Too many mental tabs open today.

Friday, November 19, 2010

(Un)Lucky Number 7?

So K turned 7 today. She woke up early today full of excitement, wonder and a little anger because she didn't feel or look "very 7" she felt "kinda 6 still." I told her not to be in such a hurry to get older and she said she just wanted to feel older. I get that. I've been waiting to feel older for decades, it never really kicked in. I sent her off to school in a pretty pink dress, black Uggs and a smile over a mile long. She is truly a happy girl and to me, that's the best and only present necessary.

Last week was her party. A small affair for about 70 adults and kids (no, I'm not kidding). She wanted a karate party and we obliged, mostly because it would be easier for us to have everything inside one room and most of the work done by her sensei (poor guy!). I had no idea what to expect and I was completely blown away. Not only were the kids given a wonderful fun-filled lesson they were also treated to an incredible demonstration by an amazing group of black belts. Even K did a demonstration, of course at the time she didn't know this but she was actually testing for her blue belt. After the "cake ceremony" (which was an earsplitting round of the birthday song followed by a giant samurai sword cutting the cake) K was presented with her blue belt and a pair of blue nunchuks. While it must have been overwhelming at the time, I could see the look of accomplishment on her little doughnut-cake covered face.

Watching all of this through the eyes of my camera lens gave it a surreal feeling for me. I didn't grow up the way she will. I wasn't surrounded by the kind of love and attention that she has. I didn't know that feeling of accomplishment as a child. Hell, I didn't even know it as an adult. Watching K grow up into an amazing person has finally given that to me. Seeing my daughter owning it at seven makes me proud of us both.

Seven was a hard age for me. I was seven when my parents got divorced. I was seven when we moved to the city and I had to start a new school. I was seven when my mother decided that she would use me to punish my father because he left her. I was seven when I realized that I was alone. All my bad memories started at that age. I think my recent absentmindedness might be traced back to knowing that my own child was about to turn seven.

While I watched K through my Canon I realized that she is not me, she will never be me and she will never have to suffer like me. That's not to say that her whole life will be peachy, I'm sure she will have her own issues but she won't have her childhood come to a crashing halt at seven. I'm not blaming this on being a child of divorce, although that was most likely the catalyst it wasn't the cause of my unhappiness. I'm not going to psychoanalyze my childhood, I've certainly done that enough around here. I'm simply going to state a fact about me and my revelations regarding parenting a child (parenting a parent is a whole other story). I put K's needs before mine. I do it all the time. In fact I tend to ignore my own needs to make sure hers are met. Not taking care of myself is a problem in itself and I am working on that. I am learning that it is possible to find a balance and meets the needs of my family at the same time.

What happened to me was the opposite. The needs of the child were not met at all. Leaving a child to physically and emotionally fend for themselves will yield catastrophic results. Of course the reverse isn't too good for the kid either, but I would have gladly taken "I am the center of the universe" over "I am not worth it." K knows that she is the center of my world, she knows that other planets exist in our family solar system. We all understand there's a lot of planetary activity in our daily trek around the sun, happily we also know that it isn't just a black hole of nothingness.

Today my baby turns an age that I've been dreading for years. When she announced her disappointment at not feeling any older I just laughed. When she looks back at her childhood she's not going have a feeling of dread. She's going to have a melange of happy memories, she might even remember some bad things, that's just the way life is sometimes. When she's older she will relive the start of her seventh year and remember getting her blue belt, having a ton of friends around her, having her cake cut with a sword by her favorite sensei and having her parents undying love and affection whenever she needed it (and sometimes even when she didn't).

Who knows, maybe I can stop fixating on all the things that happened to me when I was seven.

Wouldn't that be lucky?

Happy Birthday to my darling K,
I love you more than words can say!

(and I know a lot of words)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Birthday K

Tomorrow is K's 7th birthday. How is this possible? I remember the early days sitting at home watching her in her aquarium bouncer. I remember walking around Santa Monica with an infant K asleep in her stroller, jealous of the moms who were having conversations over lunch with their little girls. Now I'm that mom giving sweet smiles to new moms and their babies. I remember one day when K was about a week old, I was sitting on the couch holding her, completely freaked out at the idea of me being responsible for this new tiny person for the next few decades. I remember thinking that at least she was a baby, I had no idea what the hell I would do with a seven year old.

Not much has changed. I still have no clue what to do with a seven year old and I am shocked, proud and amazed that I lasted this long. I am thrilled that I am now the mom happily lunching with her little girl, I'm just a little surprised at the topics of the conversations. At the time of my early envy I had no idea that little girls liked to talk about farting so much, of course this might just be mine. That's OK, I can roll with that for a while. Lately the conversations are about boys and while I find this to be adorable I thought they would happen when we were celebrating double digit birthdays.

As I head off to bed I will think about where I was seven years and marvel at how far I have come. I will think about the first time I was handed my new baby, how we looked into each other's eyes for answers, both a little scared and unsure. I will think about all the answers I have found in those beautiful blue eyes and hope that K has found a few herself. I will look forward to what the next seven years will bring with great optimism and some of that old fear. I will hope that she grows up happy and secure and not so obsessed with bodily functions.

I'm pretty sure that in our house the last one might be a problem, that's cool, maybe it will gross out potential suitors.

Of course that didn't happen in my case either.

Happy Birthday K. I love you!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Every night I go to bed and think about all the things I forgot to do. OK, sometimes it's not really forgetting but more like never got around to doing. This blog is always at the top of that list. It's not that I don't have things to write about. It's sometimes I have too much and I don't know where to start. K has been so busy but I don't really think anyone needs another detailed report of a photo shoot. She did lose her first tooth, I almost wrote about that and how that tiny tooth held on a few days so could do a quick shoot for Kmart, but I opted to spend the time with my little toothless daughter.

We had a great Halloween too, the three of us running all over the place that weekend. D and I were too tired from the stressful week we both had to go to the cool parties we were looking so forward to attending. That was fine with both of us. K had worked all week for Target and D was busy moving offices and managing various projects. We did take K trick-or-treating in costumes. K was perfectly dressed as Hermione Granger, D was Brett Favre with a camera and I was Hit Girl from Kickass, my absolute favorite character this year. It's funny, Halloween used to be a big deal before we had K. We would obsess over what to wear and spend hours looking for the right costumes for whatever party we were hitting that year. Now it's all about the kid and candy and I can't say that I mind. It was a lot of fun.

I guess that kind of explains the sudden absence from writing. Instead of writing about things I was experiencing them. While I love writing it became something I needed to do. I would spend hours wondering what to write instead of of finding things to do. I've been out doing stuff. Stuff I will write about in the future.

For now I just want to say that I haven't stopped or forgotten. In fact I am finishing this post which was started a while ago. So while I know it's really just me writing about why I'm not writing at least it's something and one less thing to keep me up on that.

Yeah, right.

I have a whole mess to write about on that front including a discussion with Dr. Phil who thinks I might benefit from meds.

Me and meds? This should be a new chapter in my life, something I do not take lightly and usually dismiss.

Stick around, it should be a good fight!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Our Moon Landing

Second Miner, Mario Sepulveda Out Chile mine rescue.hq

So I spent the whole night watching the amazing rescue of 33 brave men. An operation that will continue well into tomorrow. An operation that was so well thought out it will no doubt be the benchmark of how things are done in the future. As I watched through the happy tears I thought of the moon landing and how my parents must have felt. That feeling that anything is possible has been lost for decades. It reappeared briefly when Obama was elected but that feeling was only shared by half of the country. Watching this "rebirth" with the entire world gives us all the feeling that great things ARE possible when egos are set aside and everyone involved is working on the greater good. Which in this case was 33 human lives.

I want to think that the same thing would have happened here but sadly, I know that would not have been the case. Here, before any rescue operation could commence the fight over who was at fault would come first. Then the fight over who should incur the cost would no doubt follow. It would be government against industry while the world watched and the miners suffered. I'm not here to bash on this country, I'm just stating a fact about what has happened here. I remember right after 9/11, while everyone was walking around in a state of shock something happened. We realized (ever so briefly) that it wasn't "us" or "them" who was attacked. It was 'we" and for a while "we" were nice to each other. We were polite on the road, we waited patiently in check out lines, we consoled each other and for once we all used the majestic plural. We all spoke for each other because for that moment, we were one.

That didn't last long. Soon the political mudslinging started and we went back to being the Divided States of America. Back to us and them (which I know I have written about a bunch of times.)

This amazing rescue has the potential to bring us back to "we", for almost 24 we were all glued to the television (or internet) getting minute by minute updates. We all cheered each time a man emerged from the capsule named Fenix 2, we all were calling these men by their names, like we knew them and we all were annoyed at the political ads that ran on the news networks during the coverage. In the middle of a miracle we were reminded of our reality.

I think we need to take a page from the Chileans and their incredible spirit, they emerged in good spirits and were all greeted by their president who stayed with the rescue the entire time. They were all grateful and thankful as they hugged and cried. They didn't consult with lawyers before doctors, they talked with family and not reporters. They wish to go on to live quiet normal lives, I don't know if that's going to be possible since they all have many exciting opportunities ahead of them (if they wish). In this country the group would have had a team of lawyers before the first one saw daylight.

I guess I keep going back to that skepticism I'm so famous for owning.

With midterm elections near the country is once again divided. I have gone back to posting political stories on my Facebook page, I am trying to stay out of heated debates. With the Chile story still fresh in my mind I'm going to try and keep a piece of those 33 men with me. I'm going to try to think in "we" again. I'm going to hope that others out there felt what I felt watching the rescue: that having a feeling of unity and a sense of accomplishment feels so much better than the arguing and constant desire to be right.

I'm going to think about Mario Sepulveda emerging from what had to have been hell on earth with a huge smile on his face handing out souvenir rocks and leading cheers like his team just won the World Cup.

One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Advice from a smart(er) mama

Saw this today and had to share. I know I've been absent lately but I promise to catch up soon!

From Vicky Bell's Blog:

Letter to my daughter ( in the wake of senseless tragedy)
Hello my girl,
I wanted to say hi and tell you how much I miss you and that I hope your classes are going well and that you are having fun too.
But I also have to have a mommy moment- bear with me here. I won't take long, and I won't be saying anything I haven't already said in one form or another, but it is important.

You may or may not have heard about the NJ college student who killed himself last week because his room-mate had posted videotape of him having sex with another guy. A terrible, senseless tragedy.

My mommy job requires that I remind you of two essential things:
Nothing ruins your life forever. NOTHING.
Nothing ruins your life forever. NOTHING.

If that young man had only waited a couple of weeks nobody would have cared- he'd have gotten past it. People have short memories- life would have gotten better, much better. His parents and friends? They loved him prior to the tape- they would have loved him afterward too. A few awkward moments and then life goes on.

But when you are young you don't know that even the awkward moments are fleeting. On this, you just have to trust the old people. Remember when you were really small and cried and cried over something? Well, it didn't last. That's kind of what it's like- awful things happen, you feel like there's a rock in the pit of your stomach, somehow time goes by and it gets better. I promise you, it ALWAYS gets better.

The students, a girl and boy, who were involved in the taping and posting-- they are being charged with bias crime, invasion of privacy and possibly other things. Their college life is over. They will have to live with this death the rest of their lives-- and their families are devastated. What they did was so wrong- but also so kid-stupid. Not to mention mean. And so their lives will be different forever- but even so- their families will love them and they will have time enough to hopefully live in such a way as to make meaning from their mistake.

So, my beautiful girl, never, ever think something is unfixable. NOTHING you do will ever keep us from loving you. NOTHING you do could be so awful you can't get past it.

And if someone is mean to you, and it isn't something you can ignore-- seek out people to talk to about it. Surround yourself with people who are supportive. If you ever need help and don't know how to ask- try writing a letter instead. And right now- before you might need such help- think about who you would talk to if needed. In the midst of turmoil sometimes we don't always think as clearly- having a plan makes it easier to find help in crisis. And remember there are always alternatives. Always.

Finally, don't be mean. Don't let other people be mean.
Stand up for the underdog, protect those who aren't as smart or confident or easygoing as yourself.
Treat people's feelings like fragile little puppies- if you play with them- be gentle.

I love you so much and I know you really don't need me to tell you this stuff.... but it's my job.
Love and hugs,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Water torture

Growing up in New York we had rain all the time, it was no big deal, just a part of every day life. If it was really bad we'd don our slickers and rain boots, carefully applied over plastic bags (I'm not sure this was a universal practice or just on my house). We'd get to school with no problem and no one every complained. Here in Los Angeles, the rain turns into an event. Things get canceled, roads get shut down and the general IQ of the City of Angels lowers significantly. It's just water, I don't get all the drama.

We went to Dr. Phil today and traffic was awful, I had to get off the freeway because it wasn't moving. Luckily I am the Queen of Sidestreets (among many other titles) and made it with time to spare. I'm not really in the mood to discuss the session, I'll just stick with the weather for now. On the way home the sky opened up and the rain came down like I've never seen here in Los Angeles. My usual route takes me from the 10 West to PCH and on nice days traffic crawls due to beach goers and amateur shutterbugs, today ride just sucked. Not only do the roads flood easily making the middle lane the only one available for navigation but there are actual idiots that think it's fun to ride through the "ponds" that have been created.

I made it home and stayed there until I had to pick up K from school. Not because I don't know how to drive in the rain or that I'm afraid of it, it's everyone else out there. Everyone says that Los Angeles drivers are some of the worst out there, while I agree with that I am perplexed by the fact that like 80 percent of my friends and neighbors came here from somewhere else. They say that Los Angeles attracts the most beautiful people, so does that mean that the bad driving gene is attached to the beauty one? I'm not saying that all pretty people are bad drivers, I'm just trying to figure out some sort of correlation.

By the time I got to school the worst of the rain had stopped. Moms were dressed in the finest rain gear discussing the horrible ordeals they all suffered earlier. I waited outside raingearless talking to the crossing guard while my hair frizzed to monumental levels.

I like the rain.

I like how it feels. I like how it smells. I especially like how it clears the air. After a rain, the view around Los Angeles can be magical. When I first moved here I ended up in the concrete Park LaBrea it felt safe for me, coming from New York. I had a gatekeeper and a patio. How cool. One day after being here about six months, it rained. It rained a lot. I was happy, I missed actual weather, my friends were turned into complaining babies and I got my first view of "STORM WATCH!" A strange news event that happens the minute the rain reaches the ground. The next day I marveled at how clean everything looked, the usual smell (a mix of car exhaust and fast food) was gone but the coolest thing? There were mountains to the East. How strange that I never noticed before. I was told that the rain washes away the smog. Ewww. I can only imagine what kind of crap we're breathing in around here.

Anyway. I think the point of this was to say that it's just rain, it's here to do good, why does it have to be an annoyance? I would think the people of this fine city would be happy to find a cleaner looking (and smelling) city. That's never the case. Is it because more work is necessary? More attention is required? Who knows. I just think people need to complain.

As for me, I'm just happy that my car doesn't look as dirty.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Yes master.

So last night I'm on Facebook and I see a post by a friend explaining that her impending bad mood will be a result of the master cleanse diet she is about to start. A few funny comments followed and then there was mine: I want to do this! Then I looked it up, while it was doable, it wasn't going to be fun:

The Master Cleanse claims to be a way to cleanse the body of and remove the cravings associated with drugs, alcohol, tobacco, eating, "Coffee, tea, and various hot drinks." The cleanse involves drinking only a concoction made from fresh lemons, grade B maple syrup and cayenne pepper, as well as a laxative tea. No solid food is eaten for the entire cleanse.

For people in good health, the body is designed to eliminate normal everyday toxins from itself through the lungs, kidneys, liver, and other eliminator organs. Nutritionist Jane Clark points to a lack of essential nutrients in this program, citing a deficiency of protein, vitamins, and minerals in the regimen. As a result of these deficiencies, including far fewer calories than the recommended amount for health and optimum functioning, individuals on the diet may experience headaches and a variety of other symptoms in the short term and the diet is potentially harmful over the long term.

I see a few problems here, well really two. No coffee or wine. Not only are they obviously forbidden but the purpose of the cleanse is to remove the craving of these wonderful things. The laxative tea sounds rather unpleasant as well. I want to rid my body of toxins not eliminate my hobbies (little cleanse joke there).

I try my best to eat a healthy diet, I try not to eat bad carbohydrates (try being the key word here) but sometimes it doesn't work. Last year my will was made of iron. I didn't let as much as one breadcrumb pass through my lips and it showed. My pointy hipbones we the reward for that. I don't know how it happened but the points are gone and my jeans are tight. Even when I get back into the "Zone" the weight that normally fell off isn't budging. I thought that maybe a cleanse was the way to go. I had always heard that people who did them always felt better after even though it was tough to do. I didn't know about the laxative thing. I don't really want to do that.

I eat right, I drink plenty of water, I don't eat junk food (yes, there are exceptions to that) I don't drink that much alcohol, sure I love my wine but never to excess. Nothing seems to be working. I really wanted to do a cleanse but after reading lengthy poo reports on one website I don't think that's the path I want to take. I suppose I just need to cut down on the lattes. Get more then 4 hours of sleep a night and stop sharing treats with K. I need to dig deep and channel the focused me from last summer. That might be difficult because swimsuit season is over. Nothing keeps a girl on her diet like a tiny bikini.

I do have this awesome pair of jeans I bought last year. They are a size I don't think I ever wore and for a few minutes around last Halloween they fit. I won't even try to get them on now but maybe next week I'll try them on and assess the damage. This whole weight thing has me perplexed, it was so easy for me last summer when I was miserable and unhappy. Now things are so much better and I can't keep cupcakes from flying into my mouth. Was it all the inner turmoil? I actually think it was a control thing. I felt like I had no control of anything going on in my life, I did however monitor and measure every piece of food that came near me.

That sucks.

So for me, in order to maintain the weight I like, I either have to be angst ridden or spend 10 days chained to a toilet? I'm just going to do my best, keep the treats to a minimum and think of my super skinny self in a bikini. I'll try to keep my diet and my mind in the "zone."

I can master cleanse from the inside out but I'm going to start with my head not my bottom.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Exceptions to the rule

I know there are exceptions to every rule. Not all Republicans are mindless teabaggers, not all Democrats are liberal hippies and not every Oakland Raider fan is a felon. OK, I'm not so sure about that last one. You get the picture though. Sometimes I wish the rules didn't apply tome but I'm realistic and know better. My daughter does not yet have teh skills of reasoning yet and believes that she is indeed the exception to every rule. In fact at one point this weekend I wrote that as my Facebook status:

M is changing K's name to Exception because clearly the rules do not apply to her."

I'm sure I have to take some of the blame for her gigantic ego, (I refuse to use the word ginormous because it's stupid and not an actual word, I don't care what Webster says) but not all of it. Some of it has to do with the fact that we have a lot of friends who don't have kids and they often spend time with us. K is used to being around adults and she prefers it sometimes. We had her first birthday party at a friend's house because they had a huge backyard, we thought that was necessary with new walkers and their parents. We invited our old friends who didn't have kids and our new friends, who did. It was a typical party for us, too much food and plenty of booze, we feel that if you have to suffer though a kid party you should have the option to dull the noise with a beer or bloody mary.

It was a fun day, K showed off her wicked running skills and there were only a few meltdowns. K was pleasant enough, playing with her friends when they crawled near her. It wasn't until they left that she really opened up and let loose. It wasn't just me that noticed, all our friends thought it was funny that K was annoyed by her tiny buddies. After that she wasn't just our kid, she was our cool kid. She was welcome wherever we were, that was good for us because we always seem to be lacking in the babysitter department.

So that pretty much continued her whole life. We would receive invitations that said "no kids" except K. We would go to bbqs where there were kids and would always hear "wow, how come K isn't a brat like other kids?" (that one was news to me) She also acted like one of "us" and we were always told that she "was an old soul." When our friends J and P had a party to celebrate their recent commitment ceremony it was an adult only event, of course it really was an adult only and K event.

You get the picture, she is welcome and we are grateful. A few months ago her karate sensei was having a party for visiting black belts and friends from the dojo, he invited us and wanted K to go. We weren't that comfortable with that so we told K that we could go for dinner but sit st our own table. After the meal was done we could stay for a few minutes but that was it. When we got there we say at our own table and were prepared to dine that way. Sensei and crew showed up and were escorted to a huge table and came by to say hello. He then insisted that we join them. So we did. We also stayed long after dinner, long enough to watch K dance around with everyone as they told us how cool she was.

Cut to Saturday, another such party was about to take place and K was planning on being there. This time was different, at the last party the daughter of one of the visiting black belts was there and she's 14 (but looks a lot older), we felt OK because the girls were together most of the time. This time it was truly adults only. We told her that we were not taking her but again we would have dinner there. She absolutely did not understand why we were protesting. We explained to her that having a child at a bar is not appropriate (no flaming here, it's a restaurant). We told her that some people go out and leave their kids at home, it's not fair to them to have to censor themselves around someone else's kid.

I suppose I can understand her difficulty in understanding this since she has always been the exception. Now there's an exception to the exception? I didn't have enough wine in the house to try and explain that. We had dinner and saw our friends, we stayed a few minutes, long enough to greet everyone and then say goodbye. K was happy that she got to be a part of the evening but was unhappy that she was forced to leave so early.

So now we have a new ongoing dialogue, I am trying to explain the exceptions to being the exception. Not an easy task but it's a good lesson for me. I need a brush up on my patience and tolerance.


Friday, October 1, 2010

The New Motley Crew

Interesting article in the Voice this week. Let me know what you think. While he make a lot of good points I know that racism is not the way to fight racism:

White America Has Lost Its Mind
The white brain, beset with worries, finally goes haywire in spectacular fashion
By Steven Thrasher Wednesday, Sep 29 2010

About 12:01 on the afternoon of January 20, 2009, the white American mind began to unravel.

It had been a pretty good run up to that point. The brains of white folks had been humming along cogently for near on 400 years on this continent, with little sign that any serious trouble was brewing. White people, after all, had managed to invent a spiffy new form of self-government so that all white men (and, eventually, women) could have a say in how white people were taxed and governed. White minds had also nearly universally occupied just about every branch of that government and, for more than two centuries, had kept sole possession of the leadership of its executive branch (whose parsonage, after all, is called the White House).

But when that streak was broken—and, for the first time, a non-white president accepted the oath of office—white America rapidly began to lose its grip.

As with other forms of dementia, the signs weren't obvious at first. After the 2008 election, when former House majority leader Tom DeLay suggested that instead of a formal inauguration, Barack Obama should "have a nice little chicken dinner, and we'll save the $125 million," black folks didn't miss the implication. References to chicken, particularly of the fried variety, have long served as a kind of code when white folks referred to black people and their gustatory preferences—and weren't many of us already accustomed to older white politicians making such gaffes? But who among us sensed that it was a harbinger that an entire nation was plunging into madness?

Who didn't chuckle, after all, the first time they heard that white people had doubts that Barack Obama had even been born in the United States and was therefore ineligible to be president? It sounded like one of those Internet stories in which some (usually white) writer does his best to prove something everyone knows to be true is actually the exact opposite. And you go along with it for a few paragraphs to see how long the writer can convince you that what you know is right is actually wrong.

Seemed like that, didn't it? After all, what was the beef? Obama's father was Kenyan, and the kid was born in Hawaii—which is barely a part of the United States to begin with (only a state in 1959!). His mother was white, and after the Kenyan guy left, she married an Indonesian guy, so little Barack lived in Jakarta for a while before coming back to Hawaii to be brought up largely by his white grandparents. . . . And that's it? Come on, this was after-school-special material, the kind of thing that brings a tear to your eye because little half-Kenyan/half-white Barry made good, not the stuff of conspiracy novels.

But the more you shook your head at it, the more it seemed to have taken root deep in the lizard part of the white nervous system. Obama is not an American. He says he's Christian, but he has a Muslim-sounding name. He's not black, he's not white. . . . Is . . . is he even human?

Today, Newsweek has found, nearly a quarter of Americans believe that Obama is a Muslim, with barely 42 percent of the nation accepting his claim that he's a Christian. CNN finds that a quarter of Americans also believe that Obama was "probably or definitely" born in another country.

Harris found in an online poll that 14 percent of Americans believe in their hearts that President Barack Obama is the antichrist, with nearly a quarter of Republicans saying so.

At least in this form, however, Satan (sometimes) wears a flag pin.

What was going on? Had decades of sucking down so much high-fructose corn syrup not only made Americans incredibly obese, but also messed with white brain chemistry to the point that some sort of tipping point had occurred?

Not a bad theory, but no, there's a simpler explanation, with two parts: For the first time in their lives, baby boomers are hard up against it economically, and white boy is becoming outnumbered and it's got his bowels chilled with fear.

"In an age of diminished resources, the United States may be heading for an intensifying confrontation between the gray and the brown," writes Ronald Brownstein in his July National Journal article, "The Gray and the Brown: The Generational Mismatch." That's a polite and understated way of saying that older white folks are losing their shit as they're being replaced by young brown and black kids while the economy is in the crapper.

Brownstein notes that 40 percent of the nation's population under 18 is already non-white, with that number significantly higher in the Southwest (read: Mexicans!). By 2023, that number of young non-whites will be an outright national majority.

At the same time, the baby boomers are getting older. At 80 percent white, boomers have gotten pretty used to dominating nearly every field of endeavor in this country since they came of age—politics, business, education, the arts—just about everything but MTV programming. Boomers set the national agenda in so many ways that we can forget how much the national economy and national media cater to them. Bewildered by the number of Cialis ads you see on television showing those flabby couples sitting in bathtubs? Or the way that older women are suddenly "cougars" and "MILFs" and . . . oh, yeah, you remember, boomers are getting old, but still want to think they can get the sheets sweaty. See? Boomers and their fixations and fears explain nearly everything. . . .
Anyway, as boomers age, they get more politically active. That's just human nature, and their 40-million-strong AARP is the nation's biggest lobbyist. But as they try to wield that power, they're running into the growing, and less white, younger generations.

"Like tectonic plates, these slow-moving but irreversible forces may generate enormous turbulence as they grind against each other in the years ahead," writes Brownstein.

At some point, when tectonic plates build up enough tension, that destructive energy gets unleashed in a major earthquake, which is a pretty good metaphor for what happened on November 4, 2008. A black man got elected president, and suddenly every aging white boomer in this country turned into Carole King—they sure as hell felt the earth moving under their feet.

Meanwhile, the brother moving into the White House inherited the kind of mortgage that even Wall Street executives might hesitate to call "subprime."

A devastated economy. Two wars, neither being fought with clear goals. Housing markets that resembled war zones. A health system crippled with costs. An auto industry cratering.

But surely, in a time of crisis, the country could pull together to fix this mess, right?

Can you help a brother on health care? No.

The economy? No.

Financial regulatory reform? No.

National security? No.

Now, some black folks can be forgiven for thinking, as they watched the political drama in Washington unfold over the past two years, that this was just another form of the same old thing they'd put up with in one way or another in this conflicted multiracial country.

But there is another explanation.

White people have simply gone sheer fucking insane.

Let's look at some examples to nail down that theory.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now was a nonprofit that organized voter drives and worked for improved wages and housing for poor, mostly non-white Americans. And because of who they organized, they became public enemy No. 1 in the eyes of certain people not so thrilled with black folks registering to vote in large numbers.

Obama had once defended ACORN in a voting-rights case (as co-counsel alongside the Justice Department and the League of Women Voters). An ACORN offshoot was one of many Get-Out-the-Vote enterprises employed by his primary (but not general) campaign. The group's members did the same kind of community organizing that Obama had done as a young man. But throughout the 2008 election season, there was a concerted campaign to whip up hysteria about ACORN, and by November 2009, Public Policy Polling found that more than a quarter of Americans (and an outright majority of Republican voters) believed that ACORN had stolen the election for Obama.

This was, of course, after the classic bit of Nixonian "rat-fucking" pulled off by a prankster named James O'Keefe.

O'Keefe, a veteran at creating videos to make blacks look greedy and stupid (look for "Taxpayers Clearing House" on YouTube), spent the summer driving around the country with his accomplice, Hannah Giles, making videos in ACORN offices asking for advice about avoiding tax troubles with prostitution money. You've no doubt seen the images of O'Keefe dressed as a '70s pimp. But O'Keefe had carefully edited his tapes and left out, for example, that he was decked out in college preppie clothes, not pimp-wear. At least one ACORN office threw him out, and at least two knowingly played along with his ruse. (The San Diego office called the cops after he left, and the Philadelphia office filed a police report.) The upshot was that after his edited tapes became public, Congress quickly voted to strip ACORN of all federal funds. The organization effectively went out of business before the bill could take effect or be thrown out in court.

O'Keefe has maintained he was "absolutely independent" in his project. But in September 2009, the Voice reported that he'd been funded by billionaire conservative Peter Thiel and the Leadership Institute, the same outfit that funded young Grover Norquist and Karl Rove. That revelation fell on deaf ears, however, and to this day, media outlets perpetuate O'Keefe's claim that he was operating without backing.

O'Keefe got further help when his tapes were pushed by, which is run by an underhanded blowhard named Andrew Breitbart.

Months later, O'Keefe was arrested by the FBI in a bizarre prank at Senator Mary Landrieu's office, in which he was either attempting to plant a wiretap or, in his explanation on Breitbart's website, just trying to find out whether her phone system worked to help her constituents reach her. (Yeah, that was a good one.)

This summer, Breitbart picked out another black target with another selectively edited video, this one of a USDA employee named Shirley Sherrod. His editing so mischaracterized Sherrod's words and intent that the fallout, in the words of Frank Rich, "could not only smear an innocent woman but make every national institution that touched the story look bad. . . . The White House, the NAACP and the news media were all soiled by this episode."

But, hey, politics is hardball, right? We've had rat-fuckers like Breitbart and O'Keefe around forever (the founding fathers were certainly not immune to dirty tricks in their day). What's different this time, however, is just how easily the lies and distortions of the rat-fuckers are being soaked up by the damaged crania of this country's drooling white masses. What sort of senility is softening up the frontal lobes of America's palefaces that they can't see through the black-hatred of a wanker like Breitbart?

Out West, meanwhile, as home prices dropped faster than a burst piñata, an easy scapegoat was found: Mexicans. Long the scourge of aging white folks, who don't seem to understand the economics behind their cheap groceries, immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, and other sweltering southern destinations became enemies of the American Dream.

Suddenly, it was open season on brown-skinned fruit pickers and seamstresses. Arizona passed S.B.1070—a law that would force its residents to carry identity papers with them at all times. Jurisdictions around the nation are salivating to copy suit.

Back East, meanwhile, we have our own brown-skinned devil: the Muslim. When an imam who had done diplomatic work for the Bush administration put together plans to build the Muslim version of a Jewish Community Center a few blocks from Ground Zero (but farther away than an off-track betting joint, a strip club, and the very financial institutions that had detonated the economy), white people freaked out.

At Landmarks Preservation Commission meetings, white housewives from Staten Island suddenly took a great interest in preserving mid-19th-century cast-iron façades and the architecture of Daniel Badger—all to try to keep New Yorkers from taking swimming lessons in the same building where Muslims would have a place to pray. They argued that Muslims could never understand the impact of 9/11 (even though more than 20 Muslims were killed that day) and could never understand the concept of Ground Zero being holy ground (as if a building that would contain prayer services was somehow less holy than an outlet for betting on horses or stuffing dollar bills into G-strings).

But by now, those sorts of distinctions are nearly impossible to make for a white mind so cluttered by decay. Race was always a tough one for white people to deal with, but now the backflips some people are doing over it requires a scorecard.

There may be no better example than Laura Schlessinger and the great white outpouring of support following the bizarre flameout of her radio show.

It all started with the most incomprehensible of happenings: that a black woman would, out of all reason, call the Dr. Laura show seeking advice.

The sister called Schlessinger to ask how to handle her white husband's white friends, who sometimes say racist things that she's uncomfortable with, including using "the N-word."

Schlessinger almost immediately went to, "A lot of blacks voted for Obama simply 'cause he was half-black."

She told the caller not to "NAACP" her by taking her out of context.

She said "nigger" is fine to say because "black guys use it all the time."

She then wrote the caller off as having a "chip on [her] shoulder" and declared, "We've got a black man as president, and we have more complaining about racism than ever."

She told the caller that if "you're that hypersensitive about color and don't have a sense of humor" (i.e., you even question that your husband's white friends say "nigger" to you in your house), "don't marry out of your race."

The caller, Schlessinger thought, was suffering from "hypersensitivity—which is being bred by black activists." Her discomfort with the word "nigger," Schlessinger said, was just another "attempt to demonize whites hating blacks."

The reaction from white America, who clearly had not remembered to take their thorazine that morning, was overwhelming: Who, if not Laura Schlessinger, should say "nigger" with impunity?

Schlessinger announced on Larry King Live, however, that in order to "regain" her First Amendment rights of free speech, she would be canceling her show.

Constitutional experts are still trying to parse that one.

Sarah Palin then rushed to Schlessinger's, side, Tweeting in her inimitable style, "Don't retreat . . . reload!" Palin, we can only assume, wanted Schlessinger to utter "nigger" as often as she wanted.

Perhaps the two of them, having both quit their jobs, can get together and put on a road show, opening with "Zip Coon" and finishing with a rousing rendition of "Carry Me Back to Ole Virginny"?

On February 19, 2009, not a month into Obama's presidency, Rick Santelli—a former hedge-fund manager—had a meltdown on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange while broadcasting for CNBC. Santelli was incensed not that the government was bailing out the multimillionaires who had run giant financial institutions, but that assistance would also be going to help out ordinary people who found themselves defaulting on their home mortgages. Calling such folks "losers," he said, "How many of you want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills?"

He then added that he was not only mad as hell, but wanted to do something about it: "We're thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July. All you capitalists that want to show up to Lake Michigan, I'm gonna start organizing."

Suddenly, other angry (and obviously very confused) white people began organizing their own "tea parties" and, from the start, had to defend themselves from charges that there was more than a little racial component to their movement.

Few were really surprised, for example, when Tea Party Express President Mark Williams turned out to have penned a letter that could have been written in the worst decades of Jim Crow: "We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!"

And it turns out that the "grassroots" modern tea party effort has been largely funded by the Koch brothers, reactionaries whose combined oil wealth places them just behind Bill Gates and Warren Buffet as America's wealthiest men. The brothers have given some $100 million toward the Tea Party's astroturf call to arms.

"This right-wing, redneck stuff works for them," a former Koch associate told The New Yorker. "They see this as a way to get things done without getting dirty themselves." And in primaries across America this year, the Kochs have gotten one hell of a return on their investment. After decades of pouring money into think-tanks, the billionaire brothers now have an ally no institute fellow could ever match: a scared, angry white mob that votes.

And what a mob. White folks used to shy away from candidates who e-mailed pictures of a woman being fucked by a horse, didn't they? Can you just see the scene down at the Republican Party headquarters: "Well, except for sending out those e-mails of horse-fucking, other e-mails of nigger jokes, and also fathering a love child, this guy Carl Paladino is just our kind of guy!"

Finding Rick Lazio not crazy enough, white New Yorkers nominated Paladino for governor by a margin of almost two to one.

Sure, Lazio had made an effort. He'd gone after the "Ground Zero Mosque" like a good race-baiter, but he just isn't in Paladino's mouth-frothing league. "Crazy Carl" is threatening to take a baseball bat to Albany (and our Tom Robbins explained last week how Carl's looney ravings are an empty act).

Now, try, if your cortex is not too far gone, to reel things back a couple of years. Imagine, if you can, Barack Obama surging in polls in 2008 if it were known he'd sent out e-mails of a white woman getting it from a horse, revealed that he had a 10-year-old love child, and was threatening to take a baseball bat to federal employees. It's really impossible to conjure up, isn't it?

That—right there, more than anything—demonstrates just how much the white brain has become Swiss cheese in the last couple of trips around the sun.

A close second place: the really crazy white shit happening down in Delaware, a state that never really caused much trouble (except for unleashing Joe Biden on us) until it nominated one-time witch Christine O'Donnell, who is so batshit crazy she makes Sarah Palin sound perfectly reasonable.

By now, just about everyone has seen the precious moment in MTV's 1996 Sex in the '90s when O'Donnell made this monumental discovery about masturbation: "If he already knows what pleases him and he can please himself, then why am I in the picture?" Fourteen years later, it doesn't really seem to be dawning on the still-unmarried O'Donnell that she's not "in the picture" and might never be. But that, apparently, isn't going to stop her waging war against the sex lives of everyone else.

Again, only white lunacy explains it: Neither O'Donnell nor Paladino is a fringe candidate. O'Donnell has a difficult, but not impossible, chance to become a U.S. Senator. Paladino may yet become New York's next governor. (He's already polling ahead of Andrew Cuomo among likely male voters, who are generally white and clearly stark raving mad.)

Is there any hope? Can the white mind be cured? And what—other than a massive lobotomy—can salvage it? It's hard to imagine a cure when, at this point, the patient doesn't seem to realize that he's sick. Rush Limbaugh, for example, has declared that it's black Americans who have a problem. The "black frame of mind is terrible" because of unemployment, and, equally important, because of "Tiger Woods's choice of females," he has said. What was that about a pot and a kettle?

If there is a cure, it likely won't come from Barack Obama. There are those who say that this president invited our current derangement by not being commanding enough. They say he should have inveighed Franklin D. Roosevelt, who famously said before ever being re-elected, "I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it, the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said . . . of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master." But if Obama ever referred to being the "master" of anything, he'd scare white people more than he already does.

Glenn Beck is one of the downright terrified, and has said that Obama has "a deep-seated hatred of white people or the white culture." Which makes you wonder, has Beck really not seen Obama in his golf attire?

In the end, it goes beyond Obama, and the current economy, and is really about the inevitable demographic future of America, those coming browns and the grays. They will—one way or another—have to learn to get along.

It is true, as Brownstein says, that the graying boomers will hate to pay for the education, health, and welfare of the coming browns. They'll be stingy about it. They'll scream about it. But they'll have no choice but to do it.
After all, who but the hordes of young browns will be around to work when the grays retire? To pay taxes? To fund their Medicare and Social Security? And how will they earn enough money to finance boomers in their retirement if they're not well educated and healthy?

To do this dance effectively, the white American mind is going to have to focus and prioritize. Maybe, just maybe, it might be required to act with a little ever-loving sanity every now and again.

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.


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
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.