This is Marriage. This is 18. This is Life.

We had planned a quiet anniversary celebration, since the school board transformed what used to be a summer night into a school night a few years ago.

Our first anniversary was a trip with friends to Hawaii.

Our third was a walk to a park with our baby in a stroller.

Our fourth through seventeenth…well, who can recall the details? A few dinners, a few nights with sick children, a few vacations, a search through my mind’s records would likely reveal.

But our eighteenth anniversary will be remembered as the day we got our first puppies. Two.

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Officially I have lost my mind.

After years of saying no, I felt ready for a dog. A single dog. We discussed this in May, decided to wait until the end of summer, when travels were done. And then today our friend brought over four puppies for us to choose from.

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The cuteness was the problem. How to choose? Add to that so many voices– the friend giving them away, my mother-in-law, my sons, my nieces, even my husband — insisting that a single dog would be lonely without a companion.

I tried using the rational mind: “Most people we know with dogs have just one dog.” And “My mental health is more important than the dog’s mental health.” But the rational mind does not always win. Because, remember, the cuteness.

When it was time for the woman with the puppies to go, pressure was applied. But it didn’t take that much. And now we have two dogs.

And so an 18th anniversary becomes trip to the pet store for supplies. Becomes friends coming over to see the new puppies. Becomes nieces coming back and back again to cradle the pups. Becomes an uncle coming to visit. Becomes my sons trying out names and playing with them and cleaning up after them, and feeding them and getting pillows for their bedtime crate. Become my incredulous parents popping by to wish us a happy anniversary. Becomes an impromptu barbeque, and opening a bottle of champagne and Martinelli’s cider, which had been cooling in the refrigerator since last year.

If ever there is a time to uncork some celebration, this is it. This is 18 years of marriage. Kids. Family. Friends. Blessings abounding. And, now, dogs.

This is life: Full and overflowing, throwing some caution to the wind, saying yes.

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Watching Olympics is more fun in a group.
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Let’s hope this lasts all night…?

 

 

 

 

How Trump Inspired Me to Teach My Children

“Did you hear what Trump said about keeping Muslims out of America?” I asked my son the other morning before school. He was looking at the L.A. Times Sports section while I made breakfast. It was the week after the mass murder in San Bernardino, and we hadn’t talked about it. Maybe because I’d been too anxious about all of it, or too busy with getting life taken care of — kids to school, work done, make dinner, repeat.

“Well, they do sort of want to kill us,” he answered softly. His face said, “isn’t that a reasonable move?”

My stomach dropped as I questioned my bona fides as a parent: Had I allowed my child to become a xenophobe? Where had I failed?

Actually, I understand how a young teenager could feel this way. If you read headlines that “Islamic terrorists” are killing people around the world and down the freeway, it is not irrational to agree with the simplistic sentiment “we should stop letting them in until we get to the bottom of this.”

Folks are scared. So the plain notion — keep ’em out, lock the doors — makes sense, unless you read beyond headlines. Unless you are aware of history. Unless you remember America turning away Jewish refugees, and interning Japanese Americans. Unless you know context. And as his mother, that’s where I come in.

I confess, we haven’t talked much about terrorism. His world view is based on many things, but he doesn’t know what I believe, and he needs to know. He may not know that while terrorists claim to be “Islamic” they do not represent Islam. It is not top of mind that targeting any religious group – creating registries, shutting down places of worship, banning refugees – is 100% contrary to American values, and our Jewish values.

I am ashamed of my omission. I grew up in a home where we debated politics, where my parents taught us about initiatives or candidates they supported or opposed, and why. I thought I’d recreated that home just by being myself, but clearly I hadn’t. Or not enough.

How did that happen? It dawns on me that, unlike my parents, I shield my kids from many aspects of my life rather than incorporate them. Where my mom schlepped me with her to the market or dry cleaner or political rally, I go to the market — and call my Congressman — while my kids are in school. It’s easier for me. But the consequence is I am not transmitting my values. We miss opportunities to talk. And in these times, it is more important than ever to talk about what we believe, what kind of world we want to live in.

Back in the kitchen, my heart raced as I envisioned my son slipping into the darkness of Trump-ism because I hadn’t taught him better. I had one minute to set him straight before sending him off to school. I trotted out everything I could think of, not sure what might pierce his focus on the NFL match-ups for the weekend:

“Islam is not a violent religion. Most Muslims are peaceful.”

“Muslims are just like Jews and Christians. We’re cousins!”

“If a bad guy was a Jew, that wouldn’t make all Jews bad, would it?”

“Remember when we visited Manzanar, the internment camp? That’s what happens when we scapegoat an entire group of people, when we act based on fear.”

“Even Dick Cheney thinks Trump is off his rocker!”

He puts the paper away, ties his shoes, and I take a breath.

“Did you hear anything I said?”

“It’s okay, Mom. I understand.”

There is so much more to say. I want to tell him that the world is a safe place, despite the headlines, and that we do not have to live in fear, or act out of fear.

I need to work on my speech, but the conversation has started.

“Not Everything Is About Parenting…”

“Not everything is about parenting,” a wise man told me recently, kindly, with a smile. It got me thinking, why for me does everything always get back to parenting? Am I stunted? Do I have tunnel vision?

Maybe because I learn the most from the people who call me Mom, and I’m trying to live up to the responsibility of passing good values to them.

Of all my vocations — including part-time lawyer and writer — Mom is what matters most to me. I don’t spend nearly as much time thinking about how to win a case, or how to craft a plot, as I do trying to be the best mom I can be. (Emphasis on trying.)

When my son’s bike went missing from the front of his elementary school, instead of rifling off, “That stinks. We’ll get you a new one,” the parenting questions rocketed across the sky, whistling “there’s a teachable moment here!” as they flew by.

I had told him that in our little town, it was okay not to lock his bike. I had taken joy and pride from the feeling that I was giving him a childhood free from fear and violation. When he lamented “why did this happen?” I had choices of how to answer. Should I teach him to cast blame — say, “maybe it was one of the homeless people who live here now, or one of those high school students who walks past every day?” Should I shrug and say  “I don’t know” and quietly commiserate? Or should I say, “I’m not saying it’s okay to take something that belongs to someone else, but maybe someone needed it more than you do”? Would that cushion the blow, give him gratitude for knowing that he can have a new one with the snap of his fingers? I don’t know if I’m right, but I chose the last two.

And what about replacing his bike? I recall how I felt when my beloved red Radio Flyer tricycle was stolen from our driveway when I was three years old. I was fatalistic: “Well, my friend, we had a good time together, but now you’re gone. It was good while it lasted.”

When my grandfather immediately replaced it with an identical red Radio Flyer tricycle, I wasn’t purely overjoyed. I remember feeling surprised, even confused. “You mean, you get more than one tricycle in this life?!?!” A quick replacement was my family’s way of making things all better. And while I’m sure I enjoyed riding the new one, in some ways it cheapened the beauty of my love affair with my first tricycle. It was replaceable.

So of course, being me, I thought about this when considering whether, how quickly, in what manner, to replace my son’s bike. On the one hand, he shouldn’t be bike-less forever because I had told him it was okay not to lock his bike. He wasn’t careless with it. And he rides it to school every day. But I paused before replacing it too quickly, remembering that feeling that if everything is replaceable, they lose their meaning.

Ultimately, my son quickly graduated from feeling hurt to, “The silver lining is I get my first new bike! Can I have one that is neon green with blue stripes?” I scoured the landscape to get him exactly what he wanted, which, as family tradition would have it, was gifted by his grandparents. The look on his face — and the spit-take — were priceless.

Do I overthink things? Yes! But is it the worst thing to consider what lessons I’m imparting with my actions and words? While raising children can be overwrought and over-thunk in this day and age (especially by yours truly), taking time to pause, to consider my response, is how I consider what kind of person I want to be. I don’t have all my answers yet.

The truth is, I’m figuring the world out right along with my kids. So if parenting is the effort to consider what are my values, and what values do I wish to pass to the next generation, then perhaps everything should be about parenting. I think this wise man would agree.

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Afterlife, Ashes…and a Kickline for Al Diamond

Today as I stepped out of the shower, my mind turned, in that untraceable-to-first-thought, how-did-I-get-here way that minds work, to the subject of cremation.

If I could tell you why I was thinking about this, I would. But let’s just start here.

Would I be cremated? I asked myself. There are a couple considerations. First, there’s the afterlife. I mean, what if there is a there there, and what if we really do need all our parts — what happens if I’m all dust and gone? I wouldn’t have a hand or a forehead to smack it against, no mouth to say “Doh! Mistake!” I wonder, would I be able to get a loaner? Could pick a different body type? Could I be taller?

But if, as I suspect, there’s no need for the body once we’ve expired, what reason is there not to return to the cosmos all dust and ash? The only other reason I came up with was so that whoever’s left behind has a place to visit.

In my family, that kind of visiting does not happen. It’s not our thing. But boy do we remember. I think about my late grandparents often. I think about them when my son’s expression reminds me of my dad’s dad; or a word my mom says sounds just like her mom; or when a terrible joke with no punchline reminds me of my mom’s dad; I think of them at every Bar Mitzvah, Shabbat and Torah study when Kaddish is said.

And I think of them at anniversaries. Today is the fifteenth anniversary of my grandfather’s death, his Yartzheit. I was lucky to have him as long as I did. And though I do not visit the cemetery where he was buried, he visits me quite often.

Like today. I went to a dance class, and the teacher chose a campy, Vaudevillian routine. I thought, my grandfather would love this. Under the music, I said to myself and him, “This is for you, Grandpa.”

Then, I decided to say it louder. So often I live in my mind, not sharing the good thoughts I am having about others, whether it is how much I admire them, or how they have inspired me, or how beautiful or kind they are. Lately I’ve been trying not to keep those thoughts so private. Besides, since I’d already invoked his presence, I thought it would be polite to let my fellow dancers know someone was watching. So I shared what had been silently percolating in my brain, “Today is fifteen years since my grandfather died, and he would have loved this number.”

“What was his name?” a friend generously asked.

“Al Diamond.”

“This one’s for Al,” she said.

The teacher cued the music, turned up the volume, and shouted “Sell it!” It was stunningly easy to feel him there as we danced and hammed it up, with a kick line to bring it home.

I don’t have any answers about an afterlife, whether spirits roam or visit us, whether we will be able to come back and visit once we’re gone – believe what you want, I say – but I do know that for those 8 bars of 8, he was there with me.

How to See Miracles

My grandmother Lilli Diamond has taught me many things. Among some of the lasting lessons:

  • The Yiddish word for “stickshift” is…“stickshift”;
  • If someone declines your offer of a banana, offer him half a banana (because why would anyone in his right mind turn down a banana??)
  • Laugh every day, even if you “gotta crack your own self up.”
  • Use hyperbole to heighten one’s sunny outlook, as in “This is the best hot dog I ever had! In my whole life I never had a hot dog as good as this!”

This last point deserves explanation. A person could think such extravagant exuberance could dilute genuine emotional power; if everything is grand, nothing is. But it’s the opposite. She says it with such enthusiasm, she convinces you. She convinces herself.

(On the other hand, maybe the hot dog warranted the outburst; she eats fruit for dessert every day, and disdains those at her old folks’ home (her words) who order ice cream. And I’m thinking – Grandma, if not now, when?)

So forget the hot dog. Let’s try another example. A few minutes ago she called to tell me: “It was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me.” Let’s hear it, Grandma. “Today, when the girl went down to the dining room to get my oatmeal, they were all out. Guess what I had for breakfast? I had the scone that you brought me yesterday!” To some, a rock-hard day-old scone; to her, a Hanukah miracle.

“I know I’ve told you this before,” she said to me yesterday as we crept toward the dining room at lunchtime. We were trailing behind another lady using a walker, and a man in a wheelchair passed us – unfair advantage, he had an aide. She paused to allow herself a fit of laughter at the incongruousness of where she found herself and her self-image. “I sometimes imagine that I’m in a play,” she continued, “and I’ve gone to the Director, and he has handed me my sides. ‘You’re going to play an elderly lady. Go to hair. Go to makeup. Go to costume,’ she looks down at her outfit and starts laughing again. ‘Go to props,’ she says, shaking with giggles and grasping her walker. ‘And go live at that Belmont with all the old people.’” She is playing a role – her outside a far cry from her inner life.

I laugh with her. We may cry a little, too. But right now we stand in a bubble, no one else can come in. Not the helpful staff, nor the perplexed residents. It’s our moment. I breathe in whatever I can from her. I inhale her amazement at the ordinary moment, her ability to find something wonderful or hilarious in the midst of a depressing milieu, her determination to sustain and entertain herself, an 18-year-old spirit in a…an older woman’s body.

How One Mother’s Grief Led Her to Create a Haven for Thousands More

I hope I never know what it’s like to walk in the shoes of Sarah Shaw.

Sarah is the protagonist of my novel, Shelter Us. We share some demographic traits: mother of two boys, Berkeley JDs, residents of Pacific Palisades, California.

But Sarah is also the mother of an infant who died. I have not known that pain.

When I was close to finishing the manuscript, I decided I needed an expert’s advice to be sure it honored the truth of the grieving parent’s experience. As a novelist and mother, I could try to imagine what life would be like after the death of a baby. But I was terrified of misrepresenting the emotional terrain of a grieving mother and inadvertently adding insult to injury.

I reached out to Susan Whitmore – grief counselor, founder of griefHaven, and mother of Erika – who unfortunately has walked in Sarah’s shoes, asking for her feedback on Shelter Us.

Susan graciously and generously read my manuscript. She confirmed the things I’d gotten right, added nuance in places that needed it, and told me “that would never happen” in one pivotal scene. I’m eternally grateful for her openness.

Susan’s openness is what led me to be sitting in a hotel ballroom yesterday filled with Sarah Shaws – mothers, as well as fathers, grandparents, and siblings — who had experienced the death of a child.

We were there in support of griefHaven, a resource for grieving parents. Susan founded griefHaven after her daughter Erika died of a rare sinus cancer, and she became frustrated in her efforts to find help. She decided to create what she felt was missing. As she explains on the griefHaven website:

As I began my personal journey, I discovered there were many support tools, but they were scattered everywhere, and finding them was a painstakingly arduous process….I needed one place where I could learn about a variety of support tools available and, ideally, what other grieving parents and family members found helpful as well. It was then I decided I would put together that web site–a grief haven–where parents, siblings, family members, friends, and specialists could come and find all that was available…a foundation from which you may start rebuilding your life.

The luncheon was emotional. We heard from an array of griefHaven supporters and clients: We met Molly’s mom, who lost her 21-month-old daughter last year, and who bravely told us what it meant to her to see that there can be light in life after total darkness. We heard from Billy and Carol’s dad, former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan, who lost his son to a scuba accident and his daughter to a heart attack. We heard from Jared’s cousin, now an eloquent 16-year-old, who opened a window to her then-six-year-old grieving soul upon the death of a baby cousin ten years ago.

We heard from Polly’s dad, Marc Klaas, who founded KlaasKids to prevent violence against children, and Ron’s sister, Kim Goldman, who has written a book called Can’t Forgive, about her brother’s violent murder twenty years ago. “It only takes a nano-second to be transported to a place you thought you’d never be,” she said.

It wasn’t an easy afternoon, but it was meaningful. Little Molly’s poised and sorrowful mother said that in the aftermath of her daughter’s death, she wrestles with the meaning of life. She shared with us with words Susan Whitmore had offered her that have helped:

“Maybe the meaning of life is just to grow our souls.”

With admiration, love and support for all who yearn for a haven for their grief, and for all those who provide it,

Laura

Sugar-Free? I Dare You.

There can be no doubt about who is the favorite for “Meanest Parents” award. After threatening to take away our son’s smartphone, we have now taken away ice cream, cupcakes and candy. S’mores have been banished; is there a greater summer sin?

This one wasn’t my idea. My husband hatched it while helping our niece with her bake sale last Sunday.

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Imagine the scene: A gorgeous day, adorable children shout out to hapless Farmers’ Market shoppers, “Help sick kids! Buy brownies!” Our sons march through the crowded pedestrian street bearing a banner that points people to their cousin’s stand. To put our money where their mouths are, they get their Dad to cough up $20 for the cause.

They figure that entitles them to three baked goods each. After they gobble chocolate chip cookies, and inhale luscious brownies-baked-with-cookies, but before consuming their regular brownies, a friend of mine and her teenaged daughter come over. The mom buys a cookie; her daughter does not want one.

“She’s not eating sugar because of a dare,” her mom explains.

“How long has it been?” I ask, amazed by a child avoiding sugar on her own initiative.

“Three years.”

Screeching halt. Christopher breaks the silence. “I wish someone would dare me not to eat sugar for a month.”

Too easy; I grant his wish.

That’s how this began. One by one, ours sons and I all signed on. Thirty days, no sugar. Here’s how it’s going.

Minute 1. I put the boys’ untouched brownies back on the For Sale tray. They must have been too full from their cookies and brownie-cookies before to make an uproar. So already, this is going better than expected.

Day 2. Breakfast. Following the rule of our teenaged inspiration, we allow reasonable cereal. No to Lucky Charms or Coco Crispies, but yes to wholesome Puffins or Heart to Heart, and all fruit. That’s normal for us, so no mutiny yet. One glitch: Our beloved vanilla yogurt with granola is not okay. I buy plain, non-fat Greek yogurt, sprinkle in chopped up strawberries and blueberries, and am surprised to find it creamy, yummy and satisfying.

Day 3. Goodbye après-swimming lesson lollipop. Our swimming teacher rocks, but I could live without the lollipop bucket. I let my kids have one every time. But today when my son asks, “Can I have one, Mom?” my eyes give him the answer he already knows: “Not for 29 more days.” There is no whining or debate. This dare is powerful potion.

Day 4. A kind and generous friend offers the boys cookies with lunch. But they resist that strong temptation. I am amazed. Then I realize it’s because I’m there. Still, that’s two sugar hits they missed, and I never had to say “no.” Christopher comes across a Hershey Bar in his office, a remnant from a camping trip. He begins to unwrap it, then remembers the dare and changes course. I stop at Starbucks and although my eyes linger on the case of pastries, I get tea and add milk and honey.

Day 5. Our son goes with friends to a water park. They stay all day. I don’t even ask about the dare. What happens in Soak City, stays in Soak City.

Day 6. We go for an end-of-summer movie matinee. Instead of going The Candy Baron (what has become our four-bag-filling tradition), we say yes to a small popcorn and a bag of Pirate’s Booty. This dare is gaining power every day.

Day 7. The grandparents take the boys to the Dodgers game. Wait — I’m not event that bad! I don’t breathe a word about the dare. Neither, apparently, do the boys.

The verdict as we approach the close of one week? Glorious success, slips and all. We are far from perfect, but perfect is not the goal. Our modest dare is a much needed reset button, a detoxifying opportunity, and an impetus to read labels. It is also a wake-up call to the volume of insidious sugar hits that pile up in a day, a week, a month. All those harmless lollipops and innocent chocolate kisses that appear at the barbershop, the dry cleaner, the market, the after-school activities. When school starts this week, that will multiply into birthday donuts or cupcakes that every child wants to share. I’m no birthday Grinch, but we have to work together, right? I believe what I read about sugar being addictive and a carcinogen, so as a loving mom I try to limit it. Which means that when my kids get sweets from other sources, I don’t get to be the fun one bringing them to the ice cream store or baking them a cake. I’d like a little more of that fun.

For now, the omnipresent treats have met their match in the beauty and power of a sugar-free experiment borne of a bake sale. At the very least, it has helped us pause before reflexively accepting every sweet that is offered. Perhaps it will only last the week. Perhaps we’ll make it the full thirty days. As for three years, don’t bet on it.

Mother’s Day again: Vote for Wendy Greuel for Mayor

I’ve heard from friends today and the past few days asking — who should I vote for for Mayor? One said, “I’ve never been undecided this close to election day. Who are you voting for?”

Well, since he asked, I’m happy to tell him. I’m voting for Wendy Greuel.

Let me say, there’s a wee tad bit of discomfort in talking about this. There are some lovely people with a different point of view. I’ve got no problem with that. I’m not trying to shill for votes (okay, yes, well, I am) but I’ve got two very good reasons for doing so:

1. A friend asked my opinion, so I’m giving it to him in this very private way. (Really, I don’t have that many readers.)

2. I was very impressed with Wendy after meeting her, and I’ve heard excellent reports of her can-do effectiveness from people I trust.

3. My Mom asked me to.

Some of you know my mom. She is fantastic. She is hard-working, loving, committed to healing the planet (and really needs to learn to say “no” more when asked to serve on committees or, ahem, to babysit…pleading guilty here). She is a woman who walks the walk. Literally. She has canvassed and gone door-to-door and made phone calls (I hope you were polite to her).

Last night she asked me to do her a little favor, while I was in the “Expressing Motherhood” show to express my mother’s deep wish, to tell people who may be wondering, who may be undecided, to please vote for Wendy. Do it for your city, do it for yourself. And if all else fails, do it for my mom. .

Pandering for votes, or helping undecided friends make up their minds, or simply a belated Happy Mother’s Day.

Thanks for listening.

Laura

 

Recovering from Mother’s Day

I had my worst Mother’s Day, to date. No one woke me with burnt toast. I was awakened by Emmett, actually, but it was with a beautiful hand illustrated book he had made about how much I love him.

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And a bracelet made from paperclips and tape.

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All good. Aaron gave me nothing, because in Middle School the teachers don’t do that shit for you, and he didn’t get around to doing it himself. That’s another discussion.

But I didn’t want gifts for Mother’s Day. What I wanted for Mother’s Day, all I wanted, was to go on a bike ride on the beach.

Aaron was happy to oblige. He was dressed and ready to go. But Emmett, oh that darling, sloooooow and “I don’t wanna do it” Emmett, was not cooperating.

You know what? I can’t even bear to tell you more. It’s too harrowing to relive. So I’m going to let Christopher’s Mom give it to you straight, the story he told her on the phone at the end of the day, which she succinctly boiled down to its essence:

“Laura wanted to go on a bike ride for Mother’s Day to the Farmer’s Market.”

        Okay, I’m piping in. YES, that’s all I wanted!!!

“Somehow, Laura, Aaron and Christopher arrived there in two groups and found that Emmett (who had procrastinated at home) wasn’t with them. Christopher thought he was with Laura and Aaron, and Laura thought he was with Christopher.

“Not only that, but they had all left their cell phones at home.”

       Because we wanted, just for a day, to be unplugged. And we were all supposed to be TOGETHER.

“Laura went to search the Farmer’s Market. The Farmer’s Market manager called the police, who were about to dispatch helicopters, while Christopher raced home on his bike. He found a very shaken up Emmett with his bike in front of their house, who had tried to call all of them, and thank goodness met a nice neighborhood family who helped him!

“All’s well that ends well.”

I still want my damn bike ride.

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Grandma Power: Electing Women and Protecting the Environment

This week is the Grandmother Power Blogging Campaign, brainchild of photojournalist Paola Gianturco and writer/inspirer Tara Mohr. The goal: to connect women to flex their power to change the world.

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Me and my grandmother, Lilli, on her (nn%&*st) birthday last year.

And why not? Grandfathers have run most countries and Fortune 500 companies. We could use more healing Grandma power, and Grandma strength. My kids are lucky to have two of the best.

In that spirit, today I bring you my mom, Fran Diamond, in her own words.

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Take it away, Mom!

My own Grandmothers, Rose and Sarah, gave me love, comfort and life lessons that are with me still. Grandma Rose enveloped me with pure love and endless admiration whether deserved or not. Baba Sarah loved me as much and set an example of humility and generosity. They set a high standard for being a grandparent.

Today my four grandchildren inspire me in so many ways, including the work that I do. Knowing that what I do affects them makes an enormous difference in the decisions that I make and how I look at things.

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For over forty years there have been two themes to my life’s work: Environmental activism and electing pro-choice, progressive women to public office.

In l968, I joined my husband and neighbors to fight against oil drilling along the coast of Los Angeles when it was threatened by Occidental Petroleum and Armand Hammer. After a twenty-year David vs. Goliath battle, “No Oil” won and the coast of Los Angeles is protected from off-shore oil drilling.

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Since l999, I have served on the California Regional Water Quality Control Board. Our mission is to restore and protect the surface and groundwater of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. We have made tremendous improvements in water quality. Just looking at the Heal The Bay report card, you can see that many beaches that were given F, D, and C’s before are now A+ most of the time. When I see surfers in the water or families at the beach, and when my grandkids go boogie boarding, l know that my work is making a difference.

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That is what keeps me going, as hard as it is at times. When we are debating policy issues and scientific standards, I think what is best for those kids and the future. I see the beautiful, sweet faces of my grandchildren, and I know what I have to do.

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Even before I became an environmental activist, I worked to elect women to public office. In the early 1970’s there were no women in the U.S. Senate, or for that matter the California State Senate. Without women’s voices we don’t really have a representative democracy. Women bring a lot to the table that is different from men. I believe that women are more collaborative and naturally think of what’s best for children and families. It is my belief that when both candidates are equally qualified, we should vote for the woman until we are closer to parity in elective office. Right now there are only 20 women in the U.S. Senate out of l00. Next year we may have no women on the Los Angeles City Council or citywide office. That is shameful. That is not the world I want my granddaughters or grandsons to live in.

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That’s part of why I am working to elect Wendy Greuel to be the Mayor of Los Angeles. I have known and worked with both candidates for a long time. They are both good people. Wendy Greuel, however, is the most qualified and has the leadership skills to move L.A. forward. What I know about Wendy Greuel is that she listens to all sides, can make decisions and knows how to implement them. She knows how to get from A to Z. She is willing to tell people what they might not want to hear. She is tough, decisive and fair. Los Angeles has been a city for l63 years and we have never had a woman Mayor. Now it’s time. I know that both my granddaughters and my grandsons will benefit from having Wendy Greuel as Mayor.

This year I will turn 70. I have never been more inspired to achieve my goals. Maybe it is because of four amazing young people, Rebecca, Noa, Aaron and Emmett my adored grandchildren. Through them I can touch the future. And it is amazing.