Category Archives: About Me

On the Water

5th December 2018

fredlyonhuntingtonhotel
Photo Fred Lyon.

About fifteen years ago, I moved into an old apartment in San Francisco’s Western Addition, where you can see the fog line roll in from the Bay. There’s plenty of room, but the walls are so thin you have to ignore neighbors’ footfalls, dinner conversations, sexual habits.

For years, I wondered why my upstairs neighbor was leaving her cell phone on the floor. It would vibrate against the floorboards and resonate through my apartment.

When she finally moved out and someone new took her place, I was perplexed that he had the same habit. I mentioned it in frustration to my fiancé who had recently moved in, and he knitted his brow.

“Do you mean the foghorns?” He said.

“Oh,” I said. “…You can hear the foghorns from here.”

Taking Stock for October

2nd November 2017

Hi! How’ve you been? I felt like playing along with Pip’s Taking Stock list for this month, you? Taking stock for October.

Making : A tiny wooden nutcracker. Painting it, anyway. I’m a sucker for those Michaels holiday craft kits, man. Let me know if you need a pom-pom ornament.

Cooking : Colorful, healthy stuff. This Rainbow Salad Bowl with Cilantro Lime Hummus is really good.

Drinking : Tung Ting green tea from Red Blossom. It’s my favorite oolong.

Reading: I’m finally getting to Shrill by Lindy West.

Wanting: More long, cozy sweaters with the kind of arms you can pull your hands into while you’re waiting somewhere outside.

Looking: At old stuff on Etsy. Like this stripey straw hat, these enormous black pearls, and this very pink Lanvin dress.

Playing: That game where one person starts a doodle, and then another person finishes it. We spent hours playing with Hank at little outdoor tables in Venice. We just got back from a trip to Italy! It was one of the nicest trips I’ve ever taken.

Deciding: On Thanksgiving plans. For some reason, my Thanksgivings are cursed unless someone else plans them. I can arrive to someone else’s Thanksgiving with a hell of a cheese plate in tow, but I cannot make one go on my own. After a few years of relative disasters, one year I just bought a damn prefab meal so nothing could go too far awry. And then the pre-cooked turkey I picked up Thanksgiving morning was somehow still frozen inside. Maybe we’ll order one of these smoked turkeys this year. Or an American amount of takeout Chinese.

Wishing: I was at a lakeside campfire with the aforementioned cozy sweater a good book.

Enjoying: Vacation memories.Turns out gondolas live up to the hype.

Waiting: To pack thermoses of warm boozy drinks and go make our holiday wreath.

Liking: My kids. Hank is turning out so sweet and friendly, and Ozzy is a little charmer. I’m so glad I got to be a mom again.

Wondering: Where I put everything. We still need to fully unpack.

Loving: These glass eyes. I bought them because they’re little works of art, and they were $10, which we can all agree is a screaming deal for glass eyes.

Pondering: The myriad things people think they know about Joan Didion. With this new documentary coming out, everyone is publishing all these opinions about her, and most of them read so strangely to me. Like, I do not recognize the author they’re discussing. Huh.

Considering: Stone Fruit! I bought a couple of very convincing, charming fake oranges at the back of a tiny souvenir shop in Florence, and googled them when I got home. They were so heavy, and it turns out they’re carved from stone. It’s a whole thing.

Buying: Groceries for the week. We’re trying to eat all vegan this week as an experiment, and there’s such a learning curve to changing how you eat. Making the menu and grocery list took forever.

Watching: “The Good Place.” Have you seen this? It’s a comedy about the afterlife. It’s so nice to watch TV that isn’t trying to make you anxious.

Hoping: It isn’t too cold at Hank’s soccer practice.

Marveling: At the world’s finest Panama Hat. It was made by Simon Espinal, and he won’t make another as nice because it’s too hard on his eyes. It’s $25K, and the buyer hopes it will end up in a museum.

Needing: To take off this bra. Always.

Questioning: How to set aside time for some projects.

Smelling: This new LaVanila deodorant I’m trying. It smells like soap and is supposed to not kill you slowly over time, which is cool.

Wearing: Cashmere pants I got at the flea market for $20. They make me feel so fancy.

Following: All these sexual harassment allegations. It’s surreal that people are finally facing consequences.

Thinking: I want to be on the team that helps choose Oprah’s Favorite Things every year. Maybe I’ll do some gift guides this year, they’re so fun to shop for.

Admiring: This camping embroidery pattern.

Sorting: All the little jars of food we brought back from Italy. Italian canned and preserved food tastes like actual food.

Getting: Tired of jet lag. I’m too lax about converting, so it takes me like two weeks to change time zones. I’m still waking up at 3 a.m. a week after returning home

Bookmarking: The Gro Company Gro-Clock Sleep Trainer. We’re about to switch to a toddler bed, and this simplified clock supposedly helps kiddos know when to get out of bed.

Coveting: I collect busts, and these are beautiful. This one too.

Disliking: That we didn’t have time to carve pumpkins this year. I love homemade roasted pumpkin seeds. Next year for sure.

Opening: My Italy travel journal to fill in all the blank pages. The main thing I miss about traveling without kids is the time you have to document everything.

Giggling: Nervously at this upsetting blind-clown cookie jar.

Feeling: Cozy and quiet.

Snacking: On hazelnuts. I keep a bag in my nightstand. Though the Halloween candy in the next room is audible.

Hearing: My monthly playlists are up on Spotify if you want to have a look and/or judge me by my musical taste. Tove Styrke’s “Say My Name” is a recent favorite.

I’m excited about Fall. You? I hope you’re doing well.

French Kids Eat Everything

20th June 2017

In Paris, we pass a toddler in the stroller with her mother’s purse, an exuberant square of red lipstick around her mouth. She shoves her tiny fist outside, bouncing the unfurled lipstick tube like a drum major’s baton. Her mother’s eyes widen.

Let’s Help this Woman Make Her Movie

10th May 2017

bexyow

Did you ever want someone to succeed so badly that you get chills thinking about it? Rebecca is making a movie, and I want this for her. I want it so much my eyes are welling as I type.

Bex and I met almost a decade ago through the Internet, filming Momversation videos together. Remember those?

momversationbexme

I still cringe a little about that name, but neither of us was gonna turn down a pay check. Plus, those cheesy pre-taped conversations about post-baby bodies and keeping marriage spicy brought me one of my dearest friends.

rebelbex

When Bex graduated high school, she was already a writer. She worked for the Chicken Soup series, specifically Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, and she already knew words were her thing. She was raised to be strong and independent, and it took. She told her very educated family that she wasn’t going to college. This went over well, as you might imagine, but Bex had a wild streak and wanted to get started on her life.

She was writing! She was wild! She was pregnant.

bexhalgolden

A baby was not part of the plan, but Bex and her not-boyfriend Hal made a new plan. They married at a drive-thru chapel in Las Vegas, just in time for their son Archer’s arrival.

dapperarcher

archerthethinker

Archer is an old soul, sweet and chill, with a head full of thoughts beyond his years.

A few years later, Fable was born with Rebecca’s eyes and artistic sensibility.

fablebaby

Fable promptly covered herself in Elmer’s Glue and pen marks, and began hoarding decorative paper and stick-on gems.

fablerainbow

Bex and I became friends when she was in her twenties, sharing rooms at conferences and smoking a single cigarette on the balcony at night.

mebexmadwomen

We’ve sat on stoops in New York, jumped on hotel beds in Salt Lake City, clinked plastic cups of free wine in Florida.

madonnainnrobetastic

She met me in Austin when I was newly divorced, patted my back and told me to get laid.

bexruthreateningme

We eventually met each others’ families, and introduced our kids. A couple years after Fable was born Bex and Hal thought a third baby wouldn’t be a bad idea. I was boarding a plane when I read online that Bex was pregnant …with twins. The news hit me in the sternum. I called from the jetway.

“Twins. Fuck.”
“I am freaking out,” she said. “I am so scared.”
“Ok, girl. What do you need?”
“Money.”

So we talked about ways to get her more writing gigs, to get paid better, to get her on some campaigns.

bexwithchilds

Boheme and Reverie arrived just as Bex turned thirty, one with a head of blond curls, the other with a dark shag of Muppet hair.

bexrevvieboergo

Bo’s trust is hard earned, and her brain shines right out her eyes. Revvie is all nurture and encouragement.

borevvienutshell

Just like their mom.

Rebecca’s already impressive hustle shifted to high gear. As a mother of four, I have rarely seen her rest.

Through it all — sleepless nights, epic tantrums, the sheer logistical bullshit of getting four kids to all the places on time — Bex was writing a screenplay.

I didn’t know this until it was almost done.

fabletothefront

Most mothers who write have no time for unpaid work. You find it at unholy hours. You settle in to the keyboard at 3 a.m., because you’re pregnant with twins and there’s not enough room in your own skin. You’re awake at 1 a.m. because you had five cups of coffee to get through laundry, and homework, and peanut butter sandwiches, and bedtime stories for four. So you find a pen and hope you’ll get two or three hours of sleep before your kids wake with the sun.

The projects pulled from quiet, bone-weary moments are private — too fragile to bear scrutiny. So I was surprised, and humbled, when Bex told me she’d been working on a script. I asked if I could read it when she was done.

“Do you really want to?”
“What? Totally.”

familygolden

A few months later, we were leaving from a family visit. I had a twin clinging to each of my legs when Bex beckoned me to the desk in her guest room. Next to a cork board covered in pages from old Sassy magazines, she handed me her screenplay.

It seemed like a miracle. How?

gobexgo

But there it was, 110 pages warm from the home printer. Two years later, I’m still in awe.

CHANGING THE RATIO

“In 2014, 85% of films had no female directors, 80% had no female writers, 33% had no female producers, 78% had no female editors, and 92% had no female cinematographers.” (source)

This movie is Rebecca’s purpose, the thing that kept her up working in the dark while her babies slept. And right now, she’s filming it.

Rebecca’s movie is a reimagining of Peter Pan, set in the modern era and narrated from Wendy’s perspective. In PANS, “Wendy reclaims her power after being stripped of it by an assaulter and her female community who don’t believe her side of the story.”

I'M NOT SORRY — PansMovie.com from Rebecca Woolf on Vimeo.

As Bex puts it euphemistically on her Kickstarter page, “Raising money to fund a film about teenage girls rebelling against the nuances of rape culture is a bit of a challenge.” Ha.

But Bex is making it go. And she is freaking out. And she is scared.

“Ok, girl. What do you need?”
“Money.”

KICKSTARTER

The PANS Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing campaign. That means, if Bex fails to raise $100K, she gets none of the $37,000 that has already been offered. Which makes me feel a little like throwing up.

Last night, a film backer offered to donate $5,000 if we can bring in 100 new backers by Friday evening.

I know a lot of you have read Rebecca’s site. If she’s ever made you laugh or tear up or think, now is the right time to send some gratitude back her way.

pansrebeccawoolf

Bex needs $63,000 more to pay the actors, the crew, everyone working to make this movie real. So here’s how we can help:

• Fund Rebecca’s Kickstarter, because money is power and women need more of both
• Help change the ratio in film by telling your people about the PANS Kickstarter on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, whatever you got.
• Maybe hit the thumbs up on Pan’s Facebook page if you want to keep up

Let’s do this. Let’s listen to each other, and help each other be heard.

bexmaggiedingding

I love you Bex. Ride or die.

PANS Kickstarter Campaign,
Girls Gone Child, Rebecca’s site
Rebecca’s Instagram
Pan’s Instagram
Rebecca Woolf’s Feminist Take on Peter Pan Hopes for Greenlight via Kickstarter

UPDATE: What the what? Huge thanks to those of you who have donated so far! With your help, Bex met the goal of 100 new supporters within a few hours. So quickly that the film backer offered an additional $5K if she can make it to 700 supporters by end of day today (Friday, May 12). This level of interest gives PANS a huge boost in the film community. More lady writers, producers, directors! The shift is starting, because of you. Thank you so much.

Drone, Bye

27th April 2017

Man takes drone out for a sunset flight, drone gets shot down

I read this article and did a slow clap for the shooter. As you know, I love a robot, and still the drone situation is beginning to chafe. Hear me out.

A few months ago we were staying at a hotel, and our room had an attached private patio surrounded by a high wall. Ozzy ran out into the patio after our bath, so I chased after him in my altogether because… private patio.

I’m standing in the silence for a minute waiting for Ozzy to finish playing with rocks, making sure he doesn’t shove one in his windpipe, when I notice this annoying whine. It’s sort of like a broken industrial fan, and the sound is getting louder and louder. Finally, I look up and see a creepy-ass photo drone hovering over naked me and my naked child.

Hear me, friends. If I’d had a BB-gun on hand, I’d have dropped that Minority Report Mosquito out of the sky like:

dronedrop

And then I would don a robe, gather the broken toaster pieces and pop them in the pool.

Sorry about that $3K, bro. Find another hobby.