Posts filed under Nothing to Do with Anything


Last week Arnold and I joined the year 2007 and got our first iPhones. Obviously we only now only communicate via Siri now which means I spend my whole day getting texts that say things like "I'm coming hope to eat some mitzi-trufuletta". Excellent. Mitzi-trufuletta sounds great to me.

In addition to exploring the wonder that is texting ( we didn't have a text plan before!) I also got to join Instagram! Like the rest of the world I am now taking pictures of every mundane part of my day, adding a filter and calling it art. If you don't mind following somebody who adds and deletes photos at a drunken pace please friend/follow/join me on instagram. My user name is NotoriousMLE!

Posted on March 14, 2012 and filed under Nothing to Do with Anything.

Grumpalumpagus and a Giveaway

There are people in the world who like to volunteer. They cheerfully and willingly give up their time to good causes. I am not one of those people. Ocasionally though I get confused and sign up to help out with something. When the day comes to fulfill  the commitment I always regret having signed up. Always. It was in this begrudging spirit that I went to sell Christmas cards at my church gift fair yesterday. I was dreading it. You would think that selling cards for a company that employs young people orphaned in the Rwandan genocide and former-prostitutes who've escaped the trade would motivate me to show up bright-eyed and bushy tailed. It didn't. I rolled in late, disheveled and rebellious.

Luckily there's nothing though like 5 hours of talking up a program that gives people who've suffered immeasurable injustice the chance for decent living wages to turn your ridiculous heart around. Even a grumpalumpagus like me was swayed. By the end of the first hour I was heartened by how excited everybody was about the greeting cards. Little old ladies who watch their pennies religiously were excitedly planning who they would gift with their "special cards" and people I've seen every week at church but never talked to were throwing in extra donations to the cause.

And then they fed me lunch! A special "volunteers only" lunch served in the "serenity lounge" (Catholic school teachers breakroom). It was three different kinds of soup and homemade cornbread lovingly made by scratch by a retired chef from the congregation. By the end of the day my heart was filled with love and my belly was topped off with soup.

So I guess that's why people like volunteering?

Still high off my foray into the world of "stuff good people do" I'd like to give away a pack of these super-awesome handmade greeting cards. Here's the deal. Check out the company here and then leave a comment on this post telling me what you like about volunteering. I'll anounce the winner the week after Thasnkgving.

Posted on November 20, 2011 and filed under Nothing to Do with Anything.


My birthday was last week and my new age is only remarkable in that I am now the same age as my good imaginary friend Bridget Jones. Like her, I am still giggling like a schoolgirl with my girlfriends, falling off of gym equipment, eating too much dessert and in search of my "inner poise". Quite frankly, it is impossible for me to imagine myself any other way.

Posted on September 21, 2011 and filed under Nothing to Do with Anything.

The Bright Side

A lot of times my life is amazing, it's full of adorable toddlers and tacos! Sometimes though life is not at all fun. I'd like to share some not-at-all-random examples:

  1. You are being audited by the IRS.
  2. Your plumbing backs up (again) spilling toxic sludge into your laundryroom. This toxic sludge evaporates and infiltrates your banking account somehow magically removing funds.
  3. You are at the courthouse for multiple hours (again) to continue filing the never-ending adoption paperwork for a child that screamed from 6 pm-7pm the night previous.
  4. The funding of your work project is best described as "unpredictable"

I know! You all are so jealous. :) You want to BE ME! I'm not saying all this stuff to whine (yes I am). I am saying it because blogging can give the impression that people have perfect lives which is not true for anybody. My life is blessed but it is not perfect. For every chocolate fest there is a disaster and somedays I just want to crawl under my desk, polish off a plate of cookies and hide like so...

But ( I hope you knew there was a but!) even when life is feeling crappy, and your crapper is not complying there is always something to celebrate. A few more not-at-all-random examples.

  1. You got Invisalign braces. (Cue the funeral march of your frankenteeth)
  2. The comforter you've been wanting since for-ever from Anthropologie went on a magical sale and your put-upon husband agreed to the "too-bright" design.
  3. Your child started sleeping thorugh the night again.
  4. Your running Bay to Breakers this weekend with all your friends.
  5. You received a Twitter DM from Rick Bayless congratulting you on being 1/2 way thorugh your cookbook project.

and oh yeah. Your friend completed her LAST round of chemo!



Posted on May 11, 2011 and filed under Nothing to Do with Anything.

A solitude of space

There is a solitude of spaceA solitude of sea
A solitude of death, but these
Society shall be
Compared with that profounder site
That polar privacy
A soul admitted to itself --
Finite infinity.-Emily Dickinson

I am a person who plays well with others. Friendly, outgoing and loud are all words that have been frequently deployed to describe me. Do you need someone to be your public speaker? Sure! Want me to facilitate a meeting? It would be my pleasure.

“People” is something I’m good at.

Except… I realize now that “people” kind of takes it out of me. I suspected this but I never truly knew it until I became a Mom. When you become a parent your whole life becomes “people”. A little person in the morning who shouts “Mama!” gaily at 6:30 am. A little person in the afternoon who screams inconsolably into your arms because he is so tired he’s lost his words. With a child you are almost never, ever alone and the second I lost my alone time I realized its importance.

Alone time is the white gallery wall that highlights the art. It’s the pause that helps you enjoy the symphony’s last minute. It’s the breath before the sigh. The pinch of salt that brings out the sweet.

In the rare moments I’m alone now I can physically feel my body re-setting. My shoulders relax, my heart thumps along slow and contented. I can feel myself becoming a person again. Humpty Dumpty, filling up the cracks and misplaced shell.

Two weeks ago we had the best time ever: playing in the snow with friends who are like family. Surrounded by his doting Tíos and Tías Elian’s eyes sparkled with joy and wonder. Relieved of the duty of caring for him alone Arnold and I relaxed sloppily: we enjoyed all of the freedom of not-parenting with none of the guilt.

It was bliss.

I notice though that Elian needs time to be alone. At some point his joy makes him manic, exhausted by fun he dissolves into tears. Two Fridays ago as I kissed away the tired I remembered again how important it is to spend time alone, no matter how much you enjoy the company of others. So on Saturday I stayed at the cabin with Elian while the others headed off to Emerald Bay.

I put him to sleep and happily sat down with a bag of chips and hot chocolate to read the afternoon away. I sat there alone in the stillness watching the waves and thought of my little one, sleeping in the other room, sighing in his sleep.

I thought about the ways he teaches me what I need through displaying his limits. His need to rest reminds me that I too am sometimes so very tired. His tears remind me that we all have to remember to temper our socialness with reprieves.  It’s in teaching him that I learn in ways I couldn’t otherwise. He is like a mirror to my faults; with each tear he sheds I discover a crack in my own heart that needs repairing. So on Saturday we spent time together being alone. He in his crib, sleeping in a shaft of golden sun and me on the couch curled up with hot chocolate, chips and a good book.

Together in our solitude, we filled our souls and rested our bodies.

Posted on February 9, 2011 and filed under Nothing to Do with Anything.

Breaking News

I've been a bit neglectful of the blog and the Internet world in general lately but that's because I've been working on a surprise side project: I went to the snow! OH wait, that wasn't the side project, that was tomorrow's post. Focus Senorita Notoriosa!


The real deal is that I wrote a profile of local blogger Katie Swanberg which I entered in a local journalism contest. Even though I publish things on the internet all the time this was very scary. The SacPress is much more widely read than my blog so I felt much more exposed.

The submissions will be graded on many criteria and among them is community participation. So, pretty please as a favor to me. Would you mind hopping over to Sac Press, reading my article and perhaps leave a comment with your thoughts? You can click here to get there.

Snowlady MLE says thank you!

Posted on January 31, 2011 and filed under Nothing to Do with Anything.

Bueno Bag

A Hasty Life

Today's post is part of A Hasty's Life "It's in the Bag Blog Crawl". Today I'm taking the torch from La Georgia Paperie to tell you all about what's in my bag. Get, ready, get set. Go!

First off, I have to say that this is my work bag. I mean, duh. It's obviously not a clutch.

This bag is awesome, but we didn't get off to a great start. My grandma gave her to me as a hand-me-down and I didn't like the gold hardware. Then a few years ago I decided that I should be like an Indian princess and wear gold all the time every day as all beautiful Indian princesses do.

After this life-changing decision I was cleaning out my closet and I re-found my bag, set eyes on it's lovely gold hardware and finally opened it up. That's when I discovered the label!

Turns out my bag is BUENO! Just like me. Well actually I am BUENA, but we don't have to get too picky about subject agreement.

B is for BUENO, it's good enough for me!

Now, are you ready for the exciting contents? What does La Notoriousa carry with her every day?

The answer is: not too much. I do not like carrying crap around because I come from a long line of women who pack appallingly large purses full of snacks, alarm clocks and flashlights. You know, just in case! Once my Grandma got stuck in an elevator and within seconds she had produced snacks, water and a flashlight. She probably had a fold-up sleeping bag in there too. But I digress...

The point is, despite my pedigree I am not prepared for most emergency situations. I forget to bring important stuff on the regular. I tell myself that it's part of my charm.

However there are two non-essentials that I always have. Number 1 is my camera. I have a Canon S90 that I love dearly and bring everywhere to practice for Foto School Sundays! Non-essential Number 2 is a mini-tape measure. I have a teeny-tiny thrift store addiction. I use the tape measure to ensure that the items I buy are the correct scale for my house. I know. DESIGN NERD alert!

So, there you go! That's what's in my bag. Yeah, baby, Yeah! Tomorrow I'm handing off the reigns to Semper Fi Mama. If your new and visiting thorugh the blog crawl a big Welcome to you! Come back tomorrow for Five for Friday!

Posted on January 19, 2011 and filed under Nothing to Do with Anything.

Emily makes a plan

Ha ha! Got you again. Today I am talking about myself in third person, because it's fun, and catchy and reminds me of that 90s show Clarissa explains it all which I never got to watch because we didn't have cable.  :( But as usual. I digress.

So on Monday I was talkin big about my BIG dreams and my BIG plans to be stupid-fearless and I alluded to a plan. As you all know well, I love plans, checklists, spreadsheets and things of that nature so when Jenny suggested the following simple plan I was all over it.

Why don't you just use your blog and write one short story/essay a week. At the end of the year you'll have 52 and you can pick out the themes and form a short story collection.

I know! Jenny is quite possibly a brilliant, mad genius! Even better? I've essentially been writing a short story once a week or so for most of the past year so my current plan is to KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON! At the end of the year I should have about 50 stories and then you guys can help me sort out a theme and we'll have a real-life little book sketch that we've done? Right? I love it.

And I love you guys too. Just thought you should know, in case I hadn't said so lately.

Okay, now it's time for you to help me write my short-story book. What makes the best short stories? Musings on my courtship with Arnold. (I assure you this story is ca-razay). Life lessons? Like "How I learned to not just be a geek." or the "Naturally a Disaster" variety like "When appliances attack". Let me know. I'll do my best to acquiesce to your excellent judgment.

Eternal Love,

Notoriously dumber and less fearful MLE

Posted on January 12, 2011 and filed under Livin la Vida Loca, Nothing to Do with Anything.

Emily Explains it All

Ha ha got you! I bet you thought I was going to talk about how wise and deliciously intelligent I am, but I'm not! Today, I'm going to tell you about the wisdom of another Emily. Specifically, Ms. Emily Henderson, who won last years Next Design Star competition.

As you know, I am a big supporter of Emilys so when one of our kind won a Design Show I was psyched. Obviously I immediately had to start following her blog and sending her lunatic tweets. I can't help it, I have to be me! Anyways, last year she did a post about a decision she made in early 2010 that led to her auditioning for the show. You can find the post here. I could give you my summary of my favorite parts but instead I'll use the magic of cut and paste to share it with you in quote format.

So what was different about 2010, eh?  Well, for starters i woke up January 1st, and was all, 'ok, life, fine, you asked for it, Emily Henderson is about to care less about what people think and take a few risks'. Cause, you want to know the real truth?  I was sick of people that are less smart and less talented being more successful because they have less fear. You heard me, and you know what I'm talking about.  Big words from a little blond, i know.  I hope that doesn't come across boastful, cause I'm not saying I'm the smartest or most talented, but I kept seeing the same thing over and over, and was a little tired of wondering why it wasn't happening to me. -Emily Henderson

Uh, does that hit any of you between the eyes? Cause it sure affected me. Maybe it's cause she's an Emily, or maybe it's because I  see so many  dum-dums getting ahead in life because they don't know they're stupid. C'mon, I know that you are all thinking of the dum-dum you know that is wildly successful despite being an idiot. They are out there in droves.

Don't worry, this is not going to be a blog post that rails against stupidity. I like to keep it positive. In fact this is actual a pro-dummy post. I've really been thinking about what she said and it's time for me to be more fearless. Sure, I'll probably make some spectacular mistakes but if you've read this blog for any length of time you'll know that it's not like I'm currently mistake free! Please! In the words of Cher Horowitz, "as if".

So I decided this is the year to stop  mulling/thinking/half-wishing that I was a professional writer, blogger, creative-person and instead take steps to make it happen.

Enter Jenny, a friend of a friend who is an actual writer. She is currently finishing a young adult novel that will be published. Obviously she is awesome. We went to dinner last Friday and I was talking to her about writing and she said "Would you like to write a book?" and I was like, uh, I don' know? To which our mutual friend Char replied "Of course you would!" with an astounding amount of confidence.

You know how sometimes people outside you see you more clearly than you see yourself? I think it was like that but I wasn't convinced yet. After all Char did once convince me to see Scream 3 in the movie theater. I still haven't recovered.

In reply to Char's assertion I began listing all the boring and practical reasons I don't have time to write a book. My full-time job, my child, what would I write about?, blah, blah, blah.

Mercifully Jenny interrupted me "Okay, pretend, I'm a publisher and I said 'I will give you $20,000 to write a book, but you have to tell me in 2 days what it's going to be about.' What do you say?"

"I would write about Elian's adoption, or a series of short funny stories" I said with about 2 milliseconds hesitation.

Uh... speaking of dummies. What kind of person thinks they don't want to write a book but can spit out an answer like that instantaneously?

I think, quite possibly a person that might be dumb enough to write one.

Jenny also helped me formulate a plan. More on that later this week.

Posted on January 10, 2011 and filed under Livin la Vida Loca, Nothing to Do with Anything.

Blog for Digs-My Childhood Bedroom

Today I'm taking the reigns from Momathon for the Blog for Digs awareness event. Hosted by Stonehouse Love, the chain is benefitting Dwell with Dignity. Over the next few weeks several bloggers will be raising awareness for this great org by answering the question “My Childhood Bedroom Was…”

My childhood bedroom was strangely predictive of future tendancies: namely an obsessive love affair with interior design. My Mom started me off well in the design world because we had Marimekko sheets. I remember very clearly my Mom telling me this because I liked saying the word while I ran my fingers over the brightly colored trucks and cars. Mar-i-me-kko. Satisfying, isn’t it?

As a kid though I didn’t want awesome Swedish design. I wanted a fluffy white bedroom. I wanted a white eyelet comforter and a mini-vanity with a fluffy white skirt to “apply makeup”. Everything white and perfect, for me the perfect, uptight princess kid.

My mother wasn’t having any of this white-nonsense. “It’ll just get dirty,” she said. She absolutely put her foot down. I have a white duvet and white slip-covered couch now, so I sure showed her, huh?

Anyways we had to work out a middle ground. The compromise? A dusty rose comforter (reversible to light pink!) set from Mervyns. How that is less dirty than white is not super-clear to me, but hey, she did the laundry. So whatever she wanted went!

Even though it wasn't my dream I was happy. I don’t know what kind of weird kid I was but I was psyched. “Coordinating linens!” I was living the dream. When my Mom bought me a roll of rose-printed contact paper with which to cover my switch-plates and garbage can I was nearly overcome with joy. We finished it off with a hot pink bean bag chair.

I mean, really. Could my room BE any cooler?

And then something destroyed our mother-daughter decorating harmony. Actually it was someone, or rather five someones.

The New Kids on the Block.

At some point in the late 80s I had to surrender to their power and then my bedroom, much to my mother’s chagrin was covered in this….

Don’t laugh! All my 30-something peers, I know you did it too! In fact my friend Lisa told me she still has a framed picture of Jordan. “Oh, in your old bedroom” I said. “No, she said, “In my closet!”

I wonder if her husband knows about this….


Tomorrow please visit Brandi at Not your Average Ordinary for a sneak peak into her childhood bedroom. And please, be sure to visit the Dwell with Dignity website. I was so fortunate as a child to have food, clothes, a loving family and a room of my own that I loved. Let's try to give the same to families who don't have those things.

Posted on December 15, 2010 and filed under Nothing to Do with Anything.

Happy Thanskgiving

Today I'll be with my lovely family and hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time ever. With some help from the team over at Ginger Elizabeth's I'm sure it will be fine! Okay, some help from Safeway too. Okay, I confess I'm barely cooking anything but I did buy a special table runner just for the occasion! I want to thank each of you for taking the time to come by and visit my blog. This has been an amazing year and you my dear blog family have been wonderful traveling companions. A kiss to each of you. I'll be back tomorrow with a very special Five for Friday.

Posted on November 24, 2010 and filed under Nothing to Do with Anything.

Nutella would like to register some complaints

Thank you guys all so much for cheering on my Denver shennanigans. I wish you all could've been with me. I had a blast and the time apart really helped me to appreciate it when my little one came home today with a big hug for me! Today is one of those days when I wish you could all speak Spanish because what I am about to share is so much awesomer in language. I love you guys  and I have done my diligent best to translate the essence of it's glory. Please read below the amazing e-mail Arnold sent me while I was in Denver.

Hi Honey, Elian saw the video you sent and was very happy. He's asking for you every three seconds. On the other hand I wanted to let you know that I had a very serious conversation with Nutella today. She says she's fed up with eating the same thing every day. She reports that she eats cat sh*t in the backyard because it's the only way to switch things up a bit. She also complains that we won't feed her from the table. She said and I quote "You could at least let that little terror throw me a bit of rice". She continued her tirade by saying that now we never take her on walks and that through the window she sees that other people are still walking their dogs. What's up with that?

She also says she's tired of staying home inside all day listening to NPR and asserts that even dogs deserve respect. She's also pissed because we don't give her bones or bathe her often enough. The only positive things she had to say on our behalf was that she loves watching TV on the "big screen"-she said "big screen" in English- and that above all she favors watching Grey's Anatomy and Big Bang Theory.

Anyways, that was the conversation I ended up having with Nutella today. Just letting you know so that you are up to date with everything going at Casa Perez.

Un beso, Arnold

Unrelated note: Oh, and Happy Veteran's day!  Remember to take a moment and thank the veterans in your life for their service to our country.

Posted on November 10, 2010 and filed under Livin la Vida Loca, Nothing to Do with Anything.

Gone Food Fishin

I'm very "busy" eating my way through Seattle this weekend (for me today is still the weekend-whooo!) Did I say eating?  I mean I'm with a few friends celebrating their 30th birthdays.  This trip almost got derailed by the cold that never died but last week after an intervention by a supervisor I went to the doctors office.  When she asked what's up I said

You must heal me.  If I can't go on this trip I will die of sadness and dissapointment

My doctor handled this hysterical hyperbole with an admiral amount of sincere sympathy.   Then she prescribed me codeine laced cough syrup. 

She is my favorite person on the planet now. 

I will do my best to present you with pictures tomorrow and I solemenly promise that I've been trying my best to run into Dr. McDreamy.  I'm told that he is a fictional character but surely that is a lie?

It's my understanding that TV is real.  Please don't tell me that my plan to attend Greendale college next semester isn't going to work out.

Posted on October 10, 2010 and filed under Nothing to Do with Anything.

Grace and Joy

Yesterday the internet told me to sit down and make a list of everything I do that fills me with joy and/or grace.  I was having a hard day and I like to make lists so I was only too happy to oblige.

1. Encourage Others-Verbal cheerleading is one of my best skills.

2. Eat peanutbutter straight from the jar.

3. Watch the light filter

4.  Hug my husband and son.

5. Cook something delicious for people I love.

6. Nap on the couch with Nutella

7. Help people make their homes beautiful

8. Write something honest and true that makes someone else feel less alone

9. Go to church and sit sleepily in the dark

10. Read a book where you feel every word

11. Sing very, very loudly as I imagine I'm a pop star.


13.  Dream bigger all the time

14. Sleep in on Saturdays

15. Make a list and enjoy checking off each task

Posted on October 6, 2010 and filed under Nothing to Do with Anything.


A non-comprehensive list of things that have made me sprout tears over the past few months.   1. Too much sugar at work.  So jittery.  Must cry.

2. Stubbed my toe at IKEA.  Three times in a row.

3. Elian starting preschool.

4. Missing Elian.

5. Being very tired of Elian.

6. Reruns of Friends.

7. Hearing of Justy's engagement.

8. The Bay Bridge fiasco.

9. Contestant montages on TIVO'd episodes of So You Think You Can Dance. "My Mom is everything to me." Boo-hoo hoo.

10. The Peach Tart Tatin I ate at my baking class.

Elian cries all the time too.  Is it possible I'm becoming a toddler?

Am I the only one who cries for frustration, sugar, joy and TV?

Posted on September 29, 2010 and filed under Nothing to Do with Anything.