Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Who says teenagers don't have their priorities straight?

Ah, October. The anticipation of fall is in the air, and the excitement of the upcoming holidays start to buzz around. Then there's Costco, busy as bees setting up their Valentine's Day display.

It's also homecoming time at the high school, and my girls were getting ready. They were both performing at the game and going to the dance the next day. To quote Katy Perry, they were livin' a teenage dream! To add to our festive mood, we received an invitation to check out HalloweenTime at Disneyland, which kicks off their holiday season in the park. But guess what – it happened to be on the very same day of the dance. If there was an emoticon to symbolize feelings of teenage conflict and angst, I'd insert it here.

Actually Kiyomi was pretty relieved – she'd been waffling about going for awhile, and finally reluctantly decided to go with a group of friends. This may have been because I sort of 'strongly suggested' she go in order to have a true 'high school experience.' I get like that a lot, trying to force my teenage memories on my kids. Someday I'll tell you about the time I made her get a perm, put on leg warmers and get disappointed by a cute boy. It was epic.

She wasted no time in cancelling her homecoming plans and whipping out the face paint. Something tells me she wasn't planning on going to that dance in the first place.

But Kira on the other hand was in full homecoming mode. Ironically, their theme was Disney, and she and some of her friends were going together and basing their outfits on Disney Princesses.

I need to just pause right here and address all of you out there with young girls who are hoping their daughters will someday outgrow their 'princess phase,' who might be dreaming of a time when you can stop buying those candy-colored puffy dresses: Sorry, but that day may never come, you'll just have to start buying them in bigger sizes and with lower necklines.

Kira found a billowy yellow dress, a pair of yellow shoes and some accessories shaped like red roses to put together her Belle-derivative outfit. (It all came from Forever 21, which is somewhere you know the Disney princesses would shop if they lived near a mall and had a fondness for knockoff dresses and dollar nail-polish.)

She was looking forward to an evening of mild-debauchery with her friends sullying the Disney Princess image, so you can imagine the conflict when I told her we'd been invited to Disneyland on the same day as the dance. Honestly, I thought she would have a flicker of disappointment, wish us a fun time and then go back to pondering lip glosses. She is 16, after all, and what could be more important than the homecoming soiree?

But apparently a trip to the Magic Kingdom is just more magical than a night in an overheated gymnasium pretending you're in the Magic Kingdom, and after a quick query with her friends on Facebook (who almost unanimously said, "Are you crazy, DISNEYLAND OF COURSE") she decided to blow off the dance. Anyone who thinks that teens have outgrown Disney would be mistaken – within hours of her decision she had sold her ticket and replaced her tiara with a pair of mouse ears.

But she's nothing if not resourceful – she wore her homecoming dress to Disneyland that day.

Find out more about HalloweenTime and our day at the park here.

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Friday, October 26, 2012

About to start talking to the lamp

It had been one of those days, an endless blur of errands and activities. Now I'd lost my keys and was frantic because we were headed out again. I finally found my keys in the sofa, whisked both girls outside and into the car. I took one last look in the back seat to make sure I hadn't forgotten one of the kids, because according to those Lifetime movies that sort of thing happens more than you might think.

But there was one problem. I COULDN'T REMEMBER WHERE WE WERE GOING. Honestly, for a few seconds (okay, maybe more) I could not figure out what it was that I'd been rushing around for. I glanced at what I had brought thinking it might provide a clue as to our activity/destination. Maybe a dance bag, a picnic lunch or a book on 'What To Do When You Meet Oprah' might jog my memory. Unfortunately the only thing in my hand was a hot cup of coffee, which was no help at all unless we were going to heaven which was highly unlikely.

I finally did remember where we were going (to meet another family at a movie.) And since the girls were so young, I was still able to use the "Damn kids stole my memory" excuse. In fact, when we arrived at the theater, my friend topped my story by recalling how she'd left the house in only her bra and yoga pants the day before. Instead of making me feel better it made me wish I'd exaggerated mine a little more by adding that I'd accidentally robbed a liquor store on the way over. That happened in a Lifetime movie, too.

My kids are older now. Teenagers don't require as much of my help getting ready, besides putting my purse where they can find it so they can fish out a twenty. There aren't as many activities that require my driving – they're experts at taking the Metro, and I've carefully trained them to ask their dad first.

But sadly my absent-mindedness has endured. Take yesterday – I'd been focusing on a prominent, thick white hair that seemed to have sprouted out of my scalp overnight. It taunted me with it's brightness, refusing to hide behind the other darker, younger, hotter-looking hairs.

When I finally did decide to yank it out, I was surprised to discover that it wasn't a white hair at all, but a thin string of cheese. Apparently I'd gotten more involved with my omelet that morning than I remember. I made a note to myself to go back to using utensils when eating.

But instead of being elated, I was shocked. Foodstuffs ending up on my body unbeknownst to me? I think this was a new low, much worse than the oatmeal-on-my-lapel that was so cute when you have babies to care for. I made light of it by making a humorous cheese-in-my-hair joke to myself, but I was secretly mortified to know that I was one step away from showing up at meetings with jam smeared all over the front of my colonial blouse.

I'm thinking it's all downhill from here. I'll start finding my purse in the freezer after having the family search for it all day. I'm going to start yelling because I can't control the TV with the remote, and the kids will have to gently tell me that I'm pointing my cell phone at the microwave. I'll wonder why my husband is ignoring me, and it'll be because I've been talking to the piano all morning.

But I can tell you one thing – I've never left the house in only my bra and yoga pants. Yet.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Party like a YouTube star

A couple of weeks ago Rigel and I were invited to a party and we took the girls with us. Not only that, but it was at a restaurant called Pink Taco, located on the Sunset Strip. You might be asking yourself, "What kind of crazy people take their teenagers to a party in the middle of Hollywood at a Mexican joint with a name that is slang for lady parts?" We asked ourselves this, too, but their tasty yet strong margaritas made it hard to answer our own questions.

But this wasn't just any party, it was a party being thrown by the awesome people at Nintendo, part of their sneak peek weekend to intro their upcoming Wii U system. But besides that and the excellent guacamole, there was another reason we had to come: there were a few celebrities Kiyomi wanted to stalk meet and Kira - well, she just likes a good party.

I've got to tip my hat to Nintendo, because they really do have a beat on the teen market. While other brands are busy catering to young kids, or adults with young kids, or babies still in the womb – Nintendo manages to get into the teenage brain, sort through all the Cheeto dust and find what they really want.

Case in point: The celebrities they had at this gatherings were YouTube stars, and if you know anything about anything you know that these young, talented, hip personalities are like superheros to teenagers and are going to take over the world someday. (Sorry, you old, tired celebrities that don't have YouTube channels.) When Kiyomi found out she was going to be in the same room with a few of these dudes, I believe her exact words were, "MY LIFE IS COMPLETE." I think the only time I've ever uttered those words was when I discovered I could buy Pringles at the gas station.

(Seriously, if you want to impress your teenager and up your hipness quotient without squeezing into a pair of skinny jeans and putting on a beret, memorize these names and check out their YouTube channels.)

Adam Robertson
Jimmy Wong
Joey Graceffa
Luke Canard
Alex Carpenter

There were more there, but these are Kiyomi's faves. She made cards for each of them, proving the apple doesn't fall far from the social media tree:

(This one was for Michael Aranda, who wasn't there that night. If you're reading this, Michael, your card's waiting for you.)

These guys were all so super sweet to my girls, taking the time to chat and take pictures.  But here's the thing about teenage girls who aren't yet YouTube stars – they don't like having their photos posted on the internet. So here's the only one I was allowed to show, Adam Robertson laughing along with Kiyomi's arms. We're hoping Adam makes a YouTube video of Kiyomi's arms and it goes viral and her arms become superstars:

One of her faves, Jimmy Wong, wasn't at the party but when he received his card (via the spectacular Justine Hanks) he sent Kiyomi an email and a photo. See? Super sweet.

Jimmy Wong has a special place in my heart because he made this video last year in response to that racist rant by that awful UCLA student. I wonder what she's doing now? I'll bet she's not partying with Nintendo. *evil laugh*

I asked Kiyomi to sum up her YouTube celeb encounters and this is what she said: "Meeting all those YouTube people was super cool!!! They were all really nice and friendly and THEY'RE A LOT TALLER IN PERSON WOW." There you have it. Nice AND tall – what more could you ask for?

The next morning we headed out to Siren Studios in Hollywood to actually try out the Wii U and a few of their new games. Sadly, the YouTube guys weren't there but there was still plenty of things for my girls to swoon over. You can read all about our day and our experience with the Wii U over here. Check it out before the Nintendo Wii U is released on November 18!

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Emily Owens M.D.: Three Thumbs-Up (That's one adult & two teens)

One thing I've learned: teens and medical shows don't mix. I've tried before to get my 14 and 16-year-old daughters to check out past episodes of my favorite, ER, but to no avail – they prefer the world of glee clubs, mean girls, quirky twentysomethings and zombie apocalypses. I was even clueless enough to try and entice them with the George Clooney connection, to which my youngest crushed me with, "THAT old guy?" Right then I decided there was no way she was getting my Tony Bennett Live on VHS in the will, either.

So to be honest, when I got invited to a screening of the CW's new show, Emily Owens M.D. I didn't get my hopes up. (Although a big selling point was that the show's star Mamie Gummer is the daughter of Meryl Streep – one of my 16-year-old's faves.) But guess what? They loved it. And so did I...Read more...

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Friday, October 12, 2012

When Phones Attack

We have this thing at home called a landline. It's stupid. Not only is it connected to the biggest phone you've ever seen in your life, but you can't even check your email, or update your Facebook status on this thing. What kind of genius invented this phone that is only good for making calls? It doesn't even have a camera. Stupid phone.

I hardly even answer this phone anymore, because the only people who call on this number are people trying to sell me something or people who accidentally dial our number when they're looking for their pot dealer. A few weeks ago I answered it and someone asked for 'Cy' (or was it, 'Sigh'?) I told the guy he had the wrong number and then he became belligerent, like I was lying or trying to keep him from talking to Cy/Sigh and maybe cut in on his pot deal. He never actually said the words 'pot' or 'deal' – he just said, "Bitch!" and then hung up – but I know what he was thinking.

My mother also calls me on this number, which led to the single most ridiculous incident of 2012 (so far.) I recently recorded a new outgoing message with my voice, replacing the one of Rigel's voice that had been on there for the past few months. For some reason my mom thought this was a sign that we had gotten divorced, and I had to assure her that this was America in the 21st century and that women were allowed to have their voices represent the household, at least on a phone machine and as long as they ended the message with a high-pitched giggle and the words, "Husband is King!"

(I know everyone is getting rid of their landlines, but we're hanging on to ours since we figure if there's some sort of catastrophic cell outage, or a monster sun flare it will be good to have a landline handy. Unless there's a meteor, in which case we're screwed.)

But tonight was the last straw. Around seven o'clock the phone in my office started ringing, and I decided to answer it because, what sales person or druggie is going to call me that late? (Okay, maybe the druggie, but I didn't want to make any more enemies.) As I was bringing the receiver to my ear I accidentally whacked myself in the face with it, and after blaming Rigel and the kids (all of whom were out of the house at the time) I started yelling at the phone and cursed its mother. Luckily it was only a recording, but I think I made my point.

Anyway, I've decided to never, ever answer this phone again. So if you want to get in touch with us, call our cell or knock on our door. (Just kidding - don't ever, under any circumstances, come over unannounced.) I think we may even just change the number, which means the telemarketers and the pot dealers are going to have to work extra hard to find me. Cy/Sigh, I hope you're listening.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Los Angeles Times, I Just Can’t Quit You

I wrote this post for MomsLA. Rigel and I are scaling down our L.A. Times subscription, and I'm finding that my morning coffee doesn't taste nearly as good without the smell of newsprint.

I’ve been reading the Los Angeles Times for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I recall my parents bringing the paper in from the front porch and reading it every morning. I would wander in and go straight for the Calendar section, which back then was the size of a large magazine and as thick as the entire paper is now. I’d take it back to my room, sip a Cactus Cooler and circle all the concerts I wanted to go to. Elton John at Dodger Stadium. Earth Wind and Fire at the Forum. I’d sit in my room and calculate how many macrame belts I’d have to sell to afford a $15 loge seat. Read More...

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