August 13, 2012

What I'm Doing Lately

This is me 3 months prior to starting the program, and 2.5 months after starting.  Seriously.  I can't believe it either!
Hello, World!  Just my annual post on the now tenured Hollywood Flakes blog.  I've actually started a new site at www.sarahflake.com.  For those I'm not connected to on Facebook, I did want to let everyone know what I'm up to these days.  I got really fat, and then decided to lose the weight but couldn't manage it until I found an amazing lifestyle program.  It taught me how to manage portion control, stress eating, frequent meals, and offered lots of amazing support.  I went from a size 14 to a size 4 in less than three months and have never felt more amazing!  I've developed all kinds of habits and coping skills to help me keep the weight off and actually did so well on the program that I was trained and became a Certified Health Coach on the program myself!  I'm currently helping friends, family, and even a handful of total strangers across the country succeed on my same plan and am teaching them the skills I learned.  I'd love to help anyone out there who is struggling with their weight and looking for an end to yo-yo diets that leave you clueless after the weight comes off.

If you'd like more information, please visit my coaching website at www.sarahflake.com.  It's got a good overview of the plan and some great videos.  My coaching services are individualized, private and dedicated!  We can communicate over phone, email or text so it really doesn't matter where you live.  It's hard to do this kind of thing on your own and I've been through it and know how to get you there too.  I'm really excited about being a coach and am loving helping the people around me get healthier on the program.  And hey, what's better - reading daily posts on my blog or checking in with me individually all the time while you get your sexy back?  Spread the word to anyone you think is looking for support - it could literally save someone's life.

Live Well!!

November 29, 2011

Hollywood is on Kickstarter!

You know it's big news when I refer to myself in the third person in my post title!  My toys business is ridiculously busy and without giving up sleep altogether, I can't sew enough to meet demand.  Take a sec and watch my Kickstarter video here; http://tinyurl.com/7dcl2cd

There are all kind of goodies you can get from participating in my project like custom toys, zines, stickers, web shout outs, and generally warm fuzzies all around when my brand is known throughout the entire universe.  And as a special incentive for my poor, postless blog followers, if this project gets funded, I'll post every day for a month right here on Hollywood Flakes about anything BUT toys.





June 28, 2011

A Musical Treat: tUnE yArDs

I like to listen to podcasts while I sew and yesterday I ran across an interview with Merrill Garbus, who created the musical act, tUnE yArDs.  My ears perked up since I was best buddies with a Merrill Garbus growing up who shared the same, milky voice and artistic sensibilities.  And it's not a common name so I ran to the internet, did an image search and there she was.  I hadn't seen her since 1992, but there was no doubt, my little friend had climbed the ranks and now was a famous indie queen.  I listened to her stuff online and fell in love.  So I just wanted to share some of it here for you guys.  I kind of think she's a genius.  What do you think?





For my other Connecticut buddies reading this, did you guys know about this?  I think she's only really gotten "famous" the last few years but I can't help but think she's going to be big.  Here's a little blurb about her from hipsterrunoff: http://www.hipsterrunoff.com/2011/04/broad-tune-yards-next-female-indie-sex-icon.html

Yeah, I'm totally jealous.

June 26, 2011

A Room to Rent

It's blazing hot here in Vegas, so when I driving back from my errands this afternoon and saw a women trudging down the street carrying three huge bags, I stopped the car and asked if she needed a ride anywhere.  "I need a room," she said with a desperate tone in her voice.  "Do you know of anyone in this neighborhood with a room to rent?"

I didn't.  But I couldn't very well let her stay on the street so I said she could come back to my house and we'd make some calls to find her somewhere to stay.  She was beautiful by anyone's standards, wearing a super revealing outfit and jumpy as all get-out.  "Thank you so much," she said, "I don't want to talk about my situation, but I really need a place to stay right now.
"There's a local women's shelter close by," I offered.  They always have rooms available and I could drop you off right now."
"No, no," she said distractedly.  "I don't want to talk about my situation.  I just need a place to stay."

So I brought her back to my home.  As we walked through the door, I let her know that she was welcome to stay for the day and could have any food in my kitchen and use of my phone.  But she wasn't listening.  Instead, she was slowly looking around my home with wide eyes.  Then said to me with great concern, "has someone been in here?"
"What do you mean?"
"It looks like you've been robbed."
"Oh no, I just have little kids and haven't cleaned the house since Friday.  It's always a little messy," I assured her. Sure, my house was a little untidy, but I didn't feel like it was anything out of the ordinary.  My guest didn't look convinced.  She slowly reached for my hand.
"Are you okay?" she asked me?  "Are you in trouble?"  Her eyes were filled with terror.
"No, really, I'm just a little messy.  My family is out of town this weekend and I've been doing projects so the place is a mess."
"Do you need to hire someone to help you clean?  I know someone..."
"No thanks," I laughed.  "It's just part of having kids."  My casual attitude didn't calm her.
She looked at a the dishes strewed around the kitchen and then blurted out, "I have to go.  Something is wrong about this place.  I can't stay."
And so she picked up her three huge bags and high-tailed it for the door, casting terrified looks at my untidy house on the way back out into the 110 degree heat.
Now I'm no Martha Stewart, but I'd like to think that my home would be a very nice place for a drugged out gal to spend an afternoon.  Then again, I probably didn't want my home robbed so maybe it's for the best.  But it still smarts a bit that she'd pick the Vegas elements over my childrens' mess.  Maybe I'm the crazy one for living like this.  Anyone have a room I could rent?

June 10, 2011

The Runaway Bunny

Today was the day.  I had decided last night that this would be the day of my independence.  Fat Lawrence had got to go.  Of my three rabbits, he's the only one who manages to escape from his cage daily and engages me in hot blooded scrambling for hours around my back yard.  It's just not cool to play on a lawn covered in bunny poop all summer so today would be the last chase.  I woke up bright and early this morning and was ready for war.

At 7:30 am, I put on my running shoes and went into the back yard.  There he was, under the honeysuckle lazily chewing a twig.  I ran, he ran.  As long as I didn't lose sight of him, I could always catch him eventually.  So when the sprinklers came on, I chose to continue the pursuit rather than go to the garage to turn them off.  Over an hour later, dripping wet, my hair full of twigs and leaves, and a heart full of hate, I was ready to end the war.  Fat Lawrence had evaded all my traps, slipped through my wet fingers and bounded out of captures too many times and I was ready for the coup de grace.  If I couldn't win the physical game, I could try to win the mental one.  He sat crouched under the pomegranate tree, ready to spring away at my first move.  Instead, I made the most horrific, hissing, growing noise I could conjure up.  Let there be no question, I was pissed.  Fat Lawrence shrank to the ground in horror and stayed perfectly still while I approached, slowly picked him up and put him in the brown cardboard box I'd prepared for the occasion.  I couldn't believe it had worked.

I immediately called my kids and told them we were off to liberate Fat Lawrence.  I loaded the box and the barefoot kids in the car and drove.  They didn't understand.  "Why is there mud on your face, Mom?  Why are we getting rid of Lawrence, Mom?"  "But I LOVE him, Mom!"  I cheerfully explained that Fat Lawrence obviously didn't want to live in a cage and would be much happier at a large nearby park with all the ducks and grass.  How could we not bring him to his new home?  Fifteen minutes later, we arrived.  It was just as I'd imagined it.  A beautiful day, ducks swimming in the pond, a bunny in a box, my year long dream had finally come true.  I parked the car and took Fat Lawrence out of his box to give him the grand tour of his new home.  First off to the pond to show him where he'd be drinking.  I couldn't help but notice an unleashed Labrador Retriever across the water.  Then I looked around for some nice shady underbrush for his mid-day nap.  I didn't immediately see a good shady spot and upon looking up, saw a clear, Vegas sky with two hawks lazily circling above the park.

I sat down with Lawrence on a bench.   We were both still soaked clean to the bone after our morning chase.  I picked a few twigs from my hair and he started grooming his wet fur.  Now was the part where I put him down and left.  A few months ago after a particularly long chase, I taught myself via YouTube the art of butchering and preparing a rabbit for stew.  I've begged my husband to take his shotgun and finish the little guy off but he refused.  And now was the day I would rid myself of this little beast.  This stubborn beast who I'd rescued from a shelter last year after he'd been returned twice due to bad behavior.  This crazy looking fluff ball who I'd tamed from a nasty, biting monster into a fast, fluffy genius.  The only thing Fat Lawrence loves more than playing chase, is being held afterward and stroked until he begins his deep, rumbling bunny purr.  Now was the part where I left him for good.

An hour later, the sun had almost dried me out. I called the kids back from the playground and told them I was ready to go home.  A dry and well petted Fat Lawrence was coming with us.  My girls were confused, and tried to reason with me that he really wanted to stay in this beautiful park.  No, no, I said.  It's too dangerous here.  What if a dog gets him or a hawk grabs him?  What if he doesn't like the taste of the pond water?  What if he misses us?  We definitely couldn't leave him at this park.  All the things I hated about this bunny were the exact things that endeared him to me in the first place and that hour I'd spent with him on the bench had been a sort of second honeymoon.  Darling husband Spike, I know as you read this you are rolling your eyes, but honestly, I just couldn't do it.  I love my naughty bunny.  There is such a fine line between love and hate.  It's almost always the things we love most about someone which end up driving us nuts later on.  But if we are honest with ourselves, it's not hard to fall in love again after taking a drive to the park and considering the alternative options.  Love or hate, it's all just expressions of passion.  What would life be without it?


Fat Lawrence + Hollywood = LOVE FOREVER!




Update:  I came home that day and put him up on Craigslist to find an owner with a bit more level emotional status than mine.  That night a very dear one-eyed Mongolian man fell in love with my fattie and took him off to live with his twenty other Lion Head bunnies.  Farewell, my love!

May 24, 2011

Bullets for Brains

"Ms. Flake, the principal would like to speak with you."

And suddenly I knew.  We'd been caught.

There isn't much that excites my husband these days so when his birthday came, my four year old and I brainstormed for a fun party theme.  I asked my daughter what boys like, she said guns, we went with it.

What gun themed party would be complete without shotgun shells at each dinner plate?  I dug through Spike's small arsenal in the closet and selected nine red and beautifully live shells to set on the table next to cards with each guest's name card.  I cut black guns from cardstock and put a bowl of loaded water guns on the middle of the table.  Every big boy's dream birthday.  After the party, I was caught up in a sugar and frosting haze and didn't notice who cleared up the table.

Two days later, I dug though Pixie's backpack after school looking for homework assignment and I saw a shotgun shell at the bottom of her bag.  She casually mentioned she had given a bunch out to her friends on the kindergarten playground.  Apparently she had taken them all off the dinner table.  Cue my panic.  Our elementary school does not give out class lists or phone numbers so I had no way to call the moms to warn them.  Not that they needed any warning.  By the next morning, five of them had called the school in a panic and one boy had been pulled off the school bus for waving the bullet around.  By the time I dropped Pixie off at the school yard gate, the other mothers were knit in tight groups and the gossip mill had decided she had actually brought a loaded gun to school.

And thus the call to see the principal. I never had to go as a kid,  but now both me and my daughter had to make the long walk towards the school office.  Pixie was white as chalk, and my head was racing with pleas to appease CPS.  It's bad enough knowing you're a screw up, but having to drag your poor kid into it as well just because you think live ammo is a cool decoration is just pathetic.  We were seated in a large, empty conference room with a plastic bag on the table containing three of the bullets.  My prints were all over them.

Spike had warned me to just tell the truth, but I couldn't think of a way to saying "I decorate with bullets" that would sound reasonable.  I could blame it on him.  I could blame it on an irresponsible guest.  I could blame it on an obscure medical condition.  I just couldn't imagine having to blame myself.  Luckily, the principle had apparently been in her position for a while and just handed me a form to sign saying that I had seen her and that was that.  No questions, no guilt, no admonitions, just a signature.  I thanks the heavens that the public schools are messed up enough that our small ammo slip was just another paper for the school to file away.  But I guess I'll have to reconsider my party theme for Spike's birthday next year - bombs.

April 6, 2011

WonderCon

I did it.  I exhibited at WonderCon.  For the vast majority of you who don't know what that is, it's the San Francisco version of ComicCon.  And for the rest of you, ComicCon is the biggest pop-culture convention in the US.  But back to WonderCon.  I decided last October to apply with my plush toy line.  It would mean a huge amount of money spent on the exhibitor fee, hotel fee, display fees, gas money, and innumerable other expenses. I had a small lump of dough built up in my business account and pretty much sank it all into this one show.  The question was would it pay off.

I convinced my husband to take off work for a few days to come help me at the convention.  My sister agreed to drive down from Utah to watch my kids while we were gone.  Another friend agreed to manage the local craft event I was supposed to be running that weekend here in Vegas.  And I even sweet talked my sisters into helping me with some of the tedious sewing while we were supposed to be enjoying a relaxed beach vacation the week before the big event.  By the time the convention rolled around, I had sewn $13,000 worth of plush toys in 4 months.  Throw in my factory produced item, and I would be going to San Francisco with $18,000 worth of Flaky Friends (my toy line).  I had no doubt I'd sell it all.  I'd put in the work and there are required, rewarding consequences for hard work.  I'd sewn enough to be able to drive a nail with my finger tips so I knew I'd done my part.

When the car broke down on the drive to the convention, I panicked a bit.  It set us back a few hours, but we got back on the road.  When we got miserably turned around in the traffic in San Francisco and couldn't find the unloading dock with the clock ticking on our unloading time, I almost passed out in the passenger seat.  But unload we did, and I set up in Moscone Convention Center with my toys flanking me with sewn on smiles.  I had made it.  Now just to sell $18,000 worth of plush in three days.

How did it go?  This is where I give you the line about how it was invaluable for the contacts I made, how much fun the crowd was, and how I got a lot of business cards.  No, really, I did have a good time.  The other plush artists I met who have growing product lines were very helpful and will hopefully provide invaluable mentoring/advice to me in the future.  And today I got an email from a customer who bought from me at the show with a custom request.  But as far as the books go, after 4 months of non stop sewing, neglecting my kids, pizza dinners, and a ridiculous amount of money invested, I'm coming out pretty much exactly where I was last Christmas.  According to my bank account, all the work I've done this year never happened. So that's why I've decided to treat the small stack of business cards I accumulated at the event as my magic beans.  With all the blood, sweat and tears that went into getting them, they've got to have some magic in them.  Grow, beans, grow.  Because if you turn out to be duds, I'm going to kick myself in the face until I stop trying to do anything ever again.

March 27, 2011

Viable Career Options

So it has already begun.  I wrote a post today, then ran it by Spike (as I usually do when I'm writing wild) and he deemed it WAY too off base for publication so I'm left trying to think of tepid, pleasant things to write instead.  But since I can't quite contain myself, I'll give you a teaser that it was an open letter to our nation's panhandlers about how to really stand out amidst their growing competition.  Something about powerpoint presentations and jazz hands...  Seriously, can't we all use some tips on how to get ahead?  But thank you Spike, for keeping me from self destructing online.  I'm a terrible person without you.

So with that off the table, I guess I just have to tell you a little something that happened at the park by my house a bit ago.  After living in Vegas for two years now, I'm slowly acclimating to our local "culture." 

My three year old Cher was waiting to use the fireman pole at our local park but two tween girls were playing on it.  After waiting for about 10 minutes for her turn, little Cher came to me asking to intervene.  I walked towards the pole to ask the girls if Cher could slide down it once or twice.  As I got closer, however, I overheard their conversation.

"You really need a lot of arm strength for this trick," said one.  "Then just hold on and flip up your legs like this."  The smaller girl then demonstrated the upside-down splits on the fireman pole.

"Wow, I can't do that."

"I'll  teach you how," her friend reassured her, "and it's even more fun to do on the real spinning pole.  And this is one is super easy too."  She then executed the perfect stripper floating spiral.  

Really?  Pole dancing lessons at my kids' playground?  I hate to say it, but the chances of my kids' friends being strippers is much higher in this town.  I'm rethinking having put my girls into dance classes.  I'd hate to give them any practical job skills they might be tempted to use.  Another truth of Vegas is that if you meet a girl with incredible legs, she probably is or has been a showgirl.  Heck, they don't even have to be girls, but those long legs only mean one thing.  For the first time, I'm glad our Flake family has been endowed with overly long torsos and stumpy little legs.  One less Vegas career option.  

Gambling being our main industry, the number of locals who are employed as card dealers or waitresses is quite high.  Some of the other moms who pick up their kids from kindergarten show up in their casino barmaid get ups.  That's a fun thing for all those 6 year old boys to see.  But hey, I respect an honest paycheck and people have to eat.  Since the chances of my kids working a casino at some point are pretty high, I just have to make sure I hand select their job.  I'm thinking they could be the people who sit inside the lion cage at the MGM casino, babysitting the lion pride all day.  They get to wear a full set of clothes, and if any handsy men try coming near them, the lions will eat their faces off.  Mama likes that.  Now if only they offered Lion Taming as one of the community courses available at our rec center... 

The five cokes I drank at dinner tonight have finally worn off so I'm going to bed.  Viva Las Vegas, Baby.

March 24, 2011

Go To Hell

Remember all those half truths your parents told you to make you behave?  Cross your eyes and they'll stay that way.  Misbehave and Santa won't come this year.  Boys have cooties.  We all use them.  Easy lies to avoid the bigger conversation.  I'm as guilty as the next mom.  I tried recycling a half-truth the other day on my six year old Pixie.  

At a stop light, a man crossed the street in front of our waiting car.  "Mom," Pixie said slowly, "that man is kind of chubby."  
"You can't say stuff like that, honey." I replied.  "Did you know that once you get to heaven, everyone will know everything you've ever said or done, including that man?"
Pixie turned pale.  "I'm so sorry!" she stammered.  "Will he know that I'm sorry?"
"Yes.  But remember to always speak nicely."

So that was that.  I'd used an old lie (or maybe it's true?) that had worked on me as a kid to keep my own spawn in check.  With only the minimum required amount of guilt, I put the incident out of my mind.

The next day I was working in my sewing room when Pixie came in.  "Remember that guy yesterday... who was a little... you know..."

"The man at the crosswalk?"
"Yeah."

"What about him?" I asked.
Pixie gave me a wistful look then said softly,  "I hope he goes to hell."


And there it was.  Rather than have to face all the people who she'd ever said anything less than flattering about, Pixie had begun damning them all to hell instead to save face.  Just another tick mark on the score card of my awesome parenting.  Go, me.

A Cacophony of Words: Aging through Vasoline

I just finished watching the movie "Julie and Julia" and for the first time in a long time (think 2008) actually remember why blogging is essential for my expression. What a great movie and a sweet reminder that for some of us, writing is what ensures we maintain a firm grip on our identity. Rather than wax too poetic, let it just be said that I've had words bottling up in me ever since moving to Vegas two years ago and the bottle has finally spilled over. So after tossing in bed for about an hour, I had to get up and post back on ye old blog. There's no way I can play catch up. Just imagine the same old me, except with rock hard callused fingers from sewing thousands of stuffed animals since January 2007. Oh, and I found some grey hair last year. On my head.

The grey hair thing was fun at first. I've worked hard, played hard, and been up way too many late nights with deadlines so I was proud of the grey. The badge of a good woman who has done her share of work. My three year old has repeatedly offered to pull out the new hairs but I can't let her. I just have worked too hard for them. I'd always thought the signs of age can be beautiful and admired the older women around me who don't try to hide their years. But that was before I began noticing the wrinkles around my mouth. The stringiness of my neck. The furrow that somehow isn't smoothing out of my brow. While aging can certainly be respected, it's hard when it's literally on your face.

We had some extra airline miles and got one of those offers to redeem your miles for magazines. The magazine choices were limited but I ticked off the Vogue box among many others. I got my first copy two weeks ago. I haven't looked at a fashion magazine since high school and 15 years gives me a whole new perspective on the genre. I was suddenly and ferociously interested in reading the anti-wrinkle cream ads. Of holding the magazine under bright lights so I could detect photo shopping on Cate Blanchette's up close photo shoot. One page was hastily ripped from the magazine and tucked in my purse to give me an idea of a younger looking hairstyle I could try to make me look "hip."

When I hadn't been able to walk by a mirror for a week without pulling my skin back to see what a facelift could do for me, I realized what had happened. The magazine went into the recycle bin (I'm sorry to the 1,000 trees that went into the making of that massive piece of crap) and I called to cancel the subscription. Any publication that makes me sad to be me can't live in my home.

Side Note - I also ordered Spike the ESPN magazine from the same offer. It arrived with a Godly muscled baseball player in a lunging stance on the cover. No sign of Spike wanting to take up pro sports or steroids yet. I'll keep my eye on him.

So back to my mid life crisis. For now, it is averted. My contact lens prescription is a bit out of date, so rather than get a new one, I'll just keep the face in the mirror fuzzy. Sort of like those old movies where every time the leading lady was on screen, they'd rub vasoline on the camera lens to give her a heavenly glow. I plan on carrying on as a modern Elizabeth Taylor (minus 7 of the husbands) and keeping my chin up, no matter how far down it stretches. I, Hollywood, am after all only 31 years old, and not a bit dramatic.  Bring on the grey.

November 11, 2009

In Your Face, Life!

Who is going to be watching the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Competition in Oahu, Hawaii in a couple of days?

Who is going to lend her practiced eye to the dancers at the 18th International Hula Dance Competition at the concert shell on Waikiki beach on Saturday evening?

Who is going to be skimming over the seas in a 40 foot catamaran while the steam of whale spouts float into her face while you are stuck in your cubicle?

That's right, kids. Hollywood has finally earned her long-yearned for trip to Hawaii. And it won't be pretty. After 30 years, I'm getting mine and the fallout is going to be thick. Don't think this is going to be an easy week for you. Just when your boss walks by at five minutes till 5pm and casually drops that thick file on your desk, think of me, sipping whipped pineapple slushy off my fingers on a white beach.

And that treadmill you exercise on? You're not even going to be able to make it to your second mile without stumbling while imagining me simultaneously swimming in the crystal clear Pacific with the bottlenose dolphins. Life is rough. I know, I've been there. But not this week. This week is payback. Spike and I are going to come back from our week in paradise (sans kids!) looking like this:

And yes, we'll finally be too cool for you.

Aloha!

November 7, 2009

Sugardaddies, Fine China and Concrete Slippers

A brief summary of Halloween - Cher wanted to be a Lionhead bunny just like the ones we have as pets so I tricked her out with some fur:

And that about sums it up. When you can dress your two year old as a fluffy pink Lionhead bunny, what's not to love? Halloween was good.

And my mobster from the last post? Frank has turned out to be quite the fun friend. We had him over for dinner last week and found out he moved from Staten Island to Vegas for "health reasons." I guess it's not very healthy to find yourself at the bottom of the Hudson River wearing concrete slippers.

But the real highlight of the week was from the day I spent about 8 hours hitting up thrift stores in my area for mismatched china. You really get a good idea of who is in your community when you spend a day bottomfeeding.

Stop One: Goodwill

I was paying for some items. My girls were with me and we saw a woman in the store (think Roseanne Barr) with a tiny chihuahua snuggled into a bed of blankets in the child seat portion of her shopping cart. Of course, my girls ran up to her and asked if they could pet her tiny yapping dog. She sneered at them and pushed the cart aside. "No. This is a service dog." I looked at the cashier and raised my eyebrows skeptically. The cashier rolled her eyes and scowled. I'm guessing this wasn't the first time someone had tried to cheat the system by passing off a luxury pet as a disability crutch.
Stop Two: The Charleston Outlet Thrift Store

This particular store lacked a certain credibility with their storefront signage. On my way in, I noticed an official sign that read, "Please do no leave your children unattended in our store. Any parents not attending to their children in this store will be reported to Clark County Child Protective Services." I called their bluff and asked the cashier if they had ever really reported a parent to CPS before. "No," she said, "but we're supposed to..." Yeah right. But you can bet your bootie I kept my two girls glued to my side in that place.


Stop Three: A Second Chance Thrift Store:

This place had some really upscale items, mostly from estate sales, at jaw-droppingly low prices. After spending way too much time looking around a picking up some great vintage items, I went to check out. Ahead of me in line was a young black man. He was engaged in sincere conversation with the store proprietor. The proprietor, another black gentleman was saying in a very calm voice, "just remember that once you walk out that door today, I don't ever want you coming back."

"Man, I wouldn't steal from you! I don't steal from my own people!"

"All I'm saying is that you are not welcome in this store."

"You think I'm stealing from you? I never steal from you."

"I don't want to get into that. Just walk out that door and don't come back in here ever."

"You're my people, man! I wouldn't steal from my people!"

"Next please," said the proprietor with a warm smile. I sheepishly laid my items on the counter while the young man sulked off towards the door.


Stop Four: Martin's Mart Thrift Store

This place only had one teacup I wanted. I brought it to the counter and asked the price. "Thirty five cents," said the cashier. I reached for my wallet to get the money but just then an older man walked into the store, carrying a large trash bag and looking like the definition of homeless.

"I got it," he said with a grin and flipped a couple coins on the counter. At that moment, he was Daddy Warbucks. The girls and I thanked him up and down and left the store with a light heart. Everybody loves a sugardaddy.


And in case you're wondering what I'm doing looking for odd bits of china, here's the project I've been working on this week:
Teacup candles. You can get really beautiful pieces of china for pennies if the rest of the set is missing. And for some reason I've decided to try my hand at soapmaking and bath bomb making as well. It's been a craft week for me. Check out my first batch of soap I made:

So yeah, it's been a fun week. Sorry for the long, rambly post. There's been a lot of good stuff going on.

October 24, 2009

My Friendly Neighborhood Mafia

Last month my bunny, Stu, escaped from our yard. I posted on Craigslist, put in a report at the animal shelter and searched the neighborhood but came up empty. I could only assume that one of the many pitbulls living in my neighborhood had finished him off. But yesterday my next door neighbor popped her head over the wall and informed me that Stu was in her front yard. I ran over but he bolted as soon as I approached.

I chased him three doors down where he mysteriously disappeared in an overgrown backyard. After some poking around, I saw evidence that Stu had been living in this yard for quite some time (read between the lines, a month's worth of poop in a corner). The owner of the house saw me poking around in his yard and came out to see what I thought I was doing trespassing. He was a short guy, probably 55ish, and his voice sounded exactly like Marlon Brando's Godfather. After I told him about Stu, he verified that yes, he'd seen Stu eating his flowers and defecating all over his property for about a month. He introduced himself as Frank told me I could do anything necessary to catch the little guy and gave me free reign of his yard.

I borrowed a rabbit trap from Animal Control came back the next day to set it up. Frank saw me and came out to oversee the operation. Pointing to Stu's poop pile and promised I would clean it up. He waved me off and said there was no need. "It's no problem," I said, "I don't want my rabbit stinking up your yard." In an instant, Frank grabbed my face with one had and popped a light smack across my cheek. Still holding my face, my cheeks squeezed between his thumb and forefinger, he said in a low voice, "you clean up that poop and I'll come to your house and throw dirt all over your front yard." He released my face.

"Got it," I laughed. Anybody willing to slap a total stranger probably wouldn't make an empty threat like that. The poop would stay. "So you're from the East Coast?" I asked, his accent sounded Brooklyn to me.

"Yeah, sumpin' like that," he replied.

"I grew up in Connecticut," I said.

"Well that makes us just like family," he said happily.

"Sounds good to me. I don't have any family in the area. How about you?"

"I've got some family living in the casinos," said Frank.

"Sounds like fun."

"Depends on who's winnin'," he said with a shrug.

I think it's safe to assume that this guy has got some sort of Mafia running through his blood. We finished up talking and I turned to leave. I'd gotten some leaves and dirt all over my backside from sitting down to set the trap. "Eh, you're a mess!" said Frank. Without so much as a dinner invitation, he brushed my legs and rear end clean. After the smack, I knew better to protest. After he judged me sufficiently brushed off, I thanked him and took off. Maybe I'll catch Stu, maybe I won't but at least I can sleep easy knowing that my neighborhood mobster likes me.

October 20, 2009

Flu Vaccine Fright Fest

On Monday, the H1N1 vaccine has hit the streets of Vegas and local moms are wasting no time getting their dose. Currently, the vaccine is only being offered at one location in the Vegas Area, and only to the highest at-risk group (child caretakers and children under 5 years old). I saw the lines out the door on the news yesterday and even though it didn't look at exciting as an American Idol casting call, I decided to grab a place in line this morning. It was going to be a long morning of waiting and I didn't want my kids to know what was going on until the last possible minute.

"Come on, kids. Get in the car. I've got an errand to run."
"Where are we going?" asked the ever vigilant Pixie.
"We've just got to drop by an office for a minute."
"What for?"
"I need to get some stuff."
"What kind of stuff?"
"Who wants a cookie?"

That distracted them until we got to the Public Health Department. A long line of grim looking mothers pushing strollers was already spilling out the doors and trying to fill out medical forms in the high wind. I took my place in line.

None of the kids seemed to know they were the intended targets and stood around with bored expressions. One mother had brought a portable DVD player and had distracted my section of the line with a cartoon. The line inched slowly forward. We finally made it inside, around the reception desk, and towards a greeter. At this point, the line was siphoned down a thin hall. An attendant in scrubs made her way down the line talking to each mother. My time was running out. Pixie caught sight of the woman's clothes and turned to me with apprehension. "Mom... what is this place?"

The jig was up. No sooner were the words "flu shot" out of my mouth that my two children began screaming and scrambling for an escape. Luckily, I'd had the foresight to buckle them into the stroller. "I DON'T WANT A SHOT! I DON'T WANT A SHOT!" they screamed, and in seconds, the children waiting in the hall with us had caught the whiff of terror. All around us, the pleading, screaming and whimpering began in earnest. The woman with the DVD player glared at me. The line inched forward.

After a quick consultation with the nurse, I was relieved to hear my kids could simply get the flu mist squirted up their nose instead of a shot. With this information, I was finally able to calm them down. We were approaching the end of the hall when we noticed the noise coming out of The Room. A high-pitched tremor of not fear, but absolute terror. Apparently, we were approaching out final destination. I pushed the stroller in.

I was now lined up against the back of a large conference room with about 20 other moms, waiting our turn at one of the vaccination stations. There were about 15 women administering shots and each one faced a blue-faced, apoplectic child. We had to stand there with our kids and watch our fate play out in deafening reality. At this point, the waiting children were too terrified to cry, they just stood with wide, wet eyes, as the children at the vaccination stations demonstrated their best Halloween night screams while being stuck full of needles.

It was our turn. I got my shot, then brought Pixie to sit in my lap to get her nasal spray. "No shot, right Mom?" she asked with confidence.
"Right."
So when the nurse pulled out a long, skinny device with a pointed tip and brought it towards Pixie's face, all hell broke loose. It sure looked like a shot to me. In order to administer the spray, the nurse had to stick the mister up both nostrils and squirt. I had my leg wrapped around Pixie's lower body, one hand holding her head tight against my chest, and the other pinning her arms down. She was screaming just as loud as every other poor kid we'd seen in there. Then we had to do the same thing with little two year old Cher. There is no way that the nasal spray was any less terrifying than a shot. I'd say it's much worse. But finally we were done.

"And don't forget to come back in a month for another dose," called out the helpful nurse, just as we were leaving. Another round of fresh screams. I booked it for the door at the end of the rooms, desperate to get my kids out of The Room of Terror. As far as Haunted Houses go, this one pretty much takes the cake this year. I'm all Halloweened out.

October 17, 2009

The Football Widow

True, Peyton Manning looks better in spandex than I do, but is this really what I've earned?

Most people would agree that men are simple creatures. They like things will barbecue grill marks on them. They like remotes. They like naps. They say what they mean. Simple, right? So could someone please explain to me why the majority of men are obsessed with one of the most time consuming, complex endeavors ever? Football isn't simple. It isn't devoid of emotion. It keeps men awake when they would otherwise be napping away a perfectly good Saturday afternoon. I've got to think there is more than cheerleaders in hot pants behind this aberration of nature.

College football began at the end of August. During the first quarter of the first game I turned to Spike and asked, "So when does the season end?"

"Honey, this is the first game of the season."

"Right. When does it end?"

It's not that I begrudge him a little sports (note to self - I totally begrudge him all sports) but football in particular gets me going. Here I am, the faithful little wife of ten years, married and accustomed to the ups and downs of matrimony, but come Saturday, all I can think about is how I want to bomb every college football field in America.

True, I can't run a five minute mile like most wide receivers. I can't hit a fly off the wall across the room with a perfect spiral football throw. I've never tackled a grown man to the ground or gotten a grass stain on my forehead. There will be no younger, fresher second string replacement for me when I'm tired, crabby or creaky. I shouldn't be surprised to be a football widow at the age of 30. Maybe I should make a better effort to compete in the field.

There are the "Ty Detmer" wives who are fun for a few years but then fizzle out. But I want to be a "Brett Favre" wife, getting better and sexier every year. Who is to say my time to shine is up? In order to regain my husband's admiration and affection on Saturdays, I need to get my butt to training camp and make myself a competitor.

A couple of possible training goals for myself:

  • Buy calf-length spandex and practice putting them on without vomiting.
  • Perfect my diaper toss so that I can hit the garbage can with a loaded diaper from 60 yards.
  • Don't shower after working out
  • Stop using multisyllabic words
  • Practicing bulging my neck muscles in the mirror to perfect the intimidating look
  • Trash a hotel room
  • Pray for Obama to criminalize college sports

That's all I've got for you today. Pray for Mojo.