quickly, as quickly as I humanly could.

And in my head I just kept the loop going: Darya, just walk down the beach. Darya, carry the board overhead, it's easier to breathe that way. Bag the boards. Stow your crap. Just keep walking. Walk over the sand. Walk over the bridge. One foot in front of the other. One foot in front of the other. Stop and rinse off at the showers. Walk to the car. No. I can carry my own board. Yes, I am okay. No, just let me catch my breath. Really, I am okay. ::smiling, kinda:: 

But I just kept getting weaker. When I forfeited brunch and my usual Mexican coffee AND I asked to go to the ER, the Caveman knew, well, he just knew it was a big deal because no.1: I spend enough time in hospitals and no. 2: I do not like to part with my money, especially to our healthcare system.

To make matters all the worse, the Caveman had to endure watching me abide a four-hour ER wait-time before I even got to get in a bed or get seen by a physician or get my one intramuscular shot of totally ineffective pain medicine or get my chest x-ray. All that was nothing. The Caveman still had to do the hardest thing of all: He had to leave my side and make the hard phone calls to Daddy and Sister and oh, God to the Hero.

It would be another two hours before I was placed into the CT tube so that the chest tube could be placed into me. All in all, it had been nearly eight hours before I could breathe again.

Oh, well. I am strong. I am Dutch. I can take it.

It really does not matter. I took it.

Now that I am home, and I am back at work and the gym and needing to be 110%, but really feeling only about 70% things have really piled onto my shoulders, and I am beginning to keep count and keep score and the column that is against me is getting longer than the column that is for me. Just like the debit column is getting way shorter than the credit column or the other way around--I always forget which column is coming in and which column is going out. Maybe that's why I am always in so much trouble.  Hmmm...that's a poser, whad'ya think...

But, yes, yes, yes, I am okay. Just let me catch my breath. It has become my mantra it seems.

And maybe all I really need is to get in the water and get fully stoked just once. Just once.

Really, I am okay. Just let me catch my breath. Because honestly, what am I going to do? Step to God.

xoxo Darya

Friday, November 14, 2014

I, The Juror

I am stunned and somewhat ashamed to be sitting in the Superior Court of California County of Orange juror selection room listening to all the bitching and kvetching and bellyaching going on.

Honest to God...

For chrissake people, aren't we all the exact same folks that made the most of our day off when we all "celebrated" Veteran's Day? Did we all not just hang our flags and beat our chests and tell each other what awesome patriots we are? And did we all not just hug a veteran or feed a veteran or throw some change at a veteran at a freeway on-ramp or pump a veteran's hand and slap him (or her) on the back and tell him (or her), "Helluva job you did there, son (little girl); helluva a job. So, proud to call myself an American, and so proud to say thank you for your service and your sacrifice." That last part embarrasses me to no end today.

If that was you yesterday and you are sitting with me in the juror selection room today, I wanna punch you in the throat right now. How dare you be so selfish; how dare you be so cowardly. How dare you believe that your time is worth more than someone else's freedom. After all, if you are eligible to be seated as a juror, you are part of that small segment of society for which jail and prison still operates as a deterrent and you should be pretty grateful for this opportunity to make sure that this one system we got going on IS actually working!

And lemmetellyou, most of you are acting like assholes. Near as I can see, you are working one of two angles: 1) The language angle; 2) You are biased against/for the police, the plaintiff, the defendant; pink hearts; yellow moons; orange stars or green clover and whatfuckingeverelse you can dream up as you describe in a manner, that you cannot even convince yourself is true, that you just cannot see yourself being able to see past your somewhat proudly proclaimed biases to ascertain the facts from your own ass when the evidence is presented, AND then you bold-faced lied and told the judge that you could not even do that when instructed by the judge about the actual law!!!
Unfuckingbelievable. Honestly, I cannot tell if you are stupid or liars or you are just stupid fucking liars.

And please 'splain to me, Ms. Juror 110, how you took your citizenship test and oath and the written driving test all in English AND received and answered your jury summons managing to both drive and arrive at the jury assembly room only to find yourself seated next to me making English small talk about how nice my cat-eye eyeliner and your chola-esque eyebrows look this early in the morning and listening to the same jury instructions, yet, lo-and-behold when it comes time for voir dire, "you no do English goodly" riddlemefuckingthat.

I am also pretty upset at that small specific portion of my fellow cast of characters called to report to Section C68 on the eleventh floor to help figure out if Mr. Patron had too much to drink one particular night when he got in his car and started driving and then a whole bunch of shit must have gone down because it ultimately resulted in me waiting on your disrespectful ass to get off of the escalator or elevator or the phone late each and every single goddamn time we had to arrive for roll-call because the rules say we all have to shuffle-move as one great big 300-styled-ready-for-battle-tortoise-shell-shaped mass from the jury room to the courtroom to the bathroom and back, again.

Disrespectful; disingenuous; deceitful and duplicitous. And almost all of you smelled. Disgusting. I am so mad and upset and disappointed. You all ruined my day. You all conspired to take something that is a privilege and something we should all be so proud to do with a pure and engaging heart--to listen completely and openly; to follow directions. I was sad to be unable to serve. I would have made the sacrifice; I would have lost a butt-load of money NOT availing myself of my own work, but I would have sacrificed to be of service.

Oh, and I am a good juror.

I don't mean to brag and I don't mean to boast, but you really want me on your trial; your attorney wants me on your trail! I listen and I think and I am discerning and open-minded, but not so open-minded that things like my common sense fall out. And, to be honest, I am easy on the eyes and if you are going to have to look at someone for a month, well, I think that would be an added luxury--definitely not a requisite, but a nice little frill. I know I want to look at a couple of sharp attorneys in pretty clothes speaking properly while duking it out. Like I said, it does not make a real difference but its an added treat. If you are a shitty lawyer with a crappy case and client, no matter how impeccably appointed you may be, it will not make a difference.

I have had the privilege of being seated as a juror twice, both criminal trials; both grueling; both were about a month long. The first trial was a gang murder in which one gang member put the business end of a less-than-18-inch sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun with a pistol grip to some poor bastards head when he mistakenly wandered into West Trece territory and did not answer properly to the question, "Where you from?" Ka-Boom! The top of his head got blown off and all over his buddy riding, ironically enough, shotgun and the velvet headliner of his low-rider whip.

The second trial was a child molestation case where I was seated as juror No. 1 at approximately 8:30am on day No. 1, and I did not move for nearly three weeks as I endured the then 6-year-old victim take the witness stand against her "tio". See, Tio was found by the young girl's mother spooning her sleeping 5-year-old daughter with her panties inside-out and his pants undone, and somehow some of his semen mysteriously made its way to her prepubescent vulva. Yeah. Picture that in your mind's eye because it is emblazoned into mine. I cannot imagine how the assistant district attorneys sleep at night nor how the defendant sleeps at night, well, actually, we found him guilty so I am pretty sure I know how he sleeps at night, or at the very least, how he lays there very still with his eyes wide open and his back pressed against the wall just like that petrified little girl must have on a lot of nights.

That was intense and important stuff people.

Watching that little girl bravely facing her perpetrator and providing her own testimony was very powerful to see, and if you do not think that that is worth your time or your energy or even your timeliness, well, I feel very sorry for you and I hope that one day you need the services of an attorney and he (or she) has to pick a jury out of a roomful of people. Just. Like. You.  Because let's not forget, one of your rights as a citizen includes the right to a jury of YOUR peers.

And maybe that is all you deserve, you selfish sonofabitch.

xoxo Darya

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I Am Anxiety's Bitch, Part II

In all fairness to my amazing friends and readers and supporters who have been so kind as to follow along with me on my journey to become a more happy and fully functioning grown-ass woman, I just could not make you'all read about ALL my anxiety ALL at once. 

So, I busted it out into two parts.

If you feel lost or have forgotten, either by chance or by choice, about what has already gone down, feel free to read through I Am Anxiety's Bitch, Part I and join me back here. I ain't going nowhere.

xoxo D

And so it goes...

In an effort to help me understand what anxiety really was, Dr. Headshrinker brought out his well-worn volume of the DSM-IV-TR (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revised, nice, huh),  and together Dr. Headshrinker and I looked it up and sure as shootin' I had 9 of the 13 symptoms listed necessary to meet the criteria for a bona fide panic attack. And honestly, what a relief to know I was not just being all Darya-y. You know, all nervous-y and twitchy and migrainous and easily made to vomit.

Like all things that happen, they happen for a reason, though much of the time I really have no earthly idea what that reason is; however, I have learned not to question that--to just "be" as a new old friend has repeatedly said to me. And they happen in groupings of instances. In the span of two days, I had three very separate conversations with three very different men about this exact same topic. The fact that they are all men is not purely coincidental as I have always been able to speak more freely with men and most of my deeper friendships have been with men--namely, my husbands. As part of The Better Me Project, I am trying to have more female relationships. That is an entirely different blog topic for another day, believeyoume.

Anyhoo, one of these men explained to me that he loved having those feelings of uncertainty when it came time to do an especially difficult or mind numbing CrossFit WOD. He related that he so rarely feels that sense of uncertainty and rush of adrenaline. And I know what he does for a living and I would think his days would be filled with the thrill of adrenaline. He spoke frankly to me about utilizing that heightened sensation to make myself brighter and quicker and more alert. I have trouble acting normal when I am nervous so that did not seem very relevant to me.

My second conversation was a text thread with a friend; whereby, he told me that he had had a near-perfect day riding his motorcycle fast enough to scare the soccer moms on the way to his uber-sleek and fast fishing boat, and he opined that if he had just been able to make a jump out of an airplane, it would have been a grand slam of a day.

And then, later that same weekend, I sat on our backyard garden wall while the Caveman was working on the roof and I asked him if there was anything that scared him, like, so scared he might feel paralyzed or stupid? The Caveman said that the only thing that scares him is the thought of not coming home to me at night and that makes him work harder; to be more alert be alert; the world needs more lerts--an old, dumb joke few will get.

Let me break it down for you: What I perceive as fear and anxiety, they process as feeling alive or as an adrenaline rush. I think I may die and they are trying to feel this way on purpose because they do not feel this way enough of the time! Da fuq. CrossFit WODs; jumping out of planes; riding motorcycles super fast; prepping a witness; walking high up in the sky; welding on something hot and high or cold and deep in the ground deep enough that the sides could cave in and I would never see one of those men ever again. I do not need to be jump qualified or stand below a helicopter lifting something insanely heavy overhead for my adrenaline to make a sound in my ears. I only have to think about how I will pay my house or how I will tell the Caveman that his mother is too much for me to care for properly, and then the panic rises like bile from my stomach and burns the back of my throat.

As I sat on the planter in the backyard explaining all this to the Caveman, I asked him again the same question. He made me come up on the roof and sit down next to him and we looked out over the house we have made our home and I could feel the salt air in my hair, and he very patiently explained to me like he was speaking to a small retarded child, "I am only afraid of not coming home to you at night, Darya, and that just makes me pay more attention at work. That is it."

I told this last part to Dr. Headshrinker. He so simply said to me like he was speaking to a small retarded child, "The Caveman does not have an anxiety issue, Darya."  That sounds oh-so-very-simple, but in my pea-brain it sounded like something Copernicus or Einstein or Alex Trebek might say. It was so simple as to be beyond my comprehension, but to be fair, that happens to me a lot.

Hi, my name is Darya. I am anxiety's bitch.

This item has been added to the spreadsheet: Break-up With Anxiety. And Dr. Headshrinker and I have a plan--a very good, thoughtful plan on how to get me over some of the anxiety-inducing bumps in my day and my nights.

For right now, I have just been practicing my surfing because one Fourth of July a long time ago at San Onofre State Beach I was hit in the face by the surfboard rail in a major way and it broke my nose and separated it from my skull and split my lip and gave me a concussion and I had to get stitches and it was all very bloody and emergent and, well, anxiety inducing. I did the math over Father's Day weekend this year when we were camping and the Caveman was surfing at San O, and that is when I got back on that surfboard--I got back on when I realized that that was nearly 20 years ago. That was much too long to be so afraid--especially of something I love so much.

Break-up With Anxiety--I think we will be working on this one line item for a while but I think it is time. It is my time. And I believe I am totally worth my time.

 And I can see Dr. Headshrinker dreaming of a week in Waikiki off of this little gem alone.

xoxo Darya

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Being Hip Without Breaking A Hip

So, if you follow me on Instagram or my Facebook Fan Page, you know that I fell off of my bike and ate it hard on the Fourth of July.

I was on Balboa Peninsula and riding my bike along with the Caveman and about 400,000 other people and one of them a drunk-ass wannabe sorority chick from the 909 locked target on me like an Exocet missile. I had no where to go--I was stuck between her bearing down on me and a huge solid oak garage door.

I laid the bike down and slid on my right side thinking, I guess, that at 4-mph I could somehow cafe-racer-style pull it out in the straightaway. Let me just take the suspense out of the story right now: I did not make it. Instead I laid the bike down and slid on my right side for an unreasonable distance and amount of time, and came to a halt with my cruiser on top of me and my silk JCrew sunsuit with a deep case of road rash. Have no fear: I did, per usual, protect my expensive and diligently maintained teeth.

Later that night, with me sitting on the closed toilet lid as the Caveman cleaned and dressed my ridiculous wounds, I asked him, "How many more years do you think I can continue doing this sort of nonsense?" It was really more of a rhetorical question, but he answered anyway, "For forever." And he said it to me like he says most things to me: With an absolutely clear conviction, and posolutely no hesitation. He wholly believes that I will be participating in these antics when I am 65-years-old, which in all honesty is really not that far away.

This question-and-answer scenario has played like a loop in my head since that fateful evening. And it seems it has served as a catalyst for what I think may very well be a developmentally delayed midlife crisis, that is if I live to be 104 and God help me if I live to be 104-years-old, because if that is the case, I will need a complete lumbosacral spine transplant, as well as a bilateral elbow and wrist goes-ey over-y.

Let's face it folks, I am bordering on just this side of the ridiculous here, but because more often than not it is the uncomfortable and distressing and not the comfort-making and appropriate that we labor under that helps us to birth a new personal truth or maybe even just a cool new IG handle.

So, I have been reviewing a few facts that I just cannot seem to get away from:
  • Over The Hill: Most of the Caveman and my friends, for whatever reason, are the age of my 30-year-old son; a few are the age of my own parents, and some are our own age. Age has just never really been a deciding factor in whether we enjoy your friendship. I like that about us--we are equal opportunity with our love and our friendship and our support
  • Fear and Loathing: I have been laboring under fear my entire life. Whenever or wherever you see me AND I am awake and upright, I am in all likelihood scared shitless. All my day's worth of self-control and stamina is used up trying to keep that goo-ball of boiling and roiling and rolling and rumbling fear contained to the center of my being because God forbid that should ever show. It truly is difficult to behave cool and perpetually unencumbered if you are constantly gritting your teeth to keep from peeing your pants out of sheer fright. I just gotta get over this--I just gotta break up with anxiety.
  • What Not to Wear: I am probably as fit as I was the year I became pregnant with the Hero and lemmetellyou, I was pretty fit that spring. Regardless of how fit my body may be or how appropriate my BMI, it seems wildly inappropriate to be dressing in clothes from Forever21 and No Rest for Bridget. Perhaps it really should not matter, but it does. Because we all see that lady that just cannot seem to come to grips with the fact that she is over 50 and there ain't nothing pretty about it, and mostly it is just sad and pitiable and the thought of being that lady leaves me totally bereft.
  • Got My Mind on My...Huh? What Were We Talking About, Again?: For the most part, my mind remains young. I mean, I keep my education solid by reading the Urban Dictionary Word of the Day daily and my street cred, well, credible by subscribing to the Inside The Mind of a Ghetto Genius blog. As the proprietor and sole staff member of my own little research and cancer registry services company, it is imperative that I stay up-to-date with technology and medicine and business and cancer and some of the most brilliant research minds. I cannot afford to sit back on my heels and simply say, "I do not do that," or "I am sorry, I do not know that." I better do that and I better fucking get familiar. Period. I may not know Wordpress or how to put in a widget or even "program" my own Facebook fan page, but I do know the important questions to ask should you or someone you love be diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer or localized breast cancer. Cancer: It is what I do. 
  • The Invisible Woman: As I move into the middle of my life, I have found myself feeling that there is something very invisible-making about being a middle aged woman. You are no longer a mommy; not a grand-mommy and not quite dead, either. The fact remains that the days of me turning heads as I walk by has passed me by. Both men and women do not notice me the same as when I was younger, and I have stopped being asked my opinion about anything from what diaper and detergent I use to what type of car, pantyliner or even panty I prefer. And they should be asking me, because I have a lot more money now than I have ever had, and I like to eat nice food and buy nice things for myself and those I love and to see nice places and I like to do it all while driving a nice car. AND I do not need to spend any money on diapers or daycare or dental orthodontics!
  • Hip Without Breaking a Hip: And this last point, I believe, is the most important point: I want to remain relevant and interesting and fun and interested. I want to continue to have goals that interest and challenge me. This includes and is not limited to: getting better at surfing, growing my little bloggity blog, bettering my overhead squat, and learning how to do a strict pull-up, as well as getting back on an airplane without barfing the list is endless and excruciatingly exhausting. All this is in an effort to be hip just without breaking my hip! 
Well, that was a whole lotta words for me to say just to announce that I am creating a new reality for myself and re-dedicating my blog to the pursuit of my own heart's happiness and to being brave in the face of all that frightens me, as well as all the things that are really important to me as I move on from the age of 50. And like I told a group of new blogging girlfriends my new tribe I am redefining 50 for me.


Well, we will all just have to see where this leads--ride along with me because lemmetellyou, God willing and the creek don't rise, you will be in my shoes one day and you are gonna be thanking me for saying to you one Fourth of July holiday, "Yeah. No. It is time to walk your bike across Pacific Coast Highway to get yourself into <insert goofy-and-prolly-totally-inappropriate-place here>"

This is my gift to you. And you are welcome.

xoxo Darya

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Do Good Love

I do not write much about my immediate family. We are very private people by nature and by nurture. And in all honesty, we have no deep dark secret lurking in the shadows waiting to have a light shined on it; there are no interventions waiting to be done or truths to be told. We are simple people; we are blue-collar working folks that earn every inch of our wages and save our pennies and pay our bills and do the hard stuff before we do the fun stuff. That last part is usually what made us different from most other families I knew growing up.

That is what I lived; that is what I was taught; that is what I learned; that is what I saw in the Caveman and that is what I instilled in the Hero. I am telling you all this today for a reason.

Because today is the occasion of my parent's 53rd wedding anniversary. Their wedding created the family seat into which two girls were born and then married two wonderful men creating four beautiful children.

But in all honesty, my parents have been together even longer than that because they met and started dating when my mom was 14-years-old and Daddy was 16-years-old! How about that for high school sweethearts! And let's be honest, staying together for that long and not committing some kind of felony against the other person is a feat in and of itself that is stupid of me to write because a) NOT being together is not an option and b) we are not felonious people--we are that one segment of society for which jail still operates as a deterrent.

I asked my parents last night what one thing they would say to a newly married couple for a long and loving and lasting marriage. Daddy immediately answered with, "Be kind and laugh!" And according to Momma, it is, "Lots of hugs and kisses." When you really think about it, isn't that the answer to a good and happy and loving life in general. Simple. Simple answers to a simple question.

Because love is simple and simply put, the Parents do good love.

In two weeks, Sister and her husband will celebrate 24-years of marriage, and in December, the Caveman and I will celebrate our 24th anniversary, as well. We have a good road map to follow, and we all try to hug and kiss and laugh and be kind because we all want to do good love.

Happy anniversary, Momma and Daddy! And just like I wrote last year on this occasion, well done, Parents, well done; Mazel Tov! Congrats! Many happy returns! Auld Lang Syne! Cheers and Salud!

xoxo Darya

PS - In the pic above Mom is wearing her "going away suit" from when she left her wedding reception. I was supremely lucky and grateful to have Mom keep that collar all those years and to offer it to me when I was designing and making my own wedding dress to the Caveman. I turned that white mink collar into the cuffs and headpiece for my dress. Upcycling at its best. Simple. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

My Blogaversary

A lot has happened since I hit "publish" one year ago today on my first official post. I was so brave that day, because I was so scared. Scared, like, you-do-not-know-scared I was less scared to push a baby human out of my lady-parts, and for the record, that shiz is pretty scary. I was so scared of what people would think of my thoughts and my fears and my insecurities and my less-than-picture-perfect life and all my complaints, and oh, yeah, my writing.

Oh, writing.

When I write, I am actually writing as if we are having a conversation. And if you have ever met me or spoken with me in person, I think you would understand what I am talking about here: That I write exactly as I speak. I know, my writing has a weird syncopation with an odd cadence, but you always seem to understand and respond to the feelings I am trying to convey. Hopefully, anyway.

I have really come to love this space; my blog place. I realize, too, that that is because of the people that have gathered to laugh and to point and to read my run-on sentences and my huge paragraphs and my one-too-many ands in a sentence because I need to get just one more thought out of my head and through my fingertips and this God-forsaken Windows 8.1 keyboard and onto this virtual page.

You all have brought to me the you-can-do-it-girl encouragements, and the I-cannot-believe-you-had-the-guts-to-say-that sideline conversations, as well as the that-is-exactly-how-I-feel high-fives. That last one is the holy grail of blog comments. That is the one that says, "You did it girl!" I made a connection and I made one other person on this big blue marble know that they are understood.

You are the ones that are hoping I get my shit together, and you keep encouraging me to shine a light into that sad dark empty spot where my heart and happiness is supposed to be. You are the ones that are making me feel less weird and more normal.

You are my tribe.

And I do not have words enough to say all that needs to be said because it is all so overwhelming, so I will simply say, thank you. Thank you!

xoxo Darya


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 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

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Caveman Was Right...Again

The Caveman woke-up in the middle of the night last month to me standing by the side of his bed. He was startled and concerned and he asked, "What is wrong, baby?"--well, really, first he said, "Jesus, Darya how long have been standing there?" And then, he realized I was not going to go away poor, Caveman and he figured he had better wake up and get up and pay at least a modicum of attention and figure out what the hell was going on with me that I should be creeping on him in the middle of the night.

I said it in the dark so that he could not see my tears and my fears and the knotted ball of anxiety inside of me, "I am petrified, Caveman. I did what I said I was going to do. I was big and brave and I made my Blue Sweater Day speech and now I do not have a job. I DO NOT HAVE A JOB. I have no place to go everyday and I do not have enough work to keep my mind busy and I do not have enough money to pay all that I need to pay. And what if there is no more work out there for me? And what if no one wants me?" Then, I listed about a million ridiculous, yet somehow plausible, what-if scenarios. And I gotta give the Caveman props for not swatting at me like a mosquito caught in his ear just so I would shut up.

Instead, he spoke very calmly and slowly like you would to a small retarded child, "DJ, I know you. You are going to get your hard-hustle on. You will get work and then you will have money and then your bills will be paid. And by this time next month, you are going to be telling me that you wished you had enjoyed this little bit of down time that you have right now because you will have hustled hard and you will have gotten a ton of work and all of your bills will be paid. Now, please go to bed and go to sleep or you will make yourself sick tomorrow. Pleeeeaaase." And that last part was said with the quiet desperation of a grown man who really just wants to cry because he knows his alarm is going off in about two hours at 4:00 am.

But I did not sleep, and a lot my Facebook friends can attest to that. Instead, I worried and I plotted and I strategized and I scenario-ized.

And then I got up and I got my motherfuckin' hard-hustle on.


Well, lemmejustsay this about all that: The Caveman was entirely right. Yep. He totally called that shot--he pointed at the upper deck and he swung and the ball went right where he said it would. Because I am beyond swamped; I am overbooked at approximately 100%, and I am overcommitted to an 80-100-hour work week and I am working day and night and complaining night and day. And I really could not be happier and I am just so very proud of myself: The contracts are signed and the work is getting done and the checks are starting to come in. I am hustling hard, man.

And the Caveman was right...again. Thank you, God.

xoxo Darya

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I Am Anxiety's Bitch, Part I

Last month was one year since the Caveman stood blocking my way from the laundry room into the garage with his eyes level to mine and very firmly told me that I needed help, and not the kind of help that ends with my house being clean and me having nothing to do but get a blow-out and lay in the sun all weekend.


He meant more along the lines of find-a-shrink-Darya-before-I-wring-your-skinny-assed-neck kinda help. And because the Caveman really does not ask very much of me, and Lord knows, he does not get much out of the booby-prize he won in the wife-lottery of life, and also because I am a scaredy-cat people-pleaser at heart, I found myself a therapist.

Dr. Headshrinker came highly and reliably recommended, and we got down to the business of getting me fixed--not like spayed, but more like I was broken, which to be perfectly honest with you I totally was, and to be even more honest with you, it pissed me off to no end. To be resentful for being targeted for therapy, because I hurt the longest and cried the loudest was a shitty way to start out on a reflective and therapeutic journey thoughI imagine a whole lot of people start out in much the same manner, I dunnoWhatevs.

Three very separately distinct situations had occurred over the course of a year that had rendered me a hollow shell of myself. And while I may have been able to recover from each of the circumstances individually, collectively, they were out of my weight class--I went from shadowing boxing to hitting the heavy bag. Worse than that, I would perseverate and percolate and articulate on the subject of these three circumstances constantly. That is when my exit was blocked and I was pointed to the therapeutic alter.

I came to my first appointment with a spreadsheet of issues and lemmetellyou after the eleventh minute when the first ten minutes were taken up with HIPAA regulations, patient-doctor confidentiality and insurance crap, and THEN I was informed that I really only got 50 minutes of time on the couch for the 60 minutes I was billed, well, let's just say I talked really super duper fast from there on out. And I had a lot to get out. For the first six months, I do not believe I even sat back into the couch--I balanced on the edge of the cushion and I made Dr. Headshrinker hide the clock because I would see the time clicking by and my anxiety would go higher and I would talk faster and at some point he would say, "Darya, please take a breath."

To Dr. Headshrinker's credit, he let me lead our dance and this process worked perfectly well enough for me until the spreadsheet was completed, and I was actually kicking around the idea of cutting back to one day a week. I did not really have anything of major consequence remaining on my list. For the VERY first time, I was allowing the Doctor to do what he was trained to do hmmm, imagine that.

But in all honesty, I did not know that I had not been totally honest with him or myself about how fearful I was of everything or even how much actual anxiety I lived with and endured each and every day. I had written about my nights of sleeplessness and crisis, but even at that time, I thought it was just me being me. Mostly because growing up I had always been dismissed as a worry-wart and nervous and all manner of botheration; however, in hindsight, and I say this with the utmost seriousness, it really began to ramp up after 9/11, and the whole-shit-and-caboodle has most definitely been escalating. It was quite revelatory to be told that not everyone had these same feelings most minutes of every single day of their whole entire life.

Now, wait a minute. Lemmegetthisstraight. 

Not everyone has an actual tactical security maneuver when there is a knock at their front door? Not everyone jumps a mile when the phone rings and then stares and pleads for it to stop? Wait. Not everyone walks around with a hollow pit in their belly or a constant throb in their left temple or their heart beating out of their chest like there wasn't enough room in there for their heart and their worry and their pain AND all their love? And they do not do a dive across the room and on to the bed reminiscent of Dennis Rodman trying to keep a ball inbounds just to get to the remote so they do not have to hear Sara McLachlan sing "Angel" and see frightened and abused animals because goddammit that shit is not fit for human viewing? They do not think that they may die at any moment from sheer exhaustion, worry and fright? You mean they just walk around NOT afraid of or worried about anything all day every day?

Dr. Headshrinker, assured me that normal people do indeed go about their day not thinking that the shiz is about to go down.

Clearly, this was a completely and totally foreign thought to me.

xoxo Darya

PS - As an added bonus, I finally got my act together and made it easy for you to get to I Am Anxiety's Bitch, Part II. I know, I know, I'm a giver like that ; ) And your welcome.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

This Day Memorializes A Lot

There are three or four days that come along during the year that completely throw me--I just do not have the presence of mind when I am in their throes to realize what is going on yeah, kinda like PMS. I get anxious and weepy and a migraine may or may not be involved and there is definitely tears oh yeah, mos def--tears.

At some point my attention gets drawn to the calendar and I realize that it is April and it was my first husband's birthday just a few days before or it is August and it would have been my 33rd wedding anniversary to Sgt. Airborne just that last week. And the ultimate of all my tizzies, my I-forgot-to-remember-what-everyone-was-telling-me-to-never-forget meltdown over last year's 9/11.

So, when I realized I had been feeling distressed, I automatically chalked it up to anxiety over my recent job change and the waiting game that comes with creating a new book of business. Then, I started to see the snarky little e-grams on Facebook telling me to have a Happy Memorial Day Weekend. Happy? And then my generally restless mood, went from zero to completely and acutely pissed-off in, like, no seconds flat.

Really? Is this what everyone thinks this holiday is for--that Memorial Day is about a BBQ and a beer and a third day off in a row and the Old Navy Item of the Week? If so, that pains me greatly, like down to the marrow of my bones. Because I know differently.

For those who do not know, I was an Army wife. Not for long in the grand scheme of time, but long enough to make a grand enough impression on me. Long enough that I find nothing less than absolute respect and gracious admiration for our veterans, as well as our active duty servicemen and women, to be highly offensive and completely indefensible. Oh, I do not want to debate the better president or who is in charge of congress or the house or the military budget or whatfuckingever. I am talking about sons and daughters and brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and men and women just like you and me making the greatest sacrifice of all for the good of the many. For us; as in, the U.S.

Sgt. Airborne and I arrived at Ft. George G. Meade in Laurel, Maryland, on December 6, 1981, and Sgt. Airborne reported for duty to the 311th Military Intelligence Battalion, Company C, and went to work at NSA, the National Security Agency, as an Arabic-Egyptian linguist with a Libyan dialect a 98Golf for those who know or even care to know. Do your math people, this was 1981--Gaddafi, helloooo, McFly.

And from that first cold wet day in March 1982, when ground was broken for the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, better known as The Wall, Sgt. Airborne and I went into Washington, D.C., with another married couple from Ft. Meade and our boys wore their uniforms. The boys did this on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day as we paid our respects, not only at The Wall, but at all of the memorials throughout Washington, D.C. Now, maybe because I am old enough to remember hearing the body counts on the 6 o'clock evening news and seeing some of the older neighborhood boys not come home from fighting in Vietnam or maybe just living near enough to be in Washington, D.C., at the time of the building of The Wall at a time when our husbands still served with soldiers who had served in Vietnam, I identify so closely with this particular memorial and it resides in a place so deeply rooted and special within my heart as to be a part of me.

I have just very recently renewed my friendship with that other boy from Ft. Meade that is a story for another day--out of deference to him and this "holiday", and also because I just cannot seem to write the right thing right now. But in our conversations, this California beach girl, pipe welder/steamfitter's wife and firefighter paramedic's mother is getting to know that young Army wife all over again, and I am thankful to that boy for a lot of things this Memorial Day. I am thankful for his service on my behalf and we have talked about that both in broad strokes and in fine detail. Mostly, I am grateful to this new man I am meeting again for the first time, and for him seeking me out and befriending me once again. And like the Caveman said, "Maybe he needs you as much as you need him, Darya." I pray that is true.

Selfishly, in my heart of hearts, I am just so very glad to have a friend who has known me since I was a 19-year-old newlywed fresh from unhooking the U-Haul trailer and in-processing where we both shared our first permanent party post. For now, just know that I have missed him immensely--more than even I could have believed or imagined. With him comes a little bit of my own tribe; a tribe that has known me longer than anyone but Sister; a tribe that I felt so proud to be a part of and never really properly mourned the loss of because I was so damn busy getting down to the business of surviving.

In honor of all that has come before and all that will go on, thank you, veterans and servicemen and women, thank you for your service and your sacrifice. You all mean the world to me, and especially, too, to that other boy from Ft. Meade.

So, as you can see, this Memorial Day memorializes a lot for me

xoxo Darya

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Beast of Burden

Yeah, all your sickness
I can suck it up
Throw it all at me
I can shrug it off
There's one thing, baby
That I don't understand
You keep on telling me
I ain't your kind of man.
            --Rolling Stones, Beast of Burden

I hear this song in my ear buds almost daily clearly, I need to shake-up my Pandora playlist and all I can think of is the Caveman and when we started dating. See, the Caveman proposed to me on our very first date. 


I just wanted a meal and a drink and a night away from my two-year-old, and this knucklehead proposed marriage. Oh, it was not a get-down-on-one-knee-kinda proposal, but a proposal nonetheless. On our drive home from the restaurant, when I was fully lubed from his attention and touch and equally loaded from a couple of carafes of Avila's house margaritas, and while he drove up Pacific Coast Highway in a hot summer month, he said in an extraordinarily matter-of-fact manner, "I can see myself being married to you, and taking care of you and your son for the rest of my life." The fact that he did NOT look hard into my eyes or lean into me so I could feel his breath in my ear deeply underscored the gravitas of his words. He did not rely on gimmick; he let his words alone speak his heart's truth. How simple. How effective. How scary. 

I just stared out the window and pulled a long drag on my Marlboro Light 100 thinking how much I wished he would slow the car down enough so I could just jump the hell outta there I had a mental picture of a perfectly executed tuck-and-roll thereby protecting my precious and expensive teeth, as well as my ubiquitous Marlboros but, sadly, I was glued to the seat. I did not turn my head. I did not answer him. Boom. 

I just let it lay there. 

Later on in our relationship when I was fussing with staying or going or this-ing or that-ing because of my age or his earning potential or whatever I thought was so important that it should keep us apart because I have that wholly unique ability to confuse the problem with the issue when it is so perfectly clear to him. He simply told me, "You know what, Darya, do what you gotta do. I will always love and take care of you and your son. I will always be there for you--you are gonna have to chase me away with a stick." And he did not say it in a way that gave me that shotgun-in-the-back-of-my-head dread shiver as I went to the door nor were any Star 80-esque alarms going off and if you don't understand that reference, Google it, girl because it holds the key to what I came from and where my head was at. Because it was not a threat. 

It was a vow. 

Go ahead, Darya, throw it all at me, girl. I can take it. And he still can. I can shrug it off. And he still does. And I will still be standing right there by your side holding your hand. And he still is. It gives me chill bumps to even write all this out loud because as I grow older I realize how precious and gracious and tenacious the Caveman is naturally. His actions and his words still say these things to me--just like the other day when I was once again this-ing and that-ing over some stupid-ass nonsense that had me all worked up and ready to tell the whole wide world to shove it.

He is my beast of burden. 

And I am glad his back is broad 'cause the weight of my worry would prolly crush an average man to smithereens.

xoxo Darya

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Slobbification of America

I freely admit that I have never felt like one of the pretty girls--never ever.  And I really am not that smart nor have I ever had that much money.  So, maybe because I have never felt like or had any of those things, I work harder to be all of these things so none of that shows.

And because I work hard to appear "put together", I hear things like, "Oh, do you look this nice for everyone?" from Dr. Pain--obviously, Dr. Pain is my pain management physician; "Gosh, you look nice; are you always this dressed up?" from Dr. Headshrinker, which BT-dubs has to mean something because everything means something on his couch.  "You look pretty today, but you look pretty everyday!" from the girls and boys at work.  "You always smell so nice" and its Sunday morning at our neighborhood breakfast nook.
In the '90s, when the casual Friday phenomenon first took hold, people opined that they did their very best work when they were comfortable and wearing relaxed clothing. Unfortunately, exactly the opposite was true.  Studies showed that productivity went down and people did not treat each other as professionally when they were not wearing their "work uniform".  Basically, if you dress like you are going to a BBQ/swapmeet/potluck/garage sale, you will work/act like you are at a BBQ/swapmeet/potluck/garage sale.

And let's be honest, it wasn't until after the grunge movement of the very early 1990s when clothing options and stylings of the casual Friday mom-jeans transformed into the fully slobbified versions of the 2000s with just about every Ugg-boot footed gal sporting the de rigueur double-camisole top with or without the coordinated or even clean bra strap peeking out from underneath and the super skinny long slinky neck scarf and gauntlets with the uber low-slung pajama-pant bottom. And let's just call a spade a damn shovel: Everyone, quite frankly, started to smell like bong water or dirty hair or ass or dude or really I don't even want to think about what everyone started to smell like, but it was bad and not in a stay-cool-Slipknot-slang sic sorta way, either.

 Clearly, I do not believe in being part of the slobbification of America--never havenever will.

It may sound exhausting and prideful, but I think to myself, what should I let go?  My hair? Just throw a Hurley cap on over 3-day-old-dirty hair?  Don't put on a nice clean outfit everyday? Maybe I should just pull on some dirty ol' sweat pants and flip-flops?  Wear no make-up?  That is not good for anybody who has to look at me! And. I. Just. Cannot. Do. That.

Every single day I pick out an outfit, not an especially expensive nor trendy outfit, with a decent pair of shoes and make sure that my hair is "done" and carry one of the only two nice handbags I own because it comes down to mostly this:  I believe that by doing these things I say, "I respect and care about you as my coworkers and my doctors and my trainers and my dentist and hygienist and my hair stylists and my manicurists.  And because I care about you, I am going to get up every day and show you that you are worth it to me by showing up looking nice for you."

And please do not get the idea that I have the big pants for myself or that I am a snobbish designer-only-kinda-gal; I am equal opportunity all the way, baby--I am perfectly willing to pair my precious banged-up-worn-every-single-day Tiffany cuff with Target pleather with JCrew cashmere.

I truly believe that I serve the people around me and they deserve the best from me. To me, it demonstrates to you exactly what you mean to me.  This goes hand in hand with being on time and all the proper pleasantries and courtesies of a caring and decent society, as well as taking care of those I love and well, you get the idea.

So, yes, I guess you can call me prideful.  But I do it for you!

xoxo Darya

Friday, April 18, 2014

Becoming Catholic Darya

Warning:  This post is gonna get all kindsa Catholic-y up in here. I know the Catholic church has hurt a lot of people and I do not like nor condone any of it--not one little bit, please believe that.

Because it is Holy Week and Easter, I want to say this now.  Because when something is missing and you actually have the knowledge of what that something is, oh hell, yeah, for sure, you are so far ahead of the game.  

If you are into Easter, Happy Easter!  If not, please insert whatever you have ever had the deepest in-the-very-core-of-your-being hunger for and insert it wherever I write the word Catholic.

I knew at a very early age--and I mean at a very early age, and I am embarrassed to say just how early because that will make me seem even less credible if that is even at all possible--I needed to be Catholic.

I just had to be Catholic.

Don't ask me how I knew; don't ask me why it had to be. And do not expect me to defend the Catholic Church because their shenanigans have been indefensible. Period.

My experience was and is about a faith that I have had my entire life, and a romance and a longing and a need--a deep, visceral in-the-core-of-my-being kinda need. It really is just that plain and simple.

I just had to be a Catholic.

At the age of twenty-eight as I was preparing to marry the second of my husbands, and after I had participated in two full years of instruction and I completed a "period of reflection, prayer, instruction discernment and formation" through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, I became a Catholic and a huge balled-up knotted part of me that had been holding all it's air in my whole entire life took a big deep cleansing breath and began to stretch and relax. Ahhh, home at last.
But because of some odd details associated with my prior marriage, I was not permitted to participate in communion at my own nuptial mass upsetting but not deal-breaking as odd as that may seem; however, I remained in full support of the Caveman's faith and life-long dream of marrying in his church and in his parish. This was a need of his that just had to be fulfilled. I did not ask him to explain it. He did not ask me to convert. The priest nor the church did not ask me to convert. I longed to convert.

And in all honesty, I do not do a house divided well.  I had tried to do it in another marriage and it was difficult beyond belief for me and disastrous for the marriage. I believe, that for me, all of my marriage and family oars have to be in the water and rowing for the same shore in the same rhythm. That is what our faith with the church's guidance helps us to do.  It enabled us to provide an education and a community and all the milestones of childhood to our son. Something the Caveman had growing up and I did not.  It was one item that would be checked off of the list of things that I would do differently with my child.  It was just something I HAD to provide.

Now, after twelve years of parochial education and catechism, the Hero says he does not believe in God that is not fair for me to say, maybe it is just the church that he takes umbrage with, I dunno.  That is okay.  If he does not, it is my suspicion that he will become a believer the minute his own child falls from heaven.  You just cannot witness that miracle and not believe in something greater--bigger--more powerful. If not, well, God gave him that same big beautiful brain to decide that important business for himself as well. We provided the tools, what he decides to build with those tools are completely up to him and his beloved.

As for the Caveman, most of  his communing with God is done regular foot on the deck of a 10-0  Bruce Jones longboard from Bolsa Chica to Huntington Beach to San Onofre. While surfing, the Caveman practices the art of gratitude--gratitude at Earth's gifts of immense strength and power and the graces it provides. In the water, straddling that Bruce Jones longboard looking at Catalina Island and the beautiful girls and the incredible sun and the sky above and feeling the warmth and the spray and tasting the salt and being with his dear friends and feeling the water cover his head as he duck dives under the swells to get to the outside sets, he gives thanks for the beauty of it all. He tells me that when he comes out of the water he is a new man. I believe he is living the sacrament of baptism each time he gets stoked.

This is Darya being Catholic.

Happy Easter and peace be with you. Namaste. Shalom. Aloha. All my love. And MWAH!

xoxo Darya

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Random Ramblings

Because this is April, and with April comes Spring Break and Easter and Palm Springs' White Parties, and also the two weekends of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, and because I am somewhat of a sheeple for whatever merchandising opportunity or inappropriately aged and themed concession that happens to pass by my grubby little fingers, I felt compelled to give you my Ode to Coachella even if I am too old for Coachella clever how I did that, huh.

I hear the girls this year have been inspired to braid tinsel into their hair, which made me laugh condescendingly under my breath as I did my 900th squat of the week to basically keep my ass from sliding down the back of my legs and on to the floor, because to me that just seems like it would look like grey hair. And I do some pretty high-flying acrobatics including Balayage and low-lights to keep my gray hair visibility down to a shout and a reasonable dollar amount. I know, I know, I take all the fun out of being young and ridiculous and carefree and I bring it all down to a harsh reality. Well, little girls welcome to your future. Ta da fuckingda. Do you think I was born this old and achy and sweaty and bitchy? Seriously. No, I was not. I was once a ray of goddamn sunshine in any man's life.

Speaking of harsh realities, and if you have been following my Facebook Newsfeed you saw that one of my two gray kitties, Josie, passed away very unexpectedly late Wednesday night from a "thrombo-embolytic event" basically, a blood clot. Evidently, cats, just like people, can suffer from heart disease. And she had starved a good part of her young life so that when she was finally able to have all the food she wanted that is exactly what she did. She ate herself right into obesity. We had to work very hard to get the weight off and to keep it off her. Unfortunately, the damage was done. And she sustained a blood clot that went to her forelimb and caused her a great amount of pain and if I live to be a hundred I will never get the sound of her cries out of my ears and it took her little kitty life from her right in front of my eyes.
As you can see, my poor little girl had a perpetually pissed off look to her. And in all honesty, she wasn't exactly the easiest of kittens to love, either. She was a three-pet kitty.  By this, I mean you got one, two, three pets to the top of her head and then she bit your finger or swiped away your hand or her tail started swishing or she walked away growling. It took a lot to love her. I always and I do mean ALWAYS had a deep scratch on my forearm or teeth marks on the little webbing between my thumb and index finger, but I didn't care. I really didn't. I knew where she came from and what she had been through, and I knew what it took for her to trust as much as she did and I was willing to take what I got. Sometimes, that is just me. Whether that is good or bad, I am willing to take people and pets and jobs and all manner of stuff as they are and take what they can give ::shrugging:: so be it. And that is all I am going to say about that because too many correlations and similarities can be drawn in my life to this part of my character, and right now my heart just swells up into my throat and my eyes just puddle up and they spill over and onto my face again.

As I write this paragraph, I am getting ready for the beginning of the work week. And, Tuesday, April 15th, will be my last day at this particular hospital. "My Blue Sweater Day" is done and I will begin to find a new sweater to fit me and I can guarangoddamntee you that the next blue sweater I wear is going to be a bespoke blue sweater--one that is tailor-made to just my specifications. One that fits exactly my needs and capabilities. I am not saying that I won't remain flexible because if I am to remain self-employed the main thing I will have to do is to remain flexible. I have learned a lot about what I can do and what I will do and what I should do to keep my self whole and happy and moving forward in this one life I got. I am super nervous for what will be coming my way and I am working hard to be sure that I have enough work to pay my bills and care for my marriage and my little family and my mother-in-law, as well as myself. That last part I have sometimes forgotten about. I ain't forgettin' about that part no more!

On a very happy note, this is the occasion of my mother-in-law's 86th birthday! It has been a very good day for our little family, and she has had more Facebook hits than just about anything else I have posted all year! We should all be so lucky to live so long and see so much and be so loved. I consider myself supremely lucky to have this opportunity to spend these years with this wonderful woman who gave life to the love of my own life!

Cheers! Salud! And many happy returns!

xoxo Darya

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Better Me Project, Part II

It is not so much that I can pinpoint exactly when "it" happened.  "It" was really more of a slippery slope and not so much of a running off the cliff with my legs spinning in mid-air a la Wile E. Coyote.

But I went over the edge nonetheless.  And on my way over the edge and right before I bailed-out, I ran my self-esteem and my motivation and my initiative and my finances, as well as my earning potential right off the road and into a ditch.

And from the outside looking in, everything looked awesome and in-control and totally like my shit was together.  Not surprising really because this is a skill that I have expertly honed to perfection--hair done; clothes impeccable not expensive or even especially trendy, but impeccable--big difference; face "on"; house clean; son sober; husband employed; mother-in-law NOT dead.

But the cracks were starting to widen and deepen and more sad eau de Darya would make a puddle on the vanity near where I sit with my feet in the sink to put my make-up on.  So, I had to go about setting my life straight.  I  just could not continue ricocheting my way through life like the little silver ball in a Pachinko machine because now I had my mother-in-law to take care of on a daily basis and a business to grow or at the very least make a decent living at and a marriage to keep fresh, exciting and new, which is no easy feat lemmetellyou.  Jesus, I am just lucky he is even willing to look at me twice after some of the shenanigans I have pulled or the spoiled demands I have made.

I decided that I couldn't be stuck in this same place for one more day.  Oh, hella no. So, as a promise to myself, I instituted The Better Me Project, Part I.  The Project is my promise to myself to become a more fully functioning grown-ass woman, which seems to be centered around me denying myself anything within my computer mouse's reach and the depth of my credit limit, which isn't really that deep so that really isn't that big a damn deal.  Trust me.

But there is more to it than that.

I am backing my life out of some of those ditches and treating myself honestly and with authenticity and more importantly with kindness. Because, I don't know about you, but I would never ever dare to speak or say out loud to someone else some of the crap I say to myself:  Stupid. Slow. Fat. Dumb. Lazy. Ugly. Bad skin and oh, God that hair. Stupid clothes. Too tall. Too old. Broke. Broken. Ungrateful. Egotistical. Selfish. Self-centered. Not thoughtful nor thankful enough. Disrespectful. Bad friend. Immature.  The list is long and boring and you get the idea.

There are a whole bunch of complicated rules:  Some that make sense to only me and some that people have already told me that they could/would never do, but because it appears that I have always had my shit together, it is of monumental importance that I get it back together and pronto, man.  At some point in your life, you gotta cowgirl up and you gotta pull the thumb out of your ass or the tit out of your mouth.
In addition to the previously mentioned no-shopping ban, The Better Me Project also includes:
  • Paying my bills on time and in full.
  • Saving 30% of my gross income as I am primarily self-employed through my own little company.
  • Being shit, showered and shaved and here's the tricky part, people out the door by 9:00 am on all days that require me to be outside of the home for my work.
  • Continue to work-out four to six times per week.
  • Getting my diet back to basics including but not limited to a daily protein shake, Paleo diet rules, proper hydration and vitamins.
I am eyeballing Good Friday as my shopping ban end-date.  No special reason other than I really do not have the wardrobe chops to go through summer without making some purchases and let's be honest, if I haven't learned that lesson by then, I probably never will and there really is no hope whatsoever for me.  I can be a fast learner when so motivated; otherwise, I have yet another subset of  finely honed skills, which includes being a lazy slug of a crappy person. But deep in the center of my being I do not believe that that is what it will come down to. I believe that I have learned a lot and I did find the root of most if not all of the evil in my life and I have already put in place corrective measures, as well as a new course of action.

So, there's that.

More on that later, like, after Easter when I can feel a little less ridiculous about gloating. It seems only right to hold the gloating down to a shout during Lent.

::whispering:: Go me!

xoxo Darya

Even if Facebook did ruin (((absolutely everything))) with their new algorithm, you can follow me at the xoxo Darya fan page, and if you are interested in creeping on me and whatever cockamamie outfit I capture in my 90-year-old office bathroom mirror, you can join my Instagram  @xoxoxdarya  but please don't forget the extra "x"--it's a long story

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Drain Bamage

I would like to think that when the Caveman conked me over the head with his club and dragged me back to his cave, I suffered some sort of brain damage.

But, truth be told, it started long before that.

If I lose something in the house and I say, "Has anyone seen my black bra/skinny cammo jeans/keys/phone charger/date book/knitting needles?" The Caveman doesn't even look up from his iPad he just says, "Did you look in the freezer?" Because once or maybe even twice I left my bra in the freezer and I am almost certain it was by accident.

I literally have three generations of men in my life who scratch their watches and wind their asses trying to figure out how I get from point A to point B during my day because I let it slip one goddamn time that I do not make left-hand turns preferring to make three right-hand turns to get where I need to go. In all honesty, even Dr. Headshrinker found this a little odd.

I will freely admit I have a pretty self-deprecating humor and I am the first one to bring up a funny anecdote or incident or accident:  I trip down stairs; I fall in sprinkler holes; I slip in mud and I slide on ice; I break ankles and toes and I have walked in to my fair share of door jams and fallen out of windows at parties and I continue getting lost going to the same places I have gone since returning to California in 1986.

But when it turns mean or someone you love can't see beyond that, well, then I gotta throw the bullshit flag. It seems in a family or at work or with friends we all have our roles to play and when one person gets fed up with not wanting to perform in that role any longer, it rocks the boat or rains on the parade or just generally sends everyone into a tailspin.

I think a lot about how I did raising the Hero, and I try to grade my own paper honestly. I certainly hope I did him a solid by not locking him into some predestined role based solely on my idea of how he did something as a child or worse laying certain thoughts or behaviors on that part of his DNA he received from his father. I hope I have allowed him to grow and learn and experience without the added anchor of my judgments.

Expectations, yes; judgments, no. Big, big difference.

He is a freethinking and intelligent young man who is going to do awesome things in his life or maybe he is simply a decent guy who will do ordinary things. I don't know. I don't care. It doesn't matter.

I just know that I will love him either way and I will never put baby in that corner.

xoxo Darya

Friday, March 21, 2014

It Is Me & Not You, Birchbox

I had every intention of doing a review of my March 2014 Birchbox because it seems like all the really cool girls are doing it and I have even seen Birchbox reviews on YouTube. YouTube? Really? That just seems excessive to be talking about Birchox vs Glossy Box vs Cool Shit Box, but those girls have YouTube presence and I do not so consider my opinion with a grain of salt. Just seems kinda silly to me.

I ain't hating; I am just saying.

Mostly, I think I do not have a sporting enough spirit to make the most of my Birchbox experience. I work hard for my money, and I really do not relish surprises.  I like to pick something perfectly suited to me and wear it and live with it. Oh, and I am EXTREMELY brand loyal, which is the exact opposite reason to join something like Birchbox. Because, evidently, I want every month to be a cavalcade of perfectly tinted and toned make-up on a par with Chanel and Tom Ford with full-sized Karestase or Oribe hair product thrown in with a hand-crafted perfume oil that could become my signature scent and maybe just maybe that ONE red lipstick I am always looking for, and if I am being totally honest and curating my very own dream box, I would have tossed in an extra freebie by Dior or Hourglass. I also understand that you get what you pay for and Birchbox is $12.99 a month. This is not, however, the way this particular set-up works. More is the pity.

I believe it comes down to expectations.

I understand that trying new items is the complete idea behind Birchbox. And I received two samples that I did buy the full-size product of and continue to use to this day: Klorane Dry Shampoo and Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint maybe I will do product reviews on those, hmmm. That is another thing: You have the opportunity to review your monthly products and accumulate points toward purchase discounts, which I won't lie, I thought was pretty generous as well as the size of the samples, and a couple of times I received ordered product free because of points I had accumulated by product reviews combined with purchase points and I really did not make a lot of purchases in the Birchbox store.

As you see, it really is me, not you, Birchbox.

On the up-side, receiving my pretty Birchbox in my mailbox during my self-imposed shopping ban has been the highlight of my month, and who knows that Jergens BB Skin Cream may just be the concoction to whip my white, pasty, cellulite-ridden thighs into submission, and the Stila Lip Glaze in Pink Pomegranate is really pretty on my lips and is especially on trend with Pantone's 2014 Radiant Orchid even though it smells so sweetly delicious and beyond fruity that I am afraid that bees may swarm around my kisser now there's a picture to leave in your mind's eye, huh.

Oh, well, you live and you learn.

All in all, I am glad I played and I even gave my husband a men's subscription for Christmas hmmm, maybe I will let the Caveman write his own Birchbox review, that might be worth the price of admission, right there.

xoxo Darya