You can take the girl out of Boulder…

Growing up in Boulder, Colorado I never fit in. I hated snow and cold and felt like the only person for miles and miles who passionately hated Tevas, North Face gear and tie dye (my apologies to my good fairy friend NakedJen), I truly thought that all clergy members wore Birkenstocks with socks, because that is totally what every minister I had encountered at that time wore (Until I joined the LDS Church when I was 16 and then later left,which is another post for another time but my experience was completely positive. But yeah…not a lot of Mormon Bishops rocking the Birks at Sacrament meeting). As soon as High School was over I got the heck out of dodge. (We’re all pretending the embarrassing bit where I came back for like 5 weeks for a boy didn’t happen, ok? Ah. The humiliation of youth, or is it the blind faith?)
When I got to California it was like I was reborn…all the things that made me a freak in Colorado, the wacky sense of humor, the offbeat fashion sense, the affinity for humongous Jackie-O shades and the desire to wear high heels to school every day now made me well, fascinating. There were many girls who I admired who had 17 years of California-ness on me and who had simply bloomed under the freedom to accessorize and costume how they saw fit.
It was heaven.
Oh yeah, I was still a train wreck in certain areas and continued to be (hmpf. I’m going with past tense it’s my blog!) for quite a while. Not ingesting any food for years on end can make a gal a little nutty. (See above where I moved back to Colorado for a boy) But I digress.

Quelle Surprise!
I found my footing in California, especially in Los Angeles and when Dub moved to LA it was even better! Dub, who had let me braid ribbons in her hair as 1st graders and also wore her slip on the outside while playing Little House on the Prairie  now was living not only in the same city as me, but the same apartment! It was as if all our let’s pretend games in our childhood had come true.
Heather was the first person I told I was pregnant  (I mean other than Zach and Gaily-O who helped decipher the very first oh-so-faint-test.) and she immediatly said “are you craving anything?” I told her OJ which is so weird because I didn’t like OJ before this. Dub said “oh thank God! I must be having sympathy cravings because I can’t get enough OJ!” I inquired if perhaps she too could be with child. She instantly poo-poohed the idea but a mere two days later she called me to inform me that she was all knocked up! WHOOHOOOOO!! We’ve gone through this before together, of course. We were 7 and both pregnant with Cabbage Patch kids at the time, and we lived in a cute little condo (aka my front porch) I do believe she was married to Rob Lowe and I was married to Michael J Fox…or I was married to Rob Lowe and she was married to Michael J Fox. Whatever.
Heather is, well truly graceful and just friggin lovely. I’m crazy jealous of it. Every boyfriend I ever had in high school eventually uttered the magic words: why can’t you be more like Heather?
Dude. Like I hadn’t been asking myself that on the daily since I was 3.
Heather of course, handled pregnancy with such glowing grace while I meanwhile quickly resembled Jabba the Hut and never stopped puking long enough to get any glow. How one can gain as much as I did whilst puking for 9 months is beyond me, but oh well! Heather wanted natural childbirth (me too!) she walked and did yoga (I hobbled and layed on the couch with a trash can nearby watching Law and Order), she planned on nursing and…what? Umm. No thanks. I was NO on breastfeeding. It just seemed kinda icky and I am not too touchy feely to begin no.
But Heather was doing it.
When we were 11 Heather and I spent every morning up on my roof suntanning. Of course we got stuck on the roof one day and Heather actually got stuck half on and half off, sort of hanging off the roof almost to the fence stuck and kinda scared. (I would have been too!) Obviously in this instance I was the one who had come up with the brilliant plan and thus I was the one in trouble. Dub’s mom asked the age old question:
If Stephanie jumped off a bridge would you? 11 year old Dub just looked at her and said ‘Duh.”
So if Heather is breastfeeding…then so am I!
Heather had Zu 6 whole days before Max joined us so I got to watch Dub get her nursing groove on before I had to awkwardly attempt to imitate her innate motherliness. And she was indeed, a natural.
Who would have thought it, but so was I! Max and I took to nursing like a duck takes to water, and I never looked back. Max is 18 months old now and we’re still going strong. I’ve nursed at IKEA, at the National Cathedral, on airplanes, in restaurants, basically anywhere my kid needs to eat…I feed him! It’s easier now of course, with sippies of hormone free organic milk and yummy biscuits. I find that even though I left Boulder long ago…I am still buying local grown organic veggies and fruits for Max. He eats whole grains and fresh avacado almost daily, I search for organic materials for his clothes. I have been a vegetarian for a hundred years and I am raising Max to eat healthily and cruelty free. His clothes are washed in cruelty free, dye free, perfume free detergent.
I’m a freaking Boulderite after all.
6 week old Max, looking for lunch
But I am NEVER wearing Birkenstocks.

Wordless Wednesday~ Who needs lip injections?

Phooey on lip plumping chemicals! I’ve found the secret to Angelina Jolie pillow lips! Simply allow your toddler to headbutt your lips first thing in the morning and viola!
Sexy, Kissable (although kinda sore) lips! Gloss and go…
Dr. 90210 ain’t got nothing on King Max! 

What do you mean flip flops aren’t Winter footwear?

First off let’s just discuss how I finally got it into my head that the proper term for these lovely little slip on shoes is now flip flops. Where I grew up we called them thongs. Call them that now and you get quite a few odd looks. Not that I don’t usually get odd looks, but it’s as if I’ve said something very dirty calling flip flops thongs.
Ah, well.

This week Zach and I got a bee in our proverbial bonnets (I really would give anything for a picture of Zach in a bonnet right this very second) to go through all of our many boxes and weed out the stuff we don’t even remember we have. And a lot of clothes we’ve not worn in ages. I am big on Spring Cleaning and was raised that in order for more to come in the house…stuff’s gotta go! But when all of your stuff has been boxed up for over a year you start to realize that you have a ton more than you need. I’m not talking kitchen stuff because we are using all the in laws stuff now, but everything else. Doo-dads and what’s its.  Just stuff. Too much stuff! We paid to move all this hist across the country twice and I’ll be danged if I’m paying to move one more thing that neccessary once it’s time for us to leave this version of the American Dream.

 Plus, I am going to nest like the dickens once we get our own space and make it MINE! ALL MINE!

While unpacking I tossed stuff out left and right, broke down boxes packed up three huge bags to take to the consignment store and 6 backs for the children’s charity that will come by on Tuesday.

I also found 29 pairs of thongs flip flops. 29. I need FFA, Flip Flops Anonymous. In LA I wore them every single day unless I was wearing Uggs or heels. And pregnant? Forget the heels and Uggs. Nothing but flip flops. I’ve got three pairs of pink: baby, light and hot. Two green: dark and kelly. Yellow with a little buckle. Brown,red, white and blue. Floral, plaid ones with bows and( God help me) one pair with kitten heels. Remember those? Two of my favorite things…thongs flip flops and kitten heels. Two great tastes that taste great together? Not so much. That’s a shoe that should just stay gone, n’est ce pas? The rest are all black. 16 pairs of black flip flops. Casual. Strappy ones with a little gold Bee (also have these in pink) patent leather, ones with a flower on the toe. No rubber pool flops though…just fashion flip flops.  The idea of fashion flip flops cracked me up.

I’ve weeded it down to 14 pairs of thongs flip flops. I don’t think I can go any lower! I need them! I love sundresses and flip flops and sunglasses, it’s my year round Summer (sob) uniform.

Today is sunny but brisk. The air is chilly and sharp, but I SO busted out my cheery yellow buckled flip flops. They make me smile. Also? Made an appointment for a pedicure. Winter does stuff to the toesies!

Flip flops, flip flops, FLIP FLOPS…If I keep saying it, maybe I’ll get it through my thick skull that we


My friend Geri found this on You Tube today…I haven’t seen it in ages and ages. It was the second commercial I ever did, and just a blast to shoot! The people at Southwest Airlines were so nice, as was the director and crew. Honestly, I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about shooting commercials, but I myself never had a bad experience. I always had a blast and everyone was always kind to me!
Plus, there’s free M&Ms at Craft Service, and for reals…who can resist that!

Just FYI, I’m the sneezy one.

Ashes to ashes, Fountain to Fountain.

On Friday we buried Ben. Sigh.As luck would have it, Ben’s family is from here so while we are not able to be with our Fountain Theatre family in LA at this time, we are able to celebrate Ben’s life and say good bye to him here, in Maryland. I feel like I’ve been to far too many funerals in my life. I also realized that I have crossed that age threshold where 60 years of age is ‘so young…too young’.

Dude, I think that means I’m really an adult.

The funeral was at a Southern Baptist church deep in Baltimore. I have a confession…Baltimore scares me just a wee little bit. Ok, a lot. And I’m an LA girl! But I owe Baltimore an apology because the people of Baltimore, specifically the people of the Fountain Southern Baptist Church couldn’t have been nicer or more welcoming.

I’m not Southern Baptist, (if anything after all my searching and studying I fall pretty much to the Catholics, I love the Saints. Love them. Except for the anti-homosexual thing, and the priest thing, oh well that’s why I haven’t fully chosen a church yet…that’s another post) but let me just tell you that this church was awesome! I absolutely loved it. On such a sad day this congregation and ministry had the perfect mix of honest reflection, sadness of Ben’s passing and the true celebration of the gift of life. The Pastor gave a speech about the Twenty Third Psalm that was so brilliant and inspiring that this girl found her self nodding emphatically and saying ‘Amen!” along with the rest of the congregation. It was truly moving.

Ben was well loved, and well remembered. I’m pretty much in love with his cousin who spoke about growing up together and their ‘generation’. They were of the same ‘generation’, 3rd generation from slavery.

Think about that.

To me slavery seems like a bajillion years ago. I can’t fathom that it was ever even remotely an actuality it’s so foreign and wrong! Third generation from slavery…that’s like Max’s Nana who we had Thanksgiving with just this year. I can’t wrap my brain around it.

Ben’s cousin spoke beautifully about the calling to be an artist. To make people think, to challenge their paradigms and to hold a mirror up to society so that we may see our reflections both flattering and disturbing and hopefully make changes. Ben directed plays like that. He was committed to choosing and directing shows that captured the African American experience. The tragedies and the triumphs.  I’ve seen many of them and at the heart of it all, it’s simply the human experience. I’ll miss his voice and vision. I have a calling to the arts as well, and whenever I try to deny it God pretty much smacks me in the head to get back to business!

I’ve been thinking a lot about Ben and of course about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this weekend. We’ve come so far but still have so far to go and how the arts can do so much to not only help move society forward but to capture the emotions of any given time as it happens.

After the funeral we did just what you’re supposed to do, we talked about Ben. At first sadly, but as the day went on we started sharing our favorite stories and then you could hear tentative laughs springing up here and there. Ben’s mother came over and shared a story about our favorite chef that made our hearts warm and our cheeks hurt from smiling. What a treasure to have her share that.

We were blessed to also see our friend, and Ben’s co worker and friend Stephen who traveled with Ben’s body from LA to Baltimore and who, as always, delivered a beautiful speech. I wish I could remember it word for word…it moved me. It was about the stuff of life. The cars, the houses…it’s all stuff. The people you love and who love you…that is life.

He wrote it better. That’s because he is one hell of a writer.

Stephen brought Ben from the Fountain Theatre in LA to the Fountain Southern Baptist Church.

There are patterns all around.
Ben’s brother was supposed to be in Haiti. He cancelled his humanitarian plans in order to tend to Ben’s death. I can’t even grasp the heaviness of that. So much so that I can’t even come up with a better word than ‘heaviness’. His brother so like him…the one to greet us with open arms and smiling eyes. Ben was the first one to welcome you to the theatre and his brother was the first one to welcome us and invite us in and to meet his parents.
My favorite memory of the day was one of Ben’s cousins who came to chat with us and said with a glint in her eye “I want to hear the dirt on Ben” we all laughed and then she grew serious still smiling and just asked:
Was he happy?
I teared up as Stephen was able to answer honestly that yes, he was.
May all of you be happy. Hug your loved ones close.
And for reals, a happy post coming soon!

Things to do in D.C/POTUS press conference

When Max was in utero our nicname for him was POTUS, Z & I both love the politics and POTUS seemed like a grand generic name until we knew just who it was that was wiggling around in there. It has only been recently that we’ve stopped calling him that and I am not sure that I’ve ever done it here…wondering why too, since POTUS is a totally great baby nick name for a blog!In fact my very first blog was named Sam, Moo and POTUS too. It was hastily abandoned due to the crazy puking of being pg and then ya know; the Ohio Debacle.
Hmmmmm. Must think about that POTUS nick name.

Anyway, POTUS Max had his very first press conference at age 4 months when we were interviewed by a German TV station about Obama and how popular he was.

Max did great! Me? I’m utter crap without a script. For reals. No public improv for me! I once accepted the LA Weekly award for best show and thanked the people who put toilet paper in the theatre bathrooms. (ok…first off, those guys never get enough thanks. I mean, being stuck in the bathroom without TP is AWFUL! Boy, for a gal who is not big on talking about bodily functions this marks two posts in a row which feature TP in a prominent role.) In our family, I am not the go to gal for interviews or improv. Zach on the other hand should really be taking over the Tonight Show. He is quick as lightning and funny as all get out.  I stammer and shake and just embarrass the living daylights out of myself. (I am great on stage if something goes wrong however…but being ME and just talking? Hell. No.)

Over the break we decided to take a jaunt to the Newseum and check out Tim Russert’s office among the many other cool things they have there. Did you know that no matter who Tim Russert was interviewing, if his son Luke called he always took the call. He would put Tony friggin Blair on hold for his son and expected the people he worked with to so the same. He and his employees didn’t miss little league games or ballet recitals, isn’t that amazing? He was a great journalist but an even better father. You see the evidence of it all over his office. Drawings and pictures of his son. Talk about having his priorities right!

DC has crazy cool museums of course, but the Newseum gives you great bang for your buck. It’s crazy interesting and I was knocked back with emotion several times.
The radio tower from the top of the World Trade Center will leave you breathless.

Anyway,  there are a lot of fun interactive things to do at the Newseum and you just know this family wasn’t walking away from any chance to be on tv. It’s in our blood. We’re all born honest-to-goodness attention whores.
So, when we reached the area to be a real live newscaster we happily got our little tickets and stepped in front of the camera! One note, if you are trained in tele-prompter as we we are these things go slower than molasass in January, but still it was a BLAST.
Both of us reported from the White House, natch. One stuck to the script (me), and one had all the workers laughing hysterically at their improv (guess who, Zach of course!).
After we watched ourselves we realized had left someone very important out!

He stole the show of course. Clearly he takes after his father.

MacGuyver or: I apologize for this blog post

Do you like my new anklet? Soon they will be sweeping the runways in Milan and Paris and you’ll all think Wow! I saw that on Stephanie’s blog ages ago!
In true awesomeness form I sliced my ankle like a 7th grader in the shower this morning. Excellent. And as I was watching the Psycho-eque water slide down the drain, I quick-like-a-bunny made an awesome toilet paper tourniquet. And then I took a picture of it for you. You’re welcome. Upon second thought I decided feet are gross, especially ones (mine) that have had lots of bone surgeries on them and I fancied it up for you as best I could, what with the no photoediting skills. Must learn some.

Toilet paper tourniquet is just another way I am sooooooooooo MacGuyver. Or, as was renamed by @HighImpactMom on Twitter MacGuyverMom . I KNOW! We’re all MacGuyverMoms right? I mean, just the other day I fixed my iPhone charger with a Diego band-aid. MacGuyverMom!

(Total randomness, a million years ago Zach worked at Abercrombie & Fitch on the 3rd street Promenade in Santa Monica and actual MacGuyver, Richard Dean Anderson came in and guess what he bought? Four pairs of Cargo pants. Nothing else. He basically bought his costume. You can’t make that up!)
Back to curious case of ‘I’ve been shaving for how long?’: I’m good with blood. I mean, I don’t love it or anything but it doesn’t make me all squiggy inside like it does the husband. He’s a bad *shut your mouth*, but blood? Not his favorite thing. I seriously worried about the C-section and he was under strict don’t-you-dare-peak instructions because I knew he’d hit the deck as if Ali stung him like a bee if he saw the red stuff.
I’m plenty grossed out by a million other things. The other day I found a huge beetle in the sink and swished it down the garbage disposal with hot water and totally freaked turning it on. (Then in an irrational move I felt totally guilty about the horrible death of said beetle and worried about that beetles mother; did she ever have nightmares about her baby being crushed in a garbage disposal the way I do seeing my sweet baby in a thresher/falling down a well/ strolller slipping to the lake/ car accident/ trapped in a burning room? What? I’m the only one? Well, lucky you! Let me introduce you to my good friend postpartum anxiety. Actually no…stay away from her, she is an evil whore bitch who will steal your sleep causing you to have total physical freak outs and visions beyond awful all while you know rationally your sweet baby is right.there. sleeping peacefully in his crib. Also, no, mama beetle never thought  any of that because she is a BUG. And if you’re still with me after that you totally deserve a Girl Scout Cookie. I recommend the Samoas, they’re delish.)

  Also, if you’re new to my blog. I sincerely apologize.
After I was all moisturized and dressed I of course decided a non-Diego band aid might be better for the days activities. Nope. My mistake. Toilet paper tourniquet worked much better. 5 band aids in 15 minutes or one TP tourniquet. You be the judge.
TP Tourniquets also good for Cat toothaches.
*no kitties were injured during toiletpapering

The Lessons of Childhood

So I’m chatting with my girlfriends, who dare I say it (yes, I do dare) are some of the most brilliant funniest, snarkiest and most awesomest (it is too a word!) hookers I’ve ever met. (I know, I know…feminism back 100 years but that’s what we call each other and if you want to be a part of our vicious gang- and you do, it’s fun- then jump on board! )

And of course the conversation turns to Little House on The Prairie, it was totally applicable to the previous topic at hand.*saarcasm* Which of course had nothing to do with television or anything of the like, we’re big on tangents, the lot of us.

I learned a great deal from this conversation. Many of my girlfriends had crazy Pa Ingalls crushes, one or two dug Almonzo and all of us agreed that Albert was creepy.

Most everybody wanted to be Laura (although one was was so devoted in her Pa Ingalls love she wanted to be Caroline!).  Not me. None of that climbing into the loft in the cold Little House for this gal. I wanted to be Nellie. I’m pretty sure that if I spent as much time on my multiplication tables in the 4th grade as I did trying to tunnel curl my hair and fashioning a huge bow out of…something and trying to convince my mom to let me wear my slip over my sunday dress to school (what? it totally looked like a pinafore.) I would have gotten a scholarship to college. I totally blame multiplication and Nellie for my lack of scholarship opportunities.

Laura had chores, she only had one pair of shoes! I mean, yeah, she was the lead and was clearly adorable but no matter how much she wanted to wear blue she had to wear red, because red was for brunettes and blue is for blonds. Duh. She was seriously deprived.

I really didn’t care what a total ass Nellie was. My little mind only saw this:
Laura worked hard and had braids. Nellie flounced home from school whilst wearing the fanciest dress with her hair all curled and bowed, stomped into the store grabbing gobs of candy and headed up to her room with the wrought iron bed and played with her fancy dolls.

So to recap:
Nellie: tunnel curls and bow, fancy dress, candy, fancy bed.
Me: bowl cut-no bow, Garanimals, candy at Halloween, twin bed- no headboard.

Obviously Nellie was more fashion forward (or backward) than me. And then? She got all injured and was in a wheel chair and then remember she was FAKING??? Gossip Girl had nothing on Nellie Olsen.

It’s amazing how all of us from all over the country had this same molding experience from this show. The morals and lessons of the show were not lost on me and I did want to behave more like Laura…just dress more like Nellie, that’s not so wrong is it? (I should say I didn’t want to be mean like Nellie, just rich and full of candy!)

What lessons will Max learn? If I have a daughter will she grow up wanting to be on the Bachelor? Will Max think the whole world exists in CGI?

I think the days of everyone stopping what they are doing to watch ONE show are kind of over. There’s just too much out there now. And DVR. And Netflicks. Sigh. Must remember to create my own weekly rituals for my children. They’re not coming ready made these days.

*Cue Closing Credits*
Music swells
Laura runs down that hill.
it’s a very big hill that hill
she’s still running down it
yellow flowers around her
still going….
I know you can picture it…
The End.
Oh…added just for fun:

Ben Bradley

You can read about it here
We continue to pray that justice will be found for Ben.

I simply can’t blog today. I’ve lost my humor. On New Years Day a friend of ours was brutally murdered. There’s just no easy way to say it. There it is. This is a devastating loss for us, from the loss of him as an individual as he was such a kind and loving gentleman, someone who was so kind to me and to everyone who crossed his path; to the loss the theatre world in Los Angeles will feel now that he is gone.. And not that this is about me or my life, but this wrecks my heart in an all too familiar way, as my father was also murdered. Different method. Different murderer but yet another kind and loving man killed too soon and far too violently.

Ben (on the left) with Simon Levy, another Fountain director and another one of the all time greats.

So, this is for Ben Bradley. Director and Producer at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles, where I was blessed to take over for Tracy Middendorf in Stephen Sachs‘ Miss Julie when she went off to do LOST (thanks ABC!). Ben always made me vegetarian collard greens. Ben spent many hours telling me stories about his youth and his time in the theatre. Ben knew everyone’s name. Everyone’s children’s names. He had a quick laugh and his eyes brightened when he smiled.  He directed beautiful shows and was in rehearsals for The Ballad of Emmett Till at the time of his murder. He really was an all around great guy.

I had been thinking of him all New Years morning, while everyone was talking about pork chops and collard greens this vegetarian thought to herself, I should really email Ben and beg for that recipe

The theatre will miss him. Zach and I will miss him. My heart goes out to those who knew him better than I did. Those who knew him for years and years, those who grew up with him. Those who loved him and those who he loved.

It sounds cliche to say “he was such a nice man, he wouldn’t hurt a fly”…but honestly, that is Ben Bradley.

The Fountain Theatre is big on family. Stephen Sachs, Simon Levy, Deborah Lawlor and Ben Bradley were the heads of that family, which both reached far and wide and is yet small and intimate. They welcomed my husband and I into that family, and then welcomed our son. Zach and I wish we could be with our Fountain Family right now, to remember, to celebrate and to mourn the loss of a true gentleman.

LA TIMES Ben is remembered

I am pretty sure that right now Ben is helping God and all his Angels perfect their collard greens among many other of his famous dishes. (I just could never get enough of those vegetarian greens!)
And just in case….the tip line to the LAPD 1-877-LAWFULL (1-877-529-3855)