It’s been a while

Wow. I haven’t written anything in ages. Why? I think my Word Muse needed a vacation and tagged in my Photo Muse. Here’s what I’ve been doing, told via photos …

Seconded on a maternity shoot:

Went to NY for Christmas and New Years (and got stuck during the blizzard):

Then visited Austin for their version of Carnival (in a word – fun!):

Shot a small music/fashion show:

Went back to NY to get some more tattoo work done (and eat cannoli’s):

Shot some surfing:

Shot some sunsets:

Did another maternity shoot, but until the baby is born, those shots are private.

Hung out at a local garden:

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A day at the beach

On a Saturday in the not too distant past I met up with a friend of mine and her amazing son, Dom. We decided to meet at a beach just south of Laguna Niguel, Aliso Creek, for a few hours of “Mommy and me” time. Mamí and I completely misjudged the timing and traffic on PCH. Thankfully, both of us were running late. (Seriously? Over 20 minutes to go less than 3 miles? Damn you beautiful California coast, and everyone else who wants to visit you!)

As soon as we finally parked, Mr. Dom decided to jump right in.

We had to drag him away from the water, sadly.

He tried to run. (Even though he giggled through his pacifier.)

(It was at this point we all had to take a break. Dom did his best impersonation of an orchestral conductor. As the waves came up, so did his hands. The waves went away as his arms banished them. For a full 5 minutes, he “conducted” the waves. Sadly, I wasn’t able to capture this, since me, his mom, and cousin were all just giggling over his antics. I know, I know – I’m a bad photographer.)

(We joked that he thought he was channeling Mickey Mouse in Fantasia. That moment? Is fodder for stories for years to come – especially for his first date.) Anyway …

We finally caught the munchkin:

Dom is at the age that anything that he doesn’t know what it is? Goes directly into his mouth. (I asked Mamí to take the pacifier away. She did. And Dom? Totally didn’t notice the loss. Again, such an AWESOME kid!)

Unfortunately, with the lack of pacifier, he turned to other fixations (mainly, sand).

Poor Mamí (and I, and the prima), had to stifle our laughter.

The ocean that day was closed to swimming and frolicking, so Flor had to entertain Mr. Dom with stories. Even without his pacifier, both mother and child were having a wonderful time.
(This photo brings tears to my eyes. There is just so much damn joy evident in it.)


Mamí had to go rescue Mr. Dom from the contaminated waves. She was very upset that it looked like she wet her pants, and *strongly* cautioned me to not take a picture. As I am one to buck authority, I snapped away. (To this day I stand by my statement that Ms. Florski wet her pants.)


She had some very strong words for Mr. Dom:

They soon made up:

(And though you can’t see Flor, they were both playing in the sand.)

Flor did NOT partake of the sand buffet, but she and Dom still had a fantastic time.

(The love was so, so, so evident. Dom’s laughter and Florski’s smile made it so.)

At the end of a long day, full of traffic, poisoned beach, and a photographer lacking in caffeine … all in all? It was a good day.

One full of joy. And love. And tons of kisses.


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It is hard to say goodbye …

I am so tired. So, so, so very tired. And bone-weary. And so OVER talking about, thinking about and mourning over, my folks.

Exhausted, I is. Frazzled. Gnawing at my rear like a flea-ridden dog. But I can’t seem to stop myself. I keep chewing and can’t seem to stop these mental hamsters from running on their never-ending wheel. Running, running, runnin’ …

I figure that 35 years (cumulative) of being parent-less would have taught me a lot more. Apparently? Not so much. (And I’m sure you’re thinking the same thing.)

(Seriously, *I* want to tell me to shut the fuck up and get over it. And mostly I have. And I am. Shutting up and getting over it, I mean. But sometimes I really just need to talk out-loud, in order to make sure I’m not thinking in circles, and thinking myself into a self-destructive cycle. I promise I’ll stop the navel-gazing soon-ish. Until then … )

I mean … I get it. I grok it. Hell, I live it. It is natural that you lose your parents before you go over to “The Big Yonder” your-own-damn-self. But shit.

There are still times, no matter how old you are, that you just want your mommy. Or your daddy. Or your friend. Or your partner.

It’s not so much that you need them, but it is that you want them.

And in those instances not only do you want them, you just want to know them. More so than you ever did whilst they were alive.

This past week I went to a memorial of an acquaintance. No. Scratch that. She was more than that. She was a mentor. She was a friend. Granted, she wasn’t my “bestie”, but she was still someone I would consider a friend; someone whom I would allow into my own inner circle. (And if she allowed me into hers? I would consider myself blessed.) After listening to all of the memories and eulogies? I really wish I got to know her better. Wish that I broke down my own damn walls. I saw her amazing light, and spark, and I just smiled and nodded. I wish I did more …

Frieda? Well … she was a hard woman to like, but such an easy person to love. So damned easy to love! (Well, once you got past that crackly and tough veneer at least.) Being at her memorial reminded me … it reminded me that it isn’t easy to be tough and loving; that it isn’t easy to be loving, and tough.

“Hard to like, but easy to love.” – that’s how I describe(d) her. (And that is something I aim for, if I am being honest with myself.)

Surrounded by all that love? I was able to laugh. And live. And love.

Even though I held back my (outward) tears, I laughed. I lived. And I loved. And that? Was freeing. During the photo montage that Marc put together, I had to use all of my emotional strength to keep my shit together. Afterwards, Carlos was the “comedic relief”. And even then, I wrapped myself up tight inside, so I wouldn’t cry. Alejandra and Roxanne’s eulogies almost offed me, in a good way. There were so many people … so many people to give their respect.

I wanted to be one of those people. But I just couldn’t.

Frieda’s memorial was held on the same day that Dad more than likely died.

Until I got home, and settled into the refuge of my bed, I forgot about that day.

I almost forgot that you get to choose your “family”.

Some of us are privileged in having a great blood-family. Some of us only have an amazing choice-family. But some of us … ? Well, some of us? Are blessed with both.

Tonight I realized that I somehow kissed the right karma-faerie’s ass. Not only do I have an amazing blood-family. I also have an amazing choice-family. Five years ago I embraced the wonder of my blood-family, after I found Dad. But last night? I really felt the energy and love of my choice-family.

I may be the red-headed orphan (Anni), but my blood-family? I choose. And my choice-family? I can only wish that we shared DNA.

Last night reminded me that blood-family, and choice-family, are one and the same (depending).

We may never really know, or love, someone even if we share blood, yet …
They are still considered family.

We may love someone, and not really know them, yet they touch us, regardless of blood …
They are still considered family.

Blood or not, it doesn’t mean that their loss affects us any less.

Frieda just passed. It has now been 5 years that Dad has been gone (and over 28 years for mom). Right now? All three of them are my family. Blood or chosen.

And I miss them all.

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So, my cousin asked if I had single friends.

Instead of saying “yes’, I said, “I’ll see who I can think of”. And then I wrote a personal ad for him. (No. He didn’t ask that I write one. I just had to.)

The question is, do I send this to him and say, “Hie thee to Craigslist, and post(e-haste)!” Or do I say, “No, my friends really AREN’T sane. *insert stereo-typical accent here* Thank you. Come again!”

So, I have this cousin. To be honest, he’s more like the older brother I never had – and never wanted. (I think all of the cousins – all 18 of us on the one side, be they older or younger than he – would say the same thing.) He’s 40, going on 14. (Okay. Fine. Hrmph. I’m 33 and going on 14 as well. Semantics, pfft!)

ANYWAY, I have this cousin, who is single.

He’s 5’11”. Short, light brown hair (but if he re-lived his youth, the hair would be long and curly). Bright blue eyes. Tattooed. Pierced ears. Is blessed with a phenomenal singing voice, which he doesn’t really share, unless he feels really comfortable with you. Divorced father to a great kid. Employed. Has an AWESOME family (okay, maybe that is just my bias coming through).

If I weren’t related to him, I would say he is a great catch. (But since I AM related to him, I am legally obligated to say, “Ewww! I remember him as a kid, all pointy-elbows and gawky. Wearing glasses and braces! You think THAT is sexy?”)

My cousin? Is in search of a relationship. Not some one-nighter in a dark alleyway; not a “friends, with benefits” type of situation; and not some fling, where there’s no emotional attachment involved. No. He is searching for an honest-to-Pete relationship.

Like, a RELATIONSHIP-relationship! With love, and connection, and emotions, and partnership, and fights, and making-up, and shared responsibility, and honesty – even when honesty is hard. All that shit.

He’s asked if I have any single friends.

Apparently, he thinks I have sane, and normal, friends. (My friends? ARE a bit quirky and left of center – they are mainly performers and artists – so it may be that his perception is a bit skewed. However, I find it a bit hard to pimp out my cousin on Facebook. I’m assuming it would be like pimping out your brother to your friends. Kinda gross, no?) So …

… I am posting this because Josh is shy (in his way). And because he truly is a nice guy (as long as you aren’t blood related, otherwise he would be socking you in the arm and calling you “buttmunch”. But, then again, that may just be me and his sisters that he treats that way). Forgetting about the arm-socking, and head-nookeying he does, he IS kind, loving, and giving. And loyal, sometimes to his detriment. And deserving, and wanting, of a partnership.


If you are a woman who: has a slightly warped sense of humour, is confident in herself, has read through the above, connects with a man whose humour straddles the BBC and “The Hangover”, and is willing to spur someone onto “bigger and better”, while being spurred in the same way, well hell.

Send a message.

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Thank you

Thank you …

For believing in me …
… even when I thought I couldn’t.

For loving me …
… even when I didn’t love myself.

For showing me the depths of depression …
… and how to continue living through it.

For disagreeing with me …
… because it taught me how to stand up for my beliefs.
… (this one I am still learning.)

For laughing with me …
… because it taught me how to laugh at myself.

For being quietly angry, even if it was toward small things …
… because I learned that anger can morph into helpful action.

For demanding that I watch British comedy …
… because it helped to hone my humour.

For forcing me to listen to “Strawberry Fields” …
… since it made me push through uncomfortable boundaries and find the richness therein.
… (however, I still don’t get Iron Butterfly. You tried, I know you did. But, really? “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”? I preferred it when you were in your ska phase. When I hear “This is Radio Clash”, I still think of you. Just sayin’.)

For being human, and fallible …
… because it taught me how to love you. (And myself.)

For supporting your family, even when you hated their choices (mine included) …
… because you showed me that you really can love someone, even when you disagree with them.

But mostly?

Thank you.

Thank you, for being my Dad.

(And for wearing a damn tutu on your head. Just because I asked you to.)
Dad wearing tutu

Happy Fathers Day, Pop.

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Quick update

This past week has been one full of highs and lows. I can’t really talk about the low, since I’m still processing it (a death), but I will post about the highs.



Extra money that comes with promotion

Really FUN shoot

Since I have no words at the moment (brain is set to the static channel), I will leave you with the two take-away shots from the weekend …



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Oh, the Places you’ll Go!

(Or, Oh, the Joys of Online Dating!)

Off and on since the mid-to-late 90’s, I have been a fan of getting to know people online, either through message boards, chat services, or more recently, online dating. There is just something about the game of it all – trying to create a face to match the words, figure out which tone and inflection they meant, if their speaking voice matches their written one, and if what they wrote was meant with a smile (or a sneer).

Not all of the people I met were with an eye towards romance. Sure, some were, but many weren’t – most were met because we shared a love of music or dance. Between the “were” and “weren’ts”, almost all of them I can count among (real-life) friends to this day.

Today most of my online networking is to keep in touch with friends, to learn more about photography and writing, and, I admit, dating. When I get a “ding” notifying me that I have new mail, it is true that I get just a touch giddy. Clicking on that unread message I never know what I will pull out of the grab bag. Sometimes it’s a new tip on how to better frame a photograph, other times it is letting me know I caught someone’s eye.

And those eye-catching moments can be oh so much fun. Words and witticisms fly fast and furious from our fingertips. Thought, innuendo, and intent leap from the page into our mind. And at times all of the online back and forth can live and breathe in real life. When the written intimation turns to real intimacy writ large on our bodies.

But sometimes those eye-catching moments are nothing more than a bit of sand, stuck under your contact lens. Take, for example, my most recent date.

On paper he was great. A shared sense of humour and of music. A love of children and animals. But then … then, we actually met. It was innocuous, really. A Starbucks located about halfway between where we both live. And then?

He started talking.

What follows will never, ever, compare to the date who brought a date … to the date. (The woman who wrote this continues to amaze me.)

The first flag should have been the fingernails. They were long. And dirty.

Let me say, I do love long nails. And dirty ones. (Preferably if the long nails are on a woman, and the dirty ones are because of working in the yard or on a car.) But these? These reminded me of my coffee-shop days, hanging out with junkies and the quasi-homeless. Unkempt, they were. And my first reaction was to be verklempt. Brushing it off, I went inside and grabbed some caffeine.

Once back on the patio, and barely two sips into my iced-coffee, we started off with the whole, “what do you do again?” opener. As soon as I mentioned “title insurance”, it was off to the races. He asked if that had to do with title to a house. That right there, gave him points, since many people don’t know what, exactly, title insurance is. He wanted to know if there was a way to get rid of a neighbor.

Okay … ?

“Why so?”, I asked. (I mean, who wouldn’t? There HAS to be a story here. And, boy howdy, was there a story. Plus many more to come.)

“Well, when I was 3 the guy across the street raped me, and then, when I was 6 his son molested me. And right now the son is still there and he is running a meth house. Since the cops are no longer corrupt, but just lazy, we can’t really call and complain. So, it’s really not a place where my son can go out and play. And I want to get rid of them.”


Just. Wow.

How the fuck do I respond to THAT? Much nodding and murmuring ensued, and I hoped the noises and head bobbing were sympathetic.

After an hour I was told that I “don’t seem to be a real redhead”. (Because, in his experience, ALL redheads are off their rockers and certifiably insane.) “Is it your experience that all redheads have freckles?”




“I can only speak to my own experience, but most of the ones I know DO have freckles.”

“Oh, okay. Because the ones I know do have freckles, but they are all crazy.”

I couldn’t respond, because when you try to convince someone else of your mental wellbeing, it just makes you appear … well, crazy. So, again, I nodded. After another story, when I said that I had to get going, so in order to fight traffic to head to Hollywood to see a friend perform, I was met with, “Wait, let me finish my story …”

I’m not sure if I should just hang up my hat and become the crazy cat-lady, or if I should just accept any date that comes my way; if only to hear the stories that come.

Because, shit …

… at least I’ll have something to talk about.


When I am not driving away, with my foot pressed on the gas pedal. And pleading to my car to please, please, just, “go, go, go! Get me out of here!” And hoping, “Oh lord. Please tell me he didn’t get my license plate number.”

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