Archive for October, 2010

13 Oct 2010

Quick Preschool Update

No Comments Toddler

I went to pick Garrett up today and the teacher stopped me:

She told me Garrett had been crying a little in the morning and saying he missed his mommy. She realized that, it being free-play-time, he didn’t really have anything to do. No purpose.

“Garrett, maybe we should give you something to do”, she said.
“To make me happy?”
“Yes, to make you happy.”
Then he said, “Why don’t I draw a picture for mommy. That would make me happy.” And he did. And he was happy. And when I got there to get him, I was certainly happy to get my picture.

Isn’t it cool that a teacher, a preschool teacher, a teacher who spends her day with three-year-olds, cares enough to talk to them like people? She didn’t pander to him or only say, “Don’t cry”. She gave him something to do with his feelings. She gave him a purpose. I think that’s pretty gosh-darn fantastic. Here’s to all the teachers, from preschool to high school, who care enough to teach kids individually and to pay attention to who they’re teaching.

12 Oct 2010

My Career?

14 Comments Career

I want to share with you a story about what it’s like to be me in this glamorous town of Hollywood.

About 12 years ago, I started working professionally, and I’ve been fortunate enough to make my living at it ever since. However, I’ve probably been turned down for 100 jobs, for every one job I’ve gotten. It’s a rough road, this road I’ve chosen. And to be frank… I’m tired of it.

Let’s back up a step, shall we? I’m a dork. I’m not one of those adorable dorks who’s really pretty and tall and perfect and just says she’s a dork because she likes to read non-fiction and knows about Star Wars. I’m one of those dorky dorks who was never popular in high school and always felt a step behind everyone in everything I did.  I still do.  I was lucky enough to know at a very young age what I wanted to be, but I never felt I was as good as it as other people. Then I discovered comedy and I felt as good as I needed to be, so I stayed there. And 15 years later I started working.

My first major role was on Seinfeld and it was amazing and terrifying and magical. My friends threw a huge party when it aired, and I thought, “This is the beginning”. It wasn’t. I waited tables a bit longer and then I booked MadTV as a series regular. This was another exercise in me feeling “Less Than” everyone else. I was clearly good enough to be there, but I didn’t ever really fit in. I was on the outside, watching everyone else get laughs and fame. I took what little scraps I was given and was let go after a season. It sounds like I’m whining, and I am a little bit, but I want to make it clear that part of it is my own fault. I’m really bad at playing the games you have to play to get somewhere in this business. I always have been.

Time went by and I booked a lot of guest star parts, then I began getting hosting work. But intermixed with all those jobs were about 100 or 1000 auditions that went “really well”, but I just wasn’t “right for the part”. No one ever gets a straight answer on why they aren’t right for a part. So you start thinking things like, “I must be really ugly”, or fat or bad or not funny or too short or too tall or badly dressed or… JUST AWFUL AT EVERY FUCKING THING I DO. It’s nearly impossible to not get a complex unless you just believe in your abilities and looks so much that nothing can ever get you down.  I’ve never met one of these people. So years of rejection can really mess a person up.  And even though it seemed like I was working a ton, it was hard to not focus on all the work I WASN’T getting. Plus, to be frank, I wasn’t getting really high-paying work.  I got close. But I never booked that stuff. I’d “test” for sit-com leads, but never get them. Something wasn’t clicking. Read more

11 Oct 2010

Kiss My Sweet (Potato) Ass, Jessica Seinfeld!

7 Comments Cooking/Baking, Nutrition

Okay, so whenever Jessica Seinfeld was on Oprah with her book Deceptively Delicious, when was it?  Two years ago?  Anyway, whenever that was, I watched and I ran out of the house, straight to Target and bought the book.  Garrett was probably a year old and I was already worried about how to get vegetables into his food.  Are kids eating solids at a year old?  I swear to god, I don’t even remember.  It’s like as soon as I move on to the next phase, I forget what the last phase was. But that’s not the point.  The point is that I ran out and bought the book and was so impressed and like, “Wow!  What a cool freaking idea! I can’t wait until I can go get all this equipment and start puree’ing veggies and sneaking them into all of my son’s food!”

So a year goes by and I really want to try one of the recipes, but I still don’t have any of the equipment and it’s too close to dinner to start steaming and puree’ing a bunch of beets and spinach.  So what do I do?  I run to the grocery store and buy a bunch of the organic baby food veggies I used to feed Garrett!  That’s right!  Baby food.  It’s organic.  It’s vegetables. It’s already pure’ed. Done. I came home and made the chicken nuggets on page 75, and you know what?  It was the first time I ever made GOOD chicken nuggets!  I had tried so many times in the past, and failed.  But these?  These were delish!! I’ve made them several times since, and they are always, always a hit.  I usually mix in squash or sweet potato, but sometimes I try a little peas or spinach.  You have to be judicious.

So now, I always have a full stock of baby veggies in my cabinet.  I put them in my pancakes, my nuggets, and now I buy Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese and, instead of adding any milk, I just put in a jar of squash with some butter and the cheese. Garrett LOVES it!  I’m fortunate that Garrett eats some peas and broccoli and carrots even when they’re not hidden, but this way I know he’s getting veggies even if he’s not in the mood for them.  I even add flax meal whenever I can, like to quick-breads, any bread/coating on fish or chicken, pancakes, etc.  Flax adds fiber and omega 3’s, and I actually really like the flavor.  Kinda nutty.  Yes, like me.

My point is this:  I try to be a good mom.  I try to be the best mom.  But I can only be the best mom I can be.  And I ain’t gonna stand in my kitchen every Sunday night with loads of fresh vegetables; steaming, cooling, puree’ing, bagging, and freezing them.  What I can and will do is buy the damn baby food and use it in the exact same way.  So there!

11 Oct 2010

Preschool

5 Comments Toddler

Garrett started preschool about a month ago at a very lovely, well-respected school. His first day there, he happily waved goodbye to me as he played with some plastic dinosaurs on the floor.  It was a little too easy of a transition; a little too good to be true.

Russ and I went to pick him up that day at 2:45, and he sobbed uncontrollably when he saw us.  His red, puffy eyes were an indication that he had been crying for some time.  “He was fine all morning”, said the teacher who had just handed him a graham cracker, “Then at lunch he just broke down”.  We chalked it up to separation anxiety and took him again the next day. This time he was slightly more hesitant and cried a little when I left, but the crying was even worse when I picked him up.

Come to find out, he was only one of two kids from his class who stayed through lunch and nap.  He had watched all the other kids get picked up by their mommies and daddies and clearly thought that we had forgotten him. Oof. The rest of that week, I stayed with him from nine to noon then took him home to nap.  The following Monday I kept him home, then started the process again.   If I even left to go to the bathroom, Garrett wept until I returned.  If I left him there for an hour, he’d slowly recover, but he was never truly happy. This was not my kid. Read more

09 Oct 2010

Flawless Saturday Question

13 Comments Flawless Saturday Question

Well, it’s Saturday which means two things:

I’ll be taking a nap and not many people are reading blogs.

SO here’s a question for those of you who ARE reading this today: What makes you a great mom, wife, or friend?

Here’s an example: I’m a great mom because I slept on Garrett’s floor last night without him even knowing.  He was coughing a lot and I wanted to be close in case he needed me.  Awwwww, ain’t that sweet?

I want to hear anything you have to say.  Even if it’s, “I’m a great wife because I bring my husband beer and food while he watches college football” or “I’m a great friend because I like to listen” . Comment, tweet or call me if you have my number. But not while I’m napping.  I’m really tired from being such a great mom last night!

08 Oct 2010

Daddy

7 Comments Family

My father passed away July 14th, 2010 after a three-and-a-half-year struggle with myelofibrosis and three different bouts of leukemia. He got sick right about when I got pregnant, and we used to joke about how our symptoms were so similar: nausea, a pit in our upper stomach, exhaustion. I would say, “Are you sure you’re not pregnant, too?”

My dad and I spoke on the phone every day, at least twice a day. He was what every little girl dreams of: attentive, loving, there to talk to, home for dinner, in love with my mom. He was so positive and happy and brilliant. He never had a huge career because it was more important to him to be an active member of our family. I really don’t remember a night when he wasn’t at the dinner table, asking about my day… And listening to the answer.

When I got my period at the age of 12, I called my mom at work but she was in a meeting. Without hesitation, I called my dad’s office number. As soon as I told him he said, “Oh! Good for you! Do you need anything?” I said no.  “Okay”, he said. “Make sure you don’t tell mom that you told me first! She’ll be so disappointed. I love you.” How many girls do you know that could have called their father with that news?

I loved everything about my dad. He was stubborn and opinionated, soft and loving, handsome and strong.  He was in love with family.  And his nearly 44 years of marriage to my mom were filled with such beauty and laughter. It’s been almost three months since he passed, and I still can’t believe it.  I’m not sure how to go about accepting the fact that he’s gone. He should be here, watching Garrett grow up. He should be here watching me be a mom.  He should be here with MY mom.  He should be here.

My dad died a week before he was to turn 70. For a little over three years, he fought his ass off to get well.  He survived a splenectomy, a bone marrow transplant, and several rounds of chemo and radiation. When we got the news that his latest cancer was terminal, none of us believed it. He was Superman. He wasn’t supposed to die.  I was at the City of Hope with my parents when the news was given: A month to three months, they said.  My dad looked me straight in the eye and said he wasn’t scared. He said it was pain and suffering that scared him, not death.  I believed him. I knew he meant it.  And I didn’t want him to suffer anymore. Selfishly, I wanted so desperately for him to keep fighting.  I wanted him HERE. I would drive to the hospital every fucking day to see him, or quit working to care for him with my mom.  I would do anything. But I saw a resolve in him at that moment.  The same resolve he had in fighting for his life, he was now going to use to die.  He and Mom shared several kisses, giggles and a few tears that day. Mom cried harder away from him.

It was July 1st I believe, when we got that news, and my dad was being admitted for further testing; he might even be eligible for a clinical trial, they said. He happily went along with the blood tests and poking, making the nurses laugh and smiling at me whenever he could. Dad told his doctor he was leaving the hospital the next day, no matter what. He wanted to be at his friends’ house for the 4th of July and he had had enough of hospitals.  He came home the next day, sat with all of us in the living room, joked, laughed, ate a decent meal.  Then he went into his room.  That was the last time I really talked to my dad. After that, I told him I loved him a lot.  I got him ice chips and drinks, helped with his medication.  Read while he slept.  I did as much as I could for him and my mom while being a mom and tending to my family.  I was with him when he died.  My mom and I were each holding one of his beautiful, loving hands.  I’ll always be grateful.

There was nothing left unsaid.  There is nothing I regret.  I always told my father how much I loved him, how much he meant to me, how grateful I was for him and how he was the reason I married such an amazing man.  I don’t know how long I will hurt like this, or if I’ll ever stop thinking I’m going to see him again.  I wish so many things.  And when I see really, really old men, I wonder why they got to live so much longer than my dad.

When people die, everyone says you should live life to the fullest! Live every moment like it’s your last! That’s hard to do. Little, stupid things get in the way. So as a tribute to my dad, I just try my best.  I try to be the best mom, wife, friend, person that I can be. And I try to always tell the people I love how much I love them.  That’s not a hard thing to do.  And it leaves you without regrets.

I love you, Daddy. Forever and always.

07 Oct 2010

Mammogramania!

No Comments Health

Every responsible, adult woman has a mammogram story.  Here’s mine:

I started getting mammograms earlier than 40, because I found a little cyst in my breast a few years back. Luckily it was just a benign cyst, but I continue to get regular mammograms to stay on top of it.  The office I go to is kind of sad and dreary and a little unorganized. I usually have to wait about 45 minutes past my appointment time. The woman who does my mammogram is lovely, but speaks very fast in a dialect that’s quite hard to understand. She pushes and prods my boobs with no apology or explanation, checks her computer and starts again on the other boob. I always leave feeling cold, bewildered and odd.

Today I walked into the same space, but it was a bit cheerier and cleaner, and the new ladies at the front seemed very helpful and incredibly organized. The old office has been taken over, and it’s a whole new regime.  I filled out paperwork, and was sent back at exactly my appointment time.  I changed and walked into the FREEZING mammogram room. (I know they keep it that way to protect the equipment, I just find it funny). The two technicians debated on whether to use the small or large plate, one of them even walking over to look at my chest.  “Big?  You think? I’d go with the small, but let’s do big”.  Nice.  I haven’t had “big” in a sentence about my boobs since I stopped breast feeding.

So now this perky, sweet, blonde tech takes my right breast and places it on the metal plate, Read more

07 Oct 2010

Only Child

10 Comments Family

I’ve recently come to the realization that I’m too old and tired to have another kid.  Of course, there’s another voice inside my head that says not having another one is a bad, bad idea.  There’s always been a stigma attached to being an “only child”, but there’s no label given to those with siblings other than “brother” or “sister’.   My husband and I started late because we weren’t ready one minute before we were ready. So I got pregnant at 35 and pretty quickly realized that I was going to be exhausted for the rest of my life. As tired as I am, I love being a mom more than anything in the world. Garrett enriches my life in ways I can’t even explain, and I hope I’m making his life incredibly fun, while instilling all the values and goodness in him that I can.

Of course, once you have one kid, the inevitable and constant question is, “When are you having another?” Well, I don’t believe we’re going to. I just don’t think I have the kind of stamina and patience one needs to have two kids. I want to be able to give Garrett everything he needs and still have enough energy left over to crawl into bed at the end of the day. It makes me sad for him sometimes, and also sad for us. But I know my limits and I also know the limits of my marriage and my wallet. I don’t want to stretch any of us too thin.

Now, I happen to be friends with several only children who are very well adjusted and quite happy. The only thing they seem to lack is the ability to defend themselves when they’re being teased. This is a skill that can only be honed as a child with a sibling who relentlessly jabs at you. So we’re planning to hire some neighborhood kids to tell Garrett he’s a weenie and sock him a few times. Maybe even pin him down and fart in his face. I hope it works.

A lot of people have brought up that it might be cruel to leave Garrett “alone in this world”. Well, we’re all alone, aren’t we? Read more

06 Oct 2010

Don’t Touch Pregnant Women and Newborns. Okay?

2 Comments Newborn, Pregnancy

The title says it all.

I hate that people think they can just walk up and touch you because you have a baby in your uterus.  It’s never made any sense to me.  I mean, I guess I understand the draw. It’s cool and interesting when a normal-sized woman is all of a sudden carrying thirty pounds of extra weight in her belly, and it’s hard and smooth and odd… And there’s a living being inside of it.  I get it.  It’s neat.  I’ve ASKED pregnant women that I know, or at least have been introduced to, if I can feel their belly.  It sort of feels like you’re getting in touch with a new life force… Or something.  But I would never touch ANYONE without asking them.  Ever!  ESPECIALLY a stranger!

When I was pregnant, I perfected a “get the f**k away from me” look that scared everyone within 10 feet of me, whether or not they were planning on touching me. If I was in an elevator and someone even looked like they were interested in the fact that I was pregnant… Forget about it, Chuck!  I shot them “the look”.  At my baby shower I had to remind myself to not give “the look” to my friends and family who were there to support me.  I think I may have scared my niece at one point.

Because of that miraculous look, no one uninvited ever touched me in the entire nine or so months I was “with child”.

Speaking of being with a child, when Garrett was born it started all over. Creepy, stinky, freaky, weird people would zombie-walk toward us moaning something unintelligible like, “Me touch baby!”  Then they would just… TOUCH HIM! It was all I could do not to scream, “Get your filthy friggin’ hands off of my baby, you sicko!” Instead I would sneer, pick him up and politely say, “He’s pretty new.  Please don’t touch him.”   “The Look” did not work as well once the baby was outside the uterus. I’m not sure why.  So I perfected a new, meaner look.  That seemed to do the trick.

Here’s the thing.  Just don’t touch.  Fight all of those instincts.  Or, here’s a novel idea… ASK!  Say, “Can I touch your tummy?”, or “Can I put my grubby hands on your infant?”  Maybe you’ll get a yes.  If not, just politely walk away. And if you’re the pregnant one, or the new mother, start practicing your look. You’ll need it.

06 Oct 2010

We Suck at Pics

2 Comments Family

My husband and I are obsessed with our kid, as any parents will tell you.  But most of those parents are also obsessed with taking really high-quality pictures of their kids, posting them everywhere, and creating a library of memories to look back on when everyone is old and the only joy they have is to remember the joy they used to have.

We take pictures and videos with our iPhones and, although they’re good, they’re not great.  And a lot of them are blurry, because it’s impossible to take really good photos with the iPhone unless your subject keeps absolutely still.  The problem here is twofold:  One, we’re lazy.  We’re not the kind of people who bring a big camera everywhere with us so we can capture those perfect moments. Two, we want to be those people, but so far we haven’t felt justified in spending the money on one of those fantastic, digital cameras with the different lenses and the wh0osiwhats.  And, if we do get that camera… Won’t we still be lazy?

SO, maybe the real reason I started this blog is to force myself to cut out some spending, save up some money for the camera, and start taking some really great pics of my really great family.

Or, I can just post a bunch of pics that look like this:

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