Archive | March, 2012

Captain Awesomeness: Marvel’s Captain America Memorabilia up for grabs

30 Mar

Full Captain America Hero Costume: Est. $20,000-$30,000

This week, I had the chance to accompany the folks at in previewing a selection of “Captain America: The First Avenger” memorabilia soon to be auctioned at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo April 14, 2012. The collection is being housed at Profiles in History (Calabasas, California), the world’s largest auctioneer of original Hollywood memorabilia.

Captain America Distressed Hero Rescue Suit - Est. $6,000-$8,000

More than 200 Marvel collectibles will be auctioned off as part of the event, some – including a full-scale screen-used Mark II “autopsy” suit from “Iron Man 2” – expecting to fetch up to $80,000.

When we visited the collection, items were already being prepped for shipment to Chicago. Even if you’re not planning to hit Chicago for the event, you can still bid online at

Captain America Distressed Shield with Hydra Assault Rifle Hits - Est. $6,000-$8,000 / Stunt Mjolnir War Hammer from Thor - Est. $3,000-$5,000

For a full low-down of the items up for auction, visit the online auction catalog here. Or click below for more photos, including numerous artifacts from Marvel’s “Iron Man 2.”

Just for the record, if anyone is looking for a late birthday gift for me, the Steve Rogers dog tags have my name all over them. Figuratively speaking. :)



Oh, my skies: Star Wars invades CA science center

24 Mar

So – I’m by no means an avid Star Wars girl. In fact I might be the only girl on the planet to never have seen a Star Wars movie. But – like so many things I never thought I’d do before having children – I was set on taking the kid to see the Star Wars exhibit at Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana. The short-term display features real-live Star Wars memorabilia (costumes, models, puppets), mixed in with hands-on science experiments relating to similarly galactic concepts.

B with our favorite Wookie

Though B has never seen a Star Wars movie either, he does have a Millenium Falcon playset, and the Wookie book that came along with it. He also received a light saber for his birthday. In my eyes, he’s practically a fanboy already.

Despite my lack of knowledge about Star Wars proper, there were a number of things at the exhibit I definitely loved: the chance to design our very own light sabers, the opp to build our own R2D2 robot, and tons of costumed characters mixing with the crowds. I also loved being that close to costumes and models that had actually been used in such an iconic film (or series of them).

There were also some things I didn’t love – first and foremost being the price tag. Even with a fan day discount (free admit for a child wearing Star Wars garb), we were down about $40 plus lunch for the trip! There were also tons of lines (and a bit of confusion surrounding them) because of the fan-day crowds.

Costume = discount on Star Wars fan day!

Additionally, the much-hyped “Millenium Falcon” experience, which allows visitors to sit in the MF cockpit (and requires an additional admit fee to enter) was also a bit of a letdown. The experience was only about 1 minute long, and there was no chance to explore the cockpit once the video presentation was over.

Dino-plex @ Discovery Science Center

Even though it was a bit pricey, I’m hoping to check out the Discovery Science Center sooner than later for its regular exhibits, which seem incredibly rad and varied – ranging from a real-live (climb-able) Zamboni and hockey locker room, to a dinosaur exhibit, and an actual climbing wall. Though we explored all of them quickly, I would love to have more time to eek out some science discovery goodness.

Official mama assessment: super fun adventure, perhaps a bit “too old” for a 3-year-old not yet versed in Star Wars lingo – but super informative for a mama who grew up in the Star Wars age. Top things I learned:

  • Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia are brother and sister (what?????)
  • No two light sabers have the same handle
  • Darth Vader’s name used to be Anakin Skywalker (totally explains the Anakin character pictured at the back of Blake’s book!)
  • The Millenium Falcon breaks down *a lot*
  • Amputation is a big part of SW films! (And there was a very graphic prosthetic arm – once belonging to Luke Skywalker – on display to prove it!)


Check out our pickies below.

“I have a soft spot for slow, sad sh*t, y’all …”

22 Mar

Soon after Lucero released tix for its show at Music Box in Hollywood, a note went out that the venue had closed indefinitely. After collapsing in tears, I put all of my energy into hoping the show would go on despite what appeared to be sticky L.A. lease issues. And it did. Last night. At what is now simply Henry Fonda Theater.

Dude - he was looking right at me! Swoon!

I’ve never been to this venue before, and although acoustics were poor, it was an extremely enjoyable locale. Not too big, not too loud. Nice couches for hanging out beforehand. (Though the $12 drink price was a kicker.) Surprisingly, the room was only about half full by the time we left, which doesn’t seem reflective of the band’s support in L.A.

Ben indicated that they had been concerned about headlining the show because “L.A. can go either way.” They still rocked it, but seemed just as nervous about playing their new songs from Women and Work. It’s always tough to tour with new songs. No one wants to hear them! But they did a great job fitting them in with some Lucero faves.

I captured a bunch of partial vids but kept running out of space on my camera. (Yes, I was the girl deleting pictures of my children off the camera during the show to make more room for Lucero.) A couple of my faves …

All in all a wonderful night. And the opening band – Drowning Men, out of San Diego – was awesome. Not at all the same genre of Lucero (more Killers than country) but definitely worth checking out.

A few more pickies below!


Making a beautiful memory [board] …

19 Mar

Spidey memo board a la mama

So – Blake has been rocking so many awesome opportunities lately, from WonderCon this past weekend to Monster Jam … skateboard party … D23 … even a helicopter ride. Thus, I decided it was time to create a space where he can capture all of his memories – without poking his fingers with push pins while he’s at it. After un-boxing some fabric, I realized I could make the perfect solution: a memory board (a.k.a. French memo).

The goods: some foam, scrap Spidey fabric, ribbon, and a few buttons (not pictured).

Pulling a square piece of cardboard from the fabric box, along with a Spidey remnant I had in my closet, I set up the plan.

high-tech patterns 'r' us

After gluing a simple piece of foam to the cardboard backing, I staple-gunned the fabric tightly over top. Next, I tightly pulled strips of (web-esque) ribbon across the board in large intervals, and set buttons in all of the spots where the ribbons met.

All in all, it cost about $5 and an hour of time to make – and once filled with pics, it looks like the perfect addition to Blake Dean’s 3-year-old room.

Memories a la Blake Dean

crafty mama

Super (hero) cuteness @ WonderCon 2012

17 Mar


So – as a mama of two sons, there are things in life I’ve grown to love. One of those is the wide world of super-hero goodness, and all of the heroes and villains that come along with it. We got to explore all of those at WonderCon 2012, the little sister of San Diego Comic Con. Though usually held in San Francisco, WonderCon took place in Anaheim, California, this year. I couldn’t miss the chance to let Blake attend one of the biggest “Super Hero Parties” of the year – especially for the relatively modest entry price of $20.

With Captain America!

Of course, we have our “Big Three” – Batman, Captain America and Spiderman, and Blake met every single one of them at WC.


Another favorite part (for me!) was the fact that Captain Blake himself was a major hit, with folks asking to take *his* picture everywhere we went.

No pictures, please. Well, maybe one or two ...

Truth be told, B is not a major fan of posing for pictures with folks he doesn’t know. Even when it comes to hot USO girls who literally begged for him to pose for this [FAILED] photo!

He's *really* going to regret this one day!

In addition to super heroes, we met some rad folks from Star Wars.  Though Blake hasn’t actually seen it, he has read a Wookie book(ie) about Chewie and Han Solo. He was psyched to see Chewie dressed in St. Patrick’s Day garb.

Princess Leia having a moment with R2D2

Arrggh! Chewie!

Another exciting part of the day: seeing Bumble Bee, Optimus Prime and Iron Hide up-close. Their costumes were amazing – and they were absolutely enormous.

Bumble Bee, bitches!

One of the best parts of B’s Captain America costume is that it doubles as a pillow when he hits his limit. After a full day of super-hero mingling, he was a tired little muffin and needed a little break from the excitement.

Sleepy Cap

Outside of the obvious, there were some memorable personal moments, as well. One older man stopped me and told me his mother had made him a Captain America costume when he was around Blake’s age, and that it was one of his most precious memories. (He also told me not to let Blake ever throw it away because he would live to regret it.) It reminded me that even though this life is chaotic and crazy, and it sometimes feels like nothing we do matters – those little things (like making a Captain America costume that is far from perfect!) make memories that will last a lifetime.

As for Captain B, he’s resting comfortably after a long day of super hero excitement – and gearing up for the even bigger “super hero party” – Comic Con – in San Diego this summer.


P.S. Warm thanks to Doug Kline, author of the Unauthorized San Diego Comic Con Survival Guide, who donated a portion of proceeds from his book sales at WonderCon to my charity, Safe Warm Loved. All proceeds will be used to sew super-hero themed blankets for child victims of domestic violence at WomenShelter Long Beach. Coolest thing evah!

Keeping child victims of domestic violence safe, warm … LOVED

12 Mar

Since I launched Safe Warm Loved in July 2010, I’ve sewn some 125 blankets for child victims of domestic violence in the Long Beach, California, area. This is entirely thanks to donations from friends, family and supportive fabric stores like that have donated funds to the project. [FYI: You rock!]

In December, a group of students at Laurel Continuation High School in Los Alamitos, California, joined me in the cause, volunteering to make blankets for the shelter children as part of their sewing curriculum. That means Safe Warm Loved has lots of extra hands to make blankets for the shelter children. All we need now is the funding to continue purchasing fabric for the project.

Please consider making a donation to Safe Warm Loved – either via fabric, funding, or time. Check out our interview on 98.7 FM to learn more about it. In it, the director of WomenShelter Long Beach, TuLynn Smylie, discusses why the blankets are so important for the children’s well-being once they arrive in a shelter situation. (Please note, this is a radio interview; only audio will run on the link below.)

To donate now, simply visit and send a donation of any size to email address Or, email me at the same address for information on sending a check, etc.

With *so* much thanks,

A shooting at my “alma mater”

9 Mar

I was a patient at Western Psych for a number of months my 10th grade year of high school. My parents had admitted me – against my will – for anorexia. At 64 pounds, I was a walking skeleton, pressing on with straight A’s at school while battling some hardcore demons in my teenage brain. I still remember the day I was admitted. I was called to the office during study hall, and walked in to find my mom and dad sitting there – my mom near tears at the counselor’s table. I knew some serious shit was about to go down as soon as I saw them.

Before I could turn to run, they assured me that everything was cool. They were just there because a few teachers were worried about me. They wanted to take me to the doctor to be checked out – make sure I was healthy. In my naive 15-year-old mind, I actually believed them. I actually thought I could outsmart anything or anyone they threw at me. A few hours later, my mom handed me a suitcase and left me standing in the ‘admit’ area of Western Psych’s COPE ward – with no idea how long I’d be there, or what I was about to face.

Even then – some 19 years ago – I can remember almost every detail of that place, and that experience. The heavy clink of the door to our “ward” which locked in both directions – in and out. The light feeling of the night nurses putting their ears to my chest the first few weeks I slept to make sure I was still breathing. The humiliation of having nurses watch me shower … and use the restroom … for fear I would hurt myself or purge what I’d eaten. For an extreme introvert – and an extremely private person – I was nearly pushed over the emotional edge, just by the nature of being watched and examined so closely.

In the years that followed, I would lie to my parents thousands of times about my mental “wellness” just in fear of them admitting me again if they knew how sick I was. There were times in college that I would literally lay in bed at night holding my chest because it hurt so badly … praying to God to let me make it through the night – promising that the next day I would eat, I would do better. And the next morning, I would start my rituals of starvation all over again …

I realize that as of now, the motive for this shooting is unclear. It hasn’t even been announced whether the shooter was an employee, or a patient — or a prospective patient. If the latter, I feel an even heavier heart because I know first-hand the sense of fear – anger – frustration – that one feels when they’re at their deepest and most profound point of despair. I know that if I had had a gun when I was admitted to Western Psych that night, I wouldn’t have used it on those around me – but I may have easily turned it upon myself. That’s how far I would have gone to avoid what was coming to me.

I don’t write this post to get into a “gun control” debate. (Truthfully, in cases like this, there would be little reason to try to debate with me at all.) I’m thankful that I grew up in a house where I didn’t have access to a gun, and that guns never even occurred to me as being an “option” for the things I was going through – however difficult. I guess my point is – it shouldn’t be easier to find a gun than it is to find a friend. For all of our sake, I hope that changes.

Prayers for all.

Bad Penis Luck

2 Mar

So – before we had the boys, I really didn’t have a strong opinion either way regarding circumcision. Initially, that was a good thing. With Blake being born early, the docs failed to circumcise him within the allotted window of time, so we had a good year to decide if it was something that “needed” to be done. In the end, we chose to go that route, and Blake went under the knife (yikes) once he was old enough to safely undergo anesthesia (around 1.5 years). In a sense, it was some bad penis luck (BPL) for B that he had to wait so long for the procedure. From what I understand, it would have been much less painful if they had done it when he was born.

Fast forward to Rhett Lee. After shelling out thousands for B’s “late” circ procedure, we were on our toes about making sure the docs in the delivery room were paying attention and that Rhett got snipped early and often, so to speak, to avoid a similar issue. Rhett got the treatment the very first night of his life, and we breathed a sigh of relief knowing he wouldn’t have to go under the chopper like Blake did at an older age. And yet on Rhett’s 9-month wellness check – out of nowhere – the doctor hit me with a surprise: the circ was … too long.

What? Now – I’ve had some bad penis surprises (BPS) in my life. But this had to rank as one of the worst. Essentially, this means that Rhett will have to be snipped a second time because the doctors initially cut too little off.

Truly – I can’t even believe this is a topic of conversation. But essentially, the fact that it was cut too short is just like not being cut at all. Which means Rhett will have to go under the knife just like his brother if we still want him to be a circumcised kid.

Per Dr. Smartass, “Wow – what are the chances of that?!?!?!” To have such BPL all in one family. For both brothers to have to get snipped – one of them twice! – when it really hurts? Not to mention, the fact that the procedure may not be covered by insurance because (technically) it’s already been done. Yes – that’s BPL for sure.

Now – I’m a pretty spiritual girl. Since hearing the news of Rhett’s circ-x2, I’ve been wondering if this is some kind of message about circumcision being the wrong decision … and whether we should go through with the second procedure after all. Whatever the case, I’m hoping that Rhett’s long-term memory skills are far from lasting … and that he (like his big bro) will be none the wiser (and/or very forgiving) when the time comes.

mama the circ-jerk