May 13, 2015
by admin
2 Comments

My Wonderful, Inappropriate Family

I love my family. My loud, inappropriate, angry, loving, and there for you at the drop of a hat family.

I grew up in Brooklyn, where the usual mode of communication was what I would call, “blunt yelling.” It’s something my husband had a hard time getting used to. He would say, “Why are you yelling at me? Why don’t you just walk over to where I am and talk to me?” And I would say, “BECAUSE THIS IS HOW FAMILIES TALK IN HOUSES.”

I’m working on it.

My mom, dad (who passed away in 2003), and two sisters spoke to each other in ways that many other families would consider unacceptable. One favorite family story is of the time we discussed bestiality over Thanksgiving dinner (there were questions that needed answers). Another is of the time in high school when I was on the phone with my mom and said, “F**k you,” while laughing at some ridiculous thing she said. The girl next to me was shocked. “Did you just say ‘F you’ to your mother?!” I said, “What? No. No, I would never do that.” But I totally did. To this day, my mother’s go-to sign-off from a conversation is to walk away while flipping the double bird behind her back. Because like a picture, “f**ck you” says a thousand words.

I love it all. I know that these aren’t respectful or polite ways to talk to members of your family, but they sure are honest. And it would be hurtful and empty if it weren’t for the fact that we also love each other fiercely. My mom, my sisters, and I have been through everything from my twin sister’s cancer diagnosis, to my father’s death, to the cancelation of Magnum, P.I. (R.I.P, Hairy Legs), and our love for each other has only deepened through it all. No, we might not be well-mannered around each other, but to me your family is the one group of people you shouldn’t have to be well-mannered for. They are the people you laugh with till your stomach hurts, cry with till your head aches, yell at till your throat is raw, and share a bathroom with when you both have food poisoning. And though none of that is polite, it is, to me, what family means.

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For May, Netflix asked its #StreamTeam members to write about their families in honor of their new original series, Grace and Frankie (Jane Fonda! Lily Tomlin! JANE FONDA! LILY TOMLIN!). Dear God, please let Dolly Parton make a cameo appearance and I will never ask for anything else in my life.

May 11, 2015
by admin
4 Comments

Readin’ It Real With ‘Llama Llama Red Pajama’

llama llamaLet’s talk a little llama.

“Llama Llama Red Pajama” is a children’s book about a llama with night terrors and his long-suffering mother.

We start out the story with Little Llama (who I say looks like a Gregory) getting ready for bed with a stuffed animal who appears to be a terror-stricken version of himself. Given his sleep issues, that is not going to help matters. At all.

Gregory’s wonderful mother, a pearl-wearing June Cleaver kind of llama, reads her son a story, gives him a kiss, and then goes downstairs have a little “me time.” “Me time,” of course, means doing dishes by herself while staring out a window into the dark, dark night.

As is typical of children and, apparently, Cria (that’s what baby llamas are called, so now we’ve all learned something) Gregory decides he wants a glass of water within .5 seconds of his mother leaving. It was either going to be that or a dropped stuffy or an uneven blanket or the bedroom door is too open or too closed…you know how it goes. So Gregory calls to his mom for some water. She tells him she’ll be in there in one freakin’ second. But before she can rush to the aid of her parched son, the phone rings – a landline, old-school phone. Either this is one ironic hipster llama family or this story is set in the 1980’s. I vote hipster, so I’ll need to change Gregory’s name to something more appropriate.

Ansel Morning Jacket Llama starts crying because his mother hasn’t answered his call. We see that is because she is hoof-deep in dishes while balancing the phone to her ear, no doubt speaking with Ansel’s therapist, or perhaps with Ansel’s father who is telling her that he won’t be home for another hour or so. Whoever it is, she ain’t smiling.

Well, Gregory starts to fret because he doesn’t have his glass of water, which he wouldn’t need if he would just go to sleep. Using his poor logical reasoning skills, Ansel starts worrying that the reason June Llama hasn’t rushed upstairs yet is because she is no longer in the building. He thinks that June Cleaver Llama is gone. Now, this is a discussion I have had with my own children numerous times. I have never understood exactly why they think I would leave them alone at night and where I would be going. Have I ever abandoned you before? No? Then why now? WHY..NOW?

Sorry. Sore spot.

Poor little Ansel starts freaking out so mama drops everything and races upstairs, convinced that her child is bleeding and/or in the process of being abducted. But he’s not. Which is good, of course, if a little exasperating. Just once you’d like to run in response to a screaming child and find a man-sized rat in the room instead of a water bottle that’s just barely out of reach. June is pissed but quickly recovers and turns it into a sweet lesson about patience, gives him another kiss, and Gregory goes to sleep while she heads back downstairs to pull the phone out of the sink water and wonder what happened to her life.

She never does get him that glass of water, by the way.

Burn, Mama Llama.

April 28, 2015
by admin
5 Comments

Lying Liars And The Lies They Lie About

Image from FreeImages.com

Image from FreeImages.com

I told a lot of lies when I was a kid. I remember first grade as the time when my more extravagant lies were at their peak — that was the year I told my classmates that I didn’t have any fingers on my right hand (a birth defect) because my mother cut them off with a pair of scissors when I was a baby. I’m pretty sure Mom got a phone call that day.

You’re welcome, Mom.

I also went into great detail about a boat that my family owned (didn’t exist) and that the reason I was sad one day was because our dog died (she hadn’t.) Go big or go home, right?

When I first started thinking about this post, I said, “Wow. I never really lie anymore.” Then I thought about it some more and said, “Oh wait…I have kids. I tell bigger lies now than ever before.” Within the past week I have told my children that I will definitely not die for a long time, that they are welcome to live with me for the rest of their lives if they want to, and that Seattle will probably never have an earthquake. Now, these are big things to lie about, but all are totally acceptable when you’re a parent; no one’s going to  argue that telling a seven-year-old that their mother could die just driving to the grocery store would be a good idea. Especially not for my super-sensitive kids. I would never sleep alone again.

At seven, my twins are at the age where I’m starting to feel a little bit bad, or at least nervous, about some of these lies. It’s different when they’re two and you can tell them that kids who don’t behave well aren’t allowed to go the park by law. Now that they’re in elementary school I can see that the time when some ugly truths have to be revealed is bearing down on me. I’m talking about everything from the lack of a Santa to the fact that, in truth, there is no way I will allow them to live with me when they’re adults. No chance. Get out of my house I love you sweetie call me when you get home which is the place where you live on your own without me.

If you have older kids, I would love to hear your stories about when you had to finally start telling them the truth about these kinds of things. How old were they? How did it go?

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This post was written for Netflix to celebrate their new original show about lying liars telling lies, Bloodline.

#StreamTeam

April 11, 2015
by admin
4 Comments

I Went To My Kids’ Open House And Discovered My New Favorite Thing

Last week was Open House at my kids’ elementary school. That’s when all the teachers open up the classrooms so that you can speed-walk behind your running children as they lead you from room to room as quickly as possible in order to get to the ice cream social part of the evening.

It was a lot of fun and very sweaty, but the best part was when we visited the library and I happened to spy a series of books that are now my favorite things in the entire universe. Sorry, kids. You’ve been pushed back to number two.

book mil worker

That’s, “You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Victorian Mill Worker! A Grueling Job You’d Rather Not Have.”

book convict

And, of course, “You Wouldn’t Want To Be An 18th Century British Convict! A Trip To Australia You’d Rather Not Take.”

I just about died from joy.

Heck no, my kids wouldn’t want to be 18th century British convicts! You are absolutely right about that, book. I didn’t get a chance to page through these, but I am curious about how real these books get. I looked for quotes on the back that said things like, “It’s the funniest book about child labor you’ll read all year! — Ann Coulter,” but alas, there were none. If the entire book is done in a “man oh man, you’re not going to believe this one, kids” tone, then I would like to order the entire series and see how they cover other horrifying subjects. I have a few ideas:

  • “You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Girl During The Song Dynasty! The Agonizing Foot-Binding You’d Rather Not Have.”
  • “You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Slave In The American South! The Soul Crushing Injustice You Wouldn’t Want To Experience!” (Alternate title: “I Know I’m Three-Fifths Of A Human Being But What Are You?! And Other Games From America’s Past You Wouldn’t Want To Play.”)
  • “You Wouldn’t Want To Be a Medicinal Leech Collector! This Job Fucking Sucked.”

You know. Stuff like that.

March 27, 2015
by admin
7 Comments

I’m in a book and it comes out today!

19496_789206001158170_3884681758299427990_nI am thrilled to be part of an awesome anthology called I Still Just Want To Pee Alone, which is the follow-up to the New York Times bestseller, I Just Want To Pee Alone.

I’m one of forty bloggers who’ve contributed to the book, which is the brainchild of Jen Mann of People I Want To Punch In The Throat. Of the forty, mine is by far the least interesting but the rest of these bitches are fantastic. You’ll love it. I am so proud to be featured with a bunch of other writers who I love and respect.

Here are all the ways you can buy it:

1. KINDLE

2. AMAZON PAPERBACK

3. ITUNES

4. BARNES AND NOBLE

5. SIGNED COPY: If you order a copy directly from me (and no pressure here but I do have 50 copies sitting in my dining room that I need to get rid of) I will not only sign it but will also have my children come up with a random dedication for you. I’ll try to keep the number of times they use the word “toilet” to a minimum. Email me at [email protected] for a copy!

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Thanks to all of you for reading. Without this blog I never would have had the confidence (or skill) to live my dream of writing and being read.

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P.P.S. If you are a member of my family, you are expected to buy a book. Come on. Do it. Do it for the sake of all our future Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

 

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