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The Golden Moment

January 1, 2002. D and I walk out of the Chinese Restaurant downtown. It’s freezing. He looks at me, his eyes smiling…

And thus the anecdotal Golden Moment begins…

I could write the script of my man’s marriage proposal word for word. It’s so etched in my brain now that I sometimes wonder if it happened as I remember it, or if I made up some of the lines. I could make a highlight reel of my wedding day. And night.And the fantastic once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon that followed. I could provide a play-by-play of the births of each of my three sons: the one that was induced, the one that came sailing out, the one that waited until after the needle but before the epidural could kick in to arrive. Not just Golden, these moments were Platinum, true life-changers in every sense of the word.

Don’t get me wrong, 100% pure gold they were not. Throw a few lumps of coal into these experiences to really make them true to life. That whole “best of times, worst of times” speech couldn’t be more true or appropriate if I made it up myself. Which I did not. Maybe that would’ve been my Golden Moment.

And yet, as life-changing as they were, to relive the dawning of my life as a wife and mother seems so clichéd…

Breaking up with a live-in lover after 5 years of unhealthy obsessions? That was a Golden Moment. Reaching my goal at Weight Watchers (unrelated to the intense weight loss after said break-up)? Another Goldie. Scuba diving at night – at night!? Blindingly gold. Even reading a eulogy for my beloved Grandmother was a Golden Moment for me, twisted as that might sound.

Then there are the times that are more gold-plated. The ones I look back on and smile, sometimes smugly. My first titled job in film and my name in Variety? 18 karat. Returning to the Kibbutz 6 weeks after bidding my temp-o-life there Shalom forever? Zahav. Watching Bono and The Edge perform in front of 100 people while seated in the third row? Gold-Record Gold.

For me, the Golden Moments aren’t what we see in coffee commercials. At least none of my moments are. Rather, they’re the forks in the road. Whether less travelled or well-trod, they’re the paths taken that lead us in totally different directions. Choose left and you’re an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, with a ton of air-miles and no personal life. Choose right and you’ve got a loving family, a cottage business and ONLY a personal life. For better and for worse. Those forks in the roads are the life-changers. The Golden Moments. THE moments. Full stop. And let’s face it, many of them are far more tarnished than they are Golden.

I guess I needed to rattle off the Golden Oldies’ Greatest Hits because a side of me wonders if those were the good old days. Or maybe throwing down these glorious slices of life onto the page plays into my suspicions that I’m still waiting for the Big One. Or worse: what if the Golden Moment has already come and gone?

And what if I missed it?!

Can you imagine? What if, while waiting for my time to shine, for that stand-out moment that would change my life – and possibly the world – for all eternity, I blinked? Would the moment be gone forever? Would I miss my chance to be something? Or someone? Someone other than who I am?

I guess what it comes down to is that life is full of so many Moments – golden, bronzed, and tarnished to shit. And you never know which are the real life changers until after they happen. At least I don’t. Retrospect is a beautiful thing. Weddings, divorces, births, and deaths. Travels, friendships, books and films. Even the blackest of moments become golden when they’re over. Because they’re over. And we’ve made it through. The beauty of life is the alchemy that helps keep us going. Turning crap into gold and hoping it sticks. Maybe it’s coming to this realization that makes up my Golden Moment. Or maybe it’s all just Fool’s Gold.

Posted by Mother of all Mavens at 6:43 PM

4 comments:

Anonymous said…

ok – fully publishable. send it to the globe – it’s great!!!

8:13 PM

Anonymous said…

You are wise! You are smart and you ARE golden!
Loved this…….

10:29 PM

Anonymous said…

This Blog is so wonderful , smart and your mind is so keen .
your introspection is a marvel
your words come out with such grace and tenderness.

10:12 AM

Anonymous said…

I found this site. And i want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

Sorry for offtopic

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November 4, 2009   No Comments

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What I Did on my Summer Vacation

Looks like summer is officially over. Tomorrow it’s back to school. Back to carpool. Back to chauffeuring. Being a night-before stylist. An enforcer. A chef. And my fave – The Warden.
I had all these grandiose plans for the summer….
Seeing lots of movies. Check.
Exercising. Started off well.
Getting back to Bikram yoga. Got too tense – and had nothing to wear that wouldn’t either constrict in the most unflattering of ways, or flip over my head and blind me if I bent over.
Writing a script. Did a rewrite… okay, a polish… of an existing project. But that kinda counts.
Spending lots of quality time with my kids. I extended their day camp. But we did hang out a lot at the cottage. And I took them to an amusement park by myself, went on loads of rides, ate as much junk as possible, went onstage during a clown performance, AND got stung by a bee and didn’t cry. Yes, I am supermom.
I also saw how enlightening a summer can be, even when you’re 1, 4 and 5-and-a-half years old. While my baby conquered walking and learned to point instead of scream, my big boys picked up all kinds of other equally important stuff this summer.
They are now gaga masters (that’s dodge ball for those of you out of this particular loop). They love archery. They can swim in the deep end and jump off diving boards. They pretty much know the entire Beatles catalogue by heart, and are counting down the days until Beatles Rockband arrives (-2. We pre-ordered). They’ve become terrific bikers, soccer players, and catchers. They can wield a tennis racquet with the best of ’em – and sometimes even hit the ball. Over the net. They know street names, directions, and how to do English accents. They appreciate the BBQ. They’re not afraid of sunscreen, and they like wearing hats. Their phone manner and overall sportsmanship has improved tremendously.
And they can swear like sailors.
It started off innocently enough. Weiners. Balls. Butts ‘n bums.
Jackass. Piss. Crap.
Stupid. Idiot. Stupid idiot.
And then shit happened. “Say shit”… “He said shit”… “You’re a shit!”
Inevitably, they dropped the big bomb. The F-word cruised into our house on a barrel of laughs and blushing cheeks. Apparently, FUCK was one they learned here at home. From their father, God bless him. That they happened to pick it up only when off at camp and yet blame their dad amazes and amuses me. But it’s here to stay (not that it ever left!) And joining the F-word is the B-word (Buck) and the C-word. Everyone gets a little shifty and nervous when they mention the C-word. But – get this – they think it’s Cuck! And so it goes with every letter of the alphabet.
Except L.
The L word is Love. As noted by a 5.5 year old.
So while they stub their toes and scream fuuuuuuck like banshees, and call each other dicks, jackasses, and shits – but only “for pretend until school starts” – I take heart that the L word will stick around, even in grade 1.
Fucks, shits and pisses be damned.
Happy back-to-school… for those who go, those who drive, and those who remember!

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

the father did really teach it to them. notch another one for jack ass. summer lovin!

September 7, 2009   No Comments

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LA Woman

I’ve wanted to go to Hollywood since, well, forever. As a little kid I’d sing songs from Annie, hoping to be discovered… in the privacy of my bedroom. If anyone came even close to my door I’d immediately clam up. Broadway, Hollywood – it was all the same in my 9-year old mind. When I finally got to Hollywood it was the Florida version. And even a 9-year old knew it was pas la meme chose.

And then, I wet my feet in Show Biz, where all roads lead to Hollywood. Except the one I was taking. It went directly to Toronto instead. Yeah, yeah, Hollywood North (or is that Vancouver?). Whatever. I wanted the real deal. And finally, this past weekend, I got just that. My Man took me away from all this and we headed West. To Los Angeles. Hollywood, California. Sun, Sand, Sea…

Stars!!!

Yes, kids, I went on my very own private Celebrity Safari!!!

Everyone who’s anyone knows that when you’re on safari it’s all about the accommodations, the food and of course, the animals. Wildebeest and giraffes are cool as hell, but it’s the Big Five that count. Lion. Leopard. Rhino. Elephant. Buffalo. And when you go to LA it’s no different. It’s about where you stayed, where you ate, and who you saw. With a side of where you shopped.

Off we went, eyes peeled, looking for stars and pretending not to. Which is, of course, the Canadian way. Except in the end we may have been a little too nonchalant. We came, we ate, we shopped. But the celeb sightings? Few and far between.

Our safari began almost immediately, with a sighting of Tanya Kim. I know, I know…. Who? OK, she’s not technically a star, but she is one of the hosts of an entertainment show and, as such, counts as a celeb. A local one, sure, but she was in business class. In full makeup. At 11AM. On the safari equivalency test, we’ll say vulture.

We landed at LAX, rented our love machine, and hit the road. First stop, Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica. A vision of loveliness by the Pacific, it would’ve been even more idyllic had we not arrived at the same time as June Gloom. Never heard of it? Neither had we when we booked our trip. And, apparently, neither had The Weather Network. But it’s the annual cold front that reaches LA at the beginning of June. Accompanied by grey clouds. Lots of ’em. And blustery winds. Especially by the beach. Still, it was perfect walking around weather. Except we were in LA, where everyone drives everywhere, and we’d rented a car. A convertible.

Shutters on the Beach

Shutters on the Beach

But we wrapped ourselves up in our new scarves and jackets – that’s right – and hit the town. We were on a mission: to relax, eat well, see friends and shop (in no particular order). And of course we presumed we’d see stars on every corner. Because that’s what people do in LA right? Right?!

My Man decided it’d be fun to play a little game where he tells me about the various actors he’s spotted while my head was turned. Kind of like those annoying Euros on African Safaris who claim to have been chased down by rhinos, faced off with leopards etc. Only the Hollywood stars were far more elusive than the Big Five. And my husband was way funnier. Except he actually did see Silver (real name unknown, and unimportant) from 90210 while I tried on outfits. And he did work out with Dennis Leary in the hotel gym while I was sampling free chocolates at See’s Candies. Harumph. I saw Atom Agoyan at LAX. From behind. But my guy didn’t think that counted. And it probably didn’t. Too locally accessible. Raccoon.

Strange thing is, all the locals know that all the visitors are looking for the stars. They know where they hang out, what they do, and no one’s shy about telling you where to go to find them. The watering holes they like, the best season to find them. They’re starf&cking and we’re star-hunting. And everybody knows it. It’s weird.

So it became all about where we ate and who we saw. Ivy by the Shore – pas de. Apparently all about the one on Robertson. We shopped and idled a bit but no sightings. But food at the Shore was awesome. And massive. Seriously. Too big even for us. And for those in the know, that’s saying something!

Next day was a local spot to start- Cora’s. Perfect for breakfast. Not so much for movie stars. Followed by Robertson shopping a cruise down Sunset and lunch at Mel’s Diner. Because it’s funny. And it was en route. Mel’s Diner! Hilarious (tho’ the real one is in San Fran….But you make do with what you’ve got, right?) Out with friends for the food and the vibe at STK. Both very good.

But where were all the movie stars?

We headed to Joan’s on 3rd. A guaranteed celeb hangout. Just not while we were there. But incredible food, and hung out with an old friend who happens to be married to an actor who we actually recognize – by face. We imdb’d him on the spot and shared an “I love that guy” moment. So that was kinda neat! Especially since our pal invited us over to meet him in person if our celeb safari turned out to be less than fruitful. We never had to take her up on it – tho we would’ve loved to, had there been more time….Stopped in at that great Los Angeles equalizer, In ‘n Out Burger and went animal style. Bun for him, lettuce for me. Incredible. All they say it is – and less. No frills, no fuss, lots of muss (mess) and deeeeeelish.

It was Saturday night. That’s the equivalent of mid-day on safari. You see nothing. Still, Katsuya held some promise for us. Food was incredible, and the place was crawling with paparazzi – and loads of loser civilians with cam-corders at the ready. According to the bartender, some Lakers were coming. Whatever. Sports stars don’t count. For me. My Man was on the edge of his seat. But no luck. No shows. We were then befriended by a wacky makeup artist who, I was convinced, was looking to grift us in some way. Told us she was working the red carpet the MTV Movie awards the next night and could get us in to all the parties. Even offered to do my makeup. Thought she was just some freak (until we got home, checked out her website and learned she was totally legit. Ooops. Too late.) As we waited for our car, the gawkers whipped themselves into a frenzy….Over Zach Braff (not that any of them knew who they were looking at. The just knew he was “Someone”) . And yeah, he was. He is. But I don’t watch Scrubs. On the safari scale? Impala.

Where were the Lions? The Elephants?

There’s nothing remotely elephantine in LA, despite it being the land of good food. And also, presumably, the land of pukers, druggies, exercise fanatics. Or probably some sort of combo platter. Chateau Marmont showed us the most magnificent creatures we’d ever seen. Ever. One stunner after the next. Had no idea who they were, but it didn’t matter. They just were. Magnificent to behold, fun to watch in their natural habitat, and interesting to witness life behind The Bubble first hand. Breathtaking. Migration of the Wildebeest.

Sunday was the day of rest for us. No safari. Biking in Venice instead. Carney boardwalk. Drum circle that managed to walk that fine line between between cheesy and cool. Freakshows left, right and center. And the laid back hipster vibe of Abbott Kinney. Which I LOVED. Ate quite well at 3 Square Cafe and spotted what looked like Hank’s wife, Karen, from Californication. Which is kinda funny ‘cuz we were in Venice, it’s set in Venice…And it ended up being her! Natascha McElhone. At last! Someone we knew (not personally) from something we’d seen (and pvr’d!). How exciting! How thrilling! We even ooh-ed and aah-ed over a puppy together, cooe’d over her baby together, and acted like we were really cool and didn’t know she was a star of stage and screen (even tho we did) together. We had a moment. A brush with stardom. More a giraffe than a leopard, but still…

Ended our Celeb Safari in Malibu. At the impossibly romantic (yet borderline geriatric) Geoffrey’s. Which they pronounce “Joffrey’s”. Strange. But tasty. And host to two wedding receptions and many dates. Fun fun fun!

On the very last day I drove. By myself. In our car. It was a bit warmer, the sun poked its head out and I realized I’d fallen in like-a-lot. Despite the dearth of sun and stars, my Man and I had the best time. Amazing what 4 nights in a hotel sans kids can do. And who knew LA was such a perfect destination for a long weekend getaway? Definitely beats Buffalo.

As the good guv says, we’ll be back.

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

sounded great.. the best part.. YOU AND YOUR MAN

June 2, 2009   No Comments

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Ssssshhhhhhh!!!

To call or not to call… that is the question.

Yes kids, I feel the need to revisit that little thing called “mobile phone etiquette”. It seems that many of us our lacking it. Big time.

I’m not anti-mobile. Not by a long-shot. I love my iphone. Can’t/won’t leave home without it. I quite liked my old flip-top too. Hello Moto? Hello! I’ve never been a crackberry head – but only because I went Mac instead. So, no, I’m not some throwback who thinks we’d all be better off landed. Au contraire. I’m all over cellular telephones of all shapes and sizes….

Except, of course, when used inappropriately. Then, I have to temper the rage I feel bubbling up inside me. The anger that wants to march over to the offending phoner, smash their cel, and walk away. Without uttering a word. Smash. Leave. Silence.

Time and place, friends….Time and place.

I was at the gym today and I had The Rage. I was sweating to the oldies, ipod blaring, in The Zone. Suddenly I found myself inadvertantly listening to a conversation. A phone conversation. The woman next to me had received a call, and proceeded to talk for 18 minutes. I know because I timed her on my elliptical machine. I concentrated on pushing with my arms, she talked. I increased speed, she talked. I changed directions, she talked. Finally, I began the cool down…Yep, still talking. 18 minutes of discussing whether or not her friend should move in with her new man.

On the one hand, it could’ve been kind of entertaining. On the other….the ol’ Time ‘n Place thing. At the gym? Shoulder to shoulder with other people? Hello? Inappropriate!!! You see, I could hear her through my headphones, over the sound of the loudspeakers and the hum of the machines. You know when it’s summertime and you’re trying to sleep and a mosquito buzzes right in your ear??? It was all I could do to slap her away….I moved on to the free weights, but she kept on going. From the elliptical, to the inner-thigh machine, to the mats. Is it me? Or is that weird? (It’s also quite impressive. She must be in spectacular shape if she can carry on a conversation while workin’ workin’ workin’ it…)

Later this afternoon, I went to pick up my 3-year-old from nursery school. There were parent volunteers manning the parking lots because there have been issues with cars, preschoolers, and blind spots. I was standing with my son, talking to one of these faux-wardens, when another parent turned her SUV into the driveway, and headed straight for us. I promise you without any spice that she stopped about a foot from my friend’s chest. I banged on her window but she was too busy chatting. Exasperated at the lack of parking spots, she finally rolled down her window to start bitching. When the parent volunteer pointed out she’d almost hit her and the young child next to her (mine!) the woman shrugged and said she hadn’t noticed BECAUSE SHE WAS ON THE PHONE.

Well. I. Never.

Is it me? Or are these people, erm, challenged? Who drives through a preschool parking lot without noticing that there might be, oh I dunno, PRESCHOOLERS in it! I’m all for using your phone in the car…If you can handle it. Is talking in the car phone like having good taste? Y’know, everyone thinks they have great taste, but most people don’t. It seems everyone thinks they can talk and drive at the same time…But can they?

Time. And. Place.

There’s a time and place for talking. I know because I’m a chatter. If you need to talk, do what you must. But ask yourself – does everybody else need to hear? NO. If you’re late for picking up a carpool, do you have the right to stunt drive? NO. For those too dim to figure it out, here are some examples of places wherein you may want to turn your ringer off – or get outta dodge:
restaurants, spas, theatres, performances of any kind….The list is endless.

So next time you’re in your doctor’s waiting room, or having a pedicure, or in any other close-quarter situations, think about sending a text before you answer that call. Not only is it rude to subject the rest of us to your convo, but, in a town such as ours, it may be hazardous to your social life. The person next to you pretending to read the Us Magazine is, in fact, listening in. Because he or she has no choice.

Time. And. Place.

So please….a little self-retraint, a little etiquette, and a little quieter up front….for all our sakes….

3 comments:

Anonymous said…

this should be sent to the newspaper so EVERYONE can read it..
I do understand.. when is the LAW comingin?

10:21 PM

Anonymous said…

disgusting. you tell it like it is. thank you 🙂

11:30 PM

Anonymous said…

Have you seen the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode on this? Larry David is alone and sitting next to a stranger at a restaurant. The stranger is on the phone. Larry is pissed so begins talking loudly to himself to equally annoy the other guy. It was funny.

March 9, 2009   No Comments

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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

I’ve been getting over a breakup. A professional break-up, that is. With our vet.

We have many animals living at our house. Children and husband aside, there’s the dog, the cat and a revolving door of fish. We – or should I say, they – have had the same vet for as many years as they’ve had this owner. But after repeatedly bumping into an old friend and animal doctor, I realized it was time to take the plunge and switch over. Sure “our” vet was kind, capable and convenient. But our soon-to-be-new vet was all those things too. And a personal friend.

And then one night our dog lost a fight with a jagged wooden spike that embedded itself in his paw. It was late at night and we were at a loss. Our friendly vet was closed. But our friend-the-vet was always open. At least he said he would be if we needed him. We needed him…

And he was there! He talked us down, helped us out, and metaphorically held our hands. I knew the time had come to take the plunge and switch vets. He told me all I had to do was make a couple of calls: one to his office to register my pets, and one to the old vet to ditch him.

Huh? I had to actually call the old vet?! Couldn’t we just not rsvp to calls for flea meds and rabies shots?

Apparently not. Like all medical specialists, the new vet needed records.

Professional break-ups are tricky. I’m not talking hiring and firing, tho’ those can be pretty brutal too. I’m talking about the professionals you – or your health plan – pays. Doctors, lawyers, contractors. Agents, teachers, dressmakers. When you tell a lover “it’s not you, it’s me” it could be true… sure…. uh-huh. But with a pro, it’s a bold-faced lie. Of course it’s them – otherwise, why would you ditch?

Unless you’ve reached some sort of “goal”, it’s usually the pro’s failings that make you wonder if you could do better. Like your waxer. Right, ladies? If you’re moving on, unless you’ve gone laser, it’s because they’re too pricey. Or too rough. Or too booked. Or there’s someone way better/cheaper/gentler on the horizon.

Question is: do they care about being dumped?

I had the same GP for years. I thought she’d see me through to old age. Until I got pregnant. Suddenly, she bugged me. Her old-school advice wasn’t what I wanted. I knew it was time to move on to a younger, newer, model. And I did. No muss, no fuss, no phone call. I’d absconded, and it was over…until I bumped into her a couple of years later. It was out of context and I hoped against hope she wouldn’t recognize me. But of course she did and she couldn’t have been nicer. I felt awful.

I ditched my contractor too. Thought he was ripping me off and being an overall cheeseball. He’d worked for everyone in my family for years. I was outraged that he’d try to cheat me. I vowed never to work with him again. Until my roof started leaking and my kitchen ceiling looked ready to cave. Then I came grovelling. He sent one of his minions to fix the problem. For a hefty fee. Sure, I paid the price. Maybe it was payback. But it was well worth it…. We were back together.

I’ve changed schools, swapped swim instructors, moved camps… always for the sake of my children. Well, almost always. But scapegoating them was OK. No one was offended, and everyone was happier.

But the vet? What’d he ever do to me? Or my pets? Aside from care for them?

Well, he charged a lot, for one. Convinced me to go gourmet – pet food – for another. OK. So he never did anything “to” me? But what did he do “for” me? A whole lotta nothin’ that’s what! I was right to dump him. Out with the old, in with the new! I called and announced that our pets would be moving on. There was a pause. Would they beg me to reconsider? Convince me they were the best vets in town? The silence was deafening…..Were they even there?!

Once the receptionist came back on the line, she sweetly asked for the name of the new clinic. And with a “have a good day”, our relationship was over. Quick ‘n painless. I was devastated. Because it wasn’t them. It was me!

I just hope they don’t recognize our dog on the street.

2 comments:

Anonymous said…

As “usuj” this blog is brilliant, funny and I relate!
Thank you for keeping us in topics and laughing!
YOU are our MASTERBLOGGER!!!!

2:13 PM

Anonymous said…

aside from husbands.. everyone else is fair game in my view (this is the husband BTW) we live in a super-sized service world.. either get with it or those professionals will continue losing. xx

January 31, 2009   No Comments

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Coloroso for Dummies

SPOILER ALERT: THIS BLOG IS ABOUT PARENTING. NO RANTS, JUST RAVES….

For real.

But if you’re still interested, read on. If not, a bientot….

Now, where was I? Aaaah yes. The trials and tribulations of parenting. The love. The joy. The pain….in the ass. It ain’t easy so I take any help I can get. And then I discard what I don’t need. Or want. I’ve read loads of books, been to a handful of courses. Some last several weeks, others a few hours. I pick ‘n mix and hope against hope that something someone said somewhere will stick by the time I get home. And that I’ll remember what it was and whether it worked. “Siblings Without Rivalry” is an awesome book. Ditto “How to Tame your Spirited Child”. Alyson.ca is good news. And Sarah Chana Radcliffe’s not bad.

And then there’s Babs. (Can I call her Babs?). Talk about a maven!!! Parent. Teacher. Author. Genocide expert. Ex-nun. Comedian.

OK, she’s not officially a comedian but she’s hilarious so I’m taking liberties. It’s my blog.

Last night was different. Different from the other gurus. Different than all other nights. Free coffee and two-bite brownies aside, it was amazing. It was Barbara Coloroso talking about everything from bullying to Rwanda to sibling rivalry. She was smart. She was funny. She was inspiring. I’m not one to prosthelytize – well, perhaps I am (Magic Bullet…American Idol…Piller’s Turkey Bites… oops did I really admit that? Moving on…) – but she was brilliant. I left her lecture feeling moved, energized, and confident. And tempted to shanghai her back to my house to hang out with me ‘n mine for a week or three.

But since that’s illegal, and undoubtedly expensive, I shall humbly attempt to paraphrase some of her better thoughts. Yes, I took notes. And it’s a good thing too. I’ve been asked to pass them on. Yes, the people have asked. And while there are no perfect answers, there are some damn good tips to help find them…

* Tattling vs. Telling…Tattling gets somebody INTO trouble. Telling gets someone OUT OF trouble. When in doubt, discuss.

*Bribes and Rewards are THE SAME THING. We’ve become a nation of gold-star earners. Doing The Right Thing shouldn’t be something that you get paid for. It’s something you just DO. It feels good because it is good. And that’s reward enough.

*Natural consequences: if it’s not life-threatening, or moral threatening, let it happen.

*Discipline. Don’t punish. Punishment doesn’t work – it sends ’em underground. Discipline is learning.

*Think in terms of US, OURS & ENOUGH….rather than me, mine and more.

*Teach your children HOW to think, not WHAT to think.

* Save the “no” for when you really mean it. Alternatives include “later”, “let me think about it/give me a minute” and (my fave) “convince me”. There is a time for “no” – used sparingly it’ll actually mean something. “No.” It’s a complete sentence.

*Don’t tell your kids what they already know.

*Mistakes happen. Own it, fix it, learn from it. And move on. Give your kids ways to problem solve while leaving their dignity in tact. And it doesn’t have to hurt.

*1,2,3…timeout. Doesn’t work. However, time out to fix a problem does, whether in a rocker, a room, or a lap. The goal is to calm everyone down and to let your child figure out a solution. Or to teach them how to fix what needs fixing.

*Teasing vs. Taunting: Teasing is two-sided, between friends, and gets both people laughing. Taunting is one-sided, laughing AT someone.

*”I’m sorry” doesn’t make something right. Instead, try fixing it and making sure it doesn’t happen again. Heal with the person you’ve hurt.

* Discpline doesn’t work for the under-3 crowd. Instead try one of her 3 D’s: Distract. Disorient. Disengage.

* Mean what you say and say what you mean.

* Conflict is inevitable. Don’t punish. Don’t rescue. Most of the time kids can sort stuff out on their own. And when they can’t, step in as a backbone, not an enforcer. Or enabler.

* Helping out is not a job. Chores are not paid for. Money is for saving, spending, or giving to others. Not for being a responsible citizen of a household.

* You can’t control someone else’s will.

There. I don’t need to write all this out 99 more times to make it stay in my head….Do I?! I was hoping just this once would get it to stick. Maybe it will. And maybe it won’t. But here’s hoping.

Good luck fellow freaks…..

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

wow! You did get a lot out of it…and took GREAT notes! Thanks for the synopsis, friend. Had I not been there myself, I would now feel that I had been there. I got her book from a friend earlier today…can share with you once I am done.

Good bloggin’ sister!

November 11, 2008   1 Comment

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting

A funny thing happened on the way to the gyno….

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. You probably have. It’s the one about the pregnant woman? The fat one, who looked like shit and was huuuuuuge….

Sisters, you wouldn’t BELIEVE the things you hear when you’re knocked up.

Too big, too small, too fat, too tall. OK, not really too tall. Although “you’re wearing those shoes” seems to be acceptable. It’s not. Neither is “are you having twins?” Or “your face has changed”. Or “you’re carrying in the back”….

“I liked your hair longer” is never OK. Pregnant or otherwise.

And then there’s the age-old question: “do you know what you’re having?”

I’m guilty of it myself. Sometimes I ask out of genuine curiosity. Or for lack of something else to say. Either way, when asked myself, I couldn’t believe some of the comments. Especially for this last pregnancy. When I knew what I was having. But didn’t tell. It’s kinda funny when someone asks and you know but they don’t know you know. And then they get all cocky ‘cuz they think they know. But they’re wrong. And it’s a fun kind of smugness. Y’know?

Girls don’t steal your beauty. Or make you puke more. And boys don’t make you hairier. Or give you heartburn. Some of ’em do. Some of ’em don’t. It’s all one big crapshoot.

When you have two boys like me, people assume you’re going for girl. And you know what they say about ass-uming, right? I heard it all. And knowing what I had and what I was having, I can tell you people can be downright offensive!

No we did not try for a girl – we tried for a baby. We didn’t think pretty thoughts. No specific timing or tricks were involved. It’s easy to theorize about gender. But you get what you get. And we counted ourselves lucky with our boys. A girl would be great. But so would another boy. I had one stranger tell me it’d be nice to have a girl, “for when you’re old”. Huh? Talk about pressure on that poor daughter. Besides, who needs to have a daughter for when you get old? You can hire someone else’s daughter to wipe your geriatric ass!

The Boy People don’t like girls. They like to tell you mean things about their own daughters. That they’re moody. Or bitches. Or cost a fortune. I heard one freak-show tell me her daughter was hormonal. At 2?? There aren’t too many of these types around -which is a good thing, because they’re rather off-putting.

Chinese horoscopes, ring on a string, mathematical calculations…It all means nothing. Only one thing does: H-E-A-L-T-H-Y B-A-B-Y

So please kids, next time you see that pregnant lady, offer her your seat. Carry her bags. Bring her a sandwich. By all means, ask her what she’s having….but leave it at that. No stats, no verbal makeovers, no presumptions. And never, ever, EVER play the name game. Admit to nothing. You like ’em all. Congratulations are welcome. As are good wishes. May the labour be quick. And the weight loss be quicker. Leave it at that.

As a wise sage once said: Smile ‘n wave, boys; smile and wave.

2 comments:

Anonymous said…

considering how very tired you are.. you do a fantastic job of writng.
i love getting your thoughts o paper

12:56 AM

Anonymous said…

“bring her a sandwich”– you were so spoiled! and not even by your husband! bah-ha!

August 12, 2008   No Comments

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Nanny Diaries – The Flip Side

Weird things have been coming into my head lately. Lines from movies, books, songs…The latest is the refrain “no brains, no heart, he’s much too shy…But never mind you 3, there’s a wizard as you can see….he’ll fix it 1-2-3…”

Remember that old Wizard of Oz cartoon? You don’t!? Then you’re soooo not my demo. (But you can check it out and fake it ’til you make it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjyv_i0tBSk) (‘K? Read on)

Now is that song stuck in everybody’s head? Are you curious as to why I’d do that to you?

I’ve been looking for a new nanny, that’s why. And it’s been a bloody nightmare. No shows. No return calls. No luck.

No brains, no heart, they’re much too shy….See???

I’d heard the nightmare stories. The whole “good help is hard to find” complaints. But I never believed them. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of duds – at home, back in the olde days of office life, on a production, and even when I was a waitress. Oh no wait… that last one was me.

I had one friend who was in the caregiving business. A nanny pimp, if you will. For a small fee, she’d find you the perfect person. Except after several months of dealing with high maintenance clients on both sides she realized her sanity was worth more than the gig was paying.

Then there was the friend of a friend who, after 4 months of hunting for help, finally gave up and put her kids in daycare instead. Pricey, but apparently worth every penny for the peace of mind. Mind you, apparently she’s now back in the market for a nanny too…..

I’ve had a nanny get sick and die (it was awful, actually). I’ve had the perfect nanny who would’ve bankrupted us ‘cuz she was a fortune. I’ve had the one who, when we said it was time to part ways, said her prayers had been answered – oh, and would I give her a reference. The latest one’s been off sick for weeks and finally admitted that she’s been diagnosed with a heart condition.

Bad luck, Chuck.

I don’t need Mary Poppins. I’m not looking for Maria von Trapp. And I don’t think Mrs. Doubtfire would last the week. But is showing up too much to ask? Is acknowledging my children with a simple hello an outlandish request? My phone’s been ringing off the hook – yet if I call back, they don’t want to talk. Except to ask me about my “offer”. I feel like I’m on-line dating: everyone’s looking to get laid without any commitment. Well, call me old fashioned, but a nanny booty call ain’t what I’m after. Sure, a one day trial’s OK – clean house, change of pace, possibility of escape for an hour or so. But I need the relationship.

And I need the help.

Apparently, I’m somewhat undesirable: 2 kids plus a baby coming any minute now. A dog, a cat, and a man who works late. Oh, and worst of all: I’m home. My old neighbourhood was run by the nanny mob. They knew who to work for, what to ask for, which moms were home. I definitely would’ve had black marks against me. But here in my new hood, we’re one of the smallest clans around. We don’t demand 12-hour work days. And we even pay extra for overtime! Should I pretend otherwise? Pull out the slavedriver routine instead? Treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen?

Who has time? I have no help!!!

I feel like a bit of an ass complaining: after all, all our mothers and grandmothers coped without help….Or so we’re told. But they had each other. And they started younger. Most of ’em didn’t live a freewheelin’ life on the other side of 25ish, so they didn’t know any better. By the time they hit their 40’s, their kids were in school all day long. And were (somewhat) independent – enough to be able to hop on a bus. And, in some cases, drive. Maybe they were on to something, those ladies. Or maybe they weren’t. If I had children with the any of the men from my 20’s, I’d be a very bitter divorcee.

But maybe I’d have a great nanny. Apparently times aren’t the only things that have changed. The nannies of yesteryear -or babysitters, au pairs, mother’s helpers or (cringe!)”help” as they were known by some – were a different breed…. Or so we’re told. Loyal. Lifers. Part of the family. Today’s caregivers want a job. And a life. And that’s fine. Great. All power to ’em.

But I want a life too! And maybe even (gasp!) a job. Not this month, mind you, but one day. And so, call me a princess if you please – whatev. I need some help. Call her an assistant. Or him – I’d take a manny too. Pronto. The TV-as-babysitter novelty is wearing thin, even for my media junkies. And I think my man might lose it soon – happy wife, happy life, right?

So star search continues….

I have someone coming in for a test run this week. It’s reached the point where, if they can understand me, the job’s theirs. All they have to do is show up. Yes, that’s part of the job description.

Is that really too much to ask?!

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

brilliant – right from the bleeding gutt…
anyway, i am the “friend of a friend” and just wanted to add that my return to the nanny market is a bit off the mark (as great as that line was). my son will remain in the fabulous montessori school he’s in now and i will be bringing someone over from hong kong to live in and work for me as a housekeeper and part-time nanny in the fall. the key here is that if she doesn’t show up or work out, i will never be left in a lurch and never be forced back into the trenches… it’s now all about gravy for me. and after the past year, mama’s taking the train load.
good luck

May 31, 2008   No Comments

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There Ain’t No Flies on Us – Just Our Walls

I have this book I read to my kids – Thelonius Monster’s Sky High Fly Pie. It’s a rhyming one, funny and clever and illustrated by the guy who does stuff for The New Yorker. It starts off with this guy, Thelonius Monster, swallowing a fly – and deciding a fly would taste grand in a pie. Etc. And there’s this one line in it that I can’t get out of my head: “and now for the flies”.

‘Cuz we’ve still got ’em. Sewer flies. Still here. Only now they’re bigger and, it seems more resilient. Maybe it’s because we know what they are (and where they come from), but somehow they’re getting harder to kill. Before, when they were just flies, we’d slap the wall and they’d be dead. We’d bat at them mid-air, they’d drop to their deaths. Now, we whack ’em. And guess what? They take a licking and keep on ticking.

I’m beside myself.

I’ve called the exterminators who tried to reassure me, telling not to panic….yet. I asked them when I could start to panic, and they said it takes a couple of weeks for them to die off. Now, I’m no scientist, but if they live for a day and their breeding grounds are gone – how can they still survive? It’s Darwinism at it’s purest form. A true survival of the fittest, ‘cuz these mofos are big and bad and refusing to go gently into that good night.

We say goodnight, and their party starts.

Sickening.

So while my basement continues to lie fallow, the flies frolic. The insurance-approved demo team wasted no time in ripping it out (my basement, that is). All of it – floors are a mess of concrete and nails. The asbestos (yup) is gone so at least we’re no longer the house in the plastic bubble. The walls don’t touch the floor. No euphemism – it just means the walls hang there, not touching the floors. My garage is packed up – most of it upside down. All my kids’ toys, in boxes, upside down in bigger boxes surrounded by enormous, near-impossible-to-move furniture.

And we wait. And wait. And wait. For the big rebuild. And yes, we’ll probably look back and laugh. But that’s of no comfort to me now. Even my baby tells everyone our basement is broken. My Big Boy tells people they can only come to play with him if it’s nice outside because we have no toys in our house. And tho’ it’s not killing them, it ain’t making them stronger either. This is no character building exercise. This is a bloody nightmare.

And so we play outside. Except when it’s cold. Then we watch TV. And we read. And we keep coming back to that book, and that line:”and now for the flies”. Which prompts someone to look around. And spy a fly. And try to kill it. Tiny corpses litter our walls. And the cycle starts again.

“And now for the flies”.

I was told not to panic. So I asked when I could panic. The exterminator laughed and said a few weeks. That makes it June 1st. One week. Then I can really panic. So I’m trying to hold off and just rant a little until then.

And now for the flies.

Perhaps they’ll die.

2 comments:

Anonymous said…

IT WILL GET BETTER.. THAT I CAN PROMISE YOU LADY

10:51 PM
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May 24, 2008   No Comments

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No Flies On Us

Irish eyes are not smiling. Carly’s gone and I didn’t even acknowledge. I know, I know…I’m terrible, Muriel. Believe me, I was as shocked as the next guy. But my shock wasn’t Idol’s white trash teenage fan base. Hell no. The minute she belted out those two magic words, “Jesus” and “Christ”, she was a goner.

But whatever. This is not an I-can’t-believe-it Idol post. I couldn’t take in Carly’s untimely departure because I was still reeling from the news that my house was infested with sewer flies and I’d need to rip up my basement floors.

S-E-W-E-R flies. Uh-huh. Exactly what you think they are. Flies. That breed in sewers. IN MY HOUSE.

Did I mention we’ve lived here all of 8 months?

Way back in the halcyon days of new housedom, there were these flies that would flit around and then pop-off after 24 hours of hurling themselves against our screens. We figured they were fruit flies. Except they had no interest in fruit. Hmmmm…..Strange. A quick call to an exterminator and we decided to heed their advice and wait until after the winter to investigate further. Maybe they’d just die off and never return.

Or maybe not.

After an insanely long and drawn out winter from hell, we welcomed April’s (global warming) warmth….And The Return of The Flies. Pest control was called. And 45 seconds and $65 dollars later told me we had sewer flies. Also called drain moths, I learned that these non-biting, bacteria carriers are flies that breed in standing sewage. And then I learned that said sewage was, in all likelihood, standing under my dreamhouse.

Next stop: plumber.

I have to say, of all the housing trades, I do like a plumber. Contractors are cocky and I hate being at their mercy. Electricians are a bit odd. Some of them even more than a bit. And gardners, well, it’s all such a cliche. Between the gardner, the poolboy, and any other scantilly clad maintenance man, you’d think every one of your neighbours is the next Lady Chatterly. But not plumbers.

So far, I haven’t met a plumber I haven’t liked. They all seem to be nice, funny, smart. And plumber butt? A total myth. Only plumber butts I see come with low-cut designer jeans attached to ’em. Anyhoo, I’ve recently learned that plumbers are also the highest paid of the trades. I guess they deserve to be, dealing with other peoples’ shit for a living. And with these prices, they’d better be charming.

Anyhoo, Mike the plumber shows up to save my house. And hopefully, my sanity. SEWER FLIES. Hello? What could be grosser?

First came the residential colonscopy. Exatcly what it sounds like: the camera snake. Drain cam – down the drains and through the house. If your lucky. If you’re me, it’s drain cam down the drains, through the house, under oceans of sludge, and, finally, The Wall. No, not stones or bricks or mortar. A wall of “material”. “Debris”. Somethin’ sticky. And vile.

Next stop: The Drainworks A Team.

They emerged from their trucks like Smith from the Matrix – only instead of black-suited, slick and trim, they were blue-t-shirted, bald and enormous. And they proceeded to rip up my floors, digging trenches in hopes of finding The Blockage. And then they struck gold. Black gold. A geyser. And not in a good way.

I wasn’t home when it happened. Thank god. My delicate constitution would’ve failed me for sure. It had these burly he-men running for cover. And frsh air. ‘Cuz 7000 uninsured dollars and thousands of flies later, when they finally found the culprit, my house was a no go zone. You could smell it down the street. My castle had become the pit of hell, with more than a hint of Dead Sea stink. Only difference being there were no anti-aging benefits to the sulphuric soil they removed by the bagfull.

Before you rush into the shower, let me reassure you (and myself): There is a silver lining. Ish. We get new basement floors. And apparently that part of this unwanted reno is covered by insurance. And I found an awesome plumber – Mike and Drainworks if anyone’s interested. And next week is Neil Diamond week on Idol, so all is not lost…

You’ll forgive me if I didn’t give Carly her due. I was up to my eyes in flies.

4 comments:

Anonymous said…

It’s all about Neil! IT’s as if the Idol Gods had been reading my inner thoughts. I want to comment on the plumber but I don’t have much to say except thanks for the tip. I so far can never get a plumber when I need one

5:30 PM

Anonymous said…

what a way you have with the gab baby

12:06 AM

Leigh said…

“residential colonoscopy”

…..You should definitely consider a career in advertising copy. 🙂

8:55 PM

Anonymous said…

“Mike the Plumber” – what are you, Susan from Desperate Housewives?

April 26, 2008   No Comments

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