Thursday, January 26, 2006

Chris Penn is dead and I am sad about that. I didn’t know him, maybe I met him once or twice, I can’t remember. I just know that I was a fan; I thought he was amazing in Reservoir Dogs and Short Cuts. And I know Michael, his brother, and I just love him and I’m really sad about him losing his brother. That sucks. Oh, sad, sad, sad.

Had friends over for dinner last night, friends we see all the time, and Mulan acted bratty and awful, even though we spoke about her weird, defiant, horrible behavior around these same people, who we both care about a lot, before they arrived.

Sometimes it’s hard not to strangle your kid.

I used to think: how COULD someone ever hit a child? And now I think, how do people NOT hit their child? Not hitting your child takes enormous self-control. I feel I am a self-controlled person. I am amazed – mind-boggled - at the amount of control I have to exert over myself, not to use the fact that I am four times larger than this teeny kid to my physical advantage. Luckily, for me, Mulan is pretty great 90% of the time. But oh dear, that other 10% makes me NUTS. I turn into that awful controlled-rage mother, and I feel like veins are popping out of my forehead and my eyes are bugging out across the table while I try to carry on a conversation. And then, when I take her out of the room to have a talk about her behavior and the consequences it will bring if it continues, she gets this sly smile across her face: glee! Like, she's thinking, "I won already! You had to leave the room to talk to me personally! Yippity Yah! I mean, oh yes mother I won’t act like that anymore, you’ll see."

And she does act better, but somehow it doesn’t feel like I’ve won entirely – it feels like she has. And even just phrasing it this way sounds so bad – like it’s warfare rather than guidance. Oh parenting is so unlike what I thought it was before I was a parent.

Everyone should read Jimmy Carter’s “Our Endangered Values.” That man is amazing. He’s the guy all those Christians should be reading. He is the type of Christian that made me proud to be a Christian (way back when…) it blows my mind that he even was our President. The book is really well written, well reasoned, and it will scare the shit out of you. It should be filed under “Horror.”

I wrote my screenplay version of the play all day and ended up thinking I should just shoot it the same way I did God Said Ha! Which means I may have just spent thirty hours or so, this week, on something that is moot.

I am watching Jared Diamond’s PBS National Geographic special on “Guns, Germs & Steel.” I bought it when I heard his lecture on Sunday. It’s really pretty good. I have one more segment to watch. I also bought the Skeptic Society’s Diamond lecture on his book, “Why Sex Is Fun.” Sex? Fun? WHAAAAT?

Off to Vegas today with entourage -- five hours in the car. I will be listening to Rick Moranis' "Agoraphobic Cowboy," my current favorite cd.


eddieO said...

lol!! i hate to say it but it always puts a smile on my face knowing that there are other parents out there who are going through the exact same thing. i hear it gets better though... well, at least until they are teens *yikes*

Shelly said...

I liked Chris Penn, seeing him for the first time I think in Footloose.

Justin Kreutzmann said...

That is very sad about Chris Penn.
I first knew of him from 'Rumble Fish'

shannon said...

Guns, Germs and Steel is pretty cool except that it wants you to believe that Einstein could be from New Guinea. Very PC. There's alot of stuff on PBS like that. It's dishonest.

Anonymous said...

Hi neighbor....I think you could hear me laughing from across the street when I read... "It takes a lot of energy for me to hate everything all day and then yell...... etc" that made me howl.. and as I was apologizing to my german trainer about complaining when I should be always aware of how lucky I am.. she said (use your best german accent here) " You can't always be thinking about the go down of the world." Love, nancy who only wants to knit.

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean to be anonymous.

Anonymous said...

A 90-10 wonderful/awful ratio is outstanding. You should consider yourself a good mother. I believe a child does hear her parent's words, but at certain times, especially if overtired, will decide to ignore what she knows. Plus, as you imply, she may just want more attention when some of the attention is on other people for a change!

barbara g said...

I can relate to your frustration with raising kids.

A great book to have on hand is called Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline & Jim Fay.
They also have a book called Parenting Teens with Love and Logic which also has great suggestions to help during those even more difficult years!

Anonymous said...

Hi gang. See Sam Harris' talk on "The End of Faith" on Book TV webpage.
Very thought provoking.

Anonymous said...

I heard your comments about religion on NPR today and I loved them. Very funny and astute. Thank you for the great work. I'm anxious to get a copy. Christianity indeed is some crazy scary stuff. I agree with you about religion but I wonder about Aetheism. It doesn't matter to me whether God created Man, or Man created God, it's the same argument as: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Either way, we are intimately connected with our creations. You are obviously intimately connected with your daughter - you created the relationship. And whether our creations exist in a physical form, or simply in the mind, they still exist as some form of energy with the capacity to influence us (the Shamans, and perhaps the Quantum Physicists, will tell you thoughts have energy). What matters to me is whether my thoughts, beliefs, and creations have a positive influence on my life (sort of like believing in Santa Claus and the Spirit of Christmas, then watching someone do something nice at Christmas - the resulting act becomes proof of the existence of cause). It may not be the same thing as some benevolent higher being, but it could be a very powerful and magical force like Love that connects all life, and can assist us once we do find some purpose (or possibly even assist us in finding that purpose), unless of course we refuse to acknowledge it, because how else could it manifest itself as our creation except through us and with our cooperation? It may not be a question of whether we wait to be convinced God exists, but rather whether we accept our potential to participate. Perhaps we are powerful and magical enough to manifest God? You believe in your own potential don't you?

Anonymous said...

Its a shame Julai Sweeney has had such a tremendous loss of faith--and is so proud of it. She needs to see that even though the world does not revolve around her problems, God still cares about her.

pkd14u said...

OMG! You MUST read Parenting with Love and Logic by Jim Faye and Foster Cline. Yes, there are a few buybull verses in there, but these guys have some really creative and non-emotional ways of getting through those "I'm going to...(fill in the blank) her!" moments. Jim Faye also has a dvd series that was aired on PBS recently and he'll have you rolling.

Jared Diamond has some really cool theories. I really enjoyed Guns, Germs and Steel book and PBS series. I think he is rather brilliant. The part of the series that got me all choked up was when he was walking through the orphanages in Africa (can't remember which country) with all of the children dying of AIDS and malaria.

Which brings me to another wonderful book I just finished, Love in the Driest Season by Neely Tucker. A memoir of an adoption in Zimbabwe just as things there were getting really horrible politically.

Keep up the great writing and other work, Julia. I'm glad I discovered your weblog.

pkd14u aka Cathy Seaver

shannon said...

Men should not wear shorts in public.

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