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Thursday, July 30, 2009

And Now, For Your Listening Enjoyment...

It all started a few weeks ago at my sister's house. My phone rang when one of the kids called. Everyone knows it's MY phone ringing because my ringtone is Jimmy Buffett singing "Margaritaville." Instead of saying "Pua (or Mommy), your phone's ringing!", someone will yell; "Jimmy's singing!" So after I finished my call, my sister made a comment that she had been trying to get Mason Williams' "Classical Gas" as her ringtone for quite sometime, but both she and her hubby Phil were having a hard time getting the ringtone to sync with her phone. Instead, she had settled for "Bad Things" from "True Blood" since she's a diehard fan. So began the challenge. All four of us spent the better part of a Saturday afternoon fiddling around with our phones trying to get Mason Williams to download.

Soon, because Phil seemed to have things in control, I started thinking that I should download different rings for different people. Now, I know Averie had done this long ago. She had a ring for when Ryan called her, and she had "Margaritaville" for when I called her. I thought it was cute, but unnecessary. Suddenly now, it seemed like a fun thing to do. So, I started matching family members with songs that would help me identify them when they called. Little did I know then how entirely entertaining this would be for me, not just that day, but for many days to come.

I started with the immediate family:

Charlie wanted to download the RED PHONE ring from the old James Coburn movie In Like Flint. I liked it, and he was very happy having it for HIS phone. But it wasn't quite what I was looking for. Then, he smiled and suggested "Master of the House" from Les Miserables. It's always been his favorite play. We've seen it three times and it's one play I never have to beg him to see again. Charlie has, over the years, joked that if he EVER thought HE was Monsieur Thenardier, then MY Madame Thenardier would quickly put him in his place. With love, and tongue-in-cheek, of course. And so, it was decided that the chorus from Master of the House (start at 0.38) would be it for Charlie.

For Averie, I downloaded the theme from "The Office." She has WAY too many favs, but for now, this worked. Also, it's the ringtone I hear from her phone whenever she's here, so I think of Ave when I hear it. I like to imagine that the next ringtone I have for Averie will be of a show that she's a writer for. Oh you just wait.

For Caris, I chose "Popular" from Wicked. Among her many roles in theater, she played Glinda. Though my favorite role she ever played was Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors, "Somewhere That's Green," didn't make a particularly good ringtone. The chorus of "Popular," however, was perfect and reminded me instantly of Caris (start at 1.08). Toddy, remember when we sang "What is This Feeling?" at the beachhouse? So much fun. Ooops...offtrack.

I had to include my "other husband," Wes. Other than Charlie, no other man calls me more. Of course, we're running a business together, so it's understandable that besides my family, Wes rings me up more than anyone else I know. For him, what else but The Ventures? I always know when it's The Big Kahuna calling.

Last but not least, Bryson. I thought and thought about this. There isn't ONE song in particular that makes me think of The Grommet. He's constantly playing his guitar or ukulele, and he doesn't really stick to one genre of music. Right now, he's on a Billy Holiday, Temptations, Sam Cooke, Etta James kick. Last month it was Marley, or Oasis. I dunno, it changes with the wind. Then, someone jokingly said, "Have the phone yell HEY MOM! when he calls." That was it! Perfect. Happily, I downloaded what would turn out to be the quintessential Mother/Son ringtone. It has not failed to make me smile yet. Oh yes, I'm making you wait for it. Continue please, we're almost there.

Over the last couple of weeks, when Charlie has called and Monsieur Thenardier starts singing, I start to giggle before I answer the phone. By the time I get to answering, I'm in a full-blown gigglefest. Every. Single. Time. Because I answer the phone laughing, Charlie starts laughing too and starts singing the song. Wes thinks we're both off our center. He's right. We are. But it's so much fun there.

A few days ago, I was in the grocery store when Bryson called. Yes, I know that you haven't heard his ringer yet. But the guy in the cereal aisle next to me has. Let me tell you, when he heard it, he first got a look of panic on his face. Then it was a "What the hell?" kind of expression as he looked around to see where it was coming from. Then his gaze locked upon me as I pulled my phone out of my purse. Before I answered, I held the phone up, smiled and said to the poor man.."My son."
At first he was shocked, then he started laughing. Really loud. Then he walked away shaking his head and muttering "Classic!" With one more glance over his shoulder at me, he and his cart turned the corner, laughing all the way. NO, I'm not a fan of the show, but I have to say that no other ring has created the stir that this one has and no one finds it funnier than The Grommet himself. Who, I might add, is calling me more often than ever just to ask me where I am and who heard. So now, I present, Bryson's ring (without the "Lois" part):


Tell me you didn't crack up.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pushbutton Paradise

Caris has been struggling over her final project for her summer interior design class for over a week. It isn't bad enough that this project accounts for more than half her grade, but to complicate matters, she also had to partner up with a guy who...well, lets just say he has no taste. Okay, he has taste; BAD taste. It's good that he's going for a degree in Architecture and not Interior Design.

For this project, Caris (and partner) had to come up with a themed elevator, using one or more sustainable, eco-friendly materials. Since she spends a good deal of her life in a store that sells natural products like bamboo and grass thatch, what better theme could she possibly come up with than "Tiki?" To put an upscale spin on a rather lowbrow pop-culture lifestyle, she revved it up a bit by making it "retro" or "mid-century modern tiki." Coming up with the concept was the easy part. The hard part was convincing her partner, who thought that they should go with a "stripper" theme. WTF? The guy wanted to put a stripper pole and runway lights in AN ELEVATOR. When she was telling me about her partner and his ::ahem:: tastes, she said the only way she could convince him to go with the tiki theme, was by showing him pictures in a tiki book which showed artwork with "nekkid girls". "Yeah," said Caris. "He actually said 'nekkid girls.'"

Rather than allow this neanderthal to control the project, she said that during their meetings over the past week, she would "plant a thought" in his head and make him think that her ideas were actually his ideas. She didn't want to risk getting a poor grade by delegating components of the project to the Caveman, so she basically did ALL the design, gathered the materials, built the mock-up, AND graciously allowed him to put his name on it. "He's lucky I was that generous."

Last night, Charlie and I noticed that the lights in the dining room where Caris was working were on into the wee hours. She stresses, but when she's under the gun, she does her best work. This morning, when I went into the kitchen for my coffee, I saw her finished project sitting on the table. I couldn't help but snap some pics. If I do say so myself (and I do), she did an amazing job. I thought she did such a great job, that I actually posted the pictures, at the urging of a talented tiki artist friend, on a website called Tiki Central, which highlights and promotes the Tiki Culture lifestyle. She's had nothing but kudos from the "cool cats" in the tiki world. Which is no less than I expected because my daughter is awesome.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Yakitori at Uncle G's Obscure Gadget Show

Our friend Gordon (lovingly known as "G") called unexpectedly and invited Charlie and I to have dinner at his home. He'd gotten a yakitori grill as a gift and he wanted to use it, and since we hadn't seen each other in a while, he thought it would be fun if we could get together and catch up.

Now, it should be mentioned that Gordon is well-known for his abilities as a host. He is always opening his home for gatherings, large and small. Usually large. Gordon is also the source of a wealth of knowledge. He's a world-traveler and I really don't think there are a lot of places he hasn't been. The thing about Gordon is that he's not the type of person who makes you feel uncomfortable that he knows so much or has been everywhere. His experiences always fit comfortably into conversation. My kids have always sat around his table, transfixed at his stories.

Another interesting thing about Gordon is that he's got a treasure trove of "stuff". He has a gadget, bobble, or toy for pretty much everything. He's also an incredibly generous man and he always shares what he has. We often play a game, unbeknownst to Gordon. It's called the "Hey G; you got a _______?" Game. We begin the sentence, fill in the blank with some obscure thing, and 9 out of 10 times, he says; "Yeah, I got one of those!" and it magically appears from somewhere in his home.

So after we had a particularly fun time cooking our own skewers of expertly prepared meats and vegetables on Gordon's tabletop yakitori grill...

...the "game" commenced. In reference to the fact that none of us had ever enjoyed a private yakitori dinner in someone's home, the conversation moved to other forms of culinary endeavors usually experienced in a restaurant. Charlie asked if Gordon had his own Shabu-Shabu set up. "Actually, I have TWO! We should do that next time! Our friend Henry was talking about fine cognacs, which moved to hard to find liquors. "Hey G; you got any Absynth?". Suddenly, the essence of wormwood appeared on the table. Henry laughed and said, "Hey, we should go to a hookah bar sometime." To which G responded, "Why go out? I have a hookah!" and out of the house he trotted with a huge smile and a hookah. "I got this at a thrift store for $5. I thought it was cool!"

We were enjoying the cool summer night on G's patio, when the guys looked up at the starlit sky and Ron said.."Hey G; you got one of those starscope binocular things?" Into the house runs G, and minutes later he emerges with the fancy, Trekkie looking device, and off go the boys into the yard to get a better view of the night sky. Bryson was sharing that he had been looking for someone with a Sprint phone that they would sell for cheap because he broke his new phone after only two months. But it HAS to be a Sprint phone so they can transfer all his info. Uncle Gordon disappears for a moment, only to return with a brand, new $300 top of the line Sprint Diamond, still in the box. "I won this at a raffle a couple months ago." The game went on and on; a curly koa ukulele, a certain cigar cutter, a ferret toy, etc., etc.

I was feeling a little left out because everyone had come up with something that Gordon seemed to have and we had been laughing about how he was "magical". So I turned to Gordon and asked; "Hey G...you got Gerard Butler in the house somewhere?"

Yeah, I left empty-handed. But dinner was awesome!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Going Green

I feel like this is a birth announcement. Don't panic. I didn't lose my middle-aged head, have a mid-life crisis, and decide that Charlie and I needed a "D" to go along with the A, B, and C. It's Wes who has had a new "baby". Well, it's House of Tiki that's had a new addition. Wes is just the one experiencing the labor pains. Okay, maybe I'm having labor pains too....in the shipping department.

House of Tiki's new green Shakatiki mug has been launched. This is the 4th Edition of H.O.T.'s mascot mug. We've had brown, peanut butter, blue, and now green. The Tiki World is gobbling them up. In just the first hour of listing, we've sold all we have of the first run. How can the Tikiphiles help but love him? He's beautiful.

I tease Wes that there's a striking resemblance between he and Shakatiki:

From the front anyway. I don't know about the okole.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Can Only Trust

I'm very worried. Unfortunately, that's about all I can say about that. I'm hoping that I can somehow "inject" thoughts of rationality and common sense by osmosis. But lately, that doesn't seem to be working. Neither does old fashioned talking. Sometimes you have to say what you need to say and hope that it translates well. Saying it is one thing. Whether the one you're saying it to is listening or has heard your concerns is quite another. I'm left in a place where all I can do is trust. Right now, that's a difficult pill to swallow.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Round Three of the Evolutionary Process

By now, it has been well-established that my son has gills, webbed feet and hands, and CANNOT stay out of the sun and surf. Therefore, despite the warnings that he should TRY to stay away from the beach and out of the water after re-dying his hair back to a somewhat "normal" state, we find ourselves, yet again, opening another box of hair color in less than a week's time.

Apparently, the orange was coming through again. His friend Alexis had taken to calling him "My Little Leprechaun" a bit too much for his liking. So, I come home from work to find the hair salon in my backyard open for business and a begloved Alexis squirting the magic goo onto the Grommet's head.

Now, even closer to his "natural" color, he PROMISED to keep his head out of the ocean and sunlight. I know this is a promise that this boy cannot keep. I'm now taking bets on how long it will be before his hair falls out from over-processing. Either that, or perhaps, miracle of miracles, the evolutionary process has now finally reached his brain.

Let the countdown commence.

Monday, July 06, 2009

If you can't trust your friends, then I hope you have a Mommy...

It's summer. I expect some bonehead moves by The Grommet during summer. It's usually the outcome of harmless fun. He's lost his car keys before and had to be rescued. He's broken fins off of surfboards. He's jumped in the ocean with his cell phone in his pocket. He's taken all of our toilet paper for T.P. raids and left us stranded. There are numerous events that I'm sure I don't even know about because he has his friends to bail him out of whatever "duh" moment he might encounter that doesn't require parental consent or money. I'm quite sure that it works the same way with them; he's there when they need him. Money being the operative word because he's an "adult" now and really doesn't require our approval for the decisions he makes. However, I'm glad to say he DOES seek out our counsel for most, if not all, of his prospective comings and goings.

I got a call at work:

Bry: Hey Mommy, I'm thinking about dying my hair blonde.
Pua: Why?
Bry: The guys and I thought it would be fun.
Pua: YOU thought it would be fun? Or THE GUYS thought it would be fun? I mean,
Bry, it's YOUR hair...THEY don't have to walk around with it.
Bry: Well, it's all of us.
Pua: And which one of "all of us" is doing this?
Bry: Jeff, Jon, and Juice.
Pua: Um, well Bry, again..it's YOUR hair and you're 19. Really, what do I have
to say about it? It's your decision. But I'll remind you that you guys
have done some pretty crazy things to Jon's hair in the past. Remember
that payback's a bitch.
Bry: Yeah, but I trust them. It'll be fun for the summer. I just wondered
what you thought.
Pua: Bryson, as I recall, you went to summer camp when you were 9 and came home
with bleached hair. I don't remember you calling and asking me what I
thought then. Why now?
Bry: (laughing) True. I don't know..I guess 'cuz you're my Mommy and I trust
Pua: Ha! Well then, I hope you trust your friends as much as you trust me.
Bry: Okay. See you later.

I thought about our conversation for a few minutes after the call. As much as I love those boys, I wouldn't trust them with my hair. The fact is, my son is ALL ABOUT his hair. He's kinda like John Travolta's Tony Manero. This boy takes longer to do his hair than both of his sisters take to do theirs combined. God forbid anyone should touch it after it's perfectly coiffed. I've also been present when they decided to shave designs into their friend Jon's hair. I shudder. I know Jon's mom has shuddered as well. Jon's a much better sport about his hair than Bry. I end the thinking process with the comforting notion that it's just hair and hair grows back. That's always been my M.O. Choose your battles. This isn't one that requires too much emotion on my part. Hair grows back and it's just not a big deal. Not a big deal to me anyway.

Four hours later, Charlie, Caris and I are in the living room talking about her plans for the 4th. Suddenly, Ellie starts barking wildly and running to the front door. It's not that "Hi there!" kind of bark. It's that growly "Stranger Alert" kind of bark. As the stranger gets closer, Charlie says; "Who's this kid? One of Bry's friends?" Caris and I, almost simultaneously, blurt out; "Ohhh myyy gawddd..it's Bryson!" He comes in the door and stands in the doorway. His hair..
well, my first thought was that he looked like one of Fred and Fanny Farkel's kids. Yeah, I'm dating myself, but that's the honest truth about what was running through my head. The problem is that what was running through my head came out as uncontrolable laughter. Caris and I were doing spit-takes. I knew in an instant that Caris was going to get a lot of mileage off of this CHAMPION of bonehead moves on Bry's part. Charlie just had a look of horror on his face and said; "Bryson! What the hell?" Bry looked like he was going to cry. His friend Juice followed him in the door with the biggest shit-eating grin on his face. He began to explain...

THIS is BEFORE it happened:

THIS is what was supposed to happen:

THIS is what actually happened:

I regained my composure while he pleaded with me to help him. I did not give him the "What did you think was going to happen?" lecture. Charlie and Caris were handling that quite well. I led my distraught son and his snickering friend out the back door to the patio to have a seat and calm down while I went inside to find one of my handy-dandy, always on-hand boxes of hair color. I could hear Caris through my bathroom window giggling and giving him the business. When I got out there, she was walking around him like a shark circling a wounded seal, delivering jab after jab. I told her to stop, but I think all the years of frustration of sharing a bathroom with him were bubbling to the surface and she was getting her money's worth.

I told him that I knew that this wasn't going to get him back to his natural hair color and that it would probably be lighter. He said anything was better and that if it didn't work that he was just going to shave his head and wear a cap until it grew back. Caris told him that she was SURE it wouldn't work and that he should just skip the repair process and go ahead and shave. At this point, I literally escorted her, still laughing, to the door and told her she needed to go. I have to say, Bry took her ribbing pretty well. He never got mad at her or yelled back at her. He took all her crap without a word. I was pretty proud of him. I think she was the least of his worries.

Once we got the color in and he went and showered, I got all my laughter out. Charlie was still horrified. I told him, as I often do, that this just isn't something to get his knickers in a twist over. It's just good, clean, fun. Sure, it's a lesson learned and I'm sure he won't let his friends near his hair again. But c'mon, who got hurt? Let it go.

When Bry got out of the shower, he looked more like Bry again. It's a little lighter than his normal color, but it's definitely brown again. He was smiling and came and wrapped his arms around me in a big, tight hug and whispered in my ear; "I love you. Thank you SOOOOO much."

Mom and L'oreal to the rescue. I guess his nickname has now changed from "Grommet" to "Leprechaun" and his friends gave him a pretty hard time on the 4th. But I think that's a whole lot better than "Junior Farkle".

THIS is after Mom saved the day...Happy 4th!: