Trouble, Trouble, Trouble… oh Yes TROUBLE

We hit a bit of a milestone today.

I had a car filled with 8-year old girls singing their hearts out to Taylor Swift, with my daughter leading the pack.

I couldn’t exactly catch the ear piercing chorus, but this will give you an idea:

…and she couldn’t have been happier.

Giggles, singing about boys being Trouble, begging me to stay in the car just a few more minutes after we had parked because the new Selena Gomez song had come on and ‘Mom, we just have to sing this one too…’

…and I pretended to look at my phone all while grinning and crying on the inside at my baby girl growing up right before my eyes. Unafraid to share her fun in front of her Mom and even thanking me later for being so ‘cool.’

Is this really happening? Is she really old enough to be signing with her friends at the top of her lungs about boys?

…and to top it off as we picked up her older brother at his classroom door he clearly had an admirer there walking him out.

This cool mom isn’t ready for any of this.

Trouble indeed.

Miss Teen PWN

I am, by nature, a worrier.

So imagine what I did when this came in the mail:

Miss teen Hala?

Do I show her?

I know when I got the really horrible, everyone got one, scams in the mail about modeling or pay-to-see-your-name in some book of smart kids, it was the sort of thing that boosted my tween or teen self-confidence.

Of course there was no way in hell we’d ever let her do it. So there was no harm in showing her, right?

But then again, we always said we’d support her in whatever she wanted to do so…

…no. No. NO. NO.

Also…

NO.

Pageants are for girls who are either desperate for money and can only get it because they are pretty or … or… I have no idea. I mean these things are judged on looks, right?

At least that’s what Sandra Bullock taught me. Well, her and Donald Trump.  Walk walk … show them how pretty you are…walk more… show them how pretty you are in different clothes. Walk more. Then answer some crazy question about current events and smile pretty for the boys.

So of course, I showed her and told her what it was all about doing my best to leave my snark behind to genuinely be able to gauge what SHE thought of all this and what SHE thought of a ‘pageant’ … did any of the girls at school do this sort of thing? I mean, we live in a ‘burb of LA, there are many child actors around and at the school and many have headshots and can turn on the cute in order to get a gig. Surely with the popularity of Honey Boo-Boo and Toddlers and Tiaras, there could be a few in her grade, right?

So I showed her and explained and waited for a reaction…

My 7-year old was disturbed by the letter. Grinning and flattered, but disturbed.

Why would they want me for a teen thing? I’m not a teen? And why would I want to do that on a Sunday- that’s when I go horseback riding at the ranch.

Case closed. Whew.

Or so I thought…

What I hadn’t counted on was her brother chiming in. I don’t know why I hadn’t counted on it…he’s always right there with us and NO ONE and I mean NO ONE cares more about his sister than big brother.

Hala, listen to me…I really don’t want you to be famous like that…ok? I’m serious.

Ok Jack, I won’t.

No, really. I mean it. That’s not how you should be famous. You are too smart.

I know I am Jack!

I know you are too.

Suddenly I was the fly on the wall witnessing one of the most touching and amazing exchanging in sibling history.

I wouldn’t do that anyway, ok?

I didn’t say you would. I’m just making sure.

Can you move over now? Because you’re in the way of the game and I can’t see my guy and he’s about to PWN you.

MOM! She just totally blew up my whole new rover I built!

Pauses a beat.

That was kind of cool.

…and all was right with the world.

This morning before school as they begged to skip breakfast in favor of more iPad time

The Chicken Came Before the Egg

I’ve been spending many days and nights around here researching ways to get this body of mine back into tip-top shape…and I’ve come to only one answer in defeating Lupus:

Chickens. 

Somewhere in Santa Monica, at a nice desk near the ocean, my husband just laid his sweet head down on his keyboard and is wondering when the sweet relief of death will come save him from this life of marriage to this crazy lady.

Now hear me out just a minute or three here. Or go read something else, I don’t really care.

I want the best possible food to go into the bodies of the people who live in this house. Heck, even those of you that just visit. Eggs are a great source of protein- which the doctor says I need A LOT of. The doctor also wants to see almost NO processed food, no chemicals, no dyes, no … well, nothing.

Now, shopping organic and finding recipes and all that fun grocery love is all well and good. But it sure is missing that certain…JAZZ HANDS quality. The one that makes me want to leap out of bed (and mark these words- I WILL LEAP OUT OF BED SOMEDAY) and get a great and healthy breakfast going for the family and myself. You know, after I have already worked out during sunrise and walked the dog and packed lunches and sat quietly with my tea and book, awaiting the husband and children to come downstairs from their slumber.

Yes, THAT Is how I plan on starting my life over once my body cooperates. Early morning exercise! Nothing but fresh, home cooked food! Total organization!

And where does it all start? The chicken, or the egg?

THE CHICKEN OF COURSE!

Which means I want a chicken coop and chickens. But I’d like the magical kind that get along with my dog as though they are best friends and have zero nasty stink …oh, and clean up after themselves.

See…I already have the cute ranch hand:

Howdy

So really I would just like cute, fluffy, egg producers in my yard that cause zero issues and require zero care. OH…and the home owner’s association won’t mind or notice.

My daughter would be so so so happy if we got chickens. My son will freak out initially but only for about two minutes. Then he will freak out about all the other animals around who might hurt the chickens and then we’ll have to fortify the chicken coop with military grade fencing. But THEN it will be ok.

The point is. I want fresh eggs. I want fresh air. I want clean water. I want food that does not come out of a box. I want the chemicals OUT of the systems of my family (and your family’s systems too) and I want us all to live like we were meant to live: naturally.

Well, naturally within reason. I still need some take-out here and there and a good mani/pedi.

I’m not saying let’s start a commune in my very tiny backyard or anything (although that’s another idea I have for when this whole chicken thing doesn’t pan out) I’m just saying I think half of the reason my body is not fighting as hard as I want it to fight against this disease is a lifetime of food-flavored food being shoveled into my system. No really…FOOD-FLAVORED FOOD instead of fruits and veggies and meat that has no FAKE ingredients hidden inside.

We’re trying things out over here. It’s not easy. We like our junk food and we like our packaged food – but we are working on buying the cans of veggies with organic stuff inside and totally LESS sodium and with NONE of the things on the label we can’t pronounce. Or that Count Waffles CAN pronounce but he heard it on ‘How the Universe Works.’

Back to the chickens.

Who wants to buy me a chicken coop, chickens, and then come take care of them for me? I just want to pet them and eat their eggs.

Also…if the HOA asks, we got a TENT and that noise is simply our silly dog Nicky doing his new IMPRESSION of a chicken. We’re training him to be a Hollywood dog.

Totally plausible. We live in LA.

Hi, I’m Erin, And I’m One of THOSE Sports Moms

I had a feeling it was in there. Ready to bubble up to the surface.

The yelling.

The coaching from the sidelines.

The yelling.

The ‘reminders’ of what the real coach wants…you know, things like ‘keep your hands up! And ‘get back on defense!’

Did I mention the yelling?

Then, somewhere during game 1, I realized I was yelling too much but I couldn’t stop.

I vowed I would try harder the next game. I really did. I even promised my MOTHER I would stop yelling so much. And she heard the video I took of the first game. She knows.

Except. Um… Well:

My baby girl scored her first basket. And ANOTHER shortly after that one!

To be fair, I wasn’t quiet before the baskets. In fact, I’m pretty certain other parents were talking about me.

But…BUT…I am never negative. Never. I cheer on the other team too. I just… um… give a bit of direction?

I don’t know what to do short of duct tape over my mouth for the next game. I really don’t.

I played basketball for too long and I want to help her out too much to just SHUT UP. But then again, shutting up is probably what WILL help her most. Maybe.

What? Someone has to tell her to shoot!

HELP ME.

It’s Ok to Viciously Attack Women Online, so Long as They Are Liberal

Oh wait, I’m sorry…they call us ‘leftists’ now.

Longtime Republican and actress Stacey Dash tweeted her support for Gov. Mitt Romney this week and was, as is sadly typical of the internet, viciously attacked for her comments. She was called every name in the book from a ‘house negro’ to an ‘Uncle Tom’ and had her fair share of equally disgusting sexist barbs tossed her way as well. Things even went so far as a death threat (of sorts), something I am all too familiar with in my own online life.

Typically women’s groups rallied to her defense. Now, when I say women’s groups I mean ‘traditionally liberal, feminist’ women’s groups. Because that is what they do. Some would even say that is their ENTIRE PURPOSE- to point out sexism and racism and horrible, vile attacks on women so they can be exposed and, hopefully, STOPPED.

Even Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student also attacked for her political views, tweeted her support for Dash.

Now I’m going to write some things that are certainly not going to win me any popularity points with the Right…but I no longer care. I’m disgusted at their behavior and disgusted at their bandwagon care for women.

Yes, I said ‘bandwagon care for women.’ 

You see, the internet exploded with conservatives voicing their support for Dash…and rightfully so. The internet exploded with liberals ALSO voicing their support for Dash…and rightfully so. What never happens, ever, is when a liberal woman is attacked does the internet explode with both sides showing their support for the liberal woman.

As far as the Right is concerned, liberal women get what they deserve. Be it attacks of the most vile nature, be it relentless sexist, racist, homophobic slurs. Be it death threats against these women or their children.

Liberal women, as evidenced by the lack of support from the Right, are not worth defending and apparently should be left for dead.

The Right is silent when the same types of attacks are launched at liberal women. And when NOT silent, they join in on these attacks.

Yet when a Right leaning woman is attacked, all hell breaks loose and suddenly they are all feminists. Staunch Republicans are shocked and beside themselves that this sort of vile behavior happens online. They rally support for the victim and blame every liberal for the attack.

Now, we all know there are lunatics online. We all know there are trolls. And make NO mistake- the people attacking Dash are lunatics and trolls. They are NOT surrogates of the campaign. They are NOT pundits. They are NOT television hosts, radio hosts, or even prominent bloggers. They are NOT elected officials. They are lunatics and TROLLS.

That does not make the attacks any less vile or sick. 

But let’s compare that to attacks on liberal woman. Attacks that HAVE come from surrogates of campaigns, pundits, television hosts, radio hosts, prominent bloggers, elected officials and yes, lunatics and trolls.

I am exhausted by all of this. I am exhausted that I can work 24/7 to combat sexism online against women of ALL political parties and have bi-partisan support when a Republican woman is attacked, yet have ONLY progressive support when a liberal woman is attacked.

I am exhausted that when I tell the story of getting death threats online, of my children being threatened…their blood threatened to be splattered across their school playground…I am told by a right-wing Fox News pundit to go play my violin. Yet that SAME right-wing Fox News pundit is now championing the defense of Dash and the vile attacks against her.

Tell me, if my daughter acts like a good little lady, all GOP’d out and nice…will she then be defended if attacked?

Her tea cup is bigger than her head #allhailhala

But if she goes ‘leftist’ like her mother, will she be ignored and will the Right pile on?

This is not a political game. This is not how we score political points…off the backs of women who are risking their lives and the lives of their children to speak out and speak up. Women who believe so fiercely in making the world a better place that, like Dash and like myself, we stand up to those attacking and keep speaking out and speaking up.

All while the Right uses it only as an opportunity. Because that is clearly the ONLY thing they are about-opportunities. They do not truly care about women or children. They care about winning and scoring points. As evidence by what they do when faced with one of their own under attack and someone who’s not one of their own under similar attacks.

They are nothing more than opportunistic vultures doing what politicians have done since the beginning of time: whore their own for power, no matter what the cost. Sacrificing the women and children first and showing, time and time again, they really do not care about them at all…only using them as a means to the end.

Meanwhile, the rest of us will be fighting for those women. Yes, even the ones on the Right. Because we actually walk the walk and BELIEVE in equality and BELIEVE all women should be defended when attacked, not just the ones who declare their vote for Romney.

We also believe in our President, with two daughters of his own, who has a record on women’s issues that shows he too walks the walk.

So let the lip service to Romney, Dash, and their fake concern for women on the Right continue. The rest of us will be here…still…doing the real work behind the scenes. Again. And again. And again.

CONVENT

I know we joke about it from time to time at our house, but recent events are actually making me consider sending my seven-year old to a convent.

Stop laughing.

Somewhere in Florida my mom is cackling.

As if it weren’t bad enough that my darling daughter was embarrassed to have me take her and pick her up from a friend’s birthday party this past weekend, she also has decided I know NOTHING about fashion, and she knows everything.

I hear this ‘knows everything’ thing gets worse with time, by the way.

You see she actually needed jeans for horseback riding and new boots. So we began the hunt long ago, with me picking out what I thought were some really cute and damn cool boots.

Apparently whatever I think is cute and damn cool is just the opposite.

So she picked out her own, with me zipping my mouth shut tight. Ok, maybe I didn’t zip that tight. I TOLD her the pointy ones would pinch her toes. She didn’t care.

I told her how dusty and dirty the black pair would get while riding on the ranch and wouldn’t  brown make more sense?

…bad move Mom. You know what that wins you? That wins you a daughter who orders EVERYTHING in black.

#allhailhala wants to ride today cc: @aaronvest

Like I said…CONVENT. Anyone know a good one?

The Mom Nagging Machine

There was a time when ‘back to school’ meant nothing more than a new backpack and some crayons.

Today my daughter and I looked, and bought, some ‘undershirts’ as opposed to ‘training bras’ because she has reached that age where she needs to wear something under her sundresses and under her white t-shirts.

Her brother, blushing, rolled his eyes and turned around to try to ‘unsee’ the girl things we needed to accomplish while at the store. Being the pain I am, I explained to him this was a great learning experience about women and he needed to understand that his sister was growing up and she couldn’t be flashing the top half of her body to strangers.

Which always turns into silly time

After doing his best to squirm and avert his eyes from the display of training bras and bras for tweens, he actually agreed…

Well, boys look at those things. Yes Mom, I know, girls look too…you’re right, she needs to make sure she’s covered.

Hmmm…wait, Did he just call breasts ‘those things?’ And was this the message I wanted to send? That the women of the family had to cover themselves in order to be proper?

I stopped myself as we looked at undershirts and talked to them both as they again rolled their eyes and leaned against the cart.

It’s not that we want her to cover herself. We know being naked isn’t a big deal. And she’s beautiful. It’s just that in our society there are some people who will try to look at her inappropriately, just like we talk about private areas and who can see them and touch them…

Oh man, now I’m getting way off track. This is hard.

…and we’re just making sure her privates are covered as she wears certain things, that’s all.

This parenting stuff is ridiculous. I’m flunking this. Please God let this moment go away forever because right now it seems like nothing I say is right, or coming out right…or what I’m trying to convey. I’m just trying to buy her a few more undershirts, THAT IS ALL.

Then I glance up at the display in front of us. I hadn’t really studied it until now. Bras, training bras, what look like sports bras, undershirts. And then…what I swear to God are PADDED BRAS FOR LITTLE GIRLS.

My daughter is handing this like a champ.

Mom I already have that white one at home, so how about these pink and purple fun ones that are like half undershirts… and let’s go.

Sold.

My son can’t get out of there quick enough and leads us to semi-safety where we have to then pick out underwear. This seems like nothing compared to bra-hell.

But I can’t keep my mind from going back to what I am pretty sure I just saw. Padded bras.

The Judy Blume years of my life come rushing back.

I was never in need of KLeenex. I developed well before any of the other girls and I had plenty to go around. A blessing and a curse for a young girl. The boys ogled and feared me. The girls hated me. All because I had big boobs.

My daughter isn’t built anything like I was at that age. But with any hope she’ll be able to talk to me about body image issues she may come across and we can giggle over the difference of being one of the girls who could give herself a black eye in gym class or one of the girls who was flat as a pancake.

I want, so badly, to ask the kids if they saw the bras hanging there. What they thought about them. But I know the agony this will cause my son, who is working through his prepubescent feelings. And I know it will only cause my daughter to think about it MORE, and her body MORE…which I don’t really want her to do just yet.

Not because she shouldn’t explore what’s going on with her body, or question why she needs to cover her nipples or any of those things…but because there is so so so much time in a woman’s life to worry about what we look like. To think about our breasts, our noses, our asses. If I bring up the padded bras, that just gets her thinking about it all. And I really don’t want her going down that road. Especially when I seem so ill prepared to discuss and help her young mind through all the bullshit.

Sigh. I just wanted to buy some crayons. A pack or two of pencils.

Instead I feel like I had this perfect opportunity in front of me to teach both of my kids about respect, beauty, and body image…and I stumbled and stammered and wished one of my son’s inventions had become a reality.

He has this idea for a hook up between our brains, so I can automatically give him all my knowledge and he doesn’t have to listen to me explain or make guesses when I can’t seem to phrase things in a way he can grasp.

I think the idea actually came out of Mom Nagging, but whatever. I’d take it right now.

I’d even wear a padded bra on my head ala Weird Science. Although, there is no way my very embarrassed son would.

We might have to give that invention a few more years.

The POUT Face & Why I Must End It…NOW

#allhailhala says "Hug a Lion's fan...like my Mama" #lions #whodat

I really don’t know why I’m surprised. My six-year old daughter was pulling out her full on POUT face (see above) for $99 Prada frames at the eyedoctor…even though her vision was deemed 20/20.

That’s right, she has zero need for glasses yet walked out of her exam having decided she needed a pair to go with ‘just some outfits’ and because several other little girls in her class had gotten glasses. Cue my very unoriginal ‘and if several other girls in your class decided to jump off a bridge…’ which then I immediately turned into a seemingly unoriginal rant about how she should have her own, independent style and it should have very little to do with eyewear. Doesn’t she want to be a trend setter?

But Mom these are dark pink and light pink, no one has those.

Doesn’t she want to show off her pretty face and her great vision?

But Mom, did you see the little diamonds on the side?

We can find OTHER non-prescription glasses at another store much cheaper if you really want a pair to just ‘wear.’

But Mom, I want THESE and this is the EYEGLASSES STORE. I don’t want to get my GLASSES from the grocery store.

Ok that one I’ll give her, and maybe the diamonds thing (they were cute) but I’m not buying a ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR pair of GLASSES (Prada or no Prada label) just so she can maybe wear them to school a few times, get bored with them, and then put them on her American Girl doll with whom she is now, also, bored.

This is my fault. I know. I deserve this, don’t I?

My Mother is snickering in Florida somewhere reading this.

We can have this argument when she’s 16. But not SIX. Which is stupid for me to say because we’re having it and she’s six, so let me just say this argument will make more sense at 16. So I’m cutting it OFF at six.

Or trying to.

Oh who am I kidding. I’m screwed.

I’ll just hand over the $100 now and call it a day. And then throw in a goose that lays golden eggs and rename her Veruca.

And don’t tell her that her Mother got the Versace frames. Oh screw it, tell her. I AM THE MOM AND I CAN GET WHAT I WANT.

No really, don’t tell her. I’m tired.