Friday, March 30, 2012

Thrifty's Ice Cream and Taco Trucks

Tonight, while at Rite Aid awaiting our Thrifty's ice cream, L and P wandered over to the display next to the ice cream counter and began looking at the model cars that were for sale.  It didn't take long before I heard L say, " The taco truck!  Mommy, they have the taco truck!"

I didn't know what he was talking about, and I was about to go to town on my Rocky Road/Coconut Pineapple combo, so I paid him no mind.

There's a reason why it's award-winning.
For a brief moment, everything fades away while I savor my double-decker.  A short while later, a little voice bubbles to my consciousness, and I realize it's L, saying again, "Mommy, they still have the taco truck!  Daddy wouldn't let me buy it last time, but it's still here!  If I use my money, can I buy it, pleeeeease?"

What is this taco truck he is talking about?  Let me show you.

Complete with interior detail and true-to-life menu options, this truck has to be the coolest, kitschy-est, most ridiculous item I've ever fallen in love with in my life.  And what makes it even better is that L has had his eye on this for at least a month and had the good sense to press the parent who he knew would see it his way.  Smart boy.

So we bought it, of course.

Has my sense of humor crossed that fine line between funny and tacky?  Who knows.  Maybe it's because I'm Mexican.  Maybe it's because I have an odd sense of humor.  Whatever the reason, the sight of this little taco truck on L's bedroom shelf, along with his "I bet this is totally going to be a collectible one day," puts a smile on my face.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Guest Post on

I've got a bonus post this week about me, Hollywood in the 90s, and the worries of a mother who knows what's in store for her.

22 year old me.  What a fashion tragedy.

Here's the link:  Falling Apples is a great resource website for parents of tweens and teens.

Thanks for checking it out!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Star Wars at the Discovery Science Center

Last week was spring break for the kids, so we trucked down to the OC to see the Star Wars exhibit at the Discovery Science Center.  I've been drooling over this place since I found out about it back in October.  The display is only around for a few more weeks, and we had a birthday to celebrate, so this was the perfect opportunity to check it out.

And it did not disappoint.

These photos don't need much narrative, so I'll keep it to a minimum.

I'm as excited as a 10 year old boy on Opening Weekend.
Didja know Chewy was based on Lucas' dog, Indiana?
I wonder how well the extras saw out of this.
Droidekas are pretty cool.
Roger Roger.
Boba Fett's blaster had a strangely western vibe to it.
Stormtrooper.  Not to be confused with Clone Trooper.
The Wampa was underwhelming.
Sitting in the Millenium Falcon replica was worth the extra 5 bucks.
Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope.
If I could've, I would've snuck this one home in my purse.

If you're in the So Cal area in the next few weeks, this is definitely worth the stop.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bingo Night 2012

Last night, I took the boys to Bingo Night at the nearby elementary school.

Seemed like it might be fun.  After all, Bingo is as American as apple pie, right?

If you were born in 1932, maybe.

Now that I think about it, this does seem to be the mental image I conjure up when I think of Bingo.

I probably should've realized this before I promised the kids we could go.

It wasn't until I was nestled snugly between a kindergartener and a 4th grader that I realized this was not my scene.

So. Many. Kids.

So. Much. Noise.

So. Much. Socializing.

Bingo started at 6pm.  At 6:10 I politely asked another parent what time we'd be done.  Turns out I wasn't the only one not feeling the Bingo vibe.  With a roll of the eyes, she mouthed, "Seven."  50 more minutes to go.

Bingo is no fun when you're losing.  Turns out it's no fun when you're winning either.

 Best part of the night:  homemade cupcakes provided by the PE teacher. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

This Space Reserved For Lemons

Can it be sheer coincidence that the first available parking spot I find just happens to have a lemon sitting in it?

I don't think so.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Teaching Art to a Herd of Cats

This week, I performed my civic duty and volunteered in M’s class.  Once a month, I swoop in, direct them in an art project, and then swoop back out.  The program (Art Masters) is performed by the parents, because, well, if we don’t do it, nobody else will (thanks State of CA…who needs art anyway).  So every month, I bite the bullet and teach both M and L’s classes.

L is in 4th grade, and his projects, while technically harder for me to demonstrate, are easier to teach, because the kids are more mature.  It’s the kindergarteners that give me the monthly aneurisms.  You ever hear of the expression “herding cats”?  This is the perfect way to describe how these lessons play out.  Every 15 minutes, a group of 5 kids is rotated into my area to follow my directions and complete the project.  While this is going on, the rest of the class is rotating in and out of other task tables.

I should note:  some of the boys in M’s class (M included) are especially excitable (gross understatement).

All of these factors combine to create a crazy, amped up energy in the class that closely resembles chaos.  No joke, when I’m done with these 60 minutes of sensory overload, I need to sit quietly in my car and reflect pensively.

But I’m ok with it.  I relish that M is so happy to see me, and I know that his public displays of affection will be in short supply very soon.  If all that adoration comes with the stress of herding cats, then I’ll gladly teach art to his class every day month.

This month’s lesson, however, had me on the verge of losing my mind.  The artist of the month was Winslow Homer.  He’s a personal fave of mine, and I was happy to hear we would be creating a work of art around his popular sailboat theme. 

The problem I had was with the project itself.  Here’s an example of what I created when I was shown the lesson, months earlier.

Before we continue, let me be the first to say it:  I’m no artiste.  I do my best to create something akin to the example provided by the program.  If it comes out with some resemblance to the original, I consider it a win.  So avert your judgemental eyes away from my sailboat, if you’re feeling judgy today.

Back to the art project.  Take a look back at the picture above and guess what the project is supposed to be emphasizing.  Yes, shading.  Here’s where I take pause for it to sink in.  If you’ve ever been around kindergarteners (or have ever been one yourself), you know that most 5 year olds apply the same amount of tactile pressure to drawing, coloring, and writing alike.  And teaching them to gradually color from dark to light results in two shades on the page:  top half dark, bottom half light.  This project not only required these kids to shade from dark to light for the ocean, it required them to do it a second time for the sky, only this time starting with a lighter shade of gray, before moving on to nearly white.  AND THEN, as if that wasn’t enough, it required the kids to switch orientations and shade the boat and sail from right to left!  All in 15 minutes.  This feels like an enormous disaster in the making, when you stop to consider that the most common shading technique employed at this age is scribble scrabble.

Alright.  So I know some of you may say that your 5 year old has been shading since pre-school.   And I believe you, really I do.  But I’ve been teaching this stuff to enough K-4th graders to know that your child is in the minority.  This is some seriously challenging stuff for the average kindergartener.

Fortunately, I totally blew off prepping for this session until the morning of, otherwise I would’ve been seriously wound tight over it.  When I stumbled through the first rotation with the kids, it was pretty obvious that the shading was leaving them frustrated.  That was not going to fly with me.  At five years old, art…must…be…fun.  Leave the frustration to math.

So I made the rebel-decision to stray from the program; I loosened up on the shading instruction and prepared myself for what might be some ca-razy works of art.

Turns out this was one of their best projects.  Take a look for yourself.

Can I tell you how pleased I am with how these turned out?  Prodigies, all of them!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Embedding a Pin It Button in Your Post

Last night I spent some time searching for the magic code that would embed a Pin it button in each post.  My efforts did not go unnoticed by my friend Google, who happily directed me to my pot of gold.

With the easy-to-follow instructions provided at, I was able to knock this out in under 5 minutes.  I bet you could do it in 3.

For fear that these instructions might one day disappear from, I've cut and pasted them here:

Step#1. Go to Design>> Edit HTML, Make a full back up of your template.

Step#2. Click on the Expand Widget Template checkbox on top right of the HTML window.

Step#3. Find this Data tag normally it will be twice in your HTML is given below. Locate the First one.


Step#4.  Paste the following code immediately below/after the code mention in Step#3.

<!-- Pinterest Start -->
<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == &quot;item&quot;'>
<div id='pin-wrapper' style='margin:5px 10px 5px 0; text-align: left;'>
<a class='pin-it-button' count-layout='horizontal' expr:href='&quot;; + data:post.url'>Pin It</a>
<a href='javascript:void(run_pinmarklet())' style='margin-left:-93px; width:43px; height:22px; display:inline-block;'/>
<script src='' type='text/javascript'/>
<script type='text/javascript'>
function run_pinmarklet() {
    var e=document.createElement(&#39;script&#39;);
    e.setAttribute(&#39;src&#39;,&#39;; + Math.random()*99999999);
<!-- Pinterest button End -->

Step#5(Optional). If you want to show Pin It button on the top of each post Place the button code in Step#4, before <data:post.body/> tag.

Step#6. Hit Save and that’s it! Check your blog Button appears or not on your post page.

Thank you LetMeClear...I've got you bookmarked now.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Eating, I Mean WALKING For A Worthy Cause

Question:  How do you gain weight from participating in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life?

Short Answer:  Eat more (in 24 hours) than you can walk off (in 24 hours).

Long Answer:  Start the morning with a healthy, delicious Gala apple (thank you Sprouts) and a homemade chocolate chip cookie.

Set up your site, walk a few laps, and chat it up with the ladies.
Yes, I realize I have channeled Horshack in this picture.

Take a break and have a mid-morning snack (thank you Trader Joe's).

Walk a few more laps, participate in the "Eat An Oreo Off Your Face" contest, make friends, and hear some amazing survivor stories.

Lunch time (thank you Jersey Mike's)!

Encourage your son to launch a ball from a woman's bra.

We must support the cause.

Participate in watermelon eating contest.

Encourage the family to let out some aggression the good old fashioned way: by hitting each other with inflatable objects.

All the walking (and eating) required adequate hydration.

 Thank you Chameleon Beverage!

Walk a lot more, chat it up a lot more, cool off with some Dippin Dots.

Dinner time!  Salad, tater tots, and the best tri-tip sliders ever (thank you Billy D'z).

Still hungry.  Wander over to the free taco table (thank you Rubios).

Nightfall.  Walk some more.

Luminaria ceremony.  Bagpipe player.  Beautiful and emotionally wrenching. Walk a lap in silent remembrance of those who survived and those who didn't.

5 brownies and one cold night* later...

 These were the best store bought brownies I've ever tasted.

Dawn breaks.  And frosty grass crunches.  Eat another apple.  Find some cookies from yesterday (because that apple can only go so far).

 Even a day old, they were still delicious.  Somebody spared no expense.

Walk our final laps and say goodbye to a bunch of new friends.

A memorable experience.  And a weighty one.

Joking aside, this event raised a ton of money for a great cause.  My legs are sore and my gut is big, but I'm happy to have participated and helped raise money to fight this terrible disease.

*Ok, so I didn't exactly spend the night...I lay snug as a bug in my bed at home.  But I heard it was really cold that night.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Blogging Ain't Easy

Blogging is no cake walk.  If you go into it thinking, "I'm a pretty good writer, how hard can it be?"  you'll be in for some sad disillusionment.  If only it were as easy as typing out a great post...

I started blogging about six months ago.  I seem to have tapped into an unlimited number of ideas to write about, to my total surprise.  Still, I sometimes have moments of self-doubt, where I ask myself, "what if I get to the point where I have nothing else to say?"  And then a woman walks by in tapestry pants, and an entire dialog starts in my head around my fashion choices.  It's these moments that reassure me that I'll always have something to blog about.

But it's not all just about thinking and typing.  It's about branding yourself, attracting the right audience, and compelling others to follow your words.  On paper, it seems relatively straightforward.  In reality, however, I am constantly reminded of how difficult it truly is to make those things happen. I'm not especially extroverted, I'm late to the social media game, and I blog about weird things like security badges and missing medicine coolers.  Thankfully, I have thick skin, so I keep plugging along, churning out my blog twice a week, and getting disproportionately excited over every single new follower.

So imagine how excited I got this weekend, when I found that my friend over at Inside the Mind of Jman bestowed this lovely award to my blog:

So what is the Liebster Award?  It's a grassroots effort to promote blogs with less than 200 followers.  Fellow bloggers promote blogs that they enjoy, and the pass-it-forward nature creates a lot more blog traffic than what you'd normally get.  It's a whole lot more effective than relying on someone stumbling onto your Cubicle Wall post because they Googled "3-D pictures".

So a big thank you to Jman!

And now I must pay it forward, following these rules:

1.  Thank the person who gave me the award and link back to them.
2.  Nominate up to five others for the award.
3.  Let them know via comment on their blog.
4.  Post the award on your blog.
5.  Bonus step:  Follow this link and at least consider signing up for the A-Z Challenge.  It's a great way to find new and interesting blogs, have people find your blog, and meet new people.

Choosing my winners was easy.  Some of these don't have their follower counts visible, so hopefully I'm not promoting anyone who already has 80 bazillion followers.
  1. I recently found Rebeccah's blog, Connelly Confusion, and I've really enjoyed her writing.  I can relate to many of her posts, and she keeps them at just the right length for this attention-challenged reader!
  2. Clark over at Ridiculously Inconsistent Trickle of Consciousness blogs about all kinds of crazy things, which is what I love about his blog.  This is the post that hooked me:  Every Day I'm Hustlin'
  3. Tanya at Let Mr. Bemis Read read was my very first non-family/non-friend follower, and so obviously she forever has a place in my heart.  And as a double bonus, she writes a good blog!
  4. Things I Like to Eat and Other Nonsense is a blog about food, friends, and internal plumbing.  But in a good way.  Here's an example of one of my favorite posts from TILTE:  Life with Endometriosis
  Congrats, fellow bloggers!  Your trophy is in the mail.

Friday, March 2, 2012


I have a confession to make.  Last week, the mailman delivered my neighbor’s magazine to my mailbox.  It was a magazine that I had never heard of, and it had Maya Rudolph on the cover.  Combined with the magazine’s name (Bust), I became intrigued and gingerly cracked it open for a peek.  

Seems innocent enough.
Yes, I read my neighbor’s magazine, front to back.

Truly, I had no intention of going through every single page, but I quickly became fascinated by this smutty magazine.  And smutty it was.  Well, at least to these delicate eyes, it was.  Anything that has a dedicated section called “One Handed Reading” qualifies as smutty in my book.  Others (non-prudes) might call it refreshingly candid.

A couple of observations about this publication.  I get the feeling this is a magazine intended to liberate women, promote equality, and educate the world.  Which explains the unconventional female celeb on the cover.  But Maya Rudolph on the front cover was misleading.  For a brief moment, I wondered if it was a magazine for well-endowed women.  I didn’t know…there are all kinds of magazines out there, and Maya is rather bountiful in that area.  But that didn’t seem her style, and the cover oozed a Marie Claire vibe.  I expected page after page of clothes, shoes, hair, and makeup, with a few racy articles here and there.  What I got instead, was a 4-page article about Christy (I've changed her name to protect her identity) who discovered she had already accomplished 200 out of 300 sexual exploits.  She then proceeded to live out at least 20 more in one weekend with a noncommittal partner.  But not without first practicing by herself at home.

I read it to the very last word, the way a passerby rubbernecks a car accident.   I was strangely compelled to keep turning the page, out of sheer lurid fascination.

My other observation with this magazine was around their target audience.  Who exactly was this magazine trying to attract?  Maya Rudolph on the front cover is clearly in my age bracket.  But the one handed story about a college girl who hooks up with her younger brother’s friend in the backseat of a car couldn't have been meant for my age group, could it?  I mean, that’s the kind of storyline a hormonal 19 year old might dream up.

And then there were the advertisements…o…m…g…  Did you know that there is such a thing as a cup that you can insert inside you to “collect yourself”, so to speak, during that time of the month?  Ummm…eeeuuuuwwww.  So take a moment to imagine the circumstances around when you'd need to use this product.  And now I have two words for you:  cup removal.  It just seems like a bad idea and makes me queasy thinking about it. 

After all this illicit viewing, I had a dilemma: deliver the magazine to my neighbor or throw it in the trash and pretend I never saw it.  Either way, I had to get it out of the house or else risk my 12 year old son finding it.  If I delivered it, I might run into my neighbor.  We'd have to trade embarrassing, knowing looks (ok, I'd be the only one embarrassed).  But if I didn’t return it, I would surely burn in hell.

Cliff hanger.