3rd day is a charm?


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.

Seriously Sucky Start to Summer Sabbatical

Honestly, this post was supposed to be about something else entirely.

That being, The Oldest Girl must attend summer school. Because she sucks ass at math, just like her mama. It’s not because she doesn’t try, it’s because she is entirely left-brained and creative, which severely impairs her ability to wrap her multi-faceted, artistically inspired mind around logical problems with finite answers. Go figure. She excels in EVERY OTHER SUBJECT, and barely passes math. Oh well. What’s a girl to do? I’ll tell you what. Drag her butt out of bed in time to BE AT SCHOOL, IN CLASS by…SEVEN-FREAKING-THIRTY, EVERYDAY for the first five weeks of summer vacation. Guess who has to drive her? Um…yeah. Me. With her complaining all the way there, and all the way back when I retrieve her two and a half hours later. You’d think she had done a stint in San Quentin.

Oh, the joys of motherhood. 

Anyway, that rant is what inspired the title of this little post.

Then lots of other shit happened, before I even wrote the first line. So I had to ‘save to draft’ with just a title, until now. Somehow, the title still seems appropriate, given the dichotomy of this past weekend. So.

We had both the incredibly joyous occasion of a birth happen in our family on Friday. (No..I didn’t give birth. My BFF did.)  Followed by the unexpected, tragic death of a beloved canine member of our immediate family on Saturday morning. 

I ask…WTF do you do with THAT?  Put on a brave face, and smile though your heart is shattered? Adding insult to injury, the circle of folks involved are all quite tight, so I had to break the news of Buster’s passing to my friend while she was still in the hospital, one day postpartum celebrating the best thing that has ever happened to her. Then, rush away to wrap my arms around my MIL and FIL, who are understandably inconsolable. To them, Buster was their child. And the grieving is just as intense.

One gorgeous, cuddly, innocent, perfect human child born, while another, equally gorgeous, cuddly, innocent, perfect canine companion is taken away. There simply is no justice in that. I’ve cried myself to sleep the past two nights, and so have The Man and The Girls. My eyes are puffy and red, and my head really hurts. Which come to think of it, may actually work in my favor this weekend while shooting a zombie movie. (more on that later)

But, here is the thing. Buster was majestic, respectful, obedient and never wanted anything more than to give everyone he met…human or animal…LOVE. And the only thing he sought in return was LOVE. He touched the lives of so many people in such a way that his memory will live in them for eternity. I believe he was given to all of us as a gift, a teacher, and when God believed his mission complete, he called him back home…without warning…

…and sent this precious angel baby in his place to remind us all to return to our true innocence and live our lives giving unconditional love always.  Who’s with me?

Anyway, I just needed to get that out. Hope you don’t mind.

I’m again, teary eyed and sleepy.

Night y’all,


DAY-UM. What a week.



My apologies for being away so long, but…

DAY-UM! I’ve had a week. Let’s recap, shall we?

Last Saturday started with CAKE FOR BREAKFAST, in honor of Sweet Pea’s 6th birthday. Would love to take credit for this genius tradition, but all the credit goes to my high school friend Sarah and her sweet family. Seemed like such a fantastic way to start a birthday, that we hijacked it from them. We’ve been at it for 2 full years now 🙂 Every birthday starts with cake. Even the ones that fall on school days. The Beans’ teachers just love me for this I bet. After cake and presents, we headed out to spend a gift card she received and to lunch at her favorite chain restaurant, California Pizza Kitchen, where I was compelled to perform a stupid human trick I learned in college while watching Mr. Wizard, when I should have been studying for finals. It involves counter-balancing two forks atop two toothpicks stuck in a salt shaker. More than a few dollars have been made by hustling unsuspecting people guys at bars who swear it can’t be done. Whatever, suckers. Not only can it be done, my daughters marvel at my ability to do it, thus earning me a spot in the “Cool Mom Hall of Fame”.

Stupid human trick. Try it. I dare you.

Stupid human trick. Try it. I dare you.

After lunch, the family headed downtown to the Flower Mart to gather the necessary supplies for this…

A gift of flowers for my MIL

A gift of flowers for my MIL

I must admit, I am beginning to really enjoy this new creative outlet I’ve stumbled upon with floral artistry. You might say it’s growing on me. LOL. Check out my first crack at it here. Both arrangements were well received. Thank God. As both were for very important occasions 🙂

The rest of Saturday went off without a hitch. It wasn’t until Sunday morning–Mother’s Day–when things got a bit chaotic. What? You aren’t surprised that MD in my house would be crazy? Yeah. Me either. Actually though, ITCHY is a better description.

After being awakened by the smell of a vanilla latte fresh from Starbucks delivered to my bedside, I was showered with homemade cards and presents, followed by hugs from all three girls who’d slept, snuggled around me, in my bed, all night long. This is an important detail to remember, because the next thing I did was discover that Sweet Pea had head lice, while washing her very long, blonde hair. On Mother’s Day.

I plan. God laughs; deciding to remind me what being a mama is really all about: exterminating unwelcome pests that have invaded my special day by hitching a ride from school, hanging on to the strands of my child’s hair. WTF? Adding insult to injury, it’s the second time since November, which was the first time EVER. For nine years we escaped, and then BAM…it finally happened. We got inducted into The Lice Club. I went ballistic. Not only did I treat all 3 small heads of hair in the house, spending a minimum of 3 hours sectioning/combing with the fine-toothed metal comb until their scalps were raw, I also replaced all the pillows, brushes, and hair accessories. I opted for the toxic shit called RID over the “natural remedies” because I wanted the pesky little fuckers dead, and couldn’t be sure that something eco-friendly would indeed do the trick. In addition, I sprayed down the sofas and mattresses, put the cushions out in the sun for 24 hours, bathed our dogs in medicated shampoo, and bagged up every stuffed animal they had ever touched for two whole weeks. Oh, did I forget to mention I also stripped all the linens from every bed and washed them along with The Beans’ backpacks on the sanitary cycle which uses extra hot water and takes 2 hours? Yep. Did that. Treated hubby and myself as well. To say I went off the rails the first time, is an understatement. The Man was ready to divorce me. Or kill me. Or both. Seriously.

Can you envision the horrified look on his face when I screamed “Mother Effer!! Sweet Pea has head lice again!” at an ear-splitting volume from the shower Sunday morning? Mother’s Day 2012 did not get off to a very promising start. And considering last year’s tragedy, I am now entertaining thoughts of dumping it from our slate of celebrations altogether.

Suffice to say, I repeated the eradication scenario and we were again, lice-free by Monday morning. However, I notified the school and kept Butter Bean and Sweet Pea home until their classes had been checked by the school nurse. Miraculously, Sugar Bean didn’t have it, so she went back on Monday. When Tuesday morning rolled around, imagine my surprise to see the same family who had it last time waiting to be head-checked in the school office again. Coincidence? Yeah, right. My girls never had it until being in class with this sibling pair. One in Kinder, the other in second grade. It was all I could do not to punch their mama square in the face, right there in front of the principal. Was my anger misplaced? Maybe. Am I headed to Hell in a chartered hand-basket? Probably. But so-help-me-God, nothing irritates me more than mamas who clearly don’t take the due diligence necessary to prevent recurrent lice on the heads of their young, who inevitably transmit the parasites to everyone who comes in contact with them at school. Feral children! Even chimpanzees “nit-pick” and groom their offspring. And before you go all “well maybe your kids were responsible”–don’t. Because the first time it happened, I assumed The Beans were the source, as they had just begun gymnastics at a new facility. However, if you read the post just before this one, you’ll know they haven’t been to the gym in 3 weeks. Nor have they had any playdates. So there. Honestly, as expensive as it is to treat the pests—$200 minimum, each time, when you have girls with long hair, because it’s not like you can shave their heads and start over, you know—you would think that alone would be motivation enough for periodic checks throughout the school year. Since mine got it in November, I have checked on a weekly basis. That’s how I found it the second time!! Maybe I should send her a bill for the cost of treatment. Whaddaya think?

Okay. Okay. I’ll get off my soapbox, because the rest of Mother’s Day was very pleasant, spent relaxing at a bbq at the home of the wonderful lady responsible for laboring The Man into the world and raising him to be the awesome hunk he is. So there. All was not lost to the freaking lice.

Let’s cut to Wednesday. Open House at school. Sugar Bean had to present her country report, complete with a food item representative of her chosen land. She studied New Zealand, which was fantastic considering one of my dear friends lives there and was able to provide us with lots of information, including the idea for me to make a Pavlova Cake. Since I only bake once a year…rum cakes at Christmas time… it was a bit daunting. All turned out fine and dandy, with this as the finished dessert:

a New Zealand Pavlova cake

a New Zealand Pavlova cake

Apparently it was tasty. The plate was literally scraped clean. I plan to make another for the family soon, so I can see what all the devouring was about 🙂

In addition to Sugar Bean’s country report, Butter Bean  had to do a project for display based on a Caldecott Award Winning book. She chose “I Know an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly”. Together, we made this dyorama, which I thought would surely win an award for my precious second-grader. It didn’t. A lap-top made out of paper won. I’m not bitter. Promise.

Anyway, judge for yourself.

Secretly, I love making shit like this. But don't tell anybody.

Secretly, I love making shit like this. But don’t tell anybody.

Yesterday was rather unremarkable stacked up against the early part of the week. In the morning, I went to be fitted for my bridesmaid’s dress which I will be wearing at the wedding of my niece, Meaghan, in September. Took The Beans for fro-yo after school, like usual. Two Thursdays ago, this very funny thing happened on the way to fro-yo, which, ironically is also about Meaghan. I also did some laundry. Gained some new Twitter followers. No unexpected surprises though. In fact, the only thing I can remember about it is that Lexi died on the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy. That really sucked. I was mad…for about 10 minutes. Then I turned off the tv and went to sleep. Nothing like when I found out GCB got cancelled. Loved that dang show! As Nicole Richie Tweeted earlier in the week, “We need to figure out who needs to bone who to keep GCB on the air.” Right on, girl. RIGHT ON!

And now it’s Friday. Well, actually Saturday. Which means I need to get my ass in bed, because boy do I have a helluva weekend full of events planned for the family, starting at 10 am tomorrow morning, and carrying straight through until 6pm Sunday evening.

Yes, there will be posts. And pictures.

Probably not ’til Monday though.

Nite y’all 🙂

Flip, flop, and then…just STOP?


I have been avoiding this topic. When I think about it, it really upsets me. For lots of reasons. Mainly because it made The Beans very sad, and that alone makes me feel like a failure as a parent. One who is powerless to fix the problem this time. And I’m a fixer, which adds salt to an already infected wound. Throw in that my Sugar Bean wrote this, not too long ago, and I am all sorts of a hot mess at the moment. Minus the hot part.

All three of The Beans are gifted gymnasts. I know, I know. Everyone thinks their kid is the best at what they do. This is different though. They have a raw, God-given ability for this sport. Seriously. Anyone who has seen them at their meets agrees. Their coaches agree. Total strangers agree. I’ve had parents ask what kind of super-food I feed them. LOL. They are the gymnastic equivalent to a trio of piano prodigies.

It started when Sugar Bean was 4 years old. Thinking it would be something fun for her, I took her in for an evaluation at a popular, gymnastics school. After exhibiting super-human strength by zipping up the rope and ringing the bell mounted on a beam at the ceiling of the gym…she landed in the preschool advanced class, and I was asked if I was ready for the world of competitive gymnastics, because my little one was, “freakishly strong and coordinated, showing real promise in the sport”. “Bring. It. On.” I said. For 3 years she trained, 4 days a week, alternating team classes with private lessons, etc. By age 7, she was performing skills that girls much older than her had not mastered. Her technical ability far exceeded her psychological understanding of it, and how very gifted she was. The older girls on her team were mean to her. She burnt out fast, and getting her to the gym became all about the meltdown. It was a distraction for her teammates, and The Man flat refused to take her. Ever. Despite the fact that I was very pregnant with #2. Too much for him to handle. She asked to quit. We had no choice but to allow it. I figured the best thing to do was bide our time and see if she rekindled her excitement and passion for it sometime in the future.

She did.

Just before her birthday last year, she announced she wanted to return to the sport. A family member overheard this, and offered to be the financial benefactor, as The Man and I just haven’t been in the place to allow anything like that in the past few years. After some discussion, we agreed to let this happen, and thanked them profusely. Of course, now we have two more daughters, who decided they also wanted to give it a whirl. Asked if that was okay? No problem. Everyone could participate 🙂 Happy dances all around.

We found a wonderful facility, with outstanding and nurturing coaches and staff. Each of the girls started class in September. A month in, the older girls were asked to join the team. The Oldest was placed in Level 4, where she had been when she quit. Amazing, considering she had been on hiatus from the sport for five years. Butter Bean landed in Level 3, after only 6 training sessions…EVER. Sweet Pea was placed in the “Hot Shots” which is the class just before Pre-team. ALL THIS HAPPENED WITHIN A MONTH. Soon, everyone was training several days a week, and competing in meets on weekends. At every meet, their scores would soar higher and higher in each event. It was clear, they were blessed with skill for gymnastics. ALL OF THEM. And they beamed with excitement and pride after every competition. Scores aside, they were happy, which made me happy.

Flashback to 10 days ago. The day before this happened.

I got the heartbreaking news they would no longer be able to continue their training due to financial reasons. All of a sudden. Dreams dashed. While I understand completely, I am shattered. It’s an expensive sport, and we simply can’t shoulder the financial commitment at this time. Eventually, perhaps, but not at the moment. Since it was the beginning of the billing cycle, I called the gym to let them know The Beans would not be returning until further notice. Their coaches were shocked, to say the least. For 8 months now, the gym has been our family’s second home. We were there at least 10 hours a week. Most of my blog posts have been written via laptop from the lobby of the gym. Seriously.

Their main coach said “This is the worst afternoon of my life. Let’s talk about this. Let me see if I can speak to the board and find a solution, some sort of help. Would you and your husband be willing to help with activities and such in exchange for some tuition assistance? The loss of your girls to this team, and your family to this facility would just be too much. They love it here, are having fun, and we love your family. There has to be something that can be done.”YES! Of course we will do whatever it takes to keep them training. We just can’t shuck out $800 a month in tuition, in addition to meet fees, equipment expenses, etc.” I replied. He said he would let me know.

I’m still waiting….but hopeful.

Meanwhile, the most devastating part is we made a commitment, and can’t ful-fill it. They have missed a whole week of training so far, and were supposed to compete again in a week. As a family, we’ve let the team and the gym down. As parents, we have let our daughters down. Epic parenting fail #12,832.

How do I handle this? Literally, and psychologically. Have any of you ever run into something similar? There has to be a way, because there is definitely a will here.

If I hear something, I’ll post an update. Promise.



Sisters hugging it out before a meet.

Sisters hugging it out before a meet.


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