Wednesday, October 1, 2014

through the years

first, she was born.


son of a gun!  she's one!


boo!  now she's two!


whee, here's she's three:


want more?  now she's four:


five is a great time to be alive.


no tricks, here she's six:


and today...lucky number seven.  well, this is last night - last picture as a six-year-old.


and this morning, basking in all her birthday princess glory.


happy birthday to my sweet pea!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

it's alright, 'cuz i'm saved by the bell

a few weeks ago, i was perusing the ol' twitter feed when something caught my eye.  mark-paul gosselaar - yup, zack morris himself - posted that he was going to be making an appearance at a charity driving event at a nearby racetrack.  "i'll be signing autographs before the race, come say hi," he said.  and then look at what happened:


i know, i know, it's super dorky to get excited over something like that.  but you know me.  i mean, come on.  duh.  the only thing was that it was on the very same day as the ll cool j/salt & pepa concert that i was going to with lilcee, daily gluttony and kelley.  but with the autograph session starting at 5:30 and the concert not till 7:30, i figured we could do both.  the teen, who watches mpg's current show "franklin & bash" with me, was all for it.  she loves this kind of crap almost as much as i do.

i told the rest of the girls about the plan, and while kelley opted out, the other two were all in too.  we decided to all meet up at the racetrack and then the teen and the bean could head home from there while i caught a ride with lilcee and DG to the fairplex for our concert.  it promised to be a fun-filled evening, and we were all excited.  well, except for the bean, who had no idea what we were going to be dragging her to.  heh.

she was really confused when we arrived at the racetrack and started heading towards the entrance.  "but what are we doing here?  are we going to watch cars race?"  i just told her we were going to see some cool cars and stuff, and she seemed satisfied with the explanation.




there was quite a line of people already waiting to get in, but i was happy to see that the gates were opened right on time.  we followed the crowd, which stayed in a relatively orderly line until we got inside, and then it was a crazy free-for-all.




lilcee noticed the majority of people heading in a specific direction, so she steered us towards the crowds.  we joined the growing line and hoped that we were in the right place.


just in case, the bean and i left them in line and took a walk up towards the front to see what there was to see.  and sure enough...there he was, sitting at the very end of the table all decked out in his racing gear and sporting an uncharacteristically shaved head.


as we went back to rejoin our friends, we noticed that the line had gotten crazy long behind us.


about half an hour later, we overheard the announcer who was droning on about this and that say something about how long the autograph line was and that there was a good chance that not everyone would make it up to the table.  after all, there was a race to prep for.  luckily, we were close enough that we knew we'd get our turn, but how much would that have sucked?  ooh, i'd have been heated.

as we got near the front of the line, we chatted up the guy who was controlling the flow of people.  while it's always fun to meet celebs, our main focus was meeting mark-paul.  and it would have been so awkward to just walk past the others who were sitting there greeting fans and whatnot.  like corbin bleu, formerly of "high school musical" and "dancing with the stars":


also, here's a really bad shot of nathan kress, formerly of "iCarly" and also the semi-recent film "into the storm."  i think i've mentioned that we used to go to the same church as him and his family - his dad and brothers were part of the group that traveled to zimbabwe with the hub so many years ago.  that was the same year that we hosted a thanksgiving dinner for the entire group, including nathan.  anyway, i tell that story because the teen and i joke to each other whenever we see him - "he sat on our toilet!" is pretty standard.  i'm sure he wouldn't remember it, but it always cracks us up.


and sitting next to mpg was lorenzo lamas.  you may remember him from "grease" as sandy's brief fling, tom.  or from his role in that old nighttime soap, "falcon crest."  i personally always think of his douchey stint on a show called "are you hot?" where he and his fellow panel of d-list celebrity "judges" would literally judge poor suckers who walked across their stage based solely on their appearance.  he thought it was great fun to use a laser pointer to show people where their physical flaws were. it was gross and sexist and annoying.  also, it was the first time i ever heard about thigh gap - i had no idea it was considered unsexy when your thighs touched each other.  haha!  anyway, i gave him a quick glance before we moved on.


then the moment was upon me - and i tell you, it was all kind of a blur.  i remember introducing myself to him, and then i nonchalantly mentioned the oh-so-brief twitter exchange we'd had.  and because mine had been the only tweet he'd replied to, his eyes lit up in recognition and he said something like "oh yeah!  hey!  thanks so much for coming out, i really appreciate that you're here!"  and then i melted into a big ass puddle and beamed at him like a puppy who'd pissed in the right spot.  as we posed for a picture, he said "oh!  don't you have a concert to go to right after this, too?"

you guys.  i hadn't even mentioned the concert in that tweet that he'd replied to.  i posted about it in a separate tweet like DAYS later.  so you know what that means, right?  he totally read my twitter timeline.  squeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.


we all took turns taking pictures with him, even the girls.


he thanked us one more time for coming out, and then that was it.  next to him, though, was erik valdez - he had a role on our beloved "general hospital" for awhile, and the teen and i had been trying to remember his storyline.  this, of course, gave me a great topic to ask him about, and he was really friendly and totally laughed as he realized that even he didn't remember the answer to the question we had.  


the bean melted into a giant puddle of her own at the sight of this adorable, extremely well-behaved pomeranian.  at first, we thought it was boo, "the world's cutest dog," but it turned out to be "jiff the dog," who apparently has appeared in katy perry videos and also holds the guinness record for fastest 10-meter run on hind legs and 5-meter on front paws.  i'm cracking up just typing that out.


then it was time to head to pomona for this:


while our seats offered a more obstructed view than those the teen and i'd had for jason derulo, it was still pretty good.



not long after we'd gotten settled, this RV rolled in, and the crowd went wild as salt & pepa and spinderella emerged from it, waving happily at us.



they put on a really, really fun show.  it was a fantastic 80s/90s dance party from beginning to end as we all sang along to their songs and the others from that era that they played for us.  they did a phenomenal job of getting us all warmed up and excited for the main event.  they wrapped it up with the very best song of 1987 - "push it."


we all got a chance to catch our breath and sit down for a few minutes before ll made his entrance.  the crowd went absolutely freaking bonkers.


it's funny to watch him in rap mode again, after seeing him in various roles in movies and tv, even hosting awards shows here and there.  he's built such a great career in different areas of entertainment that sometimes you forget that he's basically a pioneer in the genre of rap.  talk about old school - he busted out songs like "round the way girl," "i need love," "goin' back to cali," and "rock the bells."


after we said goodbye to kelley, who went off to meet up with her family before heading back home to san diego, we decided to grab ramen burgers.  sure, i'd just had one a few days prior.  but i mean...it's that delicious.  lilcee and DG concurred.


because we were right next to the shopping place - several buildings chock full of vendors hawking everything from jewelry to tv service to almost every as-seen-on-tv product you can imagine - we decided to go in and check it out.  i'd actually been eyeing a cool-looking mop system when i went with the teen, but the guy at the booth couldn't be bothered to even acknowledge me.  but this time, we were treated to a full demonstration of all the things the mop could do.

yes, i realize how lame this all sounds.  i mean, it's a mop.  for cleaning.  one of my least favorite things to do ever.  and yet i have to do it, and if there's something that's going to simplify my most hated chore of all - cleaning floors - i'm all over it.  

the demo did its job.  very well.  and with a great deal thrown our way, all three of us fell for it.  hook, line, sinker.


whew.  what an evening!  started off with zack morris, segued into salt & pepa, transitioned to ll cool j, and ended with...a mop.  only us, man.  it's always an adventure.

oh, and p.s. - the mop is faaaaaaaabulous.  my floors are currently so clean, you could eat off of 'em.  i may be obsessed.  ha!

Monday, September 29, 2014

you need these in your life

if you know me at all, you won't be even a little bit surprised that i always have a stash of candy in the house.  always.  and it's usually a pretty good selection too, from sweet to sour to chocolate to gummy and everything in between.  i know this isn't necessarily a good thing, but old dog, new trick...you know how that goes.

despite this little treasure trove of treats, i'm still often hit with a craving for something...good.  like, candy doesn't always hit the spot quite right, you know?  and when this happens, i turn to - where else? - pinterest.  and it didn't let me down, gifting me with this fantastic-looking recipe for loaded oreo/m&m bars.

i put the bean to work crushing oreos while i gathered the rest of the ingredients.  it was a pretty short and sweet list of items, and before i knew it she'd mixed the dough all up for me and spread it out into the pan.  we had fun sprinkling the m&ms on top, and popped it into the oven less than 5 minutes from when we started.


the kitchen already smelled lovely from a batch of basic white bread i'd put into the bread machine that afternoon.  i'd spent most of the day doing some cleaning around the house, and instead of getting myself cleaned up and going out to hit the grocery store for the bean's lunches this week i decided it was time to go back to the ol' operation downsize roots and make it myself.  besides, it had been a really long time since i'd used that machine and figured it needed a little love.  i went with this recipe, threw everything in and turned it on.


hopefully it'll be delicious and the bean will think it tastes as good as it smelled as it was baking.

oh!  while i'm at it, here's another dinner recipe i used last week.  i'd picked up some pork ribs to toss into the crock pot, and after massaging it with a dry rub i found on the food network website, i put them in with about a cup of diluted bbq sauce (half sauce, half water).  they cooked low and slow for about ten hours, and i served them with some corn and rice.


they were really good!  the meat just fell apart and was super tender and flavorful.  i highly recommend you give it a shot one day.  so tasty.

and as for those loaded bars - well, i don't think they're going to last very long in this house.


do it.  you want to.  trust me.

Friday, September 26, 2014

date night with the teen

the teen and i made a date ages ago to see jason derulo at the l.a. county fair.  i'm not even sure why, since it's not like either of us are particularly superfans of the guy or anything.  also, i can never just say his name out loud, i have to sing it - just like he does in most of his songs.  heh.

but hey, we were excited for a fun evening out together for a concert just minutes away from home.  it's always nice not to have to drive for ninety-seven thousand miles out and back, you know?  and so after leaving the bean in the very capable hands of her daddy (who was also taking her to the fair just to grab some dinner), we headed out on an insanely warm evening to pomona.



now, when you think of fair food, you picture all sorts of delicious deep-fried nuggets of happiness on a stick, right?  at least, that's what i do.  and there's pretty much everything you can think of in the way of gastronomic delights at the fair.  in fact, there are SO many choices that the teen and i found ourselves incredibly overwhelmed at the sheer number of selections to pick from.  we headed off in search of king taco for some carne asada nachos and maybe a vat of horchata, but as we strolled along, we came across this:


we'd both heard of ramen burgers before, but never had the chance to try one.  so basically, they take fresh ramen noodles and create a "bun" with them.  then they place a perfectly cooked, wonderfully seasoned juicy burger patty between two pieces, add some fantastic sauce, and offer options of adding bacon, cheese, or a fried egg.  it comes packaged in this handy little pocket that reminded us of a shower cap:


and because the warm-up act had already taken the stage, my lighting is terrible.  plus, i was starving and didn't really want to wait for the lights to come back on to get a better picture.  so you'll just have to make do with this:


by the way, our seats were pretty good.  we were close to the center, in a box with reserved seats in one of the lower sections.  our view of the stage looked like this from our seats:


the opening act, luke christopher, was entertaining and did a good job of getting the crowd warmed up for the main event.  as we waited for jason to take the stage, we took a selfie.  because duh.


oh, and this weekend i'm coming right back here with my friends lilcee, daily gluttony and kelley for this awesomeness:


this dude with a green mohawk took the stage and was greeted with hearty cheers from the stadium that increased in volume by a frajillion percent when the lights went down.


it got even louder when jason finally appeared onstage.  the teen turned to me at some point with a pained look on her face and said "is this what it was like for you when you took me to all those jonas brothers concerts?  because this is LOUD."  um, yeah.


even more entertaining than the show itself was the peoplewatching.  in front of us was this lady who seemed to record the entire performance while attempting to dance, which also led to wild arm-flailing.  i had to wonder 1. what the hell she was going to do with all that shitty footage and 2. if she was ever really going to watch it, ever.


on the other side were these two, who were drinking heavily and doing a lot of that embarrassing off-beat dancing that always hits you when you're super duper inebriated.  they did a lot of hair flipping and hip swaying and exaggerated singing along to the music.  it was seriously like a car crash - horrifying, yet you can't stop watching.


about 3/4 of the way through the concert, something happened between those girls and the two who were seated next to them.  the teen and i stood there torn between shock and amusement as we watched the drama unfold.  it started off with a little yelling, moved up to shoving, added in a bit of beer throwing, and at one point one girl was trying to push another over the railing.  i'm amazed there was zero bloodshed.


also, yes, i was totally taking pictures.  um, duh.  i'd have taken video had i thought of it in time.  although i actually did have time, because they kept going at it while everyone around them watched in amazement.  it went on for a lot longer than i'd have expected before security finally arrived and kicked all their asses out of there.


meanwhile, jason was still up on stage doing his thing, blissfully unaware of the ridiculousness that was happening in the audience.


and to cap it all off, it took us a good ten minutes after making the trek back through the parking lot to find our damn car.  lighting was super shitty, the lot was gigantic, and the signage sucks.  and then when we finally did get in, we were stuck in a very long line of other cars who were also trying to get the hell outta dodge.

but it was an entertaining evening, that's for sure.  ramen burgers, jason derulo, crazy girl fight.  welcome to pomona, bitches!
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