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A Bunch of Firsts at 43

My (now almost)18-year-old son and I moved to San Diego, CA at the end of June 2021. It was somewhat on a whim but also part of a distant plan we both had years ago (pre-covid). That goal was to try and live closer and closer to the Pacific Coast/Ocean. As a 100% single parent, my son and I have been with each other 24/7 since he was born. We have lived in the state of Arizona, Texas, and now California together. I will admit I felt like I was on vacation for the first couple of months after moving here. Pre-motherhood, my personal living path started all the way up in New Hampshire, down to Massachusetts, across and up to New York, and then over and down to Los Angeles before that. It’s kind of cool we both “accomplished” something together and we landed in sunny, coastal SoCal. We made it here together!

Along with my first time living in San Diego, I experienced a bunch of other “firsts” at the age of 43. Should I be embarrassed at that? No. It’s unique that I’ve been able to experience these things in my life story, regardless of my age. There will be people who perhaps haven’t experienced any of these. I thought it would be fun to share with you the list of firsts I am talking about:


That is a quote from one of my favorite movies of all time from my childhood. The Land Before Time - 1988. I can quote that entire movie pretty much. One of the main storylines is based on a large earthquake taking place and creating hardship for my little dinosaur friends. I would say that is my earliest memory of seeing an earthquake, and really understanding the gravity of what land shifting and moving can do or even looks like. I have always heard plenty about earthquakes in the news and in articles, but never personally experienced being in one myself. I guess to my knowledge in my life thus far - until now!

The first earthquake I experienced was on a random weeknight last year when I was on the couch just relaxing and watching TV. All of a sudden, I felt my apartment building dancing left to right for a couple of seconds. I can describe my experience like this: Your spidey senses hone in real quick on the fact that your entire environment is moving and it’s an earthquake. It’s kind of surreal and is 100% out of your control. It was almost like my hearing deafened and there was no sound on the TV anymore. I kind of froze my body for those seconds. I was so focused on the movement of the building as if I could hear and feel each of the building’s apartment units moving separately. All you can do is wait for it to stop.

The second earthquake I experienced here in SD was when I was face and tummy down lying on the top of my bed covers. Sometimes if I’m able to, I go dive and jump on top of my bed to lie down, rest, and take five. When I was doing this one day, the earthquake dance started again. One minute you are staring out the window at a branch blowing in the wind, and the next you are experiencing an earthquake. And I still remember my gelatinous a$$ fat slowly jiggling left to right. Oh ya, that was an earthquake all right. 😛

First #2) To The Ends of The Earth….

I am fortunate to live fairly close to a beach area (absolutely no complaints). This is the first time in my life I have lived so close to ocean water, to the abyss of blue that goes out for miles until your eyes can’t see anything else farther into the distance. I can drive 15 minutes, park, and walk a couple of minutes until I hit the end of LAND. I can go to the point where there is no other land surface in America you can step on without touching the water. I am obsessed with Nat Geo documentaries of nature and the ocean ones are some of my favorites. I should tell you, over the years I’ve become terrified of ocean swimming and never really go deeper than my belly button. That stems over the span of my life from various visits to the beach where “things” are closer in there than you think. I always seem to attract and have random run-ins with creatures under that dark or shimmering water. Ocean Swimming PTSD.

Once I was standing in the water (around belly button water height) about to go snorkeling. I put on my mask and dipped down into the water under the surface to take a peek before we really began. Oh, hello! A giant Barracuda had apparently rolled up idling in front of me, hovering in the water ready to pounce. It was waving its tail back and forth like a cat waves their butt when getting ready to attack. Has anyone seen the face of a Barracuda up close?

My Barracuda buddy:

Some other creatures have also visited me when I was minding my own business in the ocean: a large Shark riding a wave into the shoreline at me, a massive Stingray darting by my ankles a couple of feet away, and a Jellyfish that seemed like it wouldn't get away as many times as I moved spots. As the summer creeps up, I will slowly work on my quasi-fear of ocean swimming more each time I am able to visit. Pretty soon it will be “To the depths of the ocean” and not just to the ends of the earth.

First #3) Gas Money Worthy

This is the first time I have made the choice to drive an hour roundtrip just to eat at a restaurant. More specifically, to eat a bowl of the best Tonkotsu Ramen I have ever had in my life. And that’s a lot. Everyone has their favorite neighborhood food spots to go grab a quick meal or get takeout from. But making a mini-pilgrimage to an establishment serving excellent dishes is a commitment not only financially but also time-wise. The ramen I speak of is so creamy delicious and well-prepared that I can’t get enough of sipping the broth and shoveling the noodles into my mouth (chopsticks of course). I would pour that ramen broth in my water cup all day every day if that was actually doable, accepted, and healthy. My son and I are so obsessed that we have flagged down an employee asking them to contact the owner to ask if he would sell us a shirt or sweatshirt. It’s a treat for us to go, so we try to make it there every now and then to pretty much sit in silence and experience the yummy goodness for the next 20 minutes. For you locals, check it out, I highly recommend the Tonkotsu Ramen.

First #4) Hector the Hummingbird

My male neighbor and I share custody of a hummingbird named Hector. I’m claiming 50% custody because he perches on my tree branch for the majority of the day. Well, that is when he is not dive-bombing other hummingbirds that are attempting to get a quick drink from my neighbor’s hanging feeder. This is the first time I have ever lived and been so close to a hummingbird on a regular basis. It’s a unique experience, and I will be posting again in more detail about my little flying buddy and what it is like. Here is Hector!

First #5) When I Was Your Age….

This is the first time my child has truly been able to walk to and from school by himself. I feel good about that actually. At the age of 16, my son entered the 10th grade in a new High School located here in San Diego (across the street), literally across the street. We chose to live where we live because being so new to a city, why not at least tackle finishing school first and get our bearings with that? We all remember that {insert your word of choice here} life blip called High School. Why have my child go through dealing with a new H.S. (at this particular life stage!) and then also make his life (and mine quite frankly) harder by living far from school? If anything it’s exercise, cost-effective, and not going to lie…I like knowing he is a RUN-away. Especially with all these crazy school shootings taking place.

First #6) Puff, Puff, Pass

This is the first time I have lived in a state, city, area, place, whatever, where regularly smoking weed is normal and part of life, legally of course. When I got to California, I remember googling several times: “Can you smoke weed outside in public in California?” And any quasi-variation of that question. I was kind of paranoid and was really just looking for an answer about using it privately on my back patio or something like that, not walking around the streets of SD. I remember back in the day when we had to hide bud, joints, bowls, and bongs. Marijuana was looked at and treated like it was a really harmful drug to use. Which it’s not if you are educated about it, and know your body. I personally enjoy cannabis and have realized it’s not as big a deal (here at least) as you make it out to be in your head. Especially if you are someone like me who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s when Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) programs were everywhere. I still have a T-shirt hanging in my closet from those years with their slogan on it. I’m taking it day by day here (as we all should) and trying to abide by very simple life rules for myself:

  • Work Hard and give it your 100%

  • Stay Disciplined

  • Always pay the bills you rack up

  • Live in shared spaces politely and with etiquette

  • Be kind and helpful

  • Mind your business (unless it’s a see something, say something situation)

  • Smoke Cannabis Responsibly 🙂

First #7) Ay Caramba

This is the first time I have lived so close to another country (Mexico), and I'm excited. The Mexican border sits just to the south of San Diego and is about 17 miles from downtown. You can drive from San Diego's city center to Tijuana, Mexico in as little as 30 minutes, depending on traffic. I have yet to venture over the border, but it’s on the list when the time is right for me to visit. Which I hope comes sooner rather than later.

First #8) What Model Do You Have?

This is the first time in my life I have seen and been around SO MANY Tesla cars. They are everywhere here…in ALL colors, and models, with all sorts of features. I’ve seen hot pink ones, electric purple ones, lime green ones, and my personal favorite - the matte black tinted-out one that Suburban Dad bought to look like a modern-day SUV or Sedan Batmobile. It could be it’s just mainly in the square mile radius bubble I live in every day, or that this is an overall SoCal thing. But they are cruising in the streets and roads far and near. I never really gave much thought to Tesla cars until now, when I see and hear them all the time. They do seem to be the “futuristic” car people thought it was years ago when they started to buy them.

For those of you reading this who don’t know what I am really talking about, here are my observations about the Tesla cars I see around me. They are a bit much for my taste but to each their own. 1) The front display screen is pretty much a large desktop computer screen staring back at you and your passenger’s face. Do they make blue-light-blocking driving glasses? ;) If I had a desk job, the last thing I would want to do after a long day's work is to get into the car to commute back home with yet another large computer screen staring back at me. 2) Some of these cars have butterfly wing doors that Dad pops up for the kids to get out after parking. When fully spanned out, it will look like the car is about to take off into the air. So back up and try not to stare. I always hope one of them will continue to expand and shift into an Autobot. Actually, the matte black one would be better suited for a Decepticon. Maybe one day Elon will get around to making that a reality. 3) The sound the car makes is a bit eery for me to be the owner of that sound. Imagine a stealthy UFO flying above you (I think they exist!). Imagine what the sound of one might be like. That weird flute-like, low-humming drone sound I think they would make based on how my imagination has been molded by society. Or, you can alternatively imagine a hoverboard in the air, that is what this car sounds like…hovering on the ground when idling, backing up, or driving slowly. Pretty much all the time. Oh, and hoverboards also exist!

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