Photo Update: Loubis And Batmobiles

I'm not feeling particularly chatty at the moment, but I do have some cool photos I can share that you might enjoy.

Louboutins on an Electra

The Loubis on my guy's Electra. Kinda hawt, right?

California Hotel

On our way back from SFO. Love this building.

Current status

The Caldecott Tunnel. No, I wasn't the one driving!

Thumbs up, birthday boy!

The Birthday Boy. Making new memories with friends and family.

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Our Starbucks has a Batmobile. Sometimes.

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Smell y'all later. Hopefully, we'll be able to get some good pics of the Tour of California as it passes through town in the morning.

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Hanging Out With The Internet ChicagoIsh Style

The train arrived in Chicago Friday after only about an hour-long delay due to a freight train breaking down ahead of us. Oops.

No worries. We checked into the hotel, once our rooms were ready, and headed out to eat some deep dish pizza with the INTERNET!!!

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Well, Peanut and I did, anyway. Bug was a little too enamored with having his own hotel room to get out much during the weekend. Give a teenage boy his own room and access to room service, and you don't see much of him. He was in heaven. It was his perfect vacation.

He did manage to get a roaring game of Yu-gi-oh going Saturday night with another one of the kids after they went swimming, but I digress.

After pizza, there was a cupcake extravaganza, brought to us by Flirty Cupcakes. They drove up a truck full of tasty goodness just for us! Oh, the yum.

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Next, we had to get our sing on. Cuz, um, duh. But, you can't do that in Chicago unless you experience the Barbie bathrooms. Ladies and Gents, I give you the bathroom so pink that the camera can't handle it:

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You saw it here. Yes, that's INSIDE the women's restroom. I know. It's wrong. And right. And I peed. Literally.

There was some YMCA thing that happened. Jon got a bit enthused and forgot that he's straight.

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The next morning, we had breakfast at Steve's Deli, because why wouldn't you? It's awesome. Mathilda was totes hungover. Just look at her. What a lush.

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Then, we met in the hotel lobby for a Louboutin playdate. Duh. Shoes.

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After that, it was off to the big CHSH tweetup. The main event!

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Chicago Knows How To Treat A Girl (And Her Kids)

We arrived in the Windy City last Monday, unscathed. We were welcomed by our hosts, Toni and Dan, and their lovely children, who made us this cool sign for our bedroom door:

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They also made us these a plate of cookies, and by the second day, allowed Bug to commandeer their basement as his personal man cave. In fact, by the middle of the week, Bug as asking if he could rent their basement out at some point in the future. I'm pretty sure our next living situation will need to include some kind of basement/man cave accommodations for Bug. What fourteen year-old wouldn't want that?

After a glorious few days in the Chicago burbs,

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eating deep dish, taking a drive out to Lake Geneva, and enjoying a little shopping in the cutest town square ever,

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we boarded the train for Chicago.

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Next stop: Chi Town! and The Internet!

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Travel Time: Chicago Or Bust

It's time to hit the road again. This time, both kids are joining me for my annual trek to Chicago for the CHSH tweetup. They'll get to meet quite a few of the people who appear on their dad's Fuck Cancer poster.

We'll also get to see some sights, eat great food, and hang out with friends. Can't beat that. I'm sure we'll come back with lots of great stories and pictures.

Oh, and the boyfriend remains awesome. In case you were wondering. I know some of you were.

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Wishing

Crisp DayI wish I could be in more than one place.

The broken pieces of me don't fit where I go.

The whole pieces of me don't fit where I am.

Sometimes I want to take the puzzle of me apart, leave the broken pieces here, take the whole pieces, and leave.

But, that wouldn't be me, would it?

So, I travel with all of my pieces. Some are broken. Some are whole.

All are me.

We will find our place. Together.

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They Aren't Imaginary: My Friends

I was talking with a good friend about social media, Facebook, online friends, Internet dating, and this world that’s new to him since he’s become single. He wanted to know if I was feeling that same kind of angst about the foray into uncharted waters in an online world.

The thing is, I don’t feel like social media is a new world for me. I was in a documentary for the Discovery Channel in 1996 about social media when I was pregnant with my son. It was about women who met online through a pregnancy forum. I have friends from that time, friends I met online, who are still an important part of my life today. In fact, that’s where I was this weekend.

I spent the weekend visiting friends I met online. That’s weird to some people, but not to me. They are still real people, people who’ve seen me through intense periods of my life, the birth of my children; depression, death, celebration of joyful moments, and we can pick up right where we left off, even after years, like no time has passed. 

And some of my online friends are newer friends, people I’ve met in the past six years who know me through my blogging or twitter. Again, they’re still real people. If you look at my twitter profile, you’ll see pictures of their avatars in the background. Of those people, you’d probably be shocked at how many I’ve met in person. A lot. I like that connection. I like knowing the people behind the online persona. Because, as I’ve said here many times, what we share online is only a slice of what and who we are—just a glimpse.

As we’ve become more geographically dispersed from the people who matter to us, we’ve found ways to stay connected through social media, but we still crave that physical connection. So, I travel. And, beginning next month, my children and I will embark on our homeschooling adventure of travelling together. First stop, Seattle. Stay tuned. We’re about to go meet the Internet.

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Judged: Sisterhood Of The Traveling Louboutins

Walk in my shoes. Walk in the Louboutins I bought to celebrate my life. IMG_6911

I rarely wore heels with my husband. I never wore stilettos. Now, I want to have a presence in the world that says I survived, I will persevere, I will not be knocked down nor held down by what life has dealt me. @califmom and @thebloggess

And the women who try on my shoes, and there have been many, they get that same look in their eyes, that look of confidence, joy, something magical—from a pair of shoes. They stand taller, look prouder, can’t believe they’ve done it.

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Shallow? Yes. Judge us? Go ahead. We’re used to being judged.

I get judged for everything. I get judged for the clothes I wear, what I feed my kids, when I feed them, what’s in my refrigerator at any given time, what my children wear, what hours I’m home or not home, my travel schedule, my friends, my iPhone usage, my internet habits, my sleep patterns, my garden, the content of the obituary I wrote, how I carried myself at the funeral, whether I cry enough, my financial habits, whether I write enough about how much I loved my husband, my parenting, my mental health, and on and on and on.

So, judge my shoes. They can take it. So can I. I obviously put up with far worse.

And if you see me wearing my Loubi’s, don’t be afraid to ask to try them on. I will always say yes. I want you to know what it feels like to stand tall.

If you have a picture of yourself in my shoes, add it to the flickr group I created for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Louboutins: http://www.flickr.com/groups/louboutin/.

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BlogHer Or BUST

Well, there are going to be a lot of busts there, actually. A couple thousand, to be exact.

IMG_6391Today, my butt (and my bust) will be boarding a flight for New York City. (Please say that with your very best Pace Picante Salsa commercial voice. It makes me feel special.)

And, if you see me in NYC, be sure to ask for one of my GORGEOUS new cards, made by the talented Alina Smith of alinasmith-art.com. (psst…you should have her do your design stuff. She’s the shiznit. And, like, affordable…cuz that’s how I roll.)

Let’s do this!

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A Procedure And A Picture, Alright Two Pictures, So Sue Me

Lets mix up this journey a little. Today we’re going to have a picture and a procedure. The procedure du jour is an echocardiogram. Bob’s going to be having a regular shit-ton of procedure in the next week in preparation for his stem cell transplant.

Another name for an echocardiogram is an ECHO. Echoes make me think of Marco Polo. The game. Not the dude. Two Saturdays ago I got to play Marco Polo in a cab in San Francisco while trying to find 150 of my nearest and dearest imaginary Internet friends. Here’s a picture of me in the back of the cab.

Playing Marco Polo in a cab 

It’s hard to find 150 imaginary friends in a big city when all you have is a bunch of iPhones and a cranky cab driver who doesn’t want to drive in traffic (WTF?), but we did it. To see proof of our shenanigans, you can peruse more of these riveting photos in the SFTU Flickr pool. No, that does not say STFU. It says SFTU. Sheesh, people. San Francisco TweetUp. Even if you don’t want to stare at pictures of people you don’t know, there are a bazillion pants-dropping  jaw-dropping shots of San Francisco taken by some of the most incredible photographers.

Here, I’ll sneak one in for you, as a teaser. The photographer said I could, because he’s awesome like that. He also brought us chocolate. From Venezuela. He brought himself from there, too.

Vertigo

“Vertigo” by Guillermo Esteves

That’s a picture of our hotel. Most of us stayed at Hotel Vertigo, which was surprisingly inexpensive for a hotel in the City ($125/nt. with tax) and not surprisingly overwhelmed by our use of their bandwidth. It’s rare a hotel of large scale can handle an Internet group hitting their network, much less a boutique place like Hotel Vertigo. Aside from that, I heard nothing but great things from my fellow travelers. The refurbished rooms were hip and fun, and we all enjoyed piling into the lobby for impromptu gatherings between trekking off to our next meal. The oversized orange and white sofa was a favorite hangout.

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Assless Chaps Required

My dad’s home from le hospital. Now, instead of nurses poking him with needles around the clock while his ass hangs out, he gets to wear pants and go in to have his blood drawn every few days. Major improvement. Still not ideal, as his knee is ginormous and unfixable until they get the blood clots resolved and he’s off the blood thinner. Not exactly the news an active 63-year old likes to hear. (By active, I mean like rides a bicycle on purpose over mountain passes just because they’re there. It’s probably why he survived the clot passing through his heart, and why I would have dropped dead.)

It’s also why Bob and I got to take my parents’ Goldwing for a joy ride to fill it up with gas before winterizing it for my dad. There was a chance it would be a bit chilly on the ride, so I borrowed my mom’s leathers, including her assless chaps. (Are there assful chaps? I’m guessing not. Wouldn’t those just be leather pants? Answered my own question right there. Alrighty then.)

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My main job on the ride, aside from wearer of assless chaps, was to take pictures from the back of the motorcycle.

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First, a self portrait.

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Between Sierra City and Downieville.

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Yuba River

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My pilot, during a pitstop in Downieville where we scoped out an OHV location. His true passion is offroad, not on. Although, riding the parental units’ Cadillac o’ bikes did make him long to add a commute-bike back into the garage.

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I Listen to Him Sleep and Ponder my Moratorium on Camping

A campervan, or recreational vehicle, custom-b...

Image via Wikipedia

In eight hours I accompany The Artist Formerly Known As Chemo Boy to his first appointment as a remiss patient. Except he’s not remiss. He’s in remission. So, that’s the wrong word.

I could say cured, I guess. But that word scares me. Brings tears to my eyes. Makes me nervous. Makes my heart skip beats. Makes me want him to wear me like a backpack like I wanted him to do when he first got sick, when his lungs first started to fill with fluid, when he first morphed into Chet from Weird Science. (Chet sans flies. There were never flies. Thank God there weren’t flies.)

Again, we walk the uncharted.

New questions:

How often do we do these follow up visits?

What kinds of tests?

What signs do we watch for?

How soon can he…?

When will this side effect be gone?

What about this one?

Will this one ever go?

It is hard to watch him have to restrain himself from returning to his life 110%, from returning to his passions even 50%. (Well, most of his passions, but those other ones aren’t your business peeps.) I’m talking about going to the gym, weightlifting, and most importantly riding.

He hasn’t been on his dirt bike in so long. I have no idea how long it’s going to take him to get into the physical shape he needs to be in just to ride, much less ride enduros, but I hope it’s soon. Those are his sanity saver. They keep him physically fit and mentally sound. My man sans motorcycle is not my man.

And, with the kids both homeschooling this year, we’ve got no reason not to join him on the circuit (other than my distinct disdain for all things camping). But, I’ve promised to suck it the fuck up, in the name of love and family, and attempt some RV time to join him at the rides.

See, enduros aren’t so much about watching. (Except for the start, you don’t see them again until they return.) But, given the travel time, it’s a lot of lost family time, and would be a great way for the kids to see more of the great outdoors and the state, in general. Plus, I’m sure we can get a wifi signal or do some gourmet cooking on those gas stoves, right? S’mores and cocktails, at least.

So, here’s hoping Dr. W gives The Artist Formerly Known as Chemo Boy the go-ahead for ramping up for this season’s riding series, or I’m going to have one cranking man on my hands. And my hands are starting to get carpal tunnel, if ya know what I mean.

P.S. I can always get dropped off at the nearest hotel right before we pull into a camping location, right? That still counts as like “almost” doing it? It’s like “everything but.” I’m sure it is. I’m gonna ask my Mormon friends. They’ll know. I think it’s like what’s in my heart that really matters. I mean, I can totally hang there during the day and stuff, and then just hit my hotel room for sleepy time, shower time, deuce dropping time. This will work out. I know it will.

P.P.S. And before anyone gets in the comments and starts in about how I should give camping a try, let me give you a quick rundown of my camping credentials. I started camping before I could walk. I continued camping in tents, without tents, in RVs, trailers, motorhomes, 5th wheels, Class-C RVs, Class A RVs, RVs that probably cost more than my first condo, in a sleeping bag under the stars for a week in the Sierras, snow camping at 8,000 feet on cross-county skis for spring break with my family while I was in high school (while my friends were working on their tans in Hawaii), in cabins, on a beach in Mexico, and I would like to say that I feel confident in saying that I DO NOT LIKE CAMPING. IN ANY FORM.

P.P.P.S. So, y’all can appreciate it when I say I’m willing to do this RV thing for my family. Only for my family. And we will be renting said RV, because there is a strong possibility based on P.P.S. that I may only survive this experiment once before I end up under the wheel well begging for Bob to just run me the fuck over. Quite frankly, he may oblige that request. In which case, he’s going to want a fresh RV anyway.

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Please Hold...and Shoe Porn

Business Time

Image by califmom via Flickr

It’s that special time of year when I pack my bag, my laptop, my stack of business cards, and my sexy comfortable cute shoes, and head off to BlogHer’s annual conference.

Last year’s conference was in my own back yard, San Francisco. This year, I get to ride on an airplane all the way to Chicago. The last time I was in Chicago, it was the coldest winter they’d had in decades. I was there on business, just flying in to rent a car and drive to Joliet, where I spent a week in a motel that offered a delicious room service menu offering of chicken fried steak. Mmm, mmm, good. The driver’s side door of my rental car kept freezing shut. So, I had to climb in through the passenger side to kick it open. Fun times.

This time, I’m going to have more fun. Way more fun. Boat loads more fun. So much fun, I’m going to take pictures of the fun and post them right here for y’all to see. I’ve already started taking pictures of some of the fun. See, it’s my personal project to take pictures of all the sexy, cute, comfy, and downright adorable shoes that make there way to BlogHer. Then, I collect them all into a Flickr Group called BlogHer Shoe Porn. Here’s what’s been uploaded into this year’s group, so far:

If you’re going to BlogHer ‘09, you can upload your shoes to the photo pool by clicking here.

One thing I won’t be doing much of while I’m at BlogHer ‘09, ironically, is blogging. No time. I will be microblogging—Twitter and Tumblr, mostly, maybe a little Facebook. Otherwise, I’ll “see” you when I get back. No wild parties while I’m gone! That’s my job.

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I Pinky Promise

I promise, cross my heart, hope to come down with salmonella (really, I might stand a chance of fitting back into the clothes on the OTHER side of my closet), that I have not forgotten about you, my loyal readers reader.

Yes, you.

I know how you get when I take an extended time out. So, I’m here to reassure you that…well…I’m here, just not here, more like here.

Truth be told, I ran away from home needed a change of scenery, sold the kids to a band of gypsies took the kids to their grandparents, gave away the pets secured the pet/house sitter, and split town with some guy named Stan in a big rig flew down to San Diego with Hubs.

Hubs has a conference, I tagged along. Toughest decision I had to make all day was paint my toenails and raid the honor bar or go to the pool.

I’m also doing a little work while I’m here of the consulting variety. Some social media stuff. It’s so fun though, it hardly feels like work. It also involves only adults, which is a smidge different than most of my days.

I leave you with some pictures of our digs here at Hotel Solamar. We stayed here for M & A’s wedding, and I love this place. So glad Hubs’ company decided to put them up here for the week. 

Rooftop at Hotel Solamar

The ChessFather

Lamp Envy

All of this to let you know that I’m feeling much better, mentally AND physically. Looks like you’re stuck with me.

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