Thursday, July 29, 2010

We Partied Like It Was 1990... Sans Hair

Dorky enough for ya? One of the BEST days of my life! FREEDOM!

Last weekend, I attended my 20th high school reunion in Excelsior, MN. I graduated from Minnetonka High School in 1990 and let's just get the unpleasantries out of the way right now. No, I did not enjoy my high school experience very much. In fact, I was dying to get out of this school and lived for my escape to college on the East coast.

This is not to say that I didn't have some wonderful friends - some of whom I'm still good friends with today - and even received a top notch education there. Academically, it was an excellent public school and even though I didn't crack a book or earn an A while I was there, I did actually learn something. For instance, see what a fabulous writer I am now? (Just don't ask me what X equals. I still don't know.)

Minnetonka was a "good" school because it was in an upper class suburb. What I have learned time and time again since then is that "good" schools are often full of "bad" kids. There was an amazing sense of entitlement amongst the kids at Minnetonka High School and I don't imagine it's too different today. The disparities between the categories of kids (jocks, nerds, cheerleaders, headbangers, geeks, etc) were abysmal. I know these "classes" of popularity exist at any school, but they were extra special lame as shit at my school. 

One very popular girl who sat right next to me in a class day after day, never once said a word to me until she saw me driving a red convertible home one afternoon. The next day, she said, "I saw you leaving the parking lot yesterday. You have a really nice car." I said, "Oh it's my mom's." She said, "Oh." And she never spoke to me again. We were sixteen. You see, if you didn't drive a car to school after you turned 16... LOSER. We had a two page, color spread in our senior yearbook dedicated to students' cars. No, really. It was a snotty school with its fair share of mean kids.

I was one of those mid-level floaters. I had friends all over the place - jocks, brains, music nerds, art geeks, cheerleaders - but my closest friends were the brains. The over achievers. Why? I still don't know to this day. The only thing I can come up with is that maybe I thought hanging around the kids who cared a lot about their grades would somehow make up for my lack of effort. I was that kid who never studied, never listened or took notes and then would get a decent enough grade on the tests to pass the class. I turned in about 3/4 of my assignments. I never did extra credit. I just. Didn't. Care.

I never went to a school dance. I didn't go on a date until college. I only did three extracurricular activities my entire four years there (Madrigals, women's quartet and cross country skiing. I was horrible at the latter but it was the genesis of a lifelong love/hate relationship with running as there was no snow the year I joined.)

I was one of a very small group of ethnic minorities in our school. There were some ESL students who weren't mainstreamed in our classes and there were a few other Asian kids, a few Jewish kids, there was one girl who was half black and... well that was it out of 450 in our class. I felt like an outsider and dreaded going there every day. I didn't have a super happy family life at the time and if it hadn't been for my closest friends, I don't think I would have made it through.
Some of my besties!

One would think that a student of this ilk would be somewhat bitter about their high school years but it's soooo far in the past now. Like, um, 20 years. WHAAA?!! Enough water has gone under the bridge and at our reunion, I was pleased to find that the people from Minnetonka's class of 1990 have grown up into lovely adults. At least the ones who came to the reunion. I'm guesstimating (don't you hate that word?) far less than half of our class showed.

I've known both of these people since elementary school!

The most interesting part of the reunion was hearing what people were doing with their lives. There were some surprises, but most were typical. And I mean that in a good way. I guess what I'm getting at is the people who you thought were so much prettier than you, smarter than you, more popular than you, or whatever - well, 20 years later they're mostly all collecting a paycheck, raising kids, putting on bigger clothes, combing fewer hairs on their heads - and in this case, seemed a little more down to earth than maybe they were as a teenager. I can only hope they are raising their kids to be a little kinder and gentler as well.

I'm glad I went. I can't say the prime rib buffet, cash bar and Target bakery cupcakes with blue frosting 'M's were worth the $50, but seeing some people from my past as actual people for the first time was. And I stole two dozen cupcakes on my way out the door. So it's all good.

The Sweet Taste of Reunion

Monday, July 19, 2010

Well Bloody Terrific Then

OK, if you have a weak stomach and can't deal with reality, I would suggest you go back to watching Dancing With the Stars or The Food Network or something, because I'm about to tell it like it is...

I will be turning 38 in less than two months. I gave birth to one child, just over three years ago, I've always had a fairly easy time being a woman in the reproductive organ department. Some women have a really hard time - horrible periods, migraines, constipation, IBS, hormonal fluctuations, yeast infections, infertility, fibroids... the list goes on and on. It ain't always easy owning a vagina and I, for one, have been very fortunate to have a fairly text book health record.

However, I was recently talking to a friend who is the same age as me, and we were commiserating about how weird our periods have been in our late 30s and she said, "We are so peri menopausal." WHAT?! Really? Is it that time already? As if the fact that my 20th high school reunion is this weekend wasn't bad enough. Now I have to think about being peri menopausal. Great.

At this point, I'd gladly give away my uterus. Too bad there's not a market for that organ, I'd have it on Amazon right now. I'm done using it and it's causing me nothing but pain and inconvenience for the first time since junior high. My cramps are the worst they've been in years, my period lasts for about a thousand days and I bleed like I've been stabbed in the vagina with a bowie knife. Multiple times. You know how off-putting it is to be in Wal Mart trying to find the BIGGEST tampons in the world? It's almost as equally as off-putting as having to pay for a warehouse flat of said gigantic tampons each month.

So I decided to Google "symptoms of peri menopause" and apparently, it's just the same damn symptoms I've been having since I first got my period a thousand years ago. Here are some of the old faves:

- Headaches
- Lumpy or tender breasts
- Water retention, bloating
- Mood swings
- Anger
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depression, irritability
- Stress and extreme fatigue

Really? Well if this is the case, I've been peri menopausal for quite some time I guess.

Women have always been treated like wilting hysterics and it's time, for me at least, to just embrace the face that moving towards the middle of life (ACK!) will bring some changes. I needn't be so shocked or bothered by it all. Let's just face it: Being emotional and somewhat off center - both physically and emotionally - at any given time, is just a NORMAL part of being female. And this is part of what makes life exciting. Period. Pun completely intended.

If this blog inspired you to share something about your Aunt Flo, please comment below and have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Who Wants FREE Menchies Fro-Yo?!

OK - This deal is for the Canyon Country location of Menchies ONLY, but there's still something in it for you if you read on...

Screamin Coupons offers deep discounts on entertainment, restaurants, health and fitness, amusement parks, spas/salons and MORE all over Southern California and Utah. It's free to register and if you use my exclusive link here, you will receive a $5 credit in your account.

The way it works is...
1) You register to receive the daily deal announcements.
2) Start receiving the deal announcements for your area only (you get to choose!), via email.
3) See an offer you can't live without.
4) Buy the "coupon" that day & you usually have 3-5 months to redeem the coupon. That's it!!

But wait, there's MORE! The thing I love most about Screamin Coupons is they give 5-10% of their profits BACK to local schools and non-profits and YOU get to choose which school/organization you want your sales to go to! Save money and give back to your community? It's a no-brainer. Also, they have a teriffic referral program which can earn you $10 in Screamin Coupons bucks! So what are you waiting for?

Remember, use this link to get a $5 credit:

AND here's a cool deal for lovers of frozen yogurt in Canyon Country/Santa Clarita Valley. Buy this $5 coupon and get $10 worth of Menchies Frozen Yogurt at the Canyon Country location only.

The coupon is good until October 14, but you have to buy it TODAY!!

AND if you use my registration link, you'll get a $5 credit in your account which equals... $10 worth of Menchies yogurt for FREE! Of course you can use the $5 credit for anything you want on Screamin Coupons, but this is a pretty killer deal for those of you in Canyon Country! I'm jealous as Menchies is one of my favorite places on earth!

So dig in and enjoy! Check back here for daily Screamin Coupon deals - I have a widget banner on the left to connect you directly to some of the best local SoCal deals so click away!

Happy summer and thanks for stopping by. ;)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pneumonia & Other Fun Stuff

A quick update from the land of the FunnyYellowMom...

My nanny is terrific, but last week around the 4th of July holiday, she started coming down with what seemed like a cold and then, woke up one morning with a high fever. She went to the doctor and it turns out she had pneumonia. She was instructed to quarantine herself, especially from children, and has been gone for 6 days now. Sniff sniff. Yes, I'm crying a little bit.

My only saving grace at this point is that Aubrey is in preschool three mornings a week so at least I get a little time to get some work done. Nanny may be back tomorrow afternoon but she texted me to let me know her fevers are gone as of this morning but she still has coughs and "green snot". Hmmmm... I don't know. So far no one else over here got sick and I'm sure my laundering everything and spraying every square inch of the house with Lysol had nothing to do with it. Yes, I'm totally OCD.

Other than that, things have been going pretty well over here in Amy and Aubrey land. Aubrey is really digging preschool and has amazing teachers. That is her in the photo above, prancing around in front of her classroom banner. Her room is "The Piranhas" and yes, someone spelled "piranha" wrong on their banner. Oh well. At least they can't read yet.

I am patiently awaiting my 20th high school reunion in Minnetonka, MN next weekend. Yes, that's right. I know it's hard to believe I graduated in 1990, but I am here to entertain and amaze you. Be amazed. I know I am.

In some ways, 1990 seems like, well, a couple decades ago. But I still feel like a kid. OK, not a kid. If I still felt the way I did in 1990, I would have jumped off a bridge by now, but I certainly don't feel like a grown up. Even after becoming a mom - I just can't get used to the idea of approaching the "middle-aged" bracket.

Here I am with three of my besties from childhood. We all graduated together and I think we look way too cute to be attending a 20th high school reunion. And we don't even look good in this picture. We were slaving away in the roasting sun...

My mom had four kids by the time she was my age, so I guess I should count my lucky stars that I have one, fairly easy kid and that people still guess my age 5-10 years younger than it is. I'm pretty sure that's the secret to youth: 0-1 children. I'm pretty sure that if I had had another kid, you'd be mistaking me for my mother by now. Well, if my mother were a little old Asian lady. But she's not.

Well, I had better get around to labeling more of Aubrey's clothes for school and checking my bank account obsessively to see if the last check I deposited cleared yet. Have a great day everyone!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Oh Boy, You're Having A Girl

Over the next several months, I will be posting some of the blogs entries I contributed to LAMomsBlog. Sadly, SVMomsBlog (the umbrella mama blog for the LAMomsBlog) has decided to hang up their blogger hat. While I'm not nearly as prolific a blogger as many of the women from SVMomsBlog, they introduced me to the world of blogging in a kind and gentle way and fostered a sense of community for a unique group of intelligent, savvy, talented women here in the Los Angeles metro area that I was honored to be a part of. The upside is that through our posts and gatherings, I have made friends with several of these women and my life is definitely better knowing them.

Blogging also has allowed me to record thoughts and memories that I may have lost in the fog of early motherhood. For this, I am eternally grateful.

So please, allow me to take you back to July 2008. My little Aubrey was only 13 months old and I was thinking about different things back then. In particular, what it meant to me to have a little GIRL...

I have a daughter. I am NUTS about this girl! She’s everything I aspire to be and more: happy, adventurous, intelligent, snuggly, funny, laughs easily, has an insatiable desire for learning, fearless, strong, loving, peaceful and beautiful. She is almost 14 months old and she’s my hero. I have told many people that all of my good karma must have accumulated and manifested in this kid because she’s a real gem and I don’t think I would have made it through my post partum depression with anything less than an “easy baby”.

When I found out I was having a girl, I admit I was disappointed for a split second because I had a gut feeling it was a boy for weeks. However, once that passed, I was excited at the thought of having a mini-me and was eager to share the news. Responses of, “Girls are so fun to shop for!” and “I hope you like pink,” were heard a million times. But amongst the cutesy, positive responses were a shocking number of anti-girl, Debbie-downers that really threw me for a loop. These continued even after I had my daughter, and still today at 14 months. AND people will sometimes say them right to my face while I'm holding my daughter! Things like:

“I’m so glad I had boys. Girls are so emotional.”
“Little girls get the ‘I Wants’. They learn it from their mommies.”
“Wait ‘til she hits puberty – they're terrible.”
“Enjoy her now while she’s still sweet.”
And the ever popular:
“Girls are easier in the beginning, but wait until she’s a teenager!”

Hearing these comments make my blood boil and the most amazing part of is that about 99% of the time, these comments are made by… women. I actually had a colleague tell me that her 5 year old daughter was, “a bitch”. WHAT?! I am a professional comedian, but she wasn’t joking. Being on the receiving end of these comments made me examine my own feelings about being female and my feelings towards my own mother.

I was well aware of my mother’s own lack of self-respect from day one. She has had a weight problem since childhood and spent years living vicariously through me as a somewhat overbearing stage mother. I really cried and begged her to not make me wear a muumuu and sing songs from South Pacific in front of all of my friends in the school talent show. And I begged her to not make me sing in church or play the piano for relatives. And when I was in 4th grade and asked her why women couldn’t be pastors in our church, her response was, “I wouldn’t want to listen to a woman’s sermon anyway. Their voices are so shrill.” When I told her I got my period, she said, “Well, now you’ve got THAT to deal with for the next 40 years.” Instead of buying me a training bra, one day she told me how embarrassing it was that she could see my nipples through my shirt. I could fill a novel with examples of how my mother taught me to hate being a girl.

Why is it that we, as women, are so quick to project our own self-loathing on to our girls and that all to often, women are their own worst enemy? I’ve been told that many women are afraid of dealing with daughters because they remember how terrible they were as girls. This may be true, but I’d be willing to wager that a mother or some female role model laid the same blanket of self-hatred and less-than onto them. It’s a vicious cycle and I’m determined to break it with my own little emotional, bitchy, selfish, promiscuous, difficult, defiant, fat, ugly, catty, gossipy, bad at math and science, bimbo, air-headed girl.

And just for the record, I really love my mother dearly and I know the only reason she did it was because her mother did it to her. There are far worse things she could have done to me and I give her all the credit in the world for raising four bratty kids without any help. I file it all away under the “Live and Learn” tab and I’ve learned to let it go by joking about it on national tv with a microphone in my hand. And I still get a little surly whenever I put on a muumuu.

Oh, and one more thing. Writing this post made me think of a plaque that hung in our dining room my entire childhood. When I was first learning to read bigger sentences, I used to practice reading it over and over. The words from Children Learn What They Live by Dorothy Law Nolte stick with me still, today.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Scary Story 3... I Mean Toy Story 3

It's movie review time! Here we go...

I took my three year old daughter to see Toy Story 3 this morning. $6 matinee! WOOHOO! I never saw Toy Story 2 and Aubrey, my daughter, has only seen Shrek Forever After and Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel - poor kid. But I loved the first one and Aubrey already has a Woody, Jessie and Bullseye toy package so we were excited to check it out.

Aubrey just started going to movies in the theater as she is finally old enough to sit through a rated G film and enjoy herself without annoying everyone else in the theater. Especially me. While she still likes to yell a little something out every now and then, like, "Hey, let's dance!" or "Why are you crying mommy?!" attending weekday morning matinee is pretty much a guaranteed crowd of other parents/care takers and young kids who are also talking a bit. Overall, she's a pretty good three year old in a movie theater. I'm no fool though. I will not be taking her to see Inception later this month. Not quite yet.

Let's just start with the Pixar animation - AMAZING! As always, it blew me away and the short before the feature, Night & Day, was really wonderful. As a matter of fact, I think Aubrey and I both liked it better than Toy Story 3. (foreshadowing... and watch out, mild spoilers)

The movie started off nicely and while the exposition maybe took a little too long, it was delightful to watch. However, after the main plot point is laid out and the toys then end up in in the Sunny Side Daycare, things get a little hairy. Or actually boring, then scary!

I don't want to give away too much but there are some absolutely creepy characters in the daycare scenes, including a giant baby doll with one broken eye and this screaming asshole:

Yeah, remember him from the horror movie, Monkey Shines? Enough said.

After that there's a very lengthy, dark, intense string of scenes in which the Toys are almost chopped to bits in the blades of a loud trash shredder and then burned to death in a blazing incinerator that looked something like the seventh ring of Dante's, Inferno.

Of course, we have a nice happy ending as all Disney movies do and Aubrey stopped huddling in my lap with her eyes squeezed shut and enjoyed the last fifteen minutes or so.

Then we walked down the theater stairs and Aubrey proceeded to have a "dance party" down by the movie screen during the ending credits music. No permanent damage done, but she wasn't asking to see it again.

This movie is rated G, which stands for General Audiences, but I would warn against taking little ones under the age of 5, maybe even add a few years if you know your child is scared easily by intense, sinister images supported by booming Dolby Surround Sound. I've heard from several parents now that this movie scared their child and they were disappointed.

One other parental note: This is a LONG movie for a "kid's" movie. I've seen the run time listed anywhere from 1 hr 42 minutes to 1 hr 49 minutes. I suppose it depends if you count the Night & Day short at the beginning. But add in all of the previews and commercials at the beginning and it's a long show for little ones to sit through. A couple with a little boy in our row ended up leaving early.

As a general adult moviegoer, I can't say this one was as terrific as the first, but when are they ever? It was entertaining but I'm glad I only paid $6 for it. If you're into animation, any Pixar film is a must-see and if you have older kids, even tweens, it will probably be a lot of fun for you!

Hope this review helps some of you out there and happy viewing! What have you seen so far this summer?! Let's hear your opinions!