Search This Blog


Friday, May 15, 2015

Our Anaphylaxis Story

Just retelling this story brings back all the anxiety of that night in late October of 2014, but this week is Food Allergy Awareness week, and I'm going to share our story.

When my son, O, was 14 months old, he was rushed to the ER by ambulance due to a severe allergic reaction. O was at my parents' house (like he is normally when The Husband and I are at work) and had just woke from his nap a little after 5 pm.  About an hour and a half later, The Husband was getting ready to head back home with O when my mom noticed some hives forming on O's neck. 

They quickly put him in the kitchen sink to rinse off whatever might be causing the flare-up, assuming it was a contact rash since he had not eaten anything since waking up from his nap.  The Husband gave him 2 mL of his Hydroxyzine which was an antihistamine O's dermatologist had prescribed for itching related to his eczema. 

Unfortunately, the hives continued to spread rapidly and The Husband decided to try and get O home as quickly as possible. About five minutes later, they arrived where I was getting dinner ready.  Upon seeing O's bright red, puffy face, we thought we'd try and putting him in a cold bath, suspecting that he must have touched something that was irritating his skin.  I told The Husband to call the pediatrician after-hours line to see what we needed to do.  In the bath, his condition continued to worsen and at this point, his whole body was covered in dark red hives that sort of got bigger and bigger until they globed together into large red blobs. His eyelids were swelling like a boxer who was losing a boxing match, his ears were getting bigger and redder by the second, and his eyes and nose had started to drip like a faucet. 

I remembered reading in one of my baby food cook books or blogs that severe food allergies and anaphylaxis could strike at any time to any food and could become serious for infants.  Suspecting that we may have been headed in that direction, I called 911 while The Husband got O dressed.  

We live next door to the fire department, so thankfully it was only a minute or two before the fire truck, ambulance and police car were at our front door, but in those two minutes, I tried to convince myself that they would show up, look at O and tell us we were overreacting first-time parents, give him a little Benadryl and be on their way. A team of four firefighters/paramedics came to our front door and upon seeing O's condition, decided he needed to get to the ER immediately.  Within a minute of them arriving at our home, we were told to take nothing and hurry down to the ambulance. Luckily my purse was right next to the door, so I was able to grab it and have my phone to get in touch with family for updates.

It was my first (and hopefully last) ride in an ambulance.  Lights flashing and sirens blaring, I was strapped onto the stretcher with O clinging to my chest while The Husband followed in his car (the pediatrician called him back while he was in the car and told him to call 911 - which he basically said, we're already way ahead of you!)  In the ambulance, they monitored his vitals and gave O two injections of antihistamine in his thighs which seemed to start helping immediately. I could hear one of the paramedics on the phone to the hospital requesting dosage or approval for epinephrine dosage for a 20lb one-year-old.  We arrived at the hospital before the hospital was able to relay the dosage info, and it looked to me like O was starting to improve and the paramedics said that his lungs were sounding clear.  

We were rolled into a room at the ER where it seemed like a million nurses came in to poke and prod O, tape things to his body, and take uncomfortable temperatures on a screaming, confused, itchy baby.  They gave him a steroid injection and an oral dose of another antihistamine. 

All the medications they had administered slowed the reaction enough for the ER Doctor to leave us alone for a bit.  We were told we'd be in the room for four hours with O hooked up to blood pressure and heart rate machines, waiting and watching (I later learned this was because allergic reactions can often have a two-fold attack, with the initial attack seeming to subside only to have a second severe attack within a few hours.) 

My mom, brother & sister-in-law came to give us some moral support, and brought us some things from home (phone chargers, socks, a clean shirt, checked our house to make sure I remembered to turn the stove off with all the food still in pots, etc - remember, we were rushed out of the house?  It was 7pm, after work when we were shoved into that ambulance... we were both a mess) and helped to take turns holding O while he was in misery.

After a very stressful hour at the ER, O finally fell asleep on my mom's shoulder.  The ER doctor told us we'd have to see an allergist within the week once we were discharged.  It was really only at this point that I thought to take pictures since I had no idea how I would describe all this to a doctor.  We have no pictures of his pre-treatment condition, but we have photos of him about an hour after all those injections, and while he still looked awful, he looked about 500x better than he did before we called 911. 

Falling asleep on his Amma's shoulder
after an hour of treatment at the ER
This is after an hour of treatment at the ER.
His hives, redness, and swelling had gone down significantly
I hopped on my phone to research and see if I could figure out what was going on.  The doctors and nurses moved so quickly, and I wasn't sure what was happening to my kid and what I needed to do to keep him safe.  As I began reading about allergies, I realized that while I had heard the term anaphylaxis, I had no idea what it meant.  In my phone reading, I learned that anaphylaxis actually refers to a rapidly developing and serious allergic reaction that affects a number of different body systems at one time. My kid didn't pass out or gag like they do on TV, but his breathing, skin, and circulatory systems had been simultaneously affected by an allergen.  I began to realize how lucky we were that O didn't go into shock from his exposure. I cried.

After those 4 hours, with O's blood pressure and heart rate comfortably normalized, they were ready to send us home. We were told to keep vigilant for a subsequent reaction throughout the night, and that we had to get our prescriptions filled before going home in case we needed to use the epi-pen for any reason. By this time it was a little after midnight, and finding an open Pharmacy was a little bit of a challenge for our exhausted crew. They discharged us with prescriptions for Benadryl (an H1-Blocker antihistamine), a liquid steroid, liquid Pepcid (which, if you didn't know, is an H2-Blocker - an antihistamine that in this case is used to help with the digestive end of an allergic reaction... and which took the pharmacist about 30 minutes to prepare) all of which he had to take for 7 days straight.  We were also sent home with a prescription for multiple epinephrine auto injectors which we had to learn to use that night.  

Back at home, my mom volunteered to stay the night and take turns with me watching O while he slept.  In the morning, his swelling had mostly gone down, but his ears were bruised from how large they had swollen.  
His ear the morning after.
That bruised red area up top went away
after about a week.
This was when the panic set in.  We still had no idea what had caused this, so in our minds EVERYTHING was a trigger.  EVERYTHING was a potentially fatal substance.  We didn't want to leave the house, we were scared of feeding him foods, we were terrified.

We made an appointment to see an allergist at the earliest appointment available, and were in their office by the end of the week.  In preparation, we retraced every step, took inventory of every possible substance O could have come in contact with, and made a journal of it all.  Nothing stood out.  It was misery.  The steroids made O vomit on occasion - or so the pediatrician told us that was the reasoning.  Later the allergist suggested that perhaps the vomiting was because O had a virus which either exacerbated another allergy to the point of anaphylaxis, or it was also possible that he had an anaphylactic reaction to the virus itself (WTF) even if O wasn't showing any other cold symptoms in the days leading up to this.  It was all a guessing game.

48 hours after being in the hospital - you can see his eyes again!
O's allergy results came back severely allergic to wheat and egg (he also tested low-to-medium positive for tree nuts/peanut/coconut/soy, and negative for fish/shellfish/insect stings) which brought one theory to the forefront of the mystery.  

The day of his reaction, my mom had been making empanadas.  Empanadas are stuffed pockets of dough coated with an egg wash and baked or fried - and they are DELICIOUS.  Although O had not been fed any empanada, if he had a virus, the allergist suspected that being touched by my mom, dad, and The Husband who had been handling wheat and egg in making/eating of empanadas may have triggered his immune system to go into overdrive with the trace amounts on their hands or face. 

Or being a nosy toddler, he may have somehow snagged a crumb of empanada on someone's hands, or shirt and decided to eat it without anyone noticing. We'll never really know for sure.

It has been seven months since O's trip to the ER.  As time passes with strict allergen avoidance and no serious reactions, it's sometimes alluring to hope that maybe your precious child isn't as allergic as the allergist and all the tests seem to indicate.  You don't want your kid to grow up with fear of food, or to grow up afraid of dying from a snack, or to die because he, or I didn't read ingredient labels well enough.  You don't want to think about how you'll figure out school for him with multiple food allergies before he's old enough to advocate for himself. You don't want to think about having to take him to the hospital and hoping that you'll administer the epi-pen in time.  You don't want to think about forgetting the epi-pen, or think about the possibility that even the two epi-pens you carry on you at all times might not be enough.

I had a slip-up earlier this year which reminded me how severe O's allergies are.  After a stressful month of complicated health issues, I had spent the weekend in the hospital (story for another time) and since I was feeling like I was ready to get back on the domestic track, I cooked dinner for the first time in weeks (I had been on bed-rest for weeks and hadn't cooked in a very long time.) The last time I went grocery shopping, I bought three boxes of our usual gluten free spaghetti and it seemed like an easy meal to make.  I had previously used up 2/3 of the first box and O had eaten those meals with great enthusiasm.  Seeing that I didn't have enough in the first box for a meal for 3, I opened up a second box and threw it all together and served it for dinner.

O took one bite.  He started fussing at the dinner table and refused to eat.  I remember laughing that this kid was being so fussy - toddlers, amirite?  I tried to put another spoonful in his mouth, and he began to scream-cry.  I said fine, you don't have to eat, wiped him down, finished my meal and went on with the night.

O had been sick the week before and had the remnants of a cold with a chesty wet cough on occasion. We took him upstairs to get ready for bed and noticed how his nose was running like crazy and his eyes were watery.  Great, I thought -  his cold is coming back with a vengeance.  Then he started coughing.  A lot.  And it wasn't his chesty wet cough.  This was sort of a newer dry, hack cough... great, I thought, another long night of coughing.  Stupid cold.  

I took his shirt off to put his jammies on, and then I saw them.  Hives.  On his back.  I told the husband to get the Benadryl and call the allergist's after-hours line to see at what point we needed to use the epi-pens (we hadn't discussed an allergy action plan at this point.)  At that time, we didn't know what had triggered his reaction and while the Benadryl seemed to stop his cough and runny nose, his eye was still swelling. When the allergist called us back he said that since the Benadryl seemed to be working, and since we didn't know the trigger, and since his breathing seemed OK, to just wait and see - but if we hear any wheezing AT ALL, to immediately administer the epi-pen and call 911.  It took about 24 hours for the swelling to go down, and about 2 hours for the hives to go away.  I did not sleep well that night.

I was in a panic.  AGAIN a mystery reaction - not as bad as that first one, but not good either. If I knew then what I know now, I probably wouldn't have waited to use the epi-pen.  It would not be worth the risk to his life.

Weeks later, I was reorganizing the pantry and happened to look at the box of pasta, I was about to put it back in the pantry when something about an artichoke caught my eye and I thought, wait - I didn't know this pasta had artichoke - I wouldn't have bought this with artichoke in it because O has never had artichoke...

And then it hit me.  This box didn't have the Gluten Free triangle that my other box of pasta did.  It was the same size, the same shape, the same color. I grabbed three boxes off the grocery store shelf - and this one - the one I tried to feed to my wheat-allergic child - was not wheat free. 

I think the boxes in stores now are more distinct in color,
but in my dimly lit pantry, I couldn't tell the difference
in color between the gluten free and organic regular pasta.
I had gotten lazy.  I knew I was supposed to check EVERY SINGLE FOOD that comes into my home.  I knew I was supposed to read EVERY SINGLE INGREDIENT EVERY SINGLE TIME I COOK SOMETHING AT HOME.  The boxes looked the same to me, I didn't notice when I was grabbing them off the shelf at the store, and I didn't notice when I loaded them into my pantry at home.  I felt awful. What had I done?  

I cried. Again.  One small bite of a strand of spaghetti caused my son's eyes to swell, hives, coughing and sneezing within 30 minutes of eating.  One small bite he trusted me to feed him.  

I also breathed a sigh of relief because he survived and we now knew without a doubt what caused that second reaction. I'm still working on forgiving myself for that and part of that is making sure I do whatever I can to ensure that he doesn't have to go through a reaction like that again.  It starts with educating myself and others, and raising awareness for life-threatening food allergies.

For more information on food allergies and anaphylaxis visit:  and

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I'm pressed for time, but I just have to crank out a blog tonight.

Today I am 29.  Tomorrow I will be 30.

I started my first real blog when I was 19.  It was really stupid, but I think I downloaded all that stuff into an archive before I deleted that account.  I should go back and read it sometime.  I'm pretty sure it was all about the boys I had crushes on and stuff I did at work and school.

I'm not sure if my blogs have changed much in the last 10 years.

My 20s were good to me.  I married a man who makes me laugh every day. We bought a house, got a dog and we traveled. A lot.  Still, we live a simple and incredibly blessed life.

I partied like I should have when I was in college and I made friends that will be my friends for the rest of my life.  Nice people who like being nice to other people.  They make me realize how good humans can be.

In my 20s, I came to appreciate my parents in a different way although I still don't show it as much as I should. I came to value my brother as a best friend.

After spending a chunk of my teens being teased, I became comfortable enough with my own nerdiness to not only embrace it, but to wear it as a badge of honor. There are some nerd things I still keep in my nerd closet, but maybe in my 30s I'll realize that it doesn't matter if I'm teased anymore.

I did and said things that I'm embarrassed to admit.   I'm pretty sure I've blocked some moments from my memory for all eternity.  My opinions about the world have changed.  It's perpetual motion, I guess.

Growing up, I was convinced I would die at 23 (I wrote a blog when I was 22, panicking about my upcoming doom) and now that I've made it 7 years past my own personal death clock, I'm pretty pumped I still get to be here.  I'm not sure where my death clock is set, but I've fallen more and more in love with life every day that I get to wake up.

Aside from my latent superpowers awakening, I don't expect much to change when I turn 30 tomorrow.  I still plan too much, get too anxious about things, and still over-think things.  I doubt that will change when I'm 30, but I'm still excited about it.

I wonder what I'll write at 39.

Sayonnara 20s.  Thanks for all the awesome.


A 21 year old me... opening the door to who knows what.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Falling Out of Facebook

Photo by opensourceway, via Flickr. Created by Ruth Suehle

When I first joined Facebook, my tagline was "I hate Facebook."

A year into my Facebook addiction, I realized my old tagline wasn't true anymore and I changed it to "I love nachos."  This is still true.  I REALLY love nachos.  

The strange thing is that I'm starting to find truth in my old tagline again.

With the roll out of the new Facebook Timeline, I've been seriously contemplating a significant reduction in my participation on the site.  As Facebook has applied changes over the last year, I've realized that my privacy features are not completely under my control and as a result I've (believe it or not) reduced my participation on the site.

About a year ago, I created a profile for Apple and decided that I wouldn't friend her so I could confirm that my privacy settings were correct. The "View As" option on FB didn't have a "Friends of Friends" setting and I had been getting strange comments in person about stuff on my profile from people I wasn't friends with.  

Looking at my page from Apple's profile, I was often stunned by the amount of stuff that showed up on my profile even though I had everything (except a few albums and my friends list) set to "Friends Only."  

For example, my wall is set to "Friends Only,"  but viewing my page from Apple's profile, I could see a number of posts because I had tagged other people in those posts. Apple was friends with one of the people I had tagged, and as a result, she could see my original wall post and all the comments that followed. 

I realized that my privacy setting no longer guaranteed that my wall posts were only for my Friends. I had to also rely on the privacy settings of my friends to keep my wall conversations private and my privacy was only as good as the privacy settings of my Facebook friends.

After that discovery, I went through and removed all the tags on my wall posts as far back as I could find. It seemed to solve the problem.  I had already been filtering tag requests for photos and wall posts, but I hadn't really considered that the tags I made on posts on my own wall were as public as the people I tagged in them.

There have also been a few strange moments where I had commented on a post of a friend's wall and subsequently had 3 of my friends - who had no direct connection to the original poster - make comments in response to my comment on the original post.  

The "D commented on Smitty Smith's photo" line showed up in the Ticker and even though my friends didn't know Smitty Smith, they were now a part of a conversation on his wall.  Smitty had just converted to the new timeline and  didn't realize he needed to adjust all of his privacy settings for every individual post. Now people he didn't know were having a conversation on his page and my comment on his page was completely viewable to anyone that decided to look at his page that day.

In the older versions of Facebook, you could tweak your settings so that comments on other people's walls or pictures didn't show up on your wall or in the news feed even if they were on a public page.   Someone would have to go to that public page, like it, and then search for my comment to see it. Facebook now serves up those public comments to your friends on a platter. 

Remember when you'd read comments on other people's pictures and not be able to understand what was happening in the conversation because people were responding to questions that didn't appear on your screen?  That was because the mystery person had their privacy settings set up so that people that were not friends with them couldn't see ANYTHING they wrote ANYWHERE on the site.  I want that back. 

I understand that my comments on public pages are public - just as this blog is public. I would just prefer that I could control how those conversations are broadcast to my extended network - I'd like the option to turn off the feed to the ticker, turn off comment tracking and to selectively accept specific tags.  I would prefer that there be an option to keep myself cloaked in privacy even when participating on a public page.  

I have no problem gushing about my Doctor Who fanaticism among other Doctor Who fans on a fan page, but most of my Facebook friends are not Doctor Who fans and I don't need them seeing every comment I make on a post about an episode they never watched and don't care about. 

I end up having to assume that everything I post anywhere on Facebook is probably public and permanent even if I never intended it to be so.  I have to choose to participate publicly or not participate in the community at all.  I've been choosing not to participate at all.  

I don't think I'll quit Facebook when my profile is forced to transition to Timeline (because I think it's important to stay in touch with changing tech) I just think I will find myself removing everything from it rather than risk a privacy fumble. I had to do this with over 300 blog entries I deleted on my old MySpace profile after their MySpace 2.0 made blogs public even if the profile itself was private. I did save a copy of all of them before deleting and likewise, I will probably just export a copy of my Facebook page for my own use before I start deleting pictures and posts.  

It's a shame, because I loved sharing with my friends - I just don't like unintentionally sharing with everyone else and their mother because a mutual friend happened to comment on my photo or tag me in a wall post.

I know Facebook is free - but so is my e-mail.  If my e-mail policy suddenly changed and I had to mark every message in my inbox "private" or else it would be shared with all the people in my address book, I think I would cancel my e-mail account without hesitation.  

I know that I am not the consumer in the Facebook relationship, I am the product being sold.  The more I share, the more free information I give to Facebook to sell to its advertisers and sponsors. On top of all the unexpected sharing,  the app-linking drives me nuts, I hate the "Highlighted Stories" in the feed, I hate the Ticker features, and I don't play games or participate in polls. I don't know if Facebook is the best social networking site for me anymore anyway.  

What I'm getting at is that it's not so long Facebook... it's just, I'll see you way less Facebook, and you'll see me way less. 

Besides, I have Pinterest to kill time now.

If you're looking for privacy info and resources related to Facebook, check out this site: 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oh Hai...

Um.  Hello?

Not sure anyone is there anymore.  Same old story, I've neglected this blog for months.  Two years ago I blamed NaBloPoMo for my absence.  Last year, I didn't even make it to NaBloPoMo.

I have a backlog of things I've been meaning to blog about. Pictures I've meant to edit and post. At some point in the next 500 years, I'll get around to it.

To be fair, I've been kind of busy.  Last year my full time day job became more of an overtime day job with more stress than I've experienced in my previous 6 years with the company.  I had hoped that January would bring a little bit of relief from the workload, but any reduction in responsibilities and related headaches have only been temporary

In addition to my normal M-F grind, I've been writing for DaemonsTV for about a year now.  Writing for money is awesome.  I only wish it was awesome enough that I could sustain (instead of supplement) my income with it.  Perhaps someday.

Even though I suffer unwarranted anxiety over missed grammatical errors and the occasional mean comment-troll; and even though often find myself plagued with writer's block, staring at a blank screen until 20 minutes before my deadline, I absolutely love it.

I don't know if Mike loves it as much as I do.  Writing a couple reviews every night means that I get home, make dinner, and then go to my second job at my computer. That means he's got to entertain himself for a few hours if he's not into the shows that I've got to review.  He gets bored easily.

This week, most of my shows are airing repeats, so I figured I'd blog.

While I work out.

That's right friends. Your version of multitasking is nowhere near as awesome as mine. My netbook is sitting on top of my ironing board, which is wedged next to my stationary bike so that I can write and bike at the same time.  115 calories down.  100 to go.... because I want to pound out the pudge before I turn 30 in March.  I need to put this skill on my resume.

Because I must be some kind of masochist, I've also started taking Japanese classes on the weekends.  I had been teaching myself for a couple of years, but I figured it was time to actually try to learn how to read and write.  Turns out that even if  it's a class for adults, they still give you homework.  Don't they know grown-ups do not have to do homework?  Oy.

Also, trying my hand at Icelandic.  Ever wonder if an almost-30-year-old has the mental capacity to learn two languages at once?  I'll let you know.

Honestly, the point of this entry was not really to make a huge excuse about why I've been too busy to blog (although Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr have seriously not helped my cause.)  Originally this was going to be a blog about something entirely different (ahem, Downton Abbey) but it took on a life of its own after "Hello?".  It's as if I'm not writing the blog,  the blog is writing me (because it's magical.)

I guess that just means I'll have come back and blog about my original subject some other time.

I hope you'll tune in.

And you better bring a snack.

For me.

All this exercise makes me hungry.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Mini Hoodlums

This morning as I was driving into work, I spotted three middle-school aged boys standing outside my friend's apartment complex.  They had backpacks on, so I assumed they were waiting for a bus or something to come pick them up. I had a bad feeling about three mischievous seeming boys climbing on and around the apartment complex signage at 6:50AM, so I proceeded with caution.

I watched them as I drove past them and glanced back at them in my side view mirror to see the three of them simultaneously raise their hands in the air and THROW SOMETHING AT MY CAR.

I continued driving and waited to see if the stuff they threw would actually reach my car.

It did.

Three thuds.

Thankfully there was no one on the road because I made a calm and conscious decision to pull a Mr. Wheeler, slam on my brakes, throw my car in reverse and go hauling back TO SCARE THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS OUT OF THOSE KIDS.

Which I'm pretty sure worked. 

My car is old.  I love my car, but a few pebbles hitting it on the side won't hurt much of anything... but this was about the principal of the thing.  1) KIDS.  WTF? and 2) PARENTS. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR KIDS ARE?  THEY'RE THROWING THINGS AT CARS!

So anyway, I watched in my rear view mirror as the three boys went pale the moment I slammed on my brakes.  Then, as they saw my car switch into reverse, I watched as they RAN LIKE THE WIND back into the parking area of the apartment complex.

Like I said, my friend lives in that complex, so I'm fairly familiar with the area. Much to their dismay, I pulled in and followed the little suckers as they kept running around the corner.

I was already running late for work, so I didn't want to waste too much more time but I saw the direction in which they ran and spotted the area in which they were hiding.  So I rolled down my windows and stopped my car within earshot and pretended that I had been on my phone. I started talking obscenely loud:


I looked in my rear view mirror as I drove away.  I think (maybe in my little heart, I just hoped) that one of those boys squatted behind a bush was crying. If so, mission accomplished.

A lesson to all the little childrenses of the universe: Don't frack with my car. Ever.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Comic-Con 2011: The Blog

It has been precisely a week since we've returned from the insanity that is Comic-Con International in San Diego, CA.  This year's SDCC was the most memorable of our trips thus far and it's difficult to imagine how the experience could be any more awesome in future years. 

Here's how it went down.

Wednesday: Preview Night.
This is usually the night we pick up our badges, buy our passes for the following year and wander around the Exhibit Hall before the crowds are overwhelming.  Because SDCC has been selling out so quickly in the past few years, they implemented a new process and the tickets for the following year wouldn't be available until Thursday and only in limited quantities.  It was inconvenient for us, but ultimately I think it was probably the most fair way to handle the tickets for the following year.

If you didn't already know, I've been writing TV reviews for Daemon's TV since January of this year. After preview night I had the opportunity to meet some the people I had been writing for/with in person for the first time.  Everyone was really cool and it was awesome to attach real people to the internet personas I had become familiar with. 

Our Daemon's TV meet up.
Thursday: Day 1
I dress up at Comic-Con for one day out of the week.  I've found I like to do it on the first day because the excitement of being at Comic-Con is still fresh and enough to keep me moving.  This year, I recruited Rhonda into my costuming plans so I would have a buddy (last year she and my brother and Matt dressed up in a Dr. Horrible group.) 

Thank goodness she was down to dress up with me, because the reaction to our costumes was like nothing I could have ever anticipated.
My brother shot this photo of the crowd taking our photos as we stepped into the convention center.
It was so much fun and SO exhausting.  Normally I can wear my costume, walk the exhibit hall, look at artwork, buy stuff and check out the booths while occasionally being stopped for photos, but in these costumes it took us about an hour to get from the entrance of the exhibit hall to the back side in a straight line where we wanted to get nachos for lunch.  Security was constantly asking us to move and my brother and Mike eventually had to work crowd control just so we could get to a spot where we could sit down.  

Even as we ate, the photos did not stop and as I was shoveling lunch into my mouth people were taking pictures.  I had a renewed appreciation for my college years spent doing character work at Disneyland. I was having flashbacks of summer crowds and remembered that this was exactly the reason we needed hourly breaks, away from the crowds.
At one point, a woman from Entertainment Weekly approached us and asked us if we would be in a EW photoshoot at the Hard Rock Hotel, shot by photographer Michael Muller.  

Um.  OK!

The photo shoot set up
So, we did that and ended up here:,,20399642_20512572,00.html#20992382
(*UPDATE* Turns out we also made it into the August 5, 2011 print edition on the Table of Contents page!)

Rhonda was excited because Justin Timberlake had been on that same set just minutes before us.  I was excited because... free snacks!

So that was Thursday.  I tried to get into the Archer panel, but the line was longer than I had anticipated so we missed that.  I ended up with blisters on my feet from walking around all day in my "comfortable" shoes.  

It took me about a year to make my costume since I was learning how to sew, use tools and materials as I went along.  I will probably just be wearing it again next year to get full use out of it.  I don't have the energy to make another costume for a while.  I have some changes to make... like... way more comfortable shoes.  And, next year we're adding at least one more villain to our gang, so that will be even more fun.  

Friday: Day 2
I don't know how to best describe how awesome Friday was.  Best single day at Comic-Con (for me) ever.  The Venture Bros. Panel, Bob's Burgers Panel and Alphas Panel were all great, but more importantly... everything else.

You might remember my blog from last year, geeking out over Bob's Burgers before it had even aired and being all giddy because I got to take a photo with Loren Bouchard, right? It got better this year.

You guys.
Loren Bouchard recognized me! I'm not even joking! 

AND he told me that he has read everything that I've written!!!!***
***He said that, but let's be honest, he probably meant that he reads everything I write on Daemon's TV about Bob's Burgers... not everything I write... especially not my blog.  My mom doesn't even read my blog.

So I squealed like a raging fan girl and Mike snapped this picture after the panel.

Me & Loren Bouchard... AGAIN
That's my Bob's Burgers tee-shirt from last year's Comic-Con panel that I altered to fit a lady!  
He posed for this picture twice, because he said he didn't want to pose the same way he did last year.... squeeeeee!

So anyway... as if I wasn't already seeming like a crazy fangirl by sitting in the front row of the Bob's Burgers panel, we ran into Bouchard again at night as we were walking to the Adult Swim party which we got passes to earlier in the day. He was nice enough to talk to us as we walked in the same direction.  I had a couple of glasses of Jameson before we walked over there, so I'm not 100% sure I was talking like a normal person... but whatever.  He was nice and didn't make me think that he thought I was crazy.  I wouldn't fault him if he did.

My dilemma now is... what do I do next year?  I mean, I've had photos with him two years in a row.  If there is a Bob's Burgers panel next year, I will... going and I will... duh...want to be in the front row... but am I allowed to take a photo like this ever again?  If he was someone who had no recollection of me, I'd be like "hi, I'm a fan... photo?" and wouldn't think twice... but now.... do I have to be cool? YOU GUYS.  I DON'T KNOW HOW TO BE COOL!!! 

So, you have a year to tell me how to handle this.  How do I balance my obvious fandom with the fact that I don't want to be THAT FREAKY FAN? I've met lots of famous people - including the guy at the top of my "list," Mr. Johnny Depp himself, and I've never been struck with this panic. Johnny Depp and the others I've met would never remember me in a million years (plus actors don't intimidate me the way writers do.)  I'm a drop in the bucket.  I'm used to that. The fact that he remembered me is incredible and totally intimidating... but most of all it's proof that Loren Bouchard is a genuinely nice human being.  

Continuing with the awesome of Friday... this happened at the Adult Swim party:
Yup - Doc Hammer of Venture Bros. fame.
Can we discuss how cool Doc Hammer looks and HOW I COULD NOT BE ANY MORE DORKY IN THAT PICTURE?

And of course, Jackson Publick, also of Venture Bros. fame.
Let's discuss how much of an a-hole I was for noticing that Jackson was smoking when he had talked in the panel earlier about how he was quitting smoking.  Really?  REALLY ME?  "I'm a huge fan. I thought you were quitting?"  WHY WOULD I SAY THAT!?   He was so nice to me even if I was a total and complete arse.  So I fail forever.  That is exactly why people should not let me drink EVER.  Except for sometimes because I'm also awesome when I drink. 


So 50/50.

Michael Sinterniklaas & Me
Before the Adult Swim party we ran into Michael Sinterniklaas - also of Venture Bros. fame... but also even more so of his acclaimed work in dubbed anime... which I didn't know about until we talked that night.  

I was too shy to talk to anyone at the bar but when Mike spotted Michael, he desperately tried to convince me that I should go tell him I was a fan.   Since this was pre-whiskey, I could not be convinced so Mike went over talked to him for me. In a couple of minutes, they both came back to where I was sitting. 

Seriously, this guy was SO cool... he took pictures with my brother and my mom and everybody in our group.  He's currently working on a TNMT project and Gundam Unicorn and he does the voice for the English dub of the main character in Summer Wars (I actually have the DVD and have just never watched it in English. You can borrow it.  It's a really great anime movie.)  

Best moment with him was when he said "scissor me" meaning do the Venture Bros. pose above.  Instead I scissored his V hand gesture with my V hand gesture.  Yah.  I'm that a-hole.  People should  keep me away from other human beings.  He still talked to me after that, so he's obviously really nice. 

Also on Friday...Mike got his photo that he took with Kevin Smith last year signed by Kevin Smith.   Matt schmoozed with everyone from Torchwood at the bar, Rhonda got Steven Spielberg's autograph... on her phone... then she, along with my brother and my mom somehow talked their way into some exclusive party at the Hard Rock where they ate all sorts of food and drank all kinds of open bar booze. Then back at our hotel my mom took photos with David Arquette at the bar.

So all that happened.  In one day.  I expect a day like that will never happen again.

Saturday: Day 3
Can't remember.  Did I already tell you about Friday? 

Saturday...Tr!ckster!  That was cool. We bought art.
Oh and Mythbusters. Neato!

And there's a small chance I'll show up on TV in a year asking either Jon Favreu or William Shatner questions for a Kevin Smith project that will make me seem like a total dufus.  Get excited about seeing me ask "Mr. Shatner, what's your favorite Star Trek episode?"  Trust me.  I was fed the questions.

Oh!  And we met up and grabbed drinks with friends.  I love friends! And cookies! Good times.
Sunday: Day 4
Doctor Who. 

Can't get enough of them... I want to go on a TARDIS ride. 

And then... exhibit hall...

 Couldn't find Pikachu this year!  So Naruto and Kon worked!

That's my mom who originally photobombed me when I was trying to get a photo at the VIZ Media booth. This was her first year at SDCC, but she naturally knew how to work the exhibit hall.  In all my years I have never seen a person come back with so much swag... ever.  Totally impressive.

Followed by two and a half hours in traffic to get home. So tired.

Overall, awesome times.  Still recovering, but already looking forward to next year.  Woo!

     P.S. Thanks Mike for everything... you're pretty much the only reason I ever had the chance to talk to any of the people I think are cool.  You're the best husband an awkward nerdy girl could ever ask for.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Significant Time Capsules

This was an entry I originally wrote in 2008 for a "family update" kind of blog that we were supposed to write in to keep extended family up-to-date with our lives.  Our day to day activities are pretty boring so when there was a lack of entries, I'd blog about something random to fill the space.  Now I do that here and since the husband isn't as fond of blogging as I am, that blog hasn't been updated in over a year.
Anyway, this entry makes me laugh every time I look at it so I'm re-posting it here on this blog.  Made a couple edits, but it's pretty much the same: 
In November of 1989 my family went to the Kid’s Stuff convention. My brother and I filled out a time capsule which was not to be opened until November of 2000. Well, we forgot about it and in rummaging through old stuff, my mom pulled these two capsules out. 
Here is mine. I wrote half of it in pencil making it difficult to read on the pink paper - so I transcribed it below:

Date: ? (no concept of time apparently)
Age: 7
Grade: 3
Hobbies: swim, piano, tv watch
(some things don’t change), birds (really?)
My Best Friend Is: Tina

My Message To Myself For The Year 2000 Is: I shall love everyone (I was a hippie)
My Goal For Myself Is: To be a good student (The perfect child)
My Dream For The World Is: Love and Peace (My dreams actually haven’t changed much, I guess.)
My Plan Of Action To Accomplish My Dreams: is I will study verry hard (Study how to spell very.)

Here is my brother’s capsule. In some ways he's a bit more realistic than I was:
Date: 1989 (I bet he cheated and looked at the front of the form)
Age: 6
Grade: 1
Hobbies: piano, play, tv, math

My Best Friend Is: Shelbey

My Message To Myself For The Year 2000 Is: How old I am; what grade; everything (He’s being logical.)
My Goal For Myself Is: Alf (LOL!!!) Green Valley(Swim Team), Bibl Quiz, X
My Dream For The World Is: Money (His dreams actually haven’t changed much either.)
My Plan Of Action To Accomplish My Dreams: XXXXX (Got it...makes total sense.)

It should be a life requirement that kids fill these kinds of things out before they turn 8 years old, because the material is just magical.  I was talking to McPe the other day and she said she also had a time capsule as a kid and recently found it. Among the questions on hers was: "What is your favorite smell?" her response, "The smell of food." She's now a successful food scientist. I guess we don’t change all that much.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Voice-over Work

From the day Apple became part of our family, Mike and I have done this thing that I'm just starting to realize not all pet owners do.  When one of us asks Apple a question, the other will answer as Apple's voice-over.  Describing it now makes me realize how strange that actually makes us, but what's even stranger is that it wasn't something that came up gradually, it just automatically happened. 

Usually her voice-over is influenced by whatever animated shows we're watching at the moment.  The first voice that naturally came out as Apple's inner voice was South Park's Eric Cartman. Although there's a gender and species discrepancy, this is the voice and inner attitude that returns most often when we're talking for Apple.  Her voice-over has also had stints as Henchman 21 and Dermott Fictel from the Venture Bros. and Special Sister Mary from Lucy, Daughter of the Devil (voiced by Eugene Mirman.) Right now, we're having moments of Tina from Bob's Burgers squeak into the rotation (voiced by Dan Mintz.... we've never been able to get any actual girl voices into our girl dog's inner voice) especially when Apple is being awkward.

Apple's voiceover is 1% lovin', 99% attitude.  Yes.  She's a bitch.  Literally.  But also figuratively.  Some sample conversations we've had:

In her "NPR Cartman" voice

Scene: Apple sees me throwing out chicken bones and cleaning out the roasting pan and is suddenly interested in what I'm doing in the kitchen.
Apple:  Hey mom, what... what are you doing?
Me:  None of this is for you.
Apple:  No, that's coo.  I'm just.  I just love you so much.  And you know, chicken.
Me: You can't eat this.
Apple: But maaaaaaaaaawwwwm.
Me: Don't lick the trash can.
Apple:  I hate you.  So very. Very. Much.

In her "Angry Cartman" voice.

Scene:  Mike got out of bed for 3 minutes to run to the restroom.  Apple immediately moved to his spot and is snuggling up next to his pillow so he can't get back in bed.
Mike:  Apple, really?
Apple:  Suck it, dad.
Mike:  No, Apple, you need to move.
Apple: Whateva, I do what I want.  You're not the boss of me.
Mike pushes Apple out of his spot.
Apple: I just want to say: I love you guys, I do... except you Dad.  I hate you.

Scene: Mike and I are downstairs sitting on the couch watching TV.  Apple is upstairs.  Alone.  Not hanging out with us.
Me: "Apple!  Come down here and hang out with us!" 
Apple runs out of the bedroom and stares at us from the top of the stairs.
Me:  "Apple!  Come here!  Snuggle!!!"
Apple:  "I'm busy.  Damn hippies."
Apple turns around and runs back to the bedroom 

In her "Special Sister Mary" voice
(there's a video... if you can't see it, here's the link: )

Scene:  We're trying to put Apple's harness on so we can go outside.
Mike:  Apple, come here.
Apple:  Uhm.  No.
Mike:  Come here.
Apple:  Uhm. No thanks. You guys go without me.  I'm cool.
She runs back upstairs and puts herself in her crate.

Scene:  Apple is sitting on Mike's chest.  In bed.  At 1 AM.  STARING at his face.
Apple:  Uhm.  Dad?
Mike:  No.
Apple: Uhm.  Dad... I have to pee.
Mike:  No.  I just took you outside 15 minutes ago.  And all you did was bark at the air.
Apple:  Fine. I hope you enjoy the surprise turd I leave in your closet tonight.  Sleep tight.
Mike closes his eyes.
Apple slaps him.  With her paw.  She actually does that.
Apple: Take me outside or I will cut you.

So 4 years now we've been doing this... and we do it automatically.  It's gotten worse.  Recently, when other people ask Apple questions, we'll instinctively respond.  For example the following exchange happened at my birthday party when Apple met one of our friends for the first time:

Colin: Hi Apple! You sure are a cutie pie!
Apple looks at him and deftly avoids a gentle pat on the head scooting past him.  I provide the voice over without thinking twice.
Apple:  Yah buddy, I got shiz to do and crap on the floor to eat.  No time to chat.
Colin looks at me silently.  He blinks.  I explain that I'm insane.

We've also started doing this for babies.  Which makes things more troubling because Mike and I seem to assume that all babies have the same attitude as Apple and many parents don't agree with our foul mouth interpretations of their darling child's inner thoughts.  Most people put cute things into the mouths of speechless babes, but when we see babies, they're little smack talkers.

So far we have yet to meet anyone that does what we do.  People seem to imagine inner voices for their pets, but none of them actually have conversations with those inner voices.  So that either means that both Mike and I are insane, or insanely awesome.  Win win.  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Doppelganger Dream Theater

My husband might literally be the nicest person in the world.  Yes.  Literally.  He is so nice to everyone all the time. He’s even nice when I’m being annoying.  And I am annoying a lot.  I haven’t met everyone in the world yet, so I could be wrong… and he’s no saint, but when it comes to being nice, he’s at the top of the nice list.

Which makes it odd when I have dreams like the one I had two nights ago.

Dreams where my Mike is mean to me. 

I’ve had them at least once every six months since we’ve been together – so going on 8 years now.  And, because Mike is so nice, he actually feels guilty about the actions of Mean Dream Mike and desperately tries to find some way to make it up to me for his evil dream twin. When I tell real life Mike about my dreams, he seriously feels bad about it and apologizes! 

The subject varies, but it’s always ridiculous.  This most recent dream was one where Mean Dream Mike bought a house and paid cash because he wanted to live in a house separate from me and not pay for the mortgage.  I sobbed hysterically and he tried to calm me by saying “I don’t want a divorce; I just don’t want to live with you.”   SO MEAN! RIGHT!?

Another time I had a dream that we were at a party and he kept making fun of the stories I was telling, so I threw my punch in his face and ran and cried in another room.  Another one I remember was that he went on vacation… WITHOUT TELLING ME!

SO MEAN!!!! 

(And also, I cry a lot in my dreams. Wah wah wah)

Why do I do this?  Why do I dream that he’s mean to me?  I never dream that he cheats on me, or that he physically abuses me, but I totally dream up scenarios where he’s such a mean guy!  In the morning, I’m so relieved to discover that nice Mike is real life Mike that I’m overcome with joy and want to hug and kiss him to death and make sure he never leaves my side.    Is it because his real life persona is so nice that my subconscious has to make up for it by making him evil in my dreams? 

Why can’t I dream that he’s a superhero and then be able to tell him about that in the morning? He would be so pumped instead of depressed!  Usually when I dream about superheroes, it’s just me with the awesome skills.  Come on sub-conscious, cut the husband a break… how about cranking out an awesome superhero dream for Mike sometime?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Swim Team Superstar

When I was younger, my mom enrolled my brother and me in as many extra curricular activities as humanly possible.  By the age of 10, I had participated regularly in calligraphy lessons, chess lessons, piano lessons, cheer team, soccer team, bowling leagues, karate tournaments, tennis lessons, swim team, basketball team, children's choir, and dance lessons. This was on top of to the academic Kumon cram school, French lessons and summer Bible school.

Obviously my mom wanted us to grow into well rounded adults from all those experiences.  I think there was also probably a part of her that just needed a little break from the exhaustion caused by my constant kinetic energy (see Exhibit A below.)

Exhibit A:


For all these activities, I liked to participate and I liked to win, but I didn't like the ever present serious side of the competition.  My parents never pressured me to win at anything, and they were never upset with me for losing at anything. My mom came to all my games, tournaments, performances and competitions. She cheered me on louder than any other parent, but the only pressure I felt from her was to adhere to my obligations to a team or to a planned lesson. To her, it didn't matter if I was the best or if I was the worst as long as I participated like I had promised when I signed up. This was how my mom taught me that commitment was the most important thing to learn from these activities

Dance and Girl Scouts were the only things my mom let me quit before full participation. I quit both at the mature age of 8 after one day of each. I decided the Brownies were totally stupid because, who needs a macaroni necklace?  Certainly not me.  And later, I apparently decided that the shuffle step was stupid and promptly quit that before my mom paid for more lessons. As Logie and McPe will tell you, I totally did not need any dance instruction anyway because I am a natural born awesome dancer of total win - see video above. .  

What I didn't like about competitive events was when the parents and kids that were determined to win, lost.  I felt bad for them and I remember standing on the soccer field watching a dad yell at his daughter (who was the star player on the opposite team) for making a stupid mistake which she acknowledged and apologized for.  I was not able to understand what the big deal was or why he was mad at her.  I liked running around on the field and looking at the grass and picking up lady bugs, wearing my cute uniform, talking to my team mates, kicking the ball if it came to me, figuring out strategies and cheering when a goal was scored. So your daughter was called "offside"... who cares?  I had been called offside like 10 times in the same game already and I still had no idea what that meant. Weren't we all here at this soccer field for the oranges, string cheese and Capri Sun? Maybe if we're lucky, a Lampost Pizza Party? Just let us play some soccer so we can get to the snacks, Mr. Girl's Dad!  

I didn't like losing either, but since I was naturally pretty terrible at most sports, had no skill for the piano, couldn't beat anyone at chess and had the biggest bowling handicap in the entire league, I was used to it and it didn't bother me too much when I lost.  In solidarity, I cried whenever my team cried, but by the time I got home all I could remember was how fun it was to play the game. A perfect toe touch, bowling a Turkey or breaking away on the court with the ball were so much more thrilling than the actual win. 

As kids grew up and became better at what they did, all they seemed to care about was how to win more even if it meant the game was less fun. If  I enjoyed a sport or activity, I wanted to get better at it and be the best at it because I liked doing it. If that meant I would win, that was totally awesome.  If not, no big deal, we still get snacks, right?

My childhood zen attitude towards these activities began to falter with the only team sport I was actually really good at: Swim Team.

For my first few years, I didn't realize there was a competition to it at all.  I just liked swimming and I loved the breaststroke. For a while, I was the best at breaststroke in my age group. So long as I kept being put into breaststroke heats, I was happy.  I got good enough to be put into team relays and sometimes swam against older kids. At the end of my races they'd give me a blue or red ribbon which I threw towards my mom and ran to my towel to eat some nachos. It was perfect.  

As I got better, my competition got better.  I would swim as fast as I could, with my best stroke and still I'd come out in last place.  Normally, I'd be fine with blending into the team, being proud of my valiant yet fruitless effort and moving on, but as I got better at swimming, I began to feel pressure to win. Not from my parents, but from my coaches and team mates who were counting on me for something I  had considered a bonus instead of a goal.

Suddenly I was disappointing not only my team and coaches, but all those moms and dads in the crowd that didn't care how beautiful my frog stroke was.  I never felt this from my parents and the pressure from unknown strangers was suffocating.  My breaststroke wasn't keeping up with the competition so I was eventually moved into lower level heats in freestyle, backstroke, or the horrid butterfly stroke (which coincidentally, my brother was REALLY good at.)

I no longer enjoyed swim meets. 

Normally this might be where a kid tells his or her parents that they want to quit swim team, but since the only thing my parents asked of me from all these activities was that I stick to a commitment, I had to finish out the remainder of the new season  that they had just paid for.  So I did.  But I had to make some adjustments. 

If I was going to come in last, it was going to be to the sound of applause, cheers and hugs from my team mates.  

And how does one do that, you ask?

By choking on pool water. 

If I looked out of the corners of my eyes and saw that almost all the other swimmers had already come out of the pool and that I was dead last it meant it was time for action. 

At my next breath, I would turn my head for air and intentionally suck in a mouth full of water - urine and chlorine be damned.  As I did this I was sure to immediately tweak my stroke with a huge splash and sink a little bit and immediately bob distressingly to the safety of the divider lanes where I proceeded to spit up my mouth full of water and begin coughing loudly so that tears welled up in my eyes.  

My coaches would immediately run to the side of the pool and ask if I was ok and see if I needed any help. I had to pretend to be in such distress and so overwhelmed by coughing that I couldn't hear them until the last swimmer was out of the pool.  Once they were out, I looked at my coach with tears streaming down my face and stopped coughing while they encouraged me to finish my laps and get out of the pool.  

Which I did. Happily and slowly.

To the sound of a stadium filled with applause.  I was a hero.

I was smart enough to know I couldn't use this tactic often.  I only used it two or three times when the distance between me and the last swimmer was so great that I'd be getting out of the pool on my own anyway. It worked every time.

The only person who ever saw through my act was my brother and I'm grateful that he kept his suspicions private until my time on swim team was completely over.  When he was really little, I was obviously better than him at most things, but as we grew it was clear that he was naturally more adept at sports, music and strategy than I was. By the time I was pulling these shenanigans, I think part of him knew that I was just trying to make the best of an unhappy situation. He would know.  I simply perfected a strategy he thought up years before (see Exhibit B below.)

Exhibit B.

So the moral of the story is, if you can't beat 'em...there are a ton of other options.   True story.

Queen of Swimming, Miss Queen Universe.