Fifteen.

According to the traditional list of customary anniversary presents, The Man and I should have exchanged gifts of CRYSTAL yesterday. Alternately, the contemporary list suggests WATCHES.  Ironically, both can be purchased at Tiffany. However, I am still awaiting the arrival of my Little Blue Box, convinced the delivery person got lost. After all, Los Angeles is an awfully big city and according to the map below…. I live up in the area of the REDNECKS and JCREW LOOKING MOFOS…which I suppose could be a little confusing. Maybe even scary.

IMG_3075

Anyway, we had a lovely dinner last night with The Beans at a favorite local spot of ours. The fact that I neither tried to find a babysitter nor entertained the thought for a moment that we would celebrate without them in tow goes to show you that after 15 years, it really IS all about the children.  Not to sound cliché, but we do only have them all under one roof for a little bit longer. Sugar Bean is going away to college in 4.5  years so we have to pack in as much family time as possible now. Perhaps we’ll take an anniversary trip on our 20th. Who knows? Regardless, I was reminiscing about our wedding yesterday and it occurred to me that I’ve never shared a single detail about it with anyone outside of family and close friends, despite it being an incredibly joyous, unique and memorable affair. WTF is wrong with me? Btw, that’s a rhetorical question. So… without further adieu, I give you…

The Top 10 Reasons Why My Wedding Night

Was Uniquely Kickass

1. It was planned and executed it in exactly 3 weeks, complete with paper invitations (pre-Evite, people), a caterer, flowers and a wedding cake. Notice I didn’t say I PLANNED IT. Every drop of credit goes to my MIL, as I was stricken with horrific morning sickness…ALL. DAY. LONG. Wait…I did pick out the bridesmaids’ dresses. Off the rack, during a 20 minute trip to  Robinson’s-May, which was about all I could manage in between jaunts to puke in the nearest bathroom.

2. Using a recipe handed down for years, and in keeping with a long-standing tradition in my Southern rooted family, we served a drink called “24-Hour Punch”. It’s been a staple at every special occasion for as long as I can remember. The main ingredient is Jack Daniels. The caterer asked for the recipe. Need I say more?

3. Although I could not drink a drop myself, I jumped behind the bar and started tending it like a pro at the reception. People were thirsty, and the bartender went missing…I suspect, after too much punch.

4. We are not Jewish, but many of our guests were, including the Best Man. So it made perfect sense to do the Horah, right?

chris:horah

me:horah

 5. My maid of honor was a VIP bartender at one of the hottest nightclubs in Hollywood, and got called in to work during the reception. Despite telling her boss she’d been drinking all day night at HER BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING, had flowers matted in her hair and would be arriving in her dress, if she could find a ride to avoid a DUI…he made her show up. True story.

6. The day of the wedding, we realized our plan for playing music at the reception wasn’t going to work, so our dear friend John wrangled some equipment and became our DJ, so I would stop freaking out. You can read about him here. He’s truly a gem, and if he ever gets married, I will walk on water if he needs me to!

7. Right before the procession was about to begin, I suddenly had to pee. There was a bathroom at the top of the steps, but my dress wouldn’t fit. Obviously, I didn’t have time to undress/redress. So, two of my bridesmaids held my skirt up inside the bathroom, making sure I didn’t pee on myself, while the other two stood guard outside and held the rest of my dress, because we had to leave the door open. Now THAT’S a good group of bridesmaids, y’all.

8. There was a break-dancing extravaganza. Yep. That’s my husband folks, throwing it back to the 80’s by doing a coffee-grinder…I think.

chris:wedding:breakdance

9. Oh, but wait…the girls were not about to be upstaged! If memory serves me correctly, the photo below depicts the ‘big finish’ to a dance routine of some sort.  Doing the splits in my wedding gown. Yeah, that really happened.

me:wedding:splits

10. With the reception winding down, The Man and I hopped into a limo bound for the honeymoon suite at a hotel in the city. Once we inspected our accommodations, we decided to continue celebrating, and took off on foot down Sunset Boulevard, still in our wedding clothes… headed for the Skybar. Cars were bumper to bumper, horns were honking, and folks were shouting ‘Congrats’ the whole way. Crazy fun. Typically, it’s a tough place to get into if you aren’t ‘on the list’, but I  bartended there for a couple years and showing up in a wedding gown with my groom in tow did the trick!  Afterwards, exhausted and giddy, we returned to our hotel and passed out. That whole doing the deed on your wedding night thing? Ain’t nobody got energy for that!

And so, following a magical evening that started like this:

wedding dance

 We woke up the next morning as newlyweds and realized our cars were in the Valley, and we didn’t have a ride home.

THE END

 

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The Coop

funky chickens

a bunch of funky chickens

Yes, I know they are roosters. But they are cool, and represent me and my flockies perfectly. So there.

Anyway, when I was asked to guest post** over on ‘It’s Fitting’, I stalked the blog a bit to see if I had something worthy to share. Ashley had me at CHICKENS. Why? Because I’m still very close with a couple of the girlfriends I’ve had since college. Whom I sort of  convinced to move out to Los Angeles a year after I made the trek. What can I say? I’m a charming and persuasive trendsetter…lol. Besides, it’s HOLLYWOOD, and both are performers, so it was the natural progression of things. Oh, and not only did I convince them to follow me to the West Coast, I set one of them up with my single FIL 10 years ago, and now she is my step-MIL. That’s another story entirely though 🙂

The thing is, We are Chickens. Always have been…always will be, and will no doubt be sharing a ‘retirement coop’ one of these days, having long out-lived our male-Rooster mates, and doing our best to live life to the fullest….together forever…covered up with grandbabies. To say that I remember how the chicken reference came about, would surely be a lie. I don’t. Probably out of a drunken night of playing Scrabble at 1321 N.Vista. Or maybe one day at FMP in West Hollywood. Or….hell, I don’t know. All I do know is it stuck, and that’s how we’ve referred to each other for almost two decades now.

Why am I choosing today to talk about this, you ask? Well, because it’s The Spring Chicken’s “big” birthday today. As in, the last of us is turning the big FOUR OH. We are, 42, 41 and now 40…respectively: Mama Hen, Middle Clucker, and Spring Chicken.

Since I technically met Mama Hen first, I’ll start by dishing about her. She happened to be in the Beginning Modern Dance class I was a TA for my junior year in college at Bama. It was a class based on the Graham Technique, and it was for neither beginners, nor pussies. Anybody that knows anything about modern dance, knows that Martha Graham–The Mother of Modern Dance–was rigid in her form. We had football players come through the class thinking it would be an easy ‘A’, only to drop it in the second week, because they just couldn’t cut it. Anyway, after the second class, Mama Hen strolled up to me and asked if I tutored students. She was desperate for a good grade, but wanted to earn it and offered to pay me (cha-ching!). The fact that she was genuinely interested in learning the proper technique cinched it, and I agreed…despite the fact I was taking a full course load of 18 hours, had numerous pieces to choreograph for various concerts, had been cast in others’ work which involved rehearsal, AND had 3 other jobs–bartender, Budweiser beer girl, and art class model. What was ONE more iron in the fire anyway? 

So it began.

Mama Hen and Spring Chicken knew each other from working together at a local restaurant…I think? Not certain. I knew of Spring Chicken because we were all part of the Theatre and Dance Department, although I’d not met her formally. That didn’t come until later. After she’d dated my ex-boyfriend briefly while “we were on a break”, and I ended up face to face with her AS MY TRAINER when I showed up for my first day on the job at the same restaurant where she and Mama Hen worked. I couldn’t figure out how to tie my tie, and she offered to help.Talk about an awkward moment! It was either let her do it, or quit on the spot. One beautifully tied red bowtie later….the tension had cleared and we’d become fast friends by the end of the day.

And for the last 18 years or so, you haven’t been able to pry us apart with a stick. Okay, well…that’s not entirely true. We’ve had some moments, the 3 of us. Good, bad, and smacked-every-branch-on-the-way-down-the-tree-UGLY. Fortunately now, they are all water droplets under a great big, gorgeous bridge with support beams rooted straight into the center of the Universe. True friendships like that are really hard to come by, so when you fall into one…don’t let it go. Seriously. And if you are lucky enough to have more than one, take the time to water them with love, kindness, loyalty and respect. Otherwise, just like plants that have been neglected for too long, they will die….

Which reminds me of something funny that happened just after Spring Chicken and I moved in together when she arrived in LA. We ventured out on a mission to Ikea to pick up a few things for the condo. Despite me telling her I had a BLACK THUMB, she decided to invest in a plant. No…a tree. In a pot. She thought I was bluffing. For awhile, it was fine. I stayed a good distance from the green, living thing with leaves and branches, and it remained alive. However, at some point, it perished. Spring Chicken noticed, and immediately asked what I did to it. So I had to tell her: I watered it. Yes, that really happened.

There are too many memories and shared jokes to specifically pinpoint, so I’ll just let them stay ‘on the inside’. What I will do though, is tell you ten great things about The Coop.

1. We are brutally honest. In other words, if we utter the words “Does this make me look fat?”….we must be prepared for the answer.

2. There isn’t very much (if anything) we don’t know about each other. In fact, I’d venture to guess that we know a tiny bit more about each other than any of our respective mates know about us.

3. Having a close girlfriend as your MIL really rocks (once you iron out the wrinkles of the situation).

4. We consider the 5 collective children between us ‘all our own’, even though only 2 of us birthed the lot of them. It’s nice to know, when The Beans misbehave at either household….they will be disciplined in the same manner I would do it myself. Maybe it’s a Southern thing?

5. We keep each other grounded. This alone is worth it’s weight in gold.

6. We harbor secrets, both big and small. Except between each other. Information is usually shared freely, even if at different times. There’s a lot of ‘oh, yeah…she told me that’, without any feelings of betrayal. Hard to swing those conference calls, ya know.

7. We are supportive of each other’s careers, goals, dreams, hopes, etc. Even if we don’t understand them completely.

8. I lent my underwear to one of them at a music video shoot one day, because she decided to ‘go commando’ that morning and ended up in wardrobe that was not conducive to that situation. I pulled off a surprise bday party for the other one year by calling and telling her I was in labor, so she would drop everything and show up at my house immediately. How many people can say that?

9. There are only a few people I would help bury a body. They are two of them.

10. We are doing what we said we would: growing old together.

Happy Birthday, Chicken! Let the celebrations begin 🙂

 

The Chickens, circa 2003...at a favorite spot of ours. Good times.....

The Chickens, circa 2003…at a favorite spot of ours. Good times…..

 

 

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**This post was originally published over at It’s Fitting. If you’ve never visited Ashley and her chickens, go there….now 🙂

Bullies Beware: The New F-Word is FRIEND

Bullies Beware. You're gonna have to go through us.

Bullies Beware. You’re gonna have to go through us.

So you may remember me posting about the phenomenal anti-bullying campaign my Sugar Bean and I were asked to be part of a few months ago. If not, you can see that here. At the time, the campaign hadn’t officially launched….

BUT IT HAS NOW

FRIEND MOVEMENT is in full swing and people are talking about it, which is EXACTLY what we want to happen. Open DIALOGUE leads to ACTION, which leads to CHANGE. A few initial reactions to the campaign questioned the use of the familiar hand gesture–the extension of the middle finger, or ‘flipping the bird’–remarking that it’s too edgy and in your face. Let’s be honest though….this is NOTHING compared to what our youth and adults alike are subjected to on a daily basis. We aren’t flipping someone off, we are flipping off and saying “F-YOU” to the issue of BULLYING which is a problem…

In our faces…

In the media…

In some of our homes…

EVERYDAY.

As the mother of a teen who was the victim of bullying from the time she entered Kindergarten and continuing until we finally had to change schools to escape it, I am tired of it. She came home sobbing everyday, and that was heart wrenching. To know my baby was being mistreated by mean girls who felt the need to pick on her because she was younger and smaller than they was horrific. And I was powerless. I spoke to her teacher, then the principal, then the superintendent. As a parent, I did everything thing I could to be an advocate for my child. But I couldn’t go to school WITH HER, so she was left to stand up for herself. Which is precisely what FRIEND MOVEMENT is all about. The aim is to empower those being bullied to start an inner dialogue, in the face of their aggressors, enabling them to say:

“It’s not okay for you treat me this way.

I accept me for who I am, and you must do the same.

So back off.” 

I’m sick to death of hearing about teenager after teenager committing suicide as the result of something that HAS TO END. Period. There is no room for error, or deliberation with respect to this matter. Bullies come in all shapes, sizes, cultures, genders, etc….and my daughter and I are PROUD TO STAND AGAINST THEM in support of a campaign laden with celebrities who have also been victims of bullying themselves. Don’t believe me? Take a look:

And I urge you to go one step further. JOIN FRIEND MOVEMENT. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SHARE!! Help spread the word, and make it go viral. Make a tax-deductible donation to the Indigogo.com fundraising effort if you can, and aid in the mission to take the movement on the road visiting 40 cities across the country, with the goal of shooting 10,000 photos in 90 days.

It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes the entire world to protect one. We belong to each other, folks. Are you willing to take a stand, and get your boots dirty to raise awareness, and help?

I know I am.

I now pronounce you “MAAH-WEED”.

Being goofballs as usual; Summer, 2006.

Being goofballs as usual; Summer, 2006.

On March 6, 1999,  The Man and I got married.  Or, “MAAH-WEED”, if you happen to be like me, and can’t utter that word without hearing the voice of Long Duck Dong saying it in Sixteen Candles–always a classic, favorite of ours.

Regardless, we’ve been hitched for 14 years, which means it’s actually the 2nd anniversary of the dreaded, “7-year itch”. Which, btw, never happened to us–at least not to me. Or to my knowledge. But second anniversaries are still technically the honeymoon phase, right? So with that in mind, I’ll just say it’s our second, so we can celebrate like newlyweds, and draw stares from people thinking, ‘look at those two…they need to get a room’…lol 🙂 Fifty more years, and we’ll reach the milestone my parents would have, if they were alive today. HOLY COW…in 50 years I’ll be 91. Am I really thinking about canoodling at that age?

Somebody freaking smack me, will ya?!!

All kidding aside, I treasure all the years we’ve earned, and moments we’ve shared together, including the awesome, the crappy, and the ‘WTF just happened’ ones. Marriage is a package deal. Reading between the lines of traditional matrimonial vows proves it. For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health? Pretty strong evidence. If you’re really committed, it can be summed up with this statement, and you can move on to the reception: You get what you get, and you don’t pitch a fit. However, in the event you do toss caution to the wind, and throw a hissy….try not to go to bed mad. That’s the best piece of advice I can offer. Spending eternity with your soul mate can be hard work….but well worth the effort. Seriously.

Now. A tribute to THE MAN. 

The Top Ten Reasons A Divorce Lawyer Will Never Get My Our Money

1. The Man is frat-boy hot. In. Every. Way.

2. He understands that he lives with 4 females, and never leaves the seat up. Ever.

3. If one of The Beans is sick, The Man automatically takes the couch for the night (or the week), so she can sleep with me. Could be a selfish move, but still.

4. Despite, at first, saying the music was “kind of strange because of the violin”, he has become a diehard DMB fan, and completely understands that summer vacations must be planned around the tour schedule every year. It’s glorious. You can read about one of our adventures here. 

5.  He loves animals, and never scoffs when I announce it’s time to take in a new baby. In fact, at the moment, he wants a puppy. I do not.

6. When I said we needed to take the family on a 2000+ mile, cross-country road trip to Alabama, because I was homesick, he trusted me. Both times. 

7. The Man swears he’s Southern, attended the University of Alabama, and played football for my beloved Crimson Tide. He also claims we met there, and I just don’t remember. All lies. He was born and raised right here in Los Angeles.

8. Regardless of what I cook, it always ‘the best meal I’ve ever made’, and he thanks me for it. Even if it’s ramen noodles or delivery pizza.

9. There is never a shortage of cheesy jokes and silly nicknames for everyone and everything, because The Man’s cup runneth over with them. It’s both maddening and endearing simultaneously.

10. I know he loves me fiercely, without restraint or condition, and we have walked through Hell with each other to get where we are. Everyday, we choose to keep on going…with each other.

You can’t divorce that.

Happy Anniversary, dear. I love you.

Stolen moment; Street corner in Silver Lake; 2011.Photo-bomb by EZ-LUBE.

 

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