Missing: Teen Brains

Part of my job as social media manager for a diabetes nonprofit is to attend and recap educational events featuring medical professionals or other experts on diabetes. Most of the time the information shared is relevant only to people with type 1 diabetes, but many times I come home with pearls of wisdom that apply to anyone.

My latest a-ha moment came during a talk by a clinical psychologist who works with teens with type 1 diabetes. He was talking about getting teens to manage their condition more diligently. He said that teens are pretty much developmentally incapable of thinking about the long-term health consequences of diabetes because part of their brain is missing. That prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that deals with executive function, attention, is not yet fully developed in teens. It won't fully develop until their mid-20’s, and even mid-30’s.

Women's March San Francisco

I've read right wingers' posts accusing liberals of being "special snowflakes" who can't handle losing the elections. The best rebuttal that I've read: Okay, so liberals are special snowflakes. Do you know what happens when a million snowflakes get together? You get A STORM. Watch out. Winter is Coming.

Yesterday, the first Winter Storm happened. I'm talking about the Women's March. On January 21, the day after Trump's inauguration, about half a million people marched in Washington DC to support women's rights, equality, diversity, and inclusion (and yes, to voice their opposition to Donald Trump). They were joined by millions more in hundreds of cities across the US and the world. In the Bay Area, where we live, there were 3 marches to choose from: Oakland, San Jose, and San Francisco. The Pea and I originally planned to attend the San Jose rally, but when it turned out she needed to go to San Francisco to buy pointe shoes, we decided to attend the San Francisco march instead. Armed with our pink pussycat hats, rain jackets, and rally posters, we headed up to the city to add ourselves to the headcount of people who wanted to be a part of something big. Boy, what a crazy, amazing, inspiring experience it was!

Thanks, Trump

So the day I've been dreading since November 8 has arrived: Donald Trump's inauguration. It's going to be a long, frustrating 4 years. I've already begun the countdown to the 2020 elections. But what to do in the meantime? For starters, I'm attending tomorrow's Women's March in San Francisco.

Our Christmas newsletter 2016

Every year I write out a family newsletter to include with our holiday cards, and every year I go back and forth about sending it out. Is it really worth the time, effort, printer ink, and paper? Is it too braggy? Too swaggy? Does anyone really read it?  This year I decided to write the newsletter but only share it with immediate family. I'm truly the worst at calling and emailing my siblings and parents, so this newsletter really does keep them updated. Unfortunately, I've been extraordinarily absent-minded this holiday season (for the first time ever I found myself scrambling to buy presents for the kids on December 24!), so I forgot to send out the newsletter. Fortunately, I still have this blog, so my work isn't going to waste. 

Celebrate the holidays with Disney's Viva Navidad street party

 Disney's California Adventure Viva Navidad street party

Parades are one of the most popular attractions at the Disneyland Resort. Every day, people line the sidewalks of Disneyland Park's Main Street USA to stake out good viewing spots. It's not unheard of for people to get settled 60-90 minutes before the parade begins, taking turns with family members to get food or go to the restroom. We've done this many times, but now that the kids are older, they prefer to take advantage of decreased attraction wait times during parades. Besides, they've seen all the current parades anyway... or so we thought. At our most recent Disneyland visit, we discovered one of the resort's best-kept secrets: Disney California Adventure's Viva Navidad Street Party. It's festive and fun, and you can arrive with just five minutes to spare and still get a great viewing spot!

Saying goodbye to the Hollywood Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror has always been my favorite ride at the Disneyland Hotel. No matter how many times I ride it, I always come out with my hands shaking and my throat raw from screaming. So I had mixed feelings when Disney Parks announced that the ride would be getting a Guardians of the Galaxy makeover in 2017. They'll be keeping the elevator-drop mechanism, but completely redoing the exterior as well as the ride visuals and sound effects. I've been through enough ride closures and openings to know that whatever they come up with will be nothing short of Marvel-ous, but I do feel a twinge of sadness at the loss of my favorite ride.

Date Night at Bowlero

Now that the kids are older, date night with Alfie is easier than ever. And yet, somehow, date night is still a rarity. I know all the magazines and relationship experts tell you to schedule regular date nights to keep the romance alive, but honestly, we're happy just vegging out on the couch together when The Pea is at dance and the boys are at soccer practice. It's a lot cheaper and takes up far less energy!

Make your own Mickey Mouse t-shirt with fabric transfers

Who doesn't love a Mickey Mouse t-shirt?  I'm a big Disney fan, so I'll wear a Mickey tee any day of the year, even when I'm not at a Disney Park! Disney tees at the Disney Store or Disney Park tend to be expensive ($25 and up), but fortunately you can find Disney tees for as little as $10-$15 at stores like Target, Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Old Navy, and UNIQLO.

Many people like to make their own Disney shirts, not just to save money but to have something that's truly one-of-a-kind. Mickey is notoriously difficult to draw properly, so most DIY Mickey shirts involve printing a design on iron-on transfer paper. In my opinion, unless you have a really good laser printer, your iron-on design tshirt is still going to look homemade. I would far rather hand paint or screen paint a shirt -- check out my post with instructions for painting a tshirt with freezer paper stencils!

Another great alternative to ironing on a Mickey printout is to iron on a fabric Mickey applique. It's so easy to do, and the result looks great. Watch the video I made to find out how:

A roller coaster of emotions

Two weeks ago, I mailed in my ballot. I was excited. The world was full of hope and change. The past 18 months had been a nightmare of homophobia, xenophobia, and misogyny. My mood rose and fell with Hilary Clinton's standing in the polls, but on the whole I felt confident. I meticulously researched every candidate and measure on the ballot because I wanted to do my civic duty. I was indifferent to a few measure and unsure of others, but I had no doubt that I was on the right side of history with my choice for president.

Halloween Costume Watch 2016

Halloween this year has been a low key -- possibly even no key -- affair. How odd is that? Halloween is my favorite holiday, and for the past 15 years I've decorated the house to the hilt, baked and crafted up a storm, and documented every single bit of it. I just wasn't feeling it this year. Maybe it's because our weekends have been extra busy, maybe it's because the kids are older, maybe it's because I'm older. Whatever the reason, I've ended up taking a break from Halloween. Our only decorations this year were five pumpkins (actually there are only 3 left because we carved 2 of them too early and they rotted. That's why I'm featuring Marissa Mayer's giant pumpkin on this post instead of ours). The only thing I baked this month was a pan of brownies for The Pea's advisory class (they had Halloween sprinkles on them, so plus 3 points for me).

That doesn't mean we're not dressing up for Trick or Treating tonight (hey, I'm uninspired, not dead). The kids must have caught my mood, because they weren't too excited about Halloween costumes... that is, until there were just 2 days left. All of a sudden they came up with all kinds of ideas, so we spent the weekend augmenting their costumes and crafting up a storm. Their costumes turned out great, and all our efforts seem to have reawakened our Halloween cheer!