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Birthday For One

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When we embarked on the road trip I decided I needed to be at the beach on my birthday, it’s a grounding place for me. A reminder of the circle of life as I almost drowned as a kid when a wave washed me off a rock and I got caught in the undercurrent. You would think that after an experience like that that I would be fearful of the ocean but for some reason, that trauma never manifested into a lifetime of fear. Instead, it’s a place of peace and contentment.

I wasn’t looking forward to that first birthday without Auntie Boogie to celebrate with through our traditional phone call and song. It’s painful to know you will never share your birthday again with someone you shared it with your whole life and that first one looms large like storm clouds. You know the storm is coming but no amount of shelter can protect you from the fierce gale about to blow through and the accompanying golf ball-sized hail pelting everything in its way.

And so, on the morning of October 24th, we drove to Moonlight Beach, discovering upon arrival that they were having a festival. It was like they knew I needed a party. We got there early enough to get parking in the parking lot and to find a spot under one of the umbrellas.

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Singing the song of his people

I buried my feet in the sand, just enjoying the tiny grains enrobing and cooling my skin while Chaz wandered down to the water to take pictures and enjoy the sand and surf…and multitude of seagulls – I always forget how many seagulls inhabit Encinitas until I’m there. When I was ready, I walked down to do the same. There was ample time for us to people watch from under the thatched umbrella. Before we left to meet a high school friend for lunch, we strolled along the circuit of tents, surveying the variety of merchandise and services on display. My favorite was the skateboard art – I’ve always been fascinated with skateboard and surfboard art.

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SK8 Art http://www.encinitasparksandrec.com for SK8 Art workshops.

Later on, we met some of my band friends for dinner and to see Dead Man’s Party (the Oingo Boingo tribute band) for their Halloween show. If you aren’t from SoCal or don’t know the history here, Oingo Boingo was a huge part of the culture through the latter half of the 70s, the 80s, and the first half of the 90s and they did shows on Halloween. I was never able to see a Halloween show or see them live at all which is why I jumped at this chance. Dead Man’s Party might not be the real deal but they come damn close in sound and energy.

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Total Distortion – the Social Distortion tribute band opened for Dead Man’s Party and I was not disappointed there either.

While I had fun at the beach, being with friends, and seeing a live show, it was a day filled with sadness. Each time I found myself enjoying the moment I’d tear up feeling like I shouldn’t be, then choking those tears down because Auntie Boogie would’ve wanted me to celebrate. I had to acknowledge the feelings of loss and emptiness before I could enjoy myself again and then repeat when they surfaced again.

 

That day was a mixed bag, but getting through it using all the tools I have to manage grief made last year’s birthday a bit easier.There is still a gaping hole within me because she was a force in my life. Time doesn’t heal all wounds but it can change the shape and feeling of the pain as it passes and we grow.

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Posted by on March 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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From Twitter to Real Life: Meeting Authors Offline

 

awesome-authorsWhile the road trip, we were able to carve out some time to meet more of my author friends for the first time face-to-face. First up was Kennedy Ryan, author of some steamy romance novels. We became fast friends after meeting through our mutual friend, Katie Oliver. She’s as funny and effervescent in person as she is online and I don’t think my husband got a word in edgewise the whole time we were in the restaurant having lunch together.

I’m pretty sure we talked pretty fast for two straight hours and that heads turned with our raucous laughter. We spoke of our writing processes, self-publishing, book cover art, her foundation – Myles-A-Part – and her son’s adjustment to their move to San Diego, and many other things. Lunch flew by too fast and I was sad at having to part so soon. Kennedy is the kind of good energy you want to be around.

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After lunch, we spent another couple of hours or so walking through Balboa Park with Richard Mellinger. I was drawn to Richard on Twitter, not only through a network of mutual author friends but because of his quirky sense of humor and ability to always surprise me with his twists on his short stories. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve said to him, “I did not see that coming!” – and I’m the one who can usually spot the twists from far away. He gets me every single time.

He is smart as a whip and our conversation varied from physics, teaching, dogs, and Sasquatch to name a few. Together we witnessed koi trying to eat ducks that were sharing a pond with them and proceeded to make all kinds of jokes about them as well as the giant koi we found in the Japanese Friendship Garden. Some moments we had no idea where we were going, we just walked and talked until we ran into a dead end – that was part of the fun of it. Next time we’re going to the zoo, right Richard? 😉

I’m still waiting for his publisher to set a date for his debut novel to drop. *drums fingers on desk*

One author I was hoping to meet up with was T.H. Hernandez. We met online seven years ago when we were both gluten-free bloggers and then lost touch when she stepped back from blogging. She found me on Twitter as we were both working on our debut novels and it’s like we never had that gap. She’s been a supportive friend through the years and I hope our next visit to San Diego will include a meet up with her.

On our drive home, we stopped in Arizona because it would’ve been sacrilege to not get together with my partner in crime, Douglas B. Wimmer. He cooked Japanese curry for us and we went miniature golfing. This last picture is a good representation of what it’s like when Doug and I get together.

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That disturbance you feel in the Force is us up to no good.

 

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The Value of a Friend

true-shabu-4I believe there is room for more than one best friend at a time in our lives. Each of mine serves a different purpose in my life – a life enriched by them. They are friends who would drop everything should I need them. In turn, I would drop everything for them.

Two years ago, I took half a day from cleaning out Auntie Boogie’s condo (Auntie Jude and I had just dropped off Dr. Cuz at the airport and ran errands) to spend with Hordus on his day off. I had hinted about the stress I was experiencing on the way back from dinner the night before but I didn’t say more because we were in mixed company. Hordus, as always, picks up the hints and started the long conversation on the way to pick up his oldest son, Four. By the end, I was unburdened and cleansed, not because anything was different, but because talking to him always made me feel better even if nothing was settled. And not that I wasn’t talking to anyone else about it. I had other friends I was talking to, but again, no one is like Hordus and no one ever will be.

This was my first time meeting Four. Hordus used to send me baby pictures of him many years ago, so it was weird seeing him as an adult and working on his future. Four also had the day off so he spent the rest of the day with us. We told him stories about us as teenagers, how we met, how Jerm took Four’s mom to senior prom (Hordus and Four’s mom went to different schools than me and Jerm), and how people thought Hordus and I were dating and would have a bewildered expression when Four’s mom was with us.

Hordus always knows what I need when I’m stressed, whether it’s helping me process through something or dragging me outside to watch a lightning storm. This time around, I needed to ground myself at the beach.

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He drove us to Huntington State Beach after lunch and I stood with my feet buried in the sand, watching the storm over the ocean and ignoring the blustery wind roaring around me. In the midst of turmoil, I was at peace and grateful, nearly crying tears of joy because I knew I was where I supposed to be in that moment. Sometimes you have to journey into the eye of the storm to clear your head and see the bigger picture. I knew my personal chaos would come to an end, I told myself that over and over but could not bring myself to believe it until that moment.

 

You can’t put a price on friendship. I can’t quantify the close friendships I have. It doesn’t work that way. Friendships are meant to lift you up and support you in times of need. Friendships are meant to be your pillar of strength when you are too weak to stand on your own. Friendships are meant to be non-judgmental and guide you to the best choice for you…or to just keep listening.

True friends are priceless.

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Posted by on January 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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