Thursday, November 27, 2008


i am always fascinated by responses to the holidays, including my own. it changes from holiday to holiday, from year to year. pretty consistently my birthday and halloween are always a drain or a drama or just drippy. as a rule i am just not the person who is motivated to give or get - in any sense- as a supporter of or proponent of the general consumer movement. my generosity is not debateable, rather unrivaled! i also do not understand the exchange of energy and insistance on aggressively refusing to participate- if you're not into it, then movitate folks to do something else- offer a solution! i fyou are anti- consumer concocted holidays- but you're happy to comply by sitting down and eating food and accepting gifts that keep the wheels of the consumer machine rolling, no?

instead of surrendering to the impulse to blythely insert cristicism empty of any action motivated intention, i prefer to sprinkle humor, or to take somethin good, make it your own or totally ignore it altogether! it seems as if there is something irresistable about complaining, something that keeps you from moving forward if you hold on to nothing but your fear of joining the group that is moving toward a greater good...rather to whine, grumble, complain and dance around what happens when you are in the world with everybody else.

i am happy to report i am getting cleaner everyday! somedays cleaning includes a stumble back but some thorough scrubbing was endeavored this evening, and appropriately, i am thankful. one more time i am also reminded of the phrase, radical incompatabilities! i really need to give the people in my life a chance to reveal themselves in a few iterations before i release them from the beta phase. keep the marketing for the industrial efforts, not the romantic ones!

remember that this period is brought to you by writing- by pushing forward with where you are and making sure there is room in the event you are interested in an interested party coming into that space. seems as though my track record is getting the better of me...time to start looking and moving inside- get your process on young lady!

i suppose one of the reasons i am a writer is my unwavering curiosity about stories and perspective: how do we get where we are? i saw a woman the other day who looked as anxious and pensive as any homeless drug addict...i wanted to take her aside and ask her what was her story? when did the lights go out? or when you see a really obese person, their size imposing mobility issues-- how did you get THERE? apparently i am not the only one who wonders, a friend brought up the same inquiry over lunch at Crossroads- what is the back story?

this is a looking i like- looking outside your own box. i suppose some would save it's brave to do that. it's part of evolving, growing and taking on new tools. tonight i grew my brain a bit at the symphony- the seats were real nose bleeds but the music was incredible!it really gave me goosebumps form the inside out. some sorts of bliss activating pieces of my brain were engaged. i am so glad to be reminded of the world i have been fortunate to grow in and around me. i am so lucky. there is a lot of joy out there to make and enjoy- revel in it!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

inventory or the FACE CRACK is eating my brain...

pardon me a moment while i set the tone here with some candles and low tunage. full report after these aesthetics.
DRAT! the FACEBOOK withdrawal is very real right now. i had sworn it off with relative elan, as if that could be authentic. no it is sn't and i have these darned notices alerting me in the corner of the monitor- FACEBOOK is calling! it'll feel good and won't take but a minute and if you miss something important you night take heat for it! and here i had planned a couple of blog entries, an ode to books right after i caught up on the soul inventory- another reason to set the mood here to dig in! and another thing i've been activley resisting with the profound Rilke musing static status! i could go the route of don't look until the morning- that would be big- but i tell you what i don't want to start my day like that everyday. i don't want that to be the first decision i am making every morning.

honestly it is the thing that makes me think twice about pursuing a career focused on social networking and technical marketing. (so i am going to look but not browse...). i browsed- pictures and old friends from iceland...

rather than combing through the detritis that is FACEBOOK (my own not only included but at the top of the list) i want to spedn my time remembering that if nothign else it would be the mnost healing exercise of all to write my memoir as if were david sedaris with a sex change. or channeling david sedaris. or what would david sedaris say? and maybe leave out anything that has to do with my parents- though they do add a lot of glue to the story. oh well just get started- use it as my warm up. hell- blog it!

okay so i folded some clothes, soothed the child, scrubbed a few years off of my face and had an idea- my memoori- i like the kismet in that mispelling- a sort of BEING JOHN MALKOVICH in episodes and snippets from a if they were my memories being filtered through a creative non-fiction david sedaris voice over machine in print.
now if that isn't something that gives me the freedom to write straight from teh heart at a moment's notice- well then i don;t know what does!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Best Friday- Xoxa's birth story version 1

Like anything you can only wish for, I discovered I was pregnant when I was knee deep in a million things I love, including but not limited to saving and planning a trip around the world where I would confront the notion of true love. The ship was set to sail just after I finished writing, directing and producing my first play. I was single and at a height of loving life. Life was so good in fact that I had the luxury of retreating to my family’s mountain getaway (okay, so it’s a broken down double wide on 5 acres in between Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen). I brought plenty of supplies, including cayenne pepper, meyer lemons and organic maple syrup for the cleanse that I hoped would clear out whatever was behind the mysterious 7 pounds I had gained overnight.
Up there in the high summer heat, something kept me procrastinating about that cleanse. My period was late too, so i seized the opportunity to visit the neighboring community of Burney to buy some shorts that fit and a pregnancy test. I knew they would make me take one when I visited the OB and the acupuncturist to get my cycle back inline. Fast forward and SHAZAM! I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if that damned + sign didn’t just show up. So I took another test because certainly after all these years…
After long deliberation I was determined to not only raise my child on my own but on my terms. For me the first order of business, not negotiable is to do everything in my power (and I am not shy about the fact that I have a lot of power) to see that my child not only benefits from the lessons I have had learn, but that she enjoy a childhood and life superior to mine. It would all start with the pregnancy- I swam, did yoga and ate as best I could (somehow Crumb Donettes and 7-Upwith a lot of ice were forgivable) considering how nauseated I was for 14 weeks. I devoured books, websites, and re-read every posting on Berkeley Parents Network. No Lamaze for me, I signed up for no less than 5 Kaiser seminars and a Birthways class that was cancelled. What a blessing! For the same price I got a private class in my house with my two birth coaches.
I have to back up here. I gave birth as a terminally single mother- working freelance, no father in the picture at all, with health insurance because my friends were kind enough to add me as an employee to their small business account. The main resource was my own resourcefulness. Though I knew my mother would be a huge source of support, I mandated that she be as far from the labor as possible and that anyone else had to be a mother. This was not an easy decision for someone who has a large group of amazing and supportive friends. I chose my best girlfriend Heather and my sister-in-law Molly. Everybody had a hellish birth story. It seemed to be a rite of passage, probably contributed to my determination and realism about my daughter’s birth.
My birth was full of chemicals and medical mismanagement- my mom had pre-eclampsia and hallucinated from the drugs they prescribed. My due date was Christmas- despite her dangerous state of health or lack of- they refused any intervention until after the holiday- I digress… her story and my history ever in the back of my mind, I knew that my dreamy home birth fantasy would remain just that, no matter how hospital phobic I am. I opted for the best birth center I could find, where I would not be rushed or wrangled. I loved my OB and was thrilled by the team of residents. Best of all was the volunteer doula program.
When the auspicious Wednesday came- a week later than hoped- I was prepared with my 3 page birth plan- I heeded the advice I had devoured like a craving and made sure there were copies on file with the hospital staff as well as in my medical records. I labored at home for the first 24 hours with my team of moms, that somehow came to include my own mom… I lowed like an Elk in season, contorted my swollen like a tick body however I could to find the sweet spot of relief. After one especially excruciating contraction left everybody slack jawed and ghost white (it lasted almost 6 minutes) we left for the hospital. Somehow the waters of early morning commute traffic parted for us and we made in record time. I dodged a bullet and managed to skip the waiting in triage. A private room with my scrub donning doula was waiting for me.
Though it took me another 2 shift changes and 24 hours to dilate to 10 cm (including the most pain I remember of the whole ordeal, my OB having to move the scar tissue on my cervix from a botched cryo -procedure in the 80’s) I was given the option to stay and labor there. The stars aligned so that most of my time in hospital was during my OB’s shift. As the resident rockstar on staff, my OB handed down the word and I was given kid glove treatment. Not because I was a charming single mom, but because my doctor knew I had done my homework and had culled any unreasonable requests from my birth plan in advance. I labored for 48 hours with no IV drip, hydrating myself with electrolyte endurance drinks and a secret stash of sushi rice.
When the 49th hour rolled around I was sooooo exhausted that I demanded some action. According to all monitoring the baby was fine but I was still only at 7 cm. They suggested Pitocin. I promptly punched my coach friend and told her not unless I was given an epidural ( a last ditch request according to my birth plan) because I couldn’t do anymore, and was having bad thoughts about the baby. One epidural and 2 hours later, Heather and Molly had finally ducked out to take disco naps before the real party got started. The monitor was shrieking that the baby’s heart rate was dropping. The staff honored my request that no action be taken immediately until a crisis situation mandated it. They roused me from my half-wake state to tell me that they were wheeling me into the OR for a c-section; the baby’s heart rate had been too low for too long. Of the two people present, my mom and the doula, I could only take one. I chose the doula without question, my mom’s panic stricken face screamed “I can’t be any real support to you right now honey!”
I was too relieved about making progress to be scared that my destination was the operating room. They probed my crotch and prepped me for surgery. Turns out the reason her heart rate dropped was because I had finally reached 10 cm! Time to push! Doula Regina somehow rallied my mom, Heather and Molly. Two residents, the attending physician and the anesthesiologist were also present. Despite the oxygen I secretly suffered through an asthma attack-secretly because I had not come this far to have a c-section now! There was some sort of scuffle between my diligent, on target sister-in-law Molly who was not going to let them cut me, as per my wishes, but that too was abandoned when I howled about make this f-ing baby come out! At 11:27 am on Good Friday I delivered a 9 ½ pound healthy beautiful baby girl names Xoxa Antonia Zahara Bell. I was so exhausted that I completely flatlined and had no emotions until she began nursing- lucky it was within minutes.
Everybody else I know got the hell out of dodge as quickly as possible. Not us; I stayed for 2 more nights. I knew that the minute I landed home that mommyhood and the mess that comes with it were all mine. I opted for the loving support and hands on training and full time staff that included such unforgettable 4 years later stars like Eulah the LVN.
My parents brought us home on Easter Sunday. Xoxa wore her Very Hungry Caterpillar outfit. My mom bought me $50 of sushi to eat before my milk came in. We were home and I knew I had finally met my truest love.

Monday, November 3, 2008

rock the hope- get out and vote

I really wanted this to be more than a voter guide but i have a novel to write not to mention 2 pressing freelance assignments. so here you go and i promise to blog on the actual vote, race, election tomorrow!

yes on 1A- high speed rail SF to LA

yes on 2 - animal cruelty

no on 3 - children's hospital bond- proposed by special interest hospital groups- money only goes to construction, not health care.

no on 4- parental notification
yes on 5- prison reform - rehab & treatment fornon-violent crimes
no on 6- fear mongering for more prisons
no on 7- good ads but bad bill- too many ways to get out of actually providing the renewal energy. or not? need to do more research
no on 8- duh. it's not your business unless you are trying to get married. even then it's not your business who anybody else marries.
no on 9- more prisons is not the answer
no on 10- not clean technology- diverts resources & attention from real clean and renewable sources
no on 11- redistricting that is too funky to be able to support
yes on 12- there are better ways to support the vets but support this since it is the only game on the ballot

NO on 8- why? it seems to me that gay marriage is a way of conforming to the status quo- but more to the point- it ain't yer damned business! it has no effect on anyone except those getting married. as an ordained reverend i hope to be able to marry lots of people of all persuasions. the bottom line for me is that i do not want anybody to tell me what or how i should be doing things as long as they are not hurting anybody against their will. WORD.

yes on 87- tax on big oil to support alternative energy research and usage incentives

yes on 86- health care paid by tobacco tax

no on 85- parental notification re: abortion

yes on 10 - energy future

no on 90- landowners reimbursed for lost opportunities despite laws or other negative impacts of development

yes on 89- campaign finance reform

***Obama is hopeful so we need to stay involved after November 4***

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Zak & Miri revisited- the sisterhood, bromance and love story

I am mid-transition from sad to angry about the state of my heart and my poor daughter is whiny, clinging and sick with the flu... lucky me got the rare treat of a night out with one of my best girlfriends- we went to see Zak & Miri- the only thing i could stomach in the state i'm in.

it was even better this time. yesterday it was great but a little hard to take in the sense that my defeated rejected heart was a little raw- today i am a hair better and curious so i had to take the extra look.

i take back what i said about Elizabeth Banks character really tipping the scales away from Seth Rogen's dumpy guyi. It's so not true- i applaude the screenwriters and casting etc. for bringing in the convergence of seemingly pretty girl who can have it all. the subtley that you don't catch if you're not looking is the fact that girl has no family- she doesn't have a lot of self esteem- her ambition is to score a revenge fuck somebody who was an ass to her in high school. the flip side of nobody to disappoint is nobody to be ambitious for, nobody to make proud. regardless of how cute she is (and she isn't all that in this movie, her hair is bad, she works at a yarn shop but seems to be pretty loveless. sad. sad that i saw her as a pretty girl and not much more.
i am still not happy with the Peter Pan thing- maybe well, let's get off of the disgruntled singleton topic...I am tired of the glorification of the Peter Pan boy- what i am quite pleased with is the notion that maybe they need to figure out what their thing is in order for the kindling to strike- it wasn't even getting laid by the girl of his dreams (i kind of like the idea that despite the years between them, Seth Rogen's character respected and genuinely cared for her- no nerves about not being a stud but about really being true to their friendship) it was about making something happen. really turning things around for them- coming through as a team. That is about as anti-Peter Pan as you can get.
again kudos for stripping the taboos away and showing anal, adult sex as something that everybody does, it's not weird or funky but just as important as paying the water and light bills- why not embrace and enjoy what you're going to do anyway.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Danny & Sandy 30 years later = Zak & Miri Make a Porno

i loved it. two thumbs and both feet way up leaning back laughing from deep in my soul. that was some funny shit. irreverent, clever, challenging stereo-types instead of reinforcing or stretching them beyond the nth degree (don't get me wrong that shit is funny too- i'll embrace it another time).
i enjoyed it. a lot. it really captured the mood and was not apologetic about sex, any kind of sex or the industry and they avoided judgment. they were absolutely politically incorrect without being offensive. is the key in really authoring an authentic experience by refusing to be even one hair less than the real mccoy and not taking your self too seriously.

all of us have some piece that is laughable. they seemed to grab a bit of each of ours- couples, old friends, the sexual parts of us that we all have so why is it such a big deal? i was impressed with the humble, we're just not really sexy vibe that managed to remove the sting of taboo that is often an unintended residue in sex scenes. in another way it was Kevin Smith's way of taking a really hot topic, not trashing it or making it a bigger deal than it needs to be. add just enough absurdity and you've got funny shit that everybody can relate to.

that said, i am not convinced that Elizabeth Banks is not tipping the scale of gorgeous woman way out of the usual league of Seth Rogen's flannel wearing, frizzy red beard donning, dumpy fat guy. It does serve the storied end of the lumpen guy getting his dream girl. you don't get to know much about her except that he is not holding up his end of hte bargain. why does he get as an actor and a male - why is it okay for him to not be so good looking? or why didn't she fart or do some other not so fantastic gorgeous woman thing? during her one sex scene she just goes where no man has taken her before- which is fine but i don't any sex that was as pretty as their first time and in public and on camera. at best we see her on the toilet a few times or she is emotionally unavailable and doesn't communicate her real feelings. it's not unlike GREASE from 30 years ago (that's a whole other post!) that she is reserved for the traditional spots - he breaks the mold with his actionsin the end, but damn it really gives us women who are not making decisions based on the rule book tucked in our pocketbooks.

that is the obvious derision to pursue though- i digress- my true intrigue lies in the reaction from a solo fellow on the staircase at the theatre. for context Dashiell- my giant-tall son-friend and i were whooping and hollering throughout the film. we were not disappointed with the credits and i want the soundtrack. the dude on the stairs asked us what we thought of it-- we immediately accepted the role of converts evangelizing -- turns out this guy walked out of it. he was with his girlfriend. he didn't seem to have much to say about why he walked out but his curiosity about our experience led me to believe that the reason he walked out was his girlfriend's choice. how sad that there isn't much conversation or that there remains intact such a gross need for the conversation. the discussion about sex.

let's be clear, this is not thinly veiled plug for women who love porn- i am not an avid consumer card carrying member- that's not the point. i am all about taking it a step back from there to dispell the notion that being hung up is necessary or-- and how we can all get off, in peace.

the way forward is with a broken heart

Last night we broke up. we both know we can't do it- it's a great match and a bad fit all at the same time. so here i sit with a sick little girl (X) and a sad little girl- me. I don't want to focus on what i don't have. why is it that not having ONE thing pales the rest? somehow having everything i want and need- a great house with plenty of space, a blossoming career doing what i love with people i respect and vice versa- lots of projects to promote, more cool things going on than i can keep up with or say no to... a family of fabulous friends near and far who have survived with me through innumerable iterations of myself and guess what? they love me still. they accept me and enjoy me AS I AM. I am a strong and beautiful woman, imperfect and complicated with crazy tendencies - never boring and worth every second of effort. I am smart and healthy and fun.

All of that said, it is difficult for me to imagine embracing any person with so many disparate attributes. I take this seriosuly as I understand it is no easy thing to ask somebody to love you. I am a single mom, i am an artist, i love travel and business and managing projects and making new connections. the list wouldn't be complete without at least an honorable mention of my freaky gene (this will likely get its own blog entry- that being said, spoiler alert here, it won't be any over tell, more like a discussion of how difficult initmacy and compatibility are). and have i mentioned what a great friend i am? i work my ass off, i have a lot going on. i am a lot. i am learning that i am not for the faint of heart. Anyone unsure need not apply. i can't say i know exactly what i want, but i do know what i don't want. the tough nut these recent moons is all about finding and sharing and learning with someone who is so many of the things i do want- closer than anyone has been to date- but who doesn't have the bandwidth to be engaged and involved in a relationship with me. It hurts. I am sad. I really hate missing the person who was in a lot of ways a best friend. i don't know how much of it was mutual, i suspect a lot. for now the trajectory is to wax and wane between mournful tears and rockin' on being me.

I have love. it's the partner, lover and friend to share it on a daily basis that i long for. for that is another blog entry... meanwhile here are the lyrics that are helping me through this morning...

Erykah Badu and her Billie Holiday style yarn... my eyes are green because i eat a lot of vegetables...i'm insecure but i can't help it. my mind says move on, my heart lags behind, but i don't love you anymore, i'm so insecure, never knew that love did this. i can't remember the last time i felt this way about somebody, you've done something to my mind and i can't control it... i'm so confused...never knew that love could hurt like this...makes me feel so sad and hurt inside, feel embarrased so i want to hide...before i heal it's going to be awhile, it's going to be awhile chile...feeling insecure , love has got me first when you was cool you told me you loved me too, and then you lost your love...i'd go away but i can't...i can't believe it's too late...just make love to me, one more time and then you'll see! I can't believe i made a desperate plea...Don't you want be strong with meYou told me we could have a familyWant to run to me when you're down and lowBut times get tough and there you goOut the door, you wanna run againOpen your arms and you'll come back inWanna run cause you say your afraid, afraid. Never knew what a friendship. Never knew how to really love. You can't be what I need you to And I don't know what is up with you I know our love will never be the same But I can't stand the growing pains...