I listened, read and watched the media barrage after Kate Gosselin and her 13-year old twins, Mady and Cara, were interviewed on the Today show and I guess I must’ve been watching something else. Did I think Mady’s slow answers and Cara’s non-answers humiliated their mom? Yes. Did I think that Kate snapping her fingers at Mady and telling her to, ‘use her words,’ was inappropriate? Absolutely, and in hindsight, all of them may regret their actions, but I also think (as a former fan of Jon and Kate Plus Eight) that Cara is not the most talkative child, which might be why Kate focused on Mady speaking so much. Were we watching evidence of the ‘damage,’ as Samantha Guthrie (of the Today show) put it, from years of being in the spotlight or simply two teenagers acting like, well, teenagers?

I felt terrible for Kate, for the way she was being vilified and the for the way Guthrie implied that her children were being harmed by her actions. What’s curious to me is that there’s all this talk of Kate pushing her kids to be in the spotlight, but there was no talk of upcoming TV opportunities or the kids signing with agencies or management. I don’t know what’s going on in the Gosselin household, but I do know that Kate is the primary caregiver and custodian of eight children, none of whom we hear or read about in the press, acting up in school or being all-around terrors. Everyone’s talking about her People cover and her apparent hunger for fame, but no one’s talking about the likely impetus for her doing the cover story: Jon’s exclusive with InTouch Weekly about their children living in a ‘House of Horrors,’ with a pissed-off looking Kate on the front page.

The minute Jon files for custody, maybe I’ll believe that his concerns are genuine; or if Child Services comes a-knockin,’ I’ll reconsider, but until then, Kate Gosselin is a stand up mother who is dealing with tremendous pressure from outsiders, which can crack even the steeliest of individuals. It’s a shame that a five-minute moment on TV has somehow come to define her as a parent. If TV can make or break a reputation, then I submit the family’s last appearance on Celebrity Wife Swap (ok, a bit ironic, I know): Kate runs their home like a well-oiled machine, maybe strict, but her children appeared disciplined and thrived under the structure and what was most touching was how much she loves being a mom; she takes it seriously and it’s the primary description that she has for herself. When she was reunited with her children after the swap, you could see that the love in this family was reciprocal and effusive.

Live to Let Go

Something amazing happened to me yesterday; I taped my episode of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. It’s been on my bucket list for a while, and I finally sat down for the quiz, it’s 30 questions long. I passed. After that, there’s a short interview and after that, if they like you, you get to do a video interview. Then there’s the waiting period. And then, for the lucky few, a postcard starting with the word, ‘Congratulations’. I got a call earlier in the month. And they wanted me for September 4th and 5th. I called my husband, he said, let’s do it and we did! I, of course, can’t divulge what happened, but I learned an important lesson: you have to live! No regrets. There will always be coulda, woulda, shoulda, the things that could have been done differently, but I’m letting that go and giving it to God and I instead choose to say, ‘thank you for this AMAZING experience.’ Sitting there with all the Millionaire hopefuls, I wondered who would do well, how much we might win…then I realized, a lot of this is luck which is out of my hands. The producers encouraged us to leave whatever strategy we had at the door and advised us to, ‘play to win, not protect.’ Meaning don’t  play to try to hold on to money because it’s all a gift, but that’s easier said that done. It was, however, the right advice. This is one of the coolest things I have ever done and one of the best things I have said in theory, but ‘get’ now in practice, live to let go because we can’t take it with us.

Why Huma Got It Right

There are some people who look at Huma Abedin and think she’s crazy; others think she’s crazy like a fox. I don’t fall into either camp. Based on what I can tell from her resume, she appears to be an intelligent woman: graduate of George Washington University and long-time aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton. Since the second scandal with her husband, mayoral candidate, Anthony Weiner, people have been asking ‘why’ non-stop. Why would a common sense woman forgive her husband after committing such an egregious act? Publicly embarrassing her, not once, but twice? And worse still, making her look like a liar (to some, co-conspirator), cheerfully posing in People magazine as a ‘normal family,’ while he continued sexting. Some have posited that Abedin has political aspirations for herself and for her family that trump the stain of any scandal. That doesn’t make much sense to me. She’s been in the political world long enough to know how hard it can be to come back from minor missteps, let alone major ones and to do so twice is practically unheard of. No, I think this is a woman who is married to a man who has a problem, possibly an addiction, and has decided to stick it out. This is admirable to me, but mine is the minority voice in the court of public opinion.

Apparently, you’re only supposed to forgive your spouse interminably for minor offensives: the sporadic snide remarks or forgotten special occasions. But the big stuff? The painful stuff, the actions which test the concept of unconditional love, that’s the stuff you kick them to the curb for. Marriage is incredibly difficult, not just because of the merging of two separate lives, but because of the commitment to love this person, ‘for better or worse.’ What does ‘worse’ mean? And once you define it, can you love someone through that? And whatever your ‘worse’ is, would you want someone to love you through it?

Down with Tipping!

The best thing I've ever seen on a bill!
The best thing I’ve ever seen on a bill!

Sushi Yasuda, in NYC, is the only place that I know of which doesn’t allow tipping. That’s right, doesn’t ALLOW IT AT ALL. Staff and chefs are salaried employees. And no sneaky service charge either, which is just synonymous for mandatory tipping. The food was good (though a tad pricey), service exceptional and the tip-independent system is one that should be copied nationwide.