everything is on sale now except this
Bitch’in Life

Everything is on Sale Now – Except This ONE Thing


Have you succumbed to the siren song of post-Thanksgiving sales yet?

Did you find yourself lining up at Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart or another giant retailer at midnight, a smear of cranberry sauce on your lips and indigestion rising in your chest mitigated only by the eager anticipation of scoring a deeply discounted drone, a hella cheap hoverboard, low-priced lux items, or perhaps a Fitbit for a pittance?

Is FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) your MO?

For the next few weeks from Black Friday on, there’ll be Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Mild Existential Crisis Tuesday, all the way along until Christmas Eve, aka Total Meltdown Thursday, when if you haven’t figured it out by then, it’s all over…

That is until THE VERY NEXT DAY, when the post-holiday sales hit, promising to bring fantastic deals on everything that wasn’t snagged for the holidaze… or maybe it was, but now you’re lucky enough to buy someone else’s rejects.

Because that’s what we call a bah-humbargain.

Before you get caught up in the wholesale degrading of things that we really should value, I say:


To me, the consumer frenzy that is the next few weeks is a metaphor for everything that matters in our lives.

When retailers ask – no, demand – that their employees bail on their Thanksgiving festivities to work, and shoppers leave the tryptophan-red-wine- family-cocoon to brave the cold in order to buy a bunch of crap that who even knows if anyone wants it… just know you gotta have it… regardless of the price you pay, financially speaking and otherwise…

Then what the hell are we doing?

We have to consider what we give away too cheaply, and what we lose when we think we’re gaining something of value by allowing what should be seen as priceless to go out the window.

This isn’t just about the holidaze, either.

I’m talking about what you are personally letting go willy-nilly for a bargain basement price when you should instead reclaim it, redeem its value, and make sure you have what you need for a rainy day.

Or any day, really.

Before you open up and say take me for all I’ve got, please marinate on this:

  • Do you underprice your productivity and/or creativity?
  • Do you allow your free time to be eaten away by friends that are happy to consume it but unable to give you even a nibble of their time and attention in return?
  • Do you let your kids off the hook when it comes to pitching in, as if their time doing homework (or, more likely, playing video games, watching YouTube, Snapchat-ing, and/or Instagramming) is more valuable than yours?
  • Do you offer to do things that in your heart of hearts you know you’d rather not?
  • Do you put work above time with the people you truly care about?
  • Do you place your own personal thoughts and feelings so that they’re so low on the shelf that nobody — include you — bothers to look at them?
  • Is the sum total of your days adding up to more sorrow than joy, more disappointment than excitement, more drudge than delight?

If you go through the list and feel like you’re being robbed of something, then just know NOW is the time to stop giving it away wholesale.

I know I have been asking myself these questions for a long time now. It’s becoming my mantra and my mission to stop the fire sale on the things I truly value, the stuff I want filling my stockings all year long. (Now that sounds dirty, but let’s run with it, my bitches.)

We are about a month away from the New Year, and rather than worry about getting all you can for as little as possible, I’d suggest now’s the time to figure out how to get the most out of life… and this is the kind of thing you can’t necessarily wrap up tidily with a little bow.

So if you see me doing the math before I check out completely, just know that I’m deciding what price is really right. Because selling yourself short is no bargain at all, and in this pre-New-Year season, it’s the perfect time to mark up what really matters.

the world is fcked so here's what we're gonna do
Bitch’in Life

The World is F*cked, So Here’s What We’re Gonna Do


It’s almost Thanksgiving, and I would like to write a post that’s all about gratitude, and really getting into the spirit of the holiday, but before I can nod out into a tryptophan and red wine induced haze, I can’t help but wonder:

WTF, world?

The recent attacks in Paris, which left 129 dead and 433 wounded, were horrific on so many levels, but in particular because these heinous acts were aimed at people who were just going about their normal lives: eating, drinking, going to a concert, heading to a sports stadium to watch a France-Germany soccer match, walking down the bloody street.

Preceding that were the suicide bombings in Lebanon, where a pair of terrorists killed 43 and wounded 239 others in the Bourj al-Barajneh district in southern Beirut. This got less press, possibly because of the perception that Beirut is constantly under siege (for the record, it’s not — its civil war ended in 1990). While France got Facebook’s kick ass feature Safety Check activatedwhich allows people in a crisis area to check in and swiftly let their friends know they’re OK, Beirut didn’t have it available.

Kind of a boot in the butt for a country that’s absorbed more than one million refugees from Syria,which has seen four million flee for their lives from the four-year genocidal crisis that continues to this day with no end in sight.

Then there’s the Russian airliner that was taken down over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt by a terrorist’s homemade bomb, killing all 224 onboard.

OK, so this was all just this past week, and attributable to The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as if they’re the only people out there hell-bent on destruction.


In our own country, and not attributable to ISIL, you’ll be sad/horrified/disgusted/terrified to note that in 2015 alone, way more than double the amount of Americans ever killed in terrorist attacks on our soil (3,521 to date) have been victims of gun violence in the States (11,581 as of November 17, 2015, according to the Gun Violence Archive).

Oh, and Charlie Sheen is HIV-positive, and never bothered to tell any of his sexual partners. Not that it’s the same as Armageddon or the Apocalypse, but it does have an air of harbinger-ness.

Combine all that with natural disasters including earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, wild fires, and general fallout from global warming, and things can get pretty damn depressing, pretty quickly.

So what’s a Thanksgiving reveler to do if the world is fucked? Here are a few things we gotta do:

1) Recognize that history repeats itself, and we’re still here. Uhm, let’s go right on back to the original Thanksgiving, which as Jay-Z says in “No Church in the Wild” was disguised as a feast — it was literally a celebration of religious zealots (aka Puritans) enslaving and/or massacring Native Americans, and then holding a “thanksgiving” to celebrate the annihilation of the heathens. And by heathens, we mean the people who taught the settlers to grow corn and fish, and who even negotiated a peace treaty with the strangers who arrived on their shores. Goddamn savages, right?!?

2) Get educated. Months ago I read this very intelligent, very thorough explanation of What ISIS Really Wants in The Atlantic. It’s terrifying alright, but if you open your eyes and understand how and why this is happening — and how it’s way different than the “old school” terrorism of Al Qaeda — you’re on your way to a unloading all that blissful ignorance and getting real about what we’re facing. I also LOVE what foul-mouthed, smart Erika Napoletano had to say about this hot mess we call knee-jerk reaction, and how we can actually be thoughtful and effective in our response to the horror overseas. (By JERK, I mean the people who threatened to kill Erika, called her the c-word, and generally sunk to a gross, low level when she mentioned that changing your profile pic on Facebook alone wasn’t enough to make a difference.)

3) Say hello, Dalai: The Dalai Lama, always full of sage advice, is spot-on for this one. He said to Deutsche Welle, a German broadcasting company, “We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. I am a Buddhist, and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking Gd to solve it. It is illogical. Gd would say solve it yourself, because you created it in the first place.” In other words, don’t pray for peace — act for it. Now.

4) Teach empathy, not apathy. This was a lesson I learned personally on 9/11, when my family and I lived just five miles from Ground Zero. The idea of launching new human beings into the world at a time when terrorism is widespread and threatening to tear us apart — literally — is staggering… and yet, it is NOT hopeless. As President Obama said in a 2011 radio address: “Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.” Sadly, this advice goes all the way through to today, where now we can turn our thoughts, actions and deeds to extend a hand to our international allies. And make sure our offspring does the same.

5) Remember what the French Lady sez . Lady Liberty, originally a gift from the people of France to the citizens of the U.S. — designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor, and built by Gustave Eiffel — bears this inscription by the American poet Emma Lazarus:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Nowhere does it qualify welcoming refugees based on where they’re from or by the religion they practice. And for that we as a country of immigrants should be eternally grateful. I know for my own family, who fled Russian pogroms, it’s a really good thing that the U.S. didn’t turn away refugees back in the day.

As President Obama said, “We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic. We don’t make good decisions if it’s based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks.”

Can I get an Amen? Or an Awomen? Or a plain old AYE as in we’re ALL in this together?

When you from a place of fear, there’s only one place you can go… and it ain’t pretty.

But come from a place of love, and everything changes. Because like I always say, love is the ONLY answer.

And there is literally no question about that.

So if you see me raising a glass of French wine with a turkey leg chaser, just know that I’m keeping the faith and mainlining gratitude at the same time. I am thankful for all I have, and cognizant that it all can be taken in a blink of an eye, or a flick of a suicide bomber’s switch. There is love… and there is fear… and the choice of where to go is ours every single day.

I’m so thankful for y’all, and wish you a happy, healthy, safe holiday. À la vôtre!

Photo credit: “Taking the World by Storm,” by JD Hancock

burnt out
Bitch’in Life, Parenting

10 Ways to Tell You’re Burnt Out & How to Reignite


“I’m burnt out,” my daughter said to me the other day as we hurled down the freeway to her second softball practice of the day.

I glanced at her slouched in the seat next to me and felt a dark, deep pang of recognition. I wanted to nip off the next exit and take my baby home, but I also knew that she’d be letting down her team and her coaches, and we were almost there anyways.

So instead, I did the logical thing for an equally burnt out person — I commiserated.

“Yup, I’ve been up since 4:30 a.m. myself. I did a few hours work, ran to school to unpack two pallets of cookie dough for the baseball fundraiser, hauled boxes, distributed the stuff, ran home, started dinner, and now after I drop you off, I have to go to the grocery store, finish some editing, answer emails, feed you guys…”

This admittedly dickhead mom move was a classic sign of burnout, which, according to Psychology Today is a “state of chronic stress” that leads to:

  • Physical and emotional exhaustion (CHECK)
  • Feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment (DOUBLE CHECK)
  • Cynicism and detachment (AKA DICKHEAD MOM)

The “good” news is that we are all feeling it.

The “bad” news is that we are feeling it.

How do I know this?

Well, I asked my friends on Facebook what was on their minds, and the flurry of answers all supported my theory that we’re collectively about to go up in flames.

We had a number of Netflix bingers fretting about not having enough time to power through, say, Aziz Ansari’s Master of None, or even more dauntingly, Game of Thrones. Even the word binging sounds uncomfortable and actually not all that relaxing.

Speaking of “winter is coming,” there was a sleigh full o’ peeps fretting about how stores are rushing the season so hard and fast that Thanksgiving has already been gobbled up by Christmas.

Witness the whole dumb-ass Starbucks cup controversy, and you’ll know that everyone’s just about ready to unload a Chestnut Praline Latte-esque frothy hot mess all over the place.

Still others are fretting about bills, getting their kids into school (high school, college, etc.), and the perennial stressor that is youth sports play-off season. And then there was my one BBF whose kids were done with everything and was now staring at a vacant abyss, wondering what shoe would drop next. Hullo, shell-shocked burnout!

And then there are those of us who want nothing more than to slink into the oblivion of a worn, saggy, comfy pair of old gray sweats, but instead we have constant media reminders that we SHOULD be looking at ourselves with pride in our whole being and NOT just how we look physically… and this special pre-holiday message is inevitably delivered by on-camera women who are picture perfect.

Next, cue holiday segments about how you SHOULD cook festive meals, SHOULD decorate your Martha Stewart living spaces, SHOULD take the perfect family photos for the annual card, SHOULD shop for this year’s hottest gifts, and generally how you SHOULD throw it down for the next month so goddamn hard you can’t feel your face or any other extremity for that matter… in a way only the holidaze can.

My bitches, life is shoulding all over us!

‘Tis the preseason for that crushing feeling that the finish line (a winter break, as it were) is close enough to feel it, yet far enough away that you’re pretty sure you’ll never make it.

In case you’re wondering what the 10 signs are that you’re burning out, check da list:

1. Exhaustion/fatigue

2. Sleep issues

3. Lack of motivation

4. Frustration, cynicsism, negativity

5. Forgetful, problems concentrating

6. Slipping performance

7. Conflicts, arguments

8. Physical symptoms (shortness of breath, etc.) and illness

9. Lose or gain weight

10. Anxiety, depression, anger

Any of it sound familiar?

There are loads of ways to reignite, and I’ve talked about a lot of them over time.

Then again, it’s all a bunch of jibber jab unless you actually do something to get your special sumpin’ back.

Herein lies the Catch-22 of repairing your burnt out self, which, by the way, is not a quick fix and usually involves a lifestyle change. You’ve got to get it up for shifting things around just when you feel limpest and most forlorn.

There are a few things you can do that will bring that spark back to your life — just in time for the holidaze:

1. Go outside for 15 minutes a day: Mother Nature loves you! So get the hell away from your desk or house or wherever you spend your days, and go out and smell the flowers (or the rain or sleet or whatever is going on in your neck of the woods).

2. Make it burn — aka exercise: This is the first thing to go when the season gets busy. I signed up for a spin challenge to make sure I don’t let this one slip. That endorphin release is crucial.

3. Make a list of what stresses you out, and commit to eliminating or shifting at least one thing: For example, I’m a Masshole – a Massachusetts driver – and so navigating LA traffic as I do every single day has a way of pushing the stress level to 11. I’ve recently started a playlist on Spotify I call “loud n good” (and if you follow me on Spotify, please, partake!), cuz a little headbanging while driving has really shifted the stress right out of my various commutes. If not made me look like an even bigger Masshole behind the wheel.

4. Say NO. And mean it. This can be a tough one, especially with all the holidaze invites heading your way, but believe you me — a smaller guest list never hurt anyone. You might be paying burnout relief forward!

5. Ask for help. Who among us asks for someone to give us a hand? In that cookie dough delivery scenario I mentioned above, that morning I thought about how I was going to do it myself, and decided I wasn’t. I asked a BBF to join me, and she was a complete lifesaver. Then once I got to school, I asked again for help and it was granted by a very kind baseball coach that could’ve been taking a lunch break, but instead did much of the heavy lifting. Done and done.

6. Take a day. For yourself, for your burnt out babies, for whoever needs it. Don’t hold your breath for a planned vacation — you’ll pass out long before then.

7. Unplug — at least at night. One of my big problems of late are crappy sleep patterns. It dawned on me that buzzing text messages, and also reaching for my phone to play Words with Friends when I can’t sleep just perpetuates the problem. Either power down or at least leave your tiny handheld device from the future in another room.

8. Do the thing(s) that brings you pleasure. This is literal — hobbies, sex, whatever it is you’ve back-burnered is contributing to your burnout — trust me. Take the time to do what you dig.

9. Get some sleep. Even if you need a little aid — whatever it is that floats your boat and lets you sleep, just do it. Cuz I’m tired of being tired — aren’t you?

10. Laugh a little. Or a lot. I’m gonna say the aforementioned Master of None would be a safe bet. But don’t force yourself to binge; just take it slow and let it rip over time. Savor it, even. And before you know it, those burnt out blues will go away with a belly laugh (or two or six).

So if you see me making a quick turn off the next exit, just know that sometimes you have to listen to your Universe and bail on the burnout. After all, there are miles to go, and the world’s a much darker place when the your bright light stops shining.

stop making fun of the 80s
Bitch’in Life, Humor

Dear World: Stop Making Fun of the ’80s – XO GenX


Hey Guys:

Just wanted to give you all a reality check. Cuz you know what GenX sez — reality bites, and actually, I feel like lately it’s taking a big ol’ chunk out of my ’80s peeps.

You know us — we’re the latchkey generation. The losers that are said to be the first bunch ‘o chumps to have less wealth than our parents. The measly 50 million or so that are bookended by “The Greatest Generation” (Baby Boomers, approximately 80 million) and the talk of the town, the Millennials (approximately 78 million).

You’d think we’d be used to being left out and kicked to the curb, but I’m here to tell you it’s not so bitch’in to be the butt of everyone’s jokes.

Take for example this past Halloween; I figured I’d see a lot of funny/pretty/scary costumes — you know, the Michael Myers, the Disney princesses, the Caitlyns, and so on.

But in the mix, I saw an interesting trend from the silly side of the holiday spectrum: a full-on explosion of ’80s sorts, including a big-haired club girl with crispy mall bangs, a “let’s get physical” lycra-clad workout chick, a Guns N’Roses Slash here and actually there.

Not that I was one to talk — I dusted off my old X t-shirt (for those who don’t know X, they’re the seminal LA punk band that had many of their biggest hits in early-mid ’80s), threw on some Doc Martens only slightly fancier than the ones I had back in ’89, shoved in a few stunt piercings, and hid my choppy mom bob in a faux hawk wig.

While my kids laughed at me (well, ran away from me in embarrassment, actually), my high school buds recognized the scowl.

It was gen-u-ine disaffected ’80s — snarky, slacky, and skeptical.

Maybe that came from a carpool jaunt earlier that week, where I got to listen to a car full of Generation Z prattle on about how bad my music is. This is one of the classic criticisms of GenX — our so-called horrible music. Because you know, they NEVER play Journey, Foreigner, the Cure, AC/DC, or any other ’80s bands on the radio anymore. (I know, what am I saying RADIO? But it’s on all the time, and not just programming for the classic rock stations — although there is that, too. But I digress.)

That is, until one of the kids piped up that he likes the new Def Leppard album.

Then he smirked like he was kidding, and asked if I could put on some Avicii instead.

So I had to give the Z’s a dose of reality: EDM clearly has its roots in the synthesized dance music of the ’80s. Hullo, Walk the Moon is hungry just like the original wolf of ’80s pop. And The Weeknd (who is admittedly amazing) is pretty much The The.

Just sayin’.

Before you X us out, remember a few things that had their roots in the ’80s :

– The aforementioned big hair. I’d argue it’s still the sexiest look, and if you look back over time, riddle me this: who will have turned the most heads — today’s girls with the limp flat-ironed manes or the ones with the hot ‘n fluffy teased perms? (Actually, the answer is the ones with the biggest boobs, cuz that hasn’t really changed, but you get my point.)

– Where would we be without MTV? I know they’re not so much about music videos anymore, and yet… I will always want my MTV.

Kurt Cobain is forever a god. The Foo Fighters (sure, a ’90s band BUT STILL) are better than ever. And everyone still loves crop tops and acid-washed ripped jeans. Seriously, have you been to Wet Seal lately?

– We live in a Marvel Universe, but admit it: none of their big screen antics will ever be any better than Saturday mornings watching Super Friends.

– We are totally facile with all things digital, but we can still rock a card catalog and find a damn library book like nobody’s business! This ability to think every which way about the box — because we really don’t like being boxed in, and also cuz we’re the original geek chic — has produced some major GenX playahs: Larry Page & Sergey Brin (both 42, Google); Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, & Jawed Karim (38/37/36, YouTube), Jeff Bezos (51, Amazon), and Jack Dorsey (39, Twitter), just to name a few.

Fantasy Island is getting a reboot, and maybe you guys have heard a little sumpin’ sumpin’ about a promising upcoming movie called Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Let’s just say GenXers OWNED the original as kids. Strong the Force is, in the ’80s it was. (NOTE: Halloween looked a bit like Mos Eisley’s Cantina, too. And who DOESN’T wanna be a Storm Trooper? Me, I’ll just be happy to see Princess Leia wield a goddamn light saber, finally.)

– If you ask me, what the selfie generation needs is a good old fashioned After School Special to help them manage their angst and understand they honestly DON’T have to be so goddamn picture perfect all the time.

– Some say Russia is the #1 threat to world peace nowadays. From Glasnost through the end of the Cold War, GenX bore witness to the shift from enemy to ally(ish). You know the expression, “everything old is new again?” A#1, don’t freakin’ call us old. And B#2, we got this.

– Everyone needs a record player… again. My daughter just won a Billy Squier album at an event. And as a GenX mom, I’m more than happy to explain the deep meaning of his epic classic, “The Stroke.”

– We’re living present day Back to the Future. We called it on wireless video games, 3-D movies, handheld computers (aka tablets), video conferencing, and flat-screen TVs that hang on walls like pictures. Oh and we also predicted our society’s preoccupation with personal technology. Great Scott!

The list goes on and on… which makes me wonder why people like Faith Popcorn, a trend consultant who advises companies on generational differences, says shit like, “Six in ten boomers and Millennials think their generations are special but only one-third of GenXers do. You wouldn’t want to be a GenXer.”

To Faith Popcorn and her minions I say: Bag your faces, you damn airheads. That’s totally bogus, and you know it. Nobody puts baby in a corner… and by baby, I mean the children of the ’80s.

So if you see me taking a big whiff of a freshly mimeographed sheet of paper, just know that I’m sucking in the essence of the ’80s purple reign: the era was, in my opinion a gorgeous mélange of teen-centric sensibilities, an exciting shifting world landscape, and a rich breeding ground rife with opportunities for never-before-seen independence, self-expression, and of course, big ass hair (perms ‘n mullets, my bitches, perms ‘n mullets!)

Thanks in advance for sending a little love the latchkey kids’ way — not that we need your pity, but we do think it’d be super bitch’in to get a tiny bit o’ respect. (Cue Rodney Dangerfield….!)


PS: This video just came out from my friends at the React Channel. The young’uns might not know the ’80s, but they sure do enjoy ‘em!

This Halloween, Eat the Fear
Bitch’in Life

This Halloween, 10 Ways to Eat the Fear


Something wicked this way comes… and no, it’s not Halloween.

Although then again, Halloween was a harbinger, which started looming ominously round about last August when costume “super stores” and pumpkin-scented candles started cropping up all over the place, replacing the sunscreen endcaps before the last rays of summer had remotely dwindled.

This whole “rushing the season” thing in my book is one of the scarier aspects of modern life. We all know that time is precious, so why the hell do we as a society push forward into the next (selling) season so quickly? I swear I saw a phantom of a Black Friday sale this past week, and it was only a Tuesday.

But I digress. In fact, I notice how much I digress lately, and I realize that is something scary. I reach for words, or try to remember what I was supposed to do, and there’s nil. Zip. Nada.

Even scarier is boredom. Ever notice how much you end up trolling Facebook or Twitter or other social media; zoning out to some screen or another, engaging in endless, mindless folly?

I heard something on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast recently that totally resonated with me. He said a therapist once told him, “There is no such thing as boredom, only fear.”

Ahhh, Fear. You know that thing my New Agey friends say is just False Evidence Appearing Real.

I think about fear a lot, as any guru (or actually Eleanor Roosevelt) will tell you that facing down what freaks you out is the best way to break through. Like you’re supposed to do one thing a day that scares you, and that supposedly will shift the quality of your life.

Having lost my long-time consistent day job gig over the summer, I’ve been doing a lot of fear facing of late.

Or, more accurately, thinking about it, anyways.

Too old, know too much, don’t know enough, stuck in a rut, that comes from my gut, that shows on my face, oh man, what a disgrace… and so on. Please pass the hooded costume — I need something to disguise my malaise.

With Halloween in da house, I figure now is the perfect time to open wide and swallow that fear whole, so the rest of this Fall season can be about forward movement, growth, and leaving all that false evidence in the dust.

Before you can say boo, here are 10 ways to eat the fear:

1) Commit to something big: Sure everything starts with baby steps, but look around: There are many opportunities to go big before you go home. Take for example, Nanowrimo — National Novel Writing Month, where you’re challenged to bang out your magnum opus is just 30 days. I’ve got a couple of those suckers laying around already (HULLO, speaking of fear, why not self-publish?), so my goal in November is to kick out a screenplay. (Thanks to my lady writers group, I’m doing something called “Zero Draft Thirty,” which is in the spirit of hunkering down and kicking out the jams).

2) Commit to something small: I dabble in ab work as a part of my BBF’s “100 a day” group on Facebook. That’s 100 sit-ups a day, plus a couple of minutes of planks, and it honestly only takes five minutes a day. For the next 30 days I’m back in and digging the discipline (which will be very helpful in working off all the candy I’m gonna eat in the next week.)

3) Free your mind: And they say the rest will follow. Seriously, when they say it’s all in your head, it’s true. And meditation is one excellent way to kick out the cobwebs and banish the jams by quieting your keppie. Just five minutes a day’ll do it. (This is one of those things that scare me, along with puppets, clowns, and carnies — but I’m gonna try =)

4) Try some tricks: This isn’t necessarily literal, unless you need to employ drastic measures — sexy or otherwise. But how about approaching whatever trips you out with a Jedi mind trick — look beyond the thing, ascribe it to someone else, or even change how you see yourself. If you were your own client, how would you want to be treated?

5) Speaking of treats, make sure you include them on the to do list. Get outside, take a walk, get that double latte with regular milk — go on, you deserve a break. Really, you do.

6) Just say yes. I’ve had a lot of great things happen when I say yes, and so when some oddball offer comes your way, accept that it can change your course.

7) Chose a disguise: You know I’m a big fan of faking it till you make it. So why not go as a confident person with something to say and all the right answers?

8) Don’t answer the phone: You know how in horror movies when the heroine answers the phone, she inevitable ends up chainsaw meat? I’m not saying this literally, but I am saying that you can let it go to voicemail, skip checking emails every five seconds, put down the damn Words with Friends (ok, my problem, maybe not yours), and stay focused. When you hang up on the little distractions that can kill your momentum, you take back the power.

9) Get in the spirit: One of the best things about Halloween, next to free candy, is it’s fun. It’s also thrilling and exciting. These are all good ways to approach things, especially the stuff that scares you.

10) Take it in bite-size pieces: Chunking out whatever it is you have to do is a really good way to get it done. Maybe you hack at whatever you need to do for just 15 minutes a day. Or you write 1,000 words (one of my regular goals), clear out one drawer, etc. It’s much easier to tackle the big when you go bite-sized first.

So if you see me taking off my grim reaper disguise and going as a cheerleader instead, just know that I’ve taken a big bite o’ fear, and it kinda tastes like Reese’s Dark Peanut Butter cups. After all, as the fake horror that is Halloween teaches us, fear is just a mask, and what’s underneath is where the magic happens.

Girl Code for Grown-Ups
My Bitches

Girl Code for Grown-Ups


Hey all my bitches of a certain age — do you know what the Girl Code is?

Aside from being a very popular MTV series where funny ass X-chromosomal beings share their views of the “rules” of sisterhood, it’s also generally the female morays we all know in our heart of hearts but maybe don’t speak of all the time.

To give you some examples from the Urban Dictionary (a less raunchy, more garden variety kinda deal) Girl Code includes things like:

– If you change boyfriends so fast they rarely achieve name status, a man must be around for at least six weeks before you make your friends bother to learn his first name. Until such time, he should be referred to as “The boy” or “That guy.”

– You are to never diss a friend’s boyfriend except to agree lightly or nod when she says he’s being an asshole. In most cases it is easier to nod. Exception: If a guy cheated or dumped your friend it is exceptional for you to claim he isn’t good enough, and that she deserves better as well as reminding her that he was an asshole anyway.

–  No girl shall wear the same outfit or perfume as a friend is they will knowingly be in the same place.

– The penalty for exposing a secret to an unauthorized party shall be exile from Girlville.

– A girl who can substantially claim that she was not aware that a piece of information was a secret at the time she exposed it shall not be subject to punishment.

– Inside jokes are not to be explained to outsiders.

And of course:

– Chicks before dicks.

In many cases, we age out of much of the stuff once we’ve settled down, perhaps popped out a few puppies, and generally relegated our hang time with BBFs (best bitches forever) to occasional GNO’s, usually at some suburban wine bar with too much cheap Chardonnay and not enough time to dig into any major dish save sticking a few forks into a shared chocolate orgasm.

This doesn’t, however, minimize the importance of your BBFs  — in fact, I’d argue as we age, we need our ladies more than ever before. It’s a jungle out there, and without our sisters in arms, we end up naked and afraid. And not in the good, fun way…

This past weekend I went away with a gaggle of BBFs to celebrate a milestone birthday. There were many fabulous parts to it, but my very favorite of all was when we went out for brunch on Saturday morning at a hip urban joint, Nickel Diner. It was happenstance that we ended up at a place that’s self-described as “very chick on chick,” with kick ass, juicy, yummy, outrageously fabulous ‘n fresh grub. (The opposite of course would be “cock food” — what co-owners Monica May and Kristen Trattner call the kind of meal that you pay $60 a dish for and “two bites in, you’re done.”)

Because a bunch of broads of a certain age are never really quiet, we quickly caught the attention of Trattner, who zoned in on our jam (and I use that word specifically cuz their jam is so damn good), and kicked the festivities into high gear with an on-the-house red velvet donut stuffed with out-of-this-world cream cheese custardy filling and a candle lit with a blow torch.

We sang, loudly, and clapped and cheered as the birthday girl stood up and victoriously screamed, “This is 50, Mother….!”

(That she left off the last bit — fuckers — was only because she caught sight of a 10-year-old kid dining opposite her, and it’s in some mommy code somewhere that some of us ascribe to of not cussing in front of someone else’s kids if you don’t know the family rule on that. For the record, this is one of those codes I suck at.)

It was there that I started thinking about how the Girl Code evolves as you grow up. Just like the ever-changing female form, it expands in new places, contracts in others, but still holds the same crucial space deep inside as it always did back in the day.

So here are a few thoughts I have about Girl Code for Grown-ups:

– There are many things we women can and should call each other: fierce, hot, strong, kick ass, bitch’in — but we should never, ever call each other cute. Note to the younger babes in the house: This goes double for you. Don’t fucking call us cute. Stop looking at us like we’ve lost our minds. You are staring at your future, and from my vantage point, it’s pretty goddamn vital, sexy, and alive, so open wide and say ahhhhhhh. Also, consider keeping your pubes — by all means ladyscape, but also just know that you’re entitled to not look like a baby your whole entire life. (That last bit was unsolicited and not a part of the girl code per se… just a side note =)

– Also refrain from calling one and other (or ourselves) cougars when we’re out on the town. It’s just sad.

– Women work. Period. Whether they do it at home and for our families, or at a job, or both (yes/yes/YES), we do the deed daily. Respect all forms of work.

– Breeders and non-breeders unite. Our creative energy is equally potent, our instincts are in sync, and our womanhood is not reliant on whether or not our babies are humans or other equally as fabulous creations.

– If your BBF asks you if she looks good in something that she really doesn’t, be sweet but be real. And then give her the shirt off your damn back if works for her.

– Any question that begins “Do I….” and ends with something that’s not easily shifted (“… look fat?” “…. look old?”) should be answered with a firm NO! Plus some nice observations about what DOES work well for your BBF. If the shift is a snap (“…. have spinach in my teeth?”), then YES is all good. And it wouldn’t hurt you to cut to the chase, and  jam your finger into her mouth to take it out for her. Let’s be honest here — your digits have been in plenty of nastier places before.

– We’ve been around  long enough at this point to see the value of time and poignantly — maybe even painfully — watch it fly by. We treasure every minute we get with our besties and remember to tell them that, too.

– And we’ve also been around the block enough times to know what’s cheap and what’s not. Talk is NEVER cheap. It’s currency best spent laughing, crying, confiding, relating, fighting even — the most intimate moments are when we can disagree, then hash it out, apologize, forgive, and go on, stronger than ever before.

– What’s shared under the estrogen influence stays under the estrogen influence. It’s not for discussion with your husband, kids, dogs, or other third-party peeps (girl friends included that were NOT at the scene of the sharing), unless you know for a fact your BBF is cool with you spilling her double secret stuff.

– We have each other’s backs… and never talk behind them. Whatever we say under our breath can and will be said out loud and to our BBF’s face.

– We love a chocolate orgasm, but also understand that chocolate is not a substitute for an orgasm — nor are a hot pair of shoes, perfect-fit jeans, or a night out watching any version of Magic Mike. Most of the time, anyways.

– When the heat is on, we take our BBFs out to chill. This becomes increasingly frequent and more and more literal as time goes on.

– Give all vagina totin’ humans the benefit of the doubt, and in particular, your BBFs.

And of course:

– Chicks before (during, in place of, and/or after) dicks.


So if you see a gaggle of girls of a certain age tittering together, just know that there is an unwritten code that grows with us from babehood to being full-blown broads. We don’t outgrow the Girl Code as grown-ups; in fact, the older we get, the easier it is to see how we write it, crack it, and if we’re very smart or very lucky (or both), live it.

Photo credit: Thanks to Nickel Diner – I used their “bringing home the bacon, frying it up in the pan” lady from their menu cover for this week’s blog image. Take your BBF there and go have yourself a grand old time AND a red velvet donut! (We ate it so fast I don’t have a picture of it — but if you’re one of my bitches, I’d be happy to take you there =)

problem with a picture perfect life
Bitch’in Life

The Problem With A Picture Perfect Life


I’m working on a new document for our country, and I’m going to call it, “The Declaration of Interdependence.”

Forget the current Declaration of Independence. I mean, let’s get real, people — the pursuit of happiness is a thing of the past.

But the pursuit of perfection? In a way that is seen and “liked” by everyone else? Now that is 100% our national M.O. nowadays.

Don’t agree? Witness the proliferation of perfect as illustrated by our online profiles. Perfect selfies, perfect pets, perfect children, perfect meals, perfect vacations, perfect humor, and so on.

Now, dig deep and think about the lengths you’ve gone to in projecting a perfect existence.

Want me to go first?

My friend once threw a perfectly fabulous party. Then someone snapped a perfectly staged photo, where everyone looked, well, perfect… and I was the only that blinked. And also had a perfectly protruding belly roll. Plus a perfectly captured double chin.

I was mortified when the picture began to spread far and wide on social media.

I complained to my husband, and he agreed it wasn’t the most perfect portrayal of me.

“Why don’t you ask her to delete it?” he asked.

“No way. That’s totally lame,” I replied. And then a split second later: “But you could say you think it’s a bad shot and ask her to take it down.”

He did, and then I became what I least like in a person: the perfect asshole that can’t stand anything short of perfection.

I’ve got this whole problem with perfection on my mind as I’ve been following the news about the horrible, tragic death of a Long Island woman, Kiersten Rickenbach Cerveny — a successful doctor, apparently loving wife, and by all accounts, wonderful mother of three beautiful kids — that OD’d and was left to die in an apartment lobby after partying all night in NYC.

Her family and friends described her actions as “atypical,” and noted she was human, which people forgot because she was also so “perfect.”

This as evidenced in large measure by the stunning pictures of the former beauty pageant queen and her glorious life, richly documented on social media.

Not like she wasn’t the same as all of us — hell, there are 200 million people on Instagram sharing more than 20 billion images. More than one billion people are active on Facebook. And that’s just two platforms out of fifty or more than people around the globe utilize daily.

In fact, the ONLY platform I can think of where people routinely talk about “failure,” is LinkedIn (296 million users) — but of course those posts always use loser propositions as the powerful lead-in to spring sensational stories of inevitable success (like this one).

But could Cerveny’s life be as perfect as it seemed? If she was out partying ’till the wee hours on hard drugs there must have been something up and running amok.

And don’t we all have stuff we’d rather sweep under the carpet rather than expose to the whole wide world? Research says YES — according to a study on self-censorship on Facebook from 2013, 71% of those studied made at least some last-minute change to a status post. Now this could be as simple as correcting a grammatical error (which I frequently do =), or as more detailed as to stop yourself from spreading the “wrong” messages to what you perceive as your audience.

I know that I write comments in reaction to provocative posts, and read, then re-read them, until I usually delete. I’ve had debates with my BBFs about whether or not our comments are welcome, despite the fact the very nature of social media is to engage and interact! We worry that if we say the “wrong” thing, others will think that we’re not quite so… perfect.

In a recent conversation I overheard between two teen girls, they talked about the “social suicide” it is to be without your phone and constantly interacting online. This worries me because Dove and Twitter found this in a recent study for their #SpeakBeautiful campaign around women’s self-esteem and social media:

• 8 out of 10 women encounter negative comments on social media that critique women’s looks
• Women are 50 percent more likely to say something negative about themselves than positive on social media
• 82 percent of women surveyed feel the beauty standards set by social media are unrealistic
• 4 out of every 5 negative tweets Twitter identified about beauty and body image are women talking about themselves

InStyle did their own study in reaction to this, and found this:

“We’re all addicted to social media, with 95 percent finding time throughout the day to scroll through our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds. And the thing we’re looking for most? Compliments. Of those surveyed, 89 percent said that getting a “like” on social media feels like a compliment, while 82 percent said compliments on social media improve their self-esteem. We also found that those feel-good vibes have a domino effect: The majority of women said that after receiving a social media compliment they are motivated to post more compliments on others’ feeds. This practice, whether in the form of complimenting a friend’s outfit in an Instagram post or tweeting something positive about your colleague’s accomplishments, may seem casual at first, but the effect is lasting. A whopping 75 percent concluded that social media has strengthened their personal relationships.”

Here’s the rub: I believe what we’re actually addicted to is showing only our best, happiest, most amazing photos on social sites, or the things that we think will garner the most sympathy. When I see a post with someone in the hospital or grieving a parent, I know that this isn’t about perfection, but it is about being uplifted… which is in some ways asking for help to feel that even though things aren’t perfect now, they will get better. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

But ultimately the problem with projecting a picture perfect life is that none of us really have that — but to the people who love us, we are, as my old friend Pink likes to say, fuckin’ perfect.

So if you see me asking my friend to please repost that pic of my friends looking perfectly happy at that perfect party, while my perfect belly roll and perfect double chin bear witness — just know that I’m over projecting perfect, and into owning the imperfections that make us all unique. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect plan?

pink is the new black
Bitch’in Life, My Bitches

Pink is the New Black: Every Time I See It I Wanna Cry


It’s October, my bitches, so you know what that means: The Pinkwashing of America is ON!

You’ll have your NFL players running around dressed like little ballerinas, your buckets ‘o fried pink chicken, your special makeup kits featuring all hues of the carcinogenic spectrum from toasty rose to burning fuchsia, your not so subtle display of what appear to be nipple cakes and buxom pink-sprinkled candy apples displayed under a banner of pink ribbon “courage” balloons at your local grocery store. Messages of hope and support will be printed inside your yogurt lids, and outside labels of soup cans will proudly wear pink ribbons like lady warriors. And of course you will be hit up countless times (or hit others up, depending) for sponsorship in walks for the “cure.”

You will drown in a sea of awareness, as the #2 killer of women will be found in more than 300,000 new victims, and breast cancer will claim more than 40,000 this year. (Source: American Cancer Society)

As a bonus just a couple of days before Boobtober took over, I participated in a “Pink Out” not for breast cancer, but for Planned Parenthood. So I was thinking pink even before its official month!

For the record, I absolutely deplore pink. I’ve always seen it is a weak color, thanks to its gender-specific expression of sugar, spice, and everything ultimately, thanks to modern marketing campaigns, not so nice. I’ve had moments of wanting to reclaim it as a hot, angry, punk rock pink, but then October rolls around and I remember how like Pepto-Bismol, the color makes me want to puke.

Or cry.

Or both.

In my four decades on this planet, I’ve seen way too many claimed way too early. One of my dearests died from a cancer “cure”– the radiation she received as a teen for non-Hodgkin lymphoma made her a near 100% candidate for breast cancer as an adult. A combo platter of the disease as it spread throughout her body was the ultimate culprit, although that predicted breast cancer was the first horrible step into a horrendous, several-year descent into darkness.

Others have survived, and I was just speaking with one of BBFs about how furious the push for awareness makes her. As someone who has a deep family history of breast cancer, she has always sought out superlative medical care — even prior to her own diagnosis.

“Mammograms are start, but MRI’s are the only way to know for sure. Everyone woman over the age of 40 needs an MRI!” she told me angrily.

Oh, baby — don’t you know that MRIs cost anywhere from $525.00 to $5,200.00, with a median cost of $2,611.00?

Mammograms, the widely accepted yet far less accurate mode of detection (but an excellent way to make a human panini out of desirable breast meat!) has a median cost of $243.00 — and that’s without insurance.

We can throw billions of marketing dollars at “awareness,” but when it comes to making early detection a priority — which is the surest path to survival — sorry girls, we’re fresh out of funding.

And some of the biggest Breast Cancer Awareness-driven charities are also the worst (Susan G. Komen, I’m talking to you!) when it comes to getting the dough where it’s supposed to go: working towards a cure and promoting prevention.

The markers Charity Navigator looks for when it comes to philanthropic goals include programs & services, financial health of the organization, accountability & transparency, and results reporting. It’s truly shocking to see how many supposed do-gooders are only doing good by themselves and not by the women they claim to be doing it all for.

I’m just saying Think Before You Pink. 

Because you know, pink fracking drills aren’t exactly the way to keep our planet healthy and our people, in turn, cancer-free. (Seriously, it’s not.)

Nor is giving women who are undergoing cancer treatment goodie bags filled makeup that sports ingredients that are linked to increased cancer risk (parabens, Teflon, and formaldehyde releasers). Which is why the Look Good, Feel Better® campaign in my opinion is a bust. (Pun intended!)

Seriously, Poison Isn’t Pretty.

All this racing around in circles, like so many areolas, makes me wonder about how close we truly are to a cure.

The answer doesn’t take much research: we’re so not there yet. Lest you despair, I’m happy to report here have been a few bright spots in the fight of late:

– There is a new drug called Palbociclib that the FDA approved a few months ago. When used in combination with letrozole, it extends the amount of time certain postmenopausal women will live without their cancer progressing.

– One of the factors that make curing breast cancer difficult is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Our varied DNA is what makes it complicated. And the very same DNA tells us who’s a good candidate for chemo… and who’s not. There’s a new test called The Oncotype DX that uses genetic tumor testing to determine whether or not a patient will respond to that toxic cocktail, which means that in the cases it’s not effective, it won’t be used. And the horrible cure that makes everyone horrendously sick doesn’t have to be blindly, or unnecessarily, administered.

– Other “good” news includes the fact that less aggressive chemo can be effective, bone-strengthening meds can keep cancer from spreading, and immunotherapy may be a viable treatment option for some incurable cancers.

I was also pretty jazzed to watch some notes from the edges of what is really possible on an episode of the HBO series, Vice, called “Killing Cancer.” There are some incredibly innovative doctors out there using immunotherapy and viral oncology to eradicate cancer. This work is in a very early stage, and the applications have thus far have only addressed other types of cancer (i.e., HIV is effective in fighting blood cancers like leukemia), but the promise is there.

So if you see me bandying about the word “awareness” this month, just know that I know everyone is fully aware of the devastating realities of breast cancer. There is not one person I’ve met that hasn’t been personally touched by this hideous epidemic — as the pink “courage” balloons in your local grocery store says, it’s mothers… daughters… sisters… friends… and maybe even ourselves. The things to “think pink” about and be aware of are the shameful abuses of the color pink, particularly in October, and especially as a tit-illating marketing tool used to raise commercial profits, period.

So raise a stink when someone asks you to think pink! And be aware that the war is hard, but women are strong, and together we can all work to make the pinkwash that is October someday soon fade to black.

Are you a conductor on the Guilt Trip Express
Bitch’in Life, Parenting

Are You a Conductor on the Guilt Trip Express?


I love a good viral video like the next gal, but last week, I instantaneously regretted clicking the “play” button on “Remember me… Mom wants son to call from college” uploaded by Ann Pinto McCarney (currently near 750,000 views).

“Hi, Liam. Remember me? I’m your mommy. I gave birth to you,” McCarney starts. ”Well, actually, I didn’t quite give birth. I had to have a C-section to get you out. A big scar and it hurt like hell, but that’s OK. Do you remember that it was me that gave you life?”

OY. I hear the woman — I pushed two watermelons out of a veritable garden house myself — but after five seconds of viewing I already felt guilty for not calling her.

And I’m not even Liam.

Gotta give McCarney props for her production choices. The camera is angled up at her, catching the side of a refrigerator and a cabinet — big clues she shot the video in the kitchen, which is the ultimate nurturing Mama’s home base. There’s a harsh reality quality in the clip, thanks to bright daylight (a late-night loving college student’s nemesis) and McCarney’s near constant mocking facial expressions.

Lest Liam forget whom the lady in the video is, McCarney continued: “Let me joggle your memory a little bit. Remember those first two years of your life, there was this woman and you were always on her hip, you, like, never wanted to get put down. Do you remember that? I’m that woman!” she said. “I was the person who always had you on my hip.”

This gave me an instantaneous sympathy pain in my left hip, and also made me start worrying that I was both too much like McCarney and also not enough like her.

As a daughter and a mom, I was terrified, but for two different reasons:

– The daughter in me has had “call your mother” ingrained in her since… forever.

– The mom in me is now worried I haven’t instilled enough “call your mother” in my own children — despite the fact that I insist they text me when they leave our home and when they arrive at their destination… and I’m the mom of two teens that go out quite a bit lately.

A one-word text (“here” or “home”) feels like a fair price to pay for newfound freedom, but what do I know?

See how I did that? It’s so easy to turn to rev up the guilt engines when you’re driven by the joy of worry.

As I continued to watch McCarney’s video, which goes on for nearly five minutes, I couldn’t help but cringe — especially as she went into a sarcastic description of how to use a cell phone:

“Basically, what you want to do is you want to grab the phone — you know, the one that mommy and daddy bought you — and unlock the phone. I know that you know what that pass code is because I know someone texts his girlfriend every day, doesn’t he?” she said with a condescending smile and a little all-knowing wink.

“So unlock your phone and at the bottom you’re going to see four little icons … a handset, I don’t know what they were call, but we used to use them when we were younger in the generation that respected their parents. So you want to use that little icon, push the button, it brings up a little note pad and I know that I know my phone number because I pounded that into your head because I was always so worried about you getting lost or stolen.”

UGH – this was some next level guilt technique that made me slide over from the Team Mom to Team Liam.

“Then, don’t be afraid, you’re going to put it up to your ear and you’ll hear this ringing noise. It’s going to sound a little strange to you because I know you haven’t heard it in a while.”

In the age of social media, the mom guilt — coming from mothers, and also directed at mothers, by the way– is fueled by feeling like nothing is ever good enough. Everyone else’s kids are always doing kind, thoughtful, amazing things, and we all bear witness to life on the other side of the virtual fence.

While on our side, things aren’t necessarily so, well, perfect.

Then someone like McCarney comes along, and I for one am fascinated by how public she drives the shame train right up to her college son’s doorstep: she posted the video on Facebook, and tagged Liam.

Predictably, McCarney got a lot of press on her YouTube rant, as she explained to her local NBC affiliate: “I did a lot of videos with my son when we were on a college road trip, and they were pretty funny, because he wanted no parts of the videos,” McCarney said with a laugh. “As soon as I gave birth and got stretch marks, I figured I had a right to torture him as much as I want.”

Here’s the thing about guilt: ultimately it’s a one-way ticket to resentment. But of course the person steering the shame train is oblivious to how badly things can backfire. In fact, according to Psychology Today, only 2% of those included in a recent study on guilt trips recognized that resentment could be the outcome.

On the other hand, guilt can be productive, when used sparingly and under the right circumstances. But when it careens off the edge into a pit of humiliation, it’s ugly to watch.

Ultimately while I couldn’t look away from McCarney’s video, I wasn’t happy about it, either. Maybe because I know left to my own devices and in the same scenario, I’d possibly turn the same technique on my own precious babies.

Then again, maybe (hopefully!) not. I’m pretty focused on staying attached to my special purpose, which is being creative in my work and my diversions. I’m hyper-aware of this — in fact, I’m in buckle down mode now, so that when the inevitable time comes when I’m not needed to make meals, drive people to and fro, and tend to the litany of parental unit obligations that McCarney so richly details in her video, I won’t devolve into an angry, sad, hot mess.

Live, on camera.

If you’re wondering if McCarney’s video worked, the answer is yes, Liam called.

And yes, this actress and amateur comedienne got a ton of views and a landslide of press. And she did acknowledge that she wasn’t necessarily expecting anything different from Liam.

“He’s not the exception to the rule. He’s the norm,” she told WCAU. “He’s really not doing anything that 50,000 other college kids aren’t doing.”

I was grateful to see the shame train pull back into the station, even if it was a for a brief pit stop, and also considering she’d already done a bang-up job running down her son.

So if you see my giving my kids a one-way ticket on the guilt trip express, please flag me down. Because in the end, one person’s guilt trip is another person’s therapy bill. And as parents, we end up paying equally for both.

Haven’t seen McCarney’s video? Check it out — and feel free to share what you think in the comments below. Not that you have to — of course if you don’t comment, it’s fine. I know you’re busy, and probably not even thinking about how I slaved over this blog post for hours. Not to make you feel guilty or anything…

creative discomfort
Bitch’in Life, Pop Culture

6 Things Dave Grohl Teaches Us About Creative Discomfort


I adore the Foo Fighters, so a few months ago when my husband told me we could check them out at a corporate event in NorCal, I jumped at the offer. I’ve loved these cats, and particularly lead singer Dave Grohl, for twenty years now.

Then Dave fell off the stage in Sweden, dislocating his ankle and breaking his leg, then famously finished the concert before heading off to surgery. Talk about there goes my hero…!

I wasn’t too worried that they wouldn’t play the gig — hell, Dave wrote an open letter to fans immediately afterward promising to “… do everything I can to come back and give you a night to remember for the rest of your lives AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.” But having seen the Foos earlier this year perform for Dave’s birthday in an epic, nearly four-hour concert with incredible guests as diverse as Paul Stanley, Perry Farrell, Alice Cooper, Lemmy Kilmister, Jack Black, Kyle Gass, Slash, Zakk Wylde, Trombone Shorty and David Lee Roth(!), I figured it would be hard to top.

Hullo, I forgot I was talking about Dave Freakin’ Grohl! While the corp. gig was much shorter than the long-ass birthday jam, there was an unmistakable intensity that he poured into the music as he shredded “tasty licks” so hard I thought his hands might fall off. And although he had to jam around in a Game of Thrones inspired “Iron Throne” (Dave of Thrones?) worthy of a rock god, it didn’t slow him down one iota.

In fact, it seemed like his broken leg was a lightening rod for an even more powerful show than I’d ever seen him perform in the past. As I watched him rock out so hard, it occurred to me that Dave’s limitation — the busted limb — opened up a new channel for creative expression.

And this reminded me of a great piece I read on Fast Company’s Co.Create site by Rae Ann Fera when the Foo Fighters released Sonic Highways, both an HBO series that explored and reflected the musical pulse of eight cities and an album by the same name that was composed throughout the band’s travels. Fera wrote about how “creative discomfort” fueled the process and helped the group, 20 years and eight studio albums deep, shake shit up.

This is nothing new for Dave — he routinely trades in stretching the limits. In fact, there’s at least a half dozen things about his career and the guy in general that I find super inspiring and try to remember whenever I’m feeling like I need to kick out the jams:

1) Nirvana isn’t about the destination – it’s the journey: OK, a cheesy play on the band that made him famous, but it’s literally true. While playing in the biggest rock band in the world at the time, Dave continued to write his own music, even releasing it under a pseudonym (“Late!”). Others in his position might have just enjoyed the ride, but Dave was driven to keep doing his own thing. So shortly after Cobain died in 1994, which would have been the end of the road for some, Dave famously recorded a 15-demo track where he played nearly all of the instruments himself. This music was remixed and released in 1995 as the Foo Fighters first album. And so the journey continued… and rocks and rolls on to this day.

2) Be punk, not perfect: Dave started out his professional career in music as the drummer in a punk band called Scream. Was his addition the result of him having years of music lessons? Hell no — he started drumming on the pillows to Rush songs on his bed as a kid, and then took the rhythm that flowed through him on the road by the time he was 17. He’s a self-taught guitarist, too. So the music he writes and performs is far from perfect, but it’s perfectly punk rock. Passion and emotion are great, ugly, beautiful channels to push your creativity out into the world — no lessons required.

3) Have fun, even when you think you suck: “Learn to Fly,” which is one of the seminal Foo Fighters songs from their 1999 album, There is Nothing Left to Lose, is, according to Dave, about “… the search for some sort of inspiration, the search for signs of life that will make you feel alive.” Here’s the kicker — he also said of the tune, “It’s actually one of my least favorite songs on the record.” So, what did Dave do with the very thing he thought kinda sucked? (My words, not his.) He went on to make a super creative, hilarious video inspired by the film Airport ’77, in which he and his band mates, Nate Mendel and Taylor Hawkins, play a bunch of different roles. In 2000, “Learn to Fly” won a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video. It’s also become an anthem for anyone that’s ready to launch into something new.

4) Don’t be afraid to get down ‘n dirty: Dave can and has recorded in incredible state of the art studios, but for the Foo Fighters’ seventh studio album, Wasting Light, he opted to record analog, on tape machines, in his two-car garage in his home in the San Fernando Valley. (That detail I enjoy because I also hammer away at various creative ventures in my garage in the San Fernando Valley =) And while he didn’t renounce Pro Tools and other modern comforts for future efforts, doing the work “live,” “raw” and “honestly” made for what Dave said at the time was the most fun he’d had making a record.

5) Go out and play with your friends: Feeling creatively challenged? Then pull on your shit-kickers and head out to make some noise with the people you love and admire most. Dave’s birthday jam that I mentioned earlier is just one tiny example of how many musicians from all ends of the spectrum Dave’s played and collaborated with over the years. From Tenacious D to Queens of the Stone Age, Cage the Elephant, and a long-ass list of rock legends (Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones [Led Zeppelin], Brian May [Queen], and Stevie Nicks with Haim [just a couple nights ago!], to name a few), Dave’s played nicely and made a boatload of beautiful music with the best of ‘em.

 6) Remember, nothing’s impossible: And the rest of that quote from Dave is “… in a Foo Fighters world.” It’s what Dave said when he came back on July 16th in Washington D.C. on his rockin’ throne — a magnificent, triumphant return on an incredibly creative piece of equipment that came to Dave in a morphine-and-oxy-induced vision, and was brought to reality by Dave’s awesome stage crew. In fact, he dedicated the set to his stage crew that helped him prove nothing’s impossible… and that’s a testament to the idea that creative discomfort is not necessarily something you should suffer alone.

But it is something that you alone can embrace, and chose to use some unfamiliar or uncomfortable feelings to make something, well, that kicks ass.

As Dave always does.

So if you see me humming “Everlong,” just know that everything really can be this real forever… all you have to do is promise not to stop when things don’t feel so comfortable… when you think you need to say when… cuz that’s where the magic happens =)!

Now, enjoy this short clip I took — I’m not saying I’m a cinematographer by any stretch BUT check out this snippet of “All My Life” — the song’s about giving pleasure (ahem) so maybe that’s why so… intense?