Friday, March 24, 2017

The writing is in the shed

Who knows where an idea starts?  Is it seeing a cool Tiny House in Portland?  A gorgeous mobile home in Carlsbad?  The playhouse at my Nina's home in Highland Park? 
Whatever the source, in January I found myself seriously looking into a shed that would become a writing shed.

We ended up at SoCal Sheds because they had a lot of models visible from the freeway.  Sometimes the reason is location, location, location.  And so began the trail that sent us back to Menifee and the models by the freeway.

The up side - so many choices.  The down side - so many choices.  I felt a bit like Goldilocks.  

Too elaborate 

Too tall 

Too expensive  

And then, the right size and the right fit.

And then and then.  
A shed was built in our backyard.

Six feet by eight feet of space with doubled paned windows and a roof.

A shed with a view.

The primer is on.  

Let the writing begin.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Indoor Stylin'

Over the past few months James and I have been scurrying around the house.  I think the wedding led us to some hardcore nesting at the house.

January was spent looking at old videos of Casa Martinez and then cataloguing more than 150 episodes.  I was proud of the work that our team produced.  Many of the topics were still timely.  It is a kick to see yourself on camera as a woman who is 20 years younger than the one you see in the morning as you brush your teeth.

It was also in January that James and I started to look at renovating our kitchen.  I'd been doing dribs and drabs of changes, but now we were on to taking cabinet doors down and painting them.  Our kitchen became one color  - Analytical Gray - with trim, rather than three colors with trim.

One night while we were at Ikea, James asked about the work they do with countertops.  Long story short; they were too exacting for us to go ahead with them, but the seed had been planted.  Before we knew it we were zooming around looking for countertop stores, tiles, and tilers.

In the course of the search we found the following places helpful:
Tap and Tile, Duarte Tile and Stone, CV Tile and Stone, Colores de Mexico, Patricio Tile, B&W Tile, and Gon'z Decorations, Inc.

Cabinet City in San Gabriel was our choice for countertop.  The workers that came to remove our old counter and to set its replacement reminded me what it's like to work with folks with whom you don't share a common language.  James was in the lead on that effort and I think I poured him a scotch shortly thereafter.

Thanks to input from artist and friend Liz Espinoza we decided to go with 3" tile.

Do you know that that is unusual?  I learned it is.  Which is why the list of tile places is so long.

Miguel, of Colores de Mexico, highly recommended Marco the Tile Man.  After a couple of false starts he came to the house to start the work.  He shook his head when he saw that we had 3" tiles.  The mathematical work needed was going to be too great.  Then I showed him a mock-up that James had done.

That changed everything.  We were ready to zip down Tile Road.

This was the only picture I was able to get of Marco.  He gathers no moss.  

And we enjoy the benefit of that fact.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Matthew and Maya

I promised that I would write about the wedding.  It is always a challenge to write about things that our son Matthew does because he is, by nature, a very private person.  As it turns out his wife - not so much.  So I'll try to write to the middle ground.

First, it is true what they say re: Mother of the Groom being a much easier job.  The down side is there are moments when you are sort at the tail end of the line when folks are playing "crack the whip".  They have decided and we go along.  It's okay, but unpredictable.

It was more of a challenge to be the long distance Nana to the Junior Bridesmaid and the Flowergirl.  Shoes, dress, necklace, hair, earrings.  I love the hunt that is shopping.  They do not.

Thursday prior - dinner together with our nuclear family (sans son-in-law).  Old favorites and other options 'cuz two of us were still watching their diet.  Dessert?  Nah, off to Payless to find shoes.

Friday the nietas and I paid for a parking lot rental, then went shopping for gift for their Tio and Tia - to-be.  Shot glasses and dessert cups, followed by intensive wrapping.

And some bonding time, too.

Haircuts with our dear friend Sharyl who has cut and styled four generations in our family.

She was at the first person to cut Matthew's hair and did his 'do for the wedding.  She let us know she'd do our hair and would be at the wedding site at an appointed time.

Last minute shopping for goodies for bridesmaids.  Matthew and Kate had some quality brother and sister time.  Dinner began with ice cream.  Just one of those days.

Saturday Kate and Lili dropped off a surprise from Matthew to Maya and her bridesmaids - champagne and orange juice in a gift basket.

Saturday was all about anticipation.  And small details like picking up Kate's husband at the airport.
Making sure the clothes are ready.

And before we know it, the time has come to drive to Eagle Rock.  The site is on the way to beautiful.  

The bride arrives and is radiant.

The caterers are counting plates and the barkeep is focused on bottles and ice and the placement of it all.  The rest of us are getting to our appointed places and I catch sight of my child.  The handsome young man who will declare his love and his commitment - soon. 

James and I are a part of the procession that ends with Maya being escorted by her brother's to Matthew.

I won't say more about the ceremony except that the use of tissues was widespread.   M & M wrote their own vows.  Even though they separately wrote their vows, their first sentence was identical.  I could hear Maya gasp as Matthew began his first sentence.  Such deep love.

And then party.  

A first spy of the first dance 

a moment private and revealing

Toasts by - 

Lili who is almost 13 and was a Junior Bridesmaid

Taddi, the bride's younger brother

James, Father of the Groom

Time with friends -
and familia -  

And a whole lot of dancing!


Dancing for the joy of being with friends and family!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Oh, what a memorable birthday day; no- weekend; no - week

I turned 64 this past Saturday.  Thanks to so many I had a chance to celebrate this fact for almost a week.

Last Wednesday I gave myself permission and enjoyed a day at the beach with friend Kathee.

James had oral surgery a while ago and was going to have stitches removed on Friday, so I requested that my birthday dinner take place on Thursday.  We arrived at Bacchus Kitchen and I was happily surprised to see that James had also contacted our friends, Sandra and Luis, and they surprised me by being at the dinner!  Grand times whenever we're together.

Friday James had the surgery and then went to work.  I was home and spent the morning cleaning our dining room and living room floors.  I'll grant you not what I generally think of as a "fun thing to do", but I wanted to clean them.  So I did.  We had plans for the evening but James needed a bit of recovery time, so we stayed home.

Friday I also shared with my fiends on Facebook that I was looking for ideas of 64 things to do in my 64th year.  More on that at the end of this post.

Saturday was filled with atypical birthday joy.  Over the years we have done a lot of painting of the house.  We've also developed all sorts of no longer used electronics.  That day, my birthday, the City of Pasadena was having a Toxic Waste Round Up.  Zoom.  We were happy participants.  Thanks to the staff that was working in the crazy heat.   Then we went around and used the coupons that were sent to us electronically celebrating my b'day and Father's Day.   Okay, so maybe not everyone gets thrilled by getting a deal, but I do.

Sunday was breakfast with son and future-daughter and her rather extended family.  Impromptu Potluck Breakfast.  Never done that before, but I think I see more of them in my future.

I tell you; what a week.

Now the list.  Quite the list.  There are at least two thing on this list that will not be transferred to the final list.  All others; just might be.  Love my friends.

  • Have some ice cream & some cake!
  • Celebrate like you want and like no one is watching. 
  • Go to the Walt Disney Hall more often!
  • let's celebrate when I get home
  • Ask someone to drive you. Make a spontaneous trip, decide on where to go once you are inside the car. Go for the day, enjoy the simple surprises on the way, and enjoy your birthday day.
  • Go to Vegas and see the Beatles LOVE. It is wonderful and it will take you back to Strawberry Fields .
  • o for a bike ride
  • Give a talk on a topic or author or historical figure that is new to you
  • A tour of Mt. Wilson? Or get up early and go to the bighorn sheep area and catch a sighting
  • Read a classic you've always meant to read but haven't (Moby Dick? Walden? Seven Pillars of Wisdom? Goodbye to All That? tons of choices!)
  • Fabulous! I am planning 6 adventures when I am 66!
  • Let's do some gigs. We can finally, maybe do those Sephardic songs.
  • How about Cal tech folk dancing? I have been interested but would like a buddy to go
  • Let's have lunch at Yahaira's!
  • erhaps sending 64 thank you letters to 64 people who helped you, taught you or created wonderful memories.
  • Plan a weekend in Valle De Guadalupe, Baja California, Ruta Del Vino for great wine and food.
  • Obviously you need to rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight (if it's not too dear)
  • Hand gliding, riding bikes, roller coaster rides, parasailing bucket list?
  • Compose and record a song.
  • Run/walk a marathon!!!
  • Browse through Poo Bah Records at a nice, slow pace.
  • Write a song with 64 words.
  • Dance class! Salsa or samba or ballroom or tap or modern or anything you want!
  • A massage
  • Break a piñata!
  • Ask your family to get 64 individually wrapped gifts for you and celebrate with you as you unwrap each one.
  • Visit all 64 states!
  • Learn to Tango, there is a good dance instructor in Pasasena
  • Go dancing with friends! That's the best therapy!
  • Cross country trip driving!
  • Group sex
  • Appreciate what you have accomplished and value family, friends, and, especially, yourself.
  • the California Science Center and viewing the 3D movie "A Beautiful Planet."
  • Join your local library and help a person to learn how to read. The joy you will get is beyond description. Besos.
  • 50 good deeds in a month- from writings letters for Amnesty International, to giving to the homeless, to helping a weaker person lift something heavy.
  • We could put a few dollars together and hire you a stripper.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Good Days, Busy Days, Lovely Days, Funny Days

I usually write about my vacations after they've take place rather than while they are happening for a couple of reasons.  The first being I'm often in some out of the way place where I can't count on wi fi.  The second, well, I'm on vacation and I'm doing or not doing stuff.  The third, well, I don't want to share that my home is alone.

This past vacation was a whirlwind.  Immediately following our very successful PCC PLAC/ALE Scholarship Dinner, it was time to get the house ready for Kate and the girls.   I started, really I did, but my sciatica reminded me that I needed to rest more than clean.  I'm happy that I listened.

Because of that we ignored our dirty house and enjoyed time with our familia.

Saturday, April 23 
Went to a reading/workshop at All Saints.  Embrace the Chaos - with Ozomatli and some of my favorite actors.

It's been great to see Ozomatli grow from the group that brought what felt like unbounded energy to the Fiestas Patrias in the Playhouse District in the late 90's to having a show using their music to tell a bit of their story.

The girls arrived, went to our Compadres home and went for a swim.

Sunday, April 24 
Another Comadre stopped by and we had a grand time just hanging out.  Dinner - El Portal.

Monday, April 25
So much fun.  We told the girls we were going on an Adventure and were able to get all the way to Disneyland parking structure before they figured out what we were doing.  I suspect there's picture of us somewhere but it wasn't on my phone.

Tuesday, April 26
We Willie Nelson'd it.  Kate, the girls, and I drove from Pasadena to Portland.  Stayed in Dunsmuir in the Raliroad Resort Park.  We slept in Caboose #1.  

Wednesday, April 27
Still a long haul from Dunsmuir, CA to Portland, OR.  So we began the day at the Hi Lo Cafe in Weed and had dinner in Portland.

Thursday, April 28
Girls to school, Kate to work = time to shop for winter clothes at the Goodwill Stores in RIP City.  
School then Aerial Class for Cheli.  James boards a train to meet us in Portland.


Friday, April 29
Regular school day.  Followed by James' arrival in Bridgetown.  
The evening was special - off with Lili to see the world premiere of "Into the Beautiful North" at the Milagro Theater.  Play adapted by Karen Zacarias, based on the novel by Luis Alberto Urrea.  Didn't meet Ms. Zacarias, but I was able to introduce Lili to the author.  

It seems that there is going to be some really interesting news about "Into the Beautiful North"  - soon.  

Saturday, April 30

Thank goodness for Multiple Cars and Adults Day. 

 In the midst of the craziness we covered, two separate soccer games, Saturday Market, fence replacing, and dinner.   

Cheli and I went to theater and saw "Snow White" as interpreted by the Northwest Children's Theatre.  Quite the combo of the non-Disney version, but with Disney styled tunes and produced with an anime sensibility.  Grilled hot dogs for dinner.

Sunday, May 1

Heavenly donuts before James and I began our heavenly journey down the Oregon Coast.

Monday, May2
Easy drive inland.  What a joy it is to see Mt. Shasta with snow!  

Tuesday, May 3
LONG, LONG, long, long drive home.
So good to be greeted by the roses.