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Flashback Friday! (Sacred Love)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:07 AM
Friday, January 31, 2014

Most Fridays, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

What is it about men singing through a distorted amp that makes me so woozy? I’ll be sitting in the car, minding my own business, when the Foster the People song Pumped up Kicks comes on and I’m hooked. I literally will sit in my car to hear the whole thing – inane lyrics and all (“All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run, faster than my bullet”), until the last note.

Same goes for Lil’ Wayne’s mumbled ballad How to Love. I’m obsessed with that song. And I’m equally interested in how odd it is to hear this compassionate love song (“You hada lots crooks tryna steal your heart, never really had luck, couldn’t never figure out how to love. How to love”) – granted, grammatically crazy and misspelled song – uttered from the gold-toothed mouth of the face & body-tatooed mess that is Lil’ Wayne.

Lil’ Wayne, however, doesn’t hold a candle to the original dreaded bad boy of distorted love songs. In 1986, singing on a telephone line calling in from prison, HR from Bad Brains recorded my all-time fave, Sacred Love. I played that song on that record over and over and over and over.

The lyrics – literally – are RIDICULOUS. A sample: “Baby, baby, baby, I don’t want you come to me as a whore. Don’t lust off my body baby. That’s a bore.” And, “Maybe, maybe, maybe, Jah will bless us to be one tomorrow. Visits from you every Tuesday. Right on time.”

I mean, for crying out loud, that last verse doesn’t even rhyme!

I didn’t care. I was a love-sick teenager.

And don’t even get me started on Somebody by Depeche Mode.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

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Dayenu! (The Mommy Version)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:07 AM
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Baby David is a good napper. Which means he can nap, in the morning especially, for up to 3 hours!

That is, when he isn’t awaked by tummy gas bubbles, the neighbor’s barking dog, siblings making too much noise, or – most commonly – his first big poopy of the day. (Sorry all you non-parents of small children – I should have warned you this blog is rates GI for “gross and icky” content.)

Anyway, unless I’m so exhausted that I fall asleep & nap alongside David, I usually try to cram as many chores into his naptime as is humanly possible, since while he’s awake he doesn’t let me do anything without him in my arms. (By ‘doesn’t let’ of course I mean he whimpers softly and then escalates into full-blown sobs if I dare take my attention away from him for more than a few seconds.)

So I’m grateful for the time I have while he sleeps! So grateful, in fact, that I’ve altered that wonderful Passover song of appreciation, Dayenu (“it would have been enough”), just for you folks, to show my thanks.

You are welcome.

Here goes:

If while David naps all I had time to do was strip the sheets and make the beds – DAYENU!
If after making all the beds all I had time to do was to spray Oxyclean on all the dirty laundry – DAYENU!
If after spraying Oxyclean all the time I had free was to put one load in the laundry – DAYENU!
If after putting in one load all the time I had free was to sort the rest of the laundry – DAYENU!
[there's a lot of laundry on Sundays.]
If after sorting laundry all I had time to do was clip all 3 bigger kids’ fingers & toenails – DAYENU!
If after clipping all the nails all I had time for was to wash the dishes and one last chore – DAYENU!
If after washing all the dishes there was still some time to take out the trash and scrub the grime – DAYENU!
If after taking out the trash-

Whoops! I’d finish this song but the baby just woke up. Gotta run!

Dayenu.

[PS - that song sounds a lot better with some Matzah and 4 full cups of red wine. Believe me.]

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

As they say in Hebrew school, "L'chaim!" - "Gesundheit!" Don't know where I'm going with this. Ummm... Where's that 4th cup of wine...?

 

 

 

Flashback Friday! (My Bully Still Hates Me)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:05 AM
Friday, January 24, 2014

Most Fridays, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

This Blog was written in response to an “Open Call” on opensalon.com which called for writers to contact their old bullies, you know, through Facebook or Twitter or Ye Olde Bully Hotlyne, and interview them.

This was my entry:

I reached out to Mary over Facebook recently. I messaged her in a charming, “I’m over it, let’s move on,” kind of a way.

Of course she accepted my friend request, because she’s a professional singer and she needs the fans. But did she deign to respond to my message? Did she apologize for the years she tortured me in elementary school? Did she even acknowledge the anguish she and her goons caused me, so many moons ago?

No. She did not.

It is possible I am still holding a grudge.

Can you blame me? Mary is the primary reason why I got the hell out of Lafayette Elementary School the first chance I got. Oh, there were other reasons too, like the constant head lice, the sub-standard education (my fourth grade teacher once spelled ‘house’ “howse” on our blackboard), the large classes, and – oh yeah, the anti-Semitism…

(My mother insists that my 4th grade crush, Chris Q, once called me a “Kike,” but I’ll never believe her. How could he have done so?? He was so tall and cute, and his eyes were so blue!!)

But I was smart, and I would have been able to thrive with head lice in a large class taught by a stupid teacher while nursing a Hitler Youth crush.

But the bullying – that got to me.

Mary was the worst. Mary was in 6th grade when I was in 4th. She had the best (and loudest) singing voice in the school, and would always get cast as the lead in every musical. She was popular, pretty, and for some reason, she didn’t like me. She used to run after me with her girlfriends in close second position.

When they caught me, they’d call me names, tease me, and pull up my skirt or down, depending on the waistline (elastic or buttoned/zipped – you other bullied kids know what I’m talking about). I think she used to slap me and give me wedgies too, but lucky for me, my memory is awesome at erasing experiences with extreme pain and suffering, so who really knows.

Mary teased me because I was too tall, too skinny, too geeky, or maybe just because I cared too much about being liked. When I would cry to the guidance counselor, Mary would rush over and interrupt us, then proceed to argue very convincingly that I had instigated the whole thing, that I had been teasing and taunting them, that I was to blame.

Ugh. It’s not just in the movies where the teachers so dumb they don’t know which kid to believe.

Lucky for my self-esteem, my parents decided (and were financially able) to take me out of the DC public school system forever (which at the time was lorded over by our crack-smoking mayor Marion Barry, who did little between his hooker visits in lockup to avert the several drive-by shootings on and around our campus), and bring me to a private school where I could start over and reinvent myself.

Lucky for Mary, she grew up to be a semi-famous singer who wrote an off-Broadway play about head lice, starring an Academy Award winning actor.

Head lice. Some people are SO stuck in the past.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Rapt fans at one of Mary's concerts. But would they be so ecstatic to know she used to torture little girls two years young than her? Sadly... yes, they probably would be.

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Once a Singer/Songwriter, always a….

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:10 AM
Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Writing my last blog to the tune of “The Sound of Silence” made me contemplate my trajectory as a singer/songwriter.

What, you’ve never heard of me?

Well, if you were in Los Angeles back in 2001 or 2002 (you know, back when I was still a teenager…ish…) it’s possible you could have heard me sing with my band. The Shana Susman Band. Original, I know.

I wrote from the heart & soul, often about personal issues or broken people. For example, here’s an excerpt from one of my songs:

I love a man who loves me till it hurts
It’s getting hard to bear
I love a man who’s got a hole in his heart
But I can’t fix it there
And I… just don’t think I can take this love
No I… don’t need this love
Oh, baby it’s a hard love 

These days, I don’t have a band, I don’t even have time to go out to karaoke. But once a singer/songwriter, always a singer/songwriter! True, I may no longer sing at the Knitting Factory, the Gig, the Rainbow Room or Highland Grounds (do any of those places still exist? I feel about eighty right now)…

But I still have a rapt audience. And I sing and write songs tailor-made for them – you know, material that’s more pertinent to me today.

A sample:
Don’t you pee-pee on Ima! Don’t you pee-pee on me.
Don’t you pee-pee on Ima! ‘Cause Ima likes to be pee-pee free!
(repeat x 10, occasionally substituting the word “pee-pee” with “spitty”)

In the spirit of “then & now,” let’s compare some of my old lyrics with some of my new ones, shall we?

Old:
Girl of eight, she had her head on straight
Till her daddy bout knocked it to the floor
Took a whole mess of pills, gave her classmates the chills
They say “don’t you come round here no more.”

New:
He’s my baby guy, who’s my baby guy, he’s my baby guy all day long!
(repeat x 10)

Old:
I will cradle you, I will hold you through the night
Lay your fears to rest, I swear I’ll hold you tight
As God is my witness, this time I’ll get it right,
And I will cradle you till the darkness turns to light.

New:
Who’s my little baby guy, baby guy, baby guy, who’s my little baby guy all day long?!
(repeat x 10)
[I know this one seems almost identical to the last one, but believe me the 2 melodies are nothing alike.]

Old:
Tell me your secrets, the darker, the better
And I will keep them – forever and ever
Come, put your trust in me
Cause I’m your best friend. 

New:
Na, na, na – he’s just a baby guy
Na, na, na – a little baby guy!
(repeat x 10)

It’s clear my songwriting prowess has lost nothing over the years! No, seriously, it’s all in the melodies, you have to believe me!

Hello!??

cx/o,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

PS To hear one of my new songs, you can catch me live any time during my 8 month old son’s waking hours… act now, tickets are free!

PPS I was going to post one of my old songs here but I haven’t figured out how to make them play on this blog WordPress platform yet (in process)… so… um… instead I give you a really cute picture of David, my new muse!

He's such a baby guy, right??

 

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Flashback Friday! (Hebrenglish)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:10 AM
Friday, January 17, 2014

Most Fridays, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

My husband can be so cute. The other night he urged me to start writing more blogs that reference inspiring people like Karen Berg, Yehuda Berg (2 Directors of the Kabbalah Centre), and Chapee Dopick.

Ummmm… “Deepak Chopra,” you mean?

I shouldn’t talk, though – I’ve taken to shortening my phrases, too, à la the Israelis who don’t bother with petty “to be” verbs.

So instead of the incredibly long-winded, “In five minutes I will take the kids,” I now get by on the delightfully brief, “Five minutes I take them.”

Yale, Shmale.

And the English language is not the only point of departure between the Israeli and the American. The tone of each language is also diametrically opposed.

Case in point: Once I walked into our living room and my husband was on the phone, shouting in Hebrew. He was really giving it to whoever was on the other line – I assumed it was a subcontractor who screwed him over. It got so ugly that I finally had to leave, not to allow the stress of his phone conversation to leak into me.

When he hung up the phone, I returned to the living room.

“Jeez, what was that? Who were you talking to? What happened?”

“What do you mean?” my hubby replied casually. “I was just talking with my mom about what she will send the kids in the next care package. She sends you her love, by the way.”

See what I mean?

Customer care becomes tricky when dealing with Israelis. “Tricky,” in the sense that it doesn’t exist. At least not in the way we expect it.

Israelis are practical, abrupt, and direct. We Americans like to be talked to gently, softly.

They are Spartacus. We are… Chapee Dopick.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Can't imagine him shouting at his mother, now can you?

Listen! It’s the Sound… of Spitty

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:07 AM
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hello Spitty, my old friend
You’ve come to splat on me again
Down my arm, Stealthily creeping
The only time I’m safe is when baby’s sleeping
And the vision that is planted in my brain
still remains
‘Tis the stain… of spitty.

I try to cover all my clothes
But your projectile spit takes care of those
I start to yell and shake and stamp
Trying to get rid of the cold and damp
When my chest is shot through with an ample squirt
Drips to my skirt
Yes I’ve been nailed…. by your spitty.

And I tell you, I’ve bowed and prayed
To make this spitty go away
But then the baby without warning
lets forth and a white stain is forming
and the truth is, the words that I say, I really can’t repeat them here
But let me be clear
I can’t take much more… of this spitty.

cx/o

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

The Spitty Selfie. It's a thing.

 

 

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Flashback Friday! (Getting Drunk at Yale)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:06 AM
Friday, January 10, 2014

Most Fridays, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

Thinking about that recent blog with the whole ‘crackle’ thing reminded me of about four or five thousand other funny things that happened while at Yale… while I was, you know… doing other things besides studying.

The best were the banana videos. My roommate Derek and I made a number of videos featuring a banana, including one where the banana was moving to the rhythm of the Ramones’ I wanna Be Sedated and then it winds up shooting me in the head. Someday, somehow, I hope to find those banana videos, and get them digitized just in time to bribe Derek who by that point will probably be just about poise to accept his first Academy Award for writing/directing.

Sweet.

But for every banana and crackle story I have for the 3.5 crazy years I was at Yale as an undergrad (not including the 6 months I lived in Spain), I also have stories from before I went to Yale. Like at one of my father’s reunions, where we gave my little two year old sister Daily beer in her bottle to “calm her.” (Social services, don’t worry – Daily turned out to be the most normal of all of us. Wait – maybe we’re on to something here!!??)

Or that time at the private Yale club Mory’s with my family and my uncle Steve and his kids (all Yale grads too), when my uncle was trying to explain to the Maitre D why it appeared that minors were drinking alcohol, and exactly at that moment I pulled up from a long brisk walk in the frozen air outside trying to sober up my three-sheets-to-the-wind ten year old brother (I was a very mature thirteen year old – but never could hold my liquor), and I dropped my glass exactly at that moment on the Maitre D’s shoes. After which my brother promptly threw up.

Good times.

I think it pretty much followed that with as much studying and writing and test-passing that I did while at Yale (I did graduate Magna Cum Laude, after all), I would have to balance it all with as much drinking, wildness and less-than-ladylike behavior. Like, when I had drank/smoked so much at one friend’s party that I actually fell asleep in the hallway standing up.

Oh, there were plenty more hilarious and hair-raising escapades I’d recount for you now, except I’d like to continue to a.) Stay out of Jail, and b.) Not give my kids way more ammunition than they already have against me.

Boola, boola!

c/xo

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

I think it means "liquor and very large quantities of beer."

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One of the Many Reasons

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:05 AM
Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Listen, it’s not the ONLY reason I love my husband.

There are so many things I love about him: his fierce love for his family, his deep certainty and commitment to spirituality, his strength, his love of tackling obstacles…

And, you know… underarm hair.

Ew! Not HIS!

Um… mine.

Okay, let me start over.

My husband thinks it would be completely alright by him if I didn’t shave my legs. Or underarms.

Mind you, I said “would be” because no matter what he may think about it, I happen to despise the look of monkey hair growing out of my legs or pits, so as long as I’ve got access to a good, spermy razor… This girl will stay clean-shaven.

I also love, by the way, that he doesn’t dwell on it, like some earthy Frenchman begging me to go “au naturel” because that would gross me out too, I mean come on, I grew up in the 80′s, hello!?!

But as a Grownup Girl of a certain age, and by ‘certain’ I mean I’ve gotten to that age where I’m no longer certain how old I am but I’m pretty sure I’m not 28 any more, I find enormous comfort in living with a man who would be perfectly happy with me as his beloved ape-wife if the desire ever struck me to go down that path.

Along these lines, I also take great comfort in my husband finding me attractive even without the magic of a pushup bra. I do have a fear of surgery so I’m not sure I’d get a boob job even if I was married to a man who REALLY wanted me to… but it’s possible that I would. I mean, not that my breasts don’t look EXACTLY LIKE A VICTORIA’S SECRET MODEL, OBVIOUSLY! But if, somehow, after nursing 4 kids, they didn’t…

I’m just glad I don’t feel pressure from Aharon to do something to my body I’m not into doing.

Unlike elective surgery, I’m very pro dying my hair. So when the other night as I was dying my hair (not that I have any gray, I just was changing the color, but let’s say for the sake of this blog it is POSSIBLE that I also was covering some pigmentally-challenged follicles) & he said “You should just let your hair go gray…”

I think I either laughed really hard or stood still in stunned silence.

Folks, I’m a California Grownup Girl living in a California world. My hair is not gray, my pits & legs are smooth, and my breasts are fantastic.

But if they weren’t…

It’s lovely to know I’m married to a man who wouldn’t give a damn.

cx/o,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

This is an ACTUAL picture of me when I don't dye my hair. (In my husband's imagination. Which is where it will stay.)

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Flashback Friday! (ME-cation)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:56 AM
Friday, December 6, 2013

Most Fridays, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

What exactly is a “ME-cation,” you probably didn’t ask yourself as you (hopefully) read my last blog, since you probably already sussed it out that it was the brilliant product of combining those two familiar and yet – for parents – often contradictory words, “me” and “vacation.”

Well, since you asked…

A ME-cation is a vacation you take in your own home, with your own kids (some of them, at least). The main two stipulations for a ME-cation are the following: 1. Husband must go out of town to a place where he will be having a great time (so you will not feel guilty on your ME-cation), and 2. You must have a trustworthy nanny and/or babysitter you can hire to work extra hours during the time he is gone.

That’s it! Simple, right? Here are some more great tips:

1. Take private Pilates lessons, twice a week. I recommend Stacey Zimberg, she is incredible.

2. Go to a movie with girlfriends (or, more precisely, with the one girlfriend who sticks by you after the other two bail because the movie is later than you originally thought it would be and they are already tired. It’s okay, I wasn’t mad. They weren’t on a ME-cation, I was!)

a. Make sure that movie is Crazy Stupid Love or at least a fun action adventure or a feel-good romantic comedy, ideally starring Ryan Gosling.

3. Dream about Ryan Gosling. No, seriously, I did have a dream about him. Like, in the morning, while I was still sleeping. Don’t worry, it was G Rated, I love my husband!

4. Talk to your husband (and, in my case, your son) lots of times throughout the day and night on the phone. Feel happy for him/them that they are having a blast, and feel happy for yourself that you are too.

5. Stay up until 1, 2, maybe 3:30am watching Grey’s Anatomy. BECAUSE IT’S CRACK.

6. Go out to drinks and a late dinner at a cool Abbot Kinney restaurant with three awesome girlfriends who you never spend enough time with.

7. Take your daughters on special trips to ice skating, ice cream, and kids’restaurants, for fun “girl time.”

a. Make sure to bring a “mommy friend” or meet friends there so you can have ‘grownup’ talks while the kids have fun! (I told you, this is your ME-cation, woman, who are you, the babysitter??)

8. Don’t cook. Allow your friend to make a full meal for your kids and you, and don’t feel an ounce of guilt as they eat two entire dinners worth of her food in one sitting and remark that it’s “The best food they’ve ever eaten.” Feel the warm glow that happens when your children are well-fed. Who cares who fed them! They ate, and they liked it!

9. Impose upon your excellent cooks/nice/have kids the same age as yours neighbors to host you for two Shabbat lunches in a row.

10. Take a nice long nap after lunch on Shabbat, and don’t worry about your five year old daughter who is playing by herself the whole time you nap. She’s fine.

11. Take the girls swimming in the neighbor’s pool.

12. Make sure your husband’s garden is watered and cared for properly every day (AKA have the nanny do it on all days you are ‘unavailable’).

a. Pick the cucumbers that are ripe and get prickly fuzz all over your arms and be happy about it “because it’s not always easy taking care of things while he’s gone.”

13. Go surfing!

That’s about it, folks! Now go book your spouse that flight…

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Long Live the Go-Go's!

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Awwwwwww, Yeahhhhhhhh

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:40 AM
Tuesday, November 26, 2013

**Cue pimped out super bass heavy music**

Picture it: A night out at the Four Seasons – with the girls!

I’ve finally lost {some of} the baby weight – at least enough so that I just look overweight but not actually still pregnant.  I put on black stretchy everything (you did read that last sentence, right?) along with my favorite leather jacket (no, I still can’t zip it closed but HELLO, THAT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, NOSEY!) and even my favorite high heeled boots.

That’s right, playahs: Mommy had the high heels on.

Awwwwwwww, yeahhhhhhhhh.

I put my favorite chunky ring and cool necklace on, grab my awesome red patent leather purse, and drive to the Four Seasons in my…

2005 Toyota Minivan.

Yes, that was the sound of an actual record scratching while you read that last bit.

So. Not. Hip.

In my mind, I’m totally hip.

In my mind, I’m like Here I am, looking good, all decked out, on my way to meet my friends, awwww yeahhhhh…

And then I arrive at the valet.

Like Dorothy’s house that fell with a THUD on the Wicked Witch of the East, my fantasies and dreams are instantly crushed.

All nearby pitying eyes avert as quickly as they glanced at me, eager to soak in the shiny apple red Ferrari that just drove up behind me so as not to leave such a dusty silly old Mom Car image stuck in their elevated Four Seasons cerebral cortex.

Awwwww….

xc/o,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

This is SO me. Just change her hair to brown & scraggly, add 50 lbs and 15 years, and change the car to an old beat up minivan. SEE!? Told ya it was me!

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