Dude, Where’s My Blog?

Wow, it’s been more than 2 months since I’ve posted on this thing!!! The only comments I get now are spam (though it’s really insightful spam comments, which I appreciate, rather than your average p0rrn spam comments). Life has been TOTALLY hectic and I’ve seriously been unmotivated to do anything outside of working, chasing around Ben, eating and sleeping.

But I want to change! Llet’s get this baby up and running again!

There’s a lot of things going on, first and foremost - the Olympics! As well as moving to a new place, which is even further from the city - seriously, they have cows here. Also, Ben is in school, and liking it. Aaaaand other fun surprises…

We’ll see what happens…I’ll start by liveblogging the Opening Ceremonies tonight, and posting up the pictures that I’ve taken in the last few months of my blog-exile. And of course, you can always see what I’m currently up to with my twitter feed above.

See you soon!

Settling In, Going on With Life

So it’s been about two or three weeks since we made the not-so-big move. We’re mostly unpacked, though my office is still in shambles because that’s the room with the most ’stuff’. Our place is pretty nice, though there’s a LOT of stairs. I’ve finally gotten that exercise that I’ve been putting off for the last 5 years. Hopefully I can get some pictures up soon, there’s a great view from our balcony window, maybe if there’s fresh snow tomorrow morning I’ll take a pic. Or maybe during sunrise, which is really pretty through the trees.

Initially when I started this blog I wanted to keep track of what was going on in my life, and lately I’ve only been putting in the major things, so I just want to list a couple of the little things, especially having to do with Ben since the guy is growing up way too fast!

  • I still have a job, and I am thankful for that. There’s been a lot of reorganization at X-Inc, and there were some tough decisions made. I’m glad I made the cut (or stayed under the radar) but I will honestly miss those that didn’t.
  • I love twitter. I’m the person who finds it interesting when other people post the most inane details about their lives. And although I might not tweet about every time I’m going to the bathroom, I will tell you when I’m having a delicious cup of pumpkin spice soy milk. Because I know you care.
  • Ben lives on a diet of Papa John’s cheese pizza, White Castle chicken rings, Edy’s chocolate ice cream and bacon. Once in a while we get some apples or a banana in there. Hey, just as long as he eats, I’m happy.
  • Ben is still not a fan of school. When I drop him off it’s like a man walking off to his execution. He’s walking, but he’s definitely in no hurry to get there.
  • Once I get this place unpacked, I swear I’m going to do some crafts. Seriously. My crafty finger has been itching for a while.
  • For a while there, Ben had a 180 average at Wii bowling. My dad had given him some coaching and the kid was awesome. But then my dad went to California for a month and the kid forgot everything. He’s really becoming a Wii addict. Currently he’s really into MarioKart, except for the courses in the castle because it’s scary.
  • Ben is starting to get really interested in reading. He can read simple words right now, but he’s still learning the rules. I don’t remember reading being so hard, but the English language is pretty tough. There’s so many exceptions! Like how the -gh in “light” is silent, but makes the i sound into the long i sound. Or the when you read the word “black” you don’t have to sound out the c AND the k.
  • I spend way too much time on Facebook playing games like farmville, cafe world and that zoo game.
  • “Glee” is awesome. Next year’s season seems so far away. At least “Lost” is coming back in January! Crossing my fingers that I’ll get Season 5 for xmas so I can have a marathon before the start of next season.

Hmm…I think that’s all for now. Hope you all have a good holiday, and I hope to post again before the end of the year!

The Big Move

This time I have an excuse for not posting as much - we’re moving!

Those of you who follow my tweets (which are at the top of the blog, depending on which skin you’re using) have probably figured it out already, but we’re moving to a place that’s closer to where Dave works. We’d put our house on the market last year right before the real estate meltdown, so it took us a while to sell our place. We were worried that it wouldn’t sell at all, but fortunately we were able to come to an agreement with a buyer in the last couple months.

In a way, it feels good to finally sell the house. It was pretty stressing to pack our stuff and whenever people were interested in viewing the house, having to stop everything to clean our place up and make it presentable. Sometimes I didn’t know where we had packed something, or I’d be digging through boxes to find something I didn’t think I needed. Now, we can buy a new home and not worry about selling our old one. It’s a big relief!

But another part of me is really going to miss this home. This is where Ben has spent the first several years of his life. It’s full of memories. This house has been good to us. I remember when we first moved in, how awesome it felt to wake up in the morning and walk around my own home.

So now, we’re still going to be in that in-between phase, renting while we are house hunting, waiting patiently until we find THE house, most likely the house that we’ll spend the rest of our lives in. I’ll still be digging through boxes when I realize that I’ve stored something that I needed, but at least I can breathe easy knowing that there isn’t anything holding us back when we actually do find the house of our dreams.

This whole experience has left me with a lot to talk about, so hopefully once our internet is hooked up on Tuesday (seriously, I don’t know if I’ll last that long without the internet!) I’ll have some good posts to write, like about my hoarding tendency or Ben’s take on this whole ‘moving’ thing.

Until then, let me leave you with this:


Seriously, I don’t think I’ve been this stressed since I was planning for my wedding! Maybe even more!

Take care, peeps.

Annual Pumpkin Carving

Changed out the layout in honor of my favorite holiday!

Last weekend we had our annual cousin pumpkin carving night. Every year more and more people come, which makes for a good time, even though we’re all fighting for table space to work on our creations.

This year was the first year that most of the kids could actually help out with the carving, and they were all pretty excited. We had a whole gang of people surrounding the table! Ben was pretty hyped since he’s seen so many jack-o-lanterns on TV lately. He was pretty picky with our design - he didn’t want it to be too scary, but not too boring. He settled for a mischievous little devil.

Because they’re lazy, they’re men (boys?) and they like to play with power tools, the guys used a power saw-thing to cut the tops off their pumpkins (I have a picture somewhere, but forgot to upload, maybe I’ll do it tomorrow). I prefer the old-fashioned way - using the dinky safety knives to start out my pumpkin. Ben was really interested in the process until I took off the top and he saw all the pumpkin innards and seeds. Too gross for mr. clean! I asked him if he wanted to help me clean out the inside of the pumpkin and he said No, then proceeded to hop off the chair and head towards the toys, telling me to call him when the pumpkin was done.

After a couple minutes, the rest of the kids were bored with the carving, so it was just adults after a while. Poor Maui is always left every year doing Jillian’s pumpkin, which means it would be something extremely girly -this year it was Princess Jasmine.

So below you’ll see our creations (click on the thumbs to see a bigger picture - hover over the left or right to get navigation arrows). As always, it was a great time - the food was AWESOME (nothing better than Brazilian chicken pot pie), I got to hang out with my cousins and we managed to get in a game of Apples to Apples, which Marilyn brought. I assume that she brought it because she’s played it before and thought she’d school us, but I had an early lead. We poked fun at Dave for not having any cards at all mid game, but he ended up kicking all our butts at the end!

Little Devil Tinkerbell Grim Reaper Spooky Face
Darth Vader Ghost Dragon  

Halloween costume pictures to come this weekend!

My Little Lion

Whenever we used to go to parties where there was a face painter, Ben was always reluctant to get his face painted, even though he was always fascinated with the faces of the other painted children. He just could never sit still to have anything done, and couldn’t stand having someone touch his face.

Last year, we had gone to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market when we were in town, and there was a woman who was painting faces. I persuaded Ben to try it, and that it would be quick and easy. She did a quick smiley face on his cheek, and he loved it.

So this year, I asked him if he wanted his face painted again at the market. He was totally excited and even stated that he wanted to become a lion. His heart sank when we got there and there was no face painter to be found. I tried to distract him with other things, but he never forgot to mention the face painter.

Later in the day, though, the face painter came, and Ben went right up to her and requested to be a lion. I was a little nervous that he wouldn’t sit still for such a detailed job, but he was a total trooper and sat still the whole time, patiently waiting for his transformation.

He was overjoyed with the results, so much that he kept it on the whole day, complete with a little roar for anyone who asked, and he didn’t want to wash it off that night.

Now, he wants his face painted all the time. I’ll probably buy a kit off the internets since the Halloween stuff that’s out there is a little scary because most of them aren’t supposed to be used for kids his age. I’ll definitely post up our creations…heck, maybe it might even turn into a side job if I end up being good at this kind of thing!

First Day of School

Outside of the Park District

Ben started school last week, and as much as we tried preparing him, by reading books, watching movies and talking about it, he still wasn’t enthusiastic. Dave would even play a little game, something along the lines of:

Dave: Who’s 3 years old?
Ben: Me!
Dave: Who loves Wipeout?
Ben: Me!
Dave: Who’s a big boy?
Ben: Me!
Dave: Who’s going to school?
Ben: You are!

Whenever I would mention school, he would always ask if I was coming with him and when I would tell him that I would just be dropping him off but that I would come back and pick him up. He wasn’t too happy about that.

We’d enrolled him in a 2 hour a day, 2 day a week preschool at the local park district, just to get him used to being around other kids and being away from home. Previously, Dave’s parents and my dad would switch off days during the week to take care of Ben, so he’s not around kids much. During the summer we got him into a t-ball league and a sports class, but I’ve come to realize that he’s just naturally shy around other kids. That, and his favorite hobby seems to be clinging to me.

I was dreading the first day of school, because he cries when I drop him off at his grandparents’. How would he act if I dropped him off in an unfamiliar place? We were on vacation on the days they had the open house for his class, where he would be able to see the classrooms and meet the teachers. So his first day of school would be trial by fire - I was NOT going to stay there and hold his hand throughout the day. He had to do it on his own.

So the first day of school came, and as I drove him there he mentioned in the car that he didn’t want to go. I ignored it and since I was so paranoid, we actually got there several minutes early. So Ben got to hang out outside the classroom and see the other kids, and hang up his backpack on the hook. Once the teacher opened up the room, I led Ben inside, readying myself for the leg hugging that was sure to come.

Lo and behold, Ben saw a toolbench in the corner and immediately left me to go and play with it. I was surprised, but happy. His teacher told him he had to go and wait in line to wash his hands before he played with the toys, and he stepped in line and waited his turn. I talked to the teacher for a second about some paperwork I had to fill out, and stood in a corner to work on it. I watched Ben go back to the workbench and work on a project. He then moved on to the play dough table.

I hovered a bit, and so did many other parents. I wasn’t the only one taking pictures and holding my breath, waiting for some sort of meltdown to happen. There were a couple kids who were already hanging on to their parents, bawling their eyes out. There was a signup sheet outside the classroom to bring in snacks, so I stood there, strategizing the best dates for me to bring in something tasty. Ben walked out of the classroom and pulled me back in, asking “Where are you going?” I was caught! I explained to him that I would looking at stuff out there. I hovered a bit more, this time with Ben checking on my whereabouts every now and then.

Finally, the teacher was calling for class to begin. I didn’t want to make a scene, but I did want to give my little boy a kiss goodbye. I knew it was risky, but I wasn’t going to just sneak out. So I bent down and asked him for a kiss goodbye, and he gave me a kiss and went back to his playing, but he didn’t seem too happy about it.

A couple hours later, I came back to pick him up. The teacher opened the door and told the kids to stay in their seats until their name was called. I saw Ben sitting quietly at a table, waiting. Some kids didn’t listen and ran out of the door as soon as they saw their parents (I wasn’t the only one craning my next to see inside the doorway). When Ben’s name was called, he walked out of the room and grabbed his backpack, and was looking for me in the crowd of expected parents. I did this idiotic wave to him, and he had a smile as he ran into my waiting arms.

I asked him what he did in class, and his answer was “I don’t know” and stuck to that answer for most of the day. Even now, after 3 classes, he still doesn’t talk about class much. I told him that were going back a couple days later, and he replied, “No, I don’t want to go. I already went.” He doesn’t cry when I drop him off, but it’s obvious he’s not feelin’ the school thing. He’s made some art and things, and seems pretty proud of the stuff that he’s done. I guess it’ll take a bit of time to adjust from being the center of attention to having to spend time with a classroom of other small people.

Well, at least he didn’t cry!

Fun Times in California So Far

Cutting the Cake, originally uploaded by Yano.

Just wanted to check in and let you know that we’re having an awesome time in California. Yesterday was Vinnie and Eileen’s wedding, which was in a great location and we had an AWESOME time.

Tomorrow we head out to San Diego to visit my dad, step mom and step brothers, one of which I’ll be meeting for the first time. Should be fun!

I’ve got a TON of pictures, but no time to really work on them, so hopefully I’ll have a chance to do it tomorrow night…

Skin Update

With my re-emergence into the blog-o-sphere, I thought it would be appropriate to change up my layout. I haven’t had time lately, so I thought I’d go back to an oldie but goodie, “Fishing” with a graphic from the awesome Marcos Chin.

The Convention Formerly Known as WWC

Supergirl and Supertoddler!

So a couple of weeks ago, it was the annual Wizard World Chicago comic book convention, or as it’s called now - Chicago Comic Con. Which I believe was an attempt to a) put it in the same stratosphere are the San Diego Comic Con and b) get the “Comic Con” name BEFORE their big competitor comes to town next year, another comic book convention actually held IN the city of Chicago rather than in than the suburb of Rosemont, where WWC happens. I think the change of name is silly, though it’s not like it happened before. No matter what the name of the convention was, I was going to go, just like I’ve been going for the last decade or so.

This year’s convention came up pretty quickly. I’ve been so busy with work that I didn’t realize that the convention was coming up. My sister Fatima wasn’t able to take vacation on Friday, so it was some alone time for me and Ben. I had heard rumors that there was another convention coming to town next year, but I didn’t care too much about that. But what did worry me was that the big publishers - Marvel and DC, weren’t coming to the convention. That’s like having a soda convention and not having Coca Cola and Pepsi not show up. It’s just not the same. Fortunately, Aspen comics was there, and it was great to see the same old faces and some new ones.

Not as Packed as it Used to Be!

There were a couple other things that showed the effects of the economy (or at least, that’s what I attribute it to). Since most of the big publishers weren’t there, a lot of the sellers who usually had stands in the back got stands in the front of the convention. There were a TON of Z list celebrities there, selling autographed pictures of themselves and photo ops. There were only half of the workshops and panels that they usually had. Last year, (or was it the year before?) there were so many artists in the artist’s alley that there were actually two alleys. This year, the back of the convention hall was barely filled.

The thing that gets me the most is in previous years, we got little name tags with holders to keep with us all weekend and we’d show them to security to let us in. This year, we got these cheap paper-ish wristbands that I’m assuming they expected us to wear ALL WEEKEND, which is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS! Seriously, Wizard, you couldn’t spend 30 cents of the already inflated entrance fee to get some name badge holders? Come on! There was no way that Ben was going to keep that wristband on him all weekend, so we cut them off at the end of the day and just taped them back on the day after. You can probably see people wearing those cheap pieces of crap in my pictures.

With that said, I sadly have to say that there’s been a major decline of quality for my favorite convention - I was really disappointed.

Adrianne Curry as Every Fanboy’s Dream

That doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a great time. As I said before, I got to see my favorite people at Aspen, as well as the other faces that I’ve come to see every year. Fatima and Melanie (and our teenage cousin and his friend, but they don’t really count and just thinking about it makes me want to keep Ben as a little boy forever) came on Sunday and it’s always fun when the girls are there. Also got to see Todd Bridges, Christopher Knight (Peter Brady) and his wife Adrianne Curry, Margot Kidder, Michelle Rodriguez (LOVE HER), Lou Ferrigno (the standard) and a bunch of other almost celebrities….and Taylor Dayne. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking - Why the hell is Taylor Dayne at a comic book convention? I have no idea. I didn’t go up to any of them, except for Leyla Milani from Deal or No Deal (for Dave) and Edward James Olmos, who Melanie is a fan of because of Battlestar Gallactica and me because of American Me. Let me tell ya, even though we didn’t buy the autograph from EJO (it was $40 or $50 or something like that), we decided to just go and say hi, and he was the nicest guy ever. It was like talking to a friendly old neighbor, he made all of us feel comfortable and like we were friends. I can’t say enough about how awesome he was!

I also got some great sketches, which I’ll post and write more about later, once I get them scanned.

All in all, the weekend was just “ok”. Because of my experience, I am definitely going to check out the competing convention next year, who I heard does a great job for New York’s annual convention. I’ll still probably go to WWC (which I will always call it) but I won’t be expecting much.

Here’s some pictures from the weekend (hover on the left or right for navigation arrows)…

Green Arrow Jack Sparrow A Free Ride on the P Train Knowing is Half the Battle
Lethal Leia Whatchu Talkin' 'bout, Willis?!? Taylor Dayne Um, Scary!
Cartman Elemental Spirits Adrianne Curry Gets in the Spirit Tiger Hat
Peter and His Girls With Micah Gunnell Fata Yeti Hat Me and Vince
Aspen Guys DC Heroes A Sad Scarab Something for Dave

Click here for my full flickr gallery…

Spooky Ben

Spooky Ben, originally uploaded by Yano.

We were at the Glendale Heights Summerfest waiting for fireworks to start. I brought a flashlight so Ben had something to play with. Taught him how to make spooky faces.