Saturday, April 30, 2011

One Day and One Amazing Morning

My dear friend Joanne Rocklin and her husband Jerry lived next door to us when we first moved to Los Angeles. Joanne is a children's book writer, and her new book One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street has just been published. "It revolves around a neighborhood's one remaining orange tree and the secrets told, grand ideas shared, and event witnessed in its presence." The book is a Middle Reader but is a joy to read aloud, and both my nine and twelve year old sons loved its simple, beautiful story, as did Sophie when we read it aloud. 

The best part? In the acknowledgement section, Joanne mentions our Sophie and her family as being inspirations for her. 

Thank you, Joanne!

If you're in the Los Angeles area, please visit Chevalier's Bookstore this morning and listen to Joanne read from One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street, as well as sample some mini cupcakes from yours truly! The festivities begin at 11:00, so please stop by.

If you'd like to order a copy of the book, visit your neighborhood bookstore or purchase from Amazon, here.  

Friday, April 29, 2011

Buster Keaton, absurd behind bars

I'm currently involved in a scintillating argument with the Powers that Be, trying to prove that an erroneous statement on an important document that says "mild retardation" should actually say "severe retardation" and thus be shuffled onto another pile altogether, the pile that warrants a bit more help, some protective supervision is what it's called and might be the cause, the reason for the extra help to prevent the sort of fall that causes bloody noses, bruised and bumped. Said argument entails numerous telephone conversations and back and forths, the requesting of letters and papers with official stamps, the clock keeps ticking eighteen months, the choice between acceptance of mild and wanting severe making my heart shrink, grow cold and a layer of bars.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

David Sedaris

Last night, I had the pleasure of once again hearing David Sedaris at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus, an event that I've looked forward to every year for the past five years. I buy a series ticket to the Writer's Word (many of which I've posted about here), and the series culminates in a raucous finale by Sedaris.

When I was a kid I loved the joke:

What goes HA, HA PLOP?

I'll leave the answer at the bottom.

David Sedaris tells his hilarious stories, reads from his travel diaries and tells sometimes disgusting jokes while nearly two thousand people rock the house with laughter. I literally have to bend over in my seat sometimes to catch my breath. If you've never read his work, please do. Especially if you're like me -- beset with near-constant situational anxiety and a tendency to forget that the world is something other than tribulation! The best thing about Sedaris is his brilliant ability to weave a biting, bitter humor with sweetness -- after listening to him talk of his beloved parents, sisters and brother and partner Hugh, I always feel more tolerant toward my own family and all of our complexities -- there's something so powerful about recognizing human frailty and laughing at it --

Answer to riddle:

A man laughing his head off. It still makes me giggle. :)


About a year and a half ago, I participated as a board member with the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles in a presentation to an organization here in Los Angeles called Women in Film. Along with two other women, I told my story of Sophie's diagnosis and our life living with her seizure disorder. Some of the women in the audience cried openly and nearly all told us later how moved they were.

We didn't know, someone said.

Our organization won the grant and Women in Film produced this amazing and very intense public service announcement. There are four of them -- three depict a different type seizure and the long one is a sort of summary of the campaign to END EPILEPSY. I hope you've seen it on national television, but if you haven't, here you go (and watch the other three on YouTube):

Do me a favor, and pass it on.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Six Studies







The Brain — is wider than the Sky —
For — put them side by side —
The one the other will contain
With ease — and You — beside —

The Brain is deeper than the sea —
For—hold them—Blue to Blue —
The one the other will absorb —
As Sponges — Buckets —do—

The Brain is just the weight of God —
For — Heft them — Pound for Pound —
And they will differ — if they do —
As Syllable from Sound —

Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spectacular day

The day itself was full of aggravation, so much so that I'm bored by myself repeating it.

But the day itself was actually outrageously gorgeous. There are no words other than words themselves to describe the day in Los Angeles:

riotous color
windy palms
piercing clear light

If nothing else, we have this.


The white envelope lay on the floor below the mail slot when I pushed open the door this afternoon, shepherding Sophie along and into the house. When I leaned down and picked it up, I saw that it was from Anthem Blue Cross, that lovely arbiter of fairness and excellent healthcare (the greatest in the world, remember!), and I felt a stab of fear. Sure enough, when I opened it and waded through the polite mumbo jumbo of due to rising costs of healthcare, etc., I saw that our premium will rise another 15% by July 1, 2011.


Anthem Blue Cross has now, officially, DOUBLED our premium from when we first signed up less than three years ago. And that doesn't count Sophie's policy which has nearly TRIPLED in the same amount of time.

I honestly don't know what to do. Join the ranks of the uninsured? Flee to another country where we can afford to live and have our healthcare needs taken care of in a civilized manner?

I'm weary.

I'm not listening, anymore, to anyone who claims to be a conservative or tried and true capitalist.

IF YOU HATE PROFANITY, READ NO FURTHER. And honestly, I'm generally the sort of person who uses profanity when it's deserved.

I don't know what the answer is, but this isn't it. The idea of forking over thousands of dollars every month to that goddamn, immoral piece of shit company is repugnant.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

Mini chocolate cupcakes with orange frosting

Yellow Cake with Bittersweet Ganache and Marzipan Eggs

Perhaps the only nutritional meal consumed over three days --

Working off the sugar --

Easter baskets

A smashed clown nose

Sophie's Easter basket

Sophie, attempting to eat a chocolate ladybug

Does Sophie look a bit like Bob Dylan here or what?

The wraparound balls were a huge hit. Way to go, Easter bunny!

I also made Ms. Moon's Angel Biscuits, and there's a big bowl of the dough sitting in my fridge. Last night we ate them with ham and honey. They were excellent, and it was good to be eating a little something permeated by such a dear blogger friend!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter, or the day after, if Jesus came back as a regular man

Oliver exploring the ruins of the burnt mission church at San Juan Capistrano

I had nothing to write of Easter, of eggs, forgotten, still brown and white on their tempered shelf, of the slip out of church, the sidle down the two-year aisle, the children running to fill plastic eggs with candy and the pull away of ritual. I had nothing to write of Easter.

Last night I went to Royce Hall and heard the poets Billy Collins and Kay Ryan in conversation. They were witty and kind and funny and in love with words. 

Kay Ryan read this poem, and now I have something to write of Easter:

The Palm at the End of the Mind

After fulfilling everything
one two three he came back again
free, no more prophecy requiring
that he enter the city just this way,
no more set-up treacheries.
It was the day after Easter. He adored
the eggshell litter and the cellophane
caught in the grass. Each door he passed
swung with its own business, all the 
witnesses along his route of pain
again distracted by fear of loss
or hope of gain. It was wonderful
to be a man, bewildered by 
so many flowers, the rush
and ebb of hours, his own
ambiguous gestures--his 
whole heart exposed, then
taking cover.

--Kay Ryan

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Version of a Mom Blog

Just in case you thought my life was perfect in every way (I know you do), I wanted to show you what went down today, Friday the 22nd of April.

100 mini-cupcakes for a book signing tomorrow:

Butter softening and stuff sitting out for two Easter cakes, to be picked up tomorrow:

The extent of my Easter decorating has been to haul down the stuff from the hole in the ceiling in my Barbie bathroom that leads to the attic. Who put that guitar there?

A drifting balloon from Valentine's Day behind piled up cake boxes and a cheap version of foosball, some cucumber seeds:

Oliver, getting free rein with the iPad for one thousand hours. You're going to ruin your eyes, young man!

Sophie, wondering why I'm bothering her because she's perfectly happy hanging in her room and listening to music:

I never do this, but my bed is unmade:

The perpetual calendar stuck on some ancient day, but since it hangs in the hallway, on the side of a bookcase, I gaze into Marcello's eyes a hundred times a day.

Someone didn't make his bed:

Still life with poodle:

(and I didn't tell you about the seizures because they are just part of the whole shebang, as was the trip to Pasadena to Sophie's weekly appointment with the speech pathologist and iPad guru). Now I've got to go make some frosting for those cupcakes.

Friday, April 22, 2011


A recent purchase from an antique store

Stay tuned for what's underneath! There's a lot of baking going on this weekend!(and I'm taking orders for First Communion cakes in May)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

If only meditation were like a hobby

Meditation is not a hobby. It is important to address the problems of the world, of our society, to express our understanding through compassionate action. But if the world is truly to be a place of peace then we need to understand our own minds. Because what is happening "out there" is simply a manifestation of what is happening in the mind.

-- from the essay Empty Phenomena Rolling On by Joseph Goldstein

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Seen in the Trader Joe's parking lot:

United States Army sticker and a pale pink feather boa 

Day Trip

Yesterday, I headed south with my three children to San Juan Capistrano where we met our friends Erika of The flight of our hummingbird, her husband Phil and their adorable daughter Izzy. The flowers at the Mission in San Juan Capistrano were outrageous -- a true riot of color and abundance.

California poppies

California wildflowers and perennials

A riot of roses

We walked around the gorgeous grounds for a bit; Erika and I answered a casual passerby wondering about what it was like to have a special needs kid with our customary grace and then rolled our eyes at each other. In all honesty, though, the woman was well-meaning; we learned that her child was an eighteen year old boy with a disability, and she determined that it was easier for her than for us because he was a boy (and therefore didn't have a period). Oy.

Erika and Izzy

Sophie and her 70s rock star hair look

Oliver insisted that when he waved,t he koi came to the surface.

After hanging out with the koi and the flowers, we drove down to Dana Point and had a delicious taco lunch at a local taco shack. Oliver drank two giant glasses of Cherry Coke and proceeded to talk non-stop for the next six hours. I will blame that, entirely, on Phil, as he sat with my boys and allowed it to happen. Erika and I sat with the girls, ate our fish tacos and caught up with each other -- it's amazing to me that I've only known Erika through our blogs and two visits -- she feels like a little sister to me --perhaps even more deeply connected than my own. After our lunch we went to the most amazing park and beach -- walked along with our girls, trailing the boys as they poked in the sand and laughed at Sophie and the amazing pull of the sea.

Oliver entertaining Izzy

I took an embarrassing number of photos of surfers -- but you know I have that thing about surfers --

A beautiful, relaxing day (except for the chatter induced by Cherry Coke!).


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