wan-na find something?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

i got 99 problems but shopping ain't one

when the girls and i get bored at home, we often hop into the car and go drive around aimlessly to find something to do.

yesterday was one of those times. while it wasn't the 9th circle of hell at home as it had been over the weekend, we were restless and not really in the mood to kick it in the living room, watching "blue's clues" with the bean. so into the pri-YES we went.

knowing that traffic would kill us later on, we headed east into san dimas. we turned up san dimas canyon road and drove past the park, waved to the horses, past the golf course, and all the way up to the entrance of camp glenn rocky. we didn't know what it was, but i was intrigued by the signs that stated it was part of the los angeles county probation department. were there ex-cons up in here? in sleepy san dimas?

later, after turning to my friend google, i learned that it had once housed juvenile offenders who were sentenced to working off their debt to society. now it's a facility dedicated to conservation education. the things we learn from our random drives. heh.

as we drove into the la verne area, i spied the 99¢ store out of the corner of my eye. "ever gone in there?" i asked the teen.

and when she shook her head "no," i swung across three lanes of traffic and pulled into the parking lot. "OMG, mom, you're crazy!" she laughed. but i was kind of over the pointless driving and the bean was getting a little antsy sitting in the back seat, so we parked the car and got out.

the bean slid into the seat of the very bright purple cart, and i was amused at the slogan embossed on the handle.

i hadn't set foot into one of these stores since i lived at home. my mom used to love going to places like this, where you could get a screaming deal on shit you never knew you wanted. hell, for all i know, she still does, ha! i remembered that i used to scoop up snacky stuff here all the time. shops like this always buy leftover crap that nobody else wants, and i often fell victim to discovering treats that i thought were delicious, but no one else did. finding shit like that at the 99¢ store always meant "buy a bunch of it, because you ain't gonna find it anywhere else ever again." and if you did find "normal" products, the first thing to do was check the expiration date. i saw stacks of turtle chex mix and i was totally ready to stock up until i flipped the bag over and realized that they were sporting "sell by" dates from may. poop.

after wandering up and down all the aisles, we found ourselves in the check-out line with a cart full of all this crap:

and only paid this:

whee! and everyone was happy. the bean had two pairs of "blue's clues"-themed socks, a pack of disney princess paper plates, and a pooh coloring book. the teen had found an entire display of JoBros hair accessories and scooped up a set of clips adorned with JB "guitar picks," plus a couple of spice girls dolls (so funny!), some flavored arizona iced teas, some spongebob squarepants ziploc-type bags, and a bottle full of grape-scented bubble stuff. and as for me, i picked up a canister of non-expired chili cheese-flavored fritos.

random. ass. shit.

"this store is MAGICAL!" the teen said. tee hee!

oh, seeeeeeeveeeeen:

just you wait, cousin dear. the longer it is before we take new, cute pictures, the more motivation i get to dig out OOOOOOOOLD ones from the archives. i'll even scan 'em in - and we all know how lazy i am, so the effort it will take to get this done is significant.

[evil cackling]

Monday, June 29, 2009

put that thing back where it came from or so help me

"that thing," of course, being the freaking sun.

i hate the heat. hate it. i realize that i totally live in the wrong place for not being a fan of the sun and hot weather, but hey. everything and everyone i know and love is here. i ain't about to leave. so i'll just have to be the oddball who really loves "june gloom" and cloudy, rainy days and shakes her fist at the weather girl on the news when she announces oh-so-cheerfully that it'll be 95 degrees downtown all week - which, of course, means that it'll be over 100 in the valley. yay.

i'd had friday marked in my calendar as the day of free pinkberry - they were offering full-sized cups of yogurt for free from 5:00 till 11:00. i was super excited until i realized that it was for the purpose of introducing their new summer flavors - coconut, passionfruit, tropical swirl, and some horrendous-looking fruit parfait. blech. i was bummed, but glad i hadn't gone and stood in line for that shit. gross.

this weekend, the wan house was the house of sweat. i managed to inherit the fun perspiration gene that runs in my family, and the hub is right up there with me. of course, this means that both the teen and the bean are just fucked. heh. the bean spent a good chunk of the weekend hanging out like this:

well, okay, she didn't wear the monkey all the time, but little else. i actually really dislike seeing kids who are just kickin' it, dressed (or not dressed, as the case may be) in a diaper, but i figured it was okay because we were at home, and it was hot freaking sweaty balls out. ew.

while cleaning out a drawer, the hub came across mollydog's pink satin jacket, complete with white fur collar. i'd forgotten we even had this for her. doesn't she look pissed as hell?

and then to add insult to injury, we found her "necklace" and added that to her ensemble.

the bean decided to get in on the action when she found a purple leash. but molly wasn't having any of it. heh.

the teen spent most of saturday hanging out with BFF, after having spent the night over there on friday. she came home late that night after going to see the "transformers" sequel, as we were kickin' it old school and watching "top gun" on DVD. i feel the need. the need...for speed. ha!

i decided to get up and make some breakfast on sunday morning, and thought some puff pancakes sounded good. i filled some with peanut butter & marshmallow fluff, some with nutella, and we munched as we attempted to play a "twilight"-themed board game that the teen had bought last week.

btw, if you come across this game at target like we did, DON'T pick it up regardless of just how big a twilight fan you are. i'm serious. this game is super duper lame. i tried to talk her out of it at the time, but there was no stopping her. and it was her money, so i wasn't about to tell her what she could and couldn't do with it. i figure, she'll just learn from her mistakes.

later, as the bean fell asleep and the teen was completely bored and dying to get out of the house, the hub suggested that we go see a movie. i felt kind of bad that we were leaving him sweltering at home in the sweatbox - especially as he hasn't seen the inside of a movie theater since the night before the bean was born - but he shooed us out of there, saying they'd head over to the grandparents' house to visit and suck up some of their A/C while we were gone. so we let ourselves be talked into going to see this:

i won't spoil it for anyone, but i'll tell you this: while the screenwriters mostly stuck to the original story, there's definitely a plot twist or two. you may have read the book, but even if that's the case, you don't necessarily know what's going to happen. i'll also warn you to bring tissue, or grab a handful of napkins at the snack bar (like i did). the teen and i cried damn near throughout the entire movie - from the first ten minutes-ish all the way to the end. like, my face was all puffy and swollen by the time we left. i wasn't smart enough to bust out the waterproof mascara like the teen had the forethought to do.

back home, she had fun with her sister as we finally sucked it up and turned on the A/C. and yes, she was fully clothed when she and the hub left the house, but the dress came right off as they got home. they twirled around and around till they were both dizzy.

after feasting on some yummy homemade spaghetti and meatballs, which is one of the cheapest but most delicious meals on the planet, we dug into this:

i'm a sucker for trying new ben & jerry's ice cream flavors, and the teen was sucked in with the promise of fudge chips in the shape of peace signs. i think my girl is a hippie at heart.

Friday, June 26, 2009

what's yxta-ppening?

since we didn't get enough bonding time on friday, a few of us headed back downtown last night for happy hour at yxta, a super cool mexican restaurant suggested by the monkey.

listening to michael jackson tunes all the way in, i rolled into the [free!] parking lot slightly teary and super nostalgic. it's amazing how music can affect your mood and instantly transport you to a different time in life - it seriously felt like i was 10 again, in my room with the "thriller" tape (tape! haha!) playing and dancing to "P.Y.T."

i was really surprised to find that this unassuming-looking, very blah building:

housed all this coolness:

i was the first to arrive, so i sat down to peruse the menu and get settled. here's my uber-exciting beverage of choice:

i munched distractedly on these while i checked my facebook and twitter, via my trusty iPhone.

the happy hour menu wasn't very extensive.

considering the fact that i'm not typically a drinker, i was quite intrigued by the "mexican russian." i love me some horchata.

when the rest of the ladies arrived - levioletfemme, the monkey, lilcee, venn, and winnie - we finally ordered. and in true SFAM fashion, we simply ordered one of each item on the menu. tacos galore! ha! but sadly for me, the restaurant had run out of horchata (how could this happen? it was HAPPY HOUR!) and i had to settle for a regular ol' margarita. boo.

lilcee was the only one who ended up drinking something different - she had a mojito.

and then it was food time! yay!

guacamole. pass.

tacos with pulled pork -and pineapple. needless to say, i didn't indulge in these.

[edit: these are, indeed, tacos al pastor. hell, that isn't even pulled pork! that's what i get for blogging in stealth mode at work]

sopes with spicy pulled chicken and veggies. so chewy and crunchy and delicious.

carnitas. oh, these were good - even with the guacamole.

pulled chicken with chipotle. alas, i was too full to get to these.

these were filled with spicy mashed potatoes. a little underseasoned, but i shook the salt shaker on 'em and they were pretty yummy.

this was a late addition to our food line-up. they were presented as buffalo-style wings with a twist, but those who tried them said they were more like wings drenched in nacho cheese. "they're nacho wings!" ba-dum-psh.

before lilcee headed home to feed baby cee, we got the server to take a group shot.

winnie and i learned of the awesomeness that is the dyson airblade from the monkey, who described it so enthusiastically that we had to go and try it out for ourselves.

i appreciated the instructions on how to use the contraption. well, so that i could capture the illustrations with my camera and laugh, anyway.

check it out - you can see it in action! muahahahahaha.

just before we departed, the monkey and i decided we'd play a prank on our online friends and use these as our new profile pics. so amusing. i'm giggling just looking at them.

i LOVE having friends who are as goofy as i am.
oh, and for seven:
as you can see (but probably already knew), it runs in the family.

oh, the memories.

when i was little, i wanted to be farrah fawcett.

in the 70s, when she was in "charlie's angels" (for only one season!), my family was on the east coast, where the diversity that we enjoy here in sunny soCA wasn't exactly present. i totally didn't realize that there were all sorts of different ethnicities out there, and being fairly certain i wasn't black, i was completely convinced that i was white. it makes me cackle now.

i watched that show as often as i was allowed to, and i longed to be just like farrah, tossing all that gorgeous feathered hair around and flashing that winning smile. and, of course, kicking ass and getting the bad guys by the end of the show. and then i found out that she was married to the bionic man? holy shit! how cool was that? she was totally my hero.

of course, being all of five years old, my attention span was pretty damn short, and when she was replaced by cheryl ladd the following season, i went with the flow and forgot all about farrah. awww.
when i was seven and a half, we moved to sunny california. i remember saying goodbye to my friends, and one rude ass little boy whose name i don't even recall telling me "see ya. hope you don't die in an earthquake." i thought he was such an asshole.
anyway, that was the year that michael jackson's "off the wall" came out. it's also the year the hub was born, heh. and whenever i hear "don't stop 'til you get enough," it instantly takes me back to that first summer in california. i think of living in that tiny, 2-bedroom apartment in pasadena, stuffed to the gills with entirely too many family members all under one roof. of course, i was seven and it was totally fun to me to have so many people to play with.
and then, a few years later, "thriller" was released. and i LOVED that album. i played it over and over again and learned all the words to all the songs. that was back in the early days of mtv - you know, when they actually played *gasp* music videos? there were a few shows on local tv that featured music videos for a solid half hour every day, too, for those who didn't have "pay tv." i was glued to those shows, and marveled at MJ's moonwalk and awesome choreography.
every song on that album is awesome. each one brings me back to a time in my life when all i had to worry about was getting my homework done, what i was going to wear to school the next day, how to catch the eye of the boy i was crushing on, what to do during recess with my friends. it was an innocent time before credit cards and car payments and taxes, and while i love my life now, it's always fun to reminisce about the old days. and one of the last routines i got to learn and work on with my cheer squad in high school was to MJ's "bad." i still remember bits and pieces of the beginning of the routine, and it always makes me smile.
okay, in his later years, he was super bizarre and weird. and yeah, that whole child molestation thing was awful - although a part of me still doesn't want to believe that he knowingly did anything wrong. i mean, the guy was never allowed to be a kid! he was worked like a dog from the time he was like 10, and that's when you're supposed to be out having fun, playing with your friends, doing the kid thing. i'm pretty sure that if i were placed under constant public scrutiny on a daily basis from childhood on, i'd be pretty fucked up too.
but at the end of the day, this was MICHAEL JACKSON! there was a time when the entire world loved this man. he was someone's father. somebody's son, brother, uncle, friend. and it makes me sad to know that he's gone.
rest in peace, farrah and michael. thanks for being part of my childhood.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

wanna hear something scary?

listening to my beloved ryan seacrest on my way in to the office this morning, he said something that sent chills down my spine and made me want to go back home and crawl back under the covers (well, aside from the fact that i still feel like shit and my chest is so achy i feel like i got run over by a mack truck):

today marks exactly six months until christmas.

for real? i mean, has it seriously already been half a year since we did the whole holiday thing? it honestly seems like just yesterday. but then again, i'm still somewhat in denial that the teen's school year is over and that she's heading off to high school in a few short months.

oy. i'm really getting old. the time just goes by too stinking fast.

the hub and i were chatting after the whole bridesmaid dress extravaganza a couple of weekends ago about my brother and o's upcoming november wedding. he's going to be a groomsman, which will be fun because i'll get to walk down the aisle with him again. yeah, i'm a goofball, i know it. but you know i'm totally corny like that. ah, i so love weddings. i know i'm gonna be all nostalgic and romantical and stuff on that day. our engagement and wedding was such a wonderful time in our lives and i always hop on any opportunity i get to reminisce and bask in the memories of all that love and happiness and stuff. of course, it's only gotten better as the days go by, but that year was really magical.

but i digress. as usual.

anyway, he was telling me that they're considering doing somewhat of a joint bachelor/ette party in sin city with the entire wedding party and some of their other friends. now, despite the number of weddings i've been in and attended, i've actually never done the vegas thing for a bachelorette bash. and since my brother and o have always been the attached-at-the-hip kinda couple (they're so cute), it didn't surprise me that this is potentially the plan.

and then i was slightly paralyzed at the realization that this meant i'd have to leave the bean.

overnight. maybe even two nights. oh, shit.

i haven't done that yet, and i'm ridiculously skittish about the whole idea. but really - WTF is wrong with me?? by then she's going to be two freaking years old. TWO!! who's the baby here, her or me? well, as evidenced by monday's episode, i suppose the answer is clear. heh.

operation "get seven on the blog as much as possible" continues:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

operation "get seven on blog as much as possible" starts now

my dear cousin seven graduated from UCSB last weekend. due to logistical bullshit, we weren't able to attend her ceremony - but most folks found themselves in the same boat. in anticipation of this, she and her folks put an insert in her announcements inviting one and all to a celebration in her honor at their home. that party was this weekend.

of course, between the ceremony and party, a pipe burst in the house, flooding the entire first story. amidst the clean-up and craziness that ensued, they scrambled and relocated the shindig to my aunt's home - typically known as party central, being laid out perfectly for entertaining large groups and the usual location for family GTGs.

seven loves my cookies. i know it's torture for her to read my blog and see the pictures of all the baked goodies i'm always making. and so i decided to make her a quickie batch of chocolate chip cookies, and as i pulled them out to let them cool, i realized i was sorely lacking in cute containers for food gift-giving. damn. so i turned to my meager supply of ziploc containers and threw in some half-assed decorations. at least it was girly and pink. i knew it wouldn't matter, as seven would push right past the presentation to get to the goods anyway.

now y'all know i make cards for a living (sort of). this is what i do, and i love doing it. but what i don't love is the fact that all my supplies are all spread out between about four places in the thimble we call home, the garage, and storage. it sucks. i am also the ultimate procrastinator. these facts led to the bean and me stopping at a hallmark store on our way to the graduation party - hey, at least if i have to buy a ready-made card, i care enough to send the very best.

and of course, being at the height of graduation time, we walked in to find nearly empty card racks. eff, man. i was faced with several styles of greetings for high school, a few for middle and elementary school, even one for preschool. WTF? however, there were quite a few cards to choose from en espaƱol. after turning to the bean for her thoughts on the matter, i bit the bullet and just picked one. i figured it would be funny, anyway. and it was.

i handed it and our little cookie care package to seven as we arrived at the party and made her open the card right away. she, as expected, squealed at the sight of the baked goods and then giggled with me as she read the card. yay!

remember my cousin and his girlfriend, who had their baby just short of a week before the bean was born? they live in this house too, and the bean wasted no time and made herself right at home amongst the plethora of toys set up in the corner of the dining room. she thought it was cool that there was a tent that she could play in, like her little house at home.

smiley was napping in her room when we arrived, but it wasn't long before she woke up and came out to play with the bean.

"mmmm, have you had these apple pies from mcdonald's? they're delicious."

"i haven't! let me see, maybe i can get it open."

"what the - awww, snap. i'm not hungry anymore."

and not long afterwards, the gathering turned super awkward and uncomfortable for me. as i sat on one of the elmo chairs, playing with the kids and [unsuccessfully] trying to get a good shot of them together, the front door opened and a bunch of folks walked in. as my eyes adjusted to the sunlight that streamed through the open door, my heart sank as i realized it was the side of my family who'd turned against me during last year's drama. the folks who tried to take my painful revelations and manipulate them to make me look like an unhinged liar with a bad memory. the very reason i'd avoided family gatherings just like this.

as i sat stiffly on the too-small chair, unable and/or unwilling to move, from behind me came a cheerful "hello!"

i recognized that voice. this great-uncle (purely his title. not the way i feel about the man himself) had chosen to send out several e-mails to multiple family members last year, questioning my story, picking apart every tiny detail, attempting to twist things around to make me sound completely deranged. since my back was to him and it'd been so long since we'd been under the same roof, he totally didn't recognize me and thought he was simply greeting fellow partygoers.

i turned slowly, a tense, tight obligatory smile on my face. "hi," i said.

and when he realized it was me, his face fell, his mouth closed over further felicitations, and he slunk away and out into the next room with the rest of his family.

relieved, i turned back to the girls, who were playing nicely together with the oodles of toys that were available to them.

"moooom, i simply can't figure out what to play with next."

"well, stop for a second and take a picture with me."

while i enjoyed chatting and catching up with seven and her brother, i honestly just wanted to get out of there. i hung in long enough to catch my mom and stepdad as they arrived, hopped in a group picture with her, seven, and a couple of my aunts, and then we bounced.

we had a legitimate reason to leave, though - dinner with the ILs at nearby north woods inn to celebrate the hub's uncle's 50th birthday. and since we were dining with a bunch of old folks (i say that lovingly!), dinner was at 5:15.

haha! ain't nothin' like catching the early bird special.

squeezing in all the sightseeing

this was our NYC home for a whole week: it was one of only a few hotels that i could find that offered two beds in a room rather than, say, ...