Monday, June 30, 2008

I have no shame

I have a hole in my crotch.

Yes, I know we all do, but I’m talking about my pants.

It started out as a usual running around getting for work Monday—Getting lunches thrown together, eating in the car -- I carpool, so while M drives, I can read, eat, or repeatedly pick up Blue Eyes toys when she cries, “Pooh fell!”

And we stopped at work, M waved goodbye and headed for the bus stop and I dropped Blue Eyes off at her daycare. She glommed onto my leg, hugged me for all she was worth, said, “Bye-bye, Mommy,” and poked her finger through the hole just two inches south of my zipper.

And it was then that I realized, “Ah, yes. The seam ripped on these pants last week.” Then M. washed them. I folded them and put them away… on the top of the stack of pants in my closet. So, what was it that I grabbed for first? Yep. The pants with the window to my soul.

I guess I know now that I am a laid-back person. I have not tried to staple these shut. I haven’t panicked and gone to Target to buy more cheap jeans. I figure, eh, I have a desk job. My crotch will be tucked under Formica all day anyway. I’ll fix ‘em when I get home. Yeah, right. I’ll fix ‘em sometime this month.

And unless some perv is staring at my fly, they probably won’t notice anyway… until they read my blog.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Some people look at being alone as a bad thing. “I’m so alone.” What I would give to have a minute of alone. I have been living with my family in one room of our house since May 9. We’re on about week 10 of a long building project, and for 9 of those weeks I’ve been in one room with my husband, dog and almost-two daughter.

I love my family. There’s this complete awareness I get about my daughter when we sleep in the same room. There's definitely that closeness. She talks in her sleep like I did when I was little, like my husband does sometimes. I know when she’s having a bad day. She had a bad dream this morning. I heard her cry out in her sleep, “My juice! No, my juice!” (This is what a toddler’s nightmare’s are made of.) We’re changing daycares next week and I heard her cry out her friend’s name. “Emma!”

But what I wouldn’t give for a few minutes of alone. I’ve been getting enough sleep, seven or eight hours. And yet, I’m so tired. I want some time to read, time to just be me. Oh, what a jewel I had for all those single years—in college when I was unpopular and had all the “me time” I could ever use.

In the movie, Contact, Jodie Foster says that “No one, none of us is alone.” Oh, come on! Please? Not even for ten minutes? (And yes… I even shower with my daughter.)


Sometimes togetherness is overrated.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Manual Labor: Toddler VS Brick

So, if anyone ever asks you what’s so difficult about taking care of a toddler, you can spare them the usual “molding a young mind, shaping someone’s future” piffle and think about bedtime. Making a toddler hold still is like asking the same of a Jell-O mold. (They’re called jigglers for a reason.) Last night after returning to the pit-- I mean, home-in-process— I claimed the duty of changing Blue Eyes out of the crankypants she’d been for an hour and a half and into pajamas. M. went to move bricks.

I recently purchased a multi-ton quantity of brick pavers for the area that, in about a month, will be our patio. I love Craigslist. However, the pain in the tuchas part is moving them. Our contractor lucked out in seeing someone with a forklift drive by when he went to pick up the pavers. $40 later, he had two tons of bricks in the truck, weighing it down to 55 mph on the freeway. M. and I inherited the task of moving the bricks off the truck… by hand.

So, M. started moving them off the truck while I wrestled with wiggle butt to get her to lay down for more than 10 seconds—“Mama, juice!” “Mama, the dog leash!” “Mama, book!” “Elmo book? Cookie! Count! Ha, ha, ha!” “The end!” “Sing!” “No sing!”—

*sigh* Finally, after getting her to lay down by playing, “1, 2, 3, SLEEP!” I found I could pick up MY book…. And sit with her and watch her flip over, turn around, play with her feet on the wall, wiggle towards the edge of her bed, readying herself to sleep in the most precarious position possible. The more she agitated her blanket, the more she agitated me. “Don’t toddlers know that you can’t fall asleep doing somnambulant gymnastics???” Clearly, they don’t.

I traded my husband. I needed a break. So, I went and moved bricks.

There are nice things about bricks. Sure, they’re heavy, but they’re also stationary. You can put a brick down and it will stay there, without you even having to ask. If you drop a brick, it won’t cry. And if you drop a brick on your finger or toe, and you cry, “Ow!”, it doesn't giggle or say, “Silly Mama”. Bricks don’t (as M. has found out) flail and cry and kick you in delicate regions. Bricks don’t cry, “My wheelbarrow!” when you try and use it. Bricks don’t run away and climb ladders up to the roof. Bricks try your back, your muscles, your fingers, but not your patience.

Although they’re not as cute, not as cuddly, and nowhere near as fun, sometimes I just need to move bricks.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Okay, so I wouldn’t say I’m that religious of a person, but these topics recently seem to point that way. Spiritual? Maybe. Either way, I’m grateful. Yesterday I had the bad news to be told that there is no work for you right now. This is the downside of my job. When there’s no work, there’s no work and no money coming in. Usually, I only have to wait an hour or four before work comes in; sometimes it’s a day. In the really dry spells, I may only work 10 hours in a week. That’s only happened a couple of times in the past eight years, but it does happen.

So, yesterday, when I found out that I had no work, I decided to treat myself, figuring that I could use a day off. I could have (and probably should have) done research on local daycares. But, no. Blue Eyes and I went to Disneyland. Some people feel pressured into taking their kids to D-land, but I’ve been going to Disneyland with M since we first started dating. We love theme parks. (We also write for an amusement park magazine, InPark Magazine/IPM.) So, it was not an entirely unselfish pursuit.

We have season passes and Blue Eyes is under three (read, free). So, we drove the 25-mile drive down to Anaheim, rode the “tram ride” and waved to “Mouse,” “Dog” (Mickey and Pluto—no way was I standing in those lines.) And we wheeled our way down to Pirates of the Carribean, where Blue Eyes had just as much fun winding our way through the line and hanging on the chain dividers as she did watching the waterfalls and skeleton pirates. For some reason, she kept pointing at the skeletons and saying “Dada”. I don’t know if she wanted M, thought the skeleton was M, or was mistaking me for someone else.

And as we went on the Haunted Mansion next, she became very quiet. As we had to wait as the cars stopped to let someone in a wheelchair on the ride, I asked, “Are you ready to go?” And her answer was a quiet, “No.” Selfishly ignoring her “no” (she’s gone on the ride many times before, usually sleeping through it) we got on again, and I let her stand up so she could see everything. She didn’t cry, but she did lean close to me, with my arm around her. I could tell she was relieved when we got off. For the first time, she was really noticing what’s happening around her and giving it meaning. Then we stopped for a potty break and a snack – apple and only the graham crackers shaped like Boo from Monster’s Inc. (She would not eat the ones shaped like Sully or Randal, only Boo and Mike.) Then, I got the call. I had an assignment and everything would be ready in a couple of hours for me to get started. So, I had two hours to ride something else, get back to the car and head back up to Burbank. We took some pictures in front of the Disneyland castle, went on the carousel and rode the horsies-- (I promised B.E. she could ride on a white one. They’re all white.) And went to work.

With all my worries—M working, paying the bills, working too hard, traffic, seeing my little girl—I really am blessed. And now, I’m at work. I should be working. So, off I go again.

Thank you.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Free Range Children

No, that's not a typo. It is, of course, a blog.

One NYC woman, after letting her 10-year-old city-savvy son ride the subway home, all by himself, was virtually attacked by other mothers with scathing accusations of neglect and abuse. I've seen neglect. I've seen abuse, and this was neither. Letting a child find his or her own way home has to be done sometime, and I for one was riding my bike all over town by the age of 10, and I did it on my own. Some of my favorite memories are of me and my dog hiking through the back woods of planned suburbia, where they kindly left streams and ponds intact, sometimes with friends, sometimes on my own. And while I may have some serious mother issues, I never once remember her sitting outside watching me while I played with friends. She checked on me from time to time, but always had her own things going on.

And when I was a little older I did rebel, and my friends and I snuck out of a friend's house in the middle of the night and... walked to 7-11 for a slurpee. The closest we came to trouble was seeing another group of kids. And not knowing what they were up to or if we were "caught" we simply ran home.

We knew how to cross streets. We knew how to cook for ourselves. We knew to lock doors behind us when we were home alone, to not answer the door if it was a stranger and not to tell anyone on the phone our parents weren't home. Is it me, or isn't this like teaching a man to fish and he'll have food for life? Teach a kid how to take care of themselves, and they'll know how to and want to take care of themselves. I think it may be harder for the parent to let go of not only their child, but of fear of the unknown. I don't think letting go makes a bad parent, I think it makes a good one.

If I was an independent child, my daughter may be downright fearless. Yeah, it was unnerving for me to find my not-quite-two-year-old Blue Eyes at the top of an eight foot tall ladder the other day. (We're having work done on our home.) But I had taught her at the playground how to climb a ladder to a slide, and she wanted to do it again.

And I pushed away heart attack mounting in my chest. I pushed away the thoughts of what could happen if she fell-- broken arms and trips to the E.R.-- and stood next to her as she climbed down all by herself.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I go to church maybe 3 or 4 times a year now. Easter, definitely. Probably on Thanksgiving. And a couple other times when the urge hits me.

I was raised going to church every week, sometimes twice a week. And for a while, I knew God was with me. And then in college, there was no church of my denomination, so I only went when I was at my parents’ home.

Then, when I moved to L.A., I grabbed onto church because it was the one place I knew I would be accepted, where there would be nice people I could talk to. (And at work, needing to be at church on Sunday was a joke.) But once I made friends, using church as a social circle became less necessary, and I started to wonder if I even believed in God. Was it all a hoax? I mean, surely, believing in God makes me feel better. Why wouldn’t an all-knowing parent loving and looking out for me make me feel better? But is he/she real?

There’s a line in a movie -- Bless the Child that goes,
-“I’m not sure if I believe in that kind of thing.”
-“Oh, that don't matter. It's there if you believe or not believe. It don't care.”

So, right now, when that feeling is kicking me in the gut that despite our current situation of M still not working and his feeling that he’s *not* going to get the job we hoped he would, that things will be okay—I think that’s God. When the feeling that’s hitting me over the head again and again. “You have this idea for a book. Why aren’t you writing it?” “Remember you had this idea for a screenplay. Where is it?” Something tells me I need to write. And I think that something may be God. I don’t know if that’s prayer or not, but it’s close.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


(Written May 2, 2008)

“If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you can move mountains.”

Things have been up and down lately. I have been praying a lot to know what to do. I mean, mostly our problems are laughable. We’re trying to figure out how to pay for an addition we want to put on the house. M has been out of work, been able to spend a lot of time with Blue Eyes. We have money in savings, so we’re not too threatened with the idea of his not working; However, he wants to be working and neither of us want to be throwing money away, whittling down that savings to nothing.

So, last week we were scrimping; not spending any money if we could help it.
I actually looked on the bright side of being sick all day and night on Saturday. It meant that we didn’t spend any money and stayed in around the house. We’ve never seen our credit card bills so low. And we know that we are lucky. We have our family and we have enough to pay bills and have money in reserve.

So, this week we have good news to spare. M had not one, not two, but THREE job opportunities come up. One job specifically wanted him to give up the most promising of the three and come on board with him. Friends of ours got free stay-late passes at DisneyLand and M&I were able to drive down after work on Monday and play. (We paid for it the next day when we had to get up with 4 and 6 hours sleep, respectively.) Blue Eyes has had two people interested in being her agent, for commercials, etc. Things went from worried to great!

And then I was sick again on Thursday. (No, I’m not pregnant. Many people have asked.) And today I come in to the announcement that our free daycare, which has been a blessing, and one of the main reasons I’m staying at this company, will be cancelled as of July 1. That’s a minimum $12,000 benefit, gone.

So, things go up, things come down. I have been reading a lot about being successful, people who are financially wealthy and prosperous.

(Specifically Dan Canfield’s Success Principles)

I have an affirmation posted on my wall in my office of what I want to happen in my life and how I want to feel about it. I know what I want to do, but keep failing to ACT.

It seems every time I start really wanting to not be at this job anymore, I get laid off. (It’s happened twice.) This time, there’s another thing kicking me in the butt, telling me to GET OUT. I’ve decided that I really don’t want to be at another job working for another boss. I want to work for myself. I want to set my own schedule and have a creative job that fulfills me. And today I work on Evan Almighty, which talks about being too concerned with one’s appearances and spending more time with family; most of all it talks about faith. And in the movie, very few people have it. Even his wife is ready to walk out on him. She has no faith in him. Even Evan has no faith in himself, or in God. He pretty much does what he has to because he’s being forced into it.

And I know what I want to do. All I need is to act on it and have faith. Yep, I could fail. Yep, I could write a book that never gets sold. I could write a book that get sold but flops. I could write a book that stinks. I could be really bad at this. Or, I could write a book that gets sold and begs another and another book. I could change the life of children. What if J.K. Rowling never got started and kept putting off her little project with that Harry character? What if Tolkien had never explored what a hobbit was? Then (as I was screwing around on the Net) I read someone’s signature on a chat board.

Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.

So, what the hell am I doing? I need to make use of my time. My house is a wreck and I have nothing to show for it. If my house is gonna be a complete war zone, at least I should have something to show for it. Part of me really wants to throw out the television and see how my life would change.

I have faith enough to sign mortgage papers; I have faith that we’ll be able to pay it back. I have faith enough to take out a loan to fix up the house; I have the faith that (even though our jobs have been less than reliable) we will be able to pay that back too. I have faith enough to tell a contractor to go ahead and start tearing the house apart. I have faith enough to bring a child into this world.

Why don’t I have faith enough to put some words on paper?