Monday, July 14, 2008

Take Down

So you are enjoying a rather fun time with family. Hamburgers are on the grill, everyone is sitting around talking when all of a sudden BAM! Your supposedly kind, loving sister runs by and smacks you on the butt. What is the next step? 

Of course my first thought is to be the mature one in the situation and ignore her request for attention. (Okay, those of you who know me know that my real first thought is revenge, but we'll stick to the mature thing for now.) Let's say you ignore the feisty sister, but then she comes towards you, waving her hands around like she is really get you. What on earth should you do?


You've got to restrain her! But how does one restrain another without hurting themself or the "attacker"? That is where our dear friend B comes in. B has professional experience dealing with out of control people like the aforementioned sister. We thought that he might be a little reluctant to teach us, so we lured him over a couple of weeks ago for a "BBQ" and bullied him into teaching us some mad take down skills.

Surprisingly you can use the technique with little force and if your "attacker" doesn't fight it, they won't get hurt either. We won't go into the details because we don't want to encourage trying this move without face to face professional instruction, but this is what the process looks like:

So the next time you are thinking about approaching any one of us on the street, beware. We are prepared to take you down (especially if you come at us really slowly and make your arm really easy to grab and go along with our take down move).

Thanks to B for going along with our quest to learn new things. Hopefully next time he'll teach us how to handcuff someone.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Do the 60's Do

Take yourself back to Dinamita, Mexico. The year is 1965, the company party is starting in three hours. The dresses are pressed, the nails done, the corsages ready. One woman sweeps in, a cloud of Aquanet trailing her, comb and bobby pins in hand. Belles of ball lined up in chairs before the big hall mirror, waiting their turn.

The teasing begins.

Recreating events from forty years ago was easy for us on a recent Saturday night. In one Oakland home, Aunt Ime revised her role as hair guru, creating styles that our hair had never seen. Ingredients for big hair success? Big rollers (soda cans will do in a pinch), fine comb, large can of hair spray and pins. Many, many pins.
We were doubtful. Midway through the process a great mass of untamed 80's hair perched upon our heads. Would it be possible to turn this into something beautiful?
And then all of a sudden, "POOF!" A 60's hairstyle is born.

Along with the do's came maintenance tips from other survivors of the 60's Aquanet generation. For example, should you end up with a hole in your style, gently reach in with your index finger and lightly scoop it out. Keep a comb with you at al times, especially if going to a dance. One never knows if your dancing partner might knock your hive off kilter. 
We owe many great thanks to our styling queen. 

A blast from the past.  That would be our own mom in the middle...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My name is L-I, L-I...

So, what was that old rhyme really about anyway? And what exactly do you call that hand clapping routine that goes along with it? I am willing to bet that most people (especially ladies) around my age can recall the words to My Name is L-I, L-I, Chickali, chickali...although I am coming to find that there are some variations by region and age. For example the youngest of us three seems to recall something random thing being in the rhyme, and the older, wiser ones recall something about someone named Lester? Or was it Vester? 

Anyhow, these "clapping songs" have been around a  long, long time and they seem to mutate every year. How do they have anything to do with our blog? Well, yesterday I was sitting around with my cousin's daughter, Bianca, at a birthday party. Now, the majority of the people at the party were adults, so it was no surprise that after a little while Bianca turned to me with that kid complaint, "I'm bored!!!!!" 

Of course when a child speaks these words, they expect the adults around them to so something about it, and this time I obliged. I told her about our little blog and asked here if she could teach me something. Her first idea sounded really cool...something about judo pandas?? Unfortunately it required either an actual video game or Internet access, neither of which we had at our disposal. So, the most promising idea was to learn a new hand clapping song that went something like:

"Lemonade, crunchy ice.
Beat it once, beat it twice
Lemonade, crunchy ice.
Beat it once, beat it twice
Turn around, touch the ground

And of course, at the end you freeze as long as you can while trying somehow to make your partner move. There was another variation of the rhyme that included "kick your boyfriend out of town", but I prefer to stick to the non-controversial versions. After that, no more talk of being bored! Okay, at least for 1 good solid hour, no bored-talk. Then, I got to do something really special: teach Bianca how to skip. We had a great time and I was proud of my 5 (almost 6) year old teacher. 

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ohhhhh, my love, my darling, I've hungered for......a pottery lesson!

What do you get when you mix a 6'2" stud, a lump of clay and some mouth watering bbq? Our first lesson!

Our cousin, Shad, has been throwin' pots since high school. If you didn't know him, this might be hard to believe. He is a towering, powerful guy who, at first glance, might be a little intimidating. Once you start talking to him, you quickly realize that behind this hunk of man is a BFG (Big Friendly Giant). Once you see his pots, you realize that this BFG has a really gentle touch and skilled hands.

We arrived to find our teacher grinning and ready to get started. Over dinner, he started giving us some key lessons in using the wheel...

Rule #1: Take it slow, even when you freak out. If you are going to take your hands off the clay while it is spinning around on the wheel, do it slowly, even if you think you've messed up. If you move to quickly, you can really mess up your pot.

Rule #2: Symmetry is essential. Pots shouldn't be lopsided! Refer back to Rule #1 to learn how to avoid lopsided pots.

Rule #3: You've gotta know when to hold 'um. Don't flirt with danger, unless you want your beautiful piece of art to collapse.

So, these rules are so simple it would seem that following them would be a piece of ceramic cake, right? What's the first thing that our first sista did as soon as the going got rough? Her hands flew up and BOOM, her pot developed a twist...and not a happy, Chubby Checker, dancing twist, but a lethal twist that meant she reached her holdin' point. 
Despite the rough beginnings, all three of us went on to create three unique pieces, each with it's own signature features. Sure, looking at the finished works, one might say, "Oh WOW, cups!" But according to our teacher, this is the style with which the great ceramic masters started. Therefore, we are each technically on our way down the master path.

So, we thought we were pretty cool, creating these masterpieces in as little as 20 minutes each. We were quickly humbled when our cousin took to the wheel and in the same amount of time producing the following....

Yeah, so we still have stuff to learn, but that is the point! A shout out to Shad for his patience and hard work with us. He is one of the big chunks of the heart of our family and we love him dearly for all that he is!! We even have a deal to teach him some salsa moves the next time we go over to trim our pots.

For more pictures of our lesson, you can click HERE!

Until next time...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A lazy Sunday....

We are embarking on a journey of discovery. We realized not long ago that we know a lot of great people that know a lot of great things. We also realized that we know nothing.

Okay, so that is not exactly true. Between the three of us we can analyze storm water runoff for EPA compliance, salsa dance well into the night, and insert IUDs with ease. But let's be realistic, that's only the very tip of the iceberg. Just thinking about our immediate family we realized that there is so much to learn.

Thus, we have decided to embark on a journey to learn 100 new things. Of course we have set up a few rules:
1. One of our teachers each year must be under 8 years old.
2. One of our teachers each year must at least 80 years old.
3. We must learn at least 2 things a month. Only one of us has to be present at a learning session so long that the person blogs about their experience.
4. Each person can teach us no more than 3 things.
Suggestions are welcome! So let us know what you can teach us...we're waiting.