The Super-deluxe, Extended 47th Birthday Weekend

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Phew! What a great extended super-deluxe birthday weekend I just had.

It all started with a park BBQ on the 4th of July which was a Thursday. I always slide Independence Day festivities into my birthday plan because why not, right? Everyone loves a barbeque in the park and fireworks at night. I’m happy to let everyone else celebrate with me. I didn’t make anyone sing happy birthday to me or anything (I got over that on my 40th where I got sung to at every meal for three days straight) but I did let myself have a helping of chips and a brownie, which I usually try not to.

The next day I had to work but I took the afternoon off to show one of Bug’s friends around Balboa Island and Payam and Joon came with! Balboa Island is always a good time. Ice cream, salt water taffy, walking on the sand and ducking under boat docks… it’s all good.  That night we celebrated with Payam’s family at a fancy Persian restaurant with an amazing belly dancer and right in the middle of her dance a 7.1 earthquake happened! It was the biggest, longest earthquake I have ever experienced and the first earthquake the girls had ever experienced. Talk about making a birthday dinner memorable!

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The next day we headed off to San Diego to visit The Cado, a pop-up avocado museum experience. I love using my birthday as an excuse to force my family to go on an adventure of my choosing. The girls always roll their eyes and moan about how boring museums are but between you and me, they like them. As long as there are photo-taking experiences they can pose for. We all like a good photo op.

The Cado itself was a bit of a flop. It’s only two rooms and hardly an experience. I was bummed because it was hyped to be a really cool super-long shipping container museum last year but they ran out of money during construction and had to cut their losses with a three-month lease in an office building. I was part of the crowd-sourcing in the beginning and I had donated money so I was invested in the project but I totally see how cost prohibitive a pop-up museum can be.  It’s so small now.  I was actually able to talk to the two sisters who founded it and it was really sweet to hear their whole story. I hope they do get it off the ground someday. I’m hoping to donate some art to the project. It that happens, you know I’ll keep you posted.

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Bug and I LOVE avocados. Joon not so much but she was a good sport.

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There were really only four or five installations but they were really cool. I loved this ombre foam parking curb wall. So pretty, right? My extra-large arms not so much. Maybe I should cut back on the boxing. :P

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They give you Walkmans in the beginning of the museum and Jason Mraz has a little sing-song bit about where avocados come from. The girls had never seen Walkmans before so it was very humorous when Bug tried to put her tape in the player while it was still inside its plastic case.

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We came, we saw, we gave it a small smile for trying. Poor little Cado, such a good idea that just couldn’t quite get off the ground.

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Since we were down in San Diego I decided to show the girls one of my favorite haunts: Sunny Jim’s Cave! I blogged about it ages ago but can’t find the link for some reason. It must be deep, deep in my archives. Anyway, it’s a little shell shop in La Jolla where you pay $5 at the register and then walk down 145 narrow steps to a sea cave below. It’s super cool, dark and mysterious. Limestone drips down the walls and just when you start to feel claustrophobic and scared that you are never going to see daylight again, it opens up onto this big deck inside a cavern with waves crashing onto it. It’s glorious! I really had a blast keeping the girls in the dark. They were quite freaked out, worrying about what might happen if there was another earthquake. Thankfully, by the time we got to the bottom they agreed it was a pretty cool secret.

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Of course it’s a lot busier than it used to be back in the day when I first discovered it. Now there are lots of people traipsing up and down the stairs and you can hardly get a photo of yourself in the cave’s mouth for all the crowds but it’s still pretty neat.

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What I didn’t expect was how much the girls would enjoy the cliffs around the cave.

super-extended-deluxe-birthday-sunny-la-jolla-5 They loved watching the seals and climbing up and down the rocks. The barking seals reminded us a lot of our dog, Cody. Cody really is just a land seal. He’s loud and noisy and flops himself around the same way. Bark! Bark! Bark!

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Payam, the dare devil that he is, enjoyed freaking us all out by pretending to jump off the steep cliffs. He probably would have too if he was a few years younger. He’s such a thrill-seeker like that.

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Bug and I are much happier safely away from the edge.

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We took more pictures and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The girls would have been content to stay there all day.

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Just when things might have gotten boring, Joon spied these rentable motorized scooters. If there was any chance of moping about and complaining about having to walk so much it quickly evaporated. Joon is just as much of a daredevil as Payam and the thought of riding anything motorized quickens her heart. I fear for the day she gets her driver’s license.

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So Payam and Joon played with the scooter for a while.

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Bug and I were content to use our feet to get around.

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We walked the shops, got some gelato and an iced latte for me and then we went home, satisfied and tired.

The next day we had a Women’s World Cup breakfast planned at our house at 8am so we had to get home and get ready for that. Talk about go, go, go. We grocery shopped and Payam started on a birthday cake for me. But by then we were tired so he saved the frosting part for the next day. But then the next day happened and we had so much hosting to do we never got around to it. It was a great party but I took no pictures except a few on Instagram.

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Finally, on Monday morning, Payam finished up the cake and I had it for breakfast!! It was bomb.

Payam has this really cool tradition where he makes me a cake every year. Usually I ask for something dark chocolate and flourless. This year I’ve been so into fruit (maybe because Summer took forever to get here) that I asked for a peach cake. I picked this recipe . It has a LOT of eggs and not much else in it so we were a bit worried about how it would taste but then after he added the cream-cheese whipped-cream topping, all doubts vanished into thin air. It was DELICIOUS!!! I think all the pleasure centers in my brain went off at once. There is nothing like light fluffy cake, creamy whipped cream and fresh peaches.

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It was a bit messy but we’re calling it “rustic”. I don’t really care because it’s so tasty! I had it for breakfast two days in a row and now I’m thinking I better have some friends over to finish it off before I make this birthday the birthday I gained twenty pounds.

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So that’s that. I think this birthday actually wore me out. It’s good feeling though. I feel like I had so much fun and I really maximized my day (and extended weekend!). I think 47 is starting off with a bang. A good adventurous bang. Much better than 46.

sunshine and fashion

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It’s been super foggy and gloomy in Southern California where I live lately. It’s mostly because we live 15 minutes from the beach (poor us) and the marine layer likes to creep up out of the ocean when it’s hot inland and hover over us for months. I hate to complain about it because well, it’s not like it’s real weather or anything. I’ve never been in a snow storm in my life. But you know what? It’s getting me down! This stupid gray fog is the pits! I thought I was pretty tough but give me three weeks of foggy gray gloom and I feel like crawling under a blanket and ceasing to exist. I know. That’s pretty drastic but it’s really what has been going through my head.

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I went to my doctor, (I see a psychiatrist for anxiety) and I was so prepared to tell her I was fine but within minutes I was bawling my eyes out over climate change, of all things. I never know what’s going to set me off. It’s like my brain is playing some kind of lottery and whatever thought bubbles to the top is the fret-and-obsess-over subject du jour. It’s been pathetic.

Needless to say, she upped my meds. Only until August. She says that lots of people get really depressed in June  in our local. It’s a well documented fact. So, if you are feeling down, it’s not you! It’s the weather.

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I had dropped Bug off at my parent’s in the desert for a week for “Camp Grandpa and Grandma” and I went out this weekend to pick her up and guess what? It was gloriously sunny out in the desert where they live! I soaked up that sunshine like it was my last meal. It felt soooo good.

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I took Joon with me and we all spent some happy hours in the pool with my parents and lots of sunshine.

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I love seeing Joon laugh like that. They are both going through their hormonal teenage years so seeing them act like kids again instead of sulking around with their noses stuck to their phones is always a welcome sight.

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My mom recently hurt her Achilles tendons in both feet. She had been going to her local gym and taking water aerobics classes and apparently she was a little too zealous with all the jumping around in the water and hurt her tendons. This is a huge bummer because she was on a roll with losing weight and getting healthy. Now she’s stuck in her chair most days and doing minimal physical therapy with her doctor. She can’t do as much as she usually does and unfortunately that leaves my poor overworked dad doing most of the housework as well as his many gardening jobs. So I decided that I need to go out and visit them once a week and help them.

This seems like an obvious solution but it took me a while to come to it. Googling deep-cleaning house cleaning services that cost more than $200 a week because they live so far out in the sticks kind of sealed the deal. It will be an adjustment to take such a long drive weekly but it’s not like I didn’t use to do it back when I lived out there and drove Bug in to see her Dad weekly. I’m just super thankful I have the job flexibility and a reliable car to do it.

And that means I’ll get a healthy dose of sunshine weekly!

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While we were out there this weekend, the girls let me do a few photoshoots with them in the beautiful surrounding desert. I’m not sure who was prettier, the desert or the girls.

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I really love my new camera. I need to start booking more professional gigs so I can get it to pay for itself. I’m super lucky that I have built in models who love their photos taken.  Of course as a photographer I love, love, love taking photos of them but I have to make sure not to exploit their beauty and keep the photos wholesome and healthy. It’s challenging!  They ooze (innocent) sexuality and they don’t even know it. Thankfully, I’ve been around the internet a bit and I’ve been teaching them to protect their vulnerabilities for a long time. desert-beauty-2

Bug is interested in fashion these days. We all knew that was coming. Actually, she has always has been into fashion. It’s nothing new. You remember her crazy three-year-old style choices.  Anyway, lately she’s picked up my love for thrift-store-shopping and has been buying loads of clothes and altering them to suit her. She embroiders jeans, crops skirts into mini skirts…. really I should say she manipulates my mom and I into embroidering and altering for her but I’m not too upset about that. I’m just happy she can be so creative with fashion and not involve me taking her to the mall and spending bazillions of dollars!