Love

John Lennon wrote the following:

Love is real, real is love
Love is feeling, feeling love
Love is wanting to be loved 

Love is touch, touch is love
Love is reaching, reaching love
Love is asking to be loved 

Love is you
You and me
Love is knowing
We can be 

Love is free, free is love
Love is living, living love
Love is needing to be loved

I love this song, and I love what it expresses. :) I have written a zillion times before about love, and how it comes in different shapes and sizes, and how it looks different for all people. However, I came across something today that absolutely blew me away, and I wanted to share it with you. :)

Roger Ebert wrote the following about him and his beloved Chaz, on the eve of their 20th anniversary (it is kind of long, but I absolutely urge you to read the entire thing):

Wednesday, July 18, is the 20th anniversary of our marriage. How can I begin to tell you about Chaz? She fills my horizon, she is the great fact of my life, she has my love, she saved me from the fate of living out my life alone, which is where I seemed to be heading. If my cancer had come, and it would have, and Chaz had not been there with me, I can imagine a descent into lonely decrepitude. I was very sick. I might have vegetated in hopelessness. This woman never lost her love, and when it was necessary she forced me to want to live. She was always there believing I could do it, and her love was like a wind forcing me back from the grave.

Does that sound too dramatic? You were not there. She was there every day, visiting me in the hospital whether I knew it or not, becoming an expert on my problems and medications, researching possibilities, asking questions, making calls, even giving little Christmas and Valentine’s Day baskets to my nurses, who she knew by name.
Chaz is a strong woman, sure of herself. I’d never met anyone like her. At some point in her childhood a determination must have been formed that she would make a success of herself. She was born into a large family on the West Side of Chicago, and already in high school was a tireless achiever. Her school yearbook shows her on every other page, a member of everything from the National Honor society to Spanish Club, and as vice president of the senior class to best dancer. She won a scholarship to the University of Chicago, but didn’t accept it: “What did I know? Nobody told me it was a great university. I just wanted to get out of Chicago, to go somewhere on my own.” She went to the University of Dubuque, and in keeping with the times she was a civil rights activist.

There she met her first husband, and soon they were married and raising their children Josibiah and Sonia. She might easily have called off her professional dreams and returned to Chicago, where Merle was an electrical engineer. She went to the University of Wisconsin at Madison for a BA in sociology, and then graduated from the DePaul College of Law, the alma mater of generations of Chicago politicians and lawyers. And all this time raising her family, as she and Merle moved to the suburbs and bought a home. She was a litigator at Bell, Boyd and Lloyd, an important firm. After 17 years she and Merle were divorced, but remain friends.

We like to tell people we were “introduced by Ann Landers,” which is technically true, although Eppie Lederer didn’t know her at the time. The night I took Eppie to an open AA meeting, we decided to go out to dinner together afterwards; this was the first and only time we ever had dinner for two. In the restaurant, Chaz was at a nearby table that included a couple of people I knew. I didn’t know her, but I’d seen her before and was attracted. I liked her looks, her voluptuous figure, and the way she presented herself. She took a lot of care with her appearance and her clothes never looked quickly thrown together. She seemed to be holding the attention of her table. You never get anywhere with a woman you can’t talk intelligently with.

Something possessed me to pull off one of the oldest tricks in the book. “I have a couple of friends over there I’d love for you to meet,” I told Eppie, and got up to take her across. As the introductions went around, Chaz was included. When we went back to our own table, I had her card. I studied the card and showed it to Eppie, who said, “You sly fox.”

I came back from the Toronto Film Festival with the card on my mind. I called Chaz and invited her to attend the Lyric Opera, which I’d subscribed to a year earlier because Danny Newman, the Lyric’s press agent, had stood in my office door and said, “A man like you not going go the Lyric, you should be ashamed.” Chaz, who later told me she never expected to hear from me again, said, “Actually, I’m on the women’s board of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.” I said I loved the Symphony, but I had, cough, subscription seats at the Lyric for Monday night. The opera was “Tosca.” She said it was her favorite. “Does that scare you?” “No,” I said, “why should it?” At the time I knew nothing about “Tosca.”

We went to dinner afterwards at a restaurant in Greek Town. Something happened. She had a particular quality. She didn’t seem to be a “date” but an equal. She knew where she stood, and I found that attractive. I was going out to Los Angeles a few days later, and I asked her to come along. We formed a serious bond rather quickly. It was an understood thing. I was in love, I was serious, I was ready for my life to change. I had been on hold too long. She lived on the 82nd floor of the Hancock Center and started sending me daily e-mails, even after we’d seen each other earlier the same evening. Her love letters were poetic, idealistic and often passionate. I responded as a man and a lover. As a newspaperman, I observed she never, ever, made a copy-reading error. I saved every one of her letters along with my own, and have them encrypted on my computer, locked inside a file where I can’t reach them because the program and the operating system are now 20 years out of date. But they’re in there. I’m not about to entrust them to anyone at the Apple Genius Counter.

Our lives grew together. One day in May at the Cannes Film Festival we rented a car and drove over to San Remo in Italy to visit the grave of Edward Lear, and on the way back we stopped in Monte Carlo and in a cafe over coffee I proposed marriage. Why did I choose Monte Carlo, a place I have no desire to ever see again? I should have chosen London or Venice or for that matter Chicago. I wasn’t thinking in those terms. We were sitting there talking in a little cafe at the end of a happy day and I became overwhelmed with the desire to propose marriage. Chaz filled my mind. She excited me physically. She was funny. She made a reading of my life rather quickly, understood what I did and how I had to do it, and after I proposed marriage she resigned as a lawyer because I wanted her to travel more than she would otherwise be able to.

Chaz became the vice president of the Ebert Company. It wasn’t merely a title. She organized my contracts, protected my interests, negotiated, wheeled and dealed. I’ve never understood business and have no patience with business meetings or legal details. I had a weakness for signing things just to make them go away. She observed this, and defended me. It was a partnership.

We had times together I will always remember. Right after our first Christmas together, we flew to Venice, where I promised Chaz it would be rainy, cold, deserted, and we would have it all to ourselves. That was how I’d first seen Venice in 1966, and it was the same. It was romantic, sleeping late in the Royal Danelli and then waking up and making love and looking out across the Grand Canal. The hotel was half empty, the rooms a fraction of the summer cost. The city was shrouded in mist and always haunting. Romance in the winter in Venice is intimate and private, almost hushed. One night we went to the Municipal Casino, carefully taking only as much money as we were ready to lose, and we lost it. In a little restaurant we had enough left for spaghetti with two plates, and then lacked even the fare for the canal waterbus. We walked the long way back through the night and cold, our arms around each other, figures appearing out of the fog, lights traced on the wet stones, pausing now and again to kiss and be solemn. It was one of those experiences that seals a marriage.

At Cannes we bought a chicken sandwich for Quentin Tarantino in a beach restaurant, after “Reservoir Dogs” had been a success but he was broke. The next time we saw him at Cannes was after “Pulp Fiction,” when Miramax had rented a ballroom in the Carlton for him. It was the first time we remembered. Another night, after seeing “Boys N the Hood” and being awed by it, we drove out of town for dinner with John Singleton, so young and filled with plans. Chaz seemed to know everybody and to remember all the names; I had often been more abstracted than anyone realized.

We had fun together. In Salvador, the capitol of Bahia in Brazil, we decided to go to a Lambada nightclub, and practiced the dance in our hotel room. Wandering around the town, we saw a dress shop with local fashions and Chaz bought a low-cut white summer gown with lots of ruffles. She looked sexy as hell when we left the hotel. When we walked into the club, an odd silence fell. Something was wrong. People seemed to be smiling for the wrong reasons. An English-speaking waitress took mercy on us, and explained the dress was a national costume intended for pageants and such. Wearing it to a nightclub was like me dressing as Uncle Sam.

In London, we stayed at 22 Jermyn Street, the former Eyrie Mansion. Chaz drew me into the contemporary art scene. I’d started collecting my Edward Lear watercolors in the 1980s, but after we moved into our town house with expanses of bare wall, we could think in terms of larger paintings. In the Purdy-Hicks Gallery on the South Bank, where we’d gone to look at work by our friend David Hiscock, we saw a spacious canvas in a store room and found ourselves side by side just regarding it. This was by Gillian Ayres, a formidable abstract expressionist who covered huge areas with bright impasto. It was a work inspired by a kite festival in India, and its energy flooded the room. Over a few years we obtained five works by Ayres, and even had dinner with her one night at the Groucho Club, where the raffish atmosphere matched her roots in London’s 1950s.

The greatest pleasure came from annual trips we made with our grandchildren Raven, Emil and Taylor, and their parents Sonia and Mark. Josibiah and his son Joseph came on one of those trips, where we made our way from Budapest to Prague, Vienna and Venice. We went with the Evans family to Hawaii, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Venice, and Stockholm. We walked the ancient pathway from Cambridge to Grantchester. Emil announced that for him there was no such thing as getting up too early, and every morning the two of us would meet in a hotel lobby and go out for long walks together. I took my camera. One morning in Budapest he asked me to take a photo of two people walking ahead of us and holding hands.

“Why?”

“Because they look happy.”

At last I could show off my city secrets. I was happy enough to drift for years lonely and solitary through strange cities, but it was more fun with the family. One quality the children had was the ability to feel at home anywhere, in restaurants, theaters, museums. They were attentive and absorbed. They had been well raised.

Those times seem more precious now that they’re in the past. I don’t walk easily anymore. When we were married I told Chaz that in 1987 I’d had a salivary tumor removed. Good Dr. Schlichter observed the surgery and told me, “They got it all. Every last speck.” But I was warned my cancer was slow-growing and sneaky, and might return years later. That’s what happened, and it set into motion all of my current troubles.

I mentioned how expert and exacting Chaz became in my care. Now I must tell you of her love. In the hospital, day after day, she was my staff of strength. In the rehabilitations she cheered me through every faltering step, and when I looked at a flight of three steps I was intended to climb, it was her will that helped me lift my feet. To visit a hospital is not pleasant. To do it hundreds of times is heroic.

The TV show was using “guest co-hosts” and Richard Roeper held down the fort. But after the first surgery failed and I nearly died, it must have been clear to her that my TV days were over. She never admitted it. She had faith, she encouraged me, her presence gave me strength. She brought my friends to see me. Studs Terkel came several times. Father Andrew Greeley was cheerful and optimistic. She brought McHugh and Mary Jo, Gregory Nava, Jon and Pamela Anderson, the mayor’s wife Maggie Daley, the actress Bonnie Hunt (who had once been an oncology nurse at Northwestern). Chaz had become friends with the healer Caroline Myss, and brought her to my bedside to evoke positive thoughts. I did not and do not believe in that kind of healing, but I see only good in the feelings it can engender. I am no longer religious, but every single day Chaz took my hand before she left and recited the 23rd Psalm and the Lord’s Prayer, and from this I took great comfort.

After I was allowed to return home for the first time, Chaz decided I was ready for the Pritikin Longevity Center near Miami. We’d been going to Pritikin, first in Santa Monica and then Florida, since before we were married, and their theories about diet and exercise became gospel to me (sometimes more in the breach than the observance). I had for years been an enthusiastic walker, but now, after rehabilitation, I was using a stroller and it was slow going.

I couldn’t eat the largely vegetarian diet at Pritikin, but Chaz knew the cooks would blend a liquid diet to supplement my cans of nutrition. She also informed me that I was going to walk, exercise, and get a lot of sunshine. Because it was painful to sit in most chairs, Pritikin found me a reclining chair that faced a big TV. I had brought along a pile of books. I cracked open the sliding doors and a fragrant breeze came in, and I would have been completely content to stay there just like that. It was not to be. Chaz ordered me on my feet for morning and afternoon walks, with my caregivers trailing along behind me with a wheelchair. I’d go as far as I thought I could, and Chaz would unfailingly pick out a farther goal to aim for. She was relentless.

In the gym everyday I cranked through 20 minutes on the treadmill and then worked out with weights and exercise bands. After the gym she took me outside to sit in the sun for half an hour. She explained how natural Vitamin D would help strengthen my bones, which were weakened during the muscular degeneration of weeks of post-surgical bed rest. I resented her unceasing encouragement. I was lazy. It was ever so much preferable to sit and read. But she was making me do the right thing.

She did it all over again after my next three tours through the Rehabilitation Institute. Four times I learned to walk again, and each time she took me to Pritikin or Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico, which I had grown to love. I parked the wheelchair for good, I was no longer using a stroller, I was walking, not quickly or for miles, but walking. And getting Vitamin D. At home, we took walks around the neighborhood and down to the Lily Pond in Lincoln Park. We began to go to all the screenings again. She found Dr. Mark Baker, an exercise therapist, to regularly work with me.

It must not have been the most pleasant thing in the world to trail along as I walked slowly. She must have wished we could still be taking our trips overseas. When she thought I was ready for it, she took me back to London and Cannes, and every autumn to the Toronto festival. I know that left on my own I would have stayed at home in my favorite Relax-the-Back chair. That I am still active, going places, moving, in good health, is directly because of her.

We planned all along to produce a show that would continue the Siskel & Ebert & Roeper tradition. Chaz did all the heavy lifting, the negotiations, the contracts. We were going to be the co-producers, but I told her she was born for the job. She repeatedly told me I needed to appear more on the show, even with my computer voice. My instinct was to guard myself. I can never be on television as I once was. She said, “yes, but people are interested in what you have to say, not in how you say it.” The point is not which of us in correct. The point is that she’s encouraging me. She has more faith in me than I do.

I sensed from the first that Chaz was the woman I would marry, and I know after 20 years that my feelings were true. She has been with me in sickness and in health, certainly far more sickness than we could have anticipated. I will be with her, strengthened by her example. She continues to make my life possible, and her presence fills me with love and a deep security. That’s what a marriage is for. Now I know.

Excerpted from my memoir, “Life Itself.”
Our flower girls were Gene and Marlene’s daughters, Kate and Callie.

WED_Page_11 medium.jpg

I think that this is one of the most beautiful things that I have ever read, a true and honest account of love, and what it means to truly cherish someone else. That is what I’ve always wanted and valued – the idea of being cherished. It’s one thing to feel all hot and passionate about someone (it’s one hell of a nice thing, truth be told ;) ) – but to have someone love everything about you, love the things that make you you, and love, value and cherish the very essence  of you…well, that is simply magic. :) The love between Roger and his sweet Chaz is a beautiful, gorgeous thing…the way that he writes of her is simply exquisite, and the life he has led with her is really something to behold. (Props to a man who acknowledges a love for a voluptuous woman and her curvy figure – GOOD JOB, Roger!!!) Happy Anniversary Roger and Chaz – much love to you and your family :)

xxx

Love Story

Who do you love? Your family, your friends, you beloved, your children, your pets? Yeah – I love all of them, too (not yours, silly – mine, although I’m sure your people are wonderful and I’m fairly confident I would love them if I met them). However, something I frequently struggle with is not necessarily loving myself enough – and I’m determined to start working on that. Fabulous drag queen RuPaul says “Remember to love yourself, because if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen in here?”

I’ve been composing this post in my head for about a week, trying to figure out exactly what it is that I wanted to say about this issue, something that so many of us (women in particular) struggle with – and then the strangest thing happened yesterday (it was a SIGN!!): Jane Pratt (yes, I know…all roads in my life lead to Jane Pratt) introduced her new Beauty and Style Editor at XOJane – and it happens to be Gala Darling! If you aren’t familiar with her, you really ought to be – she has a great blog, writes for other publications, has spoken at the TED Conferences, and preaches a pretty good concept called Radical Self Love. I normally avoid such ‘self-help’-y type of thinking, but there is something about her ideas that speaks to me – probably because they are ideas that I rationally know, but struggle to implement. She has written a Radical Self Love Manifesto – I kind of love it. :) Here it is:

There’s some really good stuff in there – yes, a lot of it is obvious, common sense…but we don’t do enough of it. If you visit Gala’s blog, you can find a downloadable version of this that you can print super-large and hang up somewhere (which I intend to do) – and it looks pretty, too. :)

Also on Gala’s site is a list of 100 Ways You Can Start Loving Yourself Right Now – I love this list! :) I’m going to share a few of the ideas with you now – and from time to time, I’ll post more:

<3 Make lists of reasons why you love yourself…
& write down (or keep mental lists) of the compliments other people give you. We’re so quick to believe people when they say nasty, unkind or “brutally honest” (ahem, cruel) things to or about us, & we discard all the times we’re told how amazing, beautiful or intelligent we are. Usually this is because our sense of self-doubt is stronger than our self-love. If you can build up the love side of things, this will begin to change.

<3 Reach out to others…
…& do it regularly. When we don’t talk to people about how we’re feeling, or don’t have anyone to bounce ideas around with, it can be easy to feel lost, confused & out of touch. It also makes it easier for depression & sadness to nibble at our toes. Being reminded that the world is bigger than our bubble can inspire & uplift us.

<3 Think of a way you could make your life easier — then do it.
This could be anything from hiring an assistant to buying a better computer or just learning to say “no” more often. Whatever it is, make it a priority. Do some research on how to make it happen, & then get going!

<3 Change the way you think about food.
So many of us get trapped into thinking that food is “good” or “bad” & there is no in-between. Associating a word like “good” or “bad” with a type of food doesn’t help us, it doesn’t mean anything, it just makes us feel guilty or like we should be “doing better”. What has helped me is to think of food as pure fuel for my body, & considering how it will make me feel or how much energy it will give me. I know that my body (& my brain) work better when I feed myself with fresh raw vegetables & lots of water & fruit, & that I feel sluggish & useless when I eat heaping forkfuls of pasta. If you can think about food that way, there’s less guilt, & you feel more informed & aware.

<3 Stretch in the mornings.
It gets the blood moving, it fires up your brain & it gives you a few moments to just be still & grounded before the day begins.

<3 Really listen to people when they are speaking.
Look at them, make eye contact & be present. They’ll feel good that you care enough to properly engage them, & you’ll feel great in return.

<3 Have media black-out days.
The concept of doing this terrifies me but I know it needs to happen. Stay away from your computer, phone & television for an entire day. Those of us are who technology addicts will FREAK out at this idea but that’s an even bigger sign that we should try it. So many of us use technology to distract ourselves & keep our minds busy, when we would be far better served by just sitting still & learning to be comfortable alone.

<3 Have that “awkward” conversation.
You’ve been holding it in too long. Bite the bullet, take a deep breath, & tell the truth. Be gentle but honest. No one can predict how they’ll react, but it doesn’t really matter. The time has come. Say it, & move on.

<3 Ask for help.
Whatever you’re going through, someone else has been through before, & come out the other side. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel — don’t be afraid to ask someone for advice or help. It could make a huge difference.

<3 Know that you are good enough ALL THE TIME.
Yes, you are.

<3 Do your very, very best to stop judging people.
Wayne Dyer said, “When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” Those critical voices inside of you get a great work-out when you let them loose on someone else, & it’s like training for the grand event — that of judging yourself. If you don’t exercise those voices, they’ll eventually disappear altogether, making you a much happier person.

<3 Express love in as many ways as you can.

Tell your friends you ADORE them, say thank you & mean it, flash your biggest & most sincere smile at strangers on the street, hug people for longer than normal. The more love you give out, the more it builds inside of you & the more you’ll get back — I pinky promise.

<3 Wear sequins.
They’re a wonderful mood booster. If you’re too conservative to wear them, buy sequined knickers & wear them secretly!

<3 Take a bubble bath wearing a tiara.

<3 Embrace the unknown.

Not everything needs to be planned to the last-minute detail! Mystery is wonderful & invigorating. It is the zest of life.

<3 Clean out your closet.
In addition to getting rid of old junk, cleaning out closets or cupboards is therapeutic because at the same time, you’re clearing space in your life for new, better things.

<3 Increase the amount of spinach you eat.
It’s like a miracle food. It’s so good for you & makes you feel amazing! Throw it in a smoothie (you won’t even taste it), use it as the base instead of lettuce in a salad or just snack on baby spinach fresh out of the bag. Yum!

<3 Forget about your “to do” list & just BE.
That’s when you’ll have the most fun, make the best breakthroughs & experience the most amazing adventures. Life is much more exciting & wonderful when you throw caution to the wind & do something ridiculous.

<3 Make a little extra effort every day.
Your definition of “effort” could be wearing a bow on your head, brightly coloured socks or even just taking the time to sit down with a book every night before bed. Just pick something that you know will make you feel good, & then do it.

<3 Listen to new types of music & dance!
Country? Bollywood? Rap? Seek it out & enjoy it with your whole body.

 

Some good ideas there, eh? I don’t know about you, but I personally spend so much of my time working on things for other people, and trying to do whatever I can to ensure the happiness of those around me…and I often overlook the happiness of the one that should be the easiest to tend to: me. I don’t spend much time pampering myself (rarely to never is not much time, right?), I don’t do very many things that are simply for the joy of myself – and I need to stop that and smarten the hell up. I’m not going to be any good to my daughter or anyone else if I’m unhappy within myself. I also think I need to learn to give myself a break sometimes – I’m not SuperWoman….why do I try so hard to be? It all goes back to that idea of being good enough, and my constant fear that I’m not. That nonsense MUST stop…I want to raise a daughter who knows in her heart that she is more than good enough, and she will be taking her cues from me. If I can’t get my shit together for myself, at least I had better figure it out and get it together for her…she is SO worth it. :)

 

Have a beautiful day, my friends! I love you just the way you are! :)

xxx

PS:

You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection. 

Buddha

The Idiot Boy (and I’m not talking about Tom Daley!)

Did you see the men’s 10m platform synchronized diving event yesterday? I did – I LOVE diving (I was a diver myself, once upon a time), and I’m an avid watcher of diving events when they are on television (which is not nearly often enough, if you ask me). The men’s synchro event last night was great – a Chinese team won (of course – the Chinese dominate in the sport of diving), and the surprise silver medal-winning team was from Mexico (these dudes were seriously GREAT!! They performed dives with such an incredibly high degree of difficulty, and while they weren’t excellent, they certainly were solid – it was a great performance, and such a wonderful thing for Mexico, who hasn’t medalled in diving since the 1950s). An American duo won bronze, and the team from Great Britain sadly came in fourth. The British team, consisting of diving phenom Tom Daley and his partner Peter Waterfield (great surname for a diver, eh?), had been strong contenders for a medal; however, they fluffed their fourth dive, leaving them off the podium. This was obviously a great disappointment for them – but what happened after the competition yesterday is even worse.

Last evening, Daley received the following tweet on Twitter: “You let your dad down i hope you know that.” His father passed away a year ago from brain cancer, he and his father were incredibly close, and the past year has been incredibly difficult on the 18-year-old. The fact that a person would send something so hateful is just disgusting. Daley’s response was: “After giving it my all…you get idiot’s sending me this…” Many of Daley’s other followers quickly jumped all over the fool (Twitter handle: Rileyy69), and the police ended up following up on this, resulting in an overnight arrest of a 17-year-old from Weymouth on suspicion of malicious communications. Some people are saying that this arrest is perhaps taking things too far – I completely disagree. Simply because a person is in the public eye doesn’t give the rest of the world the right to have a go at them. It’s unacceptable to disrespect someone that way, especially about something so personal as the death of a parent. The prevalence of social media tools like Twitter has given sports fans unprecedented access to Olympians this year in ways that have never been possible before, and many of the athletes are really excited and cheered on by the messages they are receiving from their Twitter followers around the world. What a shame that some people have to turn it into a vehicle for spreading hate and negativity. What an ass.

xxx

PS: Three cheers for Tom Daley – he’s an absolute doll :)

The Next Best Thing

Good news, friends: I am NOT going to be writing about the crap-fest of a movie by the same title starring Madonna and Rupert Everett (aren’t you glad?!) – instead, I want to talk about the delightful Jennifer Weiner’s latest book “The Next Best Thing” (released earlier this month).

Here’s a brief synopsis of the book: Actors aren’t the only ones trying to make it in Hollywood.…At twenty-three, Ruth Saunders left her childhood home in Massachusetts and headed west with her seventy-year-old grandma in tow, hoping to make it as a screenwriter. Six years later, she hits the jackpot when she gets The Call: the sitcom she wrote, The Next Best Thing, has gotten the green light, and Ruthie’s going to be the showrunner. But her dreams of Hollywood happiness are threatened by demanding actors, number-crunching executives, an unrequited crush on her boss, and her grandmother’s impending nuptials.

Set against the fascinating backdrop of Los Angeles show business culture, with an insider’s ear for writer’s room showdowns and an eye for bad backstage behavior and set politics, Jennifer Weiner’s new novel is a rollicking ride on the Hollywood roller coaster, a heartfelt story about what it’s like for a young woman to love, and lose, in the land where dreams come true.

I have read every one of her books, and I think that Jennifer Weiner is one of the most delightful writers around these days. She tells real stories, of real people: they are flawed, they make mistakes (some of them are real whoppers), they are just ‘real’ – they look like you or me. I like that. :) I grew up in a time when the trials and tribulations of Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield and the rest of that rag-tag bunch of kids from Sweet Valley High was required reading, and I always found it so hard to relate: I wasn’t a perfect size six (well, there was that one really good week when I was about 14 or so), I didn’t have “flashing blue-green eyes”, and the quest for “perfect skin” has eluded me as well. Growing up in the frozen prairies in Canada, I found their California beach life extremely hard to relate to, and the fact that their lives were essentially perfect kind of pissed me off. That’s one of the things that makes Jennifer Weiner’s characters so relatable: they aren’t anywhere near perfect, but their true beauty lies in their imperfections. I love that. :)

The main character in “The Next Best Thing” is Ruth Saunders, a screenwriter/showrunner in Hollywood. As a child, Ruth was in a car accident that took her parents lives, and left her with considerable facial and body injuries and scarring. She ends up being raised by her grandmother, who may be my favorite literary character in a very long time. The love between this woman and her granddaughter is so real that you can pretty much feel it pulsating through the pages of the book (or through the Kindle, in my case) – I love the selflessness of the grandmother’s character, it’s just so gorgeously written :) (Jennifer Weiner must come from a family of fantastic women – it’s obvious in every single word that she crafts). I also loved how Weiner regularly acknowledges the physical deformities that Ruth’s character endures (because of her injuries in the accident), and how many may view her as physically broken, but that spiritually, she is more together and alive than most of us…isn’t that great? :)

The love story element in “The Next Best Thing” is extremely well told. It’s not overly shmaltzy, it’s not unattainable – it’s a pretty sweet, simple love affair that grows out of an incredible friendship, which is the key to lasting love, I believe (not that I’m the poster child for lasting love, but…I’m getting there :) ). You can’t help but feel smiley with how this book ends – but I’m not going to ruin it for you…grab a copy and read it for yourself! :)

xxx

PS: Bonus points to the lovely Ms. Weiner for including a TON of references to “The Golden Girls” in this book – I freaking LOVE that show!!  Thank you for being a friend!!!!! :)

 

Under Pressure

I’ve been glued to the TV since the Olympics began on Friday, how about you? I love watching the different events, seeing everyone doing their absolute best and living up to their potential at exactly the right moment (or not, as has happened in many cases) – but I’m getting pretty distressed with some of the media coverage.
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First – let’s get this shit out of the way right off the bat: the Melbourne-based newspaper The Herald Sun called out Australian Olympian swimmer Leisel Jones for being overweight. Excuse me???! Beg you pardon???! That’s one of YOUR OWN COUNTRY’S ATHLETES…WTF, people???!  It’s disgusting, if you ask me. She is an elite athlete, who qualified for the Olympic Games and ought to be getting a ton of support from her homeland (and her home media), not a rash of shit about her gut. Thankfully, everyone and their dog has stepped up in support of Jones, and the asshats at the newspaper took down the poll that they had started (the poll asked if she was fit to swim in London – like people sitting on their arses in a newspaper office are qualified to judge that one). Ms. Jones has been a successful swimmer in Australia for a number of years (these are her fourth Olympics – so at 26, she’s not exactly a newbie), so who really gives a shit what her weight is? If she can get the job done, then leave her the hell alone…I think she looks – and performs – great. :) People are so bloody mean sometimes….I don’t get it. I really thought the Australians had more class and sense than that.
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Last evening, the United States gymnastic team was front and center – specifically, the fact that Jordyn Wieber failed to qualify for the all-around competition. The rules are pretty simple: the top two girls from each country advance, and Wieber didn’t finish in the top two for her country (despite the fact that she finished 4th overall). I felt absolutely broken-hearted for her, as I know how much work and time and determination goes into making it to where she is…and she is so young, barely more than a child. The thing that got me absolutely riled up was the fact that the NBC commentators were interviewing Aly Raisman (she qualified), who was extremely excited (of course), and they included Wieber sobbing her eyes out over Raisman’s shoulder. It was very real, yet also very heartbreaking…she’s a little girl, and I could hardly stand to watch her disappointment and heartbreak on live television. It was absolutely tragic. I understand that things like this cultivate viewers, but that little girl is somebody’s daughter – and I would break the legs (and arms) of someone who showed my daughter going through a terrible moment so publicly. I felt really, really bad. :(
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Although I am in awe of his athletic accomplishments, I’m not the biggest Michael Phelps fan out there (I’m finding something rather arrogant about him these days – mind you, if I was him, I’d probably have my head up my arse, too), but I have actually sympathized with the treatment some of the media has given him. Many of the reporters seem to delight in the fact that he isn’t winning every single event – and that has to be hard. He is there at the Olympics, trying to do his thing and be the best he can be – and he keeps getting asked asinine questions about how it felt to come in 4th and not even win a medal (I imagine his answer inside is probably “pretty friggin’ awful, thanks”). Why do reporters/journalists need to do that? We as a society tend to build people up to superhuman heights, and then take a perverse pleasure in tearing those very people back down again. Why? What purpose does it serve? Should we not be more concerned with cultivating the talent of people? Should be not spend more of our time encouraging and supporting, rather than being snarky? I don’t get it. Come on, media – step up and be supportive. This is getting ridiculous.

Overall, I’m loving watching the Olympics, and I’m so excited for the amazing show that London (and all of the UK) is putting on for the world. But…I’m begging the media: stop bringing down our athletes!! Let them shine or falter, let them rise to new heights or fall a wee bit short…but most importantly, just celebrate the very fact that they made it to the big show in the first place. Let’s support them – not tear them down. That’s not the kind of image I’d want my daughter to have – and I’m pretty sure you agree. :)

xxx

 

 

 

What It Feels Like For A Girl

I can’t wait to tell you how very, very much I loved reading the brilliant Caitlin Moran’s book “How To Be A Woman” – if you haven’t read it yet, you must…you will LOVE it! :) Let me start by telling you a wee bit about Ms. Moran, in case you aren’t familiar with her work: she’s 37 years old, British, a broadcaster, television critic and columnist for ‘The Times’. She was raised in the not-so-bright-and-sparkly area of Birmingham called Wolverhampton, with seven siblings. She worked for music publication ‘Melody Maker’ at the age of 16 (how the hell does one get a gig like that??! I’m SO JEALOUS!!!), hosted a music program on Channel 4 called ‘Naked City’ (at the age of 18), she’s a mommy of two little girls, and one hell of a crackin’ great writer.

In “How To Be A Woman”, she writes about the different events and stages that we go through in life that transform us from girls into women. I am very intrigued by this, because I think I’m still going through these stages – even though I’m 38 years old. It’s only very recently that I’ve begun referring to myself in my head as a woman, rather than a girl…and I still revert to girl from time to time. Isn’t that weird? Is there even a difference between girls and women? I believe there is…but the difference is difficult to describe. This is part of what Moran tackles in her book.

She shares (with staggering honesty) the physical transformation that her body endured as she grew from girl to woman. Her riffs on Brazilian waxes are hilarious (“I remember when it was all furry round here,” I will say sadly in the changing rooms of the gym, surrounded by smooth, pink genitals. “Hairy toots as far as the eye could see. Wild and untamable. An arbor of nature. Playground of my youth. I used to spend hours there. Now…now it’s all waxed and empty. All the wildlife has gone. The bulldozers have moved in. They’re going to build a new Safeway there, on the vaginas.”), and her honesty about high-heeled shoes made me snicker guiltily (“The next day, I go out – determined to give being a grown-up woman a try – and purchase my first pair of high heels. I still haven’t quite got it – the heels I finally, triumphantly, purchase are sky-blue jelly sandals with a block heel…They make my feet sweat so much I squeak slightly as I walk – like I’ve used mice as insoles, and they’re all slowly being crushed to death. They’re also quite painful in both the toe and the heel area – but no matter! I am in heels! I am a woman! That night, trying to negotiate a staircase in them at a gig, I stumble and fall right on top of Graham Coxon from Blur, spilling my whiskey and Coke all down his leg. ‘ARGH!’ Graham shouts. ‘These are my great weapons in the style wars,’ I say sadly. ‘No one messes with a woman in heels. I am a woman.’ ‘ARGH!’ Graham says again, staring at his wet leg. ‘You fucking idiot.’ I do not give in easily, though. Thirteen years on and I now have both a great many more pairs of high heels and, indeed, a great many more anecdotes about how wearing them has ended badly for me. In fact, I have a whole box full of such shoes under my bed. Each pair was bought as a down payment on a new life I had seen in a magazine and subsequently thought I would attain, now that I had the ‘right’ shoes. Here they are. Here are all the shoes I don’t wear.”). I’m a huge fan of heels( I can even walk in them!), and wear them pretty much every work day (despite the fact that I’m 5’7″ tall barefoot, and when I wear my heels I hover just under the 6′ mark, making me taller than pretty much every woman and most men I encounter here in San Antonio, resulting in all sorts of ignorant comments from the tiny masses about how ‘Amazonian’ I am, etc etc etc, blah blah blah…like I could give two shits what people think of my height). (NOTE: A woman I used to work for – who was very short – asked me to stop wearing heels to work as the rest of the employees of the school and the parents found my “gigantic and grotesque” height to be very intimidating…what an asshat) When Moran writes about the shoes that she has bought and doesn’t wear, she brings up a great point, though: how many times do we see things in magazines, get sucked in to the idea that purchasing said items will result in major changes in our life and give us a whole different lifestyle…only to find out that we can’t wear it/it looks like shit on us/it was a total waste of money, and our lives haven’t changed at all???! I do this ALL the time (which probably explains my high credit card bill)…and surely I can’t be the only one. (I just called you Shirley – heh heh!) ;)

Another topic that Moran lets rip on is the idea that as women, we have to always be nice. This is one of my biggest curses in life – I am polite. Always. Even when I really need not to be, I am sweet, kind, polite, well-mannered (and I generally keep what I’m really thinking to myself)…and it’s starting to make me want to barf a bit. Moran writes: “When did feminism become confused with Buddhism? Why on earth have I, because I’m a woman, got to be nice to everyone? And why have women – on top of everything else – got to be particularly careful to be ‘lovely’ and ‘supportive’ to teach other at all times? This idea of the ‘sisterhood’ I find, frankly, illogical, I don’t build in a 20 percent ‘Genital Similarity Regard Bonus’ if I meet someone else wearing a bra. If someone’s an arsehole, someone’s an arsehole – regardless of whether we’re both standing in the longer bathroom queue at concerts or not.” She goes on to discuss that men don’t have to consider crap like this: “Men are not being informed that they are oppressing other men with their comments. It is presumed that men can handle perfectly well the idea of other men bitching about them. I think, on this basis, we can presume women can cope with other women being bitchy about them, too. Because we are essentially the same as men when it comes to being vile about each other. This isn’t to say that we should all start behaving like bitches towards each other and turn every day into a 24-hour roasting session, in which people’s lives, wardrobes, and psyches are destroyed before our eyes. All along, we must recall the most important Humanity Guidelines of all: BE POLITE. Being polite is possibly the greatest daily contribution everyone can make to life on earth.”  This is something that drives me insane – men are able to just get on with things, while women have to worry about what they say and do, whether or not they will hurt another woman’s feelings, and they can’t be their real selves…while men can. I’ve always approached work with a decidedly more ‘male’ attitude, and I’ve found that I get along with men in the workplace SO much better than I do with the women. I hate that – I’m a person who wants to be friends with women, I’m a great girlfriend to my female friends…yet, I find that some women can be so bloody frustrating to work with. Moran’s bottom line is absolutely right, though: if we have to bitch about something, let’er rip and get it out of your system…but as members of the human race, we should always endeavor to be polite. :) I can get on board with that, can’t you? :)

There’s a bit in the book about women’s knickers (underpants) that is really, really funny (as most of this book is, actually): “Knickers have gradually become difficult. And the reason for this is that knickers have become smaller. Much smaller. Too small. A case in point: a few months ago, I was on a crowded tube with a friend of mine, who gradually grew paler and quieter until she finally leaned forward and admitted that her knickers were so skimpy, her front bottom had eaten them entirely. ‘I’m currently wearing them on my clit – like a little hat,’ she said. Clearly, this is not right. Jesus Christ. Underpants like this need to be bombed back to the Stone Age. Batman doesn’t have to put up with this shit – why should we? Women need, as a basic human right, to be given enough underwear for it to cling to their exteriors, like a starfish – and not slowly be pulled into the deep gravity of their inside and get internalized, due to motion friction. It’s insanity.”  If that doesn’t just about make you die laughing, then you have no soul or sense of humor…and learning how to be a woman is the least of your problems.

I’ve never really sat down and thought of myself as a feminist or not, simply because I don’t really believe in labels like that (plus, my bras are way too gorgeous and farrrrr toooooooo expensive for me to contemplate burning ;) ). I believe that women ought to be treated equally, but I also want a man to hold the door open for me. I believe that women should be paid as well as their male counterparts, and have the same career and life opportunities as those that pee standing up – but I want a man who spoils me with things and attention, stands up when I get up to leave a table, and still believes in holding my hand whenever possible. I love Moran’s definition of feminism: “What is feminism? Simply the belief that women should be as free as men, however nuts, dim, deluded, badly dressed, fat, receding, lazy, and smug they might be.” Isn’t that the truth??! :) I hope that you will give this book a read (if you haven’t already), and that you will find something meaningful in it – I know that I sure have…I finished this book a week ago, and I can’t stop thinking about it. It is very likely that I will read it again before too long – it was THAT good, that mind-altering and life-changing. I can’t wait to see what she is going to write next. :)

Happy Monday, mes amis! :)

xxx

 

 

When I Grow Up

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When I was really young, I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up – not that surprising, really, as my grandfather was a doctor, and he was the greatest person I knew. However, I discovered pretty quickly (’round about the age of 8) that I wasn’t terribly scientifically-inclined, and that medicine was not really a viable calling for this cowgirl (especially since I pass out at the sight of stitches on a person, no kidding). Over the next number of years, I cycled through a ton of options of things that I thought I would like to do: interior designer, lawyer, musician, teacher…but, when push came to shove and I had to start university, I really didn’t know what the best options for me were. We had no guidance counselor in my little school, and the only people I saw around me were teachers – so that’s what I ended up choosing. I figured that I’d do pretty well at it, since I was good with kids, and I had always been a good student and tutor to my peers. Also, it seemed one of the few options that I really understood – while I loved the idea of something like Interior Design, the only experience I had with that world came in the form of ‘Designing Women’, and I wasn’t sure I had the flair to be a Sugarbaker. If I was doing it all over again, I can say with a lot of certainty that I would do things very differently. I would have pursued law, or, most likely, journalism/writing. Those areas remain my passion and my interest, but I’ve been in the Education business so long, that switching now wouldn’t be practical – or feasible, for that matter.

It’s also interesting to me when I consider how different my life would be had I chosen differently. I would probably be in much better financial shape (no kidding…everybody knows how poorly educators are paid in the United States), which would make a lot of other aspects of my life better (such as my living situation: my Wee One and I would move to a better neighborhood so fast you wouldn’t see us for the dust behind our moving truck – just think: no more shitty neighbors peeping at me over the fence, throwing beer bottles against my bedroom window in the middle of the night, and other irritants that they regularly offer up). I would be able to do more for my daughter: take her on exotic vacations, and just provide her with a better life. How lovely would that be? :)

However, if I hadn’t been a teacher, I would have missed out on so much: meeting so many amazing students who have touched my heart and changed my life through the years, working with some of the finest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting (seriously – there are many angels walking amongst us on this earth, and the bulk of them are teachers and others who work in schools), and I wouldn’t have some of those who are closest to me…and frankly, I can’t imagine a moment of my life without them. So perhaps things in life work out the way they are meant to work out…maybe someone out there is watching out for me, putting me exactly where I am meant to be, and there for those who need me most. That’s a really pretty thought, don’t you think? :)

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If the whole Education thing doesn’t work our for me, I guess I could always become a Superhero….I look damn good in a cape ;)

Xxx

Don’t Look Back in Anger


 There is nothing more galling to angry people than the coolness of those on whom they wish to vent their spleen. 

~Alexandre Dumas

Are you quick to anger? Do you argue frequently? I sure don’t…I’m a person who will do pretty much anything and everything to avoid an argument with a person, especially someone who I care about. That doesn’t mean I’m a pushover (hah! far from it, friends), but I believe in talking things over quietly and calmly, and then letting it go and moving on. It takes quite a lot for me to get pissed off with someone, but when it happens, I clearly state my dissatisfaction, express what I’m upset with, give the other party the opportunity to respond – and then get over it. There’s absolutely no point in being pissy with someone for any length of time – it ends up hurting you far more than it will ever hurt them.

According to an article I found online just now (so you know it must be highly reliable), there are 11 steps that will help you stay out of an argument. Here they are:

1. Ask yourself these 4 questions: Is the matter important enough to warrant an argument? Is it appropriate to argue about the matter, or at this time? Can anything be changed, made different by prevailing in the argument? Is the issue worth arguing about?

2. If you often argue with a person, plan and practice staying calm.

3. Learn to recognize when a discussion is no longer a discussion, but is escalating to an argument.

4. Identify your ‘buttons’, the things that typically set you off.

5. Know that others will know where to find your ‘buttons’.

6. Say these words in the calmest tone of voice you can muster: ‘I love’, ‘I care about’, or ‘I respect’ you too much to argue with you.

7. Prepare yourself for weird looks and another attempt to keep the arguing going.

8. Repeat step 4.

9. Try not to listen too much to the content of what they’re saying back to you.

10. Continue repeating step 4 until the other person walks away or shuts up.

11. If warranted, when both of you are calm, finish the discussion.

 

This seems pretty common sense to me – any time something transpires, I ask myself: Is this the hill I choose to die on? – meaning, do I care enough about this topic/issue/situation to stand up for what I believe in? If it is, then I will speak up and probably push a bit harder than I would otherwise – but if it’s not, then I just shut up and let it go. I find it pointless to engage in every single issue that pops up, because if I did, I’d be in conflict pretty much all the time, because stuff is ALWAYS popping up, don’t you think? However, I completely agree with Malachy McCourt, who said “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die” – I find that the anger I do feel hurts me far more than it would ever hurt anybody else…have you ever noticed that?

This topic came up recently, about how I don’t argue with those around me – and I felt very strange during the conversation, as if the fact that I don’t get mad, rage, argue, and fly off the handle made me less of a person or significantly less important than those who do, because maybe it seems that I don’t care as much as they do….when, in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t argue because I do care, I don’t lose my shit because I feel too much respect and love for those around me, and I am afraid that during the heat of an argument, something hateful may fly out of my mouth…and once it’s out, I can’t take it back. Therefore, I think it’s easier to just keep it together, not sweat the small stuff, and sort things out as rationally as possible…and try to make sure that every word that comes out of my mouth is infused with love and kindness. I try. :)

 

My soul slides away
“But don’t look back in anger, don’t look back in anger”
I heard you say, “at least not today”

Xxx

Games People Play

Let the games begin! :) This evening, the London Olympics Opening Ceremony has been on TV, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the program so far (the Parade of Nations was on for ages – and while I understand the importance of it, it takes FOREVER). It has been so gorgeously done, so beautiful, and so quintessentially British – I have LOVED it! Yaa for director Danny Boyle! :)  I hope that the people of the UK are as happy with it as I have been – some of the highlights for me have been JK Rowling’s appearance (I actually cheered out loud – I LOVE her, and have more admiration for her than just about any other person alive….she truly is all that I could ever hope to be), Daniel Craig (as James Bond) going to Buckingham Palace to meet with the Queen (who looked really lovely, by the way), and then the two of them flying over to the Stadium in a helicopter, which they both appeared to jump out of by parachute (friggin’ AWESOME – even the statue of Winston Churchill came to life and saluted her…bloody amazing, that was! She knows how to make one hell of an entrance :) ), Mr. Bean (the hilarious Rowan Atkinson) who sat in with the symphony for a rousing performance of the theme song from ‘Chariots of Fire’, the lovely David Beckham in a speed boat with the Olympic torch, and, of course, my imaginary boyfriend Sir Paul McCartney’s performance – there just aren’t words. Here are a few pictures for you: 

 

 


I will be watching a ton of Olympic coverage for the duration of the games – NBC is going to be showing all sorts of things on their array of channels (although I still desperately miss the CBC coverage in Canada), and I’m really excited. :) I love to see all of the different athletes doing their absolute best, hearing their stories of hardship and triumph, and hopefully watching the world put aside the fighting and shit that has been so prominent in recent years for a couple of weeks to just celebrate each other and be peaceful. We need more of that kind of hopeful, positive thinking, don’t you think? :) I’m in :)

xxx

 

PS: Shame on Mitt Romney for acting like a boorish asshat during his visit to London prior to the kickoff of the Games. What kind of fool goes to another country and insults their preparations for the Olympics just before they begin by stating that what he had seen was “disconcerting” and that it is “hard to know just how well it will turn out”??! Good for British Prime Minister David Cameron and London mayor Boris Johnson for shutting that idiot down. Every ounce of my being hopes hopes HOPES that he will not become the President of the US in November…I shudder to think how awful that would be. What a jerk – how dare he behave so rudely?!?!! Gross.

None Of Your Business

During the past 48 hours, the Internet and TV (and pretty much everywhere, come to think of it….I swear I saw a bird flying by with a copy of US Weekly in his beak) have been flooded with the news of Kristen Stewart stepping out on Robert Pattinson with her “Snow White and the Huntsman” director Rupert Sanders. My first thought upon hearing this news on Tuesday evening was “Holy shit! The world’s most boring girl celebrity did something exciting! Woohooooo!” I’m really mean about celebs sometimes, I know….sorry. I’ve never been a big fan of Kristen Stewart – I’ve read all of the ‘Twilight’ books, enjoyed reading them, seen all the movies, they’ve been alright….but I have loathed her acting (although she did show signs of improving in the last movie). I think she has the on-screen charisma of a quart of milk, and I have nearly found it painful to watch her. I keep hearing that she’s so shy, etc etc etc – and if that’s the case, fine…FIND ANOTHER PROFESSION!!!  Don’t get yourself involved in a career field that requires you to be in the public eye pretty much every moment of your life! ARRGGGHHHH!!!! Anyway – enough of my ranting about her (I could go on for hours, no joke…she really does irritate the ever-loving shit out of me) – I actually want to do something extremely shocking: I’m going to defend her. I’ll wait while you express a shocked, ‘Home Alone’-style face.

Are you done?

Okay – on to my defense of Kristen Stewart (I refuse to call her KStew, because I loathe it when celebs are given stupid-ass nicknames – and don’t even get me started on those stupid couple names like Bennifer and Brangelina – barf barf barf). Here’s the bottom line: she is 22 years old, and she has the world at her fingertips. Have you been in that situation? I sure as hell haven’t. However, when I was 22, I was a first-rate idiot…even now, I still have my moments. I’m sure you do as well…who doesn’t??! The thing is – when I screwed up, I wasn’t doing it in front of the ENTIRE WORLD. Can you imagine??? I get embarrassed enough when I consider some of the STOOPID things I’ve done just in front of my family and friends , I would be bloody mortified if the entire world knew my sins! YIKES!!! Yes, she did choose a profession where the paparazzi are on her every moment of the day, but come on… the girl is human. I’m not going to judge her for what she’s done, and I suggest that you don’t, either – for the very simple reason that THIS IS NONE OF OUR BUSINESS. Plain and simple, folks. Unless you are Robert Pattinson reading this (and if you are – hey Rob! hugs to you, friend!), this situation has absolutely bugger-all to do with you, and therefore its best to ignore it, give them their privacy, and allow them to sort themselves out in peace.

What people do in their relationships is their business, not yours or mine. I don’t want anybody judging me for how I’ve chosen to live my life, therefore I don’t spend one second of my time judging anyone else – and I suggest that you don’t, either. It’s hard enough to be a woman, and hard enough to have relationships and navigate the ins and outs of your unique situation (whatever that may be)…we don’t need the world watching and weighing in on our every bloody move. It’s unfair, intrusive, and unnecessary – let them be them, you be you…and the world will keep on turning. :)

Now – on to the statement Kristen released yesterday. Here’s what she said: “I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I’ve caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected. This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I’m so sorry.” Those are very nice sentiments, but she did not need to share them publicly. She does not owe the public an apology!! NOT ONE BIT!!!  Remember? This is NONE OF OUR BUSINESS!!  I can’t stand it when public figures screw up and make public apologies (case in point: Tiger Woods) – it’s not necessary. They don’t owe us anything, and they don’t need to issue a public apology statement to all of us. They need to make things right with their loved ones, and that is it. The rest of us need to butt the hell out.

Not every relationship looks the same, and thank goodness for that. :) If we were all forced to have conventional, traditional relationships, the world would be boring as hell – and most of us wouldn’t survive (or if we did, we’d live alone in a cabin in the woods with a raccoon and some cats as our friends). Relationships come in all shapes and sizes, and what works for some people would NEVER fly in other households – but that’s the beauty of it. :) You don’t always choose who you fall in love with – the best you can do is make it the best that you can…and that, my friends, is a beautiful thing. :)  What I have with my beloved is FAR from conventional, but…you know what? It works for us. :) There’s an awful lot of love there…and that is always a good thing. :) We as a society need to love a whole lot more, and judge a whole lot less.

So – a final plea to the public before I go: leave Kristen Stewart alone to sort out her own life. Leave Robert Pattinson alone to make his own peace. And leave Rupert Sanders and his family alone while they navigate their course through these undoubtedly choppy waters. Life is never easy, and we’re all just doing the very best that we can. :)  And while you’re at it – remember that love and relationships don’t always have to fit in to some cookie-cutter mold that tradition and society have dictated since the dinosaurs roamed the earth.  Just because a relationship doesn’t look like what you think it should look like doesn’t mean it isn’t bloody fantastic. :)

xxx