Sep 152012


**Kay- I’m on Craig’s computer and I’m pretty sure all the text and pictures in this post are going to be a bit screwy. Let us consider it an opportunity to embrace imperfection.

I brought home a copy of Carry On, Warrior last night. It was in my hands. A real BOOK. It’s not finished, just an early copy to distribute to booksellers, but still. It is now something to hold, to show to my family. It’s a real thing. I brought it to Tish and Amma and held it up to them like it was a newborn baby. I said, “Look! It’s mama’s book!” Tish looked at it, smiled and said, “Oh! Is that what you’ve been doing instead of playing with us?”

I hear you, Mommy Guilt. They didn’t used to listen to you, you know. Mamas used to have their babies and let them do their kid thing for twelve hours a day while mamas smoked cigarettes and played bridge or worked all day and then made Hamburger Helper. I think all this obsessive Mommy Guilt is relatively new and I am going to try every day to silence it. I will not let you take me down, Mommy Guilt. I did a good thing. I’m proud of myself. I wrote a book that is going to help people take it easier on themselves – and maybe one day one of those people will be Tish. Shut up, Mommy Guilt. I’ve got work to do and kids to raise and honestly, neither job needs my UNDIVIDED attention to thrive. There is nothing about me that is undivided and there never will be. I am a woman divided. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Okay- I’d like to catch you up on all that’s happening in Monkee Land- a State of Our Union, if you will.

Sister and I have been traveling- first to LA again, where the president of a very humungous network may or may have not told us that the Monkee Revolution is the VOICE OF OUR GENERATION. Kay. Things are happening there –I will keep you updated.  Also- I saw Lieutenant DAN! He smiled at me. I was totally bummed that he had legs.



We left LA, excited about our little celebrity sightings. And then The G to the O to the D put us in our place by introducing us to some REAL CELEBRITIES. These guys. It was September 11th, and we were at the airport getting coffee and waiting for our plane. And these men walked in. They are highly trained firefighters from all over the country who spend their FREE TIME and OWN MONEY to travel and train firefighters all over the world. We sat down with them and talked about September 11th. Most of them, upon watching those planes crash into the Twin Towers, dropped everything and drove to Ground Zero. They just went and saved people. They literally didn’t sleep for days. One of them told us that he didn’t sleep for four straight days.



We thanked them and they blessed Bobby. It was something. It was really something. There are such thing as heroes.




Next I traveled to Virginia to speak to group of moms about Life. It was a BIG group of moms so I was kind of scared. But my best friends all came and sat right up in front. Anna came, too. And Bubba and Tisha came and sat in the back of the auditorium so Bubba could wave his arms frantically whenever I started to get off point. Truth. You guys- it was magical. It was just like Momastery except in real life. I spoke for a little while about the bruty of it all and then I read a little from Carry On and then the best part- questions and more questions time. I can’t really call it question and answer time, because obviously I don’t have any answers. But the important part is during that time the whole crew realized that we all have the SAME questions. How do I deal with mommy guilt? How am I going to survive my colicky baby? How do I help my hurting friend? How do I encourage my girls to develop healthy body images? How do I find my passion and then follow it? What deodorant REALLY works the best? There was a whole lot of laughing, a little crying and that beautiful, comforting energy that always accompanies choruses of me too me too me too me too. What is that quote? The secret of life is not to find the answers, but to ask good questions in good company? It was like that. It was my favorite thing.

Email me and bring me to your events. I want to meet you. It fed me and encouraged me in a way that I can’t really grasp sitting behind this screen.  I love you, Mothers of North Arlington!


It’s fall, Monks. Fall is our season of filling up and overflowing. During my trip,  the Monkee See- Monkee Do board held a five hour meeting and Lovies- we have so much amazing work coming up during the next few months. AMAZING things are about to happen. I know you’ve been waiting patiently to love on some Mama Monkees and you are going to get plenty of chances during the coming months. Get ready. The Love Revolution IS ON FIRE.

Kay. Last, but totally not least.

Remember how I was going to the doggie shelter every day to comfort myself? I accidentally fell in love.
Here’s how it happened. I tried to sneak out of my house one afternoon, but Craig caught me getting in the car and said “where ya heading, honey?” Obviously, he knew exactly where I was heading, but I mumbled something about groceries and sped away.

I went to the shelter. This little one was in the first kennel.



She had arrived a few hours before from Puerto Rico. Apparently Isaac hit pretty hard there so they got as many strays off the streets and sent them to Naples. This lovie had never had a home before. She was a street dog. I just decided to play with her for a little while. An hour later I looked through the window and CRAIG WAS STANDING THERE WATCHING US PLAY. Busted. Note to self- if you are going to lie about where you are going- mention a place you might ACTUALLY be going, not the GROCERY STORE for goodness sake.



Craig came in to our little room and I told him all about this new little Puerto Rican. Craig sat down and started speaking to her in Spanish, “Hola! Me llamo Craig! Siente te!” Then he pulled out his iphone and played some Shakira for her. All three of us danced. Chase later told us that Shakira is definitely not from Puerto Rico.  Whatevs. It was festive.

We brought the kids to meet her and then took her home. She is ours. Her name is Monkee, of course.

On the way home, she sat in my lap and I said, “YOU GUYS! WE FINALLY ADOPTED INTERNATIONALLY!”

Craig smiled. Chase (aka the peanut gallery) said, “Um. Mom. Puerto Rico is not another country. It’s hard to explain, but it’s, like, part of OUR country.”

DAMNIT!!!!!!!! Foiled again. Oh, well. We are proud to be Americans.


Love you so much Monkees. So many exciting things are just around the corner for us.

It is true that we can do hard things, but do something easy today, okay?  That’s important, too.



Also – THIS.




Additionally- please don’t forget to Fight the Power.



Love, G, Sister, Bobby, and Monkee

Sep 172012

I’ve been fielding lots of questions about my college years lately. These are hard questions to answer because those years are hard to describe, and by describe I mean remember.

Here’s a snapshot.



My college experience was a little….vague. I am told that I had an excellent time, but I can’t be sure. Mercifully, I mostly recall college as a seven year black out, but sometimes a memory of something I did, said, or worse, WORE, hits me like a wave of nausea, and I marvel at how I made it out of there alive.

Throughout college I had this sweet little ritual where I’d enjoy a couple dozen drinks and then go for a walk, perhaps at 3 am. And then, usually, I’d get lost and decide to go ahead and sleep in a cozy parking lot or under a tree somewhere in town. It was like camping, except without a tent, clue, or functioning liver. There must have been a strict No Camping rule in my college town though, because I was often awakened by annoyed men and women with guns. These uniformed bandits were not my parents, although it would take me a good three minutes to understand this. They would ask me why I was on the ground and I would assure them that I planned to explain just as soon as they told me where we all were, and also, my name.

Fortunately they actually would be able to teach me my name because, well, we’d met before. We went way back. And they’d invite me into the back of their cozy car and put shiny silver handcuffs on me. And I would sort of settle in and ask them how their families were, and they’d tell me. They liked me, and I liked them. I went to school in a sleepy little town, and so I like to think that maybe the night police shift was glad to have the company.

So we’d continue to catch up and all would go smoothly, but inevitably during the ride to my new camping spot my officers would get frustrated. Because every time they turned around to check on me, my handcuffs would be off and placed in a tidy pile on the seat beside me. So they’d stop the car and put them back on. And I’d take them back off. My wrists are very small and I had decided that while it may have been silly for one to sleep under a tree in January, it was ridiculous for one to PRETEND that one is handcuffed. I just couldn’t fake it, though I did try for the sake of my police friends. I have a paralyzing respect for authority, so I was always vehemently on their side. But they really were going to have to do better with the handcuffs. I understood that they weren’t arresting child sized people often, but still. I explained that it was probably important to be better prepared.

{A few years ago, Craig and I were watching Cops and I noticed that police forces had started using plastic cuffs that look like garbage bag ties which close more tightly. I got very excited and told Craig that I was positive that the plastic tie handcuff innovation was inspired by me and my mini wrists. He stared, as always, and then asked me to never share that theory with anyone. But it’s hard not to discuss what may have been a real contribution to the law enforcement community on my part.}

When we got to the station I would say hello to Tom and Carla, who were often in charge of checking me in. “Booking,” I believe they called it. They were lovely people, just lovely. And they’d lead me into my very own private cell which made me feel like a bit of a celebrity, to tell you the truth. Special treatment, you know. One time, after having been there for a few hours I called Carla over and asked her if I could be released early for good behavior. I’d been quite well behaved that night, if I did so say myself. She said no, it didn’t work that way. But she did agree that I was being especially good, so she shared her granola bar with me. I was deeply touched.

Eventually I’d fall asleep and I’d awake in the morning and call my long suffering friend Dana, who had always wisely slipped an index card with our phone number into my back pocket. And she’d pick me up and we’d go to Waffle House and discuss what we were going to wear that night.

Wow. Strange, but true.

I started thinking of these stories yesterday when I got an email from a woman who is a sheriff deputy and reads this blog daily. In her email she thanked me for inspiring her. I was up all night thinking about her and how proud I am that she’s reading my blog. I forwarded her email to my dad with the subject line: DAD– THE POLICE ARE READING MY BLOG! which was probably so much more enjoyable for him to receive than my usual announcement “DAD- THE POLICE ARE READING MY RIGHTS!”

You guys, I don’t want to sound boastful, but I think I’m finally coming up in the world.

Joelle, Tom, Carla, Grandpa, and every other kind and dedicated officer. Thank you. Thank you for protecting me from bad guys, even when the bad guy is me. Thank you for serving so bravely and honorably. Thank you for improving all of my camping experiences exponentially. And thank you, especially, for the granola bar. I was really hungry. I appreciate you.




And for those of you who’d like a deeper, heavier, truer snapshot of real addiction today, click here. 


Love Again,


Sep 182012

On September 11th our plane seats were rearranged at the last minute, which landed me next to a gorgeous, put-together, beaming woman. Half way through our flight, she began telling me a story. It was clear that her story was a gift to me and to you. Here it is. It is all true.

I will call the gift-giver Karen.

Karen’s grandmother was a tough woman. She was hard on Karen’s mother. One afternoon, Karen’s grandmother called Karen’s mother and insisted she come over right away. She had insisted many things from Karen for many decades. Karen’s mother said that she couldn’t come right away, because Karen was cheerleading that evening and she didn’t want to miss her game. She promised she’d be over first thing the next morning. This was the first time Karen had ever heard her mother say no to her grandmother.

Karen’s mother did rush to her mother’s home the next morning, and found her mother dead in her car. A plastic bag was tied around her mother’s head. The car was still running. There was no note. There was no need for one. Her message was clear.

Karen’s mother never said no again.

She never said no to her alcoholic husband, even when he abused and neglected her. Even when he abused and neglected Karen and her brother. She never said no to a charity, to a friend in need, to Karen’s schools, to an unkind neighbor, to a family member in crisis. The world was Karen’s mother’s to save or let die. Karen watched all of this. She watched closely. Closely enough to decide to live differently.

Karen spoke to her parents daily. She visited her mother one morning and then went home to care for her two young children. Karen’s husband had recently cheated and Karen said No to that, so he was gone. She was a single mother. She said Yes to that hard thing, to single motherhood. To Karen it was hard but true, at least.

That afternoon, Karen’s phone rang and when she answered it, she heard her brother say: “Come to mom and dad’s house. Leave the children. Do not bring the children.”

Karen left her children with a friend. She arrived at her parent’s house to find her mother dead in the garage. A bottle of sleeping pills gone. Plastic bag around her head. Car still running. Dead.

Karen’s father was a mean man and a chain smoker. Karen believes that her mother was hoping he would find her with a cigarette in his mouth, and she’d take him with her.

Months later, when Karen found the strength to go through her mother’s things, she found piles of books titled: “How to Say No.” “How to Become an Assertive Woman.” “How to Know When Enough is Enough.”

We must stop hurting ourselves because we are angry at someone else. That’s what we do.

We are too confused or tired to accept that love should not hurt us. Not that way. We want to be good girls with tidy lives so we do not dare to disturb the universe by telling a few people to be decent or get the fuck out of our beautiful lives. To be decent or get the fuck out of our children’s beautiful lives.

Instead of raging or running, like men tend to do, we swallow our anger instead. We swallow pills, too much food – we turn on ourselves. We turn all that anger that should be directed outward, inward – and that is the definition of depression. Turning anger inward. Then we medicate ourselves- because something is wrong with us. Why are we anxious? Why are we depressed? Because we are ANGRY. And we have reason to be. But anger is so inconvenient and messy. Easier to stay quiet and keep self medicating, one way or another.  It’s been easier for me, at least.

If you need to say No, do it today. Do not live a life of quiet desperation or of silent defiance. Do not live in a self created world of self inflicted and undeserved pain. Do not punish yourself for the madness of others. Be sane.

People do not save other people, people save themselves.

To Audrey- my beautiful fifteen year old monkee sister who won’t stop cutting and who uses Momastery to “know what to do next.”

Here is what you do next, precious girl. Stop hurting yourself. Figure out who you’re angry at. If it’s your daddy or the boys in your class or the patriarchy or your mom or the popular girls or the politicians or the liars or the glossy magazines or all of the above- decide. Decide who you are angry with. Step one. It’s not you. There is nothing wrong with you, Audrey. You are new. You are not broken. When I said I was born broken, Audrey….I don’t know anymore. I don’t know if that’s really true. I’m starting to doubt that assumption I’ve made my whole life, Audrey. I think maybe I was actually born whole. You were too, I suspect. You are a fresh, beautiful slate and you need to stop cutting yourself and instead, turn your body and life into a work of art.

Find your anger. Let yourself feel it. It won’t kill you. It won’t eat you up. Become Queen of the Wild Things, Audrey. Get the book. Read it every night.

Then learn that there are two words that belong to you forevermore. YES and NO.

Audrey- say yes to people and trips and activities and books and dreams and plans and conversations that feed you, that fill you up, that make you feel like Audrey.  You need no other reason or excuse or explanation for your yeses. You are like a scrapbook right now. Instead of cutting yourself, cut and save and paste experiences and poetry and people that feel like Audrey. After awhile, you will know who you are by looking at all the things and people you say YES to.

Say No to everything else. By the power granted to me by my own thirty year process of recovery (which is JUST STARTING, AUDREY, JUST STARTING! You know I’m talking to both of us right now, right, Audrey? You know that, right?) I hereby give you permission to say NO.

Don’t wait till the end of your life to show the world how powerful you are, Audrey. Show the world everyday. Get on with it. Get angry at the right people. Then get on with it. Create your scrapbook. Become yourself.

Never hurt yourself again. Don’t hurt yourself. There is nothing more beautiful and worthy of love and tender care and protection than you, sweet Audrey.

And you, too, sweet monkees.

And me, too.


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