Thursday, June 30, 2011

What we need is

fewer seizures and more summer swinging

3rd Blogaversary

Female Tannery Workers -- World War I

This is my 1,384th post on the third anniversary of beginning a moon, worn as if it had been a shell. Traditionally, LEATHER is the gift one gives on third anniversaries, and this morning I surfed around the internet for interesting leather images. I found the one above -- a photo of women working at a Tannery during or shortly after World War I when men were in short supply. The work was physically demanding and often quite dangerous. I was struck, especially, by how these women skirted those deep pits, balancing with long poles, probably, that they also used to poke and prod at the dangerous stuff below. The balancing act of mothering -- particularly my Sophie, whose needs are extraordinary -- is a theme that runs through nearly all of my more than one thousand posts, and it's an act that many of my readers perform as well. This morning, as I sit at my desk, sipping coffee, counting my blessings and listening to the infernal racket of one damn mockingbird outside my open door, I raise my anniversary glass to my fellow tanners.

I am grateful to be part of this astounding blogging community of women and men that  has enriched my life in countless ways.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

First miracle of summer

photo taken with my Snapbucket app

The boys playing a non-video game, Bananagrams, and not fighting.

Go Bag

I have a very good friend who has what he calls a "go bag," a large backpack filled with all the items he deems necessary should he ever want to pick up and just go. Granted, he's single and middle-aged, unencumbered by small children, a spouse, family that lives nearby -- and the expression is one part fantasy and three parts how to stay sane when you're approaching the age of fifty and perhaps a little closer than you might imagine toward being utterly bored at your work and desirous of something different. For all my talk of living in the moment, and being grateful for what I have, etc. etc., I, too, fantasize about living a different life, starting over, picking up and going. Naturally, I don't wish to abandon my children but there's a frisson to be had imagining the release of all one's cares and possessions, hitting the open road, waking up to a truly different day. As I drive around Los Angeles, a city that I definitely love, as I stop at the post office to mail the catalog return, as I turn up the radio to drown out Sophie's constant humming, as I turn off the radio to better hear where the siren is coming from, as I watch my boys tumble out of the car and into the parking lot and on to sports camp, as I pull up my driveway, get Sophie out, bend down and pick up the circulars that litter the path to the house, step over the errant cleats and into the house -- well -- I imagine what might be in my go bag beyond the basic living necessities.

I'd bring a copy of Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, I think, and a copy of Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, maybe The Collected Poetry of William Butler Yeats and something by William Carlos Williams -- Asphodel, that Greeny Flower -- but then there's Emily Dickinson and William Blake, Toni Morrison, Michael Ondaatje -- my go bag would be too heavy -- and anyway, where would I go?

Love all that has been created by God, both the whole and every grain of sand. Love every leaf and every ray of light. Love the beasts and the birds, love the plants, love every separate fragment. If you love each separate fragment, you will understand the mystery of the whole resting in God.

Fyodor Dostoevsky, via

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My first summer admonition

I am NOT making dinner in shifts.

Mothers of Intention and a Giveaway

Yes, we all have intentions -- good ones, bad ones, religious ones, political ones. I have my fair share, and of late, they haven't been political in the least. Anyone who has visited this blog with any regularity knows that periodically, the political me rears up its very loud head with the sharp as a scythe tongue and words fly. I don't hesitate from declaring myself a liberal Democrat and a woman pretty seriously conflicted on what it means to be "American." Patriotic, I'm not. During the last six months or so, my interest in politics has largely dwindled to the occasional glance at the headlines of our daily newspaper and a cursory look at Huffington Post and Salon. If I read anything of length or substance, it's in The New Yorker and maybe The Atlantic. I've stopped visiting conservative blogs because they make me queasy, literally, particularly the comments from the Republican faithful. I get no pleasure in keeping up with the perverse transgressions of our congressional or senatorial leaders, and the second I see one of those infidelity/porn/prostitute announcements, I click off and over. I'm not sure whether or not it's cynical, but my faith in the way our country is governed has dropped precipitously. I genuinely believe that money rules everything in politics (and perhaps everything else American) and that I don't have a chance of impacting that in any way. I think it's bullshit that the country is broke and that we all must make sacrifices to make it more productive, believing rather that those with the most money have the most influence and will, therefore, get the most benefits. I'm resigned to this and have decided that the best I can do is work diligently in my little circle for those that are most vulnerable and for those that I happen to know a bit about -- the disabled, in particular. I learned during the last grueling election cycle NOT to talk politics or even any substantial beliefs with my conservative parents, and that's worked out just fine. I'm currently not listening to anything regarding the election next year and assiduously turn my eye away from anything regarding that circus group of Republican contenders. I'll raise my eyebrows with interest as New York passes the gay marriage bill and scowl at Georgia's draconian immigration bills, but I'm not wasting my time yakking about it.

Which brings me to this -- a book has been published that is not about yakking but actually thoughtfully and brilliantly discusses the role of women, social media and blogging in politics and policy-making.

Joanne Bamberger of PunditMom recently published Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America. The book features a blog post/essay that I wrote when the Tea Party began its assault on healthcare reform, when the air in the country was so toxic that it spilled over into my relationship with family. I am honored to have been included in this book, which, I should add is inclusive of many different viewpoints and political persuasions. Here's a brief excerpt from a press release:

From her vantage point in the nation’s capitol, Joanne Bamberger–political and media strategist/analyst, author, and recovering attorney known around the blogosphere as PunditMom– reveals the powerful impact social media tools have had in amplifying female voices in American politics today.
Born out of women’s writings on websites and blogs,Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America examines the rise of the motherhood political movement and how women have become a larger, more powerful presence in political activism.  Women make up the majority of online users and utilize the Internet more effectively than men overall. As a result, they are rapidly growing in political influence.
In the first book to describe this new political idiom, Bamberger traces and analyzes the ever-growing trend, and incorporates powerful essays by notable female commentators including: Pulitzer Prize winner Connie Schultz, Mom-101’s Liz Gumbinner, Veronica Arreola of Viva la Feminista, Jaelithe Judy of MOMocrats and MomsRising’s Lisa Frack, among others.
Mothers of Intention debunks the commonly held notion that motherhood renders women mute when it comes to public policy and electoral politics. With the authority of a veteran political commentator, Bamberger documents the emergence of a collective female voice in politics. Describing today’s complex political scene with humor, intelligence and humility, and explaining what it means to be a mother within it, Mothers of Intention provides a perspective that often eludes works of social commentary authored by a single individual.
An important coda to the last presidential election and the essential gender issues it raised,Mothers of Intention is must reading for anyone wanting to understand what motivates women in the political arena or looking to get a vote in the next election.

So, I am happy to offer a copy of the book -- a beautiful hardback -- to anyone who leaves a comment here. Let me know if you consider yourself political or not. I encourage you to go to my sidebar as well and click there to order one -- that's in case you don't win a copy! I can assure you that the book is a great read, filled with interesting, smart commentary and opinion by both Joanne and the writers she's included.
Leave a comment.
Tell me your secrets. 
Tell me no lies. 
Just don't tell me any smut about politicians.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Week One - the posting of the Summer To-Do List

As I post this, the boys are running through the house with neighborhood kids, water guns under their arms and I'm screaming NOT IN THE HOUSE! Dinner is on the table -- turkey, prosciutto, beets and goat cheese, salad, a baguette, olives and sliced tomatoes.

The first day of the first whole week of summer vacation, eleven more weeks to go.

Bring it on.

Why I Love Los Angeles, Reason #427

Street Art

-- photos taken by my friend D as we strolled around our neighborhood.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I read about them in The Los Angeles Times, lavender fields that stretch far and look like Provence except you're in Ojai, a hop and a skip from balmy Los Angeles so I packed up the car with kids and a helper and hit the road, Jack, to meet our friends Phil and Erika and Izzy, to Ojai for the annual Ojai Lavender Festival, a town park with a fountain and nearly a hundred booths the smell of lavender wafting (there's no better word than wafting, here) around us all. I breathed it in, deep, and yearned for the lavender massage, the cold lavender soaked cloth over my eyes, the strong hands kneading my hands and feet but there wasn't time because we needed to get to the fields of lavender and that's where the wafting turned to breathful, breathless, fields of lavender, light to dark purple, lavender to lie down in where the bees don't sting because it's paradise.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Despite yesterday's pot post,

I'll ask today that you join in the Dignity Revolution. After all, part of the reason why we're all driven to the Caregiver and Lounge is because our children are often not treated with dignity and we're all half out of our minds constantly caring for and advocating in a system that seems contrived to work against us in nearly every single way.

Read The Bitter Truth by Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics and a fine spokesperson for persons with intellectual disabilities.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dear Erika, Claire, Andrea, Heather, Sally, Jennifer, Sara, Suzy, Jeneva, Ken, SingleDad, Erik, Phil, Robert, Noan, Big Daddy, and all of you who have private blog names

hell -- all of you caring for a child, a parent, yourself -- well -- I guess that's everyone. Meet me here:

Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles

So, it's probably a medical marijuana dispensary, but the drinks are on me.

Another view -- and then I had to jump in the car and flee because I was illegally parked and the traffic controller pulled up. Love that -- almost got a ticket in front of the pot store!

Remember When

via Emi K.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


When we weren't stunned by the desert heat, we were in the water.

And no, I'm not showing a photo of myself in a bathing suit. But I will re-post this because every time I see it, I laugh.

Alternative Energy Source

I-10, on the way to Palm Springs

I need one.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Evening in Yosemite, 2009

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.

Wallace Stevens


It's the last day of school, and I'm surprising the boys -- picking them up from school and taking them for one night to Palm Springs!

Monday, June 20, 2011

When your Trader Joe's merchandise speaks to you,

you know you are either going completely insane, or the Universe is abundant. After a harrowing morning of seizures and absent aides, a drop-off at school and a relieved ride home, a call from The Teacher that I'd forgotten to include Sophie's sippee-cup in her lunchbox which would mean no drink all day so I'd have to drive BACK to school, my eyes nearly spilled over (I've felt on the verge of at least a whimper for a week), until I looked down and saw my message on the back of a bag of diced onions (that I'd bought guiltily because, really, how hard is it to buy a whole onion and dice it oneself?).


So I didn't.

The Universe is Abundant.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cakes and Kate

I made two cakes today, a lemon cake with lemon frosting and tiny little squares of candied lemon peel on top. Just before the customer came to pick it up, I opened the box to check on it and saw three splits on the top and even though I don't gasp, I exclaimed and lifted it carefully out of the box and proceeded to patch it, shaking my head, wondering what had happened because except for the time I forgot the sugar in a cake long ago and it came out like a pancake and the other time when I grabbed the box of baking soda instead of baking powder and tasted its tinny witness only hours later (blaming Trader Joe's and their packaging, making the soda look like powder in a round container instead of a square), I have made few mistakes in the cake itself. Patched, it looked fine and I sent it on its way. While the frosting for the second cake was whirring in the bowl -- ten minutes and sometimes twenty -- I opened The New Yorker and began to read Kate Walbert's (a writer whom I met in NYC several years ago when I had actual lunch with her and some friends at my dear friend Jane's house, and I was in awe of her presence as I always am, writers my heroes and especially this one) new short story M&M World, so good that I stood, reading it as if I were on a subway, the whirring in my ears, instead of a roar, I stopped the machine and dipped a finger in, licked the sweet to check and then turned a page.

Happy Father's Day

The story (and nearly forty-eight years ago, we could perhaps call it legend) goes that my father got his hair cut during my mother's labor and birth with their first child, me.

But I apparently never cared and was a daddy's girl, always.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. I love you.

As for The Husband, he participated in each of our three children's births:

The Chef at work

and has been a superb father ever since.

Happy Father's Day, dear Husband!

Happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wise Words

for everyone, but particularly for those caring for children with special needs or elderly parents or chronically ill partners.

Read HERE.

My Bachelor of Arts in English Literature has been justified

Last night I had the unique pleasure of attending BARD and BUTTER, a play in the garden with entertainment by the Los Angeles Drama Club, touted as the youngest Shakespeare troupe in the country. A good friend gave me her ticket and got one for Oliver as he knew many of the actors, so we dressed up and went together. Oliver looked dapper in a collared shirt and loafers, clothes that my boys absolutely never wear out here in casual and sunny Los Angeles. We had cocktails in the garden of a beautiful historic building -- a Roy Rogers for Oliver and a delicious ginger syrup, lavender and soda water "Ophelia" for me and participated in a Shakespeare game. We wandered to different stations in the garden where incredibly talented children acted parts of the bard's plays, and we had to guess which ones, marking our choices on the map provided. Then we sat down and had a delicious dinner -- Oliver behaved like a gentleman the entire time, despite the fact that we sat at a table of elderly people, and I was reminded, again, of how grateful I am for my children, of what pleasures they are for the most part.

At the end of dinner, we stood to see how accurate our guesses were, and slowly people sat down, eliminated. Except for me and about six or so other people. We were then peppered with questions about Shakespeare's life and plays.

Did you know that I'm competitive when it comes to nerdy word games and in this instance, Shakespeare trivia?

Well, I am.

And guess what?

I was crowned Queen.

After a hellish week, I swear I almost wept with happiness. And it was sort of nice to have all the troupe actors kneel at my feet.

Friday, June 17, 2011

It doesn't get much weirder

than a rainy morning in late June in Los Angeles.

driving north, Hollywood Hills under rain
Kumquat tree

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Still Sick

German Sick Bed, 1700's

Be Strong, Pass it On

Remember the earthquake in Japan? I hardly do, and that makes my stomach turn. I've been wallowing in my own misery the last few days, sick and overwhelmed by nearly everything. But today I was contacted by a company called Horipro, one of the preeminent total entertainment providers in Japan, and decided to climb out of my literal bed (of my own making). Here's part of the press release that they sent me:

In response to the March 11th earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, HoriPro Entertainment Group songwriters Matt Palmer and Pascal Guyon teamed up to write an inspirational song dedicated to the mothers and children affected by the tragedy.  A few weeks later, a choir of children from the Los Angeles HORIPRO Music Academy, ages 3-13, joined the effort to add their voices to the song and make a music video to accompany their message of hope. It is HoriPro's intent to create awareness of the continued need for relief aid to the mothers and children of Japan. As such, HoriPro Entertainment Group is hosting a donation site, bestrongjapan, offering a song/video package of Be Strong, available for download for a minimum donation of $5.00. 

The campaign is designed to give contributors control over where their money is sent by allowing options for charities focused on aiding mothers and children -- UNICEF, Save the Children, or JOICFP. 100% of the proceeds will be delivered to the organization of their choice.

HoriPro is delivering the following official statement:


Here's more information on the charities:

Donation Site:

JOICEP is a non-profit organization that helps give back to women and mothers in disaster-affected areas, focused on improving maternal health, responding to the reproductive health of women in devastation areas, as well as the delivery of diapers, sanitary napkins and relief clothing for women and newborns.

UNICEF Unicef is a foundation focused on working with others to overcome the obstables of poverty, disease, and discrimination placed in a child's path. UNICEF works in 190 countries through country programs and National Committees.

SAVE THE CHILDREN is the leading independent organization dedicated to improving the lives of 
children in disaster-stricken areas by providing food, medical care and education.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Random Glamour

I'm sick today, felled by a cold and headache and scratchy throat. Sophie is in bed, felled by Diastat. Last night I attended the Epilepsy Foundation for Greater Los Angeles' Care and Cure Event -- a grand dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel where hundreds of impeccably business attired people gather and schmooze and honor one another and donate money to The Great Cause. I'm a reluctant participant, at once grateful for the attention given to the scourge of epilepsy, the generosity of the donors, the work put into making it all happen but repulsed by the means to get there. People are honored, immensely influential, Hollywood-types are lauded and applauded, they sit next to me and I want to crack a joke, feel light, defensively sarcastic but I murmur a platitude when congratulated on the work I've done, being a mother to a child with epilepsy and I think of you, readers, and feel less bitter, less ready to stand up on a chair, a silk-covered one and wave my champagne glass, my napkin overhead, a scream, a shout, a surrender.

driving west


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