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. 

  

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 their 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 halfway through the evening: “Aren’t you a teacher at…?” Gah! Busted!

Trick or treating was dead on our street (no pun intended). Most of the neighborhood kids are now in high school and 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 Sac-Con Convention

It started in April. I didn’t think it was a big deal.

Boy, was I wrong.

The huge Comic Con in San Diego was curious but I thought it was too expensive, too crowded, and indeed the most hipster way possible, too mainstream. So when the local comic con came to my attention, we thought WHY NOT?

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I don’t know too much about Wizard World, only that this year was the first in Sacramento and next year should be even bigger.

We went on two separate days and the kids got really into to it. The oldest M cosplayed as the Eleventh Doctor and as Darryl from The Walking Dead. The youngest L dressed as her favorite My Little Pony and as Merida from the movie Brave. We all picked up a cute souvenir (note to self: make sure each child earns his/her own money to buy what they want) and while we did pick up one thing for each child, I imagine it will get more expensive as this convention is the first of three we are attending this year!

R came with us the first afternoon it opened and he will never do that again. While we all had a wonderful time people watching and finding unique posters, t- shirts, and collectibles that only die hard fandoms would appreciate, the crowds and noise were still too much for him.

The oldest and youngest came back with me the following day and they had a blast, especially since they changed their cosplay! They both got stopped by other convention goers so families, children, and other cosplayers could take their picture with them.

Recently we went to Sac Con. This convention was much smaller but the best parts of people watching, geek t-shirt acquiring, and socializing were the same.

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I picked up this awesome shirt

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And used my teaching powers for good as in, “Please sign this postcard for my class!”

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After hearing it was for a classroom, the Power Rangers Samurai did one better and all signed a poster for free! Wow! I will never stop talking about their kindness and commitment to children long after their show has ended!

Next month we are heading to Sac Anime which reminds me… We have to get our costumes ready!

The Cumpleanos Constant

For the fourth time in my marriage, my husband was home to celebrate my birthday. Turning 38 last Monday was by no means sad or depressing for me. It felt rather triumphant, to be alive for this long, to be happy and content with everyone in my life and content with everything I have.

After R got the kids ready and dropped them off at school, we went out to breakfast at a little European restaurant in Sacramento. The last time I went my friends and I were doing research for Oktoberfest and sampled different German pastries. R and I had omlettes and indulged in croissants and macarons from the bakery. It felt indulgent to not only eat them but a bit evil since we ate them without the kids.

We went to Barnes & Noble where I chose my presents, the book The Twelve by Justin Cronin (awesome sequel to an equally awesome book, The Passage)

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and this little guy

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who says “EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE!” and “YOU WOULD MAKE A GOOD DALEK!

On Saturday we had family come over to celebrate the October birthdays of myself, my brother, and my uncle.

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There were many who were unable to attend but we still had a great time.

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My daughter A felt the absence of her cousins but noticed that her other grandparents (R’s parents) were not there. It’s only temporary though, we tell her, because soon when Daddy’s retired we’ll be able to drive out east to see the other half of our family at least once a year.

Speaking of R’s family, we got a scrumptious care package from his parents…

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Clearly, there were more treats in the box when we opened them but somehow the treats keep disappearing…

I’ll have more photos soon. Have a wonderful and safe Halloween!

The Drosophila Melanogaster Ponderance

“What are you doing?” I asked L, as we looked for hay bales in the Halloween aisle. We were at a craft store and the pair of scarecrows inhabiting our garage had no home.

“This is my scary face.” Then she posed like a Weeping Angel from Doctor Who.

“Whoa,” I said. “Really scary, dude. You should do it while we’re walking around.”

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“What if flies fly into my mouth?”

“Well,” I said. “If you hear them, then close your mouth.”

“But what if there are little kids here and I scare them? They will be so scared!”

“You’re right,” I said. “Please don’t scare the little kids. You might give them nightmares.”

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Is My GEEK Showing?

My parents did not really care for science fiction and fantasy. I grew up watching The Lawrence Welk Show, The A-Team, Bonanza, and Dukes of Hazzard. My father preferred his daily newspaper and ball games on TV. My mother savored supermarket tabloids and the occaisional romance novel that friends would pass along.

My brother and I are a different story. My brother discovered comics at an early age. To this day, I am not sure if he’s a DC fan or Marvel but I’m pretty sure he owns both. We loved Saturday morning cartoons. We watched The Justice League and Smurfs and other such fantastic characters. I read realistic fiction and was mildly surprised when I enjoyed a fantasy novel. As we got older, we got a taste of the blockbuster movies of the 80’s like the Star Wars trilogy (no, I do not acknowledge “the first three”, aka Episodes 1-3) and Indiana Jones.

You already know of our love for science nerds; R and I being two of them.

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Like any parent, I encourage my kids to read the book before the movie. The Hunger Games (for the oldest) and Harry Potter (will be read alouds for the girls soon) are no exceptions. There are entire worlds of science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, and post-apocalyptic just waiting to be discovered.

So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon Doctor Who.

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How could I have never watched Doctor Who before? This year the series turns fifty years old! We are having a blast learning about the Doctor and though we still have yet to watching the older episodes (we are only on season four of the newer series), this is a series that we absolutely adore.

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The youngest L has renamed some of her miniature dolls to the names of The Doctor’s companions. She has even found a giant blue lego block that she calls the TARDIS. The middle daughter goes around telling everyone about little fat monsters called Adipose which quite literally are little fats. The oldest has made the inside of the TARDIS with his legos. We all freak out a little when we see statues by screaming, “DON’T BLINK!”

Now tell me honestly. Is my GEEK showing?

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Someone had written BAD WOLF in the Monterey sand dunes with nature stuff. I tried to take a better picture the following morning but it was gone.

The Allons-y Instability (Or How Being a Military Wife FUCKING SUCKS ASS)

Ladies and gentleman,

I am in A MOOD.

Kindly refrain from talking to me in real life because I might bite off your head for no reason at all other than the fact that I am so fucking tired of where I am right now.

A couple of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. Okay, maybe four.

Financial restraints as in this budget of ours is making me say no to EVERYTHING right now.

A fucking unfulfilling phone conversation with my husband. Goddammit, when is he coming home already? I would like for him to be home just once when I absolutely fucking need him. Just once.

I’d like to catch a movie by myself without relying on someone else other than who I married. I’d like to hang out with my friends without feeling like I am dragging the kids with me. I’d like to have a fucking week all by myself.

Is that too much to ask?

Unless you’ve been one, it’s hard to understand how being a military spouse does a fucking goddamn number on your head. You have to find the right goddamn balance sometimes when you don’t even know that you’re balancing in the first place.

You have to be independent enough to pursue your goals, especially when it comes to your damn career, but eh, you can’t do anything about them because you’re going to move whenever the Navy gods deem necessary. Or, better yet, you’ve been out of the workforce too long so good luck finding a goddamn job.

You have to be strict enough with your kids so they don’t take advantage of your single-parent guilt but easy going enough because dammit, they miss him too.

You have to be strong enough not to let stupid insecurities or petty differences start a one-way fight in your head but know that fuck, there is only so much I can take in my head right now.

I want to binge on Cadbury but I’m a dumbass and knew that I would one day feel so angry, so frustrated, so exhausted — why, yes, like today — that I would inhale the milk chocolate without tasting it. I knew that at the grocery store I didn’t need it then.

But I so need it now.

I actually feel like throwing up now.

I think I will go to bed, have a good cry, and maybe it’ll be better in the morning. Maybe I’ll dream of the Doctor dropping by in his TARDIS, whisking me away to a year from now. Maybe he will dry my tears and say, “Now, love, see? It was all worth it, wasn’t it?”

Wasn’t it?

The Big Bang Parenting Algorithm, Part 2

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Why I Let My Kids Watch The Big Bang Theory

(#5 was “It’s okay to be smart”)

6. …but it’s not okay to tell everyone
Sheldon’s mom told him when he was a little boy, “Because people don’t want to hear it!”

7. It’s okay to make mistakes. If you make a mistake, apologize.
In The Apology Insufficiency, Sheldon accidentally ruins Howard’s chance to become an astronaut.

8. There is such a thing as too many cats
See The Zazzy Substitution.

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9. True friends stick by you no matter what
Watch the series. See how many times:
* Sheldon insults his friends but they still remain his friends
* they defend each other from a cyber bully, Penny’s ex-boyfriend, and Wil Wheaton
* they take care of each other when one is sick (except when the boys make Penny look after a sick Sheldon)
* they help each other through tough times like break-ups and broken Star Trek toys

10. Sometimes songs will make you feel better although my kids will tell you that Soft Kitty is only for when you’re sick.

The Big Bang Parenting Algorithm, Part 1

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Why I Let My Kids Watch The Big Bang Theory

1. Exposure to science and scientists
My son recently looked up “Schroedinger’s Cat” in a physics text. On his own. And my kids know who the guy is sitting next to Sheldon.

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This picture is from The Hawking Excitation.

2. References to Pop Culture every kid should know
Without TBBT, my kids would never have known who Wil Wheaton was. I was never a Trekkie but I do remember him from Stand By Me. I swear I saw him at a club in the City back in 1993 but I will never be able to verify that information. Shame too because Wesley Crusher is a good dancer.

Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, ComicCon, Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, Marvel, DC, and the list goes on and on.

3. Science is cool
Liquid and solid moving to music. Pranks involving slime and YouTube. Going camping to see a meteor shower. How cool is that?

3. Alcohol is bad
In the The Pants Alternative, Sheldon accepts an award from the university while he is piss-ass drunk.

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“Mommy, why doesn’t Sheldon have any pants?”
“Mommy, why did Sheldon moon everybody?”
“Mommy, why is Sheldon talking like that?”

“He’s drunk. That’s what happens if you drink beer. You do stupid stuff. Don’t drink beer.”

4. Reasoning is an art form
My kids watch their favorite fictional scientists banter back and forth but it’s more than that. They see how articulate they are, their well-structured arguments, and logical reasoning.

“I think we should have a cupcake because we did not eat sugar all week and we drank milk every day!”

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While this adds up to complex conversations about EVERYTHING, I do appreciate that they can explain their opinions instead of throwing tantrums.

5. It’s okay to be smart
All of the scientists have doctorates in their respected field. Except for Howard. He ONLY has a Master’s degree.

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Yes, ONLY a Master’s degree. From MIT!