Friday (Afternoon) Fashion: Rainy Day Edition

The last few times it's rained in L.A. we've been out of town so when I woke this morning to the sounds of drip-drip against the window I was ecstatic. Looking forward to a late-morning pajama fest, catching up with the last few weeks of New York Times Sunday Editions and skidding around the house in slipper-socks, and of course, dressing Archer up snug in his raincoat and boots, two items that rarely make an appearance 'round these here parts. (A crying shame.)

Frog Raincoat by: Kidorable
Rubber Alligator Boots by: "Puddles" which I can't find online so Kidorable will have to do.
Dark jeans by Osh Kosh for Target (Not available online, sadly but I found Archer's at our local store for any of you locals.)

Happy splashing!


The Way it Used to be. And Now.

"This building's new and this building. This building didn't even exist when I lived here. There was nothing, here. Just sky and the view to the ocean. It's changed. It looks so different now."

For Hal it was a homecoming of sorts. And for me, an introduction to his past, an opening of locked doors with scratched-out peepholes.

"So this is where you came from," I said.

"This is it. Except it's really different now. So different."

It was the first time Hal was able to show me his old life. When we met there were no photos in shoe-boxes. No albums or files to prove his past even existed. Where I am a pack rat when it comes to memorabilia, keeping boxes of papers and photos, folders full of old notes, proof of history, keepsakes, Hal has kept nothing. And so for many years, I quietly guessed. Filling in the gaps of his stories and retellings with my own assumptions and images and characatures. Adding contrast, shading in the skies, exaggerating characters-- creating cartoon-like life.

Hal moved from Miami to L.A. four years ago. It was his 29th birthday the day he arrived. It was also nine months before we met. He left South Beach for personal reasons. He couldn't be there anymore. Too many demons and so... the city of angels. The city of independence and fresh starts and gambling with dreams. There was nothing more to lose, Hal said. He sold every item he owned, pawned his watch. Sold his car. Keeping only what he could fit in the trunk of his rental. It was what he had to do to start over. To look ahead. To focus on change. To create a new life for himself. Independent of anyone he had ever known. From scratch.

When we met Hal was unemployed. Sleeping in a kitchen pantry of a house some college friends of his had rented. He converted the pantry into a bedroom, just large enough to fit a mattress, which we slept on with our feet against the small screen window, its view overlooking a pool freckled with June bugs.

We weren't supposed to become serious. It was a fling at first. He didn't want a girlfriend and I was fresh out of a relationship. We wanted to have fun. He had just arrived. Didn't want to be distracted. Wanted to do what he needed to do. To find himself. "I'm new here."

But sometimes it helps to have someone. "Every gambler needs a lady luck," I thought. But I waited until the time was right to say so.

A gambling man can be incredibly romantic. He was to me and I think in a way, to him as well. Free of possessions. Responsibility. No boss to answer to. All the room in the world to be selfish. Leaving the past to pursue a future blank and unknown. A canvas without so much as a fingerprint... But all that changed months later: Gambling was no longer an option with a pregnant girlfriend and suddenly the wildness of the west, the pool of independence had to be covered. The closet with the mattress against the window no longer sufficed.

Los Angeles became a place to settle down. Get a real job. A job that would provide for us. For our future child. And though I have written at length about how hard it was for me at first, I've left out the fact that it was even more difficult for him-- seeing the canvas suddenly paint itself. Three silhouettes and an electric fence and the reality of having to suddenly support a family. Yes, I was working, then and still am. But I'm not going to try to pretend it is I who brings home the proverbial bacon. I could still gamble with a pregnant belly. I would still be able to pursue my dreams as a stay-at-home mom. To write.

Until this past trip I had never been to Miami or even Florida. I never had any desire to go. My entire life I had imagined Florida as a place where the elderly went to die, flamingos in lawns and all that. I had figured Miami to be some shitty LA knock-off, where Ricky Martin a la Menudo dined with Vanilla Ice in fake Versace. Fake Gucci. Fake everything.

Sunday we spent the day in Miami, in South Beach, Hal's old stomping ground with Hal's old friends. Former life. I have never lived anywhere, as an adult but Los Angeles. A brief stint in London, but Los Angeles is a large part of my past. My old life is LA. My old life is also in boxes in the closet. Under the bed. All over books and blogs. I have no secrets. No mysteries. Hal on the other hand...

Crossing the bridge I found myself suddenly surrounded by my husband's past. The place that helped define him. The place that pushed him away. To me. The place that influenced him quietly and probably still does. In a way. Because that's kind of the way things work. Nothing is ever really forgotten. Memories don't just disappear. Not all moments can escape.

And for an afternoon two very different lives overlapped.

I always figured I'd hate Miami. But I loved it. Maybe because I got to see it with Hal, his old home, sniffing the trail of his former life. Like spending the day with an ex-girlfriend. Asking her questions. Trying to organize clues. What was it about this place? Who did you used to be? How have you changed?

I suddenly found myself in the shoebox I had been searching for since we met three and a half years ago, under the bed. The past. The life before me. Before us. The people he lived with and stayed up nights with and chased mirages with and experienced with. People suddenly among us. All three of us. How strange it must have been. And yet, not at strange as I supposed.

And the whole afternoon I kept looking at Hal, wondering if he could have ever believed in a million years he would leave what he had once called home for long enough to one day return... With a family. A wife and a son: his proverbial winnings. A very different kind of jackpot than the one he set out for not so many years ago.

"What did you think?" Hal asked as we were leaving.

"I loved it."

"Yeah, but it looks so different," he said once more, the city receding in the rear-view mirror of our rented Nissan Altima.

Except this time he wasn't just talking about the change in the skyline.

"I can only imagine," I said.


Cars Are More Our Speed

In other news, tonight while watching Hal's favorite show, The Hills (wtf, right?), Archer pointed at the clips of Hollywood in the end montage and said, "Iz home! Home! Yay!" before clapping his little hands. I was surprised, impressed and in agreement. Los Angeles iz home and when I'm away for long enough I realize how happy I am living in such a wacko town. Everywhere else seems so normal. So quiet. And clean.

Looking forward to hitting the skies tomorrow morning for what I'm hoping is a much more pleasant round two of airplane travel. And falling into a heap of dirty laundry bed tomorrow afternoon.

Ah, yes. There's no place like ghetto bird nests, hooker-ville with plastic blondes driving Escalades, homeless dudes with laptops for boom boxes, nudist neighbors, porn-star pool parties, dudes who have tattoos under their eyelids, Santa Ana firestorms, drunk-naked drug-addicts, motorized-cart shopping sprees, actors acting even when the cameras aren't rolling home.


Planes, Trains and Roadtrips to Miami

It's getting better all the time. Bettah awl the ti-i-ime! We're still alive. Still in Florida. We've caught up on sleep and are now effectively kicking back with Hal's parentals at their condo in Palm Beach-ishville...

...Shopping for (squirt) guns and pawning off oversized bags n' shit:

Also watching trains:

And blowing bubbles:

Experimenting with electricity:

And kaleidoscopes:

Watching more trains (obviously)...

Straight trippin' in some badass disco-light rooms:

And more trains! Hooray!

Tomorrow we set off for Miami. In search of La Vida Loca and A1A Beachfront Avenue. (Police on the scene! Ya know what I mean?) Luckily, Archer's a champ at road-trips so what went so totally wrong on the airplane might just... Actually. Stop. Wait. I'm not going to say a word at the risk of becoming even more of a failed optimist. I'm just gonna ride this one out with no expectations whatsoever and the rag top down so my hair can blow. (The girlies don't stand by waiting just to say hi, ya know?)

Yo, man, let's get outta here. Word to yer mother.


(too cold.)

*All photos taken in/at/around the South Florida Science Museum. Awesome, stuff, Florida. You go!

A Comedy of Air-ors

Archer didn't sleep on the airplane. He didn't want to play with any of his toys either. He didn't want to watch his DVDs or play with his Etch O' Sketch. He didn't want to play with his spinny yoyo thingy or his Magna-Doodle or read any of his books. He didn't want to do anything but try to stand on my face and open and slam the window shade while simultaneously pressing the reading lights on and off. On and off and on and on and, yeah-- for five hours.

Archer, pictured above: the calm before the storm, gate 47A, LAX.

We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale at 5am yesterday morning after THE most uncomfortable flight of all time, exhausted and just plain ol' sad. Because it sucks staying up all night. Especially when you WANT to sleep and you're sick with a week long head cold that (shock!) does not feel any better after a cross-country Red-Eye flight with a titty-twistering toddler who thinks late-night airplane rides mean party-time. Ugh.

I would also like to take this opportunity to let American Airlines know that their decision to play High School Musical 2 on a Red-Eye is by far the lamest most idiotic thing ever. High School Musical 2 is not Red-Eye material. High School Musical 2 should not be screened on a plane at 2am, or anywhere for that matter when the only people who aren't fast asleep are parents of young children not amused by singing, dancing candy-coated tweens. And no offense to Zac Efron, but you're no Shia Labeouf, dude. Not even close.

Oh and the bag? The super-huge way-cute bag that I very proudly fit all of our airplane stuff in? Ha! Well! The damn thing was so heavy that Hal had to carry it to keep it from breaking completely. Because the straps did not appreciate being weighed down by so much unnecessary crap and tore significantly on both sides. The bag was as pathetic and broken as we... Oh, dear.

Of course, this is what I get for having a "plan".... To hell with what I said in my last post. What an amateur I was! An optimistic, naïve, amateur! Next time = No Red-Eye. No giant bag. No nothing.

Our family seen here during happier times: Lot B Shuttle, LAX.

In fact, screw flying. I'm walking home to Los Angeles next week. The thought of another flight makes me want to cry. In fact, I did (cry). On the beach this morning. Right before I passed out in the sand, exhausted, sick and totally beyond frustrated.

Agahkjsdgakjhjdhkjhsflajw acsnau3o828u41op923p1 !!!


...Cross-posted at Straight From the Bottle because I'm lazy and exhausted and am hijacking some neighbor's faulty Internet and have been trying to post this effing blog post for an absurd amount of time because I keep losing signal. And I feel like the Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving when honestly, I really did want to take this time to post about how thankful I am for everything in my life because I really am thankful and have such tremendous blessings and this year has been so great and I love my family and my friends and 98% of the time, my life. And Thanksgiving is about appreciation and love and eating a shitload of meat (which is, in my vegopinion kind of gross) and family and pilgrims and togetherness and cranberry sauce out of the can (always seemingly better than the homemade stuff) and being thankful. And I truly am. Really. Happy Thanksgiving to all.


We're off to Florida for a week-long Thanksgiving holiday.
In the meantime, feel free to read about my giant momscout-sack and/or next summer's baby #2 mission.

See you on the other side (of the coast.)


666 Bloggies of Blog on the Blog

My library number from 1st grade to senior year of High School was "666"

We were all appointed a number when we started school, a number we were to keep until we graduated. At first I just thought, "cool! This will be easy to remember," then some kid pulled me aside and warned me that my books might be possessed by the devil. That 666 was Satan's phone number or I.D. or something. I was scared. I asked to trade in my library card but the librarian explained to me that the number was kind of like social security card for students and I couldn't just trade it in for another.

"Uh. Okay," I said.

Come Junior High, when the devil became cool and rock and roll and "devil horns, rah!" My 666 library card went from unnerving to totally bad ass. Guys totally dug it. Girls did, too. I totally flashed the triple 6's like a gang sign in the halls of Diegueno Jr. High (yes, I was blonde, but I was no Mischa, thankyouverymuch.)

I've had a soft-spot for the 666 ever since. We've had our ups and downs of course but come High School graduation, I was sad to the triple 6's go. Twas the end of an era, not to mention sucky to pay all those "lost book" late fees.

Anyway, the reason I bring this less than necessary piece of information to the attention of the interwebs is because this post marks my 666th here at Girl's Gone Child which is crazy to even think about. Because, 666 is like, whoa, a lot of posts.

Anyway... Thank YOU, dear readers for allowing me to bombard you with stories and ideas and videos and venting and navel-gazing and talk about poop-dreams and rapz and all kinds of useless information for the last two plus years. I so appreciate you putting up with my tomfoolery all this time. You rule.


And speaking of 666, congratulations to Brooke and Micah for getting your fabulous selves engaged. And in Bali, no less. (Micah used to have "666" on his license plate back in the ol' days. Coincidence? I think not.)

Handicapped Gay Man Rides Motorized Cart in Search of Frozen Meals and Lube: A Case Study

Starring Uncle Frank, former roommate and BFF as: The Cripple on the Motorized Cart.

Chapter One: Crippled Shopping:

Chapter Two: The Story Behind the Crippled Grocery Shop:

The End.


I Hope You Don't Mind (I Hope You Don't Mind) That I Put Down in Words...

Archer. Overexposed?

Over the weekend I posted over at Straight From the Bottle about a dream I had. About Nicole Richie naming her son Archer and how much that scared me. It was one of those dreams that take a moment or a day or a week before you can finally figure out what it means. At first I thought I was just paranoid which is stupid because it's not like names are patented. Besides, it's only a matter of time before the name is snatched up by a celebrity. Or a friend of a friend. Or someone. Maybe? I digress... That wasn't why the dream upset me. The dream upset me because after much thought, I came to the following conclusion:
In the dream I was Nicole Richie, exposing my son to the world without knowing any better.

And a part of me was angry, that I chose to put my child in front of the camera, when he didn't know any better than to smile.

It was kind of like the toilet dream I had weeks ago, except instead of exposing myself, I was exposing my son. Without his knowledge and permission.

I called a family meeting and after much talk, decided to ceasefire on public displays of Archfection when Archer starts Kindergarten. ... Because maybe Archer won't care and we'll all find that in the future, everyone is public with their lives. But there is also a chance that Arch will want to draw the blinds on his bedroom windows, and as a mother, respecting that possibility is my job.

...He is his own person. And therefor should be known not for books and blogs his mother writes about him, but by his own means and definitions....

Many of you (fellow bloggers) have written about your children anonymously. Changed names. Etc. But for those of you, like me, who haven't, I wonder.... Do you have the same kinds of dreams? Do you see yourself stopping (blogging) when your kid(s) reach a certain age? Why or why not?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter, anonymous or not, because certainly it is something I have been wrestling with.




Street-sign typo: NW corner of Beverly and Vista

Today I saw a bum flipping through his Itunes on his laptop, displayed neatly on a shopping cart he was pushing down the street, full of the usual stacks of towels and bags of cans.

Homeless man + laptop = Itunes shufflin' down Beverly.

Gah. Remember when in the old-days bums rocked boomboxes? The future is weird.


Hop on Diablo Cody Pop: Article of the Week

I've had a girl crush on Diablo Cody since seeing the trailer for her soon-to-be-released film, Juno before Darjeeling Limited last month and even though I've yet to see it myself, I've heard only incredible things from reliable sources. I started e-stalking Cody the second I saw the Juno trailer (see below), finding much to my "you go girl" surprise that first-time screen-writer Cody was a former stripper cum blogger cum memoirist cum screen-writer d'awesome... And POW: a hero was born:

Diablo Cody = Sha-wing.

Cody done made herself a star. By being herself and being good at it. My top hat goes off to her.

To read more about Cody, featured in last week's Entertainment Weekly, go here.

I really want to give her a high-five. Or get her drunk enough to make out with her in a bathroom. Because she's ballsy and smart (and CRAZY hot) and making it happen her way. And that's an inspiration (not to mention sexytimesathousand.)

Read Diablo Cody's blog, here. Check out how it all began, here. Oh and here's her memoir, Candy Girl. There's also a fantastic Letterman appearance, here. Oh, yeah, and the trailer for Juno:

...Bloggirls of the world unite and take over.


Friday (Afternoon) Fashion

I have been known to splurge on pajamas because there is nothing more depressing than trying to decide between Carters brand and Thomas the Train at our local Target. Fug-to the-ly...

Until now...

These. Pajamas. Will melt. Your heart:

Sock Monkeys chillin' on Banana Moons by: Nick and Nora for Target.

FINALLY Target gets it right in the pajama department.

(For more Nick and Nora for Target jam-jams, go, here.)



For five years I have hosted an online chat room for kids with serious illness. It's been my job since 2002. And last night was my last night. My final shift.

"Why are you leaving?'" they kept asking and I froze. I didn't know what to say because how do you tell children you have loved for five years that you're leaving them? How does one say goodbye? Especially when they say, "But we need you... Don't leave us!"

I didn't know what to say last night and I still don't. It took me five and a half hours to say goodbye and it would have taken longer if Hal didn't insist I close my laptop. I could barely see I was so upset. Like breaking up with someone you love because the timing is bad. Breaking up with dozens of someones.

I couldn't sleep last night. I felt horrible guilt because the reason I was leaving was for myself. Because I couldn't work a night job anymore. Because I was sacrificing family time. Because I needed the extra hours to focus on my career. To write and work and promote. Because there isn't enough time in the day to do everything. I left because it was time but how could I say that? How does one type these things without feeling like she is abandoning friends? How does one say farewell to those who are paralyzed, only to run off on healthy legs.

For the past five years I have watched many of the children grow. Graduate High School. Come of age. Go through remission. Heal. I've mourned those lost who fought until the end. I've virtually held hands. Hosted dance parties. Made best friends with those I was lucky to get to know in person: two of the most important women in my life. Lifelong friends. Heroes.

I'm pretty sure my experience working with the children was the reason I was so fearless about becoming a mother. Because I knew I could be a good one. I was confident in my abilities to mentor and guide. I was excited by the prospect that I could one day raise someone just as incredible as the children I got to spend every day with.

I learned a great many things about myself and about life and the world and the goodness in people. I learned that death is not such a scary thing for those who truly live. I learned that helping someone is the greatest way to help oneself. I learned that miracles can happen and great obstacles must be overcome in order to succeed, inspire, mentor, help. I learned that areas of weakness with time (and work) can end up one's greatest strength. I've learned that laughter is the greatest way to heal a broken heart or bone or body. That health is ephemeral. That life is beautiful. That people underneath it all, are good. Nurturing. Inspiring with the most amazing of hearts. Hearts that pump bad blood good. I've learned that the most fragile of bodies are by far the strongest in spirit. I've learned to acknowledge illness as a part of life. Death as a part of life. That our time on this earth must be spent doing things we are proud of. Whether that means providing for a family or following a pipe dream in the dark. Whether that means starting a blog or writing a script or a book that no one will ever see or starting a band or going back to school. I've learned that children and adults aren't so different from one another. And that the only way to earn someone's respect is to give it, first.

Most of all I have learned to be fearless. To turn toward experience and never away. To say yes. As much and as often as possible. To live in the moment. To appreciate.

I don't know if I would have had the confidence to parent, if it wasn't for the last five years working with such amazing children and teens. I do know that I am a better person because of them. I'm a better mother. I have faith in the power of the positive. In love and friendship and the human spirit. In life and growth and what it means to be a child. A teenager. Curious and desperate for adventure.

I'm pretty sure I'm repeating myself now. Because once again, I don't know how to end this post, wrap up my thoughts. I'm ambivalent. And sorry. And excited. And sad. But most of all I'm grateful for everything and everyone. It's been an amazing experience. The very best.



Paternity Test

Sometimes when it's late at night and Hal and I are holding hands under the covers, trading stories of yesteryear while caressing one another sweetly on the cheek, Hal turns to me...

"Rebecca?" he says. "Are you sure Archer's mine?"

At which point I usually kick him in the face. Okay, so I don't do that. But I do roll my eyes and cross my arms and shake my head and do that whole annoyed sigh/groan thing.

"No, Hal, he's not yours. He's some other dude's I stole away to screw while you and I were hovering about Los Angeles on clouds of spanking-new-love-lust. Arghghhakjshjkadk!"

This isn't a new evening ritual. Hal's been commenting about Archer's "real father" since Archer was born, half-jokingly of course. But there is a small part of him that has doubts. Especially now that Archer refers to Hal not as "Daddy" but as "Hal" ... Nothing like publicly calling his daddy by his first name to justify Hal's reasoning for questioning.

A close friend of mine who also got pregnant after dating her boyfriend a relatively short time also has this issue.

"He asks me all the time if our baby is his. The other day he asked me to take a paternity test! Like the kind they do on Jerry Springer!"

"But she looks exactly like him!" I said.

"I know! He's out of his mind!"

I felt her pain. Except for some reason the whole "are you sure it's mine, baby" thing seems to be something that effects many baby's daddies. I recently spoke to a friend whose pregnancy was planned and her husband often doubts his paternity as well. Especially when he and his wife get into a fight.

"He's the mailman's kid, isn't he?"

Of course, such comments have been made since the beginning of time.

(Can you imagine how it was for Joseph? I mean, God knocked up his wife for Christ sake.* That's waaaay more serious than a mailman. Or even a UPS man for that matter.)

To be honest, I don't blame Hal or any father for having his doubts now and then. Sometimes I look at Archer and wonder if he's mine and I carried him in my body and saw with my own eyes as he exited my body and into the world.

So, yeah. It's weird and I get it. Kind of. But seriously... Really? Really. Are we seriously still having this conversation, two and a half years later? And will we be having it still, in two more years. Please say, no, because.... sighgroansigh. Sigh. Groan.

Because, yes, Hal, unless God impregnated me with the new Messiah, you are the father. Congratulations, babe. He's beautiful and perfect and yours. Now can we please go to bed?



Hop on Pop Culture: Article of the Week

This piece was actually from last week but re: my My So-Called Life mania I thought I'd recommend it for readership (I'm usually about a week behind when it comes to newspapers or news in general.) I digress...

“My So-Called Life” appeared only 13 years ago but leaves one feeling nostalgic for a time when teenagers still communicated with pauses and half-thoughts, and were not perceived solely as an amalgam of their accomplishments. Angela was a bright girl who performed unspectacularly at school (she got a 59 on a geometry test, quit yearbook and didn’t play lacrosse or join the debate team). Even so, there was never a sense that her options for a prosperous and fulfilling adulthood would be foreclosed because of her reluctance to apply herself.

Angela Chase was 100% relateable. She was awkward. Her parents were annoying. Her crush was out of her league. She wasn't rich and model-perfect. She was relateable to all awkward teenagers. She wasn't someone we all wished we were. She was someone we knew we were, and frankly, were afraid of being. Because no one wants to be the quiet girl in the back row... Or the girl with the zit or the know-it-all little sister. Unfortunately relateability is something producers seem to have skimmed over in all teen dramas since. And that's too bad.

Because typical teenagers aren't like this:

Mischa Barton in "The OC"

Leighton Meester in "Gossip Girl"

They're like this:

Claire Danes as Angela Chase

Me as myself, awkward and brace-faced: Age 13.

Me as myself: madly in love with Jordan Catalano, Age 14

Teenage girls need real role models, not super models posing as such...

As the touchstone examination of adolescence in the ’90s, “My So-Called Life” rejected the Clintonian ethos of ambition: striving, perhaps, wasn’t better. And at the same time it linked itself closely to the feminism of the period, one that prized interiority, self-help and revolutions from within. It was a diluted notion of female advancement, but at least it was a modestly dressed one. Angela wore late-grunge-era flannels and baggy shapes. So there is another way, finally, that “My So-Called Life” looks like no other teenage series that succeeded it: We never saw our heroine’s bellybutton.
Gone are the days of celebrating the truth about adolescence, in all it's strange and fucked-up glory. And that just plain sucks, in my opinion.


Trick or Treating: A GGC Film

Nothing says Halloween like Misfits and Butterfingers...

Okay. I'm done now. (I Swear.)


We Are Halloween And So Can You

With GGC as Ernie!

Hal as Bert!

And Archer as the Rubber Ducky! (he makes bathtime so much fun)

Finally we can be public with our family. (We got married in Massachusetts.)

Bert and Ernie have had something going on for years, now.

Rubber Ducky's not amused.

Wait, never mind. He is.

Happy Halloween!

And it was happy.

(very much so.)