Friday, April 26, 2013

I Broke Up With Zach Braff

I am suffering a terrible breakup.

Zach Braff and I went way back.  I can list episodes of Scrubs by name like a Seinfeld addict.  My favorite, 2004’s “My Screw Up”, was not only the finest 30-minute dramedy I’ve seen, but also led me to troll message boards searching the name of a musical artist featured in the episode.  Cue my discovery of the incredible (Braff BFF) Joshua Radin.

Then, there are the more obvious reasons for his awesomeness…  guest appearances in Arrested Development, the film and soundtrack for The Last Kiss, and of course, the same for Garden State- which he penned.

Despite the fact that on Tuesday night I stalked Twitter's trending topics hoping “Ready For Love” would make an another appearance, I am not bitter that the undoubtedly incredible but nearly decade old Garden State held a steady spot all night.  Credit isn’t always given where due, but when it is, #respect.  I'm not bitter.  Nooooot bitter, damn it.

Some trends on Twitter, like “replace a movie title with bong”, are more of an anomaly than others.  But when I looked into the cause of the film’s trend, I was disappointed.

Zach Braff began a Kickstarter campaign to fund his newest film, “Wish I Was Here”.  To date (and just a few days in) he has nearly 26,000 backers and 2 million dollars pledged.  Keep in mind a simple Google search lists Braff’s individual net worth at 22 million dollars.

Now I am assuming my readers are familiar with Kickstarter, a website dedicated to finding backers of and financial support for creative projects via the internet and social media.  It is the perfect place to turn a dream into a reality, much like my brother’s sister-in-law Christina Conrad did when she Kickstarted the awesome Booby Pack there.

And while there are no limitations on who starts a campaign, I am turned off by a millionaire using the site for a project he could find funding for a dozen other ways.

There are pros.  Kickstarter itself is getting a ton of attention because of Braff.  And my hope is that countless others who were completely unaware of the opportunity, or were aware but too afraid to try, will be inspired by his success.

The cons are way more difficult for me to identify, other than a strong gut feeling in my heart that some things should remain untouched by celebrity.  Unfortunately, in today's society, I don’t think anything ever will.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pray For... Us All

I consider myself Bostonian.  In high school I told my mother that if I wasn't accepted to Boston College, I planned to re-apply until I was.  It was the only place I wanted to be.  After (an on-time) graduation, I lived in and loved the city.  I made fun of Duck Boats.  I ate North End cannolis.  I brunched at Stephanie's on Newbury and saw concerts at The Gaa'den.  I celebrated St. Patrick's Day like I was Irish, and I completed the Boston Marathon.
That's me in the yellow tank, running to raise money for Brigham & Women's Hospital, in 2001
A few years later, I was married on the North Shore of Boston, in my husband's hometown.  Our reception was at the Fairmont Copley, feet away from the explosions.  So though there are palm and citrus trees in my Los Angeles yard, I have been infused with Patriot blood.
Copley Square, just feet from the finish line
I've kept from comment on the events of this week solely because I was left speechless by the photo of an 8 year old victim sharing a message of peace so soon before the exact opposite took his life.  But now is my time.

I don't believe it is out of selfishness that we take tragedy and personalize it.  I speak of my ties to Boston not to imply that I grieve more than you, but because in order to process any event, positive or negative, we need to make it our own.  Here is what helped me to do so.

Several months ago, I wrote about the Earthquake Survival Kit that I had to pack for my daughter to keep at preschool.  The canned tuna, flashlight, non-peanut peanut butter and family contact info was simple.  It was the "encouraging letter from home" that stumped me, and did until today.

The packed bag remains in my kitchen.  All the items are checked off, with the exception of the letter.  As much as I love to write, every time I sit down to compose what could potentially be the last words my daughter will hear from her mother and father, I cry.

Back then, I asked myself how I communicate the words to my child that I knew could be my last, but also how I could not... Now I know.

I will think of the parents of that 8 year old boy and pray that they never left important words unspoken.  Then, I will pick up my pen, and make sure I don't end up in the same boat.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Seriously, Do You Know This Child?

I couldn’t resist clicking on a recent Facebook photo of a young girl and a police officer with the caption “Is This Your Daughter” (even though I knew she wasn’t).  Along with it came the story of how a group of several adults noticed a girl playing on the playground, seemingly unattended, for quite some time.  They finally approached the child, who looked about 7 years old, and asked her who was there with her.  After she was unable to identify a guardian, they called the police.

Shortly after the officer arrived, so did the girl’s nanny.  A brief chat later, the nanny (child in hand) and officer went their separate ways.  But before they did, one mom snapped this photo and shared it on social media in an effort to find the girl’s parents.

Now, the officer may have asked for the family’s contact information and planned to notify them.  It is also completely possible that he didn’t, or that if he did, she gave misinformation.  

Fast forward to last night, when I took my daughters to a playground that has a bootcamp class taking part outside the gated play area.  At one point a plump, flushed and Lululemon-ed out mom came running to the gate shouting “Katie!  When I call for you, you answer”.  It took me a moment to realize that the girl (who also appeared to be about 7) was flying solo on the playground while her mom attempted to burn off a frappacino with whip.

Now, I don’t yet consider myself an overprotective parent, but I plan do to become one.  I am already terrified about all that my daughters will encounter in the world as they grow.  In fact, I think about it constantly.  And they are only 3 and 5.

I have shared stories here before about my taking road trips with non-English speaking strangers in a foreign country, mortifying drunken nights, and even drug-induced fear of honeydew melons in my hometown grocery store, but those were all years ago.  Things are even worse now.  I know this because I saw Spring Breakers.

My gut instinct is that I am not overreacting to either playground incident.  7 is definitely not the age to start letting go, but what is?

(to be continued…)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My Kids Made Me Rude (And If You Are A Good Parent, Yours Will Too)

My family teases me about my obsession with etiquette.  My grandmother bought me the largest Emily Post reference book available long before most kids my age could say thank you.  And my sister has actually gone so far as to suggest that I give gifts only to see if I will receive a thank you note (which is complete BS, BTW).
Behold, Emily Post...
While I can agree that I used to be a bit of a stickler when it came to manners, I no longer am.  In fact, I’ve become straight up rude… and I blame my children for it.

At work, I tackle a to-do list like it is my job- because it is.  But at home, no matter how long my list of to-dos, my kids are always at the top.  The result, as everything else falls to the wayside, I fear leaves me appearing aloof.

Invite me to your wedding and you are likely to receive my gift as your first anniversary approaches.  In fact, I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve gone way overboard on a few baby gifts because I couldn’t remember if I had ever even given a wedding gift.

Send one of my daughters a gift and you may have to wait a while for a non-electronic thank you.  And birthday goodies that aren’t for a kid?  Don’t hold your breath.  

But my intentions are sincere.  This I guarantee.

Wedding gifts take time because I rarely purchase registry items and try to find something with a more personal touch.  Thank you notes often include a photo of my kids wearing or using the item you gave them, which takes time, especially with clothing purchased a size ahead.  And birthday gifts almost always include even a little something handmade.

Still, there are a few things I give myself credit for.  I rarely make a cut from our Christmas card list.  Actually, I wouldn’t doubt if there are a few people that receive my card and wonder “who the hell are these people”.

I’ve also begun to take RSVP’s pretty seriously.  If I could propose an 8th wonder of the world, I would overlook whether Elvis Presley is dead or alive and go right to a preschool parent’s inability to RSVP to a classmate’s party.  After two years of being forced to debate whether to buy 1 pizza or 10, I’ve vowed not to put others into the same predicament.

In hindsight, I think my problem (if you can call it such) is that I love too much.  I want to do so many things and am unwilling to sacrifice anything.  I don’t want anyone to feel left out, not only because I don’t want to offend, but because they truly hold a place in my heart.

The challenge then becomes finding a way to spread myself thinly enough to reach everything I need to, but not so thinly that I fade away…

Monday, April 1, 2013

What's Great For Pets & Fetish Parties But Not Your Child?

A huge bonus to blogging is the opportunity it lends to develop relationships with other writers.  In doing so, I've found that few journalists want to take a strong stance on controversial issues (as is expected, I guess) so they count on us bloggers to provide the racier commentary.  Thank God.

So while this may not be about threesomes, sex toy parties or anything else Amanda Bynes is up to these days... 

... it does involve my thoughts on leashes- of the parenting kind, of course.  Here's a peek at what I had to say.

"There are absolutely times I have considered putting my kids on a leash but would never do it. The most natural human response to restraint is to push against it..."

To hear me out and read the complete piece, head to  Agree or not, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Face piercing included.