Archive | August, 2011

What is a boy …

24 Aug

Getting dirty, boy style

On the drive home from Santa Monica today, I had a chance to re-connect with the song Eulalia, Eulalia by Braid (Movie Music Vol. 2). The following overlays the background, and it totally reminded me of my son Blake, who has been quite a handful lately. The music was quite a rad way to deal with Hell-Lay traffic, but the words were a rad way to help me remember all of the crazy things I love about that little monster. Including the words below for anyone else who has an amazing “jungle creature” called a son.

What is a boy? by Alan Beck

Between the innocence of babyhood and the dignity of manhood we find a delightful creature called a boy. Boys come in assorted sizes, weights, and colors, but all boys have the same creed: to enjoy every second of every minute of every hour of every day and to protest with noise (their only weapon) when their last minute is finished and the adult males pack them off to bed at night.

Boys are found everywhere—on top of, underneath, inside of, climbing on, swinging from, running around, or jumping to.

Mothers love them, little girls hate them, older sisters and brothers tolerate them, adults ignore them, and Heaven protects them.

A boy is Truth with dirt on its face, Beauty with a cut on its finger, Wisdom with bubble gum in its hair, and the Hope of the future with a frog in its pocket. When you are busy, a boy is an inconsiderate, bothersome, intruding jangle of noise. When you want him to make a good impression, his brain turns to jelly or else he becomes a savage, sadistic, jungle creature bent on destroying the world and himself with it.

A boy is a composite—he has the appetite of a horse, the digestion of a sword-swallower, the energy of a pocket-sized atomic bomb, the curiosity of a cat, the lungs of a dictator, the imagination of a Paul Bunyan, the shyness of a violet, the audacity of a steel trap, the enthusiasm of a firecracker, and when he makes something, he has five thumbs on each hand. He likes ice cream, knives, saws, Christmas, comic books, the boy across the street, woods, water (in its natural habitat), large animals, Dad, trains, Saturday mornings, and fire engines.

He is not much for Sunday School, company, schools, books without pictures, music lessons, neckties, barbers, girls, overcoats, adults, or bedtime. Nobody else is so early to rise, or so late to supper. Nobody else gets so much fun out of trees, dogs, and breezes. Nobody else can cram into one pocket a rusty knife, a half-eaten apple, three feet of string, an empty Bull Durham sack, two gum drops, six cents, a slingshot, a chunk of unknown substance, and a genuine supersonic code ring with a secret compartment.

A boy is a magical creature—you can lock him out of your workshop, but you can’t lock him out of your heart. You can get him out of your study, but you can’t get him out of your mind. Might as well give up—he is your captor, your jailer, your boss, and your master—a freckled-faced, pint-sized, cat-chasing, bundle of noise. But when you come home at night with only shattered pieces of your hopes and dreams, he can mend them like new with two magic words, “Hi [Mommy]!”



“Excuse me, you must be in the Witness Protection program …”

21 Aug

Witness protection disguise, or merely eyeglasses?

Awhile back, I bought the too-good-to-be-true Groupon for a full pair of eyeglasses at for just $29. Even better, when I visited their site, I found that they had my most sought-after style of spectacles evah: cat-eye frames. I bought a pair and excitedly waited for the shipment to appear. When they did, I almost died laughing. The glasses I was so looking forward to wearing were almost as big as my entire face.

It took me a full 20 minutes just to allow my husband to see me in the frames. The moment he did, he asked if I was in witness protection … and then if I needed windshield wipers to clean them … and on and on. Yes. They’re gigantic. And I vowed right then and there that I’d never wear them in public, or light of day.

However, after wearing my big-ass glasses over the past few months, I’ve grown to love them. They are certainly stunning, for better or worse. And it’s awesome to be able to see things instead of squinting all the time. So, yesterday I decided to wear them in public for the first time.

I didn’t get any compliments, as you might imagine. But it felt nice to feel *that* confident in myself that I could leave the house with what could probably pass for a Halloween disguise on my face and not die of embarrassment. Yet. :)


As an addendum, my aunt just sent me the following pic of my mama from when she was young, sporting very similar cat-eye frames. Love button. :)

Like mama, like daughter :)

The happiest [convention center] on earth

20 Aug

Los Angeles Lightning McQueens of Anaheim

So – before I even get into the details, I have to admit: I’m not really a Disney girl. I was 32 years old before I visited a Disney theme park of any kind, and I am fairly certain I’ve never dressed up like a princess in my entire life. My son (perhaps suffering from his mother’s gross lack of Disney knowledge) is so Disney-starved that he actually insists Mickey Mouse is a monkey. So when I had the chance to visit the D23 Expo this year, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. The most promising aspect: the presence of Pixar (Cars = major score from Blake Dean), and the rumored presence of my boyfriend (er, Captain America). I decided to take advantage of the press pass and take Blake Dean for the day.


Clearly, from the above, I am sure there are lots of Disney details that were lost on me at D23. I didn’t stop for the Cinderella booths or anything related to Mickey Mouse. I didn’t wear mouse ears. Or even try them on. Marvel and Pixar opps were my main focus, and at least in the latter, the event did not disappoint.

Tow Mater

Besides the life-size Lightning and Mater that greeted us as we walked in the convention hall, there was a Lego-made Lightning that Blake couldn’t take his eyes off of.

Le'go my Lightning.

We were also super lucky to meet an amazing Pixar/Disney comic artist, Allen Gladfelter, who did a sketch of Mater for BD.

Allen Gladfelter in da house

Mater a la Gladfelter

Outside of the Cars toys (FYI: if you have a child in love with cars or trucks, I can guarantee the Cars Action Agents line will win their hearts in a blink) and remote controlled … cars (can you sense a theme here?)… there was a lot of swag, and (perhaps not surprisingly) children’s birthday party ideas. My fave were the Lightning cupcakes, which are gorgeous … albeit not likely to be baked by this mama any time soon.

Dear son: I love you. But I don't see myself making these for you anytime soon.

All in all, we spent about four hours at D23, and my son didn’t want to leave. For the most part, the highlight was Lightning McQueen, rather than the monkey – er, mouse – that most people likely attend D23 for. Whatever the case, it made him super happy. And that always makes me happy, too.

Photo courtesy of


For die-hard Disney lovahs who want to see the full photo set (including some Pirates of the Caribbean pics, etc), click here. And keep your eyes on for a lengthier article regarding the D23 experience.


ps: for the outtake bin: we had a chance to do a green screen pic, which Blake clearly did not understand.

"Look, fireworks!" Wonk wonk.

Girl crush or bust

20 Aug

My mid-90s girl-crush: Liz Phair

This week, my husband gave me an amazing gift: two nights off from mommy-hood to take a road trip to see Liz Phair and Aimee Mann – two women I’ve loved for more than 15 years. The two were playing together at a ridiculously beautiful mountain location in Northern California. As much as I love my monsters, I had to go.

The Mountain Winery - *ridiculously* beautiful.

My friend and I left Wednesday and took a leisurely drive up the coast. There is nothing like hours and hours of coastline to make you forget your troubles.

The California coast. A reason I will love this state fo-evah.

We were able to stay with one of my all-time favorite girls, a former colleague, who happens to live in San Jose. In an amazing twist, Aimee Mann actually played for her boyfriend’s company that day (what???), so he was able to get us some VIP treatment at the show.

Aimee Mann looking very scholarly.

During the trip, we were also able to take a tour of the Apple campus, and take a short jaunt over to Berkeley, where I lived for a year during college (one of my most favorite years of my life). It was a rad two-day whirlwind of good friends, amazing music, awesome memories and all-around goodness. How lucky am I?

Rock on!


Big battles for a one-woman army …

15 Aug

Please download and post in your neighborhood if you're dealing with a similar situation. Every bit of deterrence helps!

So – awhile back, I posted a note about a strange phone call I had received from a Long Beach detective letting me know that some of my stuff had been found in the car of a long-time  LB felon. This would be shocking to almost anyone … unless they live in urban Long Beach, and are aware of the  mass of homeless people and drifters that dig through our garbage 24/7 – in our case, just under our window.

Now that I’m a mama, I’ve been hitting my limit with a lot of things here in LB – squatters, violent drunks, etc. But scavengers have recently shimmied to the top of my list. So I decided to create some signs in hopes that others in our neighborhood will see them and decide to post them, as well.

I know I’m a one-woman army. And I know it probably won’t do anything to change our situation on a larger scale. But for what it’s worth – so long as we’re unable to sell our condo due to a hellish economy – our little corner of Long Beach is going to be the cleanest and safest in the city.


Skate or Die!

9 Aug

Super B skating the mean streets of Long Beach.

Last night we took Blake out for his first skateboard lesson, thanks to a kid-sized skateboard bargain at my client’s children’s consignment shop. In true Blake fashion, it took awhile for the excitement to get started …

Safety first!

We spent a good deal of time monitoring the board for safety …

Yep, still looks sturdy.

And later moved on to perfecting our stance …

Legs apart and knees bent for balance!

And eventually we even got on the board. This is the magic that ensued. :) xoxo

P.S. How dorky is it to wear a bicycle helmet while skateboarding? Or does it just make you more aero-dynamic? ;)

Whose side are you on?

9 Aug

Captain America: My first super hero crush

Inspired by a story about my mama stealing her brother’s Captain America tshirt back in high school, I was inspired to steal the Captain America patch I embroidered for Blake Dean and keep it all for myself. (Sorry, B!) The movie was so good that I just couldn’t help myself. I wasn’t completely selfish, however. I did manage to sew the last round of super-hero patches onto some of Rhett’s clothes for a little kick.

Super Rhett :)

A plain $2 onesie from Wal-Mart = instant cuteness with the Super-Man logo. Boring $2 pants = hella cute Batman bottoms in no time flat.

Cover your ass, baby style.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane. It’s a crazy mama with a sewing machine. Hee hee.


Rad remnants

5 Aug

For a mama with a three year old son, Hot Wheels = Hot Stuff

So – there’s a fabric shop in Tucson where they don’t just sell fabric by the pound – they actually tear it with their own bare hands. Literally – it’s that tough. Nothing is organized. Boxes full of remnants are strewn about. But when you have a few moments to dig, you can find some hella cute stuff. This morning I had a couple minutes to check it out, and I found a few sweet surprises soon to appear on – or on something I make for myself. One or the other.

The pieces I’m most amped about are the retro kiddy style themes I haven’t seen for ages, including Hot Wheels and Strawberry Shortcake.

Strawberry Shortcake - my absolute fave when I was little

Of course I also nabbed a few of the more contemporary mainstays – Spider Man, Cars, tractors, skateboards – all of which will make some rad accoutrement to Blake and Rhett’s vast collection of hoodies and tees in the next year or so. In fact, the best thing about these types of kiddy fabrics is that a little goes a long way – sewing on just one car or tractor could easily dress up a boring thrift store jacket, saving lots of $$$ in trendy [er, licensed] clothing costs.

The Beatles - soon to make an appearance on a bag or apron near you. :)

Outside of the kiddy-goodness, I was also psyched to find some random Beatles fabric and some cool Kawaii prints I was not expecting to see in this here small town. Surprises like that are always good in my book.

No idea what this says ... but it sure looks cute

There is one piece I was debating on, which said “Police line – do not cross” and had ridiculous horizontal yellow stripes throughout. Though incredibly not cute, I’m sure someone could manage to make a flirty belt or midriff halter with it. Maybe next time ;)