Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Today Show Disappoints - Again

I have said before that the Today show has lost my respect and my advertising dollars (oh come on, they do so care) as they leave the lofty hilltop of serious journalism and ride down the slippery slope toward sensational, celebrity-driven, corporation-driven "news". I'm all for a little fluff and cross-promotion with my morning tea but three hours worth? (The first hour doesn't count - this is when they report real news for the "working" men and women of the world as they get ready for some "serious" contribution.)

By the time the fourth hour comes around, the main audience is housewives taking care of the kids, taking care of the house (you know the easy stuff), and this is what they think we want to watch?

I didn't like Kathie Lee on Regis.
I didn't like her when she berated our blogger girl, Dooce.
And I like her less now that she set up the usually cool Lauren Hutton to bad-mouth SATC.


And the kicker! Neither one of them has seen the damn movie and LH has never even seen the show!

Kathie Lee, this hour, gives intelligent SAH women a bad name.

Step away from the microphone KLG.

I'd rather watch Martha bake bread with her toes.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Home Toxic Home

I'd love to entertain all of you with some witty, funny, thoughtful, desperate, crazy, and bitchy banter...

...but the paint fumes (why the painters are STILL here I DON'T KNOW!!!!) are literally killing me.

My head is pounding, my daughter's head is pounding, we're screaming at each other which is making my heart pound(ing)!

I wish I could get out of this f**cking toxic house but this is where I f**cking live!

Painter to merlotmom: "Oh, this paint is water based, it hardly smells"
Merlotmom to herself more than a week later:

If I don't post tomorrow, call the paramedics...

Is having a pretty house like wearing clean underwear????

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Emily Gould: A Contemporary Tragedy

This weekend's cover story in NY Times Magazine, "Blog Post Confidential, What I Gained and Lost by Revealing My Intimate Life on the Web" was written by 26 year old Emily Gould after her infamous and almost instantaneous rise and fall as a budding journalist. Days before her article was released, the NY Post printed, The Dangers of Blogger Love, by Joshua David Stein, ex-boyfriend and co-worker of Emily Gould, telling his side of the story and the sordid break up that followed.

What makes this worthy of a national news magazine cover is not the salacious, public spectacle of unrequited love or the corruption of yet another promising, young mind, it's the recognition by the media of blogging as an effective and important forum and the responsibilities we must explore that come along with that deserved and exciting recognition.

Emily's fall down the rabbit hole began with this appearance on Larry King Live hosted that fateful night by Jimmy Kimmel. It's a cringe-worthy train wreck.

Emily has become the tragic icon of the blogging age. And because in the internet age, Warhol's fifteen minutes lasts forever, she will, with the click of a google button, always be known as the naive, young woman who snubbed her nose at journalistic ethics and got skewered for it on broadcast television.

People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones...She got a taste of her own medicine... She was hoisted by her own petard... Don't shit where you eat. This 21st century tragedy is easily summarized by these and other idioms. While I could join the crowd and lambast Emily Gould for her ignorance, her immaturity, her lack of personal and journalistic ethics, her unconvincing moral relativism, I actually feel sorry for her.

From my position in my mid 40's, I look back at my 20's and recall a time of deep confusion and constant inner conflict. I desperately wanted to know who I was, tried to be the mature, self-assured person of my dreams - but with each day I'd fail another test and realize I had no clue. Lucky for me, my mistakes were made in relative private.

I see this same mental disarray in her article. The piece is a generous opportunity for Emily to explain herself - to show us the life lesson learned from her very public downward spiral. The problem is at 26, and only one year after, she's too close to have forged a clear perspective. Her 8,000 word article is riddled with examples of her inner turmoil and confusion. With her sub-title I expected a revelation, resolution, or at least some genuine feeling of regret. I was disappointed. I envision Emily as Anne Hathaway in "The Devil Wears Prada". But she's still the Anne all swept up in the world of fashionistas, false images of import swirling around in her fabulous little head. Not the Anne who's traded in the Louboutins for Loehmanns and tells a startled Meryl Streep just what she thinks of her. The ending of Emily's article is inconclusive, empty, and unsatisfying.

She is a bright girl with moments of intelligence and clarity but she constantly mixes her moments of insight with muddled contradictions leaving me wondering if she has learned anything from her experience. About Gawker's coverage of the rich and famous she writes:

"Everyone was a hypocrite. No one was loved. There was no success that couldn't be hollowed out by the revelation of some deep-seated inadequacy"

Paragraphs earlier she compares a high-school prank where she publicly embarrasses an ex-boyfriend to more recent examples of the same poor behavior:

"The big difference between these youthful indiscretions and my more recent ones is that you can Google my more recent ones."

There is a thinker behind the first statement, a keen observer of human nature. The second statement is written by a person who doesn't have a clue about anyone, most of all, herself.

She, like Holden Caulfield, possesses a delusional sense of entitlement and power:

"At my old job, it would have taken me years to advance to a place where I would no longer have to humor the whims of important people who I thought were idiots or relics or phonies. But at Gawker, it was my responsibility to expose the foibles of the undeserving elite. I felt liberated - finally, a job where I could be myself!"

And about Kimmel's interview:

"I was dismissive and flip. My untrained, elastic face betrayed the shock and amusement I was feeling about being asked, somewhat aggressively, to justify something that I thought of as not only harmless but also a given: the idea that anyone who makes their living in public was subject to the public's scrutiny at all times.

By her own admission, Emily was always someone who enjoyed "telling my own secrets, telling others about the ongoing story of my life." We all knew people like her, and while that kind of attention-seeking is acceptable when you're young and alone, it's no longer acceptable if you suck others into the vortex with you. Admittedly writers strive to be authentic but there are boundaries and a mature writer carries with her a sense of responsibility and regard for her real-life subjects. The end never justifies the means.

Emily stepped out on stage with her personal blog and got applause. At Gawker, she got her standing ovation by way of thousands of readers. She garnered the attention she'd always sought and it was a challenge, with her naivete and inexperience, to keep her wits about her in the midst of newfound celebrity.

She swam with the sharks. Nick Denton, Emily's boss and owner and founder of Gawker Media, threw her to the wolves when he had her represent Gawker on Kimmel. There were others above Emily who could have fought back more eloquently. I believe he sent her knowing that her unprepared, uneducated, deer-in-the-headlights response would take the heat off of his company.

Emily mentions in her article that she and her predecessor, Jessica Coen, were referred to by Gawker staff as "sacrificial virgins". I'd say lambs is more appropriate. Emily Gould was taken out to the field and slaughtered.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Forced Blogging Exile

I'm going to ban myself from blogging this weekend to pursue OTHER interests like, oh I dunno, resting?

Anyway, before I go on mini-hiatus, I thought I'd share with you two cartoons from The New Yorker which I found humorous.

Enjoy your holiday. I'll be cleaning up after painters, catching up on reading, creating a new blog design (does that count?), and, oh yeah, resting. (Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha...even I don't believe my own bullshit.)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Open House: The Sadness and The Shame

You can feel it in the air. School is winding down. Summer is near, bringing it's promise of more sun and less structure. You can feel weariness in the parents and distraction in the teachers. Everyone has one foot out the door, their minds already settling into a new frontier.

Last night we attended my son's school open house. I read his colorfully, illustrated autobiography, his fictional story of a squirrel, his poems about sports and the deaths of our two dogs. He is a good student, a charming, class clown, well-behaved. I was proud. Yet, as I walked around the second grade classroom and looked at the varied artwork, homemade fossils, and videos of oral presentations, memories of my daughter's first year at the school, in this same classroom, painting the same artwork and reciting the same oral report came flooding back. I felt sad.

Cruising the third grade classrooms, I reunited with my daughter's teacher. The room was familiar and foreign, like visiting your childhood home where the bones are the same but the vibe and the details have changed. I remember checking off homework in the back corner while students shared stories and feelings during circle time. I remember holiday parties, helping the kids decorate picture frames, serving pizza, and singing along with a dad and his guitar.

How did my daughter end up being better that me at math, wearing my clothes, IM chatting, and knowing herself better than I do? When did that happen?

No sooner had I warned the third grade teacher that my son was bold to my daughter's meek and a joker to my daughter's straight man, did my melancholy turn to embarrassment. Going across the hall to meet with another potential teacher, one with whom I have a friendly relationship but whose intimidating reputation precedes her, my son illustrated my observations in an excruciating and painful way.

The following dialogue is paraphrased; I've blocked out the particulars.

"Hi, J. Nice to finally meet you," the teacher offers one of her cheese sticks.
"Gimme," J grabs for the snack.
The teacher holds the cheese out of reach and raises her brows. I interject, "Please, J, say please."
"Puhleeeeze," he obliges as he holds out his hand.
"So," the teacher continues, "are you excited about coming to third grade?"
"What's it to you?" J answers.
"Hmmm," she tilts her head and says, "Well, there are plenty of other nice third grade teachers. I hope you like them."
"How nice for you," J offers the last word.
"That is not okay," I reprimand J as the teacher who stayed late to greet us prepares to leave.
"I'm sorry," I say trying to add levity, "At least you've got a 3 out of 4 chance he WON'T be your student next year."

Walking home I became angry - at J and at myself. I tell him I'm disappointed in his behavior, that I expect better. I tell him that I am not proud at this moment as I was earlier in the evening. I scold him, repeating for the umpteenth time that we treat people with respect and re-chanting my mantras "If you don't have anything nice to say..." and, "That's not funny, that's just mean. There's a difference."

I lash out. I can't let it go. Somewhere inside me is the goody two shoes student, desperate for validation, and mortified of any wrongdoing. I am sick to my stomach imagining the teacher judging me.

Over dinner, we tell J that he will write the teacher an apology and hand it to her in person tomorrow. He refuses. We stand down. We repeat, "It is not okay to treat people with disrespect."

"Then why is it okay for him to treat me with disrespect?" my daughter interrupts.


She's right, of course, and I tell her so.
I've taught him it's admissible at home, why not at school? It's easier to slap J on the wrist, ignore his bad behavior to keep the peace, threaten major consequences but never follow through. Easier to believe it's just a phase.

At home, I sit with him while he searches for the words he wants to write. I ask him why he thinks he behaved that way, and after a few defensive quips and a lot of "I don't knows" he answers, "I was shy."

I, like every mother, know my son better than anyone. I am his fiercest protector. I know his snarky attitude is a cover for his insecurities and discomfort. I know he lashes out with smart quotes from his television heroes when he's feeling shy or attacked. I've discussed with him that what works for tv characters does not work in real life. Nevertheless, I know he thinks (as I did when I quoted Marcia Brady and Laurie Partridge), "if it works for them, it will work for me."

I continue to defend his sensitivity (as a child, I was labeled and repeatedly dismissed as "over-sensitive") but the incident last night has jolted me into realizing that I must find a middle ground between my hubby's military style of discipline and mine.

To do something wrong is human. All we can do is our best to make amends and learn from our mistakes. It took me 40 years to learn this, how do I get my kid to get it before I die of shame and embarrassment or he gets punched in the face?

I need a glass of wine.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stick Me With A Fork - I'm Soooooo Done

Here I sit, a bloated whale, stuffing my face with crackers when what I really want is wine and chocolate. (Is it bad to start drinking at 11am?) I'm typing v-e-r-r-r-y s-l-o-o-o-w-l-y because my hands are happier scrounging the bag of salty snacks than they are tapping this freaking keyboard.

I'm clearly, CLEARLY, in self-destructive mode at this point.

My friend, "Flo" (you remember her, you met her in 5th grade health education class) has not yet arrived though all her party guests have settled in comfortably: Zitty Zoe, Short Temper Stacy, Screamer Sally, Binge Eater Betty, Compulsive Bather Cindy, Lethargic Lucy, Procrastinator Polly, Fretter Frannie, and, the star guest, the caterer of this miserable, masochistic affair, the generous to an overflowing fault ... Muffin Top Molly!

Wait...we interrupt your regular whiny programming for this important rant...

A telemarketer just called. Is it me or are they working overtime now? I must have had 20 calls a day in the last week. Next one, I'm going to reach through the phone, twist and tear their intrusive tongue right out of their opportunistic mouth and feed it to my dog. (Even OTR, I have standards.) So watch out, this mama's jeans are pushing and poking her flabby stomach and she is looking for anyone, ANYONE, to take her anger out on!!!


Now back to our regular programming...

Painters, fumes, and a general mess, have me running from my house. My computer is still having mysterious, intermittent, drive-me-craaaazy connection problems. I'm homeless, technologically challenged, and a-big-fat-grouchy-whale.

When trying to induce labor, doctors advised me to walk uphill, have sex, stimulate my nipples (ewwww!). Is there anything, ANYTHING, I can do to help get this peri-menopausal, MoFo Flo party started?!

I dare anyone to suggest stimulating my nipples. I dare you. Grrrrrrrrrr.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Dangers of Blogging: For Type-A Personalities

I'm days away from my 6 month blogging anniversary (thank you, thank you, I know you're all very proud), and to mark this momentous occasion I ask of you one question:

How am I supposed to blog AND have a life?!?!

At the close of 2007, blogging was a vague term; I knew it existed but, like Katmandu and investment banking, they were strange and distant lands. I didn't know what a google reader was, now I subscribe to over 200 feeds a day.

As a type-A personality, (I'd link you back to mention of my knitting obsession but linky elf NOT COOPERATING!) I did my research, reviewed other blogs, scoured the web for like-niche publications, and before I knew it, my reading list was longer than my to-do list, and now my reading list is on my to-do list! Aaaahhhhh!

I spend at least an hour (often more) each day perusing my reader which, while informative and entertaining, is just one more task I can't check off my list. As soon as I refresh the reader, hoping to see "0" remaining articles, new feeds have come in and my number is back up in the stratosphere! It's the inbox that never empties! (I had a big problem with that in my working days.)

Completion of tasks is my daily hard-on. I get a thrill from checking off or crossing out my neatly written responsibilities. I feel productive, accomplished - even if it all I did was call the carpet cleaner or pick up dinner. Shit, hold on, I have to call the carpet cleaner...

...ahhhh, that feels better.

Between reading and writing my blog I have little time left for writing projects, (that at this moment are growing mold in my head) before the duties of my real job: housekeeper, laundress, errand runner, school volunteer, cook, driver, sounding board, frustration sponge, homework helper, dog walker, sex toy (sorry hubby) kick in. Then it's 10pm and once again I'm sitting at the computer, reading about everyone else's genius accomplishments, wondering when I'm going to get to mine.

I could give up the blogging but let's face it, I've been bit by the blogging bug, I'm a goner. If I write less I'm afraid I'll lose some of you and (sniff, sniff) I've become attached. Besides, blogging is the reason I'm writing everyday so how could I turn my back on it. That would be rude.

So, tell me, what am I doing wrong? HELP!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Graze, I Scream, I Ignore: A Day in the Life Of a PMS Mom

First of all, I know I celebrated my 100th post a week or two ago but I was mistaken. No excuses, just that I'm a major MORON and counted ALL my posts - drafts, published, and otherwise- rather than just the published ones. Now I see the error of my idiotic ways and, in fact, this is should be is my 100th post.

Tip your glass to me. Apparently I've already tipped a few too many for myself.

In celebration of my 100th post, I have had the worst day evah! Painters are working in my house and the entire contents of my son's room is in my work area (an upstairs hallway). Dirt and leaf fragments from the painters' shoes leave a trail on the narrow carpet path. I go downstairs with my laptop, old, slow, and usually reliable but today the damn thing decided to slam it's doors to the internet so I can't get online for mail or anything! Makes no sense because my upstairs computer connects to the w.w.w., but I really don't want to go there because IT'S A FREAKIN' MESS!

I choke on my Felix Unger tendencies and situate myself amongst footprints and piles of my son's crap precious possessions: numerous crates filled with webkins, plastic dinosaurs of every size and species, "collections" of used scraps of paper, and much, much more. I settle in ready to get some work done and can probably guess, my two month old, shiny, new IMAC crashes. Can you feel the tension? When all else has failed in the past, I cozy up to my Iphone. Today, she too, is cold and unresponsive.

What have I done to deserve this bevy of bitches? I am technologically S-C-R-E-W-E-D not to mention becoming psychologically S-C-R-E-W-Y?

This on top of the fact that the numerous sub-facial bumps on my chin tell me it's encroaching upon THAT time of the month. What do I do to help myself through this hormonal upheaval??? I eat tons and tons of Trader Joe's dark chocolate non-pareils, what else? While shoving them into my mouth two and three at a time, my friend stops by because she was feeling depressed and to help herself through her downward spiral she went bathing suit shopping! Can you count T-W-O M-O-R-O-N-S? I shoved a handful of non-pareils at her, misery loves company.

Going back to the female, hormonal rant, I am so freaking bloated that last night I actually got nervous that I was one of those ignorant, teenage girls who walks around for months not realizing that she's pregnant. I tried to suck in the bloat which usually works but, this time, no matter how hard I squeezed, I couldn't bury a bump the size of a nerf football. I looked like an older, paistier, color-treated version of the Sally Struther's "starving kids.

A day, a bag of corn chips, and way too many non-pareils later, I feel fat, greasy, irritable and cut-off from my social life the blogosphere.

It's almost 6:30 and my kids have not eaten, my house is a pig-sty, and I'm dreading dealing with all of it. All I want to do is shower, dive into a glass of merlot, a vile of ativan, and a PEOPLE magazine.

Pffffffft! Sure, and tomorrow I'm going to wake up looking like Heidi Klum.

Like I said, MORON.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Purity: The Plight of the Teenage Girl??

With all of the recent talk about fallen teenage idols: Miley, Lindsay, Paris, and Britney (and have you seen this new teen on the scene?), today's NYT article about girls pledging purity should put my concerns as a mother-of-a-rapidly-developing-pre-teen at ease.

It doesn't. Instead, I feel like running to the nearest open field, blasting Grateful Dead on my boom box, burning all of my bras and shaking my naked boobies with abandon.

Watch this video. The actual pledge is at 4:53 and a sad and frightening quote which illustrates my problem with the purity pledge is at 6:20.

I'm all for preserving our girls' virtue as long as possible but having a daughter promise her affections will belong to her father until the day she's married?? Ick. We're not just talking about sexual intercourse, we're talking first kisses and everything in between. Did you hear the girl in the video? She says, "I'm hoping I'll never kiss...but if I do, I'll ask for forgiveness and hope that I get it."

Sing-a-long with me:

??? and ??? sitting in a tree.
First comes love,
Then comes marriage,
Then comes ?? in a baby carriage.


Should we burn all those songbooks in the fire pit along with my bras? They'll be in good company with other U.S. banned books: Twains', Huckleberry Finn, The American Heritage Dictionary (I kid you not), Salinger's, Catcher In the Rye, Forever by Judy Blume (OMG!), Daddy's Roommate, Wilhoite's novel about gay couples and Herron's, Nappy Hair. (Just to name a few.)

I would love for my daughter to remain a virgin as long as possible. I would love for her and her father to have a close, trusting relationship. But I do not want the chastity belt chained so tight that it suffocates ALL of her God-given sexual impulses. I want her to take it slow, to develop confidence and common sense before giving up the big "V". Guiding her with THAT is how I see my parental responsibility - NOT imprisoning her until she reaches the proper, parentally-determined, age and then throwing her, ready or not, into the lion's mouth.

My sweetest memories are 0f my first kisses and my first love. I wouldn't give them up for anything. The boy was sweet, the love was mutual and intense, and while I ultimately got my heart broken, those hurts were life lessons, useful in future relationships.

Teens and sexual awakening are a natural part of life. I don't believe that those who use God as the reason for pledging purity understand teenage sexuality is included as part of His creation. We should be educating our children, listening to them, helping them deal with the changes and the urges; not re-interpreting nature and shifting it to fit our own fearful needs.
It reminds me of the fairy tales, Snow White and Rapunzel, where beautiful, young women were killed or trapped in order to keep their burgeoning sexual powers at bay.

Prohibiting your child from dating or kissing until marriage, telling them to forge their most intimate relationship with their father until they are deemed a woman, seems unnatural, backward, and a prescription for a future with a whole different kind of misery.

I empathize but I think this extreme approach is a dangerous disservice to our children.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

You Can Take The Girl Out of New York: But You Can't Take The New York Out of the Girl

Hubby and son are out of town this weekend watching NKOTB and The Jonas Brothers in concert. Daughter and I are home alone. I ask my lovely pre-teen out to dinner and a movie, imagining quality mother/daughter time but am flatly R-E-J-E-C-T-E-D for time with her MacBook. (I try looking hurt but she doesn't fall for the Jewish guilt thing - damn!)

So I make the best of the humiliation situation and lay down to read a book of essays I'd just taken out of the library. Two hours later, hair matted down and mascara smudged, I wake up disoriented, not knowing if it is day or night. Half asleep I run down the stairs to make sure everything is okay. Daughter is on the couch where I left her, still on the computer, dog is sleeping next to her. I feel like days have gone by, she didn't even notice I was gone.

You may think this is going to be a post about restricting daughter's computer time, working on her priorities (i.e. me). But no. This post is not about her. It's about me.

Because after I woke from the dead it was 8pm and we hadn't eaten dinner. I called a local restaurant (the one my husband refuses to patronize and the only place in town with a full bar - can you say packed on weekends?) to order yummy Japanese.

Now I've said before, I live in a casual California beach town; flip flops, sun dresses, minimal makeup. So while I did run my fingers under my eyes to erase the skid marks, I didn't bother fixing my hair or reapplying cover-up to the pimple on my chin. It didn't dawn on me until I got to the restaurant that I'd be picking my order up at the bar - said bar where the young hang out in their tee shirts and shorts, being all Beach Boy cool, and drinking pina coladas and pomegranate martinis.

I wait and I wait while a guy flirts with the bartender and she with him. He is standing in the cramped spot designated for take out orders. I stand behind two girls leaning back in their bar chairs, citrus-infused vodka coursing through their bloodstreams, and gossiping about a mutual "friend".

These days, in my 40's, I generally walk around with a positive attitude, a lightness of being. I smile, don't take things too seriously or get easily agitated. (FYI - this is a long way from the angry, brooder that was me at 20 and 30). But standing here, ignored by the bartender, unnoticed by the guy, and stared down by the two girls, a bitter taste rises up. My negative inner voice, rarely heard from of late, shouts, "You 're doing the walk of shame, babe. With your bird's nest hair, your smudged owl eyes, and your stinky breath, you're like Amy Winehouse right before rehab. And DO NOT get me started on that crusty piece of ugly on your chin. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?! Of course, they're ignoring you!

I'm mature now. I've evolved. I've had enough therapy to recognize the voice for what it is - an insecure bully gaining strength by making me weak. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I squelch the little bastard, shift my stance, and non verbally demand the bartender's attention.

"Are you waiting for an order?" she asks as if seeing me for the first time.
"Yes, I am," I smile with an ever-so-subliminal "you suck" thrown in for good measure.

The guy finally moves out of the way to allow me to pay. One of the girls whose back is now toward me, keeps turning her head around to check me out. She says nothing but arches her back to look at me no less than three more times.

WTF? Does she think I'm single, ordering for myself on a Friday night and going home alone to watch Tivo? Is she throwing a pity party for me - poor ugly duckling, she has no life? Or am I the gruesome train wreck and she's the curious looky-lou?

I subtly tilt the fingers on my left hand toward her so she can see my wedding band. I repeat my order to the bartender so she can hear I've ordered food enough for two and then I realize she might think I'm depressed and bingeing.

I can't believe how desperate I am. I have no problem dining alone in public. I love going to the movies by myself. I did it for years out of necessity and now I do it by choice. I like my own company. But feeling unattractive and feeling judged to be unattractive by others, old insecurities come flooding back and so do the defenses. I wonder - have I really evolved into a self-assured woman or have I merely changed by circumstance - hiding behind a curtain of self-worth known as marriage and family?

The woman cranes her neck again to look at me. I continue looking straight ahead but mumble in my best New York tough, "What the f#*k are you looking at?"

She must have heard me because she did not turn around again. I take my order and leave. I feel badly about the bitchy regression, but I feel kind of good, too.

I mean, "What the f@*k was she looking at?"

Friday, May 16, 2008

NKOTB: Takin' New York By Storm

Did you see the Today show performance this morning? Did you see what I meant in my previous post by "everyone was swaying and singing along?" It was just like that at HOB but on a "slightly" smaller scale.

The guys performed very well, pouring rain and slick surface notwithstanding. The acoustics were sharper and their moves were tighter on the dry HOB stage but they looked damn good, no? Even better, they are as humble as they seem and thrilled by their dedicated fans.

I already had a crush on Joey Mac after seeing him perform on Broadway in "Wicked" (he is sooo my type) and now I have mini crushes on Donnie and Jordan as well. I did always like younger guys but at least now I'm old enough where I'm not breaking the law.

DO NOT call me a cobra! I dare you. I'm just young at heart, is all, thank you very much!

So while I was not of their generation the first time, I confess, I am a now a fan!

In case you missed the Today show performance, click here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New Kids on the Block - Summertime (new single, full song)

Summertime - their new single. Betcha start dancing. I won't tell.

Everything Old is New Again: Yours Truly and New Kids on The Block

I don't get out much lately...

... between sitter scheduling conflicts and hubby's business trips. So when the hubster invited me to see New Kids on the Block perform before the official unveiling of their reunion tour on Friday's Today show, I did not need to be asked twice.

No matter that I was too old to have been one of their rabid fans (and here) from the 80's and early 90's (my music crush was elder Springsteen) and that I only vaguely remembered their most popular songs, like Step by Step or Hangin' Tough, we had V.I.P. tickets to an event and I was step-pin' out.

Yesterday afternoon, pre-escape, I helped my son with his homework, defrosted a most yummy dinner for them in the microwave, brushed my hair, put on make-up, and dressed in jeans, a cute top and heels; I was woman, hear me roar.

Arriving at the House of Blues we were escorted to the front of a long line of exuberant fans who won admittance through radio promotions. I picked a primo spot in the balcony where we watched a sea of a few hundred fans float hand-painted banners above their heads, "Thank you for the Last 20 Years!" and "We Love you N.K.O.T.B.!" Cameramen roamed around the perimeter of the stage shooting footage and creating clusters of screaming maniacs everywhere he went.

I got excited by association. The energy, the view, the over-priced, cheap wine, I was a kid again. I couldn't stop smiling. A screen came down and a short documentary played of NKOTB's recent rehearsals. The crowd went wild.

Then the curtain pulled back and there they were, live and in person: Donnie, Joey, Jordan, Jonathan and Danny (most names I did not know until a few months ago). You'd think the Beatles had risen from the dead and nastily divorced. Dressed casual and hip in black pants, white shirts, vests and sneakers, the guys looked great albeit more like men than kids. They sang and danced to one new song, Summertime, and a few of their oldies.

The furor was contagious, the New Kids danced and sang and the crowd danced and sang along with them. A little while later, even I, probably the oldest person in the room (truly), was waving my arms and hooting at the handsome boys. When they left the stage, the hubby had to pull me away from my spot assuring me there was to be no encore. (I knew he was "in the know" but one can always hope!)

Waiting on the valet line in the middle of West Hollywood and grabbing pizza slices at 10pm on the Sunset Strip, I knew I was not in Kansas anymore. But that was okay. It was a fun night. A great night. And to top it off, tomorrow I'm going out with the girls for a drinking, giggling, SexAndTheCity- type fest dinner.

Mother's Day, NKOTB, girl's night out, and next week, the SATC movie premiere - maybe I can survive my real life a little longer, the one where my son is at this very moment screaming at me because I won't let him watch anymore tv - I said MAYBE.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Get Healthy. Find Out How Right Now

I've just spent an hour or so of my morning going through today's NY Times Health section piece entitled, "A Guided Tour of Your Body". The article breaks down the body by parts: eyes, back, prostate, joints, brain, etc. and offers interactive quizzes to determine your personal risk factors in each category. It also gives guidance on prevention and treatments for disease.

I took the memory quiz (not as bad as I thought though could be better), practiced some foot exercises, checked my risk for osteoporosis and diabetes (very low, yay!). Later I will take the hearing test, vision test, and others. They even offer a cute exercise motivation program based on Route 66 and how fast you can cross country in a cool, vintage car.

It's a comprehensive tutorial/aid for getting your health on track. But don't lie!!! You'll only be hurting yourself. Give it a go, it's time well spent.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Husband Not An Ass: Mother's Day Redux

Yes, ladies, the hubby pulled through. Mother's Day was a complete success. Hubby is exhausted but I am smiling from ear to freakin' ear.

The day started at 8:30am. I read, dozed, read, dozed until 10am when hubby returned from running errands. I played with the kids for a bit, all tickles and giggles, and dressed for my perfect day.

Two cups of green tea, one croissant, 5 pages, and a tuna salad later, I left the cafe table I occupied for 4 blissful, uninterrupted hours (!) and headed home. I was greeted by neighbors and friends, happy kids chasing each other around the yard, and my hubby preparing a barbecue feast. There was good wine, great food, and excellent company.

And the best part - that's right, ladies - no clean up! I did not lift a finger and it felt f#&*ing f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c.

Best day I've had in a long time.
Thanks again, hubby.
Back to the grind perfect life.

I hope you had a lovely Mother's Day as well.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Make My Day: Everyday is NOT Mother's Day

"So, here's what I want for Mother's Day," I tell my husband through the cell phone. "I want to sleep late, go somewhere and write for hours, possibly catch a movie by myself, and then meet you guys for dinner."

"Oh. Okay," the news took him by surprise but he rolled with it. "How about that beach side lobster place in Malibu?"

"I'm not standing in line to order and eating my dinner out of a greasy wax paper-lined basket! I don't care if it's a barbecue chicken off of our grill or filet mignon at Ruth's Chris. I want a nice dinner. It's Mother's Day!"

Silence on the other end of the phone.

"Every day is Mother's Day," he finally said.

He was laughing as I hung up the phone so I know he's not a total ass.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Best Laid Plans: The Jokes on Me This Mother's Day

Today was going to be for me, a pre-mother's day gift to myself.

As of 7:30am this morning, this was how my day was going to go:

  • Ready kids for school
  • Drive son to school
  • Do 20 minute pilates routine
  • Meet friend for birthday brunch (hers)
  • Write blog post
  • Write out idea for a book
  • Edit short story
  • Pick up son from school
  • Drive daughter to sleepover party in San Fernando valley (45:00 - 1:00hr away in rush hour traffic)

As of 3:30, this is how it's gone so far:
  • Readied kids for school
  • Drove son to school
  • Picked up daughter's newly hemmed jeans which she "had to have" for party
  • Started pilates routine
  • Three minutes later stopped pilates routine: house alarm company called, something wrong with system, they must come to fix it NOW.
  • Pediatrician called: son's strep test which was negative yesterday is now positive
  • Waited impatiently for alarm technician who was already in transit
  • Waited for him to fix the problem
  • Rushed to school to pick up son who was breathing cootie-like, contagious germs onto his classmates
  • Picked up antiobiotics at drugstore
  • Held squirmy, screaming son's nose for 30 minutes as he spit out swallowed 8ml of antibiotics
  • Stuck son in front of Scooby Doo video
  • Read emails and recent blog posts
  • Got call from carpool mom who said sorry but she can't do carpool and could I pick up my daughter instead
  • Got another call from different carpool mom who can't drive and asked if I could take her carpoolers home

So, here I sit, about to join other pitiful commuters on the clogged 405 Freeway, listening to my kids fight over space on the 8 foot couch that's not big enough for the two of them. My plans for a beautiful day up in SAHM flames.

I'm pissed! I'm frustrated! I want to cry!

I guess I could breathe and tell myself this is simply a chapter in my own life's book. The "mommy" chapter where I do everything for everyone else and little is done for me. That in the following "empty nest" chapters it will be different, quiet, and I'll yearn for the busy days when my children buzzed around in constant need.

Like yesterday, when after two days at home with my son who had me running up and down the stairs to change the water that was too warm or the mac and cheese that was too cold, I experienced one of the sweetest mommy moments. While playing with his SpongeBob Squarepants grill he asked, "Mommy, are you hungry?" and, for once, though busy on the computer, I was present.

"Yes," I looked up from reading Dooce's post about wanting to "give New York City a blow job" and answered, "I'd like a hamburger please, hold the onions"

Seconds later (I didn't have the heart to tell him about E.coli) he appeared, "Here Mommy, your Triple Crabby Supreme and fries."

He waited for my critique. "Mmmmn," I said as I chewed emphatically, "this is the best burger I've ever had. Thank you, sweetie."

He smiled proudly as I pulled him close and kissed the top of his bushy-haired head.

This simple moment took me back to a time, not so long ago but a lifetime away, when I was permitted to kiss him on the cheek, when it was okay to hug him in public, when I, not Russell, or Cole, or Brendan, or Benjamin, was his best friend. It reminded me of how time flies; how fast kids grow.

I get it. No one has to hit me over the head with my own message - BUT- in order to make this okay...

...Mother's Day better ROCK!

(Hubby, are you listening?)

Happy Mother's Day to all.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Blog Her Conference '08 - Premature Anxiety

I know I'm a bit early in asking this question but if I don't do it now, I may forget to ask altogether and then I'll show up a day late and a dollar short and curse myself silly.


...since this is my first time and I know some of you have been to BlogHer before, can you guys tell me and other newbies what we will need? So far, I've heard business cards but then I watched the mom blogger segment on the Today show this morning (check out this mom's blog for the video) and I saw that everyone at BlogHerBusiness was furiously tapping away on their laptops. Then elsewhere I read a suggestion to bring a power strip. (I, an apparent Luddite, thought I'd carry around a notebook. What was I thinking!)

Aaaaagh!! My head hurts!!! Please help!! This is worse than traveling abroad!!

I'm going to have anxiety dreams about showing up, eager to make a good impression, and instead greeting my new friends with zit cream on my face or naked from the waist up.

Who can spare me (and other beginners) this humiliation? If I get enough info I'll put together a BlogHer checklist post.

Thanks. Wish me tranquil dreams.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

How to Look 10 Years Younger and 10 Pounds Lighter

I read this post, 10 Commandments for Dropping 10 Pounds and 10 Years, by Jodie Clements of who guest wrote for the terrific blog, Dumb Little Man. From my own experience and education (advice from doctors and nutritionists), I know her advice to be sound. What I like is that it's all right there in one easy to read list. I suggest printing it out and keeping it in the kitchen.

I don't much know how effective these ideas are for shedding pounds (I'm petite - can't you tell from my logo?) but I can attest to it working for lowering cholesterol (hereditary problem) and for keeping you looking (and feeling) younger.

The only advice on Jodie's list I've not tried and I'm not so sure about is #9 -exfoliation is great but coconut oil? From someone who had and sometimes still has issues with acne, that suggestion just freaks me out! But since the rest of her advice is good, I may give it a go, though certainly not before any social outings.

Bubble Butt? What? Where? Elisabeth Hasselbeck Shows More Skin

As if shoving her milk-swollen boobs and bubble butt in our face wasn't enough... Elisabeth is baring her beauteous post-pregnancy, bikini clad bod to the world in Fitness magazine.

Sure I appreciate her message: it's possible for other moms to shed the baby flab without dieting, rather choosing healthy foods and exercise.

But please, she's not exactly like the rest of us. She was an athlete in college (softball), she's married to a professional football player who comes from a family of professional athletes (no fatties there!), she had a gorgeous figure before the babies - WTF!

Elisabeth, leave the rest of us alone. Stop finding honorable rationalizations for showing off your fantastic shape. You're just pissing us all off.

What next? Elisabeth Hasselbeck from The View to Playboy?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Boobs, Big Butts and I'm "100" Today

Barbara Walters is on the interview trail plugging her autobiography, Audition. Of course, the media is focusing more on her sexual affairs and celebrity friends than they are her trailblazing news career as the first female to cover politics and other formally male-dominated journalistic arenas.

I wonder if Barbara, now in the twilight years of her career, realized when she started The View that she would be taking women (and the public's view of women) back to the pre-Gloria Steinem age?

Okay, not always but VERY often. One case in point - Elisabeth Hasselbeck. This beautiful, intelligent woman needs to develop her internal editor so other intelligent women looking for a female "view" on the news need not be subjected to her constant cat fighting and "intimate" chats about her body parts. (See here and here.)


The show has become an embarrassing caricature of what I assume Barbara initially had in mind. Elisabeth, Rosie, Sherri, and others, are grist for the cartoon media mill. I'm upset and embarrassed by how The View puts bright, successful women in the public spotlight only to shine on them the aura of silly, sorority schoolgirls.

P.S. This is my 100th post!

Do I get an award or should I call Elisabeth Hasselbeck for a chest to pin it on?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Let's Do It Already! Let's Choose a Candidate

I know I've said this before but PLEASE make this primary end, PLEASE.

To anyone who lives in Indiana or North Carolina: I know you're excited, I know this time around your votes actually count for something - so, I beg of you, make them count! Tip the scales. Vote for who you think is going to win and end this madness.

It's not that I don't care, it's that I do. This democratic election started out with hope and promise that has deteriorated into a deplorable battle of negatives and a bottomless pit of disingenuousness.

In the beginning choosing between Obama and Hillary was like choosing between ice cream and cake; either one tastes good going down. Now choosing between them is like choosing between the smelliest cheese - France's Vieux Boulogne or, perhaps, Limberger. Both candidates reek with the aging stench of past lies and contaminated affiliations.

I don't trust either of them anymore between Hillary's blatant storytelling about sniper fire in Bosnia and Obama's quick flip from supporting his family minister of 20 years to disavowing of him. Their chameleon-like personalities change depending on the political climate of the location du jour. One moment, Obama is a private school, Ivy League educated elitist and another, as in Indiana, he is guzzling beers and, per NYTimes' Maureen Dowd, "getting down". Hillary remains aligned to her blue-collar roots despite the hundreds of millions she has in the bank.

Worse still, the more we shine the spotlight on Hillary and Obama's screw-ups, the better John McCain looks. Even his seeking out of Reverend Hagee's endorsement (a man who says Hurricane Katrina was an act of God in response to an upcoming gay rights parade) gets little coverage in comparison to the Obama and Rev. Wright debacle. (See Frank Rich's Opinion article in the NYTimes as well as Media Matters which has Hagee's direct quote.)

Is it their fault or ours? Can anyone's character withstand this rapid-fire assault? Can anyone be everything to all people? Are we forcing our candidates to pander in order to get the votes? We must reach a Democratic denouement and fast or, at this rate, we're going to have a President in office worth less than the toilet-tissue our dollar is printed on.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Inspiration for Life, Writing and Everything Else by the Wall Street Journal

Barbara over at Writing Time posted a reference to the April 29th Wall St. Journal article by Melinda Beck entitled, "If At First You Don't Succeed, You're in Excellent Company."

This is an amazing article quoting superstars in their fields about their repeated failures and how those failures helped them to achieve success. From Julie Andrews to Michael Jordan, J.K. Rowling, and as far back as Thomas Edison, these icons and others all had one thing in common: critics predicting they'd never amount to anything. One teacher of the subsequently renowned British author, G.K. Chesterton, even went so far as to tell his fledgling student that if his head were opened "we should not find any brain, only a lump of white fat".

The message here has import for all of us as well as our children. To take risks, to chance failing, is not to be avoided but to be embraced. Failure is a natural part of the learning process from which we gain the strength and knowledge to attain our success as well as maintain it. Above all else the takeaway is: When it comes to chasing your dream listen to no one but yourself.

Like burning sage to cleanse a haunted house or holding garlic to a vampire, I'm placing copies of this article in every nook and cranny of my home. I'll even carry it with me in my purse. Though I've never had anyone tell me my brain was just a lump of fat, I'll try anything to scare away my critics - they are EVERYWHERE!

The Know-It-All: There's One In Every Crowd

I like women.
I support women.
Some of my best friends are women.

But why is it that when you gather a large group of females there's always one who thinks she's the authority.

I can't tolerate THAT woman.

Admittedly, I have never been a fan of estrogen extravaganzas. They take me back to my youth when powerful girls put their collective authority to misuse humiliating others with their catty remarks, shameless manipulations, and their Salem-like witch hunts for such crimes as intelligence or a poor fashion sense. In college I refused to rush the sororities while all of my friends offered themselves up for sacrifice. I couldn't fathom appearing before courts of judgmental cliques awaiting validation. Girls with authority left me with a rank taste in my mouth.

I like to think I've changed as I've grown older.
I like to think I'm more learned about human psychology.
I like to think I've shed these prejudices.

Then a woman like this one comes along and blows my maturity fantasy to pieces...

Gathered in our school auditorium on a breezy evening a few nights ago, a group of neighborhood moms came to hear renowned, clinical psychologist, Lee Hausner speak. Ms. Hausner is an international lecturer, was the senior psychologist of the Beverly Hills School District for nineteen years, and an author of some best-selling books including, Children of Paradise and Homework Without Tears. We were looking forward to learning from her experience.

About ten minutes into her talk, a mom from our school entered the room from the front entrance, crossing in front of Ms. Hausner and the audience to find a seat. Even more distracting was the fact that she brought along her ten year old daughter.

What part of the title did she not understand? P-A-R-E-N-T-I-N-G seminar. We're here to talk candidly and strategize about raising our little rugrats - we can't do that when we're fraternizing with the "enemy". Did I bring my daughter in to watch while my husband and I conceived her little brother? Sure the results of that "meeting" were going to radically affect her life but it was not appropriate for her to be present during the planning stages!

We settled back down and within minutes of scraping the surface on issues such as unrealistic expectations, misuse of discipline and parental power, and projecting our dreams and failures onto our children, this woman disrupted the flow yet again.

"Excuse me," she interjected stumbling over her words and slowly processing her thoughts out loud, "This is what I do with my children and each of them gets straight A's..." She proceeded to outline her afternoon and evening routine for Ms. Hausner who was adept at giving the woman her due but cutting her off at the first appropriate moment.

Ms. Hausner practiced this skill often throughout the next hour because this woman AND her daughter frequently interrupted the lecture to share personal anecdotes proving THEIR knowledge and success on the subject.

I understand that this mother's patina of perfection was likely a cover for her insecurity (and that her ten year old daughter who thinks she is wise beyond her years will discover her mistake once she's had kids of her own). I realize that this mother was probably there just like the rest of us because underneath all the smiles and affirmations she also fears she's a mommy dearest screwing up her kids on a daily basis.

BUT I did not drag my tired ass out of the house to be a fly on the wall in her private therapy session. I did not brush my teeth and spread on lip gloss to eavesdrop on her quest for professional validation. If I knew that was going to go down I would have used my free time to visit the local restaurant/bar and slam back a few pomegranate martinis.

...This woman brought out the mean girl in me like the ones I hated from junior high. It took great restraint not to shoot her lethal looks while whispering catty comments into the ear of the woman next to me.

I'm not proud.
I blame her.
Maturity fantasy - kaboom!

**Lee Hausner offers smart, practical tips on parenting. She advocates a middle ground of being tough and setting guidelines for your children while also giving them time to play. She stresses the importance of a true childhood with less pressure on grades and performance and more emphasis on personal responsibility. I highly recommend reading some of her books. I know I will because though I had the benefit of hearing her speak she barely got a word in edgewise.

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