Monday, September 24, 2012

Corona del Mar State Beach, August 2012

Tucked between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach in lovely ol' Orange County is Corona del Mar State Beach.  This beach is a personal fave of BH's; it's the beach of his childhood, and he has many happy memories here.

The waves are fairly mild, and the rocky shoreline makes for lots of tide pools.  Corona del Mar is the perfect family beach. 

Parking can be a nightmare, but that works in this smallish beach's favor.  It never feels too crowded down at the water.

And if you own a pair of these:

You can climb all over these:

And get more great pictures, like these:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Vintage Revivals Fail

A few months back, I saw this project on Vintage Revivals:

Most of the time, I know better than to attempt ANYTHING I see online.  But this project seemed ridiculously easy.  I mean, really easy.

So, I started collecting my supplies.  Paint and glaze and brushes were easy enough to buy at the store.  What took a while was finding this:

I needed a picture with enough texture to show through multiple layers of paint and glaze.  I crossed my fingers and hoped this painting had enough of a profile to make my project a success.

It didn't.

Or maybe it's just that I stink at this whole acrylic glazing thing.

What I had hoped would look something like this:

Ended up looking like this:

Ummm.  Yeah.

If I stand really close and stare at it for a long time, I actually begin to like it.  And after a few minutes of staring, I start to think it's rather brilliant.  But then I blink, and we're right back to first impression.

BH was napping when I finished, and in his bleary-eyed state, he was very complimentary.  After he woke up completely (and I had admitted that it was pretty bad), he felt more comfortable telling me it had a distinct Edgar Allen Poe vibe to it.

I'll take that as a compliment.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Random Photo Series: Birthday Clown

This is what happens when your ten year old son volunteers to be the clown at his 8 year old brother's birthday party.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Yard Saling 101

Or, How To Throw a Yard Sale and Not Care That You Only Made $14.

1.  Start Planning Up to a Year in Advance.  The day following your last sale is a perfect time to start planning for the next one.  Something didn't sell this time?  No problem, next year brings a whole new clientele.  Case in point:  last year I made $36 at the annual sale.  This year:  $215.  Half of this year's inventory was 2/3 of last year's inventory.

2.  Nothing is Below "Yard Sale Quality".  When it comes to salable inventory, EVERYTHING is fair game.  Fruit you picked off your tree, used cosmetics, heck, even used underwear have been known to sell.  Part of the fun of the sale is in discovering that your junk truly is someone else's treasure.

That's a lot of junk.
3.  Make it a Multi-Family Sale.   When it comes to yard sales, the more the better.  I'll let you in on a little secret:  adding "Multi-Family" in front of the words"Yard Sale" ups the value in a true shopper's eyes.  Nothing's better than hitting 5 sales on the same street, unless they're all on the same lawn.  Multi-family sales are like Mecca to the hard core sale shopper.

4.  Put an Ad in the Local Newspaper.  And also post online.  This is a must, the make or break move of any successful yard sale.  Serious shoppers pull out the ads and start planning their shopping strategy the night (or even the week) before the big day.  Don't rely on signs alone.

5.  Have Donuts.  Nuff said.

Nom, nom, nom.

6.  Get Started Before Daylight.  If you've done your due diligence, you will have shoppers arriving the minute the sun comes up.  Every visitor is an opportunity to earn a buck (or 25 cents), so don't turn them away because you were too lazy to get your butt out of bed.

7.  Know Your Customer and Price Your Product Appropriately.  Put your pride aside and accept that you WILL be getting $2 for the Banana Republic cardigan that cost you $58.  Now is not the time to be haughty.  You want $10 for that $80 Ann Taylor dress?  Try ebay.

THIS is your target audience.

7.  Include a BBQ.  Haggling with tightwads who wrinkle their noses at $1 for a vintage set of hot rollers will work up an appetite.  This is where the beauty of the multi-family sale comes into play.  Arrange for everyone to join in on the potluck.  I guarantee you, the food will taste delicious, even if it's just hot dogs and sodas.  Something about haggling with a steady stream of just makes you hungry.  If you can swing tri tip and potato salad, even better.

8.  DO NOT Spend All Your Earnings Buying Junk Off Your Friends and Family.  This is the one drawback of multi-family sales, and I myself am guilty of not following this rule.  Case in point:  I have this cousin, I'll call her Harmonica, who likes to shop.  Harmonica likes to shop A LOT.  At expensive stores.  As a result, every year, I can count on finding some plum apparel at rock bottom prices.  This is my downfall.

Just $1.  I couldn't resist.  And that's how it happens.

That's it.  8 easy steps.  If the yard sale gods are with you, you'll not only have a good time, you'll also make a wad of ones to rival your local Denny's server at closing time.

Bank roll.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Arachno-Urinal Phobia

Question:  Have you ever had an irrational fear of spiders creeping up out of the toilet and biting you where the sun don't shine?  Come on, there has to be at least one of you out there.

Well, I, for one, have had such irrational thoughts.  Stemming from a childhood full of dead spiders in the toilet, my inborn fear of spiders was fueled by the sight of them staring up at me from their watery graves.  As a kid, I would imagine that these spiders were faking their deaths, only to exact vengeance on us at our most vulnerable moment.  To this day, if I am greeted with a squished spider floating legs up in the toilet, my first instinct is to flush that sucker away.

But I'm a grown up now, I realize that spiders are our friends, they provide a valuable service, and they are not out to get us.

Or so I had convinced myself until I found this hiding in the toilet last night.

Gasp.  That toilet is DISGUSTING.

 True Story.  Here's how it goes:

Right around bed time, P walks up to me and says, "Oh Mom, I forgot to tell you there's a spider in the toilet, and it won't flush, so I'm not using that bathroom anymore until you get rid of it."

No big deal, I think.  I can keep flushing longer than that spider can hold its breath.  So we head upstairs, and P proceeds to show me this:

A spider.  Hiding under the toilet seat.

How he managed to spot this spider in the first place is something I don't want to contemplate.

Truly, this picture does not do it justice.  The SPIDER was RED and BIG...a combination I find very unsettling in a toilet.  Tucked just under the rim, this guy was lurking in very close striking distance to a number of valuable body parts.  I tried to take a better picture, but my camera just wasn't feeling it that day.  All I succeeded in doing was snapping a gag-inducing image of our toilet.

Is that yellow I see?  I'm so embarrassed.

I can't express to you enough the horror and dismay I felt at discovering that my childhood and lifelong fear was, in fact, coming true.

But now was not the time to cower in fear.  P came to ME to get rid of it.  What kind of protector would I be if I, too, decided to throw up my hands in defeat and simply stop using that bathroom?  So, armed with an empty toilet roll, I attempted to swat at the spider while P watched and gave words of encouragement.

After Mr. Spider laughed his little spider laugh at my toilet roll, I upgraded my weapon to a birthday card envelope.  I was met with moderate success, but had to stop, after losing my grip on the envelope and accidentally plugging the toilet. 

After much consideration (and some vigorous plunging), I got out the toilet scrubber, applied some good old elbow grease, and gained the upper hand.  That's when things got scary.  Mr. Spider Put. Up. A. Fight.  Like, the kind of fight that gives you bad dreams.  I mean, this spider brought out the big guns:  scrambling, hiding, playing dead, the whole nine yards.

But it was the webs that creeped me out the most.  Mr. Spider started shooting like he was Peter Parker fighting off Lizard Man (wait, that makes me Lizard Man).  At one point, I thought he was going to web me, reverse repel, and perform a counter-attack all over my scared self.  However, being the larger and marginally more intelligent creature of the two, I prevailed, and Mr. Spider was ultimately flushed down the toilet. 


So, after facing my fear, am I feeling liberated, strong, and fearless?  Heck no.  Do you remember the part about a big, red spider lurking in the toilet rim? 

A spider who fought back and has provided me with a healthy dose of nightmare material for years to come?

A spider who probably left behind thousands of relatives who are, right at this very moment, seeking to avenge his death?

I'm afraid.  You should be afraid.  We should all be afraid.

Still not afraid?  Well then feast your eyes on this:

Monday, September 3, 2012

My Love For Captain EO Cannot Be Denied

Summer of 2012 was good to the Number Whisperer family.  Despite being broke about 90% of the time ("No, Mom, not beans again!"), we managed to make the most of two camping trips and one Priceline negotia-AYY-tored trip to the happiest place on earth. And by happiest place on earth, I mean the Hyatt Regency in Irvine, CA, which is 15 minutes south of Disneyland, the other happiest place on earth.

Priceline must've been feeling generous (or maybe it was because I was shopping at 11pm the night before arrival), because they upgraded us to a 4-star hotel for less than a hundred bucks.  Yay, Priceline!

But this post isn't about Priceline, it's about Disneyland.  We arrived at Downtown Disney shortly before opening and lasted almost until closing.  But because the lines were so short AND we had already been on Indiana Jones 4 times AND my legs were screaming "Deep Vein Thrombosis", we cut out an hour early.

I'll try not to bore you with tons of boring Disneyland photos; I can appreciate how boring vacation photos can be.  Who am I kidding?  Prepare to be bored.

That's my BH.

A ghost hitched a ride with us in the Haunted Mansion.

Jason Isaacs, eat your heart out.

Gotta have my Small World fix.

Don't EVER look them in the eyes.

When kids are done, they're done.

My view on most of the rides.

A kid can dream.

Less than thrilled to be going on It's a Small World.

This view never gets old.

Highlight of the day HAD to have been the Captain EO tribute.  And by tribute, Disneyland really just means, "we're playing it again for all you 40 year olds who have a latent affinity for 80's Michael Jackson, Angelica Houston, and pop-locking backup dancers."  I happen to fit that bill, as was evident by my squeal of joy when the camera panned up on Michael J in his first shot.

Just so you know, I wasn't the only one feeling the love.

I have no idea why I like this show so much or how I remember all the nuances of his head flicks, his backup dancers' stomping legs, and his pop-lockers' arm movements.  But I do.  When we left the show, I was still flying high.  I turned to BH and shared some my favorite moments, along with an "interpretive" rendition of those movements.

Apparently, he had never seen anyone so accurately imitate Captain EO's (or his dancers') moves before.  It was very eye opening for him.  And perhaps a little embarrassing. 

The youtube videos don't do it justice, and I can't bear the thought of someone dismissing Captain EO based on a youtube viewing.  All I can say is Go See It Now.

A trip of mine would not be complete with some sort of embarrassing moment.  San Simeon consisted of a face plant while climbing out from the tent.  El Capitan included a butt slide down a hill.

Disneyland was not quite so slapstick.  Instead it involved a bird, my person, and a monorail full of onlookers.  Yes, I got nailed with bird poop.  Thick, gooey, multi-colored bird poop.  Right as I was boarding the monorail.

Fortunately, the conductors had lots of tissue and disinfectant around, and they held the departure while I cleaned myself up.  I think I would've preferred they send the carriage on it's way, rather than have everyone watch me clean bird turd off me.  But I took it in stride.  I'm used to it by now.

Despite the bird poop, it was worth the $62,000 we shelled out for tickets.  Ok, it was a bit less than that.  But we're already saving up for our return trip planned for the year 2032.