How to Blog Happy Again after Hiatus



Starting a blog is like starting a new relationship… especially if you built your own blog like I did and spent every free hour teaching yourself WordPress and were so psyched by the new energy that you had ideas running marathons through you, posting excitedly daily, seeing new blog post ideas everywhere, staying up late into the night to compose new posts, taking photos of anything and everything….

Then one day the honeymoon is over. Just like that. For me it happened at exactly the six month mark. I simply lost the flow. Or the flow went into remission or I ebbed or whatever but now I’m back because this blog is my baby, right? I built it with my own two hands, I imbued it with heart and love and tons of time and energy and it deserves to be out there in the world.

And truth be told the very reason I started blogging in the first place was actually not to write about me and my boy but to write about all the other amazing, wacky and wonderful, powerful and passionate moms raising their kids in California who I meet along the way. They were and are my inspiration for this blog so I am choosing to move my blog in a new direction… the direction of short, inspiring interviews of these inspiring mamas…

So that’s it! Here are 2 ways to blog happy again after a hiatus:

  • Be open to finding inspiration in unexpected places! For me my inspiration came months ago in this second hand Winnie the Pooh kiddie’s book I picked up at a thrift store for my three-year old. The page above is my inspiration to meet mama friends where they are at, on their territory and just spend time with them getting to witness how they do it… raise their little ones that is…
  • Reconnect with your original blogging intention! I needed to spend six months blogging about raising my son and I loved it but it’s not the reason I started the blog. So, switch over to your original driving force and just do it…

Launch of Mothering Appreciation Awareness Week: Day # 1

This (meaning today, this space alone) feels like a blank page.

This (meaning today, this space alone) feels like a blank page.

I am the official founder and program director of the unheard of, unknown, non-existent campaign: Mothering Appreciation Awareness Week (MAAW.) Nobody knows this yet but today was day one of The Week. And today feels like a blank page. So much space. So much emptiness. So much more of me. Now you know. In case you are wondering, the number one way to appreciate yourself as a mother is to not mother, and then in the absence of mothering to remember all the myriad, convoluted ways in which you do Mother. Yes, I’m using “mother” as a verb. Because mothering is an active, doing JOB. Yes, job.

So, the best way to immerse yourself in Mothering Appreciation Awareness Week is to send your child/ren off with their father or grandparents or neighbors or friends (preferably someone you trust) for a week, preferably somewhere fun, something fun like a road trip boyz adventure like I did. So, as I write, my son and his father are on their road trip boyz adventure while I am home campaigning hard for Mothering Appreciation Awareness Week with a lot of time on my hands, a messy house, a beer or two ingested, more time on my hands, more mess, more beer…

That was Day 1.

My Mothering Appreciation Awareness Week started with a blank page literally and metaphorically. How does yours begin? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you during this time of blankness, spaciousness, whiteness, emptiness, loneliness, freedom…

And feel free to follow my whereabouts and whatabouts for the rest of The Week.

See Mess As Art: Is My Child The Next Sakir Gokcebag?

Infuriating mess and waste of toilet paper OR incredible recycled art installation in the making?

Infuriating mess and waste of toilet paper OR incredible recycled art installation in the making?

Mamas know all too well that when things are way too silent, for a little too long, then something is up. Or down. Or on the ceiling. Or all over the floor.

The other day, I walked into the bathroom to find three rolls of toilet paper (the expensive eco-friendly, recycled, double-ply kind) all over the floor in a heap and my son staring up at me laughing and beaming with pride. Another half unrolled roll of toilet paper in his hand.

Instead of scolding him for creating more housework for me or “wasting” (isn’t that one of the most ubiquitous words we use as new-age, eco-friendly mamas) toilet paper or “making a mess”… I got down on my knees (suddenly remembering the incredible toilet paper art installations I had seen on Pinterest by Turkish artist Sakir Gokcebag) and I congratulated my three-year-old on his creation.

“Wow,” I said. “That’s amazing! Look what you did with toilet paper!” (Which can be misconstrued as sarcastic to adults but I was essentially saying exactly what he was saying to me, except I was using my words.) And he beamed and I beamed and on my knees I slowly began to roll up the toilet paper (honestly it took less than two minutes) and all was well.

Truth be told, it’s not the first time he has done that with the toilet paper. There was a succession of three or four weeks where I stumbled upon the same “art.” All the times before, for whatever reason (in the moment) I did get angry. I yelled something like, “Do you know how much work this is for me to pick up now!” (Which upon picking up I realized this was actually and simply not true!)

And then I said something like, “How can you do that!???” (Stupid and rhetorical question because I know exactly how he can do it, the trick is figuring out why. And why is because he is three and experimenting with the world and being human, that’s why!)

Like my friend who found her one-year-old daughter pouring multi-colored nail polish all over the white sheet of her bed. Instead of… getting angry, she could have said to herself, “Oh, look, my daughter is the next Jackson Pollock in the making! Who needs nail polish anyway!” I’m just saying… you never know…

So when next your kid does something that drives you insane (it’s inevitable) like tearing up the house or its utilitarian contents, stop, be happy and take a breath. (Quickly think of some incredible avant-garde artist breaking the rules, breaking ground, breaking toilet paper rolls like Turkish installation artist Sakir Gokcebag) and calmly remind yourself that your innate-creative-child/artist-in-the-making is not “making a mess,” your child is actually, quite joyfully “making art!”

Photo of Sakir Gokcebag's toilet paper art installations found on Pinterest via

Photo of Sakir Gokcebag’s toilet paper art installations found on Pinterest via

Which is Better? The iPad vs. Your Child’s iMagination

Huddled together watching giant cars on a tiny screen

Huddled together watching giant cars on a tiny screen

There are two types of “play-dates” for kids. When your child’s friend comes over and they watch TV together… or when you child’s friend comes over and they play together.

When my son’s friend came over the other day so excited to share a show he had discovered (because his mom works and takes care of his baby sister and takes care of the house and sometimes resorts to TV for her own sanity, which I totally get) I let them watch twenty minutes of Americanized animated crap with over-sized talking gas guzzler cars, the likes of which I hope they will never one day ride, let alone buy. Yes I am a bit high and mighty on this and I know boys love cars but let’s face it, it’s usually complete *ssholes who drive monster trucks to begin with.

The dialogue in this show is so bad it’s as though twenty-something boys got stoned and recorded their dialogue. Between the sounds of screeching tires and revving engines, I think I heard the words: fast, fearless, hero, number one, racer and monster machine more times than I can count.

The boys sat huddled together, their little bodies hunched over in the worst possible posture, their eyes glazed and dazed, their mouths drooped open and lifeless and their gaze affixed, staring downward at this tiny little flashing iPad screen. Just not the healthiest pastime by any means. So after twenty minutes I sent them out to play in our neighbor’s yard…

Actually interacting, face-to-face and outdoors

Actually interacting, face-to-face and outdoors

The boys took their trucks and used their bodies to push them around, over the rocks, across the grass, smashing, crashing still, but all the while interacting, coming up with their own dialogue, creating their own movements, their own action, looking into each other’s eyes, taking each other’s cues, sunshine on their backs, blue sky up above.

Their play naturally morphed into exploring the whole yard and chasing each other and going ‘jungle bashing’ behind the house through the weeds, playing make-believe fire engine drivers, peach farmer tractor drivers while they interacted with nature, each other, the elements, in their elements.

C’mon… I vote for plugging into my child’s iMagination rather than plugging in the iPad any day!

What the 30-Second Lunch Break of A ‘Professional Mom’ Looks Like


I was visiting at a friend’s house the other day in San Francisco who has three kids between the ages of four and 11. She is a qualified healer, an actor trained in theater, a singer and a really good writer. But for many, many years now, she goes by “Professional Mom.”

From the moment I arrived, with my three-year-old, to the moment I left (about three hours total) I think she tried to sit down, maybe five or so times, for what she called 30-second increments due to the normal, incessant demands of our children.

So this photo above,was taken after, long after, she had defrosted the frozen pizza (to be quick) for the little ones and cut up slices of cucumber and tomato (to be healthy) and boiled the gnocchi (to be classy) for her older child and friend and cut up more tomato and cucumber, this time with olive oil (to be healthy), washed the dishes, made the beds, picked up the clothes, (duty calls for the last three) broken up some fights, came to the rescue in missing this-or-that dilemmas (the usual motherly chores) … and all this with a kind voice and a smile on her face… all this in the name of love, for sure, true love.

Then she sat down, for 30-seconds, to begin her lunch of plain tuna (quick protein but full of mercury, oh no!) on plain rice cakes (quick and easy but bland and not that nutritious, oh no!) and a few slices of cucumber (to get some greens, pah!) and a long awaited, steaming hot cup of green tea and then just as she took her first bite… “Moooooommmmmm….!” She jumped up from her chair, glanced at her imaginary watch on her wrist and rushed out of the kitchen, still chewing.

The Professional Mom gets a 30-second lunch break, on a good day.

Found: Unidentified Antiquated Telecommunications Thingamajig

"Hey, what is that thing?"

“Hey, what is that thing?” (Photo courtesy of teacher Emma)

I told my partner our son’s preschool class was going to visit the local science museum. “Oh no!” he said, “not the morbid concrete block on top of the hill that they should turn into a holocaust museum instead…” Yup, that’s the one.

But still, morbid or no, you’d think a science museum and its carefully curated installations would engage a child’s interest, inspire their desire to learn more about the world by exposing them to topographic maps demonstrating drought and rain, three-dimensional projections of the earth suspended from the roof as if spinning in spacial orbit, replicas of how the earth’s fault lines disconnect and erupt in an earthquake and how the flow of water is obstructed when blocked downhill.

The kids even got to touch live animals—a snake called Valentine, Oliver the clipped winged dove, a nameless turtle with a head that too closely resembled the phallus, a red lobster, a skittish bunny whose black and white fir made it look like a very squashed cow and a stuffed dead owl with spread wings and wide eyes.

And all that was okay, but the thing is that the kids were far more enticed by running up and down the corridor, playing hide-and-seek, pretending to be knocked down by an oncoming stroller, racing each other to the elevator, riding the elevator, beating one another to the bottom of the stairs and running around freely. But hands-down the single absolute biggest hit of the day was a real sliding door in the wall (not a science installation) that caught their attention and literally stopped them in their tracks.

“What’s that?” they all asked pointing to a machine hanging on a wall behind a half-open sliding door. The teacher stopped. “That?” she asked and burst out laughing. The kids were enthralled. They peeked in curiously, pulled at the dangling silver metal coil, poked their fingers at the machine on the wall. “What is that?” each one wanted to know. It was something they had never seen before. For a few minutes (a long attention span for three-year-olds) the kids just stood there, open-mouthed, glaring at this unidentified antiquated telecommunications thingamajig wondering what the hell it could be.

“Guess!” the teacher said. But they couldn’t. “Look, you put the money in here, and you pick this thing up and listen in your ear, and you can even hear a dialing tone… and you hold this part up to your mouth and you speak…” Nope, still no guesses. “It’s a payphone!” she said, taking out her iPhone to take a photo of the payphone. “Oh!” was their response and then off they raced to discover more of the morbid concrete block on top of the hill.

What a Return to “Normal” After Missing in Action Feels Like

With California soil beneath my feet, I can do it! (yes, the kiddie's toilet seat is meant to be in the shot)

With California soil (and sewage) beneath my feet, I can do it! (yes, the kiddie’s toilet seat is meant to be in the shot)

I know I’ve been MIA (missing in action) from a week of Normal life after being involuntarily quarantined in my own house in the 24/7 role of slave, nurse, housekeeper. Kind of like being under house arrest for not doing much of anything wrong except exposing my child to other sick children aka preschool. So I took to tidying and organizing the house like it was my magnum opus of house keeping. What is a disorganized house but a novel without an ending, a ship without a destination, an illness without a diagnosis…?

The latter is what my three-year-old had for the week—an undiagnosed upper respiratory infection, which is a medical euphemism for he coughs up phlegm till he chokes so much he vomits. So upon resurfacing and actually leaving the house today, Wednesday (when I could have sworn it felt just like a Monday,) the world looked kind of strange. A tad too gray was the sky. And the carpet beneath my feet felt too filthy for my shoes. Everywhere I looked I saw men with bald spots. And crinkled candy wrapper trash litter. And I noticed a woman in a huge Toyota at a stop street who didn’t notice me noticing her surreptitiously flossing her teeth. And a woman standing next to a parking meter was telling a man how to shoot insulin.

At the coffee shop where I sat down and tried to write, the courting teen couple sitting next to me, in their matching moccasin shoes with their matching crossed legs, forced me to plug my ears with full volume Kirtan just to drown out their sob stories of their ill dogs. And it was also one of those days, a Wednesday or a Monday, when the very person who frequents this coffee shop slash work zone as much as I do (and the only person who has the audacity to actually talk on his cell phone here) about things as irrelevant to the greater world as the dislodged gemstone in his wedding ring in need of replacement, actually sits next to me. He is one of those people who unknowingly, unintentionally, I hope, sabotages the yogi in me. I think somebody placed him in my life just for me to really practice tolerance.

Then as I finally get into a semi productive mode of updating my Facebook page, to generate biz and buzz, I get a text from my son’s preschool teacher with an image of him holding up a transcribed note that reads: “Mommy, see you at one!” and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. And then I get back to work only to hear the unmistakable siren of a frenetic fire engine blasting and notice the Youtube video I let my son watch yesterday is playing and I wonder if allowing a three-year-old who never even watches cartoons, should be watching the real life world of paramedics in action at the scene of an accident with images of a concussed casualty with blood trickling down the face and a subtitle that reads: “Is he dead?”

At five to one in the car on the way to pick my son up (I’m driving our camper van today— which makes me feel like the soccer mom of an entire team—because our car had to be towed a hundred miles and my friend says I can blame it on Mercury Retrograde) the talk show on the radio is about psychological brainwashing and I remember that I’ve run out of laundry detergent and I think about the conversation I had yesterday on Skype with my 88-year-old grandfather in Africa who is totally compos mentis and particularly well read who said of blogs, “Why would anyone want to read about someone else’s crap?” (And my grandfather is a true noble man who never, ever swears!)

And suddenly the hot, hot sun comes out and I’m wearing woolen boots and I’m so hot and uncomfortable and cannot wait to get home and change into the one thing I know will make everything right—the $7 T-shirt I scored from Ross where the cashier lady spelled her name “Genet” (pronounced Jah-Nay) because, she said, my parents knew I’d be different. Sigh… I love you Kally4neah!

I’m Happily Married to a 19-Year-Old Yogi

One of my hands-down (no pun intended) most favorite views in the world! (And I don't mean my feet)

One of my hands-down (no pun intended) most favorite views in the world! (And I don’t mean my feet)

“Yogi” in Sanskrit simply means someone who practices yoga, so that’s me. And what I’m actually saying is that I’ve been practicing yoga for nineteen years and that through this almost two decades-long commitment and devotion, I truly feel “married” to yoga. It’s the longest, most fulfilling commitment of my life. It’s always there for me, never lets me down, I can turn to it whenever I need to and it all takes place inside me, in my body, on a mat, which for me is one of the absolute best places to be in the world. And it can be anywhere in the world. So this is the short, ordinary story of how I found my “religion” on a sunny afternoon in Cape Town, South Africa.

I was twenty and hanging out with my then twelve-year-my-senior boyfriend, at the pool, at his parents’ house with a fluffy off-white carpet, like a skinned Maltese Poodle that wasn’t bathed in days, with a bar lined with near empty crystal decanters, on a cloudless blue sky day, wearing a white bikini with black trim, which reminded me of Jackie Onassis. Black and white clothing, no matter how scant, always somehow reminds me of the uber rich. In truth, I was needy and insecure and forming attachments with older men way too soon, like on day one. I was emaciated, clinically Anorexic to be exact, and hadn’t eaten healthily in six years and the little triangles of my bikini top were flat like miniature kites but still, I felt like his First Lady.

My boyfriend’s sister was lounging with us by the pool. I remember her crocheted bikini, also white. I read that white used to be a sign of wealth because it meant you had servants to wash your clothes. Same with a white wedding dress. It actually represented wealth not virginity. Well, sitting there on that mediocre afternoon in my Jackie Onassis bikini, I was not wealthy or a virgin but I was seeking something that I hadn’t found… His sister turned to me and said, “Hey, have you ever tried yoga?” I scoffed out loud because it made me think of sitting still, which I also hadn’t done in about six years and making what to me sounded, then, like obscene throat noises that should be banned in public. Little did I know then that it was the most sacred sound of the reverberation of the entire universe. “You really should try it!” she said and left it at that. And I did. And that’s another story.

Mad Fun Anti-Zoo Cool Tool Safari!

There is nothing quite like a visit to the bright light city of Home Depot!

Nothing quite like a visit to bright lights city in a jeep cart for a Cool Tool Safari!

So this is just one of the things that we do for fun! The idea was kind of born out of our annual visits to South Africa, the land of the African Safari. I’ve been telling my three-year-old son that one day, when we visit his cousins in Africa, and he is old enough to sit still for a long length of time, we will go on a real African Safari to meet animals where they are at. Even though I was born and bred in Africa, I have never been on Safari as an adult, but I’ve heard that being in the wild, in the animals’ natural terrain, in their authentic habitat is an incredibly humbling, soul enriching, human experience as opposed to say, visiting the zoo, which my son’s dad has banned us from doing because he says our son does not need to see a real, live giraffe stolen from Kenya or a real, live tiger from India that he can just as well read about in a book. And I respect that.

I once took my then four-year-old niece to the zoo in South Africa and she was sitting on my shoulders and we were standing at the fence of the gorilla cage waiting excitedly, watching their movements, how they groom one another, pick at each other, and I remember thinking how like them we are when suddenly I realized there was a crowd of people surrounding us like we were famous or something and meanwhile, behind the fence, I watched, almost in slow motion, as one of the gorillas, who had been balancing on his giant knuckles, rocked back and forth in a kind of demented way like he was praying at a funeral or consoling himself in a mental asylum, when suddenly he leaped forward, sprang onto the fence, embedded his fingers between the holes of the fence, opened his mouth wide and spat in our faces. Just mine and my niece’s faces. Nobody else.

My niece burst out crying as I brought her down off my shoulders, disgusted, bewildered, frightened, wondering if it was in fact spit, or really water, or worse, bile. I grabbed her and ran to the nearest tap to wash it off, half crying myself, both of us hysterical, me worried about disease and germs as I charged off angry and entitled to the main office where I demanded a refund and insisted that they install a visible sign that says, “Beware: gorillas spit!” The mad, white haired zoo keeper who looked ancient and uninvolved, like he had been there since the days of Noah and his arc, said nobody had ever before asked for a refund and that visitors actually deliberately provoke the gorillas so they can watch them spit on innocent bystanders. Then I found out from a zoo worker, who swore me to secrecy, that the gorilla that spat on us arrived at the zoo by boat, in a cage, shackled with chains. And I have to admit, I too would spit at bystanders if I were a tortured primate. Talk about passive resistance. This was the Gandhi of gorillas. So I took my refund, forgave the gorilla and married someone who hates zoos.

So, thus far in my son’s three years of life, he has only ever seen, in real life, domestic pets, farm animals, the occasional deer, one grass snake and a beheaded scorpion. I’d say he is far from deprived in the animal arena. And his favorite animals are still tigers, leopards and cheetah that he has only ever read about in books or seen on animal videos. And instead of a visit to Africa or the zoo, we make our own Safari out of trips to the Home Depot where prehistoric-looking power tools live on metal cage-like shelves and we spot the different tools and guess at their names and uses. The orange cart is our jeep and the Home Depot dudes in orange vests, who really don’t even bother to pretend to know anything, are our clueless guides sans guns. Really, what is the point of employing someone who knows even less than I do?

This mad fun anti-zoo Tool Safari is a little boy’s dream. We spend hours there with him in the cart spotting the tools and with him out the cart running down the aisles handling the nuts, the bolts, the washers, the hooks, the ropes. I pity the two-year-old whose flustered mother wandered in, probably looking for drapes or light bulbs, dragging him by the arm, while his inquisitive little deprived mind lit up at the “gold mine” spread out before him as he lunged forward to finger the gems, drooling with delight, and she yanked him back and scolded him not to touch because, probably, waiting for him at home, in a neat corner of the the living room, in his play pen, is a mock version of this gold mine, of over-priced, multi-colored fake (but safe!) plastic nuts and bolts and battery operated plastic tools that make you want to flat out destroy the toy. Poor kid… if only his mom had heard about the Cool Tool Safari!

Baby/Career Dilemma Found in “Free Stuff” Box

Get Real Results: 3 key strategies for building a profitable business with passion and integrity VS. What Babies Want: an exploration of the consciousness of infants

Get Real Results VS. What Babies Want

On my way to the corner cafe today to do my “work” (I long ago decided to drop my ‘self-importance’ although I’m not sure that it’s serving my anymore) I found a box of free stuff outside a woman’s house. I know it’s a woman because I walk past her house every time I go to the cafe to do my “work”. The last time I found one of those tiny dream interpretation books that you buy and then never read and land up discarding in a “free stuff” box like this one and a pair of avocado colored leather boots that I wore once and was told by my therapist that I am the only person she knows who can pull off boots that color, which I didn’t take as a compliment and landed up giving them to my neighbor.

So today there was some elaborate milk froth machine and two CD’s that pretty much sum up mine and the modern American woman’s dilemma. One was the CD “What Babies Want: an exploration of the consciousness of infants” and the other a CD titled “Get Real Results: 3 key strategies for building a profitable business with passion and integrity” by business success coach Pamela Bruner. I took both CDs and walked off half wanting to cry, half wanting to vomit but still laughing inside at the absurdity of discovering my dilemma in tangible form in a free giveaway box full of someone else’s sh*t.

My son is now three-and-a-half-years-old and I have pretty much been mothering him full-on, full-time, full-throttle for all these years. Time that I’d say I happily “sacrificed” although it was never really a sacrifice because becoming a mother was my number one goal in my life. Even while he is in preschool, I am still mothering him. I am still on-call should he need me, I am still available, I am still his number one go-to person. And in my humble opinion… I should be because I’m his mother! Yet, in our present day American society it is either considered a luxury to be a SAHM (stay at home mother) or a disgrace. There is no in-between.

Sometimes moms who choose to stay home with their kids are considered cop-outs, drop-outs and traitors of women’s rights. Women fought for equality, women won liberty, how can stay-at-home moms in the 21st Century revert to the modus operandi of the 1950’s! To some, it’s outrageous. To others, it’s enviable. To me, it’s my reality. My partner, my child’s father is in a stable, high earning career, a path he earned over twelve hard-working, pleasure-sacrificing years. I spent my previous twelve years sorting out my sh*t–spiritually, emotionally, physically so that I could come into motherhood in the best space possible and not impose too much of my unhealed stuff on my child. But women are not compensated for that work. And we are definitely not compensated for staying at home with our children like my Danish friend who is paid and supported by the government to have her children and to stay home, at least for the first year to raise them, after which day-care is so cheap it’s practically a give-away.

Yes, this is a rant. Because in the power dynamics of my primary relationship, and in society at large, I am sick of having to fight for my right to raise my child in the way that I feel I am most present, available, calm, loving as I can be without having to juggle my career at the same time. Maybe I’m just placating myself because I am only now beginning again to build my career. To lay the bricks… maybe… but there are books out there, articles on the subject such as Katrina Alcorn’s “Maxed Out: American moms on the brink” and Ann-Marie Slaughter’s article in the Atlantic “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All” both of which dispel the myth that women can be “successful” in both their careers and as mothers. Some can, but most can’t.

So, maybe this is all a lesson: to not dig in others’ free boxes because you may just find your own sh*t staring right back at ya.