Thursday, August 04, 2016

Families are Complicated.

A few weeks ago, I had to pass through the town where I lived during my elementary school years.  This is not a place where I call home, but it is a place where my family lived for a number of years.

My kids asked if we could see my old house and I decided it might be enjoyable to see my old stomping grounds.   As I drove through the gates of the old neighborhood, I felt my chest tighten up and memories came flooding back.  My kids who normally hate sight seeing, were fascinated by seeing the places where so many stories took place. They have grown up hearing stories of my childhood, and storytelling is something that I loved to do.  I showed them the former homes of my friends and the spot where we used to slip onto the golf course to have water gun fights.

They loved seeing my old elementary school, where Thelma, the world's scariest secretary worked,  and enjoyed seeing my old house.
As for me, I stood in front of my house and felt a myriad of emotions, most of them weren't good.  This house was the epicenter of Crazytown, my family wasn't very happy here.  I'm not sure I could pinpoint a place where my family was happy, we just weren't one of those happy families.  My mom did the best she could, but the more years that go by, the more questions I have for my mom.  Memories keep popping up with holes in them, but she isn't here to answer them.  I'm not sure she would have answered my questions truthfully anyway.  Some things will have to remain a mystery. 

Here is the big lesson I have learned in my lifetime.  Families are complicated. 

And that is okay. They don't have to be perfect. 

I've made my peace with my family history, for the most part.  Things were crazy within my family, but it's in the past.  I can't change the past, but the things I can take with me are the crazy stories that my children love to hear.  So, I'm hoping to introduce a new feature on my blog.  Greetings from Crazytown, the stories of my childhood.  They will be mostly entertaining stories about growing up with eccentric parents, such as the time I was convinced I was being abducted by aliens.  Or the time where the can of Peanut Butter flew through the window.  Or if you want a sample of one that was already written, you can learn the reason why I was the "butt" of all the diarrhea jokes in Jr. High. 

So next time your family makes you want to throw your hands up in the air or commit a crime, just remember, Families are complicated and that is okay.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ultimate Super Mega Summer V Bucket List


Ultimate Super Mega Summer IV
Eat:
Crickets/Bugs/Scorpions
Find the Best Tacos in LA
Bubba Gump Shrimp (watch Forrest Gump right before)
Robin’s Basket (Baskin Robbins)

See:
X-Men
Finding Dory
Secret Life of Pets
A few Twilight Zone Episodes
Newsies
Alvin & the Chipmunks “Road Chip” with Dad (Mom boycotts)

Do:
Learn to Type
Dodger Games
Paddleboard Lessons at Castaic Lake (Splash in the Water)
Bake Cupcakes
Make Pizzas on the Grill
American Girl Doll Store Lunch
OC Beach Day
Bake a Pie
Hike to the Wisdom Tree
Nordstroms Back to School Shopping                 
Listen to all episodes of the Memory Palace Podcast
Barnes and Noble

Visit:
Dreamworks
My childhood home
The Broad Museum
The Getty
The Chandelier Tree
Little Tokyo
Universal Studios
Santa Barbara
St. George Party House  (Meet up with our friends in St. George, Utah where there are no bedtimes and no rules)
Family Reunion

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Five for Friday - June 24th


1.  Current TV Show I can't get enough of: UnReal on Lifetime and Hulu.  It's a fictional show about filming a show like The Bachelor.

2.  Also, can't get enough of Watermelon flavored licorice.  Not nearly as healthy as Watermelon, the actual fruit, but more delicious.

3. Finished the book, The Light Between Oceans, loved it.  I've been struggling through All the Light We Cannot See for six months. Everyone seems to love it and  I have a very tough time giving up on a book. Does it get better? 

4.  My kids are superstar sleepers and sleeping until 10AM, it's one of the best parts of summer.  They are also superstar fighters and don't get along with each other, which is one of the worst parts of summer.

5.  While my kids are sleeping like champs, I'm not.  The stupid smoke alarms keep having errors at four in the morning.  I've changed all the batteries, but still one of them malfunctions and sets the whole string off. Why doesn't this happen during the daytime? 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Five for Friday

Five things on my mind today:


1.  Have you ever wondered about the orgin of "The Super Ultimate Mega Summer"?   You can read about it here.  While  you are at it, I suggest you also read about the time I was mistaken for being homeless, because it still makes me laugh. 

2.  I've been reading a lot and just finished Orphan Train and Girl on the Train.  Loved them both and while both involve trains, they were very different.

3.  Mr. Boy isn't feeling so great and as a result we don't really have any big trips planned.  It's got me feeling a little blue.  Our big trip to Alaska last summer made me realize that I really enjoy having something to look forward to.

4.  Last week I reconnected with an old friend that I haven't seen for 22 years!  We picked up right where we left off and it was so enjoyable.   I kind of pushed everyone away after high school  because those were hard years at home that I just wanted to forget.  However, I realize now my friends were what got me through those tough times.  So if you are reading this and are an old friend, just know I am grateful for you and your friendship.

5. Things we can't get enough of:  The Goldbergs (TV Show),  Taco Bell's Happy Hour Slushie's ($1 from 2-5pm),  reading by the pool, and Sprout's Cowboy Burgers. 

Tell me what you are looking forward to or what you can't get enough of!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Sombrero

In honor of Cinco de Mayo here is the story of Mr. Man's priceless Sombrero.

Mr. Man came into our marriage over twenty years ago with a giant TV and a Sombrero.  This was his dowry of sorts.  The TV is long gone, but The Sombrero has been a constant.

The Sombrero was hung on the wall of our first home, much to my dismay, but Mr. Man loved having a place to display it.   When we moved, I scoured boxes behind liquor stores because we needed a box so The Sombrero wouldn't get crushed.   We moved The Sombrero to four different homes and always finding a box for The Sombrero was high on the priority list for each move.  The Sombrero required a big box and great care so as not to crush it.

The orgin story for The Sombrero has changed over the years.  Mr. Man isn't quite sure where it was acquired, but it must hold some secret forbidden memory because The Sombrero has been so lovingly preserved through many attic purges.    He thinks he got it in Mexico on a super fun trip.

Last year,  I stumbled across the Sombrero and decided to bring it out for Cinco de Mayo.  It was the first time in a long while that I had got a good look at The Sombrero.  

Wait a minute, does that say Chevys on it?   Are you kidding me?  This is a Sombrero from Chevys!  As in Chevys, the cheesy Mexican Chain restaurant that gives you a free Sombrero on your birthday.  
So for twenty years I have been hauling around a freaking free Sombrero from a chain restaurant!  I had never heard of Chevys until we moved back to LA.  The Sombrero is definitely not from Mexico.  

Fair Warning:  Next time we move (which is hopefully never) I'm tossing The Sombrero in the trash, no more special boxes!  We can get another one next time we go to dinner.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Five for Friday - May 20, 2016


1.  Current Mood: Limping Crawling to the finish line for school.  The next Ultimate Mega Super Summer adventure is on the horizon.  Follow us on our daily adventures on Instagram:  Qwendykay

2.  On Monday I joined people all across the nation to watch The Abolitionist Movie.  The people at Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) are doing amazing work to end Human Trafficking.   If it is being shown in a theater in your area, go and see it.   It's tasteful, well done, and will leave you inspired to join the cause.  It is worth your time, I promise.
 3.  You have to check out the Podcast The Memory Palace.   They are short podcasts about real life people and events.  Nate DiMeo is a storytelling genius and I love listening to them with my kids.  In particular we love Episode 46: After Party,  Episode 85: AKA Leo and Episode 16: Secret Kitty.   After Party in particular has inspired many thought provoking discussions.

4.  I'm still convinced that when everyone was at the hospital having their babies there was a seminar that told everyone how to be a parent.  I missed that meeting and constantly feel like I'm floundering and just guessing at what the right parental move is in situations.  One thing that I am doing right is intentionally raising my children with some stellar families.  For the past two years we have met every morning on a corner two blocks before school and we send our kids off to school together.  We are co-parenting and it has made a huge difference in my life.
5.  The other thing I'm doing right as a parent is taking my kids to this great little theater in Santa Monica.  The Morgan-Wixson Theater puts on fabulous plays for kids and we have attended most of them in the last few years. Currently playing:  Frog and Toad

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Beyonce Rule - Beyonce doesn't wear pants

Beyonce doesn't wear pants.  
She doesn't have to, because she is freaking Beyonce.

My daughter, who loves to dress herself, will often wear something that does not resemble an outfit.  For example: bikini bottoms on top of a leotard.  I often remind her that she is not Beyonce and unless you are Beyonce you have to wear pants.   

It's been a household rule that has come in quite handy and one that is used surprisingly often.   Boom!  Parenting win!    Until your daughter ask strangers, wearing very short shorts, if they are Beyonce, because they aren't wearing proper pants.  

Sunday, May 01, 2016

A Hypothetical Story About 50 Shades of Grey

A disclaimer:  I will deny this in public and am sharing this hypothetical story that allegedly happened to a "friend" of mine.  


I love my Kindle and so does my family. My favorite is the access we have to several free books and since I have a house full of avid readers it saves my family boatloads of money.  One day Mr. Boy was nearing the last few chapters of a book on the Kindle and begged me to take the Kindle to school to finish reading it.   I relented, because I know what it's like to be in those last few chapters anxious to know how everything plays out.

A few hours into the school day, I.. uh, I mean my "friend"  had the most terrifying thought.  Mr. Boy would probably finish his book at school and then what?  What if he started browsing through the other books on my Kindle to find something else to read?  Oh NOOOOO... NO!  NO!! NO!   Which prompted the following call to call Amazon Customer Support.

My "Friend":   Uh, hello.  Let's just say, hypothetically, of course,  you needed to remove some books from a Kindle. Perhaps, as an example, the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy

Amazon:  Sure, I can help you do that.  Can you power up your Kindle?  Then I can help you delete  books from your Kindle Library.

My "Friend":  Well... see... uh... here is the thing, the Kindle isn't here.  It's in my ten year old's classroom.

AmazonOh, that is tough.  We will need the Kindle to delete the book. 

My "Friend":  Can't I sync it wireless-ly from my laptop?  Like if I stand on the sidewalk outside the school with my laptop, maybe it will sync?  Maybe I can stand upwind of my son's classroom, so the "sync" will blow downwind. 

Amazon:  Well, sure that it is a great idea, but unfortunately the Kindle doesn't work that way. 

My "Friend":  Do you understand that I just sent my 10 year old to school with 50 Shades of Grey?  I normally read Jane Austen, I swear I do.  But I just had to see what all the fuss was about.  Oh my goodness, what am I going to do? 

Amazon:  If I lived closer, I would happily go to the school to retrieve the Kindle on your behalf.  I would tell the office that the Kindle was being recalled for a fire danger.

My "Friend":  Ah yes.. that is an excellent idea.  I might have to use that excuse.   Thank you Amazon, for not judging me.

And that is the story of why we now have multiple Kindles in our house, one for the kids and one for the grown ups. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Five for Friday - Welcome Back Edition

Hello?  Is this thing on? Anyone out there reading this?   Whew, I took a little hiatus from writing and I hated it. I figured the best way to jump back in was to do my favorite "Five for Friday" format.  Here are five thoughts rolling around in my head.

1.  I'm passionate about this organization, Operation Underground Railroad (OUR Rescue).  Not the most pleasant topic, but sex trafficking is an issue that we can not turn our back on.  The people at OUR Rescue are making a difference and saving lives.  I am thrilled to have been able to screen the documentary "The Abolitionist".   It's a must see movie for every adult to understand how we can help put an end to sex trafficking.  Join me on May 16, 2016 to watch the movie "The Abolitionist" at a theater near you.


2.  Just a heads up, in California it's illegal to hold your cell phone in your hand while you are driving.  So hypothetically, if you are holding your phone in your hand, face down on your lap while stopped in traffic, and a cop happens to roll by on a motorcycle and look in your window,  they can give you a ticket. Someone learned that lesson the hard way, but I'm not naming names.

3.  Also, if you are driving in California, it is legal to eat a big, fat burger and drive.  Your other hand might even be holding a giant drink and you are using your knees to steer.  As long as you aren't veering into other lanes of traffic, no ticket.  Also, if you are driving and using tweezers to pluck your eyebrows, no worries! No ticket for you.  These are all things I witnessed people doing while I sat on the side of the road waiting for the police officer to finish writing a ticket for holding my cell phone in my lap.

4.  The summer countdown is on, less than 30 days until our Ultimate Super Mega Summer.  This summer is kind of a mess, other than a tiny trip there are no concrete plans.  I've got to hunker down and figure it out. I'm open to suggestions!

5.   I'm still a little bit bitter about #3 and #4.   Can you tell?