Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Twins

Mom and Auntie--The Twins!
The top picture I have no idea if this is my mom or my aunt!

I have had the good fortune of two identical mothers. Not a good mother and an evil one like those depicted in Neil Gaiman's Coraline, but two loving mothers.

You see my mom is an identical twin.

Today, my Aunt lies in a hospital bed close to death. She is almost 88-years-old, and it is her time to go. My mother lies only miles away in the Jewish Home for the Aged, suffering with advanced Alzheimer's Disease.

Knowing my aunt is close to death, I feel overcome with feelings. I am losing my other mother. Although, in reality they were as different as night and day, the one thing they shared, besides there identical looks, was the way they loved. They loved all of their combined kids, all my cousins and all their kids unconditionally.

My beautiful mother and aunt are originally from Germany. During the Nazi occupation, they fled their home in Cologne. My grandfather was a prominent architect, and he was Jewish. He had married a Catholic girl from Dusseldorf. They had a son and two twin girls.

By the time WWII began, they were living in Amsterdam. They had been waiting for travel documents to the US when the Hague was blown up just days before their departure. They were destined to endure the war in Holland.

My uncle by then had left for Oxford and was attending University. When the war broke out, he immediately joined the Royal Air Force.

My mother joined the resistance and worked tirelessly in any way she could. My grandfather had hiding places in his home, just in case the Nazis came for him.

One early morning, there was a knock on the door. My mother looked out her window and saw two German officers. She put on one of her nicer dresses and left off her bra. She woke my Aunt and told her to tell their father to hide.

The officers were quite taken with my mother's beauty, her strength, and her charm. But when they looked up and saw another one that looked just like my mom descend from the staircase, they were mesmerized.

The time past slowly, so the story goes, and my mother and my aunt did their best to deflect the German officers' questions and advances. But, in time, my grandmother (who I never got to meet) apparently marched down the stairs and told the officers in no uncertain terms that indeed there was a Jew in the house, her husband, but she was Catholic, and he had his proper documents. She told them they had no business being in their home and firmly suggested they leave.

They left. But only with a stolen glance at my mom and her gorgeous twin.

They returned once after that to worn my mother that Nazis were talking about experimenting on half Jewish twins and suggested they go into hiding. My mom and my aunt were very lucky.

Tom and I took the kids to Amsterdam a few years back. They were surprised to see how close their grandmother and great-aunt lived to Anne Frank .

My uncle died fighting bravely for the Allied forces. His death left a gaping hole in the history of my family. His lovely daughter shared in the love and devotion of her identical aunts.

Miraculously, my grandparents and the twins survived the war and eventually made their way to America.

Mom and Auntie were great fun. They were stubborn to their German roots. They lived for their children and were connected to each other in an inexplicable way.

My mom sits at the Jewish Home for the Aged. She has suffered with Alzheimer's Disease for 16 years. I am happy today that she has Alzheimer's--she couldn't stand losing her sister.

And my wonderful, dedicated aunt visited my mom as much as she could. In the end, she started to develop dementia.

Just last week Auntie told her son-in-law, "Tell Ellen..." Ellen, is my Mother's name. He asked her time and time again, "Tell her what, tell Ellen what?" But that was it.

I'm convinced she wanted to say, "Tell her I love her," or "Tell her I'll meet her on the other side," or "Tell her I'll meet her at Nordstrom's!"

I think that my mother will die soon after my aunt. Twins are funny like that.

When my mother married my father, she couldn't find the right dress to wear. She loved the one that my aunt had found. So, they ended up wearing the same dress on my mom's wedding day.

Three months earlier, my aunt was sitting at a Hollywood restaurant having dinner with an actor friend of hers. My father noticed the beautiful woman sitting next to a man he didn't know very well. In my father's unflappable way, he sauntered over to the couple and looked straight at my aunt and told her that he wished there was someone at home that looked just like her. My aunt smiled knowingly, "As a matter of fact there is!" The next night, Auntie had set up a blind date between her twin and what would become my mother's love of her life, my dad. (Well it was a blind date for my mother! Not my dad.)

As much as I am prepared, I am still at a loss. A loss for a time that once was. A loss for that loving look and warm sincere smile. A loss for the only two people that would ever tell me the honest truth.

But I am thankful for a handful of cousins who are connected by the strong bond of history and love because of these two remarkable women.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Desperately Seeking a Little Bit of Youth

Writing can be therapeutic. I write these posts not knowing if anyone really wants to read them. But boy looking over them, I sure see my insecurities clearly. They actually leap off the page at me. I knew I needed to get a life. But I had no idea how badly.

A direct result of my writing brought me to a beauty salon where I had my eyebrows waxed and my hair cut drastically. A change is what I needed. And it really helped. It has given my a little lightness in my step.

When I walked around San Francisco the other morning I noticed both men and women smiling at me. Was it the much needed sunshine lighting up everyone’s moods or was it the “sunshine” in me?

It seems impossible but I threw my clothes on that day with a little care and I even applied make-up. I covered up my old age spots with foundation. I even applied make-up to the dark circles that now underline my eyes. How long would this feeble attempt at youth last I wondered? Do I need to think I look good in order to feel good?

I went marketing that same afternoon, one of my most hated chores. But with the cabinets bare and everything devoured from the fridge I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer. So I pushed my cart along the produce isles looking for basil when a man appeared and asked me if I was Italian. No, I told him. He continued talking to me and it took me awhile to figure out that he was flirting with me. Now that hasn’t happened in a long time. Should I rush back to my hairdresser and give him a bigger tip. Has he recaptured my youth with the sheering of a few split ends?

I bid my admirer a cheery “ciao” and a “graci” and off I went enjoying the rest of my marketing a little too much.

This innocent rendezvous got me thinking. Is it the make-up and new do really the reason for the newly acquired and much needed attention. Or is it how I feel about myself with the newly adorned accessories?

Could I carry around the same self-confidence when I look like crap? I knew I had to try. Fifty-two and I can’t count on superficial things to make me beautiful. I’m old enough to know I have to cherish the beauty within and hope for the occasional approving nod to get me through the cold, hard winter of my life.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Journey with The Artist's Way

I started The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron back in September. A dear friend bought me the book a year ago and it sat on my bookshelf gathering dust.

Then out of nowhere, a wonderful neighbor bought me my very first journal. She told me she was starting an Artist's Way group and suggested I join. She told me that the book was designed to help blocked artists get 'unblocked.'

I hate any kind of commitment like this. It totally freaks me out. I am certain I will let down those around me and I always find an excuse not to finish what I have started. I know myself well enough not to commit to anything anymore.

I'm not sure what made me say yes. Probably it was her non-committal way of approaching me. We planned a quick meeting and that was over 12 weeks ago. I stuck with it the whole time. And it was an amazing journey. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and have learned so much from it. For me, it gave me permission to be a little less judgmental about my work and a little less hard on myself.

The first thing I actually committed to was something called morning pages. You must try and write three pages every morning, long hand. Some mornings I found that I had nothing to write so I just wrote, "I have nothing to say," over and over again! Some days I just worked out plot points for my book.

As hard as those three pages were to right every day, they became I kind of salvation. I had begun this blog and was determined to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. The kids started school and I felt such remorse. I needed to face the fact that my kids didn't need me as much anymore. So, I wrote my morning pages, wrote my blog and then began writing my novel.

Ms. Cameron suggested that I take myself on an artist's date once a week for at least an hour. This hour needs to be spent alone doing anything at all. The purpose-- to fill the well. This ended up being the most difficult part of the process for me. I'm not exactly sure why, but I think the things I wanted to do, I wanted to share with someone else. The artist's date was meant for me and me alone. The weeks I did take myself out, I noticed things I would never have noticed before. It was astonishing. It was the small things that caught my eye and made me take pause.

At the end of the journey Cameron suggested that I look back at my morning pages. I was not suppose to read my morning pages until the end of the 12th week. And trust me I had no desire to do so. I recently got the nerve to read my thoughts. One of the members of my Artist's Way group suggested I share some of my words on my blog. I find them illuminating, funny and just so me...

"September 1, 2009

Up early for me this morning. But I'm wide awake. I knew I had these empty pages staring at me. What a joy to have something for me to do creatively. What a burden to have to something to do creatively. In my darkest moments I wonder what will sabotage me from this pursuit. I have a sharp pain in my left breast. Breast cancer? Chemo? Will this stop me? ..."

We started the group eight strong. Only three of us ended up finishing the book. Life got in the way for the other five people.

But I did it and the three of us are still meeting weekly. We are there for each other as creative support. We meet because it keeps us on track and honest. We meet because we know that "Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what people fear most." Fyodor Dostoyevski

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tenacity, Grit, and Charm

My young son spent the weekend in Lake Tahoe. Nothing can stop him. He is my hero and my inspiration.

You should see this kid wakeboard. And he has been to Nationals for fencing two years in a row.

No, his bad leg doesn't stop him. In fact he says he's glad to face the challenge.

He doesn't let me hover over him like the Helicopter Mom that I am. He shoos me away, knowing he is perfectly capable of doing things on his own. I learn a lot from my 13-year-old.

He is already a better writer than I am. He often tries to help, and his criticisms are constructive and kind, "I think it might be better if you analyze your characters a bit more," or "Think about who is telling the story, Mom!"

He says he is not going to ever worry about where he's going to go to college because all the schools seem interesting in their own unique way.

But...I have a sneaky suspicion that he won't be quite as forthcoming as his older brother...

He's the one that I am going to have to keep my eye on. I'll probably need a whole BLOG just for him!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


For all you type A parents who are involved in the college process, don't ever, under any circumstance visit the site "College Confidential." This is a warning. This site is worse than crack cocaine. It is addictive and insidious.

No! Stop. Do not leave my blog and head to "College Confidential!" It will make you nuts.

My friend in LA warned me against it earlier in the school year. Her daughter is a senior and she is right in the midst of admissions hell.

My 16-year-old has taken to playing Collegemania. He comes bouncing in every day with another college du jour.

What about Oberlin? All my friends love it. How about Haverford? Have you heard anything about Bowdoin or Middlebury or Colgate or Colby or Dennison or Connecticut College or Pitzer or Bucknell or Kenyon or Carlton or or or or or or or or or or or or or or or or or or or or or or....

I'm sure some of you went to these colleges, please feel free to let me know what you thought? I'll be sure to pass on the information to my son.

What made you happy during your college years? Did you love your school? I am at such a loss here because I went to UCLA--it's just what you did when you went to BHHS and you were not the Ivy League Type--most of us just went to a UC. A few of us went to the Claremont McKenna schools but mostly our choices were limited. I have a friend who went to Bowdoin and another who went to Vassar. A few from my class ended up at Harvard and Stanford and Brown. But they were the exception. We looked at them with awe and respect. They were leaving California.

The college counselors at Kyle's school ask each student to really think about what they want...a big school or a small liberal arts school. Do they want an urban environment or does that not matter? What do you want to study? Do you care about climate? Do you need to be near a big city? etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

Once you have given this careful consideration then they will help you make a list of at least a half a dozen colleges, probably more like a dozen schools that you should apply to. They look at your grades and test scores and give you choices--there will be Likely choices, Reach Schools and Safety Schools.

Then during Spring break you visit these schools. I have visited some schools with Kyle already. The process was stressful. It was worse than looking for a house to buy! Kyle imagined himself living there. I watched as he checked out the other kids, the dorm rooms, the libraries. Then I could almost hear him asking himself, "Would I like it here? Would I get claustrophobic? Will I fit in?" Kyle did this last summer.

After you have made your selections you have to write all the applications (there is a common application but it doesn't apply to all schools). I imagine this to be a painful process. You want to put your best foot forward. You have worked so hard for years to get here and now it comes down to a piece of paper and some numbers, such as 3.7 unweighted (AP and honors not included!) 4.3 weighted.

Am I good enough? Will they want me? Do I stand out? These questions must run through these kids minds.

In the end, they get into a college and hopefully they enjoy their experiences there. Hopefully they are engaged learners who find themselves thriving in a field that interests them.

Nothing like this happened to me. I took an internship at CBS my last semester of UCLA and got a job after graduation. That job lead to another and then another. I moved to NYC and hit the streets. Found a job at CNN Showbiz which lead to The Travel Channel to Nickelodeon to making a couple of films with Warner Brothers to having kids and writing this BLOG about what I am going to do once the kids leave home.

Somehow I don't think things will fall into place for me (when I am finally an empty nester) like they did when I was young. But I do know that "OUR" kids will find their place in the world whether they go to Stanford or City College or no College or a fun Trade School.

So, I will not go on College Confidential ever. Never ever again! (well maybe just one more time!)

Please let me know about your college experience. You can COMMENT on the site, or on facebook or just e-mail me. I will pass on your thoughts to the little prince!

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Life is Like a Box of See's Chocolates!"

Dad and I when I was about sixteen

Tom bought a small box of See's Candy before he went off for the weekend with our young son. The one thing I missed the most when I lived in NYC was See's candy. I have eaten some of the finest chocolate in the world--my Mom was a bit of a chocaholic. But nothing ever tasted as good as See's Candy.

All weekend I picked through the box. As my 16-year-old ignored me, angered me, frustrated me, I ate. And it did make me feel a wee bit better.

"Life is like a box of chocolate," is the famous line from Forrest Gump. My dear friend, Wendy produced that film about twenty years ago. I remember watching her accept her academy award as I sat in a small diner in San Anselmo, California. I cried tears of joy for my tenacious friend. An Academy Award had alluded my Dad even though he used to tease that he had an acceptance speech all prepared...just in case.

As I sat, binging on chocolate this weekend, I thought about my father, my friend and a time long ago when I was 16. I wondered if I drove my parent's insane.

I remember once wanting to go to a party in Topanga Canyon with the cutest surfer guy. My father said no. He never said no. I was at a complete loss. I remember coming at him hard, "You never have time for me and my friends. And now you won't let me have any fun!" He really always had time for me. It was just that he was sick and he didn't have the energy he had once had. To this day I regret saying this to him. I hit him where it hurts. I was mean and acted like a spoiled brat. Of course now I see he was completely right. I shouldn't be allowed to go to some random party in the canyon where creepy things had happened in the '70s. But that surfer guy was just so darn cute! Some other lucky girl was going to get to go with dream boat. Funny thing is I can't even remember his name.

Kyle came into my room yesterday afternoon and looked at me. He had tears in his eyes. "We used to be so close Mom. What happened?"

"We used to be close," implied that we are not close anymore. I stared at him unable to speak. I looked for my chocolate. It was in the other room. Was he being sincere or melodramatic? Did he really mean we fight so much now and we never fought before? Did he choose these potent words on purpose?

It's my job to say No. And if that means are relationship suffers in the short term, so be it! Is this how my Dad felt that summer of 1974? I wish I could wrap my arms around him and tell him I'm sorry. Instead all I can do is what he would want me to do, keep Kyle safe and get a good laugh out of life. I might even buy myself another box of chocolate.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Old Mother and The Girlfriend!

I feel so incredibly sorry for myself. Pathetic really. I stayed home from Lake Tahoe because Kyle had way too much homework to do. Also, I don't really love Tahoe. But just to make the story better I should say I sacrificed a trip to wondrous Lake Tahoe to stay home with my even more wondrous son. Tom called to tell me the snow was really beautiful. Will was jumping into a jacuzzi with his Grandpa and best friend. The jacuzzi sits on a ledge overlooking the lake. Snow is piled around the bubbling tub and I could almost imagine the steam rising above the hot, bubbly water.

I stayed at home all day feeling terribly sorry for Kyle who was working tirelessly on homework and SAT prep.

I collected his girlfriend at Berkeley and was back by 7:15. I had invited myself to have dinner with the two of them. I'm not sure they really wanted me, but I asked and they said yes. BUT, by the time they were ready to head out it was past 8:30 and I didn't really feel like being a really big third wheel. They did the obligatory, "Oh, please come!" But I could tell they were relieved.

I made myself some scrambled eggs and watched a really bad movie.

The kids came home about an hour and a half later and when they saw me spread out on the couch, they took it as a sign that it was OK for them to head for Kyle's lair. They didn't come out until it was time to take his girlfriend home and I finally went to bed feeling lonely and under-appreciated.

I woke up at two in the morning angry. I remember how left out my Mom felt in her later years. She never wanted to join us when we went out. She complained about feeling 'marginalized.' I didn't understand her feelings at the time. Last night, I came face to face with them. I recognized all the symptoms. I was trapped between worlds. I wanted to hang with the kids but it wasn't my place and I really wouldn't have fun with them. Getting together with my friends is more difficult now! One needs to put down a date on a calender months ahead just to secure a Saturday night. Besides most of my friends were in Tahoe with Tom and Will.

So, this morning I opened my eyes to a brand new day. I shifted in my bed and screamed aloud. Somewhere between fear, frustration, boredom, and anger I threw my back out....AGAIN. I can barely make it to the toilet without fits of excruciating pain. I feel so so so sorry for myself.

Writing the BLOG hurts. I'm forcing myself to write. If I don't, my self pitying might get ugly!

So, now Kyle will be forced to take care of his old mother. The sweet irony of life.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Co-Dependency to College Admissions!

I was going to write a lovely piece about The Artist's Way this rainy Saturday morning. But instead I have new inspiration.

I starting writing this BLOG at the end of summer 2009. Overwhelming feelings about the kids growing up and their impending departure from my home seized me. I knew it was time to get a life and also knew, in a way that only a mother knows, that the next few years would be trying times between my 16-year-old and myself.

This morning was one of those times.

Anyone reading these posts know that Kyle is obsessed with getting into a 'good' college. He has become an intellectual snob. Kyle also is just an ordinary kid. He works incredibly hard but he also enjoys his free time. A nice balance, in my opinion.

This afternoon he has a tutor coming to help him study for the math section of the SAT test coming up this March. He has homework for this session. He also has a huge pre-calculous assignment, an AP environmental studies project, and a history test. Already I know too much.
My parents never knew what tests or projects I had. Kyle just wanted to sort out his studying schedule out loud. I was his sounding board. My stomach turned.

He jumped on my bed at 10:30AM and declared that studying for the math portion of the SAT was a waste of time. I translated this in my brain. "I really don't want to do the math prep for the SAT because I have so much other homework and I want to hang with my girlfriend."

I stared at my husband who was trying to be practical and actually ended up being incredibly unhelpful. He didn't get what was going on at all.

Kyle wanted permission not to study for the exam. FINE with me I told him. I mentioned many great Universities he could go to without studying for the exam. I explained that he would get a great education and going to these schools wouldn't adversely effect his life in any way. I named these schools--good schools, fun schools, schools I would love to attend.

He stared at me. He knew that I was on to him.

Now he is in his room studying for the stupid SAT.

But, I realize that I am a co-dependent in his search for the 'perfect' college. So the little prince can get done everything he wants and still see his girlfriend I have offered to pick her up at Berkeley and drive her back home. This will save him two hours of driving. Time he can be studying.

It takes away two hours of my afternoon, but I want him to be happy and have everything he wants and needs so I'm willing to help him out. I think I am being a good parent but I'm really just a co-dependent college snob! I need a twelve step program. First I must admit my addiction to helping my son fulfill his dream to go to a 'good' University.

The first day of the rest of my life took a step back today. I was going to write all day. But instead, I will become carpool Mom--a job I never really liked.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What Happened to the Tears?

It was all so surreal. I wasn't sad at all. This came as such a shock to me. I mean I couldn't believe I was attending "mandatory" college night at Kyle's high school. And I wasn't the least bit sad. Hours earlier I had driven Will to the same school for his high school admission's interview. The message was clear, my kids were growing up! But I wasn't the least bit distraught.

I don't really know why. Perhaps the realization of countless college visits, registration deadlines for all sorts of ridiculous standardized testing, endless applications, and just an overall sea of deadlines and forms was so foreboding that the sadness was replaced by trepidation. Last night I couldn't sleep and I think it was partly because my mood surprised me.

I sat on Kyle's bed and helped him fill out a questionnaire about the kind of school he is looking for. When it came to geographical location and one of the electronic boxes optioned 'an hour away,' secretly I was hoping he would press this one. But, of course he selected, 'doesn't matter.' The strangest thing is that I think he put down the right answer. At this point in the process he has to keep his options opened. I just hope when the time comes, his 'RIGHT' school will be only an hour away.

Now, I must comment on young Master Will's interview yesterday. He surprised me by being a bit nervous. But when he left the interview with the head of admissions, my young son felt he had made a new friend. I love that about Will. He connected with this man and was delighted that he had the opportunity to meet him. I am so proud of him. I am especially proud because when the admission director asked him what he liked to do in his spare time, Will answered honestly. "I love to play video games!"

A Dreamer's Guide to Parenting

Will is going for his high school admission's interview today four hours before the official and mandatory "college night" for Kyle.

The reality. They are growing up.

The hope. I will survive.

The dream. I will still have one!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Friend on Facebook?????

When somebody 'friends' you on facebook are you really that person's friend? It's great to reconnect with old friends and stay in touch with new friends. But what about the person who is just using you as a networking tool?

I have no problem being part of a community where I can help books get read, friends find jobs, support noble causes, and even help friends find love. But where it starts to break down for me is when you think you really are a friend to someone on facebook only to find that you are just one of a thousand people this 'friend' is trying to accumulate.

It makes you feel bad. And it's confusing.

Kids are able to deal with all this so much better than us 'grown-ups.' I have trouble just updating my status. Does anyone really care that I just ate the best BLT? I even have trouble putting this BLOG out there. I feel like I am cramming myself and my work down other people's necks.

The psychology of facebook is fascinating to me. I love to follow those who are tireless self promoters. I applaud them. I envy the person who posts anything and immediately they get 20 responses and 44 thumbs up. They are the same people in high school that became student body president. They were not necessarily the most popular kid in school just one that isn't afraid of an audience.

My father would have been a facebook addict. He would have loved the attention, figured a way to use the platform for his purposes, been entertaining, and ultimately sold movie tickets.

I'm a coward. When I put something on facebook, I stare at it for a long time. Then I delete it. Then I put it back up.

What does that say about me? I have always been a bit terrified of really putting myself out there. I don't know why this BLOG feels so safe.

I am determined to see how my kids really use facebook. I know they warn me about being a 'stacker.' I don't want to be that. I know that they don't use e-mail, they just facebook their friends. Do they use it to promote anything other than parties?

Maybe I should have a party and invite my facebook friends. How many people do you think would actually show up? When kids do this, the police are usually called because too many kids show up and things quickly get out of control. Somehow I don't think that would be the case with us adults. Come to think of it I haven't been invited to 1 facebook party. Have you?

What, Me Worry?

I have that awful pit in my stomach today. I am fearful that something "bad" is just around the corner. I am certain that something profound is going to change the course of my life, and not for the better

I don't know if this is because things seem to be going good right now and that means something is going to rock my world and throw me off course.

Am I the only one who ever feels this way? Do I need to seek Psychiatric help immediately.

I visited a Psychiatrist about this issue many years ago. I sat in her New York office and told her that I truly loved life and appreciated every day. As a result I was afraid it would be taken away--that all my hopes and joys, dreams and delights would be smashed.

She told me I was morbid. I never went back to see her.

Now, in my old age I wonder if she was on to something. Am I morbid? Anyone who knows me would strongly disagree. But then why am I so fearful that the world will turn upside down tomorrow?

Look at the poor Haitian people--in 15 seconds they lost lives, limbs, loved ones. That's how it happens.

Unfortunately I have had experience in this arena. I lost a beloved father when I was 19, a best friend/sister when I was 35, and have been caring for a mother with Alzheimer's for the last 16 years. That's my entire family.

Now, I have a wonderful new family and I worry about them.

I concede that indeed I worry about worrying. But I have become very, very good at it. And I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Worrying can become a full time job.

I wish I could just worry about my wrinkles and my sagging eyelids but I can't. They seem so insignificant in the face of real worry.

I have more important things to worry about. Doesn't that sound ridiculous?

I recently read this cartoon. The Psychiatrist says to the patient, "You worry too much! It doesn't do any good!" The patient replies, " It does for me...95% of the things I worry about never happen."

That about sums up how I feel. And those five % of things scare the daylights out of me.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Do my dark glasses hide all?

So, I am OK with most of the wrinkle thing. I hate my old looking neck and I detest my droopy eyelids. I always look tired. People used to think I had pretty eyes. Now, they can barely see my eyes due to the over flowing fleshy folds that cover them up. Not to sound like Meryl Streep in It's Complicated, but I find myself holding my right eyelid up while I'm watching TV.

Having just returned from seeing It's Complicated I can totally relate to the scene in the plastic surgeon's office. I didn't know that to get it fixed I had to have a brow lift. That means cutting the top of my head open and pulling back the old skin. Throw up time. I would rather live the rest of my life looking tired.

Now I sit and watch the red carpet of the Golden Globes. Nobody ever looks tired in Hollywood. In fact, nobody ever gets old in Hollywood. They just get tan and de-wrinkled. I can't decide if I'm jealous or not!

I wonder if I wear really big fake jewelry if people won't notice my droopy eyelids? Can I pull off the magician's trick, bait and switch? Or perhaps I can do the Jack Nickolson--wear dark sunglasses all the time. I tend to wear sunglasses too often already and friends always ask me to take them off so they can see my eyes. Don't they get it? I don't want them to see my eyes.

I have tried to get really good eye brow waxes, hoping that will help my condition. It doesn't. I still look tired. I even tried sleep. I'm not tired! I just LOOK tired. A friend assures me if I eat better then my eye lid droop will lessen. I'm skeptical.

It's difficult facing a life time of looking tired.

Perhaps one day I will get tired of looking tired. I'm hoping that time will coincide with some breakthrough in plastic surgery techniques or alternative beauty aids--like skin glue to hold the fold up!

Gravity is a bitch!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Most Embarrassing Moment!

When I was 27-years-old I went on an interview at MONEY MAGAZINE for a job as a reporter. Anyone who knows me must think this in itself is funny since I am awful with money. But I was young and ambitious and had a really good contact at MONEY MAGAZINE.

I rode the elevator up to the 54th floor of the handsomely decorated offices. I had a meeting with the editor-in-chief!

I was ushered into a huge office and a lovely man wearing spectacles, suspenders, and a bow tie greeted me. He was really lovely.

He asked me a few questions and I answered them to the best of my ability. I don't recall the exact inquiries but I do remember using my hands quite a bit in my answers. I tend to get a bit animated, especially when I'm nervous.

And I was nervous. I had borrowed an expensive suit from my mother, a conservative skirt that hit below the knee with a matching jacket that was buttoned. Mom and I placed one of her broaches at the chest bone to secure the jacket properly.

Underneath I wore an old bra that probably didn't fit real well.

As my animated self divulged my career path to date, the dear man in the bow tie stared directly in my eyes.

I remember thinking, "Boy, he really makes good eye contact!"

Finally, the poor man looked at me and had to say, "You might want to look down."

I glanced down at my jacket which had come undone and I found myself sitting in the editor of MONEY MAGAZINE'S office with my boobs hanging out! The bra was really not very good.

I finished the interview as best I could and stepped out of the office. As soon as I was safely secured in the confines of the elevator I broke out into fits of hysterical laughter.

And NO I did not get the job. The thank you note I had to write was difficult. But even my 27-year-old boobs didn't impress him enough to hire me at MONEY.

I don't think I have laughed that hard at myself in a long time. I need to start doing more of that. Laughing that is, not showing off my boobs.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Mama's got her groove back.

Mama's strutting her fifty-two year old stuff.

Mama's is feeling good today.

Mama gets a text from her 16-year-old,

"I got a B- in Pre-Calc. I hate my life. Sign me up for UC Irvine"

Mama wants to scream a B- is great in Pre-Calculous and UC Irvine is a great school. But instead Mama feels bad for her little boy with the big dreams and the older girlfriend.

But, much to my surprise I got over it pretty fast. I went out to dinner with a fellow BLOGGER and had a darn good time.

Mothers of Brothers is a great BLOG. I knew that! But Emily Mendell is great company as well. I am a Mother of Brothers groupie as I am a mother of brothers myself.

I am a Mother of Brothers who is getting her groove back. That is until the next text!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The problem with Blogging is that I am convinced that I am boring everyone who might be reading my posts.

I feel like I ramble on about silly issues endlessly... "What's wrong with this chic? Get a life girlfriend!"

And it's all about my kids. I hate going to dinners or parties and everything is about the kids. It used to be who was reading, who was potty trained, who did something cute and adorable. Now it is about who is doing drugs, who is drinking, who is having sex. And of course the worst subject of all--where does your kid want to go to college.

All the type A Moms (who I envy) are beginning to think about summer plans already. When summer comes, Junior Year is over and the kids will have one year left at home. And most people around here know what they are doing this summer or more specifically what their kids will be doing.

I have only began to dream about a summer vacation. How I long to go with the family to Greece or Southern France. Not sure how we are going to afford it but I'm working on that. I will figure summer out when summer comes. I'm always late on these things. But, oh well.

For now I am focused on a new makeover for myself. I am sick of looking at my fifty plus self. I need a new hairdo! And some new makeup. I'm excited to do something wildly out of character. It's time. I gotta get the groove back. Mama's gotta get her groove back!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Old Dried Up Christmas Tree

Does anybody else hate taking the Christmas tree down? I had to get the dried out symbol of holiday past out of the house TODAY. We returned last night and early this morning I began the arduous chore of taking off each ornament and arranging them so that they could be put away with care.

Two things cross my mind. First, I am relieved in a bizarre way to get life back to normal. The house begins to look that much cleaner and so much bigger. Second, I can't help but wonder what fate has planned for me this year. It is an unhealthy obsession, but mine none the less. I mark beginnings and endings so profoundly. The first day when school begins and New Year's Day fill me with dread. They are just artificial indicators of the passage of time. But they are HUGE, in your face, tempting me to hope but reminding me that life is fragile and turns on a dime.

It's a beautiful day. The sun is shinning and I might take my overstuffed self on a kayak paddle, that is, if I can fit my overindulged holiday butt into the seat. I think that would be fun! That will make me feel alive!

Anyone want to join me?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Fortune Cookie Debate

Last night I opened a fortune cookie. It was New Year's Day so it seemed fitting. I usually don't even read my fortune; however, yesterday I did.

This fortune read. "You're friends will be there when you need them." I nice sentiment that scared the pants off me. Why will I need then? Is someone going to get sick? I panicked. I am so good at panicking.

I wasn't satisfied so I grabbed another fortune. This one had to be better! It had to negate the fears that now lurked in my neurotic mind.

I quickly ate the fortune cookie and read the inscription on the small white paper. "Welcome change when it comes."

Have the fortune cookie makers been reading my BLOG?

I have saved a fortune or two in my life when I have liked their sentiment.

I am not sure what to do with these. I am delighted to know friends will be there but I don't want to have to need them. I will try and welcome change. But if things are good now, why do I need to welcome something different.

Things are changing. This is evident. Perhaps there is some wisdom in these stupid fortune cookies after all. Welcome change. Welcome change. Welcome change.

I'll work on it!


I am sitting quietly on our sand colored faux suede sectional with Tom and Kyle. Will is off at a friend’s house and Gordon is obviously missing.

We sit together watching television. Suddenly Tom decides it’s time to pick up Will. He grabs his keys and is out the door.

Kyle quickly maneuvers the remote controls and turns on his brand new Xbox 360. He is ready to kill some Nazi Zombies. I look on sheepishly. His phone begins to vibrate. He takes the call and walks into his room for privacy.

I sit alone on my sand colored faux suede couch watching a still frame of World at War. I sit for a long time.

I have no idea how to turn off the Xbox 360 and replace it with some good old- fashioned television.

I am all alone staring blankly at the rest of my life.

My only choice--to become the world’s oldest woman to be competitive at killing Nazi zombies. Perhaps then I will stay relevant!

Friday, January 1, 2010


Three more hours and it’s a new year. How fitting that Kyle is not with us! He has begun to chart his own course.

No Internet service in Tahoe so I will post this late. I just needed to exhale and take a moment to accept the fact that life is changing.

Too bad it had to happen right smack in the middle of my change of life.

Change. I used to revel in it. I used to encourage it. I used to enjoy it. That is until I began my night sweats, mood fluctuations, and gas production. How utterly charming change can be!

Sap Doesn't Just Come From Trees

For the last sixteen years I have spent New Years with Kyle. This is the first year he will not spend it with us.

Since his birth I haven’t gone to a party or out to dinner without the kids on New Years Eve.

“No way!” I used to say to Tom. “I want to celebrate the New Year with the family.” Tom indulged me.

Now, it seems Kyle would rather mark the celebration with his friends.

He should. I want him to. He will have a much better time.

But as I just kissed him good-bye and bid him adieux I cried. I couldn’t help myself.

Another ridiculous display of emotion. Another clear indicator of the passage of time.

I know this is all my fault. I should have spent a least a few New Years just with Tom. But no. I couldn’t. Did I understand at some level that the years would fly by and soon enough the kids would not want to spend time with us anymore? Or was I trying to teach the kids the importance of family?

Come on. Let’s be honest. Did I really know that this day was coming and I just didn’t want to make it that easy for them?

“Look I spent all these years celebrating with you ….”

Could I be this selfish and manipulative? The answer is clearly yes. Did I do it intentionally? I’m really not sure. But I did it. And the laughs on me.

I am fully aware that I am indeed the luckiest person in the world to know that Tom still wants to spend New Years with me. At least I think he does. HMMMMM?

Seaweed and Chocolate

I am sitting on a windowsill looking out over snowing Lake Tahoe. I hear my kids and my husband getting ready for a day of skiing and hanging out with friends.

I will be left alone in the rambling ski house of my wonderful Mother and Father-in-law.

Tom and Will are skiing in the adaptive ski program. Kyle will wait for his friends at yet another ski resort and then spend New Years Eve with them.

I will wait for Tom and Will to return and then have a 6:30PM dinner tonight celebrating New Years Eve.

I am starting to feel old. Real old.

When I was 16-years-old I wrote a poem. I just remembered it. How fitting!

“I am a piece of seaweed lying on a desolate beach


For the tide to take me to a new beginning and a new end.”

What was I thinking all those years ago. It seems so apt for this particular moment in time.

So I write. And wait. And wonder where the tide will take me. Am I too old for new beginnings? Should I just be waiting for the same old end?

A happy and healthy New Years to all. A new year filled with possibilities, with hopes and dreams.