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Archive for November, 2011

French Fries and Nachos

posted by Sheva 11:53 AM
Monday, November 14, 2011


That’s how I felt after sharing a recent meal with my 2 older kids – popcorn, giant pretzels, French fries with ketchup and Nachos with disgusting and yet delicious microwave cheese.

Well, to be fair, “ugh” may have been how I felt after – and during – the meal, but I also felt kind of like, “yum!”

Because – duh – I was eating popcorn, pretzels, French fries and Nachos. With microwave dip. The only thing missing was a pizza. And candy… though earlier I had already baked – and eaten – two slices of a Halloween cake “for the kids.”

Gentle readers, I’m sure you are shouting at your screen right now, “SHEVA!! What the f*** happened to you?? You were my inspiration! You had gone completely off deserts and alcohol… and now this??

Or perhaps you were just innocently reading the blog until you got to that last profanity/asterisks-laced paragraph and have now decided I’m too vulgar for your refined taste?

Either way… you would be right.

I fell off the wagon, big time. AND I have a potty mouth. Sometimes.

And yet…

I felt hopeful the following day, in a ‘I hit rock bottom yesterday so there’s nowhere to go but up’ kind of a way. I even turned down Snickers in our office the next morning (it was the official Halloween holiday on Monday; the carbo-fest with my kids was just the warm-up), and I went to the gym later that night.

The verdict?

I’m human.


…And apparently, while I have a blessedly rapid metabolism (thanks, Mom!), I also have a blessedly sensitive system that immediately gonks me on the head (metaphorically speaking – it’s more like, bloats my stomach up to high heaven) that helps remind me to keep whatever goes into my mouth on the healthier side of life.

So… here starts my next 40 days… I am not swearing off desserts or alcohol completely, BUT – no more binges.



Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Goth Girl and The Boxer. I think it's time for Mommy to get a phone camera with a flash.

Goth Girl. Posing, and being all.... "goth." BTW, thanks, kids TV show Phineas and Ferb, for teaching my 5 year old about "Goth Girls."

I'm gonna knock you out! Mama says, knock you out!

Flashback Friday! (Boy Talk)

posted by Sheva 8:35 AM
Friday, November 11, 2011

Flashback Friday!

Every Friday, I will 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 memories, 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!

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

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – Boy Talk – the BLOG

What the hell, man?

I’m a mother. I’m nurturing, caring, sensitive, forgiving… soft. Which is the best way to treat a child, right?

My husband? He can be soft, nurturing, sweet…

Flashback: to my son’s first day of homework for the new year of 1st grade, with his new strict teacher.

So, I’m helping my son get his homework done, we do some good reading together, but when it’s time for him to write his spelling words, he balks. He dreams. He doodles. All in all, he spends almost 45 minutes at the table without even writing the first word.

And me? I’m getting worried, angry, frustrated, concerned. Is this all he’ll amount to? (I know, I know. I’m just being honest here, I’m not defending myself or anything.) Will his teacher judge him, give up on him? Does he lack focus? Motivation? A love for learning? Is he tired? Hungry? Worn out?

I decide, yes, one of these last choices for sure, so when he tells me decisively he’s not going to do his homework ‘right now,’ I cave. I give him his shower and some extra time in the water just to chill out & play. I start fixing dinner and think to myself he’ll have more energy, more focus after he eats dinner (never mind that I already fed him apples and Pirates Booty snack).

As I’m cooking – oh let’s be honest, re-heating – I hear my husband come into the dining room, dragging my son with him. Roughly, he forces our child to sit with him. Then, my husband does what in my opinion, he all too often does – he picks a fight with our son. He rough-houses with him, rough-handles him, makes him cry, scream, flail. Which only makes my husband double his effort to even get more control over &/or more of a rise out of him – which one, I’m not sure even he knows.

My husband even pulls me into it at one point – “you wanted him to do his homework, now, don’t disappear!” and I’m stunned because I hadn’t wanted it to go like this, not like this.

I stammer something and retreat to the kitchen. This happens twice. My shoulders are hunched to my ears as I prepare the food.

How could he do this?

Why didn’t he consult with me first?

Why does he always DO this with our son… push him like this?

And finally when my head is about to burst, I hear –


Because my son is suddenly focused on his homework. He is doing it methodically, and doing it well.

My son finishes quickly, and shows me his work. Glowing with pride. Afterward, he is still so happy, he hugs me and kisses me repeatedly.

What the–?

It calls to mind what a good friend of mine, Hugo Schwyzer, who is a professor in the field of Gender Studies, told me the other night. He is a very liberal, VERY liberal guy (at least in the social/personal side of life – don’t get him started about economics). So I was surprised to hear what he had to say about this subject… He told me that most boys, like my son, have been willful and undisciplined, wild and refusing to listen since the beginning of time.

So, he asked – what is the difference these days? How did those boys of yesteryear wind up quiet and obedient – in class, in Boy Scouts, in the army, etc.? Versus these days, when we hear endless stories of boys bouncing off the wall in classrooms?

His answer: the boys were physically disciplined. They were hit, smacked, shaken, screamed at. Teachers and parents, up until about 30 years ago, disciplined boys like this all over America, with stunning results.

The boys settled down and fell into line.

I am a pacifist. I don’t believe violence is ever the answer. [Side note: I actually took a semester in high school with Coleman McCarthy on pacifism, where he wouldn't give us any grade but A because he thought grades were a form of violence. Nice work for a student if you can get it.]

And yet…

When my husband roughed up my son, they traveled through a very uncomfortable space (for me) of high drama and a throw-down face-off… and then… they settled into an efficient, focused and productive work session.

Like I said – what the hell?



Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Sure, we all know Ghandi was cool and for peace and everything. But you have to wonder... did his kids ever finish their homework? Doubtful.

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Yom Kippur– LOOK OUT!!!!!

posted by Sheva 1:38 AM
Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Remember waaaaaay back in that blog I wrote about driving thru the empty streets of Los Angeles during rush hour on Halloween? Holidays are the best times to drive in LA, since usually they are the only times the city empties out a bit and/or people go home early or stay home from work to prepare for the evening’s festivities.


A glaring exception to this rule is the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which skips around on the calendar depending on when God wants it to be (either that, or according to the lunar calendar, I can’t remember which). But generally falls sometime between August and Thanksgiving.

The reason this holiday can be a true Los Angeles traffic nightmare can be summed up in two sentences:



The key phrase in that last part is the “left to their own devices” bit. By the time most Jews are done with Yom Kippur, they are so hungry, and so cranky, that they can’t see straight. Their blood sugar is low, their emotions high, and that is the exact moment when they…

…take to the streets.

See where I’m going with this?

I remember once, I went to Yom Kippur services at a fancy hotel in Beverly Hills at the Synagogue of the Performing Arts. (No, I’m not kidding. It is not an accident that our city’s nickname is “la la land.”) When it was over, I was stuck in my car, in the midst of thousands of other cars, trying to get out of the garage for thirty minutes.


Do you understand what that translates to in Yom Kippur Years?

Nine years.

In a word: come the hour when Yom Kippur is over, do not walk - RUN! – off the streets of LA entirely, into a secure building with strong walls (preferably one that is miles off the street, in the case of wildly veering SUVs).

If you are not Jewish, let me take this opportunity to educate you: A Jew does not like to be parted from his food. If you need to entertain some Jews, or impress some Jews, or simply not make an enemy out of some Jews, YOU WILL DO WELL TO FEED THEM.

And feed them well.

And get out of their way.


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Clear the streets and run for the hills, folks!!

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Holidays in la la Land

posted by Sheva 1:40 AM
Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Driving down the barren streets and empty alleyways the other day made me reflect on how different LA traffic is on a holiday. No, dear readers, it was not New Year’s, Thanksgiving, or Christmas I’m talking about.

It was Halloween.

Because in Los Angeles, there is no bigger holiday than Halloween. Except, arguably, the Oscars. Both constitute perfect La-La Land holidays – they aren’t religious, they center around dressing up and getting treats/prizes, and each has an unmistakable air of competition.

As in, (for Halloween), “who can dress the sexiest?” if you’re a girl, or “who can dress the spookiest?” if you’re a boy!

People don’t really live in ‘neighborhoods’ in LA like they do in the rest of the country, so trick-or-treating doesn’t occur on the same scale. Some kids get driven into wealthy, candy-laden blocks to score big; others just go to Halloween parties and get wasted. We (the royal ‘we’) are hoping the partying kids are over 18, but we also seriously doubt they are.

As for the Academy awards, the competition amongst the contestants is obvious enough, but what non-Los Angelinos might not understand is that it’s also a day of lay-person competition – in other words, who can guess the most winners right & win your office/Oscar party pool? Who can spot the most disappointed loser in the audience? And what do we all make of Jennifer Anniston’s reaction to Angelina Jolie’s big win? (That may not technically count as a competition but it still holds our rapt attention.)

And yet for both Halloween and the Oscars, there is NO competition on the roadways those days, because most Angelinos are home early getting dressed, putting on makeup, and otherwise getting ready for one of the best parties of the year.

Ahem – before you non-Angelinos roll your eyes at our ‘worshipping at the altar of Oscar & the Great Pumpkin?’ Remember, it’s usually a perfect 75 on Christmas Day here, too.

Nya nya.


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Post-apocalyptic freeways? Or is it just 4pm on a Los Angeles Halloween?

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Dress Up x Infinity

posted by Sheva 11:29 AM
Monday, November 7, 2011

So I figured the picture that accompanied my last blog merits a little more explanation.

[BTW - Pardon the title of this blog – lately, everything in my house goes to ‘infinity;’ how many snacks my kids want, how many more TV shows they’d like to see, how much longer they’d like to stay awake, etc., etc.]

I never have enough occasions to dress fabulously and/or be in the company of fabulously dressed people. So, lucky me; I was invited to attend a party celebrating the intertwining of my friend David Shamouelian’s design label, Romeo and Juliet Couture, with one of my all-time favorite TV shows, (aside from House, Grey’s Anatomy and The Good Wife… and Modern Family and The Daily Show…) Gossip Girl.

The party was so Hollywood-y. Dark lighting, edgy looking well-dressed people drinking, chatting, stealing glances around the room to identify who and who is not a celebrity, and no dancing despite the awesome DJ. The truth is, if I hadn’t been with my dear friend (and David’s wife) Suri, I may have stayed for one quick drink and then run out. One can only people-watch for so long in the dark, especially when the celebrities – the actress who plays the older ditzy sister on Modern Family and a handful of young models and rock stars who are worshipped by Tweens everywhere, made me feel more or less like the grandma that apparently I’m on my way to becoming.

But, back to the party! Because, as I mentioned, I did NOT have to cut out early, because I DID have a friend to hang with.

Suri and I posed for each other for about ONE HOUR on the red carpet, in front of the big PR billboard advertising the new launch. It was awesome.

I know, I know, shocking that TMZ didn’t run our photos the next day.


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

David Shamouelian, CEO of Romeo & Juliet Couture, his wife Suri and lil' ole me.

Eat your heart out, Serena Vanderwoodsen.

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Flashback Friday! (Television Trumps Memory Loss)

posted by Sheva 11:33 AM
Friday, November 4, 2011

Yikes… I was going to re-post my old blog, Memory Loss, today. But when I read thru it… sometimes old blogs are meant to be just that – old blogs (that live for eternity on cyberspace, hibernating, lying in wait for the perfect time when they’ll  jump out into the public again and freak your current self out).

So instead, here’s a shallow-er one for you to sink your teeth into-or, you know, to tap the tips of your teeth onto:

(BTW, if you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below.)

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – I Want my Primetime TV – the BLOG

Can we talk? About TV?

Wait – don’t go! What did you think of that last episode of Lost?

Still here? Whew.

Truth: I’ve never seen Lost. I’m really glad. Because when I get into a show, I get INTO a show. I go deep.

Me and House, for example? We’re lovers. (No need to tattle to my husband – we’re kind of in a threesome, anyway.) Bones? Silly show. Stupid! But I’m hooked. 24? Don’t even talk to me, I’m busy being angry that it’s only 1 hour once a week, and Jack hasn’t had a truly hot girlfriend since the girl who was in Lipstick Jungle went crazy. Fringe? Fucking creepy but AMAZING acting & characters & yes, I’m hooked. Lie to Me? I’m having an affair behind House’s back with Dr. Lightman…

[editors note: Update - 24 is long gone, and Fringe has long gone off the deep end, and now that Lie to Me has bitten the proverbial dust particles, GrownupGirl's obsession with Dr. Lightman has been  replaced with a much deeper and more worrisome obsession with ALL Grey's Anatomy's characters, men and women.]

[Hahaha just kidding. There's no "editor," just me, Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin). Hi! Okay, back to your flashback blog...]

…Not to mention all the reality shows I’m hooked on, like America’s Next Top Model (don’t hate me because I’m beautiful), Last Comic Standing (so sue me, I like to laugh), So You Think You Can Dance, and the annoying but impossible not to watch, American Idol.

[Update: Don't watch any of those shows anymore. Could it be that I'm growing, evolving? Or just that I have less free time? You, Simon Cowell, can be the judge. Or you, Adam & Christina and CeLo.]

A year ago before we cut costs here at the homestead, we also had Bravo, Showtime & HBO, so you could have just added Project Runway, Top Chef, Shameless, Entourage and Big Love to that list. (NO I am not into True Blood. Vampires are gross unless they are steamy 2010 versions of 1980 Rob Lowe heartthrobs… yes I’m talking about you, Mr. Pattinson.)

I guess it’s obvious why I’ve never had the time to do a blog before now.

OMG did I forget to say GOSSIP GIRL? Love. Don’t ask me how old I am, it’s none of your business. That show rocks. Usually.

I caught the pilot of Grey’s Anatomy and I already know that if I ever have another baby I’ll watch that whole series on DVD like I did 24, Weeds, and Project Runway to get caught up. What? I have 3 kids & I work full time. Without post-maternity bed rest, how else could I have found the time?

[Update: Um... I guess I hadn't yet heard of Hulu when I originally wrote this blog. Who needs a DVD when I can stream old episodes anywhere, including on the treadmill at the gym?!]

I remember the days of being single, and busy – writing a novel in the evenings, working in an office during the day, going out most nights…

OH – I forgot Modern Family. Run do not Walk to see that show. [Or - just sit on your couch and remember to program the Tivo. Okay, I'll shut up now.]

And I’d never abandon Law & Order SVU. Mariska, you are the Koolest. Plus my old Yale friend Jamie Waterstons’ dad is so likeable. Wait, which Law & Order was he on? [I lied. I do have one more thing to say. I actually don't watch Law & Order anymore, ever. Sorry, Jamie.]

[But I am addicted to The Daily Show, which sometimes stars another ex-Yalie, John Hodgeman.]

O, Sex in the City, how I yearn for you! The golden days of yesteryear.

I’d write more, but I need to sign off & finish this episode of The Good Wife.

It’s fantastic.


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

This party was awesome because my friend and I spent the entire time taking pictures of each other in front of the 'photographers' board' on the red carpet. Eat your heart out, Blair & Serena..

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Penises and Mustaches

posted by Sheva 10:44 AM
Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Okay, boys, as promised, I’m writing a blog just for you. About your favorite subjects: penises and mustaches.

Those are your favorite topics, right? Penises and Mustaches?

Hey, mustaches are cool… in theory. I can’t actually tell you if they are cool in reality, because no one I know under the age of 60 has a mustache (and everyone knows that no one older than 60 is eligible to be called “cool” – they can, however, be called ‘spiffy’ or ‘nifty’ or even ‘sexy,’ especially if you are Sean Connery or Clint Eastwood or Mick Jagger).

So, guys, why don’t you all start growing mustaches? Seriously. It’s like the iPhone or the iPad – we need some “early adapters” here. Once the first few hundred of you start to grow them, the rest will jump on the bandwagon, and we’ll have brought the look back from the dead (where Burt Reynolds left it back in the 80’s) for all to enjoy!

And to be clear, I’m not talking about beards or goatees. Been there, done that. I’m talking a mustache. Not an overgrown, fu-manchu, or “look how retro hippie cool I am with little beads threaded into my mustache locks” mustache. Boy, please. Just a mustache, a simple, plain, trimmed mustache.

Picture it – Leonardo Di Caprio… with a mustache. Or even better, Ryan Gosling. With a Mustache.


Okay, now that we’ve covered that topic, let’s move on to penises. Now, arguably, I’ve already covered this subject – when I wrote about how men in Spain took secret pictures of their penises on mine and my friend’s cameras, something we discovered only when we got back to the states & developed our pictures.

But there is more to penises than the fact that they are dazzlingly photogenic! (According to their owners.)  One not-so-well-known fact about penises is that in the olden days, penises were opposable -until God realized that men didn’t need them to draw sketches on cave walls, and via evolution, He took away that functionality over decades of generations.

Wait. I may be mixing penises up with pinky toes. And God with Natural Selection.

In any case, I hope this manly blog has inspired all of you manly readers to please grow a penis and to quit secretly photographing your mustache while the girls are out of the room.

You know what I mean.


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Tell me I'm wrong.

THAT Time of the Month

posted by Sheva 10:55 AM
Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I believe women should be granted equal rights, equal opportunities, equal pay, etc., etc. I’m all for women being allowed to fight side by side with the men in the military…


I really cannot see how a woman would be able to deal with being on the front lines or dropped from a helicopter into the jungle or whatever, and then, all of a sudden, her period comes gushing in. Ugh, can you imagine?

“Stop! Wait! Don’t fire! I need a tampon!”

What if she were all out? Periods come late, they come early, they’re always coming when they are least expected. (Especially if, like me, you never remember when the last one happened.)

I’m always all out of tampons when I get mine, and I hate it that the only kind of tampon that is ever available when I ask around in a time of need is inevitably an O.B. I mean, come on, people! Haven’t you ever heard of an applicator????

Oh – uh, sorry boys… I forgot to mention at the top that this blog is geared more toward the womenfolk.  Come back tomorrow, I’ll try to write about penises or mustaches or something. Bye!

Okay, ladies, let’s pick this back up:

You know what else I just realized recently? That my husband and I always get into a fight the day before my period comes on. But what is weird is that it’s ALWAYS his fault… so does that mean he’s on the same cycle I am?


Okay, I admit, it is possible that I am not as patient or forgiving in those hours leading up to the Big Bleed. So perhaps when he says something pointed, I take it a little more personally than I would normally, and I also contribute to the fight occurring.


I cried for about twenty minutes the other night – something to do with how I wasn’t invited to one party I wanted to attend, and meanwhile I accidentally arrived late to the party I was invited to attend.

Obviously, my tears had nothing to do with the fact that my period came a few hours later – and everything to do with the fact that I’m a sensitive soul.



Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Sure, she looks all bad-ass... but what she's really thinking is "Shit! I'm leaking and I forgot to put a pad in!"

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