I considered just posting a picture of my children to explain why I marched in the Women’s March on Saturday, January 21st. No words. Just a picture. Mic drop and done.
But I promised Chandler I wouldn’t post pictures of him on my blog anymore. He doesn’t like it.
And besides, I marched for so much more.
Yes, I marched for my daughter, but I also marched for all women: for our reproductive rights, for the ability to remain in control of our bodies. For equal pay for equal work. I marched because we have elected a president who has repeatedly made derogatory remarks about women and that is not okay.
Yes, I marched for my son, an environmental major in college, who hopes to someday be a lawyer for the EPA, and fears there will no longer be one. But I also marched for every other person in this country, on this planet. We all deserve clean water, clean air and a sustainable place to live. I marched for my future grandchildren (if I should be so lucky), everyone’s future grandchildren, and future generations we will never meet. We are killing our planet. Climate change is real. Inconvenient truths are still truths and ignoring them will not make them go away, and will surely make them worse.
I marched for the LGBTQ community who are afraid of a scary vice president. If he believes their “gay can be prayed away,” how can he consider their rights legitimate? How can he serve them?
I marched for immigrants, for people of color, for the disabled – for every group that feels marginalized. Bigotry and exclusion do not make this country great.
I marched because you cannot take health insurance away from 20 million people without replacing it. (And by saying you will replace it with “something better” without having a plan as to what that “something better” is, is not replacing it.)
I marched in the name of peace. And because love always, always, always trumps hate.
I marched because there is strength in numbers. I marched to let the president, the vice president, the senate, and the congress know that they work for us. Our voices matter and they need to listen.
I marched in the Women’s March on Saturday, January 21, 2017 for my children. For women. For men. For me. For you. For everyone. And like so many, I’m just getting started.
I don’t care what you wear, Meryl Streep. I will love you forever.
Can I tell you guys something tragic? I missed the red carpet for the Golden Globes last night.
Okay, that’s not quite true. I did see it, but not until after 8:00 at night when the awards were playing on repeat. A few months ago I scheduled a book reading at a super cool book store called The Ripped Bodice in Culver City, not realizing it was at the exact same time as the Golden Globes Red Carpet & Awards. (Talk about a first world problem!)
So I asked Marley to step in and do the red carpet for me. And like a good daughter she sat down with my laptop on her lap and watched the E! Red Carpet and gave her commentary below. (I may have created a monster!) My commentary is in italics. Please enjoy!
Milo Ventimiglia Please shave, you look like a 70s porn star. Suit is looking good. I’m going to pretend that my 16-year-old daughter doesn’t know what a 70’s porn star looks like.
Ryan Seacrest Seriously? A white bow tie? Really? How many pleats are in that thing? Also, that tux jacket is ugly. Too many buttons.
Giuliana Rancic What is that dress? It looks like a toddler spilled glitter glue all over it and she said “eh, looks good.” Who is she wearing? A kindergartner’s art project. I have to admit – that’s pretty funny!
Your boob contouring is a little too obvious. And why does your dress basically go to your nipple line? But you’re a good person, so it’s okay. Before Marley pointed this out to me, I didn’t know “boob contouring” was a thing, but then I noticed all the women in low cut dresses had it.
Ross Matthews, aka the local gay (E! Red Carpet commentator) We all know we should save the bees, but you don’t need that disgusting broach.
Mandy Moore The dress fits her really well, the makeup is great and subtle. I usually hate capes, but It’s a good and complete overall look.
Lily Collins I love the color because it blends into her fair skin really well. She looks like a princess. I love that dress. (Me: I’m surprised you love that dress. Marley: Me too.)
Drew Barrymore That’s heinous. It’s swan wings glued to fabric. The vegans are probably angry.
Carrie Underwood Seriously? What is that?! That might top the list for the ugliest dress. Why does that even exist??? Me: It’s not so bad. I like the color. Marley: Seriously, Mom. I can’t even roast it. It’s so terrible I don’t even know what to say. Me: Oooh! Look at the back. I like the back! Marley: It’s stupid!
Tracee Ellis Ross WHY DO YOU HAVE MY COLLEGE TUITION ON YOUR FINGERS?!
Amy Adams I don’t like the top of the dress, but the dress as a whole is a great look and her figure looks great.
Natalie Portman Out of everything that you could have worn, you decided to wear that? It looks like a yellow tarp that they laid over you.
The style is very pretty and actually looks very “Jackie Kennedy” but that color. UGH!” If you’re going to wear yellow, wear yellow that looks like this:
Busy Phillips WHAT ARE YOU WEARING? THAT LOOKS LIKE SOMEBODY’S GREAT GRANDMOTHER’S TABLECLOTH. I think it looks more like cowboy boots, but I kind of like it. Plus, she looks gorgeous!
Michelle Williams The dress was nice but it fit really awkwardly and the choker was crooked. I am not a fan of the choker, but I think the dress fits perfectly.
Justin Timberlake and Friend Friend: The top is okay, sideboob is real. But the bottom is an ugly mess. It has a horrible pattern with these weird glued on flowers. Justin Timberlake: I like what he is wearing. Tom Ford designs well. Obviously Justin Timberlake’s “friend” is his wife, Jessica Biel, but Marley did not know who she was and I just had to leave it in as she wrote it, because it is a rare thing for your snarky 16-year-old to do something that is adorable!
Sienna Miller It’s a classy look with nice slits on the side. Not my favorite and I hate the ponytail, but if I had abs like that I’d probably wear a dress like that too!
Kerry Washington That might be the ugliest dress out there. The gold and silver and weird dress. It’s so hideous I cannot describe it. If it didn’t have those weird embellishments and wasn’t see-through with black underwear underneath, it might be okay.
Ruth Negga She looks like an actual baked potato.
Thandie Newton This is what happens when you dip a dress in sparkly paint.
Janelle Monae Her face is beautiful. Her hair is beautiful. She looks so gorgeous. But that dress is the worst thing I’ve ever seen.
Haille Steinfeld It looks like a canopy that she took off a little girl’s bed and decided to put on.
Nicole Kidman She tried too hard to be the silver surfer and kind of gave up halfway through. I think she always makes my worst dressed list.
And with that, Marley was out. But she missed a few, that I just had to mention, so here are my pics and pans below.
Heidi Klum For once I don’t hate Heidi Klum’s dress. I mean I don’t love it, but it’s not terrible. Actually the more I look at it, I think I really like it.
Sophie Turner I love you dearly, but that looks like something Heidi Klum would wear, and unfortunately that is not a compliment.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus Love this dress. Love her. The end.
Olivia Culpo I have no idea who this woman is, but she is stunning and I really dig this dress. It looks like a piece of art.
Judith Light This photo of Judith Light is everything. She is fabulous and I love her.
Felicity Huffman I think this is my favorite look of the night. She looks absolutely stunning and this pantsuit if FABULOUS!
Sarah Jessica Parker
The dress would be great without those stupid sleeves, and what the blankety-blank is with that terrible wrap-around braid?! Oh Sarah Jessica, why?!
This was one of my favorite dresses of the night. Just gorgeous!
I could go on (and on) because there were just some spectacular (and spectacularly bad) looks out there, but I’ve got a day job, you know. (And about 40 minutes to get there.) So I will end with this, because you deserve it…
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau A little eye candy, just because I love you for reading this entire thing. You’re welcome!
On the morning of New Year’s Eve while Dave was walking the dog and the kids were still sleeping, I curled up on my favorite chair with a blanket on my lap and a cup of coffee in my hand to reflect on the happy moments of 2016 (yes, there were happy moments) and read my Happiness Journal.
Inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s Happiness Jar, I would sit down at the end of each night and reflect on the little moment that made me happiest that day and write it down in my favorite calendar. Well, I aspired to, anyway. But can I confess something? I don’t think I ever once sat down at the end of the night to write my moment. I would try to capture it as it happened. This is my moment, I’d say to myself as Marley told a funny story at dinner or Chandler called unexpectedly and stayed on the phone longer than usual or I opened my front door to a full moon, shiny and bright at 5:15AM on my way to the gym. But after (another) night of falling asleep with while watching TV with Dave and Marley, I’d tumble into bed always, always, always taking the time to wash my face and 87% of the time brushing my teeth, but never having the energy to write my happy moment.
Many mornings I’d write my happy moment from the previous day (like this morning), and most mornings I’d write down two or three (or four) at a time. (What was your moment on Monday, Charlene? Think!)
And take the time before bed to reflect on that moment. Because even the shittiest of days (and years good riddance 2016) have wonderful moments. Some of them big, some of them quite small, but they should be recognized. Reflected on. Cherished.
Here are some of mine (big and small):
January 1st: I saw a father teaching his daughter how to ride her bike in the park.
February 8th: I held my book in my hands for the very first time.
February 22nd: The moonrise was amazing tonight. I called Rita to share it and she got in her car and drove to a high point to see it. That made me so happy.
March 23rd: My writers’ group always fills my soul with happiness. (BTW, we meet monthly and I wrote some variation of this every month.)
April 4th: Lunch with Dale and Mera. A hot waiter. An elixir with lavender, cucumber and mint. Happiness all around. So much love at that table.
April 15th: I watched the funniest commercial on YouTube. It sounds lame, but it gave me belly laughs. And belly laughs make me happy. (Want a belly laugh? You can watch it too.)
April 16th: Cheryl’s ballet boot camp class. So freaking hard. But if felt good to do something hard, even if I didn’t do it particularly well.
May 1st: Dancing in the pit at Stagecoach and feeling the energy of the music.
May 8th: Finding out Marley has Brown Eyed Girl on her “Feel Good” music mix and singing along with her. She knows the words better than I do!
May 10th: Hugging Chandler. He’s home!
June 5th: Having a margarita outside on a Sunday afternoon.
June 21st: Marley turned 16 today. Giving her a gift that she wanted but didn’t expect made me so happy. She knows that I listened.
July 11th: When we drove Chandler to the airport he said, “I’m glad everybody came.”
September 11th: Listening to Marley tell a story at dinner about the seniors vs. the sophomores. That girl is hilarious!
October 11th: I wore boots today! Fall is really (almost) here.
October 14th: I had to go to Ventura court for work and saw two couples getting photos taken for their weddings. They were dressed up and happy and in love. It felt so great to witness that.
November 8th: Voting for HRC made me so proud. (Remember, it’s my happiest moment of the day and not necessarily how the day turned out.) 😦
November 28th: Interviewing Matthew Ramsey on the phone and having a goal I set for myself be realized. (Matthew Ramsey is the lead singer of Old Dominion & interviewing them was a writing goal I set for myself. The interview was featured in an online magazine called Songwriter Universe and you can read the interview here. If you like.)
December 10th: Watching Marley give her speech and stand up for what she believes in at her march. Watching people rally around her. I’ve never been more proud.
Taking the time to reflect on the happy moments of my year filled me with such peace, such joy, such happiness. I noticed just as I did the year before, so many of my moments were repeated – listening to music, the feeling of accomplishment after a hard workout, laughing with Dave and Marley at dinner, talking to Chandler on the phone, spending time with friends.
And yes, most will agree that 2016 was sort of a sucktastic year. The entertainment world was robbed of beloved icons, there were too many terrorist attacks, and he-who-shall-not-be-named was elected president. And trust me when I tell you that I have taken plenty of time to wallow in the sadness of 2016.
But we can spend our time focusing on the sad times or the happy times. And while acknowledging the sad times is important and doing what we can to change them is necessary, I believe our well-being depends on reflecting on, acknowledging, cherishing the things that fill our hearts with happiness – both big and small.
I cried the night of the election, but I haven’t written about it. I didn’t post one thing on Facebook. I haven’t even tweeted.
“Trump apparently thinks the P in EPA stands for pollution instead of protection” recently sat in my little tweet box for hours when Scott Pruitt was announced as Trump’s pick to head the EPA, but I hit delete instead of post. (Also considered: “Trump does things bigly: Why just fuck the U.S. when you can fuck the entire planet. #ScottPruitt”) But I just didn’t have the energy to fight the trolls. #failure
But my daughter? My amazing, brilliant, wonderful daughter? The exact opposite. From day one she hit the ground running with posts on Facebook about her bitter disappointment in America’s choice in someone who ran a campaign wrought with bigotry (not to mention choosing a vice president who thinks you can pray-the-gay-away).
But first she came out (literally) with this post on November 9th:
“Hey guys. I need to tell you something. This isn’t shocking at all (i hope), but i wanna officially come out as pansexual. if you don’t know what that means, there are a few definitions to explain it, but mine is a very popular one. basically, I’m attracted to people based off of their intellectual ability and personality. I mean by that is, I don’t really care about what a person sexes or the person’s gender is or whatever they are on the outside. I care about who they are as a person and how they make me feel and how I make them feel and how we just are together I find that more important and much better than how somebody looks over they are on the inside.”
Man, that was hard for me to post. Not because my daughter is pansexual. We’ve always told our children (and meant it), that we don’t care what their sexual orientation is, as long as they’re happy. But did you see those grammatical errors? The lack of capitalization! “Sexes” instead of “sex is.” Frightening!
A few days after the election she came to me and told me that she contacted the LA LGBT center and wanted to organize a march to Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in protest of the election.
“The LGBT center said they’d totally help me and it will take a couple of weeks to plan, so I was thinking December 3rd,” she told me.
“We’re busy on the 3rd,” I told her. “But I guess the 10th would work.” I admired her passion and intensity, but to be honest she’s intense about everything, so I really didn’t think much about it.
She posted the protest as a Facebook event: LGBTQ Protest Against Pence/Trump. She made it very clear that her protest was peaceful and “That we are not going to let these racist, homophobic, bigoted people hurt us.”
Within a few days over 500 people showed interest and over 100 people said they were going. And I have to admit I was pretty impressed, but still. A Facebook event? “100 people going” means 10 will show up. Maybe. It’s a busy time of year full of parties and commitments (plus there was probably a 10 hour sale going on at Macy’s).
And then it started to snowball. Bigly. A week before the event it was shared with over 5,000 people, over 4,000 showed interest, and over 1,000 people said they were going. Someone from ABC news reached out to her. It was getting real.
(Oh shit, I was actually going to have to give up my Saturday.)
“How many people do you think will show up for this thing?” I asked Dave.
“It could be 10, it could be 500. I really don’t know,” he answered,
And even though there had been many family discussions about it I said, “I don’t even know what we’re going to do. I know she wants to march from Hollywood and Vine to his star on Hollywood and Highland, but then what? Is there some sort of chant? Do we all just hang out there? And what if it gets violent? I mean, what do we do?”
He just sort of shrugged and admitted he was as clueless as I was.
At dinner that night we started talking logistics. Where to park. What exactly would happen. How cool it was that Marley was contacted by ABC. And then she just sort of shut down. “I don’t even know what I’m doing,” she said. “Probably no one is going to show up. I don’t even want to do it anymore.” Anxiety was getting the best of her.
And even though a bonus Saturday in December would have been lovely gift to this unorganized mom who was nowhere near done with her Christmas shopping (and Macy’s was probably having a sale), I said, “It will be awesome. Even if it’s just us, we’ll have our signs and we’ll march. You’re standing up for what you believe in.” But, I have to admit I was a little worried.
It turns out I didn’t need to be. Because this girl? My daughter? The one who can barely get her shit together for school? She was on it. Organized. She freaking rocked it.
The night before the march things started to go wrong, but she handled each road block like a pro and received support from other activists and the police.
First the trolls came out saying awful, hurtful things. (To a sixteen year old! As if their First Lady-Elect’s “fight against cyber bullying” wasn’t ironic enough.) But a lovely man named Ian who’d been to his share of protests, reached out to her and told her she was awesome and told her that trolls were just that: trolls. He messaged back and forth with her all night and gave advice and peace of mind.
She received an alert that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was premiering at the Pantages Theatre, directly across the street from the Hollywood and Vine Metro station where the march was starting and that much of Hollywood Boulevard was shut down. She and Dave looked at a map and she posted a new route for the march.
She asked the woman at ABC if they would be there and was told that the producer passed on the story, so no. Whatevs! #Sad (I actually think she was relieved.)
A community relations officer from the LAPD got in touch with her and told her that the LAPD supported her 1st Amendment rights and wanted to help to make sure that the protest was peaceful. Marley made a plan to meet with an officer before the protest and a car would shadow us as we marched our route. (This made Dave and I relieved.)
We took the Metro to the Hollywood and Vine station and got there about an hour early, not knowing what to expect. Marley and the co-president of her high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance club met with the police officers and Dave and I stayed back, continuing to let her take charge. She was alerted that there was a pro-Trump group at Trump’s star. A photo journalist introduced himself to Marley when she was done talking to the police. We still didn’t know if anyone would show and had a lot of time so Dave and I decided to take a fast walk to check out the road closures. (I could write a whole blog post about that – let’s just say there were multiple metal detectors and check points and there was a tented red carpet that two blocks long. Star Wars knows how to throw a party!)
After about 15 minutes Marley texted me: Mom come back.
We rushed back there were about 40 or so people who had started gathering. The W Hotel (which sits at the entrance of the Metro station) told Marley that her group had to gather on the sidewalk because they were on private property. This meant going through a metal detector. Ian (who is about my age and is beautiful inside and out) found Marley and thanked her, cheered her, and introduced her to all of his friends. The group began to grow. Ian encouraged Marley to give a speech.
Marley gave a wonderful speech and then her friend gave one. We passed out extra posters the girls made, came up with a few chants, and we started to march. By now the group had grown to about 150 people. As we marched people started honking their horns in support and people walking down the street high-fived us. A couple who was looking for us joined up mid-route. A cute boy at a bar on Hollywood said, “I was hoping to get a cocktail first,” gave up his plans for refreshment and jumped in the march. When we got to the star there were others waiting. We chanted, took lots of pictures, and Marley had a civil conversation with the pro-Trump people. By the end of the protest it looked like there were over 200 people supporting Marley’s cause.
There was documentary filmmaker named Jordan Roberts waiting for us and she interviewed Marley and her friend, and Dave and I as well. People cheered Marley, asked to take selfies with her, and everyone thanked her. Her protest was peaceful and she felt like her voice was heard.
And this mom? The one who didn’t even have it in her to make a Facebook post about it? I have never, ever been more proud.
Photo Credit of Marley at the rally: Susan Forrest via Facebook
“The music we take dead seriously, but we don’t take ourselves that seriously, we have a lot of fun,” said Matthew Nelson describing the Christmas with the Nelsons shows he will be performing in eight cities across America with his brother Gunnar.
Recently I sat down with Matthew to discuss the upcoming tour and new NELSON Christmas single, featuring Carnie and Wendy Wilson. (And by sat down with, I mean I sat down in my living room in Los Angeles and he sat down in his living room in Nashville and we had a lovely conversation on the phone.)
We talked about living in Nashville vs. living in Los Angeles (Nashville: full of world class musicians and a great place to raise your family. LA: The awesome food and weather not worth the traffic and hustle-and-bustle-affected lifestyle.), the dreaded “B” word – branding (it sucks, but you’ve got to do it), and mostly Christmas.
Last year Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, along with a singer-songwriter named Alyssa Bonagura co-wrote and recorded This Christmas, an original song to include on the Nelson brother’s album of Christmas standards sharing the same name.
A second Christmas album, This Christmas Too will be coming out December 9th and they’ve re-recorded the title track with Carnie and Wendy Wilson.
“The first recording was great, it was our first hit song in twenty years, but we have been wanting to do something with the Wilson sisters for a long time and this just made sense. It is literally like the new The Mamas and The Papas. The blend is unbelievable and we had so much fun,” Matthew said, talking excitedly about re-recording last year’s hit holiday song.
In fact the two sibling groups had so much fun working together they are already talking about future projects. “We all kind of grew up as kids of the 70’s and we’re talking about possibly taking some of that music like (Dan Fogelberg’s) Leader of the Band and (The Doobie Brothers’) Listen to the Music and putting a new spin on it.”
I told him I hoped that would happen. “Oh, it will happen,” he assured me.
When I asked him how the Christmas shows came about he said, “It came together very organically. About three years ago, somebody called us up and said, ‘Hey we’re from a tiny place in Nebraska called Red Cloud and an author named Willa Cather was from here. That’s what we’re famous for. She left money behind for an opera house and we’d like you to come and do a Christmas show.’
“And I said, ‘What do you mean, you want us to come and do one of our normal shows?’ and he said, ‘No, I’m talking only Christmas music.’
“And Gunnar and I got together and we thought about it because we love Christmas, we always have. It’s been our favorite time of year for forever. Our dad too. No matter what he was doing he came off the road to celebrate Christmas together.”
Taking what they learned from their popular Ricky Nelson Remembered tour, a unique multi media entertainment event featuring the live music of their late father Ricky Nelson’s hit songs, they put together a live music and video program that tells the story of three eras of Nelson family Christmases, starting with Ozzie and Harriet’s era, through their dad’s era in the 70’s as a country rocker and bringing through to Christmas with their families today.
“We always say, our show at best is a combination between the Everly brothers and the Smothers brothers. The usual Christmas shows people put on have two or three Christmas songs thrown in. We flip it. We do all Christmas music except for one segment with Hello Mary Lou-Travelin’ Man-Garden Party in a medley with one or two of ours, but that takes maybe 10 minutes in a show that goes two to two-and-a-half hours. This year we’re touring with a violinist/fiddle player named Molly Cherryholmes who’s Grammy nominated 5 times for her bluegrass band. She’s only twenty-four and is like a freak of nature, as far as musicians are concerned,” Matthew said describing the show.
So if you’re looking for something a little different to do with the family this Christmas (or on a date night) check out their tour schedule below. (Don’t worry, I won’t tell your husband that Matthew and Gunnar were your secret 90’s crush.) And don’t forget to add This Christmas and This Christmas Too (available on pre-order) to your Christmas music library.
Recently I set a December writing goal for myself. It’s a bit lofty and perhaps a more than a little bit unrealistic, but not impossible. (Because, you know, an offensive orange Cheeto is thisclose to holding holding the highest office in the land, so anything’s possible.)
I shared the goal with my writing group, one of my best friends, and my husband, but I am not ready to share it with you.
You’d think it’s silly. Or maybe you wouldn’t, but you’d definitely think it was lofty, more than a little bit unrealistic, and thisclose to impossible. When it happens I’ll tell you. Or if it doesn’t happen I’ll tell you then. (If I’m brave.)
Two weeks ago my friend Kim received a pitch for her blog. It wasn’t a good fit for her, but it was a perfect fit for me, especially if I want to achieve this goal I’ve set for myself.
“Does this interest you?” she asked me.
“Bleep yeah, it interests me!” I answered immediately. (Only I didn’t say bleep.)
I contacted the person who reached out to her and he was receptive to me writing the piece.
Coincidentally (or perhaps it’s serendipitously) two similar opportunities have been placed right in front of my face from different avenues, waving at me, as if they were saying, “Hello, here I am. Come and get me. All you have to do is ask.” And I know if I capitalize on these opportunities they will help me achieve my goal.
But I have to tell you something.
What if I get shot down? My goal isn’t reliant upon doing these two things, but they will help. A lot.
So if I don’t ask for these things (that theoretically should be easy to get) and then don’t reach my goal, I still fail, but not in a scary way. In an “I didn’t even try way,” because really, who am I to think that I am good enough to get that thing that I want.
It’s silly. Too lofty. Too unrealistic. Not thisclose to impossible. Impossible.
And then Saturday I went for a three mile run. Talk about thisclose to impossible. I haven’t run since May, except for around the building in boot camp where every step is torture and I curse my trainer’s name with every painful breath I take and I hate it so much and am so glad I stopped running.
But I’ve been eating and drinking too much lately (because food: yum! and drinking: fun!) and I didn’t have time to take a class at the gym and I needed to do something and as sucktastic as running is, it’s efficient. A three mile run is a lofty goal for a 51-year-old woman who hasn’t run in five months, perhaps even unrealistic. Thisclose to impossible.
Plus my phone was charged and the weather was perfect. The only excuse I had for not running is that I didn’t really want to because it’s so hard (except that I sort of did).
To keep myself motivated I set Spotify to my running mix and open my Runkeeper app so it would alert me of my time and mileage every five minutes.
Time: five minutes. Distance: zero-point-four-two-miles. Average pace eleven minutes, fifty-four seconds per mile. (Translation: damn, you’re slow)
Time: ten minutes. Distance: zero-point-eight-two-miles. Average pace: twelve minutes, eleven seconds per mile. (Translation: you might want to figure out another form of exercise, you really suck at this.)
That lady is mean to me, sure. But she keeps me going. Every five minutes I tell myself, just five minutes more.
At the 15 minute mark the mean Runkeeper lady tells me how poorly I’m doing (one-point-two miles at a twelve-minute-thirty-second pace) my phone shuts down. Shit. This is so hard. I’m at the steepest part of my run and two minutes away from reaching my turnaround point and I have no music. No mean lady. Only me. My legs. My feet. My heart. Everything I need. And so, I keep going.
I run to the turnaround spot, smack the light pole and head back. It is (both literally and figuratively) downhill all the way home.
When I hit a flat(ish) part I start to walk and fiddle with my phone to get my music and that mean Runkeeper lady back. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis cheer me on.
“Ey ey, ey Good to see you, c’mon let’s go Yeah, let’s go”
And I start to run again. When the song ends the music stop. Dammit! Stupid phone. But I don’t want to walk again so I run to the beat of my panting breath and my feet hitting the pavement. Huh step step step. Huh step step step. Huh step step step.
My mind begins to wander with the rhythm I’m creating. I think about how easy it would be to stop running because I don’t have my Runkeeper and my music. And I think about that goal I’ve set for myself and how the biggest obstacles in my way are the ones I’m creating for myself.
My goal my be lofty. Unrealistic. Thisclose to impossible.
But I’ve got everything I need. I just need to make proper use out of it.
“Combining this whole rock and roll and fatherhood thing is not for the faint of heart. It’s like a well greased high wire act. I highly recommend it, but it’s definitely not for sissies,” says new father and musician Jay Nash.
“I used to go on tour and come back shredded from only getting five or six hours of sleep a night. The idea of getting six hours of continuous sleep these days sounds amazing. I practically come back from tour feeling refreshed.”
Growing up in Syracuse, New York Jay Nash dreamed not only of becoming a musician but of living in California with visions of surfing the Pacific and skateboarding in empty swimming pools. In 2001 he made that dream a reality and moved to Los Angeles to make a name for himself as a singer/songwriter. (He also did a lot of surfing.) But in April of this year he and his wife Rebecca packed their bags and relocated to Vermont.
“We spent so much time traveling to New York to see my parents or Connecticut to see her parents it seemed to make sense to move back east since we were starting a family. Vermont is about equidistant between our two families and it’s just spectacularly beautiful. In our town there are no fast food restaurants and no strip malls. It’s like a step back in time. I tour a lot so it’s a great place to come home and retreat to between tours and lay low.”
I met with Jay when he recently returned to Los Angeles for a week to play a few shows and mix his album that will be released in February of 2011. When asked about his songwriting process he said, “All my favorite songs were written in a very short period of time. It almost seems like they’re written even before they come out. Occasionally there are times when you get a piece of something and you go back and refine it over time, but more often than not the best stuff just flows out of you. There are more verses and more melodies than you even know what to do with because it’s been sitting there and it’s the truth and it just flows right out. The best songs just sort of write themselves.”
Nash is about to embark on a six-week tour that will be done in two three-week stretches. “The longest I’ve been away from my daughter is three days and I was miserable. Now I’m going to be gone twice for three weeks and I’m scared. There’s so much of a change in a 24-hour period. I’m going to be gone for three weeks and when I come back she’ll be a completely different person.
“But I’m really so grateful to be doing what I love for a living. This is the life that I asked for and you know what they say, ‘Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.’“
Well Jay Nash has certainly got it – a beautiful wife and daughter, a new home, a twenty-one city tour, and a new album due February 2011 – Jay Nash has got it indeed.
*Originally posted to skirt.com on October 11, 2010
To listen to some of Jay’s music click here and to see his tour schedule click here. If he’s coming to a town near you do your best to check him out. You won’t be sorry.
Like every family I’m sure, we had little bedtime rituals here at our house when our children were small. As soon as my son was in a “big boy bed” my husband and I would both lay down with him and read him books. Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Gorilla, (my favorite) Jamberry (my husband’s favorite) and of course Green Eggs and Ham were popular in rotation. I would read the page on the left and my husband would read the page on the right. Like wicked children my husband and I would each try to choose books we knew had more text on “our” side. When my daughter was old enough we would do the same.
As my son got older my husband and I started moving beyond Dr. Seuss and on to bigger books. We started reading chapter books like Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles and The Chronicles of Narnia series. I would usually fall asleep while we were reading these books (therefore losing out on my page) and my husband would end up reading the chapter himself.
After my husband read to our son I would wake up and tuck him in and kiss him and tell him, “Sweetest sweet dreams in the whole wide world and have good luck.” (He came up with this saying and would insist that I say this to him every night.)
“You do too, Mom,” he would say as he rolled over to go to sleep.
When our son got older and started going to bed later and began to read chapter books on his own, I would still come in and read Shel Silverstein poems to him. Oh how we loved Shel Silverstein. We have all his books and have probably read each poem at least 100 times. He would always make me read the longest poems to him.
My daughter was never interested in hearing big chapter books like my son. She preferred the picture books. If we did start a short chapter book – Judy Moody, Magic Tree House – she’d rarely stick with it. The next night I’d crawl into bed with her to read the next chapter and she’d want something else instead.
After reading to my daughter I always gave her good dreams. They were very elaborate and imaginative: I want you to dream that you are flying to the moon on butterfly wings – Make them eagle wings Mommy – okay eagle wings, and when you get to the moon you jump up and down like you are on the biggest trampoline in the world – But I’m not in the world Mommy, I’m on the moon – Yes, you are on the moon, and when you get tired of jumping you fly down and land on a cloud where you take a nap. When you wake up you eat the cloud because it tastes just like cotton candy and then you fly down into your bed and fall asleep.
My daughter is ten now and has advanced to chapter books, but prefers to read them on her own. Once in awhile she’ll let me read her some poems and even give her some more “grownup” good dreams.
My favorite one to give her is this: “I want you to dream that when you wake up in the morning your room will be clean. Oh wait,” I say slapping myself in the forehead, “That’s my dream.”
My son is thirteen and we don’t read to him anymore. Until recently he still liked me to climb in bed with him and read him poems. But for the past month or two when we tell him it’s bedtime he gets ready for bed and stands at the end of the hall and says goodnight. I’ll usually wait a few minutes and then go peek my head in his room and give him a kiss.
The other night I picked up a Shel Silverstein book and picked a poem. “That poem is too long Mom.
Can you pick another one?”
“Sure,” I told him and picked a short one and did my best to read it without a quiver in my voice.
“Thanks, goodnight,” he said as he rolled over.
“I miss reading you poems,” I told him.
“I know, because you said you would read to me at night until I didn’t want you to anymore.”
“So you’re good with this? You don’t want me to anymore?”
“I’m good with this,” he said.
“Are you sure?” I asked with tears in my eyes.
“I’m sure. Goodnight Mom.”
“Goodnight Honey. Sweetest sweet dreams in the whole wide world and have good luck.”
“You do too, Mom” he responded to me as always. And as I shut his door I wondered how long it would be before he outgrows this very last ritual of ours as he has outgrown the others. I hope it’s a very, very long time.
*Originally posted on skirt.com October 2010. Some nights, when Chandler is home from college (and he goes to bed before me) I still tell him, “Sweetest sweet dream in the whole wide world and have good luck.” And he always tells me, “You do too.”
You’re all so lucky. Today we have a guest commentator, my very own daughter, Marley Ross. Marley is even more qualified than I am to make snarky fashion comments, because even though she didn’t wear the same dress as seven other girls at her prom (but she’s only a junior and hasn’t gone to prom yet) she’s only sixteen, so she doesn’t mind being mean like I’m finding it more and more difficult to do.
And while it seems over the last few years there haven’t been that many fashion disasters, that was certainly not the case last night. In fact, IMHO (and Marley’s as well), much of last night’s red carpet was a complete and total shit show. (Except for Marley doesn’t say “shit” – at least not when her mother is around!)
So grab a cup of coffee (just be sure not to spit it at the screen when you read Marley’s comments), sit back, relax and enjoy this year’s Snarky Red Carpet Comments. (And forgive me for once again posting without editing. I hate bloggers who don’t edit, but I’ve got a day job people!)
Giuliana Ransic often makes my best dressed list, but not last night. As she hosts the red carpet show on E!, hers was the first dress I saw and all I could think was, WTF is she wearing? Her dress is pretty (though I don’t like the color), but it is ruined by that stupid cape. And her hair is in a messy ponytail that looks more appropriate for running errands than working the red carpet at an awards show.
Marley’s comments: She looks like skelator. The dress is pretty, but that cape. Why?
Our verdict: Lose the cape, fix your hair and eat one of those PBJs that Jimmy Kimmel’s mom made!
Claire Danes looked pretty (I love her hair), but did she use Donald Trump’s spray tanner? Her skin almost matches her dress. I actually like her dress, but what is that weird gold necklace-y thing that seems to be attached?
Marley’s comments: She looks like an Emmy, an Oscar, a Golden Globe. (Well, I guess she was dressing the part.)
Anna Chlumsky – WTF? Where do I begin with this mess of a dress? I almost forgive her because she had a baby three weeks ago, and God knows that three weeks after I had a baby I was no where near awards show ready (hell, it’s been 16 years since I had a baby and I’m nowhere near awards show ready), but this dress looks like a brocade potato sack.
Marley’s comments: Combo of a baby blanket and a grandma sweater.
I love Connie Britton, but I do not love this dress. It’s just weird.
Marley’s comments: Um, what? She looks a poster girl for my geometry class.
Amanda Peet was trending on Twitter last night because of all the shout outs she got from her husband, Game of Thrones co-creator, David Benioff, but I think she’ll be trending today because of this terrible dress.
Marley’s comments: Where did she get that? Charlie Brown’s closet.
It looks like Carly Chaikin is wearing what her character Darlene would wear if she were going to the Emmy’s. She looks beautiful (oh to be that young and be able to pull off that much eye make-up) and I actually love the top of her dress, but there is too much going on with the bottom. If the bottom had been solid or maybe solid with those silver stripes it would have been gorgeous, but the sheer netting and the polka dots just turns this dress into a big ol’ mess.
Marley’s comments: That dress! I can’t put it into words. And I love her too. She’s so great and so pretty and and I hate that dress. When they asked her who she’s wearing she should say, “A mess.”
I was forever rooting for Lady Edith on Downton Abbey, but I cannot root for this godawful disaster of a dress that Laura Carmichael wore last night. It looks like she paired her favorite summer top with some leftover tulle. Did Lady Mary play a mean trick and switch out her real dress for this monstrosity?
Marley’s comments: Why? What happened? It looks like an Easter basket. It looks like spring nail polish you’d put on a little kid.
Gabby Hoffman looks like she’s wearing pajamas. The end.
Marley’s comments: She looks like she just woke up from a nap and is like, “Okay, Emmy’s time.”
Supermodel & Project Runway star, Heidi Klum makes my worst dresses list every year (oh, the irony), and this year is no exception. If this dress was either long sleeves on both sides or spaghetti straps on both sides, it would be like Heidi: a 10. But why the asymmetrical mess? It does not make the dress interesting. It makes the dress stupid!
Marley’s comments: That dress is stupid and I think she was next in line for Donald Trump’s spray tanner.
Alright, enough of the negativity and snark (at least from me anyway) – let’s get to the dress I thought were fabulous. First let’s get to the color yellow. (I almost felt like at any moment I would hear Jimmy Kimmel say, “The 2016 Emmy Awards, brought to you by the color yellow.”) I did not used to be a yellow fan, but lately I am loving it. Maybe because my current favorite top is yellow (you can see it here) or maybe because the current yellows are more bright and less chartreuse-y (which is a little to pukey green for my taste), but whatever it is, I’m digging it.
I have loved Minnie Driver since Circle of Friendsand find her red carpet looks to always be beautiful and classic. I’m not sure about this dress. I want to love it more than I do. But she looks fabulous so I think I’ll give it the thumbs up. What do you think?
Marley’s comments: Nope. (I told you the snark was over only for me.)
Taraji P. Henson looks gorgeous and this dress is FAB! For some reason she changed during the awards to present and even put on a wig (and I think she looked fabulous in that outfit too), but I think this red carpet look is stunning. Simplicity at its finest.
Marley’s comments: I love it! (See, she can be nice!)
Angela Bassett’s dress is leaning a little bit towards the chartreuse, but I still think it’s stunning. And so is she – her hair, her make-up, those earrings: love, Love, LOVE!
The ladies in red also looked fabulous…
Kate McKinnon looks GORGEOUS! You can’t see them because of her hair, but there are little cutouts at the V of her dress that gives this simple red dress a little extra detail. That lipstick + that hair + that dress = Va Va Voom!
Marley’s comments: She is my favorite and she looks beautiful.
Tatiana Maslany: Marley and I agree – this was our favorite dress of the night! Sheer perfection. And as a side note, I am beyond thrilled that she won the Emmy for Orphan Black. If you haven’t seen it, you must. She plays eight or more characters and she is amazing!
Tina Fey looked absolutely stunning in green. I loved everything about her dress and her look.
Marley’s comments: She looks pretty.
The ladies dressed in neutral shades of nude, silver and white also looked beautiful.
Emilia Clarke looks stunning. I would be inclined to have her wear her hair down and would have added a necklace (because I like flowy hair and think everyone should wear a necklace always), but I think I would have been wrong. This look is the pure definition of “Less is More” and it is spectacular.
Marley’s comments: Mom, I like her hair up. She looks perfect.
While Julie Bowen is my current hair idol, she often misses the mark when it comes to the red carpet. But not last night. Last night she looked amazing and her dress was gorgeous.
Marley’s comments: The back of that dress is stupid. (Marley is wrong. The back of her dress was gorgeous.)
Giuliana Rancic and Heidi Klum take note: This is how you wear a ponytail to an awards show and this is how you wear asymmetrical. Sofia Vergara looks amazing (as always), plus she did eat one of the PBJs made by Jimmy Kimmel’s mom, so she gets an A+ in my book!
Marley’s comments: I don’t like it. It’s weird. Those things look like yogurt swirls. And not good yogurt swirls, like old fruit gone bad yogurt swirls.
Felicity Huffman’s look was one of my favorites of the night. That hair! Those earrings! That dress! She just reeked of fabulousness!
Marley’s comments: I like it!
I loved Judith Light’s dress. Both classic and original. She looked fabulous.
Marley’s comments: Her dress looks like a striped disco ball. (Sixteen-year-old snarky fashion critiquers sometimes just don’t get it.)
I thought Anika Noni Rose’s dress was pretty and an original take on a Grecian style dress. And OMG – I remember when my waist used to be that tiny.
Marley’s comments: The top of her dress looks like a dream catcher.
I had to google Annet Mahendru and Lucian Gibson to see who they were, but I just loved the beautiful simplicity of her dress. Gorgeous! But Lucian needs to google “how do dress at an awards show.”
Marley’s comments: Her dress looks unfinished (wrong, Marley – her dress is perfect!) and what is with that bag. It looks like it has a horse tail! (She might be right about that.)
Kristen Bell’s look was one of my favorites of the night. Here hair and make-up look stunning (with just the perfect amount of spray tan – a lovely bronze with not one bit of orange) and I think her dress is amazing. Seriously, I want it!
Marley’s comments: That dress looks like a cornucopia!
Allison Janey always looks gorgeous and last night was no exception. Damn I have to win the Lotto so I can hire her trainer. I loved her classic bun (a little to the side) and those earrings are spectacular.
Marley’s comments: Eh, it’s fine. (Sigh…)
There is only one word for Kerry Washington’s red carpet look: WOW! She looks a-maz-ing!
Marley’s comments: I love her dress except for the cape. Why is she wearing a cape? Who does she think she is? A super hero? She’s a mom! (Exactly, Marley. That makes her a super hero.)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus is another gorgeous lady that always seems to make my best-dressed list. This is how to wear a sheer dress.
Marley’s comments: I don’t like the polka dots. (Marley is not a polka dot fan.)
And because I always like to end my list with a little bit of eye candy for the ladies, here you go:
Kit Harrington is my free pass too!
Marley’s comments: He’s pretty.
So what do you think? Did Marley and I get it right? Agree? Disagree? Anyone I missed? Let us know in the comments below.
Last Monday Dave and Marley went to the taping of American Ninja Warrior and weren’t going to be home until about 7:30 or so. I get home from work at approximately 6:20 and I was beyond-words-excited to be something I rarely am: alone in my own house.
I couldn’t wait. As I drove home I fantasized what I would do with my (approximately) one hour and ten minutes all by myself. First I would change into something more comfortable. Then I would put in my earbuds and turn on this station. I might pour myself a glass of wine, but maybe not. I didn’t really need it. And then… I would vacuum.
That’s right, you heard me. Vacuum. I’d been busy. My house was a disaster. Weekends have been crazy and during the week I make dinner as soon as I get home from work, then the three of us clean up (meaning Dave clears the table, Marley washes a pot – that’s right, just one – and you-know-who is stuck with the rest), and then I collapse on the couch and end up drooling ten minutes into whichever show we settle in to watch. You’re all jealous of my glamorous rockstar life, aren’t you?
So I know it sounds lame (hell, it is lame), but I was excited to be home alone, with a cheese-and-cracker dinner and time to clean. I wouldn’t have time to tackle the dining room table that was threatening to buckle under the weight of “that pile” (or rather those piles), but I’d stick my phone into my fanny pack, strap it on, sing along to my country music (poorly and at the top of my lungs) while vacuuming and dusting. Maybe I’d even have time to clean the stovetop. (It was pretty gross.)
Are you picturing me with a fanny pack strapped on, singing at the top of my lungs while I clean house and laughing out loud at the ridiculous image? Stop It! That’s not nice.
When I pulled into the driveway I reached into my purse and realized – oh no, no, no, no, NOOOOO! I did not have my house key.
I know, most people have their house key on the key ring with their car key. Of course they do. I do too. But my car is being worked on and I’m borrowing my mother’s car while she’s out of town and when I clip our extra key onto her key ring it hits my leg and bugs me so I just keep it separately in my purse. But I switched purses Monday morning (or rather switched purses Sunday and switched back in a hurry Monday morning – irrelevant I know, sorry) and forgot to put the key in my purse.
And so I did what any normal person would do in such a situation. I tried to break into my own house. Unfortunately there have been some break-ins in our neighborhood recently and our house is like a fortress. Sure I could break a window, but that seemed like a bad idea. (I did manage to maybe destroy a screen in my attempt to dislodge it. Shhh. Don’t tell Dave.)
I could have gone to my mother’s (I have a key to her house), but the 30 minute round trip didn’t seem worth it since I was only stranded for an hour.
I thought about which neighbor I could bug. I tried my friend Mary. I had just gifted her with some trendy vodka to thank her for a huge favor she had recently done for me and thought she might like to share, but she had the audacity not to be home. (Rude!)
I know a lot of people in my neighborhood and in my town, but who could I bug -at dinnertime- who wouldn’t mind me dropping in for an hour? I decided to reach out to Kim. (Lucky her!) She handed me a glass of wine the second I walked in the door, so you know I chose right. I totally interrupted her dinner hour, but she was gracious and her family didn’t seem to mind.
I ate chips and salsa while she made her family an easy dinner. Then we took our wine outside and talked about writing and kids and life. It made not being home alone more than okay.
When I got home Dave and Marley teased me. It’s okay. I earned it. Then Dave told me they were going back Saturday, this time to watch Team Ninja Warrior be taped. They’d be gone most of the day. Did I want to go with them? I thought about it. For about a second. Then I politely declined as visions of vacuums and fanny packs danced through my head.