Thursday, April 5, 2012

Writing Out the Storm -- part 2

A picture of the inside of my refrigerator
two days after going to the store -- sigh.

Yes, that's right.  I'm unbearably lazy and selfish.  I have been neglecting you, poor blog, because I have waaaaaay too much to do -- what, with my exuberant workouts, my stimulating coffee interludes, and my tireless grocery shopping.  And while we're on the never-gets-old subject-of-groceries-because-there's-nothing-more-fascinating, I am CONVINCED that a homeless person is sneaking into our house at night and stealing our food.  I don't understand it -- I go to Kroger on Monday, buy shitloads of produce, cheese sticks, and goldfish varieties, and then by Wednesday everything's gone, all gone.  It's actually kind of depressing.  There's nothing worse than going to the grocery store three times a week -- although my friend, Amy, puts on her sunglasses and i-pod at full throttle and pretends like she's in a movie (whatever kind of movie shows an almost-40-year-old-woman grocery shopping with an i-pod and sunglasses on -- oh, that's right, a thriller).  I have, myself, also tried doing this, but I'm just not coordinated enough to grocery shop and listen to music at the same time.  I knew it was a problem when I was so in the zone that I accidentally rammed my cart into the Pillsbury section (my favorite!) and subsequently found myself bobbing up and down in time to the music while simultaneously picking up tubes of chocolate chip cookie dough.  I'm pretty sure the dairy guy over in the next aisle thought I was, um, special.

The other thing is, I'm transitioning.  No, not from a female to a male, or from an apple to a kumquat (although some days I could swear I'm a kumquat), no I'm transitioning from a girl who occasionally posts on a blog, to a girl who does absolutely nothing productive at all.  Just kidding!  Seriously, I AM going to try to get published in book/magazine form, although I've submitted a few things so far, and have subsequently learned a) that it's really, really hard to do, b) that I absolutely LOATHE rejection (I mean, who doesn't?), and, c) that offering the editors lollypops and/or sexual favors does absolutely nothing to better your chances (who knew?!).  But, the good news is that I've garnered enough feedback from this blog-writing experience to know what works and what doesn't -- well, for my writing-type, at least.

For the most part, people want funny.  I've posted a few serious essays, and those went over like liverwurst pancakes -- most people just don't "get" them, but then there are those special few (and you know who you are!) that think they're fabulous.  I think that, for me, being humorous on the surface while having an underlyingly pedantic, er, meaningful theme seems to be the most popular with my readers.  And, what's funny is that is exactly how I would describe myself: silly on the outside, but serious underneath.

This blog has been a sort of launching pad for me.  Through writing it I found my voice (ridiculous as it sometimes may be) and I became comfortable sharing it with the world.  "Who's Your Mommy?" became a quest for me -- who was I???  And now I can finally say I know truly who I am and what I want, which is, obviously, to be a piece of Entemann's coffee cake on its way to Ryan Gosling's mouth.  Well, that, and also to be a wonderful mother, wife, writer, friend, healer, and woman.

And while I may start posting fewer and fewer blogs and poems, just know that I AM still writing, and that, who knows?  Maybe, just maybe, one day I'll have my very own kumquat tree.  Oh, no!  I!

X's and O's,

Monday, March 12, 2012

Miss Conventionality

Here I am, playing Twister with the boys --
how much more conventional can you get?!
Lately, I'd gotten out of the habit of writing.  You know, how you get out of the mode of something (exercising, reading, Tibetan chanting, etc.) and then it's hard to jump (or om) back in.  What happened was this:  first, I got impossibly busy with all the effervescently joyful parenthood stuff -- sigh -- the activities, the homework, the class parties, the calming down screaming children by screaming at them myself (works like a charm...ahem.  That's me clearing my throat because I honest-to-goodness yelled so much the other day I made myself hoarse.  I always did want to sound like Lauren Bacall, and THIS might very well be the way to do it!  I'm kidding, of course.  I'm actually not much of a yeller -- my mom takes care of that for the both of us -- but, yes, there are days when I just can't hold it in.)  During this hectic and jarring phase, I would come home at the end of each day totally exhausted, irritated, hungry, and cranky (and, let me tell you, that's a goooood combination -- just ask my husband), and all I wanted to do was, well, NOTHING.

The next thing that caused me to break from writing was an addicting little show called Downton Abbey.  While I don't really write much about TV, I had to mention it, because I literally could NOT do anything else until I had finished BOTH seasons one and two.  It was television crack, and I was hooked.  I became a good-for-nothing wasteland of a person, glassy-eyed and weepy from the emotional turmoil of turn-of-the-century drama, and no one or no thing could get in the way of my focus and determination to finish the boxed set (if only I could have similar focus and determination in other areas of my life -- like, say, cooking, or, perhaps, um, working.)  And THEN my entire family came down with the stomach flu.  Oh my God, this is the grossest, WORST virus in the entire world, and this particular episode was violent (think Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, and if you don't relate to or understand that analogy, then I think you can pretty much envision what I'm talking about without getting graphic).  I haven't had the stomach flu in years, and now I remember why I've always hated it so much.  As I was laying there, so weak that I couldn't even open my eyes, I started thinking those feverish hallucinatory thoughts that seem to occur only when you're really sick.

Like, "Why are yawns contagious?" or, "What is a rutabaga, and would I recognize one if I saw it?" and, "I wonder whatever happened to the Grimace."  I ALSO started to think about how conventional my life seems to be at times, and how I have struggled and fought against that conventionality with all my might.  I didn't want to fit into the typical stereotype of simply a "mom," or a "wife," and I mistakenly thought that by living the life of one I was doing just that.  But lying there, simultaneously sweaty, chilly, and achey, I suddenly realized that, yes, I do sometimes have to do the conventional nitty-gritty stuff (i.e. bathing the kids, grocery shopping, buying hydroponic supplies, the usual), but inside I don't think of myself as conventional at all.  I am open-minded to all I see and experience around me, I create fantastical images and worlds within my own mind, and I seem to be able to giggle at almost anything (including times when I should be disciplining my children, which is not necessarily a good thing -- in fact, it's downright awful, just like Charlie's giant burps at the dinner table -- no, no, no, not funny at all, cough).  I hate most rules, politics, and vapid conversations, and while, this doesn't make me unconventional or anything, I do feel that it makes me a little more, um, odd???  Is this just me wishfully thinking that I'm oh, so unique and special?  Maybe.  But, in any case, searching for this mystical identity outside of a traditional mother/wife identity, has helped me get in touch with my inner creativity and my passion -- which is to write (I also got in touch with a little inner wildness, which was a helluva lot of fun, and which flame will probably never fully extinguish -- at least, I hope it won't).  And now, finally, I have come full circle to the point where I can appreciate the things that are conventional about my life, and I can again enjoy the simplicity and the peace that domesticity can sometimes offer.

Like smushing and loving on my amazing children.  Like feeling like I've actually accomplished something when I've unloaded the dishwasher.  Like putting on my i-pod and folding the laundry naked (wait, doesn't everybody do that?)  And, in the meantime, I'll probably always go out in dresses that are too short for my own good, I'll always look for adventures off the beaten path, and I'll always keep it realzzz, much to the dismay of certain embarassed members of my private circle.

Okay, so there you have it.  The entire last month and it's accompanying revelations wrapped up in a nutshell.  So hopefully from this point forward, I'll have a little more time and energy for writing again, and no more encounters with the wretched stomach flu or addictive television shows.

Weeeellll...except for Homeland, which Amy said is the best show EVER, and which, I think is starting...NOW!  'Nuff said.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Poems XIV


the space of somethingness
becomes a vasting void of nothingness,
as breath and peace and sitting very still
shines daylight seeped through eyelid windowed sills.

i move towards the flaming urgent sun
and expand like fire on yellow fleece,
exhilaration comes shattering into me,
a thousand tiny white doves, limitless --

flying within me and then without.
space and light and freeing all
meaningless lacks in this worldy world,
artifice forgotten, perhaps a dream.

wisdom fills my delicate bones,
my skull of thought and joy and fear.
I cross-legged perch and yearn for a touch;
expansion god-wanting, infinite want. 

energy floats, and curls 'round my frame,
and there is naught I can do but to sit here like this,
to wait for the timeless unravelling truth;
blue, like the day you were sung to and born,

and white, like the love of my pellucid heart.

my chassis aloft

                                                          Lip Service

                                                     seeking     speaking 
                                              inspecting            smirking
                                               playing                   shifting
                                           teetering                       watching
                                            waiting                           reacting
                                         lingering                             searching
                                    questioning                           hoping
                                         wanting                          lusting
                                          panting                            scorching
                                           flashing                             fighting
                                          wrestling                           tackling
                                             tumbling                       succumbing
                                                 wasting                  forlorning
                                                 saddening            hardening
                                                           hating    destroying

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Turf 'n' Surf

Here's a pic of my dad on his latest skydiving adventure.
Just kidding!  This guy looks so much like him, though, I couldn't resist!
Sometimes I feel as if I lead a double life.  On the one hand, I'm this domestic goddess (well, actually more of a domestic disaster) living in a cute little brick house in the very urban city of Houston, Texas.  Then on the other, I'm this free-basing, oops! I mean free-thinking, California girl spending her summers living (although some might say mooching) in her parents' guest house in the nature- and art-centured Santa Barbara, California.  The cultures between the two locales, and thus my two lives, could NOT be more different.  The funny thing is, someway, somehow I have become BOTH of these girls (Mom, don't freak out -- that doesn't mean I'm living in Houston forever!), but I guess it's because I have learned how to be adaptable, and, um, a grownup???  Oh, say it isn't so!  The word "mature" practically makes me gag, and it's just one letter away from "manure," so what does THAT tell you?!  Oh...I guess nothing, but still.

Okay, anyway, back to my very exciting double life (the way I'm building this thing up you would think I'm practically Jekyll and Hyde.  Sorry, nope, not that good.).  Let's start with Houston.  First of all, it is a very, very social city.  We go out to dinner three to four nights a week, usually with friends.  The thing about Houston is that because the weather often makes it tough to do things outside, you end up hanging with your homies a LOT.  Which is fun, I like to be social, and the truth is, I have the best girlfriends of my life here.  The other thing is, when you go out, it's kind of fancy.  I get dressed up here waaaay more than I do in Cali (where I primarily wear jean shorts, a.k.a. "jorts," and flip-flops -- or, as my daughter used to say, slip-slops), and I actually wear more make-up here than I do in California (although I reserve this tedious ritual mostly for going out -- during the daytime I look like a shiny, sweaty, spandexed -- oh God, dare I say it? -- Mom.)  But I like to dress up occasionally -- it makes me remember that I can acually look kinda-sorta presentable sometimes, and that I can be feminine and sexy too.

Houston is warm, friendly, and open, although it is definitely more formal than any city I have ever lived in.  Politeness is a way of life here, and even when someone has something trashy to say about another person, they'll end it on a positive note.  For instance: "Darla is such a two-timing blabbermouthing bitch -- bless her little heart!"  Personally, I like to use this technique when griping to other moms in carpool line:  "Bella is so dramatic she's absolutely exasperating, Charlie's a lazy little shit, and Teddy has behavioral problems, I'm convinced of it...oh, but they really are such little miracles, aren't they?!"  (btw, none of that stuff about my kids is really true -- cough, ahem.)

Now my life in Santa Barbara, on the other hand, is the polar, and I mean polar, opposite.  First of all, you are outside ALL OF THE TIME.  It is so beautiful, and the weather is so perfect, there is no reason why you shouldn't or wouldn't be.  For this reason, I find people there to be a little more antisocial, seeing as how they are super busy enjoying the scenery, or hiking, or kayaking, or jogging, or windsurfing, or paragliding, or skydiving...Okay, maybe not EVERYONE is busy skydiving, but you get what I'm saying.  My parents are particularly antisocial (although the extreme sports stuff is not really their thang.  Can you imaging my father taking a running jump off a cliff with a parachute on his back, sing-songing, "Darrrrrling, I just can't seem to find the pull-tab..."), although they enjoy their life to the nth degree.  Unlike most Houstonians, they are as informal and impolite as it gets.  In the late afternoons you can usually find my mother lounging around in a schmatta (Yiddish for housedress), barking orders at anyone who gets in her path.  "Goddamn it, Sarah, get the kids out of here, I can't hear the news, and, Frank, feed those dogs NOW!!!"  To which my father and I will acquiese, simply to get out of the war zone.  Although, under his breath, my father will mumble to me, "Sarah, I really can't stand your fucking mother sometimes, you know that?"  Subsequently, my brother will appear for dinner, and yell in ogre-ish baritones, "MOOOOMMMMM!!!  WHAT"S FOR DINNER!?!?  IT BETTER BE POT ROAST -- I'M STAARRRVVIINNGG!!!"  See?  Super polite and formal, just like I said.

In S. to the B., we loll around on chaises in the backyard, we read books, we putter in my dad's art studio, we eat dinner at 5:00 around the tiny kitchen table.  A big night out is considered going to the movies and the Natural Cafe (that's another difference -- the food.  While Houston has "grub," Santa Barbara has "greens."  Steven is always FAMISHED whenever he visits, and he never lets me forget it.  Love that -- complaining is the best!)  I totally recharge and replenish during my summers in California, visually, emotionally and spiritually.  Plus, I come back all rested, geared up, and ready to PAR-TAY -- ya' hear me, friends?!  (Ugh -- canNOT believe I just wrote that.  Gross.  But, seriously, who's down?)

Anyway, what I guess I'm getting at with this double life business, is that I feel like I kind of get it all.  I get the socializing, the fun, the friendliness, the beauty, the chillaxing, and, of course, the family.  I know that this split-personality lifestyle of mine can't and won't go on forever, but in the meantime, I feel blessed to experience my life in such a multitude of layers and dimensions.  And my life itself has become representative of my persona -- it is all the things that I enjoy, that I stand for, that I am.  And perhaps that's exactly what our lives themselves are intended to be.

P.S.  A big shout-out goes to my friend, Amy, who helped me come up with this post idea -- must give credit where credit's due!  And on that note, thank you, Stu, for helping me come up with the title, "Who's Your Mommy," in the first place.  And, thank you, Mom, for giving birth to me, and thank you, Steven, for being so supportive, and thank you, Jen, for -- oh, you guys get the idea!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Words With Friends

Age 1, playfully stealing my father's newspaper.
Even as an infant, I was already obsessed with words!
My mop-headed 6-year old stumbled downstairs at 6:30 this morning and assaulted me with two tribulations at once:  the first was breath that smelled like a three-day-old roast beef sandwich, and the second was a question. "Mom, is fuck a bad word?"  I, of course, responded as any responsible parent would, "Yes, Charlie, it's a terrible word, and don't fucking ever say it again."  No, I'm kidding, but it did get me to percolating.  I write, so I am constantly thinking about words -- how they sound together, how they flow, what they convey.  But, what I don't think about often enough is their extreme potency.  For they are powerful, conveying hurt, anger, love, jealousy, you name it.  And I, for one, have never shied away from swear words, but I do try to tone it down a little in my posts, because, even though they no longer have much shock value to me, they still are somewhat affronting for the rest of the mainstream population.  My girlfriends and I sometimes try to make up our own swear words, usually unsuccessfully. I am questioning whether I should list a few of these or not...and I think the answer in my head is a resounding not.  I actually did start to write a few of the humdingers down, and then I thought of my dad, who really is kind of a prude, and who admonishes me every time I use the f-bomb in a post (although he keenly maintains that the words "asshole," bitch," and "shit" are perfectly acceptable -- um, duh).  So, in order to stay in his good graces, I guess I better err on the side of caution.

Swear words aside, what I think I'm getting at is that words in general have become more extreme, more consequential than ever before.  Not only is my son a good six years younger than I was when I first encountered the f-word, but the words we say themselves are more impacting to our own personal characters.  Racial slurs, of course, are taboo, but even those are somewhat confusing these days.  For instance, my daughter sells Girl Scout cookies, and the name of the caramel/coconut confection that was once known as the "Samoa" had to be changed because it was politically incorrect.  Okay, I get that, but then the name it was changed to, "Tagalong," also had to be changed because that, too, was politically incorrect.  Wait, what?  So now the confused little cookie goes by the oddly spelled "Caramel deLite," which ALSO happens to be a popular menu item among the business set at Treasures Strip Club (don't ask me why I know that, I just do).  Meanwhile, those sneaky little Girl Scouts threw in the titillating "Shout Out," and the ever-satisfying "Thanks-A-Lot," which I prefer to indulge in that exaaaact order, although how this exactly relates to racial slurs, I'm not quite sure.  

Okay, Sarah, focus, focus...oh, that's right, back to words (because they are just so fascinating!  This blog topic is really bizarre.).  Anyway, we are living in a world where we are texting and talking on our cells everywhere.  Just yesterday I saw a teenage girl riding her bike in heavy traffic, head-down and with no hands, which were furiously punching away at her Blackberry.  This obvious member of mensa also happened to have on her i-pod headphones, and might as well have been straight-ironing her hair with her toes she was so distracted.  Do we really need to keep in CONSTANT communication with our friends/business associates/pimps at all hours of the day?  (Personally, I like to keep my pimp guessing my whereabouts, just for kicks.)  Now, don't get me wrong, I am a victim of this madness just as much as the next person.  I am in my car for hours on end, and if I'm not texting, I'm emailing, and if I'm not emailing, I'm yakking, and if I'm not yakking, I'm beer-bonging.  Oh, whoops, that's not related to words!  Okay, I'm joking, but I AM feeling super weird and silly today, probably because of all the electromagnetic cell waves that are rotting away at what used to be left of my brain.

All this technology at our fingertips has been a gift in many ways, but it has also been a curse.  I have caught myself innumerable times looking down at my cell phone, when, instead, I should be looking at the world around me.  I love words and I love writing, but sometimes I need to take a break from all the screens everywhere and reconnect with the natural environment.  Additionally, I am incredibly free-flowing with my words, so I have very few hesitations when it comes to what I'll write -- probably in an effort to interact with all of you.  I have let you in to my life and background in so many ways, and, perhaps sometimes I've offended you with my bluntness or, perhaps sometimes I've entertained you.  I know these words that are perpetually moving and shifting around me are something I was given to communicate with the world around me.  I just have to remember that sometimes not communicating and just being and observing is part of the equation also.  It is connecting in a way that email and texting cannot -- it is connecting to our inner and outer selves.

And, peace, beauty, yada yada yada, and...OH MY GOD, IS THAT MY CELL RINGING?!?  Grab it, Bella, it might be the computer guy!!!

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Seriously Silly

Here I am, around age 11,
taking myself waaaaaay too seriously.

The other day a friend asked me if I wrote my blog because I was looking to portray myself in a certain way.  I was a little shocked.  I had never thought about portraying myself one way or another, I have simply spoken from my heart.  While I do edit certain things, such as other people's personal information, what I write is just the bare-faced truth about myself.  Sometimes this stuff comes out as silly, sometimes it's serious.  Maybe sometimes it's boring, maybe sometimes it's shocking, and maybe sometimes it's a little bit country (oh, that was terrible!).  In all earnestness though, this process has been therapeutic for me, cathartic, life-changing -- you know, like how you feel when you go to Loehmann's and find an Alexander McQueen dress on sale for $75.  That's right, it's been big. 

I read a poem awhile back that described facebook as "an altar of loneliness."  This quote has stayed with me, I think because it seems so true.  With facebook, we really do only portray what we want the world to think, we share only what we think will reflect postively on us (although I have one friend who actually posted a picture of a chair.  The title beneath the photo was, "My new chair!"  Um, really?  This perplexing post actually didn't reflect anything at all.).  What if all of a sudden people started to post real stuff?  (i.e.)  "This bladder infection really stinks!" or "Does anyone have a good cure for silent gas?" or, perhaps, "My children are being annoying as shit."  Wow.  That would change things up!  Who's in?  My very first "real" post is going to be, "Ouch.  I think I just burped and sneezed simultaneously."

With facebook, we're not actually connecting with our "friends," we're simply cyber pseudo-connecting.  We're entertaining each other, but we're certainly not really "sharing."  Regardless, it's enjoyable for those of us who partake.  Some of us take the facebook thing very, very seriously and put big, heavy political posts on our walls, and then some of us, myself included, put really stupid and ridiculous stuff out there.  I think my all-time worst post was something like, "I just found a really long white hair growing out of my arm."  What?  Not only was that not remotely interesting in the slightest, but it was just plain moronic, and kind of freakish (oooh, I cringe when I think about it).  I've also put stuff out there about my kids (lots of it, too.  Sorry.  I think I'm just proud.), and occasionally I'll throw in a You Tube video if it's especially funny (in my opinion, I guess).  My girlfriends and I post pictures of ourselves when we're feeling super-fly TNT, and I'll post "happy birthdays" ad nauseum because, well, why not?  (plus, I feel a little guilty when I don't do it)  Then, of course there's my blog, just to get it out there, because I have no idea how else to do it, and because I have this strange notion that my words actually mean something.  Either that, or I just need a LOT of attention and praise, in which case, keep it coming.

Back to facecrack, um, facebook.  There are the facebookers who simply stalk and don't put anything out there at all, they just kind of nose around and stuff, and then there are the facebookers who post every five minutes or so.  (Yeah, that's right, you types know who you are.)  There are the people who ask questions and advice:  "Does anyone know the name of a good homeless shelter/tattoo joint?"  And, lately, there have been the inspirational posts that I think people get from a website or something.  "Cats are special, because, well, they're cats and they're kind of wise and scary, so remember to never look back when you're on the staircase of life, but always look sideways at your right thumbnail." -- Anonymous.  I read them all, and I kind of like them all.  Weird, huh?  This social media thing is really a strange phenomenon, and I think I'm still getting used to it.  I don't myspace, I don't tweet, and I don't twat.  'K?

Where am I going with all this?  I have no idea, but what I do know is that with my blogs and with facebook, I like to divulge and be serious, but I also like to laugh at and make fun of myself.  Is this because I'm confident and don't really give a turd what people think of me?  (Well, I like to say that, but I think I do care -- a little.)  Is it because I think that life is meant to be enjoyed, and God wants us to have fun with it when we can?  Is it because I'm really, really good at checkers?  Wait, no, that's not related.  And that's my point:  I'm a total spaz, I like to have fun and I like to recognize my quirks and flaws and laugh at them, as well as learn from them.  Life can be so challenging, and without being able to make light of it and ourselves sometimes, we can get bogged down by its seriousness.

And on that note, I must run.  I have a picture of a coffee table that's just BEGGING to be posted!

Poems XIII


We were illusion,
television phantasms
and courtesy memos;
mirages on coeval screens.
Show me your Wii
and I'll show you mine too,
glassy, saccharin tweets.

White static's burst
burst us in two
like Limpet, Incredible once.
Licked split us aloud,
sad walkabout's shroud,
a disappeared,
ventured-near show.

Why did that flick in-upon
take me so long
to read you what delved into
Titanic, but better and wetter?
And references never get old,
or so I am told.

Past greets the future,
formidable bliss,
DVR's whirred in and thus,
I'll continue my sojourn
(you press record),
'till the program's become

heartbreakingly strummed
and charred and jejune;
a telethon made for screens' waxy seal --
and made-up illusion,
our made-up illusion,
fantastics the wondering real.

How to Get Your Heart Broken

You'll see a dusky orange sunset from a splattered window.
You'll hear a gular voice and startle up.
You'll think you're in love.  Wait, are you in love?
You'll wait for calls and for calls and for calls.
You'll go to sleep dreaming of rough hands.
You'll wake up dreaming of rough hands.
You'll feel feverish, hot.
You'll feel angry, pissed.
You'll wait for calls and for calls and for calls.
You'll sob.
You'll feel like someone sliced you in half, and then half, and then half again.
You'll feel exposed, vulnerable, rejected.
You'll hate yourself.
You'll forgive yourself, but not really.
You'll know there is nothing more you can do.
You'll realize the bare naked truth.
You'll accept, begrudgingly.
You'll never be the same.
You'll see a dusky orange sunset from a splattered window.