Tunnel of love

it ought to be easy ought to be simple enough
Man meets woman and they fall in love
But the house is haunted and the ride gets rough
And you’ve got to learn to live with what you can’t rise above if you want to ride on down in through this tunnel of love


Bruce Springsteen

Better times June ’08

Even before marriage I thought this was the most accurate song of a real relationship.  I still think so.  Today is the 15th anniversary of when I met my husband Mark Peel.  My friend Heather was with me.  I had just had a lousy stand up set.  I was in an area of town I barely knew. Heather knew less having just moved to LA from San Francisco where we met each other working Metro Traffic in 1991.  The Tobacco Road of broadcasting.

“We could go to Luna Park or go upscale and go to Campanile.”

“Let’s go upscale” she said.

That changed my life.

It was around 10.  Dinner crowd had drained out.   We perched ourselves on the dark orange leather square seats.  Felix the bartender served us warmly. Great wines, yummy nibbles, we joked to those within earshot. All was good.   I made fun of some guy from the kitchen with a funny hat.  He looked confused.

Later the manager would introduce that man to me.  Chef owner Mark Peel.

He was not my type.  Yet I couldn’t stop thinking about what he looked like without those white clothes on.

Cut to now.  2 children, helped raise my stepson and two older stepchildren who have been very important to my life.  A step grandson who I adore.

But, we are not good.  Details are not for here, but I know I’m not the only one whose great love story does not have “a happily ever after.”

I’ve recently started doing some stand up again.  One of my jokes “weddings are ruined for me.  I’m sitting there with a slow clap, clap.  Good luck.  You two against the world.  Wait till you have to share a sink everyday and watch your spouse floss, yeah, “at last”!!

There is love, some respect and the intense devotion to our children.  I wouldn’t write this if they didn’t know something was rotten in the produce drawer.  They do.  I’m sorry they do.  Most of the time we are “fine”.  But, in my belly there is a daily churn.  Occasionally, so bad I have to have a Brian Wilson day. ( aka not get out of bed)

I started wanting to do mom blog videos back in 2007 because I knew I wasn’t the only mom who felt isolated by new motherhood. Now, I extend the same message, but with a twist: who here is isolated because your marriage is not quite right and you cannot say it aloud?  You don’t want to reveal too much, you don’t want to dog your man, you don’t want to embarass your kids.   I have felt alone the last couple of years.  But, a few weeks ago it shifted for me.  Now, I’m practically stopping strangers on the street.   “Did you find everything you needed?” asks the cashier.

“Not the key to conflict resolution, no I did not.”

The isolation and shame of not having my happily ever after has stifled me creatively as well.  I’ve barely generated one funny, or sad word here in the last couple of years.  I texted to a friend tonight “I’m a shadow of my former self.”

” How did this happen?  I never thought this would be me. ”  I muse.

You know how when you are young you are full of absolutes.  “I would never____” . “If ___ happened, that’s it, I’m gone.”  Then you grow up and all those things happen and you do not change course.  “you learn to live with the things you cannot rise above.”


I’ve written before about my brother’s suicide.  “Why?” People ask.  I ask myself.

“Why do you two have problems?” People ask.   I ask myself.  In both cases, it’s multi layered.  Never one clear, “well, he never folded the laundry!”   “He hated how I chewed my food.”  Now you have the same finances, friends and children. Unlike when you are dating you just can’t grab your toothbrush and favorit pillow and go.   I have no answers and no pronouncements.  I only know as a friend told me once, “we are lost in the storm.”

I know, without knowing, I’m not the only one in this blizzard.

Viv and I in ’12.. the last days Campanile was open. I met her dad a few feet from where we sat

who knew?

Who Knew?

That if your husband decides to clean out the garage it would take him two weeks and still not be done?

Who Knew that when he leaves out old stereo equipment and the DVD’s and VHS of your career there would be a freak July rainstorm and he didn’t think to cover these things?

Who Knew?

That the 140 times you thought, “I have to get those VHS transferd” would have been time wasted because now they are probably ruined.

Who Knew?

That you would want to force your kids to watch those tapes because this morning your 4 year old said that unlike Handy Manny “mommy, you and I don’t have a job”.

Who Knew?

I would tell my son that I do work, but “that my main job is taking care of you and Vivien.” Who Knew that would come as a surprise to me as I said it.

Who Knew that my house would end of up looking like the Clampetts.

Happy Anniversary to me.. happy anniversary to me…

Today it’s 8 years I’ve been married.  By far my longest romantic relationship.

I had Vivien in my personal oven when we wed in our ( then) living room so I’m taking her to our celebratory dinner.  Seems only right.

my dad and sister supporting

I love this picture of my dad so happy.  He was trying to be modern about me being pregnant without a wedding ring, but he was greatly relieved when we tied the knot.  Marriage is not a walk in a park.  I wouldn’t have been mature enough to deal with the peaks and valleys of sharing my life if I had done it earlier.

Glad I waited.


Mad dream

You know those dreams that seem so real they are hard to shake?  Last night I had one and I was going to clobber my husband in the morning, except that Rex’s body was half draped across his. Nice the boy protects his father.

I get up hours before Mark does so I had had coffee and breakfast and was able to calm down enough to tell him about my dream.

“We didn’t have any kids yet and you hadn’t lost your money yet. We had just gotten married and where staying a fancy hotel, but you also had an Asian girlfriend.”

Mark, ” I like where this dream is going.”

“No, it was a terrible dream, because on our first day of marriage you told me that tomorrow me and your young daughter-”


“Yeah, Oliver was a girl.”

“Named Oliva?”

Exasperated, “She didn’t have a name I was just going to have to mind her while spent a night with your Asian girlfriend.  I was fuming and you didn’t see anything wrong with it.”

“I have a lot of nerve.”

“Yes, you do.  I was bathed in expensive clothes and jewelery and then it occurred to me that I could leave you.  I didn’t have kids with you and I would leave you.  I walked in to the closet where you were and told you so.  You still didn’t get why I wasn’t okay with this arrangement and then I screamed, “who do you think I am ___ ____”  I screamed the name of a women my father had a very icky relationship with that adversely affected my family of origin.

“You were really angry.”  Mark said.

Then I let him have his first cup of coffee.

On the way to school Vivien asked if I had put the meatloaf I had made for dinner the night before in her lunch as she had asked.

“Oh, sweetie, daddy ate the last of it.  But, today is taco day!” normally a winner.  Not today.

“Waaa, I wanted the meatloaf!”  I had a brief thrill that she was so excited about my meatloaf.  But, she was now spiraling down a sensitive little girl path that meant dropping her off at school would not go smoothly.  I called Mark.

“You ate all of the meatloaf, right?”  He had.  The phone was on speaker so he could hear the sobs.  Yes, he had actually done something wrong for real. Well, eating dinner in his own home when he is hungry might not qualify, but it would have to do.

I assured her I would make the loaf of wonder again tonight.

As good as it is, I hope it doesn’t give me bad dreams.

Women are bitches, men are checked out

That has been one of the cornerstones of my life philosophy for the last, hmm, 10, 12 years.  Can’t remember when that penny dropped, but had it not I don’t know that I ever could have gotten married.  Knowing this helped me prep for marriage and not be as hard on my husband as I might have otherwise been.  Even when he screws up and makes me crazy, I KNOW, they are ALL like that.

So, I did a video not that long ago called “raising boys”.  It’s starting point was an essay written by a dad blogger, Thomas Matlack.  Thomas got in touch with me afterward and we had a good phone discussion about being parts of blended families and other aspects of our domestic life.  I really like his blog and his writing and he suggested we do a he said/ she said thing on his site.  I brought up this “bitches/ checked out” thing and he liked it so this is our first foray.

Here is the link to the result of it.  Love to know your thoughts.  I hope we do more of them.

Little Gems

How this gorgeous gem escaped my grasp before I don’t know.  Mark was getting some professional shots done for PR for Campanile or a magazine, I can’t remember.  I walked down with Rex when he was, gee, maybe 5 months, and we got snapped too.  Does it look like Rex is having second thoughts about the parents he chose? funny

I think I share this with other moms… especially mom’s who also work outside the home.. you look at your husband and think — or scream– “why am I always in charge of the kids?” I’m balancing how I am going to get work, social, errands done while taking care of their schedule while Mark walks out the door because he has an appointment and that is that. My husband is so mean that when I complained about it he agreed, “yes you are right”. Bastard. I wanted to foam at the mouth.
But, not much changed. So this week I tried something new. I announced that he was in charge of the schedule Friday and Saturday. Saturday I got my hair done, went to the gym and he ON HIS OWN planned this cute little trip with them to a place where they can catch trout. Here are my beauties fishing.IMG00180-20101204-1426.jpg
Okay, I’ve had enough alone time. You can all come back now.


The bummer about the interweb is the swiftness that one can find how unoriginal they are.  I thought, hey over on Momversation we finally showed that one about MILF’s, why not play on the idea of a DILF?  Then I find this.  Really, how hard is it to change one word in an acronym? This entry was from 2003.  My defense is that I have been sleep deprived since 2005.

When I go to a park with my kids the adult companions are usually moms, nannies and grandmas.  But, what if one day, maybe a Saturday, there was a park filled with hot divorced dads.  Just some good eye-candy to break up the day.  These days looking is enough of a buzz.  Because beyond even that marriage thing, who has energy for more?

Divorced moms

…or girls STILL just wanna have fun.

Most women aspire to be partnered for life, but is that where the hi jinxs live?  Even when you attain something you want – marriage, kids – the grass can occasionally seem greener.  It’s like I was so broken hearted when we had to sell our home, but now that we rent and I see some maintnence issue I breathe a sigh of relief, “I don’t have to pay for it!”  I’m not paying that property tax bill.

Single moms can feel like they have stink on them and not be included in couple outings.  I love single moms.  My husband works so much at night that I rely on them to be the gals who can go out for dinner or come over with their kids and eat with us.  They don’t have to check in with the ball and chain.  But, sometimes these pals are occupied.  They are occupied with their new, cute boyfriends.


Dark Toast

As parents we see our little ones flip out like over the tiniest things, “I wanted to push the button, waaaa!” As we mature we learn to let the little things in life roll off our back.  It’s not worth it, right?  Pick your battles, don’t sweat the small stuff all that jazz.


Sometimes we humans, us sleep deprived humans, cannot help ourselves.  Then the volcano within explodes.  Because one to many indignities have been visited upon us.  How much can one person take?

(side bar:  this vid came to together organically.  It was a real situation and I checked myself and said, “Turn on the camera, I smell Cool Mom.”  Mark had just happened to come home then and was about to walk in the back door.  As I did this video he was doubled over laughing.  Because the truth is funny.)