Thursday, February 24, 2011


This is a rerun. I am posting it since it is mentioned in an article in my local paper today:

Winter 2008
On Wednesday I drove Grace to school because the bus never showed up after a night of snow. As I came back down our street I saw Coffee Friend 1 out shoveling her driveway. I stopped the van and rolled the window down.

"Can you believe the wife?" I said referring to the drama that has been unfolding all week about our incredibly inept/corrupt governor Rod Blagojevich.

"I haven't heard the details about her, what?"

"I skimmed the complaint. I'll forward it to you. They have her on tape yelling over her husband's shoulder 'You tell that F***er he can forget his deal on the F***ing Cubs if he won't fire that editorial staff!'"

"Holy shit, I knew she was a bitch," Coffee Friend 1 said as she leaned on the handle of her shovel.

"Yeah, but really, who does that? Who stands over their husband's shoulder while he's on a business call telling him what to say?"

We both shook our heads, trying to imagine the scenario. It was really one of the most shocking revelations in a shocking week of revelations. We talked a few minutes more about the scandal, the possiblity that Rahm Emmanuel dropped the dime and the prospect of hearing him on a tape cursing like Ari from "Entourage" the character based on his real-life brother, and then I drove on.

As I pulled into the driveway it occurred to me that the entire conversation had taken place while we were both in our pajamas. Both of us had been wearing winter coats and boots over our pajamas, bed-head hair, and not a stitch of makeup (by the way, that expression makes no sense, makeup does not come in stitches).

This is not that shocking for me. I can often be found in my pajamas until 10:00 or so (I am right now actually, polar bear flannel, thank you) and even on my wedding day I don't think I wore anything more than mascara. But for Coffee Friend 1...well she was a model in her youth. I'm sure there was a time in her life she wouldn't have been caught dead outside un-showered and in p.j.'s.

I thought about this the next day when I drove another child to school for band and I saw a mom in the pajamas/boots/winter ensemble as she helped her special needs child on to the bus and I realized, consciously for the first time, that I LOVE seeing my peers like this.

To be sure, I usually see them fully dressed, coiffed, and made-up, and many of them could audition for a part in "Desperate Housewives" but I like them best this way--when they've just rolled out of bed. They look more vulnerable, more approachable, more human, and much younger. Like a sleeping child, an un-groomed mom is the sweetest mom of all.

This made me feel better about the time I went out to get the paper wearing the shorts of one summer pajama set and the top to another, my sad post-breast-feeding boobs hanging low in their natural braless state only to look up after scooping up the paper to see my children's principal as he jogged by our house. I played it cool, "Good morning, Mark," I said. "Good morning, Judy," he said as he continued on. He never spoke of it. What happens in the driveway stays in the driveway.

I wonder if Patti Blagojevich is ever caught in her jammies. Probably not. She is the daughter of a prominent Illinois politician who bought the governor job for her husband when she was only 35 so she's probably been the picture of an entitled brat her whole life. She probably hasn't taken out the trash or shoveled a driveway in her entire life or, God forbid, been caught in her jammies. And therein lies much of the problem I suspect.

So here's to all my mom friends today. If I see you in the 'hood with your hair rumpled and your snowflake patterned jammies peaking out from under your coat as you run kids to school or fetch the paper, rest assured you've never been more beautiful to me.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


So there's this new movie called Race to Nowhere which is about how some of us have been pressuring our children to be high achievers at school and participate in many activities and that maybe this is something that seems like a good idea but has gotten out of control and our kids are buckling under the pressure and falling apart.

The movie is causing quite a stir among those who have been uncomfortable with this all along (me) and those who want to keep pushing the kids to further greatness (Tiger-Mom.) Here's an excerpt about the movie from NPR :

The film is becoming something of a rallying point for frustrated parents, who are now pushing for change from the bottom up. "Just last week we had a parent get up and say, 'You know, at some point it comes down to civil disobedience. If a bunch of us just say, 'We're not having our young kids, who are in elementary school, do the homework,' or, 'We're going to keep them home on the test day,' " Abeles [the film's producer] says. "I think that you're seeing parents and educators feeling much more empowered."

Yeah, baby, civil disobedience! I'm a fan. Sometimes I purposely keep a DVD past the due date and just say the heck with late fees I may never see the end of The Kids Are Alright if I turn it in on time! And more than once I have even gone through the red light at the high school parking lot on Lake at midnight when there is no traffic and I have practiced saying, "Yes, officer, I know I did that. It was a conscious act of civil disobedience because that stoplight is too damned long and besides it is just a sign of oppression from the man."

But much braver than those trivial acts, I have allowed my kids, nay encouraged my kids, to make up stuff for their reading logs!! Oh yeah. It's true. Come and get me DCFS!

That's right, I NEVER made my kids fill out the reading log truthfully. (In case you are not familiar with the reading log, it is required from K-8 that kids in our district read X number of pages each month and log it. Then parents have to sign off on the log) They would take those cursed things at the end of the month, look around their rooms and write down a few titles of the several books they would have been reading anyway and make up stats about pages read. Then I would sign it.

The reason I do this is NOT because I am opposed to reading. Quite the contrary. The reason I do this is because I think it is ridiculous to require kids do something they should just be doing anyway like eating, breathing, and reading. And I am thoroughly convinced that if you require kids to do something that is inherently fun you will immediately take the fun out of it and I will not be a party to anything that takes the fun out of reading. A reading log is the biggest buzz killer ever invented and only serves to make kids think reading is just another school chore in their lives. It so effectively takes the fun out of whatever you have to log that I bet if you made your kids eat 20 M&Ms a day AND keep a log of it by the end of a month they'd never eat another M&M again.

Now, as I said, I do NOT underestimate the value of reading--quite the opposite. I'm aware that how much a kid reads is the number one predictor of school success-- which is why the academic world wants our kids to read and thus hit upon the diabolical reading log.

I suspect I am not the only one out there who has fudged a reading log but perhaps you are concerned that your kids won't read enough without it. So here, for those of you with kids young enough to still screw up, is what I did that seems to have worked pretty well :

-Read to them every day: I read to Atticus every day from the day he was a week old. Not kidding. I did this selfishly because I liked it. I'd waited years to have a kid of my own on my lap to read to. When Grace came along, I read to one kid and Jeff read to the other. Every night. When Lilly came along, we got Atticus in on the act and he started reading to the girls. Now of course they just read to themselves but the fact is they do read. A lot.

-Never say no to reading: I also had a rule as they grew--no matter what, if they asked me to read to them, I would stop whatever I was doing and read. I would stop folding clothes to read "Good Night Moon" or I would turn the stove off to read "Noisy Nora" It did not matter what I was doing, it was the one request that was always honored.

-Never say no to books: I never gave in when my kids begged for toys and candy (my standard answer was, "is it your birthday --do you have money?" this works by the way, they hardly ever asked for stuff), but I WOULD buy them a book if they asked. (If you cannot afford this luxury, subsitute a trip to the library.)

All three of my kids are avid readers--but it is not because of the stupid reading logs. It is in spite of them.

So I encourage you to fight the system a little and say no to some of the nonsense. Who knows, if we band together maybe we could get rid of the word searches and the map coloring. A girl can dream.


I want to let you all know about my Dutch friend Laurent's new website. He's offering his guitar playing musical talents online. Check out his new site and maybe some day when you need a guitar line for your song you'll remember him! You can even hear some of his music on this site. So check it out!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


Hey gang, check this out from my dear friend Christie Mellor who is the author of the fabulous "Three Martini Playdate" and a friend I made by stalking on the internet. This talented author is also a wonderful performer AND one of the best moms I know. So check out her video and if you live in the LA area, get your butt over to one of her Thursday night performances at the Culver Hotel (details below).
Tell her I sent you.

All I Really Saw
An original Doozy tune from our upcoming CD, "Heavy Sugar."
If you like it, do pass it along to a hundred of your closest pals, won't you?

See you at the Culver Hotel!
Every Thursday Night
7:30 - 11:00
9400 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA

And become a "fan" on Facebook, where you can find out about all upcoming Doozy events!