Posted in California Livin'

Birthday Boy

You hopped unseen through the grass when we came to pick you up. We could see the rustle of the blades with your movement and a blur of black and white. When you landed at the destination of our feet I smiled through tears. Your tiny three pound body showcased the heart on your booty, which was the sign I needed when we picked you six weeks before.

We brought you home and put you in a giant crate to separate you from your sister, Casey the Lab. You cried until we let you out. You sniffed Casey, she sniffed you, and that was the end of it. She potty trained you after many months of destroyed pee pee pads. She let you boss her around. You were great snuggle buddies. When you chewed through the carpet, Casey didn’t rat you out. When you chewed through the carpet pad down to the concrete, she kept quiet. You finally stopped when we gave you tennis balls to chase. You play with them to this day.

When your first human sibling arrived, you sat in front of her bouncer and stood guard. You were equally protective when her brother came home.

You poop when you’re nervous, which basically means you smell up the vet’s waiting room at every visit. You like to dig into purses if you can smell goodies, like the Chicken McNuggets out of your grandma’s handbag or the chocolate she bought for your human siblings (and then refuse to throw up).

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When your sister Casey passed away we knew you would need a new companion. We took you to the animal shelter so we could introduce you to one. As soon as Duke Nutella came into the greeting area you pushed a tennis ball to him with your nose. You were unfazed when he barked at you.

These days the world is your ice cream where you lick anything and everything. You like your almost daily walks even if curbs are an obstacle. You follow Duke everywhere he goes. He has unwillingly become your seeing eye dog as you have cataracts. You still like to snuggle, the perfect Oreo spoon.

You bark at random with short and loud yaps as if to say, “I’m still here world and I am not going anywhere!(Also “Get off my lawn!”)” You are absolutely right Boopers, Boop-A-Doop, Oscar Bugs, and Oscar Meyer Wiener. Happy 15th birthday Old Man.

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I hope you find passion and happiness this weekend!

Posted in California Livin', The OC

Anaheim

 

In the summer of 2001, my then boyfriend (now my husband) and I moved into our first apartment together. It was a two bedroom one bath on the second floor of the King of Spain apartments. It smelled like the paint that was done back in the 70s, had threadbare carpet, and a staircase that was dark and ice cold. It had a wall unit for air that was useless when the sun poured in through the balcony window in the afternoon. It was next to a fire station which came in handy when we tried to barbecue on said balcony. We could walk to Benihana’s on Ball Road for dinner and sake. It was perfect.

15 months later we bought our first home, a condo directly behind Disneyland. We got engaged, got married, and found out we were expecting our first child while living there. We spent a lot of time at Disneyland with our premium passes that we got for a mere $200 a piece. Our favorite Italian restaurant was Rufino’s. The owners were the nicest and served the best bread with vinegar and oil. A little further down the street was Casa Gamino, a Mexican restaurant with scrumptious red enchiladas and a reasonably priced buffet.

Anaheim is a neighboring city to Fullerton and has more to offer than just Disneyland. Last week the kids and I went to Boysen Park, aka “Airplane Park”. Curls and Red were in heaven.

 

 

After we left the park we met their dad at the Northgate Gonzalez Market. This is the Mecca of grocery stores if you are a Mexican food loving gal like me:

We like the sweets…

 

Agua Frescas

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Red trying to decide

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TAMALES

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We will be back

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I hope you find passion and happiness this weekend!

Posted in California Livin', The OC, Word Therapy

Sunday

There were many a Saturday morning during my childhood where I would wake to the sweet smell of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls with frosting (if I was lucky I would get the packet with the leftover goodness). Then my mom would take my sister and I to the nearby town of Colton to visit the auction, aka the swap meet. We would get treats to eat and I would always leave with something Betty Boop or Gumby and Pokey.

This past Sunday Hubby and I took Curls and Red to the Orange County swap meet. It is located near the beach and this particular winter day it was in the mid 80s. We walked around for maybe 30 minutes before the fairground food smells lured us to their dungeon. And as always it was to the Mexican food:

Is there any better reason to live in California than tacos?

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Red eating a jalapeno in 5 parts

 

Makes the smart choice and switches to nachos

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I love this person the most

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Fun with mirrors

Getting the lay of the land

My kids asking for everything at the Swap Meet

Novelty cards from the 80s (no kids were harmed by eating the 30 year old gum)

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Kona Ice and Brain Freeze

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Swap Meet Offerings

 

Smiles and parkour

 

I hope you find passion and happiness this weekend!

Posted in The OC

Friday Favorite: Fullerton in Photos

There is something about living in a place where you feel content and at peace. That place for me is Fullerton. The diversity of people, architecture, and entertainment are all front and center in this small town in the OC. I am Dorothy and Fullerton is my Kansas (no ruby shoes required).

There are the amazing houses:

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The Fox Theatre was built in 1925. One of my favorite memories with my husband is watching The Beatles’ A Hard Days Night in the parking lot of the Fox on a summer night. Restoration has been going on for years and I truly hope it gets finished so my kids may enjoy it.

Local businesses:

Angelo’s & Vinci’s Ristorante

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McClain’s Coffeehouse

Coffee Shop

Carl’s Liquor (Don’t ever change Carl)

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Mum’s the Word (love, love, love this name for a flower shop!)

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And my go to, the OG of fast food that has never let me down, and now I can walk to it…

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I hope you find passion and happiness this weekend!

Posted in Word Therapy

Does My Anxiety Make Me Type A or Does My Type A Personality Give Me Anxiety?

Happy New Year! (2 weeks late, I know I know) Instead of making New Year’s resolutions this year, I have made a to do list. As a Monica-from-Friends Type A personality, I love checklists and making my little checks, stars, or cross outs once I have completed a task, no matter how small. Instead of making a list of things I feel I “should” do, I want to do things that will keep me on Happiness Highway. This ranges from writing a book, to expanding my blog, getting outdoors more with my family, and letting go of what I can’t control.

I have written a couple of short stories, one young adult novel, and started/stopped many other tales in the 10+ years I have been writing. This year I am going to put my heart and soul into a children’s/tween book that has been taking up rent in my brain for a while. It is a fantasy with humans and animals interacting and takes place in a library (my home away from home). I am inspired by Neil Gaiman and Guillermo Del Toro and hope to incorporate their way of using darkness and fairy tale themes. This will definitely be geared towards the audience of Curls and Red but I hope I can pull the Pixar trick of making adults love it also.

I am now in my seventh year of this blog. As you can see we have gotten a new suit and tie (unless you are a new reader and to that I say Hi!). I will continue to write about: Staying ahead of my depression and anxiety, my family and the things we like to do in Southern California, pop culture, and politics. As for you the readers, I always want your feedback. Please tell me what you want to read more of and what you don’t. I will always try to stay positive here (there is so much negativity out there these days) but I have my bad days too and writing helps me work through it.

Now that my family and I have adjusted to our new surroundings in Orange County, we are trying to get outside more. We all have bikes and teaching the kids how to ride safely in a high traffic area has been a priority (my son is going to give me a heart attack before I hit my next birthday). We like to go to our local hiking trail that even has a lake. Being outdoors is great for my mental state, gets all of us off our electronics, and increases my love for Southern California weather. Taking our bikes to the beach and mountains is on the agenda in the next few months. We also want to go paddle boarding and kayaking this summer.

Letting go is in bold on my checklist for 2018. Prozac has helped me achieve this little by little. I watch my kids make their own decisions and I catch myself from saying, “But do this..” I realize each day that I am not here to walk them down my path but help them find their own. I have gotten better at accepting things I can’t change, which makes me lighter and more open to what life brings (my lord I have turned into such a hippie).

Today I am going to drop kick that anxiety across the football field of life and run toward my goal (posts). Hope you are kicking that Hump Day’s booty!

Posted in Word Therapy

Coming Home

It has been two weeks since we have moved back to the OC and we have almost found our groove.  The kids are a little less mad at us today for taking them from their friends and school, hubby is tackling his new job, and I am starting to find bits and pieces of my sanity around the house.  My brain has been on overdrive since we exited Chapman Avenue off the 57 freeway.  When I first arrived here in August of ’93, I was a hopeful 18 year old who couldn’t wait to start her freshman year as a theater arts major at Cal State Fullerton.  Today I am a 42 year old mother of two who is trying to define herself as a writer.  Memories of the former keep playing bumper cars with my present and I am trying to process it.

At 7 am my Iphone alarm goes off so I can get up and feed my pups.  Their tiny nails echo down the hall as the three of us walk outside to get their breakfast.  Within a few minutes I wake up Oscar and Duke’s human sister and brother to get ready for school.  At 815 am the kids and I head out the door to drop them off at school.  Once I greet Scarlet’s teacher at drop off I leave their school and head home.  Several CSUF students line the streets as they head to class on their longboards, scooters, or on foot.  They listen to music with their earbuds and backpacks secured.  I think of the 7 am Political Science class in the Ruby Gerontology Center that I should have known better to sign up for and barely managed to pass.

Once I am home and running shoes are on, I head out for a jog around the city.  I pass more students as I near the school and envy them.  I still have nightmares about missing classes and showing up on the day of a test.  But damn if I don’t miss learning and interacting with other students.  I can’t learn enough these days, as if I am trying to make up for the time I wasted back then.

When I run errands around the city I pass the Bank of America where I used to deposit my $6/hour job checks from Express.  I pass where Off Campus Pub used to be and I would spend my Thursday nights drinking, dancing with my girlfriends, and judging the shoes of all the males (My rule: Don’t wear your nasty kicks or flip flops if you plan on asking a girl for her number).  The apartment complex where I lived in no less than 3 apartments has been repainted gaudy fall colors (mustard, olive green, etc.) and houses a lot more students.

The Brea mall hasn’t changed much except that my favorite French restaurant is gone (I miss you chicken and garlic sandwich with bruschetta!) and I can’t eat a sun dried tomato bagel with a large ice blended coffee for breakfast from the Nordstrom Espresso bar like I used to.  The pet store where I would peer in the window and gush over the puppies on my break will now only be able to sell puppies from rescues and Wesley and I gush over the animals together.  It’s more fun to clothes shop for the kids then it is for me and watching their eyes light up when I buy them nitro candy makes me smile.

Every week I write up the dinner menu for the following week so I can make my grocery list.  In my twenties eating at home was unheard of and rolled tacos with guacamole and shredded cheese with a diet coke (oh the irony) from Alberto’s on Placentia Avenue was what’s for dinner.  These days it’s chicken, rice, and vegetables (otherwise known as “Yuck” according to my kids).

Weekends are spent going to the movies and dinner, laundry, and recouping from the week.  The bars of Newport Beach aren’t missed and neither are the feelings of inadequacy as I looked around/danced in the late 90s.

Do I miss the freedom of my youth?  Who doesn’t?  I wished I had finished my college degree sooner.  But today I feel a wholeness that comes with having a family that I adore and love spending time with.  Gray keeps trying to stage a coup on my dyed hair, the crow’s feet and wrinkles are a part of the landscape of my face and I suspect the waddle is coming:

I will continue to struggle with growing older and hopefully find peace with it.  But instead of obsessing about it today I will show my kids why the OC feels like home.  And maybe give the kids a tour of the Fullerton Arboretum that I used to break into at night with my dorm roommates…

 

Posted in California Livin'

Water Park Fun: Soak City

Sunshine and water are synonymous with California. As much as I love the way the beach looks, sand isn’t my thing. But Southern California doesn’t just have beaches aplenty. There is also a number of water parks at our disposal. There is Raging Waters, Hurricane Harbor, Soak City, and a lot of other smaller parks. As pass holders to Knott’s Berry Farm, my family is able to visit Knott’s water park Soak City from May to September every year. Soak City is 13 acres of wet attractions for every age from Gremmie Lagoon to Tidal Wave Bay.

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Gremmie Lagoon is a play area for the little ones. There is a submarine to be explored, mini slides for the babies, and shallow enough water that parents can breathe a little easier. My kids loved it when they were smaller but now they go to the Beach House. The Beach House is a fun house of bigger and taller slides, water guns to shoot, and a gigantic bucket that dumps itself on fun seekers and unsuspecting victims once it has been filled with water.

Soak City just went through a renovation and opened with new rides for families to have fun together and for those who are a little more daring. The Wedge is a ride where my group of four could ride down on a tube together that wasn’t too fast but enough where we laughed the whole way. It is also my kids’ new favorite ride. Shore Break is a 2 person tube ride where you start off on an enclosed tube and come out halfway through. You then fall down a steep drop (the best part IMO) at the end. Another part of Shore Break are four enclosed tubes where you get in, they close a plastic cover over you, and then you fall to your death (or maybe that’s just what I picture in my head). Hubby was the only one brave enough to try it (that was a hard no from me and the kids) and he said that moment before you fall was definitely terrifying but it was fun (he didn’t change any of our minds). We all love Banzai Falls, a mat race that ensures you will squeal and have water up your nose, no matter who wins.

Staples of our visits to Soak City are Sunset River and Tidal Wave Bay. Sunset River, aka Lazy River, is the one place I could stay the whole time. Give me a tube, put my tush in it, and I am good to go. It is never really overcrowded, the water is always a comfortable temperature and clean, and the kids love it just as much as the adults do. Tidal Wave Bay is a wave pool where the water turns into waves around every 10 minutes. There are 10+ lifeguards at all times here but it still isn’t my favorite part of the park now that my kids insist on not wearing life jackets (which is only required up to 48”).

Soak City

There are food, drinks, and desserts to purchase at the park but we stick to our Knott’s souvenir bottle that we purchase every year with the renewal of passes. It runs us about $35 and we can get drinks all year long without being charged. We don’t eat in the park because there are too many good options available to us once we leave the park that are cheaper and taste much better. And one other thing we don’t take advantage of is their lockers. The cost is enough of a deterrent ($20+ last time I checked).

Knott’s Soak City is a fun, clean, and affordable water park for us to visit during the summer. We try to get there when they first open (or even the hour before when they allow that for pass holders) to get a good row of chairs and not have to wait in long lines for the best rides. We are on year five of having passes and none of us have gotten tired of going so I don’t think this tradition will be stopping any time soon.

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Where do you live? Do you have a water park or beach you love to visit? I want to know!