Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Killin' It!



Tonight, as a mom, I killed it! Really, I was pretty much killing it all day long. It was awesome. This morning Cylas and I attended a sweet little Holiday party with my mom's group at which I brought home made peanut butter balls and home made gluten free/dairy free/sugar free cookies. Killed it! My treats were delicious, appreciated, and did I mention, home made? Cylas had fun. I had fun. There were very little tears (all his) and lots of laughs (both). It was great. We killed it.

However, I still managed to wake up from Cylas' nap (yes, you read that right. About twice a week, I co-nap with Cylas and it is wonderful!) a little grumpy. So was Cylas. Maybe we had too much sugar (or not enough) in the morning. No big deal. We rallied. We cuddled and read, and played and then I decided to make an awesome dinner.

Now dinner is tricky for me. I am endlessly impressed with people, like my mother and sister, who provide home cooked dinners for their families every night. I try. I make lists and buy groceries, but we, even as a team, have never managed more than 4 meals a week. I had one of those meal delivery systems for a while that sends you the ingredients and recipes for 3 meals a week. Those 6 weeks were my best streak, but I wasn't that impressed with the recipe selection so we stopped using them. Most nights, it is suddenly 6:30 pm. I haven't begun to cook (even if I had a meal planned) and so Cylas gets something (delicious and nurtious) that I throw together, then bath and bed by 8:30 and I stumble downstairs to heat up a microwavable Trader Joe's Indian food for myself. If Eric is home, then instead of TJ's he goes out and procures us Thai Food, or Burgers, or burritos.

Not tonight though! Tonight, I made dinner! Actually, I made an amazing dinner on Sunday night too, so it being only Tuesday and already having 2 home cooked dinners under my belt for the week is pretty impressive. Tonight, I baked chicken with a mustard sauce that I quickly whipped up from a Pinterest recipe and I also made broccoli fritters. I saw these on pinterest too, and they promised it was a great way to get your kids to eat the super food that is broccoli. Sometimes Cylas is a great eater, and sometimes he is not, but a cheesy broccoli fritter sounded delious to me too, so I dove in. All in all it took about 40 minutes. I steamed some broccoli while I dressed the chicken, then stuck the chicken in the oven. While the chicken baked I threw the broccoli, 2 eggs, gluten free breadcrumbs, and shredded cheese in my food processor. Then I pan fried them into litter fritters. I also microwaved some TJ's brown rice. Cylas watched the Sign Language TV show that he is obsessed with on Netflix. A few times he wandered into the kitchen and said "Mama nummy?" and I said "Yes, it is going to be nummy. I'm killing it."

I set the table for he and I (we were on our own tonight since Eric was working) and put our plates down. I cut his chicken into bite size pieces for him, gave him a good scoop of rice and 2 broccoli fritters that I made sure weren't too hot. He had his water cup, and I had mine. I turned off the tv, put on some music and we sat down to eat, he in his chair, and me in mine. It was 5:50 pm. I had a home cooked dinner on the table before 6:00 pm. I was killing it! Cylas took a nibble of his broccoli and pushed the chicken and rice around a little and then seemed to have a problem with his purple plastic knife (that he chose.) "Yellow!" he yelled. "Oh, you want a yellow knife? I'll get you one." I jumped up and went back to the kitchen. I didn't see one so I brought him a yellow fork and a yellow spoon. He was not impressed. He started to whine. I asked him if he wanted to try some of my broccoli fritter. He did not. He started to push his plate, then he tried to flip his plate and throw his fritter at me. I stopped him, and sternly told him that was not acceptable behavior. "You don't have to eat, but you can't throw you're plate." He looked at me. I looked at him. A minute passed. His face slowly morphed from shock to a cheeky smile. I went back to eating. Then he wanted to get down, so I let him down. Then he wanted back up. So I put him back in the chair. It turned out that he did not want back up. This happens a lot. Then he wanted to sit in my lap and nurse. I told him he'd have to wait. So then he cried, and collapsed on the floor beside my chair. I continued to eat as calmly and slowly as I could while my small child wails on the floor next to me. Then he stood and asked to sit in my lap. That sounds like "Mama Uppy?" So I lifted him into my lap explaining that he could sit with me but we weren't going to nurse until I had finished eating. He signed that he wanted to nurse (Thank you Signing Time) and I said "no." He pulled at my shirt and so I put him down. He fell on the floor, his cheek resting on the wood planks in full despair. I told him that I loved him, but he would have to wait to nurse until I was done eating my dinner. That he could eat with me, or sit with me, or play, but not nurse until I was done. He declined my offer and instead just lay on the floor and cried, occasionally stopping to laugh at the dog or look at one of his toy cars, and then he seemingly remembered the abandonment he felt and he would let out a wail and return his cheek to the floor. It was a pitiful sight and I considered abandoning my plate to console him. But I did not. I ate my dinner. I cleaned my plate. The whole thing took about 6 minutes. I'm a fast eater, even when I have someone to talk to, and there isn't someone screaming at me to stop eating and take care of their immediate need. I announced I was done and stood up. So did he. He clapped and yelled "Yay!" Then he ran to our large chair and patted the seat for me to come sit down. I did. He nursed. All was right with the World.


So he did not eat the amazing dinner I made for him. Not at all. And he screamed and cried his way through most of the dinner experience, but I still feel like I killed it. How is that possible, you might ask? Because I ate my dinner! I'm hoping that I showed him that he is not the boss of me. That, he is loved, and valued, but that other people (including his mother) have needs too. And that other people's needs are also important and should be valued.

After dinner we went for a walk in the neighborhood with the dog. Then we came home and he ate a little dinner, had a bath, and we rocked and read stories and he nursed and I put him in the crib and he went to sleep with very little incident. I didn't say no incident. There is never a night without incident. That what it is to have a toddler, I guess. But all and all, what a killer day! And I tell you what. He's gonna see those broccoli fritters on his plate again tomorrow, whether he likes it or not. I'll try to make sure I find the yellow knife to cut them with.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Identity Crisis



When I first became a mother, my world changed instantly. Gone were the days of sleeping in, or staying out late. Gone were the days of getting out of the house quickly and running a few errands. At first, I didn't mind at all. There was nothing I would have rather done than stay at home and stare at the baby. I would wake up in the middle of the night to stare at the sleeping baby. It was my entertainment, my socializing, my food. Cylas was all I needed.

And then he got older, and Eric went back to work and I started reading FB pages that weren't baby focused and I remembered that there was a whole world out there. A world I used to live in. A world that was hard to get to between naps and bedtime and a baby that really didn't like being in his car seat.

Sometimes, being a mom is lonely.

And this seems crazy because now we really fill our days with a lot of activities. We have classes and parks and play dates with new mom/baby friends. I have a great group of women who have babies around Cylas' age who I spend a couple of afternoons a week with. We chit chat as the babies parallel play and we text each other questions about potty training, nap schedules and food advice. I know a lot about their opinions on cloth vs. disposable diapers, and how much and where their children sleep at night, but ultimately, I know very little about them. We don't talk about ourselves much. Well no, we do. We talk about ourselves in the context of our newish identity...MOM. Most of us are currently some variation of the traditional "stay at home mom." Meaning that none of us goes to a 9-5 5 days a week and has to leave the baby with a caretaker. We're the main caretaker. Taking care is the Full Time Job. So, these new friends are kind of like work friends. We met because we work at the same "stay at home mom" job and we mostly talk about work.

I also have a few dear friends who I knew before Cylas was born (if there was such a time) and we happened to have babies around the same time. We talk about the babies A LOT too. But because we don't need to go through all the background small talk of getting to know each other "before baby" it makes it easier to slip into conversation about other things. Politics maybe, or music or....who am I kidding, we mostly talk about our babies. Wouldn't you? Look how cute they are.

And it makes sense. I spend about 95% of my time thinking about Cylas, so it makes sense that I would spend the majority of my time conversing about him as well. When Eric and I do get a night away from Cylas, or after he goes down for the night, we find ourselves talking about him, comparing notes on the amazing things he did that day. After we've exhausted the subject, we collapse on the couch with only the energy to watch Fresh Off The Boat. I try to always remember to ask Eric how his day was, and I try not to fall asleep before he's told me.

But then, later, as I lie in bed, scanning FaceBook or Instagram, or attempting to read a (non child-rearing related) book, I start to think about all the things I didn't give myself time to think about...or talk about. And sometimes...I feel lonely. I look at the events that so many of my childless friends are posting about, and I feel a bit envious. They are traveling, working, acting, shopping, eating out, going to spin class, (ok, I'm not envious of spin class, I'm just envious of her abs...you know who you are.) Most of my days revolve solely around Cylas right now. He is lucky. I am lucky that I get to spend so much time with him. And then I feel guilty for being envious of spin class. SPIN CLASS?!? But then I remember that the first (and sometimes only) question anyone asked me that day was "how's Cylas" as though I didn't exist outside of him. As though, Cylas  were the most interesting thing about me. Or, maybe, the only interesting thing about me.



And of course, I know this isn't true. And they know this isn't true. Even though it sometimes feels like it is true. I think it is easy, once you become a parent, especially a mom, especially a stay at home mom, to feel like you've been handed, not only, a new little life to love and take care of, but also a brand new identity. And it replaces your old identity...entirely! I've talked about this before, I know. I think about it a lot. And for now, it's fine. I'm envious sometimes, and lonely sometimes, but mostly so deeply in love with my little Czar that I don't remember that I'm lonely or envious. And, to top it all off, I want ANOTHER BABY! I want one bad. So, I better get working on creating a new, blended identity that makes me feel good, but hopefully doesn't have to involve a spin class.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Good Night Sweet Prince



On January 31st, Cylas turned one. My little, tiny, baby is not a little tiny baby anymore. This has happened gradually and then all at once. On his birthday, he decided (using the help of a ride-a-long giraffe toy) to start walking around my parents' backyard. First words have been spoken, first steps are emanate. It's been an amazing year. Probably the best year of my life. But, let's be honest here, it's also been really fucking hard.

That being said, I am lucky (I think.) I got an "easy baby." Cylas is mellow, and sweet. He's healthy and robust.  As a newborn, he slept pretty well, rarely cried and nursed like a champ.  I didn't even mind getting up with him in the middle of the night and at a couple of months old he was sleeping through the night. In fact, I would set an alarm to wake myself up in the middle of the night to pump because Cylas would sleep right through his possible nursing sessions.

Then around 4 months old, Cylas changed his mind. He no longer wanted to sleep peacefully beside our bed in his cradle. He started waking up every hour needing to be nursed back to sleep. I moved him into our bed where he slept while latched on and nursing ALL NIGHT LONG. And for awhile, this worked. We both got some sleep, the operative word being SOME. You try sleeping while a tiny human lies attached to your boob all night. It was during this time that Cylas' naps became more problematic as well. Then at 6 months, when we started solid foods, Cylas stopped pooping. Not entirely, of course, but his poops became very infrequent, about once a week, and they were, how should I say...substantial when they did happen.

Before Cylas was born, I would have considered myself a baby expert. Not only did I have experience with other people's babies, but I also did a lot of reading while I was pregnant. A lot. I love to read, a pleasure I had to forgo while nursing Cylas to sleep several times a night, until I downloaded the Kindle app for my phone (game changer, people.) I read books about sleeping, I read books about eating, I read every mommy blog and mommy board on FB. I should have been an expert, right?

It turned out, I wasn't.




Becoming a mum has been a humbling experience to say the very least. I'm a capable and confident person. I am educated and sensitive to the needs of others. I have all the necessary qualities a successful mother needs, and yet I was plagued with such DOUBT. When he wouldn't sleep, I would lie there, desperate and sad, with an unquiet mind; my own terrible mantra circling through my brain..."failure, failure, failure." I was failing him. I couldn't get him to sleep for longer than 45 minutes without needing me to settle him back down. Oh and did I mention that he was only pooping once a week? I obsessed about that too, but mostly I thought about his sleeping. And I thought about my sleeping (which was naturally effected by his sleeping and visa-versa.) I thought, and I researched and I asked others and I cried (and I laughed sometimes, too) and I practiced that wicked mantra. This went on for months.

And that is not to say that our days have not been filled with music, and sunshine and giggles and one life changing, amazing, awesome, mind blowing experience after another.  I have been happier in this past year than I have ever been. Eric is happy. He is alive with his son in a way I've never seen him before. Our life feels more complete. Every moment of this past year has been so precious, I thought about investing in Google Glass so that I record it all. Especially, I wished I could have recorded Cylas as he fell asleep. I did my best to memorize every detail. It was only in those dark moments, when I was back in our room for the fourth time in a couple of hours, to nurse that boy back to sleep, and Eric was downstairs waiting for me, and I was hungry for my dinner and my back ached from holding a position that made it easier for him to nurse, that the doubt crept in.

And I'd love to say that it's all better now. It is much better. Cylas eventually seemed so uncomfortable sleeping next to me that we made the decision to move him into his own crib. He protested some, but within a day or two he was falling asleep by himself in his crib and sleeping for much longer stretches. I still go in and nurse him a couple times a night. Some nights, it's more than a couple, but we're both a lot happier, and sleeping much better. And a couple of weeks ago, I stopped taking my prenatal vitamin and Cylas started pooping again. My vitamin had too much iron in it for him. Some expert I am.

All and all, life is excellent. I have a loving and supportive partner, and the cutest, sweetest baby I could have hoped for. I only mentioned the DOUBT because I'm sure that I am not the only new mother to go through this. I'm not talking about postpartum depression, I'm just talking about doubt. I beat myself up about any and every problem that Cylas was having and then I beat myself up for beating myself up. Lately, I'm trying to be nicer to myself. I'm getting better at it every day. The sleeping helps. Supportive friends and family help, and Cylas' smile helps.

If I could change one thing about this last year with Cylas it would be the doubt. I would quiet my horrible mantra and just breath in the sweet fleeting moments of having a baby. He's one now. He survived, and so did we. He'll be walking soon, and he's getting a few new teeth. He weighs 20 lbs and when he nurses his legs spill out of my lap. I can't even remember what he felt like when he was 7 lbs and I could hold him with one arm. I wish I hadn't spent a single moment of that time feeling afraid or lost. But alas, I did. Because I'm human. And try as I might, I'm sure I'll feel lost and doubtful again and again as he grows. Oh well, I'm feeling pretty great at the moment. I should make a new mantra.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The (New) Bo(u)rn(e) Identity


So the thing about being a new mum is that your days tend to get away from you. That's because they don't belong to you anymore...they now belong to the baby. And I can't speak for every new mum, but mostly, you don't mind. I will ignore every task I put on my to-do list if it means getting Baby C to smile and stop fussing. I have stopped mid dishes, mid cooking, mid texting, mid sentence to give him kisses, tickle his belly, and generally do his bidding. It's awesome. I don't care that my hair isn't washed (or brushed most of the time) that all of my clothes have to be "nursing convenient", or that I haven't been alone with Eric in 4 months. Last night, when the wee babe threw-up the entire contents of his stomach, milk that I spent a lot of energy producing and letting him drain from me for the past 30 minutes, all over me, I didn't miss my old, sexy, care free life at all. Honestly.

HOWEVER, finding time to write has been difficult, because it isn't even a task that I've been ignoring from my to-do list in order to illicit giggles from a 4 month old. I didn't even think about this blog post for the first 2 months of Cylas's life (that's his name, by the way.) I spent the first 2 months in recovery. That little nugget sure did a number on me getting here. I had an epic pregnancy. I felt better pregnant than I ever did before I was pregnant. I glowed like it was my job. Labor was another matter. I read, I prepared, I took classes, I visualized, I did yoga, I was ready to labor like a boss. A very calm, centered, serene, un-medicated boss. And I did remarkably well...for the first 48 hours of labor! But still, after 2 full days of powerful contractions only 4 to 5 minutes apart, Cylas was still not coming out, even though I called out to him, even though I did a headstand (with help) to aid him, even though I internally begged him, he remained bunkered down. Dare I say, stuck and restrained. We now know that his umbilical cord was very short and so he was tethered tightly to the placenta unable to descend down the birth canal, and he was caught behind my tailbone as well, which he fractured with his head as I finally pushed him out 68 hours into labor, then having transferred to the hospital, aided with a delicious epidural and a room full of supportive people. Cylas arrived, instantly peed on me, started nursing and fell asleep, just like I always wished...I just wished he hadn't broken my tail bone with his enormous head on his way out.

So four months later, with some physical therapy, and a lot of love and support from Eric and our family and friends, I am almost back to normal (at least I can walk again) and Cylas is a happy, healthy, adorable 16 lbs. This is my life now. Easy. E.A.S.Y. Baby Eats, Activity, Sleeps, and while he sleeps I have You time, (You time meaning Me time.) and that is when I write, right? Wrong. That is when I do the laundry, or clean the house, or just sit on the couch while the baby sleeps in my arms since that is his favorite way to nap, so that he can nurse on and off at his leisure for 2 hour stretches. I can't blame him. That sounds really nice. If someone would let me sleep in their arms while they fed me a milkshake through a straw and I didn't even have to open my eyes I would do it with a smile. Yes please and Thank you. Sounds good. So finding time to write is hard. But no one told me it wouldn't be. I always knew that would be a challenge I'd have to work out. I know with a looming deadline on my newest writing project, that I'll have to figure this problem out since my partners will not accept the excuse of "I just couldn't find the time" to write our next script.

So I now realize that I spent the last several years of my life figuring out how to become a mum (the short answer is "get knocked up", but we all know it's a lot more complicated than that.) Then the last 4 months have been about figuring out how to be a mum (a process that I will continue to negotiate for the rest of my life) and now I have to start thinking about how to be a writer, friend, wife, and full human again too?!?! A person who has wants and interests other than those of her 4 month old master.

I have a FWB who attended a Mommy and Me class shortly after the birth of her first baby. She recounted how the leader of the group asked the women to go around the circle and introduce themselves with their name, their baby's name and "what they used to do BEFORE they became a mommy." As though there was no identity now for them other than that of "Mother." Of course my friend rejected that and, in theory, I reject it too. But I also understand how it happens. In the exhausting marathon of mothering (a marathon that I am still in the first miles of, I know) it seems perfectly reasonable to abandon yourself in sake of the little one's needs. It actually seems like the easiest thing to do. That way, you don't feel like you're missing out and you don't have to beat yourself up about all the personal goals you are not accomplishing at every second, etc. You can surrender yourself to the little one. You are in baby-world and life is simple. E.A.S.Y even. What an awesome thing to get to do. Watch a baby figure stuff out. Change and grow. Cylas has changed so much just in 4 months, I can't imagine what the next 4 months are gonna be like. I'm so grateful that I've gotten to be a part of his changes with little distraction so far.  I think I could stay here for a lot longer if I didn't hear the call from my keyboard pulling me back, imploring me to tell the stories that will always be in my head. And there are deadlines that must be met and work that must be returned to and Cylas and I have to learn to live without each other 24 hours a day. It's sad, and wonderful. Heartbreaking, and a relief all at the same time. 

So basically, this is another long winded excuse for why I haven't blogged in so long. I've been doing other things. But I really do promise to keep writing if you enjoy reading them. And I also promise to move the blog up on my list of priorities because it's fun to write and makes people happy. And I think I've realized the most important significant thing I've ever learned and I'd love to share it with you now. I realized...Oh shit, I gotta go, the baby just woke up.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

38 Weeks Later

About 38 weeks ago,  I went to see two movies in the theatre in the same week. The first movie I saw was Before Midnight. The second movie I saw was Frances Ha. As I sat in the cool, dark theaters, watching the stories play out before me, I couldn't help but notice the humorous connection I was feeling to both of the films.

Frances Ha is about a struggling, somewhat lost, young woman in NYC trying desperately to find her footing in the cruel cruel competitive art scene/world. That was my entire 20's, in a nut shell. I was Frances. Impulsive, driven (but easily distracted) and utterly "un-dateable." My most significant relationship was with my best girlfriend from college, and I wanted to be an artist but was not very organized about actually going about it. I loved this movie, I was charmed by it, I felt nostalgic and filled with a bitter sweet melancholy as I watched the black and white version of New York. But I was relieved as well. Frances's life looked hard. She was homeless, poor and unemployed. I live in a nice condo in Sunny L.A. and have a job that pays all my bills and allows me to go see two movies in one week. I have artistic endeavors that are going well. My "Frances Ha" time is behind me.

On the other hand, Before Midnight is about a married couple with two young children who analyze every aspect of their marriage, sex life, child care and careers, as they drive, and stroll through some beautiful European countryside. I was feeling humorously connected to this film, not because it was in my past the way Frances Ha was, but because it was in my future…my immediate future. Because, earlier that week, that morning in fact, I had taken a pregnancy test. And it had been positive.

Now, you might be thinking, "Wait a minute! Weren't you single and looking for love and hanging out mostly with your dog and missing your ex boyfriend who you'd split with almost a year earlier because he had decided against having children???" Yes, you are correct. But what I didn't tell you was that the ex and I were still seeing each other (secretly, I guess) and we were coming to the decision that we wanted to make it work together.  I had talked it over at length with my therapist who told me it was OK that I wanted what I wanted. I just hadn't told any of my friends, because I was pretty sure they would tell me that I was making a mistake. Prolonging my heartache. And I was scared that they were right. But love is hard to ignore, and the heart wants what it wants and all that jazz.

So when the second pink line appeared on the test, I had mixed emotions. I was happy, and terrified, and slightly ashamed. I was happy because I wanted a baby, and I wanted it with Eric. I was terrified because I wasn't totally clear on what Eric wanted, and I was ashamed because I'd been keeping so many secrets, I was sure everyone would think I had been irresponsible and crazy and had concocted a plan to entrap Eric. But at the end of the day, happiness was the winner. Eric was totally on board, my family and friends were all delightfully supportive. It was an amazing twist of fate. And now, 38 weeks later, I am super pregnant with a baby boy (yet to be named) engaged to be married and very very happy about it all.


I've meant to write about all of this sooner, but my first trimester was spent on set filming my other "baby" Other People's Children (the feature film I wrote and produced and have been talking about for…YEARS!.) The second trimester was spent catching up on all of the things that I missed being too busy (and sick) during that first trimester and the third trimester has been spent mostly working and baby prepping. But luckily, I have had a delightfully easy pregnancy with no complications and relatively little discomfort. A friend referred to mine as an "epic pregnancy!" So, I'm hoping that will translate into an epic birth/epic baby/ epic parenting skills. So far, so good. Birthing Class is going well. The Breastfeeding 101 class we took last night was empowering, helpful and fun, and we got to watch a video with a lot of boobs and babies and who doesn't like looking at boobs? And babies? They're both so awesome. And I just watched a video of an elephant giving birth that was gross and amazing, and if she can do it, then, dammit, so can I! All is well.

However, on New Years day, when I woke up, exhausted from having worked late the night before (no partying for this Preggo) and Eric said to me that 2013 was one of the best years of his life, for a moment I felt totally confused. By his account of the year, he had done some soul searching, re-connected with some great guy friends, did several successful film projects, gotten back together with me, moved back in together, gotten engaged and was expecting a son. All good things.  So why was I still obsessing about the first third of the year when I was an alone and miserable mess? But upon reflection, I realized that he was right. I had also done a lot of soul searching, gone to therapy (always a good thing, I think) visited with friends, wrote, prepped and filmed my first feature, supported my sister through her pregnancy, reunited with the love of my life, gotten engaged, travelled, and grew a human. Not a bad year at all. And Jasper didn't seem surprised at all when Eric moved back in. I think he knew that was gonna happen all along. He's a pretty wise little dog.

 So now I try to look foreword instead of backward and to focus on all the fun and hard work we have ahead of us. And if I have any questions, I have a lot of friends with babies who I can call. In fact, I don't even need to call. The main thing I've noticed about being pregnant is that everyone (and I mean everyone) has something they want to tell you about it. Some "truth" they need to impart to you about your upcoming labor, delivery, and parenting future. Sometimes, these people are strangers in the Target that want to tell you what coco butter to buy. Sometimes they're your childless neighbor who wants to tell you what nipple cream you should get,  and how you should never, ever drink caffeine/sugar/honey/windex etc. And sometimes they're a gay guy you work with who's really concerned that you will regret your choice to labor without an epidural. And sometimes it's all your very close friends with helpful tips and hints and awesome hand-me-downs that save you from the overwhelming marketplace that is becoming a parent. And, as annoyed as I get by some suggestions ("don't drink that thing or your baby will definitely come out with a tail") I'm mostly grateful for all the help and support I received from friends and strangers alike.  And I know it's gonna be a piece of cake (insert winky face emoticon here)

I'm sure all of my friends with babies will have a few things to say about that.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Year of the Dog

This week marks the one year anniversary of Jasper's (known to his friends as Jasper J. Jingles) coming to live in my house with me. Jasper has become my companion, buddy and exercise partner. In the past year, I've grabbed coffee with Jasper more than with any of my other friends. He's really been there for me during this transitional time in my life. He's a really convenient buddy because he always has time for me and he doesn't really have that many other friends so he gives me a lot of attention. I really love him. I think he's great.

Did I mention that Jasper is a dog? He is. He's a dog.

But that doesn't matter. He's my dog, and I chose him from a sea of other possible dogs that needed adopting. It is a little like dating, right? (Go with me on this; at least I'm not calling him my child, I'm just calling him my boyfriend...that's better, right???) In this day and age, it seems more and more difficult to meet new people to potentially date outside the realm of online dating. I'm not in school anymore, and my job as a writer leaves me alone at the computer writing scripts about girls who are dating a lot more than I am. But occasionally a friend will set me up with a lovely young man that she knows/works with/never dated herself, etc. We've all probably done this. I think it's called...dating. You go to a bar or restaurant with the other person, you see if there's a connection, and then you decide if you're going to take the other person home with you and let them sit on your furniture and ultimately sleep in your bed. Right? Adopting a dog was kind of the same. I (well, WE but we don't need to talk about the EX right now) went and met quite a few dogs. There's a rescue shelter in Hollywood that doubles as a pet supply store and lets the dogs run lose all over the store. It's so much fun, kind of like a doggie Happy Hour. You walk around, casually, saying "hi", feeling "people" out, and then you see a dog that you might like. OR, in my case, the owner of the shop/rescue shelter interviews you and finds out what you're looking for in your dog and then sets you up with a dog that might work. He acts like the friend who sets you up on the blind date. Then you go on the "blind date" with the dog. This looks like a play session in the shop, and then a walk around the neighborhood, just the two of you.

On these walks you learn a lot about the dog. That they're nervous, or aggressive. That they're hyper or aloof. I found all the dogs I "dated" to be one or another or a combo of these traits and so ultimately I realized that they were not the "one" for me, however lonely I was feeling or however much I wanted them to be.

And then I met Jasper. I saw him first on a website. He's not gorgeous, he's got bad teeth and weird hair, but I didn't care! He had that "special something" that I was looking for. He was laid back and mellow, and loving and cuddly, and he didn't shed. Isn't this what we're all looking for? When we met, sparks flew. He was so sweet and caring and excited to meet me, I knew this would work. And it has. And like every new relationship, there's been some bumps. He had secrets, and baggage (how could be not? He was born in a pile of trash.) He didn't tell me right away that he would have terrible leash aggression, and that he might chew on my iPhone headphones if I left them on the bed. He never mentioned that he loves to bark at the TV whenever anyone on the screen yells even a little, or that TV dogs were his worst and most hated enemy. But I'm sure he doesn't love that I often shower and dress and put my make-up on ALL before I take him out in morning. (He actually doesn't seem to care about that. He just sleeps.) We're doing quite well. Thanks for asking.

SO the dog dating thing worked out quite well. The men dating thing is proving more difficult. How could I be so good at finding the perfect dog, but not the perfect man, you ask? Not sure. As I mentioned, I've been on some dates, and the dates have all gone...fine. But that's it...just fine. (That's not entirely true, I've been on one or two that did not go fine. Where thoughts like "I can't believe I shaved my legs for this" and "I'd much rather be home watching GIRLS with Jasper than this" kept floating through my head.) But mostly the dates have been fine/good/nice. But nothing special. And that is not to say that these guys aren't special. They DO NOT have aggression issues, or are aloof, or hyper, or nervous. They have all been very nice young men. They just, maybe, didn't have that "special something." Or maybe I don't. Maybe choosing Jasper was so easy because I was open and ready and looking for some doggie love. Or maybe it was just meant to be. And, I hope, my next relationship with feel that way too, sparks and all. Until then, I have Jasper, a borrowed HBOGO account from my sister and lots of wine. I think I'm gonna be just fine.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday Hangover and Adrienne Harris's Diary

Not long ago, after a night of Holiday Partying that was both really fun and full of some (probably) really bad decisions, I arrived home very late/very early. Crawling into my bed, as the sun rose silently in the East I smiled to myself and patted myself on the back, congratulating myself on all the fun I'd had. "See, isn't being single and unencumbered by responsibility fun!?" I said to myself as I drifted off to sleep...

My mid-day wake up call was a real slap in the face. Literally. Not only did I awake to a roaring hangover, to contact lenses dried tight to my eyeballs and a bedroom floor full of last nights party attire, but also to my little dog, Jasper, literally slapping me in the face with his paw, informing me that he, like all creatures I know, needed to pee, eat and be loved. The rest of the day was spent in recovery and preparation for another busy/terrible night at work. It was a hell of a way to spend one's Christmas Eve.

Then Christmas day arrived, as it does every year, bright and early on the 25th of December. I've never spent a Christmas alone before. It wasn't so bad. There were still presents to open and coffee to drink. I listened to Christmas music and ate my family's traditional Christmas Breakfast item, a cinnamon bun, I just simply did these things by myself. I then headed over to a FWB's house for Christmas luncheon. I arrived at the party at 2:00 with my pot luck contributions and celebrated the Holiday with three married couples and their babies. If you know me, this shouldn't surprise you. It didn't surprise me. What did surprise me was how I felt about it after. Blue. Even after such a great day, I still felt a little blue. But comically so, in the manner of Bridget Jones. In fact, I felt the undeniable desire to eat the entire contents of my fridge and lie on my couch watching Fatal Attraction with a bottle of wine for company and just generally feel very sorry for myself. Instead, I went to my neighbors who had family visiting from London and spent the rest of the evening drinking and laughing with them. A much better choice than lying on my couch, eating and drinking alone.

Everyone tells you that the Holidays are hard. They are hard if you are with your loved ones because of the stress of travel, cooking, gift giving and money spending. And they are hard if you are NOT with your loved ones because of the stress of loneliness, shipping, and making New Year's Eve plans. No matter how you play your Holiday, all roads lead to HARD. But we do it every year. Even Bridget Jones goes to her mother's annual Turkey Curry Buffet every year, even though it is always hard, and she never has any fun.

I've been a little obsessed with Bridget Jones lately. My parents giving me a new diary for Christmas sure didn't help. She's not a bad role model for a gal like me to have, but she's probably not the best one either. She's likable, as (I hope) am I. Like me, she has a job that she tolerates, but doesn't love. She has a few really great friends who are single and some lovely "Smug Marrieds" as do I. (Sorry married friends, you're not really smug, I swear.) She is eager to fall in love, but totally unsure of how to do it. In some ways I am exactly like her, except that I don't have a sexy british accent and I'm not blond. Dammit! Bloody Hell! She makes a lot of mistakes too, though. She wears inappropriate clothing to work, she sleeps with her boss and she can't cook! But she's a great role model, even for an American Brunette like myself, because in one year of her life, with the help of a diary and friends and an obsessive monitoring of her weight and cigarette/alcohol consumption she manages to have a pretty fantastic time, full of hilarity, parties, and complete with a new better job and a sexy lawyer boyfriend (who she meets at the Turkey Curry Buffet. Ha!)

So with my goals for 2013 all set up, and a new diary in hand (let's face it, I'm a grown up, American woman, I call it a journal) I feel ready to face the new year. So many great things are going to happen next year. I can think of at least 3 (but probably more) friends who are having babies. There's bound to be at least a couple of marriages (although I am currently running out of single friends so at least that number will have to dwindle.) And if all goes to plan I will get my dream job, make my first feature film, and finish the other 5 screenplays that I'm currently writing, and still have time to visit with all of my FWBs who's Holiday Cards are all over my fire place. And if there's a little time left over, and someone throws a Turkey Curry Buffet...well, who knows what could happen. Watch out Ms. Jones. I've got my diary, and I'm not afraid to use it.