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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Flashback Friday! (No Fear)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 8:56 AM
Friday, November 30, 2012

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!

Ever had some rageaholic a-hole scream and go red and basically scare the shit out of you? (Even if they are screaming at someone else in front of me, my heart still speeds up to a mile a minute.) As a kid, did a parent terrify you? Or, later on, what about a boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse? Teacher? The IRS?

(Or were/are you the screaming rager type?)

As a kid, I would do all things necessary, including shrinking into a tiny mouse and/or people please to the Nth degree, just to avoid the feeling of being scared by someone’s disapproval, criticism or rage. As an adult… sad to say, not that much has changed. I still hate getting criticized, hate having someone mad at me, loathe being in the presence of shouting and rage. My stomach goes into a knot, I obsess about the person and situation, my shoulders hunch and my ability to get a good night’s sleep evaporates.

On the other hand… I secretly admire rageaholic friends of mine. Why? Exactly for that same attribute that scares the shit out of me: they have almost hunger for a confrontation – they seek it out, then act, speak, and instigate as they please. Usually, in the moment of anger, my brain partly shuts down and I don’t even consider making waves or really standing up for myself. Then later, I think about what I’d like to say, but I still DON’T GO BACK & say it. Why? Fear of how they will react. Fear that person will stop “liking” me. Fear…..

Yuck. So disgusting just to read my own words on the screen!

What is the answer? I KNOW I need to act differently. I’m afraid to.

One of the great spiritual kabbalists, the Baal Shem Tov, was given this advice by his father:

Never fear any person or any situation. The ONLY thing you should EVER be afraid of is disconnection with the Creator.

The Baal Shem Tov lived by this credo. Just remembering this story gives me strength and helps erase my own fears. Now, if only I could internalize this completely…

But until then, the only thing I’ve found that helps me dissolve my fear, besides literally talking myself out of it, is writing. Songs, blogs, stories, scripts… you name it, I’ve probably written it. To that effect, below is a song I wrote years ago… enjoy! [Editor's Note: Stupid $#&QY$%#(@ WordPress won't Play my song anymore. I tried to re-upload it & it's telling me to 'go take a hike' in WordPress language. My kingdom for some software savvy!]

And by the way, thanks again for providing an ‘audience’ for my thoughts & observations. Stay tuned, and…who knows! Maybe someday you’ll be reading about how I felt nary a drop of dread or fear as someone lobbed a harsh criticism or rage-a-tantrum at me.

I believe in miracles! You sexy thing…

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – Hard Love – SONG

I know I look fearless but it's all a facade. Quaking on the inside!

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I’ve Been a Bad, Bad Girl

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:28 AM
Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Downton Abbey.

Okay, I admit, that alone does not excuse my lack of blogging (and not even bothering to re-post old blogs) for the last month+. But it is my latest obsession. And it may not be a coincidence that I watched season 2’s finale episode yesterday, and today is the first day I’ve been compelled to write another blog, despite numerous kind encouragements from friends and fans.

It may also explain why I feel an overwhelming urge to blog in a pseudo-English accent. O, Madonna, how I understand thee!

(PS. Madonna, I also am forever grateful for… uh… thee… specifically, for being 10 years older than me. Thanks to you looking hotter than a teenage Vogue model, I am less afraid to turn – gulp – FORTY – in one week than I would otherwise be.)

(Plus, I don’t feel quite so ridiculous about my newly adopted English accent, albeit it’s only used while I’m writing, not during my actual use of speech.)

So what have I been up to, this past silent month-point-five?

No great excuses for neglecting the blog, I’m afraid. Other than slight burnout, indulgence of my “free time” (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Whew, that was a good one! Wiping tears now, continuing on…), a rigorous workout discipline which includes a 5-days-a-week Insantiy workout, and perhaps most significantly, getting plenty of sleep… which as any writer will tell you, may very well be the number one enemy of getting shit written.

Sleep, that is.

I see I’m still dropping the occasional curse word as I write, despite the good influence of my Merchant-Ivory-ish friends over at Downton Abbey.

Well, let’s see what this next month-point-five brings us… since it WON’T be bringing us the next season of Downton Abbey (until September, I’ve heard), then maybe, at best, it will bring us some more inspiration, and accordingly, more new Grownup Girl blogs. Probably not 3 new ones a week, tho – probably more like 1-2 per week.

Here’s hoping!

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Who needs Brad and Ange with these 2 magnificent and tragically paired lovebirds?

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Best Laid Plans

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:10 AM
Monday, April 30, 2012

WHAT I PLANNED FOR LAST NIGHT/TODAY:

  1. 1. Think of a good subject & write Monday’s blog.
  2. 2. Get kids to bed early.
  3. 3. Go to sleep by 10pm.
  4. 4. Sleep restfully in my bed.
  5. 5. Wake up at 5am.
  6. 6. Exercise.
  7. 7. Allow my great mood to influence my children as they wake and prepare for school.
  8. 8. Finish my writing assignment.
  9. 9. Help husband with work.
  10. 10. Get Tuesday’s blog ready.

 

WHAT I WOUND UP DOING LAST NIGHT/TODAY:

  1. 1. Can’t think of anything to write about. Click a lot of “likes” on Facebook instead.
  2. 2. Get 2 kids to bed early. Then fall asleep in my son’s bed, trying to get HIM to sleep. Wake up when he is finally ready to sleep, an hour later.
  3. 3. Head to bed at 10… then get re-routed to Racheli’s room, where she has thrown up all over her bed.
  4. 4. Spend the next 2+ hours with Racheli as she barfs & writhes in pain, etc.
  5. 5. Sleep uncomfortably with 2 little knees poking into my back.
  6.  6. Wake up at 6:15 to the words, “Ima, my stomach hurts.”
  7. 7. Keep the bucket handy for Racheli while waking and getting the other 2 ready for school.
  8. 8. Yell at Yehuda for stealing, chewing, then spitting onto the floor an entire pack of gum.
  9. 9. Try to figure out how to get any work done, for me or my husband, while Racheli is still here and not feeling well.
  10. 10. Write this blog.

Happy Monday!

c/xo,

 

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

O wise one.

No Exit

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:00 AM
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

You might say it’s “hard” to get everything done when you are a stay-at-home mom who also works part-time, blogs, volunteers, studies Kabbalah and keeps Shabbat, helps her husband with his work and is trying to learn guitar so I can actually accompany myself when I sing the songs that I wrote.

Then again, if you did say that… you’d be wrong.

Dead wrong.

It’s not hard at all!!!!

It’s IMPOSSIBLE.

Why is it, that the minute I’ve folding four loads of laundry, there are instantly TWO new loads that must be washed? I haven’t even put the four loads away, for crying out loud! Seriously. They are spread out all over our living room couches.

No TV tonight, kids! It’s our clothes’ turn to watch their programs. Their soaps.

Did I mention I’m also losing my mind just a little bit?

The good part about THAT is that I seem to be losing the bit of my mind that actually thought I was able & CAPABLE OF FINISHING THINGS. Because I can’t.

The girls’ room was clean yesterday morning. Now every time I cross by it, my brain spasms ever so slightly at the sight of toys all over the rug. I WILL NOT GO IN THERE I WILL NOT CLEAN IT UP I HAVE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO LIKE – OH YEAH, EAT. OH YEAH, AND WORK.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

And by “mighty,” I mean those who used to have a full time housekeeper.

And by “fallen,” I mean they got trapped in a Sartre play, only this time the situation they cannot exit is the mess they live in.

(help!)

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

If you wanna hear one of my songs, just click on the audio link, below. Wouldn’t it be cool if I could strum along to my OWN SONG? Yeah. It would. WARNING: I HAVE NO TIME TO FIGURE OUT WORDPRESS SO WHEN U CLICK IT’S GOING TO OPEN UP A BLACK WEBPAGE. JUST SO YOU CAN HEAR THE SONG. YOU CAN SKIP IT IF YOU WANT. THOUGHT U SHOULD KNOW.

Another Lonely Night – BatSheva Vaknin

This was one of my album covers, back in the day. Ok, "Band flyer cover". But still. Hey, I'm talking to you! Quit looking at my nipple! Aw, forget it.

 

Bone Dry

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 10:56 AM
Monday, April 16, 2012

Folks, this GrownupGirl is tapped out. Tired. Done.

I wanted to try & sleep tonight before 11pm (I know, who am I kidding, right?)… just finished the exhausting & demoralizing process of applying for a partial scholarship for my 3 kids’ tuition… still need to read a script for work, oh, AND fold four loads of laundry. Literally.

Oh yeah, and wash my hair with the MOTHERFUCKINGLICECOMB because that’s what we moms do. When our heads itch.

And please don’t ask me if my room and my kids rooms still need to be cleaned.

So who has time to write a blog? No one’s paying me to write this, and my adoring fans numbering in the – uh – “aughts”? Is that a word? The adoring ones, plus the other occasional fans… still not quite the incentive I need to keep this thing alive.

So what is?

It’s an amazing creative outlet, for one. Duh.

And then there’s that ‘miracle’ aspect to it – the thing that I’ve noticed happened since I’ve been maintaining this blog, which is to say… a smoothness to life that otherwise feels mighty bumpy. That, and the direction of my professional life since I’ve kept up the blog has continued to move forward and – while not YET financially rewarding – it does appear a bit more exciting and promising, each and every month that passes.

SOOOOO

FOR NOW….

I’ll stay up at least until midnight just for you.

And by “you” I mean, of course…

Me.

c/xo,
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

What, you thought I was joking? I'M TIRED, I TOLD YOU! Freezing, too.

 

Easy Does It

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:25 AM
Monday, April 9, 2012

So, I was cleaning my over the other day, when-

KACKACKACKACKACKACKACKACKACK!!!

Ahem – sorry, folks. It’s just, as I was writing that first sentence, I glanced back at it and realized the way I phrased my words made it seem like, you know, I clean my oven all the time. It was just this one particular time that stood out. When – AHEM – the truth is, the other day was the very FIRST time I had EVER cleaned my oven in the entire 3 + years we have lived here.

That is not to say the oven was never cleaned – we did used to have a full-time nanny/housekeeper and once in a very blue moon she would venture southward into the unknown. [Yo, perverts, this is a MOM blog. Get yee hence, to the same-named blog as mine without the “the”!] Anyhoo- it’s not to say that our oven was a hell-hole of drippings; quite the opposite, actually. We use it mostly for baking bread, eggplant, and the occasional batch of cookies.

But still.

It was a tad pathetic, my first encounter with our oven, from the POV of a sponge and some Easy Off®. And here’s what I discovered:

By God, is Easy Off® made of toxic nuclear waste, or what?

The more I clean, the more I understand why all those annoying “natural cleaning product” companies are popping up all around us, with their white website backgrounds, Facebook contests and minimalistic yet oh-so-hip graphics, along with loads of statistics that my lull my brain into a non-absorptive stasis, much like what happens when you actually try and use one of those good-for-the-environment cleaners.

I only jest, Natural Companies! I love you! We all know I can’t afford your products anyway, so how would I know if they work or not?

But back to Easy Off® – it only took me a few consecutive seconds of scrubbing my oven with the stuff to realize WHY Sylvia Plath killed herself in the manner that she did. I know I’m walking a very thin, perhaps completely invisible line here, but stay with me for a second. She was a housewife back in the 50’s, right? “Housework is a woman’s best friend” and all that jazz? I’m just saying, if I had to cook for my husband every night (we all know how I feel about cooking – my cooking, specifically) AND then go and clean out the damn thing night after night, inhaling the radioactive formaldehyde-ish cleaning solution whilst I scrubbed…?

One never knows. But one has a pretty good guess after a virgin round of Easy Off® scouring.

Poor Sylvia.

c/xo,

 

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Lord do i love it when Google rewards my searches for images with surprising gems. Like this one, which came up when I searched "Easy Off." I like this photo so much I may just start to use it with every single blog I every write.

What’s the Word for…?

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 3:53 PM
Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I wanna be a millionaire, so frickin bad.

The first time my husband heard my son sing that, he grabbed him and shouted.

“Don’t say that!”

“Honey!” I quickly intervened. “He said ‘frickin.’ ‘Frickin!’ Not the other word. It’s a slang – it’s okay, he heard the song on the radio, they play it on the radio – that word is okay!”

My husband was confused. With his Israeli-accented ears, and in particular because he’d never heard of the term “frickin,” my husband just assumed that he had heard my son pronounce the word “fucking.”

Whoops.

My husband is very sensitive about words. He believes that words have TREMENDOUS power, especially when spoken aloud. The ancient spiritual Kabbalistic sages tell us that using words to gossip or say negative things can actually shorten the years of our life considerably.

I am sure they are right.

But…

I am also in love with slinging a shocking word or a comforting slang or a zinger here or there, to garner attention for attention’s sake.

Wakes you up.

I’m a writer. I’m a singer/songwriter. I’m an actor, a comic. Words are my currency.

I am a lifetime member of the Church of Storytelling; I love the effect words can have.  Shock them, make them laugh, make them think, make them argue, make them agree, make them feel guilty, make them complicit, make them understand, make them connect, make them heal. Make them laugh.

Make ME laugh!

I love being a Democrat not just for the position the party takes on social & economic issues, but because WE HAVE MORE FUNNY PEOPLE THAN REPUBLICANS DO. Nyah Nyah nyah nyah nyah!

Ummm… maybe I’d better sign off before my life gets shorter or I start censoring myself or I get all my republican friends mad. (Though to you guys, I ask: Where are all your comedians? Life is too short not to laugh!!)

K, I’ll shut up for real now.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

My guy is funnier than your guy.

Viva Espanya!!!

posted by Sheva 11:34 PM
Sunday, September 18, 2011

Remember my Hebrenglish blog, about how my English has degenerated been simplified, thanks to the daily influence of my Israeli husband?

Turns out, I was also greatly influenced by my five months as a University student in Madrid. And no, I am not talking about how I may or may not have taken ecstasy at our Spanish Halloween party and went around telling everyone that I was a black drag queen in my past life.

Er… and no, I’m not talking about how I may or may not have drank disgusting ‘Whiskey Cokas’ every single night for those five months and smoked the most disgusting hash nastiness and also tried cocaine a few times. I mean, if I even did that at all.

Nor am I speaking of the clubs my friend Tatiana and I “promoted” (AKA got free entrance into, in return for showing up and taking a stack of club flyers, all of which we promptly took home and chucked into the trash), nor the countless disgusting men who would hit on us and buy us drinks but never made it even to first base with us.

Unless you count penis photos as “first base.”

(This being in the pre-digital photography age, those penis shots gave me and Tatiana quite a surprise once our Spain pictures came back from the local drugstore after getting developed. Especially the fact that there were at least two distinctively different penises, photographed on two completely different rolls of film.)

Is this something that all dumb guys do when the girls leave the room during a dinner party? Take secret pictures of their penises? Or is it just Spanish guys?

No, I’m not talking about any of that.

What I am talking about, of course, is language. My trip influenced my language in a way that did not have me speaking in a fake Spanish accent like one wacky high school friend of ours who we met at a big American rendez-vous and couldn’t seem to shake his Spanish accent. My speech would not be impaired until years later, when I married my Israeli husband.

What the Spanish trip did is cause me to lose my ability to spell.

I first noticed it as I took notes in one of my dreaded pre-1800 English Lit courses – 4 of which were required for my Yale English major. My handwritten notes… were phonetic. PHONETIC!

Phonetic, like the Spanish language. I would write words completely wrong and it would take me a good couple of minutes to figure out what I was supposed to have written. (AKA I wood rite werds completly rong and it wood take me a cupla minuts to figur out wat I was suposed to hav rittin.)

I was an English major. I am a writer, and an editor, and a total stickler for grammar and spelling (I think I may have been among the elite few who laughed at Carrie Bradshaw’s shining moment of triumph over Natasha, the woman who married Big, when Carrie reads Natasha’s mistaken use of ‘their’ instead of ‘there’ in a thank you note.)

My Spanish problem persists to this day… in this very blog, no less, I wrote “roles” instead of “rolls” earlier (lucky me my Word program is savvier than I – either that or it never spent much time in Madrid), and also “you no” instead of “you know.”

So… thanks a lot, Spain.

For the memories, the alcohol poisoning, the penis photos, and most of all, my inability to spell the English language.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Senator Wiener, were you in Madrid lately? Because this picture looks mighty familiar...

Daddy Dearest

posted by Sheva 11:01 AM
Friday, August 19, 2011

The following email landed in my inbox not long ago:

I’m working my way through Bossypants and boy do you write as well as Tina does.  In fact, a lot like she does.  Maybe better.  And you’re prettier than she is.  When do you get to produce your own television series?

Audible sigh.

This is why we daughters love our dads.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Hey, someone in Hollywood, are you listening?? (to my dad??)

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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