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me blogging

Way back. Years ago. I had heard the term blogging, yet didn’t quite understand what that meant. Not until I saw the movie about the girl who blogs for a year, cooking everything Julia Childs, and documenting it, allowing readers to be part of her potential goal being met. “Interesting concept,” I thought. Writing down, whatever, and allowing readers to take a peek into your world. The idea intrigued me, although I wasn’t sure how time worthy it would be for others to explore my day-to-day life. Just a regular person doing regular things.

And then Rudy was offered the job in Arkansas.

So, I signed up. It took me a moment to commit. I gingerly hovered my fingertip above the submit button, while thoughts swirled in my head. Mostly about throwing my life into the cyber winds. Could I really put our world out there. “Well, why not,” I told myself. And so I pressed. Ever so gently, barely registering the new page, create your first post.

Thus, blogging was born.

I thought about what it meant to be living life apart from Rudy. About how we were still in a 100% committed relationship. That it was up to me to hold the fort down here in California, to make sure the kids continued to behave without their dad around. And how all the while Rudy solely maintained another household, and did what he needed to do to make it all work. As I reflect back, I remember in the very beginning I honestly did not know what to write to interest readers about our ordinary daily routines. No one would want to know that I had a cup of coffee in the AM and that news was my main entertainment, while Rudy did the same thing across the country. Then we’d both drive off to work, separately. Later, we would return to separate homes, eat separate meals, watch different TV shows. And so on, and so on. Sounded mundane to me.

Until.

One summer, while visiting Rudy, I looked at my surroundings. I was sitting on a couch haphazardly pushed against a wall, in a room that could be described as a bachelor’s pad. I sat there staring at the keys on my iPad until I felt my thoughts. Those thoughts became words on a page, and those words turned into stories. Stories about how I felt in regards to our situation, him living there and me living here. And that’s when I realized that the interest of my stories lay in me, and if I’m lucky with readers who wanted to know more. I simply wanted to document what was happening, as a sort of journal. As a way to gauge my emotions.

And in part, as a way to be heard. Fully.

You see, I am, and will always be, someone who is more of a listener than a talker. Someone might have asked how it was going with Rudy living so far away. Verbally, I would water the whole situation down, just get it out as efficiently as possible. Then, like a focused listener, I would ask questions, casually deflecting attention away from me and onto my companion.

So, not only has blogging allowed me to detail my life consistently, very specifically, and without interruptions, it’s also where I do most of my talking. Which is a great thing because those who are interested in reading about, or trying to understand who I am and how I think get to eavesdrop with permission. And more importantly, our children will forever have a place to read my thoughts, and share them with generations to come. There will be no guessing as to what I was feeling, thinking, and hoping.

These are my stories.

The BUG

 denise:bugMy first car was a bright yellow Volkswagen Bug. During that time, my young 11 year old niece, Denise, hung out with me, a lot. I give her the credit for us spending time together because she was the one who would call me.

“Hi, Aunt Daphne. Is is okay if I come over to hang out?”

Well, of course it was! She was always a joy to have around. As time went by, as Denise grew older and her life had become busier and busier, I saw her less and less. But, one time, quite a few years ago, she stopped by to visit, just to say “Hey,”and to share a dream she had had, reminding her of the past.

“I had a dream. I dreamt that I bought you a yellow bug, just like the one you used to have. I dropped it off in front of your place and drove away in another car, excited for you to find it.” She went on to explain that there is an actual car for sale that resembles my VW, near her home. Denise wished she could buy me the car.

In my mind, I was thinking Oh, yea, how fun would that be! Out loud, though, I said “I’ll take it,” so casually you’d think I wasn’t serious.

rudy:deniseI was driving my yellow bug when I met Rudy for the first time, and it was the car I drove when Denise, sitting in the passenger seat, met her future uncle. The three of us took a ride to a nearby park, to feed the ducks in an over-sized pond. We sat together near the water’s edge, just talking and laughing. Little did she know that she played a very important role within my and Rudy’s relationship. Not only did I get to observe him interacting with a soon-to-be preteen – a most important observation, for sure, but Denise was also my No way!-No how!-Not now!-I’m not doing IT! way to maintain abstinence.

On our very first date, I drove Rudy and I, plus Denise, my nephew and two more kids to Magic Mountain in the Bug. What a day! Rudy and I locked lips more times than I can remember and my niece would disrupt the moment by “ooooooooo”-ing or screaming “Gross!” She’d laugh afterwards because I’m pretty sure she really did like Rudy. Liked having him around that day.

 As my relationship with Rudy solidified so, too, did Denise’s feelings for him. She has always thought of him as an extremely awesome person. She even sought him out on her wedding day, saved a dance for him, and proudly introduced him as Uncle Rudy. The fact that a dream flowed through her was a reminder of times past. A fun time in a bright yellow Volkswagen Bug, and being introduced to someone having a positive impact on her life.

That yellow bug was part of my early history, when I hung out with Denise, and my developing relationship with Rudy. So should Denise’s dream ever come true, I’d say, “Drop that memory off in front of my place, anytime!”

Shades of Grey

Living together has its downs. It’s easy to neglect the one you love. To live, day-in, day-out, with the assumption that forever is forever.

I remember a moment in time when Rudy and I were first living together, before we were married. After a day at the beach, I spent the evening lying on the couch, lightly wrapped in only a bed sheet. I had burnt my skin so bad that it hurt to put any type of clothing on. I was in pain and very uncomfortable. After spending a few hours readjusting myself into a never going to find it position, Rudy announced he was going to a friend’s place to watch a game on TV. Seriously, I wondered. Seriously, he said, as a matter-of-fact. My anger took over, immediately, taking my focus off the sunburn, as I marched into the bedroom, dressed, and left our apartment, thinking how I would never leave him when he obviously needed my help. I was mad because he neglected to think of me.

And.

Well.

Living separately has its ups. Sometimes, when striving for simple happiness, living separately can be rewarding.

I remember the two weeks before Rudy and I were going to be married. We had decided that I would return to my parents home, and live there for those weeks leading up to our nuptials. We also decided not to see each other during those separated days. We were to have no interaction together, aside from phone calls. There would be no hand holding, no kisses, and especially, no pillow talk. Just the daily Hello, How are you?, Have a good day!, and I love you. Our reunion was fun. Worth the separation. And it cemented the fact about how much we wanted to be together. No matter what our living situation was.

Living together.

Living separately.

Either way, make life worth the effort; especially, for each other.

What’s in a Name?

Long ago, naming our children took precedence over everything else…

“I’m pregnant,” I said, in a woo-hoo! kind of way. Rudy smiled that I‘m feeling pretty good right now smile of his as he wrapped me in his arms, and laughed that gentle laugh of his. That laugh that said so much. “¡Gracias Dios Mio!” he blurted, raising his arms to the heavens.

As the initial excitement began to calm, we realized a very important decision was now in order. “What will we name the baby?” we both questioned in unison. We also wanted the surprise element of the baby’s gender, so we needed to be considerate of a boy and a girl.

Fortunately, for the two of us, we knew our children would be given family names. One name from my family, one from Rudy’s. A first name. A middle name. That narrowed down our options, therefore making the process a bit easier.

“If the baby is a boy, how about your name? He could be a junior,” I offered. “No. That’s okay. I’m not sure I like my name enough to pass on,” Rudy stated matter-of-factly.

We pondered the names in our families; the choices: maternal and paternal grandfathers, brothers, and uncles were said aloud. We combined them; one as the first name, another as the middle name, and then switched the order. Nothing felt 100% just right. We moved on to girl names. A just as consuming test – which took months, mind you!

“I really want to name her after my mom, using her middle name, Elizabeth,” I said, as I felt my heart soften, thinking about naming my daughter after my sweet, kind-hearted mom. “I like that,” Rudy said. “I was thinking of Victoria, after my grandma. We would visit her a lot when I was a kid. When it was time to leave I would always run out to the tree in the front yard of her house and hug its trunk so hard that my parents had to struggle to pry me away. You see, I didn’t want to leave Grandma Victoria. She made me happy.” I became teary-eyed thinking of little Rudy crying, screaming. This was going to be harder than we thought, we suddenly realized. Rudy also liked his ambitious, intelligent sister Cecilia’s name. I considered my middle name Anne, too. Anne with an e.

This serious do-not-want-to-pick-a-name-that-will-harm-the-future-of-our-child-by-picking-the-wrong-name job produced two candidates. For a girl baby. Elizabeth Cecilia and Victoria Anne.

After I had delivered our child, Rudy by my side, and him being overwhelmed by, and amazed with the process of birth, he kissed my puffy – just had a child – face. He had a tear in his eye and quietly whispered “That was amazing! I want to name her Elizabeth Cecilia, after your mom and my sister.” I smiled, lay my head back, and sighed with relief.

Three years later Rudy was in Honduras, with Elizabeth and my niece, a full week before I was to arrive. His sister was getting married. Little did he know that I had a surprise for him. “I’m pregnant!” I cried as I fell into his arms when he greeted me at the arrival gate. Rudy hugged me, Elizabeth hugged me. My niece hugged me. “¡Gracias Dios Mio!” he shouted, as he raised his arms to the heavens.

Again, family names filled our daily thoughts. The name Victoria Anne sat quietly in our minds, waiting for her turn, if we were to have another girl.

“I really admire my dad,” I simply stated. “Yet, in my family all the first boys were named John so I think it’s best to leave it that way.” Rudy, too, admired my dad, and also agreed with my thoughts on why we shouldn’t name a son after him. “Well, my brother Bill meant a lot to me. Before he died in a car accident when he was 19, he always made time for me. Maybe we can use his name, William?” I questioned. Rudy nodded, knowing how much Bill meant to me, having heard my many stories. “I like the name Roberto, which is my younger brother’s middle name, and my blue-eyed uncle first name,” he said, seemingly deep in thought about those he cares for. The name Roberto seemed so foreign to me, like those Spanish intonations just didn’t know how to roll on my OC tongue. I kept those thoughts to myself.

Months later, as I struggled to get off the couch, to answer the phone, my water broke. “My water broke!” I yelled, hoping Rudy was near enough to hear me.

After securing Elizabeth with a downstairs neighbor, Rudy drove me to the hospital to deliver our second child. But wait! Seriously, did we forget something?! Yep. A camera to capture the moment (when I held my child for the first time). While Rudy returned home to retrieve the video camera, I began to hyperventilate. Unusual for me, which made the experience worse. I was given, what I seem to remember as a paper lunch bag, but was probably actually an oxygen mask, to help soothe me. Rudy returned as quickly as possible, within minutes, it seemed, of the birth. “Its a boy,” the doctor stated. Rudy hugged me. “So, what is our son’s name?” I asked him. Rudy smiled, that smile that makes him even better looking smile of his. “Roberto William.” Perfectly named. “I love it,” I said with exhaustion. I was willing to work the name into my life, to roll it off my tongue, to make it a part of who we had become – an interracial family.

Eight years later, I handed Rudy the home pregnancy (test kit) wand. He looked at the + sign. He looked at me, wide-eyed. “¡Gracias Dios Mio!” he gleefully cheered, once again sending his arms up toward the heavens.

Naming our last, and final, child now included the involvement of Elizabeth and Roberto. When I went in for a check up and the nurse asked if we’d like to know the sex of the child, before we could even consider our options, the kids – didn’t scream, but were pretty darn close to scaring the other patients – said, “Yes! Please Mom and Dad?” Rudy and I looked at each other, smiled and gave the OK nod and a thumbs up. “It’s a boy!” the nurse happily told Elizabeth and Roberto.

“Bradford,” I said. “Let’s name him Bradford in honor of our marriage. Named after the place where we were married. Let’s have his first name be a surname, like Palmer, on All My Children.” Huh? Rudy’s expression wondered. “Bradford? It sounds like Buford. Like an overbearing rich guy,” he sneered. I laughed. I was really keen on the idea, even though it diverted away from our family names. I figured I had some months to get Rudy used to the idea. “I think Ramon would be good. It was my brother Scott’s middle name. Remember how, a month or so before he died, he shook your hand? A gesture that said ‘I like you. I can see you care for my sister. Sorry if I was ever rude….’. I think to honor his memory would be great. It was also my paternal grandfather’s name. Double great.” Rudy listened, really took to heart in what I was saying. “I want to use my middle name, Antonio, too,” he confirmed. “Well, I have, also, always wanted to give a child of mine two middle names, just as my parents did with my older brother Jim,” I added.

We spent months bouncing names around, listened to the input of soon-to-be big sister  Elizabeth and big brother Roberto.

When our third child was born, our son, was named Bradford Ramon Antonio.

All three children’s names warm my soul when I say the names out loud, or if I hear them as they float into one ear and gently, quietly, climb out the other.

When I Pet My Cats It’s My Dad That Comes To Mind

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As far back as I can remember, when I was growing up, we always had some kind of pet at our house. My sister was the person who had a deep love for animals, especially strays, and would bring them in, care for them and incorporate the various pets, cats being the most preferred animal, within our household.

Over the years I, too, loved those sweet animals, but it was the cat I liked the best. Yet, ironically, when I moved into a place of my own, I never considered bringing a domestic animal into the house. Not even when the kids started asking if they could have a cat, or more enthusiastically, a dog.

“No. No. No.” I’d always say when asked.

Until the day Brad showed me a picture of a kitten, a multicolored bundle of fur. And her twin, a dark-haired beauty, both with green eyes. Not only did Brad beg and beg, but so did Roberto. They worked me. And it worked. Maybe because the boys were so adorable when asking, or because the kittens really were gorgeous, or maybe I was just ready to bring cats into our life.

No longer kittens, but full-grown cats, I find myself cuddling the girls, rubbing their bellies, and patting their tails bones. Something my dad used to do with the cats in the house I grew up in. At first he’d use his hand, eventually switching to a walking stick, to pat their heads, rub their chins, and vigorously pat the space between the end of their spinal cord and their tail. And boy were the cats in heaven.

I seriously love that I, too, attend to my girls with a very simple gesture, without thought, just as my dad did with the kitties he loved and that loved him. It’s such a natural way to give attention to my feline pets, Skyler and Cassandra. I find myself patting them in exactly the same way, with my hands. And every time I do so a visual of my dad pops into my head, and I remember him sitting in his chair, in the household library, reading, writing, thinking, or talking while passing his love onto those cats through the gesture of petting.

I hate arguing!

Especially with arguments that are so pointless. So full of time wasted, time that could be better spent talking about the problem. Solving the problem in a mature manner.

I hate arguing so much that I will literally state to my opposition, “I am not going to argue. Arguing is pointless.” And when the person I am addressing continues with their argument, I will say, “I’m serious. I will not argue. Talk. Yes. Argue. No way.”

Most times those words from me stop a yelling match, and instead bring forth calmness, or more likely the subject is changed entirely, which is fine anyway, because whatever it is that was being argued was completely not worth the effort. Seriously. And yes, I know, I will never land a part on a reality show because I wouldn’t produce enough drama to entertain an audience. But, whatever. Yelling sucks, talking repairs.

Today, though, my words didn’t work. Rudy kept ranting and raving about this and that (something about texting. See! What did I say? So mundane…) and I couldn’t take it. I just couldn’t listen to his nonsense, so I left (to my hair appointment).

And, after my hair felt all shiny and new, instead of returning home and confronting Rudy and his argument, I drove straight to the beach. Crystal Cove State Park, to be exact, and I sat there breathing in the salty air and listened to the crashing of ocean waves. Destressing myself, until balance was again restored.

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daphne

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Quiet, reflective, attentive, and a person of few words define me. Which, I believe, has impacted my interest in both the social and psychological aspects of human nature.

I like being quiet. You see, I learn quite a bit when I turn off my voice and tune in my ears.

I’m reflective, thriving on what I see around me, applying what is helpful, learning from mistakes (sometimes my own, but mostly made by others) and deflect from what might diminish the powers my soul.

I find if I look someone in the eyes when they are telling me a story, a secret, a worry, or any other type of human emotion, my attention rewards me with a meaningful relationship. Whether it be for a moment, or a life time.

A person of few words doesn’t mean one has nothing to say, rather, for me, it’s that what words, what I’m trying to say, needs to be worthy of revealing because I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone, except to myself.

Me. A quiet, reflective, attentive person. Interested in human nature. Especially my own.

Attitude is EVERYTHING

Be positive. Find Avant-Garde people, those that possess innovative ideas that make the world an  interesting place. Let a Dilettante hold your attention as they dabble in the arts and fill you with knowledge that will enhance your good vibes towards humanity. Be Ubiquitous, while living a well-rounded life; live as if you are everywhere at once. Sneak in a Tryst with someone you love. Agree to meet, to enjoy an Idyllic location; somewhere that is carefree, tranquil, and picturesque. Think positive. Finding Equanimity will instill a sense of calmness and an even-tempered attitude.

Don’t be negative.

Mr. and Mrs.

f7804-img_1469When I first met Rudy I appreciated his kindness. He didn’t put on a show, a “look-at-me, I’m rough, tough, and I’ll tumble”.  Nah, Rudy was gentleman, without attitude. A good guy. With squared shoulders, narrow hips, and a serious set of brown eyes.

Those were our innocent days. The days we were slowly learning about each other. What made us tick. What made us tock. And what didn’t. Slowly, we began to reveal who we were. How our lives were formed, the reasons we acted the way we did, or didn’t, and who played a part in the formation of who we’d become. Young adults.

Before we even knew the other existed, Rudy and I both learned the importance of being independent as young teens. I grasped rather quickly that I had to create my own life, in my own way, without help. From anyone. Even in the midst of a large family. After his father died, Rudy knew he had to leave his mom to figure out how he fit into the world beyond his family. So, he moved from Central America to the United States. Full of fear, combined with wonderment.

Some might consider that I married Rudy, and he attached himself to me, so that we both could fill a need. To find someone, anyone, to stand with. To be with. To make a family with. But that wasn’t the case. That’s not what was on our mind. Not at all. Simply put, Rudy and I met, we liked each other, and, so, we got married. There was no agenda behind our relationship. At all. We just were. Two young adults. Following our hearts.

And, so, here it is, thirty years later, still both very independent, with lots of ups-downs-and-all-arounds, still learning. Still listening to the ticks, the tocks, and the whatnots. Listening. Listening. Listening. Reaping the rewards of understanding.

call me

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Back in the day.

Long ago.

Five days after Rudy and I met.

He called me.

Called me at home.

Where I was living with my parents.

I’m almost certain we met on a Saturday night.

At a Tupperware™ party.

Of all places.

We talked.

We laughed.

I gave him my phone number.

So.

The next week.

When I said hello.

Talking into the house phone.

He murmured into my ear.

Do you remember me?

Of course I remember you, I said quietly.

We talked.

We laughed.

And agreed to chat again.

On the following Thursday.

Always on a Thursday.

On and on it went.

For several weeks.

Until.

One night.

We had an unexpected encounter.

We sat together.

We talked.

A lot.

About life.

As simple as that.

When he called.

Again.

After another week’s passing.

I agreed to an official date.

Because.

Well.

My instincts told me to.

Told me.

That Rudy was my future.