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Stephen Johnson

Stephen Was Late So Jane Gets A Bat Mitzvah

Saturday afternoon I got a series of messages from Stephen Johnson, he was in Los Angeles overnight (flight was canceled), and did I want to meet up?

Yes, of course! I have a complete and utter girl crush on his wife Nanette, and I’ve been lucky enough to follow her around the interwebs for the last few years. I’ve even had glimpses of their beautiful children with streaming conferences.

So, yes, is the answer, but not Saturday night. We arranged for a Sunday lunch with Stephen, my husband and myself. At noon Mr. G. and I were at Tavern waiting for Stephen. At 12.05 we got a text message saying the cab was 10 minutes away. Great. At 12.20 the text read, “can’t get to you there is a parade”. Mr. G. and I were in the middle of a discussion, we finally got to synch our calendars, and so what should have been a red flag went unnoticed.


My husband and I had a really great time just drinking coffee and talking about our lives, the kids, and our future. Jane is eleven and we hadn’t given much thought to a Bat Mitzvah. There are pros and cons, mostly pros, but then there’s the simple fact that Jane does not want a Bat Mitzvah. Tough. I think we’ve decided that we’ll put her in a Bat Mitzvah class with a Rabbinical student and she can study for the next 18 months. If, at the end of 18 months she still does not want a Bat Mitzvah, she will not be forced to have one. I suspect she will want to show off all her hard work.

I had a Bat Mitzvah in 1983. Although I read from the Torah all those years ago, I’m still uncomfortable seeing a woman at the bimah. I’m not against it, it’s just uncomfortable. Deciding to Bat Mitzvah your daughter is not easy for every family.

As we are having this really great talk, Stephen texts again. I realize there is no parade in Brentwood. He is at the other San Vicente Blvd. Now he is going to try to walk.

Now I’m helpless, we have to get the kids, now it’s running late and I have a terrible phone call with Stephen at 12.45 wherein I explain that we are 45 minutes from one another and I have to get to my kids. I am not going to get to see him. I urge him to take a taxi to the hotel or to enjoy the museums near him, and we’ll try again next time.

Then I have a brainstorm. The kids and I needed to get to the Help A Mother Out playdate at the Treehouse Social Club, it begins at 3, but if I hurry we can get there by 2.45 and if Stephen goes right to Beverly Hills, then he can stay for an hour, have a glass of wine (yes wine is essential at a playdate) and then take a taxi to the airport. Stephen, being the good sport that he is, said yes, so I called my friends who were organizing the playdate and said, “There’s an Aussie coming, he will not have children with him, please let him in and do not ask him for a diaper donation.”

They got the message.

And then I realized that sending Stephen in a taxi was a bad plan. If he missed his flight Nanette would fly to the states to yell at me in person. So I put out a tweet asking for a ride for Stephen. Naturally Mark Hovarth came to the rescue and Stephen was shuttled to the airport. I do believe that there will be video of the drive, as the guys hit it off.

A Strange Tour of Los Angeles

Yesterday we made lots of lemonade. I got an hour to just be with my husband. We had nothing to distract us from each other, and time with him always makes me happy. Stephen got a very strange tour of Los Angeles from mid cities to Beverly Hills to Inglewood and everything in between. Mark’s message will now travel to Australia and Nanette got her husband back in one piece.

Oh, and of course, Jane gets a Bat Mitzvah.