Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Stranger Danger

The other night, at basketball practice, one of L's friends asked me if he could borrow my phone to call his Dad.  Practice had been cancelled, and he needed a ride home.  Sure, no problem, here's the phone.  So he calls his dad, who tells him to call his sister.  Sister gives him grief, so he tells her he'll find a ride home.  

This 14 year old kid is pretty savvy, and he wasn't concerned about his lack of ride.  He knew we'd give him one, if he was willing to wait an hour and a half.  So we settled down on a bench, M, Sam, and me, watching  L practice ball.

We shared the bench with an older man, who immediately struck up a conversation with us. He was your average grandpa type, waiting for his grandson to finish practice.  Because Sam sat between the grandpa and me, he bore the brunt of the conversation with this talkative gent.  I felt a little bad for the kid, but better him than me.

Turns out this old guy, who is friends with the neighborhood crossing guard, recognized Sam from his time hanging out with the crossing guard.  The polite chit chat becomes more animated as Sam recognizes him too.  Grandpa asks Sam his name.  

Of course, from the moment the conversation began, I'm thinking to myself, "what's this weirdo doing talking to Sam?  Doesn't he know that's a no-no?  And now he's asking him for his name?"

I may be a little paranoid.  I'm not sure.

So of course, dumb kid that he is, Sam gives him his name.  Well surprise, surprise, grandpa's name is Sam too!  This is great!

At this point, I'm no longer watching L play basketball.  My eyes may be directed at the court, but my ears are all on the conversation going on next to me.

That's when I hear, "well I can give you a ride home, we're leaving right now."

"Ok, thanks." says Sam.

Are you freaking kidding me?

So now I'm on high alert, all the worst case scenarios running through my head.  

Think, NW, think, I tell myself.  How can I keep this from happening without totally giving it away that I'm completely freaked out.  This cannot be unfolding right in front of me.

"Sam, L's Dad is going to be here any minute," I interrupt.  "I can take you home then."  It's the best I could come up with.

But Grandpa is already heading out and says, "You coming?"

Sam gets up and begins to walk away.

That's when I stop him and say, "Sam, are you ok with this?"


So I let him go.

Here are the thoughts that rolled through my head as I watched them walk the entire way across the field to the car:

  • Sam's fourteen years old, 5 feet tall, and sturdily built.
  • Grandson is with them and will probably remain with them as they drop off Sam.
  • Grandpa isn't exactly abducting him.  I mean, I would be a key witness...
  • He's not my child.  I can't force him to stay.

What would you have done?

After practice, I told BH about the whole incident.  We are of the same mind about child safety, so he was as floored as I was at Sam's judgement (the jury's still out on MY judgement).  Which, of course, made us think of P and his often questionable judgement.  


I gave myself a few days to calm down before I approached P about Sam and what happened at practice.  P knew exactly who the old man was, also because of seeing him with the crossing guard. (I gotta tell you, that in itself, is kind of creepy to me).  The crazy part is that P also thought Sam would be fine, because they all recognize this man.  What the heck???

That led to a discussion about what he should do if he's ever stranded somewhere.  Which then led to a talk about criminals sometimes being people you know or think you can trust.  I made him promise he would never, EVER, take a ride from someone without first checking with us.  Even if they say we said it was ok.

P thought I was being rather ridiculous, and he started teasing me about all the different types of people he could and could not get a ride from.  In the end, he agreed to the promise.

If I survive my boys' childhoods, it will be a miracle.

Monday, March 25, 2013

No Post Today

I cut my finger while making dinner last night.  Actually I cut 3 fingers.  By the amount of blood, you'd think I had lost an arm.  It's really nothing more than a little slice, but I can't type very well right now and I hane no backup posts to fill the slot.

My priorities firmly in place, I braved the blood to grab my camera and get a few pictures for an upcoming post.

Pray that I don't contract gangrene.

Monday, March 18, 2013

You Call It The Thrift Store, I Call It The Weedy-Weedy

I like to shop.  

I'm also a tightwad.

These two traits of mine often leave me conflicted.  

I can't remember the last time I paid more than $15 for a shirt or $19.99 for a pair of pants. This probably explains why my wardrobe is  My outfit choices range from downright dowdy to eyebrow raising flashy.  There is no in-between when it comes to the clearance section at Marshalls.

But I luuuuv finding good deals.  Something about being able to say, "Don't you love my sweater, it was only 12 bucks!" gives the the tingles.  This tendency towards prideful frugality seems to be genetic, a trait passed exclusively in xx chromosomes of my family line.  It has clearly skipped the men of my family, who think nothing of spending $15 on a single pair of tube socks (I'm talking about you, Chris, and your Thorlo's).

Not sure if it is because we grew up broke or because we grew up Mexican, but thrift stores have been a part of my life for a very long time.  If you're familiar with thrift shopping, you'll know what I'm talking about when I speak of the thrift shop "smell" that meets your nostrils the moment your foot crosses the threshold.  Last week, I was met with that familiar smell, and for the first time in my life, I thought, "ahhh, the stinky smell of my childhood."  It actually conjured a familiar, happy sensation.

How gross is that?

Anyway, last week, I decided I was going to hit the local shop and see if there were any treasures to be unearthed at the local Goodwill.  And I.  Hit.  Pay.  Dirt.

No joke, for a mere $11.93, I brought home all these treasures.
Can't wait till it warms up enough to wear this.
Who doesn't need a good thermal shirt?
This has beach camping written all over it.
A Free People shirt!  For 99 cents!
You can never have too many unique tees.
Ugly on the hanger, but super cute on.
Halloween is only 8 months away.  This dress screams Peter Pan.
Kids tap shoes?  Remember the part about how I love to shop?  Lucky for me I'm a tightwad.  Only 4 bucks!
The downside of thrift store shopping is that your sense of good taste can go downhill fairly quickly.  Kids' size 3 tap shoes?  Who on earth am I buying these for?  My 3 boys?  Not really.

Take this chair for example.  I love it in the same way a momma loves her ugly baby.  I see the beauty in it.
What's not to love?  This chair is GORGEOUS.
I got it at a thrift store in Santa Barbara.  My mom and I were taking advantage of my sister being under the knife to go hit a shop before she woke up.

Side note:  mom's are notorious for getting you to buy something you wouldn't normally buy for yourself.

I fell in love with the price tag on this chair ($4) probably before I even fell in love with the chair itself.  How could I resist?

Only after returning home, with a new chair in the back of the minivan, did I doubt my purchase.  I think the moment hit me precisely as I was unveiling my glorious find to BH.  For this is what he saw:
Vinyl covering, cheap finish, uncomfortable seat.
The look on his face said it all.  I believe he might've said something about a waste of money.  That's ok, I still love my chair with the good bones.  And BH is now banned from sitting on my chair.  Forever.

You know those people who have beautiful homes that are tastefully decorated with the perfect combination of modern and vintage?  Ours is not one of those homes. 

And you know those women who are always put together with amazing vintage tops paired with perfectly cut trousers?  I'm not one of those women either.

Ours is the house with the ugly thrift store chair I won't let go of and I am the lady at the grocery store with the thrift store tag she forgot to tear off. But it works me and mine.  

So if you happen to also be a tightwad who likes to shop, your local thrift store (or La Segunda, if you're hispanic (or the weedy-weedy, if you're hispanic and grew up in Oxnard)) might be the past time for you.  These places are a delicious, acquired taste.  You should get out there and try one some day.  

Just stay away from mine.

Friday, March 15, 2013

What's the Opposite of a Pinterest Fail?

A Pinterest Success!

I never thought I'd see the day where a Pinterest idea actually panned out.

I've had my share of pinterest fails, and my faith was fairly shaken.  Hairstyles, makeup techniques, crafts, recipes...they all resulted in disaster.

But not this time.

So here's the backstory.  My niece, G, and I were goofing off one day, trying on my mom's red lipstick (yes, even at 42, I still play with makeup), when I decided to go for a retro look to accompany the lipstick.

The end result on me, was horrible. I believe the term my sister used to describe it was "transvestite."

But for G, it ended up a total success.  I recalled a look I had seen on Pinterest and convinced her to let me try it out on her.  I can't find the pin anymore to show you what it was supposed to look like, but here's what I made of it:
Gotta love teenagers and their fingernails.

Not bad for a rubber band and two bobby pins.

I'm available for weddings.

Nice photobomb, Charley.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Teaching Art Part 5: The African-American Legacy

This is one of my favorite projects with L, who was 6 at the time.  It was easy for him to follow, and something about pastel crayons makes even mistakes looked great.

Here's an excerpt from the handout we received:
Lois Mailou Jones was an American artist whose paintings were inspired by ancient African images.  Using brilliant colors and bold shapes, she created modern art with ancient signs and symbols.

This art project was perfect for the first grade crowd.  With a little direction on the cutting, the kids were free to create their own African-inspired motifs.

Here's the sample I created:
Ho hum.

L, while looking over my shoulder just now: "My picture looks better than yours."

It does.

L's masterpiece.  Way better.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Still Strapped, Still In Love

Last month marked the 21 year anniversary of our first kiss.

We've officially crossed the "we've been together half our lives" mark.  From this point on, we can say we've been together longer than we've been apart.  That blows me away.  Mostly, because I can't believe I'm that old.  But also because I feel like we've only been together maybe 10 years, max.

In both cases, how I feel inside doesn't match up with the sheer volume of years that is our anniversary.  I suppose for some people, twenty years may feel more like 40, but for me, it's the other way around.  So we decided to piece together a timeline, from that first kiss 21 years ago, to now. 

Our goal was to remember something...anything... about each year we've been together.  It didn't have to be anything major, the exercise was designed to prove to ourselves that we've got 20+ years of memories together.

Here's what we came up with

1992 - First kiss at the The Cowboy Boogie. Yes, this great romance has it's beginnings in a seedy country western bar.
1993 - Engaged!  And shacking up.
1994 - "I do."
Weak in the knees.

1995 - First career job; so excited to be making $26k.
1996 - Back to school.
1997 - BH's mom passes away.
Forever grateful to this lady.

1998 - MBA.
Notice that twinkle in his eye?  See 1999.

1999 - Our first bundle of joy!
To say, "your lives will change forever" is an understatement.

2000 - Our first home.
2001 - Cancer scare.

When the doctor puts his hand on your knee, you know it's serious.  Either that or he's a perv.

No evidence for malignancy!  All three times!!!

2002 - Our second bundle of joy.
Hello, my little gift.

2003 - Discover L's food allergies:  milk, egg, peanut, and soy.
This was the last time he had a real baked treat for 6 years.

2004 - Children's Hospital of Orange County; add asthma to the list.
2005 - Guess who's not done making babies?  Me!
There's a bun in that oven.
2006 - Our third bundle of joy!
Our family is complete.

2007 - New home; new schools, new community.
2008 - First family camping trip.
2009 - BH's surprise birthday party.
2010 - Charley.
Let it be known that if I have a bad picture of you, it will make its way into my blog.  Not even pets are safe.

2011 - Our little friend, Thomas, loses his fight with cancer.
One brave kid.

2012 - Best camping spot EVER.
San Simeon, CA
2013 - And here we are, 21 years later.

That's it, 21 years of memories.  For sure, there are way more than that, but those were the first that came to mind for each year.  After going through them, BH had a moment of silence over how mundane our life appears on paper.  No fancy trips, no amazing stories.

"Still strapped," he said.

"And still in love," I replied.