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My sister was in town for one day last week and it was awesome, especially because we got to have ourselves a sister date out on the town with one of my old + all-time faves, (Archer's too) The Polyphonic Spree. The last time I saw The Polyphonic Spree was in 2002 and my brain promptly exploded. It was like joining a tripped-out happy-dancey-dance cult for the night. I was hooked. Fast forward to last week, twelve years later and my sister is now friends with half the band because she is in a band with half the band in Dallas, where she lives. So not only were they awesome to watch, they were also awesome to meet and holy shit, Rachel is the coolest. I felt like a crazy fangirl big sister tagging along because that is exactly what I was. Awesome. I will take it, sirs!

I took a couple short videos (see here) but the sound was less than adequate (my iPhone 4s recently died so I had to get a new one and I bought a 5s and I AM SO DISAPPOINTED. The 4s was FAR superior. Ugh ugh womp) so I'll go ahead and post this track from the new-ish Polyphonic Spree record, instead. Such a killer anthem. A download must and as always, they killed it live. Such a fun show. 

Thanks for being my hot date, Rachel. You are the coolest sister of all time.
209. Hold Yourself Up by: The Polyphonic Spree 
(who are currently on tour! GO SEE THEM!)

Places to Go: Chianti Life B&B, Topanga

I just returned from three days and two nights at the Chianti Life Retreat B&B in Topanga Canyon which is where I have decided I want to retire. Not the B&B, of course, but the canyon. On a horse farm. With everyone else in Los Angeles. (I have lived in LA for fifteen years and never done more than drive through Topanga on the way to Malibu. Uh... whut.)

Anyway, the retreat.It was a birthday gift from my parents (my mom found Chianti after searching airbnb.com in Los Angeles)--a getaway for two nights to finish a a pesonal project which I was VERY close to finishing but desperate for some quiet/tranquil/alone time to do so. Which I did. (Hooray!)
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The idea was to finish my work before Saturday night so that Hal could come and meet me. I wrote at a table in the shade, a hammock in the sun and inside at night and it could not have been cozier-- or less ergonomic but, whatever.
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I started working Friday afternoon, finished around 6:00 Saturday evening and Hal arrived soon after. We had dinner out on the bridge, surrounded by trees, as Ciel served us the MOST amazing Italian feast, and we chilled like a couple of people desperate for some quality chill time.
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It was pretty special. Our stay even included live music c/o the neighbors who were singer/songwriter-ing from a tree, I'm not even kidding. (That was not included in the price of admission, mind you. Topanga is just awesome like that. People just make music in trees.)

Chianti also hosts private massage, yoga, acupuncture and meditation sessions. You can read more about all of the awesome, here. (I didn't have time to do any of those wonderful sounding things, although meditating kind of comes with the territory when you're alone in the woods for hours at a time, and writing the words THE END was about as mind/body/spirit/earth/wind/fire as it gets for this girl, especially when it started to rain immediately upon transferring FDX file to PDF.)


The whole weekend was blissed-out magic. Gorgeous gourmet breakfasts every morning... dinner under the stars... sleeping with the windows open and all of the sounds of nature at night. Blasting Bob Dylan and soaking in a giant tub? I mean, come on. We all need us some of that. Not to mention, Ciel, who is the most above and beyond hostess imaginable. (I wanted to move in with her. Obviously.)

Needless to say, perhaps, but I'm going to have to recommend the Chianti Life Retreat B&B with five stars. Best birthday present ever for absolute certain. Thank you, Mom and Dad.
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This candle was a gift from my brother-in-law and it's my favorite. I brought it with me and carried it around with me everywhere like a crazy person. Thanks, Russ.
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It was such a joy to get away for a minute.
(And, because of course, to come home...)
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The Magic Hour & Raising Strong Girls

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Sorry it's been a little on the quiet side, here, this week but I've been sick these last few days... trying to rest up for a weekend away, my first time all alone since... I mean... ten years?  (For my birthday, my parents gave me the gift of a weekend alone to write/finish a project I am very close to finishing at a B&B. So! In a couple of hours, I head for the hills to experience peace, quiet, and (hopefully!) a bolt of inspiration to put me over the hump and finish this draft that has been consuming me for the last... many... years. I'M SO CLOSE, THOUGH! IT'S RIGHT THERE! I CAN FEEL IT! COME AT ME, UNIVERSE!)

In the meantime, I have this week's Mom.me column to share with you, here. It's about "raising strong girls" as per the most requested in the comments.

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You can read the whole column/or comment, here. Can't wait to hear from you guys on this one... 
photo 3 (96) twp Have a great weekend, everyone.


Eat Well: Summer, Summer, Summer Slaw

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, Mom!
I hope you don’t mind ONE MORE rant about sugar in foods. This week I’m talking about coleslaw —an American summer staple and a food that is FILLED with vitamins and anti-oxidants, but unfortunately is also laden with sugar. Did you know there are about 25 grams of sugar in a cup of coleslaw? UGH!!!So…over the 4th of July weekend, I used my miso salad dressing instead of the traditional sweet mayo dressing because I didn’t want to say to Bo, NO YOU CAN’T EAT THE SALAD! (She LOVES salad and all things vegetable.) We loved it so much (Bo was a BIG fan!) that I have since made it again. It’s so easy to throw together for a party or a picnic, or just keep it in the refrigerator for easy dinner salads as it keeps for several days. (This is one of the reasons I LOVE raw cabbage salads…they don’t get soggy.) It’s best if you make it ahead and let marinate for a couple of hours. I cut down the tahini to one tablespoon, as it is a little thick with two. Double the salad dressing recipe to dress a medium cabbage.

Savory Summer Slaw 

Creamy Miso salad dressing (doubled with half of the tahini called for)
1 medium cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, shredded (optional)
Combine shredded cabbage, carrot, and salad dressing.

(Add more or less salad dressing, depending on your preference and the size of the cabbage.) Mix well. Let marinate a couple of hours for best results.
Last night I served it with another one of my summer favorites, roasted ratatouille over quinoa, made from my garden vegetables…recipe found here.
Slaw also makes a delicious side to one of my all-time summer favorites, chile rellenos!




This is pretty much perfect. Jenny Lewis Forever.  (And Rainbow Tuxedos.) (And track pants and press-on mustaches and Brie Larson and everything else in this video.) Swoon city to the max in five, four, three... 

208. Just one of the Guys by: Jenny Lewis directed by Jenny Lewis


P.S. Are you guys following Weird Al's daily release party? He's rolling out a new music video every day for eight days. He posted the first one, yesterday ("Tacky" a la Pharrell's "Happy") and the second today ("Word Crimes" a la "Blurred Lines") and they're AWESOME. It's a good week for music videos. Go Teams.


The Isaacson Sisters, circa 1921

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I stumbled upon the following short films in the vault of the family archives and I hope you enjoy them. (JK, they're all from the past week or so... All I have done, lately, is make Silent Movies. Technology is such a trip like that. Buy new apps and make things old...)  I had so much fun making these even if I couldn't figure out how to end them/fade out the music at the end/add extra cards/use different songs/etc. (I made them with the Silent Film Studio app but half of the stuff in the app I couldn't get working for whatever reason and then I got frustrated and decided to share them as is, technology is the worst/best/worst/best/worst.)

Anyway. Without further ado... 

(I uploaded a non-silent version, here.)

Much love and Happy Monday, all. 
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Introducing... "I Hear Ya, Sister"

A few months back I got to talking to my friend April who is also an editor at Mom.me. (April was my editor at Babble way back in the day when Straight From the Bottle was a thing and we decided it would be fun to work together again.) And as of today (hooray!) we once again are! 

I Hear Ya, Sister, my weekly "un-column," launched today on Mom.me (name based on my, perhaps, annoying overuse of said phrase).  I hope you'll join me there every Friday to talk (and listen) to other women in the same MOTHERHOOD boat, be it canoe or jet-ski, yacht or raft, surfboard or anything else that can successfully stay afloat in a large body of water.

My first entry is more of an introduction than anything, but I would love it if you would read, comment, and let me know what YOU want to talk next week and the week after and the week after that.

My hope is that regardless of where we stand on different issues, we can find a way to share the stage, voice our opinions, hear each other. Pro-conversation.

The original idea behind this “column” was to be something other than advice (because I have none) and more of a conversation … as in, “Oh hey there! This mothering thing is weird and nuanced and impossible to pin down or label so let’s just talk about ALL the things and support each other, yeah?”

...I think we owe it to ourselves and each other and (wo)mankind to work together and hold hands and play light as a feather/stiff as a board and braid each other’s hair and draw on each other’s Converse and make each other soup and talk to each other honestly about childbirth and breastfeeding, curfews and screen time, religion and childcare, sex, lack of sex, insert subject here.

I’m talking about SUPPORT, of course. Support as NECESSITY; not just for one kind of mother but for all kinds of mothers — be you crunchy or attachment or free-range or none of the above. Be you a bio parent or caretaker, nanny or aunt, friend, supporter of mothers, fathers, people existing on this planet and making it a better, more peaceful place..

In a word, SOLIDARITY. 
So, let's hear it, sisters! What do you want to talk about? Where should we steer the conversation next? Comment here to let me know/ love you guys/Happy Friday. (I am so ready for this week to be over OMG.)
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See This: Boyhood

I wrote about BOYHOOD several months ago but I'm finally able to write about seeing the movie because days after I pub'd this post, I was invited to screen the film and have been dying to write about it since. (It was embargoed so I could not. Until now.) From the moment "Mason" appeared on screen, arms behind his head, Coldplay's Yellow blasting, I was toast. (The soundtrack to this film is specific to the year each scene takes place so essentially, it's like listening to the greatest hits of the last twelve years while watching a family come of age. Just writing that sentence made me swoon.)

I walked out of that theater changed. That sounds totally dramatic but it's true because never have I experienced something SO unlike anything in its genre. I felt similarly about Stories We Tell. Here are two films that defy EVERY genre of storytelling and then chop them all up and sew them together and then mash everything into a puree and serve them over the rind. It's like Molecular Gastronomy for the Storywatcher's Soul.

The movie itself is about moments, even the seemingly arbitrary ones. In BOYHOOD, nothing happens and everything happens and shit gets fucked up and life is magical. And through it all, we grow... the children, the parents, the world.

We become better.



In an interview with DEADLINE, Linklater, when probed about making the movie over the span of twelve years, says, "By the time Mason got to high school, we’d say, wow, this is our best year yet. We said that every year until the end. Even the last scene we did, when he’s there with the young woman in West Texas, there was just something mystical about it and we said, wow, this is the best scene in the movie."

The best is yet to come. 

And that's what makes coming of age stories so magical. We are defined by our youth in a way we will never fully understand. And even when we know better now and learned our lesson and moved on, the rings still exist in our proverbial trunks, crooked and detached, around and around and around.

(This is why I've always been bothered by all the "Letters to my Younger Self"ies. They imply a certain smugness for who we were and how little we understood back when we were, well, younger. And, yes, we knew less then. But we also felt more and that's beautiful in a way that is specific to then. BOYHOOD respects that and celebrates that in a way that isn't condescending. I love that. Linklater clearly loves and understands that children are people, too.) 
Ellar Coltrane & Lorelei Linkater in BOYHOOD

It is no wonder BOYHOOD is so magical. In a day and age when the need to instantly gratify replaces the want to make something of exceptional quality, Boyhood proves that you get what you pay for in the time = money sense. I walked out of that theatre wanting to DO the big idea because IT'S POSSIBLE. Regardless of what its industry standards are. Be patient. Stay committed. Build slowly. Make it happen. 

This movie, much like the BOYHOOD it represents, is a rebellion.

It's also a masterpiece I didn't want to see end.

Go see Boyhood this weekend. And bring everyone you know.


Oh, to Preschool they Went.

When we picked them up from school yesterday, they were older. Remember Flight of the Navigator (I loved that movie) and how the boy ages eight years in, like, two days? It felt like I dropped my babies off at school and picked up two young women. They were several inches taller (at least) and spoke three new languages and were reciting Keats. JK. They did appear several inches taller, though. Crazy how that happens. 

Yesterday could not have gone smoother. The girls had an epic day of yoga and songs and they were covered with paint when Hal and I arrived to take them home. Bo hugged me with her whole body.

"You're back," she said. 

"We're back!"

Revi did a little dance and showed me her water bottle six different times because it had stickers all over it and when I spoke to her teachers, they were, like, "Yeah. Easy day! They were awesome!"
They even napped for two hours which is... I mean... they don't even do that at home.

Archer, Fable, Hal and I were all there to pick them up (and drop them off) and Hal and I were, like, "WHOA! That went off seamlessly, high five!"

And then (dunt dunt DUNT!) today happened. 

I forgot that first days are smooth sailing compared to second days.

Second days are the fucking worst.

ED: Several people have wondered why school starts in June, here, and it doesn't. But preschool is year round and the school year officially "started" this week so we decided to start them now as opposed to next month (when Archer and Fable start school) because I'm on my own in the mornings and it's going to take me a few weeks to figure out how to get everyone out the door by 7:50. This way, by the time the big kids start school in early August, we will be pros at our morning routine. Hopefully.)

Anyway, second days. SECOND DAYS!

This morning, Bo was off same as yesterday, but Revi wouldn't let me go. And then I sat with her on my lap and every time I moved her she would say, "NO" and squeeze me closer and it went on like this until snack time when I was able to get her off my lap (finally) and then I was like, "OKAY, GIRLS! I have to go take Arch and Fabes to camp!" and we all waved and Revi said, "Noooooooo!" and then I kissed her and she did this thing where she holds my face to hers so I'm kissing her forever, but, like, it hurts because she's squeezing my cheeks and her nails need a trim and... then... eventually, I pulled away, gave her one last squeeze, pulled away and walked out the door.

As she screamed.

And cried. 

And called for me with her hands out and OH MY GOSH THIS IS THE WORST.

Archer and Fable were with me and they were equally as upset as I was and then I told them that they were the same way sometimes and it SUCKS. 

"At least she has BoBo, though, right?"


Except, apparently, Revi calmed within moments of us leaving, passing the baton to Bo who then went ballistic hysterical and when I texted the director to see how Revi was feeling she texted me a photo of Revi happily playing outside and was, like, "Bo on the other hand..."

And so... today was not what yesterday was. 

Which is fine.

And expected.

But it still sucks.

(This part always sucks.)

That said, Revi could not have had a better day and while Bo had a bit of a toughie, the girls were all smiles after school and told me they had THE GREATEST DAY so there you have it. Everything is the best except when it's the worst and then after that it's the best again.

When you're almost three, that is the world.

And when you're thirty-three (in my case, anyway) that is also the world.
This is what life looks like... pulling back, pushing forward, trying to piece together new puzzles that they will, in time, have memorized and mastered.
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(Just in time for new ones to take their place.)
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Oh, to Preschool You Go!

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Today Bo and Revi started preschool and instead of writing something sad I thought about my dad (that rhymed) who takes classic poems and rewrites them for every occasion. He also writes raps where he has known to rhyme "science" with "defiance"). Anyway. I thought of him when I wrote this because this is how we deal with milestones in my family. (My grandma sends us personalized poems for every occasion so these colors run deep.) Nothing like a little levity, right?

Oh, to Preschool You Go

Today is your day!
I sobbed as I wrote this
(Because that is my way.)
You have bags on your backs
And big smiles on your faces
You're both still in diapers
(But not always the case...s)
You're in this together
Because that's how twins rock
You can use your words, now
And you know how to walk.
You'll meet lots of children and make them your friends.
You'll meet teachers with bandaids for booboos to mend.
With your bags full of lunch you may not want to eat.
Because there are too many veggies and not enough treats.

But one day you'll thank us? Or perhaps you will not.
One day you'll be glad of these lessons we taught?

And you will also be angry we did what we did
Because that's what it means to be somebody's kid.
We all do our best but still, there are days...
When parents cannot be quite sure of their ways.
In that case, of course, you will hate us sometimes...
...and like us and hate us (that's totally fine.)
We've all been there, girls. And we somehow lived through
With our parents still loving us for all that we do.

This just took a turn for angst-ridden teen
For a moment I forgot that you're not seventeen
But that's just the thing about being a mama
Every new milestone feels chock-full of drama.
For, two seconds ago you were up on the screen
And that was, like, yesterday, so it all feels quite nuts.
To be saying "you're off!" when we're still wiping butts.

But you're ready for this
I just know that you are
You've been ready for months, now
You always scream in the car...
When we drop off your sibs
You say, "I want to go!"
And for a while I've been saying,
"Okay, girls! I know!"
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And so, here we are
Lunches packed, backpacks on.
And me with my face that says
"Nothing is wrong!"

And you in your dresses you picked out for today
Last night in your PJs with so much to say.

To Preschool you go!

You'll paint all the time!
You'll nap and you'll sing!
And you'll learn nursery rhymes!
You'll do yoga a lot Because this is LA
And it's important you know how to live NAMASTE.

It won't always be easy for you or for me.
Accidents will happen,
And your school is not free. ($$$$$ ahjshadj)
And if this school is anything like the last one
You may catch some head lice which is really not fun
And you may make a friend that has to change schools
And you may find you have a hard time with new rules
And you may become homesick (that's just how I was)
And you may decide school is the worst just because
And you may hurt your hand or your foot or your face
And you may feel fenced in and in need of more space
And you may want to paint longer than you are allowed.
Or find you're not tired and want to be LOUD.
But that is just part of the up we must grow!
And learning these lessons is just part of the show.
So enjoy it, my darlings! Hold your heads high
For you are now entering the where and the why
The who, you have covered, the what will come, too.
The how we shall find out when this isn't all new...
Oh, to preschool you go! There is fun to be done!
There are prints to be handed and songs to be sung!
And the magical things you will do with your minds.
Will make you realize that you're (two) of a kind.
With the kids lining up to hold onto your hands!

Except when they don't.
Because, sometimes, they won't.
I'm afraid that some times
You won't be all that.
Your painting will tear
And your clay will go flat

And you may want to follow in the times you must lead
And your happiness will not always be guaranteed.
And there will be times when you will get picked last
And you'll fall on your face when you're running too fast.
And all of that's good and it's fine and it's great.
Because you are a human and that is your fate
But I want to say this because THIS I must say
As your mother who loves you and is proud of your way(s)

And by "ways" I mean chutzpah. You both have it in spades
You are two of the strongest kids I've ever made...
So stay true to that sparkle, those fists in the air
Stand up for yourselves and remember to share.
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And please don't let ledges keep you back from the view
And if you must jump near edges (cause that's what you must do)...
Be mindful my darlings. 
Be kind, brave and strong.
Watch over each other. 
Go forth, girls. Forge on... 

be your name Boheme or Bobo or Bo
or Reverie Coconut, Baby GoGo (her alter ego)
you're off to big kid school.
Today is your day.
A new world is waiting.
And, yes, girls, we'll stay... 

(... for an hour or so, until they shoo us away.)

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