Thursday, July 31, 2014

push girl love

when i was little, i wanted to be a doctor.

and then i realized that meant blood and needles and a lot of school, so that was out.  so then i thought maybe i'd be a teacher like my mom (don't most kids go through a phase where they think they want to be a teacher because it sucks to be a student?), but i didn't want to be up in front of a classroom with all the attention on me.

later on, i discovered that i liked creative writing and decided that being a soap opera writer would be the most fantastical job in the whole wide world.  i wrote sappy poems about teenage love and life, which would be so awesome to read now (for cringing and snickering purposes, clearly), and totally thought i'd be an awesome author.

but then life happened.  it took me in different directions, as life usually does, and i haven't written a thing but this blog in years.  i don't think i have any creativity left in me anyway, and so you guys are stuck reading about the only thing i really have to write about - me.  muahahahahaha.

so i was super duper extra thrilled for my friend jessica when she announced that she'd landed a book deal and had an agent and a deal to publish her very first novel.  it's loosely based on a reality series on the sundance channel called "push girls," which follows the story of four girls living life in wheelchairs.  her co-author, chelsie hill, is a cast member on the show.  i mean, how freaking awesome is that?  she wrote a BOOK.  and it's been published.  and you can find it at amazonbarnes & noble, or pretty much any bookstore!

 
i made it a point to get my copy at vroman's, a little mom & pop-style bookstore in pasadena - site of the last book signing i attended.  jessica and her co-author chelsie hill had an appearance and book signing scheduled there, and a bunch of us made plans to meet up to support our friend and then have dinner together afterwards.


when lilcee and i arrived, a group of our friends had already arrived and saved seats for us right in front.


and there were snacks!  cheeeeeeese.  i love cheese.  and crackers.  and cookies.  can you tell i was hungry?  what else is new, though, huh?


jessica and chelsie were introduced by a member of vroman's staff.


they both spoke a little about the story and how it came to be, and then jessica read an excerpt from the book.


after a little q&a session, we all lined up to have our books signed.  and, of course, a photo op.


before we headed across the street for dinner, we managed to gather for a group pic.


huge congrats to jessica on her debut novel!  can't wait till i have some free time to sit down and read it.  hopefully i'll finish it before her second book comes out next fall.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

what the hell is a "rat rod"??

the first annual lordsburg cigar co. "cars & cigars" show has finally come and gone.


the poor hub has been working his ass off over the last few months on planning this thing - website, car registrations, marketing, vendor booths, permit applications.  the biggest obstacle that he had to overcome was making a beer garden happen, and after some seriously 11th-hour maneuvering between him, his partner, the city, and the department of beverage control (haha, that sounds hilarious to me), they finally got the ok to serve beer in a tent behind the shop.


because of the nature of the business, the girls and i don't typically have much of a role at the shop.  i mean, we don't particularly want to hang out in a shop with stinky cigar-smoking dudes.  but since the car show was outside, the hub enlisted us to come hang out at the lordsburg tent and sell bottles of water and t-shirts.  sounded like fun, and the bean was excited to go make some money.

car show selfie!


except that the teen ended up having to work.  and then as we got settled in the tent, the hub and i realized something that should have been painfully obvious...at a cigar shop-sponsored event, there's gonna be lots of cigar smoke.  i mean, duh.  how did we not even think of that?  good lord.  the hub has been crazy busy, but i...have no excuses.  oy vey.  and you can see how happy she was to be there.  heh.


okay, she was just being silly for the camera - she actually wanted to stay and hang out and see all the action.  but it just didn't work, because we didn't want our presence to keep the guys from being able to enjoy their cigars, nor did we want to breathe in the yuck.  and so we just took a stroll around to see the cars that had arrived for the show:





checked out the trophies for the awards to be handed out later:





and then we got the hell outta dodge.  it was one of those horrifically hot july days, so where did we go?


the hub didn't get home till way after we'd gone to bed.  poor guy was completely exhausted.

will there be a second annual "cars & cigars" show?  guess we'll have to see.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

whoohoo. big summer blowout!

a couple of weeks ago, lilcee tagged me in a facebook post that she'd shared about something that was right up our alley:


because, um, HELLO KITTY.  you're familiar with our love for all things sanrio by now, yes?

so we marked our calendars and then promptly forgot all about it until that saturday.  we'd already figured out that we'd go on the sunday anyway, but didn't coordinate things until the eleventh hour.  i hadn't even told her that i was bringing the bean with me, so when we met up at a halfway point we realized that she'd left mini cee at home for the morning.  the bean was super disappointed not to see her BFF, so we just hopped back in the car and went right back to lilcee's house to pick her up.  all was well.

until we arrived at the venue for the big blowout sale.  parking was suspiciously easy, and the absence of elated shoppers clutching bags of merchandise was a little worrisome.  and when we asked someone at the front lobby for directions, here's where we ended up:



as most popular warehouse sales are, this one had been immensely successful - the hotel clerk described a scene full of pure madness.  apparently, the doors had opened at 9am the day before to a line so long that it took 5 hours to gain entry to the sale floor.  FIVE. HOURS.  i'll let that sink in for a second.

anyway, the majority of items were sold out by noon, and i have no idea what the vouchers were that the sign referenced.  in any case, we were well and truly assed out.

i can't say i wasn't a tiny bit relieved, though, to be honest.  i mean, it's not like i really need any hello kitty gear.  and unlike their mother, neither the teen nor the bean have ever been particularly into it.  sometimes i wonder if these are really my kids.  no seafood?  no hello kitty?  WUT.

but plan B wasn't so bad.  at the nearby citadel outlet shopping center, we stumbled across this:


and inside the entire store was half off.  whee!  but you'll be so proud of me - despite the lure of beautiful bags and wallets and accessories by my very favorite designer at rock-bottom prices, i managed to keep a clear head.  i picked up a couple of small gifts and one little, teeny-tiny ring for myself and escaped relatively unscathed.  doesn't mean that the knowledge of a kate spade outlet so close to home isn't super dangerous for the future, though.  muahahahaha.

we headed back to our house for the girls to have a playdate, and stopped for lunch first.  it was comical to watch these two giggle and pose for selfies on lilcee's phone.




and also?  no worries on missing out on the sale.  because come october, there's HELLO KITTY CON.


i may or may not have my ticket already.  psh, who am i kidding?  i scooped mine up weeks ago.  who's coming with me?

Monday, July 28, 2014

play it again, bean

piano lessons for the bean didn't end with the school year.  luckily, her instructor offered lessons through the summer, which was super convenient - on mondays she just went right from class to lunch to her half-hour piano lesson.

the last session of summer school was last week, which also marked the end of piano until school starts back up next month (!!).  so to celebrate, the kids gathered in the music room on friday evening and showed off their skills.


cheese.  super duper cheese.


her teacher had thrown together some handwritten sheet music for her to to play and practice over the last six weeks - a song that, months after its release, remains uber popular with the disney princess crowd.  of course, i'm talking about "let it go," from disney's "frozen."

to be perfectly honest, as the bean practiced the song over and over again, i had trouble picking out the melody from the notes she was playing.  granted, her timing probably had something to do with it, but...i sat down to play the song with my super rusty, only-took-3-lessons-as-a-kid skills and still couldn't hear it.  i could pick out the notes to the tune by just playing around on the keyboard, and they truly didn't match what was on the sheets.  oh, well.  she worked diligently until she felt comfortable enough to play it without looking at the music every second, and by the morning of the recital she was ready.

with a smaller number of performers for this midsummer show, it went fairly quickly and the bean was placed somewhere in the middle of the pack.  she was clearly nervous, but she delivered her introduction and then played her piece, only stumbling a couple of times.  when it was over, she sat down, looked over at me, and mouthed "phew!" with a relieved smile.

group shot.


this is one of her oldest friends - they went to preschool together and were in the same class for transitional kindergarten.  he's a sweet kid, and they always have fun together.


rewards for a job well done.


now we have three weeks of freedom until the new school year starts.  she's made up a great list of stuff she wants to do:


oh, and one more random - this came up on my instagram feed.


hahahaha, so awesome.

Friday, July 25, 2014

feelin' hot, hot, hot

whatever happened to buster poindexter, anyway?  heh.

the heat is most definitely on (why am i stuck on bad 80s songs today?).  summer always seems to hit us hard right around now - from mid-july through september, it's pretty much like the ninth circle of hell around here.  the craziest part is that the difference between here and, say, my folks' house down at the beach can be up to 30 degrees.  blech.

we're also getting to the tail end of summer school for the bean.  today's actually her last day of class, and then she has a few weeks before she starts the first grade (!!!).  and with a free morning, we decided to pack it up and head down to disneyland to ride a couple of rides and play in the splash pads at bug's land.

it was crazy hot down in anaheim.  when we arrived at 10am, it was already 85 degrees.  but still...we were at disneyland, and you can't be mad at disneyland.


when it's just me and the bean, we usually do all the stuff that the teen doesn't love (and vice-versa, when it's a trip sans bean).  and so after grabbing a fastpass for soarin' over california, one of our favorite rides, we headed to the pier to stand in line for toy story mania.  i actually really dig this ride, and so does everyone else - the line is usually a minimum of 45 minutes long.  the bean somehow possesses a ton of patience for standing in line when it's something she enjoys, and so we settled in for the long haul.  happily for us, the posted time of 30 minutes (already a gift in itself) was exaggerated as we got through the line and onto the ride in just over 20.  pretty sweet.

another way to stay cool at california adventure is to hop onto the little mermaid ride.  it's typically a pretty short wait, and today was no different.  we basically walked right onto it, and the air conditioning is magical.  magical, i tell you.

by then, it was time to head back to soarin' and sashay through the fastpass line.  i love when the printed time on fastpass tickets comes sooner than the wait in the standby line.  and when you're trying to avoid spending as much time outside as possible, this works wonderfully because the fastpass line gains you entrance to the building, for more of that magical air conditioning.  woohoo!

i'd promised her that she could visit the newly reopened redwood creek adventure trail, where she loves to take a ride on the tire swings.  except that they were closed, so she settled for a turn on the rock wall.


we were both sweating our faces off at that point, and it was starting to make me pretty stinking miserable.  perfect time to hit up bug's land and cool off.


talk about turning that frown upside-down.  and i had a great time sitting on a bench in the shade, catching some of the sprinkler overspray now and then, watching the bean and other bathing suit-clad kids squeal as they got soaked to the skin.





we stopped in at the animation academy to do a quick drawing (olaf from frozen, yay!), grabbed a turkey leg to go, and headed outta there.  and later, this is what we shared for dinner.


pretty sweet for a 104 degree day, huh?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

(not really) making a splash

i'm a sucker for a fun contest, especially since i've managed to get lucky a few times with them.  the most recent one was for the splash dash, a new 5K that promised a fun course with splash stations and "water gun gangs."  they'd posted a contest offering a free entry for you and your best friend, and all you had to do was leave a comment on their facebook page with the location you wanted to run, tagging your buddy in the post.  so i picked the teen, left my comment, and forgot all about it.

yup, you guessed it - we won!  except that when i compared schedules with the hub, it turned out he wasn't going to be around to hang out with the bean at home while we went down to irvine for the run.  i knew the bean wasn't going to be particularly excited about the idea of doing a 5K, so i signed her up for the kids' 1K run instead.  the teen was more than happy to skip out on 4 extra Ks, and with the kids' run scheduled to go first, the plan changed a little.  we'd all do the kids' race together, and then i'd run the 5K solo while the girls hung out at the finish line after-party.  good enough.

this is the funniest-looking course map i've seen yet, but it looked like it was going to be super fun:


we were a little bummed to find that the university was charging $10 per car to park for the run.  i mean, i guess they've gotta make money somehow, but a little heads-up would've been great.  what if we didn't have any cash?  that would've sucked to have to turn around and look for an ATM.  oh, well.  strike one.

at least it was a relatively short walk to the start line.



and we came upon our first photo op right away.


this looked like it could be fun - kind of like a mechanical bull, except that this one was a surfboard mounted inside a giant jumper.


with only 20 minutes till the start of the kids' run, people were scurrying around trying to assemble tents and tables and set up vendor booths and such.  it looked super unorganized and i was wondering what we'd gotten ourselves in for.  whatever, we can always kill time taking pictures.



finally, they got it together and started playing some music while an announcer told kids' run participants to head over to the start.  i asked her to show me her best running pose and this is what i got:


we all stood around for awhile longer, and it wasn't till after 9:30 that they finally got the party going. the bean was right in front and took off like a shot.


the first soak zone was just beyond the start.  it was cloudy and overcast but humid as all hell, and i think everyone was ready for a little cooling off.


it seemed like the longest 1K EVER.



as much as she hates getting wet, even the teen was happy to run through the splash stations.


i have to say, this race really was incredibly unorganized.  there was zero signage to guide everyone through the course they'd mapped out, and the guy who was leading the kids had disappeared long ago.  granted, the bean was towards the back of the pack, but still...we had to guess as to where we were supposed to go.  and when we found ourselves within view of the start/finish line with still a ways to go, i split off from them to head up and get ready for my run.  meanwhile, photos from the teen showed the bean happily going down the giant slip 'n slide and posing at the finish.


the 5K was just slightly easier to navigate as it wound around the park and through the UCI campus, with volunteers stationed at the turns to guide us through the course.


there were more volunteers armed with hoses every so often, which helped to cool off the runners.


the "car wash" was fun with sprinklers aimed at us, bubbles at the exit, and more splashing as we continued on.


meanwhile, the bean was taking on the rock wall.



when i got to the slip 'n slide, i found the girls waiting for me on a bench.  they decided to go down to the bottom and wait for me to take my turn, and luckily the line wasn't very long yet.


except that the tarp wasn't wet at all.  the volunteers tried to douse it with their hoses after every turn, but when i plopped my ass down on it i literally didn't move.  there was no slipping, nor was there any sliding.  i gave up and rolled off to the side before running down to the bottom and heading back to the course to finish my run.

yay, all done!



sno-cone time!



and something savory.



woohoo!


the race director sent out an email to all participants last night, full of apologies and explanations about what had gone wrong with the run.  apparently, he'd received a mountain of emails and feedback, mostly negative.  one of the items that stood out to me was that people had been complaining that there hadn't been as many splash zones as expected, and had been asked by others if the severe drought we're experiencing here in sunny california was the reason (it was).  he explained that there had been some confusion amongst the university's event staff, which delayed their set-up, which in turn pushed everything back.

i mean, hey.  it was their first race in the area, we are indeed facing a drought, shit happens.  the girls and i still had fun, got a little wet, did our exercise, had our sno-cones.  the race director seems to be open to all feedback and trying to improve things for the next go-round.  i'd probably do it again, especially if they find a new venue for next year.

you know, maybe.  we'll see.
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