Back, Back to Cali, Cali….

Standing on Great Salt Lake with my baby bump facing the setting sun.

Well the road was LONG.  And I don’t just mean that figuratively.  My mother and I drove over 2900 miles down Interstate 80-W and it took a lengthy 5 days to do it.  Each night I stumbled wearily into another mid-lane hotel (Days Inn, Hampton Inn….you know…all the “Inns”) and asked for a room – being sure to bat my tired eyes and ask “Is that as low as you can go?”.  Hint to the novice traveler, always ask for a lower rate…it’s like hotels are set up to haggle.  Each night I got at least $20 knocked off the room rate, once I even got $50 knocked off.  My biggest priority was clean sheets, clean bathrooms and free hot breakfast in the morning (waffles!)…

As we got closer to California the relief washed over me.  Not because the long days on the stretched out winding highways and the random hunts for health-appropriate road-food would finally end; but because New York was now behind me (literally).  I moved to New York four years ago a directionless girl.  I simply wanted change and a challenge.  Boy did I find it.  Everything about New York is comparable to a pumice stone, smoothing out your uncertainties and rough edges.  I needed that.  I needed to be aware – overly aware – that I was capable of a lot more than I grew up believing. After I got married my focus shifted.  I wanted to be a wife, a GOOD wife.  I didn’t want to be a part-time anything.  I wanted to be the one putting dinner on the table for my hard-working guy, easing his stress with my calming presence.  It’s hard to have a calming presence when you’ve just fought people traffic for an hour and toughed off aggressive male advances for four blocks while walking through Bed Stuy in heels.  I longed for the calm, and with baby coming I knew the calm wasn’t just a preference but a REQUIREMENT.  So it was goodbye Big Apple, hello California sun.  Time to be close to grandmas and aunts and uncles….close to our “village” for the sake of little Wiggles.

Now that I’m home, I feel like I’ve left half of my body somewhere on that long highway last week.  I physically feel lighter, brighter and more relaxed.  It helps that I’m temporarily retired…no more work for me.  My husband and I committed to becoming a one-income household when kids come along before we got married and we’re sticking to it.  Lucky me I’m married to a man who prides himself on taking care of his family. I gracefully said goodbye to my corporate gig, silently vowing never to return to that kind of work.  Good bye to the faceless crowds of paper-pushers, meeting-makers and Blackberry-tappers.

Now with my days open and clear, I can make them what I want for now (till baby comes of course).  Mama yoga in the morning, a visit to see my 14 month old niece, a long walk around the park, a stroll through the department store – taking mental notes of crib prices.  I can catch up on my reading and painting and most importantly…my writing.  And best of all, I can place my hands on my now obvious baby bump and focus my positive energy on my little growing prince or princess.  The second trimester has brought back my appetite, a gorgeous glow, lots of energy, a new-found love for my beautiful body and amazing confidence.  I can’t wait for the rest!

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Silly in Philly (with Lilly)

Over the weekend I learned two very important lessons – 1) That the China Town bus is cheap for a reason.  2) Philadelphia makes for an awesome weekend getaway.

Not only did my husband and I get to escape the wicked city but we got to see my sister and brother-in-law and…my gorgeous baby niece Lilly!


The most amazing thing about Philadelphia was the architecture.

Occupy Philadelphia's tent city.

We got a little lost looking for my sister and brother in law's hotel, but I didn't mind soaking up the sites.

Lilly & her Tio ❤

Lilly's 15 minute obsession with an orange.

The ladies of the Breat Cancer Walk were happy to show their pride.

While waiting for a table at Miss Tootie's we browsed the shelves at CVS. Lilly had some things to procure.

Sometimes a wall says it all (or too much).

Lilly enjoyed a brief love affair with her teddy bear.

Tropical ice tea at Ms. Tootsies!

Me and my big sis.

In the end we ended up stranded in Philly and out $30 bucks. But like diligent soldiers we hopped on the first thing smoking back to the Big Apple and got back home.   – Totally worth it.

Saturday (in pictures)

What do you want to do today?

Putnam Avenue was setting up for the annual block party as my fiance and I strolled to Peaches to meet friends for brunch.

Killing time

Brunching with our (also engaged) friends, Tia & Shonee

The artist never sleeps - sketching on a napkin while we wait for the bill.

Headed back to the house to grab a blanket. Bed Stuy vibrates on weekends.

In front of our apartment. Pony rides for the kids...For the kids Ash.

At Fulton Park as we make our way to the subway.

Sheep Meadow in Central Park

This could be a joke. This could be a warning. Got to love New York.

Where to?

The Mr. enjoying a strawberry freeze in front of the Bethesda Terrace

"Want some?" (good guy)

This kid was creating incredible bubbles!!

My favorite flower (the Lotus).

We were planning on renting a boat for the day and touring the lake, but when we found out that the Boat House workers were on strike due to unfair treatment, sexual harassment and gratuities being withheld by management. - we changed our minds.

Heading towards the sailboat pond instead, to seek out a cozy spot to rest.

Poor choice in blanket. Snacking on fruit and nuts, playing cards and snapping pictures of the nature that surrounded us.

Heading home. Opting to take the beautiful tunnel pass instead of the stairs.

Kind of obvious why I'm in love, right?

Headed back to Columbus Circle and passed a bunch of people dancing to Fred Astaire.

Mole People

“Do you ever think about how much we miss traveling underground like this all the time?”  He asked me this while we careened through the darkness.  It’s true.  Back in California even on the train you spent at least part of the trip above ground.  In New York there are few trains that don’t for the most part mine through the excavated passageways beneath the streets; in tunnels made a hundred years ago.

There’s something sick and beautiful about Mole Culture in New York.

Photo Credit – & Lotus B.


man on train.

Be careful where you point that thing.

When I was little, my mother used to defend the  invasive gaze of passers-by with one simple explanation, “They stare because you’re so beautiful.”  I accepted this, I took it in and let it rattle around in my little girl mind and I decided after much application that it made perfect sense.  Now that I’m older I understand the world’s obsession with beautiful children.  You see their small beauty bursting with potential, their perfection frozen for a moment in time; its awe-inspiring.  However, as we grow older the last thing we want to experience is someone sitting across from us staring without end.  Not a slow wave ‘hello’ to break the confusion, not even a blink.

Today on the train, a man stared at me from Fulton street to Kingston Throop (20 minutes on the subway).  He sat shiftless, eyes blankly unfastened targeting my face for the entire ride home.  I tried to focus on something else…the lyrics of Karen O. and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs blasting through my ear-buds; the sailboat rhythm of the train as it bustled underground; the lines on the palms of my hands.  No matter what I did to distract myself, I found that looking up to see if he was still glaring at me was totally irresistible.  He stared as people got on and off the train, his eyes creating a focal point in between the motion that separated us.  He stared as the train operator announced a delay.  He stared as a mariachi band toting wooden instruments and wearing charro outfits began to play loudly with incredible balance in the middle of the aisle. Nothing seemed to distract his mission.

After a while his ogling became hypnotic.  It became ubiquitous, reeling me in like a vacuum, calling me to its mercy.  I was one stop away from home when I finally conceded.  For an entire four minutes I surrendered to his menacing vortex.  We sat four feet across from each other staring relentlessly and I was determined to force his eyes to the subway floor.  As we pulled up to Kingston I realized two things.  One, that he was clearly retarded.  And two, that I had met  defeat.  I buckled and decided to take the consolation prize.  Before standing up I crossed my eyes, scrunched my lips inward like a whistle and held the face until the subway came to a halt and the doors opened.  As I stood up to meet the platform and the summer heat outside I could hear the man laughing to himself in deep bubbly chuckles.

He brought the pain, but I arose victorious.

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I thought this photo found on Cup of Joe was hilarious and warm.

Always glad to see collective silliness.

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