Posted by Mihal Levy
I was thrilled to be invited to the 20th annual Environmental Media Awards for the third year in a row. The awards ceremony, which honors environmentally conscious programming and themes in films and television productions, took place on Saturday night, October 16 at Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank. As thrilled as I was to be there, I was even more excited at the prospect of meeting Glee’s Jessalyn Gilsig, a fellow Jew Mama (Jewish on her father’s side). I met a lot of great people involved in greening Hollywood and celebrities, but was still waiting for Jessalyn.
I have admitted before that I am, in fact, a Gleek and not afraid to admit it. I also mentioned in previous posts that I have almost met the entire cast of Glee in one way or another (no stalking involved or paparazzi-like strategies). I could not wait to meet Jessalyn to talk about Jewish mommyhood and, of course, Glee.
I arrived just as the guests walked down the green carpet. First to arrive was CNN founder and environmental activist Ted Turner, who was being honored for his efforts and contributions toward environmental issues. I met Mr. Turner and his ex-wife, Jane Fonda (who was there in support of her ex-husband and presenting him with the honorary award) as they arrived. I think I was a little over-enthusiastic when I met Jane Fonda, maybe even plain hyper, recalling dancing to her aerobic videos (yes, videos) in a leotard, shiny tights and leg warmers as a child. (Why I had to wear that getup in my own home while I aerobicized, I have no idea.)
Other stars began arriving as I waited for a fellow Jew Mama. They included Lance Bass, Wilmer Valderrema, Eva Mendes, Rosario Dawson, James Cameron, and Ed Begley, Jr., as well as Natalie Portman, who was there to present entrepreneur Jeff Skoll with an honorary award as well.
Finally, there she was: Jessalyn. She was stunning. (“Beautiful” does not cover it.) I waited as she made her way down the carpet and toward the reception area. And then…I lost her. I entered the reception area and continued my search. I couldn’t see over the heads of the guests. Cheryl Tiegs’s supermodel height was first in blocking my way. (She was still stunning and beautiful; once a supermodel, always a supermodel.) Maybe I should have brought a step stool, I thought.
This was my third year attending the EMAs and it seemed that the turnout this year was much larger compared to the previous years, which made it even more difficult to locate Jessalyn. I still kept a lookout for her, however. After much mingling and searching, I gave up.
Needless to say, I did not find Jessalyn. I was just waiting and waiting for
Jessalyn, but enjoyed myself nonetheless. Perhaps I will bump into her one way or another. After all, we are both Jew Mamas.
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October 19, 2010 | 11:22 am
Posted by Mihal Levy
I thought I was losing my hearing when I overheard the momversation (also known as a conversation between two moms having something to do with their children, child rearing, cleaning, shopping, or how much more they do than their husbands) right next to me in the grocery store this morning. “I love cleaning,” said one mom to the other.
I interrupted their conversation, “Excuse me, did you just say you love cleaning?”
“I do. Don’t you?” She stated more than questioned, matter-of-factly.
“Um, no!” I said as if I chose the wrong answer. Then I felt the need to explain myself, as if my answer merited some sort of explanation. “Well, don’t get me wrong. (I don’t think anyone did. They heard me.) I love a clean house and try to keep it that way for the most part, but I don’t love the work that I have to do to get there. (And as if this wasn’t enough…I went on. Did they really care? ) How can picking up toys at the end of every day, doing dishes three times a day, laundry and dusting be loved?” At this point I realized I was trying to convince myself that I was an okay mom even if I didn’t like cleaning. (Did I need validation from complete strangers?)
“I don’t know. I just find it enjoyable,” she said unapologetically. “I have time to myself to fix things the way I like them and find it rewarding.”
Time to herself? Okay, now she was bluffing. When I think of time to myself, I think of a good book, a walk in nature, a manicure on rare occasions; but cleaning, was she serious? By the look on her face, she was.
“Wow,” I remarked. “That’s great.”
“I can’t say my home is always clean, but when it is I enjoyed cleaning. It is so relaxing.” Now I felt we were onto something: she was apologizing for an unclean home as well and she liked cleaning.
We chatted for a little bit longer and then she asked if I enjoyed cooking. I told her I actually did, very much so – it was the cleaning up afterwards that I didn’t like. Every time I am done cooking and my kitchen is a mess, I snap my fingers and call for the butler. “Agador?“ (Yes, I picture my butler as the gay Guatemalan butler from The Birdcage, Hank Azaria’s character who prances around barefoot barely doing any house cleaning at all. Not because gay Guatemalan men are butlers, but because if I ever had one, why would he not be fun and entertaining like Agador? Robin Williams and Nathan Lane had one, why couldn’t I have one with “Guatemalaness?”) Of course when I call out to Agador there is no answer, because there is no Agador and the fun of cooking is over as I am left with dishes upon dishes, spoons, measuring cups and a dirty kitchen counter. Was it really worth it, Mihal?
Finally, Cleaning Mama and I agreed to disagree. Cleaning is not always fun for everyone but we all do the best we can whether we like cleaning or not. We affirmed that we were both good mothers. (Why must mothers always do that? Who knows, but we both left feeling validated.) We also agreed that the home is not always perfectly clean. (Phew, not just my home.) We parted ways.
When I got home later with my groceries, I looked around and thought that perhaps I should enjoy cleaning just a little more. I probably would if I had an Agador, however. Maybe the mom at the grocery store did. I never asked.
October 13, 2010 | 3:47 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
I don’t fit in a box…a Jewish box, that is. I don’t neatly fit into a category, classification or type. I am not a check box on an application nor can I describe myself in multiple choice, yet why am I constantly asked to do so?
Orthodox, Ultra Orthodox, Modern Orthodox, Conservadox, Conservative, Traditional, Reform, Reconstructionist, New Age, a Jew for Jesus or even Space-Age Scientelogically Jewish. Can everyone be classified in neat little categories that identify complex beliefs or ever changing beliefs? Can’t one go from God-fearing to not even believing in a matter of minutes? Does that mean your classification should change with your changing thoughts? Are human beings not complex? Are we better understood simplified or stupified?
I recently have had the opportunity to meet different types of Jewish moms through homeschooling groups with my son. Everyone seems to identify with one precise category. I find myself changing mine wherever I go - because otherwise it would take hours for me to explain who I was and my belief system. It can not just be described with one word or type. I have even thought about the “elevator pitch” description of my affiliation - who am I? It would just have to be an extremely long elevator ride.
Isn’t it better, therefore to remain category-less, indescribable, even modest about one’s beliefs. After all isn’t modesty key in Judaism? What is so modest after all about wearing my belief on my sleeve (or long sleeves below the elbow, rather)?
Next time I am asked what my religious beliefs are…I will just answer, “Jewish” and that should be good enough…well, with hints of Buddhism and Existential angst of course.
October 8, 2010 | 12:21 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
I missed an episode of Glee this week and was disappointed, until I watched it online (most of it) and was even more disappointed.
I have been a huge Gleek and not ashamed to admit it. I have gone to great lengths to watch every episode. (Rushing to put my son to bed earlier and earlier even without dinner. Ok, shorter dinners or late lunches.) I have almost met the entire cast and have nearly kissed the ground Ryan Murphy has walked on (only was too embarrassed to do it at the time, as I was walking away from chatting with him.) I still am a fan of Ryan Murphy (although I have not seen Eat Pray Love, because I can not see Julia in a role other than a Beverly Hills call girl or cooking up pizzas – I just dated myself.), although I am not sure I am still a fan of Glee.
I cannot believe I said that, but now that it is out in the open, let me elaborate. I liked Glee last season for its themes; ‘love for the underdog’, ‘we are all equal’ and even ‘Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be sexy’. Although the themes linger on, I am not sure the plot lines (when there is a plot) do it justice.
I think Glee’s writing is often brilliant. The one-liners, snarky comments and “I can’t believe they went there” moments are what keep it great. But this season it seems they are looking more to gimmicks than to character driven plots. And how much more can you do with Rachel Berry? Where does she go from here? Perhaps one will find out.
The season opener was mediocre at best. The second Britney Spears episode seemed like it was a random selection of Britney’s music and spoofy videos sans plot. I was thoroughly disappointed when I could not get into the third episode “Grilled Cheesus.”
In “Grilled Cheesus.” Finn makes himself a grilled cheese sandwich only to find an image of the big J (also known as the man who walked on water) on his burnt toast. Really?
I could not watch the rest of the episode after Finn and his holy toast go on a spiritual mission. Asking his holy toast to grant him wishes like getting to first base (or was it second?) with his girlfriend. I wish I could follow but everything after the J-toast made me a non-believer of the show.
I wish I could say that I was a Jewish fan, so that I could be considered a “Chew for Cheesus.” (What was amazing to me, however, was how they were able to get that image on the toast in the first place. I can’t get my $15 Mickey Mouse toast stamp from Disneyland to ever work.)
I want to continue my Gleekiness, but I feel at this point the Cheesusness has gotten a bit out of hand. I am sure the writers have not run out of ideas. But if they have…Murphy, Brennan and Falchuk, please call me…I have got some ideas. They do not involve grilled cheesus, though. I am a vegetarian and I do not do dairy. I hope you don’t mind.
October 7, 2010 | 10:30 am
Posted by Mihal Levy
I am a single mother for most of the time.
My husband is a professional musician, which also makes him a touring musician, therefore making me a touring musician’s wife, also known as a single mother.
More often than not, I am a single mother. A part time single mother. I am in no way comparing myself to full time single mothers (or single fathers), but thoroughly understand them and have always had a great respect for single parents, but even moreso now.
Presently my husband is on the road (which, for those of you who do not know, is slang for traveling from place to place by plane, van, bus, car and/or on foot faster than the wife at home can keep track of). He comes back tomorrow and leaves again Saturday night. The good news is that he will be home for a bit. The bad news is that he is home for only a bit. He is also not home when he is home, since he will be at rehearsals all day until late preparing for his leave again on Saturday.
What this all means is that I appear to the world as a single mom. I am starting to think of myself that way too. My son goes everywhere with me and of course I go everywhere with him (although I’m debating letting him borrow my car at the age of four so he can have some alone time from mom).
I attend most family functions, celebrations, dinner parties and father/son activities with my son sans his father. Last weekend we attended a kid’s birthday party together (my son and I). Every child was there with both parents, including one child who was there with both of his fathers. Where are all the single mothers/fathers? Hello?
Every decision I make is my own. There is no one to reassure me, help me decide, or blatantly let me know when I am wrong. No diverting to “Go ask your father.” And I have to do jobs around the house that frankly are not mine - like opening jars even when I can not, rebuilding broken Lego castles, teaching my son paradiddles on his drum pad and functioning as the bottom wrestler in a wrestling match when my son decides it is time to play rough. (Clearly a father duty –this one.)
I knew what I was getting into when I married my husband, only I did not think I would be wiping off the remnants of cupcake frosting from my keyboard at my job (left over from my son, not myself) while my husband enjoys specially cooked entrees at the venues where he performs while “meeting and greeting” people backstage at his.
It would not be difficult, however, if the people around me did not tell me that it must be. “It must be difficult.” “How do you do it? I could never do it.” “How tough for you.”
I may be teaching my son incorrect drum patterns and unable to eat olives from a jar that can not be opened. But the moments I spend with my son are worth it regardless of my olive-less dinners. Each moment brings us closer. It is just the two of us on this adventure together and I am enjoying every minute of single mommyhood…until my hubby gets home. And I know I will enjoy the time with my husband (and eating olives) when he comes home. When is this tour over again?