Sunday, August 31, 2008

i need some freaking smog.

we've been up here for two and a half days and i. can't. effing. breathe.



this is so lame. it's like the reverse of hanging out on a smoggy day - except that here, i can't draw a deep breath without it hurting my chest because there is no damn smog.



i know it's probably a combination of the clean air and the elevation, but this is ridiculous.



in other news, it's lovely up here. the weather is in the 70s with clear, blue skies. oh, and i took my friend venn's advice and made the hub stop at schat's bakery for lunch yesterday. although i'm a little cornfuzzled as there was a different schat's bakery in bishop on our way here. the hub says they're not related, but that's confusing as all hell. whatever. we'll be stopping in the bishop version on our way home tomorrow.



we also drove by the site of one of the japanese concentration camp-type things used during WWII. there's a museum there, and i'm hoping it'll be open tomorrow, even though it's a holiday, so that we can stop and learn. we both found it interesting that the existence of these things has been rather buried - never learned about it in history class. did you? i'm a little embarrassed to admit that i only found out about them while reading danielle steel's silent honor. yeah.



anyway, we've done a whole lot of nothing - hell, it's 3:00 in the afternoon and we're all sitting around just chillin' in our pajamas. except, of course, for the hub's die-hard grandfather and uncle, who got up at the ungodly hour of 5:00 this morning to hit up a nearby creek for some fishing. the wind is blowing at about 30 mph this weekend, which is one good reason for us not to have gone. another is that the hub packed his entire fishing box and then realized that his poles weren't in it. whoops.



the bean did well on the long, 4.5 hour drive up here on friday. cross your fingers for us that she takes a nice, long nap on the way home tomorrow.

Friday, August 29, 2008

worms are safe from me

we're off to mammoth for the holiday weekend. whee! i've got my bag full of magazines to read, snacks for the car ride, and i'm bringing all the makings for invitations to the bean's first birthday party. i don't fish, but i'm looking forward to the downtime with the hub. i wish the teen could come, but of course, she's off to spend the week with her dad. boo.

oh, yeah: we still have to pack. we always end up packing at the last. freaking. minute. oy vey.

happy labor day weekend! i leave you with a present:



i crack up at that face she makes towards the end. aren't kazoos fun?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

silliness with the kiddies



i really do just love hanging out with my girls. they're hilarious, both individually and together.

we're trying to teach the bean how to blow kisses, with slightly...well, off results. when i put her hand to her mouth and show her how to make the gesture, she usually ends up doing this instead:



the teen chortles whenever she sees this. it is pretty funny, i must admit, and the bean will probably crack the hell up when she gets older and realizes what she's doing in that picture. ha!



a couple of days ago, we were craving cupcakes. and i needed to make a paper source run. so, of course, what did we do? we headed out to pasadena!

dot's cupcakes - lemon drop, coffee latte, and a mini mint chocolate. so yummy.



and an iced hazelnut coffee latte from leonida's chocolate cafe:



mmmmm.

the teen's been complaining of some pain in her ear, which was accompanied by some fun coughing and congestion. so yesterday, i took her to kaiser, where we amused ourselves in the room as we waited for the doctor to make her appearance.



yes, the teen is wearing clip-in extensions that she absolutely HAD to have for school. we found them at one of those mall kiosks, and while i refused to buy them for her, she busted out her own cash that she'd been stashing away in her room. ugh.

anyway, it turned out that she had an ear infection, so the doc prescribed some antibiotics and then traumatized the teen when she told me to schedule a physical so that she could get caught up on some vaccinations that were way overdue. i hate needles too, so i inwardly cringed too, but i put on a brave face for her sake and tried my hardest to convince her that four separate shots wouldn't be all that bad. ick. then i told her i'd take her for ice cream afterwards, and she said "what am i, six?"

she is SO my kid.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

will work for sunglasses

the hub taped an interview he conducted with two people last week after i told him i would totally transcribe it for him, no problem. i used to do that all the time with one of the bosses from hell.

the interview is two stinking hours long. and the damn recording is muffled, with a shitload of background noise. the lady he was talking to refused to sit inside, because she said it was too cold for her to sit in the air conditioning. so they sat outside, with cars and buses and chatter all up in the mix. it's such a pain in the ass.

and so i've been putting it off, for obvious reasons.

then this morning, he said "if you can do me a favor and get it done over the next couple of days, i'll buy you those sunglasses you liked. and they won't count as your birthday present."

fuckin' a, i'm such a whore. [listening and typing, listening and typing]

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

it's the most wonderful time of the year

or, at least for most parents, it is. but i'm not "most parents," am i now?

today is the teen's first day of 8th grade. summer vacation is officially over, and i'm actually pretty damn bummed about it - almost as much as the teen is.

when i was stuck working full-time and had to figure out how to keep her occupied and/or supervised while on vacation, it bit ass. but then when i was able to switch to part-time status and somehow managed to finagle getting every other week off during summer (because of course, she was with her dad every other week as she continues to be now), i started really looking forward to summers. we always made plans to do all sorts of fun stuff, like amusement parks, the beach, movies, whatever caught our eye that week. and we had a blast together, along with BFF. and this year, it was even more fun as we included the bean in our summer madness.

and now it's over. i can't believe how quickly the summer flew by. all of a sudden, it was our last weekend of freedom, and we were shopping for new clothes and school supplies, savoring every minute of our dwindling quality time together. we got our toes did and then treated ourselves to some ice cream.



BFF and i splurged on oreo sundaes:



and then the teen, who'd ordered first, ate her sad little single scoop of bubble gum ice cream while eyeing the gooey goodness we dug into.



after a failed attempt at a GTG with my mom, we spent all day yesterday cleaning and organizing the teen's room - weeding through old clothes, laughing at pictures, going through her dresser drawers, and packing bags full of stuff to take to goodwill. she was all grouchy about spending her last full day of vacation cleaning, but when i asked her what else she'd rather be doing, she couldn't come up with a single idea. heh. i threw out suggestions - mall, afternoon tea (which she loves as much as i do), movie - but grumpy gus took hold and she refused to cheer up.

we ended up running out of hangers (holy shit, she's got more clothes than both me and the hub put together!) and decided to make a target run and drop off the bags at goodwill along the way. we'd also managed to go through a couple of boxes of old stuff in the garage that she hadn't touched since we moved into this house, and ended up either tossing or donating most of it. and i was astonished to find that goodwill no longer accepts toys of any kind. grrrrrrr. now i'll have to find someone else to take this bag full of perfectly good stuffed animals and crap. i'm sure it won't be difficult at all, but i was hoping to get rid of it all yesterday, dang it.

the hub was quite proud of our accomplishment (remember, i'm the slob, he's the anal clean freak) and even happier to hear that we'd even planned dinner. we go out an awful lot, and he gets tired of it. and so, okay, it wasn't the healthiest of dinners - meatballs in bbq sauce with veggies and tater tots - but it was tasty, and it's always nice to sit down as a family and enjoy a meal at home.

and this morning, we all got up early, got ready, and i made breakfast for the teen to get her started off right. after she'd devoured her eggs, bacon, and juice, i had her smile purty for her annual "first day of school" picture. hey, at least i don't make her do it at school.



then i decided to take pictures of the rest of us.



eighth grade. holy crap. this time next year, she'll be a freaking freshman. and it'll be here before we know it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

in your face, pau gasol!

gold medal, baby! i watched that late ass game to the very end at 1:23ish am. oh yeah.

i got your "affectionate gesture" right here, buddy. how you like that?

Friday, August 22, 2008

if food were crack, i'd totally be a crack whore

okay, so i would've loved to mimic the musical stylings of tater and the monkey in this post, but i just don't have it in me. theirs were simply genius, while any sad little attempt on my part would just look lame and pathetic in comparison. heh.

yesterday was a fun day full of friends and food. for real.

first, the bean and i headed out to the shoppes at chino hills to meet my old friend curly and her adorable little girl. i guess we were both so caught up in chatting, getting caught up on each others' lives, and keeping our offspring from being too noisy or messy that i didn't get a single picture of them! oh, well. anyway, we had lunch at one of my favorite chain restaurants, california pizza kitchen. i know, i know, shut your piehole.

i usually go for the BLT pizza on honey wheat dough, but i decided to walk on the wild side and try something new - the asparagus and spinach spaghettini with shrimp. i snuck a quick pic while curly and mini-curly took a bathroom break, so it doesn't look particularly appetizing, but i was surprised to find that it really was pretty tasty.



i plucked the squishy middle out of the bread and broke it up into pieces for the bean, and when she was over it she had fun chewing on the crust.



she's finally sprouting two new teef, and they're SO close to cutting through. i'm really surprised she's been as even-tempered as she always is, since i know that teething can be quite painful. but my kid's a trooper. she smiles through damn near anything. if not for the major droolage over the last week or so, i'd never have guessed that anything was going on.

after we parted ways, i decided to walk off my lunch and busted out the stroller to browse the shops. this little plaza isn't very big, but i managed to scoop up some fun stuff from the victoria's secret "pink" line. the bean ended up falling asleep, so i picked up an iced latte from peet's coffee and then we headed home for a quick break before our next outing.

an hour later, we were back in the car and on our way to santa anita mall to meet up with tater (and later, amber) to do a little shopping before dinner with the joy luck club. we'd finally been successful in coordinating our schedules to meet up (which is damn near impossible), and were excited to see each other and eat some delicious soup dumplings at nearby din tai fung.

at nords, i finally found a couple of things that could possibly take the place of my beloved iPhone for my birthday wish list. i'd really wanted a pair of tall chocolate brown uggs last christmas, but of course, they sold out like tickle me elmos and cabbage patch kids, and were nowhere to be found. and then the warm summer months were upon us, and i forgot all about them.

these hideous things stood next to my coveted chocolate brown boots. tater and i nearly fell over our own feet in our haste to capture them on film. seriously, ugg? UGG!



the food at DTF is laced with crack. i just know it. and the most heavily-cracked-out items are these - juicy pork soup dumplings and sauteed green beans. i couldn't get enough of them, but i was able to restrain myself with the help of the bean, who squealed and laughed and played with everything she could reach on the table.



we walked over to the plaza next door to get dessert - delicious shaved ice with a plethora of toppings to choose from. amber and i chose to share one, since they were absolutely gigantic, not to mention that we weren't feeling as adventurous as the others in our topping selections. we ended up with condensed milk, coconut jelly, almond tofu, rice balls, and strangely enough, flan. plus, they drizzled some other crack-laced brown sugar syrup over it, and it was like a big bowl full of icy heaven.



our friendly, enthusiastic server happily took a group photo of us (which i totally swiped from the monkey. thanks, dude). i love that our joy luck club now includes amber :)




lastly, we finally broke down and ordered a new car seat for the bean. i'd been putting it off because it's just so convenient to be able to pull her out of the car, still strapped in, when she's fallen asleep during the ride. with the new big-girl seat, it stays in the car and i'll just have to hope that she can learn to fall back asleep when i pluck her out and either put her in the stroller, one of my zillion carriers, or bring her inside the house.

it arrived and right now it's in her room, so when we went in there to play, she immediately gravitated towards the new toy and climbed right in.



yay for new car seat!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

reconnecting

after nearly three months of silence - because of so many sad reasons - my mother and i finally got together yesterday afternoon.

and while it was nerve-wracking and awkward, it was also just so good to see her again. we've had such a crazy relationship over the years, and i'd classify this as one of the worst, darkest times yet. i love my mom so, and i absolutely HATE not being on good terms with her.

we talked and talked and talked and talked some more - perhaps we didn't come to any real resolutions, but some things that had been held back for weeks, months, even years finally came out. and that was freeing.

i felt sad that she shed tears, and yet i had none. and i'm such a crier - i cry at tv commercials, for the love of crap. i found this really strange.

in the end, while we're not necessarily back to the way we were (and i hope that will come in time), we're talking again. reunited, and it feels so goooooood.

she and the bean got to spend some quality time together, too. it was cute.



and now, having gotten that relationship back on track, i tackled the other issue that you've been wondering about.

i made that phone call this morning. i finally felt ready to do it, although my hands still shook as i dialed the number. and strangely enough, when auntie random answered the phone and we started talking, i didn't feel the awkwardness i'd anticipated.

even more amazing, i learned that bio-dad was the one who gave her the number and told her to call me to say "hi." well, at least he gave her the last number he had for me - which was, of course, the ex's [still current] number. turns out he (AND my half-sibs) had tried to contact me periodically, and after so many months of calling and receiving no answer, they gave up.

i feel like i should be livid that all these years of feeling abandoned could have been avoided, but i'm not. i mean, i know that the ex never answers his damn phone unless he recognizes the number on his caller ID. the teen's told me that before. and so i wonder what possessed him to answer it when auntie random called out of the blue, looking for me.

anyway, bio-dad's been living in the homeland for quite some time now, but auntie random tells me that he's preparing to come back. interesting. also interesting? the fact that two of my three half-sibs have been trying to find me - which, i suppose, isn't all that easy when they don't know what my name is anymore. she asked if it was okay to give them my number, and i enthusiastically told her "yes, please!"

and then i decided to make a date for a visit. i didn't think i was going to want to, but i guess i got caught up in the moment, and she's leaving to move to texas next month anyway. she said that she's been here in the U.S. since 19-freaking-97, and has always wanted to see me.

this changes so much, and answers so many questions. and, most of all, i feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. curiosity didn't kill THIS cat. nope. instead, i might be on my way to regaining a lost family i never wanted to admit i wanted back.

meow.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

a story and a PSA

sort of, i guess.

a friend of mine told me something recently that scared the living shit out of me. i mean, i got goosebumps listening to the story.

apparently, a woman was shopping at the local costco with her baby strapped into her infant car seat, attached to the shopping cart. most moms do this - it's an easy way to get shit done without screwing up naptime, and a ride in the car often puts a baby right to sleep. hell, a ride in the car usually puts ME to sleep. i never grew out of that, i guess. heh.

anyway, she was walking through the aisles, doing her shopping. she took three steps away from the cart to grab something from a shelf, turned around, and her baby was gone. i'm getting the goosebumps again, just typing this. frantic, she ran right to the nearest employee, who gave the signal and the whole store was shut down within minutes. the cops were called in, and they began searching the store.

most cops will tell you that in the time it takes to get to an employee and get the place locked down, the kid is already out of the store and off to who knows where. scary ass shit. and certainly not reassuring by any means, no?

but in this case, when they checked the restrooms, there was the baby - with her head already half shaved and a brand new outfit all set out to put her in. they apprehended the asshole who'd done it, returned the baby to her grateful, panicked mother, and all was well.

can you imagine?? as that mom, i'd be like "okay, step aside and just give me about TEN MINUTES with this fool." give. that. fucker. the. beat. down. of. his. life.

so the moral of the story is, never, never, never turn away from your child(ren) when out and about. not even for a second. hell, that's why i just strap the bean to my person instead of putting her in the cart. that may not fly as she gets bigger, but for now, you'll have to go through me before you can get to this kid.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

still stuck

i love to travel. whether it's an overnighter somewhere fairly local or a week in hawaii, i just love to pack a suitcase, lock up the house, and go.

obviously, y'all have figured that out about me, since most of the suggestions for yesterday's post involved a getaway trip! well, and food. we all know that that love for travel is almost surpassed by my love for eating.

i forgot to mention it in that list of things i eliminated as possible birthday princess gifts, but we've actually got a couple of getaways already planned. we're headed up to mammoth next weekend with the hub's family - they go at least once a year to fish and kick back, and this is actually the first time i'm going with them. the hub found a really nice house to rent, and we're also considering finding a boat to rent for a couple of days. i've got a huge stack of magazines that are begging to be read and recycled, not to mention that i'm only halfway through breaking dawn.

plus, we've got some credit with virgin america, and we're going to use it in october to head up to seattle for a weekend. seattle was the first trip that the hub and i took together, over memorial weekend back in 2001, but it was such a short trip and we've always talked about returning.

then last night, as we relaxed with the bean in the hot tub, after laughing at me for coming up with zero ideas aside from the iPhone, he asked if there was a restaurant i wanted to hit up for my birthday. and knowing him, taking me to a nice dinner at whatever restaurant i choose won't be the gift. hey, i'm not complaining. and i think we'll go to wolfgang puck's cut - maybe i'll be lucky and score a tomkat sighting. it could happen.

so i'm still stuck. i'm sure i'll come up with something, or he will, and that's probably better anyway. hell, he's got better taste than i do.

and because i know you want 'em, here's some pics of the bean from the weekend. she's just getting so damn big, crawling everywhere and pulling herself up and cruising around, holding onto the furniture. i love this little monkey.






Monday, August 18, 2008

and the countdown begins.

so, one month from today, it'll be my birthday.

i'll be 37. holy shit. i don't like this "late-thirties" thing. i dislike checking the "35 to 44" age range in surveys and crap. and i'm not excited for how close i'm getting to 40. FORTY. that's really fucking old!

so i've mentioned my desire for an iPhone here, once or seventy times. you can only imagine how many times i've hinted at it with the hub. in fact, i told him that's the only thing i want for my birthday this year. but verizon fucked me over and i'm locked in a contract until the teen's damn near driving. bitches.

but then the other night, the hub asked me what i wanted for my birthday. "aside from the iPhone, that is. because i'm not really feeling like paying $500 in cancellation fees for us all to switch to at&t. and it doesn't make sense for just you to be on at&t when the rest of us are on verizon. so, what ELSE would you like?"

well, hell. see, one of the downsides of being fantastically spoiled by your fabulously generous husband is that thinking of fun, special things for occasions such as this gets to be pretty darn difficult. yeah, there are worse problems to have, i know. but i'm wallowing in self-pity over my stupid age (which is really just a number, since we all know i act like i'm about 11 anyway), and a cool present for my birthday sounds pretty darn good. but what?

i don't need any more handbags.
i'm not into iPods.
i already have two great cameras.
i just bought awesome new boots for the fall season at the nords' anniversary sale.
my closet is so full, i'm out of hangers.
i already get to indulge in regular mani/pedis and occasional massages/facials.
i'm not that big into jewelry.
i'm all stocked up on fun paper and craft products.
i already have my dream car.
we have a cleaning crew, and i don't believe in asking for practical crap unless absolutely necessary anyway. haha! i'm such a princess.

i never thought it would be hard to shop for me. ME! i love everything! but i'm totally stumped as to what to ask for this year. that's crazy.

help. me. please.

SFAMily baby shower ,2.0



as nanette said on saturday, this will probably be the most blogged-about baby shower ever! or something like that. heh.

and she's totally right! my trusty google reader has already given me a sneak peek at several posts written by various attendees. if i were smart, i'd just link you to the monkey's fabulous picture-filled post and leave it at that. but we all know better than that, don't we?

nanette and california girl are both due in october with baby girls. i'm just so excited that the SFAMily will have THREE october girls - with the bean barely making the cut with her 10/1 birthday. and with my own SFAMily baby shower not quite a full year old, i was thrilled to help host a shower for them - kind of my way of paying it forward, you know? and when we started talking about venues and ideas months ago, i was really excited that the group was open to the idea of a schwank-ay party. since we were rolling two showers into one, i figured it wasn't too difficult to justify! and here's where we ended up (i took a couple of these while sitting in my car, so they're not great):



yup. elegant and classy indeed. and i happily accepted the offer of help from lilcee, who then turned to tater for additional assistance. they took over the tasks of decorating and favors, while i handled the business side of things with the hotel (as well as the zillion and one e-mails out to the group - sorry, ladies!) and a few other details. with mrs. shorty cake volunteering to do the invitations, all the major duties were covered.

being the ultimate procrastinator, i was working on game prizes, cards for the mommies and place cards for the table the day before. heh. but i managed to whip through 'em, and packed everything (including small gifts for both moms) in a giant juicy couture shopping bag. hey, it was pink and brown and cute. shut up.

we all chipped in and ordered group gifts from their registries (infant car seat for nanners and bassinet for california girl) to be sent directly to their homes, and wrapped up these adorable fleurville "escape pods" for them to open at the party. they're mini diaper bags, meant to take on quick trips to the park or the grocery store or something, and after the diaper stage is over, they can be used for packing toiletries on trips. whee!

i woke up early saturday to slap some hair dye on. seriously, it was necessary - i had enough grays to weave a fucking blanket. ugh. and then it was time to go, so i hopped in the car, pointed the navi towards beverly hills, and off i went.

of course, the stupid thing took me the long, traffic-y way, and i drove SEVEN miles on santa monica boulevard before finally arriving at the hotel, only about 25 minutes later than i expected. oy. i pulled in, declined the offer of a car wash from the valet, and barely took notice of my beautiful surroundings as i damn near ran to the private room reserved for us.



amber and r were already there, and a few minutes later, kenna arrived. i gratefully accepted their offer to help set up, and in no time the clothesline, photo guest book, and teacup candy buffet were being set up as i scurried around the long table with the place cards. and then lilcee and tater arrived with the runner and flowers, and we were ready at last.




it was such a pretty room! having our own space is always a bonus, since we have a tendency to break out into hearty laughter, tell silly stories, and do the "yaay!" clap. we even had two private restrooms - perfect. but the prettiness of the room was eclipsed by the arrival of the gorgeously glowing guests of honor. i didn't get a lot of great pictures, but the monkey did, of course.




we sat down and the tea service began. the teapots came out decked out in "cozies," and i liked mine - it had pineapples on it! i giggled at amber's cozy, which almost looked like it was made out of corrugated paper. yes, my paper nerdiness comes out in all sorts of weird ways.





i opened the sugar pot, expecting cute little cubes, but found this instead.



and then r and i discovered that adding milk to our fruity-flavored tea made it look yucky.



the first course, strawberries and cream, was served. here's mine, before i scraped off the whipped cream and then handed it over to r:



the rest of the goodies were delivered on these pretty little 3-tiered serving trays. scones, sandwiches, petite desserts. yummy! and of course, devonshire cream and lemon curd for the scones. my favorite part.




i took a picture of the camera twins. i love how there are THREE of us with the same fabulous piece of photographic equipment.



and then we gave the mommies their cards and gifts.




we played a couple of games - lilcee printed copies of SFAMily baby pictures, and it was fun guessing who the adorable little faces were. but we had two more prizes, so we played the diaper game. i wonder if anyone will ever forgive me for this one.




then, all too quickly, it was over. we packed up, there were hugs all around, and then one by one the cars arrived and that was it. so much fun! i love it when we can gather so many of the SFAMs together. it's so damn hard to coordinate schedules, but so worth it when we do.

happy, happy baby shower to nanette and california girl! ooh, i can't wait to see who SFAMily baby shower 3.0 ends up being for. can't. wait.
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