Saturday, February 28, 2015

junkes, prostitutes, chocolate- Viva la harm reductione

Harm reduction is what they call it when an option is provided to help someone do less harm to themselves while unable to stop a behavior, like providing clean needles to junkies to help prevent AIDS. Yes it would be great to stop the junkie from shooting heroine, but in the meantime, lets help them do it with less risk.  I am a supporter of that work. I did harm reduction volunteer work with my transgender friend, handing out condoms to the transgender prostitutes in the meatpacking district back when transgender prostitutes frequented that area.

I suggest everyone try this work. It feels great to help others. Also, I wish the whole world saw sex workers and transgender people as same as and equal and spoke of them with the same respect we spoke of our loved ones with. Why wouldn't you, right? but alas, some people don't. I wish that people who were not completely comfortable with sex workers and/or transgender people tried serving their community and getting to know them because knowledge breeds empathy. (In fact, try serving ANY community you might feel superior to, or have judgment of. Getting to know people as human beings is the best way to bring down the walls and mend separation.)

What was funny is that the condoms we handed out were flavored Vanilla and Chocolate. Which brings me to the reason I am recalling this. It is silly but my dear friend Viva named eating certain kinds of food as harm reduction. Instead of commercial cookies or sweets loaded with sugar and fat and gmos and whatever, I try to eat organic whole grain food sweetened with a softer ingredient like fruit sugar or honey, etc. It feels better.  That is how I eat 98% of the time. I am not eating that way this week.

Right now my home is like a chocolate factory and I am like Lucy Ricardo or Curious George eating every candy in sight. People keep sending us champagne and truffles. I am eating several to many chocolate truffles at least once a day if not twice. I probably do not fit in my Oscar dress anymore. I love all the kind thoughts and well wishes and gifts, but it is hard to have a home overflowing with delicious treats at a time when I am run down, exhausted, recuperating and reacclimating to my life after such a trip. I am weak to temptation. I cannot stop. The very best I can muster would be harm reduction. Please send help. Vanilla or Chocolate.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Death comes Sweeping Down the hallway in its Sunday best

Leonard Nimoy passed away today. I am completely unqualified to write about him. I have never watched Star Trek. But I am going to write about him because today listening to people talk about him on the radio, he truly touched my life. That is powerful. Life is beautiful. I so appreciate the gift of when someone lives a life that inspires so I am going to share the things I heard to day.

1.   Live long and prosper. Nimoy actually brought this line to the character. This line is the best tag line ever!! What a perfect blessing to extend to everyone you know and meet. Now I have to become a Star Trek fan. My sister has been telling me things my whole life but did I listen? My husband will be so happy.
2.   Infinite diversity!!!!!!!!!!!!! A vulcan concept Nimoy often spoke about and delibratley brought this radical concept of inclusion to the franchise. Room for everyone. Yes. And Thank you.
3.   His acting was superb. The Vulcan idea of not suppressing emotion but of logical rational control of emotion is a skill I will strive my whole life to master. The man paradoxically acted out this concept with so much emotion and humanity. Wow!
4.   Leonard was more than Spock. He was an actor, a director, a singer and a photographer. I love people who explore all of their creativity and put it out there. Super cool. The Full Body Project, one of his photo projects, is again bringing diversity to the world, thank you. And yes, this song touched me. Leonard Nimoy reminded me to open my heart today. I can use that value on a daily basis. Thank you. Rest in Peace.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Great Expectations

Back in grammar school my family used to spend our summer days swimming and lounging at the Fieldston Bath and Tennis Club in the Bronx, or Kelton’s as we all called it, because the Kelton family owned it. The experience of growing up there was brilliant. I will quote myself here from (click if you want to read the whole thing)
“Every summer my family would join this amazing pool club right there in the Bronx on Broadway around 236th street, The Fieldston Bath and Tennis Club. The high falutin’ name was not a great indicator of the pool club experience. The pool was indeed fantastic and there were clay tennis courts, but the club was populated by predominantly Irish, Jewish, and Italian working class families from the north Bronx area, chilling out, smoking, drinking, cursing, swimming, having a ball.

At a certain time in the day the air took on the dreamy smell of cookies baking from the Stella D’Oro factory next door. I cherish those summers spent swimming all day, running around free like a wild animal, tanned and chlorined, eating french fries and ice cream and playing pinball till 9pm when the sun finally set and the workers threw us out. We could have stayed all night as well.”

My family joined the pool club when I was in first grade and continued till I was in fifth or sixth. I was a little girl there and became an adolescent, interested in guys. I was in that pool when I heard that Elvis had died. I spend the prime summers of childhood, girlhood rather, when my life was being molded, in that space with those folk.

The story I want to tell is that there was a man who had some stock in the business, he was either the manager or a partner. We’ll call him Mr. Shoeman. Mr. Shoeman had two daughters who I saw as very different from me and my working class family. I experienced them as having a lot compared to my having very little.

One year the pool club had a plywood wall put up for some reason and hosted an art contest for kids to decorate the unsightly wall. The wall was divided into sections that were numbered and you could sign up for a numbered space and draw or paint something to be entered into the contest. There would be several “winners,” depending on type of art and age group.

I read the rules very carefully, and signed up for my age group and category of art, which was abstract. I did a psychedelic design that had depth and color. I was very proud of it. I feel like I was in 3rd or 4th grade, not sure exactly. As we got past the deadline for the entries and closer to the announcement of the winner, I noticed that I was the only person in my category, meaning that I was a sure winner. I was thrilled to be a winner and felt my work to be brilliant. 

A day or two before the winners were announced a board was nailed over my drawing. I was thrown by that but accepted that it was part of some construction and still looked forward to my name being called as a winner.

Finally, the day had come to announce the winners and we all gathered around the pool while someone spoke over the pa system. The older Shoeman girl won in her category. And then they announced my category, the one that I was the only person entered and they called the younger Shoeman girl’s name as the winner.

A moment before I could taste the winning acknowledgement and then there I was, in a blink of an eye, left in devastation. My home life was a mess and I was prone to self-blame and I spiraled in shame, pain, despair, you name it. I had no one to talk to and no one stood up for me. No one went to the judges. No one held my hand. No one talked to me about life. The adults in my life did not belief in a kind compassionate safe universe where abundance flowed from an unlimited source. They did not know how to right a wrong or even empathize with the victim of a wrong. They might have believed that I was a fool for thinking that I might win. I know I thought that, and I wonder where that thought originated.

Anyway, it’s all better now.  My blog is named after my life. All transformation is possible. My core beliefs have evolved beyond that working class ghetto life. My cells have realigned. I am safe and happy and allowed and manifesting. I only write this because I was thinking about the Oscars and competition and contests and winners and it reminded me of this: that even when you think something is a guarantee, a shoe-in, it might not be. ** AND ** The opposite is true too. Even when you think it is your one and only chance, or that you’ll never have the chance again, or that you are too old or it is impossible, or you can’t or wont- you are wrong. I try to practice cultivating desire and detachment and allowing for miracles again and again. All Transformation is possible.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Oscar night part 2

I will pick up where I left off...
Tom and I were staggering out of the Governor’s Ball and we were both feeling the exhaustion of the day. It was around 11:30pm. He asked if I just wanted to go home. I did and he had a fever, but instead of being practical, which I am every day, I said that this was a once in a lifetime and we should go out for a little bit. We met up with our pals and went to the Elton John party, which was waning. Chic had played and the place went insane, but by the time we got there the dance floor was still cooking but not much else was going on. Johnny Dynell and Chi Chi Valenti, my friends from New York, were Djing and it was amazing to say hello to them. My tribe, my people, there in the chaos of Hollywood. Chi Chi and Johnny are the two coolest people on the club scene, bar none, and great individuals in general. They were the brains and founders of Jackie 60, a hang out of mine in the 90’s in New York in the heart of the meatpacking district before it was developed.

Jackie 60 was a brilliant gay and straight dance club but also an underground art performance club that took things to the next level. They had readings and plays and performances of every kind each week that were mind blowing. I was very lucky to have been an honorary member of House of Domination, the in-house method-go-go dance troupe, led by Kitty Boots. I also performed there as an insane Manson girl lip syncing to a Charles Manson recording on Cult night, another time I got to play Giulietta Masina opposite Antony Hegarty, of Antony and the Johnsons, in a mini version of Juliet of the Spirits on Fellini night. You get the picture. And here they were, mi familia, to hug on Oscar night. Too cool. But I digress…

Lastly, we hit the Vanity Fair party, which we did not have invites to , but we were told that all we had to do was show the Oscar and that would get us in and it did. We rolled down the limo window, held up the Oscar and the gates open for us.

The party was packed with stars. So many great faces. Most of the nominees, and David Oyelowo, Quest Love, Vin Diesel and many others. There were Parisian macaroons and In and Out burgers being offered to the hungry guest and again alcohol flowing wildly. We danced and talked and people watched and stayed out till about 2:30. Then Tom and I stayed up till about 5am, enjoying the last few moments of being child free. The next day we rolled out of bed around noon. Tom went to work with his fever and I picked up the kids before going back to work myself.  

Just so you know, Tom doesn’t have pneumonia and the fever is gone, just a nasty cough lingers. We made it through awards season alive. I ate cookies for dinner two nights in a row and today I had a box of champagne truffles for lunch. I NEVER do that kind of stuff. I am talking about not eating like that in decades, and here I am 3 days in a row. Re-acclimating is a bitch.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

i pulled it off! here are some details...

So I pulled it off! Everything worked. I loved how I looked. It poured raining on my frizzy “Latina” hair and somehow I looked good. All a miracle. Today I feel beat up and tired, much recovery needed. I want to fill you in on everything. Forgive my slowness in the speedy modern world of technology.

First of all, no swag. None. Only the stars get it. What ever, who needs stuff?

Second, I have no dirt to dish, only kind words, the whole affair was top notch. Here goes…

Getting there took longer than expected due to the rain. There were all these protestors on the street as we sat in limo drop-off traffic. They had megaphones and ranted about sin. It was pouring rain and felt a bit like a Fellini film. We went with two friends and that made the whole event even more fun, almost like the prom I never went to, gowns, diamonds, tuxes and limos!

Everyone working the event was so kind. They handed us umbrellas until we got under the tent and walked us to the red carpet. Many famous people were going in by that time but a few people wanted to talk to Tom and take our photo. Again, very Felliniesque to be in that chaos with fans screaming and lights flashing. J Lo, Cumberbatch, Travolta, Reese, all strolled by looking great. We ran into Rene Russo and her husband, director of Night Crawler, Dan Gilroy on the security line and chatted because we had met at the Indie Spirit Awards the day before. We chatted with Mayor Garcetti too. Smashingly fun.

The actual show was really fun. We had great seats. After Tom won and Oprah said hi to me, things got crazy good, not because of my good fortune but because Common and John Legend’s performance was so powerful, worthy of the standing ovation. Then they won for best song and the speech was standing ovation quality as well.  Also, Lady Gaga was amazing and Julie Andrews was stunning. I was on my feet more than I was sitting and my hands hurt from clapping. But most of you saw all that. What you did not see was the mayor come back and take a photo with Tom and the Oscar but we will post it at some point.

When the show ended we were hungry but we hung out in the lobby talking and trying to meet up with our friends before going to the Governor Ball. We saw everyone walk by. Rosamund Pike’s dress was my favorite, other than mine and one vintage Chanel from the 5o’s. Eddie Murphy looked like a million dollars and everyone was very nice.

The Governor’s Ball was swingin’. Sergio Mendes played and will i am made an appearance. I did not drink but there was champagne everywhere and more for the asking. There were hors d’oeuvers coming by constantly and I ate a full meal and then some, including lobster salad and baked potatoes with caviar and potato pancakes with salmon. Then came dessert but I just had a few bites of chocolate for some energy. I was definitely in shock by this time. I could not tell if I was hungry or had over eaten. I was moving slow and had nothing to say and just wanted to sit on a quiet couch alone for a bit. It took us a while to organize our brains and call our limo and make our way out of there. There were coffee and espresso stations and white leather couches and heat lamps on Hollywood blvd as we waited for our car. Anything you wanted was there for you, free, with great service and a smile. We felt so spoiled….we were. I am too tired to go on… more tomorrow

Monday, February 23, 2015

4 favorite oscar moments

I am getting reaclimated to planet earth, so this is going to be short-ish, I will elaborate as the week goes on.

1.   Before I got dressed for the event I walked to Geslons for a snack. time was getting tight. As I was going into the store, feeling stressed, a guy in a tuxedo carrying a box of pastries ran out the door screaming in major stress “I AM SO OVER THIS SHIT!” I wonder where he was headed that night?

2.   Tom and I were sitting about 10 rows back form the stage on the isle, 8 rows away and directly behind Oprah and Steadman.  When his category came up, the ushers walked us to the nominee box on the side of the stage. After Tom won he went backstage to do press. I walked back to my seat across the front of the stage, past all the movie stars and up the isle right past Oprah. She was relaxing into Steadman, casual and free. I looked at her as I passed with my beaming smile and she looked directly at me and like only a southerner could do, said “Hi ya!” playful, and loose, and dare I say, flirty! I beamed even more and said hi back and continued to my seat. Oprah flirted with me!

3.   Tom winning was too amazing for words! 

4.   Tom had the Oscar so we could walk up to anyone and be more of a peer than a fan and actually chat. That was really fun. The only person I cared about to approach, other than Oprah, who I did not see, was David Oyelowo, who was amazing as Dr. Martin Luther King in Selma. He was at the Vanity Fair party and we three talked for a good while and I got a hug! So sweet!

There were a bunch more cool things but you will have to wait till tomorrow. Alas, back to my life and work and changing diapers, where champaigne and caviar does not flow from an unlimited source. I packed up the $52,000 watch and the diamond earrings to return. At least I get to keep the dress!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Oscars and WE. Oui.

Dear Friends,

What can I say? Thank you and I love you. Odd how this event is bigger than our wedding, but it is. It is televised for one thing, and millions of people are watching. Crazy. The energy is big, there is no way to minimize it.

We have dear friends watching our kids today and other dear friends hosting our kids in a sleepover tonight. Such kind brave souls. Thank you. It is only the 3rd time in 5 years that we are not with Nova overnight and the first time without Perry. I feel teary and miss them already, AND I also feel elated about 28 glorious child free hours!! 

Thank you to everyone. I am in awe of the generosity of so many people helping us out with clothes and jewels and time and money and childcare and verbal support. So much goodwill, it is incredible. Who knew the Oscars would bring out the best in everybody? All of your kind words of support and encouragement have carried me to this point and mean so much as we hobble across the finish line. I prepared almost everything last night so it should be smooth sailing. We are going to eat chocolate, our drug of choice, and have a great day and night. I plan to be in my body and enjoying the ride.

Thank you kind folk for all of the love, texts phone calls, emails and thoughts. You have been coming out of the woodwork in such a sweet way, sincere and touching way. It’s so odd, I am not even nominated and I am not an Oscar fanatic but this is very emotional. I am feeling you and carrying you all in my heart and representing you all, the Ramos’s the Reynolds, Inwood, New York, the lower east side, the moms and dads, family school, old friends and new…we are going to the Oscars! Oui. Jeepers, this reads like MY acceptance speech. Tune in tomorrow for the scoop…

Love, Holly

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Indie Spirit, the final stretch, and urgent care...

Today was the Indie Spirit Awards. Let me back up. Tom has been running himself into the ground. He was running a fever last night and had pink eye. He went to bed after 1am and needed to be at an editing panel at 8:45, then Indie Spirit, then parties and dinners. At 4:30am he was up and miserable and wondering if he should go to urgent care. I suggested that he needed to cancel everything today so he would not end up in the hospital. I really want him to be alive.

Also, I just wanted to mention that my son has been congested and I am sleeping with a chopped onion by the bed and the vaporizer on, so every night I am steaming in onion smell. I am also run down and have been eating raw garlic each night so I smell like onion and garlic. We are all a bit of a mess, but surviving and thriving, somehow.

Anyway, Tom was up for the panel this morning and said he felt better. He is drawing from his very last reserves right now. I get it, this is his moment. I had a sitter come at 8am and I went back to bed and then I could not get up. I set the clock but I just could not do it. By the time I woke, I had 50 minutes to be ready to get leave for the Indie Spirit Awards. A car was getting me at 12:10 and then picking Tom up at the panel at 12:45 to get us to the awards, a tent on the beach in Santa Monica by 2:00, with a soft start at 1:45, whatever that meant. Well we would find out.

I was about 20 minutes late, but the driver said take your time. I was so unorganized and I left the house without checking anything, without my shoes on, without my makeup finished, I just could not do it. I finished everything in the car. I knew that if we left at 12:30, we would still get tom by 12:45, so everything was cool….except..

We got to the Indie Spirit tent a few minutes after 1:30 and the lot was empty, everyone was inside. A publicist came up to us and said, “well, they announced the first award and you won, congratulations”. Yep, he missed his award. Missed it by about 5 minutes. It was my fault. Tom did not even bat an eyelash. I felt terrible but he was thrilled to win and said not to worry about it. That’s my guy.

The “soft” start was actually 1:30, and editing was the first award. This part of the event was not televised. Director Damien Chazelle accepted for him. Tom walked in a winner and shook a million hands as we made our way to our seats.

The rest of the event was great. Food, fun and film, c’mon!. I sat at the same table as lovely Scarlett Johansson, the great Wim Wenders and the great Bennett Miller, director of Money Ball and Fox Catcher.  Forgot to say anything to them. My brain was on overload, less from star struck than from overdrive. I got to see so many talented people and had a conversation with director Jason Reitman about stunning photography, like Eggleston and Arbus, but my brain was so tired I could not recall the names of photographers I love like Jamel Shabazz or Danny Lyons. Oh well, next time.

Tom is at urgent care right now. Knowing him, he will make it through tomorrow and can collapse on Monday. The finish line is close. Tom is a winner no matter what happens tomorrow. This whole thing is fun and great and crazy and perfect. Thank you everyone!

Ps. just found out the watch I am wearing is $52,000. glamour..

pss. I had a tee shirt I made for myself in 7th grade that I dyed purple and wrote in marker “this ain’t rock and roll, this is genocide”

oscar related event, anyone?

Tonight I went to a super fancy Oscar related event. It was a cocktail party at a private home. Me, Tom, and Oprah sat on the couch talking and laughing while Common played jazz standards on the baby grand. Not. That is what I imagined it would be, but I was wrong.

I was more dressed up and grown up then I have ever been in my life. I wore a $30,000 ish diamond encrusted watch and a fuchsia raw silk floor length dress from India with mirrors embroided on the chest.  So glad I did because almost every other woman wore a black short dress with heels. The event was like a nightclub minus the joy de vivre of people loving music. The event was a power networking amazing gathering, just different from what I expected. This trip is so interesting.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

anxiety and the the real feelings....

I am wiped out. I am supposed to be having fun but the kids and the sleep and the obligations are a lot.  I cannot imagine going to a party right now, yet that is what I am supposed to be doing this time tomorrow.  I write this to be honest about where I am at, not to complain. It is just weird to be a mom of a baby and a 5 year old and have all this “glamour demand” going on.

Today I just had anxiety. I did much breathing and mediation to try to ground, but it all felt like too much. The home stretch often feels that way I suppose. I will rally tomorrow and eat chocolate to get some energy. It will be fantastic, but all I want right now is a cup of tea and a blanket.  I had to drive out to La Crescenta this afternoon to get a minor alteration on my dress. When I have to drive on highways to somewhere I have never been I get stressed and that stress compounded with the stress I already had al day….

The cool thing was that I had some awareness that I come from such a messed up home and I have issues and one issue is anxiety around the unknown. And I was just able to drop it, to step out of the anxiety and have the real feelings underneath it. I am just scared. This whole fun glamorous adventure is also scary to me. It is scary for me to leave my gorgeous dress in someone else’s hands. It is scary to drive with my kids after school to a strange location. It is scary for me to deviate from my safe schedule of: pick up my daughter, come home, play a bit, have dinner, and bath, and bed. It is scary to have to be places on time and looking appropriate. I have no fucking idea what appropriate is. 

Luckily I have awesome, and I mean AWESOME, friends who do know what appropriate is, who are helping me, who are lending me clothes, who are holding my hand, and watching my kids, friends who I trust, what a gift. This whole Oscars adventure is revealing so much love and kindness to me, it is OFF THE HOOK!! Big fat love. So I was able to feel scared and that made the anxiety stop dead in its tracks and I was able to have empathy for myself. This is hard and it is a miracle that I am even alive, much less handling such a full full life. Handling such a full life rather gracefully if I do say so myself. I am left with tons of gratitude. See ya tomorrow….

i just had to throw this in. 2014, oh man, get to the very end, its short...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Things are getting ridiculous....

I am tired and my son is getting a fucking molar. When kids get teeth they don’t sleep good. Why, baby, why a molar this week of all weeks? Because I am a baby, that’s what I do, mom. OK.

Last night Tom went to an Oscar event party in Beverly Hill and was stopped by the cops for no reason. They profiled not him, but my mangy car. Too fucking funny. He took my ratty 15 year old Corolla, which I love and which has never needed a penny of work put into it, runs perfect, but yes, needs to be replaced soon according to the style police of BH.

Today I went to get the third manicure I have ever gotten in my life. My pal Andrea took the baby as a huge favor so I could get my nails out of the way. I went into the place and they said it was a 45 minute wait. I walked out and cried. Because I am under way to much stress and I need to get it out. I drove to another place and had no decision making capacity left and got a weird color. Oh well, who cares.

The itinerary looks like this: Tom has a party Thurs night that I am opting out of; We have a party Friday night; Tom has to speak on a panel sat morning, we have the Indie Spirit awards Saturday afternoon, Tom has a party Sat night that I am opting out of; and then Sunday is the Oscars. I am thrilled that we are invited to the Elton John party because my old friends, super legends Johnny Dynell and Chi Chi Valenti from Jackie 60 will be there djing. It will be so fun to know someone. Familia!

The world is an awesome place. I need to keep looking at the stars and the sunsets to keep out of the unending busyness. It will all get done. It does not have to be perfect. Please let me get some sleep tonight.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The first man to die for the flag we now hold high was a black man

I think that in honor of black history month I will just post the lyrics to one of the many great Stevie Wonder songs, just to remind you/us: The First man to die / For the flag we now hold high (crispus attucks) / Was a black man /

I taught this song to my sixth grade students one year when I was teaching drama in the la public school.
Thank you Stevie.

Black Man Lyrics

The First man to die
 for the flag we now hold high (Crispus Attucks) was a black man
The ground were we stand
 with the flag held in our hand
 was first the redman's
Guide of a ship
 on the first Columbus trip (Pedro Alonzo Nino)
was a brown man
The railroads for trains
 Came on tracking that was laid 
By the yellow man
(Chorus) We pledge allegiance
 All our lives 
To the magic colors
 Red, blue and white 
But we all must be given 
The liberty that we defend 
For with justice not for all men
 History will repeat again 
It's time we learned
 This world was made for all men
Heart surgery 
was first done successfully 
by a black man
Friendly man who died
 but helped the pilgrims to survive
 was a redman
Farm workers rights
 were lifted to new heights 
by a brown man
Incandescent light
 was invented to give sight 
by the white man
Here me out
Now I know the birthday of a nation
 is a time when a country celebrates
 but as your hand touches your heart
 remember we all played a part in america
 to help that banner wave
First clock to be made
 in america was created
 by a black man
Scout who used no chart
 helped lead lewis and clark
 was a redman
Use of martial arts in our country got its start 
By a yellow man
And the leader with a pen
 signed his name to free all men
 was a white man
God saved his world for all men

All people

All babies

All children

All colors

All races

This world's for you
 and me

This world my world
 your world
 everybody's world
 this world
 their world
 our world
 this world was made for all men.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Stuff is going down (and dress update)

Man, the stress in my home is high. My husband has an event just about every night this week and is starting a new film tomorrow. Oh man, universe, couldn’t you have waited just one week!! Yesterday Tom parked the car at TJs and shopped and forgot the car and walked home. Today we could not find the car. When we realized what had happened, I was sure it was towed. Out of frustration, because we are too busy to deal with one more tiny thing, much less a towed car, Tom slammed the back door and the glass shattered. Now we have two things to deal with.

I drove the other car over to TJs to find out where they tow to and alas, our car was still sitting there, 18 hours later. I guess they are not serious about parking is for customers only, or else they really value us as customers. Either way, parking MIRACLE. The door got fixed. Things chilled out for a moment. We just need to make it through this week…

Dress update: I found shoes!!!!!!!!! I also found jewels, and a clutch. I am good to go, almost. I still have to go to the tailor and a few odds and ends but feeling good.

As for crowd funding my dress, I was nervous about doing it because what if no one gave. I worried that I might look like a fool, the same way I used to worry that no one would come to my birthday party. Putting yourself out there is a form of vulnerability. Scary! But I trusted where universe was leading me. I trusted the good will and I am so glad I did. I fucking love my dress. I  L O V E what I am wearing to the Oscars. It is as cool and comfortable as my fav tee shirt and jeans is. Let me say that again I L O V E what I am wearing to the Oscars, thanks to you!! Can I get a witness, people?

As for the numbers: The dress is $1620. So far you have generously given over $1330, including pledges, with approximately $290 left to go. That is unbelievable!!! Thank you all, I have such appreciation and gratitude for so much kindness and support. I will feel like a queen in this dress, because of the love invested into it. Wow!!

(Tom and I walked down the isle together to this song when we got married)
“stars when you shine you know how I feel”

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Kelly, sand plants and crime ecstasy.

In 4th grade I had this friend I’ll call Kelly. Her mom was an artist and made sand art in glass containers. The mom would donated plants potted in her artwork to raffle as school fundraisers. I thought the art was amazing and I would buy colored sand at the fish store and make my own lopsided pieces, which me and my sister called sand plants. My sand plants were pretty cool, but not as great as Kelly’s mom’s.

One day Kelly brought in some plants to be raffled and our teacher, Mrs. Ryan, one of my favorite teachers ever, asked me to be Kelly’s helper. So at lunch break each day that week, Kelly and I would leave class early and set up a table where we would eat our lunch and sell raffle tickets.  Then when the bell to line up for class rang,  we would go straight to our classroom, getting there before everyone else, so we could put the plant away safe before all the other kids came tumbling in.

I had always be a dedicated conscientious student, doing all my work and trying hard to do it all correctly. I never copied or cheated. Well, the very first day we got back to the classroom early Kelly ran over to the teacher’s desk and grabbed a book and told me to get my math workbook while she gathered hers. Furiously she turned the pages of the teacher’s book until she got to the page she was looking for and began copying all of the answers from the key onto the pages of her math workbook. She explained to me how we had to finish fast, before we heard the kids coming back to the room.

I joined right in, understanding that I would not have to spend time multiplying double and triple digits that night. We finished a page or two and stuck the book back in place before the teacher and the class returned. Mrs. Ryan gave us compliments for working the raffle instead of playing at lunch break.

The next day and everyday that week we did the same thing, racing back to class to copy as much a possible, laughing hysterically and thrilling in the adrenaline rush of getting away with something we were not supposed to do, a feeling I later heard my friend Amber describe perfectly as “crime ecstasy”. We copied enough answers to last for weeks, and for those fantastic weeks, I did not have to carry a heavy math book home and I could watch extra TV.  This was great!

Then one day Mrs. Ryan asked us to open our math workbooks to the next page and she saw that mine was already done. She was confused and checked her notes and saw that other kids had blank pages where mine were filled out. I looked at her and lied and said that I had done extra work. I feared that she might look and see that there were several more pages completed. But she did not. Instead she gave me a work sheet to do while everyone else did those pages. Having to do that work sheet felt like such a drag. I had to do extra math, my punishment for the otherwise perfect crime.

Kelly wound up moving away that year. Eventually I had to go back to doing homework again, but it was sweet while it lasted.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

how to be cool in The Good Shepherd school

Finally, inspired to write! This one is about more than shoes, so don't get scared away..

So I have this thing with shoes. I have always been this way.  I had really cool brown platform school shoes in 5th grade. We were only allowed to wear navy blue or black shoes to school, but that year I wore brown and the teacher did not care.

We wore a grey blue plaid uniform at Good Shepherd, which, as you can imagine did not thrill me, so having a great shoe that I felt good in made all the difference. Accessorize!

Then sixth grade came. It was the most terrible time in the world for me. I did not know it yet, but my parents were on the verge of splitting up and I, of course, must have felt it. Plus I was in the throws of adolescence, which is rough to begin with, and hideous when there is a history of sexual abuse.

All of that may sound bad, but the very worst thing of all was that I had terrible school shoes. My best bestie had these cool black lace up platforms and I tired like hell to find another pair, but her magical shoes were one of a kind, somehow, nowhere to be found. My father took me searching high and low to no avail. Instead I bought a pair of cheap ugly substitutes. They had a lame platform and on the bottom of the shoe, on the sole, was the word “BANG” in relief. This could have been a great detail, depending on how you looked at it, but to me it was miserable and shameful, evidence of the cheapness of my uncool garbagey ugly shoes.

I am cracking up as I write that line, but at the time this shit was real. That is where I channeled all the pain. To add to my misery, I had gotten a bad haircut. I was in the throws of self hatred. Now I write in deep compassion.  Poor kid, with no one to turn to and so much pain inside manifesting as self-loathing. Heartbreaking. Alas, I am always so grateful that that Holly survived and got me to this place. Thank you thank you thank you. But read on, it gets better (it always gets better, I promise you, no matter how bad the pain, it gets better).

Anyway, back to shoes. There was this one girl in our school who was the coolest! All you Good Shepherd kids know who I am talking about. I often change names to protect the guilty, or to just give privacy to people who might not want to be written about. Here I’ll just stick to her first name, Eileen. She had it going on and she knew it.  A great looking kid with style and attitude. She was tough, smoked cigarettes, and had a pair of Puma Clydes! I had a cheap hideous version from Pathmark called Mark 1’s.

Eileen and I were never friends but never enemies. We did the cool chin lift to acknowledge each other when we passed in the hallway. She invited me to her party once. All was good.

Then, in seventh grade Eileen and one or two girls in the know had these great platform wedge school shoes. And I found a pair too! They were too big on me because I was so petite and still wore baby-sized shoes, part of the reason I suffered so. But I bought them anyway, who cares if they did not fit. They were just a little bit too big, no big deal.  I’d grow into them eventually. Everything changed after that. I liked my hair, my shoes, my friends. I was not “all better”, how could I be, but I had passed through a really dark rough patch.

Epilouge: To this day, I am obsessed with wedges. I had an almost replica of those black platforms that my best friend had in sixth grade. And to this day the ONLY sneaker I wear is a puma clyde, every color. If you did not get something, whatever you lacked, give it to yourself now, shoes, safety, empathy, love. Luxuriate in it. Peace, my friends.