Posted by Ilana Angel
I have been a single mother since my son was six months old. My entire life is wrapped around this boy and my heart functions because of him. I’m not kidding. My decisions for myself are made with him in mind, and the choices I make put him and his needs first. That’s just how I roll.
When you only have one child and no spouse, all your energy goes to taking care of that person. Kids are the priority for all good mothers, but when it’s just you and him, it takes on a different feeling. It’s not a big deal that all your eggs are in one basket, because you only have one basket.
In fifteen and a half years, I have never been away from my child for longer than 2 weeks, and today he his leaving for 31 days. He is going on a summer adventure with his best friend, spending 4 weeks with him and his grandmother on a lake back east. He is going to have a wonderful time.
He went with them last year, but only for 9 days. He had such an amazing time that he has been planning for this summer trip since last summer. It took him a year to convince me to let him go for longer, but even I am amazed I agreed to let him go for this long. What was I thinking?
I’m sure there will be a lot of opinions on this next statement, but her it is. I do not know how to live without him with me. It sounds dramatic and ridiculous, even to me, but it is what it is. Everything is about this child, and I’m not sure what I will do with myself for 4 weeks.
When you are with your child everyday, everything you do is about him. From grocery shopping, to work hours, to my social life, it is all touched by him. How do I shop for only one person? Do I work later if I no longer need to go and pick him up from somewhere? Can I date without worry?
It all makes me cry. I cry at random times, for random reasons. By random reasons of course I mean I cry for no particular reason at all. I was folding his laundry and while I complain at the massive amounts of laundry this boy generates, I cried because I will miss doing it.
I am annoyed my child is unable to place clothes in a hamper. Yet when I picked up his wet towel, after if was crumpled in the corner of his bathroom overnight, I cried and actually thought to myself, “I am going to miss picking up his wet and disgusting clothes.” Really?
It is irrational behavior, but I can’t help myself. He is going to have a great time, be well taken care of, will build memories of a lifetime, will call me and iChat to stay connected, but I am going to miss him, and at the moment am inconsolable that he is going for so long.
I would rather hang out with my kid than anyone else on the planet. In a perfect world I could hang out with him and George Clooney at the same time, but if I could only pick one, it’s my kid. I enjoy his company and he makes me happy. Even with teenage angst, I’d still rather be with him.
He’s almost 16, a texting machine, scares me every chance he gets, is messy, and generates an insane amount of laundry and dishes. I complain about one or more of those things on a regular basis, I will miss them. What the hell am I going to do when he leaves for college?
He’s my only child and I don’t know what I will do with my time. Everyone is telling me to have fun. Go on dates, see my friends, take yoga, focus on myself, and embrace a freedom that I don’t normally have. Easier said than done. I’m will try certainly, but it will be hard.
I am going to focus on not sitting on the couch with a bottle of wine, searching the Internet for a cat that needs adopting. If I can avoid that, it will be a victory. If you read that I have adopted a cat, please call the authorities and have me committed. There can be no new cat in my home!
I am going to miss my son while he is away. I will control myself and not call and text him every second. I will sit around wondering what to do with myself, and he will need to be reminded to call me and check in, but still, he will miss me. He is going to spread his wings and so must I.
I am going to take yoga, head to Vegas for a few days, go to a party in Palm Springs, come and go whenever I like, walk around my home naked, and eat brussel sprouts. All things I do not do when my boy is home. I am going to date and have a clean home with no laundry.
It’s going to be an interesting time. I am learning to let my child grow up, and in doing so growing up myself. It will be a good experience for both of us and I need to remind myself of that. Crying is not necessary. Instead I must feel excited for me that I get a break.
I don’t really need a break, but I’m trying to talk myself into it. It’s all rather pathetic. It’s going to be a long day. We are packing and getting organized. I am going to make it all day without crying. I vow to not shed a tear until he is on the plane and cannot see me.
I will come home and have a good cry. Tomorrow I will embrace my alone time. Lord give me strength. Being this child’s mother is my greatest joy and I don’t know what to do when he’s not here, but I will learn. It is my college prep as I prep for him to go to college.
He’s a terrific kid and I am a great mother. This time will be an opportunity for me to see that is not the only thing I am. I am going to embrace my single life. My son is going to be fine, and so am I. A single mom’s summer vacation requires wine, prayer, and keeping the faith.
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June 29, 2011 | 5:19 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I love watching NBC’s To Catch a Predator. It is fascinating how stupid people can be, and frightening how dangerous seemingly “normal” people, can get caught in such compromising, illegal, and creepy situations. I have admired Chris Hansen and how he keeps his cool when dealing with these people. My favorite part is when he tells them to “Have a seat”.
When Hansen catches Internet sexual predators, grown men who are married with children, going to meet underage kids for sex, then cry and say it was a mistake and they didn’t mean it, it is shocking. Remember when the Rabbi was caught going to have sex with a minor? It became so popular, that people would recognize Hansen the moment they were busted.
What goes around has definitely come around for Hansen, who has been caught on tape, cheating on his wife, by the National Enquirer. The seedy D List magazine has busted the award winning NBC newsman. That’s got to hurt. He was filmed while out on a date with television reporter Kristyn Caddell, who happens to be 20 years his junior.
Allegedly Hansen has been cheating on his wife with Caddell for the past four months, and has not appeared to be working too hard to hide it as they went for dinner at a hotel, then back to her apartment, where he stayed the night. Hansen, who is 51 and has two young sons, got caught at his own game, which must be one hell of a payback, as well as super embarrassing.
There are a lot of men, in a lot of jails, who are rejoicing at Hansen’s bad luck. One would think that a ma, who has made his mark by catching people on tape in compromising positions, would be a little more careful in his own illicit affair. I’m not sure he can host this show anymore because like the men he catches, he is now a pig, just like them. I hope she was worth it.
At what point does taking such huge risks go from being exciting to stupid? Did he want to get caught so he could get out of his marriage? Could he not have done it in a way that would save his reputation and career? Sex is a powerful thing so I hope it was good and worth it. You are officially a predator Mr. Hansen, so have a seat, watch the video, and keep the faith
June 28, 2011 | 2:01 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
Bristol Palin is a sweet girl who is loving the spotlight and sucking every last opportunity out of it. Her new memoir, “Not Afraid of Life”, is a book I am never going to read. That said, based on what I heard about her book, she should be ashamed of herself for saying things she can’t ever take back.
Bristol writes that Levi “stole” her virginity when she was plastered on wine coolers. He knew she wanted to wait until marriage, but had sex with her anyway, but she is not saying it was date rape. Really? That is exactly what she is saying and if I were Johnston, I would be furious. It’s all very sad.
She can never take this accusation back. Rape is a dangerous word to throw around and after 5 years, a child, two engagements, and a lot of mud slinging from both sides, her talking rape now makes me angry, not sympathetic. It feels like a publicity stunt, not a heartfelt admission.
Perhaps Bristol was in love, got drunk, screwed a loser, got knocked up, got dumped, is embarrassed, and now tweaking her memory in an attempt to crucify him and get some book sales. Perhaps she wants it to be true so bad she believes it. Who knows, but the timing is simply not kosher.
She says what he did was rape without calling it rape in the book, then in promoting the book let’s everyone know she did not say rape, but is using the word rape in every interview. I think she is back peddling to save face as her mother prepares to run for President. She has forever tagged the father of her child as a rapist, and I have no respect for her fame whore tactics.
It does not matter that she is telling everyone Johnston did not rape her, because she already put it out there, and can’t change the fact people will think he assaulted her. It was a sleazy move, and perhaps not her idea, but Johnston showed us he was unsavory all by himself and this label was not necessary. Pulling the rape card is unconscionable.
I wonder how her son will react when he is older and reads her book. It’s bad enough he will see the palpable hate between Johnston and his entire family, but to then be labeled the child of a rapist is heartbreaking. In the end did her hate for Levi trump her love for her son? I pray for her innocent little boy, and suggest Bristol start keeping the faith.
June 25, 2011 | 5:59 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
Today marks the 5th year of captivity for IDF soldier Galid Shalit. Five years is a long time in a normal life, so it must be forever for Galid. This young man needs to come home. In the time Galid has been a prisoner, my son has had his Bar Mitzvah, started high school, become taller than me, started shaving, experienced love, mended my broken heart, and began to dream big.
As he prepares to go away for a few weeks of summer vacation, my heart is beating a little faster and my tears are coming a little quicker. Four weeks seems like a lifetime and I will miss him. What does 5 years look like to you? Make a list of all the things that have happened in your life, and the world, in the past five years and you will see that it is a profound amount of time.
My life is revolving around four weeks and so in comparison to five years it seems insignificant. It is my reality though and so I will feel everything that comes along, and count the days. Counting the days is my blessing. I know the exact moment I will see my son again and I take comfort in that. The best part of his going away is that he is coming back. We need to bring Galid back.
Search the Internet and you can learn about Galid. Sign petitions, send letters, and pray. Don’t just think about how he needs to come home, do something. Nothing is insignificant, everything matters. It is time for the world to show compassion on behalf of this boy and raise their voices so he can come home. Horrible things happen everyday and we need to help each other.
We have one world and one life. There are a million things to fight over, and a million things to unite over. Make a difference. If not for Galid, then for something else. Do something that makes a difference to someone other than yourself. Be decent. Be kind. Be compassionate. Be brave. Life is complicated, but helping someone is not. Pray. Believe. Keep the faith.
June 24, 2011 | 10:57 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
Today Governor Andrew Cuomo signed New York’s gay marriage bill, making gay marriage legal in the state of New York. God Bless the people of New York for making the correct decision and allowing all of her residents to be equal. It was the right thing, it was the only choice, and God is pleased.
As wonderful as this news it, it is a painful reminder that California is living in the dark ages and continues to ban gay marriage. I am not gay and I am not married, but the marriage that I want for myself is inspired by the marriages of my gay friends. They are my role models.
This vote is not a victory for gay people, but rather a victory for humanity. The true celebration will be when our entire country allows all of her citizens, regardless of sexual orientation, to marry the person who makes them happy. That day will come, and until it does, I am keeping the faith.
June 22, 2011 | 11:58 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
Fashion genius John Galliano is on trial in Paris for being an anti-Semite, and he took the stand today. He testified the blame for his public slurs must be placed on his addiction to booze and pills. Really? Is one of the side effects of Valium that you hate Jewish people? Is that listed on the information sheet from the pharmacist?
I don’t think he needs to go to jail for being an ass and neither does the prosecution because she is asking that the 50 year old designer pay a fine no less than $14,400. The verdict will be announced on Sept. 8th and even though they are not asking for jail time, he could get 6 months and a fine up to $32,175.
The chances they will give him the maximum sentence with are slim because he is a first time offender. He is charged with public insults based on origin, religious, affiliation, race or ethnicity. Is spewing hate in a bar, when you are drunk, considered talking publically? He was just talking, not standing with a mic.
While on the stand Galliano said, “I have a triple addiction. I’m a recovering alcoholic and a recovering addict. After every creative high, I would crash and the alcohol helped me, helped make Dior a billion-dollar business.” When asked why he is only mentioning the addiction now, he said, “I was in denial. I was still taking those pills and alcohol, and I was in complete denial.”
When he watched the video where he announced that he loved Hitler, he responded to the judge with, “These are not views that I hold or believe in. In the video, I see someone who needs help, who’s vulnerable. It’s the shell of John Galliano. I see someone who’s been pushed to the edge. All my life I’ve fought against prejudice and intolerance and discrimination because I have been subjected to it myself. I apologize for the sadness that this affair has caused and I apologize to the court as well.”
I know he said horrible things, and he clearly has an issue with Jews, but I think there is more to this story, and perhaps the receivers of his tirade are not as innocent as they would like us to believe. The woman he verbally assaulted said that he used the word “Jewish” 30 times, yet nobody else at the café heard him. When asked why she did not get up and leave when he was so horrible, she said she stayed on “principal”.
Another witness from the café testified that, “It was very difficult to tell who had insulted whom, (but) I absolutely didn’t hear anything anti-Semitic.” She went on to say that the situation had been, “totally overblown.” I think her testimony is more interesting than the people who he attacked. I have to wonder if they knew who he was and perhaps there was another agenda.
There is a lot of hate in the world. We hear about it all the time and I personally experience it here at The Jewish Journal on occasion. People hate Jews. Others hate homosexuals, or African Americans. It’s sadly the world we live in and there is simply no room in all the prisons, in the world, to house everyone who has hate towards someone else based on race or religion.
What Galliano said was disgusting and it angered me. Not just because I am a Jew, but also because such palpable hate scares me. I worked for many years at the Shoah Foundation and I have seen the power of hate. John Galliano is an idiot. He has lost control of his life, but jail is not going to make him stop hating Jews, or teach him any great lesson.
Galliano has got balls to say that the reason he said such ugly things was because he was wasted. It’s a crock. He said it because somewhere in his heart, the sentiments are true. He hates Jews. He was in Paris so he was not alone. France is not famous for loving her Jews. It’s a sad situation but I feel jail is not the answer.
Make him pay the fine, and then do community service. Let him clean the toilets at a day school. Preferably one where there is a bad case of diarrhea going around. Make him eat gefilte fish everyday for a year. Make him go to rehab where his mandatory daily therapy is with a Jewish doctor who hates fashion designers. There are better punishments than jail.
I appreciate that this is a serious subject, but we are dealing with a douchelord, and he has ruined his life all by himself. Hate is a horrible thing, and Jews as a whole are sensitive to it as it has defined our history. At the end of the day, I don’t care about John Galliano. He made a mistake, was probably set up a little bit, and all his hate does, is remind me to keep the faith.
June 22, 2011 | 5:24 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
By now you’ve probably all heard that 51 year old actor Doug Hutchison has married a 16 year old girl named Courtney Stodden. I thought he was a great actor because he plays creepy so well. From Lost to The Green Mile, his characters have been disturbing. Turns out maybe he’s not a great actor as much as he’s just a really creepy guy.
Courtney says that she is a country singer, a good Christian girl, and not enhanced with any plastic surgery. Here is her video for “Don’t Put It On Me”. You can decide if anything she says about herself is true. This does not sound like country to me, her chest is bigger in later videos, and I’m not a Christian, but this does not look “good” to me.
We can think he’s a pig, and she is a little skanky, but I think the person to be questioned about how this even happened is Krista Stodden, who is Courtney’s mom. She signed a legal consent for her underage daughter to get married and says, “They are very much in love and we are so supportive of this.” I think this woman should be ashamed of herself.
What can these two possibly have to talk about and how can her mother not think it is disgusting. I don’t know these people, but my initial response to this story was one of horror. This poor child has been sold to an old man by her fame whore mother in an attempt to fast track her daughter’s career. It’s wrong and I blame the mother for allowing such a thing to happen.
I am curious about how they met, how long they have known each other, and how long they have been having sex. Hugh Hefner is famous for being with much younger women, but they are not children. This guy is gross, this girl is on her way to a porn career, and this mother should have her head checked. Stopping this train wreck will require more than keeping the faith.
June 22, 2011 | 12:24 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I met with Tamara Shayne Kagel yesterday. She is the young woman who wrote a series of blogs that essentially said fat girls need to lower their expectations in terms of who they can date, and parents do a disservice to their fat daughters by telling them they can do anything they want, and should instead teach them to aim low in terms of careers and men. I am not going to link her blogs to mine again so if you want to find them you’re on your own.
I arrived to our meeting 5 minutes late, and she arrived 15 minutes after that. Traffic was a nightmare and it was fine as she let me know she was crawling along the 405. Her being late was a good thing as it allowed me a few minutes to gather my thoughts. When she arrived she was clearly nervous. She is a lovely girl and looks younger than her 29 years. We got a table and settled in for our little chat.
I immediately noticed her hands. She had short nails with red, chipped nail polish. Her nails reminded me that I was dealing with a child that needed compassion, not a peer. She cares what people think of her and she wants to project the right image, so she puts on mascara and makes sure she looks good, but then has the hands of a cheap hooker so how can I take her seriously?
When I was 29 I was pregnant, and trying to save a marriage that was clearly falling apart. I was at a very different place than she is now. She is not only confused in her writing style, but confused about what image she is projecting. One could argue that she is young and will figure it all out, but she is 29 years old. I can’t imagine being that old and so unsure about who I am.
I could go on and on about the things that were wrong with Tamara’s blogs, but there is no need because Ms. Kagel is very clear that while I can appreciate what she was trying to say, she missed the mark and in the end was irresponsible with the words she put out into the world to represent her. As a woman and a mother, I think Tamara needs to apologize. She needs to be brave and bold, and write the things she talked about yesterday.
I agree that we need to be healthy and must teach our children the value of health. Obesity is an epidemic and I’m not pretending weight does not matter. I am simply saying that telling fat girls they don’t matter unless they get thin, is not the way to address the problem. Rather than try to change how weight is viewed, she needs to first worry about herself and her own issues. The real lesson she can teach require her to write about her own life experiences, not others.
To be clear, this was never about obesity. This was about Ms. Kagel saying women who are not a size 6 need to go to the bottom of the dating chain because they don’t deserve to date good men. I was never commenting on the issue of obesity and heath for women, but rather that it is ridiculous to suggest women who do not look like her cannot find love or get a good job. She wrote a blog about dating, not a medical study on obesity.
She has a very important and rarely talked about perspective that could really help women. If she finds the courage to write about herself, it could be powerful. As a writer, I want to her learn the power of her voice and help her to know that what she writes matters. She did not know me, yet felt it was okay to comment on my life, my body, my worldview, and my possibilities. She made it personal about me but was not willing to focus on herself.
Our Jewish upbringing teaches us that, “He who saves one soul it’s as if he saved the entire world.” I will be one soul for Ms. Kagel. I am a stranger who was offened by her words and so her saying sorry will be nice for me, and maybe help to heal her. Dramatic to be sure, but when you are talking about a woman and her self-worth, it’s all rather dramatic indeed. Tamara has an unhealthy view of her body and a broken spirit.
She is desperate to express herself and wants to be heard. She is a product of her environment, society, and her upbringing. Only she can alter her self image, and needs to work on that before she has her own children and passes her insecurities onto them. I hope she does the right thing. Not because I told her she should, but because she wants to, knows why it’s important, and understands that it matters, and more importantly, she matters.
Tamara has a lot of important things to say. She just needs to learn how to say them in a way that people will be open to listening to. I will leave it up to her to find out a way to do that and when she does, I hope to collaborate with her on a piece about women, self worth, and that accepting our bodies and loving our bodies, are not the same thing. Tamara has a beautiful body but does not appreciate it or really see it, which is sad.
If I could have my body and my sense of self-worth, or her body and her struggles with being good enough, I would pass on the dumb and take my curves. I tell my friends I wish for them all that they wish for themselves, but I wish other things for Tamara. She will figure it out because she is smart. I believe in her and thank her for being gracious. She reminded me the most important thing I can do for myself, is to keep the faith.
UPDATE: Ms. Kagel has decided to lie about our meeting and what we both said. It’s an interesting approach. I wish her luck with her choices and her career. I will no longer waste my time talking about her and her silly writing. Her readership has soared since I began writing about her and it’s not fair to my readers to bore them with her ramblings. She can go on with her life and give me no further thought. I wish her all the best. God Bless.