Four Legs are Better Than Two...

... Because unlike people (especially toddlers) dogs welcome all attention, even if it's the kind of attention that requires being smothered with pillows and kissed on the jowls.

*Note the extreme book/puzzle collection all over the floor/couch. It didn't take long for Archer to take over my parent's house as well.


Quiet Cricket

Archer and I have been spending a lot of time at my parent's house. It's been pretty back and forth for us the last two weeks and I thank Heyzues my parents are so close. It helps. Especially when everything decides to happen all at once.

This has been one of the most emotional rollercoaster-ing months of my life. There has been so much going on, most of which I've blogged about and I feel like my head is about to explode most days. I'm back and forth between elated, frustrated, depressed and totally overwhelmed. I stare at the computer screen. And the wall. And my pillow-case, counting stains.

In between births and deaths and weddings and first-words and anniversaries and book-deals, Archer has decided to take up reading. He no longer waits until bath time to read One Fish, Two Fish. In fact, he could care less about bath books anymore. Dude. Mom. Soooo last year.

And it feels like only yesterday Archer was sitting in my lap, in the shower, reading bath books and peeing on my feet.

Bath-time is now just for bathing. And afternoons/mornings and evenings before bed are for reading. EXCEPT, only one book will do: The Very Quiet Cricket by: Eric Carle.

But nothing happened. Not a sound...

My father (who, if you are not familiar, is one of the greatest fathers/grandfathers of all time) loves to read books.

Growing up, I'd carry a stack of my favorite books to bed with me and we'd read them together. One by one. My dad was always patient with me. He would answer every question I had about every character and when the stories got old and boring, he would make up new ones. With new characters. Always silly.

His voice would change according to the character he was reading and his eyebrows never stopped dancing above his eyes like fuzzy-caterpillars.

Reading with my dad was my favorite time of the day.

Several times in the last couple of weeks, I have come home to my parent's house to find my father reading to Archer. The exact same way he used to read to me. And it makes me all teary-eyed and full of joy. Because that's my Daddy. And he gets to do all of the things he loved to do with me, now, with Archer.

But nothing happened. Not a sound...

Over and over my father would read. A hundred thousand times with as much enthusiasm as the first time. And Archer listened, quietly.

When the book closed, Archer would open it again.

I'm pretty sure I would get annoyed after, probably, the 20th time reading the book. "Come on, dude! Something else! PLEASE!" But my dad is a patient dude. And for an entire week... every night... over and over... he would read to him:

But nothing happened. Not a sound...

No more reading in the shower. Archer is on to bigger and better. Books and first-words and bonding with Grandpa. And holyshit. I can barely take it all in without choking on my heart.

So much has happened. So much is going on. I've been trying to catch my breath. Just give me a minute. I'll be right there. Hold on.

But watching them together has been like stopping to smell the roses. Slow down. Breathe. Calm down. Enjoy...

Then he rubbed his wings together one more time. And this time...

There is a lot to be said for patience. It's what The Very Quiet Cricket is about. And being a parent. And a grandparent. It's about waiting until the time is right. To make a sound. It's about being able to step away from the complications of life to enjoy the simple moments. Which I am making an effort to do.

... he chirped the most beautiful sound that she had every heard.

Because the greatest joys are always in the smallest things. Like bedtime stories that never end and fuzzy-caterpillar eyebrows that can't stop dancing.


HostSecret Week III


Straight From the Bottle Recaps

Hit Him and He'll Hit You Back: Archer has his own back. Thank God.
And Then He Spoke English: Helicopter. The most bad-assest first-word of all time...



Wear The Button: Moms (And Dads) Against War

Peter over at Daysitter introduced me to Another Mother For Peace, an anti-war organization since 1967.

You can find out more about AMFP, here.

I thought it would be cool to create a button to wear on my blog sidebar and am passing it on to all y'all in case you are interested in wearing it, too.

Being anti-war is not anti-American, even if those dickfarms in the White House want us to believe otherwise.

Edited (again) to add... You can go here and copy the html from the title. Email me with questions. Thanks!

Feel free to re-post and spread the word. Thanks much.


Photo of the Week


Tell The Story Until It Comes True

All of my life I've wanted to write books. Since I was three-years old. It was what I did. It was the only thing that made me feel worth something. Writing is what always defined me. My pulse depended on the words that became sentences that became stories that became my life. My dolls were my characters. My imaginary friends were heroes and heroines, villains as well.

I have always been a writer, even before I was publishing my angst-ridden poetry on the notorious pages of Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul. I was always a memoirist, even before I was blogging at The (now defunct) Pointy Toe Shoe Factory and now, here at GGC. I have stacks of diaries in my closet, under my shoes. In wooden boxes that say "do not open," my secrets are bound tight with shoelaces and rubber-bands.

I have written two novels. One book of short stories and thousands of pages of prose. I write every day because I have no choice. Writing has kept me sane. Balanced. Up at night, scribbling notes and posting them on the floor beside my bedstand. So I don't forget a line or an idea or a phrase come morning. So my brain doesn't melt in my sleep and leave me thoughtless. So I can remember to use it. Somehow.

Always a pen and paper in my pocket. Always listening in on conversations. Reading people. Judging people. Trying to understand who they are. And who I am as the spectator. The eavesdropper. The spy.

I based the two main characters of my finished novel, "The Envelope" on the man who played guitar on Hollywood Blvd and the woman who danced across the floorboards of my dreams. I set five pages a day as my goal, until I finished a first draft. And a second. And a third...

Then I got pregnant. And the pages fell to the floor and I left them there for several days before I knew what I was going to do. About my pregnancy. About my book. About writing every day and whether I would have the time or the inspiration, because I knew that my days of spending hours on subways spying on strangers, were over. I knew that I could not be a spy or a novelist with a baby. I didn't even know how I would write. Or what about:

"When I found out I was pregnant, I had a choice to make. Start a family or focus on my career. Then I decided I would do both. Or at least, try. Because I didn't want to give anything up. Because I was convinced I didn't have to. Because why should I? Because I was in love with Archer long before he had a name and a face and fingers. Because there was nothing that could stop me from doing what I wanted to do my whole life. Something I believed I could do."

So I picked the pages off the floor and got back to work. And I told myself that I would have to finish before Archer was born. But I never did. Not until months ago when I turned in my final draft, and immediately started work on a new novel.

I didn't sell The Envelope. But that doesn't mean I won't someday. I believe in the story and the work and my characters, who I fell in love with as I wrote them. With all of my heart I believe. And I think someday, someone else will, too.

But clearly it is not their time. And yet, it has suddenly become mine.

All these months of writing about Archer and our adventures has lead to this: My first book deal, with the awesome ladies at Seal Press. My adventures with Archer in print, bound up tidily as a tangible object. With pages you can stain and tear and dog-ear when you can't find your bookmark.

The book will be much like this blog. My first two years as a mother. In Los Angeles. Without rules or regulations or books telling me how to do or what way to do it. Balancing dreams with the reality. Telling the story. The whole truth. Pimples and puke and all.

The truth is, no matter what I am writing about, I have found my muse in Archer. The way he looks at the world. And me. I am a better person because of him. I am better writer because of him. I am more complicated and confused and interested and interesting because of him:

"I am not and never will be defined by motherhood, but I will wholeheartedly admit that motherhood has inspired and enabled me to define myself."

And all of the people that thought I was making the wrong decision, sacrificing my career to be a mother. All of the people who have been told they cannot do both. All of the dreamers who stay faithful to their realities, I have this to say:

It's all bullshit. Believe in proving everyone wrong. Believe in yourself. In your story. Keeping a dream journal beside your bed so you can wake up, read the pages and go on and make them come true.


Mystic Tan: A Haiku(s)

Like a gas chamber
Spraying tanning stuff on me
Gagging and choking

Five minutes later
I'm smelling like chemicals
Can't find my panties

Five more hours pass
I'm like an orange leper
(Don't look at my feet)

Sucks to be this white
But "Mystic" is not for me.
In fact it's torture.


Welcome, Anushka Rose!

Early this morning, (Spain time) Anushka Rose Urbietta came into the world. Archer's brand new second cousin weighed in at 6 lbs and is exactly 20-months his junior.

We are thrilled. FINALLY a familial playmate! If only San Sebastian wasn't such a commute.

I am overwhelmed with all of the good news these days. It's strange and wonderful how once again, death and life happen together.

I digress... Congratulations to Yvette and Ivan on baby Anushka. We can't wait to see you all in April!


GGC & Fam

When it Happens

Somewhere down the line in every relationship, it happens. You go from holding in your farts to farting in each other's faces. From wearing makeup to bed to not wearing makeup at all. From talking dirty in bed, to really talking dirty:

"Archer pooped the BIGGEST poop, today, dude. It looked like a dinosaur egg!"...
Some call this laziness. I call it intimacy. Being real. Not being afraid of being an idiosyncratic mess because lord knows, we are all flawed as fuck.

I didn't know what to expect from a marriage, and now, two years later, I am starting to realize what it's all about: Being real.

The days of courtship and make-out sessions have been replaced with the comfort of zit-cream and picking each other's scabs. Push-up bras have been retired. Sexy lingerie is now used as a childproofing device. Because it doesn't matter anymore. No fluff. No fakery. No trying to cover blemishes with concealer. Or hiding tears.

Marriage is about the half-eaten cake in the fridge,"I made it for you, but then I got hungry." It's about the late-night snack runs, even if they're the wrong kind of snacks. It's about trying. And messing up. And falling down. And getting up. And making up.

And yet sometimes I mourn the days of romance. (I'm a woman. I can't help it.) And flowers at the door. And showers of compliments and kisses. And weekend getaways and spontaneous sex-a-thons. Because it's true what they say... All of that stuff does change. When you get married. When you have a baby. When you grow up. And yet... How much has really changed? I look at us then and I wonder...

Sometimes it's hard to give up roses. But a marriage isn't about genetic perfection, the sweet fragrance we call, "romance". Marriage is about the flowers that grow wild in the sidewalk cracks. Often disguised as weeds and equally hard to manage. Blooming year round. Dandelions with wishes to blow against the wind. (If you believe.)

And I do. I believe. Even if I kick the sidewalk sometimes.

Because I am willing to trade all of that in for a night of stinky feet and cookie crumbs in bed. And that's love, man. Smelling each other's less-than-pleasant fumes and giggling in bed until 4am. Gaining weight. Getting older. None of that matters. Who cares? It's just me.

Strip away the mask. Remove the black lace panty set. The makeup. The various deoderizers.

Marriage is about the wonderful stink. The morning after. Hungover and bloated. Without makeup.

Being able to bend over without sucking in stomach fat, or covering cellulite. Being real.

And so today we celebrate two years of burping, farting, wrestling, wise-cracking, inside-joke making, eye-rolling, dish-breaking, music-blasting, ass-slapping, name-calling, cheek-pinching marriage.

Gone are the roses, perhaps. But the dandelions are here to stay, quietly growing in the cracks.

Happy Anniversary, Halston-bot. I love you.


HostSecret: Week II


Straight From the Bottle Recaps

We Used To Call it Fashionably Late
: But now we just call it, "being the parent of a toddler"
Archer's First Way-Older Girlfriend: Boy meets girl. Mom can't handle the truth.
ASL: Archer as a Second Language (includes a new Archerfilm in shitty-as-usual quality)


I also want to say congratulations to Kristen of Motherhood Uncensored fame, on her new baby boy, Drew Douglas. Mazel Tov, mama!


C'est La Vie

I wanted to quickly bring the lights up. Because after my last post and the stillness these last couple of days, there is new reason to dress up and be among friends.

Tomorrow one of my best friends gets married. And I am full of happiness for her and her husband-to-be. And I am excited to be a part of her day (and also excited that my gown is long and beautiful and hides most of my uneven and totally shitty spray-on tan... P.S. A Mystic Tan Haiku will follow in the upcoming days, I assure you.)

I have no idea what the meaning of life is or why the hell we're here, bumping into each other, falling in love, dying unexpectedly, learning, healing, puking from stomach flu, dancing on tables drunk. But it is clear to me, time and time again, that happiness and healing depends on good friends. And family. And when it comes to support and love and good people, I am a cazillionare. And sometimes it takes emotionally overwhelming weeks to really see that.

For the record I'd take a life of highs and lows over (a life of) mediums any old day.

Because finding the balance is what we are all trying to do. In love and parenthood and marriage and ourselves. And everything else that doesn't fall into one of those categories.

And so black dresses get dropped off at the dry cleaners to make way for white gowns. And although the ones we love, who have passed far too soon, will never be forgotten, neither will the overwhelming need and want to move on. To get back in the game. To be okay. To dance with best friends. In garden-weddings, under leafless trees and stars a trillion miles away.

And tomorrow we will. Tripping and punch-drunk in our golden shoes and brown matching gowns. With drinks in our hands and laughter shared. In false eyelashes, with real friends.

And so I tip my glass to those both here and passed on, the angels and the demons and the ghosts of yesterday.

To tomorrow!

Thankful to be alive.

To friendship!

To witness one of my favorite women in the world marry her perfect match, as her beautiful daughter trips down the isle before us.

To love!

To the coming together of old and new friends, and the strangers, too, if they promise to join me on the dance floor.

To life!

... A Life which is fucked-up and unfair and beautiful and blessed. Totally and completely blessed.



On Death... Again

I realize I have been blogging very often of death. But for some reason... And there is never a proper reason. Tragedy. Again. Same group of friends. Again. Is this some kind of joke?

I don't want to lump Josh's untimely passing with the friend that passed several weeks ago. It's just very hard when it happens again. So soon after. The same gathering of people, the same black dresses and suits.

"How have you been since your sister died?

"There are good days and then there are bad."

"When was the last time I saw you guys?"

"At the last funeral..."

I feel like I'm watching faces fade from a photograph. Like in Back to the Future where the names keep disappearing from the paper. Or the faces from the photographs. Can lightning strike the same place twice? They say, not. And yet time and time again. Funerals. So many fucking funerals.

It makes me angry. At the teenage driver who was showing off for his girlfriend. Why!? 85 mph in a 35? WHY? WHAT THE FUCK? I want to punch somebody in the face. And yet... In High School I happened to witness a terrible car accident. The death of a friend. I knew the driver who walked away. He was driving recklessly, as sixteen-year-olds usually do. He survived without a scratch. I knew the boy who wasn't so lucky. He died instantly. His parents showed up. The officers put a sheet over the car. I stood and watched a dozen worlds collapse. Change. For the boy's family that was killed. For the boy who had survived and his family. No one walks away from an accident unscathed. I don't care what anybody says.

It's hard not to blame somebody. Such a waste. A mistake. And yet, not once was it mentioned: the accident. There was standing room only in the church. All of us together again. Like a High School Reunion. Every few months we meet here like this. As our friends pass, we join hands. And we drink. And we mourn. And we catch-up.

It's a tragedy and there is nothing else I can say. I'm heartbroken for Josh's family and his brother, Spencer. For his parents and dear friends. For every photo that flashed over the projector at the service was of the two of them. As babies. And as boys. Men. And then.... Fade to black. For his girlfriend. Who had asked him to pick her up something at the store, which he did. And then...

No. It shouldn't have happened.

But it never should. Sixteen-year-olds shouldn't drive so fast. Tell your children not to drive so fast. And yet, I never listened to my parents either...

I'm too exhausted to wax poetic about life being ephemeral. About the knot in my throat and the hole in my heart and how fucked up it is, how helpless, watching my hometown crew mourn an amazing man and great friend. Another amazing man and great friend. Josh was one of the kindest dudes around. He was adored and will be missed. Remembered always. I just wish there was something I could say. Something with meaning. But sometimes it's hard to find meaning in landmines. And wrong-place wrong-time scenarios.

Sometimes, with death all around and sickness and tears, and holding of the same friends, over and over again, I just want to punch death in the face. Because it takes from us, here on earth, the wrong people.

All I know is that Josh was not supposed to go anywhere but out for a gallon of water. And life is unfair sometimes.


Archervision Presents: A Boy And His Dragons

As many of you know we have two dogs. Dogs we call Dragons in the GGC household. (We're very Fantasy/D&D in that way.) Archer's world revolves around them. Always has.

Pretty much since the day we brought him home from the hospital Cooper and Zadie have decided he would be their puppy. Cooper is totally cool with Archer using him as his own personal bench and on numerous occasions Archer has fallen asleep beside Zadie in her dog bed, his arms wrapped around her freckled neck.

I've been meaning to post some of the many mini-films I have collected over the months, of Archer and his "harrier siblings". I have finally figured out how to compress files for upload. (I'm a little behind on the tech stuff. Forgive me.)

And so, I present the first ever Archer Film Festival with sound. And some stills (above). If these aren't proof that children and dogs aren't meant for each other than I don't know what is:

Tired of the sound of my voice? This giggle will more than make up for it:

No animals were harmed in the making of these videos. That's not to say that Coop and Z don't put up with a lot of shit from their not-quite-as-hairy-brother, but hey! Isn't that what siblinghood is all about?


He Hate Me: A Spiked Heel Joint

Let me tell you a little story about a boy who met a girl one sunny May 23rd in 2005, after entering the world through her torn-up vagoogle, along with about thirty gallons of blood and a placenta that resembled a dead Man-O-War.

After six weeks of Pre-Eclampsia Hell, that included a 65 lb weight gain and a nose that grew out of control until it ate her entire face, they met one another.

And the overgrown feet and huge numb titties and the swollen everything and the fact that she couldn't poop for weeks did not matter because she had her little gorgeous bundle of perfection in her arms.

Fast forward to nineteen-months later, and a cool, crisp morning in January when suddenly the boy's mad love for the girl turned into complete and utter disdain. (Actually Hate would be a more suitable word.) Suddenly, out of the blue, the boy wanted nothing to do with the girl and her "wack-ass bullshit". The boy wanted his daddy. ONLY DADDY! And when daddy wasn't there? He had tantrums and smacked the girl in the face...

And if he could speak he would say, "Bitch? Please."

And if the girl wasn't completely in love with his punk-ass self she might throw her hands in the air and tell him to "find his own way home" before leaving him in the Trader Joe's parking lot.

The girl didn't mean to front. It was just that, she was so used to being the love of the little boy's life. The first person he ran to when he bumped his head. The one he kissed sweetly every morning.

It was hard for her to get used to being the "other" parent... *

And so? She threw herself in front of the Metro bus. The end.


*OH GOD. Can it be? I have become the "OTHER" parent. BUT I'M YOUR MOMMY!

It wasn't supposed to happen like this!

1. I retired my favorite shoes for
you! (So much for "spiked heel joint," right? Because I cannot carry you around in heels. It hurts.)

2. I've resorted to eating
your regurgitated Cheerios! (Because usually there is no other place to put them besides my mouth.)

3. I tore my Vagoogoogledotcom! FOR
YOU! (And that thing itches like a mo-fo until it heals, man.) And now it's all about the daddy? The let's-go-swimming-in-the-dog-water-bowl daddy?

Fine then. I see how it is. Traitor.

GGC Presents: HostSecret

Every week, GGC will host random secrets here on her blog. Sometimes they will make you laugh, cry or want to shoot your veins full of Grade A heroin. On occasion you might nod your head and say, "yes! Me too! YES!" because you happen to also have a Big Bird fetish. Or a crush on the Kratt brothers.

And now your host(ess) will stop talking about herself in the third-person because it's making her feel uncomfortable.

Stay tuned for weekly secrets and the occasional lie* or two thrown in the mix...


Straight From the Bottle Recaps:

-To Live and Cry in L.A.:
Hollywood isn't exactly THE DESTINATION to raise children...
-Don't Call Him Daughter: Because he clearly is a BOY. Duh!
-Mama Loves Disco: We are sooooo with the DJ, it's not even funny


*Am I the only person who believes many of these so-called secrets, are actually total lies? So people can make themselves feel more interesting? Or am I just being cynical?

I imagine if I were to send something in to PostSecret I would want to make up something GOOOOOOD. Something that really made people say "fuuuuuck" like for instance:
Once I killed this random bum named Gary and buried him in my backyard. And I just want to say... I'm so sorry, Gary. I'm so very, very sorry.
...Or something equally as movie-of-the-week worthy and nuts.

Don't get me wrong. For the most part I think PostSecret is a fascinating portrayal and collection of emotionally buried bones. I just wonder how much of it is true.


People in My Neighborhood

I just wanted to thank everyone for coming out of hiding and saying hello. It is such a treat for me to hear all of your stories, even though none of you have spinner reems on your stroller(s), bike(s) or etc. (I don't either, but I fantasize...) It makes the world seem so small and gives me such joy and gratitude to have a place in this community and your days. I want to hug and high-five every one of you. Some day, perhaps?

Thank you, ladies and gentledudes. Thanks for the love. You've made my week.


Step Out of The Shadows, Ye Readers!

This week is National De-lurking week, or in other words, "Say Something in the Comments Because Bloggers Like To Know Who's Out There Because Sometimes It Feels Like We're Writing To An Invisible Audience. Please?"

It would be super-awesome to hear from all y'all. Where are you calling from? What are you wearing? Favorite vegetable? What kind of Stroller do you drive? How phat are your reems? Do you have spinners?*

Looking forward to hearing from you ALL...


*If you have spinners on your stroller please email me with your AIM screen name so we can chat later.

Alternadad Rocks the Neighborhood

I first met Neal Pollack in Brooklyn, 2002. He was on tour with his band, The Neal Pollack Invasion promoting his new book, Never Mind the Pollacks. I was a huge fan of The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature after stealing my then boyfriend's copy and reading it cover to cover in the bathroom one afternoon. (If that isn't a golden review, I don't know what is.) I followed his career for years before we met through a friend who was touring with ...Invasion as his lead guitarist.

Neal was cool and interesting and kind of drunk. And I was, in typical fashion, trying to impress him and failing miserably. Choking on made-up musical references and misinformed politics. Regardless, we became friends. I would see him on occasion when he came out west to Los Angeles, and although I was carrying Archer the last time we saw one another, I didn't know it yet.

Neal has since moved from Austin to Los Angeles with his wife, Regina and son, Elijah and yesterday, Neal Pollack's new book, Alternadad hit shelves with a vengeance. Last night I attended Neal's book opening where I got my signed copy. And I have been sitting here (not on the toilet, I swear) reading it ever since.

For the first time in history, our generation is one that celebrates fatherhood in its own words. It isn't just about the moms anymore. Fathers are home with the kids. Writing beautiful, honest and heartbreakingly humorous things about their sons and daughters. About how it is to be a parent. To be a Dad.

And it's groundbreaking. And refreshing. And inspiring. And this community would not be what it is without them. The men. The daddies. Or Dads. The fathers. I would not be who I am without them. Inspiring me with their points-of-view. Making me laugh and cry. Being my friend.

Clearly fathers are more involved in their children's lives than ever before.

Neal's Alternadad is something we can all relate to, as mothers and fathers who love our children. As men and women who are trying to maintain our identities. As writers and artists and working people who have children but also have a life without them. Because that's okay. It's okay to go out once in a while. To take a day. To have alone time.

Our children are our heroes. Look around at all of the parent blogs and sites and communities and it's obvious-- we are inspired by our children. By parenting. By becoming moms and dads.

is as Neal calls it, "A love letter to his son, Elijah." A humorous tale of father and son, two lost boys in war paint with air-guitars cocked. But more universally, Alternadad is the celebration of the oddities of parenthood, the mistakes and the triumphs and the heartbreak and poop of it all.

Buy your copy of Alternadad here and congratulations, Neal.


I am honored to be joining Neal Pollack at the upcoming SXSWInteractive Festival in Austin, Texas (March 9-13th) where I will be interviewing Mr. P and discussing the web-world of parenting. And books. And blogs. And other stuff that will be really interesting and important. Come and check us out if you are planning on attending.

Los Angeles and Me

I just posted something over at Straight From the Bottle. Something that I cannot stop thinking about. My city. This city. Archer's city. The city I defend and bash and love and hate and want to leave. The city that I came to be somebody. The place that has made me. Trained me. Fucked me. Broke my heart. Changed my life. Blessed me:

I am here. In Los Angeles. Where palm trees are carefully placed and planted and we are made to think they grow wild.

After I posted this, I thought maybe I should have posted it here. Because this is my personal blog and this is where everything started. And if it wasn't for this blog, I wouldn't be standing on the threshold of new opportunity. I wouldn't believe in stupid cliches and everything happens for a reason. I believe it now. That I was meant to move here. To quit college and write, even when everyone insisted it was the wrong decision. A bad decision.

Hollywood is not exactly the place people bring their families to settle down. And like everyone else who ended up here in this twisted Mecca of addiction and narcissism, I came here for a dream. I came here to drop out of film school and try to be somebody...

When I found out I was pregnant, I had a choice to make. Start a family or focus on my career. Then I decided I would do both. Or at least, try. Because I didn't want to give anything up. Because I was convinced I didn't have to. Because why should I? Because I was in love with Archer long before he had a name and a face and fingers. Because there was nothing that could stop me from doing what I wanted to do my whole life. Something I believed I could do.

And no, Los Angeles is no place to raise a family. But I don't know that anywhere really is. The world is far too big and life is far too short and there are monsters under the beds in every household.

The truth is, It all happened here. In Los Angeles. Where I moved because I had a dream. Because at eighteen, I thought that Los Angeles was for people like me. People who wanted to make something happen. People who's livelihood depended on it. People who worked all night and then went for days without sleep. Without fear. Delusional as all hell, but passionate.

We are HERE. And for now HERE is Los Angeles, and after seven years of working and loving and hating and trying and submitting and needing and doing and dreaming:

Something has happened. Because of Los Angeles. Because of Archer. Because of HERE. And so I remove my hat and quietly thank the palm trees. And the sign. And the Sunset Strip. And all of the things that have brought me here...

And to my knees.


GGC Q Without the A (Because There is No A In WTF)

The following questions were collected over the weekend from some very puzzled googlers. At the risk of getting in way over my head I'm not going to even begin to try to answer. BUT I do know that the answer to number 5 is an astounding YES! (I rubbed mine in 8th grade and VOILA!)

1. How do I trick my girl into a threesome?

2. Where to Bury my Placenta?

3. How do I ask someone to insert my tampon?

4. How do I become a man?

5. If I rub my boobs will they grow?

Dungeons and Dragons on NYE. What? Everybody's doing it. Psh.
The Truth about Dads and Moms: Dads make the mess. Moms clean the mess up. Any questions?
Mommy & Me is Not For Me: More on Mommy & Me class being my own personal hell.


Depth of Field

The clouds recede as we enter the park and Archer quickly hides between my legs and covers his ears at first sight of playing children. After several moments in a ball at my feet, he untangles himself from my shoelace and takes my hand. We walk together toward the jungle gym and every few seconds Archer looks back over his shoulder to make sure we aren't being followed.
We wander through the playground, toward the outskirts. Where the fences separate grassy hills from paved streets. Away from the other children. And other people. Until we are alone.

Every time we take a trip to the park, to make an effort to socialize we end up failing each other.

Some children don't fit in.I didn't. Neither did my brother or my sister or my parents when they were little people. And Archer is certainly different from other children. Some children don't fit in. Some parents don't fit in, either.

I follow Archer out of the playground and to the shady place behind the tree and I watch events unfold from a distance. Archer does too. We sit and we watch and Archer babbles (in his own language that I am slowly learning to understand) and I babble back and feel invisible. In a good way. In a bad way. Invisible. I look out at the mothers, folded neatly beside each other on wooden benches, watching their children throw sand and climb the monkey bars. Archer watches the children run around him in circles and he pulls his fingers from mine and puts his hands over his eyes. He is hiding. I understand.

The other day, when Archer and I crashed a Mommy & Me Holiday Party at the gym, I had a panic attack. Who has a panic attack at a Mommy & Me Holiday Party? I did. Major. I hated it in there. I couldn't breathe with all those Percocet-tweaked voices singing ROWROWROOOOWYOURBOAT with glazed eyes and French manicures, their children bumping into one another, all dressed in the same Gap kids hoodies. In the same Ladybug Robeez. In the sameeverythingsamesamesame.

I started to shake, and pretty soon I couldn't breathe. Archer turned around in my lap to face me. His eyes went wide before jumping out of my lap and running to the glass window, banging and scratching and flapping his arms like a caged bird.

We left immediately, tripping over crossed legs and hand puppets on our way out the door. I caught my breath in the hallway and we quickly made our way to the car where I gathered myself and drove home.

I only get anxiety attacks when I feel claustrophobic. In a stalled subway or an old elevator. In a controlling relationship. In an argument I cannot win. In a depression I cannot escape, but in that room at the gym, surrounded by homemade Christmas cookies and Mommies and Daddies and Nannies and songs about spiders down the spout I felt lost. And alone. And trapped. Like I was going to have a heart attack and die and everyone would know that my final moment in life was sitting in a stupid room singing that stupid fucking song about the spider who's livelihood depends on being washed down the drain, drying off and climbing back up the spout. And for what? Why? Doesn't he know? Down will come the rain to wash the spider out! It doesn't change. It's always the same story. Why does he keep coming back for more?

"I do not want to be like that. Like her... Or the spider. Or the Gap sweatshirt with its zillions of Gap sweatshirt brothers and sisters" I think to myself. Because it's scary. How suddenly everyone shares a brain. Becomes the same.

Repeat after me! And no one even knows what they are saying. Or singing. And everyone's faces start to look the same.

Sometimes when I look at something or someone, all I can see is what surrounds them. All I can see is the grass and the sand and the playground. Their faces have blurred and blended and I cannot focus on their features. My depth of field is off. Maybe Archer's is too. Maybe he inherited my inability to sit neatly on a bench or play quietly with the other boys and girls. Maybe he just wants to watch. And think. Maybe he doesn't want to talk to anyone. Maybe he speaks his own language because he enjoys being in his own world. And so do I. Even if people hate me for it.

"Earth to Rebecca. Come in, Rebecca."

"Earth to Archer. Archer? ARCHHHEEEER?"

"It might be hard for a boy like that to make friends," people tell me.

It might be hard for a girl like me to make friends, too. REAL friends. The kind with flesh and blood and hair who do not disappear or blur or get lost.

If Archer would rather play in the corner and talk to the wall, I cannot blame him, or turn him toward the children. I too feel more myself in the corner sometimes. And seriously? When no one's looking? I'm talking to the wall, too.

"He's special."

"He's different."

"...Not like other children."

And why should he be? Why should any of us want that of our little ones? Of ourselves? How is that one suddenly becomes a mother and has to trade it all in? Or even worse, hide the fact that she has?

"I need a drink," I hear them say. As if to convince themselves they are still wild. Buttoned up to the neck. Pour a stiff one. I've got kids. Mamma needs a Martini. Or a Mai Tai. Or something to take the edge off. But there is no edge. The edge has been sanded down and remains a smooth curve, polished and covered up with floral wallpaper from Bed, Bath and Beyond.

How about a mind? How about REAL thoughts? How about knowing something else beside the lyrics to Wheels on the Bus? How about redefining what it is to be a mother? What it is to be a woman? What it is to be?

To be or not to be in the back of the bus, that is the question. To be or not to be in a fold-out chair in the sand with a cold beer and a stack of gossip magazines Because I just don't have time to read a real book right now. What does it mean to be social? As a parent? As a child? What does it mean to be a misfit? A loner? "Special"?

Every day I look at Archer and am able to better understand myself. And I wonder if perhaps his idiosyncrasies are as much my own. His hyper- sensitivity to his surroundings. His apprehension. The way he hides when he is unable to respond.

Because sometimes when I look at Archer I see my own lost truths, bold as the stripes in his eyes.

When we left the park today, I had barely said a word to anybody. A few mumbles to Archer in his language. A couple of head nods, a smile, and that was all. The clouds had gone and the sun was out and Archer grabbed for my sunglasses to put them over his eyes.

And when I finally got the car packed up and started the engine, I pulled the visor shade down to block the sun. And the mirror was open and there I was, my face completely out of focus. My eyes and nose blurred, my mouth smeared across my chin.

Maybe it was the sun in my eyes or the fact that I left my glasses at home, but suddenly, there I wasn't.

The clouds return as we pull out of the parking lot and I feel for my face to make sure everything's still there- that I haven't gone crazy. After several moments of adjusting the visor mirror, I refocus and start to recognize myself again. But just in case, I look back over my shoulder to make sure we aren't being followed.

And we drive through the back streets toward home. Where iron gates separate unmanaged yards from managed ones. Away from the other children. And other people. Until we are alone.


Things That Go Bump In The Night

I have learned very quickly that the easiest way to find children Archer's age is to count the bruises on their faces. Or the bumps. Or the scratches or the band-aids or the rashes or the bee-stings or the rusty nails sticking out of their foreheads.

Before Archer, I just though every parent was abusive. All of the children running rampant in the streets with bruises and scratch marks down their necks, their parents stressed out and angry. It seemed fishy to me, all the local children, bruised and broken.

So I accept my karma and smile sweetly at every person who gasps in horror when Archer comes running down the street, bruised and bloody with scratch-marks and goose-eggs decorating his face like a Christmas tree.

Today, Archer came face to face with a little-girl exactly his age with the same yellow bruise in the same spot on her forehead. It was a match made in toddler heaven and her Dad and I watched as they went running down the sidewalk, tripping and falling and bleeding all over each other.

"Awwww. Isn't that sweet?"


We've all heard the "you must have dropped her on her head"s or the "that dude was dropped on the head as a baby one too many times" but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't matter how many times a child was dropped on his/her head. Kids are resilient, man. Their threshold for pain is not only impressive but on the verge of immortal. No wonder they're so fearless! No wonder they go running down cracked-streets falling on their faces, banging their heads on brick walls and poking their eyes out with sticks, laughing all the while!

And you know what? No matter how much you childproof your kitchen or yard or bathroom, toddlers will always find a way to fuck their shit up good. In fact, they will not rest until they catch themselves on fire.

Ah, to be young again, with a goose-egg the size of Texas.


Poo Poo Haiku(s): Origami Diaper

1. The Art of Folding Diapers Is Not Mine

A Poopy Diaper
And very bad folding job
Makes me want to cry

2. Mommy Needs a Manicure

Origami Luvz
Sometimes mom sucks at folding
And gets poopy hands


Lucky Number 07

When I was a little girl I used to pray that every night when I went to sleep, I would wake up someone else. Not because I wasn't happy or uncomfortable with who I was, but simply because I wanted to experience different things. The kinds of things I wasn't capable of. Like talking to boys without scaring them away with something stupid. Or talking to girls without getting the brutal roll-of-the-eyes and "whatever, Becca. WHA-teva." Like not being the last one picked in P.E. class because I was a notorious klutz.

Some mornings I would even bypass the mirror and get dressed with my eyes closed. That way I could still hold on to the hope that I was someone else. Someone new and improved and able. Someone I wanted desperately to be but couldn't. Couldn't find the guts or the words or the way.

And then finally, after twelve years, it happened. I looked in the mirror and was a different person. I could speak without choking on my words. I could talk to boys. I could look people in the eye. And all it took was time. All it took was me believing that such a thing was possible. That I could wake up one morning and be more. Do more. Stand up after being pushed down instead of crying to the yard duty and being hated the more because of it.

I have always looked at New Years day with the same sort of eyes. I wake up on January 1st believing I might have gained insight or lost weight or simply morphed into a greater person with more to offer my family or the world or myself. This morning I woke up feeling refreshed. Like new. And even though I caught a glimpse of my reflection this morning and looked physically the same, there was something just under the skin that was glowing.

Last year sucked donkey penis. It was a year of low-lows and mean reds and (hopefully) growth and it's over now so I'm not going to talk about it anymore. Snap the rear-view mirror from the station wagon and full speed ahead.

Because starting today, everything's new and promising. Right now, there is nothing to hold back the will to believe that anything's possible, including dreams and not waking up from them.

And I kind of feel like the little girl in Mary Poppins, holding tight to Archer's hand, on the faded line of the chalk drawing. Side by side.

And on the count of three, we'll jump into a whole new year, animated and optimistic and we'll ride the merry-go-round until we puke. And get right back on and ride again.