A blog is born.
Welcome to my musings on pop culture and parenting. I am the Pop Mama and this is a safe place to steal away from your screaming child and get your fix on what's up with Beyonce and great poop stain remover tips.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Arts Appreciation: My One Woman Show


One Woman Show– performed 2-3 times a week, around 12pm, seating limited.

I don’t advertise it, but I have a semi-successful yet currently un-reviewed one woman show.  So far the show has a small attendance – only two audience members, but that number could grow in the next few years.  The show is constantly evolving and incorporates audience participation, song, upper body dance movements, and character voices.  It can get pretty crazy. 

The performance is formally titled “I Will Do Everything In My Power to Keep My Children Awake Until We Get Home” with the subtitle of “If you fall asleep before your stated naptime, you inevitably won’t nap and Mommy will lose her Sh*t.”  The unusual set and stage orientation puts the audience members behind the performer, with the actress facing away from the audience, but looking at them obsessively in a mirror and constantly craning her neck to engage them in conversation or punctuate the ending of a joke or particularly loud power ballad (or nursery rhyme). 

The audience will be peppered with questions regarding their morning activities, the color of their hair and eyes, what sounds particular animals make and may also be engaged in a call and response activity (to be determined by the actress).  It should be noted that audience members may also be touched, tickled, and/or have soft items thrown at them if he or she is nodding off.  Songs will be sung and the actress will perform familiar characters (including, but not limited to: Elmo; Phineas; Mickey Mouse; Dora and Diego (in atrocious accents), and various other original characters (which are a real treat!).

While each performance is nuanced, layered and extremely entertaining (if I do say so myself), audience members have been known to nod off, cry, refuse to participate and protest the tickling (referring to lovingly and originally as "ordering a tickle taco").  Never to be deterred, the actress lives by the credo – The Show Must Go On!  She does not give up and even with only one audience member still semi-conscious will keep performing – fully abiding by the “third wall” (except for doling out tickle tacos).  Character is only broken when both audience members are asleep and the actress commences to weeping and resorts to turning the radio volume to the proverbial “11” and steps on the gas. 

Show is set to run for at least another couple of years -- final show TBD.

*Food and drink are allowed in the theatre, so long as the cups have spill-proof lids and the audience understands that if said cups or snacks roll under the actresses’ seat or fall between the seat and the door, they are out of luck.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Family Matters.

I am going to admit it.  I have fallen off of the pop culture wagon and very rarely melt my brain with reality television or entertainment fodder.  It may be because I am inundated with work and my two children WEAR ME OUT that I only have the capacity for a 1/2 TV show most nights, which means I have been keeping up with the old Thursday night line up of Parks & Recreation and  The Office, as well as Modern Family.  Also, it is spring/summer and most of my shows have ended for the season or forever (tear for 30 Rock).  But, even with my hiatus, I did watch the end of the RHOBH and have started in on this season of Real Housewives of Orange County.  I mainly watch while I am eating lunch or folding laundry.  I think the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was my favorite, although I tired of the "let's have a party and pick a fight" story line, but I just enjoy Lisa Vanderpump.  I have only watched the first two episodes of RHOC and am already wondering why I am wasting my time....there comes a point when you just start hating them (and I'm there with Tamra).

Anywho, in other news, I got a good dose of pop culture snarkiness when I went to see KATHY GRIFFIN! My hubs surprised me with tickets for Christmas and she finally came to our town just over a week ago.  She was awesome and I truly appreciated her going for almost 2 hours straight (no break!).  She definitely gave us our money's worth and she was hilarious.  I love her riffs on her Catholic upbringing in the burbs of Chicago and her impersonation of her 92 year old mother.  What can I say?  I'm a fan.

In other news, I went to a family wedding this past weekend in Denver and had a wonderful time.  First off, Denver -- cool place.  Second, it was amazing to visit with family.  I have a LARGE family and now that we are "grown-ups" and live all over the country,  I don't get to see many of my aunts, uncles or cousins very often.  Even with the time gaps and distance, I felt right at home with them throughout the weekend.  They say your cousins are your first friends, and I tend to agree with this.  I grew up with most of my cousins on my father's side and when I was small, we would go out to visit my mother's family on the east coast for weeks at a time, jumping around our relative's houses.  My memories of the summers of my childhood are engraved with trips to the lake, running around catching fireflies, eating ice cream and chaotic family parties where we just ran around into the night.  My family -- the entire clan, both sides -- is so special and this weekend as I was dancing to "We Are Family," I looked around at the faces of people who I don't see very often, but love just the same and felt completely at home.

My family has been through ups and downs the last few years (as most families go through) and at the wedding this weekend it felt like there was a bubble around us.  For at least 24 hours, we just enjoyed each other, visited, ate, drank and danced.  Any baggage was left at the door and cancer wasn't invited to attend.  We were there to laugh, love and celebrate one of our own as he started his journey in marriage.  I am holding on to that magic.

Friday, March 15, 2013

BusinesswoMom

In light of the big hubbub that surrounded Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer's decision to ban telecommuting at her company for the time being, I got to thinking about my own work and what it means to be a "businesswoman" today.  It is my opinion that Marissa Mayer and her decisions were unfairly scrutinized because she is a woman.  Would people be this huffy if someone like A.G. Lafley, former CEO of P&G had decided that P&G wasn't competing and he needed people to show up at the office in order to turn the place around?  Now, P&G isn't hurting like Yahoo!, but what if it was, would a male CEO be challenged like Ms. Mayer was?  I say, if this is what needs to be done temporarily to get back on track, people need to suck it up and realize that they are still getting a paycheck...they now just have to show up at the office like most of the rest of America.  Would Oprah be this scrutinized?  What about this decision and possibly Marissa Mayer is everyone so offended about?

I think about the Yahoo! stuff in conjunction with my past jobs and besides a day here and there, I was not permitted to work from home and I actually felt that in the positions I held, I needed to show up in order to contribute appropriately.  There is something to be said for face-time.

My own "businesswoman" transformation has been in progress since losing a job nine months ago.  Over this proverbial gestational timeline, I started my own businesses (3 to be exact) and well, it has been one hell of a ride.  But, you know what, even with the stress that comes from working for yourself and not having that guaranteed paycheck every two weeks, I TOTALLY LOVE IT.  First, I love my clients.  Second, I love the work.  Third, I love the freedom.  There is nothing like not having to anticipate a performance review (which you know is BS anyway, but you still have to go through the exercise) and working with good people, on your own schedule -- for me, it just clicks.  The wins are that much sweeter and conversely, the stress / losses that much more painful.

With all of the responsibility it brings and the fact that my schedule allows me to spend some days with the boys, I am not just a "Businesswoman," I am a "BusinesswoMom."  This was exemplified a week or so ago when I had the boys home and a work call came through.  I shouldn't have answered it, but I did and of course, chaos ensued.  I tried to disappear into the office, which is gated off, but Cameron figured out a way around the barrier and Henry followed.  Next thing I knew I had Cameron pushing all of the buttons on my printer and Henry was precariously trying to come down the stairs on his own...and the caller was rambling on.  I finally had to say, "excuse me, can you hold on?" and put him on mute, throw Henry in his crib and take Cameron up to his room for a few minutes so that I could hide in my bathroom and finish the call.  It was STRESSFUL and it was totally my fault -- I should have let it go to voicemail.

Anyway, nothing was lost, but it got me thinking.  Because mothering never ends and working for yourself is a constant cycle, I feel like I am teetering on a balance beam trying to do all of it well -- or well enough.  My business partner, who is also a mom, was talking to me about some work while driving to drop off her daughter's forgotten sports equipment at school.  As a mom and a business person, you just do what you have to do.  That being said, I love what I do and for me it works.  I have friends who work full-time and friends who stay at home with the wee ones -- and all of it is hard.  The key is just finding something that works for you and your family and then working really really hard to maintain it.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Well, that is that.

People never cease to surprise me, inspire me and well, to be honest, disappoint me.  I am not easily shocked and I tend to anticipate things pretty well, but sometimes my expectations in others clearly exceed their own capabilities.  I say all of this not because it is the same truth that seems to smack me in the face every now and then, but because there is a good side of it too.  The inspiration, the surprise, the awe of the human spirit.  When a disappointing thing happened in business this week, I had the normal rush of anxiety, but when I spoke to my loved ones and trusted friends, I was in awe of how they all saw the situation's silver lining and the positive of the temporary annoyance and pain.

When it comes to being me, I am trying to live with the encouragement that all I have to do is be better than I was yesterday.  I can do that.  I will not sink to the level of others.  I will not return evil with evil.  After all, a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor...oh, and as one of my role model's Tina Fey would say, "Know what? Bitches get things done."



Monday, February 11, 2013

Let's be honest, the Pinterest dollar store does not exist.

Last week I was having a moment and I wrote a blog post about how I was in no mood for Valentine's Day creative craftiness and was just over it.  I didn't post it b/c it was well, boring and kind of a downer.  The one thing I still want to say from my draft missive re: V-day is:

Where the eff is the dollar store that all of the people on Pinterest go to?

Really now, there must be some magical dollar store where one can pick up all of the items they need to elegantly furnish and decorate an entire studio apartment so that it looks like a page from Anthropology's catalog for ONLY $10 dollars and a glue gun.  WTF?  My dollar store has none of the crafty little, yet ordinary items that one would need to do the sophisticrafts on Pinterest, so I must be missing something...

Okay, so now that I have gotten that off my chest.  Happy Valentine's week.  I don't really know what to say about Valentine's Day since my husband and I inevitably let is pass uneventfully (save for a card and maybe a small gift) each year.  We don't typically go out to dinner because: 1) it is too crowded and overpriced; 2) we would need a babysitter; and 3) it is usually on a week night.  However, we do plan on celebrating in our own way and decided to go away the weekend following V-day because: 1) our children have been consistently getting up by 6am for months now and we are beat, and 2) my mother so graciously said she would babysit.  We need it and I plan on enjoying it.

One thing I am doing differently this year for the big day is sending Cam to daycare with a bag of Valentines for his classmates.  We worked on them this morning -- and by "we" I mean I assembled them and he ate a sucker.  I thought this would be a nice little activity to burn 20 minutes (1/2 hour if I was lucky) and I was finished in 7 minutes and he was jonesing for a second sucker (which he did not get).  Valentine's day is different in other ways this year too, such as I have watched the Valentine's day episodes of Handy Manny, Dora the Explorer, Max & Ruby and Doc McStuffins.  My favorite?  Doc McStuffins of course.  Got a love a strong, science minded girl character! 

Pop culture trivia -- do you know what actor does the voice of Handy Manny?  Fez.  (I just realized I don't know Fez's last name from That 70's Show -- does anyone?)  Yes, Wilmer Valderrama does the voice of Disney Jr.'s Handy Manny.  I kind of wish that it was Mario Lopez, then my life would have been full circle from watching Saved by the Bell on Saturday mornings growing up to watching Handy Manny on demand at 6:30am every morning.  Ahhh...

Happy Monday!


Friday, February 1, 2013

Well, hello there February!

It's the first of the month.  Okay, I couldn't resist writing that (as I sang the Bones Thugs in Harmony song out loud).  January brought the end to a few things that I love: 30 Rock for starters.  I watched the final episode last night and loved how they tied it all up.  Tina Fey = Hero.  Parenthood also wrapped their season -- with some very cheesy "we're all so happy" moments.

To recap, the Julia and Joel adoption saga came to a unrealistic end when they decided to go ahead and adopt Victor, who magically started accepting them all as his family and there was no more turmoil...he even called Julia "mom" at the adoption hearing.  Gag.  Also, Jasmine and Crosby are expecting and Christina is in remission.  Oh, and Amber got back together with the PTSD guy.  Drew got into Berkeley and Hank told Sarah he loved her -- but then he moved to Minnesota and asked Sarah to go with him...so they had to leave one loose end.  So, don't worry folks, all is good with the Bravermans in Berkeley, CA.  Too many totally awesome endings for you?  Well, let's see what they bring next season...

What else happened in January...Hmmm...oh, on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills someone had a dinner party and the ladies attacked each other and caused a ton of repeat drama.  And Kim is crazy.  Not drunk, just crazy.  I wonder how much she pays her life coach because that would be a sweet gig.  Oh, and Taylor is becoming a bit of a Kim from last season -- you know, a train wreck that drinks a lot and cries a lot.  It isn't as fun to watch though because as my husband pointed out, her lips are too scary.  Okay, enough cattiness for today -- let's move on to a few parenting things.

What my kids are doing these days to annoy me.  Don't get me wrong, I love love love these little monkey boys with all of my being and wouldn't trade a moment with them, but here are a few things that I am sure some other parents can relate to.

1.  Turning off and on the lights repeatedly.  Cam can finally reach the light switches.  Joy.

2.  Copious amounts of whining for "juicy" "milky" or "nacky" (aka snack) ALL.THE.TIME. no matter where we are, no matter if they just ate a full meal, no matter if they are in bed ready to go to sleep...

3.  Turning the television off and on repeatedly or pushing every single button available.  Henry can finally reach the television.  I hope that he is okay with not having one once this one breaks.  What am I saying, he won't care, but Cameron will when he can't demand Team Umizoomi at all hours of the day.

4.  Emptying out a drawer of clean clothes into the laundry hamper.  Mr. H. loves this game.

5.   Throwing down sippy cups after taking a drink.  I don't know why this one bothers me SOOO much, but seriously, Henry, put it down gently or at least upright.  You are killing me smalls.

Last weekend the Mr. and I curled up on the couch both nights and watched some Redbox rentals.  Gotta love Redbox and the coupon codes, right?  We got the Bourne Legacy and The Watch.  One serious and one funny.  I like the Bourne series and definitely thought the latest was worth a watch.  Jeremy Renner is not quite Matt Damon, but it was still a thrill.  As for The Watch, it was silly and made both my husband and I laugh...Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Ben Stiller are in it and although the premise is ridiculous, the execution of it was quite good.  Basically, Ben Still starts a neighborhood watch because of a local murder and then they discover (and I'm not blowing it at all) that there are aliens in their town.  There were some great lines in it and I love seeing a skinny Jonah Hill.  For a couple bucks these two rentals are good options.

Have a fabulous weekend!
 

Friday, January 11, 2013

5 Things for Friday

Happy Friday!  It has been a busy week here and I because I am having trouble organizing my thoughts into one blog post, I have some random Friday musings to share instead:

1.  On Wednesday night a special called Stars In Danger: The High Dive debuted on Fox.  First, there were no "stars" and "no danger."  The entire show's premise is that pseudo celebs or solid D-listers compete in a diving competition while being coached by Olympians.  Or at least I think that is what it is about.  I seriously couldn't watch it for more than 10 minutes before deciding that I was utterly confused by the whole mess and that I only recognized one person -- Bethany Hamilton -- the girl who got her arm bit off by a shark years ago.  If this is an on-going series or just a winter filler, it is NOT worth the time...

2.  Ahhh, Parenthood, you never cease to amuse me...  So, on this week's episode Max goes through puberty (the writing of which was hilarious), Drew gets Amy pregs and then she has what rhymes with schmasmortion, and Sarah finds herself wondering again about Mr. Cyr (aka Jason Ritter) -- oh, and Julia's adoption finally starts blowing up in her face.  For those of you haven't been watching, the show handles multiple hefty story lines with numerous characters and sometimes it is ridiculous and sometimes it is good.  What I want to talk about today is how Jason Ritter should send his agent, who is obviously the hardest working guy in Hollywood, some flowers.  I thought for sure that Jason was truly kicked off of another show, but NO, he reappeared this week and is teased to be around at least until the end of the season.  I like Jason Ritter, I just think he has bad luck and doesn't get a lasting character role very often.  When he showed back up on Tuesday's episode, I really expected Ray Romano to break character and say "hey, you're back, what are you, friends with the writers or something?"  Although I am happy for Jason Ritter's forthcoming paycheck, I am SICK of Sarah's wishy washy, "do I love this guy or this guy?" storyline.  Enough already!  Oh, and can Julia, Joel, Sydney and Victor PLEASE GO TO FAMILY COUNSELING?

3. Apps I am loving.  I never thought I would be that girl -- the one obsessed with her smartphone -- but I am.  I love love love my iphone and it makes my life so much easier.  I don't have a ton of apps, but there are three that I have been loving:  Allrecipes.com DinnerSpinner; Artkive and Robot Lab.

Allrecipes.com DinnerSpinner allows you to quickly find a recipe using an ingredient you have at home (like chicken), put in the type of dish you want to make and how long you want to spend making it.  I have come up with some awesome pork chop recipes this way...plus it is free.  I use it on days when I have no idea what to make and only a little time to decide.

Artkive is an app that allows you to catalog all of your children's artwork by taking photos and tagging them with the kid, date and notes/title on the art.  Then, when you have collected them for a grade or period of time, you can export the photos and make a photo book with it.  I hate hate hate having tons of drawings lying around (and really, at my kid's age most are just random lines on a paper) so this helped me recycle without the guilt.  Also free.

Robot Lab is an app by Toca Boca and basically allows your child (or you if you are so inclined) to build a robot and then fly it around.  This has kept Cameron busy while waiting in the doctor's office or driving in the car.  He loves it!  I don't know if this one cost or not b/c my husband downloaded it.

4.  On New Year's Day my husband and I went and saw This is 40.  We loved it.  We laughed, I cried and I highly recommend it -- especially for those of you with children.  There are so many relatable scenes that you will crack up.  I hope that I can look as good as Leslie Mann when I am 40...holy moly.  Plus, I just love Paul Rudd.  It made me miss living in LA...

5.  I watched the premiere of Vanderpump Rules and will not be returning for the second episode.  It is stupid and indulgent and I hate all of the women in it -- except Lisa Vanderpump.  You are all servers and/or bartenders at a restaurant for goodness sakes...even if it is a cool place, WHO CARES?  Not sure if this one will last, but I may be surprised.

That's it for now. Have an awesome weekend!




Thursday, January 3, 2013

Gross little boy or Normal?

Should I be worried that my eldest still seems to be in the oral fixation stage?  No, I don't breastfeed him and haven't since he was about 6 months old, but he does suck his thumb religiously and tastes / licks / eats just about everything he can try.  It is a little disconcerting because I read (on Wikipedia, so obviously reliable) that the oral stage really only spans till about 21 months, and he is well, over 2 1/2 years old.  He doesn't suck on everything, he just likes to have his fingers in his mouth and he likes to sample a wide range of environmental ingredients, like snow for instance (but what kid doesn't?).

This strange little habit of his only gets me when he is taste testing things that are downright dirty and disgusting, like the grit sticking to my car.  As I was putting Henry in his car seat yesterday and Cam was waiting patiently by the rear bumper (we were in our garage), I asked him what he was doing and he didn't answer.  Well, what he was doing was taking his pointer finger and dragging down the hatch back of our car, making a line and then sticking that same finger into his mouth. Repeat.  GAG!

I immediately had a talk with him about how dirty and gross this was and that the dirt on the car was yucky and would make him sick.  He insisted, "It NOT make me sick."  I continued on my lesson about how the dirt on the car was just like poop and he shouldn't touch it or eat it because it is very gross and bad for you.  Not that Cam has ever tried to eat poop...that I know of.  So, after wiping his hands with the antibacterial wipes I keep in the car for occasions like this (and for the time when he stuck his entire arm into the tailpipe of the car), he looks at me and says "We need to get the car washed Mom."

It was as if he was saying two things in that statement -- 1) if our car is so f-ing disgusting Mom, then why aren't we getting it cleaned? and 2) if you don't want me to eat it, take away the temptation.

So off to the car wash we went...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

And so it begins.

Happy New Year!  Happy 2013!  

I cannot believe how fast 2012 came and went.  A ton happened in this mama's life, some unexpected challenges and many welcomed blessings.  It was a good year and I gearing up for an even better 2013. 

Because I have been MIA for the late part of 2012, I resolve to be more present in 2013...as in present on my blog as well as in my mothering, wife-ing and business-ing (or as my husband insists, bidnessing).  I don't love resolutions because most of them are never kept, but I do declare that I would like to be healthier, more service-oriented and to always try to remember my new mantra of:            Live an extraordinary life!

We had a wonderful holidays here, albeit my children and I passed around one sickness after another for the past three weeks, but now that we are all seemingly on the mend, I am hoping (and praying) for a healthy start to the new year.  The kids were adorable at Christmas and had a blast with all of their new toys and all of the family gatherings that we attended.  Cam is at a pretty magical age and Henry seemed to get into the spirit too...he is quite a dancer.

Amidst all of the cheer, I was saddened to hear that Bethenny Frankel and Jason Hoppy are separating. I really am disappointed in them.  I feel like they let too many other outside things get into their marriage and I wish that they would work it out before divorcing.  A girl can dream.  It also annoys me when people say that they are "separating," because I feel like it leaves the door open for a reconciliation...yet most of them NEVER reconcile and divorce papers are filed soon after.  Just say you are getting divorced already so I don't naively hold out hope for you.  

So I rang in the New Year with thoughts of baby Kimye on my mind, who as one of my FB friends stated "will be the most spoiled little turd on the face of the planet."  I figured that if Kanye and Kim were serious enough NOT to have their own reality show chronicling their romance, that maybe, just maybe they were in it to win it... and now they have their own baby coming before he puts a ring on it. Didn't he listen to his good friend Beyonce?  Oh, right, her divorce isn't even final.  

Although I am being sarcastic, don't think for a minute that I will not follow her pregnancy until she pops out little ______________ (fill in blank with ridiculous 1/2 made up name).  So, congratulations to Kim!

Speaking of putting a ring on it, has anyone visited www.mysisterwifescloset.com -- home of the fledgling jewelry business of the Brown family?  I have.  See for yourself what kind of wares the Brown women are hocking and decide for yourself what you think.  It is not my taste personally, but most of the pieces are not too tacky.  I just watched the Season 3 finale of Sister Wives, even though while I was watching I was not aware that it was the finale, and am still wondering where the heck these people get their money from (besides from TLC)...how do they support all of those kids and are in the midst of building 4 mansions in the desert sun of Las Vegas???  What?  

Gotta run and watch the Sister Wives: Secrets Revealed special that aired on Sunday night before my kids wake up from nap...maybe my questions will be answered.

Later!  Have a great rest of the week.