Monday, April 25, 2011

My Big Birthday/Earth Day/Easter Weekend in Review

This looks more sinister than it is.

Birthdays aren't really that much fun after about age 21 because frankly nobody wants to be reminded of the fact that they are headed towards the sweet oblivion that is death.  However, since the alternative to celebrating a birthday is death I decided to embrace this birthday wholeheartedly...and it didn't hurt to have the support of childhood friends to ease me through the day.

So how exactly does one ring in their late twenties?  Well in my case I did it by first designing an Earth Day campaign with my friend Laura for her salon.  My friend Laura owns Estilo Divino Salon & Spa in Downey, California and she carries an organic product line there called Onesta.  Onesta held a contest this year to see who could design the best in-store advertising campaign/display for Earth Day and we were inspired.

I took a bunch of the Onesta products up to the Bed & Breakfast and photographed them at the Diana Pools and then created graphics of the products and Laura created the store display and here are the results:

Doesn't that just make you want to wash your hair?

And who doesn't like to condition?

I actually have washed my hair in this water...

Since my birthday coincides with Earth Day I spent pretty much every birthday of my youth picking up trash in the school parking lot or at a local green-themed in-store advertising for certified organic products was...oh, just...way better!  I hope people like the results.

After the store display was squared away it was time to celebrate the anniversary of my birth with my best friends and how better to do that than to go to Porto's Cuban Bakery for some sandwiches and cake...and here was the best part...there was no line!  Who has ever heard of a visit to Porto's with no line?  Amazing!  Truly the Gods on Olympus were smiling upon me this day.

Here's Chas, the BFF with the Goddaughter Savannah Banana

And here is a close up on Savannah Banana who is clearly
 channeling her  inner Pebbles Flintstones with that hairdo.

This is Camille and this is me and we are both really excited about visiting
Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada later this year...what is there?  We don't know
but we are going to find out.  I sure hope they have mango smoothies there.

While eating lunch at Porto's we discussed the benefits of extreme couponing, how old we all are, Camille's upcoming citizenship test and our big plans to explore Canada as soon as she gets her passport.  And finally, we discussed the fact that Camille had never dyed Easter eggs before.  Well, Chas and I decided that you just can't call yourself an American and have never dyed an Easter Egg.  Clearly this situation needed to be remedied...pronto! 

Here is Camille with her first eggs adn PAAS dye kit...God bless America.

We went for extra vibrancy in the color by using pure vinegar.
The fumes are clearly getting to me.

The fruits of our labors...

Oh yes, let us not forget it was Savannah Banana's
first time dying Easter eggs too!

Savannah is apparently thoroughly bored with me...

Pretty much the cutest little mommy and baby in the world!

Savannah once again has no use for me and is mesmerized
by the cake
Here is the Porto's Parisian Chocolate cake complete with spun
sugar bird's nest, chocolate egg and chocolate bird dropping
in the bottom of the nest.

I tried to limit the amount of saliva deposited on the cake

I don't know why I look sad...because what could
 make me happier than a Target gift card and nail
Now after the egg dying and cake cutting it was time to get down to business...Super Scrabble!  Holy hell...I am getting old.  I listen to NPR in my car these days, I complain about the price of stamps and milk and then to add insult to injury I choose to play not just Scrabble, but Super Scrabble, on my birthday.  And what is Super Scrabble?  Its like traditional Scrabble but with twice the playing space and with QUADRUPLE WORD SCORES!  Can you spell fun?  *Disclaimer* My dweebiness is not lost on me...

Here we see Wendy and Camille in focus mode, concentrating on creating just that perfect word to bring me down.  Wendy pulled "POTATO" out of her hat and got it on a double word score and then Camille came out of nowhere with "QAT"...which apparently is actually a word.  Who knew?

When all was said and done Camille kicked the snot out of the rest of us....

The next day I joined my dear friends in Laguna Beach for more birthday/Easter festivities...and frankly...I want to move to Laguna Beach now.  Anyone interested in buying one of my eggs or kidneys so I can make a down payment on a house?

The view from Kat & Nate's place...I think it's worth a kidney.

Kat, Kate & Ani with little Harper
Why can I never not look like a vampire?

Little Roo

So we ended up spending the evening watching "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" and my take away message from the six hour mini series was that I need to go to the gym more and I definitely need to give up carbs.  Oh and I definitely need a tan.  

The next day was Easter and I woke up with a sore throat and an overall feeling of malaise.  I got up and shuffled around the house in my slippers and made some tea and went back to bed (further proof I am getting old).  When I woke up for the second time I was determined to make myself some creamed eggs on toast...because it's just not Easter unless you have creamed eggs on toast.  Sadly, there was no one to make creamed eggs for me, and I felt too horrible to go to the I had to improvise...

Enter the hot dog bun...

I found this one sad hot dog bun in the pantry and decided I just had to make it work.  So I boiled the few remaining eggs I had left, got my mom to tell me how to make creamed eggs on toast, and then toasted the sad little hot dog bun.  But it still just felt sad and pathetic and not Easter-like at all.  I had to class it up...

Enter the Wedgewood china, floral arrangement for my birthday courtesy of my Aunti Lori, leftover flat Martinelli's apple grape cider, and the heirloom silverware....

Now that's what I call a classy Easter...
And last but not least, after a jam packed weekend I decided to fool around with the Photo Booth program on my Mac and managed to turn myself into America's favorite middle aged woman office worker comic strip character Cathy!

Clearly I need to sleep...  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mitt & B'dah at the Diana Pools

This weekend my awesome and lovely sister-in-law and two nieces came up to the family homestead and we took a walk on the property down to the Diana Pools for a little oneness with nature in the form of skipping stones across the surface of the water and picking wild flowers.

Here are the pools...where I go to clear my head...

Here's Kirsten...and poor sick B'dah

Here are Kir, B'dah and my favorite tree...

I don't know why this is giving me "Last of the Mohicans"
flashbacks...sadly no super handsome Native Americans
were anywhere to be seen...

Kir and Mitt skipping stones.

Whit & Mitt...Mitt is teaching me
her technique for skipping stones...

The day's end at the pools...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

21st Century Circus Freak

Today as I was drinking my morning coffee (for the recipe please click on the link to the left...and you're welcome :-)  and reading the Sunday paper (on-line) I came across the story of Charlie Sheen's disastrous debut at the Fox Theater in Detroit last night.  For those who are not familiar, actor and prolific domestic disaster Charlie Sheen has launched a national tour of his one-man live stage show called "My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not an Option".  Apparently this live All Things Charlie Sheen extravaganza kicked off with an audience of roughly 4,500 people booing the warm-up comedian, then intermittently booing Sheen and then booing some sort of short film directed by Charlie Sheen staring Johnny Depp.  And when it was all over Sheen heckled the audience back, taunting that he already had their money so they could go and "suck it".

So here's my problem with this whole Charlie Sheen Torpedo of Truth I the only ones that sees the parallels between this traveling circus Sheen has mounted and the traveling freak shows of the late 19th and early 20th century?  I feel like Sheen and/or his handlers have basically turned him into the Elephant Man, a modern-day traveling circus freak.

Okay, you may be asking, how does a man with tiger blood and Adonis DNA parallel a man with neurofibromatosis type I and Proteus Syndrome who lived over a century apart?  Well because in the end they both are individuals who have serious illnesses that somehow the public thought it was fun to laugh and gawk at.

We teach our children not to laugh or point or stare or in any other way be insensitive to those who we recognize as having "disabilities".  I use the word "disability" in quotations because there are obviously varying theories as to what truly constitutes a "disability" versus a "different ability", but the bottom line is that while we as a society arguably seem to agree that is it wrong to get a laugh at the expense of a person who has a quality that is outside of their control, such as someone with mental retardation or a missing limb or a facially deformity, we don't seem to think that it is taboo to find our entertainment by pointing and laughing at those suffering from mental illness.

As a society we seem to do fairly well at not poking fun at other people's misfortunes, so given that fact I find it really baffling that we seem to think its okay to poke fun at someone who is obviously suffering with some sort of psychosis.  And why are we okay with it...because he has money and is good looking? 

I promise I am not trying to get up on a soap box here...I have no moral authority over anyone else.  I just can't help but feel as though our love of Charlie Sheen and his full speed ahead train wreck is showing our society to be no better than the society of a century ago.  If we are going to agree to not get a cheap laugh at the expense of another person's misfortune, let's at least try to be consistent about it.