Once Upon a Time…There Was Time.

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I was in my late 30s when I came up with the brilliant idea to go to law school. I worked full time through it, going to school at night, and doing my best not to fail entirely at being a wife and mother. Most of the time I did fail, but, lucky for me, I had the most supportive of husbands and an amazing mother and mother-in-law who picked up the slack with my daughters during all of my away time.

Law school was not a good time. Unlike some of my classmates, I don’t have a single fond memory of those years, but I do think I have a bit of PTSD, so at least I didn’t come away completely empty-handed.

I think I had started my third year when my mom showed up with this sign she bought me: Once Upon a Time…There Was Time.

And I burst into tears. Partly because I was miserable and prone to bouts of hysterical crying, sure, but mainly because she understood. Most days, I left the house at 7 a.m. for work, left work at 5 p.m. and went straight to class and got home from class about 10 p.m. I did this four days a week, and weekends were largely dedicated to homework. For three and a half years. Time was a distant memory.

Then the period of my life that seemed like it would never end, ended. And life resumed as if law school was just a three-and-a-half-year, torturous commercial interruption and I was finally back to my regularly scheduled program.

Two and a half years after I passed the bar, my mom died. (Yeah, you might remember me talking about here, here, here, here, and here. Everywhere.)

Well, I looked at this sign yesterday and realized, for the first time, that it has a whole new meaning now. My mom’s been gone four and a half years so clearly I was a little slow on the uptake, but I finally saw it.

Because it didn’t just mean that I was so busy that I had no time. It also meant that at one point in time – I had all the time in the world. All the time in the world to call her whenever I felt like it. To show up at her house unexpectedly. To call her to complain because my daughter was driving me nuts. To Christmas shop with her. To talk to her about everything that was wrong in the world. And everything that was right.

Once upon a time…there was time. For all of that.

Time is funny. It feels certain and never-ending right up until it does end, putting a finite point at the end of a timeline. The time that was that is no more.

So, my mom was right on both counts. Life is about more than being so busy we feel like we have no time – it’s also about making the most of the time we have even when we see no end to it. So that when it ends, we have no regrets.

Once upon a time…there was time. And what a great time it was.

 

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My Amended and Restated New Year’s Resolutions.

I love New Year’s Eve. Truly. We’re all so full of optimism that – as of tomorrow – life will be done screwing with us for a while. As if life works on our schedule and knows that it needed to get it out of its system by today because if it gave us a royally screwed 2018, then we’re entitled to a hiatus for 2019. Fingers crossed.

With that in mind, time for the time-honored tradition of making ourselves promises that run empty faster than our champagne bottle. Here are my Amended and Restated New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Exercise more some.
  2. Drink less alcohol more water.
  3. Eat healthy healthier.
  4. Keep the house clean the robot vacuum charged.
  5. Answer the phone when your daughter calls sometimes.
  6. Stop binging on Netflix in excess of four (4) hours.
  7. Read more books without vampires in them.
  8. Write a book another book.
  9. Never give up still.
  10. Read more less news.
  11. Be kind but stay away from assholes.
  12. Don’t focus on the ups and downs just be grateful for the ride.

Thanks, 2018. It’s been weird.

The Kill Switch.

kill switch

Such a loaded term, right? I love all of the potential hyperbole hidden in this simple phrase. A kill switch – as most of you know – is basically an emergency shut down. One single switch that aborts all operations. Immediately.

It came in pretty handy when one brilliant little tech-nerd discovered a kill switch in the software during the WannaCry ransomware attack in May of 2017 (sure, the evil hackers just fixed their flaw and went right on terrorizing the world – but finding that initial kill switch still slowed the spread and allowed the world to catch up and defend itself).

So kill switches are typically a safety measure. A good thing.

But what if it’s in your heart?

My maternal grandmother died of sudden cardiac death at 62. Then my mom died of sudden cardiac death at 67. And everyone knows that if something happens once, it’s merely anecdotal, but if it happens twice, it’s a pattern. (I just totally made that up, but it sounds believable, right?)

So there is the possibility that I managed to inherit a genetic kill switch. One hardwired to my heart that can be randomly triggered (sometime when I’m in my 60s and standing in my kitchen, apparently, based on historical evidence). Which would be a total bummer.

That’s a pretty lousy pattern to be next in line for. (By the way, can I tell you how much my husband *loves* it when I bring up this morbid topic?)

Now, I know, the fix seems simple. Find the kill switch. Disable it. But my mom went to a cardiologist *and* had a stress test ONE year before she died and got a clean bill of health. Which means this particular switch is a sneaky little bastard. And, thanks to an exceptionally lazy coroner who chalked her death up to “heart disease” (you know, minus the blockages, narrowed arteries, enlargement, etc.), we have no real clues as to where the damn switch might be hidden.

I turned 45 this year. So, I figure I’ve got about 20 years to find the kill switch hidden in my code and reprogram it so that it doesn’t randomly abort all operations, so to speak.

Piece of cake. I just have to hack my heart.

*NOTE*

Full disclosure, I wrote this post last fall and hadn’t posted it. Since then, my brother went to a particularly wily cardiologist that discovered a genetic defect in his heart resulting in a bi-valve in his aorta instead a tri-valve. Or something like that. My brother had open-heart surgery in January and they put in a titanium valve so now my brother audibly ticks and sets off metal detectors but he may have figured out the hack. Which spoiled this post. But saved his life. ❤

Happy Birthday To My Baby!

Unconditionally

My book baby. What did you think I meant?

Yes, today is the day where my newest book baby, Unconditionally, goes out into the world.

Turns out a second book is a lot like a second child – with the first one, you’re waiting on pins and needles, counting every day. With the second, the time goes by so much faster because the first one is keeping you so busy.

(I can see you rolling your eyes that I’m comparing a book release to the miracle of having a child. And you’re right – it isn’t the same – a book release is a *much* bigger deal. Just kidding. Calm down.)

So, go forth, little book. Here’s hoping you make people laugh, bring some smiles, a few tingles, and maybe even convince a few people not to go to law school. Momma loves you ❤Unconditionally Close-up

 

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” (aka “The Christmas Date-Rape Song”).

Seemed appropriate to share this post again. Tis the season 😉

Erin Lyon

Baby its Cold Outside

Because nothing says Merry Christmas like a little GHB. So this song is catchy and disconcerting at the same time. You’ve all heard it, right? It’s a duet between a girl making poor decisions and a guy who is apparently a follower of the philosophy that 50 “no’s” and a “yes” means “yes.” Let’s look at the lyrics:

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”
I really can’t stay
(But baby, it’s cold outside)
I’ve got to go away (Yes, girl. Run.)
(But baby, it’s cold outside)

This evening has been
(Been hoping that you’d drop in)
So very nice
(I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice)

My mother will start to worry
(Beautiful, what’s your hurry?)
My father will be pacing the floor
(Listen to the fireplace roar)

So really I’d better scurry
(Beautiful, please don’t hurry)
But maybe just a half a drink more (Let the poor decision-making begin.)

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Three Years.

Erin and Mom

It’s funny. I thought after three years, I’d have gotten used to living without you. Three years ago, this day started like any other – and ended up changing everything. In an instant. Life is strange. But beautiful. Even the tragic parts.

It’s been a long day without you, my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
We’ve come a long way from where we began
Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
When I see you again

Why’d you have to leave so soon?
Why’d you have to go?
Why’d you have to leave me when I needed you the most?

‘Cause I don’t really know how to tell ya
Without feeling much worse
I know you’re in a better place
But it’s always gonna hurt

Carry on
Give me all the strength I need to carry on

It’s been a long day without you, my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
We’ve come a long way from where we began
Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
When I see you again

How do I breathe without you?
I’m feeling so cold
I’ll be waiting right here for ya
‘Til the day you’re home

Carry on
Give me all the strength I need to carry on

So let the light guide your way
Hold every memory as you go
And every road you take will always lead you home, home

It’s been a long day without you, my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
We’ve come a long way from where we began
Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
When I see you again

Os Assassinos por Contrato.

Blame Google Translate if that is not actually “The Contract Killers” in Portuguese.

So! A publisher in PORTUGAL just picked up both I Love You Subject to the Following Terms and Conditions and Unconditionally for distribution in Portuguese! Like…they are actually going to be translated into another language! (Insert excited-face emoji here.)

So I naturally did what I suspect most authors would do and quickly starting putting the titles into Google Translate to see how they sound. The series name, The Contract Killers (or, if Google is to be trusted – Os Assassinos por Contrato) was my favorite 😉

In other bookish news, Unconditionally comes out in six (6) weeks!

Unconditionally final cover_Page_1

 

#MeToo

Well done, Harvey. Although, probably not exactly the legacy you thought you’d be leaving behind. Alyssa Milano tweeted a note that read “Suggested by a friend: If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” Now the phrase has been posted across Facebook and Twitter about a million times (and counting) and the rest is hashtag history.

About a dozen years ago, while I was still in local TV, I went to a television convention in Vegas and ended up at a swanky party with a bunch of Hollywood elites, complete with the entire cast of Everybody Loves Raymond. I was seated next to Larry Divney – the then-President of Comedy Central. (This story is *not* about Larry – he was a perfect gentleman). After the party, I ended up hanging out with Larry, along with a big-wig from New Line Cinema (who, in my memory, looked just like Paul Simon), the GM of an LA TV station and…a mystery guy that was also in the industry, but I was unclear on where he fit into the mix.

After piling into Larry’s limo, we ended up at Ghost Bar – the place to be for the who’s-who visiting Vegas. Sure, I was 30 – they were all in their 50s and 60s and I joked that, being the only woman, I probably looked like a hooker. But, it was sort of fascinating hanging out with them. The New Line guy was talking about producing Lord of the Rings like it was just another day at the office and Larry reminisced about the night he and the Paul Simon look-a-like came up with the idea for MTV. (Crazy, right?)

After a drink or two – the mystery guy (since I never caught his name or figured out where he worked) – who was about four inches shorter than me, 25 years older, and 400 pounds, if he was an ounce – started rubbing my arm. My TV station buddy had wandered off to the bar and this guy seized the opportunity since I was by myself. So this asshole started rubbing my arm and he said, “So, are you gonna hook this up for me, or what?”

Excuse me? Hook what up?

The confusion on my face was evident and, once I figured out what he meant, I was more than a little disgusted. I made no response. Once my buddy came back, I cornered him and told him he was not to leave me alone with that guy again. And he didn’t. However, when my male friend stayed by my side, the asshole said to him, “Oh, you’re getting that. I see.” To the guy. Like I was a door prize.

What’s funny is that – I was most offended by the fact that I wasn’t some wannabe actress or model sucking up to this guy. I was (or so I thought, anyway) a colleague. I was a Program Director – a station executive. I was married. And he…was a fat bastard. A not-in-a-million-years-if-you-were-the-last-man-on-earth dirt-bag.

So – is this some horrible trial I had to endure? Obviously not. This doesn’t even compare to what so many women have gone through.

But – when I thought about this – I realized that I have a dozen of these stories. Not TV industry people – just men. Creepy come-ons that left me uncomfortable and looking for an exit, ass-grabs by strange men in bars, co-workers, decades ago, that I was careful never to wind up alone with.

And, for the most part, I’ve shrugged it off. (Ok, there was one complaint to an HR Director when the ick-factor went too far, because when your creepy, leering, co-worker tells you that your eyeglasses and pony-tail make you look like the librarian in a porn film – it’s time to speak up.) Is it okay? Of course not. But – I hate to say it – you get used to it. I’m not saying women should; I’m just saying many do.

The one thing I find problematic in all of this discussion of sexual harassment is what I call the “First-Move Factor.” Throughout history, when someone was attracted to someone else, eventually they took the risk and made the first move. Every person, genuinely attracted to another person, who makes the first move is not a sexual predator. I mean, how would I have gotten together with my husband? (Okay – well,  made the first move there because, let’s be real, we wouldn’t be married now if I was waiting on him.) But, throughout my life, how many first moves were made? Some that were welcome – some that were not. Every time someone took a chance and misread a signal, every unwelcome advance, was *not* harassment. We don’t want a society so mired in political correctness and fear of repercussions that all men are afraid to ever make a move on the off-chance it’s unwanted.

So, maybe it’s like Justice Stewart’s characterization of pornography when he said he couldn’t list everything that went into that category, but that, “I know it when I see it.” Fat Bastard? He didn’t even know my name.  He just figured, because of his power and position, that a little 30-year-old nobody like me was on the menu. Clearly that was harassment. (And gross.)

I guess we just know it when we see it. We need to trust our instincts. I think most of us have been on the receiving end of a clumsy pass that we dismissed, and, on the other hand, most of us have been in a situation where a man’s words and actions made us nervous and uncomfortable. But, in the moment, confrontation in difficult. Over the years, I’ve never publicly called out a guy in bar for grabbing me. And when I was 18, I didn’t tell the co-worker who followed me into empty storage rooms that he made me uncomfortable. And when I was 30, I didn’t tell Fat Bastard that he was being a sexist slimeball. Woulda, shoulda, coulda.

If we can teach our daughters to trust those same instincts and speak up when behavior isn’t okay…and if we can teach our sons to be disgusted by that kind of oppressive, demeaning behavior…maybe we can get to a point when our girls won’t hesitate to stand up for themselves.

Maybe this is the start of us leading by example by standing up for ourselves.

Then, maybe our daughters won’t simply get used to it, like too many of us have done.

And, as Carrie Fisher taught us, mailing the occasional cow tongue in a Tiffany box when trying to get your point across doesn’t hurt, either.

 

 

I Think My Dog Has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Meet Jack and Sawyer. My head-case rescue dogs that I’ve had now for over nine years.

Jack & Sawyer

Well, they were head-cases. Now they are well-adjusted, borderline-friendly pups.

That’s Sawyer on the left. Sawyer is an ultra-sensitive, timid, attention whore. And I think he has OCD.

More than a year ago, my husband and I started waking up to our bathroom rugs being bunched up in a pile on the bathroom floor every morning. Every. Morning. Curious.

At bedtime, the rugs were laid out flat. Jack and Sawyer were curled up on the double-size dog bed on my side of the bed – like so:

Jack and Sawyer

(I know – super cute, right?)

Anyway, several months ago, I awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of one of the boys getting up and going into the bathroom…and digging at the rug. By the light of my phone, I could see Jack, sleeping peacefully next to me. Then, once he’d completed his task, Sawyer ambled back to his bed, curled up, and went back to sleep.

Like nothing happened. Psycho.

Exhibit A:

rug

And, because, apparently he can’t sleep if he doesn’t mess up both rugs in the bathroom, Exhibit B:

rug 2

He wakes up in the dead of night, goes and messes up the rugs, and goes back to bed. Every single night.

So, the obvious question surrounding Sawyer’s nocturnal activities is WTF?

Is he dreaming that he’s making a daring prison escape? Does he hear termites in the foundation? Does he subscribe to Chaos Theory and feels the need to make a small, nightly gesture to his ideology?

Sigh. Alas, we may never know. Where’s Sarah Marshall when you need her?

Sarah Marshall Animal Instincts
Sarah Marshall in Animal Instincts