Archive for October 2010

Someone Told Them We Were Coming

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This was the sign outside of the door to our hotel when we went back to Toledo for a weekend to visit some of Scott’s friends and family. It was fun to bring T-Bone to see his grandparents, a proper autumn and the house in which his dad grew up, to mention a few of the highlights.

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Travel seems to have gotten progressively harder, though. What happened to my little nomad? He loves take-off and landing, but he starts asking for home the minute we get off the plane. Just when I think I have something figured out about T, it changes. It’s a great exercise in flexibility and living in the moment. That said, I think I’ll opt to live in the moment in L.A. with him for a while.

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And The Winner Is….

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Lauren, you’re the lucky winner of a copy of Claire LaZebnik’s, If You Lived Here, You’d be Home Now. You’re gonna love it! Email me your address and we’ll get the book out to you ASAP.

Too Dorky For My Playlist

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After about ten years of working out to the 8 Mile soundtrack, my LA Marathon goal has finally inspired me to put a new workout playlist together. I’m not the kind of person who gets aggro and works out to death metal. I prefer to get extremely dorky and cheery. I thought I’d share with you my top ten. This goes out to all my fave running mom bloggers (Kristen, Christine, Tyler when you get back on your feet…).

A special holler to Jamie Ivey, who’s running the Chosen half-marathon for adoption this Saturday.

Warning: if you are allergic to eighties rollerskating music, major chords or show tunes, turn back now. That means you, honey.

1. “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey. Shameless inspiration.
2. “Milkshake” by Kelis. Makes me feel sassy about hauling my big tush around the track.
3. “Fire Woman” by The Cult. Oh Ian, how I loved thee back in the day. Hair extensions and all.
2. “Champion” by Kanye West. Obvious, but effective.
3. “Hey Ya” by Outcast. The perfect running beat.
4. “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes. I like to picture roller skates on my feet.
5. “Let’s go Crazy” by Prince and the Revolution. Classic.
6. “Shiny Happy People” by REM. The cheerier the better.
7. “Riding on the Metro” by Berlin. Almost as good as a trip to Paris.
8. “Centerfold” by The J. Geils Band. Perhaps not as resonant if you never had the treat of seeing yourself in a magazine with a staple in your navel.
9. “Burnin’ for You” by Blue Oyster Cult. Reminds me of the juke box at a Jersey diner.
10. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. No need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Optional mega dork selection:
1. “Defying Gravity” from the Wicked soundtrack. Did I just admit that?

Rites of Passage

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I’m way behind on blog posts because I turned in the final draft of my novel, Pretty, yesterday. Which means that I have about eight hundred unanswered emails in my in-box. It also means that I’m going to celebrate by totally ignoring them and watching taped Glee episodes until my eyes bleed.

I’ve been working on either Pretty or Some Girls for about the last six years, so finishing this book is the end of a major life chapter. Ever since Scott and I attended the premiere of Jackass 3D (that’s us in our sexy 3D glasses), I’ve been thinking about the place of rites of passage in our lives. The movie was pretty funny and oddly well-shot and, of course, unbelievably disgusting. Ultimately, I left feeling vaguely yucky, and not just because I had a tub of buttered popcorn for dinner. I think that the Jackass movies appeal to our tribal desire for rites of passage, but they don’t quite hit the spot because they’re all rite and no passage.

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The next morning we braved a true rite of passage. We took Tariku to his first day of pre-school. Our current arrangement with the school is that one of us is going to attend with him until he can “contract when the group contracts,” which I think in hippie language means sit still for snack and story time. As you can tell from our attempt at “first day of school” pictures, T is more of an expander than a contractor. If his first day was any indication, I might just be sitting in a wee chair next to him until his middle school graduation. But even though T’s first day at pre-school felt like the longest three hours of my life, I tried to stay present for it because I suspect that this school thing is going to get rolling and soon I’m going to wish I could see more of him.

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In terms of life transitions, T starting school is sort of like finishing my second book. I feel a strange combination of loss and relief every time I hear the word “school” come out of T’s mouth. I felt the same way when I sent the Pretty file to my editor.

We go to school again this Thursday and Friday. Stay tuned for more reports from the front line.

For now, I have a babysitter for another twenty minutes. I’m going to watch Glee. Or go hunt an antelope. Or give myself paper cuts on my tongue. Or something.

Good Hair Day

I heard about this “I Love My Hair” video on the radio yesterday. The head writer of Sesame Street talked about writing the song as a tool to help his African American daughter love her natural hair. I looked it up immediately upon returning home and it brought a little tear to my eye.

I know I’ve shared some on this blog about our hair journey, but honestly, our obstacles are relatively minimal, seeing as Tariku isn’t showing signs of developing a fascination with Disney Princesses (could still happen, but it seems unlikely). Girls have to contend with much stronger cultural messages around hair.

But while we’re on the subject, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite hair resources. Happy Girl Hair is a fantastic blog by a mom with twin daughters adopted from Ethiopia. It really has it all, from product reviews and styling ideas to basic natural haircare and detangling techniques.

And my favorite product line these days (for all of us) is Oyin Handmade. Yummy, organic, baby-safe. Love it.

If you’re reading this on facebook, you’ll have to go to my blog to see the video. It’s worth it.

Snap Judgment

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This week, I was featured on the “Breaking In” episode of NPR’s Snap Judgment with Glynn Washington. The show is described as “storytelling with a beat.” You can hear it here.

If You Lived Here Giveaway!

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If You Lived Here, You’d be Home Now is my friend Claire LaZebnik’s latest fabulously addictive novel. It kept me hiding in the bathtub for about two hours this morning.

Claire is perhaps the most humble woman I know. She’s a mother of four, a fabulous gluten-free chef and oh yeah she’s the author of six books, including Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies and Hope That Can Transform a Child’s Life, a book that’s been incredibly useful to me in understanding the journey of a number of my mom friends. She’s also a fellow Jane Austen fanatic and she tends to feed my family on Thanksgiving.

For a chance to win a copy of her latest, leave a comment here and let me know that you went and joined Claire’s Facebook fanpage. If you want to be entered twice, come meet me at Vroman’s in Pasadena this Saturday at 5pm to see her read from it. Here’s the description of the book from the Vroman’s website:

Punky, tattooed Rickie’s life takes a turn for the worse when she ends up pregnant at 18. By the time her son Noah is in the first grade, she’s dropped out of school and moved back home, where she lives with her wealthy parents and sends Noah to the same upscale private school she attended. When Noah comes home complaining about the gym teacher, Rickie storms into his office to set him straight but she also finds something she didn’t expect, which slowly but surely changes her life.

Truth and Honesty

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On Wednesday, I spoke at an event at Diesel Books with Hope Edelman and Meghan Daum. Thanks to all the folks who came out on a rainy Tuesday night. It’s a real thrill to be included on a panel with such talented colleagues. Diane Leslie moderated and the theme was “A Night of Radical Honesty.” We talked mostly about the tricky nature of honesty in memoir writing and how we each grappled with the concept.

Hope made an interesting point about distinguishing between truth and honesty, defining truth as factual accuracy and honesty as emotional authenticity. Regardless of the semantics, I think that the distinction is essential to locate when one is dealing with both highly charged personal material and the imperative to tell a good story.

Other highlights: Hope served her signature Possibilitinis (her new book is The Possibility of Everything) along with cheesecake and filmmaker Maryam Heinen showed up with an agate power necklace for me. You can see it in the pic above. Isn’t it fabulous?

Vegas, Baby!

Here’s an interview Rolling Stone did with Scott and Rivers after the show at The Mirage in Vegas on Friday night. If you’re reading this on facebook, you’ll have to get your tail over to my blog to see it.

And if you’re wondering who was sitting in the seat on the opposite side of the limo, wonder no more:

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Friday night was one of those private jet The Song Remains the Same kind of nights that are an occasional perk of Scott’s job. I try to remind myself to remember these moments when I’m an old lady with smeary tattoos and my boobs in my lap.

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At the after-party, I tried to convince Scott that he should start a fight or I should dance on the table or something, but he didn’t feel like getting hit and even though I don’t drink, I couldn’t bring myself to kick over a good bottle of vodka. So we sat docilely with the Jackass guys while drinking soda water and eating complimentary breath mints. Never let it be said that the Shriners don’t know how to party.

Seriously, even when the trappings and the PR machine can feel kind of like a Saturday Night Live parody (more cowbell!), I never lose sight of the privilege that it truly is to share my life with a professional musician. I feel lucky to be able to raise a child around this much music.

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Now it’s back into Monday morning sweatpants and back to work…

You Can’t Get a Man With a Gun

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I’m extremely anti-gun. It’s an ongoing argument in our household, as my former-Marine hubby thinks I’m being unrealistic about the threat of the zombie apocalypse. But I hold my ground. Guns breed violence, period, and I want no part of it.

But…I’m a writer. And the great thing about being a writer is that I get to try on different lives and different perspectives from my own. You can imagine Scott’s delight when I asked him to take me shooting for the purpose of research.

We had a fun and surreal afternoon at the firing range. Scott says I’m a regular Annie Oakley. He’s now confident that when the zombies come, I’ll successfully defend our homestead.

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