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.


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.”


“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!*


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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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.”


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.



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Originally posted on VALLEYBRINK ROAD:

IMG_9182Even though it doesn’t feel like fall yet, the produce is starting to change and I am getting exciting for a new season of cooking. Here is a quick salad recipe I put together with some of the goodies from my Summerland Box today. Beautiful greens topped with toasted walnuts, rich Humboldt Fog cheese, chives, and a whole grain mustard vinaigrette. We are ready for you fall!


Serves 2

1 small head of market lettuce

2 teaspoons of chives, minced

1/2 pear, thinly sliced into wedges

1/4 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Humboldt Fog, crumbled (as much as you like!)

whole grain mustard vinaigrette (recipe below)



IMG_9171In two individual bowls, start to build the salad. Put a layer of lettuce down, then a sprinkle of chive, some slices of pear, walnuts, and a small drizzle of the dressing. Repeat in each bowl…

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Hello again. Hello.
I haven’t written in soooooo long.
How have you all been?

I’ve been good, thanks.
We are in pre school. I say we because my day still revolves around it – a semi short morning activity, drop off and linger till I get the go ahead to leave, about 1 hour 45 minutes to do… something (so far I have discovered I can: eat and check emails or work out for 30 minutes if I don’t really eat or go to the market and bank…) But I am co chairing the school Halloween party! So that’s fun!

Mostly I’ve been excited to get back to work. Because the work I’m going back to just happens whenever I can do it – be it on my hour 45 minute break or really whenever I want!

Many of you know I’ve been in the show biz world forever – which means a lot of NOT working and a lot of spending my savings…. but I cannot continue this. And, I want to be able to be with S… but I must work!

So I’ve found this amazing business that lets me be with my son all the time, helps people and makes me money. I discovered my very wealthy friends have been in this business for 20 plus years! I wish they’d told me about it sooner!!!

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In May of 2013, I had the air conditioning repair guy out to fix the air. It needed more coolant and a new filter. I seem to remember the repair man saying he didn’t have the right size filter, but when he came back from his truck he said, “This will work.”

He left and my air conditioning was all better. AHHHHH! Coolness. I need it. It’s one of my top priorities when picking a home.

That night warm spring night, when the temperature in my home hit a comfortable 73, the air conditioning clicked off. After 5 seconds, I heard a loud, fast THWUMP!! THWUMP!! It startled me! What was that? The new filter? Not fitting right? Crap. I’d have to fix this…..

Later that night, the air turned off again and the THWUMP!! THWUMP!! Itwoke me up, making my heart race with fear. JESUS!

The loud Thump!! continued to wake me for days – and then I got used to it. I got used to it so much that after a few months, I didn’t really hear it anymore. Months turned into a year.

I noticed it again the other day…. yes, a year and 4 months or so later…. I haven’t had the Thump!! taken care of.

It’s funny (sort of) but I always imagine that if I lived with a partner, these kinds of things would be taken care of. I, Mom Solo, just can’t be bothered with repair guys coming and all. I imagine a handy partner (my fantasy husband is always so handy) could probably even go to Home Depot, get the right filter and fix it himself. OK, you know what? I could go to Home Depot and fix it myself!!!! I really could! I mean, I’m pretty sure I could.

But, I’m just used to it now. Just a few more months of hot weather and then I won’t even be using the air. And I will just deal with it next year.

I can’t decide if I’m lazy or just have different priorities or have a high tolerance for annoying things. But this is the way I live. I’m just grateful the air works! I think that’s my real priority.

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Haven’t written in a while.

Naps were dropped a few months ago so everything changed. The only times I have to write are at night after S falls asleep (if I don’t fall asleep too) or during the time when S is watching a show.

Here’s the new problem….

Every time I turn on a movie and get ready for 90 minutes of productivity, Spenser says “SNUGGLE!”

I mean…. how do I say no to that. “I have to do some work,” I usually say.

“Then snuggle?” he replies.

And I usually just forgo everything that isn’t urgent because it’s not going to be forever that my son begs me to snuggle.

So, my problem isn’t really a problem. But that’s why I haven’t written.

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An Interview with John Henry Hoyle


The greatest improv comedy period Western on TV!
Watch Season 1 right now!
Season 2 starts August 7th!

Originally posted on TheOriginalVanGoghsEarAnthology:


John Henry Hoyle is quick to talk about his time at Harvard where he studied criminology and forensics, though little is known about the man that has become sheriff of Great Bend, Kansas. From the moment he stepped off of the stagecoach into the streets of that town he has set out to prove his training has served him well. In this interview we are pleased to bring our readers a look at the man who works so tirelessly to restore order to Great Bend.

Did you ever dream you would be studying at Harvard?

Absolutely. Looking back, it was quite clear that I was intellectually gifted. I remember in my toddler years that while my cousins of the same age were playing with their excrement I was taking mine and making patterns in the soil reminiscent of Tibetan sand mandalas. It was clear to everyone that I belonged at…

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What I Hate Most About Parenting

This is it. The biggest, hardest part of parenthood. Worry. I always feel so alone with my worry.  And the worry can often be debilitating and sleep preventing. And I always feel so comforted reading about others’. Thank you for sharing, Brandy. xox

via What I Hate Most About Parenting.

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So, as a mom, the code around town is that you don’t discipline other people’s kids. I get that. If my son pushed someone I’d lose my sh*t if another adult yelled at him.

So, here are the 5 times I watched a child hit my son and couldn’t get mad at the other kid. What would you do in these situations?

1. We were at a potential preschool. S was playing blocks with two 4 year old boys who were already students there. I was seated about 5 feet away, watching. S was putting blocks somewhere and boy 1 said “Those don’t go there!” in a loud, bossy way.

S took a beat and in the same bossy tone said back, “Yes they do.”

(I was thinking “You go, boy!”)

“No they don’t” boy 1 said back, louder. Angrier.

“Yes they do,” S mirrored his tone again.

Boy 2 bonked S on the head with a block and said, “That’s for being mean to my friend!”

S was quiet. I was frozen with horror, couldn’t think. Couldn’t get a teacher. Just frozen trying not to scream at the two boys and trying to wait for S’s reaction. Would he cry? Would he run to me? And as I froze, I realized I was doing nothing. And actually, nothing is what they say to do. That’s what I did, as the boys all glared at each other. The tension was painful in my gut. S wasn’t crying though. What the hell could I do?

I had to do something. I couldn’t help it. “Spenser, do you want to see the puzzles they have over there?” I asked, flailing. I’m good at distraction.

Then boy 1 stood up. “Yeah, I’ll show you the puzzles,” he said.

“OK,” S said, following him to the puzzles.

Boy 2 followed them, merrily.

It blew over, without so much as a mention later. Though my heart hurt.

2. We were at gym class. I sit in the lobby as he takes class, but I saw Spenser not letting another boy onto the slide. Was he playing bad guy? Pirate? Superhero? Was he just exercising aggression and testosterone? Had the boy done or said something first?

I just saw my little guy blocking the entrance to the slide and shouting “No!”

Then, the other boy hit S on the forehead with the palm of his hand and S’s head went back. Again, my instinct to run in and scream at the boy was squelched by that dumb rule of staying out of things. Was that the right thing? My gut told me to run in there and scoop S in my arms and scream “We don’t hit,” and another woman’s son. But I waved to the teacher, who quickly came over and intervened… mostly just breaking the two up and guiding them into an activity.

I’m not saying that my son wasn’t being provoking, but S didn’t hit back. I was glad of that… right? I mean, I don’t want him to hit back, Right?

3. We were playing at the park Again, S wasn’t letting a boy on the slide, saying “No!” in a deep voice. Was it a character? Was he trying to be like the kids who tell him no? This time he got punched in the stomach. The puncher was his age, but bigger. This was the hardest hit yet.

I inhaled loudly as I sprang to my feet as was at the scene in one second. I tried not to f’ing lose it as I went to S. “Are you OK?” He was, though he was angry. “Tell the boy if you didn’t like that,” I coached.

“I don’t like that!” Spenser screamed.

“I don’t like that!” the boy repeated, in the same tone as S.

The boy’s father came over and I told him his son hit S. The boy’s dad said something lame like, don’t do that again.

The two kids continued to yell “I don’t like that!” back and forth, until the other kid punched S again, right in front of us. I inhaled sharply again waiting for the father to parent.

“No! don’t do that. Say sorry,” the dad said. And when the kid wouldn’t he laughed and shrugged and kind of walked away.

Now, I know there are all kinds of parenting styles out there, but I don’t think laughing and shrugging is one of them. I was hoping for a we’re leaving response, but you can’t always get what you want, so I took my boy away from the feral beast, and told him how I thought  the father should have handled the situation. I told him I was very sorry he got hurt and I was so proud of him for using his words.

4. At another park. A girl was trying to play with S and his friend. She spoke mostly Russian, it seemed and couldn’t communicate with the kids well and walked off sulking, feelings hurt, because they didn’t understand what she was saying – which I assume was can I play with you.  S’s friend went over to say sorry to her. Then S, in an effort to cheer her up and make her laugh, gave her a hilarious raspberry! Little did he know, that although everyone laughed when Caillu did it, most people take a raspberry as a taunting gesture.

The girl punched S in the stomach. Really hard.

I ran over and so did the dad. I don’t really know what he said because it was in Russian, but I do know her punch hurt more than the other boy’s. She apologized and the father took her home.

I explained to S that although he thought she would laugh at the raspberry, it actually made her angry. He agreed not to do raspberries anymore.

5. Forth of July Block Party. Bounce House.  Playing with a bunch of kids he didn’t know. One boy says, “You can’t come up here (to the slide.)”

S comes and tells me the boy won’t let him slide. I remind him that it doesn’t feel good to be told he can’t slide. He agrees. S tries to slide again. Again the boy says “Only Zombies can slide.”

I’m hot, tired, the kids are unsupervised, I say, “Actually, he CAN slide, so please let him.”

“No!” the boy argues, “He’s not a zombie.”

“Then make him a Zombie!” I say, finally intervening, as I have been wanting to do.

“No, I won’t,” the boy, who is probably 5 says.

“Well, he can slide,” I say, sternly, locking eyes with the boy. He let’s S slide.

S is playing happily until…. he comes down the slide and says, “Um. Mom. A boy hit me in the stomach up there.”

I assume it was that one.  I can’t be sure. There’s a covered tunnel part. “Are you OK?” I ask.

“Yeah, yeah.” He says. Again, my son didn’t hit back. And believe me, I know he wants to.

So… I took him to a Jui Jujitsu class


055 058




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Been ready to burst out crying at any minute all week.

Commercials, Pixar movies, songs… all make me want to sob.

Disappointing news, bills, running late – yep. Tears.

Might it have something to do with pre school summer school starting this week. That’s my guess.

It started with the Friday before when I realized my doctor form paper work had been sitting in an envelope – unsigned. I called the doctor’s office and begged to get the forms signed by Monday morning and they said they would and then email them back, but by Monday morning, there was nothing and they weren’t answering the phone or responding to my email.  Another hour til the office was open. We aren’t going to be allowed into school today I thought. I blew his FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!

I had to fight the tears back, hard, til S was preoccupied and I ran into my closet and called my sister to cry and vent.

“Just go there on your way to school,” my sister suggested. (a good reason to pick a doctor close to you.)

And that’s what I did. Only 10 minutes late to first day of school! OK, so maybe I’m not a complete screw up.

I cried at school, but more joyfully, this time as S ran to play with the other kids. He loves it. I love it there. Once I get through the emotions, I know I will not want to leave!!

It’s the beginning of real separation. It’s the beginning of growth and independence. It’s a great thing and he’s really ready for it. He is ready to have friends he sees regularly. He’s ready to learn from someone other than me and be challenged mentally and physically.

He is ready to expand his world, as I have been narrowing mine. My world has just been him and his, me.

Though I feel weepy this week, I am also feeling overwhelmed with gratitude that my life has lead me here. I’m so happy I get to be the mom who is crying that her son is starting pre school. I remember when all my friends were there and I was onlooking, wondering if I’d ever know what that felt like.

So, I’m moving into a new phase. Some of the moms here in preschool summer school are weeping because their kids are starting kindergarten in September. Oy.

Life has never been so filled with deep milestones, as it is now.



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