Archive for February, 2013

UPDATED! Escape From Planet Earth Giveaway: Or, Please Enjoy This $25 Movie Gift Card

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013


Laurie Ann won!



Look for your email Laurie!



I so clearly remember the first movie I ever saw: It was “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” and Queen of the Rosary School administrators showed it to all first graders in the white-and-red-speckle-floored gymnasium during snow day (there were a lot of those in Elk Grove, Ill.). I sat in the middle of rows and rows of chairs and willed everyone in the entire room to shush so I could remain enthralled by the flying brass bed and magic books and British streets.


After that, I was hooked on witches and spell casting and most of all, movies. I’m in my 40s now and I can still bring that sense of wonder and “anything can happen” to my soul by remembering that gym and its giant screen.



I impatiently waited for other movies to be shown, and thrilled to “Babes in Toyland” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” And don’t even get me started on “The Rescuers” or “Escape From Witch Mountain,” which came later after my kid movie addiction was once and truly cemented in every body fiber.


In those days, you saw movies in the theater or waited for them to be rerun on channels 2-13 years after their release. Now of course, movies are DVD’d and Blu-Ray’d after several months, but that amazing big screen experience can never be outdone.


I don’t take my kids to the movies much because it’s hard to stomach the enormous price tag, especially with the recent “3D” add-on, but when I do, I love watching their faces out of the corner of my eye. Did they laugh at that too? Did they gasp with wonder? Are they rapt like I was?


Those moments are few and far between, you know, if I want to remain financially solvent, but a few weeks ago we were all treated to a showing of “Escape From Planet Earth,” 3D-style (the coolest mom award came and went in a two-hour time period), and I looked out of the corner of my eye, and saw the raptness.


I have to admit, I had my reservations once the movie began. I thought some of the jokes tried too hard and were forced, but then again, I AM 44. Either way, about 15 minutes in, I relaxed into the story and couldn’t help but 100% dig the on-again, off-again sibling bond between two brother aliens, one an intergalatic action star (Scorch SuperNova) and the other, a mission control computer nerd (Gary) (of course he is) from planet Baab. In the movie, the tough guy is sent to the “dark planet” (Earth) to investigate; a hard gig because all aliens who’ve ever visited Earth have not come back.


And true to Baab legend, Scorch is kidnapped by humans and Gary comes to rescue him. Once he does, however, he’s confronted by Area 51 baddies and a motley crew of other aliens who’ve spent years in captivity.



I liked it.


Of course I did. I’m enthralled by flying brass beds.


But really, it’s a charming movie and I really, really hoped my two girls would take the sibling bonding to heart, which they did after pouring popcorn down each other’s jumpers.


If you’ve got kids who need a lesson in sibling rivalry turned good, take them to “Escape From Planet Earth.” Here’s how: win my giveaway for a goodie bag that includes popcorn, candy and all movie-watching snacks, plus a $25 gift card towards a movie night to see the movie. Considering I spent $652 dollars on movie-watching snacks for this movie, this is a good deal.


Enter by telling me the first movie you remember seeing as a kid. I’ll pick the winner on Monday, March 4 (MARCH 4? When did THAT happen)?


Good luck!


This post obviously sponsored by the Weinstein Co. who sent me four passes to see the movie.


PROMPTuesday #214: Happy Trails

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

This is a repeat prompt that I’m posting again because we just returned from a vacation to Southern Utah and I’m quite certain it’ll be one of those trips my kids remember forever, probably because we stopped in VEGAS! first and once we arrived in the mountains, it was the coldest my San Diego kids have been in their entire WHAT’S WINTER? lives.


What’s your favorite family travel memory?




I learned to drive in this gem.

But my ride was maroon and with more imaginary glitter.


We didn’t travel far when I was a kid. I grew up mainly in the Midwest, so most of our trips were via our wood-sided Estate station wagon to exotic locales like Minneapolis and Janesville, Wisc. But the one trip I loved, the one we took several years in a row, was to the Wisconsin Dells, a mecca of cheesy tourist attractions like Tommy Bartlett’s Water Show and the Xanadu House. Each Spring, our family of six would check into the Shamrock Hotel and I’d neurotically peruse the hotel brochures soon after, peppering my parents with: “Dad! Can we go to the haunted house? Mom? To the water park? To the Baraboo Circus? To the duck boats? To the maze of mirrors?”




Damn, I loved the Dells.


My fondest memory of the place isn’t so much the attractions, although they were profuse and legend, but more the way my parents relaxed while we were there. I know I’d go mental patient if I took four kids under the age of 10 on vacation, but somehow, it brought the best out of my parents. Softened them even. I mean, my dad’s irritable and irascible nature were easily provoked, but inexplicably, he mellowed on these trips. I remember one year asking him again and again one year to go to a water park with me — just him and me — because I wanted some Dad-Deb time, and after much guffawing and foot-dragging, he agreed. I was the oldest and had been feeling a little angsty and out of place among the younger kids and needed the unwavering but loud presence of my dad for some grounding — the unspoken agenda — but also I really freaking loved the water parks.


After some needling he agreed, and I still see him riding the blue plastic mat thing they gave you, joining me on each and every slide — even the killer corkscrew one. I swear, I hold his wide-open laugh from that trip in my head to this very day, and how we re-joined the family some hours later as he fully recounted our adventure to the rapt baby faces of my siblings and to the bemusement of my mom.


I had my dad totally and completely, and honestly? That was hard to come by as busy as he was between work and travel and irascibility.


I sigh deeply just thinking about it. Even now.




Ten years from then, we were going to embark on a watery adventure of epic proportions!


As for you, what is your fondest childhood travel memory?


Please post your response in the comments and write about it on your blog and leave me the link.


First time to PROMPTuesday? Read a bit about it here. Want to see what’s been written in the past? Catch up on the PROMPTuesdays archive here.


The BlogTHAT Scene

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

OK, here it is: a scene from the comedy web series I’ve been writing for…a year? ever? SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME YOU LIKE IT! I know that last part wasn’t a time reference.


The thing about being creative is that eventually you have to “ship” your work and the putting it out there is unbearably terrifying and sublime.


What I’ve posted here is a simply a scene from inside the 13-minute BlogTHAT pilot, but I hope it gives you an idea of the vibe and zowiness, the latter of which I have no idea of etymology.


Let me know what you think? Make it zowy?



PROMPTuesday #213: Kodachrome

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

I wrote the below a year or so ago and it often makes me think of indelible moments – those mass of seconds you remember forever, down to the vinegary smell of just cleaned counters and the temperature of the hot chocolate your mom pressed into your little hands as you watched the Banana Splits from the threshold of the red brick fireplace.


What moment do you recall so clearly it makes you laugh, brings tears to your eyes, or slips you into mind reverie? Explain every detail – the smells, sounds, and sights.



He told me to take a picture with my eyes. Look at the building of stones in front of us, awash in white twinkle upon French onyx sky and let the sight sink in. Absorb it, he said. Don’t look away like most people do, just allow the lines and the edges and the brick and the light to etch itself into your brain. Then close your eyes like a camera’s shutter, and you’d be surprised how clearly you remember that image forever.


He was right of course. I recall the endless steps leading to the intricate wooden doors, the iron handles, the dark windows, the glow of a million tiny lights casting stained glass shadows. I follow the vision outward; walk the narrow cobbled street, pass the glass apartment buildings so silly against the more sturdy history all around us, and hop the curb to where we sat, drunk and breathless. Not daring to touch hands we purposely kept too close.


We were in Toulouse and he was not mine. We both had others, but I was on hiatus, cheated on and scabby; and he was in the middle of a years-long relationship with someone he’d known as a boy. We’d come to France with two other friends, and he wasn’t for me. His sleeping bag was too neatly folded, his mind too softened by pot, his mouth too sarcastic and sharp. So we came to it slowly somewhere in Paris, not resisting the kindred as it grew unnoticed, seeking each other in crowded dirty bars, across the street from Notre Dame, behind the Sacré Cœur. I’m not given to think that on Fullerton streets we’d feel the same quickening and solace in each other, but the enchanted light of France bewitched us into thinking we were far away from everything sensible.


And so we were. It took some time before we kissed. A week and some days; it was the night of the picture I snapped with my eyes. I still wonder if he did it on purpose. Made me forever remember a night so seemingly inconsequential now that I’m 42, married, and mothering. The truth is it was nothing. A brief kiss he abandoned soap-opera-style midway through because he was betrothed. So old-fashioned: betrothed. But he was, really and truly, and the course was set; I know now that he followed it.


I don’t need to tell you there were more moments, plucked from late nights and chance meetings. New Year’s Eve in a country cottage beset with toile and crepes, stairwells behind thin walls, smoky tables set with wine spills and crumbs. Mornings after, in a rental car full of Peter Gabriel and backpacks, we’d sit as if our hands hadn’t touched just hours before. Try denying secret romance amidst the twisting rocks of the Pyrenees and the crumbling ruins dotting Bordeaux’s Valley. Magic vapor enveloped us at every turn, especially when we crossed into Costa Brava’s blue expanse.



The four of us made spaghetti that night in our rented white-washed apartment. A meal so decidedly unexotic, we made up for it by traipsing through Catalonian streets courting adventure. He stayed behind seeped in guilt. We’d be going home soon and the magic would lift to expose what we’d really done. It wasn’t twinkling lights and the Mediterranean, it was cheating pure and simple. So I came back early that night. There were only days left.


Days, months, years, entire lives.


We returned to Los Angeles holding hands.


My philandering sometimes boyfriend found pictures I couldn’t deny, and didn’t. His now-wife never found out.


I promise I don’t look back, or yearn, or wish differently. I’m only glad he taught me how to take pictures with my eyes.


Add your post/comment/prompt answer below in the comments or write a post of your own and include the link for us to read!


Meanwhile…to bone up on PROMPTuesdays, read a bit about it here.


Or, catch up on the PROMPTuesdays archive here.


Workout “Gear”

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Although my foray into losing pounds hath forsaken me, I thought I’d at least share some helpful things I discovered while on my pointless diet-and-exercise journey to nowhere.


Maybe they’ll work for some of you.


I’ll just sit here and expand further into butt oblivion while you read.


Nuun U Natural Hydration

I have a real hard time drinking water. I’m a one-or-two sip gal because water is just so…wet and tasteless. I’d heard about Mio’s water enhancer at the gym and tried a bit to flavor my wet water, but it had so many artificial ingredients I never felt comfortable drinking it.


So I began to add Nuun’s U Natural tablets to my water bottle. It’s no-carb, all natural, and effervescent (like me!). (Sidebar: I used to drink Alka-Seltzer for fun.) To boot, I actually finished my entire daily water intake when I Nuun’ed the water. It has a light, fizzy flavor I dig, and doesn’t taste all aspartamed-up. Nuun also has a line of tablets with electrolytes for active exercisers, which helped me recover when I lifted too much weight for my skeletal frame and crumpled like a dippy accordion.


My Playlist

I beg you to read this next part with a grain of non-judgment and healthy acceptance. It’s hard to find peppy workout music, you know? Sometimes one must resort to the cheese.


And so I did.


Desperate times call for dorky measures.


These were the songs that kept me going (often, I’d play the same tune 65 times in a row because when I like things, I go overboard.) (You should have seen The Rock when we first met. He had kiss injuries.)



Made-Up Chicken

I made this recipe up. See how I did that? I named a recipe after what I did. Do other people do this? If so, I want to know more about the Baked Alaska guy.


I had to eat a lot of protein on this diet and given that I require tasty and flavorful foods with a minimum of meaty product, this was a challenge. So with this cobbled-together-in-my-addled-brain recipe, I shook a whole lot of seasoning on some chicken breast to disguise the fact that I was eating a bird. Specifically, I put a lot of chili powder on some chicken. I sprinkled much many garlic and onion powder on it, too. And some sea salt and pepper. Also some herbes de Provence and olive oil. In that order. But apparently, the olive oil should go first according to people who actually cook.


I don’t know if it’s because I left the seasoned chicken on the counter for 45 minutes before I pan fried it, or because my pal took it off the flame while it was still pink (chicken keeps cooking even when removed from heat) so that it matured into a juicy, perfectly prepared breast, but this made-up chicken tasted like something delicious. Although that could have been because my only other food sources to that point were oatmeal and ice cubes.


Well, there’s my list of three. I would like to add tight, lean muscles to the compilation and also jeans that fit, but women-who-do-everything-by-the-book-to-lose-weight-dammit-but-fail-due-to-hormones-maybe can’t be choosers.


Feeling This Moment

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Oh yeah. You get it.

Two Funny Brains and the Double Chins

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Our Two Funny Brains wrote and produced a web series sitcom we’re pitching called BlogTHAT! And in a week or two, we’ll be previewing a scene on our YouTube channel, which is here! In case you want to subscribe! Just don’t look at my chins! I got boobs! Look at those instead!

Writerly Inspiration

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

I adore this man’s blog and his Writer’s Manifesto. And it’s free! (If you subscribe. Which you will want to if you write and are creative and such like.)