Too many mental tabs open today.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day: How to get involved


The meaning behind Memorial Day is often overshadowed by excitement for weekend vacations, barbecues and beach days. This year, take time to honor the men and women that have lost their lives serving in the armed forces.

Tune in for the National Memorial Day Concert, which will be broadcast Sunday, May 30. You can check local listings by searching your zip code on the PBS website.

Ways to get involved:

• Honor fallen heroes by volunteering at a veterans cemetery on Memorial Day or any time of year. Volunteers can give cemetery tours, help with maintenance, raise and lower flags and more. Use the National Cemetery Administration website to find a volunteer opportunity near you.

• Attend a Memorial Day parade. Search the U.S. Memorial Day Parade Directory to find an event in your community.

• The American Red Cross is asking volunteers to honor Memorial Day by giving blood to save American lives. Call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit the Red Cross website to make an appointment to donate.

• Bring a smile to the faces of deployed troops around the world by sending them a USO Care Package. Each care package is $25.

• Make a contribution to Cell Phones For Soldiers, an organization collecting donated cell phones to help troops abroad call home. Donors can give their old cell phones or make a financial contribution to the program.

Support veterans in your community by volunteering at a local VA hospital. The easiest way to get started is to fill out a volunteer form with the VA Volunteer Service and a representative will help you find the right volunteer opportunity for you. Read Causecast's How To Support Veterans guide for more suggestions on how to make a difference for local veterans.

On this day please remember all who have fallen so that we may be free.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

So whatcha doing today?

I love and hate long weekends. I'm thrilled that I get to spend an extra day with D and K, an extra morning snuggling with my two loves, relaxing as we share breakfast instead of rushing to down coffee and cereal in an effort to make it to school on time. I try to not make too many plans during these weekends because I don't like to share them sometimes. What I don't like is that the lack of planning leads to boredom, I usually end up with two sets of eyes sadly looking up at me while the smaller set says "can we see someone today mama?" Saturday D took K to her piano lesson and then to lunch, he also did something birthday related (my birthday is on Tuesday). They were out for hours and what did I do? Sleep? Relax by the pool? Watch Real Housewives of New Jersey? Nope, I cleaned K's bathroom (which had become more of a storeroom) and got rid of some dress up items. We surely have no reason to keep over 20 pairs of plastic princess shoes that no longer fit, now I need to find a great place to donate them.

When they came home K and D went swimming while I watched them from my lounge chair trying to turn my pasty white body into a healthy tan (with SPF 70 of course) California Gurl. Later D made us sliders on the Big City Slider Grill I found at Marshalls red-tagged for $10 a few weeks ago. After we put K to bed we watched "New Moon" which had sat waiting to be watched for months. We should have sent it back to Netflix weeks ago, it stunk. I could barely pay attention. Instead I posted some of the previews I had received from the awesome photoshoot K had done on Friday. On Sunday we sat around and played "what are we doing today?" Since it was close to my birthday it was up to me and I really didn't care. I deferred to K who wanted to see our friends R and N. We knew it was R's birthday but called over there to see what they were doing, we lucked out because they had nothing planned, I guess R isn't a big birthday person, just like me. We got ready and drove the long 2 miles over there. They already had another couple and their son over, we knew this family well, K would have a playmate and we would most likely spend all day there. We all walked over to Gladstones and ordered enough food for a table of about 20, seriously, the two-tier iced seafood appetizer alone could have easily fed us all. It was awesome we ate and drank for hours. The food was great, I usually don't like this place, the food is sub par at best but the gastronomic stars were aligned and the feast on our table was killer. I even suspended my food rules (again) and had some pasta as well as a couple of watermelon mojitos. Oh yeah, we had cake too, the biggest slice of chocolate cake I have ever seen. It was awful. No it wasn't, it was chocolaty goodness and I loved it.

When we were sure that no more food could possibly be consumed we made the trek back to R and N's place. This time the walk was a little difficult with all that crab, lobster and shrimp swimming around in our stomachs. When we finally made it the only ones who were up for swimming were the kids, eventually D and R went in with them, once again I just sat by the pool, my full stomach had rendered me immobile. I was fine an hour later when we took the party inside and started drinking greyhounds. Yum. It was a fun day, one we would would have missed if we had committed to other plans. See sometimes a lack of planning can turn into a serendipitous event. We talked and laughed well into the night and for once outlasted the kids.

We dropped a sleeping K into her bed and weren't far behind her. We were so tired from eating, drinking, laughing and talking. It was one of those perfect California days, I don't think we could have planned it any better :P

Happy Birthday R!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Now It's Dark

Hollywood lost a legend today today and I lost one of my favorite actors. Dennis Hopper died earlier today after a long battle with prostrate cancer. Hopper was an incerdible talent and appeared in many of my favorite movies including "Easy Rider" (1969) which he also co-wrote and directed, "Rebel Without A Cause" (1955) "Giant" (1955) "Cool Hand Luke" (1967) "Apocalypse Now" (1979) "Hoosiers" 1986 and a host of others, but it was in one of my favorite all time films, "Blue Velvet" 1986 that Hopper just blew me away. His portrayal of Frank Booth, a Roy Orbison listening, oxygen inhaling, foul mouthed psychopath was unbelievable. Most of his lines are in my top 20 movie phrases. Of course most of them are all too nasty to repeat here, I will say that any time I'm with someone who orders a Heineken all I can hear is "Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!" I adore every F-bomb Frank Booth utters and love his obsession with "Candy Colored Clown." Honestly I cannot get enough of this movie, and I'm not the least bit bothered that.

Goodbye Mr. Hopper, your incredible and difficult life left a mark on us, your films entertained and challenged us and your spirit inspired us.

Now It's Dark.

From Variety:

Dennis Hopper, a perennial Hollywood bad boy whose groundbreaking 1969 biker pic "Easy Rider" came to define the youth film market, died Saturday.

The actor, who appeared frail and gaunt at the March 2010 unveiling of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, had been battling prostate cancer.

The gruff, plainspoken, often explosive actor began his career in the mid 1950s in major studio films like "Rebel Without a Cause" and "Giant," but quickly developed a reputation as "difficult,'' and was consigned to minor roles until he directed the low-budget drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll "Easy Rider," which was a major hit and spawned an endless series of imitators, transforming Hollywood into a youth- obsessed industry.

Hopper re-emerged in the mid-'80s as a delicious villain in such films as "Blue Velvet," and later, "Speed." In between were several more realistic and affecting portrayals in movies such as "Hoosiers," for which he was Oscar-nommed.

He went back to direct, delivering a powerful and professional "Colors" in which he co-starred with Sean Penn. But his next film, "Backtrack" was taken away from him and the directing credit went to the infamous Alan Smithee. His last feature directorial efforts were little-noticed: the 1990 crime thriller "The Hot Spot" and the 1994 road picture "Chasers."

More recently, Hopper starred as a meglomanic music mogul in the Starz drama series "Crash," an adaptation of the 2005 feature film. He also had a regular role in the short-lived NBC Pentagon drama "E-Ring."

A major figure on the L.A. art scene, he an important collection of California artists and was a photographer in his own right, though he lost many of his pop art works in a Bel-Air fire.

Hopper was born in Dodge City, Kans., later moving to Kansas City and eventually San Diego. An avid debater in high school, he won several contests and appeared on the Art Linkletter show. He began acting in summer stock and after graduating from high school won a scholarship to the Old Globe theater in San Diego. He was championed by La Jolla Playhouse's Dorothy McGuire and husband John Swope, who introduced him to Hollywood where he quickly achieved his first role in an episode of TV's "Medic" and later on the series "Cheyenne." He also later appeared in the pilot of the series "The Rifleman," written by Sam Peckinpah.

Although he was considered for a contract at Columbia, an early run-in with studio head Harry Cohn scotched that. Instead, he was signed by Warner Bros. and made his official film debut in "I Died a Thousand Times" in 1955 with Shelley Winters and Jack Palance. His first significant role was in "Rebel Without a Cause" as James Dean's speed racing nemesis. He also starred in Dean's last film, "Giant," as the son of Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor. Other early roles included "The Steel Jungle" and the "Story of Mankind."

By the time he starred in "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" in 1957, his reputation as a hothead and all-around rebel was well established and he feuded bitterly with director Henry Hathaway on "From Hell to Texas." He was then relieved of his WB contract for refusing to play Billy the Kid in a television series.

Hopper moved to New York where he studied with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio and worked intermittently in such low grade productions as "Night Tide" and "Key Witness."

Ironically, the movie that brought back into the Hollywood fold was "The Sons of Katie Elder" in 1965, directed by Hathaway. But the B work continued in "Planet of Blood," "Glory Stompers" and "The Trip," where he met and helped film acid trip sequences with Peter Fonda. Other A list credits at the time included "Hang 'em High," "True Grit" and "Cool Hand Luke."

With Fonda, he raised $400,000 to make the low-budget biker movie "Easy Rider" in which both starred. And when Rip Torn dropped out of the film, they hired Jack Nicholson in a supporting role.

The movie wound up grossing $40 million worldwide (half of that in the U.S.). The ripple effects on the motion picture industry were enormous and it won him a best picture award in Venice. After making an autobiographical documentary "American Dreamer" in 1971, he persuaded Universal to give him $850,000 for "The Last Movie" (shot in Peru), a kind of drug induced egomaniacal auteurist piece that won him praise in Venice again, but did little to endear him in the U.S.

By now he was living in Taos and addicted to alcohol and drugs. He made movies in Europe and the U.S., working with directors like Wim Wenders ("The American Friend") and, at the end of the '70s, Francis Coppola ("Apocalypse Now"). He took over the director's reins on 1980's "Out of the Blue," which was nicely received and worked more regularly in films like "Osterman Weekend," "Rumble Fish," "My Science Project," "Inside Man" and "Riders of the Storm" until the mid-1980s when he tapped on back to back winners, the basketball drama "Hoosiers" in a smpathetic role and David Lynch's nightmarish "Blue Velvet" as a scary villain.

The one-two punch re-established him as a character actor/villain and while his supporting actor nomination came for "Hoosiers," it was the satanic image he depicted in "Blue Velvet" that placed him on the wacko path which he furthered with a similar turn in "River's Edge."

Having cleaned up his act in his personal life, Hopper continued to be wacked-out and demoic on screen in films such as "Red Rock West," "True Romance" and especially "Speed" and "Waterworld," throughout the '90s. His knowledge of the art world led to a deft portrayal of an art dealer in the biographical "Basquiat," directed by Julian Schnabel, one of the painters whose work graced Hopper's Venice, Calif. home, a veritable fortress of contemporary art, much of it from California painters. His photography work slowly accrued a reputation, resulting in many national and international showings in galleries and museums alike.

When not working in features, Hopper was in TV movies like "Heart of Justice," "Nails," "Witch Hunt," "Samson & Delilah," "Doublecrossed" and "Paris Trout."

Hopper was married several times, first to Brooke Hayward, the daughter of Margaret Sullavan and Leland Hayward, by whom he had a daughter, Marin, in 1962. He was briefly married to singer-actress Michelle Phillips, then to actress Daria Halprin, Katherine La Nasa and finally to model Victoria Duffy, by whom he had another daughter, Galen. Hopper filed for divorce from Duffy in January 2010.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Got the shot?

Today was a long one for K and I. It started with a casting at 10AM, which was originally 2:30PM but she had her very first headshot session and I requested an earlier time, I mean I told everyone at K's agency we were shooting all day and they still managed to forget. I agreed to go before the shoot but told K we would leave if it meant being late. K's agent, on the other hand told us to be late if we had to. Nice. We were really early and K was the second kid they saw, we arrived at the photographer's house early.

Even though K's been modeling since she was a baby for some reason we have never paid for headshots. We either just used pictures that I've taken or tearsheets. K also does some jobs that are paid in pictures and clothes. A while ago I was looking at a friends pictures on Facebook and she had gorgeous shots of her sons, I asked who shot them and checked out the photographer immediately. On his website I saw all the kids that K has worked with over the years. Within minutes I had emailed them for information. I was positive that I wanted K to shoot with him regardless of what the cost was. His style is amazing and exactly what I wanted for K's new zed card. I've seen what she can do in the edgier high fashion stuff that I have booked for her, the kind of work she loves to do but never gets called for. These pictures were going to help that. After a few weeks of trying to schedule this session I lucked out with a LA County furlough day for our school, I emailed immediately and booked 11:00AM. Three looks and hair and makeup. I was excited, I was actually more excited for this shoot that I was paying for than anything else that K has done recently!

Last night I pulled a ridiculous amount of clothing for the three looks, I had an idea what I wanted but I also wanted to give the photographer's stylist (who happens to be his wife) a bunch of choices. I felt like an idiot with a giant suitcase but it's better to have too much then struggling to find something perfect. When we arrived at the house/studio K was in "shy mode," I assured the photographer A that it would pass in a few minutes, he seemed relieved. I pulled my giant suitcase into the studio and we went through it, the stylist S was thrilled (and I finally exhaled). She had chosen the new Stella McCartney dress (and had the same vision I did when finding it), a casual "kid" look with a bright pink tank and short overalls and for the final look, the rocker look I wanted, K's giant black couture tutu (that she scored for free after wearing it in a high end fashion show years ago) with a gorgeous military like jacket and simple gray tank. The looks were killer and we couldn't wait to start!

After a few minutes of shooting I could see that K and A were clicking and I was thrilled. She was doing some action shots outside when she started talking about farting, I told A and S that clearly the "shy" period was over. They completed the first look and went inside to check them out. Incredible. I was speechless. Time for the second look, a Daisy Buchanan sort of look with flowing wavy hair. She looked stunning, I couldn't believe that the beautiful angel posing in front of me was my daughter, I couldn't believe that the perfect face smiling back at me was the same face I hold in my hands every night, that the heart shaped lips in perfect pout were from the same mouth that leaves sticky kisses all over me. I was in awe of her poses and how she kept coming up with different ways to move her body. When we got to see these pictures I wasn't speechless I was gushing, I couldn't stop. The pictures were stunning and A and S were just as happy with the results.

For the rocker look S had gone into her collection and pulled out some cool jewelry pieces that turned Daisy Buchanan into some sort of Victorian Punk Princess, it was so awesome. Again K and A worked in sync and got some of the most beautiful shots I have ever seen, not just of my daughter but in general. A decided the look had to be taken somewhere and we followed him to an alley nearby. The contrast of the industrial looking alleyway with the giant black tutu and punk hair was phenomenal. After 6 and a half hours we were finally done and we took the whole show: K, A, S, me, V the makeup artist and her young son N to Menchies. It was Friday, and K certainly deserved her treat, I even let her fill a giant size tub of yogurt. She looked so funny twirling around Menchies in a outfit worthy of Vogue Bambini, it didn't even phase her that everyone was staring at her.

While we were wrapping it up I looked over all the pictures A took and I was so happy, it was exactly what I always wanted for K. It was hard to get her to leave, she was playing tag with A and V's son. I couldn't believe she still had energy left. I finally managed to pull her out and into the car with a promise of a dinner date with D. The traffic was light and we made it home in no time. D came home soon after that and we went out. The whole time I would not stop talking about the shoot. I think he wanted to shoot me just so I would stop talking. At around 11PM S sent me a few of the images so I could have and show to D. He finally saw why I was so obsessed. The images were magical, I could see the pride in his eyes, it made me cry.

So that was our day. Even a regular headshot session turned into something great. If anyone needs headshots or any kind of shots please email me for A and S's number and website. They are not only two of the most talented people I have met but they are so cool, I didn't want to leave either.

Strike a pose!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Doctor is.....nuts.

In her radio show, Dr. Laura Schlessinger (a popular conservative radio talk show host) said that homosexuality is an abomination according to the Bible Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, and was attributed to a James M. Kauffman, Ed. D. However, according to this letter has been circulating around the interwebs since May 2000. Dr. Laura, as she is known to her fans, is not a medical doctor, she holds a doctorate in physiology from Columbia University and practiced as a licensed marriage, family and child counselor for more than a decade although her California Marriage Family and Child Counseling license has been inactive for several years. Schlessinger's use of the title "Doctor" is misleading and her knowledge of the bible is pitiful. She is more than a bit hypocritical about the sanctity of marriage, just ask her first husband about her extra curricular activities. Better still do a search and check out the naked pictures veteran broadcaster Bill Ballance legally sold in 1998 (ewww, I don't want to do this!)

Anyway regardless of the original author or recipient, the letter is fitting, it shows the hypocrisy behind the "homosexuality is wrong because the Bible says so" argument. I think this letter can be sent to plenty of people, in fact I have no problem changing the "Dear" and "From" parts of this letter and shipping it off to a few folks myself. Please feel free to do this. Shine a bright light directly in the face of hypocrisy, lets see if we can get through to someone, anyone. Even if one person reads this and sees the error in his or her ways it would have been worth it.

A very special thanks to my friend and reader LB, she posted this letter on her Facebook page this morning:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination… end of

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual unseemliness – Lev. 15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev. 1:9. The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really
necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev. 24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman, Ed. D.
Professor Emeritus Dept. of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This and That (but mostly burgers)

It's going to be one of those random posts today, I can feel a bunch of crap swirling around my head now fighting to get out. I've been trying to get stuff done this week and failing miserably. Yesterday morning I went to the dealer because my car told me it needed it's oil changed (love having such a communicative automobile) I was there early but not early enough, apparently the upcoming long weekend brought out the car care slackers and I was told the wait was about 3 hours. Uh, no thanks, even I can't sit and text or play with my iPhone for that long. He told me to come back the next day at 7:30 and he'd take me right away. Clearly after years of service Gabe does not know me at all. It was still pretty early and I didn't know what to do so I went to Marshall's, not just because it had been over a week since my last visit but because it was close to the dealer. On the way over I called A back, she had called me earlier and was shocked to find me out of the house so early. I tried to convince her to meet me at Marshall's which is conveniently located to one of my favorite latte places, she wanted no part of it and preferred to stay close to home. I agreed to meet her at a local deli after my fix.

We went to Fromin's one of our usual places, one she's been going to since childhood. If I can't get my car serviced the least I can do is shoot the shit with my bestie, after about a zillion cups of bad coffee we decided to kill the last free hour of our day strolling around Santa Monica. It was a beautiful day and strolling along Montana Avenue was a perfect activity. After we parted I took a short drive to K's school and picked her up. Since it was Tuesday I had to pay attention to my watch. K gets out of school at 1:45 and karate starts 3:30. I cannot show up 90 minutes early again!! We went home, did homework and arrived a very dealable 15 minutes early. K was happy because she got to help the little kids, her new favorite thing. I was happy, I got to sit in the corner and read my book. It was a nice quiet hour, I only chatted for a few minutes with a cool mom we met last week.

After karate I promised I would take K out to dinner: on Monday during "The Best Thing I ever Ate" Giada De Laurentiis was talking about the burgers at Umami, K and I watched with delight, there was a new one in Santa Monica! I told her the next time D was going to be late we would go. We only had to wait 24 hours, he was taking a Tai Kwan Do class on Tuesday. So as soon as class was over K rushed to my chair, she was so excited to go to "Giada's hamburger place." I was a little worried about how she would like it, it's not a Happy Meal burger, of course K is not a Happy Meal kind of girl. We walked in and the place was empty, it was a little after 5PM, not our usual dinnertime but if we were to go home there was no way I would have felt like leaving again. Early dinner it was, neither one of us complained though, we both agree it's always better eating out, no matter what time it is.

We ordered our food, K was able to get what she wanted, a burger with lettuce (which she will always take off) cheese and tomato, a modified SoCal Burger, I ordered their signature Umami Burger. K lucked out and I bent my "no soda' rule as they do not have lemonade, her drink of choice, I settled for water since I cannot have my drink of choice if I am to be driving, especially with K (my other house rule). When the food arrived we were speechless, the burgers smelled wonderful and the perfectly round shiny buns looked more like sculpture than dinner. Another rule that was suspended for the evening was my no bread rule. I usually just leave the bun but once I caught sight of this beauty I knew that wasn't going to happen. We both went to town barely speaking but laughing at the mess we were creating, the fries we were sharing (another rule out the window) were disappearing quickly. When the waitress came to see if we wanted dessert we gushed about the amazing food we had just inhaled, surely there was no room for dessert. Then she mentioned Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich, I think I heard the fibers on my jeans yelling for help. We finished that dessert so quick it was if it had never been placed on our table.

That was it, it was back to home and off to bed, we were both in a self induced food coma and quite happy about it. Before we left K announced that she'd be back this weekend with her dad. She wasn't kidding.

Wednesday was a busy day for me. I had to play stylist and find some cool clothes for K's photoshoot on Friday, I drove down to the Promenade, there was a store that had what I needed. The first parking lot I entered was full, I drove all the way up and back down before I figured this out. I passed all the other lots that were full as well. I went around to the other street and entered one that had spots available. It did not. I drove to my "secret" lot that requires a boatload of quarters (which every good stagemom always has) and it was full too. I called D to complain, his option was to park on the street somewhere far an walk. Oh hell no!! I re-entered one of the lots and scored a spot. I swear this took an hour. Then I went to the store I was told had the clothes I needed. They had nothing. Crap. For some reason I went into Gap Kids and by some miracle they had the Stella McCartney line, and it was ON SALE!!! I scored two gorgeous dresses, I paid and left quickly before I talked myself out of buying them. Then I picked up K and we went to a cattle call. The only reason I even went was to say to a friend who we had not seen in a while, I had bought something for her new baby who was rumored to be there as well. We waited a while but it was fine, we had nowhere to go and K was playing ping pong with some girls she met. After a while it was her turn, we went in, saw our fabulous friend and left, no baby, maybe next time.

Traffic all day had been awful so we took side streets home. K did some homework I made dinner (and a huge mess) and that was it. I was wiped out. My day of nothing was exhausting! I chatted on Facebook for a while but mainly because I was too tired to actually get up to go to bed. I knew I had more shopping to do but I'm hoping to pull the looks together from what K already has in her closet.

So that was it, this and that, no big deal. My world does seem to revolve around food. I'm hoping it revolves around perfect Umami Burgers this weekend!!

This time I'll wear bigger jeans.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Song of the day

Death Cab For Cutie - I Will Follow You Into The Dark

Love of mine some day you will die
But I'll be close behind
I'll follow you into the dark

No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of a spark
If heaven and hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

In Catholic school as vicious as Roman rule
I got my knuckles brusied by a lady in black
And I held my toungue as she told me
"Son fear is the heart of love"
So I never went back

If heaven and hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

You and me have seen everything to see
From Bangkok to Calgary
And the soles of your shoes are all worn down
The time for sleep is now
It's nothing to cry about
Cause we'll hold each other soon
The blackest of rooms

If heaven and hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark
Then I'll follow you into the dark

I adore this song, it's not my favorite DCFC song but it's up there. You can hear the love he feels as the lyrics come out of his mouth. There's nothing more romantic than a love song about death.

How goth of me :P

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ain't that the tooth!

I can't believe I forgot about this!! I have another huge fear but not for the reason you think. I absolutely hate the dentist. I must have brought this up before, I'm too lazy to go back now though. I guess it's fitting I went today, even though this appointment was made a while ago it goes with my cleaning house and conquering all (or most) fears. It's not a specific thing and I have no problem with pain, it's so deep rooted (ha ha ha) I don't even know if I can explain it accurately. There are a few stories: Once, when I was a kid before I could get my braces put on I needed to have a few teeth pulled, apparently I had too many, I was put under but woke up too early (I guess) all I knew was the guy was practically on top of me pulling the thing out and blood was all over the place. Granted this is an old memory so the blood amount is probably normal but nothing I wanted to see. Then after I had my braces on for years the orthodontist wouldn't take them off until he was paid. Basically I had them on too long, and during this time I was never taken to the dentist so when the braces finally came off my mouth was a mess.

The following summer my dad took me to his dentist who immediately went to work, he told me constantly how I need to take care of myself. It wasn't a shame thing it was a more of a "I'm not worthy of care" thing. In fact I remember sitting in this guys chair when he asked me who my ortho was, when I told him, he flipped. Not only did he know him but he already had some beef with him. The next appointment I had the dentist told me that he practically had a fistfight with the ortho over his lack of care. Hmmm, I kinda wish he would have run into my mother and Evil Stepfather. Anyway he fixed a lot of what was damaged and sent me on my way.

Every so often I would go for a check up but old feelings of inadequacy would always surface, this turned into a deep rooted (can't help that one!) fear. Fear of going back to those feelings of neglect. It was never a pain thing. Recently, at D's insistence I started going again. Actually I went when I was pregnant, again at D's insistence, I needed to have some emergency work done and I insisted it be done without pain killers. They were so nice and I received no lecture, I'm sure they thought the lack of meds was punishment enough. I promised to go back for a full check up and x-rays after I had my baby. Yeah right. I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

Of course when it came time for K to get her first dental check up, I got a referral from our pediatrician and took her right away. She loves her dentist and always draws her pictures, in fact she asks all the time when she "gets" to go back. I don't want her to realize how deep my problem is so when D insisted I relented. The cleaning wasn't so bad, it was the exam after that made me feel like a ten year old. I remember walking to my car in tears. For some reason I went back, I knew it was the right thing. He had to send me to a root canal specialist and I went, got the thing done with no problem. When the file was sent back to my dentist I saw that he had written "great patient" on it. If only he knew! Anyway after that it was determined that I should have all four wisdom teeth removed. This was going to be a problem, in order to actually go through with this I would have to do all four at the same time, if not I know that I would do half and never go back. I also refused to be knocked out, having issues with that (of course I do). My dentist sent me to the guy that took out his wisdom teeth, he was going to set me straight. I'll show him, I brought K! He was awesome, he told me he wouldn't take out all four without anesthesia and he wanted to do them all at once. For some reason I trusted this guy. On the day of the surgery I was not the least bit nervous and it was easy. I felt nothing. The next day I looked awful but felt OK. I was more than a little proud of myself. I had to wait a few months to heal before I went back, and I welcomed the relief.

Well back to today, he told me what the next "project" would be and gave me my options, instead of going home and thinking about it (which really means putting it off) I made the decision and booked the appointments. I am going to finish this. It may take some time as we are working with our insurance and my comfort level but it will get done!

No drooling, uh, I mean fooling!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

All's Faire

Every year D makes the same vow to do two things, which we never get around to doing: take us to the snow so K can learn to ski and go to the Renaissance Faire. One I'm totally into, one makes my skin crawl. Sunday he got to cross one off his to-do list. With braided hair and a princess dress in hand (for K, I had a more urban pirate look going on) we piled into the car and drove to Irwindale, wherever that is.

The entrance was already backed up and that was just to park. I promised to keep it together and try to enjoy myself, especially since D wasn't really into going in the morning and I convinced him that we should, it was the last day. It took a while to park but we finally made it, the short walk through the parking lot was unexpected, I thought for sure it would be a hike. When we got to the ticket booth my worst fears were realized, there were so many people in costumes, K was laughing at the giant boobs on most of the women, OK, I was too. It was also really windy and I had forgotten to take my Sudafed, which worried me since the dust and hay flying around was bad. We made it about 10 feet when K saw a flower headband she wanted, I said if she wore her dress she could have it. I wanted her to look cute for pictures and I was tired of carrying it. She immediately put on the dress and picked out her headband. It was so cute neither of us balked at the $15 price tag, not that it's a ton of cash but I can probably make about 20 of them myself for that price.

We walked a little more and the "I'm hungry, I'm thirsty" chorus started. My child has a strange affliction, at home where the food is plentiful and free she won't eat, when we are out and it costs money, she's starving. We found a drink for her and then set off to find the food, which apparently was meat. The wide open food court was broken down to four groups, meat, meat with cheese, meat with meat and meat with meat and cheese. K was mesmerized by the giant turkey leg, but not as much as D was. They each got one and I selected the 1/4 chicken, the most Zone friendly option. It was all surprisingly good, seeing K hold the giant leg and chomping down on it was worth the trip for us, she loved it!

We then walked around some more, this time K was fixated on a fox tail. She absolutely, positively had to have one to complete her Renaissance Princess look. We finally found where they were selling them, I didn't even care what they cost by then, I was tired of hearing "where are the tails, mama?" She did look cute, I knew that she would want to wear it all the time, I saved this debate for later. While the wenches were trying attach K's new appendage I wandered around the tent and looked at the clothing, avoiding the painful bustiers, much to the disappointment of my husband. I did however find a cool shirt that was actually a scarf, D was all over that, especially when the wench came over and showed me how to tie it. I'm not being disrespectful here, that's what the chicks are called.

After more walking around and breathing in the dust and hay we decided it was time to go home. Of course by then we had walked all the way around the place and had to backtrack to the beginning, there was no easy path back. We trekked back to the entrance and bid adieu to the Faire. As we made our way to the car I realized that I might have had more fun than my weary companions. Shocking!!

We made it home safe and sound and filthy. I think we might have taken more than our fair share of dirt home with us. Showers were mandatory and welcomed!

I almost didn't want to admit how much fun it was, I actually enjoyed myself and wasn't merely amused by the ridiculousness of it all. Although that was clearly there as well. K is already planning her visit next year.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Can I sleep now?

OMG I am so not up to date here. This is always obvious when I have songs on my blog although sometimes I put songs up that I really love or fit the mood I'm in at the moment. So the last two days have been crazy, K finally worked the job she booked last week. Before I left to pick her up from school I needed to have my closet fixed, apparently the pole was no match for my wardrobe and collapsed under the weight of my designer bargains. The only time this could be done was in the morning, an hour before I was supposed to pick up K. All I can say is thank you Jesus!! Not trying to promote blasphemy here, the guy who fixed my closet was named Jesus. He finished just in time for me to leave. I got to school at the right time, they were outside at PE, K was so excited, she loves photo shoots.

We showed up to the location, a giant park south of Hollywood. I drove around looking for the location and ended up at a huge set that looked more like a film shoot. Some PA told me that parking was limited and I should go back and follow the signs to the crew parking. I did this and sat in the lot for like 10 minutes, then a hair and makeup person showed up, she had to unload her car at the set and told me she'd send the van to get us. Nothing. A few minutes later another mom and her kids showed up. We waited for a bit and then we both called our kids agents to get a contact number. We both left messages. Nothing. This was going to be fun. I told her we should all pile into one car and head up there that way the kids will be on set and one of us could stay with them. Since she had a toddler she drove and we parked explaining what happened. They didn't seem to care, they told us to hang in the park until they were ready. I was assured that I would have a ride to my car when we were done.

We went off to the park and K pulled me aside to tell me the girl was mean, I normally would have told her to just be nice but she was serious, I let them go to the park and we stayed by the motor home. A few minutes they called her to wardrobe, she tried on her outfit, an adorable school uniform, and they sent it to be tailored. We went back outside and got some food for K who was in a cranky and pissy mood, not a good thing on a set. She ate some awesome lamb chops with the set teacher and we did her schoolwork, the mean girl was nowhere in sight. The food made her instantly better and when it was time to shoot she was back to the old pro I know her to be. The shot was cute, K, the mean girl and a beautiful little boy. The photographer, a very well known and incredible artist was really interacting with kids and the shots were amazing. You couldn't even tell K didn't really dig the girl, they were arm in arm smiling shot after shot. After a while the photographer started calling her "blondie" just for fun, he knew her name. Instead of getting annoyed K started calling him "curly" I knew this was going to be fun!

After they got the shot we went back to the motor home, they had an outfit that they wanted K to try on. She was only scheduled to do the one shot but they really wanted to keep her for another. The outfit they tried on was too big but they sent it to be fixed and told us to wait with the other kids. Then they sent the mean girl home. I actually saw the smile on K's face when she realized what was going on.

We went back to the "school" and saw a family we knew from a fashion show K did in the summer. Two impossibly gorgeous girls and their super cool mom L. K ran off with her friends and I got to chill for a while. Then another girl M showed up and joined them. I saw K and M immediately hitting it off and I was glad. M's mom H came over we all started talking, she was awesome, it nice to hang with two cool moms. They called K and M to hair and makeup and H and moved closer to be near the girls. They were n that truck for a while and at one point I went to check on them, they were chatting like old friends. Cool.

During their shot together H and I hung out chit chatting, she was like me, not to tied into the stage mom thing but still always an advocate for her kid (or kids, she has 2 older kids, more stunning beautiful children!!) Sometime during a break we heard them talk about having dinner together. This always happens on shoots, K never wants to leave her friends. They were both insistent and we both said "we'll see." Well after six hours on set "we'll see" turned into "where are we going?" D was stuck at work and I was not about to cook. We headed out of the park (once I found my car) and ended up in some mall eating at BJ's. H had a friend join us with her kids, we were a loud table of seven with four adorable and hungry kids. It was different for me to be in a social situation with complete strangers but these women were so nice, I felt like I was with old friends. While I didn't want the evening to end I needed to get K home and deal with the mess in my bedroom. I had almost forgotten about my divine intervention that morning with Jesus, the closet guy. I had to leave after getting my closet fixed so every item from my closet was strewn about my bed and floor.

I slipped K into her bed and started to hang up clothes but I was in no condition to do much of anything. I shoved everything over and left it until the morning. Of course when I woke up I was still exhausted from the day before and had little time to restore my closet. K was off to karate at 10AM, a class I do not usually attend with her but she was getting her yellow belt and I wanted to be there. She wanted this so badly, insisting that we go almost every day. I love going to her karate class, I love watching the kids, chatting with the moms, talking to the staff, I love it all. But not every day. I need a break too. I knew that once she got her yellow belt she would feel more at ease in the dojo. Not so much the new girl with the clean white belt.

After the class her sensei brought her in and she did some warm up and then broke a board with a kick (and maybe a little help). She was embarrassed to do this in front of a group of older kids, but they were all so wonderful and supportive. I got some great pictures. They dropped me off at home after that and went off to piano class. She was still clutching her broken board and wearing her yellow belt. I was really proud of her dedication and impressed by her kicks! I went back to the closet and after a few hours completed the project.

When I was done I had 3 giant bags for Goodwill and a need to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond. I didn't need bins this time, I needed a small closet organizer for my many tanks and tees. I was delighted to see they had exactly what I needed and even more delighted that I remembered my coupons. We rushed home, I filled my new purchase, showered and got ready for K's celebratory sushi dinner. We reward everything in our family with a nice dinner out, it's a win win for all of us. K wanted our friends R and N to come, it was nice to have them with us. After dinner we ended up and Baskin Robbins, how could we have said no to her?

After a brief karate show K was off to bed and the four of us were up talking to almost 1AM. I was so tired, and a little scared. D wanted to go to Renaissance Faire the next day.



Friday, May 21, 2010

Song of the day

Elliott Smith - Waltz #2 (XO)

First the mic then a half cigarette
Singing cathy's clown
That's the man that she's married to now
That's the girl that he takes around town
She appears composed, so she is, I suppose
Who can really tell?
She shows no emotion at all
Stares into space like a dead china doll
I'm never gonna know you now, but I'm gonna love you anyhow
Now she's done and they're calling someone
Such a familiar name
I'm so glad that my memories remote
'cos I'm doing just fine hour to hour, note to note
Here it is the revenge to the tune
"you're no good,
You're no good you're no good you're no good"
Can't you tell that it's well understood
I'm never gonna know you now, but I'm gonna love you anyhow
I'm here today and expected to stay on and on and on
I'm tired
I'm tired
Looking out on the substitute scene
Still going strong
Xo, mom
It's ok, it's alright, nothing's wrong
Tell mr. man with impossible plans to just leave me alone
In the place where I make no mistakes
In the place where I have what it takes
I'm never gonna know you now, but I'm gonna love you anyhow
I'm never gonna know you now, but I'm gonna love you anyhow
I'm never gonna know you now, but I'm gonna love you anyhow

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Conquering your fears

We all have fears, some of us ignore them, some live with them and some even try to conquer them. Choosing which method you take to deal with fears is a very personal matter, one I don't take lightly. I have my fair share of fears, some are normal and some border on the ridiculous. I think the OCD has a lot to do with a few of them, like my irrational fear of electricity which stems from worrying about leaving things like my flat iron turned on and sitting on my bathroom counter. I can't even use it sometimes, not because I can't figure out how to use it without burning my head, I can't deal with the sudden rush of fear that overtakes me when I think that it might be burning my house down. Seriously, I have turned around so many times to check only to find my flat iron perfectly coiled up in my bathroom cabinet. Once at a party for K's preschool graduation I made D go home and check, he found nothing of course. When I do use it I must take a picture of it unplugged and sitting in it's basket.

Sometimes I have difficulty plugging or unplugging things, we used to have a Foreman grill that didn't have an on/off switch and it sparked every time I plugged it in, this freaked me out to no end. I was thrilled when we got a new one with a power button. It's an irrational fear but a huge one for me. Yesterday after my shower I was plugging in my hair dryer when my finger brushed against the outlet, I guess they were still wet because I got what I now know is an electrical burn. My deepest fear and it only hurt for a second. It's not something I'll ever do again but it didn't kill me like I always thought.

Later that day I was getting things ready in the kitchen, all of a sudden I heard K yell "oops" I wasn't too worried, I must hear that about a hundred times a day. She came up to me and told me that she blew out the fire n the kitchen. Huh? Then she showed me the stove and told me that she could see a little fire and wanted to blow it out, like a candle. CRAP!! The biggest of my ridiculous fears, the gas stove and oven. This fear has been with me forever. Once when I was younger and watching my sister the pilot light went out and I had to find a neighbor to light it, I was 17. I can safely say that I have never lit one of those suckers. In fact I can you that I would rather sit in a stinky gas filled kitchen than light that tiny flame. Luckily only one was out and I still had two burners to use even though I needed three. Too bad I wasn't about to cook with lethal gas escaping right next to me! I called D and told him my kitchen dilemma and he told me to just light it. WHAT? This is probably one of my biggest fears, one that I have not been able to get over. I even rode the giant ferris wheel a few years ago during a preschool fundraiser at the Santa Monica Pier because K wanted to go on it, and my fear of heights is epic!

I decided that I was on a role lately and if I did it quick it would be a monumental accomplishment for me. I sent K out of the kitchen because I was convinced it would blow up. I kept D on the phone, just in case and a few seconds later: I had a fully operational stove. I did it. I know it's no Everest but to me it was huge. No explosion, no fire, just a tiny flame that allowed me free range with my uh, range. I felt good. Two of my biggest fears almost squashed within hours.

I take this as a leap towards my zen master status. I can now hopefully turn the corner onto my street without the worry that I will see my home on fire (yes, this was a real fear of mine). The next time my child decides to put out that little fire in my kitchen I won't have run for the take out menus.

It doesn't matter what the fear is, conquering them takes the same amount of bravery because to the owner of that fear it's just as daunting. I'm sure there are some fears that I will never get over, like riding in tiny elevators. That freaks me out completely, not the getting stuck part, living in NY gets you over that fear quick. It's being stuck in a tiny space that I hate. Also tunnels bother me but only in Los Angeles, I don't think I'm alone with that one.

I accomplished a lot yesterday, overcoming a fear of electricity and gas is a huge thing. I haven't used my flat iron yet, but if I can use it in the morning without that awful pain that flows through my body when I think about it, I'll know I'm a little closer to zen master.

Maybe Saturday I can try the gas BBQ.

Nope, ain't conquering that one!!

On Being Mom

Someone posted this on a message board I read from time to time. I remember reading it a few years ago when K was a few years old. I know she's only 6 now but that didn't stop the tears from flowing this morning.

This is for you K, I want to thank you for being the expert I needed.

"On Being Mom"
Written by
Anna Quindlen

If not for the photographs, I might have a hard time believing they ever existed. The pensive infant with the swipe of dark bangs and the black button eyes of a Raggedy Andy doll. The placid baby with the yellow ringlets and the high piping voice. The sturdy toddler with the lower lip that curled into an apostrophe above her chin. ALL MY BABIES are gone now.

I say this not in sorrow, but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like.

Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach, T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete.

Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories.

What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations -- what they taught me was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all. Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One boy is toilet trained at 3, his brother at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying and then soothing.

Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow.

I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month-old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk too.

Every part of raising children is humbling too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the Remember-When-Mom-Did Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, What did you get wrong? (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons.

What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked bout, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be.

The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts.

It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Now what?

It's cold and raining here in sunny Los Angeles, a rarity that always has me longing for my warm and cozy (and already made) bed! Too bad I was forced out of the house early this morning in order to finally renew our passports. Why did they find it necessary to change the law about traveling to Mexico and Canada? I suppose it's always handy to have a current passport, how else could a spontaneous trip to Paris happen? We would have done this a while ago but both D and I need to be there in order to renew K's passport and we both were chronic sufferers of ScarlettO'Haraitis. Having zero faith in the system we were also forced to pay the expedite fee, I've heard too many stories about canceled trips due to late passports. That was our number one priority this week. With K's completed application at the post office D and I came back home to finish ours, we were told they must be mailed. Great. Mine is still good for another year but the name on my ticket is different than the name on my passport. Given the current airport situation I though it was better to make sure all of my information matched perfectly.

After that was completed I was home, alone, with a choice to make. Do I return to my closet project? Return to K's closet project? Start a new closet project? Clean? Cook? Return phone calls? Write? Go back to bed? Hmmmm, that was the most comfy option but given the sleepy state this weather can induce I thought it best to avoid the bed, waking up to a call from the school inquiring to my whereabouts would have been embarrassing. I decided to do nothing. This weather is not only sleep inducing but it somehow gives me the green light to slack. It's not often we are forced to stay inside. The rainy weather in this city is like a magnet for bad drivers (although what isn't?). Just sitting here I've heard more than 4 screeches and a fair amount of honking. In addition I know all the streetlights on the way to school are out. Another lovely side effect of the "bad" weather. Seriously, I wonder what these people would do if they ever found themselves in a proper East coast downpour? No wonder I am inclined to stay home. It's scary out there.

The luxury of nothing is something I rarely afford myself. I'm not talking about the nothing that I usually do while deciding what to do, I mean the actual decision to do nothing. Although now that I'm writing about doing nothing means I am no longer doing nothing. Sounds very Seinfeldesque to me. Only I could turn nothing into something about nothing and then make a big deal out of it. Ugh, that gave me a headache. Maybe I should crawl into my bed!

I know this nothingness is short lived, soon I will drive to collect K from school, participate in the Great Homework Battle and then rush off to karate where my body will slump uncomfortably while my jaw is flying. Seriously the mats they have in the class to protect the head of my child look mighty comfy sometimes.

I think I feel bad doing nothing, but if I turn in into something big it isn't nothing anymore. I can talk for hours about how I occupied part of my day not doing a thing. In fact I can put such a spin on it that when I'm done D will think I've been to the moon and back. I wonder if this talent is unique to females. I've heard men make mountains out of molehills but I can make a whole mountain range out of a grain of sand. I have mad shills when I need them.

I talked to a few people who were happy to hear I kicked it for a while "you deserve it!" they all said. Honestly, as nice as that is to hear it's ridiculous. Doctors, nurses and teachers certainly deserve time to chill. Not chauffeuring stagemoms. I mean so what if my new car has almost 9000 miles on it and my six year old needs more space in her datebook for all of her various activities. Who cares if I'm battling demons from the past (and present) every second of my day and does it matter that I am plowing through a hefty to-do list like there's no tomorrow? Not really, I love every minute of it.

The reality of this? I would be miserable if I actually had nothing to do. If I had all the money and time in the world and was able to sit on my ass all day I'd end up burning piles of cash just to have something to do.

Nah, I probably wouldn't do that.

Monday, May 17, 2010


This might be one of those weeks. K is supposed to do a print job but we don't know when. The audition was this past Friday after school, I knew the fittings were supposed to be the next day so when I didn't hear anything that night I gave it the "on to the next." During a dinner out on Saturday I saw a bunch of missed calls from K's agent. She had a fitting on Sunday at 11AM. Cool. I convinced D to come with us, it actually worked out quite nicely, he was able to load a movie onto his edit thingy while we went to the fitting. They gave K the cutest outfit and took a few Polaroids (really, I thought everyone had gone digital!). Before we left they sent her to see the hair person who gave her a much needed haircut, she was so nice, she even collected the hair for K's collection (don't ask) and told me to bring her to the set as-is, her hair was perfect. That was nice, I usually get grief for that.

Anyway they said they were shooting Tuesday through Friday but had no real schedule yet. That means that I must be prepared to be potentially called at the last minute, if they even call, I've been through this before, even with this same client. They are always amazing locations and fun shoots so I do hope to get the call. They told K that they'd see her in a few days so if they don't I'm sending her to the set so they can hear it this time.

Since we don't really know what the week will bring we decided to go to karate today, we had never been on Monday and since the weather was crappy I knew it wouldn't be crowded. I was right. The class was mostly younger kids, only K and another boy were in the "older" class. I watched for a bit, it was nice since I usually end up gabbing with my friend M (which is always cool). I was watching K do foot sweeps and she took her opponent down again and again, I was so proud. I made a comment to the mom next to me that I hope she can remember to do this in high school. She laughed and we talked for a second, she brought up the traffic which was particularly hideous. She made a joke that there better be wine when she got home. I loved her immediately.

We started talking about how nice it is to unwind with some wine at the end of the day. That we love our kids but it's OK to have some alone time to unwind. Somehow the discussion turned to kids parties and I told her that we always had some sort of "adult beverage" at K's parties and had a keg at her first. The love was mutual. She told me to please start coming to the Monday class, it was full of moms who clearly need a glass or gallon of wine. That started a discussion on the phoniness that some parents around here tend to exhibit. She was open and honest about parenting, just like me, and said sometimes she felt like screaming and was disgusted by the parents who never admit to being less than perfect. We discussed our kids preference for dirt and disdain for those kids who are afraid to get dirty. When her son was finished she laughed as she showed me his "ghetto shoes" a pair of filthy yet adorable Vans. I smiled as I pointed out K's Uggs, they are so dirty I won't even touch them. I told that if we can we'll be there on Wednesday. I like making new friends, especially the kind that like to unwind at the end of the day, or anytime after 12PM with a glass of wine. She made the "It's 5:00PM somewhere" joke and I knew I was hooked.

I have a feeling we would have really fun playdates!


Sunday, May 16, 2010


This was quite a week for my to do list. It never had a workout like this before. Usually it sits ignored in my purse (or my head) for days (OK, for years sometimes). After last weekend's loss of emotion control my refocus neurons took over and cleared a path for the order that so badly needed to get out.

Looking back it doesn't seem as monumental as I make it out to be but it was forward progress on ALL levels, a big thing for me. First I took the anger at my MIL's idiotic ploy for attention and re purposed it. It went on to be the inspiration and driving force behind the organization and purge project currently going on in my abode. This is a long process but I was able to start immediately and within hours had packed up a car full of unwanted memories which I promptly dumped off at Goodwill. Then I went to the mental purging. Check! This wasn't as easy and it was also going to be an ongoing project. I did my best go delve deep into they "why" as I discussed last week. I was able to channel my inner Zen Master and come up with my own moment of clarity. This was another big thing, maybe it's not the most perfect of conclusions but it was mine and I was happy for it. We can't all be Buddha or Ghandi, we can only do what's good enough for ourselves. I realized that it doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to work for me. Another check!

The next one was something I did to myself, I became lax about my diet. So starting last Monday I went back to Zone and within days was feeling better. This made my weekend's trip to Vito's for pizza a little more dealable. I didn't stress over the evil carbs I was consuming, I just enjoyed to two slices of heaven that were placed in front of me on oil soaked paper plates. Yum. It's easy to slip back into bad eating habits when you nod off and shift to autopilot. I can't say that this will never happen but for now at least, my "comfy" jeans aren't tight. Check, thank goodness!

This brings me to another self created issue that goes back about 6 years (well longer than that actually). When I met my bestie A I told her that I was a certain age. Shortly after Starter Husband I went through a phase where I was pissed off about starting over. I was years off my "life schedule" and not dealing with it like I should have. I decided to knock off a few years from my actual age, putting me back on "schedule." Not the brightest move but it seemed to make me feel better. For some reason when I met D I had no problem telling him how old I was. I believe this is because we are almost the same age and he didn't seem to have any kind of "life plan." When I got pregnant I was happy to see that most of the women I met were close to my own age, some were younger but I was around the average. When I met A I was back to feeling pissed off, so I told her my fake age which was still a couple of years older than hers. I must look somewhat young because it didn't phase her at all. As time went by D helped me feel more comfortable about how old I was, even convincing me to have some people over for cake one year (I am not a big birthday person). This was after the giant surprise 40th I threw for him (I am a big celebrator of other people's birthdays).

Still when it came to A I could not tell her the truth. At this point it was more embarrassing than anything else. Now that my birthday is coming up I knew that A would be doing the math and realize that a milestone birthday was approaching. Or at least what she thought was a milestone. One I hit a few years back. We had a lunch planned for last Thursday and I made a vow to tell her then. When she unexpectedly showed up with her young son that plan flew out the window. I was relieved but disappointed, I was on a roll and this would have been a huge check for me. She called me on Saturday to tell me a funny story and I realized I had another chance to come clean. She brought up my birthday once again but this time I didn't change the subject I just blurted out my secret. She didn't believe me. She thought I was trying to get out a party. I managed to convince her and we had many laughs about it, I felt great. It was a minor prevarication which caused no harm but it had become a thorn in my side that had poked me for the last time. Check!!

The final item I was able to cross off my list was Online Traffic School. I had been putting this off for weeks and I knew that deadline was approaching. Not completing this meant that a point would go on my licence and my insurance rates could go up. I had started and stopped this process months ago but could not fin the concentration skills necessary to complete this, the most boring of my "checks." I convinced myself that this was the time to do it, I had come so far this week, might as well cross the finish line. I got to work while D occupied K and did laundry (reason enough to finish!). I started to lose my focus and my wonderful husband poured me a cocktail. There was nothing in the rules that said I couldn't drink and learn. I did see the irony in this and felt the need to announce it on my Facebook page. I love to entertain.

Finally after what seemed like hours I was at the final exam. I hate tests but this one was open book, at least open internet browser. I didn't even need it, somehow either I retained all I had read or I'm the most amazing driver in Los Angeles. Either way I aced the test and completed another task. Check.

My head feels lighter, I no longer have a huge task list to lug around and I am now free to add things to it! Things that won't be stuck there for days (or weeks and years). I almost want to go out and buy a book on battling procrastination but putting that off, like I know I will, might just drive me over the edge.

See ya Scarlett!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Song of the day

Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight

Well excuse me if I break my own heart
it's mine from the finish I guess
it was mine from the start
this situation just don't seem so goddamn smart
this situation is tearing me apart

so you'll have to excuse me
I break my own heart

well excuse me if I break my own heart tonight
some things aren't born too strong
have to learn how to fight
this situation keeps me drinking every goddamn day and night
this situation don't seem so right

so excuse me if I break my own heart tonight
well excuse me if I break my own heart tonight

after all it was mine
after all it was mine
after all it was mine
can I have it back sometime?

so if the rain falls down on your Mississippi town
let your eyes drift easy into mine
if the rain falls down on your Mississippi town
let your eyes drift into mine
you're on the road but your diary entry reads blank(it reads blank)
is this some sort of joke to you?
is this some sort of joke to you?

well excuse me if I break my own heart tonight
well excuse me if I break my own heart tonight
after all it was mine
after all it was mine
after all it was mine
can I have it back sometime?

I just love this song and every other one on this album. Whiskeytown was one of those bands that should have been ridiculously famous. Frontman Ryan Adams went on to have a very successful solo career and his work is clearly reminiscent of his former band. I remember listening to Stranger's Almanac on a flight to New York many years ago. I played it over and over for hours, getting lost in the lyrics and wanting desperately to be the object of Ryan's affections.

Enjoy this one, it's a great one!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy accidents

I would have titled this Serendipity but I would for anyone to think of that stupid movie with John Cusack and Kate Whatsherbutt. For me serendipity is not only one of my favorite words but also one of the cutest places to eat in New York (which probably explains why I love the word so much). When I was young I would go there for their world famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate after schlepping around Bloomingdales. OK, I was older too, it was actually a regular stop for me, I just don't like to admit to paying so much money for a beverage that doesn't include Amaretto.

I'm not going to write about the movie (which sucked) or the restaurant (which rules!) but the serendipitous moment that happened last week. Last Tuesday when I first brought K to try out karate I was hoping to find a quiet spot in the corner to watch her and relax. I saw a few people I knew from K's school and said my hellos but made no effort to do more than that. About halfway through the class I hear someone calling my name, since it's a common name it took me a few times before I looked up. It was a friend that D and I had met through other friends, her son was in the younger class. A woman, M, that I thought was nice enough, D got along well with her husband and K adored her daughter. We saw each other at birthdays but that's about it. We live in the same town but run in very different circles and never run into each other.

I was happy to see her and moved over to chit chat, we played catch up and walked out together. That Thursday they were there again as well, so much for my peace and quiet. We chatted throughout that class too, suddenly I was one of those mom that can't shut up. When I saw her this Tuesday I was in a daze, still embarrassed from the super early arrival (90 minutes early!) I told her about my current state and opened about my MIL issues, hoping that she would sympathize and not judge. I was wrong, she wasn't just sympathetic she was empathetic, apparently I hit a nerve and found a common bond. We barely noticed that we were in a room full of other people and swapped stories like old friends. The next day K wanted to try the Wednesday class so after school we checked it out. Not expecting to see anyone I slipped into a quiet corner with a book, moments later I was tapped on the shoulder M was there too, making up a class her son missed weeks ago. We continued our conversation about family and the hour flew by. I suggested that maybe we take it out of the dojo and away from her older child who was sitting nearby. We made a plan to meet for breakfast Friday. That didn't stop us from gabbing through the whole class the next day.

I was excited to meet her on Friday, away from our kids and a roomful of other parents. We talked for a while about our kids, summer plans and how much we love the karate class. Then we dove into deeper waters and further discussed our MIL issues which led to the legacy issues we've both been carrying around. She opened up to me about things that felt familiar. We shared the same views on everything from child raising to the positive/negative energy of life. We both got to this point after coming to a similar crossroad. She got to a point in her life where she didn't want to live with her anger, an emotion that she knew stemmed from childhood and the mother she lost when she was 15. She consciously made an effort to sit down and write out all the things in her past that brought her to that moment, then she looked at it, evaluated it and wrote the reasons she thought her mother did what she did. After taking a step back she looked at the document she had created, her grievance story. What she realized after laying it all out like that, was her mother did the best she could, her actions were always to do the best thing for her daughter, in the only way she knew how. My friend M, at that moment, turned her grievance story into a forgiveness story and with that action freed her from the past. From that day on she was able to see things from a different light.

Then I shared my past with her. We laughed about how much you never know about a person, even after almost 10 years. I told her wasn't possible to get to know a person's true self until they are willing to admit to it. I was more comfortable with people thinking I was a bitch than to know how wounded I was. I felt bad for the way I judged M, not giving any thought that there may be a real person under her designer clothes and perfect smile. We had to cut our meeting short, her young son was due to be picked up from a playdate and I had important closet purging to finish. Neither one of us wanted to leave.

We said our goodbyes in the parking lot and decided that this should probably become a regular thing. It was so liberating to sit and discuss the complexities of life with someone who was able to see it from both sides.

I returned home refreshed and recharged thrilled to have had such a wonderful morning. A morning that would not have been possible without K's karate class. Serendipity. Another example of how much that word means to me. I look forward to these classes now, not so I can sit in quiet isolation and read but so I can sit with a friend and enjoy the moment. We aren't always going to discuss our past or problems with our MILs. We'll just be two moms enjoying the hour.

It's been a long week of this and for once, I'm happy about that!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Spring Cleaning

I'm sure this is going on all over the country right now (well not this second but around this time of year). Shorts and bathing suits are replacing sweaters and jackets in closets everywhere. Places like Goodwill and the Salvation Army are reaping the rewards of this annual event and people like me are relishing in the joy of finding more space in the house, even if it's short lived.

After Mother's Day I was left feeling emotionally unstable, disgusted by the actions of my MIL and disappointed in the way I responded. I feel like I let everyone down, let myself down by giving in and losing control, let D down by putting him in the middle of an impossible situation and letting Dr. Phil down by not using the tools he so thoughtfully gave me. I needed to restore order and balance so I decided to start with the actual messes and gain the strength to tackle the emotional ones. The closet purging was great, not only did I get rid of things I didn't want I tossed the items that held nothing but bad memories. I've been lugging these things around for so long it was time to get rid of them, physically and emotionally. Holding onto stupid things like dresses that reminded me of an unhappy past was detrimental to my psyche as well as the support beams in my closet. Both which were in desperate need of repair. Dropping these off at Goodwill was a nice way to say goodbye to them, let someone else benefit from things that caused me sadness. For every bad there has to be a good right?

So the closet purging helped restore some sense of order, I needed to dig deeper and fix my food intake which had fallen off the 40/30/30 plan I follow. Starting on Monday I became steadfast in following my own version of The Zone, the diet, I mean the new way I eat, that helped me to lose 25 pounds. It was easy for me keep to it this time, I needed the focus. A few days later I was back to what I like to call my "happy weight." I still had a few things to work on, the main one being my reaction to the news I already knew was coming. I believe I tackled that one brilliantly, you can see for yourself here.

I sent that one off to Dr. Phil and he was happy with my insight, I believe D was as well. Cool, I was making a ton of progress this week. There is just one more thing I need to accomplish, something that I cannot write about until I check it off my list. It's a stupid thing too. Something that I said a while ago when I was still trying to hide from my past by ignoring it. By pretending years of my life never happened. It's not even a big deal emotionally but it is embarrassing and I promise to write and joke about it soon.

So there is how Spring cleaning is done in my house. Not the traditional changing of the wardrobes that most people do. This year mine was and still is a spiritual and emotional cleansing that just happens to involve a little purging.

I said to my bud L earlier that I am trying to achieve Zen Master status and I'm not kidding, I am doing all the work necessary to build up my mental tolerance so these "setbacks" have little or no effect on me anymore. I sent an email to someone very close to me morning and told her to look at her whole situation. She is dealing with her own sort of "enemy." Is this person's life full of love, hope and promise? Nope, it sucks balls, just like it should. I told her that karma is a force that should not be reckoned with and I firmly believe that, I've said it a million times.

At the end of the day my life is full of love, and even on my worst day I am surrounded by it. That's all I need to remember. What's that old expression? As you make your bed, so you must lie in it. I have no problem with that, but I know that the same cannot be said for my MIL, this is evident in her lengthy list of medical ailments, even the real ones have been self caused.

My old friend AW likes to say "Keep Moving Forward" and I have to agree with her motto. I'll keep moving forward with my eyes pointed ahead.

I see no need to look back.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

But why?

Why? Why? Why? I used to hear this all the time from K. Why is that dog barking? Why can't I have candy? Why can't I have a sleep over? OK, I still hear it, many times a day. Today is Wednesday and we had our appointment with Dr. Phil, it was supposed to be a solo for me but given the recent theatrics of my MIL we decided it would be best to go in as a duo. This was also a good idea as we spent most of last night discussing the issue.

When Dr. Phil saw us he didn't seem shocked, we went and immediately went to town. After an abridged version of the whole story we sat and waited for some help. We are at an impasse on some of the main points in this current situation. After some back and forth Dr. Phil asked me what about this situation bothers me. Why am I so upset? Huh? Why the hell wouldn't I be upset? After years of what she put me through she was using her weakened condition to get out of acknowledging it then when she saw that D wasn't giving into her she made herself sick enough to put herself in the hospital just in time for Mother's Day. Mother's Day. Did he not see the irony here?

I understand that I have a very different way of thinking, I have a different way of doing everything and I don't expect those around me to do the same (at least I don't anymore). What I do not understand is this, a question I have been repeating to my poor friends forced to listen to it:

If I predicted that my MIL's illness (real or fake) would culminate in a hospital stay on Mother's Day how could I possibly consider this a coincidence? How could I not be bothered by this?

After careful thinking I kind of got what Dr. Phil was trying to get me to say. If I knew it was coming and I know her pathetic attempts to receive attention are simply a manifestation of a mental disorder that she refuses to deal with and acknowledge how can I be mad? I wasn't even surprised. My anger and my hurt isn't really directed at her it's at her son, my husband. After all that we've been through he still refused to believe this was a deliberate action. The why? The why is a my foot stomping temper tantrum version of "why can't he just see my side?" A feeling that takes me back to the second I realized this had become a competition. This feeling conjures up the same emotions started years ago when I realized that during a time of great need my husband didn't hear me, he put the demands and need to please his mother above the needs of his wife and the mother of his newborn child. These present events transport me back to the exact moment when the love of my life broke my heart. A moment that unfortunately is still so clear in my head, I can even give you the exact location.

It's not about carrying around anger or jealousy because it transcends that, in fact I wish it were only anger. That is an emotion I can deal with, jealousy is a wasted emotion and I thankfully do not allow that in my head (regardless of what others may think). It's hurt, a hurt that took place not only in the moment but went through my whole history way back to the little girl who had waited patiently for her night in shining armor. I'm not writing this to make D feel bad or apologize, I know how he feels now and I don't require an apology, he's already done that profusely. I am merely answering the question posed by Dr. Phil as to why this upsets me so much.

I'm not really sure where we are expected to go from here. We aren't exactly at an impasse anymore but we are both having a difficult time seeing each other's opinion on this specific action. I need to let go of that. Who cares what my MIL does. If she want's to damage her body that's really her problem. For me all I can do is hope: I can hope that she doesn't take these stunts too far and cause real damage. I can hope that D confronts her on this issue and doesn't get pulled into further dramatics. I can hope that my knight will clean off the years of varnish that has accumulated on his armor but what really hope is that I can let go of the hurt. I know I hold the key that unlocks the emotional handcuffs I've been wearing. I don't need the knight to do that, I can do this myself. I imagine I had the key all along, it must have been lost in the mess around my house I am finally cleaning.

I do need the knight to come in and hoist me up onto his horse. My arms will finally be free to wrap around him as we ride off into the sunset.

Or onto Sunset as this is a modern tale.