December 7, 2003 was a cold, wet, dreary day — much like this one.
I know that because while my husband and daughter were occupied with other things, I decided to follow the lead of my online friend, author Andrea Buchanan, who at that time ran a website for moms in Philadelphia. Andi was the first person I knew who had set up one of these new-fangled things called “blogs,” and because she is an exceptionally prescient and thoughtful woman, I decided I wanted to set one up, too.
So I signed up for a free Typepad account and wrote:
It’s a rare rainy day in Los Angeles, and the house is a little chilly. “I’m going to make some tea,” I announce to Gareth. “Would you like some?” Silly question. He loves a spot of tea in the afternoon, even when it’s 90 degrees out. He insists that hot tea is cooling on a hot day. I’ve never found any logic in this, and although I’ve heard the same from other transplanted Brits, I think it’s just an urban myth cooked up by an ex-pat who can’t embrace American-style tumblers of tea poured over ice. Iced tea in summer is refreshing. Hot tea is a perfect drink when it’s cold – like today.
We were planning a Christmas trip to Britain to visit my husband’s family, and I thought the blog would be a cool way to share our adventures with our family and friends here in California. I never expected to continue it once we returned home. I certainly never expected that I would still be writing it ten years later.
A lot has happened to us over those ten years. We’ve had our share of ups… and downs. (And I’m not just talking about my weight.)
We traveled a lot — until we didn’t.
We said good-bye to beloved pets — and welcomed new ones.
My daughter threw herself into a sport and so we became devoted supporters — until she decided it was time to move on, and we were forced to move on, too.
In 2003, my daughter was in the second grade. Today, she’s applying to college.
Before I started my blog, I felt isolated and alone as a stay-at-home mom up here in the north San Fernando Valley.
In 2005, I attended the first-ever BlogHer conference for women who blog and that community has grown and given me more than I can say. Now, I have hundreds of friends throughout the country (and other parts of the world). I have even met some of them in real life (too many to list in this short post).
A few months ago, I despaired over the difficulty of re-entering the workforce after taking so much time off to raise my child. Today, I have a job… a job I landed because of skills and experience I developed as a blogger.
This blog — which I began as an experiment on a whim because I didn’t have anything else to do on a rainy Sunday — has changed my life, for the better.
I can’t wait to see how it goes over the NEXT ten years.
This year, I vowed to do things I had never done before at BlogHer, beginning with my arrival — because aside from a stopover at O’Hare Airport 30 years ago, this was my first time in Chicago.
I went on to do new things by (1) wearing a dress (something I may have done before but cannot recall, because it is pretty hard to make me don anything but t-shirts and jeans)… (2) participated in the annual 5k Fun Run (which in my case, was a walk)… And (3) actually spoke on a panel. (It was a sponsored session for US Cellular, so was not part of the official program — but I did have to speak to a small audience. And I am told that I did not do or say anything particularly embarrassing, so yay me!)
There were other firsts this trip that were less enjoyable. You know that “BlogHer flu” everyone seems to come down with after they get home? I contracted mine on Saturday, so I was feeling kind of miserable as I began writing this post back at O’Hare on Sunday.
I’ve delayed publishing this because I think feeling crappy colored my mood when I was writing this. Instead of walking away from BlogHer feeling inspired, what I was experiencing when I wrote this was more of a sense of … loss.
My Facebook timeline is plastered with excited posts from others who attended the same conference, and they are full of excitement and energy and inspiration. Just like my BlogHer posts of yore. And these posts go all the way back to 2005.
And I did get to spend some time with women I adore: Old friends like Liz Thompson and Jenn Satterwhite and Kim Moldofsky, and new ones like Melisa Welles, Stacy Jill Calvert and Michelle Lewsen (who may or may not be a distant relative). Inspiring women like Deb Rox, Shannon Colleary, Vikki Reich, Dresden Shumaker and Leslie Marinelli. Awesome, intelligent political women like Kelly Wickham, Anita Jackson and Jill Miller Zimon.
I got my usual hugs from Lisa Stone, Jory Des Jardines and Elisa Camahort Page, the three women who founded BlogHer. If they can’t inspire me, I’m a lost cause.
I spent my share of time on the Expo floor. I posed for pictures on Serta mattresses, and with La-Z-Boy chairs. I surprised myself by preferring Folgers Bold Silk coffee to my usual Starbucks brew. I had a nice long chat with a woman who represents gardening companies, who said she would put me in touch with someone who might teach me not to kill everything I plant. I won a three-month supply of a product that promises to do something about my thinning hair.
The Expo is fun — but BlogHer for me has always been about the sessions. And the people I meet. I did all the things I usually do when going to BlogHer, and came away feeling flat.
Maybe I’ve become jaded. I had hoped that making it to my tenth year of blogging would give me some new energy for this site, but instead I feel like I am at a crossroads. My daughter is nearly all grown up. It is time for me to start doing something else. But what?
I mentioned this to a friend while I was at Netroots Nation last month, and he set about trying to point me in the right direction. “What is it you want to do,” he asked.
I could not answer him. For the first time in my life, I honestly don’t know.
He named an array of the types of jobs and organizations I might want to apply for. Nothing sounded like a good fit.
My husband is frustrated with me, because we both agree I need to get back out in the world. But that world isn’t exactly rushing to welcome back 57-year-old women who have spent the last 15 years on the mommy track, no matter how smart or skilled or competent they might be.
A couple of weeks ago, I even applied for a job at McDonald’s and it was apparent from the application that they might consider me over-qualified (it asked questions like “Has anyone ever complained that you are not punctual”). I don’t really want to work for McDonald’s or Starbucks or any other fast food outlet. But in another time, not that long ago, that was a place you could go to bring in a little money while you figure out the next step. Now, those low wage jobs are being filled by people who really need them as their primary source of income. High school students and retirees have to compete with former middle managers for minimum wage. It doesn’t sound promising.
My sister is facing a similar dilemma. While we were in Chicago together, she finalized the sale of a business she started over 20 years ago. She is returning home a “free woman” — with no idea of what she’s going to do next.
We have been trying to get another blog running together, but so far have been unable to figure out what we’re doing with it. It’s got no direction. Just like us.
Linda read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In,” and was excited to hear Sandberg speak at BlogHer on Saturday. Her advice to women resonated with my sister, but there was nothing in it that spoke to me and my situation, which led to another first for me at BlogHer: I cried.
I cried, and I left my sister in the ballroom as they were breaking into smaller, “Lean In” circles. She was concerned for me, but the truth is that I had wanted to sit in on a political panel that was set to start right then. I settled in, began taking notes and forgot that I was feeling sorry for myself.
And it occurred to me that I am not a “mommy blogger” any longer. The thing that excites me now is news and politics.
Unfortunately, those activities don’t pay, so the search for some kind of income continues. Perhaps it will be in partnership with my sister.
And this may turn out to be my last BlogHer.
I’m glad I finally got to see Chicago.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
I’m making matzo balls today (Yes. ALL DAY. Or most of it, anyway.) So once again, I am running one of my series of old blog posts in honor of my 9/10′s of a decade writing SoCal Mom. This one seemed appropriate as I prepare for Passover. It is from February, 2009.
Yesterday, I mentioned how I’m suddenly back in the world of Facebook. I did not mention the look of horror on the face of my friend, “Elaine,” when she noted a recent addition to my list of friends.
“You friended our Rabbi?? That’s brave. I’d be afraid for him to see my conversations!” she exclaimed.
The truth is, I’m not too worried about this. For one thing, I like our rabbi. He’s smart, he’s funny and he strikes me as a very compassionate person… and while he’s obviously religious, he’s not intolerantly so. He’s exactly the type of person I would want to be friends with — if he wasn’t our rabbi.
But I don’t think he’s spending any time reading my Facebook feed. He’s got hundreds of other Facebook friends (most of whom are probably REAL friends and not just anonymous members of the congregation). And let’s be real here – the extent of our relationship has been saying “hello” when we run into each other at Starbucks. I think he recognizes me as one of the flock… but he doesn’t know my name. We are not all that active in the synagogue.
It’s not that I don’t want to be. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 50 of my 53 years, but never felt a part of the community — until Megan started school and we joined the Temple (which is located a few blocks from our old elementary school and so was the synagogue of choice for about half of my daughter’s kindergarten class and some of the teachers, as well). Even my gentile husband — who resisted affiliating with organized Judaism — loves the people we’ve met and admits to enjoying himself once I drag him over there.
But my daughter’s athletic commitment is a 500-lb. gorilla that overshadows everything else in our family. Between 16 hours per week of training, competitions and school — there’s little time for anything else. It’s a difficult balancing act, made more so by the fact that her father and I made the commitment to send her to religious school. She is supposed to go twice a week and attend a minimum number of Friday night services.
A couple of years ago, we really tried to meet that standard — but as Megan moved up the USAG competition levels and her training became more rigorous, I’ve relaxed my expectations of her in the religion department. This year, she’s only attended one Hebrew school class per week and we haven’t been to any services outside of the High Holy Days.
Even so, she’s on target for learning her prayers — and is even ahead of some of her friends in class who have 100% attendance. I know: I am blessed with a really smart kid.
I am not a particularly spiritual person. I’m not sure what I believe. I want my daughter to be free to decide her own beliefs. I think she needs to understand her religious and cultural heritage before she can do that. If my husband had insisted that we raise her in the faith he grew up with, I would have been okay with that — but it would have been HIS responsibility to answer her questions about it. (Since I know next to nothing about the New Testament, how could I be the one?) I felt that if we did not pick one tradition or the other, she would grow up without an understanding of either.
In the end, I guess I cared more about it than my husband, so our daughter identifies herself as Jewish — even if her dad likes to insist that she’s half-Christian. We can argue forever about how you are either Christian or not — there’s no halfway in religion — although you can be half-Jewish if you are talking about ethnicity. But I digress.
You see, Megan is turning 13 in April – and we’re on track for her Bat Mitzvah. This is something that was abstract six years ago, when we joined the synagogue. Now, it’s achingly REAL. I’ve written a couple of posts here, agonizing over the planning. The entire event is going to cost us about $2,000, most of that on the “extended kiddush” (lox, bagels, salads, desserts) we’ll be providing the guests after the ceremony.
We will be hosting our immediate family and closest friends at a dinner that evening, which will likely cost an equal amount. My parents offered to help underwrite the cost and I gratefully accepted, because to be perfectly honest, I don’t know where this economy is taking us. We’re living on less this year.
Altogether, this is a teeny, tiny fraction of what most people I know are spending on their events.
Aside from the catering, the next largest expense was for the printed invitations; Megan wanted something pretty and I felt so bad about giving her such a “plain wrap” party, that I got her the ones she wanted.
Now I’m worried that our friends and family will see these invitations and expect something a lot more elaborate than what we can provide. I dunno. All I can do is the best I can and I need to stop second-guessing myself.
I just dropped about half the invitations in the mail (I’m still waiting for addresses so I can send out the rest). The train has left the station.
As for the rabbi? We’re not so anonymous with him any longer, either. On Tuesday, we had our introductory meeting with him as Megan prepares for her big day. She wasn’t feeling well that day; I’d even kept her home from school. But I didn’t feel I could re-schedule our appointment with the rabbi, as this one was hard enough to get: Tuesday is the only day of the week Megan doesn’t have gymnastics and his schedule was pretty packed, too.
So I brought my sick child in to meet with him and found myself babbling apologies over and over again about her gymnastics and how tough her schedule is. I mortified my daughter by insisting that I would send him a link to video of her (which I have thought better of doing, so have not followed up).
I like to tell my kid that as her mother, it is my job to embarrass her — but I think I may have outdone myself on Tuesday. I embarrassed myself, too.
My only consolation is that the rabbi is probably the one person I know who really understands Jewish mothers.
The social circuit in suburbia includes a number of sales parties: for housewares, jewelry — and sex toys. Another in a series of old blog posts I’m re-publishing in honor of my 9/10′s of a decade writing SoCal Mom. This one is from February, 2009. It has been slightly revised.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We’d been talking about having a Girls Night Out for a while, so the Evite from my friend (she asks that I call her “Roxy”) was not a surprise.
The occasion was:
GET YOUR WILD ON!
A wild and wicked evening with friends!!! You are invited to bring a friend along- please let me know if you will be doing so! Drinks, Nibbles and entertainment provided. The Love Boutique will be here.
I guess this is the time I have to come out and confess that I am something of a prude. Oh, I was young and single once (in the 1970′s! and ’80′s), so I wasn’t always a Victorian.
And I’d been to one of these parties before: Thirty years ago, while still in college, my younger sister was a rep for one of the first companies selling sex toys and related products via the party plan. My mom volunteered to be her first hostess, and of course, I was invited. It was a command performance.
And it was weird. There was my kid sister, standing in the middle of our living room, passing around dildos and vibrators to my mom and her pals — all of whom were hooting and hollering and giggling over the wares. And over on the other side of the room, I sat with a couple of my friends, feeling creeped out about the whole thing.
“When you’re our age, you’ll understand,” laughed my mother’s friend Stella, who used to push me in my baby carriage. Shudder.
That experience was horrifying. But what’s more horrifying is that I am now 10 years older than my mom and her friends were back then. And I DO understand.
However, this is one area where I prefer to be private. It probably doesn’t help that I’m married to a Brit, who has very definite ideas about what is appropriate and what is not in polite company.
My girlfriends are not the type of people you’d describe as “polite company.” They’re fun. And this event had all the markings of an evening that would be fun…
…for everyone but Monica, the hapless young woman who came to Roxy’s suburban home to sell sex toys to a group of mommys, teachers and Brownie leaders.
Roxy is a terrific hostess. True to her word, there were plenty of yummy “nibbly bits” … and alcohol, which was something of a double-edged sword. I do the same thing when I’m hosting a sales party. Likkering up your guests loosens their purse strings. It also loosens them up in other ways, too.
The party got off to a raucous start when one of Roxy’s friends brought her a novelty store gift she’d purchased especially for the occasion: penis-shaped drinking straws, which were plopped into each of our cocktails, resulting in lots of cell phone snapshots and dirty giggling from the guests.
The phallus motif was carried on by Monica, who handed out pencils w/similarly shaped erasers.
For young Monica, it was all downhill from there, because my friends and I behaved much as my mom’s generation did in 1979. Monica estimated that her presentation would take about 40 minutes. An hour and a half later, she was begging us all to settle down because she wanted to go home.
Some of the merchandise was pretty benign: products you find every day at the supermarket: shaving cream, bubble bath, shower gel. Even some of the more intimate items are advertised routinely on television: like K-Y’s new line of lubricants — which was a hot item at last year’s Johnson & Johnson Camp Baby conference. (Monica tried to make a case for why her company’s products were superior.)
Some of the products were exactly the same as the ones my sister showed back in 1979 (notably, the Kama Sutra flavored powder with feather applicator – the packaging is even the same).
Then we got into “the good stuff’: The “Crystal Wand,” described by Monica as a “tool that penetrates your G-spot” (I dunno – the word “penetrate” sounded a bit inaccurate to me). BenWa balls. The “Vaginal Work Out Egg.” The Magic Sleeve. The Rabbit. The Dolphin. (All I can tell you is that I can never look at these innocent-seeming animals in the same way again.)
Throughout the presentation, Monica peppered us with little quiz questions for points (the one with the most would get a free prize). At the beginning, they were easy: 50 points if you’ve ever taken a bubble bath. 200 points if you ever lit a candle in the bathroom for your bath. 200 points if you ever made love in a body of water.
When we got to the toy part of the presentation, Monica told us to give ourselves 200 points for every toy we owned. This was the end of the quiz for me – I don’t have any.
But another of the guests announced that she collects them. This is the one who brought us the interesting cocktail straws. It turns out that she — and the two co-workers she brought to the party — works behind in the scenes in the porn industry. In fact, all three women once worked in front of the cameras.
Now, I’ve always heard that the San Fernando Valley is the pornography capital of the world, and I’ve been vaguely aware that people I meet through school and kids’ activities might be a part of that — but this was the first time I ever met anyone who was a part of it and talked about it. It turned out that these ladies were a lot more expert about the products than Monica was, and the conversation grew into a lively discussion of the merits of one item over another. These women had informed opinions — which I would listen to, if I was in the market for any of it.
But I’m not. I really studied the order form, trying to figure out what I was willing to drop some money on… and was relieved when Roxy told me she didn’t expect everyone to buy: this was just an opportunity for a Girls Night Out.
It had been fun. And not a bit creepy — aside from the fact that my mom’s friend Stella was right. Now, I understand.
This is one of a series of old blog posts I’m re-publishing in honor of my 9/10′s of a decade writing SoCal Mom. This is from February 2005 – and coincidentally, we’re in the middle of another storm surge, although thankfully, not one fueled by an El Nino weather pattern.
What my back yard looks like after two days of rain.
Visitors to Southern California in the winter are often surprised (and disappointed) to learn that it does indeed rain here. Not too often; over the last couple of decades we’ve been in this cycle of a few drought years followed by an El Nino powered onslaught and Eyewitness News images of houses sliding down the hills. Then we’re advised that we still need to conserve water because it’s gone dry again.
We’ve had 2 inches of rain today; over 26 inches so far this year… and it’s ONLY February. This is about 10 inches more than we usually average in an entire year.
And the natives are not happy. Something funny about Californians: I’ve never met any other people who complain about the weather as much as we do. That’s because we think it’s our birthright to enjoy pleasant, sunny skies and warm temperatures EVERY SINGLE DAY. And if it’s not perfect, we’re NOT HAPPY.
We complain about the smog. The heat. The wind. The cold. But most of all, we complain about the rain. (You should hear us when we have a combo situation — like cold & windy… or hot & windy… or cold & windy & wet… like today.)
But you know who the worst complainers are when the weather strays from sunny and 70? The folks who came here from somewhere else. They may be used to worse weather in their old home towns, but they thought they’d left that all behind when they moved here… and by golly, all that sunshine thins their blood or something, because they tend to really resent it when it’s gone.
But that’s not all. After they’re finished complaining about the rain (you expect any minute they’re going to threaten to sue somebody), they start in on us – Californians who would have warned them that even in paradise, a little rain must fall.
The biggest complaint of other state transplants is that Californians don’t know how to drive in the rain. But I think it’s the other way around.
Californians know that because it rains so seldomly (most years), moisture makes our roads especially slick. And because most of Los Angeles is built upon a river basin, the streets tend to flood. That combination (and common courtesy) means that drivers should slooooow down. (For example: trying to get your small car through a flooded intersection while some hulking SUV thunders in at 40 mph and causing a mini-tsunami to hit your windshield, temporarily blinding you.)
Everyone I know who ever had a serious car accident did it in rainy weather. You hear it on the news: 5:00 a.m. on a rainy morning and there are SigAlerts on every freeway because some jerk cut off a truck and it jacknifed, (and that person is usually someone from somewhere else.) The result is that everyone’s day is even lousier because traffic is at a standstill, and to make matters worse — IT’S RAINING.
I personally refuse to leave the house on rainy days if I can get away with it. You’re taking your life in your hands out there.
Of course, I know it’s not like this in the rest of the world. When we visit my husband’s family in the U.K., it rains all the time. And when we visit in the winter, the cold winds are blowing so hard that those drops are coming in horizontally – like bullets.
But over there, people don’t let it stop them from getting out and doing things. Children play (properly outfitted in raincoats and wellies), people walk about and it’s no big deal. At first, this was a shock to me. Now, I take it in stride. Over there. Because if the weather is cold and damp and dreary in the British winter… well, that’s what I expect. Can’t complain about that.
But rain in California? That’s downright unnatural.
This is one of a series of old blog posts I’m re-publishing in honor of my 9/10′s of a decade writing SoCal Mom. This is from February 2005.
Last night, we dined with a couple I had not seen for over five years, formerly close friends who had been there for me through good times and bad. When Gareth and I were married, they not only flew up to Sacramento to attend the wedding, but hosted my bridal shower as well.
I’d been anticipating this reunion since we set it up several weeks ago, as I’ve sorely missed them. But as the day arrived, I felt apprehensive. Why had we drifted so far apart? And what if we no longer had anything in common? Would this be a futile attempt to recapture a friendship that should be left in the past?
That is how I felt after my last couple of meetings with Vicki and Dan, who had committed the crime of becoming successful beyond any of our dreams — and believe me, as college graduates embarking on our first entertainment industry jobs, our dreams were BIG.
Not that I resented their success (although I can be that petty and have felt that way about other people I know). They have worked hard for it and I appreciate that. But because Vicki and Dan and I embarked on careers together, their achievements left me feeling that I had been left behind. And no matter how content I am in my present life, a part of me is pissed off at myself for giving up on the only thing I ever wanted to do professionally — and have never been able to figure out what to replace it with.
And those feelings are magnified at those times when we are struggling with finances — as we always seem to be.
“It’s hard to be friends with people who have a lot more money than you,” said the leader of the writers’ support group I belonged to briefly after I’d quit my full-time convention-planning job to be a stay-at-home mom. I had told them about my last meeting with Vicki and Dan and how out of place I’d felt in the world they now lived in. I was certain they were feeling the same awkwardness with me.
So I didn’t fight it when Vicki and I stopped calling each other set up girls’ nights that were becoming increasingly difficult to hold. We simply lost touch as we both tried to balance our lives. Besides, the last time I’d tried to call her (a year ago, after receiving an announcement that they’d moved to another part of the town they live in), I got a message that their number had been disconnected. I had sent her a little note via snail mail suggesting we get together. I never received a response.
So the only contact we had with one another was the Christmas cards we continued to exchange — at least, during those years I managed to get cards out. Vicki, who always had impeccable manners, never failed to send a little holiday note. This year, her note included the thought that we should get together this year – as well as her email address.
I emailed her, she emailed back. “We’d love to have you over for the evening,” she wrote. “Something casual so the kids can get acquainted and we can catch up.” We settled on Saturday night – “7ish.”
That word “casual” was music to my ears. I repeated it when Gareth asked if he needed to dress up. I told him I was just going to wear a sweater and jeans. He did the same. Megan wanted to wear a skirt, but she selected a long denim one – so I guess we had a theme going.
“Let’s not leave just yet,” I told Gareth at 6:30 last night. “Vicki is always late, so I’d rather not show up at the dot of seven.” I have always been compulsively punctual, and still am, despite the fact that having children around makes it nearly impossible to arrive anywhere on time.
So we waited 10 minutes, which would ensure that we would arrive at their home at the dot of 7:10. I had printed out the directions Vicki had sent me from Mapquest.
However, when we got off the freeway, we discovered that the street we were to turn on was blocked off due to flooding from the rain. So we went the other direction and searched for a back route to get to the street we needed to find in order to get to their home – which we’d never before seen.
We wandered about the town for a good 20 minutes before we finally got on track. “Look at that,” Gareth exclaimed, as we passed by a string of homes that could only be described as mansions. That’s pretty much the kind of neighborhood I expected.
We were finally following the Mapquest directions, but still found ourselves making a lot of wrong turns on the narrow, windy hillside roads – which were unlit, forcing us to stop at each intersection so we could read the street signs. Making out the addresses was even tougher.
Eventually, we found a house that appeared to be the right one. After pulling into the driveway, I wandered back out to the curb to compare the address with the one on the printout. “I’d hate to park in the driveway of a total stranger,” I said. The addresses matched. We rang the bell. It was 7:35.
“Sorry we’re late,” I told them. “The street off the freeway was blocked off from the rain, so we had to find another way up here.”
Vicki laughed. “I told Dan I thought something was wrong, because Donna’s ALWAYS on time.” I was gratified to see that they were also dressed in sweaters and jeans.
Megan’s eyes grew wide that these people who she did not know knew me so well. “I told you we were old friends,” I said to her. I told her how I made Gareth wait 10 minutes, because I knew she would be running late. “And that hasn’t changed,” Dan laughed.
Vicki and Dan’s home is not a mansion – but it’s pretty darned big, with a dramatic entryway. The furniture was elegant yet comfortable – all of which was expected. Vicki had always had excellent taste.
We moseyed over to the enormous gourmet kitchen, where Vicki had already laid out some appetizers. Dan poured the wine. I was nervous, so I proceeded to drink it. Our kids (Megan and their 12-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son) just sort of stared at one another, before Vicki gently sent them upstairs to watch a DVD.
“You look exactly the same,” Dan remarked to me.
“A bit heavier,” I said. I admitted that I had been worried that after all this time, we might not recognize one another and it was a relief to see that was not the case. Hey, the lighting in their home last night was atmospheric – no one’s wrinkles were showing. I approve of that.
“I’m still bald,” Gareth said.
As Vicki and Dan set about cooking dinner, we reminisced – about the garden apartment building we’d all lived in (that was recently razed and replaced with luxury condos), the jobs we had together (I had worked with Vicki and Dan separately) and people we used to know. Dan kept refilling my wine glass, and I happily (stupidly!) sipped away.
And we brought ourselves up to date. I confessed my habit of Google-ing all my old friends to see what they are up to, so I knew that after Dan’s last series went off the air, he’d gone through a period where not much was happening. “We spent four years just writing pilots,” he said. I was pleased to learn that since September, he was back producing a network show – one that I have not yet seen. “Our ratings were really good last night,” he added, “so I think we’ll be renewed for next season.” I made a mental note to set the Tivo for it this week.
We gossiped about the industry. Vicki gave us the inside scoop on some of the films her studio released last year, as well as a couple on the horizon. We talked about Dan’s former agent, who had gone to jail for embezzling from some of her clients (fortunately, Dan was not one of them). We talked about the Oscar nominee I had worked for who had treated me badly (Dan concurred that the guy did not have a very good reputation, which made me feel less guilty for despising him all these years). And Gareth told them about the business he is in, and how he’s been doing.
All in all, it was like old times – familiar and comfortable. Except the only thing we did not discuss is what I’ve been up to. Now, when I emailed them back the first time, I told them about this blog and that everything they needed to know about me was open for the world to see – so it’s possible they read that (although no one mentioned it) and didn’t need to ask me. Or maybe they were being sensitive to the fact that I do feel like a damned failure when I allow myself to think about the success I never attained, so didn’t want to get into it. Or maybe it’s that typical thing about being a stay-at-home mom and no one really cares what it is we do.
Or maybe I still need to do a lot more work on my own feelings of self-esteem.
We left their home promising to do this again, soon – this time at our house (a more intimate setting, I told them). The ball is now in my court. I plan on hitting it.