Monday, October 29, 2012

Getting All Dolled Up For A Good Cause

Last weekend, I performed my civic duty and volunteered at our local Boys and Girls Club Gala fundraising event.  I live near a fairly affluent community, and this event was being held at the Four Seasons Hotel, so I knew I’d need to pull out the big guns if I didn’t want to stand out like the token Latina that I was.

A couple of years earlier, I had volunteered at the same event, so I knew what to expect:  lots of beautiful people walking past me and an occasional patron needing assistance.  It was a loooong four hours back then, standing in 4-inch heels, trying hard to be as extroverted as was humanly possible. 

At the time, because I was not one to make the front page of the society section, I hadn’t had much opportunity to get all fancied up in many years.  And when I put on my heels that night, I realized that I was unable to keep my hosiery’d feet in my shoes while walking.  Moving at anything more than a snail’s pace (or as we like to call it, my mother’s pace) was pretty much impossible  As a result, I remained immobile the entire evening.  By the end of that night, two years ago, I could barely hobble to the car without a variety of blisters screaming out in awkward agony. 

But all’s well that ends well.  I blended in well enough, as long as I didn’t move.

Fast forward to last weekend.  Since the gala two years ago, I had had no other need for impressive evening wear, and was thus unprepared to dress to impress this time around.  So on a hope and a prayer, I ran over to TJ Maxx and forked over $20 for a dress that could easily have been mistaken for $40.  Determined not to have a repeat of two years ago, I made sure I had shoes that would not fall off my feet.  Even though the heels were an inch taller, my lingering summer tan precluded the need for pantyhose.  I was confident I'd be fine.

Unfortunately, in going bare-legged, I hadn’t considered the condition of my legs or the multitude of bruises that decorated them.  So at t-minus 30 minutes, I took a look in the mirror and gasped in horror at my unsightly gams. 

Not to be discouraged, I thought quick, grabbed my handy-dandy under eye concealer and did a quick spot application on no less than 5 bruises. But it turns out legs are a completely different color from faces.  So now I had a lovely set of off-color bruises that were highlighted by pale haloes of beige.  Undeterred, I grabbed my bronzer and began feathering furiously. 

You can imagine.  It.  Didn’t.  Work.

Whatever.  I figured no one would be looking at my legs anyway.   

Final touches complete, just enough time to slip on my shoes and head out the door (actually I was 25 minutes late).  As I bent down to grab a shoe, it struck me why I rarely wear those gorgeous shoes.  Because THEY FALL OFF MY HEELS, that's why, and my mental note to buy heel pads six months earlier had gone unnoticed.

Mental note:  stop relying on mental notes.

So again, I was confronted with the possibility of 4 hours of volunteering in foot-defying shoes (not counting the quarter mile hike to and from the parking lot).  The memory of that painful night two years ago was still fresh in my mind, so, determined not to go through that again, I went in search of a solution.  What I came up with would make Heloise herself proud.

Latex surgical gloves.  One shoved into each heel provided enough cushion and filling to not only keep my heel in place, but to also provide some much needed comfort throughout that long night.

One problem.

My gloves kept trying to escape.  On more than one occasion, I looked down and saw this:

So which is worse...repeatedly walking right out of your shoe in front of a bunch of ridiculously wealthy socialites or having what looks like a prophylactic falling out the back of your shoe?

My shoes stayed on all night.

My photo from the night (not shown:  gray roots, bruised legs, and latex gloves).

Friday, October 26, 2012

Life With Boys

Conversation over homework tonight:

Me:  "Uuugghhh, who did that?  Charley, was that you?"

L (smiling devilishly):  "It was me."

Me:  "L, that was YOU???"

M:  "Eeeuuuuwwwww, I didn't know you could make them that bad."

L (walking by proudly):  "M, you'll be there one day.  I can do them as bad as P now, because I'm growing up."

P (walking in):  "You know what are the worst ones?  The silent but deadlies.  No one can hear them, but they smell the worst.  And they burn.  Mom, am I right?  They burn don't they?"

Me:  "I'm not participating in this conversation."

P:  "That means you know!  I'm telling Dad you've had them!"

Me:  "Still not participating."

A few minutes go by.

L:  "You guys might not want to breath for a while."

Me:  "Really, L?  Go use the bathroom!"

L:  "I don't need to, there's nothing in there.  I feel great, like I could run a marathon.  Well, not run a marathon, but maybe host one."

A few minutes later.

L:  "INCOMING!!!!"

He used to be so sweet, inside and out.

Friday, October 19, 2012

When Good Jack-o-Lanterns Go Bad

When we decided to put out some Halloween decorations last week, we never guessed just how scary it would get.

Is that dryer lint?  No, it's mold.

Seven days in an air conditioned house was no match for the heat wave we experienced last week.  It took these:

Those are some good-looking pumpkins.

And turned them into these:

Nausea and headache aside, this jack-o-lantern is  pure magic.

No doubt, these are the scariest jack-o-lanterns we've ever made.

I wonder what would happen if I put this on P's pillow while he's sleeping.

I considered keeping them in the backyard for a while longer, to enjoy the sheer creepiness of them.  But in transporting them from the patio to the yard, most of my fingers got lost in the spongy-goopiness that had become this poor guy, causing it to collapse in a misshapen, demented heap on the patio floor.

It was pretty cool.

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Internal Filter Has Called It Quits

Today, we were at Panera, enjoying our weekly bagel routine, when I started up a conversation with the boys.*

"Hey guys, I'm reading this book about Jesus, and did you know that many people believe he was born in May, not December?  Apparently, Galilee in December is not when you'd find shepherds out in the pasture, tending their sheep."

So that leads them on a tangent about Jesus and the stories they've heard growing up.

P:  "I remember when you told me about Jesus healing that blind man by spitting in his eye.  I can't believe He actually spit in his eye.  He could've just licked His hand and rubbed the guy's eye."

Me:  "What?!?  I didn't tell you any story about Jesus spitting in anyone's eye.  You're making things up."

P:  "No mom, you told me He spit in his eye."

We went back and forth, P trying to convince me that I told him that, and me trying to convince him that he had selective listening issues.

BH, who apparently had had his fill of religious talk, breaks in.

BH:  "Do you guys have to keep talking about this here?  We're in public, and all people keep hearing you say is 'yes he did spit in his eye' and 'no he didn't spit in his eye.'"

Ok, I guess he had a point.  So we stopped talking about spitting.

A few minutes later, M has a small coughing fit.  He's been gunky lately, getting over a cold.

Me:  "M, do you want to try a nasal rinse today?  I think you might need one."

M (way more excited than he should be):  "Yeah!  I want to do it!"

Me:  "I don't know, maybe you're still too young.  (Turning to L), L how old were you when we started your nasal rinses?"

Again, BH breaks in, with a half-exasperated, half-irritated look on his face.

BH:  "Really?  You're talking talking about nasal rinses now???"

Me (feeling censored):  "Ok, fine, we'll stop talking about that too."

A few more minutes go by, and P holds his lower lip out and calls to me.

P:  "Mom, look you can see my scar, it makes a Y.  And when I smile, you can see a lump.  Do you think it'll ever go away?"

Me:  "I don't think so, it's scar tissue.  It's no big deal, girls will think it's fascinating."

P:  "But why do I have the lump?  Can we go back and get it cut out so that it doesn't show?"

Me:  "Nooo, you'll end up with more scar tissue, and it'll just feel thicker there.  You could also end up with a dent if they cut out too much."

It was just about that time when I realized I had done it again.  Surprisingly, BH never cut in with a glare and a comment.  I'm pretty sure that's because he wanted nothing more to do with us at that point. 

Realizing that I was bordering on the gruesome, I quickly ended the discussion with P and changed the subject to the kids' Christmas lists.

Which I'm pretty sure made everyone in the surrounding booths want to gouge their eyes out.

Making his Christmas list already.

*I say "the boys", because BH runs for the hills whenever anything remotely related to this topic comes up.

Friday, October 12, 2012

PSA: Sites You Should Check Out

What are some of your frequently visited sites?  Blogs don't count.  I'm always up for wasting some time online.  It's my nature.  Believe it or not, I don't spend much of my time reading blogs.  I like to go where the wind takes me.  Usually, it starts with some aol news, and then something catches my eye, and I'm off.  I surface about 45 minutes later, with no idea how I ended up on a vegan website reading about quinoa chocolate chip cookies. 

Oftentimes, my online activities do serve a purpose.  Usually centered around food, health, home, and children, I have some tried and true regulars in my Favorites.  Here are a few that you might find useful one day. 

Aside:  In no way do these sites need help generating traffic.  This is purely a public service to you, my (7) loyal viewers.
  • Houzz - this site is perfect for those who need ideas for designing, decorating or remodeling their home.  I used it to create an idea book after the great flood of 2012.
Before:  a cheap early '70s wet bar

After:  a brand new task area
  • MakeupAlley - this place is like having 2,000 shopaholic cosmetic experts at your disposal.  Look up any cosmetic you can think of.  Tons of people have reviewed them here.
  • MayoClinic - medical sites are a dime a dozen, I know.  But MayoClinic is legit.
  • CommonSenseMedia - I've got this site on speed dial for all our movie watching decisions.  They give recommended viewing age, along with breakdowns on various measures (ie. violence, etc.).  Great tool to help you decide if 6 years old is too young for The Hunger Games.
  • GamerDad - My boys have this site on speed dial for all our video playing decisions.  They know that if GamerDad is ok with it, I probably will be too.
Bonus site:  My Pinterest Page - ok, that was just a shameless plug.  But check it out anyway.  And if you like what you see, follow me.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Reese's Puffs and Snickers

We keep our recyclables in a pile on the counter. When the pile gets too big, we cart it off to the trash can out back.  We do it this way, because we feel it's more aesthetically pleasing than a second giant trashcan sitting in our kitchen.

When I say "we feel" I really mean "BH feels". 

This is all just background to explain why the following picture has so much trash in it.

Now on to today's post.

While making lunch the other day, I looked over at the recyclables pile and something caught my eye.

Hmm.  DJ Name Mixer.  Wonder what that's all about.  So I zoomed in closer.

2 Ways To Create Your Own DJ Name:
1.  Take the street you grew up on and the name of your first pet, then change all the "i's" to "y's"!

I'll stop with this option.  I don't know about the rest of you, but in my day, this DJ Name Mixer game was a little something we liked to call, "What's Your Porn Star Name?"

Let's childhood pet was named Pussycat...and the street that I grew up on was my porn star name is Pussycat Astoria.  Yep, that sounds about right.  It has porn star written all over it.

WHAT were the folks at Reese's Puffs thinking?  Perhaps some young execs thought it would be funny to repackage this game and pitch it to the CEO, never thinking it would actually get approved for production.  And now they're having a good snicker (as in laugh, not the candy bar) whenever they think of all the 10 year olds in America walking around with porn star names.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Meet Your Local Hispanic

I found out last week that we are smack in the middle of National Hispanic Heritage Month.  In honor of this illustrious month, which spans Sep 15 – Oct 15, I’m going to use this forum to do some positive PR and spread the word about the contributions of my peeps.  But first, a word* from our President (1):

Presidential Proclamation -- National Hispanic Heritage Month, 2012

- - - - - - -

Our Nation's story would not be possible without generations of Hispanics who have shaped and strengthened the fabric of our Union. They have enriched every aspect of our national identity with traditions that stretch across centuries and reflect the many ancestries that comprise the Hispanic community. This month, we celebrate this rich heritage and reflect on the invaluable contributions Hispanics have made to America.

Hispanics have helped shape our communities and expand our country, from laboratories and industry to board rooms and classrooms. They have led movements that pushed our country closer to realizing the democratic ideals of America's founding documents, and they have served courageously as members of our Armed Forces to defend those ideals at home and abroad. Hispanics also serve as leaders throughout the public sector, working at the highest levels of our government and serving on our highest courts.

As we celebrate these hard-fought achievements, we must also remember there is more work to be done to widen the circle of opportunity for the Hispanic community and keep the American dream within reach for all who seek it. From promoting job creation and ensuring Hispanics are represented in the Federal workforce to reshaping our education system to meet the demands of the 21st century, my Administration has built ladders of opportunity. The Department of Homeland Security has lifted the shadow of deportation from talented and patriotic young people who were brought to America as children, giving them a degree of relief so they can continue contributing to our society, and we remain steadfast in our pursuit of meaningful legislative immigration reform.

Whether we trace our roots to those who came here on the Mayflower, who settled the Southwest centuries ago, or who joined the American family more recently, we share a common belief in the enduring promise of America -- the promise that regardless of where we come from or what we look like, each of us can make it if we try. During National Hispanic Heritage Month, as we celebrate the successes of the Hispanic community, let us reaffirm our commitment to extending that promise to all Americans.

To honor the achievements of Hispanics in America, the Congress by Public Law 100-402, as amended, has authorized and requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating September 15 through October 15 as "National Hispanic Heritage Month."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 15 through October 15, 2012, as National Hispanic Heritage Month. I call upon public officials, educators, librarians, and all Americans to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.


Wow, that’s the real deal.

If you don’t happen to particularly like or tolerate ethnicities beyond your own, this may not be the post or blog for you.  Feel free to abandon this cart right now.  There are few things that rile me to the bone, and intolerance is one of them.  In this, I flat out refuse to engage, and by that, I mean, inflammatory, insensitive or insulting comments will not find a home on this blog.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s move on to the discussion.

There are some people out there who may challenge some of the President’s assertions, and I’ve come prepared for you.  Following are examples that support President Obama’s claims around Hispanics.

“Our Nation's story would not be possible without generations of Hispanics who have shaped and strengthened the fabric of our Union.”   Have Hispanics really shaped the fabric of our nation?  Yes.  From music and film to politics and finance, we can find plenty of examples of Hispanic influence.  A simple example:  who doesn't love chips and salsa?  I mean, come on.  Hispanic influence is felt everywhere.  Did you know that the lariat twirling and bronco busting you see at rodeos have their roots in early Mexican culture?  And the word “lariat” comes from the Spanish word “la reata”?(2)  It does and they do.

Do you remember those old Saturday morning cartoons about us all being part of the melting pot?  They should bring those back again.  Because we aren’t reminded enough of that.

Hispanics have helped shape our communities and expand our country, from laboratories and industry to board rooms and classrooms .  Are all Hispanics hugely successful businessmen, inventors, and positive societal contributors?  No.  Are all Hispanics illegal, ignorant, and lazy?  Of course not.  Everyone has it in them to be a slacker, just like everyone has it in them to excel.  Here are some examples of Hispanic excellence.

·         Ellen Ochoa (astronaut)
·         Arturo Moreno (owner of the Anaheim Angels)
·         Narciso Rodriguez (fashion designer)
·         Rita Hayworth (actress)
·         Dr. J. Mario Molina (CEO of Molina Healthcare)
·         Jose Gomez (archbishop)
·         Jennifer Lopez (actress, singer)
·         Sara Martinez Tucker (president of Hispanic Scholarship Fund)
·         George Lopez (comedian)
·         Mel Martinez (former Florida senator)

They have served courageously as members of our Armed Forces to defend those ideals at home and abroad.   Do Hispanics have a deep loyalty to this country?  They sure do, and history confirms it.  Hispanics have served in every military conflict to occur since the American Revolution.(3)  Rather than go on about the many Hispanic heroes throughout history, I’ll share with you this:  my grandma saw all five of her sons off to war and was blessed to see them all return home alive.

I have a feeling I’m getting a little long-winded here, so I’ll wrap it up. 

I am half-Mexican, half-Colombian, and all-American. 

I am a first generation daughter who stumbled her way through college applications and student loans and who worked 3 jobs at one time to put herself through college. 

I am also the first in my entire family to graduate college with a Bachelor’s degree, followed by an MBA. 

I have a grandmother who doesn’t speak English, five uncles who raised happy, healthy families, and two parents who loved me enough to risk me hating them as a teenager.  I joke about driving to the hood when I visit on the weekends.  I don’t bat an eye about eating cow stomach lining or tongue, but I do draw the line at cow brains. 

I sing in the car to 96.3 “LA’s only Spanglish Station”, and I’ve memorized the words to my favorite Elvis Crespo songs.  I also love Jamba Juice smoothies, Vampire Weekend, and Bravo trash tv.  I don’t speak Spanish very well, but I know all the bad words. 

I’m as complex as the next person. 

I also happen to be Hispanic.

*I bolded the best parts, for those of you who like to skim.