Friday, January 29, 2016

new year, new 'do

so it's kind of crazy how long my hair had gotten.  like, i know i see it every day and all, but you know what i mean.  because look:


i'm a little ashamed to admit this, but i was sitting with the old lady while she was hate-watching an episode of the kardashians one night and caught a glimpse of khloe's new lob haircut.  not to mention, my friend weezermonkey had expressed some interest in a similar cut, which kind of helped get the wheels turning in my head.  on top of that, the old lady said "your hair's gotten boring, mom.  time to do something different."

and so when i went to see my hair lady for my standing appointment to cover the grays (because i am old and crusty), i had her add on extra time to do some highlights, a cut and style.  here's my before picture:


while she snickered a little at my photo of khloe that i showed her as an example, she had to agree that it was a cute cut.  so after throwing a cape over my clothing, she whipped out the scissors and snip, snip, snipped away.  i was a little alarmed to see how much she swept up off the floor when she was done:


then i got to spend some time with a head full of aluminum foil.


i finally got to do something i've been wanting to do since last summer - some peekaboo pink streaks tucked away in the back.


it looked so cool when it was done:


i never did take an actual "after" shot - at least, not one that i don't look stupid in that i'd be willing to post.  heh.  but i can tell you that the pink has faded quite a bit, so the old lady has already volunteered to help me touch it up.  and i've been experimenting with all of my various curling tools, so on a good day i look like this:


yay for new hair!  i'm really digging the new length.  i do admit that i might miss my old hair a little, but it's nice not to have to spend too much time blowdrying anymore.  and it'll grow back...probably faster than i want it to.  ha!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

discovering the world of unboxing

so the bean is not your typical kid when it comes to toys.  i mean, sure, she has buckets full of stuffed animals that she loves and a toy bin with stuff like american girl dolls and mr. potato head parts and other random disney-related toys.  but they go mainly untouched unless we've got people with kids over.  like, the party we had at christmas was the most action her toys had seen in a long time.  for the most part, she'd much rather read books, ride her scooter, or draw than play with dolls and things.

except that through her friends, she's discovered the world of shopkins.  now, i honestly still don't understand the whole concept.  they're, like, tiny squishy pieces of plastic shaped like food or housewares with little faces and silly names.  i guess you can make up little stories and scenarios and collect them - each piece has ratings ranging from "common" to "ultra rare" and i don't know what that all means, but it's all the rage with the younger elementary school set.  i thought i'd managed to escape it all, but then she started watching those unboxing videos on youtube.  grown ass people buy these blind bags, set up a video camera, and record themselves opening these things up with a running commentary mostly consisting of "oooooh, cool!" and "aaaaaah, this one is a limited edition piece!'

at first, i figured, sweet - she can get the excitement of opening those stupid little bags up and seeing what's inside while living vicariously through someone else.  and i don't have to go out on the scavenger hunt for these hard-to-find things and spend money on them.  win-win, right?

womp womp.  she finally decided she really wanted to have a few pieces for herself.  and me being the sucker i am, i ended up visiting no less than eight stores in one day trying to get my hands on some for her.  she's such a good kid on the regular that i just like making her happy with little things like that.  and so when i picked her up from school, i had it all arranged in the back seat like so:


she was super excited when she found my surprise, and immediately decided to go home and make her own unboxing video.  i made her get through the evening routine first - homework, dinner, shower - and then i set up my phone on my old gorillapod on the dining table and let her go at it.



it was really funny to listen to her, because she'd watched and listened to enough of those videos to kind of get the feel for what she wanted to say.  i told her to call herself what i call her online instead of her name, and if you've got 4 minutes and 25 seconds to spare, here's what she came up with:


she's got a few more packages to open, which she's saving for when she has time to make more videos.  although she seems to have lost interest in it already, because she hasn't really said anything more about it.  maybe i'm off the hook after all.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

from disney to dentist

thanks to a teacher inservice day right after MLK day this year, the bean had an extra-long 4-day weekend.  and per usual, we squeezed in as much fun as we possibly could during her free time.  mere hours after finishing that cooking workshop, we hopped right back into the car and headed out to the local roller skating rink to join our girl scout service unit's annual cookie kick-off party.


it was a much different scene for my girl this year, since she's put in a good bit of time practicing on roller skates.  she was much more confident and skated with ease, doing lap after lap after lap.


when she finally took a breather and came in search of a snack, i handed her a dollar and steered her in the direction of the vending machine.  granted, the choices were anything but healthy, but she tried her best to pick something that wasn't completely junky.


it was at this point that i realized that my kid is somewhat...sheltered?  because when she turned to me for help after trying to make her purchase, i found this:


big LOLs.  i can probably count on one hand the number of times she's ever even seen a damn vending machine, so i shouldn't have been surprised that she had no idea what to do at one.

the next morning, we got up early and went down to disneyland for a few hours.  i'd been hoping that it'd be relatively quiet, with most kids in school and it being officially "off-season."


it wasn't, of course, because it's disneyland.  we managed to get on a couple of rides and grab a fastpass for indiana jones...except that it had broken down when we went back at our scheduled hour.  whatever's gone wrong is typically fixed pretty quickly, but we didn't have the luxury of time on our hands and instead went to tomorrowland terrace to grab some star wars-themed lunch.


my "first order specialty burger" looked like this:



it was okay, but i hadn't realized it didn't have cheese.  bah!  i can't eat a burger without cheese.  well, i did, but only because i'd already coughed up the dough for this one and didn't have time to wait in line to have it fixed.  at least the fries were tasty.


and we'd opted for the "light side" drink - a lemonade spiked with sour apple flavoring and served with these yogurt "meteors" that i thought might have been a bit like boba (because duh, star wars).  but instead, when you sucked them up through the straw they popped instantly in your mouth and were really...weird.  it did come with a little light-up millennium falcon though, so it was all good.


we capped off the day with a dental check-up for the bean.  with fun flavors for the fluoride treatments, pink goggles and a movie right over her head, this is an appointment she always looks forward to.  hopefully she never develops a fear of the dentist.


we were both pleased to hear lots of praise from both the hygienist and dr. eddie himself on how well she brushes, because who doesn't love compliments?  and for something like brushing your teeth?  sweet!  this turned into a "no cavities!" announcement (yay!), but ended with a referral to an orthodontist (boo.).  normally, they don't suggest orthodontia until all the baby teeth are out, but in the bean's case she has a bit of crowding in the front which is resulting in a bit of thinning out in her gums - enough for the dentist to be a little concerned.  once that happens, it's hard to bounce back since gums don't grow back without a ton of work.  ugh.  and so we'll be seeing the orthodontist in two weeks to see what they suggest.

all we can do is hope for the best.  we'll see.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

stretching out the soreness

the day after the star wars half was a holiday for the bean.  we'd signed her up for a fun cooking workshop at the place where we had one of her birthday parties awhile back, and she was excited to learn some new skills and eat some delicious grub.  the theme of the workshop was "southern favorites," and the menu included fried chicken sliders on homemade biscuits, coleslaw, oven fries with cajun dipping sauce, and mississippi mud pie.  sounded good to me.


when i got home, i dragged the hub out of bed and got him to take me to the trail he recently discovered.  it's near an equestrian center, and not far from home.




he'd taken the girls here one day, and as we got started i was more and more amazed that he'd managed to get the bean to do this hike.  steep hills are definitely not her thing.  the weather was perfect, though - nice and gray and chilly, just the way i like it.


those hills, though.  while he was all gung ho and jogged his way up, my sore ass was screaming in pain with every step.  he was all like:


and i was all:


like the energizer bunny, he just kept on truckin' (checking on me every so often).


and then finally, finally, we were at the top:




we stayed up there for a few minutes, catching our breath and taking in the view.  i want to go back on a clear day so i can actually see stuff, but for now this was just fine.  and then it was time to head back down.


by the time we got home and cleaned up and stuff, we had just enough time to grab a nice lunch just a few doors down from where the bean was.  and when we went in to see how things were going right before the end of the class, we found her happily munching on all of her handiwork.


despite the fact that we'd just eaten, we were all in when offered samples.  and i gotta say, she did a fine job of making that meal.  we picked up copies of the recipes on the way out, and she promised to make us dinner one evening.

the next workshop is on president's day, where they'll be celebrating chinese new year with some orange chicken, egg rolls, fried rice and almond cookies.  mmmmmm, i can't wait.

Monday, January 25, 2016

cookie season is upon us

it feels like girl scout cookie season just ended.  and yet...here we go again!

on friday, i went to our local cookie cupboard to help out with the initial delivery to be sorted and distributed to all of our local troops.  i can't remember why i missed this last year, but it was pretty fun to help out and get all up in the mix.  and because i remembered what a pain in the ass it was last time to lug all those cases by hand, i made a quick trip to home depot to pick up a foldable hand truck first.


the cupboard is located in a small industrial park not too far from home.  it wasn't hard to find once you got to the right place.



along with a bunch of other leaders and volunteers, we busted our asses sorting through the 30+ troop orders, setting them all aside and getting them ready for easy pick-up throughout the day.  once our order was ready, we loaded them up.  with over 260 cases just for our girls, it took three separate cars to get them all packed up.


back at our meeting place, the cases were all unloaded and then sorted by a few of our parents who were able to come and help us out.  then we set up 20 separate stations, each consisting of three cases of samoas and thin mints, two cases of tagalongs, and one case each of savannah smiles, do-si-dos, trefoils and rah rah raisins, plus 3 boxes of the gluten-free toffeetastics.


amazingly, all but one set of cookies were picked up by the time our regular meeting began at 6:30 that evening.  we reminded everyone not to start selling until sunday, and wished them all good luck.

yesterday, after blasting on social media as much as possible without being obnoxious (i hope!), the bean and i loaded up that hand truck and headed out to try our hand at door-to-door sales for the first time.  we never got around to trying it last year, so she was excited and a little nervous.


we were out there for about an hour.  i gave her a basic script to use:  she introduced herself, explained why she was there, and ended it with "how many boxes would you like?"  she got a ton of compliments on her costume and ended up selling 27 boxes and accepting a donation for one box.  not too bad for an hour's work, and she was so proud of herself.

i have to say, though, that i was really disappointed to see a handful of people who basically shut their door in her face.  i mean, she was being really polite and still made sure to say "thank you, have a nice day" to everyone, but come on - why is it necessary to be such an asshole to a little kid?  ugh.  i don't think it dampened her spirits for more than a few seconds after each incident, but i was really disgusted.  ugh.

anyway...so hey, if you're local and want some delicious girl scout cookies, let us know!  we'll deliver personally.  and if you don't like cookies or are feeling particularly generous, we are happy to accept donations that will go towards buying boxes of cookies that get distributed to local charities.  we even take credit cards!

after all...can you say no to this face?


i sure can't.  i'm personally already a box and a half in.  ahhhhhh yeah!

Friday, January 22, 2016

the force was most definitely with me

although i still felt horribly unprepared to run a half, there was no turning back.  and as always, i managed to wake up every hour until it was finally time to get up...at 3:30.  dailygluttony and lilcee and i crept around the dark suite, getting ourselves ready as quietly as possible, and then headed downstairs to catch the shuttle that would take us to the start line.


obligatory photo of the esplanade as we shuffled our way through the chilly morning.


making our way to the staging area, we watched as the stormtroopers filed in quietly and took over the stage for an entertaining yet slightly cheesy preshow.


after i (unsuccessfully) attempted to meet up with members of team superhero for a "before" photo and a quick potty break, we took a quick selfie and headed off towards the corrals.


because lilcee hadn't submitted a proof of time, she was stuck back in corral D, while dailygluttony and i were in B.


i don't know if it's because we timed everything just right or what, but before we knew it the national anthem had been sung (beautifully, i might add, by a disney cast member) and the elites and corral A had been released.  and then it was our turn.

hello, rudy novotny!


i'd ASSumed that we were going to follow the same basic route for the first several miles of the course and was bracing myself for the trek up the freeway overpass.  i was pleasantly surprised to find that we made a right turn just before the hill began and made our way into a backlot i'd never seen before.  having done quite a few disneyland runs in the past, it was kind of cool to see new stuff.  i was so busy taking everything in, trying not to run into anyone, and keep my breathing even that i didn't take a whole lot of pictures.  it wasn't until i spied yoda on a building that i finally took my phone out to start snapping away.


not long after, we were running through the esplanade and into the disneyland main entry.  we caught a glimpse of main street before veering off into another backlot and emerged into tomorrowland, where more of those pesky storm troopers were waiting.


i know i took pictures of all of the mile markers, but as i looked through my photos i found that the first few came out super blurry.  surprise, surprise.  i managed a couple of fun selfies in familiar spots, though:



this was one of the few photo ops i actually stopped for, and whaddaya know - i didn't get any decent shots but this one:


this one was a little better.  and i dig how my shoes look like they're all lit up.


finally, a slightly decent picture of a mile marker.


the lines to take pictures with the various droids were just too crazy long.  i really didn't want to wait that long, so i settled for these instead.


up ahead, i spotted rebel headquarters.  sorta.


our time in the parks ended far too soon.  before long, we were back out on the streets of anaheim to finish out the rest of the course.


there were lots of people all along the route dressed in costumes, cheering us on and happily taking pictures.  this was one of the first ones i saw:


remember the movie "spaceballs"?  i used to watch it over and over when i was younger, so i was really amused to see this dude dressed as "barf."  he even let out a winded "arrrroooooo!!" as i passed him.


somehow, i was managing to get through those miles using my 30:30 run/walk intervals.  i was pretty pleased with my progress.



there's a great wolf lodge opening down the street from disneyland.  it's a family-oriented resort with an indoor water park built in that's just for hotel guests.  the bean first heard of this chain on a trip to texas, so she's pretty excited to stay here when it opens.


i know i'm repeating myself, but these mile markers were such a welcome sight as i continued to pass them one by one.


i'd already taken my race fuel by this point, so i was happy to snag another one at the clif station...just in case.


just past it was a long line of cosplayers who were full of enthusiasm and encouragement for the runners.




i wonder if the people who own these cars actually drive them around like this all the time.



on a walk break, i decided to stop for this photo op.


i'm kind of kicking myself for not stopping to take a picture with R2D2 himself - especially since he was all alone!  lilcee told me later that he wasn't even a janky reproduction - he was the real deal, with a run disney staffer keeping a close eye on him.  damn.


even more cosplayers.






i always find myself keeping an eye on others who seem to be keeping about the same pace as me.  this father/son duo served as one of my unofficial "pacers."  i don't know if we finished at the same time, but i managed to keep up with them for a good chunk of the run.


gotta love strangers with free candy.


right here is where i usually hit a wall.  mile 10, my archenemy.


if my memory serves me, this is where i got my second sighting of my friend kelley, out to cheer for us and another friend of hers.  i'd seen her early on, somewhere along harbor boulevard, bundled up in a warm coat and scarf and clutching a cup of coffee i'd cheerfully have tripped her for.  just kidding, kelley!  and i'm grateful to her for catching a better shot of me in action than any of the ones that the "official race photographers" got.  not to mention, this one was free:


it was either right before or just after mile 11 that i spied more familiar faces.  i grinned and waved at mini cee as we caught each other's gazes, and then just past her i saw my own child, smiling and holding her poster that she'd worked so hard on just the day before.  i was on a roll and feeling pretty good about finishing out the rest of the run at this point, but i did pause long enough to take her little face in my hands and give her a big ol' kiss before turning back around to keep on trucking.  although my emotions took hold of me at that point - my face crumpled and the tears came hard.

BUT.  as i was getting ready that morning, i'd been so pissed to realize that in my haste to get packed, i hadn't grabbed my waterproof mascara.  because i'm incredibly vain, i went ahead and used my regular mascara and spent a good amount of time carefully wiping the sweat from my face with my wristband as i ran.  so i pulled my shit together and stopped crying so that i wouldn't look a hot mess for my finish line photos.  HAHAHAHAHA SO VAIN.


almost there!


oh, and i forgot to mention that my nike+ app had been giving me the verbal mile markers almost a full mile ahead of the disneyland ones.  and so just as i passed that mile 12 sign, i looked at my phone and saw this:


sheeeeit.  if only that were correct - because the app automatically pauses when i stop running, the clock didn't keep ticking when i stopped for all those photo ops.  had i not stopped a single time to take pictures, that's what my time would have been.  still not my best half time (that honor actually goes to my very first half, tinkerbell 2012), but pretty darn close.  oh well.

there's that 13th mile!


and just around the corner...the sight that we all look forward to from the moment that gun goes off.  and that exhilaration that makes us forget all about the pain of the last thirteen miles and propels us to register for the next race.  kind of like how they say you forget the pain of labor and childbirth as you take in the wonder of your new baby...sort of.



YESSSSSSSS.


since we hadn't been able to meet up before the run, i was super happy to see my friend delovely details for even a brief moment.


i even found one of my superhero teammates:


and then...the three musketeers reunited.


after what seemed like forever we finally boarded the shuttle back to the hotel, where we were almost as excited to grab a much-needed, well-deserved coffee at the starbucks in the lobby.


oh, and i was pretty proud of how my "rey" hair had turned out - especially since it was done at 3:30 in the morning.  it held up really well through the run, which was pretty awesome.


after sucking down that coffee, a nice hot shower, and a brief rest on the pullout bed, we got all of our stuff packed and ready for checkout.


we stopped at bruxie to enjoy some delicious waffle sandwiches on the way home.



and then the bean and i both collapsed onto the couch at home and settled in for a nice long snooze.


what could possibly be better for dinner after running a half marathon than a bag full of quality you can taste?


and i forgot about my prized box of run disney post-race snacks until this morning:


i'm now on the lookout for that coconut crunch business.  those little kernels of happiness are really tasty, man.  i need like a dozen more bags.
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