First Haircut

August 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families, Jillian Lauren

By: Jillian Lauren

As a Leo mom who is still technically a licensed cosmetologist in the state of California, I love Tariku’s hair long. But my fantasies of him looking like the newest member of the Jackson 5 have been at war with my dread of the daily battle to detangle. So we decided that we’d just take a tiny bit off the ends and hope that made it easier to comb through.

I’m not sure what traumatized me most about the experience. First, I showed up at the salon and was told by the stylist (after having cancelled on me last week) that she was running behind and I’d have to wait an hour. An hour. With my two-year-old. Needless to say I was heading out the door when the owner walked in and offered to do it. I threw caution to the wind and let her cut it. Tariku liked her and she did an okay job, though when I pick it out he looks a little bit like a lopsided bonsai. Plus it’s shorter than I would have liked.

T was a trooper and he was just happy that I brought his muppets DVD. He LOVES Miss Piggy. He doesn’t care one way or the other about his hair. I, however, have been randomly crying ever since.

I have to remind myself that it’s not the end of the world and that childhoods are chock-full of bad haircuts. But it was so hard watching her cut his hair and thinking that it had been a part of him for his whole life.

It’s also hard to explain the pressure that accompanies being a white mom dealing with black hair. It’s a loaded subject and everyone has an opinion. I have actually been stopped in the street by a barber who offered to cut it for me. I thanked him but told him that I’m kind of a hippie and my kid is going to go to hippie schools where no one is going to tease him because he has an afro.

As a mom, how can you always know that the choices you’re making are going to foster a positive self-image? I just want him to love his awesome hair. I want him to keep loving all of himself as much as he does today. I’m not exactly sure how to foster that kind of self love, but I’m committed to trying.

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Lil’ Thrasher

August 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families, Jillian Lauren

By: Jillian Lauren

T-Bone partied all day at the video shoot for the new Weezer single “Memories.” The band shot it at the Pink Motel with the Jackass Crew as well as a bunch of pro skaters and BMX guys. T thought the skaters were rad and the feeling was mutual. I had to stop him repeatedly from attempting to hop on a skateboard and drop into the pool. It’s an awesome song and if the vibe on set was any indicator, this video is going to be a cult sensation.

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Antwerp: Fast and Furious

August 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families, Family, Jillian Lauren

By: Jillian Lauren

Today was my European press montage in fast forward. I found myself having that odd experience of feeling nostalgia for what I was doing at the moment. As if I was living it and looking back on it at the same time. I often feel this way in train stations.

And no, I’m not stoned.

Took a train to Antwerp this morning. One of the reasons I love traveling is that sometimes you’ll round a corner and unexpectedly see something like Antwerp Central Station:

I have a running theme in my life of travel miscommunication, so I regularly show up at airports or train stations erroneously expecting that someone will be there to meet me (midnight in Addis Ababa was my favorite). It’s at just these moments that I enjoy the evil Starbucks monster takeover of the world. When it happened today, I got a latte and marveled at the gorgeousness around me until it got sorted out.

When I finally did arrive at the offices of Lanno, my first interview was already there. I didn’t stop talking until I turned around five hours later and ran to catch a train back to Amsterdam. Along the way, I managed to shove three bites of egg sandwich into my mouth and to guzzle down twelve cups of coffee. One encouraging thing about the interviews was that a few of the journalists quoted lines and discussed some themes with me that led me to suspect the Dutch translation is excellent.

Back in the hotel now and I swear I’m going to make myself get off my ass and take a walk before I pass out. Any minute now. Here I go.

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Jillian Lauren is a writer in Los Angeles and recently released her memoir “Some Girls: My life in a Harem” You can read more at JillianLauren.com

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Who Needs To Think When You Have An iPhone?

July 5, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families, Family

By: Jillian Lauren

There’s a piece in the NYTimes today about iPhone apps that give you zingy one-liners and rhetorical strategies to aid you in debating those pesky religious fundamentalists. Not for you? Okay, there’s also one that will help you parry with atheists.

Does anyone else think this is the most ludicrous thing you’ve ever heard of?

How about an app that teaches us how to think critically about the philosophical questions that define the human condition? I have an iPhone app suggestion…it’s called, “Think For Your Own Darn Self.” You ask it questions and it suggests a number of texts from all different perspectives. You can then go read them and make up your own mind about the answer.

Besides, do we really need anything that helps us argue better? As if the problems threatening the human race right now are a result of people not having quite enough ammunition to prove that they’re right and everyone else is wrong.

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New Leaf, Same Old Tree

June 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families, Family

By: Jillian Lauren

Today I’ve lit a new candle, washed my hair, reorganized my files, prayed, stood on my head, made coffee, made tea, made a gross diet shake, washed my hands twenty-six times and wiped everything in my office down with alcohol. I keep waiting for them to come out with an industrial sized Purell with a hose attachment (Ghostbusters style), but apparently they don’t think that the Obsessive Compulsive market is worth targeting. Probably becasue we don’t leave the house too much.

The thing is, I’m way, way, way overdue on my deadline for the revisions on my novel, Pretty, which is scheduled to come out next spring. I wasn’t able to complete it before starting the insane press for Some Girls, so I had to take a break and focus on promoting for a couple of months.

Now my back is against the wall and I’m having a hell of a time time transitioning from marketing mode to creative mode. The thing about transitions is that they never feel clean. I want to have some epic psychic Master Cleanse and I’ve tried everything I can think of to facilitate this, but every morning I still wake up wracked with anxiety and distracted by a million zinging thoughts and unable to find the kind of focus that it takes for me to write anything longer than a blog post.

So right now I’ll wash my hands one last time and then I’ll try to reconcile myself with the fact that there were ten places that my hands picked up germs in between the sink and the keyboard. Because I’m not a surgeon; I’m a writer. Nobody dies if things get messy.

And as I ask my doubt and anxiety to kindly step aside for a few hours so I can get some work done, I will try to keep in mind this beautiful passage from Steve Almond’s “One Over Forty” essay at The Rumpus:

Your job as a fiction writer is to focus on your characters, and to ignore – to the extent you can – the rest of the bullshit…

But the real life of a writer resides in showing up at the keyboard every day, with the necessary patience and mercy, and making the best decisions you can on behalf of your people. It’s a slow process. It often feels hopeless, more like an affliction than an art form.

Most of us will have to find our readers one by one, in other words, and against considerable resistance. If anything qualifies us as heroic, it’s that private perpetual struggle.

Put down the magazine, soldier. Forget about the other guy. Remember who you are.

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Jillian Lauren is the author of Some Girls: My Life In A Harem and you can read more at Jillianlauren.com

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Barbara Meant “Hooker” in an Affectionate Way, Right?

May 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families, Family

By: Jillian Lauren

This past Monday I appeared on The View. You can catch the full episode here. I plan to write at length about my experience, but for now I’ll just say that it was a blast. It was an intense day on a lot of levels, not the least of which was that I reconnected with my friend Rachel (a producer on the show), whom I hadn’t seen in twenty years. I was incredibly nervous at first, but as soon I had my ass in that chair with the cute little blue mug in front of me, I felt great. I actually had fun. I made a mental note that if a host position ever becomes available, I definitely want to apply. I think I’d give them just the edge they need.

I seem to be getting a bunch of incredibly supportive feedback from people who think that Barbara was mean to me. I appreciate the love, but I have to disagree. I’ve been known to don my journalist hat every so often, so I know the difference between being mean and digging for the story. It never once crossed my mind that Barbara was being mean. I was honored to be interviewed by her and frankly thrilled to watch her do her thing, even when I did her radio show afterwards and she managed to throw me off my game a couple of times. She’s friggin’ Barbara Walters, of course she threw me off my game.

Besides, I didn’t write this book so people would like me and be nice to me. I wrote it because I wanted to tell my story. The View gave me the opportunity to do exactly that.

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Mile High Club

March 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families

By: Jillian Lauren

mar10cultbooks_lg

Fashion magazine just named Some Girls one of six great airplane reads. I once had a friend in an awesome band who, when I admitted that I cleaned my house to her album, said, “That’s so great. I always wanted to write an album that people cleaned their house to.” In the same vein, I always wanted to write a book that people would read on an airplane. So I’m psyched.

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March 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families

By: Jillian Lauren

side-stage.

blaze

The guys saw the tour out with a hometown show at Irvine Meadows. We watched from the side of the stage and Tariku picked up a classic move from the folks in the front row. He’s now pumping his fist with the best of ‘em. He had extra time to practice, as we stayed to watch Blink’s first few songs. By that time, people were giving me the I-can’t-believe-you-have-your-baby-out-after-10pm stink eye. But they don’t know my baby. He was thrilled to party all night then sleep in until 9, splayed out across the pillows with a bottle still clutched in his hand and a dog on either side of him.

the-gang

Here’s a pic of the gang backstage. That’s me, T, the very lovely Nicole Amdurer (Josh’s babymama and soon-to-be bride- someone finally told those nice kids that they were living in sin), Josh Freese, and Jen and Pat Wilson. The best part of the evening was seeing Jen out and about, crowned with soft, blond hair and facing her very last radiation treatment the next day. I feel privileged to have been a part of her life over the past year as she kicked the ass of some really awful breast cancer. I learned a lot from her about honesty and courage and how being the perfect mother doesn’t mean always being perfect.

Sayonara, tour. Next stop….. is a secret. The new album comes out in October.

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Don't Wear High Heels On A Soggy Lawn

March 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families

By: Jillian Lauren

sf-view

When the inimitable Dolly Parton gave the above-mentioned advice, she was no doubt on tour in San Francisco. I don’t have any pictures from the Mountain View show because I was busy stumbling after the baby while wearing- you guessed it- high heels on a soggy lawn. Or more like a slippery backstage deck area. But there is something gorgeous about rock in a rainstorm. Seen from backstage, the rain catches the stage lights and intermingles with the smoke amidst an amphitheater full of undaunted fans in ponchos and it feels like something extraordinary. Which it always is, really, but sometimes it’s easy to forget how lucky I am to regularly witness the transformative potential of live music. My friend Gina (wife of Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz) once told me that she always feels fortunate to live in rock-wife liminality- not exactly an audience member but not a performer either. My friend Danica was in the audience and now has a massive crush on Rivers, which probably would have happened anyway, but I think there was a little extra magic in that rain.

The guys still have the San Diego and Irvine shows left to do, but writing this from my desk at home, I feel like the hard part is over. And the hard part got pretty hard for a minute there. I skipped the Seattle show due to a raging migraine and schlepped all of our stuff through the airport the next day wearing sunglasses and barfing in trash cans (which, I suppose, is about as rock as it gets). The worst part was that I missed seeing our friends, but you can read about the show (and more about Ethiopian adoption, if you’re interested) on my friend Karin’s blog.

Things soon looked up, though. Our hotel room in SF was awesome, to the point that upon entering I felt it was necessary to grab Tariku and jump on the bed for a few minutes while laughing diabolically. Tariku ran laps around the Yerba Buena Gardens all evening while I tried in vain to convince him to go see the vogueing competition at the neighboring Center for the Arts. He was totally uninterested in the men walking by in glittery drag, preferring the eternally captivating delights of shuffling through dry leaves.

The next day I met up with my SF gal pals, one of whom happens to be the manager of exquisite corset shop Dark Garden. I used my iphone to bribe Tariku into compliance while Andrea fitted me with a gorgeous corset, coming soon to a Halloween celebration near you…

candy

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Jillian Lauren

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Tour Truants

March 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families

By: Jillian Lauren

ferry

We had a few days off before the Seattle show, so we decided to try to get away from it all and rent a house out on Bainbridge Island.

Here is what I learned:

1. Bainbridge Island is quaint and lovely and has a charming indie bookstore.
2. It is wonderful to sleep with the sound of waves breaking right outside your bedroom window.
3. There is no such thing as “getting away from it all” when you have an eighteen-month-old in tow.

I believe I expressed this sentiment in a less articulate way last night. It went something like the following (imagine this punctuated with desperate sobs): I am NOT going ANYWHERE EVER AGAIN. When we get home, I am staying there FOREVER.

What happened to your circus gal, your Gypsy pal? She was felled by a migraine and a wee lad. All I can say is that he’s small but he’s cunning.

I think the highlight of our island excursion was actually the ferry ride over. Bainbridge Island is about 35 minutes from downtown Seattle by ferry. It was T’s first time on a boat and it was so great to watch him screaming with delight and running headlong into the crazy wind. Here he is posing as the new Adam for the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

t-n-scot-on-ferry

n-between bouts of panic and dread, I did take a moment or two to enjoy the clean sea air, the lush evergreens all around and the views of snow-covered Mt. Ranier from the beach outside our pad.

beachflower

We also went to visit a little Norweigian-themed town called Poulsbo- kind of the Pacific Northwest’s equivalent to our Solvang. It was cute and touristy and had lots of viking dolls and lingonberry jam. I dubbed it “Little Ikea.” Here is the window of the town pirate store. Every town should have one.

ships

And for those of you who saw the Vanity Fair blog I wrote from Japan, you’ll appreciate that I was somehow hypnotized into buying yet another faux-fur Doctor Zhivago hat. That one was grey and this one is off-white and brown, so they’re apples and oranges, really. Plus, it was made by a local artist and was called a muffette or a muffalette or something, so I had to buy it.

I have no pictures of it, since its purchase preceded a rather unpleasant exchange. Why don’t men understand that an LA girl simply can’t have enough faux-fur cossack hats?

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