Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hold Out for the Entire Paella

This is for the soldiers over at Dad Blogs...

I've had to polish my armor, sharpen my broadsword and am about to mount my high horse. I am going off to war. My opponent, my insidious, wily and downright lowdown opponent will spin fabrication at the drop of a hat. She is a fiendish foe whose goal is to wear me down and make me feel my voice insignificant.

Oh, you, fiery hound of Hell, stand back. Because I am now armed with truth and am not afraid of battling you who shall not be named. You gnarled root ball. You canker blossom. You thorny thistle. But enough mystery! I must reveal your identity, call you by your true self, for I am not afraid of unleashing unending misery upon the lands. That is simply myth. I officially throw down the gauntlet Board of Ed! Your move.

It started innocently enough. Well, he is a boy, after all. I'm sure he'll catch up. And I chose to believe that my son's physical and mental growth was still within average range. This is what I know now... Those people who spoke those words so as not to make us overly concerned, did a huge disservice. The truth is simple. Sebastian has a learning disability.

Sebastian has had IEPs since he was two. (For those of you not in the know, IEP stands for Individualized Education Program. If your kid needs any specialized service from the school board, he or she will have an IEP. Everyone weighs in, the teacher, the therapists, the school psychologist, school nurse, and the special ed liaison, which in our instance is the Vice Principal.) Over the years, Bash has received services for speech, physical and occupational therapies. Once he entered kindergarten, physical was taken away and resource center was added.

After his most recent IEP, the Board of Ed offered only one choice, a special day program at another school for the coming school year. Michael and I visited the proposed school, an architectural nightmare in cement and barbed wire. It had all the charm of San Quentin at lock down. Security buzzer at the front door. An ex-Major type (probably the PE teacher) goosestepping during recess, wearing a whistle round his neck. And when he'd blow that whistle every student went down to his knees, obedient or else. This was a big city school with a big city personality. Not the sunny elementary Sebastian is going to presently. I kept thinking, but he's only six. Let him keep his innocence just a bit longer. In our guts, Michael and I know, this school is wrong for him.

Certainly there must be another program in another school. The Vice Principal says, "The Board of Ed does not like parents..."

Yeah, I'm beginning to get that feeling.

"...does not like parents to cherry pick schools for their kids." This is where I loose it. Where the rose colored glasses fall away. Where I ask someone to pinch me, they actually do, and it hurts like a motherfucker.

But isn't that my job as mommy? To cherry pick for my kids. I choose the food they eat. I choose the after school programs they attend. The sports they participate in. The clothes they wear. The toys they play with. The soap that washes them. The books that are read to them. What time they go to bed. And now that I've provided a safe environment and moved to a good neighborhood with a good school, you're saying tough shit, Sherlock.

I end up reaching out to anyone who will listen. I phoned and emailed school administrators, special ed coordinators, special ed teachers, district offices. Listened to what they had to say, some with good advice, some useless. But, it was through another parent, another soldier who fought the system that I was pointed in the right direction. She gave me the name of a special ed lawyer. I never knew there was such a thing.

"The district has failed your son, this year," the lawyer said after reading Sebastian's IEP. Horrible, yes, and yet music to my ears. It lit a fire under me. I realized how complacent I've been. But then I worry. How much does a special ed lawyer cost. "Nothing," she tells me. "The district will reimburse me." My jaw drops. Another secret disclosed.

Then the lawyer says the board of ed should have recognized Sebastian's specific needs and implemented whatever was necessary. But they're tricky. They wait for the parent to make the first move. Then they offer the smallest grain of rice hoping we will grab it without question. I'm telling you, these people put used car salesmen to shame. And Michael and I have done this. We've accepted those measly grains of rice. I have five of them sitting right here in front of me. But I was an asshole. I should have held out. I would have been able to make pilaf by now.

I say to you parents, you are your kid's advocate. You need to do what it takes to make their life at school successful. If you are met with no, realize that even no has wiggle room. Ask to see where the no is in their bylaws. Ask for the no in writing. Get them to squirm. Because once they saw we had a lawyer, the San Quentin school suddenly left the table. "I'm sure the district will give you a list of other schools to check out." Isn't that a blip? Where was that list before?

Parents have the power. Never sign on the dotted line for one grain of rice. You might be able to hold out for the entire paella.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pining for the Tow Truck Man

Right after my son asked if he could eat a dog biscuit, I took the empty suitcase downstairs to store in the basement. I don't know why but it takes me forever to unpack after a vacation.

Stowing the suitcase made me think of the incident. There've been many unanswered questions. Lots of speculation. And buckets of concern about our rocky mountain car accident. My husband sustains aches and pains, but my emotional scarring has scabbed over. At the time, I could only write short posts from my iPhone. (A technological feat I'm still amazed I accomplished.) But now I'm ready to fill in the juicy details...

It was at my insistence. "Michael, it's Sebastian's Spring break. We ARE going away." Really, I had only one restriction. Had to be driving distance. Air travel is just too much of a hassle these days, and t'aint cheap. I found a place in Lake Arrowhead, up in the mountains. This is going to be good, I thought. An adventure.

Before we left, Michael had a conflict...a couple of conflicts: a show and an audition. Of course he did. (All I need to do for my husband's career to pick up is book a vacation.) Although not eco-friendly, we had to take both cars. I traveled solo. He had the kids in the Toyota Sequoia which is so embarrassingly big it has its own zip code. Everything was dandy, until we hit the hill taking us up to Arrowhead.

I'm not sure if he will approve of my splashing his phobias all over the web, however my husband has many. Because of this, there are vacation rules. Not too high up in the mountains. Not too close to the shore. No hot air balloons. No scuba. No helicopters. No deep sea fishing. And topping the list, combining his fear of water and height, no boat planes! I've never driven to Arrowhead so I didn't know of the windy, narrow roads, flimsy guardrails, plunge-to-your-death heights.

As we convoyed, I knew Michael was white knuckling it. Perhaps because my typically leadfoot husband insisted on fifteen miles an hour. However, we made it up the mountain, got lost, found our way to the resort (and I use that word loosely) without Michael needing to smoke too many cigarettes.

Michael sized up the place immediately. He groused that it was going to be our white trash vacation. I nudged him in the ribs and tried to focus on what Guy Behind Desk was telling us about the kids not being allowed in the jacuzzi. (Not good. Sebastian's favorite thing is roiling water at uncomfortable temps. Oh, well, I'll cross that bridge...) Michael interrupted, "Is there a stove?" This seemed somewhat out of place, since I do 99.98% of the cooking. But his instincts were spot on. Guy Behind Desk told us there may be a hot plate in the kitchenette. Michael cut his eyes at me. It was a look that said, "What the fuck kind of place did you book us in?" Guy Behind Desk then pulled out a map and proceeded to draw an arrow to our accommodations. He just as easily could have saved a tree and pointed, "Head that way two structures."

I pulled in to the parking place with ease...and that's when I heard it. The Sequoia skreeeeeched in anger and lurched forward. It jumped the curb and started to take my family down a hill.

My heart in my throat, I tried to get out of my car, but I was in drive and my door does not open until the car is in park. My mind refused to work as fast as I needed.

How do I park again? Because if I park, I can fling my door open wide. If I open my door, I can run to the Sequoia and throw myself in front of the behemoth, which would stop the car from plunging off a cliff. Surely that's a plan. But first I have to get out of this car. Dammit. How the fuck do I put this car into park?!

Luckily, there were pine saplings willing to give their lives to save my family. Otherwise they would have gone down that hill and hit an unsuspecting ramshackle bungalow complete with hotplate. When the car came to its resting position, two of its four tires were off the ground.

First thought, get the kids out! I could not have predicted this. Kids before husband. But Michael validated my instinct. Good. Kids safe. Now husband. But his door was blocked by a pine. He'd have to climb to the other side with two wheels off the ground! In the eeriest of calm voices he said, "I refuse to take my foot off the brake. I'll just wait for help." And then he started to text and email his friends.

The folks at the resort couldn't have been nicer and couldn't have responded more slowly. First, a maintenance guy named Victor moseyed on up to see what the ruckus was about. He assessed that there was an accident, alright, saying, "You boys might need a tow truck." He scratched his head, then his balls, then his head again and reiterated, "Yep. A tow truck."

I grabbed my kids, quickly walked to reception interrupting Guy Behind Desk in deep self reflection. He seemed flustered at my urgent demeanor. He grabbed the phone book, fumbling through its pages and then stopped. He wanted to know if I had AAA. What? No. Who cares? I'll pay out of pocket. Could you please hurry!!

He finally found the number he needed, gave Tow Truck Operator the address and directions, and then the questions started. The make of the car. The model of the car. The year of the car. It's an SUV, isn't it? And I tried to be calm. I tried to play along answering stupid questions. But then I snapped. I put on my best Terms of Endearment Shirley MacLaine, banged on the desk to impress upon Guy Behind Desk and Tow Truck Operator the severity of the situation, "What color is my car? It's about to go over a cliff and my husband is in it!!! That's what color my car is. This is an emergency. We need someone! NOW!!!"

Half hour later... Help arrived in the form of Dennis. Finally, someone with a competent body...I mean, someone competent to help us out. He hooked up his big rig. Attached his equipment to our rear. He started by pulling gently. But we were stuck on something, so he had to pull harder. Then he'd loosen and pull, alternating in this manner, back and forth, back and forth, until he got just the right angle. It was excruciating to just watch. I wanted to jump right in and do something. But finally, and in unison, both Dennis and Michael yelled in triumph. And I have to tell you, it was a beautiful thing when Dennis finally released his equipment, my husband free of burden.

So, there you have it. All the juicy details as promised. I doubt we're going to Lake Arrowhead anytime soon, so I don't know if I'll ever see Dennis again. But I'll never forget. Dennis, who saved my husband, the tow truck man with capable, capable hands.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Me, Me, It's All About ME!

This title might not be as subtle as Sally Field's Oscar acceptance speech for Places in the Heart, "You like me, right now, you like me!" However, in starting this blog, I'll be honest, I wasn't sure where this would take me: one man show, television pilot, Oprah's Book Club. And while all of those barely simmer on the back burner, this week has brought some wonderful gifts and I thought I'd share them with you...


First up, Vodka Mom. I was just doing my own thing, writing irreverent blog posts. And BAM, dozens, count em, DOZENS of comments came rolling in. Many of these new visitors said that Vodka Mom had sent them, that she would kick their collective asses if they did not click on over to my blog!! So I go to Vodka Mom's Blog and first thing I see is my picture. And the link. In two days I gained 40 plus followers, and all thanks to her. A big warm welcome to those of you who decided to drink my Kool-Aid. And a huge sloppy cyber kiss to Vodka Mom!

Schmutzie has a blog called Five Star Friday. She must be a one heck of a reader because weekly she culls her favorite blog posts, offering them up for us to peruse. I barely have enough time to splash water on my pits and have dinner ready on time. This last Friday, Mommy With a Penis was included. It was the piece I wrote about the Perez Hilton/Miss California debacle. (It also was the first piece, in which I included video. For those of you who do not know me, that was a huge technological hurdle.) I affectionately call it Anyone Have a Spare Bucket of Pig's Blood?

Errant Parent is launching a new blog magazine today! It's quirky and wonderful. They are looking for submissions that have to do with being a parent, yet are also humorous and have an edge. I feel quite honored to be featured. Look for Sometimes a Girl Needs a Kicky Pair of Boots.

Lastly, I am performing on Mother's Day, in a show called Mamarama. The tag line is: Hilarious and heartfelt tales from the mom/writer/performers who birthed them. I shall be performing a piece called Glamorous Life, which includes a song I wrote...the one and only. I'm excited because I'll be performing with Laraine Newman!! Incredibly cool. Connie Conehead herself. The other moms performing are Caroline Aaron, Miyoko and Wendy Hammers, the show's creator. For those of you in Southern Cali and would like to see it, the info is as follows:

Mothers' Day, May 10th, at 7:30
Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center
The Edye Second Space
1310 11th Street, Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica
$20


On the down side of things, I did not win the swing set contest over at Dad Blogs. But the dads (and moms) over there are a continual source of inspiration and I've enjoyed being a part of Fatherhood Fridays.

A big, humongous bear hug to all of you who have supported Mommy With a Penis. To quote Sally Field once more, "If I hadn't fought back, I might have been Gidget forever."

It really doesn't have to do with anything, I just thought it a nice bookend!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

And Then There's Bea


I have just possibly done the gayest thing in my entire life. I changed my ring tone to the theme song from Maude. Of course this choice is in homage to the legendary deadpan Bea Arthur who passed away Saturday morning. (I guess my other choice could have been Thank You for Being a Friend from The Golden Girls. Yeah, not so much.) As a matter of fact, I was so taken with the moment, I not only bought And Then There's Maude, but the entire Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends album on iTunes. (Can I still say album? It sounds so wrong.)

When I first met Michael he would do this weird thing. He'd say a joke and then to punch the laugh he'd look away and do a take. Thing is, the take would be to no one. I finally pieced together that my man goes nowhere without his invisible camera. He was practicing his Bea Arthur technique, the standard comedic ba-dah-bum rhythm. Think of the typical Dorothy moment on The Golden Girls: "Shut up, Rose,"-beat-take to the camera. And my husband would do that. In a restaurant, in the park, sometimes in the bedroom, didn't matter. He longed to be the next Bea Arthur.

About seven years ago Michael and I went to see her show here in LA. We stood in line behind Sharon Stone waiting to get into the theatre. Sharon Stone! What a sighting, right? This was right after the komodo dragon attacked her ex-husband's foot. And she was talking to her friend about the problems she was having with her psychic. I thought I hit star sighting jackpot. I could spin this one out for years. But after Queen Bea stepped on that stage, the Sharon Stone thing became a distant memory. Bea was genius. She opened the show with a piece called Lamb, in which she tells the audience how she prepares leg of lamb. I don't know how she did it, but somehow she made this mundane Julia Child recipe hysterically funny. Tears were running down my face, I was laughing so hard. She probably could have read Moby Dick and I'd bust a gut. I think we will all miss this virtuoso of comedy.


Compromisin', enterprisin', anything but tranquilizin'...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

That Crazy Chicken

Writing about gay marriage in the previous post made me think of the following story...

Once upon a time, Little Chicken was living his fab twinkbottom life in West Hollywood when he stumbled upon the fact that Burger King gave money in support of Prop 8. He said to himself, "They think heterosexual marriage is more legit than homosexual marriage." And with that, Little Chicken flipped his apricot lowlights and said, "The lie is galling. The lie is galling! I must go to the Times and expose Burger King."

On the way to the Times Office Downtown, Little Chicken ran into his bulldyke buddy Henna Placenta (not her real name) who was coming out of her tattoo parlor. Little Chicken called out to her, "Henna Placenta, Henna Placenta, did you hear Burger King gave money in support of Prop 8?"

Henna Placenta torqued her head, cracked her neck and said, "That makes my blood boil. But what can we do?"

"Well, I'm on my way to the Times Office Downtown," crowed Little Chicken. "Why don't you join me."

"But I have a bitch of a client inside mid tat. I just came out for a smoke," said Henna Placenta.

"But they say heterosexual marriage is more legit than homosexual marriage." And with that Little Chicken flipped, Henna Placenta cracked and they both said, "The lie is galling. The lie is galling!!"

"Screw my client. Instead, I will go with you to the Times and expose Burger King!" exclaimed Henna Placenta.

So, Little Chicken and Henna Placenta started to make their way to the Times Office Downtown. As they walked past No Harm No Fowl Gym, the doors burst open and out strutted an incredibly beefy Turkey Workout wearing a silk tank top and Spandex short shorts. Seeing his friends, he barrelchested his way to them. "Great workout," he said in an oddly high pitched voice while flexing his pecs. "Anyone up for a latte?"

"Turkey Workout, Turkey Workout we can't," said Little Chicken. "Burger King gave money in support of Prop 8. Henna Placenta and I are on our way to the Times Office Downtown. Won't you join us?"

"I really had my mouth set on that latte."

"But they say that heterosexual marriage is more legit than homosexual marriage."

And with that, Little Chicken flipped, Henna Placenta cracked, Turkey Workout flexed and the three of them clucked, "The lie is galling. The lie is galling!!"

"The latte can wait. Instead, I will go with you to the Times to expose Burger King!" announced Turkey Workout.

And so, the three friends continued on their journey. On their way, Little Chicken, Henna Placenta and Turkey Workout bumped into Loosey Poosey coming out of a spin class. Little Chicken called out, "Loosey Poosey, Loosey Poosey."

"Little Chicken," exclaimed Loosey Poosey, her legs spread a little bit too wide, "give Mama some sugar." And Loosey Poosey overpowered Little Chicken with a little too much PDA making the others uncomfortable.

"Slut," Henna Placenta whispered under her breath.

Little Chicken had a brilliant idea, "Loosey Poosey, you must come with us to the Times. I just found out Burger King gave money in support of Prop 8."

"Hold up! She can't come," Henna Placenta spat out. "She's not even gay."

"Maybe not. But I am a beard for hire," said Loosey Poosey. Then pointing to Little Chicken she added, "And I'm his capon hag.

"Good enough for me," chirped Turkey Workout.

"Loosey Poosey," said Little Chicken, "they say heterosexual marriage is more legit than homosexual marriage!"

And with that Little Chicken flipped, Henna Placenta cracked, Turkey Workout flexed, Loosey Poosey tried very hard to not lay an egg and they all exclaimed in unison,"The lie is galling. The lie is galling!!"

"I will go with you to the Times to expose Burger King," said Loosey Poosey. "Just let me find someplace to lay an egg."

"Starbucks is near by," offered Turkey Workout still hoping to get that latte.

"We don't have the time," groused Henna Placenta. "You'll have to cop a squat behind that tree."

Shorty after Loosey Poosey laid her egg, the four continued on their journey, when they bumped into Rocky Cocky, Lucky Phucky, and Moe the Moo Cow coming out of the Pleasure Chest. Surprisingly, it didn't take long to convince the threeway to join them on their journey, considering they had just purchased new sex toys and Ukrainian porn.

"Of course," said Rocky Cocky.

"Lead the way," said Lucky Phucky.

"Moe," lowed Moe the Moo Cow.

"No, Moe, it's Moo," said Lucky Phucky gently. "Try it again."

Moe the Moo Cow took in a deep breath, and with all the concentration he could muster, "MOE!"

The others looked on with confusion. "Moe has a speech impediment," Lucky Phucky explained.

While Moe was practicing his moo, Turkey Workout sidled up to Rocky Cocky and said, "Looks like you were enhanced at the Pleasure Chest."

"What do you mean?" asked Rocky Cocky.

Turkey Workout answered the question by glancing down to Rocky Cocky's bulging crotch. Nonplussed, Rocky Cocky said, "Dude, that's not enhancement, that's me. One hundred percent Rocky Cocky." And he strutted away leaving Turkey Workout looking down at his less than stellar rocky cocky.

Once the speech therapy and dick wagging were over with Little Chicken said, "They say heterosexual marriage is more legit than homosexual marriage."

And with that, Little Chicken flipped, Henna Placenta cracked, Turkey Workout flexed, Loosey Poosey felt another egg coming on, Rocky Cocky adjusted himself, Lucky Phucky watched Rocky Cocky adjust himself, Moe the Moo Cow popped his cud and they all said, "The lie is galling. The lie is galling!!" All except for Moe the Moo Cow who said something that sounded like, "The sky is falling. The sky is falling!!" Which, of course makes no sense whatsoever.

At that moment a sleek limo pulled right in front of them and the passenger who stepped out seemed disappointed there was no paparazzi.

"Look," said Little Chicken, "It's that actor."

Turkey Workout squealed like a girl. "Which actor?"

Little Chicken excitedly regaled, "The one who was on that medical show. You know, he got fired and had to go into anger management classes. He called one of his cast mates a faggot, when in reality..."

"He's a closet case," Henna Placenta cut him off.

"Oh, now I remember," said Turkey Workout. "What's his name?"

"Foxy Detoxy," said Loosey Poosey dreamily, her egg slipping.

Then Little Chicken did the boldest thing of his life. He approached Foxy Detoxy and blurted out, "Hey, Foxy Detoxy, I'm Little Chicken and these are my friends, Henna Placenta, Turkey Workout, Loosey Poosey, Rocky Cocky, Lucky Phucky and Moe the Moo Cow."

Moe the Moo Cow nodded his head in acknowledgement, "MOE."

"It's moo, Moe," Lucky Phucky gently corrected.

Little Chicken continued, "We found out Burger King gave money in support of Prop 8. Now, we're on our way to the Times and we sure could use some star power."

"Not to mention the limo," added Henna Placenta.

"Hey guys," warned Cocky Rocky adjusting himself, "I think you should listen to me. And not just because I'm well endowed, but because I'm a Rhodes Scholar as well. For reasons far too obvious to mention I don't think it's a good idea to enlist help from Foxy Botoxy."

"That's Detoxy," said the actor. "Foxy Botoxy is that bottle blond country western singer who warbles about Jolene. And there's no reason to worry about me. After my anger management therapy, I became Hindu. Also I'm a vegan. So unless you're Tofurky, you're perfectly safe."

Everyone involuntarily looked at Turkey Workout who misinterpreted the cue and cried out, "Why are you looking at me? Just because I have bulging thighs that can crack walnuts doesn't mean I've done steroids." His voice went up an octave. "Well, I haven't I tell you. I haven't! Some people have small dicks naturally."

This caused the group to look at Rocky Cocky's crotch, which caused him to get a slight pudgy, which made Loosey Poosey think it was time to lay another egg, but instead she just passed some evil smelling egg gas, which caused Moe the Moo Cow to "Moe," and Lucky Phucky to correct, "Moo."

When the ruckus settled down and the egg gas dissipated, Foxy Detoxy said, "You birds are behind the eight ball."

Moe the Moo Cow stomped his hoof demanding recognition.

"Sorry." apologized Foxy Detoxy. "You birds and bovine are behind the eight ball."

Moe moed, accepting the apology.

"Homosexuals already are banning many restaurants who donated money to stop gay marriage," said Foxy Detoxy.

Little Chicken said, "You mean, it's not just Burger King?"

"Of course not. There's also Outback Steakhouse, Acapulco, Chevy's, El Coyote, Yard House, El Pollo Loco."

A distinctive pall fell over the group. Finally Little Chicken spoke in a breathy whisper, "Did you say El Pollo Loco?"

"Yes," said Foxy Detoxy. "It was my favorite place until the ban was implemented. Why do you think I became vegan?"

Then there was a cacophony of lament: "Not El Pollo Loco." "I have it for dinner once a week." "I have it for dinner every night." "I have it for breakfast." "This is upsetting." "I'm sure I need to lay another egg." "Their chicken is so tender." "So juicy." "It's char broiled, not fried." "MOE!" "That's moo." "So much better than KFC." "I'm a chicken and I love El Pollo Loco." "Cannibal."

And they all just stood there, not sure what to do next. Surprisingly, it was Turkey Workout who broke the silence, "Sorry, if I caused a scene back there. I may as well admit that I've been taking...antihistamines, yeah that's it, antihistamines...and I haven't had a thing to eat all day. Why don't we grab a late lunch?"

"But where?" asked Henna Placenta cracking her knuckles. "All my favorite places are banned."

"Well then," said Turky Workout, "what do you say we all go for a latte? My treat."

And that's how Little Chicken, Henna Placenta, Turkey Workout, Loosey Poosey, Rocky Cocky, Lucky Phucky, Moe the Moo Cow and Foxy Detoxy ended up at Starbucks in the middle of the day, distracting themselves from the ban. But they all secretly knew, deep in their hearts, that some day, perhaps even tomorrow, they will ignore ban and once again experience the succulence that is El Pollo Loco.

This, of course, is a parable. My son, Sebastian, wants El Pollo Loco chicken EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, and sometimes for breakfast. It's one of the three things he eats. And I hate to admit it, but at times I succumb.

El Pollo Loco donated $6,000 dollars to Yes on 8, more than any other restaurant contributor. So, because of my child, I close my eyes to the cause, butch up and cross the line. Oh, the shame of it. But guess what's for dinner tonight. That's right. Better dig my plaid lumberjack shirt out of the hamper.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Anyone Have a Spare Bucket of Pig's Blood?

I haven't watched a beauty contest in ages. I'm just not that kind of queen. As a kid I would always root for my home state to win. I would insist she was the prettiest, the most talented, had the best taste in shoes. And from what I hear, Sunday night was no exception for Miss California. She was the front runner of the evening's events. And then in this Miss USA Pageant, like in all Miss USA Pageants, she had to go through the question/answer portion of the evening. And that's when Miss California opened her mouth...


A transcript...

Perez Hilton: Vermont recently became the forth state to legalize same sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not? (A tricky question, a basket of asps Obama doesn't like to touch, but still she might be able to finesse an articulate response. Mightn't she? She is a resident of left-leaning California after all.)

Carrie Prejean, Miss California: Well, I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. (Confuse me, when was this choice made available?) Um, we live in a land that you can choose same sex marriage or opposite marriage. (The dreaded opposite marriage.) And, you know what, in my country (Huh?) and in (She does a slight Porky Pig stutter. Find your thought. Find it.) in my family I think that I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. (And "I think that I believe that" you found your thought.) No offense to anyone out there. (Great offence to how you're butchering the English language.) But that's how I was raised and that's how I think that it should be, between a man and a woman. Thank you. (Amen. God Bless America. Give that woman a baby to kiss and an assault weapon to autograph.)

Later on Fox News she said:

"This happened for a reason. By having to answer that question in front of a national audience, God was testing my character and faith. I'm glad I stayed true to myself."

Then we spiral out of control. The blogista Perez Hilton calls Missy C a dumb bitch, then apologizes, then recants the apology, then calls her a B again and to drive his point home, he calls her a C (not a Californian) and all on national TV. Carrie Prejean takes a different tact. On TV she says she feels sorry for Perez, says she will pray for him, and goes on to expound that she was only sharing her opinion.

Okay, then, my opinion... Perez, dude, you went way over the top. I'm all for the cause, but she's like eighteen or something, a child basically, and you're the one doing the name calling.

And Carrie, my inarticulate beauty, you're right to have your opinions. But you must realize that what you believe, or what I believe for that matter, should not have any bearing on our Supreme Court's decision. This is a civil rights issue, not a religious one. The Bible or the Torah or the Qur'an or Watership Down or Frankenstein or Goodnight Moon cannot be a part of this argument. We're talking equal rights, not beliefs. Because the God you so revere, who tells you gay marriage is wrong and opposite marriage is right, conflicts with the God who sanctified my husband's and my marriage in His church. Religion has to stay out of the final argument.

Now consider the following: "All marriages of white persons with negroes or mulattoes [shall be] declared to be illegal and void." This was put into our state's law in 1850. It was written by those who had strong opinions. Those who let their personal discomfort rule over protecting Californian's civil rights. In 2009, banning interracial marriage seems ludicrous. However, this law was in effect for almost one hundred years. It wasn't overturned until 1948.

Yes. Opinions. Opinions can hurt. Opinions have power. Opinions can splinter and distance. As you go further into adulthood, I hope you will become more diplomatic and take other's opinions into account, as well as your own. Mr. Hilton was wrong with his name calling, but his volcanic anger was justified. By staying true to yourself, your answer was a big fat loogie in the face of many of your fans. Perez is still wiping it off, believe me. Now, I did not attend the event, but there is no way you looked as beautiful as you did without a gaggle of gay men working you head to toe. Likewise, think of the lesbians who helped hang the lights, build the stage, make the extra trips to Home Depot. You spurned the very brothers and sisters who helped to make your night almost a complete success, Miss First Runner Up.

And I realize this is not totally your fault. You have been conditioned by your community, your family, your church, but now it's time now to open your eyes. Learn to be judicious, because next time you speak with complete disregard I will not be able to defend you with the youth card. And maybe when you're getting your tan sprayed on, or when your Christian boobs are being glued into your dress, or as you saunter center stage in your evening gown, someone you disrespected might just have a bucket of pig's blood handy. And darling, red is not your color.

When We Were Swinging Singles...

When I turned five, I was given a swing set for my birthday!!

Yes, that's me in the center. I had a coyboy themed party with pony rides and roasted weenies. The girl on the left was my first crush. Her name was Jody. Ironically, my son, Sebastian, has a major crush in his kindergarten class with a girl named Jody as well. The girl on the right is Amity. From what I hear, she's amazingly successful living in Zurich or something. Even from this pic you can tell she would strive to the top of her field. Unfortunately, I have lost track entirely of delightful entity, simply known as Jody.

I'm writing about swing sets today because over at Dad Blogs, they are giving away a tremendous redwood doozie that looks like this:

A big different than what was top of the line in 1967.

By writing this post, I get ten entries towards winning this for Bash and Maxie. I just have to put down some particulars. Here they be... For swing set info go to Kids Creations. For Dad Blogs rules and regs (that's right you can enter and win this as well) go to Dad Blogs Contest. And if that isn't sweet enough, they are also giving away a Canon PowerShot digital camera! And if you do enter, be sure to say it was Mommy With a Penis who sent you!

Here's the sad truth of the matter. I want to win this so that I can vicariously live through my son and his jodycrush. With the Rolls Royce of swing sets perhaps he will keep track of his Jody and not live as I do... With days, years, decades passing me by, contemplating about the demure, sensitive, wonderful Jody. Where is my Jody? How is my Jody doing? Can my Jody truly say she is happy? Or is she living her day to day in a nebulous haze wondering about me? So for my son's future mental health (and perhaps my own) I want to win this redwood extravaganza of unadulterated, pure Jody...I mean, joy.

Ahhh, JODY...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dear Madonna

Dear Madonna,

It seems oddly appropriate that I start a letter to you on Easter Sunday. I have been thinking a lot about you lately, and I know first hand the pain you are going through. You want to hole up in a cave. You want to hold your children close. You are ready to strike at the first idiot who crosses your path. You feel as if your heart has been ripped out and served on an ornate platter. You want the world to shut up, because your torment is not for others' blithe entertainment. You feel no matter how long you lick, your wounds will never heal. You will bitch slap the next person who tries to create logic out of an illogical situation, and personally if anyone espouses, "it was meant to be" or "it's God's will" you have my permission to scratch their snatch out.

I know this because my husband, Michael, and I have suffered through eight failed adoptions. Three birth mothers who changed their minds, an incompetent social worker, a fucking Mountain Dew swilling scam artist and a little boy who didn't live a day are a few of our horrendous tales. And like your judge in Malawi, every single failure was at the hands of well meaning yet idiotic adults, who let a false sense of "what is right" get in their way, causing them to make horrifically bad choices.

Fact, there are one million orphans in Malawi. Fact, a good percentage of these children will have short life expectancies and many will end up with AIDS. Fact, the world is not rushing to help this poor country. What possible reason could anyone with synapses firing give to not help a child with these unfortunate circumstances?

I get that people see you as racy. They know about your colorful past. You're the Material Girl with questionable mothering skills. The pop star who changes hair color as often as you do accents. The fashionista who wears Jean Paul Guaultier pointy boob outfits to the mall. But I, personally, would have let you adopt this little girl. Hell, I would have let you adopt a baker's dozen if you would have taken them. For Pete's sake, your name is Madonna!

If not Malawi, then may I suggest another country. Both my sisters went to Korea for their babies. Actually, you may find their story interesting... My sister, Sara shares my birthday and that of your oldest daughter Lourdes (freaky, right?) She and her husband went the adoption route for their second child. About a year and a half after they adopted Quentin, Korea called saying birth mom had given birth again. Would they like this child as well? But Sara was pregnant and an adopted child is almost never placed in a home with a newborn.

So, Sara texted my other sister Julie, and asked if she wanted this little boy. (I know, she didn't phone or write or smoke signal. She texted.) A little bit about Julie... Julie bore three children and was stick-a-fork-in-her-she's-done with the baby thing. No more diapers. No more getting up at all hours. No more projectile vomit. Fahgeddaboutit! Kaput!! DONE!!! And yet, when she heard about this little Korean fellow who needed a home the hairs on her arm stood on end. Fait accompli. It took about ten months, but finally she and Rob went to Korea to bring Baby Julian home. Quentin and Julian are biological brothers who are being raised in my family as first cousins.

Thing about Korea, Mad Dog, they have serious restrictions for prospective adoptive parents.

For instance, you can't be fat. Now, even I can vouch that isn't an issue with you. Last Summer, a friend of a friend had spare tickets for Michael and I to see your Sweet and Sticky concert. You are quite possibly the most unfat individual I've ever seen. You are a machine for fuck sake! I watched you power jumprope while singing harmony! You didn't get winded, didn't break a sweat. Hell, I huff and puff when opening a bag of Lays.

Also, you can't be gay. Now, you're in the music industry, so this may or may not have anything to do with you. Hard to tell. My advice if you go the Korean route...cool it with girl on girl PDAs at award ceremonies.


Wait a minute. Hold the phone. I just thought of a reason why Korea is not going to let you adopt a kid. And it's nothing to do with your Judaic-Hindu-Christian beliefs. Sorry to have to say this, Madge. You're too old.

Now, if overseas adoptions continue to be a pain in the tuchis, there is your home country. Another story... When Maxie was a baby, I'd carry her around in the Guatemalan sling and strangers would be drawn to her as they are to babies. But they wouldn't tell me how beautiful she was, no. They'd ask, "Where is she from, Malawi or Ethiopia?" (Witness the influence of you and Angelina.) And I have to admit, I had a little bit of pride when I responded, "Neither. LA County."

There are an estimated 500,000 children in the foster care system in the US. Just sayin'. It's an alternative to the overseas thing. Just don't try to adopt from Arkansas. Another example of misguided, well meaning adults. Arkansans believe it's much better for an orphan of their state to circle the foster care system than be adopted by single folks like you. (Single folks often being code for gay people.) That one burned me up this last election more than the passing of Prop 8 in California.

Word of warning. This little girl will always be with you. You will see her smile, hear her laugh. You will create a special place for her in your heart. I don't know if you plan to be a part of her life, Michael and I chose to cut ties to the children who touched us. But I think about them. Wish them the best. The memories continue to be painful. The ones caused by well meaning people.

I hope you don't give up. If having a larger family is important to you, and it's not filling some emotional void left from your divorce, then as someone who went through eight failed adoptions, I say take some deep breaths, align your chakras and get right back up on that horse, little lady.

Hope this helps.

Mommy With a Penis

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Vacation Picturesque


The place: Lake Arrowhead. Purty nuf vacation spot, but I swear life here is ess ell oh doubleyou. Restaurants close at eight. Townsfolks have the dickens of a time answering direct questions. We asked our concierge (I'm sure he doesn't call himself that) what a good family activity would be in nearby Big Bear, and with giddy glee he tells us about the Target and the Mervyn's. Oh, goody, discount stores! We leave the mountains tomorrow, drive our broken car down the hill to the desert where more adventures await.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Vacation Heaven


The kids get tired so easily. I couldn't wake them up from this nap. I tickled them. Jumped on the bed. Buzzed their bellies. And they'd just roll over and go back to sleep. Perhaps I shouldn't let them eat the olives from my martini.

Vacation Hell



My husband behind the wheel. My kids in the car. My heart in my throat. First day of vacation in Lake Arrowhead.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Glamorous Life

Last night, I performed in Hollywood at the Improv Olympic West. This piece is sort of ragtag, pulled from many of my writings. The poem looking sections throughout were sung. Yes, I actually wrote lyrics and created a tune. So, for those of you who couldn't make the show, I present...


Come on. You can do it. Pppppp. That’s right. Lips together. Pppppp. Like you’re blowing a bubble. Ppppp. Papa. It’s that easy. You can do it smart boy. Papa. Just forget you shouldn’t be able to do plosives for thirteen months. That’s it! That’s it! Lips together.

"Mama."

What? No, you couldn’t have... What?

***

Our oldest, Sebastian, uttered his first word at twelve months. It was Cosmo. Cosmo is our overly needy husky. He was named after the libation, and takes medication for separation anxiety. Sebastian's second word was Dada. And shortly after that, Mama.

Michael and I always knew we were going to adopt. But we didn’t fully examine the care taking end of it. I think we both assumed the other would be the primary. Consequently, I never saw myself as stay-at-home anything. Being mommy was never part of my programming. I was supposed to tolerate my kids, humiliate them on the tennis court, and teach them make me the perfect scotch and soda. So, this bathing and changing and feeding and cooing over every single moment of every single day...is not a natural fit.

***
The sun is barely up,
The baby cries awake.
This day is like any other.
Breakfast ends up on the floor.
We’re late out the door.
I’m a discontented mother.

I got two kids
Who demand my time.
Well, three if you count my hubby.
My career is stuck,
Priorities suck,
I’m losing hair and getting chubby.

Welcome to my glamorous life,
I’m a doormat, referee and wife.
And sometimes I want to pick up a knife,
And carve out some time for me.

***

Okay. Let’s try it again. Papa.

"Mama."

Papa.

"Mama."

Come on, you don’t want me to have a complex, do you? I'm the one who gets up in the middle of the night. I make your baby food using organic vegetables. I am the center of your whole world. So, it would be nice...not that I’m pushing...but it would be really nice if you would just ppppppp Papa. No. Okay. I’m strong. So what if you call me mama.

"Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama. MAAAAA MAAAAA!"

***


Last spring, my stepmother sent me a tropical plant. Attached to a chunk of hardened lava was a small anthurium. You know, glossy red flower with a protrusion sticking out of it. Well, about a month after receiving it I noticed a second flower. I said to my two year old daughter, "Look, a baby." And that statement has changed Maxie's thinking in a profound way. Immediately, she wanted touch the baby. I was wary. Her two year old grasp can crack walnuts. I insisted on aquarium rules. At the Long Beach Aquarium, you can "pet" zebra sharks only if you use the flight-attendant-nearest-exit technique. Maxie agreed. After lunch, she would gently caress Baby. It became part of our routine.

Soon, other objects became Baby as well. A doll's shoe, Baby. Small rubber ball, also Baby. Then there was Baby rock. Baby toe nail. Baby tomato. Baby poo poo. Baby snot. Anything, really. As long as larger something was accompanied by smaller something, invariably smaller something would be Baby.

One day, Maxie was lovingly petting Baby anthurium and her focus changed. She began to pet the larger of the two flowers. She looked at me with a triumphant smile and said, "Mommy." Her tapping grew more urgent. "Mommy," she said again, flower flopping back and forth. "Mommy." Excitement taking over. "Mommy, mommy, mommy."

I quickly took the plant away before it was traumatized with love. As I placed it back on the windowsill, I whispered to the tall flower, "Mommy with a penis."

During my tenure as mommy, I have become aware that mommies are amazingly underappreciated by society. And I have a theory. We may be the CEOs of the hearth, but because we do not draw a salary, we are lower on the totem pole than the toilet scrubber at Denny’s.

I’ll prove it. Typical exchange. "What do you do?" "I’m a stay-at-home parent." "Oh... Well... Good for you. What else do you do?"

What else do I do? I’ll tell you what I do. The six C’s is what I do. That’s right. The six C’s. I cook. I clean. I carpool. I provide care and comfort. And when all of that is done, I cocktail. Heavily.

***
I had my dreams.
I studied hard
To become a classical actor.
Try not to laugh.
But I’m not Falstaff
I’m a Pampers benefactor.

What I must do
To keep my cool
Is lower expectations.
A life with dirt.
Poop on my shirt.
No X-rated vacations.

Welcome to my glamorous life.
I mean, of course, my crisis mid-life.
Cause sometimes I want to pick up a rifle
And blast out some time for me.

***

I want a room. A cozy room. With a door that can lock. Beautifully furnished. Muted tones. A room that isn’t marred with sticky hand prints or smashed Fruit Loops. Where I can curl up on the plush couch with a chenille lap robe. Fire crackling in the fireplace. A room to luxuriate in, like the one Carol Lawrence did in those commercials for International Coffees. Remember those? "Mmmm. You can taste the cinnamon."

Dinner put away. Dishes washed. Kids tucked safely into their beds. Husband off making millions. Because isn’t that the commercial’s subtext? Isn’t that the promise? Isn’t that why Carol Lawrence feels secure sipping flavored coffee in the middle of the night?

Do I have that? No. I bought the coffee, but I don’t have the room. You lied to me Carol Lawrence. There is no lap robe. There is no crackling fire. There is no leisure. I am not celebrating the moments of my life!

***

It’s dirty diaper, be a butt wiper,
Don’t yell. Share with your sister.
Put your toys away. Three squares a day.
Stop rubbing. You’ll get a blister.

It’s time for school. Homework. Carpool.
Eat your green beans. Make your bed.
Put down the phone. Don’t use that tone.
And get up off your sister’s head.

NOW!

If I had the time,
Tell you what I’d do,
I’d learn Italian and...do some drugs.
Crystal meth sounds nice,
Horse, crank or ice.
I’d interact with junkies and thugs.

Or better yet,
I’d go out on the town,
And go down on lots of men.
In the backseat of a car,
Bathroom stall, seedy bar.
Or maybe I’d try a woman again!

Thank God for my fantasy life.
It sustains me in times of mental strife.
Cause otherwise I’d pick up a...fife.

That’s right. The woodwind.
Like the Pied Piper plays.
So I can mobilize an army of attack rats
With razor sharp claws,
Who will do my evil bidding.
Sort of like in Willard,

Except they will not turn on me in the end.

...Yes, I’d pick up a fife.
And trill out some time,
Chirp out some time,
Flute out and lute out and toot out
A frickin’ little bit of time...

"Call me Papa, dammit!"

...for me.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Band-Aid Torture

My daughter comes up to me, big smile on her face, Band-Aid on her forehead. I size up the situation and know what I must do. My fingers tingle as my whole being fills with anticipation. Maxie steps closer saying something about Black Doggie. I quickly ignore her two year old prattle, and focus on the task at hand. I only have one shot, and I don't want to blow it. One more step, her face open, her eyes full of trust. DON'T. I can't afford any sentimentality. Sentimentality clouds the judgement. And it is clear...abundantly clear the course of action I must take. Now I'm in the zone. Maxie begins to lean in. Her mouth parts, eyes blink. Wait for it. All my focus goes to ripping off that motherfuckin' Band-Aid. Three...two...

Why do kids go ape shit over Band-Aids? (I probably should have written adhesive bandages instead of the brand name, but like most Americans I also refer to tissues as Kleenex, gelatin as Jell-O, and change as Obama.) Every time I buy a box of Scooby Doo or Dora or Sponge Bob Band-Aids, at four dollars twenty-nine cents a pop, I am certain only about twenty-three percent of the box will be used for physical wounds.

What happens to the other seventy-seven percent...

Child falls. Child cries. Says he/she has boo-boo. Hysterics will not go away until child is bribed with cartoon Band-Aid. Peace restored. There is no wound, of course. In this scenario the Band-Aid heals emotional scars.

Or they are used as stickers. Band-Aids on cabinetry. Band-Aids on shower stalls. Band-Aids on the dog. In my house, a fresh box of Spidey Band-Aids will be gone in less than a week. Doesn't matter where I hide them. Their currency is worth more than candy, ice cream, bubbles and indelible marker combined.

For my own scrapes, I prefer the Sport Strip. They have tremendous sticktoitiveness. Seriously, they stick anywhere in any kind of conditions. You can sweat, you can take showers, you can sandbag a levee, and that sucker will stay stuck.

This was the Band-Aid my daughter was wearing on her forehead. And Sport Strips on a little girl's head is bad news. About a year ago Maxie found my stash and put a Sport Strip on her belly. No boo-boo this time. This was artistic expression. Even though it wasn't an accessory I'd choose, I let her have her fun. I figured I'd wait for the thing to fall off naturally. Four or five days later, it was still there showing no sign of loosing its stick. I knew I had to take action. At first, I gently tugged, but that mothersucker wasn't budging. The adhesive had become an industrial epoxy. So, I pulled harder. Maxie scream was blood curdling. I might as well have been flaying her skin. A whole afternoon went by that included alcohol, cotton balls, treats and cuddles, and shots of scotch. An irritated red mark was left on her belly.

I wasn't going to let that happen again. I had to rip it off her forehead. I thought of it as a blood sucking leech, and this was a life or death situation. Three...Two... Riiiiippppp. First the silence, followed by...SCREEEEEAM! Between my thumb and forefinger the limp leech dangled impotently.

She still has an adhesive oval on her forehead and a third of her eyebrow came off, but other than that, she's fine. To calm her, I plopped her in front of the TV. Curious George is really better for emotional scars anyway.

Side note: As I was putting this piece together, my daughter saw that I had a picture of a Hello Kitty Band-Aid and insisted I print it out for her. My son then wanted the Scooby Doo. And neither would go to sleep without holding those pieces of paper with cartoon Band-Aids on them. Think of the money I would have saved, had I known this years earlier. Next time my kid gets a boo-boo, I'm printing out a picture of a Strawberry Shortcake Band-Aid.

Side side note: Neither was interested in sleeping with the Jesus Bandages.