Bee-ing Ourselves

Spring weather here in Southern California is like no other. The first thing I do when I get up in the morning is open all the windows and doors and let the fresh air in.

This is how the trouble started...

I left the slider in our bedroom open the other morning, and a bee got in the house.

I didn't know that that's what had happened. I just heard Lucy's screams coming from the upstairs bathroom. Jonathan quickly reacted by bolting up there to defend her from whatever impending doom was about to befall her. I lazily called up the stairs, "Are you okay?" (That was so lame. I know. Shut up. If it had been a serious emergency I would have moved much more quickly, but that's not important right now.)

Jonathan came back down in a few minutes with a smug look on his face. "Catastrophe averted," he declared.

And then I forgot about the yelling and the averted catastrophe and I got distracted by whatever it was that I was doing and just got on with my day.

It was much later when I went upstairs to take a shower that I came across this:

Spider post it

Apparently, he had just trapped the Bee Invader between the screen and the bathroom window. He left this post-it up there to let us know not to open the bathroom window until the Flying Trespasser had given up the ghost.

We didn't move the post-it or open the window for a couple of days. Look how obeedient we were!

We just waited until it became a zombee.

(I guess you had to be there.)

The Biggest Insult

My kids are generally pretty nice to each other. Of course, there are the occasional sibling fights that crop up when someone's in a foul mood or has had a bad day and chooses to take it out on those closest to them.

For the most part, they get along great and are friends. The exception being that the older ones would take advantage of the gulibility of the younger ones and taunt them whenever they had the chance. They're still doing this (but that's not important right now).

This usually happened at the dinner table and it went something like this:

  • One of the two younger ones, usually Jonathan, tells some sort of joke.
  • One of the other siblings: "That's not funny."

This became the biggest insult in our home... for years. "That's not funny," or even worse, "You're not funny."

The highest praise in our family is to get a laugh. So then, the highest goal (especially at dinner time) became to make the other siblings think something was funny. Extra points if you could make them accidentally spit food or pass a liquid through their nose. (I know. Terrible mother. Shut up.)

Believe me, this can be a tough crowd.

Amy Adam Lucy Jon

Once the Biggest Insult was out there, the un-funny one, sometimes Lucy, but most of the time, Jonathan would kind of do an emotional retreat and come out swinging the next time.

This scene repeated itself over and over on through the years and on many occasions. But, as Nietzsche once famously stated, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." This has been proven true in our quest for the dinner table laugh.

Fast forward to present day. My kids have been hanging with friends and playing Improvisation games for a long time now - it's what all the cool homeschool kids were doing, at least at our house. As an aside, I think each of them has an extremely well-developed sense of humor. I know I'm the mom here, but I promise, it's true.

A couple of years ago, Adam began teaching an Improv class at their high school. Lucy did it last year and this year, Jon collected a group of students to perform as a fundraiser for their drama program.

Jonathan Improv

I know he's my son and everything, but I can genuinely say this with no equivocation: HE. IS. FUNNY.

I guess all that dinner table abuse really paid off. ;-)

I Have a (Cuban) Superpower

I get my nails done regularly.

What I mean by that is that I usually get a regular manicure and pedicure at my local nail salon. And, yes, I suppose I could just buy some polish and paint them myself, but I really enjoy taking the time and pampering myself that way. (Or I may just be shallow and spoiled.)

So, every other week I trot into my local nail salon and I'm faced with the Wall of Polish.


And even though I always like to wear RED, (of course!) the color choices within the reds can be pretty overwhelming.

So, I do my best to pick out the best red that suits me. Not too dark. No glittery stuff. Not too pink. Not too orange.

So I make my best guess as to which red polish will work for me, and I stretch out my hand and reach for it...

Big apple red

And I end up choosing THE SAME ONE. Every. Single. Time.

Shut. UP.

I am convinced it's my superpower. (Or part of my Cuban DNA. But that's not important right now.)

Famous Last Bites: A Cautionary Tale

Marta here. It's summer and the Orange County Fair is in full swing here in our little corner of the world. My Lucy went with her friends, her camera, and her appetite. What follows is her account of the crap unfortunate food choices available to her.

CAUTION: Not for the squeamish.

- - -

    I’ve tasted regret. And it’s covered in powdered sugar.

    Hello. My name is Lucy. And this is my story.

    After passing through the ticket booth and tripping into the noisy, musical, aromatic world that is the OC Fair, good judgement snuggles onto the warm back burner of my brain.

OC Fair
    The options are overwhelming. The proposals are intriguing. The smells are bewitching.

    I’m speaking, of course, of the food. The battered, sugar-coated, chocolate-covered, chocolate-filled, crunchy, greasy, untidy, confusing food. Forget the cotton candy and the snow cones! The grossest, most unappetizing crap delicacies become the very thing my life was missing. Until this moment.

    Quite frankly, I’d like to know at what point in the evolution of Fair Cuisine did the word “deep-fried” become the saving grace of… everything. Twinkies. Oreos. Brownies. Klondike bars. Avocados. Frogs legs.


    Befuddlement is a good word. My friends and I stood in front of the billboards, blinking slowly and reading off the options. We soon accepted that the question "...but why?" would never be answered.

    To make sense of the billboards, I tried to categorize. The Favorites and The Classics fit in nicely with The Must-Haves (ice cream cones, funnel cakes, giant turkey legs… you know, healthy stuff.) while The Curiosities teetered on the edge of I-Would-Never-Eat-This-Anywhere-Else and I-Just-Don’t-Care-Anymore.

    Before they could say “You’ve got something on your lip,” I’ve just bought ten minutes of quality time with a deep-fried Snickers bar.


Deep-Fried Snickers

    You see, this is a place where bacon takes a magical journey and ends up frozen, covered in chocolate, and tossed into a little white box. With a side of deep-fried butter (which is topped with generous portions of whipped cream), they had the nerve to call it the “Coronary Combo.”
    And I ate it. With some help.

Deep-Fried Butter

    Real friends will eat the rest of the crap food that your own heart can't handle.

    We traipsed and we took pictures and I tried to “walk it off.” Then someone suggested ice cream. Which turned into a frozen banana covered in chocolate and peanuts. A subtle transformation, really. Some people just never know when to quit (ahem).

Frozen Banana

    A long day made even longer by good company, good memories,“good” food... and then we saw it.

Donut Chicken Sandwich

    Have you ever found yourself staring at something, trying to understand what you’re witnessing... but your brain refuses to translate the information into something reasonable?

    Yeah, me neither.

- - -

May the 4th Be With You

In 1977 when I was young and adorable (This is NOT a lie), a film was released that changed my personal perseption of movie making forever. (This is NOT a lie, either.)

It was only playing on a few screens and there was no advertising for it. It was completely word of mouth. We had friends who dragged us to this screening. Apparently everyone was dragging friends. The friends had no idea what the film was about and it was too hard to explain, so the dragging was happening en masse.

Star Wars. Episode IV. A New Hope.

We didn't call it that back then. We just called it Star Wars. I still am a bit unsure as to the number and official titles of the films, but that's not important right now.)

Happy Star Wars Day!

This is the kind of stuff we uber-geeks live for. May the 4th be with you! *salutes appropriately*

So today I'm in touch with my inner-Star-Wars-geek and I am all about The Force. Or in this case The Fourth. May the Fourth. May the Fourth Be With You. Get it?

Just for today I will endulge my inner-geek. And I'll post a few star wars related videos and links.

And even a photo of Darth Vader that I took on Hollywood Blvd. last week.

Yes. I caught him while he was texting. How cool is that?


Sweet, right?

Here's more Vader for your entertainment pleasure. Here's the one where he's being a jerk:

And here's the one where he's failing the tom-tom gps ad:

I could do this all day long.... (and maybe I will..)

Here's the Star Wars Help Desk...

And of course, the Darth Vader Volkswagen ad.

If you're Star Wars Uber-Geeks, (like we are) you must have a favorite line from the movie, like:

"That's no moon." or "The Sand People are easily startled but they'll soon be back, and in greater numbers." 

What's your favorite Star Wars quote? (Dig deep!) Please share it.

If you get stuck, cruise over to Wookipedia today and get your fair share of Star Wars trivia.

And, oh yes....May the 4th be with you.

(Thanks for playing with me.)  =D

Hot! Hot! Hot! (a mini-rant)

On Monday, the 27th of September, we here in Southern California experienced the gosh-darndest Hottest Stinking Day of the Year.

This is the thermometer (excuse me, Comfortmeter) in our backyard.


For those of you who are impaired when it comes to reading old-school-liquid-filled thermometers, the red liquid (possibly alcohol or mercury; both expand when heated, which is one of the things I learned from having homeschooled my children for so many years, but that's not important right now), is registering just past the 112 mark.

Which put the temperature in our backyard at a scorching 113 degrees. Without a breeze. It was brutal.

If you live in places that routinely get this type of heat like Palm Springs or Las Vegas or Phoenix, you would most likely call me a whiner and tell me to get over it.

The thing is.... I live in Mission Viejo, California. The Bubble!

I have not chosen to live in any of the aforementioned desert communities. So when we get record-breaking heat here in our little suburban bubble, I'm going to complain about it. Loudly.

And do nothing. (Who can work in this heat?)

And sit very still.

And not cook.

Or do laundry.

And try not to die.

And call my mother who is 96 to make sure she's alive.

She knows I do not tolerate heat well. Hearing my voice on the phone, she immediately laughs.

Luza: "Estas derretida?" ("Have you melted?")

Me: "No, Mami. Y tu?" (<--You probably caught on to that from your high school Spanish. "No, Mami. And you?")

Luza: (again with the laughing!) "A mi me gusta el calor, yo soy bacteria." "I like the heat, I am a bacteria."

She spent a few more minutes fully mocking my inability to deal with the heat, and singing her own 'I'm a Bacteria' praises.

I hang up.

Now I am hot.

And I am fussy.

And I'm been taunted.

By my own mother, who even though she's 96 still wants to keep her Queen of the Hill Crown intact.

So to all of you who are calling me a whiner, and to my own mother who is amused by my discomfort,  I just have two words:

Shut up. That is all. Rant over.


Mooove it!

One of Lucy's creative writing classes involves creating a literary magazine. In fact, I think the name of the class is actually "Literary Magazine" or Lit Mag for short. (<--That's cool & hip student jargon in case you were wondering.)

The title of this fledgling Lit Mag is The Invisible Cow.*

[*The Invisible Cow refers to cows that graze in the fields on the climb up to the Mauna Kea Observatories in Hawaii. It gets very foggy up there and the road is not lit at night. The cows in the surrounding pastures sometimes lay down on the warm pavement and BLAMMO! some unsuspecting driver invariably hits a poor cow, and then wonders, "Whoa! What did I just hit?"]

Mauna kea cows 

But that's not important right now.

Meanwhile back to the original story here; Lucy and The Invisible Cow Lit Mag.

To illustrate some of the articles, she was asking everyone she knew to draw a cow. Everyone she knew includes her parents.

One of Lucy's parents is analytical, realistic, and extremely literal. Cowface 

The other parent is childlike, prone to silliness, and a bit whimsical.

So, today's question is: Which cow was drawn by Eric and which one was drawn by Marta?

(I know. Shut up.)

Why it's weird to be me sometimes...

I love blogging.

And I love that I have a certain amount of fame (little tiny "f" - I'm not completely delusional, but that's not important right now).

So I went to my regular checkup with my dentist last week. After the hygienist completed the ex-rays and cleaned my teeth, the dentist came in to look at everything which is when I saw this in my open file:


That's my Coming to America Story that was in the OC Register last year. It's peeking out from underneath my dental ex-rays. Yes, my DENTAL EX-RAYS.

I'm thinking it's actually more Twilight Zone-ish than accidentally cool.  =D

How To Throw a Virtual Birthday Party

My daughter, Amy Kikita, spends a lot of time online.

Today is her birthday (27) and I wanted to do something special to celebrate. "No time," she said. "I have a ton of work to catch up on."

Bday cake face
Fair enough. I guess it's good that she has a work ethic at all....

But I also know that in between uploading and downloading and keywords and doing the online internet marketing stuff she does, she also checks her Facebook Page.

*insert lightbulb over head here*

I got excited when her other Facebook friends agreed to play along. 

So, this is an example of what she found when she logged on this morning.

Photo on 2010-06-16 at 00.35 

I think we made history today. This is the Very First Virtual Birthday Party I've ever thrown.

Thanks everyone for participating (I will keep loading photos through the day if you want to send them to me or post on Facebook).

So, Happy Birthday, Amy Kikita! Enjoy your party!

Bday chel

Bday bat

Bday er 

Bday mat

Bday mai 

Bday chan

Bday val

Bday ody

Bday mu

Bday mp

Bday mario

Bday mic

Bday lucy


Bday j&V 

Bday man

Bday jack


Bday fab 

Bday mar

Bday bran


Bday kel 

Bday johnny


Bday sean 

Bday am

Bday abe 


Bday mela

Bday ben

Bday josh

Bday liam

Bday jesus 

Bday jo

Bday gene 

Bday jon

Lourdes cupcake 

Bday pen  Chelsey
  Sue B
 Heather  Scott


Amanda and co  


Birthday sundae

For the record, I'd like to mention that the clean-up after this party is a snap! =D


Mother's Day Blog Shout Out

Kikita here.

In case you didn't know (because you've been so busy getting ready for "Kikko de Mayo") Mother's day is THIS SUNDAY.

I know what you're thinking: "¡Ay Kikita! I'm not ready! I don't know what to get her!"

Never fear! Kikita is here!

(Ok, I really can't take the credit for this because it was Mami's idea, but that's not important right now.)

What should you get YOUR Mami for Mother's Day you ask yourself? What about some face time on your favorite blog? Send us a few lines about how cool your Mami is and attach a picture of you together and we'll post them over the weekend. (Yes, you will definitely still need to send her flowers, but what a fun gesture to be on a blog that you love!)

Here's an example for your reading pleasure:

I have the coolest Mami in the whole world. She is my favorite traveling buddy. She taught me how to be smart and funny and the most beautiful Cubana ever! She is a magnificent cook and I am lucky that she lets me hijack on her blog sometimes. My Mami is so cool. She wrote the book on coolness. I only hope that I am half as cool as she is. Happy Mother's Day, Mami!

Mami and Kikita in Vegas

Got that?

So, grab your favorite picture of you and your Mami and then email it (and the couple of lines) HERE.

Do it.

Now. =D