The Cosplay Annihilation

So this happened the day after Halloween…

My husband asked me what it was for. I’m gonna cosplay as a Storm Trooper next time we go to Disneyland. It’s gonna be so fetch!

Even our chiweenie is not safe from dressing up.

The kids have quite an imagination when it comes to dressing up though the Dorothy costume came from me, not the toddler.

Speaking of which, the toddler-now-eight left me a full sized Twix and a note saying I should share it with Daddy. Uh… No? 

I would share my coffee if he asked. Good thing he doesn’t drink it!


The Fall Vortex

It’s finally fall! Woo hoo!

It’s even raining outside; good news for California since we’ve been in such a terrible drought. No, I’m not getting out of bed to take a picture of the puddles outside. 

I recently splurged on Uggs for me and the girls at this awesome discount store. I think it’s called Off Fifth, the one that is dumping grounds (i.e. last season or discontinued) for Saks Fifth Avenue. I’ve never shopped at Saks as a previous experience left me dizzy at the price of a tank top– eighty bucks!– but heavily discounted and high quality I can do. Needless to say the girls cannot wear these to school or the rain. 

I found these cuties at Target. We have slowly amassed an owl collection, especially since they are considered seasonal and on clearance after Halloween. (Do you see a pattern here?) These owls are especially adorable since my cousin married a Brit who loves his bow ties because as any Whovian will tell you, bow ties are cool. 


What Veterans Day Means to Us, 2015 Edition

We are so happy to see another Veterans Day with our veteran. If you’ve been a reader of this blog for a while, you already know why. There were many times we celebrated holidays without him.

There was even a time we thought we lost him. But he survived.

In the past couple of years since he’s retired, R wants no fanfare, no free coffee at Starbucks, no free meals at chain restaurants. In fact, you’re more likely to hear me asking, “Erm, do you give a military discount?” because it never hurts to ask and I don’t have a fit if they say no. 

This year he is in school today and the kids and I are not. So what do we do if our favourite veteran is away on Veterans Day?

We go to the movies to see the new Peanuts movie!

Happy Veterans Day!

The Jason Conjecture

Hope you enjoyed your Halloween festivities! Our house goes all out for Halloween because

1. I’m an October baby and why yes, I am 257 years old this year.

2. I have a knack for after-holiday sales. I love cutesy decor and coffee mugs but I don’t like paying full price. 

I dressed up for passing out candy because I don’t want to be recognized! I’m in the business of educating children, not being liked. That said, I’m pretty sure there are kids and teens out there who would love the chance to take out there frustration in the form of toilet papering my house.

Most of the time though I had to take of my mask because I was groaning and hissing– too scary for tiny toddlers trick or treating for the first time this year. Still, I was recognized: “Aren’t you…?” Gah! Busted!

Trick or treating was dead on our street (no pun intended). Most of the neighborhood kids are now in high school. Our cul de sac backs up to a busy major street. Halloween was on a Saturday this year so most families probably went to parties in other neighborhoods or towns. 

I spent the evening watching Doctor Who

and Pitch Perfect 2.

That’s not beer! That’s a Coke Zero!

I told my family that I was going to meet them at church this morning but time got the best of me. I thought I was going to be in and out of our neighborhood Target in no time flat but dammit if there weren’t already stay-at-home moms in line at the doors before they even opened! Damn you, SAHMS!]

[NOTE: I love stay-at-home moms. I was one for many years and have proven that I can’t hang with you lot time and time again. The use of the term SAHM is not intended to offend but rather for humor only. No one messes with the SAHMs in my neighborhood!] 

Rather than rush in and interrupt mass, I will sit this one out and stay in the moment. 


The Thriller Fluctuation

I started my job teaching PE this week (I teach part time in month long blocks) and I am sore!

I wish I could say that I’ve been keeping up with exercise since I taught in August but lie detector tests would determine that was a lie.

Monday was my first day and it felt like I was hit like a ton of bricks. I know that is just an expression but after dancing for six hours with no previous weight training or stamina building exercises, it was as if I was dropped repeatedly onto a pile of bricks. 

I can’t complain for too long though because this is a pretty sweet gig.This week, we (and by we, I mean the entire school of nine hundred students) are learning the Thrilled for a flash mob on Friday! I won’t be able to post videos or pics of students are in there for privacy but there might be a pic I could use. 

My son took video productions last year and he helped me put these videos together. Working with him was like nothing I had ever experienced. He is extremely dedicated to his craft, a perfectionist with a one track mind, and very passionate about art direction. I can’t tell if he’s me or my husband! 

You are welcome to share or use these videos to create your own flash mob. Please send me a link if you can. I would greatly appreciate it.

You can click here for a sneak peek of the Thriller Dance Tutorial. 

Then click here for the full Thriller Dance Tutorial.

When I decided to show one class of students the tutorial, they were so excited! Some wanted to know if it was on YouTube and I had to say no… Because the YouTube channel was my personal channel. Not that my stuff is NSFW but my kids are in some silly videos and I didn’t want other kids to make fun of them. I made other goofy videos from conventions I attend and some of it is inappropriate. So I spent all day trying to erase the electronic footprint that I have created without regard that someday I would need to change ALL OF MY PRIVACY SETTINGS.

Mission accomplished. 

The Feline Curve

I have been putting off this post for a couple of weeks now. Pet owners, you’ve been warned.

When my husband R and I got married in the fall of 2000, I had to move to Georgia three days later. Three days!

Six weeks later, he went on a six month deplolyment. I look back now and I wonder why didn’t I just stay in California. I was young and eager to start my life with him. He had already been living there almost a year so why wouldn’t I move?

It didn’t take me long to find a part-time job at a private tutoring company as working as a substitute teacher at the time was the same as minimum wage. I got to know the town of Augusta, frequented the bookstores back when you could have Barnes and Noble AND Borders in the same city, and hung out with other military spouses. 

I was sometimes lonely but everything about my situation was new. Being married. Living outside of California. Living in the south. Being a Dependent.
I didn’t have time to be lonely. 

When R came home, I was overjoyed and over the moon. It’s a feeling I’ve felt many times and there isn’t anything quite like it, which is both a good and a bad thing.

When R said his friend had kittens to give away and would I like one, I am pretty sure I said yes even before he finished the question. 

We chose the orange tabby who was so small you could probably put her into a grande cup at Starbucks with room to spare. She was feisty and the name Fuego, Spanish for “fire”, fit but I still wasn’t sure. 

A couple of weeks later, we found out the gray litter mate was still available if we wanted her. Uh… yes!

We named them after the angels in the movie Dogma. The orange one was Loki and the gray one was Bartleby. (Bartleby, turns out, is a boy so both cats had to be fixed for obvious reasons.)

So we were a family with our two kittens that wreaked havoc in our apartment, that ate my strawberries and watermelon when I wasn’t looking, and that have moved with us everywhere we did. 

Our two kittens grew into bigger kittens as our son came along nine months later. (Yeah, go ahead and do the math. I know. We were busy.) Our bigger kittens grew into cats as our family grew to three kids and, to their demise, an older rescue dog in Texas (who blessed our family for two years before he knew it was time) and two puppies here in California. 

Two years ago, the cats started running outside and at first I would not allow it. What if they ran away? What if they got run over? I could not deal with losing the babies I had had for twelve years. 

One day I followed them outside. I sat in the rocking chair on our porch while I watched the orange one sit on the grass in the shade. I saw the gray one roll around on the hot cement. These babies were not babies. They were adult cats who have been indoor cats for twelve years. They were going to be fine.

It didn’t take long for the gray cat to realize that the outside world had other cats and he was a lover, not a fighter. He did not want to throw down even if the territory lines did not rule in his favor. The orange one though? She was a different story. 

  Above: The Oldest with Loki when he was a month old. Below: On our way from VA to CA when he was six years old. Loki was seven. Now he is almost fourteen years old!

Loki loved being outside. Soon she became the neighborhood cat. She belonged to everyone. I later found out that she took turns staying in our neighbors’ backyards and houses! I didn’t mind. I told them they could let Loki into their home but they couldn’t keep her. 

And so it followed that she would live outside. We continued to feed her outside and she returned when she thought it was too cold or on the rare occasion when it rained. 

Last week I don’t know why but I asked my husband R if he had seen her lately even though I had seen her earlier that week. We had mourned her “death” when she went missing for a couple of weeks last year but she returned without so much as a hello. This time something felt different. Something was off. 

The following day our next door neighbor had a message for me and it was not good news. Loki died earlier that morning at the veterinarian. 

He and his family rushed her to the vet because she had not moved in a couple of days. They tried to reach us but R was at school and I was at work. 

Loki had a large tumor growing in her digestive tract and it was preventing her from eating. Tests showed that her kidneys were rapidly failing. She had finally come to the end of her nine lives.

I thanked our neighbor for the tough decision he had to make for us. I would not have been able to do it. I can’t even imagine how I or the kids would have reacted to watching our beloved family pet, our oldest friend, dying before us. And though I’m sad I did not get to say goodbye, I don’t think she wanted me to. 

Goodbye Loki. I’m sure you are still a hard bitch up wherever you are and I love you for it. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 


The Bon Jovi Amplification

  I woke up too early again. Dang it. The opening guitar riff of “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” by Bon Jovi will start playing on my alarm any minute now.

Oh well, better three minutes too early than three hours. That’s happened before. It isn’t pretty

My husband R was probably on the ferry by now. This week he’ll have to commute to San Francisco three times because he’s got a midterm to take on campus tomorrow.

On my birthday. 

That day was the only day available for him to take the midterm and I didn’t care. Not in the “I don’t care but really I do” kind of way, but turning 41 is not fanfare-worthy. Sure, every birthday is cake worthy but my birthday falls on a Thursday this year. Not convenient at all. 
The beginning of the week is rough on all of us. The kids have to adjust to getting to bed at a reasonable time after having been allowed to stay up “as late as they want”, meaning I don’t have to tell to go to bed at a certain time. But if I see Zombie Eyes (you know the look, trying to watch tv just because they can), I most certainly tell them to go to bed. 

On Monday I declared a strike on cleaning and organizing. Frustrated at the task of finding a matching lid to a cheap plastic bowl, I almost dropped everything I was doing to reorganize the kitchen.


No, I was not going to do it. The three are old enough to empty the dishwasher so they are old enough to put clean dishes in their proper place. Why haven’t I been enforcing that?

The kids got right to work. They know better than to wait too long when I gave them a chore. If they don’t get started, Mommy gets impatient. Mommy starts to see many, many new chores that need to be done.

Ten minutes after I announced the strike, the Middle marveled at how much space there was in the cupboards and drawers. I wanted to say, “Well, that’s what I have to do every single day!”

But I didn’t. Instead, I said, “That’s what you’re going to do every single day.”

R is taking a physics class and while he is interested in physics, taking a physics class is a different story. Such is the challenge of college! Some applications to do his assignments weren’t loading properly. The Oldest and I are under the constant stress of wanting to help and being able to help versus giving R the independence to figure out his own problems. Interestingly enough, both are extremely verbal when expressing their frustrations. 

Last night the Oldest was having problems with the printer. He is taking four academic classes, including honors science, and while he was so excited and so proud of himself for taking these classes, I’m afraid the luster is gone.

“Mommy! Can you help me with this?”

I have found, as a teacher and as a parent, to take my time doling out the help. It isn’t that I don’t want to help, I do. Most times, when a child gets to that frustrational level, they are so emotional that they are unable to think logically through their problem. When I take my time, it usually allows the child to calm himself down which is far more valuable than me swooping in to make it all better. 

By the time I got upstairs, I asked the Oldest what he needed. Turns out, he cancelled the print job and started a new one. It probably took him three minutes to take a deep breath and realize that he could come up with a solution without me. It worked.

Three minutes and I’m off to work. Thanks, Bon Jovi.