Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cake Boss

The other night Hrishi came over and introduced Vaughn to a show called 'Cake Boss', a TLC show about a baker named Buddy Valastro in Hoboken, NJ. The Cake Boss website sells shirts that say things like "Bada Bing, Bada Boom!" and "You Want a Piece of This?"

Fifteen episodes (in 24 hours) later Vaughn is saying things like, "I WILL own my own cake shop in exactly one year- mark my words!" When we pointed out he had chocolate on his face, he snarled, "It's a cake scar!"

Yesterday was his first attempt to make a "cake" on his own, despite the fact that I wouldn't drive him to the craft store for special molding chocolate. I put cake in parenthesis because the base of this culinary feat was rice crispy treats; something that felt permissible to Vaughn since Buddy uses them for framing. I'm including a picture of him next to his slightly overly decorated basketball masterpiece which you know is too sugary when 11 year olds won't even eat it.

While we were getting ready for bed last night he was lamenting the fact that between comic book writing, shoe designing, cake decorating and the NBA - he was really filling up on hobbies. I felt like a kill-joy but I had to point out that next week middle school was starting and so there'd be that too.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Adidas Tour

My recent crusade has been to introduce Vaughn to careers that touch basketball but aren't actually playing basketball in the event that the NBA becomes a dream deferred. I'm hoping this will also help him see that school can lead to really cool jobs since after he starts middle school I imagine we'll be in for one long string of why-do-I-have-to-learn-this?

One of the things he loves to do is design and draw basketball shoes- a natural combination of his skills and passions. Like Jacob, he's doggedly determined when he's into something and he told me that he spent a half hour on the computer the other night trying to find out what the fabric was that lined the inside of his shoe. At the risk of seeming like a helicopter parent, I enlisted my friend Jill to use her connections to get him a tour at the Adidas campus with her friend, Anthony, who does shoe design for the skateboard division.

Vaughn got up early today and in typical fashion, carefully picked out his best all-Adidas outfit for the occasion and then pulled together his list of questions and two shoe designs (which, despite gentle prodding on my part, were never pulled out of my bag).

Anthony was amazing and spent well over an hour taking us around to see all the steps in the Adidas shoe design process. When he had to leave for a meeting, he left us with his co-worker, Thomas, who designs for the basketball division. Unfortunately by this time, Vaughn was wearing down a little, which was understandable since we had been there for almost two hours and had walked all over the campus and learned so much.

Out of all the people we met, three of them said they had begun drawing and designing shoes when they were right around Vaughn's age. It will be interesting to see where he ends up in life but I think a job where you get to play basketball at work on your lunch hour has to be high on the list.
Vaughn with Dwight Howard and Damian Lillard's shoes

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Last weekend my dad invited Vaughn, Jacob, Hrishi and I to go rafting with him on the White Salmon river. None of us except my dad had ever been and whitewater rafting is one of those quintessential Oregon things and so we were definitely overdue.

I came well stocked with a giant tube of sunscreen but realized that I had totally forgotten to bring any sun-protecting lip balm. After getting burnt in Hawaii, I wasn't taking any chances and so I went to Wet Planet's store and bought the only lip protectant they had - a tin of zinc-based lip AND face sunblock.

There were about 40 people in our group and we all gathered around in a large circle to listen to the instructions as to how to get our gear. I wandered over kind of late and so I was positioned across from everyone else.  Jacob also got burnt in Hawaii and although he had already applied a base coat of normal sunblock, he decided to use this time to layer up with a coat of my white, zinc paste. Zinc based sunblock does not blend in. It stays like a layer of creamy paint on the skin and by the time he was finished, Jacob really looked like a splinter version of that Blue Man Group. Similar - but different. A woman standing next to me leaned over and said to her mom, "Man, that dude's really putting on the sunblock." It was a totally fair comment and one I probably would have made if I wasn't married to the river-going mime. Still, I kind of had to bust her. I turned and said, "It's zinc-based sunblock - it doesn't blend in. It was the only kind they sold in the store" and then smiled sweetly as I watched her face squish up as her brain
tried to connect my relationship to the man across the circle while figuring out how embarrassed she should be. For his part, Jacob wasn't even a tiny bit embarrassed - which is why we love him.

Unfortunately, I don't have a single picture of this or any shots from the day. I had to steal this picture from someone else's White Salmon experience.