Water Wings

Okay, so we are all in Palm Springs for break. And though it’s never restful to travel with small children, it’s still great to all be together in a different topography. One major milestone from this trip has been Vivien conquering the pool. I have tried to get her to swim every summer since she was 2 and half. First time we got a little bit done, last summer, was a non-starter. She likes to sit on the steps. So we are here, and her best friend Avery is with us who is a great little swimmer. I thought maybe that would encourage her to even swim out with mom or dad past the steps. No.

Then Avery’s mom, my friend Renee, had to run to Target for some stuff, and she came back with water wings.

“Has Vivien tried these?” No, I said. All the teachers told me not to get them for her, that it would inhibit her from swimming. Renee gave me a “yeah, right” look.

“Avery started on these.” As her little 4 year old  dove in the deep end and swam the length of the pool. Time to give them a try…
First through guidance and then on her own, Vivien went the length of the pool FIVE times in her water wings. She has made friends with the pool, with the water. She has gotten some confidence. It’s building blocks. It was very exciting, and I could tell how proud of herself she was and she was please that we were.

Moral of the story? Don’t listen to teachers.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…

When I got home from my trip, I felt a big surge of love for my husband. He had totally dealt with the kids. He had come early to let Dolly go home at a decent time, as opposed to letting it ride when I’m here. He even bailed on work one night because Vivien said she wanted him home. Ahhh, that’s my guy.

I got on an earlier plane and called them from the airport so Vivien stayed up for me. Also, she wanted to give me my birthday present, a coffee mug that she made with Mark at Color Me Mine.

“Momma, is it okay that there is some purple here?” It was more than okay. So sweet. Granted it probably cost $40 by the time it was done, but she had fun making it.

And I got what I really wanted for my birthday: two new nightgowns. They were EXACTLY what I wanted. Old-fashioned, short-sleeved, knee-length, vaguely house coats. My old gowns were literally fraying so it was time to set them ablaze. Or whatever you do with old nighties.

Easter at The Fashion Team

Isn’t this what all moms look like at work?

Vivien and Rex were part of our Spring Fashion show. It re-airs Monday at 7pm and repeats during the week. DVR “The Fashion Team” to check it out. Vivien charged into the studio full of pluck but shrunk down when I got her in front of the cameras.

“But these are all mommy’s friends; it’s ok.” She clung to me. “You get to keep the outfit if you face the cameras”. A window into what I would be like if I entered my daughter in pageants. Smile! She faced the cameras but looked stern the whole time. She was first on TV when she was 10 months so I thought she might have gotten use to it, but I guess not.

Strangely Rex was perfect. Sat down and faced the camera and didn’t cry or crawl. He played with the candy boxes. The clothes are from Old Navy and are inexpensive and cute.

Very funny to be all dolled up holding my kids. So not the norm. Would love to strut into pre-school drop-off in that get up. I also had huge gold Michael Kors platforms. They wouldn’t recognize me.

Also on the show is Lauren Conrad of The Hills fame.

Nice girl. She has a mini empire now. On the show we discussed her line of clothes for Kohls and a book she wrote. But off camera I broke the ice the best way I know how.

“Poor Sandra Bullock!” We were off to the races. She agreed. How humiliating, and she didn’t even get time to enjoy her Oscar win.

School Search

When I first started thinking about where to send Vivien to elementary school I would talk to other parents about what they were thinking. I often said, “Hey, I’m not going to stress; I know it’s all going to be fine where ever we send her.” That was the point in the conversation where the other parent was suppose to say, “Right, totally.” Or nod. Or do something other than what they did do which was looked appalled that I wasn’t freaking out about this issue.

What’s the matter here? I thought. Well, the pod people eventually got me.  Yes, I have lost sleep over this issue.. just a little

Movie-Watching Mom

One of the best things about flying… actually, the best thing was watching movies. I NEVER see movies so I was catching up. On the way home I watched A Serious Man. It was nominated for best picture, and I’m not sure why. I appreciated the acting and some of the motifs, but where did it go? Nowhere. I finally got to see The September Issue, a documentary about Vogue magazine. Loved it. Ate it up. I watched Nurse Jackie, the Edie Falco show on Showtime. I was enjoying it. She is a good person who tries to help people; meanwhile she is addicted to drugs that she gets from her pharmacist lover. Near the end, we see that she is married and has two young girls. Forget it. I didn’t want to watch anymore of that. Knowing that character was jeopardizing her daughters would make me too uncomfortable.

This same mom brain couldn’t get through 5 minutes of United states of Tara.  The star of that has won awards playing a woman with multiple personalities. But a few minutes in she switches from normal mom to an alter ego who thinks she is her teenager’s friend. Her kids know she is nuts and one plays along and one is really unnerved. I was with him. Click, off. The billboards for this show that have blanketed LA act as if all of her personalities are kooky, fun. I just think of the years of therapy her children will need to go through.

Oh, and I am reading Kathy Griffin’s book. She is one of my heroes. It’s very enjoyable. And since I know people, who know people here is my signed copy. She wrote, “Am I your Cher?” Guess she knows I like her.

Wendy Part 2

What a surprise. Going to NYC and back in 36 hours has left me tired and with greasy hair.

Okay, so I got up early Tuesday morning to pump and shower before the car picked me up to take me to The Wendy Williams Show. I am not going to order $20 coffee in the hotel so I popped next door to get one at one of the those little deli places that NY is lousy with. Sadly, this  was one that didn’t have espresso.  And I’m an admitted COFFEE SNOB. I got a cup of what tasted like cardboard steaming hot. I didn’t want to be late so even though I belatedly saw a Starbucks across the street I jumped into the waiting car. Even at the TV Guide Channel they will get coffee for a guest, so I figured I’d be safe.

I had a cute little dressing room waiting for me. Fancy. They had bagels and something in a plastic tub for me. Great, cream cheese. Well, can’t watch my girlish figure when I’m tired. I lathered on a smearful, took a bite and had to spit it out. It was butter. Butter is good, but I need to know it’s coming.

Across the hall in another dressing room I saw a familiar face. I was still pre-coffee, so it took me a minute to realize who it was. Life and Style editor Rachel Zalis. She has been a guest on Fashion Team many times. Hugs when I walked over and I saw that she had a fruit plate and cream cheese.

“You have fruit.” I see how I rate.

“You can have some.” she offered. I’m not proud. I took grapes and some cream cheese. She was doing a segment on spring trends. (I’d skip the hippie prints but,the bright blue and flowers, cute.)

I tried to ask in the kindest least diva way that I really needed a triple espresso. After they decided they liked my pink dress over my orange red dress I was led to D’angelo, make-up artist and all around nice guy. I tried to make small talk but kept thinking of my triple espresso that would soon open up my brain.

“Here you go.” The gal proffered a cup from Dunkin Donuts. Oh, no. Um, thanks. I tasted it. Cardboard with milk.

“No, sorry. I can’t.” D’angelo agreed I needed better coffee.  But, now I was worried it was becoming too much of a drama. A PA was asked, and then a producer, then someone else. I was made up and was a tad worried I would have to go on without my triple espresso, which would make it darn near impossible to have Wendy Williams energy.I stole some more fruit from Rachel Zalis’s room and waited.  Meanwhile the stage manager brought me downstairs to rehearse the show open. On Wendy’s show a guest opens the show. I had my hair up in hair clips and no coffee as I entered the studio of fun. The music was pumping, and the audience was already jumping around as only a NY audience can. There is a reason shows prefer to tape in NY over LA. Because unless you are The Price Is Right, LA audiences are more mellow, jaded, and lackluster. If you have a B or C show (as in all of the shows I’ve ever been host of) you will need to pay your audience. But in the tri-state area, they are excited to be there.

So Martin Short’s doppelganger showed me how he would count me down to say something along the lines of “Hi, I’m Daphne Brogdon of Los Angeles, California and today on Wendy Williams..” (something about the octomom) and some other stuff and then I deliver her signature line “How YOU doing?”  And the emphasis is on the YOU, not the Doing. Then I say, “Here is Wendy!”.

“And she will come out, hug you and you sit down in the front row of the audience and in segment 2 she will ask you about Momversation.” Cool. If I could just get that espresso.

As God as my witness I will never show up to a taping without having pre-coffeed.

I went back up and didn’t hear at first what this new face was saying to me.

“You asked for a triple espresso?”

I nodded.

“There it is.” She point to the cup near my tub of butter.Oh, sweet joy.

I threw it down my throat and felt my brain chemistry align.

Do you ever have a nervous bladder? You are about to walk the door of your house and even though you don’t think you have to pee you get worried that you will be driving or in a subway and you will have to pee so do a prophylactic pee? Well, that’s how I am before taping a live show. Would if I have to pee just as Wendy hugs me?

I’m whisked downstairs to more great contemporary dance hits that I have NO idea who or what performs. I keep asking the young gal next to me. “Who does this song?” Because I notice others seem to know all the words and perhaps they don’t live under a rock like myself. I’m such a mom.

5-4-3-2-1

“HI, I’m Daphne Brogdon… and “How YOU doing!” Martin Short gives me the thumbs up. Then:

“Here’s Wendy!!!”

She did hug me.  And in segment two she introduced me and asked me about Momversation. I got a quick plug in for cool mom, and we quickly chatted about the topic of how I hate cute names for privates. She agreed with me, btw.

After my segment was over the producer asked me on the break if I wanted to go back to my dressing room.

“I think I should stay.” I was into it now. Sitting with my new young friends from Jersey or wherever, clapping to the music. The one thing that throws me though is the audience had all been briefed on when to jump up and to follow the stage directors cues. Applause, stand up, sit down. Not only am I more use to being on stage then the audience I’m also from LA, which means I’m mellow, jaded, and lackluster. Martin Short had to shoot me a look a couple times as if to say, “Get up.”

But it’s a fun show, and it went by quickly.

Afterwards I cooled my heels in “my room;” it had my name on it. I was waiting for Wendy to do her promos and then I was going to break out the flip and do a little cool mom vid with her.

Me: “OMG, I’m in Wendy Williams dressing room!” I had to bring the tri-state energy. She is very warm, and we had a nice little chat that I will play soon. She was forthcoming about the challenges of when she was a new mom and being a working mom. She was very interested in the world of mom blogging and wanted to know more about it. I was thinking, frig mom blogging, you have your own syndicated show. But think she got how it’s a nice support for the regular gal.

I jumped back into my jeans and cabbed down to meet my stepdaughter Vanessa. She always knows the cool places to go in NYC. We ate at the Breslin in the Ace hotel. Loved seeing her. She went off to work and I did do retail therapy. I wanted to buy everything in Kate Spade, but way too spendy. Got two blouses. One at Intermix, not cheap, and H&M, cheap. I hoofed it back to the Ace where I had boarded my bag and had one thing to do before I got in my waiting car. In the Ace they have a great coffee bar. I didn’t want to get on my 6 hour flight without pre-coffeeing.  Dang, it was good.

Happy Birthday to Me!

I have never been away from home on my bday. But since the opportunity came up to be on The Wendy Williams Show, and it worked fine with Mark’ s schedule, I figured, what fun! The other thing I’m missing by being here is my Aunt Marcella’s funeral. She is my mom’s older sister and only sibling. She passed last Saturday. Heart attack, stroke, and went fast. She was my last aunt and the one I was closest to. She lived close to where I went to college so sometimes when I was homesick I would go and stay the weekend at her house. Her voice and intonation were so like my mom I felt comforted in her presence. She was devoutly catholic and had 7 kids in 8 years. I wish she had seen the world more, but in her whole life she never got on an airplane. I had hoped her service would be this past weekend, but it was Monday, my bday, the day I was going to nyc. My cousin mary said, “She would want you to go to new york.” I know this is true.

So, while it’s always hard to leave my babies I did enjoy watching movies on the cramped flight. The Blind Side, good, American film. No shading or nuance to the characters, but engrossing. And Men Who Stare at Goats with George Clooney and Jeff Bridges. Why didn’t I know about this one? So funny.

After trying three different rooms at the W Time Square (first two were noisy) I walked 27 blocks to meet my friend for dinner. My friend Christine was one of my producer’s on Perfect Partner, a show I hosted on Discovery 2002 – 2003. Another producer from the same show and a dear friend Brian showed up for a few minutes as well. You know friends who you don’t see for a year, and it’s like no time has passed? They are those type of friends. We had a lot at Cookshop in Chelsea. All good, but not as good as my husband’s restaurants!

We settled a few life issues and got a little buzzed. Christine treated me, which was far too generous. Then we walked in the rain to the subway. When she had to transfer trains at time square and I had a few blocks to walk to my hotel I felt a little sad for the first time. It was my birthday, and I wasn’t with my kids or husband. It is also the first birthday I can think of where my dad hasn’t called me, but he doesn’t know how to use a phone anymore. He probably doesn’t know what day it is. This makes me very sad.

As I walked up the street, glad I had worn my long parka with a hood, the rain blanketed all. I walked briskly, but not in a panic. I didn’t need an umbrella. It felt good. I am walking in Manhattan in the rain. I am alive. I am feeling things. I am lucky.