Posts Tagged ‘james’

New Goodies At Viva Paso And Other Random Shiz

Things have been pretty busy at Viva Paso this past week. We’ve received a lot of new products. I’d talk about all of them here, but I’ve already done that on the Viva Blog.

Work stuff aside, let’s engage in some random photo time. I’m just going to scroll through my phone to find some things worthy enough to be shared with the world…or the two people that happen to read this. Here we go!

Here’s Elliott with all of his friends. How do kids end up with so much shit? What’s weird is how they’re able to keep such a good mental inventory of it all. If I secretly take one of these stuffed animals Elliott totally knows it’s missing.

Coral and I on Halloween just before hitting the streets for trick-or-treating. It’s hard to see in the photo, but Coral’s eyelid was covered in glittering turquoise to match her sweater. I was in my typical uniform.

Seriously, Postman? You couldn’t walk this one to the door? It took half a jar of Crisco and a Slim Jim to get this out. And while we’re on the Postal theme…

The line at the Paso Robles Post Office on Dec. 19. I think a read about 2 chapters of a book before I got to the front.

When the box of hot cocoa, James, and a ballpoint pen are left alone together.

Pretty random, but that’s just how life goes. A random string of events that sometimes make the most perfect sense or no sense at all.


– Jeff

Lazy James, The Origin Of Cashews And Something I Don’t Understand

The title says “something I don’t understand”, but when it comes to James, I don’t understand any of it. I might be going a little too far by posting a photo of his underwear, but oh well. This kid kicks lazy up to a whole new level. Actually, kicking takes too much energy. This kid drops lazy to a whole new level. It’s literally been years of telling him to remove his belt from his pants before putting them in the wash. I didn’t even realize this was something I would ever have to tell another human being. The underwear intertwined in the pant legs is just a bonus for all of our viewing pleasure. Speaking of bonus, there was a Starbucks and Taco Bell gift card in his pocket. Which is now going in my pocket, cha-ching! I’ll admit, occasionally I forget something in my pockets and Coral fishes a screw or bent staple out of the washer, but I literally found the same Starbucks card in yesterday’s wash. I told James he forgot it in his pocket when I handed it to him just last night. You’d think that a Starbucks and a Taco Bell card would be like gold to a 14 year old, but James seems to dismiss it like yesterday’s dirty laundry. And today’s dirty laundry. Did that joke land? I’m not quite sure, but I’ll leave it.

Anyway, Here are a couple of “Jamestories” I’ve collected this month.

Jan. 2
James: I don’t like peanuts/peanut butter or cashews or almonds.
Me: I don’t like cashews either. (In my head I’m thinking, “Awesome, father-son bonding over the hatred of cashews.)
Then Coral walked in and I said, proudly, “We don’t like cashews.”
James (to Coral and I): Do you know where cashews come from?
Me: They grow on a tree.*
James: No, they come from papayas.
Coral and I shared a look we often share with each other when James is being James.

Jan. 14
Me: What are you doing in our room?
James: Using the mirror.
Me: Use the mirror in your room.
James: But I can’t see my socks in my mirror.
Me: Seriously?
James: You wouldn’t understand.

And he walked out of the room. Kind of unrelated, but the next day he wore a Rasta shirt with matching Rasta earbuds. I should mention that I have never seen him wear earbuds to school before. And I should mention that he hasn’t worn them since. This is where the sock conversation comes into play. I know he has a pair of Rasta socks somewhere. I guess he just couldn’t find them in time to wear with the outfit he orchestrated for the day. This reminds me of one of my earlier posts from when James was 12. It’s called, “James Prefers Fashion Over Function” and, although I’m biased, it’s totally worth a read.

See ya!
– Jeff

* As it turns out, cashews are very interesting in that they are actually a seed to the cashew apple. Personally, I think they’re kind of weird looking because the cashew nut is on the outside of the cashew apple. So yes, they do grow in a tree, but they are attached to a fruit. As much pleasure as it brings me to make fun of my kids, I have to say that in James’ defense, although the cashew does not come from a papaya, it does come from another fruit.

Photo Shoot Sunday

James really wants to pursue acting as a career. Unfortunately, we don’t live in Los Angeles, but we’re going to do what we can to help him. Coral’s working on a website for him and wants to start submitting head shots to agencies. And if that means impromptu trips to The City Of Angeles, so be it. We hired our longtime photographer friend, Richard Fusillo for James’ photo shoot and I tagged along taking some of my own photos while keeping Elliott away from the action.

Elliott stole mom’s camera and took his own “behind the scenes” photo.

After walking around downtown SLO for a couple of hours we drove down to Shell Beach. I wasn’t around for all of the SLO locations they shot at because I was keeping Elliott busy strolling him through the rough and tough streets of SLO.

A RARE SIGHTING…Coral in front of a camera! She’s so cute. She’s also very demanding. I don’t know how she talked James into getting into the water. And not just walking a few steps in the water, but getting fully immersed.

He’s such a good sport. Or he’s just straight up loco en la cabeza. Probably a little of both.

We are so lame. Yes, this is a photo of Coral and Richard both taking photos of James. If only Evelyn was with us, she could have stood back and taken a photo of me taking a photo of Coral and Richard taking a photo.

Typing that last sentence made my brain hurt.

Elliott was not too excited to be on the beach today. Last time we took him to the beach he was running, tripped and landed face first in the sandy water while fully dressed in jeans, sweatshirt, socks and shoes. This was on New Year’s Day, so the water was pretty cold. Needless to say, I carried him almost the entire time we were at the beach today.

Homeboy’s getting heavy and I had to set him down from time to time so my arms wouldn’t fall out of their sockets. As soon as I set him down he would start reaching for me, yelling, “Catch!”, which in Elliott language means, “Pick me up, dude!”

Daddy selfie. Fake smiling through the arm pain. Check out that ninja grip he has on my hoodie. He was making it very clear that there was no way I was setting him down again, which bummed me out because I really wanted to stack rocks. There were a couple of rock stacks where we were and they were beyond sad, standing at about 12 inches tall, if that. As soon as I saw them I was like, “I eat weak stacks like you for breakfast! I will murder you!” but I never got the chance to show off my skills thanks to Mr. Lead Butt Elliott.

Luckily, I managed to pawn him off on Coral for a couple of minutes. Not long enough to stack a pile of rocks, but long enough to get some of the feeling back in my arms.

Coral turned her phone away from James dunking himself in the freezing water long enough to catch Elliott and I heading back to the car.

When we got to the top of the stairs we ended up sitting on a bench to watch the sunset, which was quite spectacular.

And that’s how you spend a Sunday afternoon. I hope you all had a good weekend.

– Jeff

I Like When James Draws

I’ve been going through old photos tonight and came across this one. It’s from November 2013 when I was working on “The Puzzle Painting”. James was 13 at the time and came to the studio with me. To keep him occupied (and since we were in an art studio) I gave him some stuff to draw with and this is what he came up with. Obviously, he is around my art a lot, but I rarely see him do this sort of thing. He has a great imagination and comes up with a lot of stuff on his own, so I thought it was kind of sweet that he made this. He doesn’t draw as much as he used to and he’s sort of traded in drawing for his love of theatre, which is great because if he can make it as an actor Coral and I will totally let him pay for us to live in Paris.

– Jeff

Amazing Factoids From James

Since James started high school he’s been bringing home a myriad of random tidbits and factoids that are both funny and worrisome. Here are a couple of my favorites.

There is a huge tree in the center of a small parking lot on campus where I pick James up after theater rehearsal. As we were pulling out of the lot somebody in the car made a comment like, “Why is that big tree there? They should totally cut it down.” I’m no hippie, but I responded with “I’m sure the tree was there before the parking lot was?” which was my way of saying the tree has more of a right to be there than the two parking spaces it’s blocking. This is where James came in with, “Well, did you know the school was built before the town.” I’m guessing that was his way of saying…well, I really have no idea, but I am pretty sure the high school was not the first thing the settlers built 100 years ago. And it probably wasn’t the first thing the Indians built 100 years before that.

The next one is also tree related. According to James it is illegal to cut or trim any tree in Atascadero.

The crown jewel of these tidbits is about Spain. So, the other night I am filling a cup with ice and Evelyn commented that I love ice. It’s totally true. I put ice in almost everything I drink. Then James said, “Did you know that in Spain they don’t give you ice at restaurants?”
Intrigued, Evy asked why.
“I guess it’s hard to make there.”

Yeah, that’s our James.

* Remember that time James microwaved ice?

Such A Wild Family We Are

Coral cracks me up. I saw this on her Instagram tonight and it made me love her a little bit more.


It’s the simple things, people.

Mom, I’m Making A Real Lunch

At 14 years of age you should be able to make your own lunch. At least that’s the philosophy in our house. The other night James compiled this as his lunch.

At one point he and Coral got in a heated discussion about his lunch making skills which led him to say something along the lines of, “At least I know how to make a REAL lunch, mom!”

I am not sure what to make of the sandwich made with three half pieces of bread, but maybe it’s all the rage in junior high. Also, do four snacks and a drink qualify as a “real” lunch? Definitely! Five food groups, what? Whoever said a fruit and a veggie is needed for a nutritional meal? That’s crazy talk.

Of course, this is all coming from a guy that eats Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast and DiGiorno Supreme Rising Crust pizza for lunch. In my defense, I would never claim my meals to be “real”. Seriously, they’re awful. Lucky for me, Coral makes super tasty and healthy dinners, so I think it all balances out in the end.

Here’s to eating what you love!
Even if it doesn’t make any sense.

– Jeff

Pop Tarts Are Better Toasted…

Conversation with James this morning while he was “making” his “lunch”.

Me: Did you just put a toasted Pop Tart in a baggie?
James: Yes.
Me: Why?
James: I thought it would be better toasted.
Me: But you’re not eating it right now?
James: No, it’s for lunch.

And this is the point when I have to resist banging my head against a wall.

Kaitlyn Really Brings Our Family Together

Evelyn brought Kaitlyn home about four years ago. Like any seven year old girl, Evelyn wanted a baby sister. She found Kaitlyn at Beverly’s in downtown SLO and it was love at first sight. It’s Kaitlyn’s winning smile and overly happy outlook on life that won Evelyn over. Personally, I didn’t see it. What I did see was the possibility of what we could do with Kaitlyn. In other words, how could we, as parents, mess with this new unwanted child? Evelyn is a big proponent of anthropomorphizing, which makes picking on her dolls or stuffed animals especially gratifying because of the emotional attachment she’s developed with these inanimate objects. She honestly thinks her dolls feelings will be hurt or that it will feel the pain of being hit in the face with a yo-yo.

It didn’t take long before James, Coral and I started messing with Kaitlyn. Putting her in high places where Evelyn could find her but would be unable to rescue her, like hanging from one of our exposed pipes. Naturally, Kaitlyn started disappearing. I think in an effort to protect her Evy would hide her from us and then forget about her. Poor Kaitlyn was missing once for about a year and a half. She survived and upon returning James’ response was, “Oh no…Kaitlyn’s back.” Evy, of course, was pretty excited about it.

Kaitlyn was recently discovered after another long disappearance. The other night while walking past Evy’s room I saw Coral in there holding a naked one-legged plastic baby in the air asking where its leg was. Turns out Kaitlyn was discovered by Elliott (our two year old) who welcomed her back into our lives with a traditional homecoming surprise of “pull your leg out of its socket and chew on it like a wad of bubble gum”. Personally, I think it was a territorial thing for Elliott and his way of letting Kaitlyn know that he’s the baby in the family.

Yesterday I found Kaitlyn’s missing limb under a chair and quickly attached it. When I showed Coral I asked her if she had an old shoelace I could borrow.
“You’re not going to hang Kaitlyn,” she told me.
“I won’t hang her by the neck, just by a foot, but I definitely want to make a little noose.”
Sadly, we couldn’t find a shoelace so we used decorative tape and Coral came up with what you see in the above photo.

Here’s the view from the foot of James’ bed. I’m not sure why we chose to hang Kaitlyn in James’ room, but probably because he dislikes her the most out of all of us. Well, I guess Elliott isn’t too fond of her either. After all, he’s the one that dismembered her.

Yes, I totally just wrote all of this about a stupid little doll. This is my life, people.

An Evening At The Pool

A few days ago we escaped the heat by floating around in a big puddle of water.

I was cloud obsessed. This post could easily be 20 photos of the sky. At least.

James and his big fat goggles.

Elliott contemplating a swan dive.

Coral prefers stealing my parents’ roses to swimming. Can you blame her? They’re gorgeous.

This was about 5 minutes after the first sunset photo.

Sadly, Evelyn isn’t represented in this post because all the photos I got of her were blurry and I just don’t have it in me to post blurry photos.

Until next time…

– Jeff

His Thing Is Huge

his thing is huge. i mean, this thing is huge...the statue.
His thing is huge. I mean, this thing is huge…the statue.

James was with me when I pulled off the road to take this picture and when I drove away I could tell he did not understand the humor behind taking a picture of “Big Johnson’s” Store. So, like a good father, I explained, “Johnson is another name for penis”. To which he replied, “Why did they start that.” I said I didn’t know, but that it was sort of an old-timey name for it.

Then we drove to Grandma and Grandpa’s house and he built a fort.

Kids Love Mangerines And Other Weird Tales

devices at the donut shop.

There is a good chance you know me as an artist. Although I have been known to throw paint around on occasion and there was also that time I owned and operated an art gallery for 8 years, but my real passion is making fun of my kids.

Let’s face it, they are a never ending source of silly circumstance, poor decisions and masters at doing things…well, doing stupid things. That might be the best way to describe it.

kids being cool

Yes, that’s Evelyn wearing Elliott’s sunglasses. Elliott is 1.5 years old and Evy is 11. James is wearing my glasses, which is funny because he thinks he looks cool and what he doesn’t realize is that my glasses are cheap and lame. With a name like “Sunbelt” what would you expect? I wear them because Coral laughs at them and I think she might actually be slightly embarrassed to associate with a dude that wears Sunbelts and if I can do anything to embarrass her I will. That, and Versace stopped sending me free pairs when they found out I was hawking them on ebay at a fraction of the suggested retail price of a gazillion dollars.

There is no doubt I did some stupid things when I was a kid too. Like that time I tried to get a circular saw blade to stick into the bottom of a tree house by throwing it as hard as I could straight up at it. Surprisingly, it didn’t stick and barely missed my head on it’s way down. I’ve even done some stupid things as an adult, but I also do my fair share of responsible things like pay my car registration on time, or a month late, but who’s keeping track, besides the DMV. Like I said, my kids, and probably all kids, create a vast pool of things to ridicule. So much, in fact, that we often dismiss these things because they happen so frequently, but we should really be writing them down because it’s only a matter of time before we forget the good ones, the really stupid/funny ones, and they grow up and start making real mistakes. The kind that cost us, the parents, lots of money, hair loss or our general sense of well being due to the stress of not knowing where your teenage daughter is at 2 o’clock in the morning. The past couple of weeks I’ve taken note of some of the strange, peculiar and just plain weird things my kids have done.

kids are strange
(I wish I knew what that hand gesture meant. It’s either “I’m gonna grab your butt!” or “I’ve got the sunshine in the palm of my hand, so watch out!”)

Before I get to that I would like to say one more thing. Part of getting the best material out of your kids is not distracting them too much when you see them doing something weird. Sit back and observe and only ask what they’re doing when it looks like they are done. If you ask them what they’re doing in the middle of what they consider to be a “brilliant idea” you might throw them off and ruin everything. Just let them be. Unless, of course, you smell smoke, hear glass breaking or can’t find the baby. Here we go. Enjoy!

James: “What are these called?”
Me: “Mandarin Oranges.”
James: “They are SO good…I love mangerines!”
Me: *stares blankly* (pause) Yes, they are tasty.

* * * * * * * * * *

Evy dropped James’ overpriced headphones in the sink.
And blamed him for it.

I think the logic was that if he hadn’t asked for them back she wouldn’t have taken them off and dropped them.

* * * * * * * * * *

Evelyn is the Queen Of Ridiculous Ailments. Seriously, everyday it is something. You know the story about the boy that cried wolf? That’s Evy, but she cries disease. Stuff like, “I can’t do PE today because I woke up with a sore throat 4 days ago. Can you write me a note?” Her most popular one is getting out of bed after lights out to complain about an upset stomach, a cough, sore throat, hurt knee, etc. The thing is she mentions NOTHING about it in the hours leading up to bedtime. She also does this in the morning in an attempt to stay home from school. A couple of weeks ago she actually threw up (self fulfilling prophecy, perhaps?) and it was totally gross, but it was reason enough to keep her home. She’s generally a pretty sassy little thing, but something about being sick turned her into a real sweetheart. She was polite and loving and a real joy to be around. In a way, I almost wished she was sick more often.

* * * * * * * * * *

kids are strange
(Just another photo of the Biebs putting the moves on my little girl. I think Evy made this with some twisted “I love Biebs” app.)

* * * * * * * * * *

Last weekend at 11:07pm Coral told the kids it was time to brush their teeth and to be in bed by 11:30pm. At 11:15pm James asked if he could watch “Adventures In Babysitting.” I know that he knows movies are longer than 15 minutes. Coral and I just look at each other like, “huh?”

* * * * * * * * * *

I found James in the kitchen buttering a slice of sourdough. As soon as he was done buttering it he tossed it in the toaster oven. I thought this was weird, but maybe some people do this and it’s quite possible that it’s awesome and I’ve been missing out my whole life.

* * * * * * * * * *

I love this one.

Evelyn had a bowl of cereal and I was waiting to see if she was going to pour the leftover milk down the sink, drink it, or do what I do and add more cereal. She set the bowl on the counter and walked away. I paused before telling her to wash the bowl and I’m glad I did because she grabbed this…


and ground some into the leftover milk. My first instinct was to say, “What the shit?”, but I held my tongue and observed. She drank it, looked at me and said, “It sort of tastes like horchata.” and downed the rest of it.

I smiled.


Peace out!