Britney, Again

“Outrage from whom?” I wondered when looking at this Daily Mail headline? How about outrage towards the A-hole who has a camera trained so closely on this family at home? The article is trying to take issue with Britney Spears’ son “playing with cigarettes.”

Of course, when you see the pictures, it doesn’t take long for her to stop him from touching them. Whatever. Give the Britney thing a rest. She doesn’t have custody of her kids, she’s had a lot of problems. Time to let it go for awhile.  

According to the LA Times today, the paparazzi in LA are bummed ’cause she isn’t acting like a trainwreck anymore. In fact, she rarely leaves her house. I don’t either, and no one cares whether I’m commando or not. And the media is never as mean about errant dads as it is about moms that mess up.

Motivating Your Kid

This is an issue that really intrigues me.  I was raised by a true “cool mom” who, if I asked, would let me skip school, thought a B grade was great, and when we got depressed and wanted to lie down for a few months, was like “Sure, I understand.” I think because she has worked with so many troubled youths, the fact that my sisters and I showered and didn’t try to set the house on fire made her feel we were fine.

But once I forged my way into the real world, I saw that a thicker skin and good penmanship – for starters – may have helped me along the way. I think a lot about how to be loving to Vivien and make her feel solid in herself, while also toughening her up for the real world.

One way I do this is I RARELY interfere if Oliver is teasing her. I like her getting feisty and either not getting her way with him and learning from that, or sticking up for herself and learning from that. I take cues from prominent people, especially women, since I believe we have our own unique hurdles to jump. I remember what Nancy Pelosi said when asked how a woman get’s to be the Speaker of the House.  She said, “I highly reccomend having 5 older brothers.”  Every time I hear Vivien wail “Oli-ver!!!” I think of that and stay put.

Or an interview with Hillary Clinton where she said if she got an A, her father would say, “That must be an easy school.”  Or Condi Rice’s parents making sure she practice that piano. Or Obama’s mom waking him up early before he went to school in Indonesia so that he could do correspondence courses she had sent away for him. Obviously a lot was expected of them, and losers they ain’t.   

So this is one of those moments when I didn’t want Vivien to give up.

Meeting Karina Smirnoff

I keep meaning to write about this. A couple of weeks ago, Karina Smirnoff of “Dancing with the Stars” was on my show, The Fashion Team. I love “Dancing with the Stars” and always admire the leanness of the dancers’ bodies. Imagine having NO back fat!

Karina Smirnoff and Daphne Brogdon at The Fashion Team

Karina was so sweet and still so heartbroken over her break-up with Mario Lopez. Yeck, yick, blech. His half-naked body was all over the cover of the latest issue of TV Guide Magazine, so her publicist was rounding them all up in the studio so they wouldn’t be face up as Karina walked into the green room or the dressing room. Like being a good girlfriend.

At one point after we bonded I told her, “You can do better than Mario Lopez. He is coming off as a big narcissist with all his naked body pictures.” She was wistful and said, “For two years, I was so in love, I didn’t see it.” Me: “Well, that’s what your 20’s are for. Now, onward and upward!”

I told her about my blog and said, “Look, mommies don’t look like you and don’t go on big dancing shows, but what’s your advice for some easy glam tips?” She said lip gloss and Scott Barnes body glow. I’m a firm believer that a spray tan makes you look 10 pounds lighter, so I am sure she is right.

On the show, I asked her if she was bummed when as a dancer they get stuck with a turkey partner, like Penn Jillete. She was kind and said you never know who is going to do well. They must be though, as they get paid per week, and if Monica Seles (video) is your partner, that’s a slim payday.  Whenever the show starts up again, I will be rooting for Karina.

Sexualized Teens

Once again, I visit the big gun in my arsenal – my mom. This is such a big issue for parents: how do you realistically protect your daughter from being too sexy? Is there an assualt from our media – I think so – or is this just our perception, since we are no longer the ones tramping around town? Morency, my mom, weighs in.

A Little Jaunt to San Diego

Action-packed weekend. 1) I worked for at Comic-Con (freaks), shooting 24 Inside (and no, even though we taped Kiefer Sutherland talking on a panel, I still didn’t get to interview him and tell him I had a vaguely erotic dream about him). Fox kindly footed the bill for the hotel all weekend so 2) I had our babysitter, Dolly, take the train down with Vivien Friday afternoon so we could have a fun weekend. (No dad; he was working.)

Vivien on the train to San Diego

After making it clear to the concierge that I was a food snob, she set us up at dinner at Laurel. Pretty good, a little too fusion for me, but fresh ingredients.

Then the San Diego Zoo Saturday morning. It’s vast but nice, and we took the sky tram and saw the pandas. Check, please. Put Dolly back on the train to LA, and then Vivien and were in need of a nap meltdown. After a mediocre club at the Sheraton (the Marriott’s was much better), we napped hard.

Vivien in a butterfly

We also went to Balboa Park, which rocks!! It’s like Golden Gate Park, but not freezing. We went on the big carousel and the kiddie one and the train ride. Who knew SD was so fun? I didn’t, and I used to visit relatives there, but they were in Chula Vista, which is not an entertainment hot-spot (I remember something about a double murder there).

We had dinner in La Jolla with my cousin Margo and her husband John, at George’s. Great view of the water and Vivien was sweet and spent half the dinner under the table, so it was a breeze.

Sunday we hit Legoland. It’s kind of spendy. Take the kids before they are 3 and they can get in free; after that, it’s 50 bucks! Sixty for adults! (Bring the AAA card for a $10 discount.) At first, I was overwhelmed and thought, “Why am I doing this on my own?” But if I wait for for Mark’s schedule to clear up in order to do things, I would complete my shut-in status.

Vivien at Legoland

Legoland is great. Not too crowded, and unlike Disneyland – and far worse, Knott’s (gross) – they have decent food. Espresso, and fruit and yogurt parfaits. I think ’cause it’s owned by Swedes. I naively thought we would spend 2 hours there. Ha ha. Vivien and I said “one more ride” five times before I got her out, way past nap time for both of us. And only because we started to find rides that she was too short to ride. I am not an amusement park fan, as I get tired, but this place I can do. Well, the cool breeze and double espresso helped.

On the way home, I called Mark and asked if he could please figure out dinner, since Vivien and I were not our most pleasant selves in the car.  And he did, happy ending!

Don’t Wake Me, I’m Having Sex with Someone Else

I have to share an incident from the other night. I am preparing to host a show called 24 Inside. I do a few every year; it’s a web show about the Kiefer Sutherland show “24.” I interview the writers, actors, producers (though, ironically, in all the years I have been doing the show, we have never been able to interview Kiefer).  Anyway, I love “24,” and “24 Inside” is fun to do, as I get to work with cool people.

Kiefer Sutherland
Creative Commons License photo credit: ertarantiniano

To help me prepare for the upcoming shows, they sent me some of the already-filmed episodes. If you are a “24” fan, this could make you salivate. I have to say I felt like I had gotten something coveted, like a picture of Brangelina’s twins, or the inside track on who Obama and McCain are picking as their VPs, or Botox for life (hmm, maybe not that good).

Anyway, back to the sex. So I have been watching an episode or two before I go to sleep (can’t watch it with Viv in the room, as it’s way too intense). The other night, I am having a happy dream where I have a pretty little home, I feel good, and I realize Jack Bauer is on my bed, ready for some loving. But he is making a goose sound and I worry he is about to kill or die, because that’s the threat on “24.” I slowly realize it’s the actor playing Jack in my bed, and now I’m really psyched.

So I am starting our big makeout, but the goose sound is still going. I say, “Kiefer, I am about to lick your backside, but you’re making a goose sound. Cut it out.” He is laughing and saying, “I’m not doing it.” Then my third eye kicks in, and I realize it’s my husband. I wake up and uncharacteristically, Mark is snoring like a friggin’ goose! I whack him: “You are snoring.” He shifts: “Oh, sorry”

But I couldn’t yell the other thing in my head, which was, “You have ruined my erotic dream with Kiefer Sutherland!” I fumed for twenty minutes before I finally went back to sleep.

It’s fun when you have a delicious dream that you wish to elongate… so to speak.

What a Chef Buys

People always say to me, “Oh, your husband is a chef! Does he cook for you every night?” No, works 5 nights a week. But one cool thing is he has upped my kitchen. This vlog shows you all the subpar crap I was happy to live with and the nice stuff Mark went and splurged on. It’s easier for him to spend money than it is for me… I’m kind of thrifty.

Mommas, Get Your Groove On!

My recent weekend away with Mark reminded me, oh, yeah, I can orgasm. ‘Cause frankly, as big a nympho as I used to be, my interest in sex definitely took a nosedive post child. In my rocking 20s, when I was fooling around and hearing middle-aged male co-workers grouse that their wives didn’t like to do it, I thought “Oh, that’s terrible, I’ll never be like that.” Ha ha.

tuck me in!
Creative Commons License photo credit: jsc*

One woman who thinks moms should still be getting it on has a saucy and funny site, Sex and the Sippy.

The look of the site is great, very playful, and under Tips, there is a great clip from a mag that says moms need to be practice selfishness in order to be sexual. I hear that. I think one of the reasons I enjoy sex in a hotel room so much more than at home (even if it’s a dive two miles away) is because I don’t have the mom ears up: “Is she crying?  Does she need me?”

I think I need to put “masturbate” on the to-do list.

Too Much Homework

Once again, when I need to tackle the hard topics I turn to my hero/guru: my mom. She was the director of a nursery school and for more than 30 years has run a small private school. I wanted to know her take on homework.

Obviously this isn’t yet an issue with Vivien, but the public elementary school near us that she will probably go to scares me a bit. It’s 60% Korean, and academically they ain’t kidding around! I see the little ones with wheelie bags. And with No Child Left Behind, arts have been thrown in the garbage.

Oliver has a fair bit of homework, which I used to help with a bit. But starting around 6th grade, when I would ask, “Do you need some help?” he would give me a look like, “Do you really think you can be of any help?” Frankly, I really couldn’t.

Presents from a Movie Star

So, I always liked Jamie Lee Curtis, if for nothing else, for how honest she is about her body and all that love yourself stuff. And “A Fish Called Wanda” is still one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. She comes in to my husband’s restaurant with her husband, Christopher Guest (NOT looking like one of his hilarious characters) from time to time.

Jamie Lee Curtis on

When she first saw Vivien as a very small baby, she rushed over from her lunch saying, “I have to smell that baby.” What a sensualist, what a mom. Loved it. Of course, it’s always heartening when anyone gushes over your baby, but if she’s a big famous lady, all the cooler.

So about two weeks ago, Vivien and I were eating dinner at Campanile and Jamie Lee, her husband, and their attractive young lady daughter came by to say hi. She said she was going to send Vivien the children’s books she had written. I had remembered a book she’d written about being five or something like that; I thought maybe there were two books. I wasn’t counting on getting any books, since in LA, moments like that can often be what my friend, reporter/writer Mary Ellen Geist, calls “room love”: they love you for that moment, but then it’s over.

Vivien with books from Jamie Lee Curtis

Yesterday morning Mark called from his office. “There is a big stack of books from Jamie Lee Curtis for Vivien.  And a book about alcohol for me.” (He is working on opening a bar and restaurant, so that is also thoughtful.) I was so impressed that she had followed through on her word and that she was such a prolific children’s story writer. That afternoon, Vivien and I came to pick them up and Mark presented them tied up in a big gold ribbon. Another nice touch, Ms. Curtis. There was a little card that said, “As promised,” signed by the actress herself. And she wrote a thoughtful note in each book to Vivien. Well, now I REALLY love her.

All of the books have great illustrations, and not too many words. ‘Cause if you have watched my vlog about children’s books, you know I can be picky about my reads. One book  I can hardly read the title of without choking up is Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born. This would be sweet for any child to read, but this book is about an adopted child being told about being born and her parents coming to get her. Just writing about it makes me want to cry. I had read that she and her husband had adopted their children, so this is obviously a heartfelt story, but like all of her books, it has a lot of whimsy.

I read it aloud to Mark and Vivien and he and I both got choked up because of the dearness of parents taking their adopted children into their hearts and souls just as biological parents do, and it made us reflect on the “night” (really, 8 am) when Vivien was born. I am getting this book for my friend who has adopted and one who is on the verge.

When anyone goes out their way with a generous, gracious note, I shouldn’t be but am always taken aback. Like my new neighbors bringing cookies, or the other neighbors who brought a welcome basket. I’m probably just not generous enough myself, so I appreciate it from other people!  And being raised in LA, there is an “LA vicious” attitude. Even in San Francisco (where I lived for 9 years), it’s not a warm and cuddly town.

But it does make for a fun story that this gift was from a big fancy, schmancy, movie star.