I saw Pete Yorn play an acoustic set at the Troubadour recently and it was sublime. I told a couple of people at work that I was going to see him to which they responded, “I don’t know who that is.” It was all I could do not to cry for them. I mean, anyone who didn’t spend the early 2000’s wallowing in musicforthemorningafter and Day I Forgot on repeat truly missed out.
“If you heard Strange Condition you’d know who he is,” I told them.
Judy Greer was there and I saw her buying merch and she was so excited to get her Pete York t-shirt. She was seriously adorable. My friend Lisa who I went to the show with didn’t know who she was. If you don’t know who Judy Greer is, she’s one of those working actresses that you recognize when you see them on TV or in a movie and think to yourself, “Where do I know her from?” and it drives you so crazy you have to pull up IMDB on your phone immediately because you cannot wait one second more to figure out where you know her from.
So maybe that was the theme of the night – knowing, but not knowing.
My friend Lisa may not know who Judy Greer is but she loves Pete Yorn (almost) as much as I do and spent the early part of her 2000’s not missing out by listening to his albums on repeat. It’s better to see a show with someone who loves the music as much as you do if possible.
The Troubadour is tiny, but it was packed. (Of course it was packed. Pete Fucking Yorn was playing the Troubadour!) We stood to the side of the stage so we could be close and feel the breeze from the door (because a packed Troubadour equals a hot Troubadour) and we lucked out because we were standing right behind his parents. He was a good son and acknowledged them and made sure they were comfortable and talked about them and thanked them for being there which made me love him even more than I already do (and trust me the way that I love him has nothing to do with him being a good son if you know what I’m saying).
I mean it would be easy to love Pete Yorn because he’s beautiful.
But that’s not why I love him. (Okay, maybe it is a little.)
And the reason I love him is also not because of his songwriting. Though his songwriting is amazing. Truly.
I don’t miss you, still I will take a car to be with you I don’t know you, of course you think you know me I don’t want you So why should I compete with other guys? I don’t love you, no I think I’ll take a long way down from here
(Guess what – he loves her.)
The reason I love him is because of the yearning. In his voice. In the way he strums his guitar. This dude is yearning for more. Even in his song about a burrito (which is not really about a burrito at all even though the song title is Burrito) the yearning is there.
In the knowing there’s more to come.
Or not knowing if there’s more to come.
Or knowing everything is perfect and not knowing how long it will last.
Kim says, “I don’t usually watch the red carpet, but since Charlene is traveling, I am pulling it out for a friend. As you know, there’s really only one reason to pay attention to awards shows; in fact, you really don’t even have to watch them, you just need to read Charlene’s fashion coverage.”
Laurel says, “Charlene’s red carpet blog posts are always my favorite, and the fact that she’s letting me guest write this one with Kim is nothing shy of an honor. And believe me, I wouldn’t be caught dead in an ugly pink dress for this one.”
The “Pink No” Category
Gemma Chan from Crazy Rich Asians
Country singer Kacey Musgraves
Actress Linda Cardellini
Switching now to the “Pink Yes” category…
Julia freakin’ Roberts
Let’s consider Allison Janney, shall we?
Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk
Michael B. Jordan and Mother Donna
Marina de Tavira
Producer Lynette Howell Taylor
Lucy Boynton and Rami Malek
JLo and ARod
Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet
Heidi “yikes” Klum
Well, Charlene, thanks for letting us take over your blog. We feel for the poor souls who run social media and blogs for the Academy and the entertainment channels, because this work was hard enough. Those suckers had to post their opinions in real time. We had the luxury of sipping wine, eating delicious Persian food, and kicking back in our sweats. Maybe you’ll get to watch the show again in style next year! -Laurel and Kim
It is 10:42 Mountain Time on Tuesday and I am on a plane
from Burbank to Denver. Soon I will land and I will get an hour of my life
back. Funny how time works like that.
The woman sitting next to me has been typing away at her
laptop for most of the flight. Maybe she’s a writer. A real writer who actually
writes. I don’t know because she’s at the window and I’m on the aisle, an empty
seat between us. We smiled politely at each other, said some pleasantries, but
it seems nobody talks on planes anymore.
Except for my trip out to Denver. There were two women
across from me talking excitedly the whole time, as if they were lifelong
friends, and yet somehow I knew they had just met. They talked and laughed and
I heard one of them say the F word when she told a story. They were comfortable
with each other. After we deplaned I used the bathroom (as I always do) and saw
one of them alone – my intuition confirmed. Fast friends for two and a half
hours, likely never to speak again. How nice for them to have passed the time
of the flight in such a lovely way.
I finally finished East
of Eden on this flight. My friend Laurel calls it The Great American Novel.
It took me two months to read because it’s six hundred and two dense pages and
I’m a slow reader who never takes the time to read. She loves Samuel Hamilton
so much. Adores him. The greatest character every written, she said. She might
not have said that. My memory is shit these days. I loved Lee. I found him the
most wonderful. I liked the book, but I didn’t love it like she did. It’s too
soon to say if it will stay with me or not, but I think maybe not. I wasn’t sad
that it was over like I was with Pride or
Prejudice (if we’re talking about books that are dense) and it was lovely
but I didn’t find it heartbreakingly beautiful (like The Goldfinch if we’re talking long-ass books that take two months
to read). Maybe my original assessment of John Steinbeck was right – he’s fine,
but I don’t love him.
And so that brings me back to this flight. I should have
paid for the internet and worked. That would have been the best use of my time.
And since it’s a work day and I’m on a work trip, probably appreciated by my
company and my boss. But I worked all day Saturday and was away from home on
Sunday (though I did not work and had an awesome day that was both relaxing and
fun-filled), so we’ll call it comp time.
I’m writing because I made a writing goal at my last writing group – to write two blog posts. The meeting is Saturday and I’ve not written one yet. I don’t know what to write about anymore. I said at my writing group recently that I no longer have anything to say that anyone wants to hear. Kim says that she doesn’t think that’s true, but I think she might be wrong. Because I’m just writing down my random thoughts on a plane and not one of them was funny and who would ever want to read that?
Is it too late to write a blog post where I reflect upon 2018? (Is it reflect upon or reflect on? I don’t know. I’m too lazy to look it up. Anyway…)
In fact, I think it’s one of the reasons I was never successful as a blogger. Well, there are many reasons. But I won’t bore you with all of them today. (And yes, boring you is probably one of them. Whatever. Moving on.)
It’s because I was never very topical. Whatever the topic of the day (hour, minute) other bloggers were writing about, I was always late to the party. I tend to let things like life and family (and general blaziness) get in the way of getting my butt in the chair to write.
I did sit down the first day of the year to relax and read my 2018 Happiness Journal to reflect on (upon?) the year that had just passed us and to set an intention for the year ahead.
Some wonderful things happened in 2018. Chandler turned 21. Marley turned 18, graduated high school and went on a trip to London and Edinburgh. I went to Stagecoach for the 6th year in a row and was back up in the VIP section. (Whoo Hoo!) I took on new responsibilities at work and got to travel to Las Vegas, Vancouver, Denver, Illinois, Texas (twice), Washington (twice), and Nashville. (Nashville! Squee!) Dave joined me on the Denver trip to mix pleasure with business and my friend Rita joined me when the work part of my Nashville trip ended and I extended the trip into an awesome girls’ weekend.
And some unspeakably terrible things happened. The Borderline shooting. The sad and sick truth is that everyone in this country knows what it feels like to wake up to the news of a mass shooting. But I have to tell you something. When it happens in your town it feels different. Because you were just at that nightclub having the time of your life two weeks beforehand. Because it was College Night and at least three of your friends had kids who were invited to go to the club but didn’t (thank God). Because your daughter knew one of the twelve people who were murdered. It’s different. And for those of you who don’t live here I hope it’s a difference you never have to feel.
And then less than 24 hours later the Woolsey Fire raged through our town. Before we had a chance to get over the shock of the shooting (let alone even begin the process of grieving) we had to evacuate our homes. My family was lucky. The fire came to our back hill, but not to our house. Just down the street, starting four doors down there are three houses that suffered damage. Some of my friends are still displaced due to damaged homes. Some of my friends lost their homes completely.
When I reflect on (I actually think I can use on or upon) 2018 I think a lot about luck. I’m lucky that I was not in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m lucky that the wind did not shift towards my house when the fire was on my back hill. I’m lucky to live in a community that has grown stronger in the wake of two terrible tragedies.
Every morning I try to sit down a think about the day before and focus on the one small (or sometimes big) moment that made me happiest. It teaches me to be grateful when life is stressful or busy or boring or wonderful or even terrible. To find light even when the tunnel is so long and so, so dark. And to not take for granted the light that shines brightly when it does so many days (weeks, months) in a row.
Here are some of my 2018 happy moments:
January 5 I took the day off work and spent it with Chandler. We went shopping and had a sushi lunch and visited Tom and Lisa. At the end of the day he hugged me and said thank you and that he liked spending the day with me.
February 8I wore bright Kelly green pants and a pink shirt to work today and it made me feel cheery.
February 17Dinner at Larson’s with Dale. It was so great to see her. She’s such an awesome person and I need to be a better friend and see her more often.
March 9Writers’ Group at Julie’s. And Lexi was there – yay! Julie gave us HER BOOK! Holding Lily in my own hands filled me with so much joy!
March 14Watching Marley’s speech on National Student Walkout Day. My daughter is a rockstar.
April 6I was walking Geordie and a saw a man coming home from work. When he opened his door I heard a little boy yell, “Daddy!” Oh how I remember that. Such joy! How wonderful!
April 21Writers’ Group was brought to a whole other level – karaoke! I sang Lady Antebelum’s A Kiss Goodnight and it was magic!
April 27Stagecoach. Those first steps walking into the pit and the excitement of the beat of the music pounding in my chest.
May 20My mom had a 100 year party for my grandparents and I had a happy/sad moment when I realized how much my grandmother would have loved that party – to be honored like that. I miss them.
June 8Hugging Chandler. Breakfast with Chandler. The four of us in one room. Chandler is home.
June 15Marley graduated high school. Hearing her name called was sublime. She was so happy and proud of herself. And I’m so happy for her.
July 5Dinner alone at the hotel bar in Vancouver. A cute bartender/server. Delicious food. An eight ounce glass of wine. Heaven.
July 14Hanging with Dave in Denver. Reconnecting. So nice to have a mini-vacay.
August 2Talking to Marley after dinner about music and watching her eyes light up. Priceless.
August 19Concerts in the Park with Mary. Drinking Sangria. Talking to friends. Loving my town.
September 23Breakfast tacos with Rhiannon. A long solo walk on the San Antonio Riverwalk. Wine at an airport bar. I had a lovely, lovely day.
October 19Borderline with Rita, Keri, and Linda for Jerrod Niemann. Country music – even when you don’t know the songs it makes you feel so good. (This one really breaks my heart.)
November 5My dad and I had to run an errand and he opened the car door for me and I remembered that is something that he does. Such a small gesture, but so nice and it made me happy to have stirred up that memory.
November 18When I got home from writing group (after midnight) Marley and Hunter had made a very elaborate fort and were laying in it watching TV. Oh how I love that!
December 23There was a time in the afternoon when we were all together in the house. Marley and I were baking cakes and I just had such a warm, happy feeling that we were all together. Home.
I’d love to hear from you. What do you think of when you reflect on (or upon) 2018?
Can I start by saying that I was hijacked this weekend. Or kidnapped. Or somethinged. What I’m trying to say is this: I had planned on taking down Christmas on Saturday (Yes, I’m one of those who waits until after New Year’s to take down Christmas. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be.) and then spend Sunday morning finishing that up, getting the boxes up into the attic, grocery shopping for the week, and getting all my chores done so I could plop my ass down on the couch at 3:00 to watch the Golden Globe Red Carpet with Marley and I could actually get this blog post (mostly) written Sunday night.
Here’s what actually happened. Saturday Chandler bamboozled me into cleaning out the garage with him (a project he started while home for winter break to alleviate his boredom and advance his procrastination in applying for jobs, that I am grateful for, but really didn’t want to be a part of) with the promise he would help me on Sunday taking down Christmas. Of course we didn’t finish Saturday, and had to finish Sunday. At noon. And guess what? It takes more than three hours to take down Christmas. Also, surprise, he was not nearly as helpful to me with Christmas as I was to him with the garage. So Christmas is only 3/4 taken down and my living room is a disaster.
Plus I forgot Marley had to work yesterday until five o’clock. And wanted to go out with her boyfriend. (We never see her anymore. Our house has become a hotel for her, where she showers, sleeps, and occasionally has breakfast.) We watched the Red Carpet on the DVR, Marley gave her commentary (though I’m not sure her heart was really in it), and then took off to go play Pokemon Go or whatever it is she and her boyfriend do every night. (And don’t roll your eyes and tell me you know what they’re doing. La la la la – I’m not listening. Also, I know.)
The good news is, my friend Laurel came through by emailing me many pictures from with her comments written right on top of them. (Laurel and I have decided that next year we must watch the awards together, because her snark is spot-on.) I texted Marley Laurel’s pics and she stopped playing Pokemon Go (or whatever it is they were doing) and gave me her commentary on those pictures. Also, if some of these photos look like they came from someone texting/emailing from a cellphone that’s because they did.
So, that’s my long-winded way of saying, I’m not sure this is our best. But we’ll give it a go.
Me: Yikes is right!
Marley: That outfit is wack but I don’t know if anybody is more gorgeous than her.
Me: I agree. In a room full of the most beautiful people in the room, she may be the most beautiful, wack outfit or not.
Me: I have to disagree with Laurel on this one. While Heidi usually does make my worst dressed list, I actually think this dress is very pretty. I give it a two-thumbs up.
Marley: I actually like Heidi’s dress this time.
Marley: Her dress is really pretty, but it looks so stiff and uncomfortable, like it has rods in it and she can’t sit down. Me: I think it’s gorgeous. Love the color and love the bling. And everyone knows when it comes to haute couture it is better to look good than to feel good.
Marley: The under dress – terrible. The whatever that cape is – terrible. The dress looks like it was painted by kindergartners. Me: Agree. Love Lucy Liu. Hate this dress.
Marley: That’s a really pretty dress. And it has pockets! Every time a woman has a dress with pockets she’ll tell you it has pockets. Me: I agree. Love the dress, love her hair and simple make-up. And yes, she’s right about the pockets (because pockets are the best).
Marley: Her dress is really pretty, but I don’t like that weird strap. What is that? A backpack. Why?! Me: Gorgeous! I like the iridescent sequins, love the straps and the back. Classic Hollywood glamour.
Marley: That’s really pretty. Her bangs look like they were cut with safety scissors and separated like curtains Me: GORGEOUS. My favorite dress so far. LOVE the color and everything about it. And her bangs are awesome. Bangs are the BEST!
Marley: It’s nice, but I don’t really like the stars. It looks a little like a Snuggie. Me: Hair and makeup is a yes. The dress? I think Laurel nailed it with the Harry Potter comment.
Marley: Yikes! The sleeves are terrible. The dress isn’t bad (it’s a lot, but it could be way worse), but the sleeves are so ugly. Me: Nope.com
And Laurel’s nine-year-old daughter (and future Red Carpet commentator) say, “Poop.”
Marley: She’s adorable and looks perfect My husband: Schwing! Dress of the night. Me: Agree. This dress is phenom!
Marley: She’s never looked more beautiful. She looks powerful and just so happy. I love her.
Me: I agree. Gorgeous. And I also loved both of the dresses she wore on the show. Oh, yes, indeed!
Marley: Is that a bondage top? A harness? I don’t get it.
Me: I think he got confused and thought he was participating in an ice skating competition.
Jamie Lee Curtis
Me: Of all the fabulous people, I think Jamie Lee Curtis just might be the most fabulous. I love her so much!
Me: Yes, yes, yes!
Marley: She looks like she’s 32 and I’m pretty sure that she’s not.
Me: You are right, Marley. She’s not. Hotness all around.
Taraji P. Henson
Marley: She looks really pretty. Me: I wish I had the nerve (and the bod) to wear a dress like that. And that necklace? Yes, please.
Marley: She is perfect
Me: She looks fierce. I love it!
Marley: Why would you hurt yourself like that? That’s so terrible.
Me: I feel like I should really hate this, but I don’t. It kind of works. I’m with Laurel. Why not?
I could keep going. But you’re probably getting tired. And my word count has already passed the 1,000-word-count mark. Plus, I’ve got a job. I’ve got to get to work and they prefer that I shower before I go in (especially since I didn’t yesterday!). But you know I like to leave you with some man candy. So here you go…
Me: Looks like a waiter, but a hot waiter (and if there’s one thing I love, it’s hot waiters), so it’s a yes for me.
Marley: I love him. He looks amazing. He looks great. He always looks great. He’s adorable. He looks perfect.
Me: He looks very handsome. Great tux.
Bradley Cooper (AKA My Boyfriend)
I could not find a picture of my boyfriend without his smoking hot baby mama on his arm. Although who could blame her? I wouldn’t let go of him either.
Laurel: Bradley looks like he’s going to teach tango on a cruise ship. Why all white??? BTW, I’d tango with him.
Me: Hot waiter. And yes, not loving the white pants. But then again, who’s looking at his pants.
Marley: His jacket looks like wallpaper. Me: I think it looks more like wrapping paper. The kind you’d use for a woman of certain age’s milestone birthday. But did you hear the wonderful things he said about his mother during his acceptance speech? So lovely. His terrible jacket has been forgiven.
Michael B. Jordan
Speaking of perfection, I will leave you with this. Idris Elba with his fiancee and daughter. Love his suit (his shoes match his jacket & vest!) and in a room full of beautiful people, he might just be the most beautiful man (after my boyfriend, Bradley Cooper of course!).
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Who did I miss. (There were so many more I wanted to put in. Really!) I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Every few years the Emmy’s are on a Monday. I’m sure it has something to do with football. I’m just going to go on record as saying I don’t like it.
Marley wins the trooper award because she worked until 11:00 last night and I woke up to an email (sent at 12:26 AM) with Marley’s Emmy comments.
So without any further adieu, here is Marley and Charlene’s 2018 Emmy Red Carpet Review:
Tracee Ellis Ross
Marley: She looks like she raided some 8 year old girls bedroom and took her comforter and wore it as a dress. The material looks so cheap. Yikes.
Charlene: I really don’t even know what to say. Who looks at that dress and says, “Yeah, that’s the one!” Well, I guess the answer is Tracee Ellis Ross, buy whyyyy???
Marley: Usually she dresses hella ugly but honestly this is a great color and a nice and classy dress.
Charlene: Heidi Klum is almost always on my worst-dressed list so I thought it was only fair to show her in a dress that’s not terrible. I don’t love it, but it’s pretty and she looks gorgeous.
Marley: I mean, he isn’t dressed special but is still a very cute man.
Charlene: I think he’s wearing a nice suit with a very nice cut and is indeed a very cute man.
Evan Rachel Wood
Marley: She looks frickin stunning, best dressed by far. Honestly that dress is perfect.
Charlene: I do love the beautiful simplicity of this dress. Stunning.
Marley: I mean… wow. That for sure is a look. Kinda looks like a thanksgiving table runner turned couture.
Charlene: I actually think this dress is really pretty. It seems odd that I would like an orange evening gown, but I even like the color.
Jonathan Van Ness
Marley: That sure is, uhhh something. The under shirt is really a look that I don’t think we need more of.
Charlene: Agree. I don’t even think I want to see someone I want to see without a shirt in that gawd awful see-through shirt. No thank you very much.
Marley: She kinda looks like a fancy school teacher
Charlene: Yeah, I want to like this dress, but it’s just too casual for me.
Marley: IDK why she thought that was a good idea. She looks so uncomfortable. Also, boob contour was NOT blended. Im offended.
Charlene: Yeah, not a fan of this dress. And even more so, what I’m really not a fan of was the trend last night of the women having their hair pulled back with that middle part and severe makeup. Do not like!
Marley: She can do no wrong. She is perfect.
Charlene: 100% agree. This was one of my favorite dresses of the night. It is gorgeous.
Marley: Yikes. It was like half cute but the top was just done so badly.
Charlene: Yeah, I have to agree with Marley. I can’t say exactly what I don’t love about this dress – it’s not ugly, it just doesn’t work for me. And there’s that hairstyle again. It’s like all they hair stylists in Hollywood got lazy.
Marley: How many birds did she have to murder to make this dress?
Charlene: I actually love this dress, which is odd as the whole asymetrical-part-of-your-dress-is-missing thing doesn’t usually work for me, but somehow this dress does work and I think Keri looks hot. Also, this shade of yellow is on the green side and not good.
Marley: This is what happens when highlighters come to life and attack.
Charlene: Damn, I love Regina King, but I do not love this dress. That circle thing in the front looks like a mini version of those sunshields you pop up and put in your car window to keep it from getting too hot. Like someone just unrolled one of those things and popped it in the front of her dress.
Marley: She must be on the run from the cops because she had to of stolen that material from somebody’s curtain rod.
Charlene: I think she looks beautiful and I loved the dress when I saw it on TV, but that ride in the limo did make her a little wrinkley. Also, this shade of yellow is too mustardy for my taste.
Marley: I approve of this highly.
Charlene: Me too.
Marley: I mean, I love a good pantsuit but wow that isn’t a good pantsuit.
Charlene: I kind of want to hate it because it sort of looks like a Care Bear vomited on a suit, but for Leslie it kind of works. (What do you think?)
And here are a few that Marley missed (plus she didn’t pick nearly enough men!):
Amy Sedaris is funny AF, but that doesn’t mean she has to dress funny. This dress is a nope.com for me. Also, I would have tripped on the laces of those shoes.
Connie Britton looks gorgeous and I want to like this dress, but honestly it looks like a longer version of a dress I could have gotten from White House Black Market when they were featuring a teal line.
This looks like a puffy sleeved prom dress from the 80’s. And not a pretty one. But, it was better than the horrific one she wore on TV.
Now this is how you wear yellow. Gorgeous shade and gorgeous dress.
Last year I wasn’t sure about Jessica Biel’s dress. This year I am sure, and I love it! She looks fab.
This dress is stunning. Simplicity at its finest. I don’t even mind her (almost) center-part pulled back hair. The dress is gorgeous and so is she.
And now for some men…
He looks like a gay pirate who came across a Harry Potter cape and some horse riding boots. But he looks like a smokin’ hot gay pirate who came across a Harry Potter cape and some horse riding boots, so I’ll allow it.
Milo looks like a waiter. A hot waiter. And yet, I still cannot allow it.
Jimmy O. Yang
Jimmy looks very dapper in his burgundy suit. I dig the cut and the color and give him a big thumbs up.
Speaking of dapper, could John Legend look any finer? (Hint: the answer is no.)
I’m inclined to say that Justin Hartley’s sleeves are too short – but look at him. Who cares!
And that my friends, wraps up this year’s Emmy’s Red Carpet Review. (Or as Marley likes to call it – Emmy’s Red Carpet Roast.)
We’d love to hear your comments. Any looks we missed? Anything you disagree with? We’d love to know!
I told Kim that I would try not to be bitter about having to work. And by work I mean write because Julie and Kim and I decided to get together for an impromptu Sunday afternoon work session.
“We could do happy hour at Lure or we could write. Whatever you want/need,” Julie texted. (What I need is to write, yes. But what I want is to happy hour.)
Text text text. Yadda yadda yadda and blah blah blah it was decided that we would meet at my house on Sunday afternoon. So it’s a writing session with pita chips, eggplant hummus, and a couple bottles of Sauv Blanc instead of a gossip session with crab cakes, oyster shooters and four dollar Chardonnay.
That’s okay. I need it. I need it. I haven’t been writing shit lately. Which means I haven’t been writing at all, not that I’ve been writing a shitty first draft (which would at least be writing). It can’t all be writing gold. (Not that anything I write is gold. Or even silver. Hell, I’d happy to write bronze. Or maybe even some mid-quality pewter.)
And really, I shouldn’t even be writing this (word vomit/stream of conscious/whatever this is) post. I should be working on (the shitty first draft of) my next novel, the sequel to Frosted Cowboy, which should have come out a year ago, not be half written two (and almost a half) years later. But I’m not.
Because I’m stuck.
Or maybe I’m stuck because I’m scared. (Ding ding ding ding ding)
Because what if this book isn’t as good as the first one. (And some would say the first one wasn’t even that good – or in the words of one of my oldest and dearest friends – “It wasn’t terrible.”) But what if this one is terrible?
What if this one is terrible?
Then I guess I pick myself up. And dust myself off. And start writing again. (And pray that I can turn some shitty mid-quality pewter into writing gold.)
Marley turns 18 today. My last born child. My daughter. My baby. My love.
I’ve been thinking about this piece for a while. How do I express my overwhelming and undying love for this amazing, strong, independent, brilliant, beautiful, free-spirited, unique girl? No. Woman.
I wonder of course how it got here so quickly. How the long early days of motherhood I never thought would end could so suddenly turn into years that were over in the blink of an eye. And even more importantly I wonder, “Did I do enough? Was I the best mother I could be for her?” I tried (I really did), but I’m not sure the answer is yes.
The story I tell most often about her is about a time I was putting her to bed after an especially difficult day when she was three-and-a-half. “We had a really hard day today. What happened?” I asked her.
“Well,” she said to me, “that’s because you wanted me to do what you wanted me to do. And what Dad wanted me to do. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to do what I wanted to do.”
And that is when I knew it was over for me. How could I possibly be a good enough mother to this strong-willed contrarian, who is by far the smartest person in the house at the age of three-and-a-half? I mean, sure. A lot of three-and-a-half year olds probably feel this way, but how many can actually express it at that age?
Yes, she is my challenge. But oh how I love her for this – her spirit. Her strength. Her I’m-right-you’re-wrong-take-no-prisoners attitude (okay, maybe I don’t always love that). Many of the things about her that make her hard to parent are the very things about her that will make her an awesome adult. I’ve said (many times) more than once, “She’s going to be an amazing adult if we make it through her teenage years.” And look, we did! (At least the hard part.) She is officially an awesome, amazing adult.
She’d make a great writer if she wanted to be a writer. (Please don’t be a writer, Marley. It’s so torturous.) I’ve been looking through an old journal to find some of the things she’s said and found these: One night when she was eight and I was putting her in the bath she said to me, “I feel as tired as a baseball that’s been thrown a thousand times.” Another time she had just brushed her hair and said, “I brushed out that rat’s nest, but the rat fought.” (Okay, maybe she should be a writer.)
She fights for the underdog. Her heart bleeds for the under-represented. She stands up for what she believes in. She will not back down. When she was 16 she organized a protest march making me more proud than I’ve ever been. She cannot wait until November so she can finally vote.
She is direct. Intense. She’ll tell you exactly what she thinks. And yet, she has a sweetness that doesn’t just touch my heart, it grabs onto it hard, making it feel like it just might explode. She tells me to come look at the sunset when it’s especially beautiful. She sends me funny texts. She always thanks me for dinner, for giving her a ride (before she could drive herself), for buying her something unexpected.
She is smart. Oh, so smart. And I know that’s something everyone says about their kids, but truly. She is smarter than me (by far). Smarter than her father (who, ask anyone who knows him, is a really smart guy). And smarter than her brother (who is currently attending Berkeley). When something interests her, she knows everything about it. When she applies herself there is no limit to what she can do.
She is tenacious. (And yes, stubborn.) When she wants something she digs her heels in and will not back down. (See above in difficult-to-parent child becomes awesome adult.)
She is quick-witted and funny and sarcastic. (Unlike me who is slow-witted and funny and sarcastic.) When she was a toddler instead of saying the word ‘hilarious’ she would say ‘the larriest’. (That’s the larriest!). The larriest is forever in our family vernacular. (A friend of mine says I should trademark it.) I hope that I have taught her the importance of laughter, because I truly do believe it is the best medicine.
She loves music and appreciates the heart-piercing beauty of a perfect lyric. She told me that her goal for the year is to go to one concert a month. That melted my music-loving heart. (Maybe I have been a good enough mother.)
They say be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. I wished for a daughter and I got Marley. And I thank the universe for letting me be her mother. How wonderful to be challenged, to look at the world from a different perspective, to know someone so special, so unique.
Happy 18th Birthday, Marley. I love you to the moon and back times infinity.
Every month my writing group has a 10 minute writing prompt. The following is my unedited response from our May meeting prompt. (I would have posted it sooner, but I accidentally left it at Kim’s house and just got it back. Sorry to make you wait.)
The prompt: Write a story about someone who can’t get a song out of their head.
“Sing, sing a song. Sing out loud. Sing out strong. Don’t worry if it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing. Sing a song.”
That is the song that has been stuck in my head. For years.
What the fuck?
I mean, literally. What. The. Fuck. With all the concerts I go to and all the music I listen to, some stupid AC hit from the 70’s is the song i sing to myself in the shower every day. When I’m waiting in line at the market. Doing the dishes. Walking my dog.
Is that song from the 70’s? Was it even a hit? Did they play it on the radio? You remember it, don’t you? La-la-la-la-la. La-la-la-la-la. La-la-la-la-la-la. Just sing. Sing a song.
Why? That song is so stupid. I don’t even know who sang it.
Maybe it was just a stupid Coke commercial or something. Great. I’m so basic I don’t even have a real song stuck in my head.
Maybe it isn’t stupid.
That line. Don’t worry if it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing. Sing a song.
Like writing a shitty first draft. Sort of. Just sing. Just write. Don’t worry if it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear.
Just sing. Or just write.
Sing a song. Or, you know. Write another fucking book already. Or at least a blog post.
*I was informed by Laurel in my writing group that Sing A Song was indeed a hit in the 70’s, by the Carpenters. (Oh and also, they covered it as it was originally written for Sesame Street.) I really have to find a new song to get stuck in my head.
Last weekend was reserved for two things: unpacking my living room and going to Sipurbia. My living room has been in boxes since we had our floors redone last year and I needed to get it unpacked and put back together once and for all. (Yes, I said last year, but it was December. And I’m a busy person. So shut up.)
But we were hit with an unexpected flood (I guess all floods are unexpected) due to a home plumbing repair gone wrong. So instead of returning my living room to its former glory, I spent most of the weekend mitigating the damage of the flood. Which included (but was definitely not limited to) emptying all of the books off five floor to ceiling book shelves. And then re-shelving them. (Thank you, Mom and Aunt Debbie – I couldn’t have done it without you.)
But this is not a story about the flood, or the brand new floorboards that need to be replaced (not all of them – just a few), or my disaster living room that keeps me from having company over to my house.
It’s a story about an unlimited wine and beer tasting event called Sipurbia.
Because who says no to that? (Not me!)
So, on Sunday afternoon when we finished our damage control (with the help of my mom and step-dad – again, THANK YOU!), instead of tackling the living room or (you know,) resting, we decided to go to Sipurbia as we had originally planned.
Because as my mom said to me Sunday morning, “You like to do everything.” And she is not wrong. (I like to have fun.)
Sipurbia was held just a few miles away from my house at Paramount Ranch, a national park where they have filmed literally hundreds of movies and TV shows including American Sniper (which must be why my friend Karin saw Bradley Cooper in Westlake Village a few years ago, because why the hell else would he be in Westlake Village?) and HBO’s Westworld. Plus the event benefited an awesome charity called the BumbleBee Foundation, so the beer and wine weren’t the only things there to make you feel good!
Because I am a nice wife I acquiesced volunteered to drive, so my wine drinking was limited, but my lucky husband’s beer drinking was unlimited. (Very unlimited – everyone was extremely generous with their pours.) My favorite wine was Cielo (so good) and Dave’s favorite beer was Santa Monica Brew Works (he thinks – remember his beer tasting was unlimited).
In addition to taking selfies, we stopped by the cutest photo booth in the world, Shutter Bus Co. and posed for some fun photo booth photos.
I drank a little more wine. Dave drank a lot more beer. We shopped at the stalls and danced to the Spazmatics, which everyone knows is the best 80’s cover band on the planet.
And we ran into a bunch of our friends. Including my friend Kim (AKA Agoura Hills Mom) and her husband Stewart.