California girls

There is so much that this picture harrows up in my soul. It means I’m home and going into the city for some fun. It means Lucca’s Deli. It means Chrissy fields, Daddy Daughter dates to Espetus, family trips to the bathroom at the Fairmont Hotel. It’s all jumbled in my mind, but it’s allllll good.

I’ve been home for almost a month since my last visit and ever since I got back, I have been trying to find a way to describe all the warm fuzzies I get being around my sisters and their kids and mom and dad. I just love it. It’s comfortable and fun. I think we are the best all together, as one unit. We all fall into the same familiar rhythm, but just add kids, but it doesn’t even matter which kids you’re talking about. I scoop them up and kiss their faces off and play on the floor with them and shake my head at them when they’re ruining mom’s fountains. They are all of ours. They are an extension of my sisters and so I love them just the same.

And mom and dad are just fun. I wonder if dad does this on purpose, or if it’s just natural, but somehow, each one of us girls finds ourselves on a grown up daddy daughter date (mini ones) all the time when we’re there at their house. He just asks for us to join him doing whatever it is that he’s doing. One morning I was up at “his” hour (6am) because I was on east coast time, not because I am an early riser, and he asked me if I wanted to take a bike ride with him. You bet! I hopped on one of Dad’s road bikes (he has 3??) and he did what he always does – sets me up with all the good stuff, all of his stuff. He gave me the awesome glasses, the gloves for my hands, the helmet. Then we headed out for a 6 mile ride. I loved it. Then we got home and a little later he asked Aria to go with him to the store to pick something out and off they flew in the Corvette. It’s just funness (not a word, but it works in this instance) and it makes you feel special. He wants to spend all of his time around us, his girls. He wants our company and we want his. It’s so nice and comfortable and it feels like home, with my dad.

But as for my sisters and my feelings for them …. I just didn’t know how to explain what they are to me. How they fill in all my gaps, to make me feel like a whole person around them all. And now I don’t have to because …. Mina did it for me. She got home and wrote a poem about us all. It’s perfect. Mina is a poet. It just comes to her. It’s one of her talents and I love how poetry makes everything you say sound more important, more poignant somehow, and beautiful all at the same time. Mina and I are the only ways “away”, aka out-of-state and I think that makes us more sad to leave. We know it will be a long while before we feel that love and closeness again, so here it is, it’s called, Glass Half Empty.

After spending time away,
Then congregating home to play,
Our time together is so dear
And leaving is my greatest fear.

I wish to bottle it all up,
Satiate my endless cup
I turned my thoughts into a rhyme,
To take a picture of our time

Five Girls can sound like such a crowd,
We smile each time it’s said out loud,
But life without just one of you
Unravels my world, and changes its hue

It’s not a pie without eight slices
And despite all of our vices
I learn so much from each of you
So listen up, because its true

Beth has been our fearless leader,
Even when we didn’t head her,
Now she has us all impressed,
A definition of hostess!

She invites your kids with a smile,
Welcomes your burdens to her pile,
And when you think she’s had enough
Within a blink, she adds more stuff

Besides hard work and her service
Reigning in a daily circus
No single word can juxtapose,
Our Bethany, our valiant rose.

Though we tease her unrestrained,
Francesca is our family’s flame
She spreads her cheer just like wild fire,
Bearing gifts and Fun Supplier

A voice sonorous and ornate
Her home is organized and straight
She’s plagued with love of dazzling shoes
She’d buy them all, if she could choose

She’ll be the first to make you smile
And dress you up with flashy style;
Her love is honest and, you see
As sisters go, she fits with me

Christina is our middle ground
A level head and gem I’ve found
When asked which sister is her fave,
“I love you ALL”, she smiles and waves

Her beauty incomparable
Like mythic creatures in Fable
It transcends through her soft skin tone
Angelic features, all home grown

She’ll hold you close and make it right
Assured love, without a fight
We’ll sit and talk for hours and hours
A loyal friend, it’s her great Power

Our Chickie doesn’t stand alone,
In fact, we put her on a throne.
The family beauty’s cross she bears,
And wears it hum’bly without flares

I wonder if she knows how great
In all our eyes we venerate
Her honesty and fortitude,
For compliments, she often “shoos”

But know it now, how we all feel
We could not do without your zeal
And how we all have grown to love
This baby sister we speak of

If only these few words could do
The job that I had asked it to,
To bridge the gaps when we’re apart
And fill this hole, inside my heart

But now it’s made me wish inside
For all the pieces of our pie.
And nothing else will remedy
The magic of our fam’ly tree


Take these words and fill ‘er up,
And sip upon my rambling cup.
Until its time to all come back,
Refill the canteens in our pack.

I love you.

The only thing left to say is Mina. I honestly gave poetry a valiant effort and it was pitiful. It not only had a funky rhythm, the strains to make it rhyme made everything I said sound like a first grader explaining his love for pancakes. It was weird. Anyway, I am left with my descriptive powers and that will have to be enough:

Mina is so much. I don’t know how I would dare try to explain her in 3 stanzas, although somehow she captured us, I don’t know how to capture Mina in words. You want to have Mina in your car, because it no longer is a car, but the party bus and somehow you find yourself and all of the kids inside chanting “par-ty bus!” while flying down highway 17 on your way to Santa Cruz. Then you can get to the beach and it’s a crappy day at the beach, cloudy, overcast and Mom is buying sweatshirts for $50 on the boardwalk. But Mina is the one that throws propriety to the wind and takes ridiculous jumping pictures with you in the sand. The pictures are embarrassing and silly and totally awesome too. Then she can turn right around and on the car ride home, notice your uneasy driving this crazy huge beast of a car back on winding highway 17 and know just what to say. She’ll tell you your doing great, ask the kids to be quiet for Aunt Fran and talk you through each turn. She’ll keep one hand on your shoulder and you feel loved. You didn’t even know that’s what you needed or that you were acting nervous, but your little sister is so in tune and right there. Then you can continue down that road, and as it stops twisting and turning, your conversation turns deep. You can talk about anything with Mina and she’s right there with you. She has insight and thoughts and understanding and then what the heck, you’re both crying and then laughing.

Mina is so much, you can’t keep her in a box, but if it were a box, it would be a party in a box. As I spend more time with Mina’s little babies (they are 5 and 3, so not really babies at all, but you know what I mean), the more I see Mina in them and it makes me love them intensely. Truan is a party, like his mommy. He is everything that is good and fun and open and impish, he’s your friend. But Jellybean, she is everything that is fragile and girlie and beautiful, just like her mommy. She feels so much and wants to be loved. I know my sisters all have a different relationship and view of Mina, but this is mine.

I stole most of these pictures from Mina because she had a “good camera”. I had my phone and used it every moment, but it doesn’t capture enough. There’s never enough pictures, never enough good food, never enough time …. yeah, it’s mostly the time thing. Never enough time. Good thing we’re around for eternity.

The kids …

me and Jellybean


Rocco hiding telling Truan a secret. :)

Emily (Enlee) 

more Enlee


wait! what the? …. how did Jeff get in there ….

 The rest of us:

Dad, Jellybean and Mom on our walk in Concord

Me and Christina at Beth’s house

Aunt Net and Uncle Cliff at Chevys in Emeryville

Me and Mom at Chevy’s in Emeryville

Chiara, Beth and Dad at Chevys in Emeryville

Beth, Christina and Mom at Greens in SF

The Food at Greens …. which we promptly devoured (do you see the progression of the plates??). seriously. It was kind of embarrassing how quickly we cleared the shared dessert plates …. and then … we went to Ghirardelli Square for a little more dessert. what?! 

Mom, with her Stevia, at Greens, making her own tea. 

At Beth’s house, the last night we were all together.

OK, I posted this picture, solely for the shot of Aria in the background. She’s right next to Bethany and it looks like she’s mid sneeze or something. best. picture. ever. 

It was all for Daddy. Good times.

doesn’t exist

Check out the fuzz this humid, sticky rainy day is creating all over my head.

Sticky rain doesn’t exist in California. This whole crappy thing where it’s like 70 degrees (or hotter) and it’s raining and you don’t know what to wear because if you wear a hoody you’re sweating it out, but if you wear shorts and flip flops you just get soaked…. yeah, this doesn’t exist in California. If it’s raining, it’s cold, if it’s sunny it’s hot. Straight forward. Easy to dress for. But the only reason I’m thinking of this specifically today is because …….. wait for it …….. I’m visiting CALIFORNIA ON WEDNESDAY!!!! heck yes! And right now, it’s sticky raining in Michigan. ugh. But who cares, I’m dustin’ this crappiness on Wednesday night – woo hoo!

it’s happening.

Oh man, I can’t wait. It’s gonna be awesome because I’m traveling without the boys. It’s just me. I love flying without kids. I don’t have to pack for 4 people or worry about whether or not the DVD player is charged. At the airport I can just walk through the security line without delay – I get snacks, I buy magazines, I read on the plane, I sleep on the plane, I go to the bathroom whenever I please, ahhhhhhh. It’s awesome.

But then there’s California itself. The whole reason I’m going is to surprise my dad for Father’s Day. It’s Daddy’s 60th birthday this year, in September, but this weekend is the time that all of us girls can get together, so we decided to celebrate Father’s Day with him. I come in Wednesday night and will keep my presence a surprise until Thursday morning when all of us girls will wake up early (like 5 m early) and go get donuts, then come home and when Dad wakes up and comes downstairs we will all be waiting there for him, donuts in hand and tell him, “we don’t know what happened!? We lost control of the car and ended up at the donut shop, so we decided, while we were there, that we might as well get some donuts and bring them home for you. Happy Father’s Day!” (it’s a family joke. My daddy used to do the same thing to us girls when we were little, except it was on Saturday mornings. He’d lose control of the car …. we’d get donuts … we all blame our addiction to sugar on daddy :) ).

I had a dream about it last night. I dreamed that I was in CA and sleeping in the piano room downstairs and Daddy accidently saw me Wednesday night. He teared up and I cried (happy cried) in the dream. I was so happy in the dream.

The other part of this California trip that is awesome, is that I will be with all my sisters and their babies. AND I will be able to help everyone else out with their kids cuz I don’t have my boys to worry about. I’m calling it now, I will stay up late and talk on the stairs at mom’s house. I will hang around Bethany’s house. We will eat and talk and play and I will feel the sun on my face. We will do a classic Damiano Beach Day on Saturday and there will be licorice. We will all get dressed up on Father’s Day and go to church. It will be a beautiful 4 day weekend for me and I am sooooooo looking forward to it.

So, it’s easy to see past this crappy, sweaty, rainy day in Michigan because I have California in my sights. This day doesn’t exist. It will pass. I will make it pass by trying not to look out my windows and by doing laundry and playing with Liam and Ray inside.

California, here I come!!!!!!