Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A tiny world away

I discovered this little Playmobil world Velina created on top of the dresser:

I had to take a closer look, especially at this young woman in recovery with plenty of fluids in reach and a bird keeping a close eye at the foot of the bed:

This guy in the center (holding the flowers) is her boyfriend:

This guy was overcome by a plethora of bunnies:

And these Poohs in costume are moms guarding the tower:

Sometimes I really enjoy the girl's imagination. (I enjoy it less when she's trying to make excuses for not doing her chores.)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

One Dollar Book Store

Over the weekend, I explored the One Dollar Bookstore in Orange with my mother-in-law (aka Nana). She's a pretty voracious reader and I love going to book stores, though I'm drawn more to non-fiction and reference books. She heard some good buzz about this store where each book, whether hardback or softcover, bestseller or not, was one dollar each. It turns out a lot of Yelp reviewers were accurate in describing it like an abandoned grocery store filled with bookcases:

It was a bit overwhelming. I don't know if you can make out the sign that says "Mixed Books" over these shelves, but that says it all:

A lot of reviewers complained that a lot of the books were old (guide to Word 2.0, anyone?) and that you really have to dig around. Again, pretty accurate. Though there were some attempts at having sections, like a brief Computer section and Children's area, for the most part everything was "Mixed Books".

This was one of the better groupings as this was all fiction in the last decade (for the most part):

But going through the rest of the shelves was kind of a mental challenge. As my eye scanned the spines, the titles would jump from "The Lovely Bones" to "Introducing Microwave Cookery" to "Funk and Wagnall's Encyclopedia Volume 24" to "This is the Cocker Spaniel" right after each other. One book was titled "Come Out Fighting". Was this a book on the history of say, boxing? Or a professional fighter's biography? A witty novel? Or an exercise book? Turns out it was a book about coming out as a gay/lesbian.

In the end, I scored a couple of old crafting books as well as this retro school book (I'm totally drawn to these illustrations):

Overall, Nana and I were glad to have fed our curiosity but we're not dying to go back. Our favorite used book store right now is Bookman in Orange--the books cost more but they are really well organized. After the trip to this place, we appreciate that even more.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Commit2Fit - Week 5

I know I say this every week, but this week's healthy habit of Commit2Fit seems very reachable. I say this after struggling to earn 11 points out of a possible 28 last week (we get a point for each healthy habit we do each day). Anyhoo, this week's challenge is getting in 1000mg of Omega-3 and eating no trans fats. Getting the Omega-3s in capsules counts, so that is easy for me. Eating no trans fats means no fried food (e.g., chips) and no food that contains partially hydrogenated oils, which sadly includes my WW Cookies and Cream bars. That's going to hurt a little.

But I managed to earn 5 out of 5 points yesterday so I'll keep hope alive...

Playing it Old School

Last night, we blew the dust off this game:

The girl was working me:

And she won:

But honestly, I think this is a game I can play like, once. When she asked if I wanted to play it again right after she won, I told her it was time for bed. I'm pretty sure I would have rather eaten all those red and white pegs then spend another 40 minutes calling out coordinates that were worth nothing. I hope this isn't sore-loser talk.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Break glass in case of feeding

This weekend was a blur. I literally slept, woke up to eat, and went back to sleep. I was kind of like those fire axes or hoses where they tell you to "break the glass in case of emergency", but the emergency was to stuff my face.

Needless to say, no decluttering was done. Even, the old man and the girl are starting to comment about when I'm going to put the stuff away...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Fortunately, Paul is fairly easy to please on Father's Day. Here is one of his dream meals: Buffalo burgers with all the fixings and dessert. Dessert happened to be a mini Swedish Almond Sugar Cake (made by my friend Karen) and a big Strawberry Flan with Rice Pudding. I was fortunate to be a guest of my friend Karen at a fundraiser for Men Alive last night and I won the flan at the dessert auction. I don't know which was sweeter, the dessert or the timing.

As for gifts, Paul scored a book (The Lost City of Z) and See's Candy from his mom, a card and painted heart-shaped rock from the girl, and from me a movie theater size box of Mike & Ikes and these:

I downed a BK value meal to score this full set of these snazzy Star Trek glasses.

Hope everyone had a fabulous Father's Day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Goodbye Fourth Grade

Well, someone was happy for the last day of school.

Man, time is flying.
Can I put her on pause?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hooray for the girl

The girl passed another test at her TKD school. She had to break a board with a kick and she did (with a little motivational coaching from her mom, I'd like to think). Her next test will include...sparring.

Guess I'll have to get the gloves out...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Commit2Fit - Week 4

Except for the first week's healthy habit (drinking 12 cups of water a day with no coffee or soda), I've been kind of failing these healthy habits. I was able to do all three healthy habits only ONCE this week. But I think Week 4's Healthy Habit is within my grasp - leave at least a two hour window of an empty stomach prior to bedtime.

It's still challenging--I kind of like having a little something before going to sleep, but I wouldn't mind changing that habit. Perhaps it's in my grasp because I figure I'll just stay up 2 extra hours until my last snack.

What do you think? Totally doable right?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Better late than never, I hope

As I was decluttering, I found a stack of scrapbooking stuff I had put aside as a thank you gift. My friend had moved to a new town in Connecticut a few years ago and she had made a great friend in Debbie. When I flew out for my friend's wedding, this friend was generous with her time, patience, and her membership to the Mystic Aquarium--a really nice, sweet lady. Anyhoo she revealed she loved scrapbooking too and was a huge Disney fan. So I collected all this Disney stuff (an album, papers, stickers, etc.) to send to her as a thank you gift with a little note:

As I was packing and taping this little package up, I realized that this wedding was TWO YEARS AGO.

Yeesh, I really need to get organized.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Commit2Fit - Week 3

Week 3 in the Commit2Fit challenge is, well, challenging. It's taking last week's challenge of eating 5 mini meals every 2-3 hours (which I only successfully completed 2 days last week) and adding that each of these mini meals has at least 10 grams of protein and a maximum of 30 grams of carbohydrates.

Getting 10 grams of protein isn't hard but man, oh man, limiting myself to 30 grams of carbs at a time is proving to be difficult. A lot of things have carbs including the less obvious staples of my diet--milk, yogurt, and fruit. I already failed on the first day because we had a free lunch from The Veggie Grill and I pigged out. This is going to take a LOT of planning. And discipline.

Unfortunately, my failings with Commit2Fit are coinciding with me losing control of my WW points. I am over by at least 50 points this week. Yeesh, I can't wait to start a clean slate.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Athletic supporters

At the garage sale, my old man and I showed support for a couple of teams we've rooted for:

What? You have something against the University of South Carolina football team and the Portland minor league baseball team?

Pretty girl in a bucket

As I confessed, I spent $3 at the neighborhood garage sale. A dollar on 2 picture frames, a dollar on a book, and a dollar on this:

The girl is itching to have a slumber party this summer and this is a possible theme. It came with stuff for facials, pedicures, and manicures:

Those who know me well, know that this stuff is not up my alley, ergo, not my forte. So the girl did a little test run:

Am I pretty girl now?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


In my continuing quest/saga to declutter/organize, we signed up for the neighborhood garage sale where we bring stuff to the local Montessori parking lot to sell.

Velina volunteered to make a painting to sell:

She translated "Believe" to Japanese online for her title. I kept it.

But overall, we netted $30 (yes I said netted, because, true to form, I couldn't resist buying a few things) for stuff we were going to donate. Unfortunately, it didn't make a big a dent in the stuff around here as I hoped.

At least there's trip to Yogurtland in the very near future...

Monday, June 8, 2009

I remember Kyle

Last year on this day, there was a terrible car accident and Kyle was gone.

I took this picture of him just a few weeks before he died. I had just gotten a sweet 50mm f1.4 prime lens for my birthday and was testing it out at a luncheon we were having to celebrate the success of our corporate WalkTeam at last year's AIDSWalk. I caught him in a unique moment where he was coming out of his thoughts and recognizing I was taking his picture. Part of him still looks like he's pondering far away and another part makes me feel like he's looking right at me.

And that's what it still feels like, that Kyle is far away but still here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Isn't it interesting how regional some candies are? Like, Cherry Mash bars and Chick-O-Stick are common in the Midwest but I don't see them out here in SoCal. Dulce de Leche M&Ms were tested out here but no one in the rest of the country got to try them. A candy that Paul and Velina are fans of are Lemon Heads.

But on a recent trip to the East Coast, Paul discovered the whole family:

Who knew? Even I had to try the Apple Heads. I think this variety of Heads needs to go national.

Committing to Fit - Week 2

I just hit week 2 of Commit2Fit and the second Healthy Life Habit is basically eating 5-6 small meals of 300 calories each every 2-3 hours. I roughly translated it to 3-5 WW points per small meal with all the meals totally my daily WW point allowance. At first I thought, this should be painless but I realize that I often try to save up my points for a big dinner, which is like the typical Sumo wrestler's meal plan, per Paula's post. I realized that what this takes, is pretty much planning out a day's meals ahead of time, including the time I'll be able to eat them as part of the habit is eating no less than 2 hours apart but no more than 3 hours.

I earned my 2 Paula points today--one for sticking to healthy habit 1 and drinking 12 cups of water with no coffee or soda and the second for eating 6 small meals (and staying within my WW points!)

I foresee the weekend being challenging but we'll see...I remain motivated.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Welcome to the Chef's House

Over the weekend, the girl wanted to do a restaurant night. She visualized a "real fancy restaurant" complete with fire and eating in front of the television. Now I haven't been to too many fancy restaurants, but I'm pretty sure the second part is probably more "fantasy" restaurant than fancy. Unless fancy also means sports bar.

Anyhoo, she translated "Welcome to the Chef's House" into Japanese on the internet and painted a sign (I made the fire):

She put together a menu, complete with appetizer (I chose fruit), side (salad for me, please), drink (water), dessert (Oreo ice cream), and of course the main course/entree (I took spaghetti):

And wha-la!

I'm pretty sure I enjoyed this more than a lot of fancy restaurants.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Committing 2 Fit

To help my WW efforts, I joined a challenge on Paula Wessell's blog to Commit2Fit. It's basically an 8 week challenge to start healthy life habits. I kind of signed up with blind faith that things weren't going to get too freaky. Every Wednesday we get a new healthy life habit.

It kicked off with quite a challenge with Life Habit One: drinking 12 cups of water a day without coffee or soda. I don't know which was harder: drinking the water or giving up the soda and coffee. I kind of reach for diet soda or when I'm feeling really generous with myself, a latte, as a nice, non-sabotaging-to-my-ww-points treat for myself. But boy drinking 12 cups of plain water was a real challenge. I'm not naturally inclined to drink water so I knew I couldn't just sip it from a mug throughout my day. I pretty much slam 2-3 cups at a time. I'm pretty sure I drowned and blacked out at some point. But I did it! And you bet your Benjamin Buttons that I feel healthy doing it.

As challenging as this first habit is, I hope the next one will be easier for me to reach, like giving up crack or playing the slots. Keeping my fingers crossed...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Best Comic Book surprise

Remember this comic book sale? Well I also found these and bought them on a WTH whim:

Yes, they're New Kids on the Block comics from the '90s. No, I didn't know they had these either. Anyway, it turned out a friend at work, Shadi, is a SuperFan, so I wrapped these up and snuck them on her desk one morning:

Um, how big of a SuperFan, you ask? It turns out the weekend I hit this sale, Shadi was on a New Kids on the Block cruise! No, I didn't know they had those either. All the New Kids on the Block were on this Bahamas cruise with shows, Q&As, and lots of photo ops.

Though not all fans got this close:

I'm pretty sure you have to be a SuperFan like Shadi to get this close to Donnie D!