Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'd like to have an original thought in 2010

Wow - could it be the last time I posted was just after Halloween? Some of you might think I had nothing to say, others may figure I was too busy working and then there are those who will deduce that I was too busy stuffing my face with holiday candy. Well, you would all be right, except for those that thought I had nothing to say, and that other group of you who thought I was working.

I have many wishes for the New Year (Brad Pitt, will you shave off that beard already) and among them is the yearning to be more creative and productive, including where this blog is concerned. I'm not sure where this creativity and productivity is going to come from, although I hear I might be able to find some at Abercrombie on the sale rack in the back next to the hoodies and patchouli body spray. Also, one of my Facebook friends swears I could find it on Farmville.

I'd like to leave you with some videos of my kids, because their creativity astounds me. I asked them to make their presents for Rigel this year, instead of what we usually do for every occasion that requires gifts - buy him a shirt and an iTunes card and let him take us all out to a nice, expensive dinner. Kira decided to write a song (based on Taylor Swift's SNL 'Monologue Song') that she performed for him on Christmas morning, and Kiyomi chose to make a video about the forming of his band, Nine2Midnight.

(To those that have already seen these, I apologize - I promise to get over to Abercrombie asap.)

Happy New Year to all of you!

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Now this is scary

Here it is, a mere ten days before Thanksgiving and I'm doing a post about Halloween. That means I'll get around to writing about Thanksgiving sometime around Christmas Eve, and then my Christmas post will go up sometime in June, 2010. Luckily you all come here for my excellent stock market tips and not for my punctuality.

As you know, I hate Halloween. I announced it on Facebook, Twittered it and yelled it at passing cars and then it found a way to come back and punish me for my curmudgeonly ways. Not only did I have to spend an eternity (and around five paychecks) getting all the pieces together for Kira's Fran Drescher costume (Kiyomi's was easy, an off-the-shelf McDonald's cup - score!), I somehow found myself hosting a Halloween party for the girls and their friends. It was torture, I tell you, kind of like a vegetarian having to host a steak cook-off or an atheist having to help throw a Christmas party. Oh wait - Rigel does that for me every year! No wonder he's so cranky around the holidays.

As usual, everything was saved for the very last minute. Those pumpkins up there were all carved the afternoon of the 31st and I was buying candy and party food at around 4pm. That meant only the really expensive candy was left - I really hate paying $65 for a bag of mini Prada chocolates. Also, that kind of frenzy leads to impulse buys, which is the reason I came home with goodie bags shaped like skulls, packs of tissue printed with candy corn, small bottles of bubbles with Frankenstein on them and cupcakes decorated with eyeballs. Here, in case you don't believe me:

Take a look at the food spread - I think I did pretty good for someone who hates Halloween. This photo was taken about an hour into the party, after four of the six pizzas we ordered were gone. Shocking, but those teenagers didn't like the strips of red pepper and sliced cucumbers I labored over! Those cupcakes were baked by Kira's friend, Sarah - after she brought hers over I was too embarrassed to put out my store-bought monstrosities with the eyeballs.

Just because I'm such a stick-in-the-mud, though, doesn't mean the rest of the family is. Here's some decorations that Rigel and the girls put up. Also note the 'Spells' table that Kiyomi worked so hard on - those are bottles of 'Invigoration Draught' and 'Love Potion.' In case you're wondering, that skull belonged to a kid from last Halloween who took TWO Laffy Taffies instead of ONE like I told him to.

Okay, I hate to admit - I actually had fun, and if it weren't for the exhausting costume prep I would probably have a much more cheery view of Halloween. So I told the girls that next year they have to come up with something that requires absolutely no buying, or ordering, or alterations, or hovering over wig displays. In other words, they'll be going as the half-Asian, teen and tween daughters of a mom who used to hate Halloween. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Geek Alert: My Five Favorite Gadgets

Disclaimer: Just to be upfront and abide by FTC guidelines for bloggers and all the free merchandise we're hoarding, I want to state that none of the products mentioned below were gifts, but were purchased by either me or Rigel with money originally earmarked for our children's college fund. Well, in the interest of full disclosure I should divulge that I bought the alarm clock with a few dollars I 'borrowed' from Kiyomi's piggy bank, because when you think about it how much cash does an 11-year-old need to keep on hand? Also, none of the companies mentioned have contacted me or exerted any influence over the content of this post, although if Apple wants to send me a new laptop I would gladly give the iPhone a couple more paragraphs, or tattoo their logo on my neck or rename my kids iPod and Mac.

1) iPhone - Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think they'd invent something that could make phone calls, retrieve my email, help me find my way around Disneyland and pick out a restaurant for lunch. Now Rigel is free to do other things, like help me look for my keys.

My favorites apps are Shazam, Tweetie, Flashlight, Recorder and Facebook. Like most iPhone users, I like to bore everyone to tears by showing them all the great features on my phone. Trust me - nothing brings a dinner party to a screeching halt like whipping out your iPhone and telling everyone you're going to use it to guess everyone's weight.

2) Garmin GPS - I never leave home without this. I've been known to get lost backing out of my driveway, so having a little box on my dashboard telling me to, "Exit right, then turn left," in a British accent is a dream come true. Actually, the dream come true would be if I was sitting in the back seat and someone with a British accent was driving me around, but that was an extra $49.95 a month.

But my favorite part about Garmin is how I can punch in 'STARBUCKS' and it leads me straight to my double-tall-nonfat-semi-dry-cappuccino. Before, Rigel and I would pull off the freeway in some unfamiliar town and then spend hours searching everywhere for our caffeine fix. Now when we go on road trips, instead of looking for coffee we can spend our time bickering like most normal couples do.

3) Canon Rebel - This is the first digital SLR I've owned, and not only does it take great pictures it makes me look like I know what I'm doing when I'm clicking that shutter. You may have even mistaken me for a real journalist at events, pushing my way to the front of the crowd yelling things like, "Media!" and "Over here, Octomom!" I really hate it when some know-it-all gets off by pointing out that I still have my lens cap on, though.

But with so many dials and buttons it's definitely trickier to use than my old point n' shoot. Someone suggested to me the other day that I should read the manual, and I was about to give them a piece of my mind but then they told me they were just joking.

4) Keurig Single-Cup Coffee Maker - I have to admit that part of my motivation for buying this was that it was one of the only coffee-making devices I didn't already own. With a drip coffee maker, an espresso machine, a French press and a couple of stove-top espresso pots to my name I guess I unwittingly became one of those crazy collecting people! Next thing you know I'll be wearing a big sweatshirt with 'I ♥ Java' appliqued on it and getting together with other coffee-maker-collectors over at the rec center on Friday nights.

We've stopped buying the individual pods, though, in favor of filling up the optional filter basket with coffee - not only were the pods expensive, but the thought of several landfills being overrun with millions of small, plastic cups with our names on it gave us pause. Now I can sleep at night knowing that my carbon footprint will consist of only several hundred thousand metric tons of used coffee grounds.

5) $6 Target Alarm Clock - I don't have an alarm clock so this unassuming appliance actually sits on Rigel's nightstand, but it's truly the most vital device in our home. Without it, no one would ever get anywhere on time because we all depend on Rigel to wake us all up in the morning, and it's this trusty alarm clock that wakes him up. Sure we could all stop being so lazy, get our own alarm clocks and get ourselves out of bed, but what fun would there be in that?

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Hey look, it's bunnies and glitter!

Last week was a rough one, with all the middle-school insanity and heapings of grief from the internet and I thought there was no way I was going to be able put on my smile pants to talk about bunnies and glitter. But I decided to take a cue from my friend and colleague Tracey and write about something happy here, just to change it up a bit. Take that, haters!

Rigel and I went to a wedding this weekend of one of my oldest and best friends, Melinda. I've known Melinda since one of my very first jobs at a design studio, and even though we float in and out of each others lives I don't feel we're ever far apart. I loved that fact that even on the day of her wedding we were exchanging Facebook messages about the hair-pulling experience that is parenting teens, and also how she perfectly conveyed the excitement!!! and the nervousness!!! of the wedding day!!! with all her exclamation points. In fact, she's got me thinking the key to positive thinking is all in the punctuation.

At the very last minute our babysitting plans fell through and we ended up bringing Kira and Kiyomi with us, and I'm glad we did because it was such a beautiful and touching ceremony and I was happy my girls were there to see it. With all the negativity they're exposed to in this world, I was grateful to have them there to witness something as powerful as the marriage of two people truly in love, and all the support they received from all of their friends and family in the room. (In fact, Kira gave it her best endorsement ever; we dropped her off at her friend's party afterward and when she got home she said, "I had a way better time at the wedding.")

It was a lovely ending to kind of a crappy week, and I felt lifted to be there with the man I love, our amazing kids and good friends. In other words, smile pants - prepare to be worn.

Oh, and another great ending to my week - Kiyomi tried to scare me with this last night:

But ha - the joke's on her! I knew it wasn't real because it didn't even move when I started screaming and trying to smash it with the hair dryer.

Have a great week everyone!!!!!!!!! Bunnies and glitter for everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

If you've got a camera, a pen and an email address this is your lucky day

DEADLINE EXTENDED! You now have until 11:59pm on Wednesday, October 28 to submit your entries!

First the good news: I'm giving away 4 VIP Passes to Disneyland's Holiday Celebration. This includes a party and all sorts of VIP goodness.

Now the bad news: You'll have to hang out with me all day.

But more good news: It's easy to enter - just take a photo, write a paragraph and email it to me. But hurry - I need your entries by Monday, October 26.

Read all the details and enter here.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

I interviewed Jennifer Love Hewitt in my pajamas

I interviewed Jennifer Love Hewitt for the new issue of Genlux magazine. We were supposed to meet for lunch one day last month, but after going back and forth with her publicist for a few days and trying to fit it into Jennifer's crowded schedule, it was decided that it would be easier to do the interview over the phone. I actually like it better this way, since it doesn't require me to brush my hair, or put on clothes or any of those other time-wasting, totally unnecessary tasks. Also, there's no chance of me pulling my iPhone out of my purse during an interview and finding a granola bar stuck to it, or getting the urge to wrap up all of Mischa Barton's shrimp dumplings and take them home with me because she hadn't touched any of them.

So while it would have been nice to hang out with J-Love in a fancy restaurant and sip some wine while we chatted over a nice bread basket and a plate of expensive cheese, I got to interview her from the comfort of my own home. While wearing my pajamas. With unbrushed hair. If that image doesn't just scream 'professional journalist' I don't know what does.

I interviewed her while she was on the set of the Ghost Whisperer and she was as nice as you would imagine her to be; she started of by apologizing for not being able to meet in person and thanked me for working around her schedule. In turn I think I said something crazy like, "It's better this way because then I won't try and wrap up your dumplings." In a related story, I don't understand why I'm not getting more paying jobs.

My favorite part of the interview was when, after rattling off some of her favorite designers (Marc Jacobs, Narisco Rodriguez, Christian Louboutin) she admitted that lately she's being doing most of her shopping at...Forever 21. At that moment I thought, 'Now here's a girl I can hang out with!' I wonder if she ever goes anywhere without brushing her hair. Probably not.

You can read the entire article here. Try not to spoil it by imagining me in my pajamas.
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hey Look - a Giveaway! Disney Interactive Party: I Came, I Saw, I Brought Home Gift Bags

I'm giving away a Disney Interactive Studios swag bag filled with some cool stuff. Head on over to my reviews blog, Views From The Pants, and leave a comment. You can also enter by leaving a comment on the Sweatpantsmom Facebook fan page. Alternately, you can come to my house and bring me some cookies, and that will count as an entry as well. JUST KIDDING ABOUT THAT LAST ONE. I'll only do that for brownies.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

She's With The Band, Part I: Beg and Ye Shall Receive

On Sunday Rigel took Kira to a concert, something that's become part of a regular routine. It always starts off the same way - She sits down at her computer, lets out a piercing scream because one of her favorite bands has posted their tour dates, immediately IMs and texts two hundred of her closest friends and then spends the next few weeks begging and pleading for one of us to take her to the concert. Most of the time it's Rigel she grovels to the most since she knows he usually can't resist getting out to see live music anyway, the same way she knows she can get me to take her to Target if she tells me they're having a two-for-one sale on beef jerky.

(Although I did take her to this a couple of weekends ago, an event that proved to be so traumatic for me that I haven't been able to write about it yet, the event that resulted in Kira proclaiming that day "The best freakin' day of my entire life" while at the same time made me wonder if I was fit to be a parent. Trust me - you'd feel the same way if you just let your 13-year-old loose in a room with a bunch of drunk twenty-somethings squirting paint on each other's nipples.)

There was no way in hell my parents would ever have taken me to a concert when I was a teenager. Of course, I was the youngest of five kids, so by the time I came along I'm surprised they even had the energy to feed me, let alone schlep me to a concert. I do remember winning a pair of KISS tickets on the radio when I was 14 and my dad, who was usually so protective, dropped me and friend off at Anaheim stadium to fend for ourselves, paying no attention to the legions of potentially dangerous adult men walking around wearing full face makeup and thigh-high boots.

The concert this weekend was a pretty tame event, an indie rocker named Ladyhawke that Kira likes. She was playing a free gig in front of the Urban Outfitters store across from Amoeba Records on Sunset Boulevard. It really was the ultimate afternoon for Kira - a concert with one of her favorite artists, coupled with the prospect of shopping at two of her favorite stores. Live music, vintage vinyl and spandex leggings all in the same day - the only way it could have gotten any better is if there was a mosh pit made up entirely of the cast from Gossip Girl.

As is typical with Kira she got to meet Ladyhawke herself, having positioned herself at just the right spot in front of a stage door. She has a knack for that, and I'm starting to think that her ability to push herself to the front of any stage, or talk a photographer into letting her slip into a restricted area of a club may be a skill that will get her far in life, or at least maybe get her mom a spot at the front of the crowd at the next Barneys sale.

But really, we're grateful she's found something she's so passionate about and we're happy to support it. She's a good kid, a straight-A student and she doesn't ask for much else. And besides, we tell ourselves there are worse things she could be dragging us to, like an ultimate cage fighting event or heaven forbid - a KISS concert.

Oh, but don't just take my word for it - go read Kira's version of her day at her blog, Metronome (Didn't you just figure that my kid would have her own blog?)

Up Next:
She's With The Band, Part II: What's a nice girl like Kira doing at a club called The Smell?

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Here Is A Story About a Trapped Penis

I hadn't posted for awhile and was working on something to put up today, but then I came across this little gem and knew that you'd much rather read about a trapped penis than any stories about my sub-par parenting. Personally, I'd rather read about a trapped penis than just about anything else in this world.

So the story is that the Fire Department Urban Search and Rescue team in Costa Mesa, CA responded to a call of a 'trapped penis.' What went through their minds when they got that call? A couple stuck together in an overzealous embrace? Jon Gosselin locked in a cage?

What they found was a man who, in an attempt to increase the size of his penis, had placed it through a "hole of a steel, ring-shaped dumbbell weight fastener," according to a local news report. I guess he figured if he could just teach his penis to do 50-reps with a five-pound weight the thing would bulk up and no one would kick sand in its face anymore.

As an explanation the guy apparently told the Fire Captain, 'This will make me the chief of my tribe!" but all it did was restrict the blood flow to his chief-like part and caused it to swell so much that the weight couldn't be removed. They ended up having to take him to the hospital where they used a surgical saw to cut through the metal ring. "They also slid a little piece of metal between the collar and his thing, so if it slipped past it wouldn’t hit his thing," the Fire Captain said. I guess it just wouldn't look right if a person in his position actually used the word, 'penis.'

Is there a moral to this story? Maybe that you should be happy with what you have even though girls laugh at it, or maybe the lesson is not to try and make your penis bigger with any gym equipment, only pills that you see advertised in your Yahoo mail sidebar. Or maybe it's just a cautionary tale, that if I don't find something to write about soon you might be forced to read my next post, about the woman who got her boob stuck in a Thighmaster.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

This is not a sponsored post. Or is it?

No it isn't, but like the movie I'm going to talk about, Paper Heart, it's always good to keep people guessing. (I know there's been a a lot of controversy in the blogosphere lately about people getting paid for posts, and I just wanted to make things perfectly clear: Who in their right mind would pay me for this? Although it sure would have helped, because that $30 bucket of popcorn and those $15 Twizzlers really put a dent in my wallet.)

The 'mockumentary' stars comedian Charlyne Yi and chronicles her search for true love, but the audience is never quite sure which parts are real and which parts are fiction. Along the way Yi meets and falls in love with actor Michael Cera, who plays himself. The big question surrounding the film is, were Yi and Cera ever dating or were they just playing a couple for the sake of the movie? The fact that I'm intrigued enough to even write a post about it says a lot about the persuasiveness of the movie. Or does it just mean I'm sorely in need of a hobby? There I go with the whole keep-you-guessing thing again! Ka-ching!

Paper Heart was just one of the movies I took Kira and Kiyomi and their friends to see this summer. Like many of the others, this fell squarely into the tween-teen-chick-flick genre that Rigel avoids like the plague, movies that make him say things like, "You girls go and bond," and "Please don't make me go see that crappy movie." That's not to say I didn't like the movie - I really did - but the cuteness and 'twee' factor were a big part of it's charm, and when Rigel asked me how it was and I said, "It would have made you want to shoot yourself right there in the theater," he knew exactly what I meant.

But I loved this movie and would recommend seeing it, if only for Charlene Yi's quirkiness and also for the puppet segments that illustrate some of the backstories of the characters - the puppets and sets were actually made by Yi and her dad. (Also, it's around a billion times better than another movie I took the girls to see, I Love You Beth Cooper, that made me want to march right up to the box office and demand the last 102 minutes of my life back, with interest.)

Here's a trailer from the movie, but mind you, I will have to charge you to watch it.

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

MamaPop: Jon Gosselin's Stomach Is Telling Us To Go To Hell

I have a new post up on MamaPop about Jon Gosselin's stomach. Let's just say it involves Jon's stomach speaking to me in the voice of McGruff the Crime Dog. My God, if that doesn't just make you put down your Wii remote and rush right on over, I don't know what will.

So there's this picture that's been all over the internet, of Jon Gosselin exposing his stomach. There he is nonchalantly texting and at the same time treating us all to a glimpse of his blubbery mound. And while most people are wondering how he could be so careless, I tend to think he's doing it on purpose. It's like Jon's stomach is giving us the finger...


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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, the future President of the United States

So Kiyomi graduated from elementary school in June and I didn't write about it here although I've had every intention of doing so. Like so many things, I mean well, but can never find the time. Just like that bag of dry cleaning I've been meaning to take in forever, although someone pointed out that by the time I do all the clothes in there will be totally outdated. But I told them, who are you kidding - shoulder pads and rainbow suspenders will never go out of style.

Where was I?

Oh yes - Kiyomi graduated!

We are so very proud of our Kiyomi. Along with being just generally awesome and original (who else would name a mass of tangles in their hair 'Bob' and then hold a small, reverent ceremony for 'him' when we had to cut the unruly mass out with a pair of scissors?) she graduated with honors, at the top of her class and received a pin and a letter from President Barack Obama. This caused a bit of a conflict in our household - Kira also received one when she graduated from elementary school two years ago, but hers was signed by then-president George W Bush, a fact she wasn't happy about. As you can imagine Kiyomi wasted no time in pointing out how hers was signed by the 'better' president. And who can argue with that? Also, If you'll remember, Kiyomi has a beef with Dubya that goes way back and she didn't mince words in this letter she wrote him in second grade:

Dear George bush,

Hello! I am Kiyomi and my favorite color is magenta. Here is a sugjestun (sic) for you: Go to another country! Don't you say no to that sugjestun!

Now that I told you that, I will tell you more about me. I have a nice teacher I mean terrific teacher. I love art and manga. Now that I told you some stuff about me you can go along and ruin some other state.

your destroyer,


Congratulations Kiyomi! We love you to pieces. Now, go change the world.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

This is what I did last month, besides fill out forms

Last month is a blur, mainly because it seems like I spent the entire thirty days hunched over my desk, my writing hand turning into a cramped mass as I filled out form after form after form for things like summer camp, end of school activities and registration for Kiyomi to enter middle school. I would come to bed at night and Rigel would say, “What’s that smell?” and I would have to tell him it was a combination of ball point pen ink and cheap copier paper. To top it off, after delivering a packet of nineteen forms (I kid you not) to Kiyomi’s middle school I was informed a few days later that they had lost them. They finally did locate them after a couple of days, but only because I made a few hysterical phone calls to the main office and then showed up in person to show them my bloody hand that was still wrapped around my pen.

But more on that later - last month I also interviewed Kim Kardashian and Molly Sims for Genlux magazine! That was way more fun than filling out forms! Especially the part where Kim talked about O.J. Simpson, which was both fascinating and chilling. And Molly was fun, because she gave me the secret to her awesome hair and she didn't require me to fill out any tiny boxes with my name, address and emergency numbers. Luckily, by the time I had to type up the interviews I had regained most of the feeling in my right hand.

The issue is out on the newsstands and available at Barnes and Noble, but you can also see the photos and read the articles here and here.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

If you saw this thing you wouldn't be laughing

Last week as the girls and I were getting ready to leave for an errand, I was attacked by a wasp. For those of you who think I'm exaggerating (and I've been known to on occasion) let me just say I'm not embellishing in the least here, this thing was as big as my palm and its head was the size of a marble. I could see its hairy legs kicking around, and I swear as it came at me it hissed, "Get ready to die." I think it may have even been carrying a teeny knapsack filled with tools.

The girls were already in the car and I was locking the front door when the brazen attack on my life occurred. I think I shouted out a few obscenities as the bird-sized creature flew towards me intending to kill me, ran in a serpentine pattern to confuse it and leaped into the van just in the nick of time. It's all a blur, but I think I remember having to pry its claws off my back. The girls were plugged into their iPods and examining their fingernails, but I do remember them glancing up momentarily to show they cared. Actually, I think they may have only looked up because they were hoping I hadn't dropped my purse in the melee, which would mean they wouldn't be able to have their daily tall-mocha-frappuccino.

Even worse, we could see from the car that the wasp was building a mud nest right near our door. It was pretty ominous, and not wanting to put my children's lives in danger, I called Rigel and informed hm that we wouldn't be returning to the house until after he had gotten home from work, sprayed the nest and wrestled the cat-sized wasp to the ground. Sure that might not be until 9pm, but I was willing to wait it out as long as it took for the situation to be made safe. For the children.

And wait we did, for an hour or so at Starbucks. We finally got the 'all clear' call from Rigel signaling that he had used every toxic chemical available to annihilate the beast, and the nest had been demolished using a combination of heavy machinery and an ancient Mayan chant known to dispel evil. You can't be too careful with these things.

During the whole ordeal, Kiyomi kept ribbing me, apparently amused by the fact that I had run from what she called a "teeny tiny thing." (For the record, she was afraid to get out of the car as well. Not that I'm ratting out my kid in order to make myself look less ridiculous or anything.) Then she asked me what I would have done if we had gotten home before Rigel and the wasp had gotten into the house, and without hesitating I said, "I'd call 911." I was joking of course, since everyone knows you don't need an emergency crew to show up to kill a wasp - that's what husbands are for.

Besides, I just found this video, that shows what happens when you make frivolous calls for help. This woman dialed 911 three times because some of her cows had gotten loose. She tells the emergency operator:

Yes, this is a damn emergency. I got seven fucking cows out loose!

The woman was eventually issued a citation for misusing the emergency call system, and rightly so. I mean, it's not like she was being attacked by a wasp or anything.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Just Say No, No, No: Amy Winehouse's New Line of Greeting Cards and Wrapping Paper

I have a new post up at MamaPop about Amy Winehouse getting her very own line of greeting cards and wrapping paper. For some reason this makes me want to down a bottle of tequila.

So I'm wondering how the product meeting went, the one where they came up with the idea to market a line of Amy Winehouse greeting cards and wrapping paper. I'm thinking someone suggested a line of flasks, or perhaps a perfume that smelled like a combo of cloves and Jack Daniels. Then someone else threw out the idea of a line of hand towels and the room fell silent and the head of the marketing department shook his head and told everyone to go to lunch before he fired their asses.

Then just as everyone was deciding whether to go to Applebee's or HomeTown Buffet one of the new guys, the one who was real quiet during the entire meeting, piped up and said, "Hey, how about a line of Amy Winehouse greeting cards and wrapping paper?" Everyone started clapping and hoisted the guy on their shoulders and now that guy is president of the company.

Okay, that's probably not how it went because that idea is absolutely awful.

Finish reading this fascinating story »

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson

I heard this on the radio today and almost burst into tears. I grew up listening to Michael Jackson. I don't care what anyone says, the guy was a freakin' genius when it came to songwriting. I'm going to miss him.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I just figured out what to do with the kids this summer

I took Kira and Kiyomi shopping the other day and figured out that in a few years I'll be flat broke and homeless. When someone asks me why I'm living in a tent on Wilshire boulevard and eating cat food with my weathered, blistered fingers, I can tell them how it's all because of a couple of pairs of leggings from American Apparel and that sequined tunic from Hot Topic.

Then I found this story about a girl who made her own prom dress out of coffee filters and my mind started racing. Why, with an entire summer stretching before us and a garage full of paper goods from Costco, I can get the girls to make their own back-to-school wardrobe! I can see it now - a few paper towels and a Swiffer cloth magically transforms into a chic miniskirt, and a box of dryer sheets and a couple of lunch sacks becomes that rad hoodie I refused to pay $58 dollars for. And turn them loose with a stack of foam plates and a pack of picnic napkins and the sky's the limit for the kinds of purses they'll turn out. Sure some people may call it 'cheap' but I call it saving the earth while saving my wallet and cleaning out my garage at the same time.

Wait till you see the plans I have for turning yesterday's yard clippings into tomorrow's dinner casserole.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gordon Ramsay, You've Been Served.

My newest post is up on MamaPop and it's titled, "Turns Out Gordon Ramsay Really IS an Asshole." Well, I guess that kind of explains it all.

Ever since Matlock went off the air I'd been looking for a new TV show to occupy my time. That changed a few years ago when Hell's Kitchen came on the scene and I'd tune in every week to see Gordon Ramsay berate, belittle and bully his lowly contestants until they cried salty tears into their béarnaise sauce and became hallowed-out chicken carcasses of their former selves. It was so fun! And the part at the end where the loser's picture catches on fire? That was awesome and stuff.

But I always thought the whole angriest-man-in-the-world thing was just an act. I figured that after the cameras stopped rolling Ramsay would get everyone in a group hug, dry their tears with the edge of his apron and they'd all pile into his Prius and go get some fro yo.

Apparently I was wrong...

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Here's one of those posts where I try and make my life look interesting

I'm going to write one of those entries that condenses the events of the past few weeks or so into a few short, neat paragraphs. This makes my life look way more interesting than it is because it's action-packed and gives the impression that I'm doing something other than updating my Facebook profile every five minutes. You may even say to yourself, "Holy crap that Sweatpantsmom has got an interesting life!" which is what I say to myself to keep myself from crying while I'm scrubbing the toilet bowl.


Kira recently got asked out on her first date. I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating only because I didn't get to explain how the boy asked her out which is so - for lack of a better word - cute. Apparently he found out who sat next to Kira in math and texted that girl during class and asked her to ask Kira out for him. I told you it was cute.

Then, when the girl relayed the message and Kira said 'no,' he told the girl that now he felt like an ass and to tell Kira he was just kidding. I don't think he meant for the girl to relay the 'ass' part of the message but she did, and when Kira told me this story I immediately felt sorry for the poor guy. I asked her if she was at least nice when she turned down, and she said she told the girl to tell him, "I'm too young to date." Is that brilliant or what? She had already learned to let the guy down easy with the teen version of, "It's not you, it's me."


kim-kardashian-shawn-johnson-dancing-with-the-stars-finaleA couple of weeks ago I interviewed Kim Kardashian for Genlux magazine. She showed up without any makeup and was still beautiful, and the best part was that she ate like a real person, because I have this thing about not trusting anyone who doesn't eat. You'll have to read the article when it comes out to see what she ordered, but let's just say for once I didn't feel lonely while chowing down on my fried chicken.

Also, she talked about O.J. Simpson (her dad Robert was O.J.'s best friend and also part of his defense team) which was really intriguing, and surprising since I wasn't sure if she would be willing to divulge anything about it. When I was telling Rigel about it Kira overheard and said, "What? You talked about orange juice?" I told her she certainly wouldn't get asked out on any more text dates with that kind of sarcasm.


shawn-johnson-wins-dancing-with-the-stars-finaleWe were invited to a Lunchables event and Kiyomi got to interview Shawn Johnson, the Olympic gold medalist and Dancing With The Stars finalist. I think she did a good job, considering the kid is only ten and this was her first interview. (I'm talking about Kiyomi, not Shawn.) When we got to the event Kiyomi was pretty nervous, but she walked right up to a Los Angeles Times reporter and started chatting him up and pretty soon he was divulging what kind of Lunchables he liked best. I think this kid's going to go far - imagine if that was Charlie Sheen and he was talking about hookers. CLICK HERE to see Kiyomi's interview with Shawn.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

I Think About Denise Richards So You Don't Have to

My latest post is up over on MamaPop, and in it I ponder the enigma that is Denise Richards. Why is she so famous? Who asked her to sing? Did she really ask for Charlie Sheen's sperm? Some may call it an obsession, but I just call it the musings of a concerned citizen.

You can read more, and listen to Denise sing over here.

Let's just say she's no Susan Boyle.

And speaking of Susan Boyle, surprising voices and Britain's Got Talent, take a listen to Greg Pritchard.

Let's just say he's no Denise Richards.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

What a girl wants

Kira turned thirteen last week and I vowed a week of posts about her, but as you can see that hasn't happened. Not that it would matter to her, since she would be perfectly happy if I never mentioned her on my blog, ever. Apparently there are some people who just don't like having every little detail of their life splattered across the internet for strangers to see. Strange, I know. I would say she's no daughter of mine, but if you saw her tear through a sale rack at Macy's you'd know otherwise.

A few weeks ago Rigel bought Kira an early birthday present. She already knew what it was, but that didn't dampen her excitement as she started to unwrap it. She did it slowly and deliberately, and when she finally had the prize in her hand she looked like a kid who just found out school had been cancelled forever.

"OMIGOD, isn't it beautiful?" She cooed over it for a few minutes before she let any of us touch it. You would have thought there was something priceless in her palm, like the Hope Diamond or the world's last piece of bacon.

A tiara? A shiny new iPod? A bar of solid gold? No, what she was hyperventilating over was her brand new capo, a device that clamps onto her guitar and allows her to change its key. I had no idea what it was, and when I first saw it I thought Rigel had made a horrible mistake and had just given our thirteen-year-old daughter some sort of gynecological instrument.

While she's still determined to go to art school, one of the things that has become very evident is that Kira has a natural gift for music. Where I took seven years of piano lessons and came out of it barely being able to play a chord, Kira spent only a couple of summers taking guitar and has already taught herself how to play a lot of her favorite songs just by using the 'tabs' she finds online. My musical future ended when I played an off-key, mistake-laden version of the theme from 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' that nearly caused my teacher to come at me with a crowbar, and here's Kira plucking away to her beloved Ting Ting's tunes, strumming a few pieces from the "Juno" soundtrack and jamming along to a song from some band called The Kills. So it's safe to say that all of her musical genes have definitely come from Rigel, although the way she curses under her breath and kicks the table when she gets a note wrong? That's totally me.

She's been wanting to learn how to play the piano as well, so our 'big' gift to her for her birthday was a Yamaha keyboard. She doesn't start her lessons until next week, but she's already managed to teach herself the theme from her favorite show, Fringe. I have to say it's so exciting to see her so inspired about something, and I'm hoping she remains this passionate about music as she grows up. This whole thing is a bonus for Rigel as well, since picking out Kira's gifts at Guitar Center is definitely preferable to having to shop for leg warmers at Claires.

And while she's forbidden me to videotape any of her recent performances, I still have this video of her playing guitar to Green Day's Boulevard of Broken Dreams when she was 10. (I can sell it to MTV one day when they ask me for early footage of Kira once she becomes an international recording sensation. I guess I better hang on to that capo - it could pay for my new kitchen someday.)

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Friday, April 17, 2009

LA Moms Blog: I wouldn't know a celebrity if they moved in next door to me

I know I promised a week of posts about Kira, but that'll have to wait until next week since I'm busy preparing for the 20 teen girls who are going to descend on our house tomorrow for her 13th birthday party. So my current post on the LA Moms Blog will have to do. Besides, I thought many of you would probably rather check out a half-naked picture of my good friend David Boreanaz anyways.

Almost thirteen years ago, right after I had my first baby we were living in the Hollywood Hills. Like most new mothers, I spent a freakish amount of time pushing my newborn daughter in her stroller around the neighborhood, partly to let her get some fresh air but mostly to pull myself away from endless hours spent on the couch crying and watching Roseanne reruns.

A couple of times on those walks I ran into a neighbor, David, who had recently moved into a house around the corner from us. He mentioned that he was an actor but I didn’t give it much thought until one day when my nieces, who were tweens then, were at my house watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer and while changing a diaper I happened to glance up at the TV and saw my neighbor on the screen. “Hey, that guy lives two houses away,” I pointed out, gesturing towards the TV with a poop-smeared wipe in my hand. Obviously I had never watched the show and had no idea who this Angel character was, but judging by the ear-piercing, alien-sounding squeals coming from my nieces this David Boreanaz guy was a big deal...Read More...

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Let me tell you about Kira

Kira turns 13 this week, and in honor of her becoming a teenager I'm going to do a week of posts about her. I'm also thinking of relaxing the No Reading My Blog rule, so that she can see what people are talking about when they walk up to her and say things like, "That was so funny what your mom said about you," and "If my mom said those things about me in public I'd DIE." Also, I'm hoping it'll have the exact effect I'm hoping for: after reading a few of my posts she'll never, ever want to to read my blog again. Sort of like the aftermath of seeing your parents push their way onto the dance floor at your cousin's wedding; thanks for the glimpse into your life, but I can really do without ever seeing you two do the Electric Slide again, thank you very much.

mtv-ultimate-fan-gwen-stefani-tweens-teens-teenagersI remember years ago watching a show on MTV about extreme fans, and they were featuring a thirteen-year-old girl who was obsessed with Gwen Stefani. One segment showed her parents taking her to get her hair dyed pink, just like Gwen, and I remember getting all bent out of shape as I was watching it. This was back in my early, first years of parenting, those idealistic years when you tend to say crazy things like, "My kid will never watch TV," and "I'll never pick up my kids from school wearing my pajamas and then lie about it and try to call them my workout clothes."

I mean, what kind of parent lets their minor child change their hair color? Why not just give her a stripper pole and a pair of lucite heels? As far as I was concerned, this was just one step away from a life on the streets. Sure it's just a bottle of hair dye today, but tomorrow you can bet they'll be smoking crack in a back alley and showing up with their 50-year-old boyfriend and your new 'grandchild.'

At least that's what I thought. Until Kira told me she wanted to bleach her hair for her thirteenth birthday, and Rigel and I thought about it for all of two minutes and then said, "Okay." Because here's a kid who gets straight A's, does her homework without having to be told, is polite and respectful and a joy to be around. And in light of all the things she could have asked for as she plunges into teendom, a new haircolor was the least of our worries - we were just happy that she wasn't asking for a ride to the free clinic to pick up some 'supplies,' or asking if some guy she saw perform at a club could come stay with us when he was in town. (Oh wait - she did ask us that one. Stay tuned for Wednesday's post.)

In fact, my thoughts about that MTV show didn't even cross my mind until I was in the salon watching Kira getting her head lowered into the shampoo bowl. It made me think of a few things that I'd want to say to the mom I was back then: Not to worry, that haircolor doesn't make the girl, and Kira is going to grow into such a great kid you'll be happy to let her dye her hair every color of the rainbow.

Oh, and another thing I'd tell myself back then - everyone knows those are your pajamas.

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tags: | teenagers

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

This Easter greeting is brought to you by Kiyomi and her Easter Bunny brownies with the almond ears and whipped cream tails.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

I don't mind if you just look at the pictures

The current issue of Genlux magazine with my interview with Mischa Barton is on the newsstands. I just want to take this opportunity to say what an awesome experience it's been working with Genlux - such an incredibly talented group of people, putting out an extraordinarily beautiful magazine that I would certainly buy even if I didn't get mine for free. Of course, then I might not be able to afford my weekly People, and who knows how long I'd last without being able to read about Tori Spelling's liposuction.

The spread is based on the 60's British movie Blow-Up, and is shot by renowned photographer Marc Baptiste. Even if you don't read the article, you should check out the photographs which are amazing. Then, when you get tired of looking at Mischa's legs that go on forever or the smooth, nicely toned abs on all the half-naked men, you can drift on over and read my interview.

You can see the pictures and the article here.

Me, I've already read it and am moving on to this week's People - I hear there's an in-depth interview with the middle Jonas brother.

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tags: | genlux magazine

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

News Flash: Rejection Sucks. Especially for 10-year-olds

The letter came yesterday.

Kiyomi never really cares about the mail - in fact she's heard Rigel and I curse enough times when we receive our bills to know that the mailman is really just the grim reaper in an ill-fitting blue uniform. But since she knew the letters had been sent out, she'd been camped out near our mail box all morning. By the time it finally came she could hardly contain herself, but she wanted to wait until Rigel got back from his errands to "share in the moment" as she put it. When he returned a few minutes later and saw us staring at a piece of mail, I'm sure he just figured it was one of his checks and we were figuring out ways to spend it.

Kiyomi's been sick and had woken up with a fever but she said just seeing the envelope had made her feel better. She ran over fingers over the return address before she turned it over, and then she opened it slowly, tearing away the flap and then pulling out the folded piece of paper carefully. Rigel, Kira and I were huddled around her and just watching her face for a clue on what was inside. She started off reading the first sentence, "Thank you for auditioning for the Performing Arts Academy..." but her voice trailed off quickly and then she whispered, "I didn't get in."

She collapsed into sobs, and none of our words or our hugs could comfort her. To make matters worse, she heard a few minutes later that her best friend had gotten accepted, which meant they'd be separated. Could this day get any worse? (Turns out it could, which I found out ten hours later at Target when a heavy plastic pitcher fell from the top shelf and hit me on the head, but that's a story for another time.)

To be honest, I was hesitant about the whole thing from the start. The middle school she'll be attending has a well-known performing arts department, and one of the ways to get in (besides our arbitrary school district lottery known as the Magnet system) is to audition. Prospective applicants are required to do a one-minute monologue, sing a Broadway show tune and perform a series of dance steps. It sounded like a tall order for a ten-year-old, especially since competition would be stiff; many are professionals who already have agents, and there are a few celebrity kids among the student body. (At least one Disney star, and the child of an American Idol judge. The least annoying one.)

For Rigel and I the whole thing was like brain surgery. Coming from a 'non-show business' background, what they were asking for sounded about as easy as being told to juggle a pig and chainsaw while flossing your teeth. We thought it would have been easier if Kiyomi had tried out for the underwater luge team or the varsity log-rolling squad. But she was determined to do it, so we hired an actress friend to work with her a few times a week and we were surprised at how well she did - she could carry a tune, memorized her lines with no problem, and delivered them with just the right amount of sarcasm. It seems all those days prancing around the living room in her panties re-enacting episodes of SpongeBob really were leading to something.

According to her, the audition went smoothly (parents weren't allowed to watch.) So when that rejection letter came today I have to admit it probably hit me as hard as it hit her. And after comforting her for awhile I did what any good mother would do in this situation - I totally blamed myself.

My first thought was wondering whether or not it was wise to let her audition in the first place - who needs rejection at 10 for chrissakes? Leave that for when you're older and it can roll of your bitter, leathery soul with a little more ease. Then I started wondering if it had anything to do with this incident - maybe Kiyomi was blacklisted because her mother was a crazy person who didn't like how her older daughter had been treated and then called three counselors and the principal to complain about it. Oh, and then wrote about it on her blog.

And what if someone there read that blog? (Which is a possibility because I happen to know a few people at the school who do. Hi, few!) I'm imagining the admissions panel coming upon Kiyomi's application, and stapled to it is a note about my complaints and a printout of my blog post. They all look at each other, make that whirling motion with their finger near their temple and then one of them writes across the top of her application in big, red letters GIRL IS OKAY BUT THE MOTHER IS BATSHIT CRAZY -- DENIED.

So what now? She'll still attend the school as part of the regular program, and she's already decided she'd like to apply for the Civics Academy, which deals with politics and government. I pointed out that her success was ensured, since within a twelve hour period she'd gone from being an entertainer to being a politician - just what our governor and one of our presidents has done!

One thing I know for sure - it isn't the last time she'll experience the pain of rejection. Whether from a school that doesn't recognize her talent or some emo boy who decides to dump her for the girl with the pierced tongue, it'll happen again. Our job is just to love her and help her get through it. And today, after I watched her call her best friend to congratulate her on getting accepted, I told her how very, very proud I was of her. And she'll never need a letter to tell her that.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My life is like a motorized bar stool

Today I saw what had to be the best story ever in the history of the internet. Kile Wygle of Ohio was arrested for drunk driving on his bar stool. Yes you heard me. Apparently Kile had taken a bar stool, attached it to a lawn mower and was using it as his own little happy hour shuttle. Police responded to reports of a crash, and found he had wrecked his stoolmobile after consuming 13 beers.

Personally I think Kile is a genius. How many times have you been at a bar, had one too many Appletinis and then dreamt of a way of getting home without having to get off your ass? Not to mention the numerous times you may have been mowing your lawn, had a hankering for a brewski and arrived at your local watering hole only to realize there were no seats left for your weary self. Bar stool + Motor = Best invention since the rolling hot dog cart.

Sure attaching a piece of furniture to a gardening tool may not be an obvious fit, but can you blame the guy for following his dream? I give him credit for forging ahead, no matter how many weird looks he got from the neighbors or how many months he may have to spend in jail because he drank a couple of gallons of beer and then got behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.

I feel an affinity with Kile, because I've gotten more than a few eyebrows raised my way because of things I've done. Why, just last week Rigel made that tsk tsk sound at me because I told him I was still going to send out our holiday newsletters even though it was the end of March, and I didn't care what our friends and family thought. So what if they silently berate us for our lateness and then make crude comments lamely disguised as humor when we see them at dinner parties? Sometimes life is all about acting on what is in your heart, or in the case of Kile, what is in that old rusty tool shed out back.

What does it all mean? I'm not sure, except that Kile's story was a completely random but convenient way to warn my family and friends that they'll be getting our holiday card and newsletter in the mail next week. And if you have something to say, you can say it to my face when I drive over to your place on my bar stool.

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