they're happy with, like, a spoon!

Re: birthday parties for your kids, what do you do? Are you a lavish party thrower or are you more of a "give-them-a-spoon!" type*?

*You know what I mean.

I think.

Actually I have no idea.

What I'm talking about.

Sometimes I say things and they end up in these clips and I breathe a sigh of relief because I almost went to college to become a broadcast journalist so that I could spend my life in front of a camera when clearly I belong behind the scenes and you're welcome I dropped out.

Also, for those of you who have inquired as to whether or not I have a penis tattoo on my forehead, now you get to see that I do not.


I'm skipping Sunday Snaps this week because even optimism needs a vacation. In the meantime, let's talk childproofing, shall we? Because, yikes.

When We Fight

He hammers the mirror into the door. It's been weeks since I first asked him to do so, but right now is when he decides it should be done. He has found his perfect opportunity to avoid the silence that permeates our second act, in between "fight" and "forgiveness:"

Act One: We fight
Act Two: We avoid
Act Three: We forgive

When we fight, he insists on handy work that involves screwdrivers and hammers, nailing in shelves and oiling doors so that they don't squeak. Bang, bang, bang until the nails are flush with the wall and the mirror hangs perfectly straight.

When we fight he doesn't answer his phone so it rings and rings and mine does too, vibrating until it moves clear across the desk and falls with a crack on the floor.

When we fight I walk with hard steps: Click, click, click even though I'm wearing flat shoes. I hold Fable in my arms like a shield as Hal asks Archer if he'd like to play Connect Four again for the twenty-seventh time.

When we fight we try to out-parent each other. Diapers are changed the second they feel wet. Meals are topped with garnishes, anything to make our children smile, laugh, climb our limbs like trees and "again, Mommy! Again!"

I'm the favorite.
No, I am!
When we fight, love songs make me cringe so I change the music - something with no words, por favor. A piano sonata?

When we fight I take the dogs for a walk. Ask Hal if he wants to come with me and when he says, "Sure. Let me put my shoes on," roll my eyes because I'd rather walk alone.

When we fight I walk behind him so that I can stick my tongue out at the back of his head and he can look upon a view unobstructed. When we fight he tries not to lose his temper over little things and I try not to lose my temper over him losing his tempter and he clutches the handle of the stroller a little tighter as I peek through the windows of immaculate homes and wonder what I would be doing if I lived there.
What if for the remainder of the afternoon, I could switch places with a woman not in a fight with her husband? Someone delicate and beautiful who could afford to hire a dozen men to nail in her mirrors for her. Someone who could snap her fingers and like magic, have it all.

And then I host a brief conversation with myself in my head that goes like this:

"Don't be an asshole."
"But my husband doesn't GET me!"
"Ah. but the problem is that he gets you too much!"
"Don't be an asshole!"
When we're in a fight I look at our cars, parallel parked on the street, one behind the other and feel suddenly gobsmacked by the fact that they aren't speaking. Their engines click but other than that, no sound.

When we're in a fight we yawn and cough in unison, say the same things at the same time (jinks!) and pretend not to notice. Because no boxer wants to get in the ring with her opponent clad in identical satin shorts.

GGC Presents: Woolf vs. Isaacson (in matching boxers) Live at the WTF Grand!

When we fight I reorganize Fable's drawers at lightning speed and when that's finished I get on my hands and knees to scrub the spots out of the wood floors and then I plan tomorrow's outfit, hang it on the inside of my closet above the shoes.

When we fight I always cook because if I cook that means he will eat what I have made him and that makes me feel like I've mastered him in some way. Over dinner we speak to our children but not to each other. We take turns making Fable laugh, filling Archer's glass with water, passing things just to pass them until our laps are weighted down with napkins.

When we fight I insist on doing the dishes even though he stands over my shoulder and says, "Stop. Let me do them!" and I say, "No! It's fine. I'm doing them already can't you see!"

"But you don't have to."

"I know."

"So leave them."


When we fight he waits for me to finish the dishes and then re-washes them one by one and I become furious because I did a fine job washing those dishes thank you very much and if it wasn't such a waste of water I would likely wash them again...

... and it would go on and on like this until our fingers were pruned and the dishes were all in pieces...

When we fight we always wait for the children to fall asleep before we make-up.

I ask him is he's mad at me and then he launches into his insanely brilliant monologue and I roll my eyes and he raises his voice and I cry and we talk for an hour or two or sometimes all night until I am laughing and he has lost his voice.

Because when we fight? He becomes some kind of demented motivational speaker and suddenly I can't remember what either of us were ever angry about. Instead I just want to cheer and clap and go out and do something amazing like change the world or someone's mind...

... never mind all that. Let's just cuddle.

Meanwhile, the dishes are done (several times over) and the house is clean and every drawer has been reorganized. The door no longer squeaks and the mirror has been successfully mounted on the wall and the night is still young enough to make up for an afternoon without eye-contact.

So after we fight, we do just that.




Track 7/100

7. While You Were Sleeping: Elvis Perkins


Sunday Snaps

browsing jeans with lovely Dana at Whoorl's 1969 Jeans event where I scored these hot little numbers!

1. How lucky to have back to back
girl's nights with ladies I adore:
who inspire and look hot in pink jumpers.

The crazy-talented Angela Boatwright, who blows in and out of town: my favorite tumbleweed

2. Early in the morning he brought us bagels
which we happily ate in our pajamas
As he smiled at us over the NYTimes.

I could not look any worse in this picture but Fable's delicious cuteness more than makes up for it.

3. What a blessing it is to push
a stroller overflowing with fresh produce
and a baby fast asleep... finally.

4. She plucked a leaf from the wood chips and
flattened it against the raspberry-stained pocket
(I can't believe how much I love her sometimes.)

5. The warm air turned cool.
I turned to face him as
he turned off the lights.*


*Dear Universe,
Please let us sleep more than four hours tonight.
I'm so tired I feel dead.

Why Spy With Your Little Eye?

Howdy! We didn't see you there!

Have you ever watched yourself on video? It's pretty disturbing. Kind of like hearing our own voice and being like "I don't sound like that, do I? Ew."

We look very different from the outside than we do from within, which is why if we all stuck 24/7 cameras on ourselves and then forced ourselves to watch said recording, we'd probably be slightly horrified by what we saw. But of course we would. We are human and we fail. Over and over we fail. Tempers flare, sometimes we lie, go back on our word... look away for two seconds and then WAAAAHHHH!!! Screaming baby flat on her face... We make mistakes and in the heat of certain moments, say things we do not mean.

Shouldn't then we expect others to do the same? Even those we trust to love and protect and take care of our children when we leave them in their care? Shouldn't we expect there will be moments that aren't 100% kosher?

That are, perhaps 98% kosher? On a bad day, 96%? Because lordy knows, I've raised my voice and bared my teeth at Archer in such a way, if I were my own nanny? I'd probably fire me. Because that was a seriously SCARY face.

Of course, how far is too far? And when is it appropriate to spy... on husbands or wives or significant others? On nannies or babysitters or whoever it is we trust to care for our children?

Me, personally? I've always kinda figured that if you can't trust your spouse? Your nanny? Your best friend? Find someone else. Hire a new nanny. Seek out new friendship.

I'll be your friend! Ahhhhhh!!

Then again, I've never experienced what Alice or Daphne's friend has. I have never come home to a bruised child so understandably my perspective is going to be different from those who have dealt with more serious circumstances. If someone laid a finger on one of my kids I would karate chop their tits off for sure. But stick a camera on them? Not so much. Not my thing.

Just because the technology is available? Does not mean we should always take advantage of it.

Behold, more on the subject, here:

My questions to you, dear lovelies:

1. Why leave your child(ren) with a person you are hesitant about?

2. Has trust gone the way of the Dodo?

seriously though...

What a total bummer if that's the case.


Track 6/100

Favorite band of all time.

6. Wrapped up in Books: Belle and Sebastian


Sunday Snaps

... somewhere around 2:00pm: learning to share.

1. I can think of few things better
than a basket of fresh green figs
and a stack of brand new September issues...

(...four of them being...)

2. Hal danced toward main street
blasting the theme to Breakin' on his Iphone,
Archer on my back with his umbrella and
Fable kicking her chubby feet to b'b'b'b'beat.

3. She sat on her knees and watched
laughing as Archer sprayed her with pool water.
"Her profile looks like you," I said to Hal.

5. Clad in tiny spotted-bow, Fable
devoured a homemade egg bagel
from Sam's, the size of her face.

5. Popping "a good one" on Hal's chin
whilst watching Hung and then Mad Men.
Legs entwined, pants unbuttoned, "was that you or the dog?"

So sorry, my love. It was me.



Mom Genes

Where I grew up, moms looked pretty much the same everywhere you went. From the hairstyle to the shoes, the momdrobe was in full effect so it was very surprising, even horribly upsetting to arrive at my 4th grade Open House with my parents only to see a red-lipped woman clad in leather mini-skirt and matching halter top, resting her exposed thonged-ass on the seat next to my desk. My seat. Which was reserved for Guess? Jean shorts and Hypercolor ONLY. 

"Mom, that's Becca's seat," one of the boys in my class moaned. 

Apparently this teased-hair leather-chick was someone's mother? Fuck. That was some SHIT right there. I was stunned. And judging from the looks on their faces, so were my parents. 

It just so happened that this particular mother was a former Playboy bunny retired to the suburbs to raise her kids. She just happened to still dress like she was partying it up with Heff, which may have been disturbing to everyone else (myself included) but judging from the way she walked, talked and tossed her giant hairdo-- was just the way she rolled. No big whoop. 

It took me approximately fifteen years to appreciate her for what she was: a unique character and personal-drum percussionist. Sure, it might have been a leeeetle overboard to show that much cleavage at a school function but hell! Isn't that what makes life grand? It certainly made my memories more colorful! 

I can't speak for her children of course. 

Like I say in the following Momversation, my perception of what I thought a mom "looked like" changed drastically when I became a mom myself and realized I didn't want to look like this:

(The above picture is the #1 result that comes up if you google image "MOM"Ahhhhh! Help!)

I don't particularly want to look like this either but I do appreciate a woman who has the guts to rock pleather and thigh-highs in the land of yoga pants and sneakers. (I blame Juicy Couture for chicifying sweatsuits. Coco Chanel would NOT be stoked.)

Avec NO!

And furthermore? Although the message may be distorted with too much T&A, there is a little something to be said for modeling to one's children, the importance of dressing according to one's personal style*.

That (and everything discussed in the above video) being said, I'm very interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject. How has your perception of what a mom looks like changed since you've become one? Do you present yourself differently than you did pre-baby? What is your typical "momdrobe" or do you dress the same way as you always did? 

Interesting discussion, me thinks. Then again, I really like talking about clothes.


*and look, if Juicy Sweatsuits make you feel like a million? Rock that shit. 

The Motherhood of Boys

I spot them right away. Huddled together with their elbows in one another's sides, behind the far tennis court - the only one unoccupied. They pass joints oblivious to the consequences of so openly smoking in such a public place. They talk loudly, pass bottles of generic brand Jack Daniels, yell at each other to "fuck off, motherfucker."

"There's one, Daddy!"

Archer scurries toward the court, dragging a bag of tennis balls behind him and Hal follows, me as caboose, pushing Fable with bottle propped against her tiny folded hands. It's late. 8:30, maybe 9:00 but we promised Archer tennis so here we are - the four of us playing hooky from bedtime under the bleed of white lights.

Archer picks up his racket, poised for play.


"I'm ready Daddy," Archer says and I sit down. My son's shrill voice clouded by a heated argument about "whether or not Tony Hawk invented vert" taking place behind me. The words of boys I've never met but know too well.

... ... ...

In high school I lead a double life. By day I was blonde and popular, the host and producer of our High School television show, organizer of Battle of the Bands, ASB commissioner, Homecoming Queen. I lived the southern California cliche - my first car a convertible Cabriolet with cow-print seat covers, my first job, a beach shack sandwich shop where I served sub-sandwiches to bleached-haired surfers clad in bikini top and cut-offs. I was an honor-student with a side-job writing angst-ridden poetry for a best-selling book series and even though I spent the majority of my mornings hosing down the chocolate-syrup spelling "SLUT" "WHORE" and yes, even, "DIE BITCH" off my driveway, I was the poster-child for lucky, normal, have-it-all teenager. I was THAT girl...

Freshman Homecoming, 1995

...Except, not really. I went home and became someone else. Associating not with my fellow ASB-members or honors students or popular boys but in a crowd completely different: an all ages collective of boys lost, their wounds gaping without bandages, battle-scars from years of being abused, abandoned, told they were mistakes, or worse...

They found a gang in one another and spent all their time together on skateboards, suburban vagabonds with duct-taped sneakers who lived in guesthouses and one-room studios in the basement of chiropractic offices. In a way, I was romanced by their underworld, their carefree lifestyle, the way they bled and broke without crying. I came to them bearing bandages.

"Let me in and I will dress your wounds, tuck you in, love you past morning..."

Some were drop-outs and drug addicts, many of them motherless. Fatherless. Futureless. To me they were beautiful, hiding depth and introspection under baggy pants and shoelace belts.

"I know you're hurting. That's why I'm here. I will take care of you. You need a mother? Call me, 'mom'... So what if I'm only sixteen, seventeen, eighteennineteentwentytwentyone... I am here for you. Lean on me."

It started as rebellion. I wasn't supposed to get high behind liquor stores with dudes who "showered" in the ocean. I wasn't supposed to fall in love with the kinds of guys who streaked through strip-malls, got arrested, passed out in gutters with one shoe on.

But it turned into something else. I became codependent on their phone calls - on being some kind of savior, an adolescent superhero who snuck out through her bedroom window to attend to the fallen. I was their beck and call girl, queen of the lost boys, an addict myself to the kind of attention they gave me in return for my care and sweet-nothing whispers.

Around them, I was confident, secure, felt like I was worth something. Like I belonged. That’s the thing about high school. Everyone feels misunderstood, like an outcast. Even girls like me.

I spent much of my teenage years with two faces, two wardrobes, two very separate groups of friends that only ever intermingled on accident.

Halloween, 1998

After graduation, I started a new life rooted in old ways. The boys were men, now, but hardly. And I worshipped them, cooked for them, cleaned after them, shuttled them around, skate-spot to skate-spot, let them crash on my couch, in my bed, lent them money I knew I'd never get back, told them over and over that I loved them. Felt it. Believed it. Would have done anything for them and did for many years.

"I'm saving them," I thought. "I'm saving them all."

But even in my early twenties, I was too young and naive to understand what it meant to parade around the boulevards with badges of martyrdom like girl-scout patches on my denim jacket.

... ... ...

"This weed is bad."

"Do you want me to smoke you out or not?"


"Then shut the fuck up!"

I know their skate-tricks by sound. The click of the board on the cement. The grinding wheels and bending trucks. The "fuck!!!!" when the trick is missed. The limping and the getting up and...

A lighter flicks on and several of the boys crowd around it. They inhale and exhale all at once, through the fence they recline against. The smoke swirls against my cheek, against Fable's stroller. I pull up the shade, push her as far away as I can while still hanging on, rocking her to sleep. Back and forth and back and...

"What time is it, dude?"

"Who the fuck cares?"

... ... ...

One night a friend pulled up his sleeve to reveal my name carved with a razor into his arm. It was the first of the many wake-up calls I needed to climb out of my woman-hole and pursue a new kind of life.

Ten years I had spent combing the streets for bloodstains to follow home, offer up bandages and therapy, a warm bed, a warm body and for what? People don’t change unless they want to.

Just because I offered rafts and life-vests didn’t mean I was going to save anyone from drowning.

But these are my people!

These are NOT your people.

"You can't just carve people's names into your arm!"

"Why not?”

I looked around the mildew-stained basement apartment, surrounded by razors and dirty spoons - empty bottles of pills and stashed like buried treasure under heaps of unwashed clothes.

What the hell was I doing there?

"I have to go now," I said.

I cried the whole way home.

Months later I would meet Hal and months after that I would become pregnant and months after that an unexpected visit would lead me to lock doors, screen calls, build a wall around my family, change my life, cut everyone off.

"I'm sorry but I can't be your mother anymore. That job has been filled indefinitely."

I had abandoned them just like many of their parents had done. Except unlike their parents, I wasn't their parent.

I wasn't their mother.

I had an actual son. A little boy I would do anything in my power to protect. A boy I wanted nowhere near the people of my past. The boys of my youth and yesterday.

Still, it hurt. I missed them. I still do. Those that have gone and those that remain estranged. I have dreams where we're all together again - passing cigarettes behind the old AMC theatre, watching movies on mute blasting Clash City Rocker.

But I changed, thank God, instating a zero policy for emotional offenders and drug addicts and the lost boys of Neverland. Because I've been there before. I spent far too long there. No more taking care of those that refuse to take care of themselves. No more trying to save the world, one "I love you" at a time. No more hitchhikers. No more room in the car.

In the end, the only person I saved was myself.

... ... ...

These days I can spot them from a mile away. I know their voices before they speak. Their musty smell before they're close enough for me to take a whiff, the way their hair would feel if I touched it. Ten years ago, I might have bummed a light, sat with them in the gutter in my tiara and red dress. Ten years ago I felt confident around them. Beautiful and intelligent and special. Ten years ago I was all of these things if only I would have known. I see the girls that hang on the outskirts of their circle. I see myself.

I tell Archer I love him a thousand times a day so that he knows. Because so many don't know.

"I love you. Did you know that? I love you so much it's insane how much and I--"

"Stop saying that, Mommy. You're hurting my ears."

... ... ...

“Did you see that, Mommy? I just hit the ball very far.”

I watch Archer play tennis against the chain-linked fence that separates us from them. I am tempted to turn around. To acknowledge their backs against mine, to take swigs from their bottles and mourn friends gone and years lost and love unrequited. Part of me will always want to hug them and help them and apologize for failing them, abandoning them without explanation.

I wish I could have saved you. I'm sorry I could not.

But an even larger part of me wants to tell them to get lost, boys. I’m afraid of them and what they might offer my children.

For the first time since we arrived at the tennis courts, I turn around. I glare at them and sneer and judge and think terrible things. I want them away from my children. I want them to disappear with their safety-pinned backpacks and dirty hoodies and paper-bagged alcohol canisters and wounded limbs. I want them to Go. Away. Now.

They glare back at me, roll their eyes, and mumble something about me being a "dumb lady" while casually exhaling smoke in my face.

I say nothing, turn my back to them and face my son clutching his tennis racket, my husband rooting him on. I'm not one of them anymore.

And then I pray. I pray to whatever god will listen to keep my children as far away as possible from these boys. Because I've been there. And I came very close to never coming back.


Track 5/100

I'm a sucker for snails. (And beautiful songs.)

5. Beneath the Rose: Micah P. Hinson


Sunday Snaps

1. Archer climbed into the truck,
Made believe he was a fire-fighter,
On the lot where make-believe comes true.*

2. Under the tent, I handed her a cherry tomato.
She bit into it, exploding seeds all over her face and laughed,
and laughed and laughed and so did we.

And even though we have a ways to go before we're ready,

4. We loaded the car in the darkness
and set out for West Hollywood,
Archer clutching his brand new racket in his hands.

5. His very first tennis lesson took place
in the very same park where five years ago, Hal pushed me in the swings
and we decided to be parents together.


*sometimes I forget how exciting this place is we call home.
**now for the fun part! saving 150k+ for a down-payment! Viva la home ownership in 2090!

Detachment Parenting

The following is a cross-post from Straight From the Bottle. I don't usually cross-post but this week has been nutso-insane and so have I been. In the meantime, thank you all for bearing with me and being lovely. I'll be back ASAP after these messages.


About a month ago, I decided it was time to cut the cord. The day Fable turned nine-months old I suddenly felt the need to remove her from my breast, my body, and my bedroom. The feeling was overwhelming, like an instinct. It was time. Starting then I would slowly wean her, no longer put her to sleep in our bed, yes, even walk away from her from time to time, regardless of her screams of mamamamamamama! to pick her up. I was no longer enjoying being an extension of her. I wanted my body back, my space and perhaps more importantly, wanted her to learn how to sleep alone, entertain herself from time to time, and, yes, become more independent. 

A far cry from the way I felt months (even weeks!) earlier when I had a hard time leaving the room without her on my hip. When all I wanted to do was be with her. As close to her as possible without swallowing her whole.



I figured these last few weeks would be difficult and they have been. Fable refuses her crib with flailing hysterics and although her willpower is impressive, I will NOT let her win and so began hours-long, sometimes even all-night bedtime prep that I am proud to say has never ended with Fable sleeping in our bed but continues to frequently end with Fable sleeping in her stroller after long walks around the living room in circles at 2am, and me scolding myself the entire time for allowing her to sleep in our bed in the first place. 

 "What was I thinking! I've created a monster!" I'd repeat, teeth clenched, fists around the stroller bar as I pushed and pushed and rocked and pushed and sang and is she sleeping yet? No? FUUUUUUCCCCCKKKK!!!!

It's my fault she won't sleep. It's my fault she can't be alone. It's my fault I can't leave her side. It's all she knows. I should have put her in her crib from the beginning. I coulda shoulda woulda...

Last night after rocking Fable for fifteen minutes at the foot of her crib I placed her softly down. She screamed of course, as she always does so I gave her my hand, sang to her. She went on screaming for what felt like hours until she finally stopped. Looked up at me and smiled. And within seconds, passed out, her hands tight around my wrist. 

I kept my hand there for a while, afraid that by moving my hand I'd wake her up. Afraid that by moving my hand something would be lost in our separation. I went on singing until her grip loosened and finally let go. 

And in that moment I realized that all these months of co-sleeping and baby-wearing and nursing my tits off was so worth it - even now- having to painfully detach from the habits we both formed, because no matter how little sleep I get for the next few weeks, months, even years, I'll be able to remind Fable, when she's older and wants nothing to do with me and we're screaming at each other through the DO NOT DISTURB sign on her bedroom door, that once upon a time she couldn't let me go.

And neither could I.



comments are open, here.

Track 4/100

4. On the Radio by: The Concretes (which reminds of this post among other things.)


Chapter (Month) Ten: The Bearable Lightness: Her Being

This past month Fable learned to crawl, started saying "mama," harvested four new teeth, started waving, pointing, clapping, pulling herself up, learned french, got her PHD, qualified for the Olympics, built an all-wind powered car out of popsicle sticks, saved the world...

Okay so only some of that is true. The rest? Eh, we'll see. 

musical credit: North by North by: Faded Paper Figures