Posted in Word Therapy

Friday Favorite (aka Where I blabber about what I love): Mother’s Day Edition

As a mom I:

  • Limit electronic time
  • Make my kids read on the weekend and during summer
  • Won’t allow them to have phones until they are in middle school
  • Yell and cuss
  • Still use time out for sassy talk (with a side of no electronics)
  • Make one dinner and one dinner only each night
  • Don’t share my desserts
  • Forbid social media like Facebook or Twitter for now (Music.ly is allowed with many limitations)
  • Tell my kids, “I’m okay with that” when they tell me I’m mean

But I also:

  • Make sure my family of four eats at home together at least 5 nights a week
  • Love to sit and read with my kids
  • Put my phone down as much as possible
  • Volunteer at their school
  • Chase my dreams so the kids know they can too, no matter how many obstacles get in the way

Every day I feel anger, fear, happiness, contentment, frustration, adoration, and exhaustion. As much as my anxiety tells me otherwise, I know I am not the only mom who feels this way. So for Mother’s Day I am going to give myself a break and realize I am doing the best I can. I love these kiddos and never take for granted the time I have with them.

Mothers Day 3

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Word Therapy

That Time of Year

 

Summer countdown

 

I am equal parts terrified and excited that we have 13 days of school left until summer. Sleeping in, no schedule, and no homework sounds perfect. Kids fighting, not so much. So for our sixth year in a row, the Wilson Summer Bucket List will be taken out of the hall closet. You can read about our previous years here and here. Last year we were lucky enough to take our first family vacation to Austin, TX. This year we will be having a staycation. But since we live in awesome California, we have plenty of places to visit, stuff to do, and food to eat. Below is a list for the summer, where we always leave room for the unexpected:

Traditions

Knotts Berry Farm-our budget Disneyland. We don’t have Mickey or Minnie but we have Charlie Brown, and isn’t he cuter anyways? I wrote a long time ago about why we love Knott’s so much.

Waterpark-we have one less than 10 minutes from our house and Knott’s has its own Soak City right across the street from the park.

Beach-I mentioned awesome California, right?

Ice Cream for Dinner-Scarlet has already asked if we can do this more than once.

80s Movie Education-Last summer we did The Last Starfighter. At Christmas we watched Gremlins. On the schedule this year: WarGames and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Museum-We love The Broad and LACMA.

Rollerskating-The kids skate for free and they each have their own skates. Enough said.

Movies-DUH.

Read, Read, Read

New

Hiking-no Joshua Tree during the summer but here is a list of places that we are considering.

Universal Studios-Harry Potter Wizarding World for us Potterheads.

OC Fair-$12 beers, corn on the cob, 80s bands trying to make a comeback, and an ocean breeze.

Angels Game-my little ball player is excited for his first professional baseball game.

Impeachment March-Fingers crossed we won’t have to do this because the impeachment will have ALREADY HAPPENED.

2017 Summer Bucket List

What do you have planned for this summer?

Posted in Word Therapy

Friday Favorite (aka Where I blabber about what I love): The Hate You Give

It has been a long 3 ½ months. I’m angry. I feel helpless. Reality is like humidity with its oppression. The first month I stayed strong. I donated. I was an armchair activist to the nth degree. I marched. But as time has gone by I find myself going inward. I still donate when I can. I share stuff that I feel is important on social media (calling your reps, bringing attention to special elections). But with the investigation of Russian’s involvement with the election dragging, it’s hard to stay motivated. What I have continue to do is to stay informed and read. This week I finished The Hate You Give by A.C. Thomas.

The Hate You Give is the story of 16 year old Starr. One night she is leaving a party with her friend Khalil when they are pulled over by a police officer for a broken tail light. By the end of the encounter with the officer, Khalil is dead and Starr is the only witness.

The book is a young adult novel. A lot of popular YA novels have white female protagonists (Katniss, Bella, and Tris just to name a few). Starr is black. She lives in a run down neighborhood that has seen better days. And her story could have come from this week’s news. It is a story that needs to be heard and not denied. The epidemic of black kids being killed by police officers has been around longer than I have been alive. With social media and body cameras these days it has become more high profile. But yet this is the first time I have picked up a young adult novel and read about a teen black girl and what she faces.

I read a review of The Hate You Give and decided to check it out. It is a good book. I cared about the characters. The story made me sad but I wasn’t shocked by the events because I read the news. I hate reading that anybody has to feel afraid when they see a cop. Or that their mom and dad have to teach them how to act around police officers so nothing bad will happen to them. I was brought up believing that they are here to protect us. I don’t believe that all cops are bad. In fact, I know that the majority of them aren’t. But why isn’t that same viewpoint given to people of color?

I want to scream how unfair it is and throw a temper tantrum. But I know that won’t do a damn bit of good. So I will continue to read, listen, and educate myself. I will donate to those organizations that are affected. I am only one person. But if I can change my perspective and hopefully pass that onto my own kids, I know I can keep fighting.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Pop Culture, Word Therapy

13 Reasons Why (Spoilers and Triggers)

Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) was drama. That is what all the kids in 13 Reasons Why say about a teenage girl. She has committed suicide and then left a set of tapes behind to tell her story. When I was in junior high I tried to swallow a bottle of pills. I walked into the kitchen, opened the cupboard where the medicine was, and took out a bottle of pain killers. I opened the bottle and tilted my head back to pour them down my throat. My mom saw what I was trying to do and grabbed them out of my hand. She then put the bottle back where I found it. I don’t remember a lot after that. She may have told me to go to my room. I don’t know if I meant to succeed or just wanted the attention. I know I was in a lot of pain. I have written a lot about being bullied. 30 years later and I feel like I should be over it. I’m not. That is why I think shows like 13 Reasons Why are important.

I started the most tweeted about show of 2017 a couple of weeks ago. It is the story about the aftermath of Hannah’s suicide. Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) is given the set of tapes to listen to. We don’t know the extent of his relationship with her. Each tape tells the story of Hannah’s interaction with one person from school and how it lead to her suicide.

I don’t blame one person for what happened to me. I can’t remember exactly who the kids were who tried to “pants” me as I walked into school each day. Or the kids who gave me the nickname “Buffy” and wrote stories about me in English class. Or the guy who walked up to me unprovoked and told me my hair looked like shit. It was a collective effort between teachers and students where kids target somebody to take the attention off themselves and teachers who weren’t trained how to look for signs of bullying.

As a parent, the hardest part so far of 13 Reasons Why is watching how the girl’s parents are affected. They are shown filing a lawsuit against the school while going through Hannah’s room to give them some reason as to how this could have happened. We see in flashbacks that Hannah had a typical relationship with her mom and dad. She talked to them but not about what was happening. A lot is focused on how they are looking at the problem afterwards. Suicide prevention posters, counselors trying to to talk to students, and graffitied walls in bathrooms are painted over.

I have anxiety and self worth problems every day. I don’t know if the bullying is a direct cause of either or just a chemical imbalance that I am always trying to address. What I do know is I wish I had grown up feeling like I was worth something and that I wasn’t alone (which is a huge part of having an anxiety disorder). I’m not a therapist. I don’t have any professional training. But what I see on the show is that Hannah is either being laughed at, grabbed, or dismissed by the other students. She tries to stand up for herself. But in the end she deals with it. It is easier to accept the negative rather than fight for the positive.

I had a conversation with my daughter last week before bed time. She told me, “Mom, kids make fun of me because I like Star Wars. They say girls shouldn’t like Star Wars.” I told her, “I’m sorry Baby. People can suck. They are going to judge you no matter what you do. So be who you are, even as hard as it will become.” If I have to tell my kids that every damn day for the rest of lives, I will. As a mother I have to accept that kids will be mean and there isn’t much I can do about that. But I can teach my kids their own self worth.

I was always going to put this up on my blog. But I debated posting it on Facebook. Twitter, sure. I feel a cloak of privacy on Twitter that I don’t get on Facebook. You can feel the judgment. But if I am going to accept all the parts of myself, even the ones that are dark and make people uncomfortable, I have to be all of it. And if people can’t handle that, oh well. That is what acceptance means to me.

Posted in Word Therapy

Happy Birthday You Sexy Bitch

Dear You,

Today you are two 21 year olds. You don’t feel any different. When you hit 40 it started to feel like you were running out of time and two years later you are still fighting that battle. The jowls are coming in as fast as the facial hair. Acceptance is slow coming despite all the damn Buzzfeed articles that say it is inevitable once you hit the four O. You still feel like a bad mother at the end of the day but always tell yourself tomorrow is a new day. You are writing more and that helps with the anxiety. And you have finally started to not be so hard on yourself because you know that is key to not being so hard on your kids.

It’s never been about how pretty you are.  But these days it’s more about how healthy you are and less about how  you look.  Sunscreen and baseball hats are non negotiable when you are outside. The stretchy jeans are starting to get a little tight so you might want to cut down on the 9 pm cookies. You considered retiring your bikini this year but decided that as long as you work out five days a week, you’re going to rock it. And don’t forget that yoga and meditation fixes everything.

Self awareness is a wonderful thing, positive or negative, it doesn’t matter. You can’t seem to hold onto female friendships and that’s okay. Don’t blame yourself for every little thing. You’re loud, opinionated, and strong. Not a lot of people can handle that. It’s not that you’re too much, it’s that they’re not enough. You have accepted that anxiety is a part of your life. But it will not control you. Don’t forget that, especially when you feel it trying to take over.

Motherhood is still and always will be hard. One day you will feel like you didn’t do something that your kids will talk about in therapy when they are older. You love your kids so much more than you ever thought you could. They are becoming their own persons and letting go of the control is becoming easier. Imperfectly made beds, wrinkled laundry from little hands folding it, and bedrooms cleaned but not to your Monica Gellar standards are all fine. They fight nonstop, as expected. This week’s spring break is a 5K and a sign of what’s to come. Summer will be the marathon and you can do it. It will involve a lot of swimming, deep breaths, and focusing on the end game: the first day of school (keep that vodka chilled).

Writing is still going. You reach for your notebook more than you don’t and that is a good thing. Don’t stop. You know that it helps. You know that you are meant to be a writer, even though you are always fighting those voices who tell you it’s too late. Keep going. It will be worth it.

Your goals before your next birthday are simple. You want to be paid to write. Hike more and learn to speak Spanish seem reasonable. And to certify your old lady status, you want to plant flowers and thrift furniture to refinish.

Happy birthday lady. You’ve come this far. Keep going. It will be okay.

 

Love,

Birthday picture

Me

Posted in Pop Culture, Word Therapy

Woman Crush Wednesday: Elisabeth Moss

Zoey Bartlet. Peggy Olson. Robin. All of these ladies are characters that Elisabeth Moss has brought to life and left an impression on viewers of The West Wing, Mad Men, and Top of the Lake. She has also stood out in films like The One I Love and Queen of Earth. With her new Hulu TV show The Handmaid’s Tale based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel debuting at the end of April, I want you to see why Elisabeth Moss is one of my lady crushes.

I discovered Miss Moss when I watched Aaron Sorkin’s political drama The West Wing. The show chronicled Martin Sheen as President Bartlet and his administration. Elisabeth played his daughter Zoey. Her part was not a large one but every time she was on camera she demanded your attention with her toughness and intelligence. When she began a relationship with one of her dad’s staff members, Charlie Young (Dule Hill), I fell in love with him and rooted for their relationship because of her.

I didn’t watch Mad Men along with the rest of America on AMC when it aired from 2007-2015. I binged it the summer of 2015 and kicked myself for waiting so long. Jon Hamm is the dreamy but kind of an asshole Don Draper, Christina Hendricks is the gorgeous and standoffish Joan Harris, and Elisabeth Moss is our every girl Peggy Olson. We watch Peggy start at the bottom of ad agency Sterling Cooper as Don’s secretary. By the time we say goodbye to her at the end of the show it is the beginning of the 1970s, Peggy is a well respected ad executive and she finally admits to herself that she is in love with Stan (Jay R. Ferguson). Moss made Peggy a woman that we could relate to but also admired. When she stumbled we cringed but understood when she made the wrong choices. When she stood up in a room full of men and made her voice heard, I wanted to pump my fist in the air. When I first tried to watch the show when it aired, I couldn’t get past how Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) talked to Peggy in the first episode. His chauvinism made my skin crawl. I now know that Peggy only put up with that for so long and showed him how fierce she could be.

In Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake, Elisabeth plays Robin. She is a police detective who has come home to take care of her sick mother. The show is set in New Zealand and Moss nails the subtlety of the accent. The story is a dark affair with her getting involved on the case of a missing pregnant teen. Robin’s personal life is crumbling around her so she does what she shouldn’t: She ignores her estranged fiance and falls back into the arms of her ex, Johnno (Thomas M. Wright, unrecognizable from his role on The Bridge), fights with her mom, and takes on the local family of criminals who are connected to the missing girl. Robin’s face disguises everything she is feeling but her eyes can’t hide the pain she is enduring. Top of the Lake is a showcase for the actress and she gifts us with a performance that even outshines fellow cast member Oscar winner Holly Hunter.

Two movies of Elisabeth’s that have flown under the radar are The One I Love and Queen of Earth. The One I Love is about a married couple having problems and getting away to a cabin at the recommendation of their therapist (Ted Danson). Elisabeth plays Sophie and is married to Ethan (Mark Duplass). What happens shortly after they arrive at the cabin would give away the twist so I will just say that the story has stayed with me since I saw it last year. Moss’s Sophie is hurting and reacts by being bitchy and pushing Ethan away. Anybody that has been in a long term relationship can relate to the moments these two endure. Queen of Earth I found on many best of lists and decided to give it a try after seeing that it had a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. When I saw that it had a 1 star rating by a user on Netflix, I realized this wasn’t going to be a fun weekend with best friends kind of movie. And that is an understatement. Elisabeth and Katherine Waterston play Catherine and Virginia. Their friendship is toxic. Their conversations are mostly them hurling insults or calling each other out on bad behavior. Catherine has just lost her father to a car accident and her boyfriend has dumped her. Virginia’s family is never fully explained except that they are not good people. Catherine looks like a doll with a shaggy blonde bob, crystal blue eyes, and a small eagle nose. She is cute and sexy. Virginia is her opposite. She is tall and thin with straight long brown hair. She gives ominous stares that remind you of Samara from The Ring. They are at Virginia’s family’s cabin. The aesthetic has a 70s glow but it is meant to unnerve, not comfort. It is reminiscent of Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock. The film follows Catherine’s breakdown and begs more questions than answers. Moss’s performance is what kept me watching as the film can be tedious and sometimes painful to watch. Nobody is likeable (even co-star Patrick Fugit, who I still adore from Almost Famous). I know all of this isn’t a ringing endorsement for the movie but I can honestly say I experienced it because of  Elisabeth.

Elisabeth Moss has gone from Zoey Bartlet to her new role as Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale over the past 18 years. She can play sexy, smart, bitchy, quiet, etc. All of these women have one characteristic in common: They are all powerful. I can’t wait for April 26th to watch her bring to life the main character from one of my all time favorite books. And I hope this makes you want to check out at least one of her many roles.

*All of these shows and both movies are available on Netflix

Posted in Pop Culture, Word Therapy

March is the New July (Throwback Post)

You guys. I know a lot about movies. So much that I don’t mind be called a movie snob. I have watched enough that if Blockbuster was still around, I would be THAT person approaching customers and telling them what they should be watching. I want everybody I talk to to feel the joy that I experienced watching Sing Street. Or the heartbreak that came with The Dark Knight (my most favorite superhero film). Or the terror I felt when the hubby and I watched Babadook. I like to feel the gambit of emotions when I watch film. It’s an addiction.

Four years ago I decided to write a post about how March is the New July. More and more the month of the beginning of Spring was featuring films that could be blockbusters outside of summer. The Hunger Games debuted in March of 2012, continuing the YA film craze that Twilight started. Other films such as Alice in Wonderland and Watchmen made a lot at the box office, defying predictions.

Movies premiering in March of 2013 showed a lot of promise. Oz the Great and Powerful with James Franco, Mila Kunis, and Michelle Williams showed fantastic visuals, some humor, and a spin on a classic story. Jack the Giant Slayer was directed by Bryan Singer and starred Nicholas Hoult. And last but not least, The Host. The Host was a YA book written by Stephenie Meyer of Twilight fame. I had read the book and loved it. I was excited for all three films and predicted they would do great. I should have kept my big mouth shut.

Two of the three films ended with awful reviews. Jack the Giant Slayer currently has a 52% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it Rotten on the Fresh/Rotten Scale. The Host is at 8%. The final summarized review for The Host said it had “moments of intentional hilarity” in it. OUCH. Oz the Great and Powerful fared the best at 59%. Oz was the only one I dared to watch. It was also the only one that did well at the box office. Mila Kunis is a little too over the top, James Franco is just not strong enough to be Oz, and Michelle Williams is at her meekest (but looks gorgeous in the costumes). It was disappointing at best. I tried watching Jack the Giant Slayer on cable and it didn’t hold my attention. And I didn’t even attempt The Host for fear that it would ruin the book for me. Since then I haven’t tried to predict what movies will do well other than the obvious: Marvel, Star Wars, and DC (no matter how awful it is).

When I saw the March line up for this year, I was excited. But I didn’t want to get TOO excited. Logan looked like a completely different type of X-Men movie, but in a good way. Kong: Skull Island showed potential. Beauty and the Beast is directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) and stars Miss Hermione Granger herself, Emma Watson. And at the end of the month is Power Rangers.

I so wanted to do a new post but didn’t want to jinx these movies. Logan got awesome reviews and kicked ass at the box office. This past weekend Kong also made a lot of money. I have no doubt that Beauty and the Beast will do great. But the movie I am excited for the most and also worried for is Power Rangers.

Remember how awful the Power Rangers show was? I do. I never thought in a million years that I would be excited for a movie about them. But then I saw the trailer. It looked fun, the cast are cute and charismatic, and Bill Hader and Bryan Cranston are with the good guys. But the best part? Elizabeth Banks as villainess, Rita Repulsa. She looks campy and scary, Effie Trinket’s evil alien twin sister. The more over the top she is, the better.

So I will be sitting here with my fingers and toes crossed, waiting for that move review embargo to be lifted and hope that Power Rangers gets the love I want it to receive.