Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Holy, the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!"

Thanks for reading. all the best to you dear ones in 2015. I like to end the year with a reading of my favorite poem. I'm sending out to you all, with love and respect. peace on earth. xholly

Footnote to Howl

Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy! The nose is holy! The tongue and cock and hand and asshole holy!
Everything is holy! everybody’s holy! everywhere is holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman’s an angel!
The bum’s as holy as the seraphim! the madman is holy as you my soul are holy!
The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is holy the hearers are holy the ecstasy is holy!
Holy Peter holy Allen holy Solomon holy Lucien holy Kerouac holy Huncke holy Burroughs holy Cassady holy the unknown buggered and suffering beggars holy the hideous human angels!
Holy my mother in the insane asylum! Holy the cocks of the grandfathers of Kansas!
Holy the groaning saxophone! Holy the bop apocalypse! Holy the jazzbands marijuana hipsters peace peyote pipes & drums!
Holy the solitudes of skyscrapers and pavements! Holy the cafeterias filled with the millions! Holy the mysterious rivers of tears under the streets!
Holy the lone juggernaut! Holy the vast lamb of the middleclass! Holy the crazy shepherds of rebellion! Who digs Los Angeles IS Los Angeles!
Holy New York Holy San Francisco Holy Peoria & Seattle Holy Paris Holy Tangiers Holy Moscow Holy Istanbul!
Holy time in eternity holy eternity in time holy the clocks in space holy the fourth dimension holy the fifth International holy the Angel in Moloch!
Holy the sea holy the desert holy the railroad holy the locomotive holy the visions holy the hallucinations holy the miracles holy the eyeball holy the abyss!
Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours! bodies! suffering! magnanimity!
Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!
                                                                                                            Berkeley 1955

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

my biggest fears

I am flexing my writing muscle, mother of 2 be damned. I am getting back in the habit of blogging regularly, even if it just a sentence or two some days.

My biggest fears when becoming a mom were so silly and superficial. Of course the fear is always there of what if something goes terribly wrong or what if something terrible happens. What I did to have the courage to take the plunge was make up smaller goofy fears to take my mind off of the true terror.

I was on board and trusting of the process of becoming a parent, caution to the wind, but my big fear was of having a baby that I did not think was cute. It really was. My first child I knew would be a girl. I just knew it. And she was. But I worried if she would be someone I did not relate to visually. Maybe if she had looked different than my idea of a cute baby, then maybe I would still have seen her as gorgeous. Probably. But in any case the baby that came to me was the spitting image of what I thought was cute prior to her being born. Phew!

Things got really real when we were getting ready for the second baby, which was the dream, to have two children. Becoming a parent, introducing a new human being into your life forever, is indeed one of the greatest gambles. Our daughter, while strong and certainly not an “easy” kid, was so amazing and now we were going to roll the dice again. Anything could happen and it could really mess up our great situation….

I had heard the stories about people with the perfect little angel girl and then the second child was a Neanderthal terror that wrecked the easy living. Since our strong girl had always been a wild one, that was not my fear. What I was really scared of was having a boy, period.

I was so afraid of boys. I wanted two girls, plain and simple. I had no idea what to do with a boy, how to dress him, how to act with him. Everyone said, “You just have to love him, Holly”, but that did not help. Silly, I know, but it was even scarier if the boy looked unlike my dream baby. What if he had a big head and no hair and wasn’t cute and became a jock! (No offense to the bigheaded baldy jock babies out there, I’m sure you are amazing!)

Deep down I suspected baby number two would indeed be male, because although I cultivate ease in my life, my experience has often been that I am asked to walk through fire again and again around the big life milestones. And I was correct; my second child is indeed a boy, my son. And oh how grand it is to have a son. Who knew?  And since I walked through fire on the sex (although once I held him, it was not hard or fiery at all), I was granted ease on the unimportant issue of looks. He was more beautiful than I could have imagined.

In this long life of mine, my worst fears have manifested many times and have always been a blessing. Fear is a strange illusion. A real distracter. So I write to remind myself to feel the fear and do it anyway. Do not allow fear to get in the way. Do those dreams that you’ve been dragging your feet on. Get on up and start. Every journey begins with the first step and once you take action the universe rises to the occasion and helps you in a myriad of ways. Leap and the net will appear. Be brave my sisters and brothers as we face the dawn of the new year.  Life is awaiting us, full of miracles and joy.

Monday, December 29, 2014

how do I let go of hate?

Today I keep thinking of a Muhammad Ali quote. In 1975 he was speaking at Harvard and he was asked for poem and he said “Me, We”. What brilliance and beauty, depth and simplicity.

Some schools of thought believe that we are all one and since we are all connected, everything you do, you do to yourself and to everyone else. Even mainstream Catholicism goes there. Jesus said, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.”

I strive to have a heart big enough to handle the spiritual challenges I face. It seems that when you are on a spiritual path, whether you want to be or not, you are presented with ample opportunities to practice simple philosophies in the most difficult situations. Everything is easy on a mountaintop but how do you have compassion for an individual who has caused you personal agony, and is unchanging continuing to act in a way that has hurt you and your family.

I have no idea how to overcome such obstacles except to try and try again, to seek to be compassionate and choose peace again and again, despite the ego that wants to be RIGHT! (That wants EVERYONE to KNOW just how TERRIBLE this individual is! That wants to punish the individual, that wants the individual to CHANGE).

My job is to take care of my family with strong boundaries, which I do, but then to just be honest about what I feel while remaining neutral in my language, staying out of blame drama and engagement and loving myself, while trying to have true compassion for the above described individual. That is what letting go of a resentment looks like, that is what some version of forgiveness looks like. That is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I try to do it. I fail daily but I try again, for me and for my family , but also because if I do not do it, I will meet that individual or some version of them again and again down the  road. Man do I have my work cut out for me. So hard, but I accept the challenge. I appreciate any good vibes of support sent my way.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Gang Girl

Back in the day, I was hanging out on the Lower East side with the most creative, coolest, beautifulest people on earth. In 2000, I was at Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, sharing my one bedroom with a cool woman from Germany to pay the tuition, and I was cast as a principle character in the indie film, Margarita Happy Hour, by Ilya Chaiken.  Things were going great.

Then I heard that a bunch of my pal were cast in Katrina Del Mar’s film Gang Girls 2000. I really wanted to be a part of what I knew would be a masterpiece, so I called Katrina and told her so. And Katrina said I could be in the film! I think she said I could be a Glitter girl, I can’t remember. Anyway, I just needed to show up at Coney Island for the fight scene finale. I was thrilled but as fate would have it I got a call that I had to shoot one more scene for Margarita Happy Hour the very same day!! Ah, luxury problems. I missed my big chance and felt so sad, but I had a commitment and that was that.

Well, fast-forward 14 years. Christmas came early this year when I got my copy of Katrina Del Mar’s Girl Gang trilogy in the mail on Christmas eve. The cool thing is that this brilliant piece of work exists and I own a copy. And I can still brag to my husband and you about how I was supposed to be in it. God bless all you women directors! Ps. Ava DuVernay, the director of Selma, is my new hero.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

schoolyard racism and sexual assault

In 6th or 7th grade I went out with my girl friends after school. It was the end of the school year. The days were long. The sun had that early summer quality. I had on a blue stripped knit t-shirt and jeans. I felt alive and grand, in the moment, in my body, with my friends.

We were walking along Broadway near the diner by 207th street, heading to one of the girls’ apartments when we ran into some boys from our class. Boys were of interest and everything was feeling fun, alive and perfect. Then things got weird.

One boy made a racial joke directed at me. “Why does a Puerto Rican carry shit in their wallet?” “For ID.”  I was the only Puerto Rican in the group. I felt the hostility and was not sure what to do. There was some whispers and one of the girls, more of an acquaintance than a friend, said, “Stand around Holly, They are going to do something to Holly.” The air was charged and I was scared of being the target. The girls stood on either side of me and we tried to walk away. The boys lunged towards us from behind. I think there were 4 of them. Some parts are so clear in my mind and some are foggy, as it can be with traumatic memories.

Two of the boys went through with the whispered plan and touched my butt. They did not pinch or grab or caress it but poked it, like a child stealing icing off of a cake in a room full of adults and trying not to get caught, fleetingly. The other two chickened out.

I left my body. The violation of those mere seconds was more than I could handle. Some of my friends tried to be supportive but they did not know what to say or do. One girl may have been jealous that I got all the attention. We were young adolescents, clueless about the world.

We got to someone’s apartment courtyard and sat around for a bit. I lied and said I did not feel good and I wanted to go home. I actually did not feel good, but I still was making up a story. I was in unbearable pain. I walked home alone and scared. I so desperately wanted to tell someone. I intuitively knew that I needed compassion, but I had no idea how to get it. I went home and entered the room where my parents were watching tv. I tried to open my mouth and speak but I could not. I knew that they would not know how to comfort me. I knew from experience that they might freak out and make a scene but no one was going to hold my hand and tell me that I did nothing wrong and love me through it and handle it. They were not bad people but they just did not have it in them, they did not have the capacity, the tools, the experience. They lived in the same internal/external ghetto that the boys who did this to me lived in. They were doing the best they could but their best did not serve me so I kept my pain inside. I harbored the unnecessary shame and fear alone and secretly hoped that the people who had slung the arrows would heal the wound. It did not happen. It seldom does.

The next day in school one of the boys whispered to me during class that he was sorry. I eyed him with distain and lifted my chin the way I had watched cool teenagers acknowledge each other.

Today I have so much compassion for that little girl. Dear child, I am so sorry for your experience, one that you did not deserve. Today I try to heal my many wounds with compassion for myself, and for the wound maker. It is not an easy task, but necessary.

If you have had pain, don’t let it take you down, let it enlighten you, give you compassion, expand your heart, help you to be kind and help others. Be an example, light the way. I am so happy to see the world changing around sexual assaults. I am so happy that people are bravely speaking out and that people are listening. Keep bettering yourself, keep loving yourself, keep up the good work. When we evolve we change the whole world, we help everyone, we bring everyone up a notch with us. I write this to remind myself...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ah life.....

As if I even have a moment to sit and write… but here I go…

What’s great? Well I watched a film from 2006 online about the band CRASS, my fav band from my high school, called There Is No Authority But Yourself. CRASS was the premier anarchist punk band, as some of you know. The intensity of their rage was equal to Ian McKay in Minor Threat, another fav of mine. I was mad, yep, but Crass was more than just rage, they were also so cool and smart and political. Yes, life times ago I was right there with them. I loved their minds and souls and everything they embodied. I even quoted them in my high school yearbook. A lot of what they were doing truly aligned with my personal beliefs at that time, as I was off the grid and in subculture for most of the 80’s and then some.

For last two decades I have been on the grid, purposefully and happily, I might add. But I still hold dear their anarchist aesthetic, how they were authentic artists and activists, quite beautiful to behold- even if I can’t listen to them and don’t agree with all of their raging beliefs anymore. Ah, life!! The movie is so fun, great to see where it all lead.

What else, Crissie Hynde, live and solo on kcrw this morning. She sang Talk of the Town, never my fav song, and made it sound so beautiful, her voice is so lovely and she was so down to earth and cool.

Lastly, amazon tv show, Transparent!!!! I am only two episodes in but so far it is killer acting writing and subject matter and do a see HOLLY WOODLAWN appearing!!???. Alas, there is controversy that the main transgender character is not played by a transgender person, but progress not perfection, people. This is historical and brilliant. Now let me go make a bottle for my baby.. miss you all… love on dear ones. Ah life….

Monday, August 11, 2014


Oh hell, when ever a rich successful famous person dies from the disease (depression, mental illness, addiction, any of the versions of that disease), it resonates so deeply for me. We all have pain, and the external things, the fixes, do not fix it or make it go away. Success, money fame don’t fix it. Drugs alcohol medication does not fix it. Nothing can fill the hole.

If you are lucky, you find a way again and again, every time it revisits you, to deal with the pain, you find the strength to feel it, and get through it, with support, compassion, softness, help. Sometimes just someone on the other end of the phone is enough, if you are lucky enough to remember to pick it up and make the call. Practice remembering, make it a habit.

This week I did this little exercise where I posted 3 positive things a day for 5 days. For me it was a positive thinking exercise, remember what I am grateful for. Tonight’s list was going to be 1. that I have a good body to go through this life in, nice enough looking, nice smelling, all the parts work, amen. 2. That I have a great comfortable organic chemical free mattress. 3. Gratitude for a simple cup of tea.

Somehow, for tonight,  that was perfect but I want to add that I am grateful for everything. Everything. Everything in my life, my family, friends, kids, husband, job, brain, time, energy, peace, kindness, struggles, challenges, yoga, meditation, communication, knowledge, spiritual paths, information, luxury, faith, support, love, love love. For whatever reason, for today I have the tools to navigate my trauma, my story, my pain, and for today the struggle is so small, soft, mild. It’s a good day, a good life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I wish you all great internal peace, the strength to get through your troubles and access to the great joy of life.

Peace to the family and friends of Robin Williams.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Alex Chilton, the Letter

I am reading the new Alex Chilton bio, A Man Called Destruction, and I needed to tell this one…

When I was a kid we had this one babysitter called Barney. Her name was really Bonnie, but my parent’s heavy New York accent turned it into Barney, so I always felt bad for her for having a boy’s name. She was interesting looking. At the time I found her very unattractive, but thinking back she was kind of brilliant- long and thin and dressed in all black, straight leg trousers and a turtleneck, thick black framed eye glasses, and a red afro-ish head of hair. I thought of her as homely, but she might have been a stylin’ cool beatnik. There were no beatniks in my world at the time, so I had little to compare her to.

Anyway, I cannot remember but either we had a 45 of The Box Tops song The Letter or she would bring over 45s when she babysat. Alex Chilton was the singer of the Box Tops, and he was a mere16 years old when he cut the vocals and the song sky-rocketed to number 1. The deep soul vocals sounded like they came from someone more mature and, as it said in the book, people were often shocked to find out The Box Tops were a white band.

I was so young, 4 maybe 3, that I could not understand what the song was about. I felt the urgency, the sex, the soul, i knew it was about something dark and adult but could not comprehend the story. I recall not understanding how a “baby” could write a letter.  I remember later my cousin explaining to me dead pan that “the guy wanted to get back with his girl.”

Barney and her long slim black-clothed body would lock my sister and I out of our bedroom and play The Letter over and over on our stereo and dance back and forth in a trace while we peered through the key hole, curious, shocked.

The Chilton book is pretty amazing, I am loving the period I am reading about where Alex stopped doing drugs and alcohol and was humbly taking day jobs and playing shows and had a great attitude. It is rare in a riches to rags story that someone shows so much character and is so victorious inside, in the mind. I don't know how the story ends and I shouldn’t write this until I finish the last 40 pages, but I am. Human beings are amazing, no matter how the story ends. The journey is the same, fucking hard, and we do our best. (oh god, I hope he dies happy and doesn’t descend back into the messed up Alex before the end…)

What song to end with? The Letter, where they are lip syncing and goofing around? The Replacements song? Or The Way I Walk, by the Cramps which he produced…. maybe all three

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

True love

Thirteen years ago today (or tomorrow, I am bad with dates) I met my lovely husband. I bumped into him, unplanned, at the Gen Art after party for the Margarita Happy Hour screening.

A mere 12 hours prior, I was in Los Angeles about to go to the airport. I was there for the film screening in the Los Angeles Film Festival. At the screening I had met a guy who had gone to school with the film’s director and who hooked up with my girlfriend. He seemed like a really good guy. As I was walking out the door to catch a ride to the airport he said to me “you should meet my best friend, we’ve been friends since kindergarten.” I wanted to roll my eyes, but made a mental note of it, because I liked the idea of someone being a friend since kindergarten, it spoke of strong character.

So there I was 12 hours later at the after party and I overheard someone say that they went to school with the film’s director and I just knew that it was “the best friend”. At the time, I had no idea he would be my future husband. Still, I walked up and said his name.

My husband remembers it differently. He recalls coming up to me. Alas, memory is a funny thing and we will never know what really happened, but we met and the rest is history.

I had been walking the wrong path up till that point, dating really unavailable men. You can read all about it here:
Anyway, things changed because I worked really hard to change them. I have become available to the life I really wanted.

Then last week I had an incident happen that shook me to my core. It was a great disappointment around my core wounds. It was no one’s fault really, just a chemical reaction of personalities bumping into each other and churning up ancient cellular pain. The feelings that were brought up were colossal. I was so sad and I wanted to curl up and disappear. I felt so depressed and did not feel able to fight my way up for air, did not feel able to shake the heavy gluey hellish muggy cloud of despair that had engulfed me. Old poison can still be quite powerful. Urg.

I was reminded of something I had read during 9/11- that when a big crisis/emergency happens often people get lethargic. They mill around and do not fight or take initiative. I do not know if it is because they are in shock or in the freeze part of fight, flight or freeze, but it happens, it is a known phenomenon. The antidote for it is to think of your family. People who think of their families are the ones who rally, who fight, who escape, and who may even lead others to safety. Even Elie Wiesel talks about how thoughts of his wife were what helped him go on when he could no longer go on in the concentration camp.

I often use this tool, use thoughts of my husband and my kids, to get me through difficulties. It may not be a big emergency that I am confronting, but when you come from a traumatic upbringing, even a small incident can feel overwhelming. So instead of curling up and giving up, I think of my family and it works. I fight, I survive and I thrive. 

Fight for what you want and who you want to be. It is within your reach. If I can do it, you can do it too. I write this to remind myself.

And I am grateful.  I say this to my husband again and again,  and I will say it now: Thank you for making my life. 
what is a great love song to end with ? hard to pick. i think this one feels perfect...

Friday, May 2, 2014

ring of fire

The first six weeks of life with a newborn are called the “ring of fire” because you are going through the hardest part, the Mount Everest of parenting, as I like to say because I like to compare most big challenges to Everest.

So you have this brand new helpless creature in your home that you need to keep alive. My two babies have been of the variety who want to be held round the clock and cry when you put them down. I am not sure if there are babies that don’t mind being put down, but basically you have your hands full 24/7 and it hard to cook, much less eat or shower. Then the cherry on top is that you have to wake the baby every three to four hours to feed them in those crucial first 6 weeks, so you are super sleep deprived, catching a few winks here and there. The common suggestion is “sleep when they sleep”, but when they sleep is when you are trying to get a few things done, which is impossible, thus the ring of fire. Live through this, my friends. We did it.

Alas, we made it through our ring of fire this week, but things did not get particularly better because our son is an eating machine and wakes every 3-4 hours to be fed without our prompting. I am not complaining. I am thrilled to be doing it.

The more interesting part for me is how the whole universe gets involved, messing with my entire life, the way your life might flash before you at the time of death. Birth is no different. My mommy issues are up, my daddy issues, my birth story, my fears of intimacy and commitment, my maternal instincts, all of my core wounds have burst open, every cell is in a revolution to fix the past and improve the future, heal and reveal. Crazy how it works, how when you are in your greatest challenges, more challenges get heaped on you. And on top of that my hormones are insane just from being next to this little guy. Everything is upside down, wild, unpredictable, alive!!!!!!!!! Ring of fire indeed. I say bring it on. I dare you.

Having a newborn is brilliant: magical, hilarious, miraculous, exhausting, fascinating, boring, inspiring, challenging, fun, love-filled, almost undoable, fantastic really, just like a good life, but with higher stakes. Amp it up!

Much gratitude, y’all

love is a burning thing...

Thursday, April 3, 2014


oh my, where to begin? i am a mom again, for the second time. that was the plan, the dream. it is an incredible feeling to achieve a dream goal.

so the journey was not written about here because of etiquette. like with first trimester pregnancy and in vitro fertilization, adoption is a shaky prospect. nothing is a sure bet. the prevailing thought is to refrain from talking about it because the disappointment that may happen is very real. during my first round of in vitro I told people about my process and then I had to deal with my miscarriage, the stark emptiness of having no baby at the end of all that hard work and spent money, and then having to explain my devastation to all these well-meaning hopeful smiling faces asking, “how’s it going?” dreadful. so I learned to tell a confidant or two and otherwise hold my tongue until there indeed was a baby. As you might imagine, this was hard for me, storyteller, feeling-processor, and bloggermouth.
now I get to tell you. a couple chose us to adopt their baby. the due date was in four weeks. after much planning and many expenses, the due date was on hand and we were notified that they had changed their minds. one reason to  not tell everyone about your possible adoption, or even set up a nursery or stock up on supplies, is to keep you from attaching to a baby that is not yet yours and may never be. the concept makes sense but the reality is that it is hard not to attach to a house you are trying to buy. a baby you are dreaming of raising means the world to you, no matter the circumstances. so yes, when we “lost” “our” baby a few days before he was due, the grief was the same as with my miscarriages.
that adoption had seemed meant to be. we had been ready to adopt with our agency for over a year and I had not felt much longing. then one day I felt completely ready for our second child. every cell said “where is our child?” that same afternoon, we got the call that we had been chosen and that the baby was due in a month! it all seemed so perfect, auspicious, meant. the timing was ideal, could not have been better. And then it was gone. we were the same as before, nothing had changed except for the palpable emptiness of no baby coming. devastation.
several days later it was suggested that i go to the park and lie under a tree, to let the earth absorb some of my sadness. once there I found myself having a conversation with the baby. I have experiences like this all the time. It did not freak me out. I said “I really wanted you baby. I am here for you, ready.” someone spoke back to me, saying that he was really trying to get to me, wanted to get to me and was ready. I did not know what would happen. I wondered if the people who had changed their mind would change it back. I was not about to hold my breath and wait. I sobbed from the bottom of my heart and felt better.
several days later I was given a massage. I needed it more than I knew. I slept for the next twelve hours.  when I woke I felt like a new person. I felt that I had released all of my grief and I felt ready to move ahead in acceptance of life. I was ready to be a mother to our second child and I could let go of the fact that it “was supposed to have happened last week". I could handle the mystery of waiting until it did happen, whether that was in a month or a year or whenever. urg. I did not like it but I could do it.
the next day we got a call that a baby had been born two days ago and if we wanted to adopt him, we needed to get to the hospital.  we dropped everything and went. we were at the hospital for 9 hours and went home that very same evening at midnight with our son.
if you look back at my blog, you can see the story there in the subtext of all of my posts, because, I have to get it out one way or another. not sure how much I will be writing in the upcoming months, maybe still once a week. we will find out, won’t we? miracles abound in this magical life of ours. ttyl.

Monday, March 17, 2014


The women’s liberation movement. I was there! I remember being a kid in the car and driving past a woman and my mother saying to my father “she’s not wearing a bra,” as if it were newsworthy. There were women on TV burning their bras. I saw it happen. Women were sick of the confines and restrictions. They rejected the old ways. Things changed. I grew up in a braless world. My experience was that women’s bodies were casual real free normal human.
When did it all change back? When did not wearing a bra become a big deal again? When did women’s bodies become obscene if not perfect and  slim and hoisted and girded and hairless. Yikes.
Wear a bra if you want and don’t if you don’t. This is a much bigger issue. I am just saying… thank you to all of the female artists out there who are changing the world, showing images of women that look different from the status quo, allowing humanness to be seen and heard, portraying women of all shapes and colors and sizes dressed and undressed as just the way it is, because IT IS JUST THE WAY IT IS. Thank you to all of the women out in the world who are just being them selves. Do your thing. Be yourself. Love yourself. Change the world.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fire Horse.

Chinese astrology says that once every sixty years the year of the horse aligns with the element of fire and the fire horses are born. Woman born under the fire horse sign are doomed, as this particular marking was thought to be ruinous. The truth is that many parents killed their fire horse daughters rather than see them set up to live a doomed life or allow them to wreck the family. Women born under the fire horse sign have been persecuted throughout history. I think part of the doom was that they were unmarriable, but also that they were rebellious and would bring about the destruction of their family.
I was a fire horse, a woman with a ruinous birth date. I loved having that marking. I embrace my cursed qualities of being hot, alive, wild, and free. I understood being the scapegoat, being abandoned, bearing the cross. I carried the baggage of my birth proud and strong, fiercely, with attitude. I dare you to get in my way, or even come near, bla bla bla.
Then I found out that the Chinese New Year starts on the 25th of January and I was born on the 7th. I am not a fire horse after all. Everything else about me was still the same and true, but I was no longer doomed because of my birth date. Oh.
Which reminds me of what a fortuneteller once told me as she read the lines on my hands at 28. “Oh, you have a rare line. I forget what that means... let me look it up. Oh yes, success after 40.” I could not bare it, could not tolerate the sentence, which oddly enough came true. But the really cool thing she said was that even the lines on your hand are not set in stone. If you change, use your hands differently than you always have, new lines will form, old lines will fade. In the end I am not a big believer in astrology or hand readings, it is all interesting, but none of it is running my life. The bigger idea here is that it is all changeable. Our histories are transformable, our stories are not the be all end all. It ain't where you're from, its where you're at. Everything is in our power to manifest. All transformation is possible. Happy travels, my friends.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


This is an embarrassingly funny one. Hopefully tragedy plus time equals comedy
Back in the early 90’s when riot grrrr and grunge and all that stuff were all the rage, my band FUR was in the limelight and we would get all kinds of attention and publicity. We did not have a manager or a publicist, but all kinds of invitations would come in. We were reviewed in AP and we were photographed for and profiled in Interview magazine. Paper Magazine sent Terry Richardson to photograph us; we were his first photo shoot for Paper. We even got called to be in a famous designer’s fashion show. It was a glamorous fun time.
The funny thing about the fashion show was that I had been in cool underground fashion shows before, so it was nothing new to be called by the daughter of a famous designer who invited us down to be “poleroided” for a fashion show. We went.
A week or so later we found out that the show had happened and had included other bands and we had never even been contacted. I was horrified at the rejection and proceeded to call up the famous person’s daughter and angrily demanded to know why we were asked to get out of bed and come down to her office and then not put in  the show.  I had a point but the poor thing did not know what hit her and  stutteringly explained that that was how the business worked, that models came to casting calls and were chosen or not. I explained to her that if she were going to call non-models in their homes that she needed to make it clear that they were being invited to audition. I added that I would never have gotten out of bed for in the first place had I known, which was true, but I added it to make sure to get my rejection of her on record. She apologized and got off the phone real quick.
The truth is that the famous designer's daughter did need to communicate better but also that they didn’t want my brand of cool in their show, they wanted girls in bands who looked like models. I did not like the set up- to not even know I was auditioning, and then to be rejected, for something I did not even want. And I also did not like the rejection. Rejection never feels good, no matter what the details.
It reminded me of this one time I was with this guy after a Greendoor party. We met in the swimming pool when we were having the parties on 1st street (NYC). I had little interest in him, he was just a guy at the party to have some fun with, and he probably knew it. When we parted ways, he   gave me a weird break up speech, saying that he was new in town and did not want a commitment. As if!!!! I was horrified by his assumption and yet I still felt the pinch of his rejection. Alas, to be young...
Things change. What I have learned in this long life of mine that rejection is never never personal and always always for the best. As they say Rejection is God’s protection. Keep your chin up, Holly Ramos. Thank you world.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lupita and Marlon Brando

Lupita Nyong’o is a princess. She is the walking definition is grace. I am in awe of her presence. She is so eloquent and intelligent and compassionate and human. Woweee talk about a role model. Her Oscar speech was lovely. Her Essence Awards speech is even better, as it shows who she is to an even greater degree. I am thrilled that she exists as she is an inspiration for me. Her beautiful presence in film and at the Oscars and in life in general is so strong and needed. Bravo.
I remember hearing about Marlon Brando’s rejection of the Oscar back in the day and hearing it dismissed and laughed off. I just watched an interview with him from that time period about his decision and he was so cool. His reasoning, you probably know but incase you don’t, was that Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans was unacceptable and it hurt people, particularly children, who need to see themselves mirrored. The only mirroring Native children were seeing in the media was negative and he spoke of the damage that that does. Having a star of such magnitude bring awareness to that issue was amazing, yet many people, in the industry and not, mocked him.
We all need to see ourselves mirrored in a positive light. Thank you to everyone who fights that fight in their large and small ways, thank you to everyone who manifests their value in big and beautiful ways in the media, and those who support the positive portrayal of the under represented. Lupita ended her Oscar speech by saying that everyone’s dreams are valid. And to further that idea…everyone is valid: gay straight trans white black asian latin female male old young large small everyone-i-did-not- mention all . Let us listen to each other, hear and see each other, welcome and allow each other, embrace and celebrate each other. I fail at these simple tasks all the time but people like Lupita inspire me to reach to be better, to do my best and grow. How beautiful is that.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Acknowledge your accomplishments

Today and yesterday I went to the Echo Parenting Conference “Changing the Paradigm: Trauma and the Developing Child”. I went just to educate myself, to remind myself of the principles of nonviolent parenting, a super evolved school of thought, something that makes me a better parent and a better human being. I need to know about the development of my daughter’s brain, so I can best serve her where she is at, dig? The way their works affects society is that they look at "problem" kids in the system as just kids who do not know how to get their needs met. How would they know how to get their needs met if no one told them. They start by taking out the judgement and the shift is radical. They are changing the system, one kid at a time.
I cannot begin to explain it the entire Echo Parenting philosophy but they teach strategies based on empathy. My friend, writer extraordinaire Andrea Richards, just wrote an article on them, so I will have her link it once it is up for those interested. Please check back. Anyway, I love that there are radical thinkers out there doing great work and healing the world. That is what I am talking about when I say that all transformation is possible. I embrace the hard work of the evolution of my soul.
Richard Moss (who is not involved with echo parenting) says, “By the end of your lifetime maybe you’ll be able to make a space inside of yourself for the feelings you parents didn’t know how to make a space inside of them for.”  That is evolution! Transformation is going father than what you saw and what you were taught, growing bigger than your limitations. I love his work which includes the idea of changing the paradigm from looking at how much you make to looking at your capacity to be available and grow in compassion, because spending a life accumulating stuff has never worked for me.  Shift! Now! Wow!

ohhh and i love this song

Friday, February 14, 2014

happy valentines day and god bless anarchy

Happy Valentine's Day. I am feeling sill and light hearted as I see my 4 year olds bed scattered with valentines day cards and a guitar......

I lived outside of society for years, rebelled against it all. F*** the Hallmark holidays of the consumer culture blabby blab. Some of you knew me back then, grammar school, high school and beyond- ah, anarchy, punk rock and all that cool stuff. god bless it all. ("god bless anarchy" does that make me sound like an old lady, at least a cool old lady, right??) anyway, i did it all, felt it all, moved through it all- thankfully, gratefully- uplifted with transformation, rather than the alternative of depressing defeat or bitterness or mediocracy. Victory of the mind and spirit for all is my dream for me and you and us and we! But i digress.

My point is that it is so nice to just enjoy goofy holidays without attachment or rebellion. Happy Valentines Day. Easy breesey style, like good morning and how are you today? muy bien, y tu? 

It is so nice to have a day that reminds us to celebrate L O V E . I wish you all the experience of great self love. I hope you feel beautiful because you are! I hope you all know the pure experience of being held and being loved. And of loving others pure and simple with a big fat open heart. That is as good as it gets, right there.

Anyway, lets messed it up a bit with some beautiful longing and pain for old times sake
here’s one of my favorite heart breakers, ….

oh, my a love the classic version, now check it out live, even better in some ways, so raw, so talented

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

my wedding blues

In honor of Valentines Day and my love story getting published in the Downtown News,, and because you asked....I am posting the full story of our wedding. It used to give me post traumatic stress to talk about it, but alas time heal all wounds and now it is just a great story....
Two days before our wedding we got a phone message that the space hosting the ceremony and reception was pad locked shut by the city court and our wedding was not happening! Yes, I was that person, the one you hear about on talk shows, whose wedding was a catastrophe. But with a twist. This is the story of how love prevails…
Tom and I planned our wedding with the goals to have our close friends and family there,  to make it a celebration with great food and dancing,  and to not debt. We were paying for it ourselves and we didn’t want to marry into debt. We decided to do it in NYC. We considered the punk style of CBGB’s gallery but quickly recognized that we wanted it to be luxurious and grand. We found a beautiful restaurant on Broadway near 12th street that was pretty, affordable and served delicious food. One story up and decorated in an ornate a French quarer, New Orleans style, the space had a wrought iron balcony inside and one looking out onto Broadway, decorated with lots of flowers, perfect.
We had about 100 people coming so we figured out a few ways to cut the costs. We got a Venieros cake, asked our amazing friend's Stephen, Viva and Jesse to do DJ sets,  invited our talented friend Scott to photograph it, and had an invitation from my dear friend Bob, who did the flowers for Tiffany’s, to do the flowers. I looked for new shoes but just didn’t like anything so I wore shoes I already had, my $600 white crushed patent boots with florescent orange stitching and soles from Sigerson Morrison. Everything was looking great so far.
After looking at my options, I decided to design my dress, a simple white cotton mini, along the lines of Sharon Tates’s wedding dress. A friend who put me touch with a stranger, who happened to be a seamstress, who owed her a favor. The stranger wound up making my dress. The dress was a real risk because I did not know this woman's work and it easily might come out looking like a school play outfit but I was ok with that. Tom and I were very leisurely about our wedding, and while we wanted it to be wonderful, it was going to be about love and celebration primarily, with as little stress as possible. If my dress came out terrible, I figured I could always wear something in my closet.
We had two little bumps in the days just before the wedding. Twice I told strangers that we were getting married on Saturday, and twice the strangers replied “No you’re not!”- One was an airline attendant who refused to let us on the plane. "But we're getting married on Saturday!" "No you're not!"  Can you imagine? Long story, but we got on the plane. The second one was the person who refused to issue the marriage license we went to get it. "But we're getting married on Saturday!" "No you're not!" Even longer story, but my amazing sister the lawyer pulled some strings and we got the license. 
We were never phased by phased by the challenges.  We knew we were getting to NYC one way or another and we knew we were getting married with or without a license. Everything was going to be fine.
Two days before the event I got a phone message from the woman who owned the restaurant saying that the business was shut down and to call her. Hearing the words, I screamed and fell to the floor. As laid back as we were, this was a big deal and involved a lot of people coming and a lot of money being spent, and a lot of emotion. Our wedding  was not going to let us get away with stress free, indeed, it seemed that our wedding was going to take us down. And thought I did literally fall down, I quickly got up. 
Tom and I knew we were getting married as long as we had a minister and friends, so if we needed to get everyone on a subway for hotdogs at Coney Island and a beach wedding, we would be ok. Some elderly relatives were coming so of course we’d prefer not to put everyone on a  subway. Still, we kissed and remembered that it was all about declaring our love, so nothing else mattered.
In the meantime I called the lady who owned the restaurant and she was so cool- she told us what happned (long bankruptcy-proceedings-gone-awry story). She apologized and said that the most important thing was making our wedding happen and that she was going to go to her competition and work out a deal and host our wedding at an alternative space. She would pay any difference in cost. In the morning Tom and I would go see the new space. We decided to trust her. I showed up at my bridal shower a bit beaten up with red swollen eyes, but hopeful. My friends and family were there to support me.
Friday morning we went to meet the lady to get our deposit check from her to give it to the guy who owned the new space. My phone rang and a friend called to tell me I was in the New York Post! She read me an article, instigated by a well-meaning friend, that told our tale inaccurately, slandering the restaurant owner, who was actually bending over backwards to make this up to us.
I screamed and fell to the ground again, sure that our host was going to see it and back out on her end of the deal since it looked like we slandered her, which we didn’t. My husband and I affectionately remember this phone call as the Nagasaki, (which followed the first bombshell, the Hiroshima, of finding out the place was padlocked).
The worst part of the article was the blaring headline "WEDDING BLISS TURNS TO WEDDING DISS"!!! That almost killed me, because my wedding bliss was not dissed and no one had the permission or authority to diss it. How Gross! Plus, since it was in the New York Post and I had grown up in New York City, every teacher, ex-boyfriend, or acquaintance I ever had might read the article with its lying headline and my name and think I was the girl whose "wedding was ruined" when it was impossible to ruin my wedding. No motherf&%#er on earth had the ability or right to ruin our wedding except us. Of all of the stress and challenges, I hated that headline the most.
Anyway, the lady didn’t care about the article, but my sister, the lawyer, did make the Post print a retraction, which was brilliant. The new space turned out to be 3 blocks away from the old one, at the glorious Manhattan Penthouse on 14th street and 5th avenue and word spread fast to our guests with the help of family and friends. 
The Manhattan Penthouse had wall to wall windows on all four sides of the room. The view over Manhattan Island was staggering. We later found out the equally staggering price of having a wedding in that room, but we weren't paying a penny over our modest budget.
The actual wedding day was perfect, my dress came out fine and everyone involved and attending was lovely. Tom and I were still a bit beat up by the course of events but we looked pretty danm good and had a grand time. We had written the ceremony with our minister who wore a skin tight gold lame gown and it was joyous and beautiful. After our ceremony and reception, a dear friend hosted the after party at her apartment. Oh, and remember Scott the photographer, well he happened to work for the NY Post and he ran our wedding photos as Wedding of the Week! (By then we figured if we were gonna be in the tabloids, we might as well enjoy it. We went for the gold and were in the Post three days in a row.)  Thank you to everyone who had been so helpful through everything, we love you all.
Tom and I spent the rest of the our wedding night walking around Manhattan, riding a carriage in Central Park and eating at Odessa before heading back to our hotel. Corny but true, we have been on our honeymoon ever since. Magical life.

Friday, February 7, 2014

alchemy 101

this is a reprint from my first blog, which i had to take down for various reasons. it is a good one and needs a veiwing....

alchemize yourself
My bus from DC to NYC, which usually takes three hours, took 6 hours. That would have been annoying on its own, but there happened to be a woman straight out of a Flannery O’Conner story sitting next to me. She was obnoxious beyond description, complaining on her cell phone and yelling at her husband and kids for H O U R S. I became fixated on her and was going insane in a prison of the Satre kind. It wasn’t until a couple of hours in when I remembered to meditate, to try and drop the resentment and search my heart for peace. It was there that I came to compassion and the very second I felt compassion, she shut up! The very moment I felt compassion, the bus got quiet.
Change negative emotion and feeling into positive ones: this is my challenge on a daily basis. Everyday I will run into the person who is annoying me, getting in my way, preventing me from having what I want, whether that is money or speed or quiet or space. Everyday I work to catch my negative feelings directed at someone who I think is “to blame” and then I work to get over it, which often involves moving from anger, rage, blame, and /or judgment and into compassion, forgiveness, and/or gratitude. Gratitude because, after all, they are all our teachers.
This change, from negative thoughts to positive ones, is alchemy. One of the hardest things to do, but it is how we elevate, how we move into our higher self. Hard great work, this is how you become the change you want to see, one way to work for peace on the planet. ‘Cause after all, if you can’t do it with the little stuff, how can you expect nations, leader, others do it with bigger issues and more at stake?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sometimes I hate the whole wide world.

Sometimes I hate the whole wide world. Hate is a string word, but yes I hate you all, momentarily.

Sometimes I am better than that, bigger, more generous, more compassionate with myself and others, and I am able to love it all. Then I can celebrate it-that same world- dance it, sing it, respect it, salute it, enjoy it, glory-be-to-god-in-the-highest it. I can remember it  and remember myself, be in my power and my joy and my body and my freedom and my truth and my light and my love. I can remember the truth. I can feel everything. I can share  love with others, I can know  and trust and feel and give of myself, be bigger than my parts, even give what I never got. Yum.

Sometimes everything is calm like the sea. I have no hate in my body and I am not flying high on the miracles of right now, the miracle of birth and love and death and life and all the good gifts surrounding us. Sometimes, I am just doing the wash and paying the bill, saying thank you that the money is there, but not tripping out on it, Sometimes I am just washing my hair, or leaving it dirty for another day, Sometimes I am just being a mom and making lunch or horsing around and laughing with my girl, or getting through the day and dying to get my daughter to bed so I can watch tv and rest my bones.

And then sometimes I hate the world and I just let that be ok. I do not take it out on anyone, I do not take it out on my self, I just let that be true. The feelings pass pretty fast, usually.

And then I remember everything that is grand and great and fine and beautiful. And then I can just wash the dishes or be in the hideously overwhelming amazement of  my time on earth. Thank you.

Get it?