Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Top Five Searches

Yahoo! recently released a list of their Top Searched Questions in 2010. They are:

1. How to tie a tie
2. How to lose weight
3. How to kiss
4. How to write a resume
5. What's the world's only immortal animal
6. Which city has the best tap water
7. Which natural disaster shortened earth's days
8. What is love
9. What causes lightning
10. How to boil an egg

Some of these make perfect sense. For instance, I wish more men would search for 'How to tie a tie' and maybe they wouldn't show up at formal events looking like they just got in a bar fight. Also, it would finally put an end to bolo ties, thank God. But then there's 'What's the world's only immortal animal.' What does this mean? Who was searching for this? I'm not sure I want to know the answer.

And of course, 'What is love' which is totally understandable. Everyone's looking for love on the internet. I'm wondering if Yahoo! returned "Baby don't hurt me," as the answer, which would have been awesome.

This got me thinking about a hypothetical situation: What if I was a search engine, and as a mom, what would be my Top Searched Questions asked by my kids. It's a strange thought, I know, but just go with it. Hey, it's only half as strange as 'What's the world's only immortal animal.'

Also, because this is my hypothetical situation, there will only be a Top 5.  I don't have a lot of time – I just found out the answer to 'Which natural disaster shortened earth's days.'

My Top 5 Searched Questions in 2010

1. Do I have to 
Doesn't matter what it is, I get asked this about almost everything from cleaning their room to feeding the cat. Also, more disturbingly, it's becoming the standard response from Kiyomi when I tell her to put on more clothes.

2. Where's my
Again, this proceeds a long list of things, from shoes to sunglasses to 'that five dollars I left on the couch three months ago.' It's usually followed by me asking, sometimes out loud, "Where's my gin."

3. Can I go to a movie
When Kira was around 2, we were watching TV and a commercial for a Disney movie came on. Before it even got halfway through she shouted out, "Available on DVD and video November 4th!" It was a precursor of things to come - now she knows the release date of pretty much every movie made, and wants to go to opening weekend of half of them. I've started answering with, "I don't know, can your friend's mom take you." Coincidentally, that's also what you get if you search it on Yahoo!

4. Are you going out again
The girls are finally old enough to stay home alone, and Rigel and I are taking full advantage of the situation. Late dinners, after-work drinks, even a trip to the dry cleaners are all opportunities to get out of the house and do something together. They're just hitting their teen years, though, so soon the situation will be reversed and we'll be making that same query. When that time comes, I plan to roll my eyes and wag my Wii controller, too, just to get back at them. 

5. Why are teachers so cruel
Homework taking longer than five minutes, pop quizzes, rules against starting fires in class – a variety of situations bring on this question. My standard response to this query is, "And you thought I was mean." Doesn't really answer their question, but makes me feel smug and vindicated which is the best you can ask for as a mother.

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Friday, December 03, 2010

Kira Won Some Tickets, I Talked To Ryan Seacrest, Then It Stopped Being Fun

Kira's been trying for weeks to get tickets to Jingle Ball, the annual holiday concert put on by KIIS FM. This year Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Nelly and B.o.B. are going to be there and I'm sure everyone is going to have a grand old time and party like it's 2999. So every morning on the way to school Kira's been glued to her Blackberry calling in to the station, and this morning she finally got through and was told she was the winner. Hallelujah! What a great day we're having! What could go wrong!

Since Kira isn't 18 she had to hand the phone to me, and I had to pretend I was the winner. I woot-wooted and high-fived all around when I got on the phone with Ryan Seacrest, and said how excited my daughter was to be going to the concert. Did you hear me on the radio? Did it make my butt look big? It was over so fast I didn't get a chance to ask Ryan all the questions I've been saving up all these years, like if he and Simon really fight and who counts all the American Idol votes, and does he need a cover for his toaster. That last one may or may not have to do with a Christmas present I'm crocheting for him.

If you did hear me on the radio and I sounded a little more stressed out than usual, it might have been because at that moment I saw the red blinking lights in my rear view mirror of the Highway Patrol man who was pulling me over for talking on my cell phone while driving. Unfortunately neither my sparkling personality nor the wad of hundred-dollar bills I keep in my glove compartment for such encounters could convince him not to give me a ticket. Talk about harshing my mellow! One minute you're talking to Ryan Seacrest and the next minute you've crossed the threshold into life as a criminal. Don't laugh - I've heard that cell phone citations are the 'gateway crime' and I'm just one step away from stealing babies.

I don't even know how much this citation is, since the officer said I would find out when I got the actual ticket in the mail. It was so ominous when he said, "You'll see," in a tone that sounded more like, "It's so sad you won't be taking that vacation this year." Now I'm thinking these 'free' Jingle Ball tickets are going to cost me a small fortune, although I'm trying to tell myself that it'll be worth it for Kira to wave her hands in the air like she just don't care while she sees Katy Perry singing 'Teenage Dream' live and in person. In fact, I'm going to crochet her a tank top to throw on stage.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Spam: It's What's For Dinner. No, Really.

Today I’m going to talk about Spam. I’m not talking about the kind in your mailbox, I’m talking about the canned meat.

Hey, where’d everybody go?

Now that everyone, save for a few adventurous souls and the Asians, have left the room let me tell you about one of my favorite family traditions, Spam musubi, (pronounced moo-soo-bee), a kind of sushi concoction made out of spam, rice and seaweed.

Hey look – now only the Asians are still here.

Sure, being Japanese-American, it’s kind of expected that my family tradition would be along the lines of a complex fish recipe handed down to me from my grandmother and featuring eyeballs and fins, or some sort of elegant cake concoction made from the delicate leaves of a young cherry blossom tree. Ideally it would be something that was created by my ancestors and whose ingredients were painstakingly written down on piece of parchment and residing in an antique carved wooden box that smells like memories.

Instead, it’s a meat of questionable origin, plopped out of a rectangular can along with it’s glistening, quivering coating of gelatin. Then it’s sliced, sauteed and sandwiched between some rice and wrapped in seaweed. It doesn’t so much smell like memories as like ham.

Here, see for yourself:

More than a tradition, it’s a constant presence whenever my huge family of 25 gets together. Unlike my mom’s lime-green jello that only makes an appearance at Thanksgiving, Spam musubi shows up at birthday parties, Christmas dinner, picnics, graduation celebrations and Easter brunch. Usually my mom makes a platter of Spam musubi, but since its recipe is universal anyone can step in and whip up a batch. Unlike other more glamorous, gourmet holiday dishes, sister-in-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles all possess the culinary skill to bring these beauties to the table. Take that, white-truffle-oil fingerling potatoes.

(It’s not just my family tradition – Spam musubi can be found at many Japanese restaurants and all over Hawaii, where they even sell them at 7-11. Being able to walk into a convenience store and pick up a Spam musubi and a Big Gulp might just be the best reason I’ve ever heard for moving to Maui.)

So if you’re ever lucky enough to be at one of my family gatherings, look past the turkey or the Easter ham or the platter of sandwiches and find the Tupperware filled with Spam musubi. Now there’s a dish steeped in tradition. And gelatin.

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This post was written as part of my involvement with the Yahoo! Motherboard. Read about other family traditions on the Yahoo! Motherboard page on Shine.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Harry Potter And The Deathly School-Night Movie

I know that's not the title of the movie. Although, for all I know it could be called 'Harry Potter And The New Moon' or even 'When Harry Potter Met Sally.' That's because I'm not a big Harry Potter fan - haven't read the books and only saw one of the movies and not even sure which one it was. The third one? Or was it the twenty-seventh? All I know is that one of them is a wizard.

Which makes it all the more bizarre that I'll be going to opening night of 'Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows' at MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. Even more strange – I paid for the tickets.

And wait, even STRANGER STILL - I'm going to see a movie where it's possible that one or more of the characters will be in a period costume and whose plot doesn't feature a romantic relationship between two endearingly quirky modern-day city-dwelling adults who find friendship, then love, over cups of steaming cappuccinos.

The things we do for our children.

Kiyomi became a huge Harry Potter fan over the summer. She read all of the books in three consecutive weeks, and after that it's all she's talked about. The books, the movies, some odd online-only production called The Harry Potter Musical – Harry gets more attention than her homework, our cat and Rigel and I combined. The only thing that gets more attention than Harry is her Facebook page, although a great deal of her postings have to do with the boy wizard and his fabulousness. Things like, "OMG HARRY POTTER IS THE SHIZ."

So of course when she became aware that you could head to the movies at midnight and be one of the first rabid, costumed, obsessed fans to see 'Deathly Hallows', she begged me to take her and a friend. And me, not ever being able to say no to a crazy, once-in-a-lifetime pop-culture event, I said yes. Besides being concerned about being able to sit through a movie that I'm not really interested in seeing, I'm worried about taking two twelve-year-olds to a movie on a school night that probably won't end until nearly 3am. (Kira's coming too, but being a teenager, staying up until all hours of the night is now second nature.)

The understanding between me and her friend's mom is that we'll see how they're doing in the morning when their 7am school wake-up time rolls around, but we aren't against letting them miss their first period. God I hope none of their teachers are reading this. If you are, we promise to make the girls write 300-page essays on 'The Deathly Hallows and Their Relation To Historical Deities.'

Am I crazy? Probably, but chances are she's going to remember this night forever, and isn't that what life's all about?

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipes: The Unwavering and the Unforgivable

Every Thanksgiving my mom makes a lime green Jell-O mold. She insists that the only reason she keeps making it is because she failed to bring it one year and then my brother was disappointed and wondered where it was. My brother swears he's never asked about it, but knowing him he probably said something like, "The only reason I came to Thanksgiving dinner was for lime-green Jell-O and now that it's not here I may as well go to Denny's." That probably sent my mom into a guilt-wracked tailspin after which she vowed to make that lime-green Jell-O mold until the end of her days.

I don't mind it, though, because it really has become something of a tradition and to be perfectly honest, if I didn't see that fluorescent green ring sitting next to the turkey I might actually miss it. It's almost kind of majestic in its lime-green absurdness. And besides, it makes my mom happy to bring it and what kind of tyrant would deny an 89-year-old woman the joy of setting her jiggly gelatin creation down amidst the Thanksgiving splendor?

However, if she ever showed up with one of these I'd grab her walker, turn it around and send her out into traffic:

What is this? It's a Thanksgiving Turkey Cake. What you see are layers of ground turkey, stuffing, cranberries and sweet potatoes all held together by mashed potato 'icing' and finished off with a marshmallow topping. Think of it as the chalupa of Thanksgiving meals. Not to be mean to the hardworking chef who created this, but I think everytime one of these is made a turkey loses its wings.

But oh, how it makes me appreciate the lime-green Jell-O mold.

If for some reason you feel compelled to try it on your own, the recipe is here.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

If this doesn't make you laugh you are dead to me

Check out this video called "Inception Animals", a montage of surprised animal faces set to the score from the movie. If you don't let out a loud guffaw or two to this I'm not even going to bother sending you that video of squirrels blinking to the music from "Saw II.

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Monday, November 08, 2010

Daily Celebrity Dropping: Conan O'Brien Returns Tonight With A Beard

In case you haven't heard, Conan O'Brien's new show Conan premieres tonight at 11pm on TBS. Unless you've been living under a rock with no Wifi and no internet, you probably know that Conan was fired from The Tonight Show after Jay Leno took it back after previously leaving.

It was mean, and everyone was all, "Boo, Jay you suck" and pledging allegiance to 'Team Coco' and spending way too much time on Facebook trying to comfort Conan showing up at rallies (!) and wishing bad things on Jay which, if you've seen his show, kind of worked.

Now Conan is back, with a beard.

And I can't wait. Are you going to watch?

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Daily Celebrity Dropping: David Cassidy Says 'I Think I Love You' To The Bottle

Holy puka shells - Keith Partridge is in the slammer.


David Cassidy, best known for his role as Keith Partridge on the 1970s classic "The Partridge Family," was arrested Wednesday night for DUI.

According to the police report, Cassidy, 60, told police he had a glass of wine around lunch time and took a Hydrocodone — also known as Vicodin — around 3:30 p.m. A half-empty bottle of bourbon also was found in Cassidy's vehicle.

Celebrity DUI's are nothing new. But the thing that shocks me about this article is - David Cassidy is 60? That must make least 30.

Let's hope David's out on bail and back on his tour bus soon. Where's Reuben Kincaid when you need him?

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Daily Celebrity Dropping: Gwyneth Paltrow On Glee Singing Cee-Lo And Making Me Cringe-y

Wow, you look away for a second and it's been four months. Who named this Daily Celebrity Dropping anyway? 

Maybe you remember me mentioning that I'd taken a liking to a little show called Glee. It's about this guy who talks about diseases, food and politics.

Oh wait, that's Nightline.

So these Glee people are always trying something different. I think the experts call it 'breaking new ground.' The latest thing is, they're putting Gwyneth Paltrow on the show and having her sing Cee-Lo's "F--- You." Is it me or does that seem totally wrong? (To those of you who are saying, "She sings?" she's set to make her singing debut on next week's Country Music Awards. Huh.)

I love the song, but the idea of Gwyneth singing Cee-Lo is making me cringe. Couldn't the producers have come up with something that suited her better, maybe a waltz or even some classic Whitney. Gwyneth singing the theme from The Bodyguard – now that I could almost stomach. Almost.

Also, not to worry – they're saying Gwyneth will be singing the words "Forget You" on the show instead of spewing a bunch of expletives. There'll be enough of that from the viewers.

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Monday, November 01, 2010

Put down those Whoppers and Do Something

Halloween is over. Which means it's time to stop breaking off a piece of that Kit Kat bar and lay down that box of Whoppers just for a minute. Yes I know they're like little balls of malted heaven, but I need you to do me a favor. Take a break from savoring that rich caramel and chocolaty nougat in that Snickers bar and leave a comment on my Texting & Driving post or any of these that are part of the LG TextEd BlogHer Engagement Program. It's for a worthy cause – for every comment left on these posts 5¢ will be donated to

You may now return to your regularly scheduled pillaging of your kid's Halloween bag.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

My cat wrote this post

Well, my cat didn't really write this, but it reminds me of something he might write if he could figure out what to do with the keyboard besides sit on it. I think I kind of felt like him when I was writing it – sleepy, confused and when I was done I just wanted to lay on the couch and wait for someone to come scratch me.

In short, this is just a mash-up of different things in no particular order. I hope it doesn't make you want to cough up a hairball.

• Last Saturday I was invited to a performance of Peter Pan at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. I loved it and I'm going to post a full review soon, but I just wanted to share one of the more exciting events of the evening: Kiyomi dropped her iPhone in the toilet at the theater. It wasn't a new one - I gave her my old 2G - but was tragic nonetheless. All the advice on the internet said to bury it in some uncooked rice for a few days to draw out all the moisture, which I did but it didn't work. Having a dead iPhone is sad, but as an Asian the most painful part was seeing all that good rice go to waste.

• There's still time to Do Something. And by that I mean by leaving a comment on my Texting & Driving post or any of these posts that are part of the LG TextEd BlogHer Engagement Program, 5¢ will be donated to This weeks topic is Teens and Sexting – I know it's scary but it'll be happening before you know it. Soon your kids are going to want to kiss someone besides you.

• I wrote on Facebook recently about seeing a man at the post office who I thought was naked from the waist down, only to realize he was wearing flesh-colored leggings. As if this wasn't alarming enough, a few days later my senses were assaulted again by another legging-attired male. Now I come to find out there's actually a name for them – wait for itMEGGINGS, and they're coming to a post office, park, school and construction site near you. I'm hoping this trend goes the way of the man-purse. Although, if you're a man wearing those meggings you're going to need somewhere to put your wallet.

• Speaking of cats, mine still doesn't know how to bury his poop, but he does have a new trick. If you're using the bathroom, he will wander in and try to flush the toilet. It's kind of cute and creepy at the same time.

• Still speaking of cats, Rigel sent me this video before he even knew my post was featuring cats. It's like he can read my mind! Right now I'm concentrating on him never wearing meggings.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Baby you can drive my car, but put your phone down first

My post for the LG TextEd BlogHer Engagement Program is up. My topic is 'The Dangers of Texting and Driving,' and even though my girls are too young to drive I figure it's never too early to start teaching them these valuable lessons. They can tuck this one in between my other gems like, "Always wear elastic-waisted pants to an all-you-can-eat buffet."

I admit it – my kids text and drive. Well, at least they text while I drive. If I have a message I HAVE to get out while I'm at the wheel, I hand them my phone and dictate what I want the text message to say. It's my new method during those times when I'm running five minutes late (very often) or need directions (rarely) or forget to tell my husband to make that cappuccino a double (with alarming frequency.)

Read More... 

(Please head over to my reviews blog and read the rest of my post and remember – for every comment a donation of 50 cents will be made to, up to $5000.)
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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Not just for spinning old Duran Duran tunes

Chances are, if you're old like me you've got a turntable sitting around your house somewhere. It's probably hiding underneath your Hammer pants over next to your Sony Walkman.

But did you know that old relic is good for something other than playing your old vinyl records while you fling your feathered bangs around and sing, 'Hungry like the wolf'? Check out this video of how some clever person with lots of time turned theirs into an animation device similar to a zoetrope.

(I can't seem to get the embedded ad out of this video, so make sure you hit 'stop' at the end once the screen goes black to avoid being yelled at to shop at K Mart.)

[via Yahoo!]

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Just a reminder to check out the LG TextEd BlogHer Engagement Program homepage, where this week's topic is Setting Ground Rules for Your Teen’s Mobile Phone Use.

(And remember – for every comment left on any of the posts in the program, 50 cents will be donated to, up to $5,000.)
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Friday, October 01, 2010

Want to embarrass your kids? All it takes is LOL

You may call them 'reruns,' but I like to call them 'gently used.'  Whatever you want to call it, it's a re-posting of one of my pieces from the LA Moms Blog. And much like that 'gently used' mohair jumpsuit handed down to you by your cousin Louise, it may be annoying and itchy.

In case you haven’t heard, having your parents use chatspeak is the equivalent of seeing your dad dance the hula at your Sweet 16 party, or having your mom pick you up from school in her bathrobe. In other words, if you really want to embarrass the hell out of your teen or tween, try punctuating your sentence with ‘LOL’ or throwing in an 'OMG’ when you’re confronted with a long line at the grocery store. Chatspeak, the popular slang using acronyms found in chatrooms and texting, is apparently the exclusive domain of the under 20 set and any attempts at usage by parents or other old fogeys is, like, totally awful. IYKWIM (If you know what I mean.)

I found this out when a friend and I took our girls ice skating a few months ago. I was already inside, lacing up the skates of my 10 and 12 year old daughters when their two friends came in, red-faced and gesturing wildly towards their mom who was following behind and trying not to laugh. What happened was this: after overhearing a comment one of her daughters had made to the QT (cutie) working the skate rental, my friend had interjected her own comment (in itself a cardinal sin) and then punctuated it with ‘LOL.’ After giving their mom a brief, but stern lecture on the absolute wrongness of old people using chatspeak, they grabbed their skates and hurried inside. My friend was left to shrug at the QT but to her credit she resisted throwing out a TTFN (ta-ta for now.)

My girls reacted with absolute horror as their friends told them the story, and then turned to me and said, “You would NEVER do that, right mom?” To which I had to reply, “OMG. NW.” (Omigod. No way.) Sure it was a cheap shot, but it saved me a few bucks since they couldn't get away from me fast enough and skated off without asking for money for the vending machines.

Of course, my friend and I found this absolutely amusing. Who knew it would be so easy to embarrass our kids? We both had imagined having to put together elaborate slide shows of baby pictures to show to our girls’ dates, or showing up at their proms dressed in mom jeans and fanny packs. To think that we could raise their hackles by peppering our conversation with a few innocuous letters? We were elated at the possibilities.

For the next two hours while our girls did their best to ignore us while they raced around the rink, we came up with some clever acronyms of our own. We figured it would be an excellent way to get them to perform certain tasks without having to waste our breath saying it over and over again. For instance, CUYR! (Clean up your room!) and TOTTV (Turn off the TV.) See – much more efficient! Wouldn’t life be simpler without having to tell them repeatedly to PBYH (Please brush your hair), DFYH (Don’t forget your homework) and BNTYY (Be nice to your sister)? And then there was my favorite, NWAUWTTS-GBTYRACYL (No way are u wearing that to school, get back to your room and change young lady.)

I’ve gotten enough cold stares and eye rolling from my girls to know better than to use any chatspeak in front of their friends, but I still can’t resist blurting out a BRB (Be right back) when I head into the shower, or referring to my husband as my BFF. Call me sadistic, but I have to admit that I enjoyed seeing them cringe when I managed to put ROFL (Rolling on floor laughing) and JK (Just kidding) into the same sentence and then cleverly yelled out G2G (Got to go) as I ran out of the room. And when they start to protest, all I have to do is pull out some of their baby pictures, or remind them that it’s still better than having me show up at their school in my bathrobe. NTIEDT (Not that I’ve ever done that.)

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To read what others have to say about teens and texting, check out the LG TextEd BlogHer Engagement Program homepage, where this week's topic is Decoding Your Teen's Texting Lingo . You might just LOL.

(And remember – for every comment left on any of the posts in the program, 50 cents will be donated to, up to $5,000.)
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

I'm an Ambassador, but you can still call me 'Hey You'

For the next few weeks I'm going to be participating in the LG TextEd BlogHer Engagement Program that is bringing together the voices of several bloggers and their experiences with teens and cell phone use, particularly in regards to texting. I have been given the lofty title of LG TextEd Ambassador, something I'm going to hold over the heads of all those losers who didn't vote for me for 7th Grade Treasurer. Yeah, don't even try and say 'you knew me when.'

The best part is, for every comment left on any of the posts in the program, 50 cents will be donated to, up to $5,000. 

I will have a post up soon on the topic of Texting and Driving, but in the meantime you can check out what others have to say on this week's topic, Mobile Meanness.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Our trip to Disneyland inspires a fabulous Facebook status update!

This title comes courtesy of Kira, whose Facebook status after our trip to Disneyland on Saturday read:
Had fun at Disneyland yesterday :) I just have to say that anyone born in the 90's MUST see World of Color at California Adventure. Was pathetically tearing up in every other scene. COME ON, THEY WERE PLAYING ALADDIN AND THE LION KING, AND JUST AROUND THE FREAKING RIVERBEND.
Is that the sequel to Pocahontas – 'Just Around The Freaking Riverbend'? Because it totally should be.

Anyway, backing up a little, last week just about killed me. In a freak of nature never to be repeated again, Rigel and I went out THREE nights in a row (more about that later) without the kids. These three events, while fun, required me to actually dress up, put on makeup and wear heels, and by the time I got to bed Friday night my feet hurt, my back was killing me and I may or may not have realized that in my sleepy haze I had accidentally brushed my teeth with hand cream.

Either way, my teeth are really soft and supple now.


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Friday, September 03, 2010

After this I'll shut up

To those of you who I haven't emailed, texted, called, or alerted on Facebook, I've got a new social media job for the travel site, running their Los Angeles Facebook page and Twitter feed. Next I'll be showing up at your house with a cake that has the information scrawled across the top in icing, just to make sure I've driven the point home. It'll have rum in it, don't worry.

I'll be posting about the latest fun, hip, interesting things to do in L.A., as well as hooking you up with deals on things like restaurants, travel and events. I'll be highlighting everything from neighborhood coffee houses to cheap happy hours to where to get your hair did. Then I'll cover places to take that new 'do and get jiggy with it. I have no idea what I just said but trust me YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE THE RIDE.

So if you haven't already, come join the UpTakeLA Facebook page and follow UpTakeLA on Twitter. I won't mention it again, I promise. Then again, there's always skywriting.

Here's my latest from the site:

Labor Day Weekend: Heading To Temecula For Winnings and Wine

So, this weekend we're heading to Temecula for the last vacation of the summer before the kids go back to school. Why Temecula? Let's just say it's a trip revolving around my 89-year-old mother and her love of casinos. I'm not implying that she's got a gambling problem, but when we asked her where she might like to go for a little getaway this summer she looked up from her crocheting, adjusted her teeth, did a backflip over her walker and yelled, "Pechanga!!"

For those of you not familiar with Pechanga, it's a huge resort and casino located on the Pechanga Indian Reservation in Temecula, around a two-hour drive south of Los Angeles. So that's where I'm headed with my husband, two daughters, my mom, sister, two of my brothers and an as-yet undetermined number of nieces and nephews. And while a few of us do like to gamble a little (I've been known to feed the slot machines a paycheck or two) we're mostly going to keep my mom company while she sits for hours on a stool in front of a 5¢ Keno machine, spending our inheritance and drinking copius amounts of Sprite...Read More...

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Rising up

I'm going to try not to make this post a sad one, because if you know Kiyomi's friend Maya or her mom Polly or were fortunate enough to have seen her brother Eitan perform, you would know that they that's the last thing they would want. Polly was gracious enough to let me write about them and pass on some information, but I don't think she has ever read my blog, and when she does she might be wondering what kind of crackpot she has been entrusting her daughter to on numerous playdates and sleepovers. (Polly, I can assure you they stayed up that one time until 5am hopped up on frappuccinos and potato chips completely without my knowledge or consent.)

Kiyomi and Maya met in the fifth grade and became fast friends, and I was immediately so impressed with her – so fearless and unique. And I liked her mother Polly as well – unpretentious and honest, with the easy parenting style of someone with four children. I remember one day when Maya was at our house and she fell and hit her head. I handled it in my usual way – screaming for an ice pack, frantically grabbing the phone to call 911 and then packing my bags to turn myself in to Child Services. I finally got a hold of myself, though, and when Polly came over she just rubbed the back of Maya's head, calmly asked her if she was okay and said, "She's going to be fine. My kids have sturdy heads." Just like that! I remember being so admiring of that calmness and levelheadedness.

Two weeks ago this beautiful family lost Eitan, 14, in an early-morning fire that gutted their home. Their loss is unimaginable, but the family has handled it with such strength and grace.

Many of you have asked how you can help, and I wanted to let you know that there will be a memorial fundraiser for Eitan and his family on Sunday, August 29 at the Improv in Hollywood. Eitan was an aspiring actor and had performed in several stand-up shows for teens – there is no doubt he had talent beyond his years. You can find information on the fundraiser HERE.

In addition, donations can be sent directly to the family at this address:

Pauline Djiji
P.O. Box 57949 
Sherman Oaks CA  91413

Here's a video that Kiyomi and Maya made a few days ago. I think Eitan would have approved.

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

I Turned This Mutha Out

A few weeks ago I was whisked away by Yahoo! to the first ever Motherboard Summit and spent a few days learning, socializing, and eating topped off by a night of karaoke where I may or may not have done some things I'll regret if I ever run for office. Oh, and I spoke on a panel in front of a room full of people and didn't pass out or scratch myself inappropriately.

You can read all about it here.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Can't we all just have a sandwich?

Oh, I know we all hate reruns, but I just got back from vacation and it might be days, even weeks before an original thought will emanate from my sunburned, tequila-soaked brain. So once again, here's another reposting of one of my pieces from the LA Moms Blog which will be closing at the end of this month. It was either this or a detailed recounting of a conversation I had with Rigel while we were in the middle of rafting down the Truckee river and I realized I might have left the stove on in the condo. See, I can tell you're grateful.

I’m declaring war on the Passive-Aggressive Foodie.

We’ve all got at least one of them in our lives.  The friend or acquaintance, who, while showing off their knowledge of all things culinary manages to make the rest of us feel totally inferior.   The Passive-Aggressive Foodie (or PAF for short) will toss out words like confit and ragoĆ»t in everyday conversation, pretty much ensuring that the rest of us feel really stupid talking about that taco we had for lunch.  Why have just a tuna melt when you can explore the rich textures and subtle layers in a panini?  Inevitably the PAF will make you wish you had a nice bottle of fruity, complex shiraz to bash them over the head with.

A perfect example of a PAF is my friend Diane.  Diane is a wonderful cook, as is her French husband Luc, and we’ve been the fortunate guests at many of their dinner parties.  But as fun and down-to-earth as Diane is, her obsession with food sometimes borders on the insane.  She’s the mom who sends her kids to school with lunchboxes packed with leftover truffle-and-organic-zucchini lasagna, and shows up at potlucks with a dish that requires a five-minute introduction and a four-page syllabus.  She saw a package of pre-made cookie dough in my refrigerator once and almost fainted right there on my kitchen floor. 

Don’t get me wrong – my husband and I love a good meal. But what fun is it when that meal becomes more of a ‘look at me’ statement than simply the backdrop of a warm gathering and good conversation? Sure that steak was delicious, but to refer to its "distinctive marbling" more than once during the meal is just pretentious. And another thing about the PAF – they can never just stop at one dish.  To them, every dinner party becomes a sort of gastronomical triathlon, where the sheer number of dishes will leave you panting by the sidelines.  I still remember being invited over to Diane and Luc's house for a casual Saturday supper, and arrived to find Diane had roasted two chickens and made all the trimmings from scratch – garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus with homemade hollandaise, chestnut stuffing and a pistachio cake  – and this was when she was eight months pregnant.  Let’s just say it really took the wind out of that pan of homemade brownies I showed up with.

So when we decided to meet for a picnic in the park a couple of months ago, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for Diane to step away from her chafing dish and relax a little.  We agreed to keep it simple - we were all worn out from the hectic school year already underway and decided that the less cooking the better.  She said she would bring some food for the adults to eat, and I told her I’d bring some lunches for the kids.  Knowing I would be picking up my girls and coming straight to the park, I had decided to stop by a local deli and grab a few of their boxed kid’s lunches.  I had no idea I would insult Diane by having the nerve to bring food to a picnic.

I should have know there’d be trouble when she called me early that morning to tell me to forget about the kid’s lunches, since she had made enough food for everyone.  I told her thanks, but I had already ordered the lunches; Diane seemed miffed and made some remark about how her kids wouldn’t be eating whatever I brought.  I figured the high cost of goat cheese was making her grumpy that morning.

When we arrived at the park, Diane opened up her suitcase-sized picnic basket to reveal five foot-long italian subs, a tub of curried chicken wings, prosciutto-wrapped melon, a container of homemade potato salad, freshly-baked cookies and a pitcher of fresh-squeezed lemonade. Basically enough food to feed everyone within a ten -mile radius.  When she saw me bring out my boxed lunches, she had the nerve to say, “Oh, we have too much food already,” which seemed kind of silly considering she just showed up with the entire contents of Aisle 5 from Gelsons.  She could barely look at my offerings that day but I’m happy to say her kids happily devoured those boxed lunches.

I knew then that it boiled down to this:  In our relationship, Diane does the cooking.  A PAF needs to be at the culinary reigns; they don't like eating other people's food and to show up at their home with something to eat would be like showing up on the Oprah show with your own couch.  I’m going to steer clear of food gatherings with her in the future, but if we ever do accept an invitation again, I’m going to show up with twelve cartons of Chinese food just to spite her.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Daily Celebrity Dropping: The Things We Do For 'Glee'

Okay, I admit it -- I'm hooked on 'Glee.' After some initial reluctance, I have to admit to being sucked into all the hype and now you might say I'm even slightly obsessed. Then again, maybe everyone has Jane Lynch's face tattooed on their stomach. 

Apparently I'm not the only one willing to go to lengths for the gang at William McKinley High. Singer Charice Pempengco, who is set to make her debut on the show's second season, reportedly got her skin tightened and received Botox treatments in order to "look fresh on camera."

None of which is unusual in Hollywood, but Charice is only 18.

This makes me sad, especially since shortly after getting cast she said she was "very proud to be an Asian, very proud to be Filipino" but then apparently got the treatments in order to make her "naturally round face" appear more narrow. Doesn't she know that us Asians are known for our round faces? Well, that and our cameras and our driving.

Charice, if you're reading -- no more treatments. Your Asian face is beautiful just the way it is. And if they try to make you a blonde run for the hills.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I wouldn't know a celebrity if they moved in next door to me

This was originally posted on the LA Moms Blog which will be closing later this month. I'll be republishing my posts from the site over the next few weeks.

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.

That wasn’t the first, or the last time I didn’t recognize a celebrity.  You see, I’m celebrity-blind.  While most people imagine they see George Clooney in every gas station and Thai restaurant in town, I wouldn’t recognize a celebrity if he was living next door to me.

I once stood for fifteen minutes in front of an outdoor table at the Grove waiting for my husband, and had no idea my ass was blocking the view of Heidi Klum and her husband Seal.  I didn’t realize I was sitting next to Teri Hatcher during breakfast at a local deli until my friend pointed her out, and on another occasion waited for ten minutes for the valet at that same deli while standing next to Danny DeVito. (Who on earth could not recognize Danny DeVito?) Then there was the time, despite being a huge Friends fan, I sat across from Lisa Kudrow in my ob/gyn’s office and I thought she was just another pregnant woman hoarding all the good magazines.  My husband recognized her, though, and he didn't even watch the show -  although he did manage to come up with some crude, but clever jokes involving a specimen mix-up being turned into valuable celebrity memorabilia

It’s a definite handicap, living in the land of the famous and not being able to recognize the celebrities among us.  It renders me useless to out of town visitors who are eager for a glimpse of their favorite actors or actresses – according to me no famous person has been spotted in Los Angeles, ever.  Who knows how many times I may have shared an elevator with Hugh Jackman and didn’t know it?  Sure it saved him from a rabid fan, but I may never get to show him my ‘love dance’ and give him that crumpled, tear-stained letter I’ve been carrying in my pocket for the past six months. 

Last summer I took my two daughters ice skating at a local rink, and as we were leaving a guy entering with his son held the door open for us. He looked vaguely familiar to me, but I couldn’t place his face. Just as I thought I had figured out who it was, my sister in law leaned over and whispered to me, “Don’t look, but that was the dude from Bones.”  Sure enough, it was my old neighbor David Boreanaz, and while I have to admit I was hurt when there wasn’t even the slightest glimmer of recognition in his eyes, I guess I can’t blame him – I thought he was my dentist.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Daily Celebrity Dropping: Angelina Jolie Has a New Secret Tattoo and You're Going to Help Me Guess What It Is

So apparently Angelina Jolie and I have something in common. We both have tattoos on our inner-thighs that are "just for Brad." Well, mine is on my outer thigh, isn't just for Brad, and it isn't so much a tattoo as a scar from when I was 15 and fell down chasing the boy's water polo team into the locker room. The point is, we both did crazy things for love.

Angie is refusing to divulge what her new tattoo is, saying that it's meant for Brad's eyes only. This has got me wondering what it says, and all sorts of crazy ideas are going through my head. Is it an arrow pointing upward that says, 'One Way'? Did she get it when she was mad at Brad and it says, 'If You Can Read This Tattoo You Are Too Damn Close To My Vagina'? Is it a picture of Jennifer Aniston with a big 'X' through it? Or maybe she went out and got really drunk, stumbled into a tattoo parlor and accidentally asked for the Jon Gosselin special. Help me out here people - don't make me lay awake another night thinking about this.

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Friday, July 09, 2010

Thank you, anonymous Chinese woman

Who says Asian chicks are wimpy? This woman in Shanghai was so pissed at having her car towed that she drove off with the tow truck attached.

She is officially my new hero. No, I'm not displaying a flagrant disregard for authority, just living vicariously through an Asian sister standing up for herself. Because me, I would have cussed the guy out, put a pox on his children and then slunked off to Starbucks.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Daily Celebrity Dropping: Well I'll Be Damned - Lindsay Lohan IS Going To Jail

Well, I guess I'll have to eat my SCRAM bracelet -- despite my earlier prediction, Lindsay Lohan is going to be putting on that orange jumpsuit after all. A judge just sentenced Lohan to 90 days in jail for failing to attend weekly alcohol education classes in violation of her probation.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether Lohan will even spend any time behind bars -- she famously served only 84 minutes of a 24-hour sentence nearly three years ago after her DUI conviction. That's not even enough time for me to smuggle in a cake with a file in it.

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Daily Celebrity Dropping: Desperately Seeking Madonna and My Youth

A couple of nights ago I sat down with my girls and watched 'Desperately Seeking Susan.' For you kids out there, the film featured Madonna in her first starring role and was also probably the only movie that made me head straight out afterwards to buy a black corset and fifty rubber bracelets. That is if you don't count that documentary I saw on J Edgar Hoover.

As soon as Madonna appeared on the screen Kira said, "Omigod, she looks just like Lady Gaga," and I had to correct her that no, Lady Gaga looks just like Madonna. Kira is a huge Gaga fan so I didn't want to burst her bubble too badly, but in my best motherly voice I had to point out that without Madonna there might not be a Lady Gaga. Of course, there also wouldn't be that box in my closet full of barely-worn corsets, rubber bracelets, lace anklets and fingerless gloves, either, but no need to let the girls know where all of their college money went.

The movie featured one of my favorite dance songs ever, 'Get Into The Groove,' and of course I couldn't help saying in the middle of the movie, "They just don't write 'em like this anymore." Remember how fun it was to watch movies with your parents when they said things like that? After I said it I hiked up my elastic-waisted pants and broke out this video:

Neither Kira or Kiyomi rushed out to download the song on iTunes, but they did both love the movie. Next on our list: The Breakfast Club. I can't wait to bring out my collection of shoulder pads.

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Friday, July 02, 2010

This just doesn't add up

I originally wrote this post for the LA Moms Blog, part of the Silicon Valley Moms blog collective that consisted of fourteen sites from around the country and Canada. Sadly, the site will be closing this month – I'm going to miss the network of amazing writers I had the privilege of working with there. I've decided to republish my posts from the site here on my personal blog as a way of preserving them once they take the site down permanently, and also because that's one less original blog post I have to write. Some may call that lazy, cheap and repetitive, but I just call it resourceful. And maybe lazy.

As I child, I puzzled my teachers.  My inability to add six columns of numbers in my head or multiply fractions in nanoseconds confounded them.  Why couldn’t I figure out the circumference of all the circles in the diagram and calculate how many of them it would take to fill up the Pentagon? What could be so hard about averaging the number of miles Janie and Mike traveled in a day in their Chrysler that got 50 miles per gallon?

After all, they assumed, I’m Asian.  I should be good at math.

I hated this stereotype.  Why couldn’t it be something more glamorous, like assuming that I could wield a killer Samurai sword, or even something with some ick-factor, like thinking that I ate sushi made from live fish every night for dinner. That would at least have given me some mystique on the playground.  I could see it now, packing away a goldfish in my lunchbox when my parents weren’t looking and then later sitting down in the cafeteria, a small crowd gathered around me as I carefully laid out small sheets of seaweed on my cardboard tray. They’d cover their eyes as I pretended to slurp the little critter down with my carton of milk. 

Even worse, I couldn’t live up to this pathetic stereotype.  Other kids would try to copy off my paper, thinking that surely my Asian ancestry would help me multiply those fractions correctly and I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I’d just copied the answers off of Andrew, the kid next to me picking his nose and scraping scabs off his arm.  I think I even brought an abacus to school once just so I wouldn’t disappoint them.  I bent over the board and my fingers furiously flew over the beads as the teacher recited numbers.  When I had supposedly come up with the answer, I banged a gong, bowed deeply and burned some incense at my desk.

Really, it wasn’t until college that a math teacher finally realized that I wasn’t a math whiz and actually didn’t have dreams of working for IBM and becoming the world’s greatest accountant. “You don’t say?  You’re not good at math?  This isn’t some cagey act to get out of joining the Calculus Team?  Now let me get this straight – you really did think 'square root' was some sort of gardening term?”

It’s hard to say whether my two daughters will have an equally heavy cross to bear.  Though bi-racial, they look more Asian than anything else and I’m already suspicious of the motives of their teachers and counselors.  After twice declining, my older daughter was moved up to an algebra class instead of the pre-algebra course that we had requested and that most seventh graders are enrolled in.  I made an appointment with the counselor, armed with my ammo in case any hint of the Asian Math Myth reared it’s ugly head, and was surprised when he informed me that she had been moved into an advanced class because she had scored high on a pre-entry exam. 

I was totally taken aback.  Seriously?  You mean she actually did figure out what x + y was equal to?

Well, there goes another myth out the window.  Because everyone knows – this family, we suck at math.

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Daily Celebrity Dropping: Mel Gibson Hates Puppies and Babies

Actually I don't know for a fact that Mel Gibson hates puppies and babies. But after his latest N-word laced rant where he also disparages women and his previous anti-Semitic remarks, I'm betting there isn't anyone Gibson doesn't hate. In fact, he probably not only hates puppies and babies, but bunnies, old people, Santa Claus and Girl Scouts.

Did I leave anyone out? If so, let's give Mel some vodka and get a tape recorder ready.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Devil Wears Uggs

It must be the art director in me, but sometimes before I start writing a post I come up with an image first. For example, if I'm writing a post about summer I might think about a beach scene or a margarita, or if I'm writing about a particularly annoying parent at the school I might come up with an image of a snarling pitbull covered in flies and driving a minivan. Hey, you have your method for getting inspired and I have mine.

So when I started writing a post on online safety for this month's Yahoo Motherboard, I immediately started seeing images of sweaty guys in trenchcoats, or glassy-eyed dudes sitting in front of their computer screen eating nachos and slurping on a Bud Light. So much for going through pictures of my ex-boyfriends! But then something surprising happened -- once I started thinking of who really posed an immediate threat to my kids online, I came up with an entirely different visual altogether, and these villains were wearing cute boots and jumpers from Forever 21.

Because in my opinion, the more urgent threat, the one that I've already encountered with both of my girls, is the one that comes from the frenemy sitting behind them in algebra or the ex-best friend now going to a school on the other side of town who can't let go of a grudge. That's right, I'm talking girl-on-girl offenses, and not the kind you've seen on Showtime at 3am, either.

I'm not sure if you've heard, but tween and teen girls can be vicious. Not only mean, but conniving, clever, merciless and secretive. Oh, and possessed with stamina like you wouldn't believe -- I've seen Facebook fights go on for days at a time at a level that would leave hardened criminals begging to be un-friended. 

We've been lucky in that the most harassment our girls have had to endure has consisted of some name calling and a couple of online spats, but cyberbullying is on the rise and I'm keeping my eyes and ears open for any signs of trouble. I try to monitor their online contacts carefully, and spy on their Facebook pages regularly. This in itself is a painful experience -- you think you're raising them right and then come to find they've used valuable wall space to tag their friends on a Pokemon poster according to their 'traits.' And spelled 'huggable' wrong.

I'm not denying the dangers of the online world -- I know that predators are out there and that the possibility of strangers threatening my kids is real. But I think that the more tangible, immediate threat to my tween and teen daughters is probably not the pervert in Germany inviting them to a Skype underwear dance party, but is more likely the ex-bff who decides that she's going to start a rumor 'just for fun' or the friend who thinks that IM'ing their crush's name to the entire 7th grade is hi-larious.

And then there's the bigger threat -- I hear that hell hath no fury like the angry classmate who decides that she didn't like being tagged 'Hugable Pikachu.' There's no task force for that, and we should be afraid, very afraid.

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Daily Celebrity Dropping: Please God Don't Make Me Look At Jon Gosselin's Back Tattoo

Jon Gosselin, former star of 'Jon and Kate Plus Eight' has something new underneath his Ed Hardy -- a back tattoo. I don't want to post a photo here because I'm superstitious and I think it might make my computer screen shatter and bring me seven years of bad luck, but you can see it by clicking here.

I'll wait while you rub a little acid in your eyes to erase that image.

Stud muffin Gosselin reportedly got his latest ink at the urging of his new girlfriend. I felt compelled to write about it because a friend was telling me she has this thing where she can never resist a man with a tattoo, and I wanted to cure her of her hideous affliction.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Daily Celebrity Dropping: 'The Bachelor' Split Shocks No One Except For The Bachelor

Wow -- who saw this coming? Alleged hottie Jake Pavelka proposes to an ex-Hooters waitress on last season's 'The Bachelor' and now they've called off the engagement because she's - wait for it - cheating on him! Damn, and just as I was getting over the Liza Minelli / David Gest split.

Above mentioned waitress Vienna Girardi has reportedly hooked up with some actor named Gregory Michael, which got Jake's madras shorts all in a twist. But Vienna says that the real reason they broke up is that Jake refuses to have sex with her. I just wish these kids could get it together so I could stop worrying and get some sleep at night.

Jake is reportedly "shocked" about the whole split. Huh. 

In related news, this guy almost got his balls ripped off. See you tomorrow!

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Daily Celebrity Dropping: Miley Cyrus Needs Some Mothering

Look, I know with two daughters of my own I shouldn't be worrying about anyone else's kids. But my girls have spent at least a few hundred hours watching Miley Cyrus on TV and I kind of feel like she's been living in our house. In fact, sometimes I almost feel entitled to yell her name out when someone leaves the cap off the toothpaste or when the dishwasher needs to be emptied out.

So when I came across this picture of her at the MuchMusic Awards in Toronto on Sunday, I felt like I really needed to send her a few words of heartfelt, motherly advice.

Dear Miley,

Put some clothes on.

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