Previously Unpublished, 2007: Where the Wild Things Were

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ED: Years ago, I used to take off my wedding ring when I went out. I loved Hal, sure, but I didn't love being a wife. And when I went out alone, I wanted to be myself, uncompromising and unhinged and committed to nothing and no one but the moment. Because I felt a part of me had died and I needed to revive it... I needed to let it out of its cage to remind me that I was more than just someone's mother, someone's wife... I was simply (for a few hours, anyway) my own me. 

I belonged to myself. 

Nobody had to know my story. I was at once completely invisible and totally visible. I didn't blog about this, of course. Not really... But, now, all these years later, I wish I had. I wish more people wrote about what it feels like to be married and love your husband but also want other things from other people. To want other things for yourself. 

Ten years in, these are conversations I regularly have with friends. And strangers. And Hal. Ten plus years in I recognize that EVERYONE at some point feels the same way. But we're not supposed to talk about it. We're supposed to write about "Ten ways to Better Flirt with Your Spouse" and "Eight Ways to Spice up Your Marital Sex Life" but I don't want to read that shit. I want to read "8 Reasons Why it's Totally Normal to Desire Fucking Other People Sometimes." I want to read "Ten Impossible Standards We Should all Push off a Cliff" and "Why it's Okay to Want to Sneak out the Window and into Your old life, Where the Wild Things Are style.

Because it is. 

It is okay.  

Years ago, when Archer was two-years-old, I wrote a piece that I never published here, on GGC. I submitted it to Modern Love instead and got rejected. And then I guest-posted it on another friend's blog, and that was the end of that--until I found it the other day and decided to give it a home. On my home.... blog. Because all these years later, it still rings true. Because it's important (for me, anyway) to dip a toe or two into the pool of my past from time to time...  for a thousand reasons, one of them being this one: 


Where the Wild Things Were // 
Photos + Essay circa Fall, 2007

Angela was in town to host the 3rd annual Guitar Battle competition at The Roxy on Sunset Blvd. It had been almost two years since I’d seen her. She was busy living her jet-set life in New York, as I wrestled with accepting my new life, grounded at the gate, my feet planted reluctantly on the tarmac.
            “I’ll put your name on the list if you want to go,” she said.
            “Of course I want to go!”
            “I guess I just figured, because of Archer, maybe…”
            Angela was referring to my two-year old son, born from an unplanned pregnancy with a near stranger I ended up marrying in Vegas six-months pregnant and nine months into our relationship. In a matter of months, I had morphed from young single person crashing all night parties to young married mother enduring all night feedings. Angela was one of the few friends I had pre-pregnancy who kept in touch. Everyone else just kind of vanished.

Angela and I met when I was eighteen.  I was a college dropout living in a house full of skateboarders and Angela was on assignment in L.A., shooting photos for Thrasher magazine. She was older and cooler and liked the same kind of boys-- wasted dudes in Pabst stained jeans and backwards baseball hats, skateboards in one hand, guitars in the other, limping on broken bones with busted lips, or the occasional neck brace from a missed ollie off a three story-building. Over the next five years, I flew to New York to visit Angela as often as I could and in turn, she flew west to hang with me.
            Those were the good old days, I often said, but only because I barely remembered them. And yet. The fact that they were over didn’t mean I couldn’t still go out. I was perfectly capable of leaving my family behind for a night of loud music and overpriced beer.

“Of course I’ll be there! Are you kidding?”
            “Okay, cool. Just tell the guy at the door that you’re on my list. And you have a 'plus one' if you want to bring a friend.”
            But I was happy to show up alone. I figured I’d know everybody there anyway. They were, after all, my old crew.

The night of the Guitar Battle Competition, I took my sweet time readying myself, straightening my hair, cat-eyeing my eyeliner. I switched my wedding ring to my right hand in order to hide from myself what had changed, dusting off my old skin and doing my best to squeeze back into it. I was ready to make mischief of some kind.
            “I don’t know what time I’ll be home. I might go out with everyone afterwards,” I said, picking apart my wallet for my ID and credit-card to pack into my favorite vintage clutch, a seldom used souvenir of the summer I spent in London scavenging Portobello Road for treasure.
            “Have a good night. Be safe,” my husband said, bending in for a kiss.
            I turned away. “Don't. You’ll smear my lipstick.”
            I parked my station wagon in the $10 lot behind The Whiskey and made my way up Sunset, heels clicking the sidewalk until I spotted Angela, slumped against the alley-wall under the pink glow of the Roxy sign, smoking a cigarette in her fishnets and ankle boots. We threw our arms around each other, jumping up and down like teenagers back from summer vacation.
            “You look amazing!”
            “No, you do! You do!”
            She was standing with a half dozen familiar faces-- an ex-roommate, an ex-boyfriend, and an ex-lover who shook my hand.
            “Actually we’ve met before. I’m Becca. We used to…”
            But I could tell from the unoccupied look in his eyes that he didn’t remember.
            “We used to what?” he said, pulling his cigarette to his lips.
            “Nothing. Never mind.”
            Maybe I just looked different, I thought. My hair is so much longer, now.
            He wasn’t the only person who didn’t remember me. I tried to make awkward conversation with several old acquaintances but no one had anything to say. No one missed me or wanted to catch up.
            I don’t know what I was expecting. I had been na├»ve to think I could time-warp back to my previous life. I suddenly felt like an imbecile for even wanting to.
            I checked my cell phone for missed calls or new text messages but there were no messages, no missed calls.
            I called my husband.
            “What are you doing?”
            “Working,” he said. “Everything cool?”
            “Yeah. Just wanted to check in. Archer asleep?”
            “Yup. He just went down.”
            I hung up just as Angela introduced me to a guy who used to crash on my couch when he was too wasted to drive home. He didn’t recognize me either. So I introduced myself to him like a stranger. Less hassle trying to explain. He was nice enough, asking once again for my name.
            “I’m really bad with names,” he said.
            I nodded and wondered if it was the drink and drugs that fogged his memory-- if all the partying  had gotten in the way of us ever getting to know one another.
            I pulled away from the crowd, hugged Angela once more, and told her I’d see her inside, accepting a drag of her cigarette before separating from her, our heels click-clacking in opposite directions.
            I opened up a tab at the bar, exchanging my driver’s license and credit card for a filled-to-the brim cup of Corona. I tried to make small talk with my old roommate, who I hadn’t seen in over a year, but he was uninterested, looking over my shoulder, calling to one of his buddies to save him a seat. I excused myself and moved through the crowd invisibly, trying my best not to spill my drink.
Touch Me, I'm God!
            Again, I texted my husband.
            “Hi!” I wrote.
            “Hi!” he wrote back.
            I made my way to a seat in the audience and sat down, legs crossed, arms folded and waited for the curtain to rise and the wild rumpus to start. It was a relief to see Angela. She waved from the judges booth on the stage and I waved back.
Judging
            “Why are you sitting alone?” she lipped.
            I pretended not to understand.
            “What?”
            I had three drinks spilled on me in the two hours I sat watching the guitar battlers. I didn’t move. Not even to brush the beer out of my hair or pick an empty plastic cup off my shoe. I was afraid that if I moved, someone might notice me sitting there, or worse, not notice me at all. The room spun as I studied the scene soberly. Familiar people high-fived and bought each other drinks. Ex-boyfriends stroked their new girlfriend’s backs. Former lovers flirted with a fresh batch of pretty young things
            When the lights finally went up, I squeezed the beer from my hair and hurried to the bar to close out my tab, exchanging my half empty plastic cup for my driver’s license and receipt, and waited for Angela by the front of the stage.
            “Hey, you!  We’re all going to go to ChaCha in a few minutes. Want to come?”
            “Of course!” I said almost on autopilot before realizing that an after party was the last place I wanted to be. More drinks to be spilled on my shoes. More “Wait, who are you?” to be muttered while being squished in pleather booths. And suddenly where the wild things were going didn’t interest me anymore. 
Horseshoes for Good Luck
            For the last three years I had felt deprived of a social life. Of this social life. Like I was missing out on something, abandoning my old life and all who knew me. But I was wrong. I never really belonged here in the dark with the open tab, my identification flattened against a liquor-splattered bar. I just thought I did.
            Besides, I was already on Angela’s guest list. That was never going to change, no matter how different our worlds had become.
            “Actually,” I shrugged. “I should probably go home. You know, because of Archer. But let’s do dinner tomorrow night at my place.”
            “How about eight o’clock?”
            “It’s a date.”
            Angela drove off smiling, her backseat full of skateboard boys flailing out the window.  I sat alone for several minutes in my mischief-making dress and ankle boots and wedding ring on the wrong hand, trying to make sense of the night’s events.  
            I called my husband one last time.
            “Is there any of that frozen pizza left?”
            “Yup.”
            “Cool. Because I’m coming home early.”
            “Good,” he said, the faint hum of television in the background. “I miss you.”
            I suddenly felt desperate to be home, to finish the frozen pizza and change out of my party dress and let my husband smear my lipstick. I raced down La Cienega as fast as I could, peeling out at red lights, feeling like if I didn’t get home soon, I would be sucked back into my old life, forced to live an eternity of obsoleteness, a tame outsider among Wild Things. 
Amstel y Yo (La Tengo)
            When I finally made it home--into the night of my very own living room—my husband was on the couch waiting for me.
            “Check the stove,” he smiled “You have pizza waiting for you. And it’s still hot.”

Surviving Summer as a Work-From-Homer Part 2: LOL Boogaloo

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Last week (on Facebook) I promised to write an update to my "Summer Survival Guide" and you're going to LOL because LITERALLY everything I wrote about has already failed and is defunct:

And so. I have a new/updated version of my extremely helpful maybe not so much anymore list of helpful tips for summer WAHM survival:

1. Mondays are for Planning our Week I don't even Know Anymore. 

The last two Mondays have NOT been spent planning our week but trying to figure out who is going where and whether it's appropriate to take a kid to a meeting with me. (I took Fable with me last week, which was totally fine. She brought a book and read and we had our meeting and everything was lovely and awesome.)


 I realized that planning for the week's events on a Monday was only possible one time. Now? I cannot even plan for the day without throwing the book out the window and starting over. My post schedule is all over the place. I am unable to commit to much because of vague travel plans and even vaguer work plans and I have no idea what's even going on right now. Is this thing even still on? Bueller? 

2. I Can Work Nights CANNOT WORK NIGHTS. And I have to in order not to fall behind completely.  I'm sorry but this is complete and total bullshit. I would rather be behind than... insane. Which is how I feel right now, if you couldn't tell. 

For an entire week, I stayed up and worked until 2/2:30 in the morning and I was so smug and proud of myself for being the best late-night-working multitasker ever until I realized I wasn't sleeping. Like, at all. Apparently working super late at night turns me into an insomniac. My brain refuses to shut off when it's been left on too long and for three straight nights I got two total hours of sleep. That is not going to work for me, I'm afraid. And so? This week it was back to unplugging at 9:30... ish...


(You can read the post in its entirety here.)

***

P.S. Here's a good song for the Mondays. It's also a pretty solid summer parenting anthem I think.


Bruises by: Chairlift

GGC

To Pursuing Happiness! #LOVEWINS

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I am so overwhelmed with joy after today's Supreme Court Ruling. So grateful to SCOTUS. So relieved to see progress NATIONWIDE. To love prevailing! To standing up for what is right and fighting forward! To life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for ALL people. To rainbows... 
photo 5 (42) (We're big fans of rainbows.)
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In the words of the great Harvey Milk, "Hope will never be silent." Cheers to all the beautiful noise makers in the U.S. and worldwide. May minds continue to open. May love continue to win. 

GGC

"But what does any truth set free look like? I know that I don’t know..."

These are some of the most powerful words I have read in recent days, months.. ever, and I ask you to take a few moments to read them. Because, in the wake of Charleston -- in the wake of being a citizen in this country. In the wake of being a human being with ears on our heads and eyes in our faces, it is the least we can do. Black, white, southern, northern, Christian, Jewish, Liberal, Conservative, HUMAN. We cannot move forward as a people without recognizing what and who and how we hold back.

We will lament the numbers of folks killed in mass murders in the United States. There’s a number for that. We will talk about the numbers of people killed in black-on-black murder. There’s a number for that. We will never talk about the number of unemployed and underemployed hard-working black folks living in poverty. We will never talk about the numbers of black folk in prison for the kinds of nonviolent drug-related offenses my white students commit every weekend. We will never talk about the number of human beings killed by young American military men and women draped in camouflage, or the number of human beings murdered by drones across the world. We will never talk about the specific amount of money this country really owes Grandma and her friends for their decades of unpaid labor. We will never talk about the moral and monetary debt accrued by the architects of this Empire. There are shameful numbers for all of that, too...
Please read the piece in its entirety. And heartbreaking. And maddening. And difficult to digest. And important. Thank you, Kiese Laymon for writing it. 

GGC


Eat Well's Greatest Hits: Summer Salads

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It's been a while since I've posted an Eat Well, "Greatest Hits" post but today, by popular demand, I'm posting 13 go-to summer salad recipes. Because, although I have yet to change my blog banner, it is indeed summer. And salads are delicious things to put inside your face.
IMG_3062 10. Jicama Salad with orange and cilantro
IMG_4662 11. Green Bean and Corn Salad
IMG_4231 12. Quinoa, Mango + Black Bean Salad
IMG_4210 13. Bec's Go-to Lunch Salad
lunch post.
What about you guys? What are some of your go-to summer salads? 

GGC

240/100

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Shout out to Sarah for sharing this beautiful song with me last week and introducing me to the genius of Mandolin Orange. Stunning, all of it.



239. "That Wrecking Ball" by: Mandolin Orange

This, too:



240. Waltz About Whiskey by: Mandolin Orange


GGC

It's Father's Day Somewhere!

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This Last week on Mom.me I organized a little top ten list in honor of Father's Day which was, yesterday, sure, but also today because EVERY DAY is Father's Day, hello.
IMG_3933 Revi with Papa Larry
IMG_3958 Bo with Great Grandpa Milt
SO!

Without further ado... 

Here are ten movies to watch that are fatherly, including Father of The Bride (welcome to the 90's Mr. Banks), Despicable Me and Nebraska. 

And speaking of Father's Day, this by Rob Delaney is really great:

Good stuff.

Hope everyone had themselves a relaxing weekend. We did a lot of chilling, ourselves, because it just so happened, we were in desperate need of some chill.
IMG_3720 IMG_3794 Cheers to all and Happy Monday,

GGC

"BEING THERE as your kids grow up? That's everything. That's providing."

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This week, in honor of this Sunday's Father's Day, I thought I'd sit down with my husband and baby daddy, Hal, and ask him a few questions about being a dad. (He's a great one, by the way. And you're about to see why...)

Bec: Hi.

Hal: Oh, hello.

Bec: This weekend marks your 10th Father's Day. What do you have to say about that?

Hal: Honestly, I can't remember any of the past nine Father's Days except for that one when it was also your birthday and I attempted to make you a cake and it exploded.

Bec: It was DELICIOUS though.

Hal: It was delicious.

Bec: ...Wait. But, like... what do you have to say about MAKING IT OUT ALIVE ten years into being a dad? Four kids is no joke

Hal: First off, and let the record state, I don't feel like it's MAKING IT OUT ALIVE. It's not an easy life we have but I'm grateful for all of it. Becoming a dad made me realize there were more important things than myself. It transformed me.  Having children made me see individuality. It made me respect and value others in a way I hadn't before. Fatherhood has given me tolerance and the recognition that life is not mine to control. I'm still working on that by the way. I have control issues.

For example, and as you know, I was laid off yesterday. And I came home and saw you and Archer and Fable and I immediately felt like a loser. I was so afraid you/they would see me as weak and less than. I didn't want any of you to see me angry or upset, especially them. Because I saw them and I knew that they were concerned. I  knew they were watching me and listening to the things I was telling you. And when they asked what was wrong, I wanted to say "nothing" and be done with it. But that wasn't true. And I wanted them to feel like they could be a part of my vulnerable moment in a way that might be empowering for all of us. Even though I REALLY REALLY wanted to say, fuck it, and start breaking shit.

And so I turned around and faced them. Severance package in hand. I faced them and told them what was up and suddenly I was able to see myself in their eyes -- and I looked different than I looked in my own mirror. I felt like instead of this being an end, it was a beginning... Sometimes, it's easier to explain things to yourself when you're explaining them to your kids.

And so. I explained to Archer and Fable what had happened and then we had a very important conversation about life and how sometimes shit just happens. And then I asked the kids if there was anything special they wanted to do and they were, like, "Yeah! Let's go to Dave and Busters and I was like, "FUCK IT! Let's go. LET'S GO LIVE IT UP!"

So we did. Instead of having a nervous breakdown, we all put on our shoes and went out into the unknown. Together.

Bec: You Became a father unexpectedly. What was that like?

Hal: It's funny because I'm in a very similar place right now than I was then. I had just moved to LA and I thought, "how the fuck am I going to do this? How are we going to make this work?" I had to summon a lot of strength and tell myself (and us) that everything was going to be fine. And I had to believe that. Like, truly believe that everything was going to be fine. I didn't have the luxury to dwell in self-pity and I really wanted to. I still feel that way. Right now, especially.

Bec: And then Archer was born. What then? How did you feel?

Hal: Amazing. I couldn't believe... and now I'm going to cry because I was so in love with you and that baby --  It was the strongest love I had ever felt in my life. I felt complete. In the hospital. With all these people helping us. Ha! (When we got home it got REAL real fast.) My love didn't fade, of course, but it was overwhelming there for a few weeks... months... years.

Bec: What, for you, is the most difficult part of fatherhood?

Hal: Constantly second guessing the messages I'm sending my children. Am I teaching them life skills? Am I helping them become well-adjusted? I know that I am instrumental in their development and I hope that I'm doing a good job. I think that I am. But I second guess myself constantly. I want to create a solid base for my children and I want to be very conscious of that. They're here and they see it all. They hear me and they see me and they're always watching and listening. That's a lot of pressure. Good pressure, but pressure...

Bec: Most gratifying?

Hal: There are those moments when your kids are looking at you and you're looking at them and you feel like you get each other. You're reaching each other. You're having a conversation or you're singing a song or you're walking down the street and it's like, "I see you." "Yeah. Same here."

Bec: You've been married almost as long as you've been a father? What's more challenging? Why?

Hal: In one sense they're wildly different. But in other respects they're exactly the same because marriage and fatherhood are both about maintaining respect for the individual on the other side of you. And that individual is JUST as complex as you are -- no one is a robot. No one is the same every day (or every minute). All relationships have good phases and really challenging times. And it's that way as a parent as well. Your kid is this amazing perfect creature one minute and the next they're drawing all over the wall... Same with marriage. Fuck, we all draw on the wall, you know? And usually it's pencil (which comes off fairly easily) but sometimes its crayon. Sometimes its sharpie.

Bec: How is it different fathering daughters than it is a son?

Hal: With Archer I am very conscious of what positive masculine ideals are and at the same time, I need to be equally conscious of positive feminist ideals for the girls. I didn't grow up with sisters and therefore never spent time with young girls, so I didn't have any experience observing/learning that until I became a father. And it's an amazing time in history to be raise daughters, i.e. soon to be young, empowered women. And, yes, we have a long way to go on this Earth, but with that said, it's still quite an exciting time to be a father of daughters. And Archer is so lucky that he can cover both bases; we have our little boy bond, but then having four females in the house has created incredibly this sensitive empathetic boyman who is so hyperaware of his surroundings. It's so T-Rex (20st Century Boy +1).

Bec: Do you have any advice or words of wisdom to share with expecting fathers or those new to this dad-hood scene?

Hal: Hmmmm...  I think for most men, feeling a need to PROVIDE can be overwhelming and I guess I want to tell you to remember what it means to truly PROVIDE. Emotionally. Physically... your kids needs YOU. They don't need some new trendy stroller or whatever the hot overpriced baby thing is right now.... There are all of these financial pressures on new parents and in retrospect I realize that REALLY BEING THERE when your baby is born, and really BEING THERE as your kids grow up? That's everything. That's providing.

Bec: I love you. You're pretty great, you know that?

Hal: Wait - this isn't for a Dove campaign?
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Happy Father's Day to all the fathers in the house. Big love, dudes.

GGC

For Charleston

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My heart is with Charleston today. The victims. Their families and friends...  My heart is with all of those who don't feel safe in their communities, be they teenagers at parties or families praying in their houses of worship. My heart is with those who speak up and fight back and stand tall against a twisted system with their voices and their mirrors and say "LOOK!!!!" even when so many refuse to see...  My thoughts are with those who cannot recognize their inability to look beyond their own experiences. My heart is with the angry, the heartbroken, the frustrated, the confused... My heart is with Charleston.

***

For those wishing to contribute to the families of the victims of the Charleston shooting, you can do so at any Wells Fargo branch by specifying that they’d like to donate to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund. You can also make checks out to “Mother Emanuel Hope Fund” at the following address: 

Mother Emanuel Hope Fund
C/O City of Charleston 
P.O. Box 304 Charleston, SC 29402

- via Time

GGC

Gemini(s)

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Last week, Bo and Revi got in a massive fight about an invisible necklace. I know what she means, I thought. "I see both sides."

'There are two sides to your story, Gemini." That's how my horoscope always started. You are twins. You are dancing. You are fighting. You are holding hands in your superhero dress. You are yourself. And your other self, too. 
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I grew up thinking I was two-sided. Like a coin. Like that Us Poem by Shel Silverstein.

"Me and him her, him her and me. We're always together as you can see. I wish (s)he'd leave so I'd be free. I'm getting a little bit tired of (s)he..."
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There are two types of girls in the world, I once wrote... and I was both of them... (Just like everyone else, but I didn't know that at the time. I believed in horoscopes with all my might. I believed I was this person -- who was unable to live a singular life. I was heads and tails and I could not stop flipping my coin. Flip. Flip. Flip...)

"Girl, what's your sign?"

"Isn't it obvious?"
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The "twins," as referred to in Gemini horoscopes, are not supposed to be the same or even similar. They are supposed to be different. Complements and contradictions. Strength and softness, light and dark... Twins are hands that touch but do not cling -- they are brothers and sisters who spar and love and fight and fall asleep with noses touching. Push, pull, push, pull, reach, chase, dance, pow. (POW! POW!) 
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My first tattoo was a Gemini sign. My wedding ring is a pair of stones, dark and light, fused together... Signy-Mc-Sign. And every day someone asks if Bo and Revi are related. To me. To each other. To any of us. "Yes, yes. They're twins..." And I immediately think back to the signs leading up to their birth. I think about what it was like carrying them around inside me. I think about all the years I wore a II symbol around my neck, upon my finger, across my back... So many years highlighting horoscopes, talking about my sign. Their signs. All signs... 

"It's a sign."

"What's your sign?"

"All signs point to..." 
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There are two sides of your story, Gemini. Which twin are you today? Who will end up with the invisible necklace?
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I will never know what it is like to be a twin. But I have collected horoscopes. I know how to find Castor and Pollux in the sky. I know how to turn one invisible necklace into two.
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Because of you.
IMG_3222  Because of you.
IMG_3360 IMG_3359 GGC II CGG

239/100

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Okay, so a VERY cool thing happened last night and I couldn't NOT share it in today's Mix Tape because now I have even MORE proof that Archer's teacher, Sir. Mr. Norr (and, yes, we just knighted him) is the coolest teacher OF ALL TIME.

Remember when I posted Archer's incredible song a few weeks back? That song, was one of many BRILLIANT songs that came out of Mr. Norr's 4th/5th grade class, including a GENIUS song called MAGIC PANCAKES, written by Archer's former classmate, Owen Roberts. GO, OWEN!

Fast forward to last night (and CBS' The Late Late Show getting word of Mr. Norr's DIY songwriting unit amazingness) and, well... this happened:



And then THIS happened: 


Cheers to Jack Antonoff and The Late Late Show for BEING THE COOLEST. SO proud of Owen's lyrical stylings. And Mr. Norr for being THE BEST TEACHER EVER I WISH HE GOT A SHOUT-OUT ON THE SHOW BECAUSE HE DESERVES ONE SO HERE I AM NOW SHOUTING OUT! AGAIN! Magic things happen when people work their magic, man. Cheers to teachers who rock and students who rule. SO COOL, RIGHT!? SO COOL. OWEN!!!!!!!!

***

239. Magic Pancakes by: Owen Roberts & Jack Antonoff

GGC

"If society is not valuing your authentic self, that’s society’s dysfunction, not yours."

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For my second piece at Quiet Revolution, I was fortunate enough to interview, author and autism advocate, Emma Lesko of Super Lexi fame:

In Emma Lesko's words:

I didn’t start realizing I was autistic until high school, and of course, at that time, I didn’t even know what autism was. I wouldn’t get the label until much later. I just knew that I had difficulty coping with injustice; I had to fake enjoying large social events; and I could never seem to verbalize the depth of my thoughts, except in writing. I grew increasingly disoriented by the uniqueness of my own perspective, and ultimately I slipped into the danger zone that many, many girls endure: voicelessness. 

In the long run, the challenges that presented themselves during my voiceless era would give my work meaning and passion. I am grateful for those struggles today, because they connected me to human suffering. They gave me purpose...

...I wrote Lexi as a highly introverted second-grader with autism, despite pressure from the publishing industry to make her more like a neurotypical kid. The idea behind this advice was marketability and mainstream appeal, which I consider unfounded and ableist.

In my opinion, emotions are universal, and triggers are personal. It’s the author’s job to root a character in relatability regardless of those personal triggers, and I’ve worked consciously to do that. Not every kid gets “the feeling of barf” like Lexi when they have to perform in a school play. But every kid has had that feeling for some reason. As such, I focus a great deal on Lexi’s emotional journey and try to portray it in a funny way. 

My refusal to bend Lexi to fit publishing standards is reflected in the plot of Super Lexi, a stage fright story. Frequently in this type of book, the main character ultimately realizes she is a star at heart and ends up shining on stage. Lexi does not do that. Instead, she stands up for her right to be her authentic self and unapologetically accepts her fear of “staring eyeballs.”
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You can read the interview in its entirety, here. 

For more on, Emma Lesko and her Super Lexi books, go here. You can also follow Emma on twitter, here. She's wonderful. 


GGC

Surviving Summer as a Work-from-Homer: Week One

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This week on Mom.me, I wrote about surviving (and thriving!) our first week of summer vacation. Last night at 1:00am. Which is when I'm finding time to work. More on that, below:

It's been a full week of summer vacation, and after my post a few weeks back, I wanted to follow up with a little check-in on how we're doing with the whole no-camp-mama's-gotta-work-still situation up in here. As of tonight, here is what is working for me/us/me and us:

1. Mondays are for Planning our Week: We spent Monday organizing a game plan for the week. Playdates, day trips, etc... It's also the day we get our errands done for the week. I organize a list of things I need to get to every day/by the end of the week workwise and the kids decide where they want to go on their weekly adventure. This past week we hit up the California Science Center to check out the Dead Sea Scrolls. Next week (weather permitting) we'll hit up the beach. By getting all errands out of the way on Monday and stocking up on markers/crafts/new books to read/etc... we can go the rest of the week with plenty of options.

2. I can work nights. And I have to, in order to not fall behind completely: During the school year, I put in six hour work days and then, at night, work another hour or so. Judging from this week, my hours are cut to three (on a good day) so I HAVE to work nights. The kids are in bed by 9 and I need alone time with Hal, because, duh, so I have taken it upon myself to carve out late LATE night work time between the hours of midnight (when Hal goes to sleep) and 2:00am -- my new bedtime. Because I don't have to be awake at 7am, I can sleep in until 8:00, allow the kids to watch cartoons/completely thrash the house before I stumble out of bed and get the twins dressed, fed and ready for school. (Hal has to be at work at 6:30 so is always long gone when the kids wake up.)

And it is totally working.

Take this post, for example. It is 12:22am as I type this and the house is quiet. I have my music and my candles and even though I'm fucking exhausted, I'm here. I'm doing this thing. Which brings me my next bullet point....
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3. I must embrace my inability to be at 100%. Or 90%. Or 65%: It is not possible for me to bring my A game at the moment and that's okay. Being my own boss and working for myself is a luxury I do not take for granted but being my only employee has always been a struggle, because underneath the laid back I'm-so-chill-love-and-light-for-all ways, I am extremely hard on myself. I am the shittiest boss of all time. I refuse to give myself a break even when I know I am desperate for one. (I literally was back to work three hours after giving birth to the twins. Because there is no maternity leave when you're a writer on the Internet.) My hard-on-my-self-ness is something I know I need to change so this no-camp-no-nanny business is, in the long run, good for me, maybe. Because I have no choice but to exhale and do what I can do.

What a concept...

... You can read the post in its entirety, here.

TGIF, you guys. Let's put moles on each other's faces to unwind.
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