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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 136: The Test Kitchen

Went to a FABULOUS new joint in the 'hood tonight with the family. We met family friends -- The Ross Family -- at a new Hot Spot right here in Beverlywood, called the TEST KITCHEN. Wow, what a treat!

The location holds special memories for me... it's the sight of the old Orsini's, which was my neighborhood "Cheers" hangout where Igor always greeted me warmly and took care of me. From healthy poured drinks and specially prepared meals for the boys, to my campaign election night party, to Brian's 40th Birthday party, lots of memories made in that venue. I loved that the new owners kept the beautiful wood bar... brought a smile to my face as I sipped my vodka martini.

The concept for the Test Kitchen is such: Each week or there about a new celebrity chef is invited in to the kitchen to prepare a 6 or 7 course meal for guests. As the chef rotates so does the menu and type of fare. Tonight we were treated to a delicious meal prepared by famed chef Neil Fraser (formerly of GRACE in Los Angeles).

It was a scrumptious meal ... the adults and the teenagers gobbled every bit of the meal up! It is a set menu and price, not inexpensive so it is a treat, but not over the top like many restaurants in Los Angeles. To learn more you can either visit The Daily Candy link: or

The Test Kitchen is downstairs, while the upstairs space is being built out for a famous Peruvian chef and should be completed in two months. The third level will house a speak-easy! I can't wait!

I do not believe you or your family will be disappointed by the ambiance, the food or the lovely new French owner, Stephan. Bon Appetite my friends!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 135: Humble Teenagers

The teenagers, Harrison & Spencer returned from their one week assignment as camp counselors at Camp Harmony. I have written several times on my Blog about Camp Harmony. It is a camp for underprivileged children -- mostly homeless or close to it. The camp allows them to be kids for one week out of their hectic and chaotic and sometimes violent lives.

Pictured here is Harrison's cabin ... my boy is the tall one to the far right.

I am SO PROUD of my 15 year old boys. Not only did they give one week of their time and energy, they absorbed and embraced it. I think it is all summed up when they both told me they cried at the closing ceremony where the campers were all saying good-bye. Can you imagine teenage boys feeling so connected that they cried? They had raw emotion and connection with these campers whom they had never met before one week ago.

As a Mom, there are few words to express how happy I am that they spent time doing for "others". Unconditional attention to children who so need to be loved, hugged and cared for.

Last night was their first night home and already three campers had called Spencer ... just to talk, just to ask what was up? My boys were physically & emotionally exhausted... each slept for close to 13 hours. The administrators of the camp had told us that our children would get very little sleep ... working close to 18 hours a day ... and they were correct. But my boys were smiling and happy when they returned. So what's a few nights without sleep when you know you are doing such good!

Pictured here are Spencer's campers ... Spencer is the one to the far left in the back row.

It was not all fun and games, the boys had to deal with a lot of sadness too. Spencer had a camper that had to be sent home for excessive fighting. Other campers were just totally out of control and needed to be handled non stop ... not an easy task for a 15 year old boy who has never had training in child development.

Thank you to my beautiful niece Olivia Bernstein for introducing the boys to this program. Thank you Olivia for sharing your wisdom of 17 years to the boys and encouraging them to attend. I am so happy that we made this happen. It was not always an easy road to travel ... with forms, and money, and coordinating shedules and hesitation, but I held my ground as a parent on this one... I mean I really stood on cement, there was no wavering for me. And they did it ... they accomplished the week successfully and we are all so happy and feeling so blessed today!

If you want to help or make a contribution to Camp Harmony, please visit

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 134: Remembering Hurricane Katrina

As the Nation and especially the Gulf Coast acknowledges the 5 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina today, I have my own very personal story to share of this disaster.

I like to mark my birthday's with significant acts. That's why I plan to run the LA Marathon in honor of my 50th Birthday next April. When I turned 40 I celebrated my first political campaign with what was suppose to be a Victory party, but I lost ... we celebrated anyway and I couldn't imagine a better 40th birthday present then to have completed a run for political office! How many folks can say that!

For my 45th Birthday I celebrated by giving 5 days to volunteer to rebuild homes damaged in Mississippi due to Hurricane Katrina. I was part of a delegation organized by The Jewish Federation of Los Angeles. We flew into Biloxi, Mississippi and stayed in barrack type housing adjacent to a church which was our partner in the mission.

I had never spent anytime before on a roof with machinery and yet there I was with a pink tool belt (compliments from my gal pals, Lissa Solomon, Stacy Bell & Jenny Savitsky) and a nail gun. Wow, was that a trip and an experience.

I met some wonderful people -- other volunteers from all over the country. I met beautiful Mississippians who were working feverishly to help their community. I saw devastation like I had never seen before. Rows and rows and rows of streets which use to hold homes devastated ... I mean completely gone. Piles and piles of rubble from what remained. Endless Federal trailers housing people left homeless from the destruction. Memories you never forget.

So today, as you sit comfortably in your home, remember the thousands of people still left homeless from one of the worst natural disasters to hit America. To all the people still trying to rebuild their lives, we have not forgotten you.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 133: Road Trip

The hubby Brian and the college boy Brandon headed out on their road trip Friday morning. They have safely arrived in Salem, Oregon as I write this post. First leg of the trip took them from Los Angeles to Redding where they crashed for the night. Then today they drove the second half of the journey up the coast to Oregon.

I can just picture my two big guys cruisin along in Brandon's Honda Civic. Father and son. What a wonderful opportunity for them both to have this time together to just "be" in each other's company while heading up the beautiful coastline through California to Oregon. An opportunity to have lengthy conversations; not rushed ones that so often occur as everyone is so busy. But a chance to discuss more in depth issues going on with one another.

When you are in the car together for some 14 to 16 hours you can learn a lot about what's going on in some one's life. And that's what my two special men did.

At first we were all scheduled to fly back to Oregon and help Brandon move in to his new dorm room. His freshman year he didn't take his car. But this year we thought it might allow him more opportunity to explore and get around if he had wheels. After researching what's involved to ship the car, we all decided that it was easier and less expensive to drive the car up. So hence a road trip was birthed.

I'm grateful Brian is such a marvelous navigator and coordinator. I knew Brandon would be in angels' hands as they made the trek. I'm grateful too that my big guys have had this time together.

Those times become too far in between as life can get so complicated and full. So they are snuggled into their hotel room for the night. Tomorrow brings another day. They will be moving Brandon into his new dorm room. Another school year about to begin. Another season. It's all part of the journey ...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 132: Meditation Night

Tonight I hosted some girlfriends for a meditation session. Thought it was a perfect night to be surrounded by some peace and relaxation. It's been a long, emotional week getting the college boy ready to head back to school.

Gal pal Rebecca Simon introduced me to a cognitive hypnosis therapist who she highly recommended. She suggested I have some of the girls over for a session to see what this type of meditation is all about. So tonight was the night.

We spread out on our mats on the floor and once we laid down and closed our eyes I thin
k most of us were already at peace. After a hectic day, week, one filled with lots of emotions everyone was in the space to just be quiet. Silence is sometimes so beautiful. Just to be quiet. I like the sound.

Luca Bosurgi brought his Tibetan gong and led us through a journey with the musical reverberations of the instrument. Pictured here are Luca and me before we began our session.

Cognitive Hypnosis takes your body and mind to a place where you are not completely asleep, but in a deep place where you allow your mind to let past experiences surface to be dealt with.

"Clear psychological blockages and childhood traumas. Reconnect with your spiritual guides. Remember who you truly are. Claim your personal powers."

Those that have engaged in Luca's treatments have been freed from past negative "junk" that we all drag around with ourselves. Sometimes weighing us down and not allowing us to move where we want to be.

Afterwards we talked about how this type of treatment works. It's a different approach to unlocking past experiences that may have left remnants that continue to trip us up in our daily lives. We all enjoyed the conversation and again the peace of just sitting comfortably. If you want to learn more about Luca's treatments, please visit him at

Then of course it was time for food & spirits. I mean what would a gathering at my house be like if it didn't include treats! Us girls sat and talked and enjoyed our relaxed state of mind. It was a lovely way to end an emotional day.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 130: Saying Good-Bye

As fun as reunions are, sadly there is always an end to them. My son Brandon leaves early tomorrow morning to drive back to Oregon to return to school. My niece Zoe, flies out of Los Angeles tomorrow to head back to Utah to continue her college studies as well.

Photo above circa 1994 in La Quinta, California with Grandma Susu & Papa Nat, Brian and me and our precious Brandon.

Both Zoe & Brandon are working hard toward their respective goals. It makes me happy for both of them. My heart is feeling a little sad and empty knowing that I won't see either one of them for months. It's all part of life's journey. You birth them, raise them, teach them, encourage them to be independent, then a little part of you wants them back. Back to the days when they all lived full time under your roof. Funny how that is.

One of Brandon's oldest and dearest friends Gabe Devorris joined us for the bon voyage dinner tonight. We have known Gabe and his family since the boys were two years old and attended Temple Isaiah pre school together. Then they went on to Westwood Charter Elementary School together. Now they are both 19 years old. I think of Gabe as another son.

Gabe's mom Kim was a dear mother friend. She lost her battle with the dreadful Lou Gehrig's disease (also known as ALS) when Gabe was barely turning 13 years old. It's been a rough road. Anyone of you feeling sorry for your aches and pains and bullshit should shut up ... if you knew what this woman went through and what her family endured you would thankfully welcome your ailments.

Sitting with the two boys tonight I felt joy in my heart. Joy that Gabe has such resilience; such strength way beyond most 19 year olds. Joy that the boys are still so close. Joy that I get them both in my life. Joy that they still allow me in their lives.

So as they grow up, life always brings you more joy. It just may be packaged differently then when they were snuggled in their blankets and you held them tightly to your chest. Tonight it still felt like I could squeeze them tight, just in a different way.

May this new school year bring them both peace. Lots of peace. May they have the strength to do and be the best they can ... and I know in my heart that mother Kim is smiling down at her son Gabe and happy that he and Brandon are still bros. We miss you Kim ...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 129: 11 Miles

Oh my gosh just when you think the pain can't be any worse! Ouch! Well, up until about mile 6 or 7 everything was great, I was cruising along. Good pace, feeling great.

Then the burning sensation on the bottom of my feet started to kick in. And then those nasty blisters. By mile 9 I could feel something terribly wrong with my left foot where the blisters had been such an issue. Even with Moleskin applied (an adhesive applied to reduce runner's blisters, looks like a band-aid) I removed my shoes and saw the damage. Not only regular blisters but a huge blood blister. Very painful. Very sore.

I was also experiencing terrible chafing as I bought a running skirt to try running in instead of my running leggings. It didn't work for me and I have rashes in between my thighs -- you know where the flubber rubs together --- really pretty image isn't it! Anyway I think I'll stick to my running leggings!

But despite these issues, I made the 11 miles! Of course I thought I might collapse, but I didn't. Had a very hard time recovering this afternoon, but after sitting on ice (which I am doing as I write this post), I'm slowly starting to feel better.

Funny thing is, my body feels pretty damn good for taking a pounding like that. Yes the usual lower back and nerve pain, the burning on the soles of my feet, the rashes betwee my legs, and of course the blisters, but my heart never gave out, my breathing was very good throughout the run and it wasn't a tired feeling I had at all, it was a pain issue.

So with the Disneyland Half Marathon coming up in two weeks my mission is to address the blisters issue. Might require purchasing new wider running shoes, applying more Dr. Scholl's Moleskin , not really sure.

I am having anxiety about the race though. I was hurtin' as we completed 11 miles and I was thinking how the heck will I be able to run two more miles to the finish line? Hopefully adrenaline and the excitement of the Disneyland venue will carry me those last two miles. I certainly hope so!

Mickey & Minnie I hope you'll have a lot of energy for me come race day!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 128: Camp Harmony

Today is day two for Harrison & Spencer working as camp counselors at Camp Harmony. The camp is a haven for homeless children residing in homeless shelters and foster care homes throughout Los Angeles. For many of these campers they have never attended camp, never seen the beach, never slept in a bed, never had three meals a day, never been given clean clothes and toiletries -- these children have never had a lot of nevers.

For one week they get to have a lot of whatever they want especially hugs and love from the teenage counselors who serve as their friends for one week at sleep-away camp.

I am so happy that my niece Olivia Bernstein made us aware of this worthy camp. She was a counselor last summer and was so impacted by her experience that she enlisted her two young cousins to join with her this summer.

My three sons have had a charmed life. They want for nothing. Not for love, affection, warmth, shelter, food, parents, family, or education. It breaks my heart to know that so many children live in poverty right here in the City of Angels. That so many children go to bed with hungry tummies. That many have none of the bare necessities that we all take for granted.

When given the opportunity to be counselors and spend one week with such children I knew I wanted my boys to have this experience. You can not teach poverty. You can read about it but unless you experience it, touch it, see it close-up you really can't begin to understand the depth of this issue and the sorrow that it burdens our children with.

When I was in college I did many, many internships dealing with abused, troubled or homeless children working with such wonderful programs such as Children of the Night based here in the San Fernando Valley, Delancy Street in San Fransisco for young boys and in Santa Monica at a homeless shelter. I stood in food lines and scooped out food to shelter attendees. I listened to young girls talk about pimping themselves out to survive. While you may momentarily feel good that you are giving back and making use of your time, it really just makes you sick to see that in this rich country, there are so many that have so little.

So yes, my children can afford one week of their summer vacation to give to other children. They can give up sleeping in comfortable beds, having clean clothes, having endless food, having all the comforts of their home. It will be an invaluable experience I am sure as it was and has been for me. What a great lesson for our boys. I feel blessed that there is a Camp Harmony and that my children are participating. If you want to help or make a contribution, please visit

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 127: Last Week With College Boy

Wow, I can't believe I only have 3 days left with college boy, Brandon. He leaves Friday morning to drive to Oregon to return to school. So that only leaves three days to accomplish all that we have to do! Get the car tuned up and ready for the 16 hour drive to the Pacific Northwest; see Dr. Bluestone one last time before he leaves to make sure the MONO is under control before heavy conditioning for baseball begins; see his grandparents and family members before departing; see his friends; pack up items necessary for the college year; yikes so much to do!

So tonight we had dinner with Papa Joe -- lots of words of encouragement as Brandon enters an interesting year filled with lots of decisions and pressure. If he "starts" as one of three pitchers, and has a blow out season then a possible transfer could be in the works. If not well we just don't know. Lots of decisions and life thinking conversations have consumed the house the past 48 hours.

It's all part of the process. I mean the reality is ... what is the rush to get out of college in 4 years? So you can get a dead end job in an office making maybe 35k a year -- barley enough to support yourself in your hometown of Los Angeles which means you are probably living at home with a college degree and your parents.

Who cares is what I say! The economy sucks. The job market in 3 years when Brandon graduates will still be bleak so enjoy what you've got goin' now whether it be academics and a graduate degree or athleticism and a post college baseball career.

What matters is that you grow into the best person you can, because what really counts is not how fast you accomplish the task at hand, but the person you've become while doing the work.

Sure Brian and I would like him to finish in 4 years -- it's damn expensive. But what difference does it make if we pay for him to be in Oregon or another University or at home which is what most of my friends with college graduates are doing -- supporting their children post college degrees. Not that they don't work, but pure economics and the workforce reality makes it impossible to live alone and entirely support yourself. It's the world and economy we live in today.

I met a man the other morning running at the beach. We struck up a conversation and he was so proud of his son who played Baseball at Wake Forrest College. Guess what? After graduation his son is parking cars now at a trendy restaurant! Living at home. Sure he's studying for the LSAT exam in hopes to attend law school, but really the fact is so many of these kids, with stellar educations still do the mundane jobs of parking cars or waitressing just like I did. There's no shame in work, any work as long as you are doing your best daily.

This is the advice I have counseled Brandon with ... life doesn't have to fit into a tidy little box. It doesn't mean you have to finish college in 4 years; it does not mean you have to give up on your dreams to play ball; and don't always follow the rules. This is the time in life where you perform unorthodox acts because you can. Because when you are my age the risks become less and less... because the stakes and consequences are too great, and that's ok.

But at my son's ripe age of 19 I say go for it. Stay where you are at school; transfer if that's better; play professional ball; don't play; follow your heart; live your passion; and dream really BIG!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 126: Last Family Summer Dinner

Tonight Brian and I and the boys - Brandon, Harrison & Spencer had dinner together for the last time in Summer 2010. Harrison & Spencer leave tomorrow for Camp Harmony to be camp counselors for a week and while they are gone, Brandon returns to college.

Wow, I can't believe our summer as a family has come to an end. What a whirlwind it has been. I mean really a whirlwind. On any given night we probably had 6 to 7 teenage bodies sleeping at the house. The food shopping, cooking and BBQs that took place were endless. The house always had a buzz ... sports games blaring from the TV screen, video games being played, music pumping ... and certainly lots of laughter.

I have always said that two of the ingredients to raising healthy teenage boys must include food & sports. One day I will post my philosophy on why I believe family meals are so vital to a child's upbringing and why any sports activity - organized or otherwise - is equally important to raising boys.

Having all three sons together over the summer has been wonderful. Watching them interact and be "bros" was very special for me. When one of your chicks leaves for college the dynamics of the house are forever changed. For good or bad. For me it's bad because I so crave my chicks being together. But part of responsible parenting is giving your children the wings to fly and to be successful while on their journey.

So Harrison and Spencer will experience being camp counselors at sleep away camp for the first time and Brandon will return to begin his Sophomore year of college. As sad as it may make me, it also brings me much joy that they are all on these great paths of life.

So as we sat around the dinner table us 5 Simon's, dining on our last meal together for many months, I thought what a great summer it has been!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 125: Too Much Bad News in the News

Mummified Babies Found in Basement Building; Father Keeps Dead Daughter in Ice Chest; Social Service Agency Fails to Protect Child Who Dies in Custody of Abusive Parent; Mother Drowns Two Sons After Suffocating Them; Murder Suspect Continues to Receive City Pension; Abducted Child Still Missing; Remains Discovered in Mountains Confirmed to be Latrice Richardson; Woman Sexually Assaulted in Apartment; Jogging Teenager Raped & Murdered; Teenager Overdoses at Rave Party at LA Coliseum

These headlines are just a sample of the stories that bombard us daily. It's almost too much some days for me to absorb and process. As much as I want to be an informed citizen, and I do, some days I'm sickened while reading the newspaper or listening to news reports. I literally get a nauseous feeling in my stomach trying to imagine how these despicable and unimaginable crimes can be committed. All this pain these crimes inflict on innocent people ...

I don't know about you but keeping up with the world's daily events is enough to make you sick. From death and destruction to grotesque crimes to unbelievable pain. Some days it's just too much to absorb. To really let the story soak in. I mean a father kills his daughter then stuffs her in an ice chest where she remained for years because he couldn't bare to part with her? What!?!

How have people gotten so sick, I mean really just unthinkable sickness. There are the Mother Nature disasters such as the floods in Pakistan and of course the heartbreaking earthquake in Haiti, all the way to man made disasters such as the BP oil spill causing almost irreparable damage to our beautiful Gulf Coast communities.

But then there are the human acts against other humans that give me tremendous pause. I just can't wrap my arms around how cruel, sick, and crazy people act toward others, especially our children. How could anyone harm a baby? A child? A mother suffocates her two sons, then drowns them in a car because she just couldn't handle being a Mother anymore! What!?

How did the human spirit get so damaged? I don't know the answer to this rhetorical question, but this morning as I caught up on the week's news, I was just overwhelmed by grief reading one horrific story after another. Such horrible acts of violence. I'm feeling really sad thinking about all the victims.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 124: Challenging To Recover

Did the BIG Run this morning. Met my friend and athletic trainer Melody Roset ( at 6 a.m. this morning at Santa Monica Beach for our 10 mile run. It's almost cocktail time now and I'm still sore! Oh my gosh! I've been sitting on ice half the day.

My MoleSkin (an adhesive type band aid that prevents blisters) did not work and I have huge blisters on both feet. To help with today's recovery I took myself to get a pedicure. Felt great to have my feet massaged, but the blisters are still there. Very painful. The lower back, hips and tushy are still aching a lot! I plan on taking two Tylenol PM pills tonight to ensure that I can sleep with all the pain. A good night's sleep should help.

Now I know many of you are thinking, "Why the hell is she putting herself through all this pain!?" The answer is because I have a goal to run the Los Angeles Marathon next March - one month before my 50th birthday. Reaching your goal doesn't always ensure that the process will be easy or seamless. I know that training this hard and pushing my body this much would come with a lot of aches and pains. You can't expect to go from running no miles to 26 miles without discomfort.

So today was Mile 10. I did fine for the first 7 miles, but after that the body was giving me a lot of lip. I walked and ran the last 3 miles which is a very respectable way of training. There are many people who only train with the walk/run method.

Time-wise I am doing okay. Not that I am running to be competitive or have a great time showing. On Labor Day Weekend I am running in the Disneyland Half Marathon which only allows participants the opportunity to run up to a 16 minute mile for the entire 13.1 miles. So that is about 3 and a half hours. After that they close the track. This is done to prevent people from registering for the race with the intention of walking it. Walking is NOT the same as running. Two different types of exercise. They want real runners to participate in this race.

On the short runs I can run a good time mile, but since we are going for distance, not running sprints, I am at 13 minute miles. If I can keep this pace for the next 10 days I should be able to finish the race in the required time allotment. And ya all thought I was just goin' out for a leisure run!

So I'm sitting on ice while I compose this post... and hoping my body will recover well enough to go out on Sunday and run again!

Call me crazy, but I love the challenge and the goal! Run Robyn Run!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 123: A Miracle!

I just can't believe what GREAT news I received today! I was scheduled this morning to have a little surgery to remove some skin cancer on my chest. I had had a biopsy a couple months ago that came back showing that I had some cancer that the doctor recommended be removed.

So today was the day. I was dreading the appointment. Not because I was worried that this could develop into something serious, but because I knew that there would be a scar right in the center of my chest! Yes, I am vain enough to care that every time I wore a tee shirt or dress there could be this ugly raised skin staring back at me.

But to my huge surprise I went to the appointment today and the doctor couldn't believe her eyes. She said that the biopsy must have gotten all the cells and she didn't recommend digging any deeper! Can you believe this?! Of course she recommends lots of follow up appointments to monitor the area, but suggested no treatment today!

Sometimes really great things happen in your day and you are reminded of how blessed you are. This was certainly one of those moments. I am feeling very grateful and very blessed.

Now I get to take my college boy Brandon to dinner on a date ... just the two of us... the day couldn't be any sweeter.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 122: Palisades High School Mom's

I hosted a Palisades High School Baseball Mom's gathering at the house tonight! Too fun to visit with the gals outside the baseball field! It was really nice to get better acquainted with the Mom's especially as my teenagers Harrison & Spencer have become very friendly with many of their sons.

Friendship and camaraderie are so important to us women. We cherish our friendships and enjoy meeting new smart and sassy women.

We talk about our lives both the ups and downs, our marriages, divorces, boyfriends, dating, children, baseball, college, food, work, exercise, weight ... you name it I'd say we can cover it in our conversation. It never gets old or stale that's for sure. Men are always amazed at how much we can talk, and talk and talk! But I love it!

Thank you to all the lovely ladies who joined me for spirits & yummies and wonderful conversation! For those Mom's who couldn't join us tonight, next time you gotta get in on the fun!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 121: Only 90 Years

I attended a panel discussion this evening reflecting on Women's Suffrage. For my followers who are too young to know what this is, it's when women won the right to VOTE. It's amazing to me that it's been only 90 years since women won their fight to participate in the voting process. Can you believe that? This means that if you have a Mom, Aunt, or Grandmother who is in her 90s, then when she was born her mother couldn't vote. That's worth taking a pause over. Can you imagine living in a country that doesn't allow the entire citizenry the right to vote.

Unfortunately many parts of the world today still deny women this right. It's criminal what many women endure in other countries. Denied access to education, health care, rights and yes of course the right to vote.

Tonight's event was co-sponsored by the National Women's Political Caucus, LA Westside chapter. I sit on the Board of Directors and have been an active member for a dozen years.

The title of this evening's panel was "We've Come Along Way, MAYBE". Women have made incredible strides over the past 90 years. Just last week we celebrated Elena Kagan being nominated to the United States Supreme Court-- now three women sit on this highest court of the land. Pretty impressive given we were only allowed to vote 90 years ago!

But there's no doubt we have not come as far as is necessary. Women still only make 70 cents on the dollar, far less than their male counterparts performing comparable work.

Today's panel included some of my favorite gal pals: Robin Sax who just rocks it when she speaks; Lindsay Bubar, NWPC co-President representing young women on the panel; and Holly J. Mitchell, who just won her primary for the 47th Assembly District (that's my neighborhood). These women each spoke about their experiences in the workplace and in life and how we've come along in many areas, but there is still much work to be accomplished.

Pictured here from left to right are Lindsay Bubar, co-President of NWPC, LA Westside and one of tonight's panelist; Robin Sax, Legal Analyst and Women & Children's Advocate; and Betsy Johnson, co-President of NWPC LA Westside.

All women in this country should give special thanks and recognition to our foremothers who fought, literally risked their lives, served in jail, were ridiculed by family and community so that today we can exercise our right to vote. Don't ever forget those that came before you and what they did and sacrificed so we can have what we have today.

Happy 90 Year's to The Woman's VOTE!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 120: Steroids, Acupuncture, & Chiropractor

Well, the college boy Brandon is not getting better, in fact he's gotten worse. So today the doc prescribed steroids and Tylenol with codeine. We hope once the meds kick in he will start to feel better. Real bummer to be so lethargic and uncomfortable and in pain.

The high school boy Spencer is still battling chronic neck pain. We have tried chiropractor visits, acupuncture treatments, traction and he has no relief from the pain. Not sure what our next steps will be to fix this pain. He's not sleeping well, and is constantly having to twitch his neck to decompress the vertebrates that are way too compressed for a 15 year old boy!

And while Harrison has no ailments, he's just being a pain in the ass about participating in the Camp Harmony program. Both Harrison & Spencer will be camp counselors at Camp Harmony -- a camp for underprivileged, homeless and foster children throughout Los Angeles. The campers spend one week at Camp Hess Kramer being free of the emotional and physical challenges of their lives.
Harrison's life is so perfect and blessed and he should give of his time, especially to children who need this week so much. I'm his mother and I need to guide him and teach him and if that means making him participate in a program that he doesn't want to because I believe it will enrich his life, then that's what I need to do. It's called parenting! He's really giving me a hard time about going and it's driving me crazy! He's acting like a spoiled teenager and I will have none of it!
Ahh the joys of parenting !

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 119: Yep, He's Got It

So the college boy, Brandon, tested positive for Mononucleosis. Short name MONO or the Kissing Virus. Bummer. He's only got two weeks left until he returns to college and this pesty little virus knocks energy out of your system among other symptoms. I suppose it's better he got it while he's home over summer rather then while in school or goodness forbid during baseball season! That would have really sucked.

While people joke that it is the "kissing" virus, the truth is that there are hundreds of ways for saliva to be transmitted. Little children share lolly pops. Kids drink out of each others straws. In college students live in close quarters in the dormitories laying on one another's pillows ... so there are plenty of ways for saliva to be shared (gross, huh?). I guess it's just more fun to say you got it from kissing!

In any event there's nothing fun about the virus. Brandon's lymph glands are so swollen he can barely swallow anything. His eyes are so puffy he looks like he's having a bad allergic reaction. These are all symptoms of the virus.

Tomorrow he sees Dr. Bluestone, our pediatrician since birth, and there is a chance he'll have to go on steroids to combat this virus. All I know, is that he returns to school in two weeks and I'm really hoping the worst of it is over by then, even though many people experience mono symptoms for months! Ouch!

As a parent no matter what age your child is, you never want to see them not feeling well, but it is all part of the parenting process. Young boys grow into teenagers, they go away to college, they share saliva and they contract this icky virus.

Let's just hope Brandon recovers before the end of August!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 118: A Comment From The Author!

Oh my gosh I can't control my excitement or my honor! I received a comment today on my Blog regarding my Day: 110 post about Summer Reading Assignments. The post was about how my High School boys, Harrison & Spencer, have reading assignments over the summer and how I feel about such homework over the summer.

I listed the titles and authors of the books the boys selected to read and shared with my followers how I always read the boys' summer selected books. I had started this when Brandon, the college boy, entered Middle School because I was curious about adolescence and believed that reading novels directed to this age group could enlighten me more about what is going on in those crazy minds during teenage years.

I shared in this post how I find reading teenage books a tremendous insight into what our teenagers are going through developmentally in their lives. I have always enjoyed this summer treat of reading their books.

Well, can you believe that one of the authors I listed actually found my BLOG and sent me a message! I mean can you believe this!?! I really am still in shock that a published author took the time to send me a message on my silly Birthday Blog! I am so honored and moved by her comment. Below is the beautiful message she sent me:

I had to comment here even though writers are not supposed to admit they ego-google. But I'm outing myself because I wanted to congratulate you on your wonderful and responsible attitude toward your children's reading assignments. It is a refreshing change from the growing number of parents who read children's books in order to censor not only what their own children are allowed access to but in attempt to control the reading choices of other children. There is so much quality work being written and published for kids and teenagers. Kudos to you for recognizing its value. Melissa Wyatt

(If Harrison has any questions about Funny How Things Change, tell him to feel free to contact me through my website: I'd be delighted to respond.)

Needless to say I am in love with this woman for her thoughtfulness and that she took the time to respond so lovingly! You can bet that when Harrison & I finish reading Melissa Wyatt's book we will be following up with her! I'm thinking that perhaps we invite her to Palisades Charter High School to speak to his English class! I'm really so very touched that my post resonated with the author.

Maybe I am on to something with this blogging daily...maybe I do have some words that are worth reading...thank you Melissa for this wonderful boost for a local blogging writer!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 117: Where I'd Be Right Now

Had I opted to go to Law School, I'd be in class right now! School started this week. Not sure how I'm feeling about it. On one hand I'm bummed that another year will pass without working toward my law degree, but on the other hand I am relieved!

Relieved that I don't have the financial commitment and relieved I don't have the brain commitment.

I can't imagine juggling the class load with my boys still needing to be parented. I've talked about this before. For all you naysayers who don't believe teenagers need parenting, I'd like to see how screwed up your kids are... or you don't have children so I really don't give a damn what your opinion is on this parenting issue.

I opted to not pursue law school because it would cost me close to 100k and I just can't justify that expense with three sons to put through college. Brian and I made a pact a long time ago that if possible we want the boys to graduate school debt free. It's an ambitious goal considering the cost of college. We already have one in a private university and who knows what the other two will opt for.

I've had my run with school. I went to both undergraduate and graduate school and hold a Master's Degree. I paid for that degree for many years after graduating and it ain't fun, so if possible the boys will not have to carry this debt. That doesn't mean they don't have to pull their weight. Translation: they either are collegiate athletes or collegiate workers!

Anyway back to the law school issue... given the way our business has been the past few years (meaning very down!) and the uncertainty of the economy, I just couldn't make the plunge and feel like a responsible adult doing it ...

So while a part of me is very disappointed, the other part of me is happy that I can continue being the Mom I want to be to my boys while not running our family into debt. It means also that I can continue working in politics and continue to make change to better the lives of women. Not a bad gig I say.

Maybe I'll win the lottery when the boys are all in college and then I can enroll in law school... who knows, but for today, I'm content not laboring over law books!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 116: Here, There, and Everywhere

Here, there, everywhere... that's how I feel ... Running to this appointment, scheduling that appointment, juggling every one's schedules ... there's the orthodontist appointments, more than usual as we pray braces will be removed before school begins in September. There are chiropractor and acupuncture appointments for Spencer's chronic neck pain; ACN meetings to host at the house to promote our new business which is taking over Brian's life; College boy having blood work done to test for Mono, hoping it's just a sinus infection!; Visiting relatives post surgeries; School shopping for socks, shorts, backpacks and those damn school forms to be filled out; Apple computer appointments; work commitments; political commitments; blogging commitments; marketing, cooking, endless loads of laundry; gas for the car; new car has low tire pressure, why!!!! Birthday presents to buy ... I think I am going to SCREAM!!!
I feel like I look like this woman in the photo above!

People wonder why I can't see them or return their phone calls... I can barely breathe and take care of myself so if you feel slighted, get in line!

Some days it's all too much and today was one of those days ... it just never ends. I'm exhausted ...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 115: 9 Miles

As I write this post very late tonight, I'm still sitting on ice packs! Oh my gosh! Adding one mile a week is going to be very painful for me. I increased my beach run this morning to 9 miles.

As I write this post I'm wondering how, if I feel this sore and exhausted, am I going to run 13 miles in less than a month for the Disneyland Half Marathon? The answer is, I don't know!

Seriously, I really don't know how I could run more... maybe it's just how I feel at the moment: sore, aching, wiped out... that is creating these thoughts in my head, but the thought of pounding out an additional 4 miles seems unattainable.

The new problem are the blisters that develop after each long run on the side of my feet. Huge, painful blisters. Might be the fit of the running shoes ... and then there's the burning on the bottom of my feet generated from the nerve damage originating from my lower back. Ouch is all I can say. I am running with A LOT of pain and now blisters.

Gee, I can't wait till next week when I get to run 10 miles!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 114: School Emergency Forms

Ugh! The boy's school packets arrived today with endless forms to be filled out and dates to be paid attention to! UGH!!!! Once those arrive it's like you are suppose to shift back to school mode, but school doesn't start for a month already! Not until September 13! I do not even want to think about Brandon returning to college or Harrison & Spencer going back to High School!!

Juggling all the back-to-school dates: one for registration; one to change your class schedule; one to book airline ticket to send college boy back to Oregon; then all the holiday schedules and juggling every one's schedule so you can coordinate to be together! Ugh again!

I resented receiving the packets today because now my mind has to absorb all these dates and I feel pressure to get the forms filled out and returned by all the varying due dates! I don't want any more dates to remember in my head! It's enough with all that we have going on now... the new school year always brings endless dates and commitments and I'm not in the mood today!

While I know it's inevitable that the boys return to their studies, I just wasn't ready to get the packets today reminding me that it's just around the corner. I want to soak up every minute left of summer with them and these damn forms are an eyesore on my desk!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 113: It's Official

Well there's no turning back now! I have registered and paid for the 2011 Los Angeles Marathon! The commitment has been made and it is very real! Not sure if I'm happy or regretful with this decision! My legs and back ache and I'm scared to death of running 26.2 miles! But it's done.

First I have to accomplish the Labor Day half marathon at Disneyland. That's in less than a month. If I can complete that race successfully I'm sure it will give me a boost of confidence toward the full marathon.

The LA Marathon race is Sunday, March 20, 2011 beginning at Dodger Stadium and ending at Santa Monica beach. I'm running it, not walking it. There's a HUGE difference between the two. Believe me I've walked that many miles before and it is tough and requires lots of training as well. But to run that many miles requires even more attention and training as your body is just not designed for such a physical challenge.

I'm excited that I made the commitment to participate in such a physical challenge in advance of turning 50, but there are days when I ask myself, why this? Why didn't I choose something less strenuous to honor the Birthday? Well, it's a little late for that. I have always said that running a marathon was on the "bucket list" and I figured what better time to knock that item off the list then in advance of a milestone Birthday. So the commitment has been made, there's no turning back now.

My mantra, Run Robyn Run!