Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Truth or Dare

It's that time of the week again! Time to link up to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. The letter this week is the letter "T." Wow, I can't believe how fast we fly through the alphabet! My T topic this week is the game Truth or Dare.

Over the weekend, my daughter escorted me to a party at my work (see here) since my husband wasn't feeling well. We got there right when it began, and like all parties, this party was off to a slow start. My daughter, getting a bit bored, surprised me by saying, "Let's play a game of Truth or Dare!" I was shocked! I had no idea she knew about that game. She told me she learned it from her BFF at camp. Figures! Anyway, I was a bit bored too, so I played the game with her. We had fun.

The next day, I told my husband that we played Truth or Dare. He asked questions about how you play it. I was shocked that he didn't know how to play it. I asked him if he had played it as a kid. He looked at me confused. "Didn't Madonna come up with that game in the 90s? Truth or Dare didn't exist when I was a kid," he said. I told him that Truth or Dare existed during my childhood in the 1970s, and Madonna certainly didn't invent that game.

Now, there IS a bit of an age difference between my husband and me. However, it seemed weird to me that a game that was so prevalent in my childhood would be nonexistent during my husband's childhood. So, I decided to research the origins of Truth or Dare on the internet, because it contains the answers to everything.

Except it turns out to be lacking on the origins of the Truth or Dare game. Most of the links turned up "unknown" as the origin. One site stated that two different fiction books in 1957 gave reference to the game, but nothing could be found earlier. I would guess that my husband's generation should have had some exposure to the game then, but not sure if this is the case.

So, to conduct my own research: in the comment section, please indicate if you knew about the Truth or Dare game as a child and what year you were born (I promise not to laugh). Thanks!

Monday, August 29, 2011

She's the Life of the Party!

Over the weekend, one of the co-founders at my work hosted a party at the office. I was going to take my husband and my daughter to show them off. Unfortunately, my husband was sick so we decided he should stay home. I took my beautiful daughter as my date.

The party started at 6 in the evening and went until 10. I knew we wouldn't stay the whole time, because that's a little late for her. The last thing I needed was for her to get over-tired and have a huge meltdown when it was time to leave. On the drive down, I actually told her how important it was that she be on her best behavior. You know what? She was!

She had a blast! She charmed all my coworkers, she found new friends to play with, and she danced the night away! I think it's safe to say that my coworkers were pretty charmed by her.
We actually ended up staying for almost the entire party.

The best part? She was extremely flexible when things didn't go her way. She just went with the flow. I couldn't have been more proud of her. She was a fabulous date!

Now that she's getting older and maturing a bit I can't believe how much fun she is to hang out with! I know parents shouldn't be friends with their kids, but it is nice to be able to hang and have a good time! Seven is such a wonderful age! The kids are old enough to be able to entertain themselves and want to hang out with other kids, but they're young enough to still want the parents around to a certain degree. I'm really loving this age!

One funny moment was when we were waiting in line to get air-brushed tattoos. My daughter told me that she didn't want to get one. I was surprised, because there were a ton of choices, and many of them were beautiful. She said that she was afraid of needles! I had to assure her that these weren't real tattoos and no needles would be involved. I also told her that I would never encourage her to get a real tattoo!

I felt bad that my husband missed out on seeing our daughter being such a party animal and having so much fun! He would have had a blast too!


Friday, August 26, 2011

So Twisted (and Yet Kinda Funny)

My husband, daughter, and I were playing the old game of avoiding the cracks in a sidewalk. I jokingly asked if I step on a crack, does it mean I break my own back?

My daughter immediately answered, "No, you'd break the back of a dead woman!"

I was confused by this, so I asked her to explain.

"Well, grandma is dead," my daughter explained, "and you'd be breaking her back!"

Sorry, Mom, but this hit my funny bone, and I couldn't stop laughing for awhile.

Yup, I'm going to hell.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

S-Curves and Being Sick

It's that time of the week again--time to link up to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. The letter this week is the letter "S." S is for S curves and being sick!

As I was driving to work yesterday morning, I was contemplating what my S post would be about. I was driving through Topanga Canyon, a beautiful canyon in Los Angeles. It's full of treacherous S-curves as it snakes through an artsy community. Wikipedia has some interesting history about Topanga. See the link. One of the interesting things about that town of Topanga, is that it was developed by Europeans in 1839, which is quite old by L.A. standards. It became a celebrity enclave in the 1920s where it still attracts a creative crowd.

The drive is extremely scenic. You drive through unbelievable canyons that are just beautiful. But the drive also contains interesting man-made things to see. There is the flying pig,, the elephant at Froggy's (a restaurant). There's also the old Grand Canyon rail car that's used as a bridge (sorry, I couldn't find a picture for that one).

The canyon road also snakes past the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum where numerous plays are performed and snakes through downtown Topanga. Downtown Topanga consists for a few store fronts selling bohemian wares or services.

It's quite an interesting drive!

Driving through the canyon on the way home from work, however, wasn't as joyous an experience. I was starting to run a fever from my head cold and hit horrible traffic. The problem with the damn S-curves is that you can't see what's happening that far ahead of you! I ended up getting stuck on that 10-mile road for 45 minutes! I thought I'd take some photos while I was stuck in traffic. They didn't come out very well though! Any time anything was worth seeing, traffic started moving, so I wasn't able to get a good shot. Anyway, I'm sharing all the photos I took. Enjoy how bad they are!

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My attempt at taking a picture of the railroad car bridge.


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The flying pig.


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The dashboard of my car. I think.


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I almost captured a scenic shot. Damn S-curve got in the way.


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This is the beauty that I saw for 45 minutes. Damn traffic!



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This really doesn't do the canyon justice. No surprise there!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Best Hair in the World

I have the worst hair in the world. Everybody thinks their hair is the worst, but mine really is. I was born with ultra-thin, fine hair. It's stringy. It's almost non-existent. There are probably bald people with more hair than me!

So, imagine the irony that my daughter has the best hair in the world! She has long, thick, curly, waist-length hair. The only thing her hair has in common with mine is that it's fine. Can you imagine thick, curly, fine hair? It's absolutely gorgeous! She is the only person I know whose hair looks amazing in the rain or after getting out of a swimming pool!

Every day, complete strangers come over to gawk at her hair. It's pretty funny when they look at her beautiful curls then look over at my straight, thin locks with utter confusion on their face. You can read their thoughts of "How in the hell did that happen?" They usually figure out that my husband has something to do with our daughter's hair. The curls come from him! His hair is pretty course, though.

Camp had a wacky hair day that my daughter and I completely forgot about. When we arrived at camp and saw some wacky hairstyles, my daughter became upset. I told her not to worry; her counselor will play with her hair and make it look wacky. After I dropped her off with her group, I left for 5 minutes to look for her lost lunch box in the lost and found area. When I came back, the counselor had given my daughter a "wacky" hairdo.

The counselor tried to put all her hair up on top of her head. Unfortunately, the effect wasn't exactly wacky. It was gorgeous. My daughter looked like she was going to the prom and spent hours at a salon getting a fancy updo. One of her fellow campers was staring at her and said, "You look like someone I saw on Toddlers and Tiaras! I knew my daughter would be disappointed if she looked gorgeous instead of wacky, so I just pretended that she looked wacky and snapped some pictures of her!

Oh, to be blessed with that hair!

Friday, August 19, 2011

I Don't Want to Sound Ungrateful But...

I don't want to sound ungrateful. I really don't. I've been blessed with the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom for the last 7 years. But being a stay-at-home mom wasn't all fun and games. It came with a big sacrifice of giving up my career. While it was an honor to be able to do it, I also felt that it came at a big trade-off. I lost my sense of identity in addition to losing the large salary.

Now that I'm working again, I'm getting my sense of identity back, which is great! But I feel that I have to still sacrifice my career. It's always going to be daughter first, career second. My husband doesn't have to make those type of sacrifices. I'm sure he makes lots of other type of sacrifices with being a father, but his career is the first priority since our household relies on it to cover our expenses. Simply put, since he makes the big bucks, he doesn't have to balance his work/home life issues--at least not to the degree that I'll always have to.

While I'm sure there are a growing number of households where the wives are the big income-earners, fathers are still the major income-earners for the majority of families. So, fathers don't have to grapple with these type of issues as much as mothers do.

Today, I just felt sad that my income won't be able to match my husband's (or my prior salary). I'm the one that will have to stay home on sick days. I'm the one who always has to put my needs second, or even third. It really isn't fair!

Do you feel the same way?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Redefining Motherhood

It's that time of the week--time to link up to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. This week we have to write something about the letter "R." I could write about rabbits, but I really don't have much to say about them. So, my "R" topic this week is about redefining motherhood.

Just to give a little background about me: I was a career woman most of my life. I married at the pretty ripe age of 37 and had my daughter at 38. I gave up my six-figure (barely) income to be a stay-at-home mom. I figured I had a child so late in the game, I wanted to savor every minute of it. It was also important to me that I raised my daughter instead of some stranger. As luck would have it, my husband's work situation changed, increasing his income dramatically. It seemed like fate that I should stay home to raise our daughter.

I really didn't have the fun that I thought I would have. Raising a child is a lot of work with very little appreciation. Nevertheless, I never regretted my decision for a minute. Especially when our daughter started to miss some milestones and needed some extra help, I am so thankful I was around to learn and apply the behavior therapy techniques.

The truth is, that as much as I love my mommy hat, I miss wearing my career hat too. Now that my daughter is in school, I longed to go back to work. This past year, I did just that! I landed a part-time job at a growing internet start-up company where I was able to work flexible hours. I was able to work a lot from the comfort of my own home too. It was really great!

Now that our daughter's therapies are winding down, and her school offers great after school programs, I'm faced with the dilemma of increasing my hours at work and working a more set schedule. My boss even wants me to work a full-time day or two a week, which would mean hiring a sitter to pick up my daughter from school and feed her dinner at home.

This is both exhilarating and scary to me! I think I have to redefine what motherhood is to me. Am I ready to do so? I'm not sure.

Monday, August 15, 2011

BlogHer '11 Special Needs Mini-Conference

This is embarrassing to admit but I didn't know about the BlogHer '11 Special Needs Mini-Conference until about two weeks before BlogHer '11. I knew I was going to the BlogHer conference for an entire year! About 8 months before the conference, I put my name on a list of bloggers who addressed special needs issues. I thought the purpose behind the list was so that we would all know who was going so we could meet up for dinner or something.

Then, one night when I was in Twitter, Julia Roberts from Support for Special Needs tweeted me that she needed me to submit a photo for the mini-conference. I was really confused. She explained that the BlogHer was graciously providing lunch on one of the days for the special needs bloggers, and we were having our own panel after the lunch. I had no idea! I was so thrilled!

It turned out that the Special Needs Mini-Conference was the absolute highlight of BlogHer for me! For one thing, I was able to meet all my fellow bloggy friends and idols that I've long wanted to meet. And they were all in one room! The other highlight was that the topic discussion was the most relevant one I went to at BlogHer '11. I really enjoyed hearing people discuss the challenges of blogging in a niche that maybe many outsiders didn't really want to read. We talked about how to make our blogs more accessible and relevant to all readers.

We definitely didn't always agree on our approaches (do we ever?). For example, we talked about whether writing anonymously or writing under our real names were important. We also talked about how divided our communities were when they really should be united to get actual change in providing support for our kids.

I left the session feeling I could conquer the world!

And did I mention that the food BlogHer provided was sublime? They actually provided us with much better food than the general conference received including a dessert table with about 5 different desserts. It was fabulous that they provided so much support for our community.

My only complaint was that the mini-conference should have been longer! The lunch and one session wasn't enough to cover everything or even have good chitchat time with my colleagues. We're all beginning to think that this should be an all-day thing or even a separate conference.

It was fabulous and I want to thank Julia Roberts for putting this event together, even if she did refuse to give me an autograph (hehe).

Friday, August 12, 2011

We Did the Old Switcheroo!

My husband has been on vacation this week, and my part-time job has been pretty busy, so we decided to sort of trade places this week. He's been taking the lead in taking care of our daughter while I've increased the number of hours I've been working! Many of my colleagues have been working until 3, 4, 5, or even 6 in the morning! Yikes! Today was especially crazy at work.

I was asked if I could work late, and I said I could, although I could only stay until 6 pm, not 6 am! With my commute time, I didn't get home until 7 at night! That's a long day for me. I was relieved that I had leftovers to heat up for dinner!

Imagine my surprise when I walked through the door and the house had a wonderful, dinner's cooking smell! My husband decided to make dinner for us! I wasn't expecting that at all. He made salmon croquettes with a pasta side dish. It was really delicious!

I could get use to this life-style!

Although I don't think I could ever get used to all-nighters!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Here's to All the Quirky People!

It's that time of the week--time to link up to Jenny's Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. I was a bad blogger last week and didn't visit anyone. The BlogHer '11 conference took up too much of my time and energy. I will do better this week. I promise! I have another confession to make. I used quirky as my "Q" word during the last go-around. It's the only "Q" word that comes to mind, so I can't help it! I haven't read that post in about 26 weeks or so, so I'm hoping my approach to it will be somewhat fresh this time around.

When I started this blog, I totally had my daughter in mind when I came up with my blog title. She is definitely a little bit quirky. She's also a whole lot of beautiful and smart! The quirkiness definitely adds an interesting layer to her personality.

She's not the only quirky member of our family, however. I'm pretty quirky too! I mean, why be normal, right? I think quirky people are what makes the world an interesting and fun place to be.

Quirkiness has other great benefits too! Some of our greatest inventors and brilliant minds are known to be a bit quirky themselves! For example, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison were all thought to be a bit quirky. I think this ability to see things in a unique way and not filter your thoughts can lead to all sorts of really cool ideas.

So here's to all the quirky people in the world. They make the world a unique and wonderful place to be. Do you know anyone that's quirky?

Monday, August 8, 2011

I'm Back from BlogHer '11!

Well, I'm back from the BlogHer '11 conference, and I still trying to process everything. It's really hard to do when your brain feels like mush! Here are just a few of my random thoughts:

Biggest Surprise of the Weekend

I NEVER had to wait for a bathroom! There were over 3,800 women bloggers that descended on the San Diego Convention Center, yet I never had to wait in line to pee. In fact, most of the time, the bathrooms were relatively empty. Thank you, San Diego Convention Center for making sure to put in enough bathrooms everywhere!


Most Surreal Part of BlogHer '11

In general, the official BlogHer '11 parties were pretty surreal. People decorated McDonald bags and wore them as hats during one party. Another party's theme was appropriate for 8-year old girls (cardboard cut-outs of hunky men, glitter, unicorns, and even a friggin' My Little Pony adorned the room). But the most surreal thing was The People's Party. The Bloggess hosts this party. In the past, however, she never shows up for her own party. She doesn't feel comfortable in crowds, so she hangs out in a nearby bathroom and people just find her there to socialize.

I was anxious to meet her, so I went to the nearest bathroom to introduce myself. She wasn't there, but she left a note saying she was at the party. I was confused, but I thought I'd track her down. While I search the room, I noticed something I hadn't noticed before: a corner of the room was curtained off. When I peeked in, I noticed that area was like a beautiful bathroom you'd find at a ritzy spa, sans toilets though. The Bloggess was there, holding court. When I went up to introduce myself and compliment her on her digs, she said that the arrangement was a complete surprise to her. I guess the BlogHer organizers felt it was high time that she attended her own party, so they set up a quiet sanctuary for her to enjoy her party in!


Biggest Disappointment

I wasn't the biggest fan of the sessions. I didn't find many relevant or useful to me, which disappointed me a lot! However, I found that this opened up my schedule to raid the exhibitor's area to score swag.


The Coolest Part of the Exhibitor's Area

Believe it or not, the coolest thing wasn't the swag (surprising, considering I was hoping to score whatever swag I could). The coolest thing was just the energy level of the room! I had an amazing time talking with all the companies who were so excited about their products and having a blast interacting with them. These folks are really excited about working with women bloggers to help show-off their wares. My personal favorite thing was getting into the Chuck E. Cheese ticket booth to try and grab as many tickets as I could in 30 seconds. I think I succeeded in grabbing 5 in my hands! Luckily, they let you keep whatever else you can walk out with. I think about 40 tickets ended up getting caught in my cleavage! Yay me!

Another surprise was that many of the companies wanted to share the charity work they were involved in and hoping to engage the bloggers to share with their readers. It was really nice to see some corporations take on some social good issues! I'd like to see more companies take on these tasks!


Best BlogHer Party

My favorite party was the "Aim Low" party. This was a party geared toward people who generally don't like to party. I really didn't want to go to it, because I like to party. It turned out to be great! The music was low enough that you can actually talk to other people, they gave out bottles of wine (yay) and massages! It was an awesome party!


Worst BlogHer Party

The worst party was the Queerosphere party. There were drag queens there! I should have LOVED this party! But for some reason, it was completely dead. I don't know why, but this party was a drag--excuse the pun!


The Best Part of the Conference

The best part of the conference was meeting my fellow bloggers. It was so wonderful to meet people in the real world and have a chance to connect with them in person. I met a lot of really cool women! I'm hoping to go through the 400 cards I collected to add them to my Twitter rolls and check out a blog or 200. It was so much fun to meet so many people who share the same passion that I do.

It can be really hard to connect with people you want to meet when there are 3,800 women in one spot. Because of this, I'm especially grateful to Julia Roberts for organizing the Special Needs Mini-Conference. (No, she's not the actress Julia Roberts!) This consisted of our own room on Friday for lunch, followed by a session on special needs blogging issues. It was great! My only complaint was that it would have been even better to have even more time to mingle with these amazing bloggers. Maybe BlogHer will expand this even more for next year's conference!


Most Disappointing Thing I Missed

I am disappointed that I missed seeing a flash mob dance which was done in the main lunch area during the special needs mini-con! This was a huge disappointment when I heard about it. I'll have to look on You-tube for it!

I'm sure I'll have more information to pass along, but these are the points that stuck out in my fried brain! I spent a lot of time laughing and crying from the power of the written word. It was just an amazing weekend!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I'm Off to BlogHer '11!

I'm taking a little vacation from my blog to attend the big BlogHer '11 conference. I'm so excited! This will be my first time away from my family since I became a mom. I'm looking forward to meeting other bloggers, attending parties, and scoring some swag. I'm also looking forward to learning more about blogging!

Oddly enough, I'm not taking a laptop (because I don't have one). I will have my iPhone, but I don't intend tweeting during the different sessions. Weird, huh? I'm actually going to try to live in the moment. I'm going to talk to real people and listen to speakers without the distractions of tweeting key phrases to people who are either at the conference themselves or wishing they were there. I'm pretty sure they don't need to be constantly reminded that they're not there!

I'm lucky enough to be attending some private sessions which should be interesting. I'm also attending a mini-conference aimed toward moms who blog about their kids with special needs. I'm really looking forward to those sessions! I can't wait to meet fellow members of my posse! I haven't been lucky enough to be invited to any private parties! Oh well! Luckily, BlogHer '11 hosts three official parties each night, so I'm sure I'm going to have an absolute blast!

All the posts I've read about the conference address the stress and nervousness that goes with attending this event. I have to be honest. I'm not the least bit nervous! I've been wanting to attend this conference since last year and can't wait to put myself out there and meet other people who've become passionate about writing!

Don't miss me too much. I'll be back very soon!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Paranormal Interests

It's that time of the week again--time for linking up with Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. The letter this week is the letter "P." P is for paranormal interests.

Just a side note: I'm going to the BlogHer 11 conference, so I may be slow in visiting people's posts! Please have patience! I'll try to get to everyone's by Tuesday next week!

I blogged about this in the past, but I love all things paranormal--particularly ghosts! I've been in hog-heaven since all the paranormal ghost shows have come out including Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Dead Famous (oh, how I miss you), and Destination Truth, among others! Actually, of these shows, my favorite has become Destination Truth. It's really hilarious and fun to watch folks do REALLY crazy things to find ghosts (such as ghost hunt in Chernobyl or in Antarctica) or go scuba-diving in the dead of night to try to locate some sea serpent in an exotic part of the world. It's really fun stuff!

Well, imagine my surprise when my daughter started telling me about some "scary" videos she watches on an internet site she loves called Poptropica. I figured, how scary can this site be? As far as I knew, they featured games centered around children literature such as "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."

But then my daughter started telling me about an animal an animal that kills livestock that is oftentimes coyotes, but mistaken for some type of monster. I looked at her surprised and asked if she was talking about the chupacabra. She said she was! I hadn't even heard about the chupacabra until a few years ago! She then went on to tell me about videos on sea serpents, the Jersey Devil, Big Foot, and many others. Apparently, Poptropica has a whole section of videos on cryptozoology!

I was in shock! The first thing I thought was, "Yeah! Finally I can watch Destination Truth with somebody!" because my husband hates watching anything about the paranormal. That is, unless it's a really bad zombie movie. Then he's totally in!

My daughter's fascination with the topic has me wondering about the role of genetics concerning what we find interesting and what we don't find interesting, in addition to other areas of taste! It appears that my love of all things paranormal may be stronger genetically than my husband's distaste for it. However, my daughter seems to share most of her food preferences with my husband!

Go figure!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Why Do Men Have Nipples?

During my daughter's bath the other night, we started talking about private spots. She asked if women have more private spots than men do. I answered yes, we do. Our bathing suits cover two areas, men's bathing suits cover only one area.

My daughter gave this some thought, then asked, "Why do men have nipples? They don't use them, do they?" I answered that men don't use their nipples and that I don't know why they have them. I quickly added that she should ask her dad that question. She agreed thinking that he would surely know the answer.

Unfortunately, my daughter never did ask him. I think she forgot. Sigh.

That would have been friggin' hilarious!