Well, wouldn’t you know it? My son Takeshi took THREE 1st Place awards, including an “Overall” trophy at L.A.’s “Ironman Naturally” competition today. I’m really proud of him. He really put his heart and soul into it. I’m sure he had the jitters as this was his first competition.
Just a pictorial of his accomplishments today. His “first” 1st Place in Physique Class A:
His “second” 1st Place in Physique Class B:
And his Overall 1st Place for Physique Class A/B:
Some shots from on stage; the guy in the center took the trophy for this mixed class:
And after the competition – a chance for a photo-op with the champ!
And yes, for those who are wondering, my physique surpasses that of my son. I’m just being modest and hiding my ripped body with my Green Bay Packers sweatshirt – which is too big now with all the weight I had lost.
And some of his friends and supporters were there, of course.
My oldest daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter Emi were also there for the morning half of the competition. You should have seen the winding line of thousands who were trying to get in when the doors opened!
The kid done good, yes?! Congratulations, Takeshi!
(Oh… A qualification. All of these photos had to be taken with my cellphone as they disallowed cameras. 😦 )
Even way up in Seattle. Her killing me is not restricted to home. It is unrelenting.
While some of her photographs will be shown below, a quick she’s-killing-me story first.
We weren’t even in Seattle for three hours when the onslaught continued. (Don’t think she didn’t try to kill me during the flight. Even my warning her of plain clothes air marshals being on board didn’t deter her.).
After quickly checking in, we met my good friend Rick; like any good buddy, he treated my two kids and me to dinner.
As I had brought some cigars for him but forgot them in the room, we had to return to the hotel. While he and his gal waited in the lobby, I escorted the kids up to the room.
Knowing my Little Cake Boss Diva, I sternly said, “Brooke, do NOT touch anything, OK?”
“Okaaay-ah!” she replied… and I headed back down to the lobby, cigars in hand.
I wasn’t with him for more than fifteen minutes before I returned to the room. Yes, I was worried she was up to something.
So I opened the door. Wham. A rush of frigid artic air hit me. Mumbles (from Happy Feet) would have been pleased.
At the other end of the room, there she was on top of the air conditioner grill…sitting on a blue bed cover sheet with her butt square in the middle with her hands on either side trying to keep the sheet down. She was attempting to stop the flow of air conditioned air blasting out of the A/C. Talk about the Lucy Show. She was Lucy. I was Ricky, down to the “Ai-ya-yai, Lucy!”
Before I could yell, “Brooke!”, Jack immediately ratted out on his sister.
“Papa, she was doing something that she wasn’t supposed to and turned on the air conditioner! She doesn’t know how to turn it off so it’s freezing in here!” He was very pleased with himself for tattling.
Now I could yell, “Brooke! I told you NOT to touch anything!”
“Hee-hee…” she replied with her trademark “I’m VERY innocent” smile making for a happy face complete with adorable chubby cheeks..
I turned off the air then she scampered over to the one cup coffee brewer. What do you all that gizmo? A Keurig? Sure enough, there was one empty slot. She had brewed herself some coffee.
“Brooke! What were you doing brewing yourself coffee?! You don’t even know how to use that thing!”
“Welllll-ah! I was freezing-ah! And I can read (the directions) so I made myself something like a latte, okaaaay-ah? Sheesh!”
She’s only twelve. OMFG.
Anyways, that’s one of her traits…besides doing the opposite of what I say. She has to try everything…except clean her room.
So as in my previous post – and not being pleased with the way Jack was taking pictures – she commandeered my pretty new bazillion dollar Canon DSLR for pretty much the rest of the trip.
I only gave her one pointer: to cradle the lens with her left hand while shooting. For once, she actually followed my instructions.
But anyways, here are some of her photos taken with my bazillion dollar camera:
The last two weeks have been exciting if not challenging with all the kids’ activities.
In addition to an 8th grade party and his 14th birthday, my youngest son Jack has graduated 8th grade and is heading off to high school come September. Not only did he receive recognition for perfect attendance, he also made honor roll.
In addition, my Little Cake Boss Diva has had rehearsals – lots of them – culminating in recitals… Twelve performances in total Friday, Saturday and Father’s Day Sunday. During the past ten days or so, I must have made at least 25 round trips taking both her and food to and from dance rehearsals and performances. Believe me, I have enough for TWO “She’s Killing Me” stories but you won’t be bored with them now; I shall refrain.
Insofar as these rehearsals and recitals go, she needs to be dropped off in full makeup and costume an hour before the start of every event. But as I dropped her off on Saturday and watched her get to the entrance, it was clear that she was no longer my little girl.
Still scatterbrained, though…Her brain has ceased to function now that school is over except she still wouldn’t let me take her picture.
Well, maybe just this one, taken with my cell phone past 10pm and after tonight’s recital. It was taken in the light flowing out from the main lobby of the performing arts center.
But my girl and boy are not the focus of this post… “Some disappointment” is my focus.
While my Little Cake Boss Diva performed five routines flawlessly Friday night (opening number, lyrical, tap, jazz, ballet), it’s about what the dance school decided to name the recital: Arabian Nights. That is the source of the disappointment for me. Of course, I have no say-so in the matter.
Perhaps it’s just the patriotism in me that’s clouding my vision – but it’s there plain as day. Arabian Nights. No, I am not racist but I do feel we are at war. It is abundantly clear our young boys are dying each day in a godforsaken region in which Arabian Nights is based upon yet this implies something else to me.
Let us view it differently. If a dance school in 1942 were to name their recital “Celebration of Nazi Folklore” or “A Tokyo Love Story”, would there be some boycotting or outrage? I would think so. Remember there were death camps and executions of prisoners of war. Besides, it just wouldn’t make sense. We were at war… and we are now.
Their opening number was called “Arabian Jewels”. Other performances were entitled “40 Thieves” and “Walk Like an Egyptian” (talk about stereotyping).
How about a theme like “The Andrew Sisters” with tap dancing to songs like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”? Or how about celebrating the much needed morale boosting supplied by the Hollywood Canteen? Think of all the marvelous smiles these stars like Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis, Ray Bolger and Ginger Rogers provided our service men and women with their dance at the Hollywood Canteen. Wouldn’t that would be something that these girls could dance to?
Has the foundation upon which our country is based crumbled that far? At least we recited the Pledge of Allegiance at Jack’s graduation.
Anyways, I was just expressing some disappointment. I’m sure to many, this may be seen as cultural awareness. I do loathe sharia law which is intertwined in Arabian Nights. It is totally contra to our Constitution.
I guess the answer lies within which side of the fence you are on.
Unfortunately, I am a dog. A dog that loves to sit on a human’s legs. But unfortunately, dogs don’t have nine lives, you know.
Her mind is on summer vacation; school is out this week. It is a signal to her brain to cease functioning. Well, not completely. She can still text like crazy.
While her brain is normally stock full of smarts, it is now replaced with shades of nail polish, texts, BFFs, the mall(s), dance… and scatter-itis.
Scatter-itis, like scatter-brained in layman’s terms.
And she did not get that from me – but since it is me who is writing this, I can say that.
My Little Cake Boss Diva was with her mother last week and as in every school year before, she has to turn in her textbooks.
Simple…unless your brain has stopped functioning.
So my last visit to the gallows started at her orthodontist on Friday morning, June 12th. Not that her mother told me she was taking her.
I will let my Little Cake Boss Diva’s texts speak for themselves:
So I planned to be at home when school got out… so she could see for herself her textbook wasn’t here LIKE I SAID. One thing about my Little Cake Boss Diva: once she thinks she’s right, not even a jackhammer the size of Bumblebee can break it up. (She did not get that from me.)
I slowly bled to death in those seven hours. I had so many morphine shots administered that addiction is looming. And perhaps you may be wondering why we didn’t talk on her iPhone that I bought and pay for monthly?
Somebody, please help me.
I am running out of lives.
BUT, the saga of her killing me for the bazillionth time is not over… Not justyet. She is still with her mom who is supposed to take care of all her dance stuff by virtue of the divorce agreement. (You know, the same mom who apparently made no real effort to locate her textbook.)
The very next day – June 13th – my Little Cake Boss Diva was thoughtful enough to have arranged for my funeral services. She even gave the eulogy from her mid-day Saturday dance class via iPhone. Isn’t technology amazing?
Her eulogy via her iPhone began like this:
Luckily, I was an un-dead. I had not been cremated yet so I managed to get into my car and drive to her dance studio by 12:30. While I was certain her precious sheet of paper was not in my house, I knew she would not be satisfied unless she came to inspect her impeccably un-tidy room herself. She thinks she’s always right, you know.
So she comes out a few minutes late (as usual), lugging her abundantly odoriferous dance bag and her plastic “dance bucket” filled with 1,000 pairs of her various dance shoes.
As soon as she got in, I expertly maneuvered the car out of the battle zone filled with crazed dance moms driving their battle tanks. I think my Little Cake Boss Diva expected me to give her a piece of my mind for the textbook fiasco just the day before but I instead calmly asked, “Brooke, are you SURE it’s not at mama’s or in your dance bag?”
“Yessssss-ah! And it’s not at mama’s!” she annoying replies in her valley girl phonetics.
I look at her bucket and see a small corner of a piece of paper through the jumbled mess of 1,000 pairs of shoes. “Brooke, did you look in your bucket? The bucket you carry to dance class five days a week?”
“Yessssssssss-ah!” she instantly says while gesturing with her hands, palms up, fingers spread out… then looks down at the bucket, pushes around a couple of shoes, and pulls out the paper she was looking for… You know, the vital paper she said was not at her mother’s house but at my house…in the bucket she sticks her manicured fingers into many times a week.
“Oooops… Hee-hee-hee…” grinning then saying, “Sorry.” No sorrrrry-ah, though.
I turn the car around and drop her off without saying a word. My body is late for the cremation, you know.
She reminds me of the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. By virtue of his timepiece, the rabbit knows he is late and is frantic about it.
And my Little Cake Boss Diva Rabbit also has a clock; it is the world’s biggest clock and it is on the home screen of her iPhone. You know. She has to swipe through it to get to her precious texting screen.
But unlike the rabbit, she does not panic when she sees the world’s biggest clock for it apparently serves no useful purpose. Perhaps she is blind. For her, it is better to be three hours late than one minute early.
It is a daily school nightmare ritual when she stays with me. The school bell rings at 8:55 am. Sometimes, she finally gets into the car at 8:54 am… still barefoot. But by the time we get to the school, she is still barefoot because she has been messing around with her hair in the backseat while looking at herself on her iPhone… You know, the one with the world’s biggest clock.
Her precious dance classes are no different. Let us take one example; mind you, she has EIGHT dance classes a week.
Her ritual is this. Say her dance class starts at 6:30 pm.
Brooke at 6:15 pm from her bathroom (with a mirror that the vain and wicked stepmother in Snow White would be jealous of), “OK, I’m ready.”
I can still hear her hairbrush clanking against the sink along with the occasional hiss from her hair spray. I don’t move from my couch.
Me, at 6:25 pm: “Brooke, we need to go…”
Silence… but I can hear her rustling in her room. Maybe she’s looking for her dance shoes. She’s got four kinds of them, you know.
Me, at 6:29 pm: “Brooke, I’ll be waiting in the car, okaaay?”
A minute later, out she comes… Yes! Oops. She goes back in again. Half a minute later, she emerges and runs to the car…barefoot. But she drags along her bag that has Nordstrom’s entire shoe selection in it. No kidding. I guess she couldn’t decide which dance shoe to wear for this one class.
We get to her dance school in a couple of minutes but it’s 6:32 pm already. I carefully drive into the cramped war zone called a parking lot; it is filled with crazed dance moms who stop their battle tank dead in the middle of the aisle instead of off to one side to let their daughters off. One mother actually turns on her emergency blinkers. Nobody can move until that mother moves. But they don’t care… because their battle tank is equipped a 105mm cannon…front and rear. Nobody dares asks them to move to one side.
Brooke? She’s still putting hair pins into her “bun”.
There are other late mothers lining up behind me, still trying to battle their way through the war zone littered with SUVs and minivans going every which way except forward. I can see she still is not ready so I need to find a parking spot in this war zone. Unfortunately, these mothers in their SUVs think they truly are in M1A1 Abrams battle tanks and take up two spots. They do it on purpose, relegating us lowly men to one. They believe they are entitled to two spots. After all, this is California, land of entitlement.
After a minute or two, I step out of the car. I can’t stand to watch. She is still fussing with her hair bun. (Remember: she said she was ready at 6:15?)
Oh-oh… Here she comes. It’s 6:40 pm. Class started ten minutes ago.
What’s this?! She’s got her shoes on? Golly-gee-willikers. And she’s running like the rabbit? Perhaps she has finally realized she is… late?
By the way… I am always on time. My oldest daughter is always on time, too. She got that from me.
…But my Little Cake Boss Diva’s (non-)sense of time? You can figure that one out.
But now, it will have to be My Little Cake Boss…DIVA.
That’s right. My Little Cake Boss Diva.
After (manipulatively) maneuvering me over several weeks, she entrapped me into taking her and two friends on a shopping frenzy (for them, not me). My back ached for days. My fingers developed callouses from having to hold their bazillion shopping bags that weighed over a hundred pounds each.
But I am a slow learner. Yes, I am.
From about the time of the shopping frenzy, she had already begun her next manipulation.
Hindsight is always 100%, you know.
“Papa, don’t you think my hair looks nice? It’s really more bronze, yeah? Feel it.”
“Yes, its soft and bronze at the ends, just like Robyn’s (my oldest daughter),” I said.
She brought it up again…within a couple of days of the first.
“Papa, what did Robyn use to highlight her hair?”
WTF? Her mother (illegally) does hair. Why doesn’t she ask her? I said, “I don’t know.”
But I am a slow learner… or a real slow catcher-oner. (That’s supposed to be a word and it’s in Webster’s.) Perhaps dense is a better descriptive, especially when it comes to girl jabber. I mean, girl talk.
A few days later, “Papa, you know my hair is really a dark, bronze color… Do you think my hair would look better with lighter highlights or darker red highlights like Robyn had?”
But I played coy… I played dumb. But I texted Robyn so that I could be prepared. “What did you use to highlight your hair?”
“I used a Groupon deal,” she answered.
So I texted my USAF buddy’s wife, Ms. S. She’s a girlie girl. She should know.
“Oh, it’s really tricky to do it yourself. You should take her to get it done.”
The whole world is against me.
So on Sunday, April 12th (three days before income tax returns are due), I tell her in the morning, “Oooookay, Bu-chan… Let’s go get your hair highlighted.”
You should have seen her face light up. It was as if Little Miss Energy got plugged into a 220v socket. For the first time in her life, she got into the car…somewhat quickly. Who am I kidding? She took 20 minutes. She had to change and brush her hair…and get her iPhone, of course.
I take her to this salon nearby that the gals have told me about. I drive up. It’s closed. WTF?
So we drove across the street to this fancy-schmancy place the WOMEN tell me about (i.e., $$$). It was a little past 10 am so I was hoping to get her a walk-in. Parked out in front and the sign said OPEN. Well, it was not. What’s with these women places??! Barbershops are open on Sunday!
So the Little Cake Boss Diva gets on her phone and says there’s a salon open. I never ask her to tell me where some place is because 30 miles is down the block to her. Luckily, it was about 15 minutes away. She calls but the line’s busy. We go anyways.
Well, they were booked up solid… She looked kinda sad but I knew of this one other place next to Yum-Yum Donuts that was for sure open…and it was close to the house.
We get there. They take her.
She sits in the chair. Out comes her iPhone. Selfie time, I guess.
This time, my Little Cake Boss literally left me holding the bag(s)… for over an hour.
My knees crumbled under the weight.
Two vertebrae were crushed.
But I persevered. I mentally made myself to be one of our heroic Marines, carrying a wounded buddy to safety… while on the receiving end of an enemy barrage.
I had the kids for ten days this time; I’m guessing their mother got another invitation to travel with a certain “somebody”. The fact she didn’t take my son to piano tells me it must’ve been some trip. She didn’t even tell her own kids where she would be going. Unbelievable.
Maybe it was court ordered community service.
Nah. Wishful thinking.
But the Little Cake Boss had been asking me for over a couple of weeks if I could take her shopping with her friends. She said she was loaded with greenbacks and gift cards. She even remembered how much she got from whom.
See. Women never forget.
So I often asked her during those ten days, “When? Saturday or Sunday?”
Forget even asking what time. She uses an hour glass that she forgets to turnover.
Or even the logistics. “How many of you are going?” “When am I to pick them up…and from where?” LOL
And when I ask again, she gets mad…again.
Well, I guess I should be happy she asked me and not her mom.
So Friday evening comes…and OMG. She has a plan…kinda.
“Can you take us on Sunday, Papa?” she asks.
“Sure, Bu-chan (my nickname for her). Who and at what time?”
“I don’t know yet,” she says.
Long story short, I end up picking up one of her BFF’s, “N”, at her house on Sunday at 10:45 am… and this is after the plans changed once again that morning. Her other BFF, “A”, is now having her mother drop her off at the mall at 11:00 “in front of Nordstrom’s”. She tells me this as we near the mall. (Never mind I was forced to clean the WHOLE house Saturday as “A’s” mother was supposed to be dropping her off at my house… Grrr…)
“In front of Nordstrom’s, Bu-chan?” I ask.
“Yessssss,” she annoying answers as I apparently interrupted the two girls I am chapperoning. They are the paying customers, you know.
“Bu-chan… I think there are five entrances to Nordstrom’s…” says I.
She doesn’t answer. Cha-ching. Got her. Finally. “Have her meet us in front of Lazy Dog Cafe then,” I say.
She still doesn’t really answer because her old man got her. She hates that because she’s the Boss. I can see her hurriedly texting “A”. She’s a text queen, you know.
Anyways, I can’t remember how many stores they hit… Translation: how many HOURS… and while she knew I would have to tag along, she “hinted” I didn’t have to stand “close” to them. Sheesh.
Then, the 1-1/2 hour nightmare… It’s the equivalent of a woman having to stand for hours on end in the Craftsman Tool section at Sears while the man drools…
They hit the cosmetics section.
Lancome, even. Criminy.
I didn’t know twelve year old girls could get so giddy.
They were crazed. I think their brains stopped working. They went from “thing” to another “thing” in there. I have no frickin’ idea what the stuff they slathered on their faces were called. There were just a bazillion colors. They would put it on then wipe it off. They used a bazillion black or white sticks with stiff little bristles at the end that they took to their eyes while standing millimeters away from the mirror…all whilst contorting their faces. They stood so close, they blocked out the sun standing in front of those full-length mirrors.
Oh…and don’t forget… I indeed got stuck holding the bag(s)…
But I persevered… for over six hours.
Think about it. I could have flown from JFK to LAX on the Spirit of St. Louis in less time…and stopped to refuel.
Oh… They went back to the opposite end of the mall afterwards… to hit Sephora.
That’s another makeup place for you guys.
Short Stories about World War II. One war. Two Countries. One Family