“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
--- Douglas Adams

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Taking One for the Team - a dream

Image result for anthony bourdain

There's this guy I follow on Instagram. I've never met him but he's posted enough photos of himself that I'd probably recognize him if I saw him on Muni or around the neighborhood. I had a dream about him and Anthony Bourdain.

Anthony Bourdain is a repeat visitor to my dreams. You may remember him from dreams past.

I went on a date with this guy from Instagram that I follow. We connected through the online dating platform Plenty of Fish. We met at a bar that had two separate entrances. I went through the door closest to the bar. He went through the door closer to the restaurant. I saw him walk in. He did not see me. When I saw him I knew instantly that I did not want to meet him. Luckily, who did I spy at a table close to me but my good friend Tony. I walked sneakily up to him so as not to be noticed by the Instagram guy and slid into the booth next to my friend. I told him what was happening and asked him if he'd help me out by making out with me so I could hide from the Instagram guy. 

He said he'd be happy to, so we made out until the Instagram guy went away. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Math and Blasphemy - true, yet pointless story

So my boy is starting to learn his times tables.

I have a bit of a hard time helping him with math because the methods he's being taught to solve his math problems differ from how I was taught to solve them. I can show him how I get to the answer but I have a hard time showing him how he's supposed to get to the answer the common core way. We get through it, but sometimes it takes a bit longer than other times.

I remember my first introduction to times tables.

 I was in the 3rd grade. My teacher drew a grid on the chalkboard and started telling a story about how Lot and his wife were looking to build a house and they needed to figure out how many bricks they needed. I, of course, got my Bible out during math class (remember, I went to a parochial school) and searched for the story of Lot and his wife building a house. I couldn't find it. I searched and searched. Once his wife turned into a pillar of salt, I figured I'd gone a chapter or two too far. I would go back to the beginning of Genesis 11 (where Lot and his wife make their first appearance) and start my search again.

 When I couldn't find any reference to L and his wife building a house and not being able to figure out their brick needs I raised my hand. I questioned the teacher about her story. She said it wasn't actually in the Bible. She was making it up to illustrate how to do times tables.

I was so mad at her. I scolded her for being a blasphemer in front of the class.

Lot and his wife and their housing problems never came up again.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Time I Stole From Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen - A Confession

Image result for mary kate and ashley olsen holding hands

I tell my kids I love them every single day. I tell them I love them. I tell them there is nothing they could ever say or do to make me stop loving them. I tell each of them they are my favorite all the time. They know, without a doubt that I love them.

I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but whatever. It's not like when they're older they will be lying down on a sofa complaining that their mom told them they loved them too much.

When my oldest daughter was still an only child I was watching some kind of Entertainment News show and they were featuring Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. One of the twins said that during red carpet events they are usually holding hands. If one of them were to get scared or need some encouragement the other one would squeeze her sister's hand three times and it meant I Love You.

I thought it was really sweet so I totally stole the idea and adopted this practice. We squeeze each other's hands three times when we need a little encouragement or want to tell the other person they are loved; during a quiet moment, in the middle of a large noisy crowd.  The vibe of the triple squeeze even works as a "I'm totally with you on this" kinda feeling.

We've continued this little tradition and taught it to my younger kiddies who came along later. It really warms my heart when I see them squeeze each other's hands.

So to Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen - Thank you. I am very happy I assumed your tradition and taught it to my children. I hope they continue the tradition and teach it to theirs.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday Treat - An Open Letter to Chai Cart

About 2 months ago or so I spent the better part of the week in the hospital. Not a super fun time, but the docs patched me up just fine and I'm good as new. Whilst there, I had no coffee. I could have, but hospital coffee is a delicious as their Salisbury Steak, which is to say, not good at all. It's kinda hard to screw up hot water and a bag of black tea, though. So that's what I drank.

After a week of no coffee, I kind of lost my desire for it. Don't know why, but I've been choosing tea, Darjeeling mostly, as my hot-water-based beverage of choice. I still get the caffeine I've conditioned my body to crave, but with a different flavor profile. I still have coffee, just not everyday.

Dear Chai Cart,

I think you're awesome. You're expensive and I can't afford you daily, but you're great. See, you cost me $5 ($4 + $1 tip). I know there are plenty of people who go to S-Bux everyday and throw down $5 on their vente, double shot, two pumps vanilla, 1/2 pump hazelnut, extra sweetener, almond milk cup of stupid sprinkled with a dash of cinnamon, but that's not me. I'm usually happy with the Green Mountain coffee pods or Bigelow Tea provided by my office.

This morning I treated myself to a Masala Chai. I truly enjoy the product Chai Cart puts out. A steamy cup of Masala Chai hits the spot on a Friday morning. It's so hot I can't drink it for the first 20 minutes, but that's OK. It's all part of the ritual of spending $5 for a cuppa your tea; smelling the yummy spices, warming my hands, burning my fingers if I walk too quickly and spill a little bit.

And your customer service? So great. I have never encountered a grumpy Chai Cart worker. I imagine that's a hard job to be nice all the time especially because they have to stand outside in the cold and sell stuff to busy captains of industry. I've worked plenty of customer service / food service jobs and I know it's kind of hard to be "on" all the time. Not every customer is nice. It's hard to be nice back to the mean ones.

Chai Cart employees are always friendly and engaging. They have a knack for having a conversation with the customer without it seeming like they are just being nice because it's their job. They seem like actual nice people.

So thank you Chai Cart.


P.S. I am not a crackpot

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

In Which I Watched the News and Talked About Tigger

NOTE- I found this blog post in my drafts file. Thought I'd clean it up and post it.

So it was a Sunday in October 1991.

I had lived in San Francisco for about 6 weeks. I had just moved into a flat with 2 of my friends and a guy I'd met a few times but didn't really know very well, who would very shortly become my friend, and a friend I'd have to this day. Two of my roommates were in Long Beach for the weekend, the other was at work.

I was in my bedroom, unpacking, making my very first room in my very first new apartment my very own. I was a little worried because it was getting late and my roommates hadn't made it back from Long Beach yet.

I turned on my TV. It was the only TV in the house. My 3rd roommate hadn't quite moved all his stuff from his old apartment yet. He had the "good" tv. My TV was a 13" black and white TV where the volume liked to fluctuate at random.

I turned on the news, learned of the Oakland Hills Fire, and like it is with most disaster-type things on TV and me, I couldn't tear myself away. I knew Oakland was on the other side of the Bay Bridge, but I didn't know my geography well enough to know where the affected area was. I was really mad at the news for not showing a map of the area with a pinpoint of where the fire was.

When I was really engrossed in the TV, the doorbell rang. I ran downstairs and answered it. It was this guy I knew from Elementary school and Junior High. I recognized him right away. I had no idea why he was at my house. I had no idea he was friends with one of my new roommates. I don't even know if he knew I lived there.

I let him in. I knew him, after all. We sat in front of my 13" black and white TV and watched the fire spread on the news. We also talked about Tigger, and whether the area under his chin was orange or white. I had a poster on my wall were Tigger's area under his chin was white. He had a tattoo on his ankle? arm? of Tigger where the are under his chin was orange. Al Gore hadn't yet made the internet ubiquitous yet, at least to the extent where we could log on to Prodigy or AOL and look it up. We talked about it for a good hour.

He hung out for a few hours, then left. He never saw our friend / my new roommate. And come to think of it, although I'm friends with this guy on Facebook, I don't think I've seen him since that day.

In summary:
My roommates got home later that night all safe and sound, totally oblivious to the fire that was happening.
I had a pretty pleasant afternoon setting up my first new home, watching the news, talking about Tigger and getting to know someone that I'd known since at least 2nd grade.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Huli and Holo I Mua

Sometimes when we're learning a new hula, or even sometimes when we've known one for a whle, Kumu will change the choreography ever so slightly, like he had a flash of genius of making that kaholo an 'oniu instead, or to k┼źnou at the 2nd ha'ina, but not in the first. As haumana we adjust. We implement the changes to the hula at Kumu's direction then we holo i mua, or progress to the next verse. We make the changes and we learn to adapt. We move forward.  

Life's map has me sitting at the corner of So Close Street and Yet So Far Away Avenue.

I have a job. I'm starting to look at apartments more seriously for my kids and me. I'm *this close* from my divorce being finalized. 
I found a nice fella to smooch on. I lost a shit-ton of weight and am more than 1/2 way to my goal. I cut my hair off and feel like myself again. I'm going out. I'm spending more time with my friends. My mom game has totally leveled up more than a few times. In short, I am healing.

However, even with all these positive changes, I still have a ways to go. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but sometimes that tunnel feels like the hallway scene in Poltergeist where no matter how fast I run, I just can't get to that door to save Carol Ann.
 Maybe I should look at it more like that part right after intermission in Dr. Zhivago when the train is going through the tunnel and you can hear the train, you know the tunnel will end soon, but it just doesn't come into view until you just relax and realize it will, sometime soon and then it does.

I need to work on patience, find ways to fuel my endurance and to realize that bumps in the road are just part of the path I'm on. 

I am learning there are four ways I'm going to survive and succeed. 
1. Trust that God will not only bring me out of this, but will help me through it.
2. Bite off little chunks at a time. Tackle what I can at the moment and be patient with myself. 
3. Ho'olilo with the punches, meet challenges head-on, and remind myself constantly that this experience is temporary. This experience is making me stronger, more confident and above all, a better mother to my children; 
4. Take time to reflect on where I started and where I am now, celebrate my progress.

Speaking of celebrating progress. Holy Smokes! 

Enough rambling. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

My Personal Beef with Rod Carew

OK, not really, but he did disappoint me.

 I'm sure he's a lovely person and if I ever met him I would shake his hand and tell him how awesome it was to meet him. Rod Carew had an awesome career. I would be incredibly honored to meet him.

I played softball from when I was about 8 and I played on my first team The Foxy Sox until I got to high school and decided boys were more fun. I was never very good, but I had a good time and got the job done. When I first started, they stuck me out in right field, but then when they could see that I had a good arm, I was moved to catcher and left field. I had no bat, but I had an arm.

Growing up my folks took my sister and me to a lot, and I mean a lot of baseball games. Sometimes we would go to Dodger Stadium but most of the time we would usually go to Anaheim Stadium to see the California Angels. My mom was a bigger Angel fan and Anaheim was closer to us than going all the way to LA. I loved watching Rod Carew play first base. He was my 2nd favorite Angel.

We never bought programs at games. My mom would very rarely buy us one. One time she actually caved and bought us a program. There was a page in the program with a profile on Rod Carew. It listed his birthday; same as mine. I was so freaking stoked when I found out Rod Carew and I had the same birthday. I used my own money to buy him a birthday card and with it, I sent him a picture of me from my softball team, a 5x7 picture, and even autographed it. I must have been about 10 or 11 years old.

I had it all played out in my head. He would receive my card, chuckle that a 10 year old girl sent him an autographed picture of herself and then race off to the post office with a complementary package to send to me.

It never happened. So bummed.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Hot Pink Nobilo

I was at work one day at my old job, what seems like a lifetime ago but really wasn't all that long ago.
I was at some kind of reception of some sort being held in my office. The Nobilo Wine people were there. I spent about 30 minutes looking at a photo album of, (well, I don't remember his name, let's just call him Mr. Nobilo), Mr. Nobilo's hunting trophies. Nice old man, whoever this man was.

Last night I was super craving a nice glass of wine. I walked to Walgreens to get a bottle. Now, Walgreens isn't really my go-to destination for wine, but last night I didn't want to drive and thought the block 1/2 walk to Walgreens would do me good. I got a bottle of Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc. Because Walgreens would rather fill their cold case with 12 and 24 packs of Shiner Bock and Rolling Rock than have 1 shelf dedicated to white wine, I had to buy an un-chilled bottle of white wine (yeah, I know, first world problem).

I got home and poured myself a glass, found it a little too warm for my taste and threw in an ice cube.

So, my boy has been experimenting with the way food coloring reacts with ice. All in the name of scientific research he's done the following:
1) putting water in the ice cube tray and then putting a few drops of color in each cube cubbie
2) putting a few drops of color in each cube cubbie and then adding water
3) filling the ice cube tray with water, letting it freeze for a little while then adding color
4) putting color on each cube after it's frozen, then letting it refreeze to see if the color absorbs.

Pretty inventive guy. Don't tell him we're doing science. He'd be all mad that I am encouraging learning during the summer.

Anywhoozle, because of all his experimenting, we have pink, blue and purple ice all the time and all of our ice cube trays are stained, and no matter how much new ice we make without the food coloring added, our ice always has a bit of a pink hue to it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you HOT PINK NOBILO Sauvignon Blanc (and my 22lb cat).

Monday, June 13, 2016

James vs. Jim

About a year ago my brain stopped giving me amazing dreams. It made me sad. I have always had a colorful and really vivid and strange dream life filled with actors, TV personalities, awesome soundtracks and just general over-all fun. My guess is that the last few years have had my brain has been occupied with other things that something had to give. My dream life it seems, took one for the team and took a nap.

Just as the fog in my life is starting to clear a bit, my dream life is waking up. So happy. I quite enjoy the strange things that come out of my brain.

I was sitting in a waiting room or lobby of some sort talking to a few people from my past that I used to work with, but didn't know very well in real life, but in my dream we were friends. 

Still in the same room, I find that I'm sitting on a banquette, like what you'd find in a diner. red glittery plastic and a table with a crinkle cut metal border. I look across that table and see 1970's era James Brown. We don't know each other but we start chatting about whatever. 

He tells me that he has a bad cold and needs to go to the doctor but doesn't want to because he doesn't want fans all around him and he's nowhere near his regular doctor. He doesn't feel good. He just wants some cold medicine and then to go to bed. 

I tell him to call ahead and tell them his name isn't James Brown, but rather 90's era Jim Brown. Then only Jim Brown fans would show up at the doctor's office and he could totally sneak in, disguised as a Jim Brown fan, himself. He looked at me, thought for a second, then said "That might just work, Baby. Thank you."

Glad I could help.

Welcome back dream life. Don't ever leave me again. You keep me too entertained.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Mucho Mahalos - An Open Letter to Trader Joe's

Dear Trader Joe's.

Oh my gosh, TJ's. Thank you. I love this stuff.

I have psoriasis. I get yucky scaly patches on my knuckles, elbows, ankles ... all the typical places one gets psoriasis plaque. It's gross. It makes my skin look and feel gross. I don't have it nearly as badly as those who came up in my search for pictures of people with psoriasis, I was looking at pictures to figure out how bad mine was vs. how bad the really bad cases are. Turns out mine isn't as bad as it could be and my trouble spots are pretty typical and consistent with textbook psoriasis.

Anywhoozle, I have topical meds that work really well, but lotion helps keep breakouts at bay and help manage existing psoriasis plaque spots.

One day I tried your Coconut Body Butter and I'm telling you TJ's, the clouds parted, angels started singing, there was a vibe of Aloha in the air you've never seen the likes of ...... Your product is magic.

Now I know your Coconut Body Butter is not a cure. I know it isn't a substitute for the medication I take. But I do know that this lotion is the best lotion to soothe the dry icky skin my body likes to over-produce and helps it not to look so irritated and angry. I have a jar of it at my desk at work, in my car and in the house, although the one in the house is usually snatched up by my oldest daughter. It's really freaking good lotion.

Thanks Trader Joe's.


P.S. I am not a crackpot.

jsyk, i received no benefit from TJ's for writing this blog post. they didn't ask me to write a review. They don't know who I am. They didn't give me anything for writing this post and I'm not asking for anything in return. I wouldn't turn anything down, but I'm not expecting anything in return.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Mochica! Mochica! Mochica!

So last night my oldest and I were super lame and totally forgot Hula class was cancelled this week. 

We arrived at our Halau's location and I scored THE BEST parking. I looked around and noticed there was tons of parking. Then I realized it was 6:57pm. Class starts at 7pm. For there to be this much great parking with only 3 minutes to spare to get to class, something was up. My Girl quickly looked at her email, and realized our mistake.

So what were two gals to do? Why we went out to dinner of course. Our Halau is in Potrero Hill. There are tons of great places to try. We decided on Mochica, a Peruvian restaurant. We walked in, were greeted right away by a random employee and told the hostess would be there momentarily. Just as he finished his sentence, the hostess arrived.
Inside the bathroom at Mochica

We ordered drinks - 
I really wanted to order a Pisco Sour. Pisco Sours are de-freaking-licious but I opted for a 750ml of Fancy Pants Fizzy Water to complement my daughter's bottle of Sprite.

We ordered an appetizer - 
Tequenos - Crispy wontons stuffed with Oaxaca cheese, and served with avocado puree & tamarind sauce

We ordered dinner - 
Churrasco a la Parilla - Grass fed Angus 10oz. Hanger steak with yucca fries & Peruvian chimichurri andino
Pulpito a la Parilla - Baby octopus, grilled, with blue mashed potato & huancaina-mostaza

It tuned out that we pretty much ordered the same thing, except with different proteins. My steak and her octopus were marinated in the same marinade and topped with the same churraso sauce. My steak was cooked perfectly. Her octopus was perfect as well. 

I just have to say - whoever runs the fryer at this place knows how to fry things. From the Tequenos to the Yucca Fries, the fry was perfect, no trace of extra oil, no taste of whatever else was fried before. Master Fryer at Mochica, for sure.

We thought about dessert. The Tres Leches pudding with Pisco whipped cream sounded amazing. 
I gave My Girl the choice of dessert at the restaurant or ice cream at Mitchell's.  She chose Mitchell's. Mitchell's was weird last night. It was Thursday night at 8:30pm and there was no line. There were a few people there, but the place was empty enough that we didn't have to pull a number and we were served right away. I had a cone with Brown Sugar ice cream and my lovely dinner date had a cup of Mexican Chocolate. Because it's hard to drive a standard whilst holding an ice cream cone, we sat in the parking lot eating our dessert and talking.

At the end of our meal, we decided we really liked Mochica and will be back for more, except we weren't allowed to order what we ordered last night. There was so much good stuff on the menu. We have to get new things until we've exhausted the menu.

Not an everyday place for me, but certainly perfect for a nice dinner out. It would be a great place for a date. I don't think it's a particularly good place for kids unless your kid is used to going to restaurants. I don't think I'd take my little ones there.

With drinks (non alc), appetizer, 2 dinners we got out of there for $65. Not something I am able to do all the time, but totally worth it.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Belt! Belt! Ooga Shaka! - Inside the Pua Bean's Brain

My kids and I listen to a lot of music. My ipod is filled with lotsa different music, many genres, many artists in more than a few different languages. My kids sing "Ice Ice baby to go (to go)." They sing "Whoa Whoa Whoa, Jaime's Crying." Pua has even asked me what Maybe's phone number is so someone can call her. I've heard one of the Kiddies talk about her Bitchin' Camero. I've been asked how someone's heart could be on fire, and did Elvira do it? My son has developed a keen hate for Hank Williams (no mom, not the drunk guy again. turn it. turn it.) and an even keener dislike for Morrissey (no mom, bigmouth does not strike again). On the other side of the coin, he frequently asks for Bob Dylan's If Not For You and The Doobie Brothers' Listen to the Music. ... And I know you're going to be jealous, but my oldest knows all the words to Marty Robbins' El Paso.

About a month or so ago The Kiddies and I were really fortunate and honored to be able to see Kumu Mark Ho'omalu and AHA perform their Merrie Monarch routines a few weeks before this year's competition that took place. The Kane danced a hula to Na Palapalai's version of Waiomina. It was really amazing. In part of the hula the dancers shout BELT BELT SHAKA HAT!

Really incredible performance.
Here it is.

So the other day Pua asked me to play "Belt Belt Shaka Hat." It's so rare the younger ones ask to play Hawaiian music so I happily obliged. I played Waiomina, even chanted Belt Belt Shaka Hat at the appropriate time. She started yelling "No, not that. Not the cowboy song. No hula. No hula!!!"

After several minutes of trying to figure out what she meant, I finally discovered that what she wanted was Blue Swede's Hooked on a Feeling, y'know, the ooga shaka, ooga shaka, ooga ooga ooga shaka.

I love 3 year olds, especially her.


Awake! Annoyed! A change!

When I was in the 7th grade we were in the middle of a lesson of some sort, I don't remember. It was in the afternoon and it wasn't religion class, that I remember. My snarky side wants to say we were learning how to dispel the myth of Evolution using the Laws of Thermodynamics as evidence*, or we were learning all about how the electric guitar leads to teenage pregnancy and devil worship. The truth is we were probably in the middle of History or Math or Something.
The Prinicpal came into the classroom and told the teacher he was trying to find a bible verse in the book of Proverbs that dealt with gentle responses curbing harsh reactions. The teacher said whoever found the verse would give the class some kind of points that could be used for treats and such like going to recess 5 minutes early or something. I was the one who found the verse; Proverbs 15:1 - a gentle answer turns away wrath. That verse has stuck with me ever since and I think about it whenever conflict arises.

I hate waking up early. I quite like when I am up early, I just hate the waking up part.
One of the worst ways to take me up in the morning is to annoy me awake. It makes me all cross and sets a really bad tone for the day.

About 6:15 this morning the smoke detector went off. I thought it was a truck backing up. I woke up in a haze being all cross at the stupid truck. Then my little ones started yelling at me to "make it stop." I went into their room and it was the alarm in their room that was freaking out. There was no smoke. Nobody was cooking. There was no fire. Nobody was BBQing outside (who BBQs breakfast at 6:15am on a Thursday?) And no, I didn't get the sound mixed up with the noise for carbon monoxide. I have two irrational fears on which I go overboard in preventing mishaps; one of them is carbon monoxide. We have a separate CM detector and it wasn't chirping at all. (The other fear is SIDS but I guess I don't have to worry about that one anymore because my kids aren't babies anymore and my baby producing days are over).

Anyhow, aside from being annoyed awake and my kids yelling at me, all turned out fine, at least with the smoke detector. For the rest of the morning though, whilst getting ready, every question I asked came out of my mouth as an attack, every answer I received sounded like an accusation. There was no winning this morning.

On my way to the muni stop I decided I didn't want my day to take the grumpy path. I changed the song on my ipod to something a bit more upbeat and peppy. I found that Selected Selecter Selections by The Selecters fit the bill nicely. I went to the little bakery across the street from my train stop, got a cocktail bun and some bad coffee, got on my train and concentrated on making my morning better.

It got better. I got to listen to some upbeat music. I got to catch glimpses of a good looking guy on the other side of the train, then quick put my nose in the book I wasn't reading when we made eye contact.. The train ran smoothly and none of the other passengers were annoying. I got to work, sat outside in the courtyard for a few minutes and prepared myself for the day.

By the time I got to my office, I was no longer annoyed. I was happy to start my work day. Then a friend sent me an email and made my day even better. I was telling him about my new job and that I had an office. He reminded me to step outside every once in a while because I have "too much charm to waste locked in a room." Made my day.

I guess the moral of my rambling is that a gentle word does turn away wrath. The conscious decision to make my day better worked. A gentle approach does work to turn things around.

*side note - I never understood trying to disprove Evolution. I've never understood trying to prove Creation.  One concept is based on Fact. The other is based on Faith. I see no conflict.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sneaky Screen Time

I grew up watching a freaking lot of TV, like a lot, a lot. Like getting the TV guide and highlighting what I was going to watch an reserving the TV for specific time slots by shouting to my family "I get the TV on Friday night at 8pm." This would usually be followed by something like  "Your sister already reserved it. Is it for the same thing?" If it was, then no problem, but if it wasn't, then an argument would ensue. "But she got it last Friday at 8pm. We have to take turns." or "But I reserved it for 'part 2' and I can't miss it" It would usually work out in the end with one of us having to watch whatever it was we wanted to watch on the little black and white TV in my parents' bedroom. Then there were things that were always a standing TV appointment like The Love Boat, Mork and Mindy, anytime The Wizard of Oz came on.

Nowadays we have tons of screens to choose from. One evening in particular I noticed that my 3 kids and I each had some sort of screen under our personal control, be it a phone, an ipad, a computer or the TV. We were all together, but each of us was immersed in our own world free to explore Mimaloo or Ponyville, punch trees with Steve, watch Buffy slay some monsters or play candy crush until our eyes bleed. I try to monitor how much screen time we use. Some of it can't be avoided, but aside from homework, the computer is just a supplemental entertainment machine. With so much to choose from, and that weird feeling that, at least I get sometimes, that I think I'm going to miss something if I turn off the TV, it's hard to slay the screen dragon.

Anyhow, as bad as I am with the TV and other screens being on before dinner, I am super happy and quick to turn off the TV in the evening. Sometimes I turn it back on after the kiddies go to bed, most of the time I keep it off.

Last night I turned it back on. Flipping through netflix I found a movie "Special Correspondents." I have to admit and didn't read the plot summary or anything. I saw the little icon next to the icon for Idiot Abroad and thought "ooh, Ricky Gervais has a new series where he has a special correspondent. I turned it on. I quickly realized I was watching a movie, rather than a TV show. I decided to just go with it and watch the movie.

I'm so happy I did. I like Ricky Gervais stuff. I like the N song he sang on Sesame Street. I love Derek. Some of his stuff is kind of heartwarming. I like that side of him. I don't like everything about him, and my tolerance for his laugh is not so high, but I like a lot of his projects. Idiot Abroad was rockin' but I didn't like when Warwick Davis joined. I don't think Carl needed supervision. I would like to see more of Warwick Davis in another project, though. That would be fun. Ooh, did someone just say Buddy Movie? They could remake Night Shift (the movie with Henry Winkler and Michael Keaton).

Anywhoozle, Special Correspondents was really entertaining. I loved America Ferrera in the movie. She wore the best skirt. I spent a few hours online looking for it. No dice. Here is what it looks like. I want it.

(Spoilers below)
The movie is about these two guys who work for a radio station; one is a reporter, another is a technician. They get sent to cover a civil war in Equador. On their way to the airport they lose their tickets and passports. Rather than go back to the office and take their lumps they decide to hide out and do their reporting in a friend's attic. Of course it all backfires on them and they end up sneaking into Equador, but in the end nobody ever finds out they made everything up and they totally get away with it.

It was a super fun movie to watch; I even cried a little bit. If you see it in your Netflix feed and you want to watch a movie you will super enjoy and won't have to pay close attention to, you should see Special Correspondents.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Festa Time

Yesterday I took The Kiddies to a Festa.

My kids are 1/4 Portuguese on their dad's side. It's important to me that they know where they come from, where they get their traditions, why we celebrate certain traditions, blah blah blah ... Knowing where you came from, being proud of who you are, celebrating your heritage is important. Even though I'm no longer married to that side of the family, my views on culture and history haven't changed. It's important to know one's history. I'm going to make sure my kids know theirs.

Besides, the food is really really freaking good.

So the Festa. Right. Festival of the Holy Spirit. I've heard a few different variations on the story and celebration's origin, and all the main points in the story are the same, it's the details that get a little muddled from storyteller to storyteller. Pretty much, Queen Isabel saved her leftovers to give to the hungry. The King didn't like her to mingle with the poor and didn't want her to feed them. Once he caught her with her cloak filled with bread (or jewels to buy bread, or food of some kind depending on who is telling the story). The King asked her what she was carrying. She told him Roses. He called bullshit because it was Winter and where was she to get roses from? She threw open her cloak and roses tumbled out. I've heard other stories where the Queen is a victim of famine herself and tells God that she'll give her crown jewels to the Church if He'll feed the poor. Just then she saw some ships in the distance filled with wheat and other food staples, enough to feed her kingdom. Whatever tradition you follow, the theme is the same; benevolent queen wants to feed her subjects, mean king says no. She does it anyways and a there's a miracle and people get fed.

There are a bunch of Festas up and down California during this time of year. We usually go to the one in Santa Cruz. Yesterday we went to the Sausalito Festa. There's a parade with Queens from neighboring Portuguese halls with beautiful dresses and amazing capes with long trains. When the parade passes, we join the end of the line and process to the church in the community, then after church, walk back town to the local Portuguese hall for some super delicious food.

I'm certain if you ask 100 different Portuguese Grandmas how to make Sopas, you'll get 100 different answers, but in a nutshell, Sopas is pot roast, really amazing, delicious pot roast served with big hunks of cabbage, crusty stale bread soaked in the jus of the pot roast, served with bruised mint. Really really delicious meal.

Here are some pics from our day.
The Kiddies marching to the parade route.

My Oldest flirting with a wooden 49er
A funky little altar we found on the parade route.

Stale french bread with meat jus and mint


Cabbage, linguica, carrots, sweet potatoes with a buttery, garlic and parsley coating
Free wine. I had the white. It was delicious.

I didn't get a picture of the rice pudding. It was really yummy and lemon-y and had a cinnamon-dusted crown on the top. 

We had a really nice day. We shared a table with a man and his wife. He was from Teceira, Azores but lives now in the central valley. He thanked me for making sure my kids know their dad's side of the family even if I'm not a part of it anymore. It was nice. He also told my oldest that she needed to find herself a nice Portuguese boy to marry now that she's almost out of high school. 

Good day all around. Good food all around. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Beautiful Vogon

So picture this -- a pretty nice scene actually. The trouble is that I think I look really gross in this photo.

This picture was taken at my kid's school carnival recently. I was there that day with my two youngest kids. My 8 year old was doing whatever it is that 8 year old boys do with a pocket full of quarters and an all-access wristband. My 3 year old, after doing the cake walk and ring toss 50 times each,  decided to take a short break in the shade. Sitting in the spot for just a few moments was really peaceful. The Pua Bean was stretched out on the bench, with her head against my leg. I was sitting with my hand on her tummy. We were both in our own little peaceful worlds, staring off into space and being perfectly content with our places in the universe, both simultaneously ignoring each other and being comfortable in each other's company.

I asked someone sitting next to us to take our picture. She did. When I looked at the picture, I was really disappointed that I didn't quite capture the moment I was feeling in my head. In my head I felt at peace, beautiful. In the picture, I look like Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz. I was so disappointed.

Then I thought about it more. I became less disappointed with the picture and more disappointed with myself for hating the picture.
I have been through a lot this year, and this picture sums it up in really great way for me.

I did not grow up struggling with my weight. I wasn't a chubby kid. I got fat the way a lot of women do; I got married, had babies and relaxed.
After coming out of the haze of an unexpected and unfortunate traumatic divorce I decided that weight needed to come off.  In the last 8 months I have lost 60 pounds. I have 40 more to go. This picture shows that I'm making progress.

This picture also shows something unfortunate about weight loss that I hadn't anticipated: stages.

Have you ever tried to grow out a really short haircut? Some weeks your hair looks great and some weeks your hair looks really really bad and nothing helps, not 100 bobby pins, not even a headband. Dramatic weight loss is like growing out your hair. I don't know how my body decides where fat should disappear from and when. I don't know how my face and waist could look so different but my butt stay the same. Weight loss doesn't happen proportionally across one's body. It happens over time in strange intervals and in uneven places. It's not at all like "Growing Up Skipper" where I could rotate my arm and all my curves would fall into place.

I need to look at this picture and see how far I've come, rather than how far I still need to go.  I need to realize that I will pass through this stage, and sooner or later, as the weight loss progresses, I'm going to go through more stages. I just have to remember that a stage is temporary.  I'll get through it.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fake Nutella is Gross: An Open Letter to Hershey

Dear Hershey,

Nutella is a big deal in my house. My kids love it. A spoonful in a bowl of oatmeal at breakfast, eaten "chips and salsa style" with apples in the afternoon. Heck, even a spoonful in the evening after the kiddies go to bed has curbed my chocolate/sugar craving on occasion. It would be my wish that we didn't have Nutella in the house so often so it will remain a treat and not a staple, but alas, it's always at the house.  

The ex did some grocery shopping. He brought home a treat for the kids. He brought home Hershey's Spreads, or in other words FAKE NUTELLA.

At first, I was excited to taste the Hershey version of the fake Nutella. I like Hershey chocolate. I know it's not the best chocolate in the whole world. It's not the best chocolate I've ever tasted, but taken by itself, it's good candy that contains chocolate. I like the way it melts. I like that weird sour taste. I don't like it because it's chocolate. I like it because it's Hershey.

Because of my fondness for the Hershey, I thought that the Fake Nutella would taste like a spreadable Hershey bar. That sounded yummy. I was so disappointed when I learned that Fake Nutella, not only did it not taste like a spreadable Hershey bar, it tasted like weird smokey chocolate diesel, but with that usually pleasant Hershey smell lingering like the smell of a mop at McDonalds.

I was not happy.

Hershey, what happened? Did the consistency of a melted Hershey Bar not please your focus group? Did you make your test subjects drink trout juice before they tasted the Fake Nutella so they would think the metallic diesel smell was just the finish of trout juice on the palate and not a byproduct of the weird emulsifiers you are using to make the Fake Nuttela the right consistency?

OK, that was a bit harsh, but really, Hershey. This was kind of a slam dunk and you made it gross.


P.S. I am not a crackpot

Like a Pretty Girl Handing me a Reeses- An Open Letter to the Folks at Glaceau

Dear Coke, Glaceau and Smartwater NPD Folk,

I drink fizzy water daily. Everyday. 7 days a week. Most of my friends know my go-to beverage is fizzy water. I'll choose fizzy water over soda. Fizzy water is what I drink when I'm done drinking beer. Fizzy water is what I drink when I'm not drinking beer. Fizzy water is what I drink at a BBQ. Fizzy water is what I drink at home. I'm not saying all I drink is fizzy water, because I do drink tap water; and I drink wine and beer and coffee and tea. Not really big on spirits, and only occasionally get the hankering for some juice, but I when I do have juice, I usually cut it with what? you guessed it! Fizzy Water.

First, I should say I like my fizzy water at room temperature. I am not super fond of cold fizzy water. I won't turn it down if someone offers it to me. It's not like cold fizzy water is horrible. It's just that I don't like the cold bubbles as much as I like room temperature bubbles. 

Here's what I know to be true; a blanket statement for all fizzy water brands and flavors I've tried.
Lemon fizzy water tastes like Lemon Pledge.
Orange fizzy water is vile. 
Berry flavored or stone fruit flavored, tree fruit flavored, the lot of 'em are 10x worse than the little nub on the end of a banana, otherwise known as Satan's Anus. (note - Satan's Anus is more vile than the regular vile-ness of Orange)

The only flavors acceptable in fizzy water are plain and lime. I've had Fizzy grapefruit, and that was pretty yummy but I don't remember the brand.  I will also try flavors I haven't tried before.

When I was at Walgreen's the other day I made an important discovery. Fizzy Smartwater. I was so excited.

It was like that Reeses commercial where Robbie Benson and Donnie Most crashed into each other when they were both checking out the same girl. They collide and Donnie Most's chocolate got into Robbie Benson's peanut butter, and Robbie Benson's peanut butter got into Donnie Most's chocolate, and then the pretty girl giggles, gives them puppy eyes then hands them a Reeses.

With more enthusiasm than my kids wanted to see in Walgreens, I bought the Fizzy Smartwater and when I got home, hastily opened the bottle so I could take a big swig.


I was disappointed.

The water was too salty. I bought it cold and immediately tasted the saltiness. Usually I don't detect the saltiness unless the water has been open more than a day. With Fizzy Smartwater, I detected the saltiness right away. I tried another swig when the bottle was room temperature. The water kinda tasted like baby aspirin.

The bubbles were too small and stabby. It was like a fermented stabby, not a carbonated stabby. For stabby I like big bubbles (trader joe's). For refreshing, I like small bubbles (Pelligrino). 

Such a bummer because I drink a lot of smartwater and I drink a lot of fizzy water. I thought, y'know, for efficiency's sake, that fizzy smartwater would be my cost efficient ticket to hydration.


So, Coke, Glaceau, Smartwater, and whatever big enterprise you run or runs you, you tried. You didn't really succeed, but you tried. Thank you anyways.


P.S. I am not a crackpot.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Boyfriend That Wasn't

My oldest and I were talking.

The conversation turned to how when I was younger I thought it was weird that I had blond hair while my sisters had dark hair. I had no idea that my sisters had a different bio-dad from mine until I was close to 10. It blew my mind. I remember sitting at some coffee shop near the Cerritos Mall and I asked my oldest sister why I had blond hair and they had brown. My sister told me that they had a different dad and my mom was married before she was married to my dad. I was floored. It had never occurred to me. OK, yeah, I admit I was a little slow on the catching on that they were older than my parents' marriage. It just never came up. It wasn't ever really discussed.

So anyways, flash forward to when I was about 18 or 19. I dated this guy for a few weeks. It was never serious and we were in the early stages of dating and just getting to know each other. His name was Joe. He was an exterminator. He had a glass eye. I never asked him how he got it. I was too busy being grossed out; not because he had a glass eye. That was fine with me. It was that it was always weeping a really weird stringy, viscous substance and he always was wiping it. It was kinda icky.

That's not why I stopped dating him, though.

He didn't have a place to go for Christmas dinner so I invited him to my house. He gave me the strangest gift. It was, no lie, a painting; a HUGE painting; not Oath of Horatii big, but still pretty big. It was the ugliest swirl of pastels anyone had ever created and it had this weird flocking stuff on it, like fake snow on an artificial Christmas tree and was about 4'x6'. He said he bought it for me because on one of our dates he had to stop at Ethan Allen or some similar store to look at something. While he was there doing what he had to do, I walked around. He told me he saw me looking at this particular painting and my face looked like I liked the painting. Me mistook my laughing and pointing for admiration of "fine" art.

That's not why I stopped dating him either.

Sometime during the day we took a group picture. The next day my mom took the pictures to Fedmart to get developed. Three days later when we got the pictures back I noticed that with my white-blond hair, I looked like the guest and he looked like the sibling. It made me mad. It was an irrational mad, but mad nonetheless.

That's why I stopped dating him.

My oldest laughed and laughed and laughed.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My First Rock Star Crush

When I was 9 or so I LOVED LOVED LOVED Shaun Cassidy. Oh my gosh. Just look at him. Look how cute he is. How could you not love that? Those teeth. That feathered hair, perfectly feathered hair. That shiny jacket. That weird alien-smooth chest.

Today I was grocery shopping at Grocery Outlet (I love the Gross-Out. Today I found Nutella filled uncrustables and had to use all my will not to buy them). I was walking up and down the aisles getting the things I needed and I found myself humming, then softly singing whilst shopping.  I was singing Take Good Care of My Baby and I was wondering why it didn't sound right on the radio. That's because I was singing the Shaun Cassidy version of the song and not the original version that we all know and love.

Wow, that post was rough. I'm out of practice. Life got a little distracting and I lost whatever it is I lost to not want to write; not that I'm really great at it, I just enjoy it.

Tonight I was talking to my friend and playing words with friends with him.
He told me he was really good at scrabble-type games. I said Game On, not because I'm so great at scrabble-type games, but because I like playing them. I knew I'd probably lose. I usually lose. I just enjoy playing. The same thing can be applied to my skill at bowling, and I submit for argument, that my writing be included in that list. If I practice all three I'll get better, but it doesn't matter because I like doing it. 

Phew, rough. It'll come back. I just need to have a few Celebrity Dreams or maybe I'll get around to work on my open letter to Rod Carew to address the personal beef I have with him.

Welcome now my friends to the show that never ends

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Nice Pictures - Where'd you steal them from?

Some of the pictures in my blog were taken by a photographer called Julie Michele. Some of the pictures were either taken by me or someone I know. Some of the pictures were ripped right from the internet, mostly from google image searches from photographers to whom I may or may not give credit.

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