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Archive for February, 2012

Skate Rat

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:44 AM
Monday, February 13, 2012

When I was a teenager I was pretty boy crazy. Rock stars and actors held court in my dreams (Bowie, Jagger, Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe and Prince all fought for my ‘pre sleep’ attention – BTW, it’s amazing how tall “imaginary Prince” is) but in my waking life, it was skateboarders who captivated me. (Okay, rockers, too – I was a dedicated fan at all the DC Hardcore shows and held several stage-struck crushes on the boys and even some of the girls who dazzled us with their musical prowess. But that’s the subject of another blog.)

I used to wander over to my friend S.’s backyard after school, and I’d sit and watch them for hours – S. and his skater boy friends (“skate rats” as they affectionately called each other), skating up and down the half pipe, only sometimes flipping off the side and bruising a knee or breaking a bone. It was as if a pre-requisite to skating was to be drop dead cute. (Except for the one awful-looking red-headed dreadlocked guy Whatshisname, but there is always one dud in a crowd of hotties, right?)

The son of the diplomat from Argentina was a “sponsored” freestyle skater, which meant he was paid by brands to wear their name while he skated around, doing unbelievable tricks and looking hot. Oh yeah, he was also my boyfriend for a bit. I had fun with him, but the boys I really pined for were the daredevils – the ones who did crazy tricks with names like “Ollie” and “Kickflip” and “Holy Shit Look At Me I Just Flipped Three Times With A Double Twist And Landed Perfectly On My Board, You KNOW You Want Me” move.

I may have made up that last one. Or not.

In any event, I wasn’t the only love-struck skater groupie… my best friend fell in love with and dated for years a skater boy named Hound Dog. Yeah, I’m sure he had a real name, but who cares, Hound Dog was way more fun to say than whatever name his parents gave him. My other best friend had her share of skater amours, including one cutie who lived in Pennsylvania and was kind of like the ‘Prince’ of skateboarding – gorgeous, sexy and talented and… uh… not exactly the tallest tree in the forest.

And me? I had many more unrequited crushes than requited. Probably I was too not-punk-rock-enough for the skater boarder boys’ taste, or too into studying, or too tall, or too whatever. My husband spent most of his twenties rocking the roller blades but the blades just don’t hold the same voodoo that a skateboards do over my heart.

So I’ve decided I just need to learn to skateboard myself! Why not – I’ve mastered flying on the trapeze, I’ve attempted surfing (and will continue once it’s not arctic water conditions around here), and I even went out and bought knee and elbow pads from Target… until I realized they were way too small for me. They don’t carry a larger size.

I’m not discouraged.

c/xo,

Sheva

This is Hound Dog at a Skate Park in DC. See what I mean?

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Flashback Friday! (Facebook Junky – a dramatic narration)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 12:14 PM
Friday, February 10, 2012

Every Friday, 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!

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

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – Facebook Junky – the BLOG

LIGHTS UP

ON SHEVI (my new name, Christened by a well-intentioned friend who thinks BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) is way too complicated, never mind, when pronounced, my “new name” sounds like my parent’s old station wagon…)

SHEVI IS PALE-FACED AND POUNDING AWAY AT HER KEYBOARD.

It’s a little like cocaine.

You start. It feels a little dirty, a little exciting, a little like something everyone else except you has tried.

You go a little, then you stop, thinking ‘this isn’t for you, how do people get into this, the only people who like this must have no life, if anyone has time to really get into this for hours, they must REALLY have no life or else a pathetic one…’

Then-

It happens. You get hooked. (Or, you get outraged that your husband just started a week ago & already has more Friends than you do.) You start Friending everyone and their mother (literally) and you can’t stop and now it’s past 2 in the morning & your kids get up at 6am or whatever but you don’t care because now you’re looking at someone’s photos and you see MORE people you haven’t seen or thought about in decades and now you are Friending them too even though you never said one red word to them back in the day when you had a crush on them in high school and you realize you are Friending more guys than girls but you can’t help it and now HOLY FUCK is that a picture of that disgusting guitar-playing asshole who gave you a nasty disease when you were in college – TURN BACK! – but you can’t, and you realize how disgusting you are and how in the hell did this all get started and why can’t you stop and Jesus what will all these people think of you tomorrow when they see your ‘invitation’ for them to Friend you and how embarrassing that your best friend from high school has Friends you guys used to hang out with together, but she won’t accept your invitation what the FUCK did you ever do to her anyway, that bitch, and now you should be asleep but you’re wide awake and you’re going to get more Friends than these other people if you have to stay here all night and-

How in the world does my best friend from French Woods Camp when I was 14 years old, know my friend from Yale? And how weird is that that I knew that friend from Yale back when I was 10 years old, at a different camp, Camp Seafarer?

And how did that hot guy I used to crush on get so fat?

And do these people accepting my Friend requests even know who I am?

And who are these creepy random people asking me to be their Friends?

And – whoa – Tudor is DEAD? When did he die? I haven’t seen him since the last time I got drunk at Renees Bar in Santa Monica, back in the nineties… God, that’s right, that whole crew of us used to go there every Thursday night, let me see if they’re on Facebook too…

BLACKOUT

Good God this photo of Renee's Courtyard Cafe brings back memories (of blackouts, among other things). Used to go there every Thursday night...

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Snow Daze

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 12:48 PM
Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Had a moment of nostalgia the other day as I read a friend’s posting on Facebook – her child would be staying home for a snow day! Something my kids likely will never comprehend.

I remember vividly staying up “late” (9pm) with my mom, listening to the radio which often had more ‘up to date’ info on school closings than the local news program. I can still taste the anticipation, the worry, and the fear that coursed through my body as I listened, rapt, and terrified that ours would be the only school in the district staying open (private schools were sometimes annoying in that way; public schools weren’t so finicky).

And then… the pure elation, joy, yes – ecstasy! –  as I heard those sweet words confirm what we all had suspected – the white blanket growing outside our front door would be our playground tomorrow. School would be closed.

Funny… I don’t have any recollection of my mother feeling anything other than what I was feeling at the time, pure joy and relief. But now I wonder… because as a working mother, I can tell you it is SUCH A PAIN IN THE ASS when the kids are given yet another day off.

How do I help them pass the time? Who can come at short notice to watch them?, and Will it permanently damage their little brains if they wind up watching eight hours straight of television? are just a few of the many questions that rack my mind and jangle my nerves as I scurry to gather whatever scraps of nutrition that are laying around the house for them before jetting off to the office.

Do pretzels and Pirates Booty count as lunch? Day old chicken nuggets? Score!

By my emotional calculation, my kids miss about 20 more days of school than most American kids do, thanks to all the fun Kabbalah/Jewish holidays their school shuts down for – (ie., two days off for Shavuot, one whole week off for Sukkot – two holidays this assimilated Jew never even HEARD of as a child). I guess I should be grateful that my kids don’t go to Kabbalah school in upstate New York; between the Jewish holidays and the snow days, they’d probably only have about three full weeks of school. At least we’re here in sunny Southern CA, where the weather never gets freaky enough to cause an actual school shut down day.

(Pausing for a moment to knock on a lot of wood.  Global warming is scary, folks!)

The other day my 7 year old begged me to take him up to Big Bear for a day of sledding (it’s a tiny ski resort about an hour or so away), and it made me a little sad for him. Thanks to his cold-averse and discomfort-averse mother, he will most likely have to wait until he is a teenager with a drivers license to experience the simple joy of sledding.

I thought it was so cute that he would want to go on a family trip to go sledding. When I was growing up, sledding was something we did on our driveway, or even better, over on my elementary school’s nice steep hills which led directly to the sports field. Didn’t have to drive an hour and a half to sled – just had to grab the sled from the garage, put on the snow boots and suit, and trudge through the white snow (decorated with pink dog pee and poop, let’s not forget!), and the hills were ours.

Happy daze…

c/xo,

Sheva

No, that's not my one of my kids - did you even READ this blog??

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Curses, Foiled Again!

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:57 AM
Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cursing… I’ve written about it before, and my feelings are pretty much the same – in a nutshell, I think language is better served without lots of cursing. I even thought the recent Modern Family episode that got a lot of attention for little Lilly’s ‘hilarious’ cursing was silly, and – while I wasn’t offended by it – I thought it was kind of a lame storyline for such a brilliant show.

Once in a while, I do believe that a juicy curse word can really spice up a sentence.  Not for kids – I firmly believe that anyone under 18 should keep their mouth squeaky clean. (Yeah, I know, pulled that one right from the file of Do What I Say and Not What I Did. But anyway…) Whereas I think adults should reserve the right to occasionally punctuate a thought with a pithy curse word, I’ve noticed lately I’ve been using a bit more of that kind of ‘spice’ than normal.

Case in point: yesterday’s blog. Re-reading it, I actually cringed when I read the word “sh**” twice in one blog. (See how prudish I’m feeling today – I can’t even spell the word out without censoring myself!) It wasn’t so awkward that I felt the need to go back in and edit the words out, but still… I guess I’m getting influenced by my surroundings.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook knows I work for the famous Paul Fisher, ex agent to supermodels like Naomi Campbell and Stephanie Seymour and current star of the docu-series Remodeled. And anyone who has watched Paul on the show knows he is no stranger to foul language. The thing is – it works for him. It works for his assistant Joseph too, because Joseph is funny and dark and sour.

But for me… mom of 3, student of Kabbalah, and Director of The Network Community & Wellness Program for models & talent… not so much.

Time to f***-ing clean up my act!

Sorry, couldn’t resist. :)

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

They don't make villains like Snidely Whiplash any more. Ah, the golden days of yore. And of television. And of cursing.

Must-Haves for the New Parent

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:37 AM
Monday, February 6, 2012

Enough with Grey’s Anatomy and party girl days of yore! (for today) It’s time to take this wisdom I have painstakingly acquired over all these thirty-COUGH years  of my life, and the decade (minus-two years) of marriage, and pay forward the incredible wisdom I have hard-earned as the mother of four kids I mean three kids and one husband. Wife of one husband. You know what I mean.

So here it is, folks – for all you new parents, soon-to-be new parents, old parents who like a good laugh, and never-will-be-parents who enjoy a good laugh at someone else’s expense:

THE BE-ALL-END-ALL LIST OF WHAT EVERY NEW PARENT MUST HAVE:

1. Towels. Because kids spill shit. My parents still remember the song I made up when I was about 4 or 5, the chorus of which went something like, “and I SPILL my apple juice…” Spilling our apple juice was a fact of life when we were children, and your kid will be no different. Suck it up. Or rather, wipe it up. Have that towel on hand – always.

2. Wipes. Because you never want to be stuck like I was, in a mall in Israel, surrounded by disapproving Israeli mothers (who are WAY better mothers than we are, by they way, just ask them) as you wash your child’s poopey bum in the sink because you FORGOT THE DAMN WIPES.

a. Yes, the obvious corollary is “Diapers”… but actually, it is MORE important to have wipes. Think about it.

b. Plus, wipes are better at cleaning stains than Tide or Oxy Clean, and they take off boogers from a wall in a pinch. Trust me on that one.

3. Patience. Duh.

4. Peek-a-boo. Moms, dads – get that shit wired.  Because there will come a time – usually about every twenty minutes, give or take, every day of every week, until your child is around 10, you will need to use Peek-a-Boo. When your child is in a terrible mood, often the ONLY thing that will distract him or her (without the long-term teeth-rotting effects of candy or brain-rotting effects of TV) is Peek-a-boo. It’s genius.

a. Don’t limit yourself to hiding the eyes, by the way. Peek-a-boo is the ONLY way my Racheli would allow me to dress her from age 2, and it STILL works (she is five and a half). When dressing them (in something they don’t want to wear, like “pants” or a “shirt,” or anything non-princessy/fashion-y/high heels-y/S.W.A.T.-team-y for the boys), here’s what you do: jam the shirt on as fast as humanly possible over their head and then before they have a chance to scream, you shout, “Where’d Racheli go?? Where did she go???!!!” (Silence. You will have peaked the kid’s interest. Trust me.)

When their head pops through the neck hole, cry with real surprise: “Racheli!? Where did you come from?!” Then after they finish laughing and before they realize what has happened and start to scream, you jam a hand in the sleeve and shout, “Where’s Racheli’s hand? Oh my goodness, where in the world did her fingers GO??”

And so on.

You are welcome.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Don't look now, baby... but you're wearing that shirt you hate! Aren't you a cutie pie, yes you arrrreeeee....

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Flashback Friday! (Winona Forever)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:56 AM
Friday, February 3, 2012

Every Friday, 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!

If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below. Then, once you’ve listened, scroll down to the bottom of this page and listen to my song. It’s puurty.

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – Winona Forever – the BLOG

Ever had any regrets? I know it’s ‘hip,’ ‘progressive,’ and ‘spiritual’ NOT to have any regrets… Everything happens for a reason, right? If not for what I went through before, how could I have gotten to where I am today, right? I mean, I am who I am. My past is my past. No use looking backwards.

Right?

But then you have things like – Flipper. My tattoo. I got it when I was nineteen, because I wanted a tattoo, and I thought dolphins were “cool.” A few nights after getting the tattoo, I went to a bar to meet some friends. Pulled my shirt from my hip to show off my ink – the newest addition to my body – proud of my totem, this animal now etched into my skin, which represented my love of the ocean, my affinity with mystical creatures, my oneness with beauty and strength…

Straightaway, a friend announced, “Look! It’s Flipper!”

Flipper?

Not exactly a deeply mystical name for a totem. But upon closer inspection, my dolphin was blue, with a red tongue, jumping a wave and – yes – looking like a cartoon dolphin, smiling. Shit. It was totally Flipper.

Anyway, Flipper is a part of me now, has been for – um – at least 10 years, AHEM – but still… I’d say I could have made a wiser choice back then. Truth be told, I had just watched The Big Blue about 80 times, and that probably had influenced my decision to go with the dolphin motif. (Here’s a tip, ladies: it’s much better with the volume off.) I guess I’m still better off than those celebrities who ask for “Strength and Courage” in Chinese and then later find out they have “You’re a sucker” inked across their chest.

Even harder to come to terms with than Flipper, is my past behavior. Like the amount of mind-altering substances I imbibed/inhaled over many, many years, and the things I did while under the influence of said substances. Kids, if you are reading this, Mommy is just kidding. Now, who wants ice cream? Come quick to the kitchen, before it runs out!

As I was saying… I not only hurt myself physically, but I really blocked my growth from occurring. Worse, still, is the influence I had over others, encouraging, supporting and rewarding their bad behavior as a justification for my own. Not to mention those times later in life when I outright hurt one of my kids, lashed out, caring nothing in the moment for their pain because my need to punish was so great.

Children, if you are still reading this – I’m sorry.

The Kabbalistic sages have written that even worse than the things we do to hurt, are the things we say that hurt – gossip, slander, talking behind other people’s backs. And of course this is the hardest of the three not to do. I don’t foresee inking another Flipper into my skin in this lifetime. And though my actions still sometimes inflict pain, I am able to stop myself before truly causing harm. But to resist the temptation to say the thing that’s on my mind, about another person?

Regrets, regrets, regrets.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

P.S. Like Johnny Depp’s “Winona Forever” tattoo, this love song I wrote for my Not-husband, Marcus, (about 10 years ago when I was – um – 19-ish) is no longer relevant because I used his actual name in the lyrics. BUT, I don’t regret writing it, because it’s still a pretty song, so I thought I’d share it… Enjoy!

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – Dear Marcus – the SONG

Me and Johnny Depp back in 1990. What? No, really, WHAT?

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Dude, Where’s My Car?

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:31 AM
Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The other evening I had a meeting with my husband and a computer whiz who we were interviewing to see if he could help boost my husband’s business via his online web traffic. (My husband is a general contractor but 100% of his work comes through word of mouth… even though I helped him build a beautiful website with a testimonial video and gorgeous photos of his work.)

It was one of those weird days when everyone was running behind. The babysitter was late and my husband was late, so I wound up welcoming Mr. Whiz Kid into my home as I simultaneously looked after my three rambunctious kids.  Mr. Whiz Kid brought his girlfriend, too – we’ll just call her WKGF (Whiz Kid’s Girlfriend).

Oh, and by the way, WKGF? Stoned out of her mind.

It was strange. Opening the door, expecting to greet a young professional (Whiz Kid) who claims with good authority (and good references) that he can drive our web traffic and social media standing up 1000% in less than a month, and instead, greeting a female version of Harold and Kumar meets Jeff Spicoli. [In Mr. Whiz Kid’s defense, he was probably stoned too, but I would never have known – his eyes were clear and his manner courteous and direct.]

WKGF? Not so much. Her eyes were flaming red. It was palpable – the effort she put into keeping them open – so much so, that I kept wanting to reach over and put a motherly hand on her arm, and offer her our couch to go lie down on and perhaps some Pirates Booty to quell those munchies, while her boyfriend did business.

But another part of the motherly part of me wanted to… um, how can I put this delicately? Strangle her. Yes, that’s the word I was looking for. How dare she come to a business meeting stoned out of her mind? How dare she smile and train her glazed, 80′s digital clock  eyes on my innocent kids? And how dare he – Whiz Kid – think it was okay to bring her along?

The meeting was odd and strange and practically incomprehensible. My husband finally showed up and we negotiated a small starting fee for Whiz Kid to see if he can do for us what he apparently does for his other clients.

I don’t regret giving him my business. After all, business is business. I just wish he had thought to leave Little Bo Peep back in the meadow…

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Obviously, these guys just got caught in the cross-hairs of WKGF's laser beam eyeballs.

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