Current conditions: Happy with a chance of ditzy

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Adventures with Barbie




If you look at the time and date of this post you will know that I didn't make it to the Pavement concert at the Hollywood Bowl tonight. Most likely it will be posted sometime Friday when I get around to finishing it. My head is somewhere up my ass right now and cohesive thoughts are simply not possible. It's not that we had a bad day, it's that we had a long day. Check it out:

So in my head I have an finely detailed map of how the day is going to go. I can pick K up from school at 11AM and be in San Diego on time or early for K's 2PM calltime. Then I check my phone for real time traffic reports. The estimated travel time keeps changing and if it keeps going it's going to take hours and hours to get there. I arrive at school and grab her at 10:45AM. The gas tank is full, the passenger has a ton of snacks and the driver is ready for anything. The traffic was great, we flew down the 405 to the 5 in record time. K was asleep and I was in the zone. As we got close to San Diego the weather changed, clear sunny skies we now cloudy and it was raining. Then the thunder and lightening started, I really hate that and I held it together because K was blissfully unaware of the weather outside of the car. She woke up as we arrived at the studio. It was 1:00PM, no traffic made the ride a quick one. I'm pretty sure I should not post the average speed of the trip, I will say that I was not the fastest car on the road though.

When we walked in I felt funny for being so early when I made a big deal about getting the later call time (ours was originally 1PM). As luck would have it the other girl with the 1:00PM calltime showed up with an expired work permit (oops) and was sent home. They were thrilled that we were early and had us sit for a few minutes because they knew we had just come from LA. We got some snacks and rested, then it was off to hair and makeup for K.

She emerged as a Barbie doll (this shoot was for a costume company's 2011 line), she looked beautiful, like a real life doll with pink cheeks and glitter. I usually stay in another room when she shoots but this was one giant studio and the "mom suite" was off to the side. I could hear what was going and from the clapping, it went well. We stayed quite a while, she did another costume and played with the other girl who was called in to replace the expired permit girl (a huge mistake in this business BTW). When she was wrapped I could not get her out of there, not that I was in a hurry to get back into my car, the weather was awful. My iPhone told me that I had over 3 hours of traffic until D's office. The next part of the plan would be to drop K off at D's and then shoot up to the Bowl. It could work. Well it could have worked if the weather didn't suck.

We got in the car and prepared for the worst, which is exactly what we hit. K was in a great mood though, she had so much fun at the shoot and was now sitting with enough snacks to take a cross country trip. I was fine too, I have learned that getting upset only makes it worse (no, really, I did). We drove until my butt was numb, I believe that's always a good time to stop for food. By that time my iPhone said it was still more than 2 hours before getting to D's. We ate dinner and took a much needed visit to the restroom. We also met up with a friend (who lived nearby) and her daughter for dessert, there was no point in getting back on the freeway which was still not really moving.

By the time we were back in the car the traffic was better but we still had miles and miles to go. Then my GPS stopped working, luckily I was really close to the freeway, still I called D to bitch about it and in doing so missed the onramp. Crap! I easily managed my way back and we were on our way. I missed a few calls from my friends inquiring about my whereabouts, I also saw some MMSs from the show which had started. So it was clear that I would miss the concert, which took the pressure off and we rode home without incident. K was happily asleep and I was grateful that my GPS chose that moment to stop working and not when we were sort of lost in the pouring rain down in San Diego.

I was so happy pulling into my carport. I put K to bed with her big hair and makeup still applied. D came in soon after me and got to hear all the details of the day. He was sorry that I had missed the concert but happy that we were both safe at home. He knew it was a long day for me and that I tend to get pissed off when things don't go my way. The joy that K got doing this shoot was worth the drive, missed concert and sore butt that I now have.

It's funny the questions I got when telling people about this job, they all hoped it was worth it financially. How much would that be? What's the price of pure joy on a kids face when they do something that they love? Why does it have to be "worth it" to support my child's desires? Do I ask the soccer moms if it's worth it sit there for hours on Saturday while their kids play? Of course not. I drive K because I like to encourage her endeavors, not because the payoff is worth it.

BTW she made enough to buy books for her freshman year in college.

Just sayin.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A clone and a Shady Lane.


Pavement - "Shady Lane"

Is all I need right now. Thanks to some awesome friends I scored a ticket to tomorrow's Pavement concert! I also got an email that K had booked a job in San Diego and we have to be there at 2PM tomorrow. Logistically it's possible: After the shoot we could race home, I will drop K off at D's office and head north to the Bowl where I have rockstar parking. Now this is all contingent on a short shoot and light traffic. What do you think? I think I'm going to need a clone.

Please enjoy this awesome song and send good traffic karma my way!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hot child in the city


Poor K, when I picked her up from school yesterday it was 101 degrees. Shocking since her school is always at least ten to fifteen degrees cooler than by our house. I expected to see lethargic kids with bright red cheeks moping around, instead I saw happy faces that had been in an air conditioned classroom for most of the day. K was still in the classroom like always and I had to fish her out. So happy she loves school! We were supposed to go over to a friend's house for a swimdate but it was canceled due to illness. I was the unfortunate bearer of bad news. K's now sweaty face (from the one minute walk) was pouty with a twinge of pissedoffness and somehow I was responsible. It was all downhill from there. She demanded that I find another playmate for the afternoon, why do kids think the world is available to them 24/7? As we walked into our house we were met by a wall of heat, for a second I thought the house was on fire. Really.

Then the real complaining started, I already had a headache from the heat and it was about to get worse. It was Monday and the mountain of homework was in K's backpack. I emptied the folder and started the piling process: One pile for the weeks homework, one pile for the paperwork I had to look over and one pile for all the work from last week. K's frumpy face was eager for me to see her spelling test, she even managed a smile. I knew she would do well with the words, it was the new dictation sentences that had me worried. Even in the heat the look of joy on my face was visible, she did so well her teacher wrote "perfect" on her paper. I looked at her sweet sweaty face and decided to forget the homework, the girl were going swimming. This made up for the canceled playdate and the heat. There's nothing my little girl loves more than swimming with a parental.

It felt so good to dive into the 85 degree water. Usually I find this temperature bath-like but with the thermometer at 101 it was downright cool. Usually we stay in too long the air outside is so cold we can't get out, this time it was the opposite. Getting out to fetch toys was awful. We stayed in for quite a long time, long enough, we hoped, for the kitchen to go back to double digits. It did not, we had a salad for dinner, the thought of turning on the stove or oven was frightful.

It took her a while to fall asleep, her room, usually the coolest in the house, was uncomfortably hot. I assume by this time you've realized that we lack air conditioning in our abode. Years ago they didn't take climate change into consideration when building this close to the beach. At about 10PM D and I got sick of sweating and took our conversation to the pool where we floated around until our core temperature was back to normal. The cool summer made me forget how much I love the night swim.

Tuesday brought the numbers down a little but not much. When I picked K up from school it was still a bit much for me. This time we had no choice but to do homework and given our moods it didn't go well. We were both relieved when it was time for karate, a break from the heat and homework was quite necessary. In the dojo the main topic of conversation was the heat. It was the one thing we all could agree on, not one person was happy to see the mercury rise so high. Exhausted karate moms sat slumped in chairs complaining about heat induced headaches and sinus infections. The one good thing about the heat? It was high enough to kill some of the "crap" that was going around the schools. Of course heatstroke is worse than a cold but luckily none of our kids succumbed to that.

When we got home the temperature had fallen slightly but the sun was out blazing. Back to the pool and salad for us. K asked me if this heat would ever go away and I told her that it had only been 48 hours, what about people that lived in it every day? I told her to think about how it's always going to be worse somewhere else. She thought about it and said "if you move somewhere and you know it's going to be hot then that's what you get." I suppose she's right. It's not the heat that's pissing us off it's the timing of the heat. Had this been July or August we'd be in the pool every day or at the beach. The heat is so convenient during summer vacation, not so much during the school year. How dare it come late!!

I guess this heat is another example of "I want what I want, when I want it!"

It's a good thing I'm back to Dr. Phil tomorrow!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Baked or fried?


First Person: L.A. Bakes in Record 113 Degrees

It's way too hot to have this laptop anywhere near me today. Sweat is pouring from every resident of Los Angeles today. After school we did minimal homework and jumped in the pool. Dinner consisted of a salad because my kitchen was 100 degrees at dinnertime. It's awful. My Facebook status says "It's so hot, I just saw squirrels fanning their nuts." That made me laugh.

It was still hot when D got home and we both decided the best place for us was in the pool. Night swimming is wonderful under a star filled sky. I mean I couldn't see the stars but I knew they were there.

Stay cool my friends.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Are you ready for some football?


I know, I know, I've written about football a million times already. I just can't help it. I'm just so happy that D and I have both passed on that gene to K who got ready this morning by herself. She emerged from her room in full Lion attire and proclaimed quite loudly her desire for them to beat the Vikings. She even repeated a wish for their quarterback but I'm not going to repeat it since it wasn't too nice. I love her.

D still had some work to do but was able to multitask effortlessly. His Patriot's game was on the same time as the Lions but they managed to switch back easily. Poor K, she was so excited for her team to beat Brett Favre and make mommy happy. Once again she sat in my lap and the repeated phrase I have uttered for years "my team stinks." Yeah, I know that feeling, still she hung in until the bitter (and ugly end). She bounced back pretty quickly and begged us to call and invite her friend, who lives up the street, over for a swim (did I mention that it was the hottest day of the year?). I have to remember to rally like that after a loss, usually I'm in a foul mood for days.

We were in luck, her friend was available and was just as bored. She and her dad walked over here and the girls disappeared in the abyss that is currently K's room. We thought for sure they would emerge in swimsuits but they were happy just playing. Finally they decided it was time to swim, I guess they both realized that it's no fun playing in the heat. They swam for a while until one of our friends brought her puppy over. Then they decided swim time was over and took the dog inside our house to play. D and I have no problem with this. First, he is so freaking adorable you just can't help but to gush over him, second, this dog is cool, really cool, he has an energy that is infectious and loves to play just as much as he loves to cuddle. The girls disappeared into K's abyss, I hoped for the poor puppy. We heard the cutest laughter coming from her room, she had to close the door though, he likes to run around a lot. After about 10 minutes I went to check on them, the poor puppy was wearing a pink boa and was getting ready to sport a tiara. I didn't think this was good idea, this is a tiny puppy and I didn't want them to find clever second grade ways to keep that crown on the dog's head.

After a while we had to say goodbye, K's friend and her dad needed to get home and do their Sunday thing. We kept the dog for a while though, the three of us have completely fallen in love with him and wanted more time to watch him run around. I just wanted to hold him, he has that sweet puppy smell I never got to experience as a child. Allergies kept me from having a dog growing up, or at least that's what my parents told me. K wants nothing more than to have a little dog like the one she played with today, honestly as much as I love dogs I knew it was something we were not to deal with, besides we could never agree on what kind of dog we would get. K likes all dogs and has a list of the different kinds she wants, D would like to get a Basenji (um, OK) and I would like a big dog like a Lab, Shepherd or Retriever. I never wanted a small dog but this little puppy has changed all that. He's part Chihuahua and part something else, possibly Labrador, although I can't figure out how that would work.

After we returned the dog we were all sad, I had taken some pictures of D and K with our new friend and we marveled at how cute they all looked together. We now have to rethink the whole dog thing. Although if we can clone this dog there would be no thinking necessary.

That brought us right to the Jet game which was about to start. Suddenly K had no interest in football as her team had already played. This was a big game for me, I mean for the Jets, it was a divisional game against our mortal enemy the Dollfans (boo). It was one of those games, the kind that keeps me on my feet yelling at the television. Suddenly K was interested in watching, me, not the game. Apparently I am more amusing. After what seemed like an eternity, my, I mean the Jet, defense finally showed up and we threw the evil fish back into the ocean. Sorry, we beat the Dollfans 31 to 23. I use the majestic plural or "royal we" when discussing my team. A lifetime of fanhood has made me feel that this is acceptable.

So there was my Sunday, full of football, happy little girls, puppies, chaos and heart wrenching drama. Not to mention family, friends and that wonderful new puppy smell.

Yeah, I'm ready for some football and whatever else you got.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Song for a Saturday


Bruce Springsteen - Drive All Night (Unreleased Studio Outtake)

So today was one of those driving days. It didn't start out that way, it was supposed to be easy. I was supposed to take K to karate while D met with his corporate attorney and then he would take her to piano. Then we found out that we had been invited to the birthday party of our good friend's son but thanks to the USPS we never got the invite. That would move up the piano lesson and we would all have to go. No biggie, we could make it work. Then I received an email for a casting that K had. OK, it was possible to do all of this: Karate first, then off to the party in Culver City, after that a hopefully quick drive to Manhattan Beach and back again to the Westside. It could totally be done with ease especially with another driver to sit in the car while we ran into the casting.

Then I got the call that D had to work. Crap. Looks like I was driving the local again. It all worked out though. In the morning K decided to skip karate since she went four times during the week, that gave me a little break and we went right to the party, which was fun. Then it was off to the casting and for some reason there was hardly any traffic making the ride a joy. Until we got there. My Yahoo map had cut off key instructions so I was left to trust my GPS which took me to the ocean. I immediately called D and he navigated us to the correct location. I was relieved until I saw the lack of parking. The sudden arrival of summer made Manhattan Beach a very popular destination. Parking was impossible to find and then suddenly we spied a spot a block away. Score! Then I noticed that it was a 24 minute parking spot. We rushed down the street and were in and out in 20 minutes, that included the few minutes K spent with a friend. Then it was back to the car and off to piano.

Somehow I managed to make all points with very little drama. By the time we got home I was exhausted and could barely move. K was still jumpy from the junk she had at the party. I tried to write but couldn't keep my eyes opened and fell asleep with my laptop on my stomach.

The whole day I had this old Bruce Springsteen song in my head. I'm not a Bruce fan at all but for some reason this song was in my thoughts.

I sure took a long time to explain why this is the song for today.

Enjoy.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A world of difference


Sometimes when I think back at the decisions I've made I get a headache. What turns that headache into a migraine is when I make the same stupid decision over and over. It's like that expression "Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me" although I do love the George W. Bush version: "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." Sorry, I had to put that in for a laugh, I can't help but think of it every time I say the actual phrase.

It's true though, every time I repeat a mistake it's my fault and my fault alone. I'm not here today to write about how stupid I am, or to rehash a bunch of idiot moves that fail to show me in my best light. This morning I had a conversation with D about this evening's plans. First it was the back to school picnic, an event that is dreaded by the adults in our house, sure it's fun for K, she gets to run around and play with her friends while we are forced to sit there amongst parents who pretend to like each other. At least we don't bring food anymore. I made a rookie mistake the first picnic and filled a basket with goodies that sat uneaten while K went off with her friends and D and sat around feeling like outcasts. Last year I brought no food and the plan was to let her play for a while and then go out to dinner. This year we're going to skip it entirely (although K is not yet aware of this plan). I told D that I think I had made plans with a friend (and fellow stagemom) to meet for a while in the evening. Here's the thing: I don't like to go out at night, actually that's not completely true, I do not like to go out at night without my family. When I was vague about my plans D knew it was just me deciding how I was going to get out of it. Then he got on me for that. He told me that we'd work something out so he can stay with K and that I was going. End of story. When I started my protest he actually said "Nope, you're going, I demand that you out and have fun with your friends."

I love my husband.

This conversation took me back to my previous life with Starter Husband. His job in television ad sales was extremely social, in fact about ninety percent of it was entertaining. There were lunches, dinners, no-host parties, concerts, baseball games, weekend trips, in fact if it involved people, they did it. They also did it without partners, at least Starter Husband did it that way. I was invited to go along only sometimes. Most of the time I was home and left to my own devices, which would have been fine except my devices were only allowed to be the ones that kept me home and alone. I rebelled and started making my own friends, he was not happy with that and ultimately it ended our marriage. My best friend at the time was a girl named S, a girl who I met through Starter Husband who actually encouraged the friendship and introduced us. That's when he thought she was a lonely girl with no friends. Turns out she had lots of friends who ended up becoming my friends, the problem was they were all guys. Suddenly S was not a desirable social partner for me. I remember his take on this too, he loudly proclaimed "married women should not hang out with single people." He repeated this mantra over and over up until the day I moved out.

I loved my new friends, they liked to go out and see bands play, they went to all the cool bars and they knew how to have fun. This was all acceptable when we all went out together but when Starter Husband was busy and I went out, it was hell. I started going out more on purpose, like an angry teenager rebelling against strict and overbearing parents. I finally felt like I met my "LA people" after years of hanging with Starter Husband's business acquaintances. There were a few of those that had also become my friends and he would react in the same negative way if we went out without him. Like I said this behavior ended our relationship and after a few years of this I walked out the door.

That, of course, made me gun shy and I knew that one of the demands I had for the next guy would be to have no issue with me going out. I dated a bunch of guys all of them knowing that I had a life and other friends and that some of these friends were single. When I met D I told him about my posse immediately. I told him that we often watched football games, went to concerts and spent time together. He was happy to meet a girl with that kind of male energy, he especially liked the football part. As time passed and we went from casual to serious my desire to go out faded and suddenly spending time at home was preferred over going out.

Then I had a kid and spent a few years at home, partly due to my complete and utter exhaustion. Another place for the blame was the lack of available friends. The single ones had no interest in hanging with a mom but I didn't blame them, I had no interest in hanging with moms either.

So now it's a few years later and I have plenty of opportunity to go out but little desire to do so. Sure, once I'm out I have a great time but getting there is a battle. Not the battles I used to fight with Starter Husband but the internal struggle of stepping out of my comfort zone. It was funny to me earlier when D said he was demanding I go out and have fun. More than a lifetime ago I heard the same words except they were demands to stay home.

I was a good girl tonight, I went out and had fun, just as I was told. I never once looked at my watch and worried about the time. I just enjoyed the time with friends. I have to remember to listen to my husband more often.

Funny how things can change.

I'm no fool.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Spy

So I finally have a night to myself. K is in bed and D is out with L. I had planned to write a rant about my MIL not calling me and D for our anniversary. Not that I was in the mood for that conversation, but if one is mending fences special occasions should not be ignored regardless of how she feels about our marriage. Which is clear by the lack of well wishes. I wasn't upset about it when I mentioned it to D, I was merely stating a fact that I thought was worth mentioning. So as I was procrastinating I spent some time on Facebook and found this story on D's page. How I missed it is beyond me but I felt a strong need to share it. Immediately. I don't usually cut and paste two days in a row but this is important and needs to be read. Please take a few moments to honor the memory and extraordinary life of Eileen Nearne, an incredible woman who led an unbelievable life:

Taken from The New York Times, September 21, 2010.


Eileen Nearne, Wartime Spy, Dies at 89
By JOHN F. BURNS
LONDON — After she died earlier this month, a frail 89-year-old alone in a flat in the British seaside town of Torquay, Eileen Nearne, her body undiscovered for several days, was listed by local officials as a candidate for what is known in Britain as a council burial, or what in the past was called a pauper’s grave.

After World War II, Eileen Nearne, here in a photo from that era, faded into obscurity.

But after the police looked through her possessions, including a Croix de Guerre medal awarded to her by the French government after World War II, the obscurity Ms. Nearne had cultivated for decades began to slip away.

Known to her neighbors as an insistently private woman who loved cats and revealed almost nothing about her past, she has emerged as a heroine in the tortured story of Nazi-occupied France, one of the secret agents who helped prepare the French resistance for the D-Day landings in June 1944.

On Tuesday, the anonymity that Ms. Nearne had cherished in life was denied her in death. A funeral service in Torquay featured a military bugler and piper and an array of uniformed mourners. A red cushion atop her coffin bore her wartime medals. Eulogies celebrated her as one of 39 British women who were parachuted into France as secret agents by the Special Operations Executive, a wartime agency known informally as “Churchill’s secret army,” which recruited more than 14,000 agents to conduct espionage and sabotage behind enemy lines.

Funeral costs were paid by the British Legion, the country’s main veterans’ organization, and by anonymous donors who came forward after the circumstances of Ms. Nearne’s death made front-page news in Britain.

The funeral organizers said that in accordance with her wishes, her ashes would be scattered at sea.

Ms. Nearne, known as Didi, volunteered for work that was as dangerous as any that wartime Britain had to offer: operating a secret radio link from Paris that was used to organize weapons drops to the French resistance and to shuttle messages back and forth between controllers in London and the resistance.

After several narrow escapes, she was arrested by the Gestapo in July 1944 and sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp near Berlin, a camp that was primarily intended for women, tens of thousands of whom died there.

Ms. Nearne survived, though other women working for the Special Operations Executive were executed in the Nazi camps.

As she related in postwar debriefings, documented in Britain’s National Archives, the Gestapo tortured her — beating her, stripping her naked, then submerging her repeatedly in a bath of ice-cold water until she began to black out from lack of oxygen. Yet they failed to force her to yield the secrets they sought: her real identity, the names of others working with her in the resistance and the assignments given to her by London. At the time, she was 23.

The account she gave her captors was that she was an innocent and somewhat gullible Frenchwoman named Jacqueline Duterte, and that she had been recruited by a local businessman to transmit radio coded messages that she did not understand.

She recalled one interrogator’s attempts to break her will: “He said, ‘Liar! Spy!’ and hit me on the face. He said, ‘We have ways of making people who don’t want to talk, talk. Come with us.’ ”

From Ravensbruck, Ms. Nearne was shuttled eastward through an archipelago of Nazi death camps, her head shaved. After first refusing to work in the camps, she changed her mind, seeing the work assignments as the only means of survival.

In December 1944 she was moved to the Markleberg camp, near Leipzig, where she worked on a road-repair gang for 12 hours a day. But while being transferred yet again, she and two Frenchwomen escaped and eventually linked up with American troops.

Even then, her travails were not over. American intelligence officers initially identified her as a Nazi collaborator and held her at a detention center with captured SS personnel until her account, that she was a British secret agent, was verified by her superiors in London.
Asked by her postwar debriefers how she kept up hope, she replied: “The will to live. Willpower. That’s the most important. You should not let yourself go. It seemed that the end would never come, but I always believed in destiny, and I had a hope.”

“If you are a person who is drowning, you put all your efforts into trying to swim.”

Ms. Nearne was born on March 15, 1921, into an Anglo-Spanish family that later moved to France, where she grew up speaking French.

The family fled to Spain ahead of the German occupation of France, arriving in Britain in 1942. Ms. Nearne, her older sister, Jacqueline, and their brother, Francis, were recruited by the Special Operations Executive. In March 1944, Didi Nearne followed her sister in parachuting into France, remaining there, under the code name Agent Rose, after her sister was airlifted back to Britain.

The Gestapo had infiltrated many of the Allied spying networks, and Ms. Nearne lived on a knife’s edge. On a train journey to a new safe house south of Paris, her cover came close to being blown when a German soldier offered to carry her suitcase, which contained her secret radio. After telling him that it contained a gramophone, she hurriedly got off the train and walked with the case the rest of the way.

Describing how she lived undercover, she said after the war: “I wasn’t nervous. In my mind, I was never going to be arrested. But of course I was careful. There were Gestapo in plain clothes everywhere. I always looked at my reflection in the shop windows to see if I was being followed.”

In July 1944, the Gestapo arrived at her Paris hide-out moments after she had completed a coded transmission. She burned the messages and hid the radio, but the Germans found the radio and the pad she had used for coding the transmissions.

Parts of her story were later told in books written about wartime secret operations, including the 1966 history “SOE in France, 1940-1944,” by Michael Foot, part of a government history series by authors given special access to secret government records.

But wartime friends said after her death, on Sept. 2, that she had found it difficult to adjust to peacetime life, and a medical report in the government archives said she was suffering from psychological symptoms brought on by her wartime service. She never married, and she lived alone after her sister died in 1982.

Friends said that she withdrew into herself and shunned all opportunities to earn celebrity from her wartime experiences. In 1993, she returned to Ravensbruck for a visit, but otherwise she cherished her anonymity. As she told an interviewer several years before she died: “It was a life in the shadows, but I was suited for it. I could be hard and secret. I could be lonely. I could be independent. But I wasn’t bored. I liked the work. After the war, I missed it.”

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's a mad mad mad mad world


This is the tag for the photo above taken from Yahoo:

Former Marine Evelyn Thomas wears a pair of boots with names of former comrades who were discharged under the 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' policy. The US Senate has blocked a bid to lift a ban on gays serving openly in the military, thwarting the move with political maneuvering that now puts the issue on a back burner indefinitely.

At least my world is mad. I didn't want to make this a political blog but sometimes issues come up and I just have to rant. The whole Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy was ridiculous from the start. First of all who came up with that title? Better question is why? Honestly what difference does sexual orientation make while protecting and defending? Is there a Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy for drug abusers in the military? How about child molesters? I think those guys (and gals) are the ones who need the boot. I'm just dumbfounded by whole idea of this. My anger and disgust regarding this issue makes it difficult for me to put it into words. Rachel Maddow however, did a fantastic job. Here is what she had to say about:


From Huffington Post:
Rachel Maddow had tough words for both the GOP and the Obama administration after the defense authorization bill that could have led to the end of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was held up by a filibuster in the Senate.

Maddow, who has been a fierce and prominent advocate for the repeal of the law banning gays from serving openly in the military, delivered a 12-minute denunciation which led to one conclusion: the filibuster had nothing to do with the procedural issues Republican Senators raised on the Senate floor and everything to do with anti-gay politics.

She played clips of Republican Senators talking about everything from their inability to add amendments to the bill to concern that a military study of the efficacy of lifting "Don't Ask" was being sidelined. Then, Maddow contradicted all of those statements, pointing out that the bill would have explicitly put the question of a repeal into the military's hands, and that Republicans would have been allowed to add their own amendments.

Ultimately, Maddow concluded, the reason for the filibuster was clear:

Today Republicans did a historic thing. They chose to block funding for the entire U.S. military, and they did it not because of any of that window dressing procedural stuff they are trying to hide behind today. They did it because they want to keep this anti-gay policy in place. This is about the gays.

She also played clips of Republican Senators decrying the "far left agenda" of allowing gays to serve openly, and of predicting damage to the military if "Don't Ask" is repealed.

Maddow also noted that, in her interview with Vice President Biden, he had said that the reason the Obama administration was still enforcing "Don't Ask" was because "that is the compromise we basically had to make to get the votes to finally repeal it."
Clearly, she said, if that was true, then the other side did not hold its end of the deal up. She then asked if the White House would now cease enforcing the ban:

The White House could decide right now tonight to stop implementation of this policy pending the military's review. The right wants a culture war against gay people That's a war that in 2010 anti-gay politicians lose and pro civil rights politicians win. Does the White House leave that on the table and walk away, or do they try to win?

Watch it here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A guy walks into a bar....


So starts the story of how I met D. I think I even wrote about this before. I was out with friends even though I wanted to stay home. It was the weekend before my birthday and I was in no mood to celebrate, I wanted to be alone and figure out what to do with my life. It was almost a year since Starter Husband I had separated and I needed to get the ball rolling on filing for divorce before he wore me down and I went back to him. I was talked into going out dancing because I was too tired to say no. I don't think I even brushed my hair. As soon as we walk into the club this guy comes up to me and asks if I want to dance. I tell him "not right now thanks" and I go off to find my friends. I end up at the bar and the guy comes back, "Wanna dance now?" he asks, "uh, not now" I tell him. He starts to walk away and I tell him that he can hang and talk, I'm just not one for dancing. I kinda felt bad for him, he was cute and seemed like a nice guy. My friends went off to dance and his friends stood across the room giving him the thumbs up.

We had a nice conversation over the super loud disco playing in the background. We were in the same industry (entertainment, go figure) and talked about that for a while, honestly I can't remember what else we talked about, it was loud and hard to hear. I succumbed to the dancing after a while, it was easier than trying to decipher the conversation besides the drinks were starting to kick in which always helps.

We danced for a while until my friends decided they were done, they were bored and had not found any boys. I was happy to be taken off the dance floor but was actually having fun with Mr. Persistence. He gave me his number and for the first time in my life I gave out mine. I had met other guys before but never felt the desire to give out my information, if I liked them I called them, I felt safer that way. This guy was different, he seemed really nice, his friends high-fiving him on the dance floor was a little dorky but I wasn't one to judge. We said goodbye and I kissed him on the cheek, shocking my friends who had never seen me so much as wave goodbye to a guy in a bar.

Eight year ago today, I married that guy. It always makes me laugh when people ask how we met, they seem to expect a long drawn out romantic fairy tale or a story of epic proportions. Nope. We met at a bar. A completely modern tale of two people who happen to be at the same place at the same time. Was it fate? Destiny? Kismet? Nah, more likely it was the DJ at Kane who had a kickass playlist of groovy disco classics. D likes to tell people that he saw me there as soon as he walked in, that there was a light shining over my head but I think that it was the club lights reflecting off my dirty unbrushed hair.

Not that I don't believe in romance, our first date that next Friday (yes I agreed to a first date on a Friday, I didn't follow the LA dating rules) was wonderful. We learned that we had plenty in common including a love of football (even though our teams were mortal enemies) and sports bars. Our relationship didn't follow the rules either, we went from on again off again to friends only back to on again. I went from separated to divorced and moved from my cool but empty bachelorette pad to a duplex with friends until moving in with D.

We went from dating to cohabitation to engaged to married in three years.

It seems like it wasn't too long ago that I walked into that bar, I can still remember what I was wearing and how much I didn't want to be there. I can distinctly remember D coming up to me over and over again and feeling completely disarmed by his smile instead of annoyed by his persistence. I remember more about the night we met and our first date then our wedding (which is a blur to me sometimes). Luckily Earth, Wind and Fire wrote a song about that night, a song that I am positive was playing in the club on the night we met:

Do you remember the 21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away

Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing
As we danced in the night,
Remember how the stars stole the night away

on and on - say that you remember
on and on - dancing in September
on and on - never was a cloudy day

My thoughts are with you
Holding hands with your heart to see you
Only blue talk and love,
Remember how we knew love was here to stay

Now December found the love that we shared in September.
Only blue talk and love,
Remember the true love we share today

on and on - say that you remember
on and on - dancing in September
on and on - never was a cloudy day

on and on - say do you remember
on and on - dancing in September
on and on - golden dreams were shiny days

Some bells were ringing
Our souls were singing
Do you remember,never a cloudy day?

on and on - say do you remember
on and on - dancing in September
on and on - never was a cloudy day

on and on - say do you remember
on and on - dancing in September
on and on - golden dreams were shiny days

Happy Anniversary D!

I'm glad you walked into that bar.

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Math



Last year someone told me that second grade was the hardest for parents of elementary school students when it came to homework. All I could think was those are some stupid parents, how hard can it be do some reading comprehension and math problems? I was pretty sure I could handle it. I should have learned my lesson when I lost it doing homework last year. It's only the second week and already I'm annoyed.

I know that we lucked out in the teacher department, K is thrilled with Mrs. M and so are we. She's tough but kind, she's teaching them when they think they're playing. I already have a stack of paperwork from her informing us of the progress they have made in the class so far. Today along with the mountain of homework was a letter saying that while she hopes all the kids do the homework they way it's assigned she understands that kids are kids. That it shouldn't be taking longer than 30 minutes to complete the days homework, that if your kid tries and can't do it parents should just sign it and let the child hand it in. She also states that while homework is important she knows that other things can come up and just try to get it done the next day. OK so I felt better but I still feel the need to make K do what is assigned. I looked through the schoolwork that came back and was surprised that K got 6 wrong answers on an easy math sheet. Then I looked and saw that she she didn't get them wrong, she left them out. I have a feeling that her lack of attention got the better of her. I made her fill in the blanks and put the sheet in her folder which goes back in the morning.

Then we looked over what she had for the week. It was a lot but properly managed could be finished rather quickly. That would require no fidgeting and a steadfast attention. My daughter has neither. We got through the spelling, reading and "all about me" project. Then she really wanted to do the math sheet, I was glad she wanted to keep going, we needed to get ahead, she might be on a job Thursday which will mean one less day to finish the mountain.

The math sheet was fun for K. She had to make a graph of how many tickets were sold by students. She easily got through the graphs, answered the questions and showed all her work. Then we got to the end. The final question was to estimate "around how many" tickets were sold. While I understand what they were asking I didn't know why this was necessary in 2nd grade. K didn't get it either. She added them easily and didn't understand why they wanted to know the answer closest to the answer. I told her it was like taking one step forward and then two steps back. That made it worse. I understand the value of estimation but not when you're teaching kids addition. If they get the answer, great, end of story. There's plenty of time later for estimating.

Maybe it's me, I had a similar problem last year when they used doubles and "almost doubles" to help teach addition. K was good at math and had no problem with her addition problems. Then they started to ask what method she used to get her answer. She protested and demanded a "I just added it" answer. I then had to teach her a whole other way to add in order for her to get through her homework. That felt like one step forward and three miles back.

I remember when I was younger and had a question about a homework problem, my mother would always say "I can't help, I don't get that new math." Huh? Of course I know now that she didn't want any part of homework or maybe she realized that she couldn't help me, either way, I managed by myself, I also managed to help my sister who was only 2 years younger. Apparently math doesn't change in two years and that "new math' excuse didn't work when I tried to use it.

So here I am, years later, sitting next to my child and doing my best to help her. What do I get? New math. Actually new ways of doing math. I'm not going to tell her that I don't know it but I am going to tell her that I don't like it. I'm happy that she can add the old way, I'll do my best to show her how to use the new way but only for homework. Today after doing all the work correctly she was asked to figure out "around how many?" I can't get on board with this and it pisses me off. When I was a kid 10 plus 9 equaled 19, not almost 20.

New math? Sounds like lazy math to me.

It's going to be a long year.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Family game time


In a normal family that probably means Monopoly, Scrabble or even Uno. In my family it only means one thing: Football. D and I are ridiculous fanatics who are loyal to opposing teams. In fact our wedding vows include a few lines about our passion for the sport. When we had K all our friends were eager to see which team she was going to follow. Tradition was on my side, I'm a born and bred New York Jet's fan who spent Sundays watching my dad curse at the television while the Jets lost week after week, D chose to follow the New England Patriots as a kid after seeing Pat Patriot, their revolutionary minuteman logo. Either way a fan is a fan and I admired his loyalty following a team that wasn't just a cool team to watch. Then they won the Superbowl and it became annoying, then rivalry was back.

When K was three we decided it was unfair to make her pick a side and confusing for her to like both teams. I had received a sheet with all the team logo stickers and we let her choose (we took off the Miami Dolphins sticker because those fans were not allowed in our house). After careful deliberation she decided she was going to be a Detroit Lion's fan. Historically it made sense, she would learn the ropes of fanhood by following a team that truly sucked just like her parents. So for the next few years she watched her team lose with a disappointment that D and I knew well. Every year at the start of preseason she would ask if her team was going to stink, every year we told her yes. Still she happily cheered on her losing team making D and I supremely proud of our dedicated daughter.

This year D surprised her with an official Calvin Johnson jersey which she wore proudly (along with her hat and giant foam finger) on opening day. Even D and I got into the Detroit action as we both cheered and hoped for a Lion win. When a terrible call was made we yelled and screamed at the television, at one point I turned to D and said "honestly, did you ever think we'd be yelling about the Lion's?" It was a funny moment in the B household.

Back to D and I, twice a year, every year the Jets and Pats play each other. These games have traditionally hard to watch for me since the Jets always lose, not just lose but lose bad. It was OK because we were usually alone watching these games. We would always have a big kick-off party the first weekend of the season, one year we decided to have the party a week later for the Jet/Pat game (part was laziness and part was brilliant strategy) and suddenly the B Bowl was created. Friends couldn't wait to come over and watch us yell at each other, while it was all done in fun I think a few of our friends hoped for a brawl. I liked the tradition of having a house full of football fans watching us watch the game. The comments and jokes made it seem like we living in our own sitcom. I was always on the side that received the consoling pat on the back while D got the high fives. Then last year the unthinkable happened, in house full of friends the Jets won. Suddenly I was the one getting high fives while D got the "sorry bro" pat on the back. Now I'm not saying the Jets always lost these divisional games but it had never happened in my house with witnesses.

This years game looked like it was going to be a good one, the Jets were no longer the divisional jokes but an actual threat to the Patriots. We filled our house with football fans because neither one of us had the time to be gracious hosts, we didn't care who our friends cheered for as long as they knew that this was a serious moment in our house (not that we didn't have fun). Another tradition for this event was K's wardrobe, she was always dressed head to toe in the team that had home field advantage. Since becoming a Lion's fan she had the choice of attire. She usually obliged her insane parents by wearing the home team uniform. This year she was all Lions and greeted our guests in full Lions garb including face and hair paint. No one batted an eye, after knowing us so long it was inevitable that the fanatic gene would kick in. Friends now gave K consoling pats on the back about her beloved Lions and she took it like a B. We were so proud.

As the game went on people came and left but for the most part they all sat in our living room watching the game, now that K had her own team and her game was over she didn't want to waste the afternoon watching another game and went swimming with the son of a non-football fanatic, our friends L and D's kid J. L and D were gracious enough to watch the kids since neither D or I were able to. I won't go on with the specifics of the game (I know that D reads this and I don't want him to go through the heartache again), but the Jets won after coming back from a lousy first half. Our house was full and loud, non-fans always get in the action because it's easy to make fun of us. We don't trash talk or take it personally, we make comments here and there but it's not serious. At the end of the game the winner gives the lose a hug (which is always a win) and we make our predictions for the rest of the season.

I had a great time today, not only because of the "w" in my column, which is always a good thing, but because we've created a tradition. One that we all love. Within minutes after the game ended our phone were ringing, texts were flying and Facebook pages were filled with messages. My house was full of new friends, old friends and friends that we haven't seen in years. People that don't really know each other but get along like a big happy family. Which in reality is what that is for us. Family.

Some people love the holidays because it brings them together and that's cool. D, K and I have found our own way to bring everyone together in a way that's unique to us. We've created our own universal holiday and no one is excluded.

Well, except Dolphin fans.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Home atone


I never knew I was in a mixed marriage until I joined the synagogue down the street. I wanted K to go to the preschool there and one of the requirements (actually, it was the only requirement besides paying 10K of course) was to join the congregation. When I told the membership director that my husband wasn't Jewish she said that there were many mixed couples that belonged to the synagogue. Mixed? I had never really looked at it that way. I just thought that I was Jewish and D wasn't. Since he practiced no religion I didn't see it as any kind of mix. There was mine and that's about it. I never thought about how other people saw it. I told the director that D didn't practice any religion but he was happy to honor mine and had no problem with my desire to send K to a Jewish preschool. She asked if he had thought of converting, my laughter was her answer.

I was raised in a Jewish-lite household, around every six months we celebrated the holidays. That's about it. Starter husband's family was a little more into the religion and I happily obliged their way of worship. It was nice to have a Seder with 30 people yelling and screaming and sitting in shul was actually fun with my former sisters-in-law.

Then it was just me. The first year I was alone for Rosh Hashanah turned out to be the same day I was supposed to go the Emmy's, not to work but just to hang out with an all access pass. I decided it was better than sitting home alone and feeling sorry for myself. The next week I flew to New York in a last ditch effort made by started husband. Didn't work but I was spared a holiday alone. After that I manned up and bought tickets to synagogues near me.

When we moved to where we are now I marveled that I was a block away from a synagogue (I don't use the word "temple" for many reasons, one of them being I've never been a reform jew and they tend to use that term. The original or First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians and was the site of sacrificial offerings. Just giving some facts.) The first year I went I was given tickets from a friend who wasn't going to use them and thought that I should. I put K in the daycare, which was the preschool, immediately I knew that she would someday soon end up there. I liked the service and felt very comfortable there even though they sung all the songs differently than back east.

I went back every year and when K was a student I went with my new friends and she got to sing and dance in a place she knew well. It was what I always envisioned except my husband wasn't there with me. He always asked if I wanted him to go, I always replied "only if you want to" and he never did. Which was fine, he was always there at school events and did the Shabbat lunches with great enthusiasm. I called him Jewish by association, an honorary MOT.

So that brings us to today. I let my membership at the synagogue down the street expire after the school director pissed me off by telling me that putting K in kindergarten early was depriving her of a year of her childhood. Not kidding. Even though we were no longer members we were welcome at the family service without a ticket, these services were so crowded they rented out a local theater to hold them. We go every year. We also take a walk back to our old shul for the final evening service, we've never been asked for a ticket there either.

Today D took K to karate and piano while I stayed home to atone in peace. I had time to think about what it was I wanted from my religion or any religion. I found no answer. D came with us to the family service and it was wonderful. It's not a deeply religious service (because it's for kids) but it's spiritual and meaningful. The rabbis explain the general idea of the holiday in a way that makes it fun and keeps their attention for the whole service. I always cry in these services. I look around and see the multi-generation families having a good time together. I always think of my paternal grandparents on this holiday. Not only because Yom Kippur is a time to remember those who are no longer with us, but I think of how much joy they would get from seeing K get into the whole thing. I know it's weird but every year on this holiday I can feel my grandparents with me, the tears are for sadness and joy and I get them every time I see K singing and dancing around knowing that they can see her too.

Every year I vow to be more involved in all things Jewish but what I really need is to be more spiritually involved. That does not require a synagogue. I spent a lot of time alone today, time spent thinking, reflecting and hoping. While I did enjoy the introspection there was something missing. Not sure if it was the location or lack of family. I felt complete when we all walked in the service even though we didn't know anyone there. Somehow I need to bring that feeling home. Sure it's great to honor the traditions of our fathers but that doesn't mean we can't start our own right?

So I'm feeling pretty good with the direction this holiday is taking me and then K and I go to the evening service down the street. When we walk in to the sanctuary we are both overcome by a feeling of peace. We found seats and K wrapped her arms and hands around me. She rubbed my back as I tickled hers, she grabbed my hand to come with her when the kids were called down, it was wonderful. We were in a room full of strangers and it still felt like home. When K saw other people cry she didn't ask why, she knew. When strangers smiled at her she smiled back, genuinely. She didn't complain that she had no friends there and she didn't make make me get a brownie for her when it was time to break the fast. She was acting like a big girl, a girl who was comfortable and proud to be where she was. Walking home she asked if she could go to synagogue again. After I brushed away the tears I said of course.

I'm not saying that we're going to run out and rejoin the synagogue but I will do my best to recreate the feeling we both got today. We are fortunate to live close to the Lake Shrine a wonderful place I took K when she was a baby. A place where all religions are represented, a place where that feeling of peace is not only mental but physical, the place is so beautiful. While I was thrilled to experience an old family tradition with my daughter today, I look forward to starting new ones and incorporating them into our lives. It will be a mix of this and a touch of that.

Mixed family? You bet. Aren't we all?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Don't look back



"Don't look back"
"Keep moving forward"
"Don't turn around"

I guess these could either be bad 80s song titles or words to live by. You all know me by now, I'm certainly not one to live in the past so this wont be a long rant about that. I was going to gush about K and how awesome she is but I did that enough this week. D and I went back to Dr. Phil this week but I'm not going write about that either, I'm actually not in the mood to rant about anything today. I'd just like to share a few things that we did over the summer. Let you know what went on while I wasn't writing. I thought I would be able to go back and fill in all the holes but that would only be to satisfy my OCD and I'm trying to not let that rule my life anymore. I'll deal with the gaps and lack of symmetry on my own time.

08/09/10
K ended up booking the "Confidential Project" I wrote about here, after a confidential callback and fitting (where I was asked to sign even more agreements making a grand total of 8 confidentiality agreements signed). At the fitting they told us what the job was but I already knew that, I guess someone didn't read their paperwork. We were excited it sounded like a fun project. Now here's the thing: I signed so many things and never got copies of any of them. I knew not to talk about it before it was filmed but I cannot for the life of me remember what I was allowed to say after. K's part was cute and honestly had nothing to do with the product. They shot at a cool house in Pasadena and of course K and I were early. She loves to follow the yellow production signs to the location. We checked in and sat with the rest of the cast: a few kids, a fake family and a little person (who we had met at the fitting). I can't remember his name but he's been in a ton of movies but pretty much kept to himself. I think I know the reason too. One of the other kids there (a dead ringer for that annoying Jerry McGuire kid kept pointing and laughing and very loudly telling everyone "that guys is FREAKING ME OUT!" K was so upset by this and repeatedly told him to stop talking like that. She explained that he was a person just like anyone else and didn't deserve to be treated badly. I was so proud of K for showing such compassion and disgusted with the mom who didn't say a word.

Once the guy left the kid settled down and sat with K as she played with her iPad, he was fascinated watching her and we were all grateful for the quiet. According to the shot list K was last so we had quite a bit of time to kill. I really need to thank D for the iPad, at first I thought it was dumb, why do we have to have every single Apple invention? Our trip to Mexico proved how valuable that giant iPhone without a camera can be. On this set it provided entertainment for some kids, was a reading buddy to K and even allowed some piano practice to get done even though we were miles away from home.

When it was time for K to go to wardrobe most of the cast was gone, it was us and the crew, just how K likes it. They dressed her in her outfit (which was a combination of her own clothing and something the stylist picked out) did little with her hair and used absolutely no makeup, the director said he wanted kids to look like kids, he even told K not to worry about getting too dirty, just have fun. Cool! When they were ready for her she went into the house and they asked me to come too, I told them that she prefers to work alone but I would stay right outside the door and watch the monitor. They were thrilled with that. She did her thing which again, I'm not sure I can talk about, then they decided she needed to be holding a list of some items she discussed in the shot. They called for the art department to get it ready, while that was being done the director had K make the list herself and that's what they used in the shot. Her shots didn't take long and soon she flew out the door saying that she got a round of applause and a bunch of high fives. We went to sign out, grab our things and find the driver to take us back to my car. K said she wanted to say goodbye to the director and that I should ask him how she did. I told my darling girl that I know she did great by the way she left the set. Didn't matter, she needed to hear it.

So off we went to find her director, he was so sweet, he was in the middle of wrapping but gave her more high fives and when K told me to ask about her performance he said that she was awesome. The pride beaming from her face was so powerful surely glaciers thousands of miles away melted from the intensity. We got to my car and suddenly realized it was way past dinnertime. Craft services on this shoot was great but we both needed a real meal and a bathroom.

Not knowing the area we stopped at the first strip mall we passed, I saw an old school Italian restaurant but that was it, I didn't think it was for us but then I saw a sign with the dress code and I know it was for us. It said:

NO GANG ATTIRE
NO TANK TOPS
NO RAIDER LOGOS

Yup, we ate there and it was awesome. Not only was the food totally reminiscent of my old New York haunts, it was run by fellow football fanatics who shared my disdain for all things Raiders. The service was great as well. K was still riding high from her great performance and she told the staff that she just got back from a commercial. They were confused until she told them she meant that she was shooting the commercial, then she became royalty. Every five minutes someone was coming by to see how we were, what we needed and told K how cool she was. They wanted to bring her a dessert but she had already spied the Baskin Robbins a few doors down. We said goodbye and got her a giant sundae. I think she was asleep by the time we hit the freeway and I was thankful she got a cover for her treat.

It was a fun day for both of us. Not the most fun thing we did this summer but certainly blog-worthy since I planned this to be about my life as stagemom. Don't worry though, there's plenty of drama-worthy situations on the horizon. D has just informed me that his mother would like to come here for a visit. Can't wait to see how that plays out.

At least for now I remain, drama-free.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Learned a lot already!


It's been such a productive week already! Got the blog up and running again. Got the kid settled in school. Got my fantasy football team in order. The best thing about this week? A lesson that was learned the hard way.

K got called for a film audition a few days ago. I was nervous about auditions during the first week of school, I haven't had a chance to have "the talk" with her teacher yet. Luckily it was scheduled for after school. The role was a lead in a horror film being shot on location in New Orleans. The character is a beautiful blond girl who is haunted by a dead man trying to help her. K would have to learn eight pages of dialogue, which she has easily done in the past.

After homework and reading we tackled the scenes. I was surprised to see that K was struggling with it. Even the first few lines which were pretty simple. She had two scenes to learn but we focused on the first which had more lines but was easier. After a while it became clear that it wasn't working. I gave her the script and let her do the reading with it in her hands for help, that was better but she was flat and uninterested. We stopped and I asked her if I should cancel. She got upset and told me she could do it. "That wasn't the point," I said, "do you even want to?" "Yes mama, I'm just not doing my best right now." she replied. That really broke my heart and I was conflicted. Again I asked if she was doing this for me because honestly she didn't have a chance in hell of getting this part, it was mainly going to be for the experience and to get in front of a new CD (casting director). She said she really wanted to try and she promised me that she would "give it everything." We tried and tried and even went on to the next scene, still she had difficulty.

At this point I started to get angry. Not so much because she couldn't remember lots of lines but she really was not giving it her best. She was fidgety which drives me nuts. I had to practically sit on her to keep still. This is an ongoing problem, not specifically related to the acting/modeling thing, she does this when she reads as well. So what happens when you don't give your best? Nothing good, I'll tell you that. Instead of trying harder she slipped into victim mode and said that she can't do this, it's too hard. I reminded her of the 10 page script we got a year and a half ago when she read for "24" not only did she memorize her lines but those of Jack Bauer's as well. She didn't get the part but did so well she earned her first two Webkinz.

This time the only thing she was earning was an impatient mother. I hated feeling this way and wasn't sure what to do. If we went and she didn't know the lines, that was fine. It happens all he time and at least she tried. If we went and she not only didn't know the lines but felt insecure about it she could take that kind of failure with her for a long time. She said she'd try again with D when he got home. That didn't really help either. I told her that I think we should just cancel, because if her heart wasn't in it her audition wouldn't be fun. She said that she didn't want to disappoint anyone but this particular audition was something she just didn't want to do. I told her that making a decision like that was a very responsible one. I emailed K's agent and told her the truth. I had planned on saying that she wasn't feeling well but then I decided that the truth would be more effective, I let her know that we had some difficulty with the script and while we usually always go to auditions we know aren't going to end up as bookings on this one we would take a pass. Normally I would feel bad or guily about this, I would worry that she won't get sent out on other movie roles, then I thought about my daughter. If it's not fun it's not worth doing. If they don't send her out, who cares?

I'm keeping the script though. In a few weeks I'll try again, just for fun to see what happens. I had been thinking about how tough this week was for me but never fully realized how it must be for K. New class, new teacher, new responsibilities at school. It's a lot for a second grader, especially for the youngest second grader in the school.

So today, instead of driving to Hollywood to do something that my little girl isn't ready to do I'm going to take her for a treat (after she does her reading, of course). She does a lot, this little girl of mine and sometimes I forget that she's just a six year old. Her abilities and personality makes her seem years older and sometimes I need reminders like this to bring me back to the mother and child role I cherish so much.

Hollywood can wait.

Childhood cannot.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back to the grind


When I stopped working for pay a thousand years ago (I use the term "for pay" because I do work, a lot) I thought the mountains of paperwork I dreaded were a thing of the past. I knew that taking on the position of CHO (Chief Household Officer) wasn't going to be easy, the hours were long and the tiny boss yelled a lot, not mention the pay was crappy. The benefits package was killer though: lots of baby kisses, a firsthand view of all milestones and an endless supply of that sweet baby smell. The best thing was the view, there's not a corner office in the world that had a view to rival the sweet smile of my baby girl.

I didn't mind that I would never again have a conversation with a grown up or that my new office attire would always be dirty sweats. OK, that part isn't true, I did my best to avoid the sweatsuit look, I failed miserably at the keeping it clean thing. I found a look that was somewhere between pajamas and soccer mom. It worked for me.

Everything about this job had highs and lows, as expected. We had good days and bad days. We laughed and cried and cried. It was always an adventure, and the unexpected things that would pop up were dealt with and managed.

Then K started kindergarten. The amount of work required initially was nothing. Fill out some forms, show our ID and take her for some shots (which was the worst of this process). The first day was full of tears (from me) pictures (of K), hugs and words of encouragement. I was there early and happily scooped her up, eager to hear all about her very first day of elementary school. She said they colored and learned about each other. She also had a big green bag she called her "Monday Bag" which would include all the homework for the week as well as correspondence from the teacher and school. It was due every Friday. How cute, homework. I was surprised how heavy it was. When we got home I took out the stacks of paperwork and K said "Oh, yeah, YOU have homework too!!" She wasn't kidding, the amount of information needed was staggering. I got to work immediately entering all sorts of data onto the brightly colored LAUSD forms. They needed my info, D's info, K's info, emergency info, allergy info, special requirement info, you name it, they needed it. They also needed me to be aware of the policies regarding traffic safety, the playground, pesticides, photographing students, wardrobe restrictions (no Crocs, flip flops, and belly shirts) and meals. They wanted to know what I expected from the school, the strengths and weaknesses of my child, her special talents and likes and what language she spoke at home. There was even a form to fill out saying that I filled out all the forms. Nope, not kidding on that one.

I so badly wanted to reply in typical me fashion: "I expect the school to teach her things, she's great at everything and bad at eating vegetables, she has a talent for being awesome, likes puppies and at home we like to speak Latin. Of course I didn't write that, although I should have, I highly doubt this crap is ever seen again. I took the rest of the day and filled out every single thing. I returned it the next day even though we had until the end of the week. Just like K, I didn't want to disappoint our new teacher.

When K started first grade last year I was surprised to receive an ever larger stack of forms to fill out. All the ones from last year plus a few more. The only thing that needed changing was my email address and cell phone number. Not because it changed but because it was listed wrong in the school contact book (even though I filled out about a dozen forms to change this proving that no one reads this crap, again). So once again I spent the first day of school under a mountain of paperwork vowing to bring this up and one of the million meetings the school liked to have. The first few weeks of school were now for complaining about the paperwork we all had. It was the one agenda in which all parents stood in agreement.

Cut to:

Monday. I send my darling K off to school with a brand new empty backpack, I retrieve my still darling daughter with a backpack so heavy she can barely lift it. My head suddenly becomes full of hopes that inside this adorable heart covered backpack are items that K will need for the year, like bricks and heavy rocks. Nope. It's those damn forms again with a note kindly asking to return as soon as possible. There's also a folder from K's new teacher full of what I'm honestly hoping is homework for her. Some of it is her weekly homework but most of it is more paperwork for me. This teacher has been at our school for years and is known to be tough but amazing, her students, upon completing second grade are not only fully prepared for the next year they could easily go right to fourth grade. She has her way teaching and it's worked for years. I was happy and scared at the same time and filled out her paperwork first. She explained how she does things and what will happen during the school year. She directed us to her website which will have homework, class assignments and projects. For the first time in years I felt like I had started a new job. I also made sure K got right to work on her homework. Side by side we did our work together. Later that night I attacked the usual LAUSD forms (with even more added for my pleasure) I filled out the form that said I filled out the forms. What I didn't have was the school contact book form. It wasn't needed for second grade families because they already had that information. Again, it was the only thing that needed changing because it was still wrong.

Yesterday K brought everything needed back to school in her heavy backpack. At pickup the conversation was mainly about the stupid paperwork. I looked around and listened, every single parent was talking about it. Then it hit me, this was LAUSD's version of a stun gun. There was no way a parent could complain about their kid's teacher, class size or room assignment while they were still walking around with "Paperwork Shock." It's a brilliant strategy because the paperwork is due on or around the same time class assignments can be changed (even though they are NEVER changed).

It all makes sense to me now, how did I not see this a few years ago? Oh yeah, my kid was starting school and I had other things to worry about. Hmmmmmm, think about it: Confuse parents with weapons of mass distraction. They got me for almost three years!! Now that I'm armed with this information I'm going to look at things differently today at pick-up. I'll keep you posted.

Shock and Awe indeed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The calm.


So this summer I was good and bad. Good at being the director of "camp mom" and finding fun things for K to do. Making sure this was a great summer for her (and D as well). I was bad at so many things: returning phone calls and emails (my job kept me busy at all hours) grooming (my eyebrows are downright scary), trip planning (we tried to make it to Sea World but it just never happened) and finally writing. I sucked at writing this summer. I had every intention of writing daily and tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to catch up. My days were filled with various activities, meals and tickle fights, my evenings were for resting, relaxing and well, tickle fights. I knew that the days were flying by and I didn't want to spend it in front of my laptop when I could have been with K.

I didn't want the end of summer to suddenly show up and regret time not spent properly. Every day thoughts of writing swirled around my head while an actual child swirled around my heart. Sorry, I had to pick her. You would too.

I remember as a kid that sick feeling I used to get around Labor Day, knowing that school was about to start would send my stomach on a whirlwind trip around my body. I actually had a very strong physical reaction to the Jerry Lewis Telethon (and still do). It's not like I had great summer vacations either, I was shipped off to sleep away camp for 9 weeks as soon as I was about 8 or 9. As I got older and worked (for pay) Labor Day meant that the Jewish holidays were coming and I'd get a few days off from work. Spending the days at shul never bothered me, there were always those free hours during breaks, hours I liked to call "naptime."

After K was born the calendar no longer mattered, there was no back to school or days off. There was just me and K hanging during the day. As she got a little older and talk of preschool came up, I poo pooed it (did I use that properly?). Why does my 2 year old need preschool? When she turned 3 I found a cute preschool program through a local park that was a few days a week from 10AM to noon, perfect. K would get to socialize and I could grocery shop. When she got closer to 4 I knew I had to find a different option. While I adored her school in the park I knew that she would need something longer to get her ready for Kindergarten. The day I dropped her off to that school I went home and cried. I cried all week. I missed her terribly. How could parents talk with so much glee about their "free time? I was miserable. I lived for 2:30PM, holidays and vacations. In fact I think I chose a Jewish preschool because of all the holidays.

When she started Kindergarten I was thrilled, she only went until 11:30!! After I found out that all the other kids were in the STAR program I had no choice but to sign her up, I didn't want K to miss out on all the fun things at school because I couldn't deal. Again I counted the days to holidays and vacation and was over-the-moon thrilled when it was summer vacation. I wasn't the best camp director, last summer was a rough one emotionally for me. The problem with D and his mom had mounted to a full scale emotional withdrawal for me and while I was with K 24/7 my head wasn't necessarily in that same place.

This time was going to be different. I counted the days until school ended and I threw myself into my new role with gusto. Even when we didn't have plans we had fun. We laughed too much, ate too much junk food and had an incredible time together. Every week that passed by was a reminder of the incredibly short time we had together and I relished every minute of it. The days that D took K for their own time together I was miserable. Happy when I heard their returning voices. When the back to school ads appeared I was horrified. NOT YET!!! When August turned to September I was grateful for the LAUSD budget cuts that gave me another week with my baby.

My dad finally decided to come and see us and his visit coincided with the first day of school, which was yesterday. For days I wondered how this would work. Traditionally, I sat home and cried on that day, how was I supposed to that with my dad there? Also, the first Jet game was on at 4PM. My mind and house would be full of distractions so maybe it would work. It did. While I did force back a mountain of tears after D and I dropped her off, I spent a lovely day alone with my dad. Something that hasn't been done in years. We both picked up K and went out for a treat. After that we came home she did her homework and I did mine (20 plus pages of forms to fill out, for a school that she's been going to for two years!) I cooked dinner while we all watched the game (which sucked BTW). D came home and we all had dinner, then our friend L came by to say hi to my dad and drop off some work D needed. I was happy L got to see my dad, they get along really well. I was also happy that it spared D from coming home hours later. I really needed the distraction of a full house. Not only was my baby gone during the day from now on, but my dad was leaving. Something my family does not handle all that well.

This morning was filled with a similar chaos. Rushing K off to school and making sure my dad left in time (not that we would have been bummed if he missed his plane and had to stay!).

So here I sit in a lonely and dirty house. For the first time in three months I am alone. I hardly know what to do with myself. I could care less about cleaning. The mess is a reminder of the amazing week we just had. The dirty dishes are leftover from a wonderful meal we all just shared and K's room is in disarray because she had so much fun with her BP (as we call him).

I don't want to disturb any of it. I know once I do the tears will start to flow and I don't know if I am ready for it.

I think I might have to start with my eyebrows.

It's nice to be back. I missed you.