"Which of my all important nothings should I tell you first?" ~ Jane Austen, in a letter to her sister

Friday, May 27, 2011

Flashback Friday - the Cruisers edition

When I was young I used to hang out at my best friend, Erin's, house across the street and watch the movie Eddie & the Cruisers over and over. AND over. We would lay on the floor in front of the TV in her parents' family room and people had to step over us to get through the room. Erin used to push the buttons on the VCR with her toes. Odd the things we remember, isn't it? 

Anyway, I loved the movie then and I still do now. Here are some clips for you: 







If you haven't seen it then I fully recommend watching it some Sunday afternoon when it's raining, the kids are sleeping or gone, and you're feeling a little introspective. And drool over Michael Pare in tight jeans and leather jackets (long before he turned into the asshole, cheating husband in Hope Floats). Note: the Eddie & the Cruisiers sequel isn't even a fraction as good as the first one, but it does tell you what in the hell happened after the somewhat ambiguous end to the first one. Personally I LIKE the ambiguity; I don't need to know the whole mundane story. But maybe that's just me. 

Enjoy! Happy Friday & glorious 3-day weekend, peeps!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sometimes I'm a lucky girl

My company HQ is in San Francisco. Coincidentally, I love San Francisco. Always have. Sometimes I have to go visit my HQ to do work type stuff. When that happens I take full advantage of the opportunity to visit my California family.

So last Thursday night I packed a small bag for the weekend and got my booty into bed by midnight. I set the alarm for 5:30 AM. Then I lay there. And I tossed. Then I turned. Then I tossed again. Then I moved to the sofa. Sometimes I can sleep on the sofa when I can't get comfy in my bed. 2 am, 3 am, and finally, blessfully, I fell asleep around 4 am. I had moved the alarm to 6 am. Yeah, you do the math.

On the way to the airport I saw this:


When I got to SFO I took the BART, because I'm thrifty like that, to my HQ's BART stop near Market:

And schlepped the few blocks, partially UP HILL, to my office in SOMA. It was an absolutely, unbelievably gorgeous day:


I worked for a while. I had a successful, productive meeting. I found out that our HQ has a "Zen room" (more like a Zen closet) which I said was very Zen-like and my co-worker corrected me and said, no, it's more IKEA-like. But, you know, that works for me.

After a few hours there, I took the BART back to SFO and picked up a rental car. In fact, I got a BRAND SPANKING NEW rental. It only had 70 miles on it. Sunroof, leather seats, satellite radio. I dug it. And I hit the road. And parked. In San Jose traffic. It took me 2 1/2 hours to travel 42 miles. Frick 'n' frack was I annoyed. And tired. Did I mention that I was operating on only 2 hours sleep?

Finally, around Morgan Hill, CA, I hit open road and I kept going until I hit Fresno County. At which point it was about 8 pm and I had to pee. And felt a powerful need to eat a little something too. But, thank goodness I didn't need gas because that's where I saw this:

Holy preposterousness, Batman. For reals.

And then I got a text from one of my best friends from high school, Alicia. I call her Leash. Her brother's band was playing at a dive bar that night in my hometown and could I come? Pretty please? And bring my mom since her mom was going to be there too? Um, yeah, SURE! Because I may have only had 2 hours sleep and flew across 3 states at dawn, and been in meetings all day and on the road for 5 hours but OF COURSE I'm up for hitting a dive bar with friends to listen to a rockabilly band. Duh.

So this happened:
It was sorta dark in there and my mom couldn't figure out how to work the camera on my phone. At this point we were all laughing at her. That's Leash on the right. And on the left, Kristen. We all reminisced about getting into a fender bender in Kristen's car on the first day of my Freshman year. Probably the first time my mom let a friend drive me anywhere. Yep. Kristen & Alicia look exactly the same since HS and I hate them. Except that I love them. Moving on.

I spent the weekend with my Mamacita. This is her in her backyard. It's my own personal Zen place. Her house backs up to a field so it's super quiet and there's very little light pollution so I can lay out there in the patio loungers and listen to the fountain and look at millions of stars. Om.


One of the biggest reasons I came to my hometown this weekend was to see my Grammy. You see, she's the best Grammy EVER. Without exception. Even my hubby says that she's the best - and he had a pretty amazing Gram himself.

Here's me and my Gram:


I was laughing in this pic because she was clutching her blouse up around her neck in order to hide her "turkey neck." She is so silly. The best parts of me, my cousins, my mom & my aunts all came from her. She's ornery, nurturing, loving, understanding, and the epitome of gracefulness. Except when she burps out loud. Man, can she burp. And snore. My goodness. Oh, how I love her.

I also spent a good part of the weekend with this dude:


Okay, so his hair is a little crazy in this pic, but he's still cute right? And he has kind eyes. He's my cousin. He's my brother/cousin. And he's single. Swoon, ladies, swoon. Also, he's 30 and he likes older women. If you live in the valley and want to meet him just email me. (He's also a journeyman/electrician looking for steady work so, you know, email me for that too).

Saturday night something momentous happened:


That's JONI! Yeah, THE Joni. My blogging inspiration and altogether-awesome-person Joni. And that bitty baby is Ella. I tried to hold Ella. She took one look at me and screamed her adorable little head off. C'est la vie. But I did get to try one of Joni's chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. Delicioso. (That baby WILL like me someday. I'm determined).

Sunday afternoon I packed up my fancy rental car and headed for the bay. I pit-stopped at Harris Ranch in Coalinga. I sang my way along I-5 and 152 over Pacheco Pass. I smelled the garlic in Gilroy. The drive went quickly and before I knew it I was standing at the window in the airport looking out at the bay and thinking how much I love California. Politics, finances, even pollution aside - I love California. I love the way I feel when I visit. I love the roads that I know by heart. I love the colors. I love the ocean, the country and the mountains and that in one afternoon's drive I can experience all three. Until we meet again, California: 


Sometimes I'm a lucky, lucky girl. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Compliments & Validation

I was reading an article about Jill Scott and she made this comment:
It's silly to be stingy with compliments. If you see someone and they strike you as beautiful in any way why not let them know?
Then, later, I was cruising through some Twitter feeds and saw that several people had retweeted that comment. I found that to be so interesting because, by and large, I think we are generally reserved  and not apt to simply compliment other strangers even when we notice that a compliment may be warranted. There's this fear, "how will they react? what will they say?" Which is kind of silly, when you think about it, because most people are more than happy to get compliments or at least some form of validation.

Validation. I love that word. It embodies all the "I was right" or "yes, I rock" or "holy crap, I actually accomplished something" exclamations into one simple, sophisticated little word.

Here's the official definition:
val·i·date 
1. To declare or make legally valid.
2. To mark with an indication of official sanction.
3. To establish the soundness of; corroborate.
Official sanction. That's the President or Queen passing on the crown, right? Or just your boss saying, "good report" or your mom saying "I'm proud of the mom you have become."  Someone with authority giving approval and encouragement simply because they see a reason to give it.

I have found I'm one of those people that needs some sort of validation - especially in my professional life. Validation can be small and personal, "hey, nice haircut" or "thanks for folding that massive pile of clothes," or large and professional, "since you do such good work we are offering you an annual retainer incentive of $150k." Both types significant in their own way. Both of them designed to validate me - the first in my appearance and the second from my actions, knowledge and experience. (Ok, the second one didn't happen. But I keep wishing. Instead the occasional pat on the back and annual pay bumps must to suffice).

So what's the point? Whether you are in a position to validate the actions of another (like your child, your spouse, or your employees) or simply compliment a peer or a stranger JUST DO IT. Recognize positive actions and reinforce the behavior. Let them know that they did something that you liked. Let them know that you think they are awesome. Or that you simply like their shoes. Whatever it is - tell them. They will feel 100 times better and I bet you will too.

We can get so bogged down with negativity in our lives. Deadlines, bills, homework, stress, etc., that just a few words of encouragement can make a big difference.

So I'm going to try to remember to give compliments when they are deserved and validation when it's needed. I hope you will too.

Here's my first - I'm thankful to each and every one of you for taking a few minutes out of your busy days to read my words. I'm thankful for you.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Baseball Mom

It's starting. I've resisted for a long time - he's too young, he's not ready, let's just do martial arts instead - but now it's time. To push it off any further would be doing him a disservice.

My oldest has joined an organized sports team. Baseball, to be specific. 

3 weeks ago when I reminded my son that he was signed up for baseball and it would be starting soon he had a gigantic fit. He didn't want to do it, how could I make him and why didn't I warn him before I signed him up? Well, he knew I was signing him up, he chose baseball over soccer, and I even double-checked with him. So what was the problem? Nerves. He was scared to meet new people and do something he wasn't used to doing.

2 weeks ago when my mom & stepdad were here they bought him a bat, a couple baseballs, and a mitt. We went out to a baseball diamond at a school nearby and practiced a bit. After that I didn't hear a word of complaint.

Last night we went to the first practice. I signed all the forms, got his uniform and signed up to bring the snacks for one of the games. In true sports mom form.

I was so proud of him last night. No nerves last night. He jumped right in. And when the coach was asking for a volunteer to demonstrate where center field was he raised his arm the highest.  

In the next 5 weeks we have 4 practices and 10 games. Here we go.

He's an Angel. And a handsome devil.

His brother giving him words of encouragement just before his first time up to bat.

Because I love themed collages.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bitchfest & IG LW review

I'm annoyed. For several reasons:
  1. I'm at work and it's Monday. 
  2. I'm getting a cystic/nodule type acne bump on the side of my chin. I could ignore it but it freaking hurts. Like I-can't-forget-it's-there kind of hurt. So that sucks.
  3. What started out as a nice Mother's Day yesterday went south in the middle of the day when my kids completely forgot that they ever had manners to begin with and proceeded to act like whiny, annoying, born-in-a-barn, selfish 2 year olds. They are 9 & 7. I was taking THEM shopping for stuff for THEM. On Mother's Day. Ungrateful little wretches. People used to compliment me about their manners. What the hell happened??
  4. My oldest decided to continue this trend through this morning when he laid on the floor for 30 minutes because we were making him wear jeans to school that make his butt look big. For reals? I mean, really? He's 9. He's small. 51 inches tall and maybe 52 pounds. Nevertheless, kicking, screaming, pounding the floor tantrum this morning. He is grounded from the TV & the computer now.
  5. We decided to try an ADHD med for my little one this weekend. He has never taken ANY meds, and there's some concern with treating the ADHD because the medicine can cause Autism characteristics to become "worse" or just more defined. Well, we tried one on Saturday and, OMFG, the child turned into a holy terror. We were in survival mode with him until it wore off. I held him until he calmed down and then quietly handed over the the Wii remote and slowly backed away. So, yeah, we won't be trying that again. I would rather deal with his concentration issues than that mad, angry and aggressive little spawn of satan.
  6. My insurance guy keeps calling (when I'm not home so I just get these annoying messages) to sign up for a service or I'm about to lose a discount for the next 6 months. This is my thing: I obviously was signed up for it the last 6 months - why the hell are you bugging me about it again? When I sign up once I expect it to stay in effect. Do you really think I have time to deal with ONE MORE THING? And I have to carve out the time to do this during the day while I'm at work. 
Which brings me back to WORK. I try not to talk about work too much here - but I just have to say something. I've been doing this job for over 5 years. Which is a long time, in this field, to stay with one company and in the same position. I'm getting a little freakin' burned out. I'm tired of the same problems and the same non-solutions. Home annoyances on top of the typical work stuff makes days like today really hard.

I would love to be Susie Sunshine and see the bright side of every thing, every day - but that's just not me. Sometimes I can do that. Other times I want to wallow in my annoyance with the world or just go back to bed already. 

I know I'll get over it soon. Except for this stupid cystic pimple. That's going to take several days and a lot of oil massaging.

So enough bitching. Here's a look at how last week (LW) went, in Instagram (IG):

Sunday: We shot off the rocket my 9 year old got for his birthday. It was SO COOL.
Monday: I took my little guy to his developmental pediatrician. This was in the waiting room. 
Tuesday: I got new specs.
Wednesday: We went to see Wicked. This is the stage before it started. It.Was.Awesome.
Thursday: There was a duck in the road. I persuaded her to move for her safety.
Friday: Read Night at my oldest's school. Every year we put on a puppet show for the event. We = my husband as the puppeteer with help from a nephew and friend. It's a real crowd-pleaser. 
Saturday: The hubby got all handy and installed our new water heater.
Saturday: During the medication snafu: angry eyes and a thunderous brow.
Saturday evening: Hot water. Bubbly toes. Fantastic.
Sunday: Mother's Day breakfast in bed. Crepe with Nutella & whipped cream. There was bacon too but somehow it disappeared before the picture was taken.
Sunday: some of my Mother's Day loot. Chocolate (of course), funky socks, and homemade books. Plus a card with a tropical island and tropical music in it (no drink with an umbrella in it though). I also got a color bowl (flower pot) for the front porch AND, drumroll please, I did not have to wash a dish all freakin' day. Hallelujah!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Flashback Friday - my old house


This is the house I grew up in and it's currently for sale. The house looks different than when I lived in it. We didn't have so many flowers. Holy cow. But it still looks like my house. My old bedroom is behind the arch closest to the garage. There were Spanish style shutters inside the bedroom windows - which was a really interesting concept for a 7 or 8 year old. We eventually took them down. 

I lived there during the majority of my growing up years. My "formative years," I guess. My best friend lived across the street and then moved next door (and gained a pool. bonus). I had several other friends that lived in the neighborhood. The street used to dead end and we always played in that field as kids. My best friend's stinky older brother and his friend used to pick on us and throw things at us in that field. There was one tree that had a tire swing on it that we loved (and was the best tree to use as our "fort"). Oh, and one time I found a porno mag in that field. Was that ever elucidating! Eeek. (My mom found me with it and I'm sure she must have completely freaked out).

Then, in my early teens, my friends and I would sneak out of my bedroom window during sleep-overs to go tee-pee friends' houses. Or just go meet with boys. It was innocent stuff though, thank goodness, because I got caught every time. (The darn screens on the windows were SCREWED IN and do you know how hard it is to screw them back in in the dark?) (When I got older I didn't have to sneak out AND I learned how to not get caught when I was being ornery. But that's a different story.)

So many memories at this house. My dad mowing the lawn every Saturday morning. Our big half Golden/half Bernard dog Shawna who we got when I was two and died when we lived there. My first ten-speed bike. My best friend and I sitting out there on the grass under the stars in 1987ish listening to our radio and crying because our parents wouldn't let us go to the Bon Jovi concert (we were about 12 or 13). Watching the neighborhood teenagers with envy and wondering when I would be that old. Then, when I was that old, my first formal date coming to pick me up here in his '73 Mustang fastback. I loved that car and I loved the dress I wore that night.

My old house is for sale. Somebody with kids should buy it and love it. Then their kids can have precious memories of living there like I do.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) - a limited review

Okay, I've been using the Oil Cleansing Method for a while now. Off and on. When I'm not too tired.

Anyway, let me back up. I thought I had posted about the OCM previously but I think I did and deleted it accidentally on purpose. Because I'm an idiot and didn't think ahead or something. (Or maybe I just had a mind-numbing headache when I did that, as I do now. If so, all is forgiven).  So, instead of linking you to my initial post I'll link you to Joni's - because she's smart, my inspiration and blogging guru, and she's the reason I tried this whole OCM thing to begin with: OCM - a review by Joni at Mommabare.com.

If you don't wan to read that then here's a short recap: instead of washing with cleanser you simply "cleanse" your face with a combination of oils. Castor Oil and some other carrier oil like Olive Oil or Sunflower Oil. Rub it in, steam it with a hot washcloth for a few minutes and wipe it off. The oil cleans away make-up and the oil-dissolves-oil method is supposed to be a superior way of getting rid of blemishes.

I started this a while back. Probably in February. I use a mix of Castor Oil, Sunflower Oil, Tea Tree Oil and Peppermint Oil. 

Pros:
  1. Hands down, the best thing about this method is the quickness with which it dissolves blemishes. If I feel a pimple coming on then I just make sure I use the OCM that evening before bed. After I wipe it all off I'll take just a fingertip of oil and rub it into the blemish. In the morning the spot is gone. Poof. For reals. Even the hubby is using the oil for blemishes now.
  2. The smell. I love the peppermint and tea tree oil eucalyptus smell. When I put the hot washcloth on my face I kind of "cup" it around my jawline to get it off my nose and then I breathe deeply. I like to think it helps my sinuses to breathe in the eucalyptus oil but that's pure speculation. 
  3. It's relaxing. It's a nice before bed ritual. Rubbing that oil into my face with my eyes closed I find my mind drifting and it's nice. Sometimes I'll turn some soothing music on first. Then I go to bed all peaced-out with a clean face and smelling good. I like smiling as I'm falling asleep. I can just imagine it makes my dreams better (again, pure speculation on my part). 
Cons:
  1. My face has a tendency to get dry in my "t-zone" and, wow, when I tried using the OCM several days in a row my face got all flaky. So I backed off to every other night. And I tried altering the combination of oils - less castor oil, specifically. I found that I still got too dry. So now I only cleanse using OCM every 2-3 days, or when needed for pending blemishes. I also started putting a night cream moisturizer on after the OCM. In the morning when I shower I use a light cleanser only on the mornings when I DIDN'T use the OCM the night before. I also use moisturizer after my shower. 
  2. I have a tendency to push myself at night to stay up as late as possible until I'm so sleepy I can hardly put myself to bed. The nights I do that I can't/don't use the OCM because I'm not really functioning at that point. Too close to collapsing in my bed. So the consistency thing is hard for me. 
  3. I can't think of a third con. Really. 
So, overall, I like it. I think I could still mess with the formula to make a combination that is less drying for me and would allow me to use it more often - but then again, unless I change my bedtime habits I don't know if I could/would use it more often. I currently have no blemishes (when I probably should right now, if YKWIM) and I'm happy with it. 

I have a sinus headache right now. I'm going to go use the neti pot (which I love) and clean my face using the  OCM and see if the combination of the two (and the eucalyptus and massage from the OCM) can help my headache dissipate. 

Good night, peeps.