Endless Summer

Although this summer has been far too hot for my Coastal California girl sensibilities (you try 90 degrees with no AC!), I am still not quite ready for it to end. I’ve had a great time exploring the area, connecting with friends old and new, and – as always – enjoying the scenery from my own backyard. Two recent highlights were my visit to a Temecula winery and my very first music festival!

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The Small Things

I have written about my zen California life before, and expressed my appreciation for the little things in life, too. As I learn to take more in stride and put less pressure on myself, I’m seizing every moment to appreciate the small joys all around me… and I simply wanted to revisit that for a moment 🙂

Take, for starters, my glorious Pink House, and sunny California afternoons and sunsets. I’ll admit that it’s been a little too hot lately to spend much time in my shade-less back yard, but the temps are just starting to cool enough in the late afternoon to allow for a glass (or three) of crisp rosé, accompanied by fresh peaches and vegan cheese on my Brooklyn slate cheese board.

 

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Chasing Yesterday’s Rainbows

Mom & Bonni

I took this photo of my mother and my sister during one of our many visits to a mental hospital in northern Virginia, many years ago now. It was a lucky capture of something increasingly fleeting – tenderness, trust, and a smile, between a mother and her daughter. I haven’t been secretive about my mom’s descent into severe mental illness. It is highly stigmatized, which is stupid, because that makes it far more difficult for all of us to bear. So I will always speak up.

Mom battles Delusional Disorder and Paranoid Personality Disorder, which have no cure and no trusted form of treatment, due to the patient’s inherent suspicion and lack of insight into her condition. We’ve seen her through psychotic breakdowns, hospital stays, suicide attempts, jail time, and homelessness. As hard as that is, the reason it’s most excruciating is because Mom was our best friend growing up. She was a loving and energetic person. But her delusions have transformed Bonni, my dad, and I into the enemy, causing her a great deal of fear, anger, sadness, and pain – which causes her to lash out. And now, it’s hard not to hate the manipulative and abusive person she has become. Continue reading

Cute Cali Crannies

IMG_2715Over the past couple of weeks, I have explored some new nooks n’ crannies here in Southern California. Specifically, I saw Potato Chip Rock and San Juan Capistrano!

I experienced the former because I had friends visiting from Nebraska. You would think that visitors from the landlocked Midwest would want to see the beach in the dead of summer, but no! These athletic types wanted a hike..and a challenging hike, to boot. I had long wondered about Potato Chip Rock, but I will admit that I had no idea how strenuous it was actually going to be. Let’s just say that climbing 1100 feet into the air (and 2 miles of actual feet on the ground) was more than I bargained for, particularly under a full sun bearing down at 90 degrees. Continue reading

The Land Down Undah

Chuck has deployed for the Marine Corps three times now. The first two deploymentsIMG_1168 were to exotic Afghanistan, and no family leave was permitted. His third deployment is to Australia, and although his situation is vastly different (safer) than prior deployments, I still didn’t anticipate that he would have a leave block.

But he did indeed receive two weeks of leave halfway through the six-months assignment, and after much time/money/energy-based indecision, I booked a flight to go visit him. I’m so glad I did! Continue reading

Be You… Not (Necessarily) You, Jr.

IMG_2166 This photo has re-energized me to write about the topic that makes me the most nervous: motherhood. I shared it on Facebook this week in a jocular context, knowing full well the truth it holds for me and a fair number of my peers, who struggle with the question of kids now or later… or… never?

I’ve started writing about the kids issue a million times by now. But I never finish, because I don’t know quite how to say what I want to say. I’m not sure I even know what to say in the first place, as I learn and evolve. Most of the material out there is either overly defensive, or too funny, or too angry. Nothing has authentically spoken to my own feelings on the matter. The conversation about women choosing not to have children is relatively new still, and it’s a tough balance to strike.

I have not made any solid decisions one way or the other. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But, as a married woman in her 30s, the pressure to decide weighs upon me all the time. Will I… or won’t I? And why? Of course, as a married woman in her 30s, I have to explain myself. I shouldn’t have to, of course… but we aren’t quite there yet, societally. And I know full well that people wonder. Continue reading