It’s Friday…For Real: Episode 3

I’m BAAAACK….and woo-hoo, do I have something special for y’all!  This little gem will make your kiddos think you’re the mommyquivalent of David Blaine. Guaranteed. And if you don’t have Beans of your own, then it’s a cool way to impress your friends. Or hustle money from folks at a bar who will swear ‘it can’t be done’ when you describe what you have planned. I’ll give you ONE hint: I learned  how to do this while I was in college, watching Mr. Wizard (remember him?) when I should have been studying for finals. Curious now? GREAT! Here’s…..

It’s Friday…For Real!

 

 

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The very first sleepover

The first sleepover has happened.

That is, with Sweet Pea and one of her 2 BFF’s. Who, btw, will be referred to throughout the remainder of the post as “J” 🙂 And in honor of the momentous occasion…a first sleepover for two 6-year-old besties…. I planned a girlie adventure, and set the bar kinda high. Shocker, huh? I settled upon a trip to a little girls’ paradise. Stay with me. I swear I’ll get to the details (and pictures), but first I have to tell you about what happened on the way over the hill.

 

(a bit of expository information ) 

The room Butter Bean and Sweet Pea share is a source of frustration. I can’t keep it clean and organized, and they won’t. Therefore, it is, quite honestly…the bane of my existence….on a daily basis. So I normally just leave it alone to avoid going bat-shit crazy. However, if company is coming over, I spit shine the entire house. Including their room. I imagine that most of you do the same with guests approaching the doorstep, right? If you don’t, you either have a housekeeper, or you’ve achieved a level of “I don’t give a rat’s ass” that I aspire to. Regardless, in my Friday morning, mad dash to clean shit stuff up, I happened upon a scrap of paper in their room upon which the sentence “I love ____” was written about six times. In a row, in Sweet Pea’s 1st grade handwriting. There was a name in the blank, but I’ve left it out to protect the innocent…lol. Anyway, I sort of giggled at the discovery, left it where I found it, and moved onto the organization of doll clothes and barbies into designated wooden bins.

 

Then, on the way to The Grove, this conversation happened:

J: I wonder where _____ lives? 

SP: I don’t know.

Me: Who’s ____? (knowing full well who it is, because I have seen this little boy’s name written 3 hours earlier)

J: He’s a boy in our class.

SP: (giggling, but remaining silent)

Me: Oh. Who likes him?

J: I do. And so does SP.

SP: So does ___!!! (insert name of the other BFF who isn’t present)

Me: Wow. He’s popular! Why do all of you like him?

J: Because he’s hot!!! Except for that tooth. Something needs to be done about that.  

Me: What??!!

J and SP, in unison: He has one tooth that is really big.

J: And kind of crooked.

SP: And he’s eight.

(giggles all around, including me–because I simply can’t believe what I am hearing)

Remember, they are six years old, so it’s all incredibly innocent, and cute, but the magnitude of their observation is not lost on me. 

With this, Sugar Bean, in her infinite, 13 year-old wisdom says “This is going to be a problem in about 7 years.”  I should add, that Butter Bean has remained silent the entire time, and I am waiting for her bombshell, which never comes. *whew* Not sure I could take much more, quite honestly. The conversation ends as a One Direction song comes on, and I am subjected to “road trip karaoke” for the next half hour. Swimming in a sea of awesome, right?

A view from the front seat.

A view from the front seat.

The good news is, we made it to our destination, which was The American Girl Store, where we had an appointment to have Savannah’s, Lauren’s, and Sally’s hair done. Before you ask….yes. They have an in-store salon for such affairs, and you can pick the hairstyle you want from a page full of possibilities, priced according to the complexity. Just like in real-life. If you want highlights, you gotta pay. The prices max out at $20, which is a far cry from what I fork over when my roots shine through, but still. I am not a doll. So, here is a glimpse of what it looks like. Notice SP’s doll…Savannah…sitting in the chair behind them 🙂

Sweet Pea & J, in front of the  AG  Hair Salon

Sweet Pea & J, in front of the AG Hair Salon

While the dolls were being treated to hair makeovers, we  I decided to explore the store, and take advantage of a photo-op spot inside, and outside 🙂

J, BB and SP with "Saige"...AG's Girl of the Year.

J, BB and SP with “Saige”…AG’s Girl of the Year.

 

Dolls with cool hairstyles? Check. Cool outfits for dolls? Check. Let's roll.

Dolls with cool hairstyles? Check. Cool outfits for dolls? Check. Let’s roll.

 

After looking at every possible corner of the store, we picked up the dolls and headed out the door and across the street to our next destination….

If you live in LA, and you haven't been, you suck. Seriously. Go there now.

If you live in LA and haven’t been, you have no soul. No excuses. Go there. NOW.

Honestly, I never order dessert, hate chocolate, and avoid sugar like it’s acid. Not because I fear weight gain, or cancer, or any of the other effects said to be the result of too much sugar…but simply because I am not a sweet eater. My taste buds just prefer sour or salty. However, I do appreciate a good candy store, and holy hell….DYLAN’S is the very best one I’ve ever visited. The candy in there could have been laced with crack and I would have bought it for The Beans  (plus one), simply because of the way it was displayed. And the background music was a remix of the theme from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” AND “Ice cream and Cake and Cake”. Talk about suggestive marketing. Screw subliminal…Dylan has it going on, and I’m certain he knows it.

Look beyond the adorable little girls, into the mecca of sugar heaven.

Look beyond the adorable little girls, into the mecca of sugar heaven.

Bags of candy in hand…and a call to The Man to see if he was gonna meet us (NO)…and we decided it was time to eat, for real. So, this was the scene at dinner:

Obviously, I couldn't be IN the picture, but I was honored to have these cuties as dinner companions.

Obviously, I couldn’t be IN the picture, but I was honored to have these cuties as dinner companions.

Major props to our waiter, Michael, for enduring the high intensity sugar-rush that took over immediately after their food was consumed. I really hope the tip was enough 🙂

The ride home was priceless. More road trip karaoke involving “Trouble” by Taylor Swift, which Sugar Bean managed to record on her phone, but I can’t figure out how to upload for your enjoyment. Major fail, I know. My apologies. But the night continued to be a party. Fingernails were painted, popcorn was popped, movies were watched, farting noises with a strategically placed straw in an armpit resonated at unnatural volumes(gee…I wonder who taught them THAT?).

And then came bedtime, which got off to a fantastic start, and ended with me making the 10 minute drive  to her house, with a tearful J at 12:30 am. Bless her heart, she fought the good fight, and wanted to stay, but just wasn’t comfortable.  I totally get it. First sleepovers are scary at six.

Wait..who am I kidding? First sleepovers are scary. Period.

But there is always next time 🙂

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Beep..beep…beep. I’m backing up a bit.

It’s entirely possible I may have this photo slogan printed on a tee-shirt and wear it everyday for the rest of my life. Wait that might be copyright infringement…huh? Crap. Well, kudos to whomever came up with it….it needs to be on a shirt. Or at the least, a bumper sticker.

So…I’ve been gone for a bit… again. After I promised part 2 of this post. Finally getting around to it now. I know, I know…..

Allow me to back up a bit to September 5. The day my blogger crush idol, Glennon Melton, the founder of Momastery and author of “Carry On, Warrior”  totally rocked my world on FB for everyone to see….which made the historically rotten day of September 6, not so shitty. You see, September 6, 1995 is the day my mama died. So this year marked the 17th anniversary of her passing. Seventeen years are a long time to be without a mama, and I don’t wish it on anyone. Now, she was not without faults (nobody is, of course) and my childhood was a living hell because of them, but I love her dearly to this day, and miss her more and more every year….especially on September 6. I fucking hate that day. Honestly, I try to prepare myself each time it rolls around, and always end up in tears. Never fails. Anyway….this is how Glennon, Kristi (of Barn Owl Primitives) and the rest of the Monkees made it more bearable:

I was tinkering around on FB, and spotted a link to the Barn Owl Primitives page posted on Momastery’s page, with a heading that mentioned the ‘we can do hard things’ signs Kristi makes and sells. Normally, I wouldn’t have commented, but I was headed into a particular funk, dreading the next day, so I did. I wrote the following….

“I am DYING for a “We Can Do Hard Things” sign, but I’ve got a buck-shot bank account right now. *sigh* Maybe in a few months :-)” 

Didn’t give it another thought, and went on about my day. A few hours later, I happened to be back at the computer and noticed that GLENNON RESPONDED TO MY COMMENT, WITH THIS:  “Nancy Romine Minkler: I read your comment – “I am DYING for a “We Can Do Hard Things” sign, but I have a buckshot bank account right now. *sigh* Maybe in a few months :-)” Then I sent it to Kristi, and she’s gonna send you a sign, sister. HA! Just like that! BAM! BOOM! Sister On. That Kristi’s got a heart of gold. And paint covered hands. Nancy- send me your address!

To say that I was blown away, is an understatement. And one nice lady commented on the thread, saying she wanted to pay Kristi for my sign and order one for a friend. I plan to pay it forward as well, once I can. Amazing what perfect strangers do, not knowing the impact, or how badly you needed a pick-me up.

Love wins. Sister On. Carry On, Warrior. We Can Do Hard Things.

All words to live by.  Here I am with my sign 🙂

It’s so much better in person!

That was the beginning of September, and the rest of the month turned out to be a real doozy. I won’t go into any detail, because to be honest, y’all don’t really want to know and I don’t need to share. Just keep in mind, that I DID HARD THINGS, proving the statement on the sign, and came real close to reclaiming my Southern roots, in person…and not just for another wedding or a simple visit. Moving on….

Not ALL of September was bad. Just most of it. In the end it appears that everything will be okay. Life is a work in progress around here, though, so we’ll see.  On the upside, I got to have an impromptu night out with one of my besties, Elise, whom I’ve known since college. She lives literally 5 minutes from me, but we never see each other. Damn kids, keeping us busy! I keep lying to myself saying I will be better at carving out time to see the women whom I love….the ones who blow up my phone trying to check on me when I withdraw. Empty promise. I’m a repeat offender. They know this, and continue to love me and put up with my shit anyway. God Bless them!

So far, October is shaping up to be a pretty good month. I mean, it usually is, because Halloween is my favorite holiday hands down, and that happens this month! In addition to that, tying up loose ends that needed to be dealt with long ago, plus, The Man FINALLY went back to work today after a hiatus that seemed as though it would never end. Ever. That in itself deserves a “Hallelujah, Holy Shit”, because now I will be able to get things done, without him following me around, trying to be all up in my business. You can read about those shenanigans here and here. Love him to the moon and back, but too much of a good thing, is….well….too much of a good thing.

Oh, and I am happy to say that I’ve hooked up with a fabulous group of mommy bloggers (and 2 daddies) known as the Theme Thursday Crew. You can read my first two contributions to the blog hop here and here…..if you haven’t already. The best part of  being in this kick-ass group of bloggers, is I have a deadline and an assigned topic, every week which forces motivates me to write. And, with the shameless promotion we all do via FB and Twitter to help boost readership for each other, we have set our sights on nothing less than ROCK STAR FAME IN THE BLOGOSPHERE.  I’ve always heard, if you shoot for the moon, even if you miss….you’ll land among the stars. Good enough for me.

BTW, speaking of rock stars…The Tribe and I were fortunate enough to be invited out yesterday afternoon to watch a friend’s band play on the patio at the Sagebrush Cantina in Calabasas. Galen, the lead guitarist/male vocalist is a colleague of The Man’s, so we wouldn’t have dreamed of missing it. Typically, the Sagebrush is a biker bar on the weekend afternoons, but yesterday was particularly family friendly and we all had a blast! They even gave us a shout out for coming, and played my theme song…lol. See for yourself right here. The Oldest Girl shot the video, while The Middle Girl was running around, and The Youngest Girl was lounging on the stage. Yes. On. The. Stage. The Man and I were, dancing. Well….I was, anyway. Good times, people. Good times. And we were due for one 🙂

Last but not least, I am helping out my friend Kit Wallace, over at Blue Eyed Entertainment this Wednesday. She is having a wonderful event in association with The Palomar Hotel-Westwood and Diamond Girl Media, Inc to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Week….Check it out, and spread the word out about her company! If you have a brand that needs a PR boost, Kit’s your girl. Blue Eyed Entertainment is a full-service, boutique PR company that is certain to be huge in the future. Get in with them as they grow and help your brand grow too!

Okay, I’m off to bed. The weekend totally waxed me. And besides, I’m out of stuff to say…for now. Shocking, isn’t it?

3rd day is a charm?

Um…no.

Three consecutive days of family fishing fun at two different local lakes, and we came home empty-handed. We should have known, considering the fact that when The Man Googled “fishing in Los Angeles”, the search brought up a list of sushi restaurants in the area. Being the Southern gal I am, that just fueled my desire, and I managed to find what I believed to be a suitable spot, and convinced him it would be glorious family fun. The Man went along for the first two excursions, but opted to stay home today and continue recovering from the “Birking incident” by napping and watching sports. He also claimed I was bat-shit crazy for going THREE DAYS IN A ROW in 90+ degree heat. But The Beans adore it, it gets them off the couch and out in nature, so…whatever. Off we went. Just us girlies. After all, I’m the real survivalist in this tribe. I mean, I followed The Dead in college, which involves supreme aptitude in camping skills, the knowledge that wearing enough Patchouli oil to singe one’s nose hairs can override even the worst odors known to man, AND the cooking ability to make Rice Krispie treats by simply letting the marshmallow creme melt in the hot sun and then mixing it with the cereal for a tasty treat sure to satisfy a gaggle of hungry potheads children 🙂

Anyway, here’s a recap of our adventures and a few tidbits of helpful info I learned…

Day One: Impromptu trip to Lake Balboa. We had fishing rods and some fluorescent yellow colored bait from a jar which appeared to be salmon eggs marinated in “GULP” (aka garlic juice). Upon further inspection, it was clear they were small, spherical spongy balls marinated in “GULP”, and not actual salmon eggs. Oh well. We had back-up bait…red, soft center salmon eggs designed for hooking trout. They looked like Red Hots. Seriously. Unfortunately, the fish we witnessed jumping out of the water all around our lines, didn’t have a penchant for sweets. Zero nibbles, no prize wining fish to claim as our own. For our own nourishment, we had several bottles of water to drink, as not to get dehydrated. I fed The Beans lunch before we left and assumed that would be sufficient, so I didn’t carry any snacks. Oh, the wrath….What a brain-dead mommy am I, right? All of them were ‘starving’ after 30 minutes, and we stayed 2.5 hours. Believe me, I heard about it. But hey…it was a spur of the moment adventure. You live, you learn. Lesson in this? BRING SNACKS (and sunscreen).

Day Two: Having seen so many frenzied, obviously hungry fish the day before…and after doing research online to find out what kind of fish Lake Balboa is stocked with (bass, catfish, trout, tilapia, bluegill and carp)…we decided to load up the family truckster and head out for Round Two yesterday. Armed with raw, slimy, chicken liver (yuck) and sparkly, rainbow-colored putty the guy at Big 5 said was “like filet mignon for trout” we took off, rods and tackle in tow. But not before making a stop at Vons to load up our picnic bag with fruit, bread, peanut butter, jam, chips, salsa, and lots of drinks. We even remembered camp chairs and a blanket…which came in handy for The Man to lounge on as he watched us fish. At one point, I looked up at him, so patiently and efficiently making sandwiches for The Beans as I baited my hook, and thought about what an effed up Norman Rockwell painting that would be…lol. But I digress. And I forgot to mention that on Day One, we looked down where we were standing only to see “No Fishing” faintly stenciled on the concrete beneath our feet. So….Day Two’s spot was on the opposite side of the lake, on the grassy bank, under a shady tree. Pure bliss.

After rigging all the lines with proper hooks and various baits, we all cast out with hopes of catching “the big one”, no matter what kind. Sugar Bean had a spinning jig for bass, Butter Bean and Sweet Pea had sparkly putty and corn niblets, respectively, for trout. I had chicken liver for catfish. Immediately, I began to get bites. Woo-hoo!!! We all started doing a happy dance. After losing bait several times in a row, I actually saw what was eating it: crafty little fish adept at stealing food while evading the hook. Unfortunately, the pesky creatures were only suitable for using as bait for larger fish…if you happen to be lucky enough to catch one. Think minnows. Sugar Bean and Butter Bean actually did, but they wiggled off the hook before attracting anything larger. So, Day Two also ended in defeat with respect to a fishy haul. On the upside, everyone had a relaxing day and consumed copious amounts of fruit, and an obscene number of PB&J sandwiches, rounded out by a visit to the Ice Cream Truck parked strategically by our car.

Day Three: Since we were oh-for-two, and determined to catch some damn fish, we decided to try a different body of water today. Enter Hansen Dam Recreation Area. What a gem to discover! Not only is there a reservoir/lake specifically for fishing, but right next to it is an aquatic center complete with a sandy beach entry swimming pool, a giant twisty water slide (currently being repaired, but there nonetheless) lifeguards on duty….even cabanas for shade. Oh…and you can bring your own food! No forcing you to buy over-priced, junk food. Although we were on the outside of the fence looking in today, you can bet your blue booties our tushies will be back there sporting cute swimwear, and toting towels to enjoy the facility later this week. After all, it’s just a short drive up the freeway from where we live. And when The Beans tire of splishin’ and splashin’, we can stop by the playground on our way out for a romp on the massive climbing structure. It’s a mecca of summertime fun just waiting to be had. Score!!

But back to fishing….

We got nothing today either. Not one single bite. Spent most of the few hours we were there eating the food we brought and sweating profusely. I believe it’s safe to assume The Beans are over it now. At least until we go camping again 🙂

Me. Fishing last June while camping at Bass Lake.