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Archive for July, 2011

GO TO SLEEP ALREADY!!!

posted by Sheva 12:43 AM
Friday, July 29, 2011

No wonder that guy’s book “Go the F*** to Sleep You Little Demons” was an instant overnight hit. Anyone who is a parent probably immediately thought when they heard the title, “Why didn’t I write that first?” Because… I mean, talk about collective consciousness. Those little suckers are HARD to put to sleep!

What in the world is up with that, anyway? Sleep should be the most natural thing in the world. Our bodies need it, our souls need it. We get tired, we fall asleep, right? As adults, okay, we have insomnia, stress, whatever. But these kids, these babies… they aren’t stressed. They are just hard-wired not to go to sleep.

Then there’s what I call (& probably half the world calls) the “Sandman” effect: how, in an instant, a wave of sleepy energy can pass through a room and everyone (including the parent or babysitter) is hit hard by this energetic sand and falls instantly to sleep. [SIDE NOTE: Best way to avoid that is to stand in the corner of the room and glare at your children – try it, I promise, it will keep you awake. It will also keep you very cross at your children’s antics, until they do drop off, but that’s just an occupational hazard.]

So to What’s Your Name, the guy who wrote “Put Those Motherf-***ing Kids to Bed Already” or whatever it’s called… Kudos to you. I feel like giving you ten dollars out of my pocket just for coming up with that idea, let alone having the balls & perseverance (and connections?) to publish & market it.

I can’t wait to see the movie version starring AdamSandlerJimCarreyIceCubeTheRock. It’s sure to be a smash hit.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

You said it, dude.

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Don’t be a Dick

posted by Sheva 10:48 AM
Thursday, July 28, 2011

TOP 10 THINGS MEN SHOULD ALWAYS DO (I don’t care if you are a “feminist” or you are gay – you have a penis, don’t you? So get your notepad and let’s get started, shall we?)

    1. Hold the door open for a woman, let her pass through first. Shhh! I told you, I don’t care!
    2. Walk her to her car at night.
    3. Watch to see that she gets inside safely if you are dropping her home.
    4. If you are eating together, serve her first. Pour her wine first too.
    5. If she arrives in line the same time you do, let her go before you.
    6. Complement a woman on something about her appearance and/or actions. In a sincere way, obviously.
    7. Don’t be a dick.
    8. Examples of dick behavior:

    a. Talking about another girl/how hot another girl is

    b. Stare at another girl’s boobs

    c. Stare at our boobs for too long (a quick glance is okay, after all, what are we, invisible?)

    d. Complaining and/or whining about how we didn’t do something. Just ask us again in a nice way. We’ll take care of it.

    e. Being mean. I know, I know, you can’t always help this, and we lady-folk can be sensitive. So if you already WERE mean, being a dick would be if you didn’t say sorry afterwards.

    f. Watching TV instead of helping with the kids

    Hey! Where are you going! Dude, come back, you left your notepad!

    Dick.

    Well, for the rest of you boys who stuck around: if you follow these simple steps, you will not only get an A++ from The Grownup Girl, you will also unwittingly be making sure your lady friends fall in/stay in love with you…

    Shut up, it is NOT shallow. Why?  Because it works. Try it, you’ll see…

    c/xo,

    Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

    My kind of hombre

Harry Potter Dies

posted by Sheva 12:05 AM
Wednesday, July 27, 2011

SPOILER ALERT: IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY SEEN THE FILM OR READ THE LAST HARRY POTTER BOOK, AND YOU ARE PLANNING TO SEE THE MOVIE, READING THIS BLOG MAY SPOIL THE ENDING FOR YOU! ON THE OTHER HAND, IF YOU ARE LIKE ME, AND YOU READ THE BOOK AND WERE SURE THAT HARRY POTTER DIED, PLAIN & SIMPLE & CLEAR AS DAY, READ ON, BECAUSE YOU WERE WRONG.

Whoops. Did I spill too much in that spoiler alert? Sorry…

I was out with some friends the other night when the subject turned to Harry Potter. My friend works at the studio that produced the movie, so she had seen it a bunch of times. I announced cockily that I would never see that horrible movie because “Who wants to see Harry Potter die? It’s depressing!” (If you’ve been faithfully reading my blogs, you know I never waste my time watching a movie that doesn’t have a happy ending.)

My friends looked at me strangely. “But – you know he doesn’t really die,” the one who works at the studio offered gently.

I stared at her blankly.

“BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin). You really think that J.K Rowling would finish the whole series off with Harry Potter just dying and never coming back? Ten million kids would break down her door and murder her!”

“But I read the book. Harry Potter dies. So did Dumbledore.”

“Well, yeah, it seems like he dies. But then you read about him in the epilogue, how Harry is grown up with kids, and you realize he survived. You remember? The epilogue.”

Epilogue?

Turns out, I realized when I got home and flipped through the book, I hadn’t really read the epilogue carefully. Or at all. Or – I think I was just so confused and mad at the book for killing off Dumbledore and Harry Potter, that I just didn’t even want to deal with understanding how an adult Harry was doing 10 years later. I tuned it out.

I’m a really fast reader. I can read a 500 page novel in a couple of days, tops. (Before I had kids I could do it in one or two days, but those rascally creatures really demand a lot of our downtime, don’t they?!) It served me well throughout life, reading this fast – especially at Yale, where most teachers assigned something like 10,000 books per week on top of papers and exams.

My problem is with absorption.  I don’t remember anything! (For those of you who also don’t remember anything they’ve read past a minute ago, here is the blog where I wrote about my terrible memory.) If I race through a book I’m usually okay because I can recall a character or event from earlier in the book when it’s referred to later on. But if I’ve had to put the book down at some point, then pick it up days or weeks later? Forget it. I can still enjoy the read, but I won’t be able to put all the pieces together into a coherent picture.

As I mentioned in my Memory Loss blog, this is especially frustrating when it comes to politics or social issues – I read convincing arguments that completely back up my point of view, but when it comes time to defend my point of view, I usually can’t recall the details – only my general feeling that I know I’m right!

Saw the movie, enjoyed it. He doesn’t die. What else happened? Ummmmmm……

C/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Now if THIS had been in the movie I would have remembered!! Wait - where's his scar?

OK, THAT LAST POST WAS LAME

posted by Sheva 12:49 AM
Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Posting pictures of myself – wow, so unique for a blogging leo! And the pictures weren’t even new ones – many had already been used on my blog and/or Facebook before. I’m lazy like that. I LIKE pictures of me (duh, I’m a leo, were you listening??) but I really can’t be bothered to have someone take pictures of me all the time like some bloggers I follow (this one is the raddest: http://www.manrepeller.com/) or to take videos of myself (like this awesome guy www.GaryVaynerchuk.com – read his book, check out his video blogs, and more importantly, search for the video where he pairs wine with his favorite breakfast cereals like Captain Crunch, it’s sublime).

I love to be funny and witty, but I’m not THAT funny or witty. For THAT kind of funny and witty, go check out the Queen of all edgy mom-bloggers, www.thebloggess.com. And I like to be thoughtful and make observations about life, but I just get TIRED of all the intellectual blah blah blah in the world. Strike that: I don’t tire of it because I read it daily, ravenously, Huff-Post style. But I feel too tired to post my own versions of that type of discourse. If you want to see how thoughtful and reasonable a boy feminist can be, don’t miss www.HugoSchwyzer.com, obviously.

I would like to be edgier, and more wittily condescending while equally self-depreciating, like Andy Rapoport’s Facebook posts. But there can be only one Andy Fucking Rapoport. Besides, I don’t really feel comfortable cursing that much. I mean for f***’s sake, I’m a mom of three little kids! Plus, how edgy can I really, authentically be – I keep Shabbat every weekend which is WAY JEWISH of me, I can barely drink two alcoholic drinks before I’m ready to puke, and I wake up before the crack of dawn throughout the week to work out.

So that just leaves… me. The Grownup Girl. (For a laugh, forget to type in the “the” when you type my URL. Whoops, sorry, you are right, porn isn’t funny. Hey, hello?? Type back in that THE for God’s sake! Switch back to THIS page!

Aw, man. Lost another reader to something sexier.

Sigh…

c/xo

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

She's much funnier than me, I promise.

Happy Birthday To Me! (Says the leo to herself)

posted by Sheva 9:09 PM
Friday, July 22, 2011

THE BEST I COULD DO IN 10 MINUTES AND ZERO KNOWLEDGE OF HTML:

AN ODE TO ME

I may be 39 but my bicep just turned 4. Isn't she cute!!

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) as 6 yr old ballerina with Donald

My one and only modeling "Job" (I got paid $0 for but it was in a catalogue and I didn't have to sleep with anyone to get the job.)

Ahh those heady days of Limelight and MK. I mean, someone's birthday last year.

Mi loca familia

Those are not my grandpas, you perv

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – Click Here to Listen to a song I once Wrote – Yay Me!

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The Love of my Life

posted by Sheva 11:35 PM
Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chocolate chocolate bo-bocolate, bananafana fo-focolate, fee fi fo mocolate –

CHOCOLATE.

Um…. guys? I think I may have a – uh – “problem”. Is it a problem to fantasize about chocolate chip cookies or chocolate cake during a class? During a conversation? While writing on the computer? While watching TV? While putting kids to bed?

It’s not like I’m fantasizing about crack cocaine or even cigarettes or scotch or anything. I mean, many studies say chocolate is really GOOD for you, you know? Those studies generally do not specifically cite chocolate chip cookies or chocolate cake as being “good for you” but what do they do anyway, those assholes? Chocolate makes me happy!

Wait – I see the problem. I’m looking to an external substance to help me feel love. Loved. Comforted. Happy.

I’m supposed to find that within myself, right? Or… outside myself? Like, you know, in a higher power? I mean, who is more important: God or chocolate. GOD, RIGHT?

I think it’s a problem that I need to yell at myself to remind myself God is more important than chocolate. I need to be reminded to think about God like a kid needs to be reminded to think about brushing his teeth.

Chocolate, on the other hand…

I also don’t like being a cliché. I mean, me: girl. Chocolate: my obsession. How very Seventeen Magazine. On the other hand, if being a cliché means I eat a lot of chocolate cake & cookies, how bad can it really be?

You see the problem I’m having?

Did I ever tell you about the time I was starring in this play called Equus and I had to be naked onstage, so I went on this really strict workout & diet regimen that didn’t allow me to have ANY sugar, not even fruit, for like two months? No motivator for a diet in the world like knowing you are going to be onstage for six weeks in front of friends, family and strangers completely naked, let me tell you. So I actually stuck with it. My body changed and looked amazing. And meanwhile, my mind… went a little bananas.

Not so much during the day. During the day, I would obsess and pine for my chocolate, desserts, and sweets that I missed. But the weirdest thing was at night. Going to bed without chocolate sucked. I drank decaf coffee with Equal and half and half to give me some approximation of the creamy sweetness I craved. But actually being asleep? That was what exposed my relationship with chocolate for what it truly was.

An addiction.

Because, much like I have heard my ex-cigarette smoking friends describe to me, I began to have dreams, night after night, about chocolate. Dreams that I was cheating on my diet and eating cake. Dreams that I was cheating, then I “woke up” and realized it was only a dream, then realized I was still sleeping and maybe it wasn’t really a dream and I had eaten the cake and now I was busted, and so on and so forth. It was exhausting.

I finished the run of the play and immediately allowed myself to eat cake and cookies and whatever I wanted again. And that part of my stomach that I never liked – the part that sticks out – yeah, duh, it came back too.

After three kids, it would be REALLY NICE to stop craving chocolate and regain my slim tummy again.

Suggestions, anyone?

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

This is the chocolate I'm eating as I write this blog. I have a problem. A really yummy problem.

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Don’t Look!

posted by Sheva 1:37 AM
Tuesday, July 19, 2011

When I was pregnant, I felt uncomfortable when people would stare at my belly and I really hated it when people (strangers and those I knew) would reach over and sort of grab or claw at me, in an effort to connect with the hidden baby. Think about how you would feel (talking to everyone reading this who is not currently preggers) if someone just lunged towards you and started rubbing your stomach. Yeah, it sucks just as much when there is a baby inside – more, actually, because I felt so protective of that new & fragile being hiding inside.

Many Israeli friends of mine believe that a mere look at a pregnant belly can endanger the health and wellbeing of the child within – and while I don’t buy that, I can attest to the fact that I do feel a heightened sense of paranoia about getting stared at when I am pregnant.

BUT ON THE OTHER HAND…

What is wrong with me?

Because when I’m NOT pregnant, and a pregnant person passes me by…

All I want to do is STARE.

And touch!

Hmmm…

It got me thinking…

My friend Hugo Schwyzer wrote a blog the other day about the interracial nature of his various intimate relationships over the years, and how people in black neighborhoods stare at him when he walks with his (part-Nigerian) wife. It prompted me to think about my own family (including my sister who is white and Jewish and married to a very dark skinned black Cuban man, and their kids), and my own history of interracial dating (aside from a couple hookups in college my first adult/serious boyfriend was black).

I also used to hate when people stared at me and Milli Vanilli back in the day when we were dating. It would bug me to no end that people I didn’t know would gawk at us as we walked by holding hands. (I’m not excusing the fact that I dated Rob Pilatus’ doppelganger. Wait a minute… is THAT why they were staring? Hmmmm…)

And yet… despite my loathing starring in the ‘interracial spotlight’…

When I see an interracial couple, especially between black and white or black and Asian – I don’t know why – but all I want to do is STARE! Same goes for a black child with white parents, and – as I found on a plane trip recently – same goes for a white child with black grandparents. I just wanted to look at them. I even wanted to ask the family how did it wind up happening, that this black couple had a white grandchild?

The conversational equivalent of someone lunging at a pregnant belly, wouldn’t you say?

I’m about as PC as you can get while still being able to hold conversations and have friends who hail ‘from the other side of the isle’. I don’t believe in making anyone feel out of place, marginalized, or ‘bad’ – and therefore even if I wanted to look at a couple of different colored people, or to touch a belly, I do my best to restrict these impulses.

Still… I’m asking myself, why do I want to look so badly at interracial couples and pregnant bellies in the first place – 2 scenarios that I personally know are not ‘proper’?

I think maybe it is because both contain an out-of-the ordinary visual treat – one hides a new life, a new soul, and the miracle of creation, and the other displays a union of two different cultures – the miracle of love and humanity as it exists in all of us, beneath the external differences.

Or am I just a nosey Posey?

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

I mean, come on! It’s too tempting! I have to look!!!!)

Bad Mood

posted by Sheva 2:51 AM
Monday, July 18, 2011

Lately, I’ve had the opportunity to explore an area of life that I’m sure we all experience from time to time: Going about your life while someone you love/someone you live with/someone you work with is in a Bad Mood.

You know how everything just seems a little grayer? I know I’m sensitive, but I can’t be the only one that this gets to. So, in a proactive effort to SHARE WITH OTHERS during this frustrating time, instead of wallowing in self-pity, flaming out in fury, withdrawing into total denial, or some explosive cocktail of all three, I’ve decided to make a list for all of you to peruse and use as you wish:

WHEN SOMEONE YOU ARE CLOSE TO AND/OR YOU SEE EVERYDAY IS IN A HORRIBLE MOOD AND WON’T SNAP OUT OF IT…. HERE ARE YOUR OPTIONS:

1. Fight with them. (This makes their mood worse, the kids upset, and doesn’t solve anything, but still, it’s really satisfying in the moment.)

2. Ignore them. (This is tricky: it really only works if you ignore them and successfully continue about your day feeling carefree and happy. If you “ignore them” but then go about your day distracted, upset, and obsessing over the fact that that person is in a bad mood and why don’t they just get over it, then you really aren’t ‘ignoring them’, are you?)

3. Try to talk to them. (Ouch! Just kidding – good God, don’t do that – they don’t feel like talking, can’ you tell?! Leave them alone!)

4. Ask a friend to reach out to them. (This may work but the question you need to ask yourself is, do you really want to get a 3rd party involved here?)

5. Journal about it. (This is a very good idea, in that it helps you connect with your thoughts and your soul, it helps to vent your emotions, and it helps to understand just what you are feeling.

a. Just beware of these potential pitfalls: 1.) Your laziness, since journaling is really annoying to have to sit down and do, after all, it’s not YOUR bad mood, you know? – and 2.) It’s not always convenient to journal, especially if you are busy at work, with kids, or driving. Then again, that’s what traffic lights are for, aren’t they?)

6. Pray about it. This one’s loaded, I know, especially for those of you who: A.) don’t believe in God, and/or B.) believe that IF there is a God, S/He is for sure too “busy with wars and starving children” or too “hands off” to really give a shit about your issues with someone else’s bad mood. But to you who feel this way, I counter: I know you are, but what am I?

a. Wait – no – that’s what I meant to say to this person who is driving me nuts with his pissy mood. To you, dear reader, I wanted to say: Just try it. Meditate. Scan a holy text (the Zohar is the best I know of). Go to spiritual services or talk out loud to a higher power. Sure, nothing good may come of it except a mild self-consciousness. OR, it could work, your prayers could be answered, and then you could finally just move on with your life already.

Because Bad Moods really just f*** up a person’s day, you know?

c/xo

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

PS This blog is dedicated to the love of my life who was in a terrible mood all last week but who is also the reason this blog got published tonight – I told him I didn’t have time to record ‘my new blog’ (didn’t tell him the subject) and he told me to get out of bed & just upload it anyway, without the recording – not to use that as an excuse & to lose momentum… good advice from a good man…)



Cute no matter what mood

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Shangri La, Part 2

posted by Sheva 10:44 AM
Tuesday, July 12, 2011

If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below.

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – Shangri La Part 2 – the BLOG

GDS, or Georgetown Day School, as we students proudly pronounced (despite the fact that the high school campus was never actually in Georgetown and the newer campus is a good 20 minutes away), was heaven for a girl like me. Fifty percent Jewish, sixty percent (I’m guessing here) smart kids, and 100% cool street cred, thanks to (among other things), the following:

  1. 1. Our smoking lounge (never mind that it got abolished once we moved campuses my sophomore year)
  2. 2. We called our teachers by their first names
  3. 3. GDS was the first school in Washington, DC, to desegregate
  4. 4. Back in the 70’s, students didn’t used to have to wear shoes
  5. 5. At GDS, kids can dress however they want and still have a voice
  6. 6. Really amazing alumni came from our school, including the people I most admire, like writers, actors and musicians.
  7. 7. One of my English teachers performed on weekends with his Reggae band, Black Sheep.
  8. 8. Half the student body had its own band.
  9. 9. Armand’s Chicago Deep Dish pizza was served hot during lunchtime, every day.
  10. 10. Our mascot was the grasshopper. ‘Nuff said?

Once in a while, the school would hold “town meetings” where any kid could have a voice. I remember speaking once in a town meeting about how disturbing it was to me that I was always getting whistled at and harassed on the streets by boys and men. Can you imagine if I had stood up at Lafayette and tried to have a conversation about that? I would have gotten my ass kicked.

Still… Shangri La is really just a myth, and so is “The Perfect School”. No school is perfect, and no child’s experience of school is perfect. When I first arrived at GDS in 5th grade, and gravitated towards another girl who was friendly to me and wanted to hang out, I was warned by one of ‘the cool girls’ to stay far far away from that girl, as she was a NERD and nobody liked her. Being the follower wanker that I was at that point (or to be more kind to myself, being the kid who was burned-by-being-overly-teased from my last school), I listened to the cool girl.

I became part of her clique, and for a little over a year, we were inseparable. There were four of us altogether, and we used to roam around, arms locked, terrorizing the ‘nerds’ who wanted to be our friends, alternately praising and putting down each other, and generally behaving like little junior high school terrors.

Then it happened: one day in the 6th grade I arrived to school and none of the other three girls in my clique would talk to me. They would barely look at me. I had to plead with one of them, who finally caved enough to admit that they had all had a sleepover that weekend (without me??!!) and had collectively decided to drop me as their friend. Boom. That was it: they were done with me.

I was devastated, of course. Getting teased and having my skirt pulled up was one thing; getting dumped by my best (and only) friends was quite another. It took me months of pulling myself together, joining forces with another outcast, and retaliating the best way I knew how (I do remember getting at least one good trip and/or a shove in there somewhere), before I was able to stumble back upon the road to self-confidence…

Cruel pre-teen girls…not even Shangri La could shake them.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

They've added onto the building since I went there. The kids are probably nicer too.

Shangri La, Part 1

posted by Sheva 11:51 PM
Sunday, July 10, 2011

If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below.

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – Shangri La Part 1 – the BLOG

My last blog about lice, bullies and Lafayette Elementary reminded me of something else: lice, bullies and Lafayette. AKA, why I got the hell out of Lafayette first chance I got. Oh there were other reasons too, like the sub-standard education (my mother likes to remind me about my fourth grade teacher whose spelling was only one or two notches above her students’), 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 in a large class with a stupid teacher. And let’s be honest, lice are in every school. And, I didn’t really get the whole Jewish thing either, my parents having divorced and re-married non-Jews anyway, so I didn’t mind not calling attention to the fact that me and the snot-eating Benjamin Rosen-something-or-other were the only two Jews in my class (& maybe the whole school).

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 pull it down, depending on the waistline (elastic or buttoned/zipped – you other bullied kids know what I’m talking about). I think she gave me wedgies too, but lucky for me, my memory tends to erase the worst of my sufferings from any place of easy recall, so who really knows.)

I was teased because I was too tall, I was too skinny, I was too geeky, or maybe just because I cared too much about being liked. When I would cry to the student counselor, Mary would rush over and interrupt and 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 the movies where the teachers are 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 itself was lorded over at that time by our crack-smoking mayor Marion Barry not to mention the target of several drive-by shootings) and bring me to a new school, GDS… AKA…

Shangri La.

c/xo

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Brings back such fond memories of torture and hell

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