MARRIAGE EQUALITY AND JOSE

This is a re post from a few years ago…

In 2008 I worked for the No on prop 8 campaign.

The day of the election, I was assigned to a polling place in Malibu-  it was a country club or something. I was paired with a young, petite, guy named Jose. He was in college at UCLA – we were both Bruins!

In California, you are allowed to campaign at the polls but you need to be 100 feet away from the entrance of the polling place, so you are not practicing illegal electioneering. Not many people know this, but our No on Prop 8 organizers did.

Jose and I spoke with the (very old) volunteers before we began and they offered us cookies and lemonade. “I don’t know why more organizations aren’t out here for their causes,” one of the volunteers said.

I was nervous. I didn’t want conflict. I was hoping to just remind people what the bill meant; many people got confused on this one… did No on 8 mean no on equal rights or no on the people against equal rights?  

We were in Malibu! This was going to be pretty easy – lots of laid back wealthy Hollywood types and beachy hipsters.

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No on 8 is No on Hate!” I’d call to the voters. It was a simple way to remember.

What unfolded in the next few hours was soul crushing.

We got a few thumbs ups, but a lot of  fist shaking and yelling. “You aren’t supposed to be here!”  “What you are doing is illegal” were the most common rants.

“Actually, it is legal,” we would explain, to those who stuck around to yell at us. “As long as we are 100 feet away from the polling place.” Most of the people didn’t believe us, as we found out later when the volunteers told us how many complaints and requests to call the police they’d gotten.

No on 8 is No on Hate!” I called to a beautiful, fit, tan heterosexual couple, holding hands.

“Yes!” the fake boobed woman smiled and clapped, cheerleader style.

Her male body builder partner stopped and turned around and power walked to pocket-sized Jose and me. “I don’t hate anyone!” muscle man raged at us. “Just because I don’t believe gays should get married doesn’t mean I hate them.”

OH JESUS! I wanted to scream back: Yes it does! If you don’t want people to have the same rights you have, it is hate. But I couldn’t speak. I was paralyzed.

“We are just trying to remind you that a no vote on 8 is a vote for equality,” Jose said simply and calmly.

I was shaking.

The bronze god ranted some more non hate about not caring if gays want to be together but marriage is between a man and a woman, while his (I’m sure very well treated) girlfriend, pulled him away.

An old man walked by. I wasn’t going to say the hate word again. “No on 8 is a vote for equality,” I sang happily.

The old man turned, pointer finger raised. “Are you telling me I should vote for a man to marry a man? Garbage!” He was all worked up. “Married people are supposed to make babies. That’s why marriage exists. Can two men make babies? No!” He was screaming.

My blood boiled and I wanted to sob. I looked at Jose. He was calm and friendly. “OK, Sir,” Jose said. “I understand that’s how you feel. Have a nice day.”

“And some of these gay men are having babies together! Two women too. There are two men in my neighborhood who are raising a child together; it’s unnatural. It’s disgusting and ruining our country!” He was turning red. “Are you one of those gay men?” he asked Jose.

“Yes,” Jose said. “I am gay.”

“How about you, huh?” he shot that ancient, accusing pointer in my direction.

I trembled. I hate conflict, but mostly I wanted to strangle him. I tried to absorb some of Jose’s poised detachment… but I couldn’t. “It’s none of your business and it doesn’t matter what I am!” I shouted from my gut, forgetting to breathe. “I’m a human being. We both are.”

“Blech, horrible. Ruining the world!” The old man spewed and then walked to the polls, shoving his Jaguar keys in his pocket. How can anyone deny that this was hate? Even if bodybuilder man thought it was fine for homosexuals to be together, he was on this old man’s hateful team. There’s no well, I sort of agree here. You are in or you’re out.

I looked at Jose. He shrugged, “Oh well, guess we didn’t get his vote.”

I was stunned by Jose’s grace. I was awed by his lack of hurt feelings. He was so young and he was so strong. I tried to absorb his might, but I couldn’t. I was crushed. I was sad. I felt hopeless.

Today, as a mom solo, I know there are a lot of people who look down on the way I’ve chosen to live my life. A child needs to be raised by their mother and father, many say. Lest we forget when Mitt Romney made the connection between single moms and gun violence. And the long list of supportive comments below this video show he’s not the only one who feels this way.

Guns.

Another issue.

It’s single moms’ fault.

OK, we’ve got that solved.

Jose’s strength inspired me. I know what’s right and I am happy. I’m living my life with grace and not hurting others by my choices.

Thinking of you, Jose, wherever you are. 032

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THE RIPPED PANTS

When I picked Spense up from preschool I saw a huge rip in his pants. I immediately  asked, “What happened to your pants?” I expected maybe he fell or maybe he’d pulled at the little hole that was already there.

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His answer surprised me, “Matthew ripped them,” he told me.

“By accident or on purpose?” I asked.

“On purpose,” my son answered, wide eyed and filled with vigor. I’m still not 100% clear that he understands the difference, but in this case I believed him and became furious at the devil child known as Matthew.

“What happened?” I asked, suppressing my rage.

“Well…” he started, gesturing widely. My son has inherited my love of telling a story, “so I was sitting on the rug on a shape after movement and Matthew came over and just ripped my pants.”

“Did you tell him to stop?” I demanded.

“Yes, I said stop Matthew, but he didn’t stop. He laughed and said no.”

My poor baby. My poor bullied baby. “Where were the teachers?” I asked.

“They were in the kitchen,” Spense said.

I conjured an image of my child being terrorized while all the teachers stood in the kitchen chatting and sipping coffee. This was not the preschool I knew and loved. They were never all out of the room. What the hell!!??

The rest of the day I made Spense repeat the story many times, trying to check it for changes and additions. If a story changes too much, it might not be accurate – but this story stuck.  I concluded that Matthew had ripped my child’s pants… violated him and I needed this crime to be punished. How was I supposed to ever put nice clothes on my child again knowing the Ripper was loose in pre school?

I couldn’t sleep. I was angry. I was helpless. It’s times like these that make me want to keep him home, never leave his side or move to a farm and have a crazy Little House on The Prairie life.

I arrived at school the next day and saw Matthew’s mother – one of the sweetest, most adorable women ever… I felt sorry for her because I was about to destroy her image of her son. I was about to tell her about his true destructive and pathological character. But I would wait for the teacher. She’d be able to do it with grace, where as I would probably start threatening and cursing. It’s crazy how the protective side of me comes out. Sometimes, I don’t even know myself. I pray I don’t become one of those soccer parents who beats up other parents. Or the murderous Cheerleader mom. I walked into the class and showed the teacher the ripped pants. I explained what had happened the day before, even mentioning the part where Spense said all of the teachers were in the kitchen. “I don’t quite know how to handle this,” I told the teacher, picturing myself giving Matthew an evil stare. “Should I tell Matthew’s mom…”

“I know what to do,” the teacher said calmly. Her eyes scanned the room until she saw Matthew playing with blocks. She beckoned as she called,  “Matthew, can I talk to you for a moment?”

Matthew got up from his blocks and headed towards us. I stared at his phony smile and hoped he was squirming as he saw the pants in my hands. This child was the reason I was up all night and now deliriously exhausted. He thought he was going to get away with it. I just wanted to see his expression when he got caught.

Then the teacher called Spense over.

“Matthew,” the teacher began, “Spense says you ripped his pants yesterday. Can you tell me what happened?

Matthew shook his head, “No, I didn’t.”

That liar!

“He said it happened after movement,” the teacher explained.

Matthew shrugged, “I didn’t do it. I wasn’t even sitting near him.”  Big. Fat. LIAR!

“Thank you, Matthew,” she said, excusing Matthew.

Why?? Why was she letting him go? He was lying!

The teacher turned to my son and said, “Matthew says he didn’t rip your pants. Is there something else that could have happened to them?”

I expected S to protest, but instead he looked around the room and then pointed, “It was Ricky. Ricky ripped my pants.”

Oh my God!  No. Jesus. My child was the liar. So quickly did he story change! What was happening? My stomach sank.

“OK,” the teacher nodded, “Ricky, could you come her for a moment?” Ricky came over and she asked him if he had ripped Spenser’s pants. Ricky said no, of course.

I watched Spense’s face; his inexperienced lying was fascinating; there was no fear of being caught – only the belief in the moment. He believed in what he was saying.

“You know, Spense, everyone makes mistakes, even adults. And sometimes we all do things that we wish we hadn’t. Has that ever happened to you?”

Spense nodded.

“Would you like to tell mommy about it?” the Teacher asked.

My 4 year old looked down at my feet as I felt tears well up in my eyes. “Ma, I ripped my pants and I wished I hadn’t done it.”

“That’s OK,” I said, trying to hold it together. “But I wish you would have told me the truth.”

“The truth?” he questioned.

I forget how the simplest concepts are new and foreign to the youngsters. He doesn’t know what lies are yet. Not really. When he said Matthew did it, he probably thought he could rewrite his history. And how had the teacher known what was going on? Why was I so shocked?

“Why didn’t you tell me that you ripped your pants?” I asked.

“Because I thought you’d be angry,” he said.

It was time for the I will never be angry if you tell me the truth talk. That was the rule in my house, growing up. And it worked. It was important. And I’m sure I will have to say it many more times.

These were the cute pants before the ripping incident:

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MAKE YOUR OWN BOOKS!

After a play date with a group of pre-school friends where I realized that body curiosity had set in, I began to look for a good book for 4 year olds about private parts.

I found a great site that let’s you personalize your own books….  I know you can make photo books on many sites – but this site TWIG TALE – gives you text! REALLY GOOD text – great for learning, hurdles and life changes.

Here’s the one about private parts – having great text available was so helpful!! Check this book out!!

They have books for all occasions: allergies, doctors, sharing, family, potty, new bed, new sibling, school etc. And the text is written and edited by experts – including Dr. Harvey Karp. The books are really smart and thoughtful – especially made to reach young children.

And you can personalize it all to fit your family! Two moms, two dads, single mom, single dad, pets, no pets, extended family – you get the idea.  Back when I was pregnant, I had a bit of a hard time finding a baby book that didn’t ask about “Mom & Dad’s wedding.”

Just had to share

I can’t wait to get our book in the mail!!

And here’s an unrelated, cute photo

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EVERYDAY WE EAT….

Everyday, for the last year, Spenser and I eat Organic, no Pesticide, Non GMO broccoli, spinach, parsley, cabbage, tomato, kale, carrot, beet, garlic, rice bran, oat bran, apple, peach, cranberry, acerola cherry, orange, papaya, prune, date, concord grape, blueberry,  bilberry, raspberry, pomegranate, elderberry, black berry and black currant.

We eat this every morning. It’s the healthiest thing I’ve ever done for myself – and makes me feel like a great mom.

And it looks like this:

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And this:

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The funny thing is, since we’ve started taking these amazing whole food supplements, we actually eat healthier meals.

Seriously, it’s the BEST thing I’ve ever done for us!!

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IVF TRAVELER

Hi everyone out there!

I haven’t written for a long time because…. I’m just busy.

But I still think of you all.

Like today, I met a woman on line who helps women with their IVF needs, finding the right place over seas etc. and I knew I had to share her info with you all.

IVF Traveler:

For many, the high cost of fertility treatments makes it difficult—if not impossible—to achieve their dreams of expanding their family. Oftentimes, traveling abroad for IVF treatment makes the dream both affordable and accessible. And, it’s nice to get a beautiful IVF vacation as a bonus.

I just had to share.

Especially for those future Mom Solo’s out there!

Check it out and share!!!

xo

Evie

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A 4AM MIRACLE

S was up every two hours last night – crying like a newborn baby. And why???? Well, I’m not quite sure.

“Are you sick?”

“NOOOO!” he’d wail.

“Is something upsetting you?”

“NOOO!” he’d cry.

And I’d rock him, sing to him, tell him a story and he’d just sob. Then he’d fall asleep and 2 hours later …..

At 4 in the morning I went into the bathroom to get a cool wet washcloth and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Expecting to see a ragged, depleted image, you could imagine my surprise when I instantly noticed…. My hair has NEVER looked better!

Like soap opera hair.

I mean, I could have been delirious with exhaustion, but I did take about 5 seconds to really look at myself, and indeed I believe, even after countless haircuts and some fancy blowdries, my hair has never been more perfectly styled; curls falling in the places their cut meant for them to go, sans friz, with bounce, weight and movement… why couldn’t I have run into that hot guy I dated in my 20’s (who is now even hotter) tonight, right now – instead of that day when my hair was just a single puff of brillo sponge? Why couldn’t I be having my photo taken for my holiday cards right now or be out to dinner or at the very least, at preschool pick up where a mom might say to me how do you have time to get your hair done? and I’d just laugh and shrug and say What? This?

His last night wake up was around 6am. Then awoke for the morning at 9:30.  He can’t explain why he was waking up all night; no nightmares or pains….

Maybe it was just all some psychic way for my hair to cry for help: Hey! We can get it together, OK? Look! At us! Care about us! Don’t write us off yet! Don’t throw in the towel!

Or… maybe I’m delirious.

I’d take a photo of my hair for you now… but of course…. now it looks like shit.

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THE MAN DRIVES

“The man drives and the woman sits next to him,” said my three year old, who lives with his mother who drives him EVERYWHERE.

“What are you talking about,” I said. “I drive you and I am a woman!”

“No, the man drives and the woman sits next to him,” he insisted.

We talk about it further and I debunk all his arguments. :)

Another day he said: “Two boys can’t get married.”

I happily inform him, “Yes, they can. And two women can too.”

He argued with me a bit. I mention a child in his class who has two dads. “They are married.”

He then accepts my information, openly.

“It’s all about who each person loves and who they want to marry. Or you don’t have to marry anyone. Like Mommy.” I smile and shrug, playfully, to show him how great I feel not being married.

And then he tells me he loves Jasmine. A girl in his class he adores with a hearty, loyal 3 year old passion.

Another day we are playing and he says, “Now you have to be the princess.”

“But I’d like to be a knight,” I say.

“No, you can’t be a knight.”

“Why not?” I ask, with a sinking feeling.

“Because you are a girl and girls have to be princesses.”

OK. Hold the F**k on, people. How did my child, product of an unconventional family, get these old fashioned, conservative thoughts in his head? I’m supposed to be raising a modern boy. What has happened.

“What about the girl in Brave?” I said, “she has a sword and bow and arrow…”

He thought a bit and decided I was right. I could be a knight.

It’s my fault. It’s the media. It’s books, it’s stories, it’s movies – the stuff I’ve been letting him watch. The stuff I watched and the beliefs I had – until I was witness to the world changing and growing.

Time to switch it up!

I’ve been asking friends and searching the web for new books to reprogram my child. I’ve found many – click on these for the ones I’ve found:

Girl Power

Families

Diversity

Same sex Families and another and another

Do you have any more to add?

Please tell me all your great books and movies so that I may get back on track!!!!!

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DO YOU KNOW GREEN BRONX MACHINE?

I’m here to tell you about what is inspiring me… I weep with joy every time I watch these videos ~
It’s all about HOPE and Change and People.
This man, Stephen Ritz is solving problems among our youth, our sick and our poor.

Please watch the uplifting and revolutionary Green Bronx Machine story.

After you watch I’m sure you will want:

Here’s the Green Bronx Machine  website.

The TED talk.

Here’s more info on the Tower Garden.

PLEASE RE BLOG THIS!!

Spread the word about this amazing non profit program that is saving our future!

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CABLE BE GONE

I decided to get rid of my cable.

There was a time I lived for my cable/Tivo combo. It was totally worth all the money I was being charged for cable + box rentals+DVR monthly charges… I could watch anything I liked at any time! It had been my childhood fantasy – in the days when VHS machines were the size of  a pony and there were only 3 networks and The Wizard of Oz was only available on television once a year.

I have Roku now – I get most of our shows now for free – streaming. Getting rid of cable and DVR will save me over $1300 a year. No brainer, right? Well…. there are a few of my favorites that don’t stream on Roku – like Food Net work shows and Top Chef. I love Top Chef… but I can watch them on my desk top computer. But I can’t watch them in bed, at night (I don’t have a lap top and they don’t stream on mobile devices.)… but is it really worth $1300 to watch Top Chef in bed and not at my desk? Such a dumb problem. It’s not even a problem. Cable has to go.

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So, I called Time Warner Cable, while Spenser was watching a show. Peppa Pig, which he watched on Roku.

I got a nice woman and told her I needed to cancel my cable and she said she was sorry to see me go and came back with a discounted price for cable.

I said, “I need to have NO cable – not a discount on cable,” and she said, “Oh I can’t handle that. I only can cancel if you are moving.”

“Please connect me to cancellations.”

She transferred me to someone else. I waited. Peppa Pig was almost over.

I was on hold for ages then I got an automated message. “Press or say the service you need.”

“Cancellation!”

“I’m sorry, I cannot hear you. Press or say the the service you need,” the automated voice said.

I pressed a number.

“I’m sorry, I cannot hear you.”  This went on for some time until I realized this was some kind of scheme to keep people from cancelling. It had to be – my phone worked. I hung up. Furious and called back.

Peppa Pig  was over and I started a new one. Sorry I’m still on the phone, I mouthed to Spenser. He didn’t really care.

The next guy I got talked to me as though he could help me – “Sure, first I need to ask you some questions.” He asked me all about the kinds of shows I watch and what I do on the computer. After that, he offered me a discounted price!

“No, I said, I need to have NO cable. not reduced price.”

“Let me see if I can get you an even better deal…”

The temptation of watching Top Chef in BED came back to me…. was it worth $900 a year? $600 a year? Remember, I can watch every other show I like in bed and the others on my desk top computer…. this is such a ridiculous problem. Such a dumb, insane thing to be thinking about! I have better things to spend my money on.

I’m getting rid of cable!

“I don’t want a better deal.”

“I can’t do cancellations here,” the man told me. And then knocked $45 off my monthly bill, which infuriated me more! $45 a month I could have had all these years????

So I’ve been wasting even more money, when all I needed to do was threaten to quit and they’d just reduce my bill so easily???

*I implore you all, reading this – call your cable company and tell them you want to cancel and see how much money the shave off of your monthly bill! Do it! Why should the cable company be rich ? And it’s not the employees getting rich… Not the phone operators who are told to make it impossible for people to cancel, not the people at the offices listening to discrepancies and exchanging cable boxes… it’s Mr. Time and Mr. Warner and that’s it! It’s too late for me now… but save yourselves!*

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I tried to stay calm. I understood it wasn’t his fault and he was clearly being told what to say and what not to do, but this was infuriating.

“I really understand,” he said, “but I can only try to get you a discount. You cannot disconnect your cable on the phone, you must return your cable boxes.”

“So I have to go in to the store to do it?”

He wouldn’t answer me. It was like he’d revealed a HUGE secret and then regretted it. Was he being recorded for learning purposes?

“I’d like to speak to a supervisor,” I told him.

As I waited, the second Peppa Pig ended. I’d been on the phone with the cable company for an hour. Then there was a click and the line went dead. Cut off. Those F’ers!!!!! Tricks. Illegal tricks! Trying to make it impossible for me to get out?

Fine, then, I’m going to the TWC store.

Every day since then, I’ve planned on unplugging my cable boxes and taking them into the TWC  store near me and every night, I lament how my day took me elsewhere.

Those Time Warner fuckers have gotten another week of my money. They’ve won that. But I’m returning those boxes this week. I’m gonna do it…. tomorrow? Or Saturday. I see they are open Saturday. I can’t let them win.

So tonight, I might as well watch Top Chef in bed. One last time.

 

woman watching tv in the morning

 

 

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DUMB MATH

So I’m on the Halloween Party Committee at preschool – actually, I’m the co chair. I signed up knowing I’d be helpful and enthusiastic… and really good at it. I’m a producer! I’m a party lover – Look out new preschool parents! This is gonna be an amazing party!!

My first task was to price catering for about 100 people – kids & parents. I priced tacos and pizza all coming in between $800 and $400, but our budget is closer to $500.

And then someone suggested a grilled cheese truck!

Turns out we can’t really have or afford an actual truck, but there are plenty of places that will drop grilled cheese sandwiches or varieties of sandwiches off at the school.

So I began to price them and found a perfect place – that even had bacon guacamole grilled cheese – and only $32 a person!
We’d be under budget!!

I quickly emailed EVERYONE – all the new parents I’d only known for a few weeks. All the parents I am trying to be friends with, impress with my skills and show my best to…. I sent them this $32 a person menu and then wondered why no one was writing to me telling me how amazing I was and how skilled at party planning I was? I was just baffled.

Emails were going back and forth about different options and I kept emailing my fabulous $32 a person menu and no one was responding. I kept writing things like you guys, this place is really the answer to all our problems! and Hey! We can come under budget with the $32 menu!! and Seriously, everyone, this food is amazing and we get so much for the money!

No one ever responded to me.

After days and days of this (OK, maybe a week) I went back to … my amazing menu and pondered it – why was no one responding?  Slowly it hit me. No. It couldn’t be. “Oh, wait. 100 people at $32 a person isn’t $320. It’s $3200.”

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I felt so dumb.
I had so wanted to find the best place. Was my dumb math really wishful thinking? What the Hell happened to my brain?
So now everyone thinks I never passed math after 2nd grade.

I told one of the moms that I had found my mistake and was so embarrassed! “How could I have not seen that?”

“Baby brain,” she said, smiling.

Very nice of her.

But my baby was 3 1/2.

But, to all the parents credit, no one ever mentioned it to me – not my bad math or dumb insistence that my idea was best …. I’m sure they are giving me the benefit of the doubt.

Preschool is harder than I thought.

MAth-Grade

 

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