Ladders, Work, Birthdays and Tanzanian Guests


I hardly had a chance to blog last week, I hardly had a moment to brush my teeth. I don’t have a lifestyle where I do a whole lot of hurrying around, this is part by design and part ineptitude. I am not the sort of woman who enjoys juggling too many things.

Case in point, Jane’s birthday.

I had a 10am meeting in a part of town where there is horrendous traffic. When you live outside of Los Angeles you can’t comprehend what we mean by horrendous. It can take 20 minutes to drive a mile or two or the streets could be wide open and you’d drive five minutes. It’s impossible to know so I leave early and bring a book.

I drop the kids off to school and exactly one hour to come home, take a shower and pack the car with $300 of returns to the Container Store. I don’t know why I even go to the Container Store, I wander the aisles until some sort of hormone kicks in (serotonin, dopamine?) and all of a sudden I think I’m someone else so I’m flinging shelf organizers, drawer separators and gift wrap into my cart. None of these items stand the remotest chance of being used, ever.

After dropping the kids off I race around the house making beds, cleaning counters and generally tidying up. I hop in the shower, blow dry and dab on a bit of makeup. I open up the car and start loading up the haul from the Container Store into the trunk and back seat. Realizing that I’ve loaded the car with a gazillion things without breaking a sweat or mussing my hair makes me feel like a conqueror so I smugly walk into the house grab my handbag, slam the front door and sit down in the car.

I adjust the mirrors, put my foot on the brake and press the start button. Nothing happens. I press a little more firmly on the brake and look at the dashboard where it says “Key Not Detected”. I panic, unpanic, panic again and start digging through my purse for my keys. Sometimes you have to touch the fob to the start button, there’s no rhyme or reason to it. After digging and then finally dumping the purse out on the passenger seat I realize that the keys are absolutely NOT in my purse.

I dash to the front door, as if my sprint will make it more likely to be unlocked. No such luck, the door is firmly locked. I walk around the house hoping that the kids left a back door open. No. A window? No. I remove all the screens from the house all the while watching the time on my iPhone. I don’t want to be late for this appointment. It’s a job I actually want. I try lifting the windows out as if I were washing them, apparently this maneuver works only from inside the house.

There is a ladder in the shed. I get the ladder and hope that the sliding glass door on the balcony has been left open. After extending the ladder and propping it up against the railing I have a clear moment and recognize that the most likely scenario includes me wearing diapers for a second time in my life. I call and cancel my appointment and try to decide what to do next.

After trying to unscrew the dog door I sit down and face fact. I live in a suburban fortress. I’d have called the neighbor for a spare key except we’d just put in new hardware and no one has a key yet.

I pull out my iPhone and call a locksmith. They will be there in thirty minutes and cannot guarantee there will be no damage to the door. The new hardware was not inexpensive, this is not an option. Having reached total frustration at 10.30 in the morning I call my husband and ask him to have someone bring me a key.

MR. G: I can’t just have someone go and bring you a key.

ME: Why? Don’t you have an intern, or a PA, or a messenger? I don’t give a shit who pays for it, just get me a key.

MR. G: [ignoring me a little] Did you try the back door?

ME: Would I be calling you if I hadn’t tried the back door?

MR. G: Did you check the windows?

ME: You’re such an asshole. Do you think that you’re the first call I’d make? Obviously I’m calling you last because there is no other way into the house. And now, you are singlehandedly ruining Jane’s birthday. She won’t have a cake and it’s all because you hate us.

He might have said something else. Something about relevance and insanity but I was done listening. I confirmed that he was jumping in his car Right This Second and bringing me a key and I did what any reasonable woman would do on a hot and sunny Southern California day.

I stripped down to my underwear, shielded my face from the sun and laid poolside with just the cat, dog and Howard Stern to keep me company. Twenty minutes later Mr. G was honking in the driveway and I was getting dressed to grab my key and go.

Between 11.15 and 3 I managed to return stuff to the Container Store, grab a quick salad to go, have a cut and blow dry all while eating the salad with chopsticks and not one little bit of hair. I popped into Tiffany & Co. and bought Jane a necklace and then drove across town to get the kids from school.

Before homework was complete Stacey, Sanjay, Mama Lucy, Leah and Gideon arrived and our three day celebration began.

It’s fair to say that I’m not the type of woman who can gracefully pile too much on her plate.

Highs and Lows


The past few days have been full of the highest highs and the lowest lows. My daughter turned thirteen, she is the light of our lives, delighting me, my husband and our son. Jane has brought us nothing but joy for thirteen years. I wouldn’t know how to be angry with her for an extended time.

On Jane’s birthday we had a special treat, Mama Lucy, Leah, Gideon, Stacey and Sanjay showed up for a three day visit. We can’t quite figure out a way to get us all to Africa, but it was with overflowing hearts that our family from Arusha came to stay with us.

On Jane’s birthday I got news, crushing news, that my friend Lisa Kelly had died. I don’t have words for it. Lisa was a neonatologist, an accomplished woman at the top of her field who saved babies every day. Baby savers aren’t supposed to die young. Women who never stop smiling aren’t supposed to die young. The world needed Lisa, and now there’s a void.

lisa kelly team in training

I was shocked but I stuffed it. I wasn’t going to ruin Jane’s birthday, and I know that Lisa would have understood that.

I spent Friday with Mama Lucy and the kids. I cried a lot, mostly from joy but perhaps some sadness and fear crept in. Friday night we celebrated Mama Lucy and Epic Change, this morning everyone left and it was back to high gear with BlogWorld Expo, soccer, baseball and Jane’s birthday celebration.

Now it’s quiet, and being in a hotel leaves me with no busywork to distract me from my feelings, so I’ll lay still and wait for sleep to get me. I fear that when I finally cry I won’t be able to stop. I’ll start soon, but not today. 

Epically Thankful


A few years ago my friend Melissa Leon introduced me to the The Twitter Kids.  #TwitterKids are a group of children from Shepherds Jr. School in Tanzania who use the internet (when there is electricity) to communicate with people on Twitter.

And by people, I mean me. I used to be really great about having twitter on at about 10 at night just so that I could message back and forth with the Twitter kids, lately I haven’t been great about it, but I will be.

Epic Change was able to raise money so that Shepherds Jr. School could continue to grow.

Three years ago I met Gideon and Leah online. In a few weeks I’ll be meeting them here in Los Angeles. Mama Lucy, the magnificent woman who farmed chickens to build a school will be staying here with Gideon, Leah and Stacey.

To say that my kids are thrilled would be an understatement.

I’d like you to watch this video.

And I’d like you to read about Epic Change.

Next, I’d like you to interact with these kids on twitter.

Now I’d like you to do one very important thing. I’d like you to join me here in Los Angeles on November 4th and meet Mama Lucy, Gideon and Leah. We’re getting together on the Westside (exact location will be announced later today) and I’d like you to bring your spouses, your parents, and your children to meet these folks.

Let’s build them an 8th grade.

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