Wednesday, May 25, 2011

'Kung Fu Panda 2' finds inner peace. Me, not so much.

Last week I was invited to a screening at DreamWorks Animation for a preview of the upcoming animated feature 'Kung Fu Panda 2'. There was fighting, betrayal, and the triumph of good over evil. But enough about the the post-screening blogger luncheon and the brawl over the last panini – let me tell you my thoughts about the movie...

Read the whole darn thing here! 

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Pirate's booty

Ahoy matey! I'm giving away some 'Pirate' gear! Shiver me timbers it's gonna be good!

So check it out here!


(Pirate-speak lessons not included.)

(C'mon, go forth and win ye some treasure!)

(I realize that wasn't really pirate-speak.)

(But seriously, just do it.)

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Summer Camp: Bring a sponge

I spent a recent afternoon searching out new and exciting things for my girls to do this summer, something to supplement their music and drama camps. And the options for teens are endless – how are they going to choose between the LMAO Facebook Status Update workshop and the Cute Boy symposium? That's a full day right there.

So I decided to take a break and have some lunch, and this is what I found when I went to grab a plate from the cabinet:

This is what happens when you ask your daughters to unload the dishwasher, and they're in such a rush to watch Gossip Girl they forgot that the dishes can actually be lifted up and stacked properly

Which confirms my suspicion that this is the most useless toy ever invented and taught them absolutely nothing:
So then I started thinking that what my girls need this summer are not more expensive camps. Do they really need to learn the bass-line to Poker Face, or take a two-hundred dollar workshop where they learn how to act like a lemur or cry on cue? No, what they need are some good hard lessons in practical things, things that will maybe enable them to leave the house and live on their own sometime before they turn forty. 

What they need is Chore Camp.

I love my girls. They're smart, funny, respectful and talented. But they'll be the first to tell you that things like dish washing and cleaning are hardly activities they excel in. Not to scare anyone that comes to eat at our house, but please check your plate for dried chunks of food first. And I don't think they even know how to work the washing machine - I may have even heard one of them refer to it as 'The Big White Thing That Cleans Pants."

So I've decided to start my own camp with a curriculum that puts some serious time into honing their housekeeping abilities. They may not speak to me for the next five years, but I'm sure they'll thank me later. Here are a few courses I'm offering:

Dish Stacking: Large to Small, A Brilliant Concept

Dish Washing: No, There Is No China Pattern Called 'Dried Salsa'

Closet Management: Hangers Are Your Friend

Toilet Cleaning: Someone Has To Do It

Laundry 101: Your Leggings From Hot Topic Aren't Going To Wash Themselves

Hurry and sign up – I have a feeling they'll fill up fast.

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Too much to ask

Kiyomi (yesterday): So, mom - what are you REALLY hoping to get for Mother's Day tomorrow? And don't say 'love,' That's just lame.

Me (only half-joking): What would be awesome is if you were in a good mood for the entire day.

Kiyomi (after giving this request some serious thought. As if I had just asked her for a kidney): Oh, ALRIGHT. I'll give you until 8:30 tomorrow night.

It's 11:30am and so far so good. Hope springs eternal.

Happy Mother's Day Everyone! May you be blessed with the simple things in life.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2011


Kira had her 15th birthday party over here a few weeks ago. Sure, I'm a little late in writing about it, but I have a rule that you can't talk about a party until you've finished eating all the leftovers. Although I have to admit I'm not feeling too good after our meal last night of flat Coke and two-week-old pizza.

The party was a big success. She had around thirty people here - the boys never materialized, something Rigel and I were secretly relieved about and that the girls didn't seem to mind one bit. They spent the evening as most teenage girls seem to do at parties - alternating between eating, gossiping, eating, dancing, singing, complaining that they ate too much, dancing, gossiping, singing some more and then talking about dessert. By the end of the night when they were all gathered around the firepit roasting marshmallows they were absolutely loopy, hopped up on sugar, carbs and Lady Gaga remixes. Made me wish I was a teenager again. Or at least had the metabolism of one.

I describe this like I witnessed it in detail, but in fact I barely even went outside the entire night – you could sense that the energy would stop whenever an adult would breach the herd, so instead my friend Juliette and I used it as an excuse to stay inside with our cocktails and spy on them from the dining room window, which wasn't obvious or creepy at all. I'd pop my head out occasionally to see if they needed anything, but as you can imagine "Would you kids like some ravioli?" was a definite buzz kill.

I had maybe sort of forgotten all about the cake, so two days before the party I asked Kira what kind she wanted from the grocery store, what color the tasteless frosting should be and if she wanted clowns or a princess on it. Luckily my sister-in-law Suzy saved us from that monstrosity with these amazing cupcakes she whipped up especially for Kira. Triple-chocolate, red velvet and French vanilla and yes they tasted just as fantastic as they looked.

This is one of the few pictures I took, since I was subtly requested not to take photos or video during the party. Who knew that teenagers don't like their parents walking around and recording them while they're hanging with their peeps? Also, take note that it makes things worse if you call them 'peeps'.

(Best Dad Award goes to Rigel, who when he heard that a few of Kira's friends couldn't find anyone to bring them to the party, drove all the way to Hollywood to pick them up and bring them here. Can you imagine your dad driving fifteen miles to pick up your friends and bring them back for a party? I can't, and if he did he probably would have worn his pajamas just to embarrass me.)

There were friends there that night from all stages of Kira's life. Friends she's known since kindergarten, second grade, middle school, and new friends she's made in high school this past year. One thing that struck me was how much I like all of them, and how they represent the types of people she tends to surround herself with - witty, funny, smart and outspoken. At one point one of them came inside and spent a good half-hour hanging with the adults, telling us about her high school classes and talking about her photography. I don't remember ever talking to my friend's parents at high school parties, and if I did it was because I needed something, like a straw for my Tab or a bag to put my retainer in.

There's a line in the movie 'Freaky Friday' that I've kept in my head since I first heard it. (You know it's significant, since that movie's eight years old and as you know I have a hard time recalling anything I heard five minutes ago.) Jamie Lee Curtis is dropping her daughter, played by Lindsay Lohan, off at school and right before she drives away she calls out to her and says, "Make good choices!" I barely remember the rest of the movie, except I think mother and daughter somehow trade places, chaos ensues and then Lindsay gets thrown in jail for drinking and stealing a necklace. Man, sometimes those Disney movies are a real downer.

But that line stuck with me, because I think it kind of sums up what we hope for our kids – that they'll have the insight and strength of character to make informed decisions when we aren't there to help them along. That the choices they make will make us proud, and prove that we're doing a somewhat reasonable job raising them.

That's how I felt that night as she celebrated her birthday, how I was so proud of the person that Kira's grown into and the things in life she's embraced. She really has made good choices, and I saw that reflected in the people she's chosen to keep close to her and trust as friends – and that's a reason to party if there ever was one.

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