Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Still Golden (Girls) After All These Years

It wasn't long ago that I was laying in a fetal position, a big ball of regret, confusion and hopelessness, on the cold (and dusty) kitchen floor of my studio apartment in New York, located at the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel. 

The depression that I have endured since I was a child, had come back with a vengeance, testing my strength, resolve and ability to get up off of the floor.

It was a lonely and scary time. I'd cry until my tear ducts were dry, came close to checking into a facility, and couldn't come up with one valid reason for being. Therapy, medication, Pilates, and The Golden Girls, saw me through those debilitating days. That's right, The Golden Girls.

My boyfriend was out of town last week, and it had been a challenging few days for me, both personally and professionally. The usual suspects; Why am I here? What am I doing with my life? Why aren't I working more? What's it all for? What's my purpose? I'm too old. It's too late. I can't write. I'm tired. And on and on and on. 

So last night I turned off the lights, walked up the stairs in a trance like state, took to my bed and cried. I realized that I hadn't had a good cry in awhile, and well, apparently I was overdue. I noted something interesting however. I laid down on top of our brand new comforter, instead of burrowing underneath the sheets. History has taught me that, if I went under, I might not come up for a good long time. The cruel days of yore live inside of me, and I didn't want to have a repeat performance, staying underground while weeks and months passed me by. I had to get up.

Just as easily as I dropped myself onto the bed, after a short while, I stood up and got off of it. The good news about living with depression and getting older, is that with all of the practice that I've had, I have more control over this crippling evil.

I walked downstairs, lit some candles, and manically flitted about the kitchen and living room. Sometimes, it's as simple as moving. If I'm lucky. I made a big healthy salad for dinner. I prepared a bowl of tuna fish for the entire week. I washed fruit so I wouldn't have to wash it every time I wanted said fruit. I made muffins that I won't eat but that my boyfriend will. I organized mail, receipts, and refilled the tea light candles. I opened a bottle of Syrah, and emptied the dishwasher. 

I could feel myself rounding a corner.

The Golden Girls were on the television. I was going to switch the channel, because I watched the show every night, during that lost and empty time in New York. But then I thought the timing was somehow poetic. I was alone, in the throws of an incident, and yet I felt different. In some perverse way, I wanted to go back, because in going back, I could see how far I've come. 

The girls were always there for me and they never disappointed. I counted on those back to back episodes at six o'clock. They focused me in such a way that I was able to forget the crap ass shit that I was living. Watching The Golden Girls comforted me like nothing else could. I desperately needed routine and structure, and as bizarre at it sounds, they gave me a purpose. 

Last night was different. Although I felt the familiar stabs of depression, I was better equipped for battle. During the second hour of The Golden Girls marathon, my heart softened and my mind eased. I let the past in, just long enough to feel compassion and love for it. I wasn't watching with the same consciousness as when I had watched all those years ago, because I am not the same person as I was all those years ago.

It's funny, the television rerun thing. As I grow, marry, divorce, move forward, fall back, move on, and fall back again, I can turn on The Golden Girls and there's Sophia, Dorothy, Rose and Blanche, just as I left them. They're just as funny as they were in 1985, doing what they do best; making whoever watches them feel better. Some things will never change.

"Thank you for a being a friend, traveled down this road and back again. Your heart is true, you're a pal and a confident." 

Thank you girls. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book Review: What Every Woman Wishes Modern Men Knew About Women

What Every Woman Wishes Modern Men Knew About Women by Sylvia D. Lucas, is an insightful, no holds barred, look into the minds of women, that’s geared towards men. It’s an easy, flowing and fun read. The anti-Rules in the best way. I encourage both men and women, especially in their 20’s, to seek this book out, so they don’t fuck things up in their 30’s and 40’s.

More about the author. Author Sylvia D. Lucas

Check out this site for a chance to own this book in a Book Giveaway!

City Girl blog. Link: http://www.citygirlblogs.com/blog/book-giveaway-what-every-woman-wishes

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Girl Scout With ATTITUDE... WTF

My neighbor just accosted me outside my house, as I was getting my mail. I say neighbor because I don't actually know her name. I only know her as Mustang Sally, because, well, she drives a white Mustang, and I like the song. I've got both my boyfriend and his son singing it every time they see her car in the driveway.

Anyhoo- she made some small talk about not seeing my boyfriend and I much since the weather started getting colder, and I halfheartedly said, "Oh, well, you know, we're hunkering down." Hunkering down? What, like every time the temperature drops below 50 degrees, my boyfriend and I board up the windows and doors, waiting out the... storm?

She asked if her daughter could come by later to sell me Girl Scout cookies. C'mon, who among us doesn't like a couple of Thin Mints (or the entire box) with our evening tea?

And with that, I closed the door and texted my boyfriend to see if he knew what Mustang's real name was, just in case she came over with Mustang Sally Jr. I had no idea how old this child was and if she needed a parental unit to walk her across the driveway.

My boyfriend texted me back her name. Hmm, curious. How come he knew her name. So, armed with her real name, I was ready to place an order with, oh, yeah, I don't know Mustang Jr.'s name either. I am a horrible neighbor! Mustang even brought over cupcakes during the holidays and I did not reciprocate. I know, horrible!

The doorbell rang and there was Mustang Jr., alone, with her order sheet. No, hello or hi, I'm selling Girl Scout cookies, would you like to buy some? Maybe Mustang told her that I was an easy sell, and she didn't have to go through the whole Girl Scout cookie selling act, but a little enthusiasm would've been nice.

Then there was an awkward moment. Who was going to fill out the form. I was confused. I would've thought that she would want to but oh, how wrong I was. She handed me the form and a pen, and just stood there and watched.

Shouldn't she have to do some work to earn her sales? Isn't that a Girl Scout value or principle? I took the form and started making small talk because in cases like these, well, in all cases really, I need people (even little people) to like me. She gave me nothing but a bored look on her face. "Well, I must have the Thin Mints and Trefoils." 

I thought the boxes were five dollars each, so I was all prepared to break out an even twenty. "How much are they again? Would you like me to pay you now?" I always assume that salespeople want the money upfront. She said, "Eh, you can pay later, it really doesn't matter."

I made my choices, and started to hand her the form, "Do you want to add it up, or..." She was getting even more bored, "Eh, it really doesn't matter." She didn't move, so I added it up for her. Thank god it was simple math.

I couldn't give her a twenty and I sensed that it might be bothersome to make change. I was trying to be considerate, so I said, "Would you prefer if I paid you now?" I thought she was going to explode. She pulled out this tude, actually huffed and said, "IT SO DOESN'T MATTER."

I wanted to take back my order and slam the door in her face but instead I abruptly said, "Fine, I'll give it to you when I get my cookies." She was already half way down the front stairs by the time I finished my sentence.

Wow, talk about entitlement. Like I need that from someone who's name I don't even know AND who's going to make me fat come March when my order comes in!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Flirting is Overrated

 I went to the Rangers-Penguins game the other night with my boyfriend and his son. It was my first hockey game, and I'm sure that I went because if I'm at a cocktail party, I want to be able to say, "Oh, yes, they are violent but so exciting at the same time." Note to self, get invited to a cocktail party.

I decided to do something different, you know, change it up a bit, so I blew out my hair. I didn't want my boyfriend to forget how well I clean up. This is no small feat, as I don't have a lot of practice. I put on full mackiage, broke out the tight jeans, (the ones that show what religion I am- oh, wait, that only applies to a man) my new ski sweater (it was freezing and I only own one decent sweater). That fact is both pathetic, and sad, but it's also a whole other post.

After picking up my boyfriend's son, and sitting in horrendous traffic at the Lincoln Tunnel, we got to our box seats at Madison Square Garden. There are two great perks of sitting in a box. The first is the free food and booze, and the other is not having to deal with crowds.

After about five minutes, I had seen enough. While my boyfriend and his son watched the game, I got up to check out the food. As I lifted the lid of one of the Chafer's, a guy (man?) walked over and started flirting with me. Bold and aggressive. He tried to be funny by putting food on a plate, and telling me not to be shy about eating. Oh, that's not shy you're getting, it's disgust at the shriveled up fried chicken.
He put down the plate of fried delight and proceeded to tell me that I looked like (in the eyes only) Reese Witherspoon. No one has ever made that comparison. Man, this guy was reaching. Frankly it was beyond bogafied, but I said thank you anyway. I just assumed that it was a compliment.

He asked if I was there alone. As my boyfriend pointed out later, when I told him this adorable tale, "Why would a woman go to a hockey game alone?" In fact there were only two other women in the box who were clearly with the two guys they were sitting next to.

I told Mr. Flirty McFlirt, that I was with my boyfriend. He said something jokingly and started to walk away. Boredom made me play along. "Wow, that's harsh." He walked back. "No, I mean, I saw you when you walked in and thought, she's hot." Of course you did, your breathing aren't you?

It was around this time that I, not only realized how awkward and uninteresting this person was, but flirting in general. Then he said, "If you were my girlfriend, I'd want to know where you were all this time." What a friggin' turn off. I'm a big girl. My boyfriend allows to be on my own for more than five minutes at a time. I guess he trusts me. I didn't say that exactly. I think it was more like, "I'm a big girl."

Then he thought he'd go for the you look like approach one more time. He said that I looked and sounded like Laura Linney from the C Word. I'm a huge fan of hers but c'mon. All McFlirt was seeing was blond hair, but if he looked a little closer, he would've seen that I am NOT in fact blond.

I had a half a glass of white wine on a fairly empty stomach. When this happens, I get diarrhea of the mouth for about 30 minutes. I made the mistake of asking him where he was from. He started talking and I wanted to cut myself. He was 47, at the game with a buddy that he knew since high school in Manhasset, L.I., went to Syracuse, frat boy, avid beer drinker, and stock broker, living on the upper west side.

I was trying to be nice, and I don't know how it happened but when I said that I never understood that world (hoping that he'd give up and move on) he felt the need to make me understand by giving me a simple explanation.

Holy crap. Is this the shit that guys think are going to get them laid, because buying and selling puts options will not make my nipples hard. HELP! And because I am nice to a fault, I listened politely, as I dug my nails into my thigh. When he finished, I said, "Sorry, still don't get it."

He asked me where I lived and I said we live in Jersey. He said, "We?". I said, "Yeah, my boyfriend and I." He looked at me like whoa, having a boyfriend is one thing, I could overlook that and still try to fuck you, but if you live with this guy, I'm out. I walked away and joined my boyfriend and his son.

My boyfriend didn't ask me where I was, so I volunteered the information. He could not have cared less. I suppose in some way, I wanted him to feel a wee jealous of McFlirt. If there's one thing that I have made abundantly clear to my boyfriend, is my loyalty and my feelings towards him. Perhaps his coolness was because he trusts me.

What was interesting about my innocent flirting was that I was friggin' bored. It felt weird and unnatural. Of course it's nice to be complimented, but to be honest, the only man that gives me a tingle in my lady parts, is my boyfriend. It is truly his compliments that I care about and that make a difference to me.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Skype Sex- Redux

I hate to do this, but my Skype Sex article was picked up by TheModeLife and since I'm suffering from an acute case of writer's block, I decided to repost it, just in case you didn't catch it the first time around. I'd hate for anyone to have missed it.

What's that you say? Speak up. What, you don't believe that I have writer's block?

What else might explain the following?

I reorganized my kitchen cabinets, so that the plates, bowls, stemware (ooh, fancy) and coffee mugs were all on the same side of the kitchen. I shifted items from the lower shelf in the pantry to a higher one. I shouldn't have to bend over to get my oatmeal (that might have been a poor choice of words). I mean, really, why are the paper goods in a more advantageous position?

I vacuumed the entire house at 7:30 this morning. I'm on my second cup of coffee. I watched The Today Show longer than anyone should. I'm going on my second load of laundry, with two more piles on the floor waiting for their turn.

Do you think that I would've done any of the crap ass shit above if I could write?! If you said yes, then you don't know me at all and you should probably read the above sex article to get a better sense of who the G.M. really is.

Ooh, I just discovered the Music Choice channels on cable. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Does A Stapler Really Need To Be Sexy?

This is a black patent leather stiletto. A fuck-me pump. A whore hiker if you will. Or is it?

That's right, reader, it's a friggin stapler! From Staples! Shame on you Staples.

I love office supplies. And I love Staples. But I was shocked to see this in the store the other day.

Isn't it enough that images like this inundate us on a daily basis, in those crap ass magazines and on the red carpet? Women in their micro mini's and corsets that suffocate their boobage, advertising and promoting skankification to little girls saying, "One day Melissa you can look cheap, tawdry and trashy just like we do and then boys will like you."

Can I not go to my local Staples and buy an f'in stapler? A metal, old school stapler, and not a coos-sluttnicky high-heeled stapler? Is there nowhere to run? And to think, I was going to register at Staples, if I ever got married again. Well, you can kiss that shit good-bye. 

It confuses me.

I want to buy my office supplies at Staples and my hooker hikers at a shoe store. Is that so much to ask?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Everyone Keep Your Pants On. Please.

A follow up to my Guess Who's Coming To Dinner post.

I went out to dinner with my boyfriend's daughter a few nights ago. He was in the city working, and I hadn't left the house all day. That's not entirely true. I walked to the beach (a block away- don't hate me- it's still Jersey-ooh, Jersey just took a hit) excited at the prospect of clearing my head and pumping some much needed blood to my ass. I had been sitting at my desk for hours!

However, I misjudged the weather, and I was cold. My long and luxurious walk turned into a stroll around the block, and bringing the garbage pail in from the curb.

We went to a terrific Vegan restaurant in the neighborhood and had an enlightening (for me anyway) conversation. As a G.M. (Girlfriend Mom) Wait, I'm totally patenting, copyrighting, licensing, branding, or some such shit, this G.M. thing. Don't even think about hijacking it. I know people who will hurt you.

About a week ago, I almost hurled myself off our third floor deck. From what I could gather, (and I wasn't actually in the room, so I can't swear to it) my boyfriend stepped into the shower while his daughter sifted through the movie shelf in our bedroom. We don't have a door separating the bedroom from the bathroom, don't ask.

I flipped out. I mean biting my fingers, on the verge of tears from total helplessness, flipped out. I clenched my fists so as to hold in my anger (?). I looked up to the sky (well, ceiling) as if to say, "Did you see that? What the f?" I walked in circles for a few moments, hoping to shake the image from my brain. I couldn't. It would forever live on in my memory bank.

I tried to calm down and understand why no one else was flipping out. Or walking out of the room, so her father could hop in the shower. Or why her father didn't ask his daughter to leave so he could take a shower. Has everyone gone mad? Do I have to play hall monitor for the rest of my life?!

This brings me to the topic of two types of homes. Naked and clothed. I grew up in a half-naked home. Which goes hand in hand with the double-edged sword, and mixed messages that I also grew up with. My parents weren't as modest as I would've liked them to have been. I only had to see my dad in his red, nut-hugger bikini's, once, to know that I did not want to EVER see that again.

Perhaps I overreacted but I was caught off guard. I was miles from my comfort zone. I let my reactivity subside and did some think talking about why I got so bent out of shape (nut-huggers). I wasn't able to entertain the idea that maybe this was acceptable behavior in my boyfriend's pre-divorce family. I was only thinking about how uncomfortable I felt.

I didn't just fall off the banana boat. I'm well aware of the cultural (he's Portuguese) component. And I'm also aware of society's influence. I probably shouldn't judge, and to each his own and whose to say what's right or wrong. I mean what about those women who breastfeed their kids until they go off to college! I like to think that I'm an open minded, offspring of hippies, free to be you and me, kinda of G.M. But as it turns out, I'm NOT. Bring on the boundaries, clear, delineated lines, modesty and clothes!
The topic of inappropriateness and boundaries came up organically at dinner with my boyfriend's daughter. I was elated. She told me that she grew up in a naked household, and I told her that in some ways, so did I (nut-huggers). But I also tried to explain that it's a different dynamic with the four of us now, because the reality is, I'm not her mother and it does affect how we all behave.

I couldn't articulate the feelings as well as I wanted to, but she was in total agreement. Now that she opened Pandora's box, I continued.

I told her that I needed her and her brother to respect those things that made me uncomfortable. Again, she smiled and nodded in agreement. I felt a thousand pounds lighter. And when I started to back pedal on the word inappropriate, because I didn't want to dramatize, traumatize or cause any shame or embarrassment, without missing a beat she said, "Oh, no, it's inappropriate."

I expressed myself without defending myself. Then my boyfriend's daughter told me that she and the rest of the clan think it's funny when they hint at something they know I think is inappropriate, because they enjoy seeing my feathers ruffled. Yay.

She knows what it is to respect one's feelings, and I couldn't be happier. I took the bull by the horns and was surprisingly comfortable standing up for myself. It wasn't okay for the G.M. and she does have a say in the matter. I matter! Whoopee!

Okay, relax, G.M., relax.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

iVillage iVoices Audition Tape

I'm putting myself out there in today's post. This is an audition video that I made for iVoices on iVillage when they were looking for new ladies to contribute to their site. Sadly, I did not get chosen. I think it was fixed but... no, I jest. I think it might've been my hair color.

I thought it would be fun to post because it's scary for me to do so and I'm all about not letting fear paralyze me.

Enjoy and please don't let me know if you think it sucks because there's just so much rejection and sadness one gal can take!

Still, enjoy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Christopher Meloni, A Towel and Me

For a long time, two things remained constant in my life; Christopher Meloni (Law&Order, Oz) and dry skin. Why did handing Christopher Meloni a gym towel 20 years ago, when I worked at a gym where he was a member, lead to a lifelong connection that he knows nothing about? That towel was the beginning of a twenty-year one-sided romance.

When I met Christopher at that gym, a million years ago, he wasn’t the Christopher Meloni that he is today. Back then he was just another hot struggling actor. He’d come in almost every day and he flirted with me each and every time.

ME: Towel?

You could cut the sexual tension with a knife. There were many events, coincidences and incidents over the years, that linked us together. I believe the most significant one came when I was traveling around Europe, after leaving Los Angeles.

My friends always stayed vigilant when it came to CM sightings and how they might fit into my life. I received an e-mail at my hotel in Krakow, Poland, from a friend who told me that CM was starring in the play, A View From The Bridge, in Dublin, Ireland. So close. Dublin, Ireland here I come!

When I arrived in Dublin, I immediately took a bus to the theater, where a jolly lolly woman in the box office said that the show was sold out. Are you f’in kidding me? I came all the way from Krakow! She suggested I get to the theater at seven o’clock for last minute cancellations. Done jolly lolly.

I couldn’t meet Detective Stabler wearing my torn and tattered sneakers. I looked like a bag lady. It had been a long way to Tipperary. I found a cheap Irish department store, filled with drunks, their shattered dreams and synthetic blends. I bought a pair of inexpensive high-heeled plastic and rubber puke brown boots. They weren’t comfortable either. 

I returned to the theater at 6:29p and sat my tight and tired ass on the cold concrete steps. I took out my tacky boots from my sassy backpack and began the footwear switch, when out of the corner of my eye, the man, the myth, the legend, Christopher Meloni, was heading towards me.

My face turned crimson and my palms began to sweat. The side zipper snagged my ratty athletic sock, and my foot hung limp from the boot like a flacid cock. I lowered my head and pretended to read my David Sedaris book, Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim.

What was I supposed to do, say hello, while pulling on my boots? Yes, because that’s what sane people do. Maybe I should’ve said, “Towel?” and waited for a reaction. I felt him glance over at me but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t in a, ‘hey, who’s the hottie in the plastic boots’, kind of way. I wanted to scream, “I’m not a homeless person who likes theater!”

Christopher had his, ‘an actor prepares’, hat on and quickly disappeared into the theater. I kicked myself with my plastic boot for being such a pussy. I couldn’t let it end there so I decided to write him a note inviting him out for a drink after the show. Of course I’d explain our mutual connections so as not to scare him.

I ripped out a blank sheet of paper from the back of my book and started writing. The only thing that I can remember about the note was that I mentioned a friend of his, who was a friend of a friend of mine, who had died in 911. This was sure to endear myself to him.

When I walked into the theater, I handed my note to jolly lolly in the box office and asked her to give it to Mr. Meloni. She looked up at me, then down at the folded paper, and then back up at me. I knew that as soon as I walked away she’d read it, pee her pants, and pitch it in the trash. I wasn’t naive. 

After an hour waiting in line, I got a ticket. My seat was in the very last row. The blokes sitting next to me informed me that I should thank their friend Rory whose seat I was sitting in. At the last minute, Rory had to fly to Croatia on business. Thank you, Rory and God Bless You.

Was I really going to wait by the stage door? I deluded myself into thinking that Christopher got my note. But what if he did get my note, and decided to leave through the back door? What if he didn’t get my note, and I saw him outside? Would I tell him about the note? What if he started running down the street? Would I run after him? That would be scary. For both of us.

It was the summer of taking chances. I waited outside the theater, and pretended to call someone on my cell phone. I didn’t want to look like a fan. What the hell was I doing? I immediately abandoned ship as soon as I came to my senses and put plastic boots to pavement and walked to the bus stop. The boots did nothing for my remaining bunion. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times; nothing says old Jew like a bunion.

I continued looking over my shoulder to see if I could catch a glimpse of Christopher leaving the theater. As I passed hotel after hotel, I felt like a streetwalker on the job.

What if Christopher was expecting me? That teeny tiny glimmer of hope loomed large in my teeny tiny brain. I couldn’t live without knowing, so I hobbled back to the theater. As I approached, I saw only darkness.

I turned around, again, and limped back to the bus stop. I definitely looked like a hooker. I stopped into one of the hotels and tried to pick up a few Euros. Ireland isn’t cheap you know.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sucking Face May Promote World Peace

Do you kiss your lover, boyfriend/girlfriend, significant other, husband/wife, life partner (did I get everyone represented for crying out lout?) before you leave for work, before he/she leaves for work, or before you go to bed?

I love kissing my boyfriend and when I had to leave at the butt crack of dawn this morning for work, I left without kissing his sleeping punim good-bye. It’s so easy to forget. It’s so hard just to get your ass out of bed and, really, when you’re half asleep, are you really thinking about anything at all? I know I’m hoping to remember to take my mouth guard out before I get into the car.

I could go on and on about the virtues of kissing, and how you probably sucked face morning, noon and night, when you first met your (fill in the blank) but I’m tired and I want to kiss my lover before I put my mouth guard in.

Let’s all vow to kiss more. Maybe it’ll promote world peace.

I'm in TheModeLife, I'm in TheModeLife

This isn't my official daily blog, but I wanted to share. My article was picked up by themodelife. In case you missed it the first time around, check it out. It has sex in it. You've been warned.


Monday, January 9, 2012

I Stand Alone... In a good way.

It’s difficult for me at times to celebrate my accomplishments, life experiences and the exciting journey’s that I’ve taken over the years. It’s always been, What’s next? What’s the new sparkly thing over there in the corner for me to try?

During such times, I write down my life in bullet points, just as a reminder. This proves especially germane when I’m feeling as if I have nothing worthwhile to show for myself.

My little bullet point exercise came in especially handy this morning, when I got an email from an old friend, and business partner. It was an announcement for her book launch. If one more friend or acquaintance publishes a book, I’m going to cut myself. There’s just so much a person can take. I know all the arguments. Their successes have nothing to do with mine. There’s room for everyone but, come on, sometimes it fuckin’ sucks. I don’t care how spiritual you are (several years of Kabbalah baby) I’m also human.

What I hated the most about the email were the self doubts that surfaced in me. Brief moments of insecurity in my abilities, and irrational questions like, Where’s my book? and What am I doing wrong? There’s something to be said for keeping your eyes on your own paper, burying your head in the sand and getting off of Facebook, so you don’t know what anyone else is doing or PUBLISHING.

There wasn’t a personal note in the email, just a xxoo with the invitation attached. Really? I’ve reached out to her in the past about one thing or another and she has never responded.

How does she ignore my emails and then have the balls to send me an invitation? The last time I heard from her, she invited me to a party promoting her television show. At the time, I was curious, less confident and also thought, you never know who you might meet, so I went.

I had a crazy conversation with Cyndi Lauper, so it wasn’t a complete waste, but when I got home, I took note of how the evening made me feel and I questioned my motives. Why did I go in the first place? Honestly.

I went because in the past, I lived vicariously through others’ successes. I felt important and like a somebody, just by being friends with or working with successful people. (Friend above included) Fucked up, I know. Instead of creating for myself, and taking a chance on my own talents, I stood in the wings, watching other people soak up their moment in the limelight, thinking that I was somehow a part of that light.

This is what I did with this old friend and business partner. When she hired me to write and develop a talk show for her, I was still quite green but excited about our partnership. I saw it as my entree into the world that I had dreamed about while watching, I Love Lucy, in our small two-bedroom apartment in Yonkers, NY.

I followed her around like a little puppy dog, hoping that her world would rub off on me. Bad idea and even worse for the ol’ self esteem.

After a couple of years, we ended our professional relationship. Our personality differences, and work styles, proved to be too frustrating. During one verbal exchange, she called me didactic*. I shouted back, “I don’t think that I am.” With no hard feelings, we went our separate ways. When I got home that night, I looked up didactic in the dictionary. Oops.

That was then and this is now.

After reading her email, I took out my list of bullet points, and got back to work. I stand on my own stage now, with my own spotlight. Needless to say, I won’t be going to the book party.

*DIDACTIC: intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction as an ulterior motive: in the manner of a teacher, particularly so as to treat someone in a patronizing way.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bongs & Sensimilla & One-Hitters, Oh, My!

In my continued struggle with boundaries and appropriate parenting, I found myself at dinner last night with my boyfriend, his daughter and her boyfriend, talking about bongs, sensimilla and one hitters, oh my.

We began our family discussion with a summary of the television show, Breaking Bad, a show which I haven’t seen, but of which I learned was about a high school chemistry teacher, diagnosed with lung cancer, who turns to producing and selling methamphetamine so his family is taken care of when he dies. How noble.

This wasn’t the first time meth came up in a family discussion. I know, how lucky can I get. My boyfriend’s thirteen year old son plays an X-Box game called, Saints Row, that allows him to own shares in a crystal meth lab. We are so proud. What the F’ is going on out there? Whatever happened to Pac-Man, Centipede or the Super Mario Brothers?

I know this is naive of me and the times they have a changed but teaching kids how to invest in a meth lab?! Why not a brothel? A BDSM Dungeon? Crack House? Abortion clinic? Too far? The point is, what the F? But let’s return to last night’s dinner.

After my boyfriend and I were schooled on the profitability of a meth lab, we got on the topic of smoking pot, or as my parents liked to call it, grass. Adorable. My boyfriend’s daughter asked her father if he had ever smoked pot. I sat frozen in anticipation. Was he going to tell her the truth? And if he did, how much was he going to divulge? Oh, he went for it all right.

He told them how he used to smoke a lot before he got married, and how pot back then was so much better than it is today, and how he had a bad trip the last time he smoked, a few years ago. I threw up my hands. After all, if he didn’t have a problem with the subject matter, then why should I?

I regaled the kids with memories of the last time my boyfriend and I got stoned. “We were playing scrabble and then the ‘grass’ kicked in, and we had to stop. (Picture me gesticulating widely and smiling like a mental patient) So then we started eating! Ha! We couldn’t stop laughing. I think we got the pot from my brother’s friend. Oh, we laughed.” I’m not sure how I had the good sense to leave out the part where we hopped into bed and sucked face (and other body parts) until we passed out, but I did. See, boundaries.

Holy shit nuggets, I sounded like a complete ass. I was that 40-year old frat guy who’s still bragging about the time he got so wasted that he fell asleep on a neighbor’s driveway and it poured but he was so wasted that he didn’t even wake up.

I wanted to hurl myself into the french doors. Why were we talking about this with the kids? It wasn’t right. It felt weird. But in some perverse and messed up way, I wanted to share. Maybe it was the moment. Maybe it was the attention. Maybe I wanted to show them that dad and I were way cooler than her mom and her boyfriend. Real mature Girlfriend Mom.

Or maybe I still don’t know what I'm doing.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Handling Sibling Rivalry in Your Home

** Written for WikiMommy 

Ah, that age old problem, sibling rivalry. Damn you Cain and Abel!

The causes of sibling rivalry varies from family to family, and child to child. Factors such as jealousy, competition for time, attention, love and approval, personality differences or dysfunctional family dynamics, can all play a part. A parent’s inaction, being close in age, sex, and hierarchy in the family, also factors in.

Putting it simply, some siblings can’t and don’t get along. Just like we don’t choose our parents, (Cher and I would’ve made a great mother-daughter team) we don’t choose our siblings either. A child’s needs, anxieties, and unique identities can cause him or her to push their siblings’ buttons. A child’s temperament, mood, and disposition, can irritate his or her sibling, to the point where listening to them breath is reason enough to fly off the handle and throw a Dr. Sholl’s sandal at their head.

What part does the parent play in how well the children relate to one another? Are they role models? How are their conflict resolution skills? Are they respectful? Aggressive? Do they fight fair or do they shout, slam doors, and argue loudly? Guess what? The children are watching and listening.

The fact that siblings spend an inordinate amount of time together growing up, plays another part in rivalrous behavior. Even young children need their alone time. Stress can shorten children’s fuses, and inhibit their ability to tolerate frustration, which may lead to more contention with their sibling.

We know that it’s common for siblings to fight, and while it’s no picnic for the parents, in most cases, it’s nature at work. Siblings will often go back and forth between loving and despising one another. And while society, and most parents, would like to believe that their kids’ relationship with one another will eventually develop into a close one, it is not always the case.

Parents, and society as a whole, need to see things as they are, not as how they wish they were. My parent’s still wish my brother and I got along like Donny and Marie, but that just isn’t going to happen. Ever.

Approximately one-third of adult siblings, who grew up fighting and bickering, may describe their childhood as humiliating, hurtful or distant, when referring to their sibling. In some cases, the unique identities, and individual differences between siblings, are too great, and close relationships are impossible. These siblings don't get along, have little in common, spend limited time together, and are often locked into old patterns,

What to do, what to do. Therapists, Analysts, Psychiatrists and parents, from Anchorage to Papua New Guinea, struggle with this question. While there is no clear cut, universal, black and white answer, the following might be helpful and a good place to start.

1- Try not to get involved and see if the siblings can work out the scuffle for themselves. This isn’t always easy. However, a parent must also know when a fight has escalated and needs to step in, especially if one of the siblings is in harms way. 

2- “It’s not fair.” Try not to be swayed by this argument. It’s not about being fair, it’s about about what’s best for that sibling.

3- Separate the kids, if they can release their grip on the other one’s hair. This will give everyone a chance to cool down and then when everyone is calm, a discussion can be started.

4- Try not to favor. I’m not sure how a parent can be impartial but it’s probably best to at least make an effort.

5- In order for this next suggestion to work, the siblings must respect the parent. If they respect their parents, parents can try laying down the law, and rules for acceptable behavior. Children need to know that there are consequences to their actions.

6- Because siblings are often vying for the attention of a parent, it’s important to give each child some one on one time.

7- It’s not fair to a sibling to compare him or her to their brother or sister. Saying things like, “Why can’t you be smart like your sister?” is not productive and may lead to jealousy and conflict between those two siblings.

8- Family meetings weren’t big when I was growing up, back in the day, but it can be an opportunity to show the children how to talk about their feelings, without yelling, name-calling, or violence. Grievances can be aired in a safe, and controlled environment.

9- If sibling rivalry gets to the point where it disrupts the daily functioning of the family, or affects any of the children emotionally or psychologically, perhaps you want to seek  professional help.

According to an article in Psychology Today, “We have no rituals that make, break, or celebrate the sibling bond. And family experts have underemphasized the sibling relationship, instead concentrating on parents and children and husbands and wives. Small wonder that sibling rivalry is accepted as the normal state of affairs.”

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner... And staying for a month?!

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner... and staying for a month?!

If you guessed a dapper black man named Sidney Poitier, sadly, you’d be wrong. Great guess... still wrong. The answer: my boyfriend’s 18 year-old daughter. Ah!

She lives in a dorm at school in NYC and has off until January 17th. What the f’ is up with our educational system? I do not remember having a month off when I was in college. A few months ago, she asked if she could live with us, instead of her mother(issues) when she’s on vacation and over the summer. What could we say. “Of course.” Of course my “Of course” was uttered through clenched teeth and a forced smile.

I like my boyfriend’s daughter. We get along quite well, do stuff together and I think she likes me. What’s not to like? My apprehension, hesitation and internal wig out, has more to do with that old stand by, “I didn’t sign up for this.” Like every other child related event that’s been hurled at my head, this too will take time to process.

I’m not used to having another body around. Another body that doesn’t know how to put dishes in the dishwasher. Another body that takes my nail polish and doesn’t return it. Another body that is a messy eater. Another body that didn’t know to knock before entering a closed door. Another body lurking around the house, so that now I can’t lurk around the house naked. Another body sleeping in the room next door, so now my boyfriend and I have to keep the television on to drown out the noise when we do sexy stuff. Oh, and believe you me, there’s noise.

I know that this is yet another piece of the Girlfriend Mom puzzle, but I was just getting used to soccer Sundays. I wasn’t expecting to live with a child for more than 48 hours every other weekend. I didn’t see this one coming.

In the short time that she’s been with us, I’ve learned a lot about myself. And really, who needs that?! When the four of us played board games over the Christmas break, I felt like a stepmom in a Lifetime movie, for the first time in five years. I was the odd man out, the one that didn’t belong. The non-blood relation. I glanced over at the three of them and their profound closeness, wafted in the air. I felt a million miles away.

I try to convey to my boyfriend that what he and his kids have been used to with their mother, is naturally going to be a different dynamic with me. I’m not their mother. They’re not my kids. Sometimes I’m uncomfortable with the familiarity that they share. I’m traveling in foreign territory without a GPS system, and often I don't know why I'm feeling the way that I do.

I cannot move any faster than my feelings will allow. Perhaps it’s simply a question of time and patience. I’m honoring, not judging. Wow, that got serious quickly. Moving on.

Why do the kids have to take showers in our bathroom? They have a brand new gorgeous one to use. I don’t understand (just one in a long list of things I don’t understand) Is it because they see it as a treat? Do they feel closer to their dad? The question I ask myself is, “Why does it ruffle my feathers?”

I lived alone for a long time before I moved in with my boyfriend. I’m used to my privacy and not having to share, unless I wanted to. For crying out loud, my boyfriend and I are still learning to live with each another. Now you add a child to the mix, without having the benefit of years of practice, and poof! disruption of routine, rhythm, style and wet towels on the bathroom floor.

Change doesn’t come easily for a lot of people (especially my mother) and apparently this kind of change doesn’t come easily to me either. I can uproot myself from a 16-year stint in Los Angeles, selling everything from fork to car, and move to Prague, but living with kids scares me. The parent (my boyfriend) in the relationship has to realize that the non-parent (me) has no past experience to draw upon.

I’m trying not to make a mountain out of a mole hill, because the reality is, none of it is life threatening. Rather, it’s the emotions and feelings that the situation stirs in me, that gives me pause. This is what I’ve come up with, in so special order.

- I’m competitive playing board games, and when I don't know something, I put my poopy pants on because I realize that I’m not as smart as I think I am. And if I didn't have to play games with the kids, I wouldn't have to admit this to myself.
- I’m jealous of the attention my boyfriend pays to his daughter. (Was my mother jealous of my close relationship with my father? Note to self- ask mom)
- Sometimes I feel like I play second fiddle and I don’t like it.
- I crave boundaries and there aren’t a lot regarding my boyfriend and the kids. Boundaries were an issue in my family, mainly because they didn’t exist. I needed them, so I'd punish myself, often sending me to my room.
- Sometimes I feel that sides are taken, and they ain’t mine.
- I chose not to have kids for a reason and sometimes I feel that I’m not living my truth.
- Sometimes, when it comes to the kids, I’m immature, controlling, and selfish. I want all the attention. C’mon, I’m a performer. Of course I want all of the attention!
- I’ve truly come to realize how important solitude, peace and quiet are to me.
- My boyfriend and I change when the kids are around. And sometimes not for the better.
- I sometimes judge my boyfriend’s daughter, or the way he’s raising her. Yuck on me!
- My demand for order gives me the allusion that I have some control over a situation that I often feel that I have no control over.

How much of my crap, and by crap, I mean my feelings, are unresolved personal issues, or my hot buttons? Perhaps these little people are my triggers. Damn them! Why do they have to unleash, overturn and bring up what I’ve worked so hard to shove down.

I met a very wise woman the other day, who recently lost her fourth husband. She has both biological and step children. We shared stories of the children in our lives, to which she said, through held back years, “Just love them. That’s all they want.”

And that’s what I plan to do. Dishes in the dishwasher or not.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

When Is It Too Late?

 I know that at the young age of 45, it would be virtually impossible to become an Olympic figure skater. I get it.

However, every now and again I think about those things that still might be possible. These things surely come from my delusional mind and they hang out deep in my naive, immature, and denial place. I get it.

It wasn't too long ago that I still believed that I could become a professional dancer. It had always been a dream.

I used to take the train into Manhattan, from Westchester, for dance class every weekend. As soon as I stepped off the train, I thought I was a dancer. I walked around the city with my feet turned out in first position, which hurt like a mother f'er, especially since I wasn’t actually a dancer, but it looked authentic. I wore leg warmers, carried a dance bag down to my knees, and took up smoking, because all dancers smoked. I pulled my hair back so tight I couldn’t blink, and I jazz walked down Broadway dreaming of becoming a Fosse dancer.

It's unfair that self help books, and Oprah, all say it's never too late and that if you can dream it, you can be it. Isn't that false advertising?

I always believed that all it took was drive, passion and money. But several years ago I had my doubts. What if I was wrong? What if it was too late? I decided to seek the advice of a professional. 

Dear Mr. Ben Vereen: 

I am not in my early 20’s. But I’ve taken ballet, tap and jazz on and off, mainly off, since I was 7. I won a Best Actress in a Musical award for “Chicago” and Best Dancer in a Musical award for “Working” at Stagedoor Manor, Theater Performing Arts Center, in Loch Sheldrake, New York in 1981. I never entered a dance contest but I watched “Dance Fever” religiously from 1979 to 1985. I recently took a hip hop class, but after 15 minutes I ran out crying because I couldn’t pop and lock like the 13 year olds. I started taking Jazz class again. It’s every Saturday morning and the teacher is a former “Solid Gold” dancer.  I’m so excited. I’ve missed the last few months of class but I plan to get back to it really soon. Since I’ve been back on the scene, I’ve realized that dance isn’t just a part of my life, it is my life. I’m a dancer. A dancer dances and I must dance. 

My friend Jamie compliments me all the time, and that makes me want it even more. I’m determined to make my dream a reality. My technique isn’t that strong. Yet. I’m pretty slow in learning combinations and I still don’t know what a port de bras is. But being in Jazz class and seeing the movie, “Chicago”,  twice, I think it’s all coming back to me.

I have bunions, bad knees and a stiff neck. Otherwise I’m in great shape. Just the other night I was able to spread eagle over my boyfriend’s head.

Anyway, what’s your advice on getting started in the dance profession at my advanced age. Is it too late? Thanks and keep on dancing, love, Dani.

I'm still waiting for an answer.

Monday, January 2, 2012

How Do You Really Feel About Child-Free Women?


I'm re-posting because I love what this has to say. Being the Girlfriend Mom, on the one hand, I consider myself child-free, as I don't have any biological children, and I made a semi-conscious decision to be so.

However, on the other hand, when I see my boyfriend's children, I play a watered down version of 'mom'. I have the luxury of playing for both teams. That sounded kind of sexual, no?

I believe that this post gives moms an insight into what it's like to be child-free and how moms are perceived as well. Interesting all around. Enjoy.