my plus 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5


Do you remember your first?

Seriously, get your mind out of the gutter! I’m talking about politics. Do you remember your first political experience? How about the first time you voted? And the best personal political experience in your lifetime ever? This weekend I had the opportunity to hear some pretty amazing, smart women, women who when they speak politicians listen, share some of their first and best experiences as we gathered together to talk politics…naturally…and women…and women in politics…and healthcare and politics…and elections…and the upcoming midterm elections…and why a dear friend sitting next to me needs to someday soon put herself out there to run.

I remember my first political experience. I was 13 years old. Mommy Dearest dragged me to a political protest against then Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter because of his non-stance on abortion at that point in his campaign; which was kind of awkward and strange all around since Mom was a life-long Democrat and a self-proclaimed feminist because it was the 70s and because she scarcely could talk to me about periods at that time much less the mechanics of where babies came from. Yet there I was, standing next to her holding a sign declaring that God was at war against abortion. I was thirteen years old. My picture appeared on the front page of the Pittsburgh Press holding that damn sign as Mr. Carter walked by smiling and waving. Mom was standing next to me smiling and waving too. Oh gawd, I was mortified!!! I was thirteen.

My best political experience was the 1988 General Elections. I was in college working towards my nursing degree and taking care of prereqs like Political Science. Since we were just four months away from the General Election, our professor deigned to focus on taking us through the California ballot for that year studying each and every candidate and initiative on the ballot that year so that each of us would be able to go to the polls truly informed and voting as such. I aced the course and yes, I entered the voting booth for the very first time as a truly informed, confident voter. I brought my +1 too before it was even cool to bring a +1. Of course we wore our matchy-matchy acid wash jeans and big 80’s hair because 80’s.

I am so sorry Hollie! Truly.

But I will never apologize for taking you and Zoë and Abby and Jodie and Daniel to the polls.

Then again, perhaps my best political experience were the days Hollie, Zoë, Abby and Jodie all voted for the first time. When our government mucks up things that affect these ladies I love to remind them that my kids care and my kids vote. Yeah, my greatest political accomplishment is my kids vote…my kids think and my kids vote. Okay, fine. Four out of five of my kids vote…for now. Then again, 2020 will come soon enough.

Meanwhile, I had the opportunity to meet and talk to, laugh with and share with some extraordinary women who are committed to encouraging and training women to be leaders in their communities. Breaking bread with some of them we discussed healthcare and politics and what I believe to be a poorly written, tugging at your aching-breaking heart proposition that will appear on the California November ballot.

The biggest takeaways from political suite talks I engaged in this weekend? Politics is indeed personal because politics affects us all… we women…our access to healthcare…our children…our community. We can indeed be part of the change and we can make a difference with our words and our actions. We must. Anything we say or do, no matter how big or how small.we might imagine it to be can and will and does make a difference. Discussing what I learned this weekend with my +1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 I know I am because 4 of them vote.

In 100 days is our U.S. General Election. Regardless of which side of the debate you find yourself arguing, it’s imperative you are part of the process — along with your +1. In fact, your +1 may vote entirely opposite from you but what matters is you are both at the polls on election day.

 

subdued, simpler, smarter, selfiebration-ish


Back from BlogHer14, missing pretty much all the parties and the sessions yet my head and my heart are full.

For me, there was scarcely any time for pictures but plenty of time for meeting up with old friends; not all as life and commitments always are calling, but some…enough to fill me up with the love, inspiration and encouragement I have been missing…needing. And all together we were enjoying our time. Time to hug a lot. Time to network. Time to talk about our writing, our photography and what drives us to post and create on our spaces. Reflecting on the fact that, yes, we are the “veteran bloggers”. Time taken to realize that, OMG, our kids are growing (grown) up much too fast while we seem to be getting older, perhaps grayer, achier and a little creakier. No one really wants to talk about those hormonal hot flashes but thank goodness for the Yoplait Greek Yogurt fans one could pick up in the Expo hall along with some other swag.

side note: Today I learned that swag is actually an acronym for “stuff we always get”. So says my darling daughter, Abby….The more you know.

I do regret not planning to attend the full conference as it did seem to be getting back to the basics…the blogging, the writing, the putting ourselves out there because we are enough in everything that we do everyday.

Thank goodness for Twitter and BlogHer live blogging everything. I know it’s not the same but it’s almost enough.

Meanwhile there were still many opportunities to be engaged here networking, walking through the expo, screening a movie coming soon to a theater near you, enjoying delicious food while talking with incredibly smart people about that which they are passionate about, sitting together in a suite with an incredible view discussing women, health issues, politics, mid-term elections, changing the world, telling our stories, empowering and encouraging one another.

Meanwhile, Khloe Kardashian showed up in the Expo Hall.

Whatever.

This was a much more subdued, simpler BlogHer and I definitely liked it. I’ll write more about it later. For now it’s family circus time.

 

 

for the daddy I love


“They” say that a little girl’s daddy is the model for which a woman’s heart will fall for when she finds The One. Yeah, that’s what “They” say.

Hmmm…

Well, I seriously doubt that theory for myself, personally. Then again, I look at my own girls, their wonderful, complex, loving, open, crazy relationships with their daddy, that man I married and I might believe it. My girls are very picky with whom they might share their heart with and they can be pretty hard on the ones whom fall for them. Perhaps the latter is because of their mom. I don’t know. We’ll let those experts in fathers and their relationships with their children armchair analyze that as they do.

Based on my own experience and my imagined expertise, I am quite certain that my children have the absolute best daddy…the best daddy ever. Of course that means that I am married to the best daddy. No, that doesn’t guarantee that I wear the best mommy ever crown. Not at all. Let’s just say that the world’s okayest mom is married to the world’s best daddy ever.

There are so many examples I can list here to illustrate that but then I would just be bragging and showing off. Still, I am pretty certain that Hollie, Zoë, Abby, Jodie and Daniel are the children of the best daddy ever. Sure others might object. Some believe that they are or someone they knows holds that title.

It’s fine.

We all are entitled to what we believe to be true.

For me, I look at the way my kids look at this man, their daddy. I look at the way that he looks at them. I listen to their conversations…especially when they think that I am not listening or can’t hear them. I see and hear what I imagine in my heart every child must have, absolutely needs and always deserves from the man in their lives who is their daddy…love with no limits and no conditions. A love like that has no room for fear, dread, criticisms, disappointments. Of course this man whom my kids call daddy is not perfect. Far from it. Neither are those kids of mine. Who is really? But through the years, I have observed nothing but consistency when it comes to this man my kids call daddy. They were raised by the kind of daddy I imagined in my heart to be the perfect kind of daddy:

  • a daddy to laugh with
  • be silly with
  • to dance with
  • to sit with you in the bathroom for what felt like hours during that potty training phase
  • to ride in the car with while he sings along loudly to some weird country-rap song just as your friends pass by
  • a daddy who will discipline without excessive fear or force, or endless criticisms or a book recording all your wrongs that will be brought out and opened up every time you do something wrong forever and ever, amen
  • a daddy who might be disappointed or frustrated with your choices in almost anything from the music you listen to, the strange person you choose to date, the way that you alter your appearance, whom you vote for, whom you pray to or don’t pray to, the career path you choose but will love you all the more so that you might not ever know that he was ever disappointed
  • a daddy who is there for you when you are scared, broken-hearted or picking yourself up after your latest fuck-up without mocking your fear, your sadness, your pain, your anxiety or your own self-criticisms
  • a daddy who might never, ever understand what makes you tick but tries his damndest to understand…even if it is who is the latest super-hot boy band or the latest Hot Wheels release or Legos set.
  • a daddy who makes more sacrifices than any of his children will ever know so that they will always be safe, be warm, be dry, be fed and pursue almost anything that their heart desires
  • a daddy who teaches them all about hard work, self-discipline, sacrifice, love and how to relax and have fun not by lecture or instruction but by doing and by example.

Oops!

I’m kind of bragging, aren’t I? My bad.

No, he’s not perfect. Some might be quick to point out the chinks in his suit of daddy-armour. Some have as the experts known as “They” like to whether you ask them to or not. Regardless, this man is the best daddy ever…for my children…which is really the only thing that matters to me and to the people who call him daddy.

Happy Father’s Day to the man my children call daddy, the daddy I love.

Go forth this weekend and celebrate as you wanted to, as you deserve to playing golf, grilling and just relaxing…the perfect way to celebrate Father’s Day.

 

 

baby you can drive my car…someday


Overheard under The Big Top this morning…hysterical screaming…screaming filled with rage, frustration and bitter disappointment.

Yes, Fallon was here.

Ah! Toddler life!

What’s wrong?

I can’t drive!

You can’t drive?

No! I want to drive but I can’t drive!

Well, baby girl, you need a driver’s license. Do you have a license?

Yes! But I can’t drive!

Well you need insurance too. Do you have insurance?

Yes! But Abby won’t let me drive!

Abby?

Mom, there is no way. She wants my keys but there is no way that I’m giving them to her.

I want to drive!

Aw, poor baby! I’m sorry.

Aunties can sometimes be so mean.

Her mommy says that she would totally let her drive. That’s because she was at work at the time and just could not bear the tears in this picture that I sent to her. Truthfully, I could not bear the tears either. But I’m still not going to let her drive my car…not that she asked to drive Mima’s car. No, like our friend, Amber said, I can actually visualize this kid passing me on the freeway, playing something like this as loudly as she can. She would be singing along with all that is in her and likely drumming to the beat on the steering wheel because she is Fallon.

Nope. No way is she going to drive my car.