Monday, November 14, 2005


To Be Revealed

I was reading a blog today about what the author termed "gender dysmorphic pansexual[ity]."  Biologically, she was female, but she never felt female.  She identified with the stereotypical male persona in many ways, but it didn't feel exactly right.  She could label herself as bisexual, but hated the black and white extreme issue it made out of her feelings and preferences.  She read, she did research, she reflected.... and she came up with an expression that she was comfortable with, that fit who she felt she was and always had been.  Also important to her, it gave her a way to tell her friends and family how she viewed herself.  It's so hard trying to dissect one's own feelings, much less try to get others to understand them.  With this, she felt stronger and more honest with herself and those around her.  The funny thing was that, in spite of this revelation, this "coming out," it didn't change anything.  It didn't change any of her behaviors.  It didn't change her relationship with her husband.  People didn't get it.  Why make this revelation at all?  They didn't realize her proclamation was more for her than for them. 

I had a conversation or two (a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away) about how there was no way anyone but you could ever know the real you.  There is no other person in the world who not only went through all the same experiences you did, but also interpreted them and reacted to them in the exact same way.  So many different aspects are at work as we shape our personalities: genetics, environment, learned behaviors, those around us.. even down to the music we like or the food we crave. 

But if we are all so wonderfully unique from one another, why does society and the world in general try to put us all into our "proper" niches?  If we are so diversified, why do there have to be names like Gay, Straight, Bi, Geek, Dork, Jock, Diva, Alpha, Submissive, Black, White, Yellow, Punk, Goth, Mod, Redneck...  So many different labels in this world.  How do I know if I'm being classified correctly?  How does a general consensus know enough of my intimate details to tell me where I belong and what type of personality I have?  I can't just stroll on over to Blogthings and take a quiz that will put me in the right category.  As much as we like to identify  with them and say they are "spot on", they're just for fun. 

There was no one in my head the first time I kissed a girl, taking notes about how I felt about the whole thing.  Hell, I didn't even know how I felt about it. 

There was no one around the first time I had an alcoholic drink or smoked my first whatever to survey me afterward about what I thought.

There was no one there but me when I decided I couldn't be in my marriage any longer.

And mostly, there is no one in this world who has read all of my journal entries, past and present, to even begin to understand what I've gone through in my life to get to this point.  There are a million of these experiences we all have gone through, putting a pet to sleep, having a child fall asleep in your arms, eating a favorite dish, throwing up after drinking too much, falling in love, regretting a moment, a conversation, a month...  the common thread here is that we've all gone through something similar, but after that.. whoa nelly!  The way I've reacted to these things, what I've taken away from them and what I've learned is so different from everybody else.

I don't know what I mean by all this...  Sometimes it's so important for me to be known.  To be loved for myself.  To not come home at the end of the night and be completely exhausted beause I felt compelled to be "on" all night.  Maybe it was just that woman's account of letting other's know of her refusing to be defined by pre-existing labels, that touched me somehow. 

Alright, time to get off my soapbox.  I'll save the rest of the camping stories for another day...

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Today I was listening to a cd, one I picked up at Starbucks called the "XM Sessions" or something like that. On it is a song by Tracy Chapman that I have heard before (the cd is on repeat) but never really paid attention to the lyrics. It was always a part of my mandatory background music. But, for whatever reason, the volume must have been jostled or something as I moved some things around on my desk, I was able to pick up on the chorus and then the rest of the words.

The song expressed a sentiment I've felt hundreds of times before when thinking about a certain person from my past...

Baby Can I Hold You –
Tracy Chapman

Is all that you can’t say
Years gone by and still
Words don’t come easily
Like sorry like sorry

Forgive me
Is all that you can’t say
Years gone by and still
Words don’t come easily
Like forgive me forgive me

But you can say baby
Baby can I hold you tonight
Maybe if I told you the right words
At the right time you’d be mine

I love you
Is all that you can’t say
Years gone by and still
Words don’t come easily
Like I love you I love you

I've always been able to express myself better through my writing - Lord knows sometimes I don't talk so good - but when I think about this person, even my brain gets tongue-tied. It's always seemed to me that if I could just say what I needed to say, to be able to use all the perfect words, everything would be seen in a different light. Voila! We would have a breakthrough! But, for whatever reason(s) - mostly mine - it's never happened. Once I fucked it all up, there were no "do-overs".. no matter how much I regretted it.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Camptown Races

Silhouetted Sunrise

Went camping this past weekend... hence all the new outdoors-y pictures.

It was fun. Headed out to Culp Valley (outside of Santa Ysabel) around 7:30 or so. Very dark. Makes it hard to see a turn-off to a campsite. Yes, indeed it does. After going 20 minutes out of our way, we finally found the road that leads into the desert - the windy road that would pummel my little Jetta on our way to our camping destiny.

When we finally got there (there being the spot that was almost level, wasn't pockmarked with small critter burrows, and was far enough away from the other campers to not hear them snoring) we unloaded the car. Since this was going to be a star-gazing trip, we didn't have much to unpack - just the stuff to make a comfy bed and a cooler with the wine and glasses (gotta have the necessities). I also had my camera and tripod, but once I got it all set up, I realized I had no idea how to program my digital camera for a 1/2 hour exposure time. Drats!

I figured I would forgo the picture thing until the following day and just enjoy my evening. We sat, sipping our wine, trying to stay warm, while pointing out different constellations and planets. Mars was bright and huge in the sky. When I see all those stars out there, away from the pollution of the ever present streetlamps that illuminate the sidewalks at night, I am amazed at how overwhelmed I become. The fact that in the scheme of things, I am a teeny, tiny speck. What a way for Mother Nature to put me back in my place.

Anyway, finally crawled into bed and was surprisingly warm. It was fairly easy to drift off to sleep, lulled by the desert sounds of birds and crickets doing their night-noise thing. A couple hours of peaceful slumber go by when suddenly I am awakened by scampering of little, but surprisingly sturdy feet, ACROSS MY FACE. I sit up with a shriek, clawing at my face and my hair, hoping that whomever it was that galloped across my personage was now gone. Egads! I don't wish that feeling on anyone.

Fortunately, I was able to get back to sleep and nothing else disturbed me for the rest of the night, with the exception of 3 small mosquitoes. But I'm counting those as minor casualties.

Next morning we got up early. I took pictures of the sunrise over the mountain and then took a hike and documented our trek through the desert flora. It was beautiful in the morning... all yellows and golds. It warmed up fast and before too long, I was ready to leave the sultry heat of the morning for cooler climates.

We stopped in Santa Ysabel and had breakfast at a local apple-themed restaurant before stopping at the Pie Shop and then heading home.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Running Wild

By: Rolnitzky

I've started a running program.

No, really. You can stop laughing now.

I've been running, albeit sporadically, for a couple months now. I'd A) go for a jog, then B) do nothing for a couple weeks. C) Repeat. It was just enough to keep my body remembering how torturous running can be and how sore I get in the following two days. It would always take me a couple weeks to talk myself into doing it again. And there you have it, folks. A step by step guide to creating a vicious cycle.

I have a friend who is preparing to run the New York Marathon in the next week or two. He's been so disciplined in his running, his training, and being able to say no to more than one beer. Recently, I snagged an old copy of Runner's World magazine off his desk and proceeded to flip through it, catching an article here or a tagline there. One thing that caught my eye was an article about the rise of women marathoners. Women - Girls - my age are training for marathons after injuries, kids, or just a plain ol' change of heart. Women who have never run before are suddenly deciding that running a marathon is a goal they want to achieve. And here I am, thinking I would be satisfied with getting through a whole 5K without stopping. I found it really inspirational. (I know, quell the gag reflex.) The other thing I found noteworthy in the magazine was a small article discussing motivation. Instead of trying to get yourself excited about your run, it's easier for some people to just not allow themselves any excuses. Sometimes when you're sore or tired or just not in the general mood to get your butt in gear, it's easy to say, "I'm out of time," or "I'll workout tomorrow." Whatever. Just don't allow yourself the excuse. "I'm gonna 'git'r'done' and when I'm done it will be over and I will feel good about myself, so shut up with the whining." Yeah, I talk to myself. So shoot me.

Anyway, the last thing that has gotten me going on my kick (and yes, I believe sticking to my schedule for 1 1/2 weeks qualifies as a 'kick') is Mike's dog. Normally, we take him for a 20 minute walk around the block and as we meander, he sniffs and pees on pretty much everything in sight and when we got home, he would be just as energetic as before. The nice thing about taking him out while I'm running is that A) I feel safer - it's dark in the evenings now and B) He's too tired to jump around and get in my face when we're done. A tired dog is a happy dog.

I've only been running 2 or 3 times a week, trying to work up to 4 or 5. On the days that I don't run, I walk with a friend at work on my lunchbreak. Then there's the whole parking off-campus and walking to class because I'm too cheap to get a parking permit. That's got to count for something. And I went shopping for myself last week - granola and yogurt and raw almonds and spinach and oranges. All those things that you are supposed to eat but usually don't.

The result of all this? I feel good. I feel more energetic, more confident and more proud (prouder?) of myself. I envision a metamorphosis of sorts with the me on the inside matching the me of my outside. Who knows if my 'kick' will turn out to be habit forming... All's I know is I'm wearing heels and a pencil skirt today and I feel good.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Old Apartment

Under the Neon
More pictures by d.b. blas

I've been car-pooling with a friend of mine on Tuesdays and Thursdays- the same friend who's been renting my old apartment from me for a few months. Yesterday, he tells me, "We have to talk." Now, when someone says this to you, no good can come of it since (in my experience) this phrase is most used when your significant other wants to breakup with you. Egads!

My brain starts racing to figure out what I've done wrong.  I can't think of a single time I've spoken badly about this person or crossed paths with him.  I am stumped.

So, we get to the car and proceed down the freeway.  The silence is deafening.  Well, that or the ambient sound of the car engine is causing my hearing loss.  Either way, it's uncomfortable to be sitting there, not talking.  So, with my usual social grace, I abruptly tell him, "Out with it."

Seems that my friend was unexpectedly laid off.  Bummer for him.  In fact, lotsa bummer for him.  He didn't even see it coming.  In fact, he thought things were on their way to getting much, much better.

As the effects from this single event start to trickle down, he tries to give me a heads-up.  To the point: he may need to be out of the apartment by December 1 (ie. not able to pay rent) unless he fins another IT job, pronto.

Now, I know I've been yammering on and on about how much I miss San Diego, how I can't wait to move back, and how much I miss my little apartment.  All of this is still true.  However, with my finances the way they are (on the road to recovery), I was hoping to delay this otherwise wonderful moment until June or July of 2006.  That way I'd, you know, actually be able to afford it.

So, I'm wrestling with this decision.  Do I move back in and live part time in SD and part time in T-mec, taking advantage of the proximity to school and such, but also living as a pauper?  Or do I move out of the apartment altogether, because Mike has ties that don't allow him to take up residence in SD for another 2 years anyway?

These are the days of my life....

Monday, October 24, 2005

Been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely time

You know, the silly thing about these long absences of mine, is that I've been writing. What about, you might ask? Some personal stuff; like so personal and/or dark and/or whatever that if it came to light that I was writing about it, someone might take it the wrong way or {egads!} get hurt feelings that perhaps their privacy was just a teensy, tinsey bit too invaded. The other stuff? I guess I'm just too lazy to post it on-line. Maybe I'm not the blogging kind of girl. Maybe I'm a Luddite through and through.

But, nope, here I am. At least for today. And here's what I gots for yous guys:

The start of another glorious week. Been working on my assignment for Graphic Design class. It's been fun and has whizzed by. I'll probably redo some things as more ideas come to be - it's nice to get more creative as I warm up and keep doing logos. (That's the topic of the assignment - logos and body copy.) That's usually how my creative process goes though. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to do this assignment outside the lab at school, but I've downloaded so many fonts over the years, that my work computer is okay. (editor's note: It's good enough to give shape to my ideas, but they're not always as polished as I would like since I don't have all the correct tools. Damn adobe for making their products so expensive yet essential!)

Saw my mom for the first time since the last family birthday in August. I'm such a slacker sometimes - we only live about an hour away. But with school and everything else going on, sometimes (most of the time) Santee is the last place I want to spend my time (and gas money) driving to. Anyway, Mike went with me and we talked about how her and my dad's Hawai'i trip went. My dad had gotten 3 hours of sleep, so was napping when we went over. It was good to talk to her and fun to look at pictures of my Tongan relatives (who now reside in Hawai'i).

In another month or so (less, even!) there will be a houseful of relatives for my folks to contend with. Aaron will be home after 2 years on his mission. Jared will be accompanied by Tanya and Caitlin. Aric and Brenda will have Cole and Emma in tow. My grandmother and her husband, Hershey will be down from Portland, OR. And then there are my mom and dad, me, Mike and possibly his kids. For the first time in 4 years, all of the Barrera kids will be together. Mom is arranging for family pictures to be taken. I'll be sure to bring the digital camera and take candids like I did at Cole's Blessing. It will be weird to have everyone around again. After all the initial excitement, I am anxious to see how Aaron will re-settle into the family house and life in general - as a "civilian". I hope all will go fairly smooth for him.

I was surprised to think about my niece, Emma, the other day and realize how much I have missed her. I haven't seen her for awhile and I wonder if she'll have completely forgotten me. For while, she would come to me and hang out. It's such a rewarding feeling when you feel wanted by a child and you realize that a bond has been formed between the two of you.

Mike and I went to the Wild Animal Park yesterday before his daughter's soccer game. In the hour or so we walked around there, I took about 125 pictures. A few came out really good - a small herd of elephants, a lionness, a couple of birds grooming their feathers, and a few macro shots of some plants. I'm most excited about the elephants, though. I can't wait to go home and play, I mean edit them. (editor's note: See, I delivered! Just, not all 125.)

Anyway, that's it. I'll post the photos later, tomorrow hopefully. Maybe I'll even write again soon, okay?

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Remember when I used to be fun and have a life??  (A few of you would make some snarky comment that it was before I moved to T-mec, but I'm choosing to ignore the sarcasm here... You know who you are.)  Anyway, all that ended about the time I started school.  Sure I still go to the occasional happy hour or downtown beerfest, but more often than not, I'm saying, "No, I have class tonight." Or, "I gotta do homework."  Something along those lines.  When my friends used to try and pull that with me when I wanted to go out, I used to laugh it off and drag them out anyway.  Here's karma coming around, I guess.  The things I do in excess nowadays are: Drive, Do Homework, and Drink Coffee.  (That last one is so I can keep doing the other two.)

As much as I complain though, things are going well.  The classes are going well - keeping me busy - but I'm also learning new things.  I'm trying to incorporate some of the stuff I'm picking up in school into my new web page (you can click on the above picture for the link).  I took quite a bit of time with it and am pretty proud of the overall effect.  I'm sure in a couple months I'll think it's shi-ite, but whatever.  I kind of look at it as living room furniture - it always needs to be rearranged every few weeks.

Besides that, not much going on (aka. I really have no other kind of life anymore).  Going to see The Corpse Bride with Mike and the kids this weekend.  I've been dying to see it since last spring when I first heard another Tim Burton stop animation film was in the works.  I can't believe I've had to wait 3 weeks after its release date to see it!  (And yes, I really am 27 years old...)

Been taking pictures like crazy again.  Anyone who wants an informal (FREE!) portrait session, feel free to look me up.  I'll give you a set of prints and you'll help me get more experience.  Sound fair?

Okay, tummy's rumbling - time for lunch. 

Later, gators!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Here we go again...

Room 165 by Todd Klassey

Okay, I know... it's been like 2 weeks. Although between you and me, I don't think anyone is standing by with bated breath, waiting for my next post.

Biggest change here to date? I'm in school again. Yep, the fall semester at City College. And, I've changed my major. When I got out of high school, I swore I was going to be a renown journalist (not famous - I want nothing to do with paparazzi) but respected in the community for being a good writer. I envisioned myself documenting a journey down the Nile River for National Geographic. Or penning an article about my trip to London and my stay at the Zetter Hotel. Or sharing all the juicy details about going backstage and having intimate conversations with that minute's hottest band a la Cameron Crowe, courtesy of Rolling Stone. Unfortunately for me, at the time I wasn't too keen on having to deal with people. Add that to the realization that it's a cutthroat world out there and jobs like that don't fall into some girl's lap right out of college... well, I decided that maybe Journalism wasn't my calling right at that moment.

So, I switched gears and decided to just get my degree in English. It was broad, general and vague enough to pretty much cover all sorts of bases. I would be qualified to be a writer if I wanted to or work in some kind of communications-type job. But then I got to thinking that English might be TOO vague and TOO general.

So, I spent some time trying to figure out what it is I really love. What I really want to do. Here I am, almost 30, and I'm thinking about what I want to be when I grow up. My thoughts kept going back to the artistic side of things. I'm always happiest when taking a picture, editing the photograph, writing a story, sculpting, painting, drawing, quilting, decopauging. Making a mosiac, a collage, a shelf, a layout. I'm happiest when I create. I'm also happiest when I get to work alone and late into the night. So, with all this in mind, I've taken my love of art and mashed it into my love of order and Voila! I'm going to major in Graphic Design. Should be a pretty good fit, right? I'll let you know when I'm burned out and still have 3 weeks to go in the semester...

Monday, August 15, 2005

A Salute to Eddie's Birthday

So, I know I should post about Eddie's birthday, but I'm kinda short on time right now. And I want to do it right the first time, with pictures and all. So, here is a small taste of how the extravaganza began...

1. Drinking the Shot, 2. Umm... Is that supposed to taste good?, 3. I don't like "Red-Headed Sluts"

Thursday, August 11, 2005


originally uploaded by Darling Clementine.
Now I'm legit with my bona fide badge. This qualifies, right?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Tales of a Suburban House-frau

Vebate on Flickr

So very tired this morning.... so very tired every morning, seems like. Spent all weekend at a soccer tournament - 5 games in all on Sunday and Saturday. I know Marisa is the one (who played) who should be most tired, but she's on summer vacay and has no job. No rest for the weary, I tell ya!

Also, since I am such a night owl (hoot! hoot!) I tend to be exhausted in the mornings and then forget how tired I was by around 5:00 or so in the evening. Which means that I picked up working on my quilt project last night around 10:00, took a break and went with Mike to walk the dogs, came back to the house around 11:15 and said I had only 10 more minutes... then got caught up in it again and didn't stop until 12:30 or so. He tried to blame me for keeping him up, but I pointed out that I didn't chain him to the couch in front of the tv and force him to watch 8 Legged Freaks, now did I? What was my fault was going up to bed and then persuading him to join me in a little ill-timed hanky panky. Later, Indie apparently wanted in on the action since he decided to wait for Mike to fall asleep before tearing into the room and up onto the bed - making a slumbering Mike part of his personal Indy 500 (Indie's 500?). That or playing freeze tag by jumping up, sinking his claws into his side and then running away. Tag! You're it! Gotcha with my sharp claws! 'Round 2:00, after much cursing and threatening of bodily harm of aforementioned ill-mannered feline, I finally drifted off to sleep, only to be awoke (awoken? awaked? woke up?) by the alarm a mere 4 hours later... at least he let me sleep in.

This morning, I dragged my sleep-sodden body out of bed, got ready for work, slipping on a button-up shirt and a pair of jeans. That's office attire, right? I knitted on the way to the office while Mike navigated our way through the usual mess of traffic. We've been listening to the DaVinci Code on tape - one of Mike's coworkers let him borrow it. I was against it at first, being that the only other book on tape I slept to, I mean listened to, was when he was interested in hearing a George Washington biography. Snooooze! This one isn't so bad though. Not as good as reading the book myself, but on the upside, at least I don't get carsick.

So now I'm at work... previously mentioned button up shirt keeps popping open at the top button, making me an unwitting sexpot at the least appropriate times. Couldn't endure a 9 hour day on my dulled senses alone, so I ran out and got a supersized coffee, full of carmelly (and extra caffeineted (sp?) espresso-y) goodness. Was going to round out that breakfast of champions with something that resembled meat, cheese, egg and heart attack on a bun (can I get hash browns with that?) but was tired of driving and settled for a slice of pumpkin bread instead. Huzzah!

So, that's my morning. At least I still had a parking spot when I got back from the coffee shop. It's the little things that I look forward to in my day...

Monday, August 01, 2005

I can't cram anything else in here!


I had an extremely busy weekend... I just didn't do much. That doesn't really make sense, I guess. How about, 'there wasn't much variety'? That's more like it.

Mike told me last week that M had a soccer tournament this weekend. The plus side? It was going to be held at a soccer park on Coronado. Yay! Weekend at the beach! I visualized myself getting a nice golden tan, swimming in the sparkling blue water and sipping mai tais with the jellyfish. Then reality kicks in: There were 2 games scheduled for Saturday and 1 game for sure on Sunday, with the potential for another 2. Tell me again where I signed up for this??

Usually, when I know we're going to be in San Diego, I try and catch up with my San Diego Crew. They gave me so much shit when they found out I was moving to T-Mec, mostly because I was the one who put together a lot of the happy hours and parties and the like. And I had a place downtown, within walking distance to the bars. And a great view. (Tell me again why I moved?)

Anyway, I dropped my party girl persona when I moved to the suburbs (the party-girl and I, we have occasional reunions every now and then) and became a soccer-mom, er, soccer-potential-step-mom? (I have a hard time with this, every now and then. This whole idea of inheriting kids. Not just kids, mind you, but inheriting teenagers. I missed out on all the cute baby/little kid stuff. And having never had any of my own, I treat them more as my pals and let the adult/child relationship kind of fall by the wayside.) Sorry, got side-tracked. So, since I knew we were going to be down south, I tried to be efficient and squeeeeeeeze every last drop of quality time out of this trip and make plans with a couple of friends in between games. Note to self: This strategy does not make for a relaxing weekend.

The first game we went to was early on Saturday morning. Way too early. Like, up-by-6:00-on-a-Saturday-morning too early. I was tired - I think the girls were too. We ended up losing, 2-4. Seemed like the parents were more competitive than their kids at this point. There were a few we had to tie to their chairs just so they wouldn't run out onto the field and kick for their kids.

After the game, Mike, the kid-let and I, went north to La Jolla Shores to meet up with a girlfriend of mine I had lost touch with. (Backstory: We met at girls' camp when we were 12, introduced by a mutual friend. In high school, bound by both honors classes and religious affiliation, we hung out a lot - at parties, school, etc... After we graduated, we drifted apart, but when I moved into the apartment complex she was managing, we became thick as thieves. I was out with her when she went on her first date with her future husband. I visited her in the hospital when both of her sons were born. We talked over relationship problems. We celebrated successes in our lives. We offered each other advice and a listening ear. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding. Then I got divorced. And while my "X" stayed in the apartment complex, I moved out. I guess part of the divorce settlement was that he got to keep most of my friends. This friend and I made promises to keep in touch, but those fell by the wayside. Outta sight, outta mind, I guess. She was busy with kids and family while I was busy with new boyfriends and then a new life in a house an hour away. We sporadically e-mailed and then she invited me to a picnic held last Saturday.) I went early, so as the avoid the X-factor, and we took an hour or two to catch up. We have a shared history, so we had things to talk about, but it's hard to re-establish a close connection in such a short amount of time. I took some pictures of her twins - born only a few weeks ago - and we promised again to take some time and get together. Hopefully we'll follow through this time.

The rest of the weekend went something like this:

Soccer - Win
Party @ Mike's co-worker's house
Soccer - Win
Soccer - (Semi-finals) Win
Breathe, Pee
Soccer - (Finals) Tie game, go into over-time with penalty kicks, head to head in penalty kicks until after 3 or 4 girls, we lose. Boo.

Got home Sunday night - walked the dog, got aloe for my sunburn (ouch!) and collapsed in a heap on my bed. Didn't move until the alarm went off too early on Monday morning.

There you have it folks! My weekend extravaganza!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Ego Boost Compliments of the DMV

Don't know who out there is reading this, but there is a possibility you don't know me very well. I guess there is a chance we could know each other but just don't see each other/talk on a regular basis. Today's post is dedicated to that just that reason - that people change when you don't see them much.

I got my renewed license from the DMV today in the mail. I dread having my picture taken at the DMV - do they every turn out good? - but then I figure this picture can't POSSIBLY be worst than the last. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the envelope and out pops my new photo ID. And it wasn't too bad. Not bad at all.

So, I got out my old ID and compared the two. I had no idea I had changed so much. No wonder the bouncers at the door made me jump through all those hoops: in addition to showing them my ID, I have been asked to smile, to show proof of other self on other forms of ID and to have my friends vouch for me. Now I see why.

Without further ado, here are my old and new DMV pics:

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Feel-Good Story of the Day

So, here is a little tale that has it all: Tragic Loss, a Harrowing Journey and a Miraculous Discovery at the end makes this the feel-good story of the year!

When Mike came home from HI the other night, he was smart enough to come bearing gifts - several of them in fact. Sarongs, a shell necklace/bracelet set, gold earrings and a pretty gold bracelet. The bracelet and earrings are compliments of Turtle Beach and as such bear the emblem of their namesake. Okay, so that was what? 2 days ago? (Did I ever tell you that I lost the bracelet he bought me in Greece? The only thing I can think of is that we were wrestling on the beach one day - both dove after a football - and I think the clasp broke. Consequently, it has never been seen again. Important to the story.)

So, these earrings, while not necessarily my style (if he ever picks up an engagement ring for me, I am so telling him to talk to my girlfriends first) are in no way, shape or form on par with the Magic Mountain Necklace of Cartoony Doom. They are cute - small and quality. But they are the jangly kind - like the kind my friend lost at Ms. Kitty's in LA with the little Christmas Tree hook type post. Unfortunately, Hawaiians do not feel the need to include the little rubber pieces that make them stay put in one's ear but I wanted to wear them today with my bracelet. So, throwing all voices of caution to the wind (like I usually do) I wore them anyway.

I checked on them once or twice (still there!) and then forgot about them, those friendly little squatters in my earlobes. But, after lunch, I thought about them again and WOE UNTO ME! one of them had been hijacked! Or eloped with my sunglasses (which are still! missing!). I spent 30 minutes, walking the floors of my building. Retracing all my steps. Posting flyers of "REWARD! LOST EARRING! ANSWERS TO THE NAME OF SPARKY!" In the midst of all this, the thoughts kept rushing into my head, "He picked these out for you. He's sentimental. He's going to be upset. That's the 2nd piece of jewelry you've lost. You've only had these earrings 2 days! You'll never get anything nice from him again!" I lovingly laid the remaining earring in a safe place - the cup console in the car. It looked so bereft - sad and alone without it's perfect match.

I decided to retrace my steps further. Although I had only been out of the building once during the day, I figured it was worth a try. The odds were against me, but no attempt was too great. In my grief, I was afraid I would miss it or that someone else stepped on it, picked it up, or put it in their nose. That I would be too late. I started bracing myself for the realization that I would never see it again. Suddenly, on a quick detour through the cafeteria, I saw a shiny yellow glint on the floor! There, he was! My beloved earring of the Island! Still whole, still precious, and although the chances of it being stepped on were high, it is undamaged. Disaster averted!

I went back to my desk and cut up a pencil eraser. Then headed to my car and reunited the pair. Theirs was a joyous reunion. I put them in my lobes, securely in place with the homemade eraser backings.

Safe and Sound.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Unexpected Big Wave


Mike's Big Wave
originally uploaded by
Darling Clementine.

When you see a big wave coming, do not tell your reluctant muse to turn his back to it, allowing him to get soaked. Even if it would make a cool picture.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Too busy to Blog

It's summertime and everyone is either too busy - or too bored - to blog. Even the very word, "B-L-O-G" just sounds kind of blah, doesn't it? Like it's been sitting out in the sun too long and started to melt.

Anyway, my birthday was fun. Even the DMV wasn't too bad - I mean, as good as standing in line at the DMV can get. I parked the car in the lot and walked over to the main door, optimistically telling myself that I will be in and out of here in a matter of mere minutes! and completely ignoring the line of bored people that spilled out the door, poured onto the sidewalk, and clung to the side of the building. As soon as I recognized the line for what it was, I sighed dejectedly and shuffled my way to the back. It's always interesting - the people you meet at the DMV. Everybody's gotta be there at one time or another - it's one of those few similarities that unite our melting pot society here in the US of A - a singular hatred of the DMV. That and waiting until the last minute to register or renew our driving related issues. So, as I waited in line, I passed the time by unabashedly checking out the various people waiting in line. First, I tried to covertly observe the passionate couple making out behind me. Before I actually saw them, all I heard were the wet, sucking sounds of people loudly and enthusiasticly kissing. (Romantic, isn't it?) When I didn't hear them stop and come up for air, I figured I could at least turn around and sneak a peek at the romantic tonsil-hockey rendevous. I think that was about the time they paused their smoochfest and both turned to stare me down as they caught me looking at them. After that, I kept my eyes firmly facing forward and tried to guess if the Middle Eastern lads ahead of me were actually speaking a real language or just something the two of them made up.

Once inside the actual building, it was relatively empty of people. I felt like I was in one of those clubs that have no one inside, but keep the long line of people waiting outside just to keep up the appearance of being THE place to be. I don't think the DMV can get away with that kind of behavior... unless, maybe they installed a disco ball or something. Yeah, right next to the screen that announces which number is being called next...

I read the paper while I waited and before I could finish the entire comics (the bastard who was reading the paper first TOTALLY hogged that page), my number was called. I was afraid I was going to have to do the vision test and take a written test to renew my license, but I guess they just wanted my money. Oh, and I had to take a new picture, but since my last one was so bad, let's just say I'm not heartbroken by that fact. All in all, I was done in about an hour and on my way to start the actual celebrating of my birthday.

I walked along one of the main drags through Hillcrest, treating myself to lunch in the process, to kill some time while waiting for some friends to show up at the
designated bar. (It's hip! It's cool! It's blue!) A cute girl walking an equally cute terrier mix strolled past me and I couldn't help but think she looked vaguely familiar. When I rapidly scrolled through all the useless bits of trivia in my head, I pinpointed her as one of my internet friends - those mysterious people you talk to online, but have never actually met face to face. Being that I am one of those face to face kind of people, I took off at a jog, trotting after this lady and her dog. Luckily, they stopped at the crosswalk on the corner and I had my opportunity to accost her introduce myself.

(Walking beside her) "Hi! Are you on
Myspace?" (God, am I smooth??)
(Her, walking a little faster) "Yeah....." (Open-ended response clearly indicated that she thought I was crazy.)
(Me, jogging now, trying to keep up) "Did you just adopt your dog?" (How was I supposed to know these are all used as pickup lines?)
(Her, obviously trying to get away from me) "Yeah...."
(Wait, is she slowing down?) "I think you're one of my myspace friends."

She finally slowed down, believing that I wasn't some kind of deranged killer or at least, not a killer. We chatted for a few seconds and she let me pet her dog, Cooper, who is even cuter in real life than on-line. All in all, the intro was rocky, but the meeting was a success.

Finally, back at the bar, I sipped a mojito while waiting for my friends. I scored a perfect spot with a table in the window, so I was able to people watch for the half hour or so before people got there. Thanks to Cheryl, Nowell, Nicole, and Devlynn (who staggered in carrying a bouquet of sunflowers bigger than her!) for stopping by, having a drink, staying to chat and catch up, and celebrate my day. I was worried that I was going to feel a little alone/despondent/left out/whatever since Mike was out of town, but you guys cheered me up and left me thinking, "Mike? Who's Mike?"

That's all for now - got a bit long-winded on this one.
Over & Out!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Lies... all lies

I haven't written for a looooooooooong time. Even grading on a sliding scale for my procrastinating self, it's been a while. Bad, bad monkey. I could say that I've just been so caught up in other things, like extravaganzas, galas and other BIG! EVENTS! but that would not be true. It would be so very opposite in fact... so, no more excuses. No bald-faced lies. I. just. haven't. written.

Smack my hand. There, make you feel better? Okay, now that it's all out of your system...

I have a bunch of stuff to post, I'm sure. But, it's like when someone asks you your address or telephone number and all of the sudden you blank. You stand there, sputtering and looking like an idiot until you quit being embarrassed and voila! it comes back to you in a flash. No, that's never happened to me either, but if it did, it would kind of be like right now... knowing things have happened, but not remembering really what they were. Or where I should even start.

To jog my memory for the next time, I will soon tell you about my low-key birthday party (which is today! happy 27 to me!) that I was forced to arrange for myself, my pre-birthday getaway that my BF allowed me to plan and then graciously paid for, the 4th of July and all the reasons I just can't stand Hawaii. Most of these involve some story and lots of pictures. But everyone likes pictures, right? And at this point, you're probably just hoping I shut up soon anyway.

The one thing I will touch on is the fact that I have a new nephew. Cole Jaxon was born on July 5th - one day late in true Barrera fashion. Why my SIL wouldn't wait until the 12th to have this kid is beyond me. She could have saved any money on a separate birthday present for me since having a relation born on my birthday in tribute is more than adequate. However, SOME people didn't see the importance of this and I will try and grumble a little more quietly in the future. I was sick with a bad cold at the time Cole was born, so I didn't make it to the hospital. In fact, I didn't get to meet him until this past weekend, when I went to my folk's house for dinner. In the past, when new parents, all aglow with love and adoration for their little bundle of joy asked if I wanted to hold the new baby, I deferred. "Uh, maybe later, thanks." I didn't mind holding the kid... I just didn't want to be put on the spot. Now, that I have 2 nieces under my belt, I'm an old pro at this. I walked in the door, "Hey, how's everybody doing? Fine? Good to hear.. where's the baby?" Someone reluctantly hands him over and he's in my arms, all 8 lbs of him. He's small and warm and smells like clean babies do. He struggles to open his eyes for a couple minutes, then gives up, yawns and goes back to sleep. What a life. Don't accuse me of being baby-hungry. I'm not sure I could do this full-time at this point in my life. But man-oh-man, it sure is fun to visit.

Anyway, that's about it. I'm leaving work early today (duh! it's my BIRTH-day!) and treating myself to a present... standing in line at the DMV to renew my license since it expires today. Special thanks to the bouncer who pointed this out to me last weekend...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

In keeping with tradition...

Every time Mike leaves on a trip (he's on travel for work until Friday), I've done something to alter my appearance. Usually something with my hair, 'cause that seems to be the easiest. He jokes that he's coming home to a stranger every time. But that's kind of hot, right??

Anyway, I'm getting my hair cut on Friday, right before he comes home (no room for error, Sara!) and I was going to get it colored too (current dark roots = very bad) but that would have made me run low in the finance dept., with a week to go til payday. I've missed being the exotic beauty with the black hair (always makes me think of a wild gypsy girl), so I decided to go back to my brunette self. My inner wild gypsy girl steers me in to the local Wal-Mart (like you do) and I picked out the exotic wild gypsy girl color of "black." All the reds and browns were called things like Cherry Bliss, Sinful Cinnamon Sensations, and Hot Mocha While Wrapped in a Quilt on a Rainy Day. I guess you don't get to be too creative with black.

So anyway, now I'm a "black-head." Do me a favor and don't spread that around, okay??

Also... thanks to Fussy for providing me with this link. I was reading it at work and trying not to laugh too hard. Not that I was very successful...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Parking Spot or Coffee Pot?

Which is more important? Is it the cup of coffee to jumpstart your day? Or is it the parking spot at work, in a lot with too many cars and not enough spaces?

This morning, coffee won out.

You can tell those of us who spend the extra 15 minutes on the commute to work, stopping at Starbucks or whatever coffee place is closest to home. In a sea of dragging, weary, non-caffeinated cubicle monkeys, it’s easy to spot those of us with a spring in our step and a cardboard sleeve-encased cup of joe in our hands. But it is also us, the tardy coffee drinkers, so charming and affable at our desks, who become sharks as we pull into the parking lot; circling the rows, able to smell a freshly vacated space or the exhaust of a newly started car, backing up, from a mile away. It is also us, the java imbibers, who are forced to finally admit defeat and park, dejectedly across the street.

This morning, I thought I could resist… but in the end it was futile. As I parked my car and walked across the street, I reflected on the rich brown liquid warming my hands and energizing my step and thought to myself, “It was worth it.”

Coffee = 1. Parking Lot = 0.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Lots of wine & some disturbing naked images

Okay, so here's some weekend notes...

Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival

Hmm.. you would think that any affair with the word wine in the title would be a fabulous time, right?  Well, there were a few issues that didn't sit so well with me:

The admission price was $18... and that's what you got.  Admission.  Why not call it Temecula Valley Admission Festival - Balloons & Wine optional.  To be fair, that price did include live music, but aside from a couple B-musicians (Oooh!  Eddie Money!  Wow!  It's the former lead singer of Foreigner!) it was kind of like that Muzak in the elevator of a stuffy office building or that music when you're on hold and you think to yourself it would be so much better if it was just a silent hold so you could play your own music.  Something like that.  All of the balloons! and wine! were more moolah...

Then I discovered the fair organizers were practical jokers.  Mike & I decided to shell out the money for the wine tasting and found one we really liked.  What is the logical next step in this equation?  "Let's buy a bottle or two!" or if you're like us, "A case!"  I inquired into the purchase of said tasty beverage only to be shot down by the wine-tasting tyrant, "You'll have to come up to the winery to buy a bottle since we aren't allowed to sell it here."  WTF?  You can't sell WINE at a WINE FESTIVAL?  I felt like pulling a Miles (from Sideways**) when he wants a full pour and the wine tasting dude won't give it to him, so he chugs the swill bucket.  GO, GO, GO!

Aside from these irritations, it was a good time.  (If your idea of a good time is being herded into a heavily guarded, enclosed area and getting shit-faced with a bunch of strangers.)  Mike and I people-watched, tasted a bunch of different wines from the local vineyards, ate Fair Food - which is guaranteed to make you die a slow, agonizing, painful, coagulated death someday, but is oh-so-tasty - watched the "Balloon Glow" show and played around with the new digital camera.  Yep, fun stuff.

The ties that bind... and gag

My brother and his family were in town this weekend for a surprise visit.  It's always good to see them - it doesn't happen very often.  For one, they just bought a house in Utah and I will probably BURST INTO FLAMES if I step one foot across that state line.  So, I look forward to our twice-a-year visits from them since now that he is grown up he is no longer a pain in the butt and I actually enjoy hanging out with him.  I was also very happy to discover that my Utah Niece is finally as cute as my California Niece (daughter of my brother who lives locally).  I was worried for awhile that I was going to favor Cute-One over Not-as-cute-one , but since Utah niece caught up, I can continue to spoil them both equally.


So, my dad made a life-altering decision this past weekend and decided to shave. This is monumental only because for as long as I can remember, he has had some kind of beard/goatee/facial hair covering no less than one third of his face.  All the men in my family are follically challenged, so I believe this was some sort of over-compensation for that trend.  Anyway, he was bald on top for awhile, but still had some hair around the edges and the full beard going-on.  Then he decided to shave his whole head, but kept the whole beard thing.  Now, the only hair he has left north of his neck is his eyebrows.  He's still stunningly handsome (where do you think I get my good-lucks?) but the verdict is still out on the whole naked-face thing.

Movie Review

I finally got to watch Sideways (that's where the ** comes in since it's all so fresh in my mind) and am happy to report that I finally understand the whole "... alright, but I'm not drinking any fucking Merlot!" reference.  I thought it was a great movie because:

- Sandra Oh is friggin' HOT, HOT, HOT!!! if not slightly mental when enraged;

- the arm out of the car window scene: totally cool;

- the exchange between Maya & Miles on the porch was so intimate and haunting and rich that I wanted to put a straw in a bottle of pinot and suck it down on the spot (wait! when do I NOT want to do this??);

- Jack was basically a dick and Miles was a neurotic pushover.  I was slightly mad/amused when Jack got no other forms of comeuppance besides the broken nose;

- when Miles steals Jack's wallet back from the waitress/husband's house and the husband comes out buck nekkid and not only jiggles and bounces all over the place, but also gets smooshed up against Mile's car - that scene is permanently burned into my brain.  Actually, the part where the couple is in bed is pretty searing too;

- when Miles is drinking the '61 in the diner out of a styrofoam cup.  I loved the furtive glance he gave before pouring himself another.  While we may not have all enjoyed a bottle of that caliber, I know I've totally given the ole lookout before consuming my bootlegged alcohol;

- where/how it ends.  It was a sometimes painful journey to watch, what with Jack being such an ass and Miles so depressed and anxious all the time.  But there were some great one-liners and then you get to the end and wise, calm, normal Maya calls and we see an emboldened Miles knocking on the door - a door of opportunity.. of possibility... of future??

Alright already.. I've spouted on about enough, I'll go before you kick me out...  OVER & OUT!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Laundry List

Yeah, I know. I haven't written in awhile. Shame on me. Go ahead - you can slap my wrist... Hey, what's everyone gettin' in line for? What's with the rulers? SQ, PUT DOWN THAT PADDLE RIGHT NOW!!

Okay, forget the wrist slapping, knuckle rapping and arse spanking... let me get down to business and fill you in with what's new.

Took a short vacation and went to Portland, Oregon. Most people, when they think of vacations, think of skiiing at a mountain resort. Or maybe getting away from it all to somewhere warm and tropical, a place with white sand and strong mai tais with pink umbrellas and pineapple slices on the rim of their souvenir glass. Not me... I go where there's rain. So, no one was more surprised or disappointed than myself when I get up to P-town and nary a drop of moisture falls on my head. Not even bird pee or fly spit. No-thing. In fact, the day I got there, it was in the high 90 degrees. WTF, man? I wanted to head up to the cooler weather. If I had known it was going to be a friggin' oven up there, I could have stayed home and melted and saved myself the greenbacks.

Anyway, it was good fun being up there. I have a few (hundred) cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents, in-laws, out-laws and other assorted members of the cast and crew that showed up to welcome me into the Pacific Northwest with open arms, soggy kisses and much cheek-pinching. (I swear - do we have open casting calls to recruit extended family members??) After the introductory to-do, a few select cousins (aka my partners in crime) took me into the seedier parts of Portland, where I felt much more at home.

Speaking of seedier parts of the city, there is a very interesting phenomenon at work up there. I asked to go to a dive bar, much like my beloved Landlord Jim's in downtown San Diego. My cousin, Doug, looked at me, eyebrows raised and explained that their dive bars were in actuality, really bad strip clubs with names like "Jiggles" and dancers that reminded one of one's mother. Factoid: Oregon has more strip clubs than any place in the US... So, they (they being Doug & his brother Danny - hooligans after my own heart) took me to one of the smaller McMenamin's places, since the McMenamin brothers have a monopoly on everything related to beer, drinking and entertainment. Not that I'm knocking that - the places are actually very cool. Everything from rehabbed welfare houses to little hole in the wall taverns - all revamped and redecorated and revitalized. It's nice that the menu is pretty much the same across the board (Yum! Cajun tater tots!). And I like what they've done with the places - very enjoyable. In fact, I wish they had a few of those places down south. Although its probably good they don't because I drank so much beer on my trip that I was perpetually buzzed and water-logged. (Beer-logged?) I guess I can do that on a vacation, but a way of life? No thanks.

Anyway, I attended a family picnic, went to a couple of get-togethers, met up with some friends, went to a Maktub concert at the newly rehabbed Doug Fir (thanks, Sammy!), drinking, drinking and mo' drinking, wandered around downtown taking pictures and spent my final evening watching Eddie Izzard with Danny & Dougie in my drunken, water-logged exhaustion. Yep, good times were had by all... already planning my next trip.

I know I promised to really catch you up on what's been going on lately, but since the trip, everything is pretty hazy.

So, what's up for the weekend? Tonight I plan to go pay a friend of mine to pour hot wax on all my tender parts and rip off whatever sticks. Sounds like fun, huh? This weekend is also the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival. To you all, it may sound like fun. To us Temecul-ites, it is one method of coping with having to live an hour outside of San Diego.

Next week I am giving a presentation for my mom's church group on "Things to do in San Diego." What do I tell them? "Ladies, here is a list of all the best dive bars in the downtown area." *Sigh* This is going to be more difficult than I thought... Also on the agenda for the next week: Palm Springs and a birthday celebration/potential orgy. Just something to jog my memory and tell you about it...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

20 questions...

My buddy, SQ, originally sent this out as a bulletin on myspace, but I figured it was interesting, so what the heck. Takes me off the hook as far as posting for today...

1. What does your myspace quote mean? (Speeding through books like bullets through butter!)
That I have a reading "problem." I used to get in trouble for reading when I was supposed to be doing other things, like cleaning my room.
Mom: "Deann! Are you reading again?"
Deann: "Uhhh.. no?"
Mom: "Is your room clean yet? Don't make me tell your father about this! It's too quiet - I can't hear you moving around!"
Since I moved out of my parent's house, my mom isn't around to give me grief about it... but my BF daughter doesn't cut me any slack. She's nicknamed me BW - "Bookworm."

2. Elaborate on your primary photo?

The Roch

A painting by Lynden Saint Victor, whom I saw at this years art fest in Little Italy. The characters are all based on little known or made up saints. This one seems to be the patron saint of dogs. I love dogs. No, not like that.

3. Who introduced myspace to you?
My good buddy, SQ. She actually forced it on me. I was enjoying Friendster at the time. Needless to say, that went by the wayside.

4. How many friends do you have?
A few really close ones and a lot of people I can call to have a happy hour or go to a concert.

5. What's your current status?
Completely enamored... in love with my sweetheart.

6. What are you wearing right now?
Ooh La la! Black skirt with white flower-y embroidery, white peasant blouse, scads of jangly bracelets, black high heels, silver jingly hoop earrings.

7. What is life to you?
A definite adventure. For better or worse, a choose your own adventure.

8. What are you doing now?
Mostly looking forward to a concert with SQ. Slightly missing going home tonight and being domestic with the fam. (Disgusting, I know. For Dog's sake, don't tell anybody!)

9. What do you hate most?
Insincerity, a blase attitude, narrow-mindedness, being stood up, the fact that all my favorite junk foods are so heart-stoppingly calorie laden.

10. What do you love most?
The boy who makes my world go 'round... feeling creatively inspired, good music, clever conversation, getting new clothes from the clearance rack and finding that they fit perfectly.

11. What makes you happy?
Hmm.. see above. Oh, and coke with ice.

12. Are you musically inclined?
I can carry a tune well.... or so I've been told.

13. What would you do if you woke up one morning and found that the person you love most doesn't exist?
I'd be pretty upset and feel lost, although I know life would go on. Everyone has had their share of bad break-ups, so I know we have all gotten a taste of what that is like. But if it were someone other than my S/O? Like my mom (whose undying affection I take for granted on a regualr basis)? Whew! I don't even want to consider that one... Inconceivable!

14. If you could go back in time, and change something, what would it be?
I always said that I would go back to my freshman year of college and find out what would have happened if I hadn't broken up with my high school sweetheart. But, my life now is full and my heart is content. Maybe all things happen for a reason... I guess my second regret would be dropping out of school or getting into debt. It's a toss-up.

15. If you MUST be an animal for ONE day, what will you be?
A fish... I love the water.

16. Ever had a near death experience?
Yep. After three of them, the only thing they seemed to prove is that I am invincible. That or I have an extremely harried guardian angel. I mean, if you believe that kind of thing.

17. Name ONE obvious quality you have.
Let's see... Nice eyes? Too obvious? Umm... I can talk to pretty much anyone.

18. What's the name of the song that's stuck in your head right now?
Somebody told me,
You had a boyfriend,
Who looked like a girlfriend,
That I had in February of last year....
haha... now it's probably stuck in your head too.

19. Are you happy today?
Yep.. but I'm usually happy.

20. Who will cut and paste this?
Don't know. I hope a few others do though... it's fun to find out new things about people who read up on you...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Baby Steps

So my good friend SQ is all gung-ho about this whole diet/exercise/new way of life/looking good in skinny jeans kind of phase in her life right now and I guess I kind of caught the bug. Instead of my usual, "Hey, I'll start tomorrow morning..." I am actually trying to start now. As in, 5 minutes from now is not soon enough.

So, I started researching foods again - trying to put the most natural, wholesome things in my body. Like for breakfast, I had oatmeal, organic yogurt, raspberries and strawberries. The only thing that would have made it better was if the berries had come from the Farmer's Market instead of the grocery store. Most mornings I skip breakfast or I slurp on a heavy, sugary, carmel-y coffee until I'm both jittery from the caffeine and tired from the crash of the sugar rush. The past two mornings, breakfast has been like eating spoonfuls of summertime. Haha.. yes, that sounds corny, but there's something about the summer months that make me want to be outside (before it gets too warm) and eating fresh foods and drinking pure, undiluted liquids. Can anyone else relate?

I have yet to try and tackle the exercise thing, since next on the agenda is skipping fast food for dinner and cooking my meals (maybe even without the microwave!) On the menu for tonight? Tentatively, lettuce wraps and brown rice. It doesn't sound too difficult, I know, but it's all about baby steps, people....

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

An anniversary

Today marks an anniversary of sorts. A whole year has gone by since the day you came over to my desk, introduced yourself and asked me to lunch. You had seen me walking around the campus, discman in hand, listening to music and enjoying my lunch breaks. Once or twice, you teased me, making some comment as to what I might be listening to. I smiled, but didn't know who you were. You talked to a friend of mine, cloaking your inquisition in benign curiosity so as not to reveal your true intentions. And then you approached me on the pretense of having a work assignment nearby. I was prepared for more teasing, but you formally introduced yourself, sparing me the smart-aleck comments and instead, included your name and your age in our conversation. I expressed surprise at your age, several years over my own, but found you attractive and charming and when you invited me to lunch, I hesitated only a moment before accepting. Our lunch went well and a couple days later, we had dinner. We spent the evening talking and walking around San Diego. I was impressed you knew the names of the different plants I pointed out. I told you it was a game I used to play with my dad, to identify as many different kinds as we could. We ended our evening with a kiss that thrilled me. Over the next few days, I thought about you often and on our next date, I felt the same "connectedness" that I had experienced before. I felt so comfortable with you. I thought about the lists I had made in my head over the years - qualities my ideal man would possess. You had so many of them. I never thought it would be possible to find a man who would appeal to both my logical and creative sides as you do. When it was time for the evening to end that night, I asked you to stay. It was unlike me to make such a request, but it was an impulse I felt compelled to give in to. The shocked expression on my friend's face the next morning (as she picked me up for coffee and met us on the back stairs of my apartment, trying to sneak you out without being seen) told me we would have an uphill battle as our relationship became known to our friends and family. They would all have well-meaning advice: "She's too young," "He's too old," "He already has children," "You live an hour apart," "You're not yourself when you're around him." On and on they would come, unsolicited. And yet, here we are. Still together, still going strong. Still not listening to them....

Puerto Nuevo - 2005

Friday, May 06, 2005

Yo soy una Mexicana... sort of

I've always had a penchant for the exotic - my tastes tend to lean more toward those things different and foreign from me. I love the bright colors of the Indian saris & textiles. I am enamored of Greek architecture. I love the formal rituals of the Japanese meals. One of my favorite movie scenes is found in "Fools Rush In, " where Matthew Perry comes home to find his previously neutrally decorated home transformed into a colorful homage to hispanic culture (by Salma Hayek, no less).

Maybe this affection for all things bright and beautiful comes from my mixed heritage. My father is Mexican, although raised in the US. His father, hell-bent on American-izing his children and assimilating into their neighborhood, refused to let them speak Spanish in the home. His knowledge of the language remained neglected until his children were born. He taught my brothers and me the alphabet, the names of body parts ("Where's your ojos?") and short phrases. He was still able to understand conversational Spanish, but most of the time, responded in English. My mother is blend of English, German and other predominantly white, Anglo, European countries. She speaks no Spanish (although she is a great cocinera thanks to my dad).

Because of my looks (and because I live close to the Mexico/California border) I am frequently asked about my heritage. When I admit I am of latin descent, the question inevitably arises, "Habla Espanol?" Quickly followed by, "Well, why not??"

It's not that I don't want to - in fact, I was fascinated by the language and took several classes in high school and college. Only recently though, have I conjured up the cajones to try and converse in this foreign tongue. I have always wanted to be a part of this... to feel like I belong to this culture. Instead, I have always felt like the "gringa" or "guera"... the outsider. On forms where you fill in the bubble next to your ethnicity, I fill in Latino/Chicano. (Sorry, Mom.) I listen to the Mexican radio stations (Spanish Rock, natch) even though I don't understand 3/4 of the lyrics. I long for customs & traditions, stories of old pueblas and the old ways of my bisabuela and her family. Will I ever feel like I fit in that world? Why is this particular desire so strong?

Monday, May 02, 2005

How was YOUR weekend?

The weekend was good... how's that for broad, general and vague??

I had Friday off, so I started my weekend on Thursday night... always a good thing. Except for Mike's dinner with the X thing... not always so good. But, whatever - I wasn't going to let that get me down. I decided to shush the little negative voices in my head and head out for drinks. I first hit the TGIFriday's with some friends (it's near work) and had a couple beers. Next, was a tour of E's new place - HOLY COW IT IS A POKER PALACE. Very cool - 3 levels with the bottom level being a giant rec room. I am definitely envisioning some swingin' summer parties there. Well, not swingin' like THAT. Aaand, if anyone needs to crash at his place due to copious amounts of ever-flowing alcohol being imbibed, there is a queen sized bed in the middle of the living room. (Maybe they WILL be swingin' like THAT.) After my mouth hanging open for 15 minutes or so, my tonsils were starting to dry out, so I made my departure and headed over to Little Italy to meet Myspace Maya. We decided on the Princess Pub as it was central to eateries, drinkeries and parkeries, the latter in which to place our cars. Our initial meeting lasted a good 1/2 hour or so until the rumblings in her stomach forced her and her date into looking for a higher class of food (one can only find fish & chips delectable for so long). I think it went well and I am looking forward to meeting up for Casbah concerts, picture taking, and produce poking in the near future.

Friday was a pleasant departure from the norm. Although it's nice to have an off Friday every other week, it's easy to push all those "chores" and appointments onto that day. This week, we had nothing we absolutely had to do. Mike is working on getting his pilot's license and I went with him to his meeting with his instructor. Since he's almost done with his lessons, the teacher is pretty much just getting him ready for his "check ride" - or check list of maneuvers for his flying test. Since he's so close to being ready, Mike asked if I could tag along. Ten minutes later, I found myself on the aiport tarmac, climbing into a plane smaller than most sedans. (Yeah, let's all get airborne in a Ford Taurus with wings!) Actually, it was really cool and I don't have a fear of flying or being in small planes. Also, lucky for me, Mike had an excellent day and the wind was so smooth... very little (if any) turbulence. The exciting part was when they practiced "stalls." The instructor has to test a pilot's knowledge in every area, including emergency, break-down kind of situations. So mid-air, this nutjob tells Mike to cut the power to the engine. And Mike does it. Hello??? Anyone besides me see anything wrong with this picture??? Luckily, everything worked out (otherwise, it would be interesting to see how I am typing this blog) and we made it back down to the ground all in one piece. The coolest part about the whole experience? There was a lot of blue sky, but also a lot of big fluffy clouds. It was a spectacular sight to be up amongst these clouds - so serene. When I wasn't enjoying this heavenly view, I was kicking myself for forgetting my camera in the car.

After flying was over, we headed to the mall and exchanged some birthday clothes for Mike. I was so nervous buying him clothes for his birthday... and my fears were well founded. I hate buying clothes for people. As he opened his gifts, he seemed happy to get them, but not necessarily pleased with the new duds. Oh well... I guess you live and learn. So, we exchanged pocketed shirts for pocketless shirts and a guayabera for a Hawaiin shirt. He was a lot more excited this time. Then, he treated me to a mini-spree at Vicky's Secret and we rounded out the trip by noshing on teriyaki chicken. MMM... chicken...

Friday night I was supposed to meet up with a bunch of friends at the Bitter End. I was a little tired and the thought of making the trip downtown was a little daunting, but what the heck, right? So I got all dolled up, put on my red shoes, red lips, and my new push up bra and was good to go. I got to the bar, expecting an entourage of familiar faces to be lining up and buying me drinks... alack! alas! the only ones who didn't flake were me, P and M. M is P's best friend so P was our middle ground. Although, P is a lightweight and was half passed out by 11:00, so M and I (as in me) got to be pretty chummy. Got it? Good. Anyway, as we were waiting, the other girls went out for a smoke break and I stayed on the dance floor, sipping my beer, watching people and kind of shuffling my feet to the tunes. This trio of girls started dancing next to me and kept bumping my elbow. Rude, but whatever. It happens on a crowded dance floor. Then I realize one of the girls keeps trying to catch my eye. When I look at her, she smiles. Hmm.. rather friendly. Then one of the other girls bends down to wipe up a spilled drink with a bar rag and starts feeling up my leg. Whoa, there! I have no problem with the occasional pinch hitting for the other team, but this was leering, lecherous behavior usually reserved for old men and their mid-life crises. It was about this time that I turned down the girls by trying to flee the scene lest they take me in some drunken orgy. (Sorry guys -missed opportunity, I know.) Luckily, M an P decided they wanted to get out of there and we headed over to the W. I called the guys, wondering where everybody was and was told they all flaked, essentially. After a short stint at the W, we cabbed it to Shakespeare's where some friends were just closing their tab. I then spent the last of my cocktail money on yet another cab (it's cool, though - the cabbie & I discussed our favorite Shakespeare plays all the way to my car) and we then car-pooled ourselves to the aforementioned POKER PALACE. We drank beer, played darts and then headed home around 1:30. (P & I thought there were some vibes between E & M. We're trying to play Matchmaker here... I'll let you know what happens...) I got home around 2:30 to find my sweetie waiting up for me... awww...

I know this is getting a bit winded, so I'll try and wrap this up. They say pictures are worth a thousand words, so here is our epic journey to the Wild Animal Park, in a photo-journalistic style:

Me, on the way to the park

Now Marisa, on the way to the park

Meerkat, already at the park

Wyatt didn't want to hold the bird.. thought he would get pooped on

Cool yellow plant

Avant-garde, blurry parrot picture

Okay.. that was my weekend... Over & Out!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Coffee & Traffic = Good day

Today could have been very bad. It had all the components to be very bad. If I wasn't such a goddamn optimist, I probably would have marvelled at the potential very bad-ness of it all.

But today, my glass is half full, folks.

I left the house this morning, knowing that the torrential downpour was going to turn my miserable hour-long commute into an agonizing snail's crawl into hell, aka work. I tried to find the bright side of things and decided not to dwell on it, instead treating myself to a creature comfort before getting in line with everyone else on the 15 South Parking Lot - I mean, Freeway. I drove over to Starbucks, silently lamenting the fact that I was not able to walk over to my beloved Influx anymore. It's not that I hate Starbucks... just what they represent. (However, although I hate feeling like I am selling out, I hate the thought of having to forgo my caffeine even more.) Anyway, where was I?
Oh I drove over to Starbucks, and stood in line, trying to figure out what I wanted. The kid at the register looks at me expectantly. Maybe he thought he was being helpful in telling me that he could indeed help me RIGHT NOW, thus causing me to have to make an instantaneous decision on what I wanted to drink. I wasn't really in the mood for my triple shot Soy Vanilla Latte, but it seemed a safe choice... I mean, what other choice did I have when given only 2.5 seconds to respond? After a short wait, I pick up my coffee from the barista and head out to my car, intent on staying as dry as possible until I can get into the relative protection of my vehicle. As I open the door, my hand slips and I almost drop my steaming cup of caffeinated goodness. (I would never cry over spilled milk... but I would probably shed a tear or two over the demise of my latte.) Although I didn't drop it, I unfortunately had forgotten to cover the opening on the top of the cup and foam splashed out onto my coat, my white (of course) t-shirt and (unbeknownst to me) the side of my head, where it does not drip down my face but sticks.. like "hair gel." Or maybe hair mousse - it was foam, after all.
I step back into the downpour to run into Starbucks to get napkins, cursing my bad luck the whole way. (My deepest apologies to the stunned family sitting at the table near the door.) Finally back in my car, I look in the mirror, clean up the 'money shot' from the side of my face, and then see I need to get fuel for the car. Like any good (broke) American, I snub the Shell since they are a whopping 3 cents more expensive than the Arco across the street, only to find the damn pay islands at the Arco out of order. Another string of expletives finds our intrepid heroine hurtling down the road, partly in frustration and annoyance at the morning's events and partly because she is hydroplaning on the slick suburban streets. I pull into another gas station, unwilling to compromise (still 1 penny cheaper than Shell - so take that!) and pump my gas. I take a few fortifying breaths and get back in the now soy-milk smelling car.
After that, everything else was smooth sailing... I decided not to stress about how late I was going to be. Sure, the drive was long, but all the music on the radio was excellent. (Thanks 91X, 94.9, 102.1 and random Spanish radio stations!) I also got major points while playing the interstate license plate game (Iowa, Georgia, Hawaii!, New Mexico, Illinois, Oregon & Colorado). And I reflected on the past few months of my life and reminded myself that in spite of small grievances, I really am a lucky girl.

In other news, Mike is having dinner with the X tonight. Hopefully, they are going to be able to resolve a few lingering issues that make her the bane of my existence. What does that mean to me? If I can just get through this workday, I am rewarding myself with sweet, sweet booze... Happy hour after work???

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Class Assignment

Just to show you all that I actually do take pictures in my photo class (I used to be afraid of my camera), here is one I took for my upcoming class project. It's downtown, 13th & Broadway, I think, at the bus stop. Hey everyone, grab your camera and hang out in front of the Chee Chee club..

Queen of the Mix Tapes

I'm kind of in transition right now... I've been unofficially living with my boyfriend for several months and recently we've decided to sublet my apartment for a few months. It's been a tough pill to swallow, paying rent on my apartment downtown, but only staying there a couple times a month. (Dog, how many times can I use the word "month" in a paragraph??) I can stay at the Hotel Del or The W for less than that...
Then, as luck would have it, one of my friends happened to come upon some hard times and needed a place to stay. What was a temporary solution for him has now become a convenient partnership. I'll sublet him my furnished, cheap apartment downtown and he'll let me stay there when I need a place to crash. It's divine.
Anyway, the transition period I was referring to is me living with one foot in each household for the last few months. I started out with a little overnight bag at Mike's house and the bulk of my possessions at mine. Now, all the things I use everyday are at his house and I use my place as a glorified storage space. It's time to do some culling and complete my move.
I went by last night to pick up some papers and came across some old tapes I had bought as a kid. Music has always been a big deal to me, so I've kept many of my recordings from the pre-cd era. I went through and picked out a few that I wanted to hear (my 97 Jetta sports a tape deck). What did I grab? Some Loggins & Messina, Boys II Men, old Ani Difranco, Tori Amos, and several mix tapes that were labeled only as such. When I got in the car, I broke out some of the mix tapes, wondering what could be on them as I had neglected to make a track listing. In high school, I was the queen of mix tapes. I made them for friends, I made them for myself, I made them for my mom... Anyway, it really took me back. I was soon singing along to songs I hadn't heard in years and re-living the times they represented. From swing dancing at the Del Mar Fair, Monty's and Neiman's, to taking a trip into Zion, Utah with a bunch of veritable strangers, to my dad singing to me and my brothers while in the car... talk about a trip down memory lane.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Let myself introduce ... uh, myself.


Okay, here are the basics:
My name is Deann Bethine Barrera. (The middle name is pronounced beth-EEN. I'm named after my grandmother). I am the only girl and the eldest child in a family of 4 children. I am 26 - will be 27 in July. I love English, hate math. Terrible with money, really good at listening. I alternately moderately like and intensely dislike TV. (I only like it when a CSI-like show is on). I love music. I dislike housecleaning, but if I have music on, it's tolerable. My dad is Mexican. My mom is White (Anglo-European). Much to my chagrin, Spanish was not spoken in the home. Consequently, I don't feel like I have many ties to that portion of my heritage, although I am forever trying to immerse myself in that world to learn more. I am constantly taking art classes. Pottery was fun, but black & white photography is my new favorite. I like old cameras - right now I use an Olympus OM1 from the 70's. I am just now getting the hang of ebay for the sole purpose of purchasing another old camera. I love coffee - the stronger the better. I prefer ales and import beers to domestics. I feel better when I eat vegetarian, but it's difficult in a family where everyone else is convinced that there is no substitute for meat. Lots. Of. Meat. I like to cook pasta and make pizzas because there is a lot of room for creativity with the ingredients. So far, that is about all I cook. I am trying to expand that particular repertoire, though. My best friend just moved to Hollywood and is the office manager for a huge porn/sex toy empire who shall remain un-named. Needless to say, she has a lot of stories to tell at the end of the week. I just moved from urban life in Downtown San Diego to the suburbs of Temecula, about an hour away. I miss the city, but I'm in love with a great man and his two children and there is nowhere else I would rather be (most days, anyway). I tend to try most things at least once and prefer them to be a little on the left of mainstream. I am planning on getting a giant sea turtle tattoo this summer. I like farmer's markets on Sunday mornings, taking pictures of people in the city, all kinds of dogs (my faves are the weimeraner and the bully breeds - I want to adopt a deaf dog someday), siamese cats with really pointy faces and bat ears, the beach, eating healthfully, improving my Spanish skills, watching films with subtitles and a billion and one other things that if you want to know, just ask.

I started this blog for a few reasons. I have a myspace account and enjoyed posting in the blog section there, but it seemed more of a jumping off point than a place for my words to reside long-term. Secondly, I have kept a journal for years and this is way more organized than the little scraps of paper I usually jot things down on. And lastly, I started reading one blog, then two and then suddenly I had a whole list of blogs I was checking on a daily basis. At one point, I said to myself, "Hey, I can do this! I like to write and sometimes, people actually like to read it. Why not?" I'm still learning the ropes here, but I guess I could say that I was inspired to get on and give it a whirl.

Thanks for stopping by, don't forget to leave a comment every now and then. Glad we could spend this time getting more acquainted... maybe next time we'll do lunch?