Mom Come here : ballad cry of the youngin

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With all this running around shouldn’t I be thinner?
Mom’s do you have days like this? Hours like this? Minutes like this? This is a typical morning.
To borrow a line from Rumpole of the Bailey, “she who must be obeyed”

It’s hard not to be a mama slave to these guys. cuties

Muffinlicious

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Curvy women, rounded bellies, imperfect moms unite! We don’t have to go all Paula Dean, but a little belly is ok.  Why fight that last 10 ( or 20) pounds that hang on our middle. Embrace it.  We have had kids, we are not getting any younger.  Sure if I had Madonna money I’d have Sergio come and work me out every morning followed by a “massage”.  But, let’s deal in middle class reality.

Let’s celebrate who we are!

Perhaps in song!


Muff on the Huff

Muffinlicious was included in a great post on woman formerly known as beautiful. Read it here, but in a nutshell, the blogger, Shannon Colleary, says she has decided not lose weight and practice self acceptance. Her body stats are almost the exact same as mine. So, of course I say “you go girl!” And thanks for including me in a post that went to Huffington Post.
( and thanks to Jessica Gottlieb for emailing me while I was at the park “you are on Huffington Post!”)
Since posting about my muffin top I’ve gotten many “you are so brave” comments. Thanks, but I don’t feel that brave. I consider no surprise how I look. If I appeared in public like Kate Bosworth

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and then did a video about how my guy floats around the edges of my slim jeans, than yes, that would be brave as I’m blowing the lid on my image.

I don’t have an image to blow up.

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pregnant with Rex

I’m in my forties, I’ve had a few pregnancies, that have yielded two children. I live with a great chef and we co own restaurants with stellar food, wine and cocktails. If I became a water swilling vegan I think my marriage would be over.   I’m not going to look like Kate Bosworth. I don’t want to be “mid western fat” ( this is distinct from LA fat, which is a size 8), but I am what I am.

Now, did you see me shooting a video of me SITTING DOWN in tight jeans? That would be brave.

Family getaway to the Central Coast: Wine and shine.

A perfect family jaunt. Breathing fresh air.  Beautiful scenery.  Good food and wine. Happy kids.  These are the ingredients to a good trip. We went to unsplashy Pismo Beach. An overlooked little hamlet between San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.  Did you see “Sideway’s”?  Near, there, but on the water.
One the way up we ate a bbq tri tip sandwich that was unreal.  Stop at Los Olivios if you have a chance.  A tiny town with a Western feel. The perfectly cooked meat melt in my mouth.  We split one sandwich and then need to split one more.  Rex also got hip to the tasty bbq and was all in.
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For a happy family vacay  the drive should take no more than two DVD’s to get to your destination.  An opportunity came up for us to go to Dolphin Bay Hotel in Pismo Beach ( think it’s technically Shell Beach, but right next door).  Mark is taking part in World of Pinot Noir in March so they hosted us to come up get the lay of the land.  From the moment the offer was floated till I “closed” the deal I was like a dog with a bone.
Did someone say seaside vacay?

This area is very pretty and underdeveloped by California standards.  When I was a kid it was kind of sleepy.  It is still sleepy, in a good I don’t have to hear loud noises way.  But, it’s gotten a little Sonomaized due to it’s great, small wineries which have been breeding like rabbits.
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It never gets freezing, it never gets super hot.  So, you can’t expect to run around in a bikini here ( not that I would until I’ve had a body transplant). You can take nice walks with a sweatshirt along the sand and then jump in a hot tub after you’ve gotten some triple creme cheese from the local store .

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Since you can have food in your “room” it leaves more time for play.

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Not the tropical heat of Hawaii, but like Hawaii the breezy weather keeps the air fresh.
When I was a kid the only places to stay on the central coast were more of the motel variety.

Dolphin Bay is the first 4 star hotel on the scene. The rooms are…wait, can’t even call them rooms, they are more like condos.  They all have full kitchen’s ( I will forgive the electric stove tops) which is the best way to travel with kids for pocket book and sanity. Our room condo was right on the bluff overlooking the ocean.  We could see brave surfers in their wet suits waiting to catch a wave.  We walked down to the beach and looked at the tide pools.  The kids loved exploring.  I loved getting the fresh sea air in my nose.
When I’m at the beach I always think of the lyric from Quadrophenia
the beach is a place where a man can feel
he is the only soul in the world that’s real.

It was brain Draino.

When we walked into our condo/room Vivien yelled, “this is the best day of my life.”  Mark and I talked about how silly people are to buy a second home along the beach ( as if we could) when one could just come up here a few days a year.  It did feel like a home.  We showed our affection for our temporary domecile by making it as dirty as if we were at home.
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We had a tasty dinner at the Dolphin Bay hotel dining room.  Executive Chef Brian Collins is raising the bar for what you would expect to find in Pismo.  The dining room aesthetic however was stuck in the ’90’s.  I wouldn’t mind if had the same prosperity,  Clinton was still President, my dad was still alive , but in this decade, the room needs more color, warmth, and it’s gets pretty loud.  If you eat before the sunset, however, you won’t notice the room because it looks out over the ocean.
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The kids liked the saline pool, but I was glad when I could persuade them to join me in the not too hot hot tub.  With my mug of tea and robe we sat in there often looking over the ocean.  I met a couple of nice moms poolside as well.
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One day we got a sitter ( after I got my massage) and MP and I were taken on some private wine tastings.  Mike Sinor of Sinor LaVallee,and Ancient Peaks,hosted while we sipped mong the barrels at Center of Effort. central wine I was making no effort enjoying the beautiful day and being plied with great wines.
Mike is also President of San Luis Obispo Vintners’s Association. It was very educational, but after a few wines, I cease to learn and hear caliope music. Mark bought some Sinor LaVallee for Campanile.  We moved on to Tolosa winery which also had a cheese tastings.
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I was licking the plate of the cheese because I had not eaten much before we left. MISTAKE.  After a few tastings on near empty stomach I just wanted to talk about sex.  Fortunately, one of the people taking us around was a nice PR gal.  “Mark, go look at the grapes, I’ll be over here talking about ex boyfriends” ( no, I wasn’t driving). At Tolusa before I tasted there great wines I bought a box of the most delicious crackers I’ve ever had.  I think I ate 25.
After the cheese we donned the safety vests to see how this stuff gets made. Very little of which I remember, Mark does, so that’s fine.
central wine

I was impressed that so many Central Coast wines are tasting more “old world”, my preferred type of wine.  Most people still like the big, sock you in the mouth California Reds– and I do before or after food– but not with food.  And I cannot abide buttery, Oaky California Chardonnay.  Although, in the ’90’s I loved them.
The following day we did more hot tub and tide pool walks.

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Mark was the professor and I was the photog–per usual.
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Then we hit the butterfly grove.  Monarchs come in bunches to Pismo between October and February.  I have never seen so many butterflies.  We saw them fluttering around in the grove of large trees.
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Then we looked up and saw what looked like bunches of leaves to the naked eye, but with the telescopes provided we could see that they were Monarchs.
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A short walk from there was the beach, but it looked different than the Oregon coast type of our hotel area.  This one reminded me of Martha’s Vineyard.  One more walk, before we fired up the DVD player and headed home. Rex shoes and socks got wet on that promenade.
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We ate dinner in Santa Barbara at the Hungry Cat.  Mark carried Rex in and I ran toward State Street just as stores were closing. As luck would have it, I ran into a toy store and got them both activity pages to color and some warm socks.
We are going to return to Pismo in March for the wine event.  I am really looking forward to it.

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Am I raising a bad boyfriend? ( worries of a loving mother)

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Noman Bates or dream guy? What kind of son am I raising?  How do you mother a little boy with an eye on manhood.  A loving, attentive mother is going to make the best, happiest boy, right?  But, what am I doing to his future girlfriend ( or boyfriend)?

I’m besotted with my son, but the world won’t be…

Do you ever think about how you are crafty a future lover/partner/spouse?

How to be a mom blogger : with Heather Spohr

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I love me some Heather Spohr of Spohr’s are multiplying fame.  Aside from being a dear person who I have sought counsel from before, she is an established mom blogger.  She has been at this a long time and I wanted to ask her about something I had been struggling with in this being-creative-working-at-home thing. One of the most unexpected bonuses of entering this blog/vlog world has been the friendships I have made with other woman.  Often first knowing them online before knowing them in the flesh.

We met mid day between our two homes on a lovely sunny day.  Our studio for this shoot was my Lexis hybrid.  I had forgotten the clamp so I couldn’t use my camera light–ugh.. so my crows feet will be readily featured. It would have been very dark had Heather not said, “open up the sun roof”.  Smart!  Not Oprah lighting, but this is guerilla vlogging.

Where else can two mom’s talk without being interrupted but a car anyway?  Well, unless I got side by side toilets and lock on the door!

How to make it in Hollywood: Oscar nominee in the house!

My brother in law Kevin Tent has been nominated for an Oscar for film editing the George Clooney picture “The Descendants.” Allow me to burst with pride.  His is a great story of making it in Hollywood. This is no Gwyneth Paltrow with an “uncle” Speilberg story.  This is the American Dream.


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Happy couples at French Laundry ’06”

Kevin hitchhiked to LA from Buffalo when he was 19.  He showed up to go to a film school that he realized was a racket.  He instead went to LA city college and took film courses there and worked at Pep boys.  It was at LACC that he met my sister Carole. No fancy film school for this guy, but he learned the basics of film making.  Then he got a job editing educational films.  Great titles like “VD: old bugs, new problems”.  He always did his best and says that it was at Al Higgins production he learned to edit.

From there he graduated to Roger Corman movies.  He also got me a PA job and and apprentice editing gig.  This is back when editing was done on moviola’s and you needed a razor to cut the film.  I decided the long hours of post production were not for me, but Kevin steamed along.

He edited Tracy Lords’ first non porn film, the campy “Not of this Earth”.   He edited “Frankenhooker“.  We loved all these B films and Kevin worked on all of them.

The first time he had a film in Sundance I went with he and Carole .  It was for “Homage“.  The glamour of Sundance is for those on the ‘hot’ films.  Once we were there we realized our film wasn’t catching fire.  We slogged through the slush on the main drag of Park City disappointed.  I remember running into a friend of Kevin’s who was with the young star of his new film.  A perky little blond name Reese Witherspoon.  Kevin congratulated his friend on his film.

We went back to Sundance the next year for the first film Kevin ever did with Alexander Payne, “Citizen Ruth” (rent it).  This partnership would become a deep friendship and significant professional collaboration.  Citizen Ruth was a quirky comedy dealing with abortion ( who tackles that anymore) and the Christian right and girl who sniffs glue.   This trip was worth getting new boots and a parka for.  The film was getting some buzz.  I met Laura Dern and Alexander at the screening in a small movie house.  Back at the condo we had rented I was woken up as Carole and Kevin came back from a party.  Carole told me excitedly about the stars who were there.  I think Travolta, but it’s been a while.

Ironically, Kevin and Alexander’s next film was “Election” starring Reese Witherspoon.  Another must rent.

Kevin edited  a ton a film’s, but always come back to collaborate with Alexander.  Who, btw, is a good family friend and I’m very happy for his success ( he won for best adapted screenplay for “Sideways”). Alexander says “Campanile is our generation’s Chasen’s.”  Love that.


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with 4 day old Rex


So, my brother in law Kevin is the nicest guy you could ever meet.  A great dad,uncle and husband and was like a son to my dad.  He did a lot for my dad in his last years.  Following behind the ambulance that would take my dad to the hospital.  Visiting him in assisted living when my dad was doing very poorly and it was getting painful to see him.  Sometimes when his own daughters couldn’t handle it Kevin would go and sit with my dad.


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at “Papa’s” memorial. Kevin was the first to speak


He had two dear parents, Cathy and Charlie ( who my nephew is named for) that were taken way too soon.  I’m so sorry they aren’t here to see Kevin attain this level of success.  But, I know they wouldn’t be surprised.  Kevin has a great picture of he and his dad, must be over 20 years ago it was taken, Charlie is holding a Variety magazine and they are laughing as if they are reading some good news.  I told Kevin today, “that was prescient.  Your dad was seeing this nomination back then.”

It’s great to dwell for a moment in the good moments of life.  The moments that make you cry with joy.  Knowing what went into all that he has done in his adult life.  At least in this case,  a nice guy did finish first.

babysitting call

Ring, ring.. I answer

” Hi, may I speak to Rex or Vivien?” I’m startled to hear someone ask for my kids.

“um, Vivien is at school and Rex is taking a nap, I’m their mother can I help you?”  Thinking this is when the telemarketers let’s out a little laugh and says, ‘oh, sorry, I wanted to see if you need your carpets clean’ or something like that.

But, there was no laugh, the woman was dead serious.

“I’m from XYZ baby sitting and I  need to speak to Vivien or Rex about babysitting services we did for them last weekend.” Now, my mind is racing with , they want user feedback?  OMG is there some scandal? Are they going to ask my kids “did Jenny Sue touch you in a private place?”

I fall back to the position I know is rightfully mine.

“Ok, they are 2 and 6, I’m their mother, can you tell me what you want to talk to them about ?”

Still, dead straight.  “One of the numbers on their credit card is off or I got the wrong number because I cant’ charge for the service.”

Does this woman really think a 2 and 6 year old have a credit card?
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I keep waiting for her to do the , “ha ha silly me, I’m looking at the name of the kids needing care, not the parental name who paid for it, ha, ha”  But, it doesn’t come.

“That’s MY credit cared.  ( again) I’m their mother.”

“Can you read the number again?”  Did someone come and steal this woman’s humility, and sense of humor?  Don’t we all operate with that lever in our heads that catches when we mess up and go to smooth the mistake out.

I give her the number.

Still non plussed, “oh, I had a 3 instead of a 6”.

Now, I want to hear  the “silly me” ( like I would say and 99% of the population) so bad I’m taunting her.  “So we are good? Vivien doesn’t need to call you when she gets back from first grade?

Robot lady has the last word.  “No, we are fine that’s all I needed.”

Mom who smells like pee

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Following hot on the heels of showing you all my gut I’m baring another embarassing aspect of motherhood. For Momversation I am talking about one of those “no one told me THIS was going to happen.”  The dirty parts of motherhood.  If you want the clinical talk about pee and mom’s you can find it here.  I’m about the experience.

Don’t hang me out to dry! C’mon, you know it has happened to you.

Freaky Friday

Weird things happened today. A mob hit?  An ominous warning?  Or just random funky stuff going down?

Awoken about 5:30 by pungent smell and damp feeling.  Ah, Rex had crawled in next to me and his pull up had sprung a leak.  I replaced it, flinging the wet diaper on the floor as I was so tired I couldn’t get up again.

Rex; “momma, I smell something.”

Me: “It’s your dirty diaper.”  I’m a class act.

After a few minute of trying to fall back to sleep with the pee smell wafting over me  I suggested we get up. Rex was thrilled.

Okay, so no big deal, just a moment of parenting.  I walk outside in my robe to get the paper.  As I walk back towards our front door I’m startled by what I see.

There lying in my garden, by the driveway near the front tire of my car is a cat.

The cat is sleeping. No, cats don’t sleep out in the open, in the cold The cat is dead.

It’s a calico cat with damp fur.  Probably doused by the sprinklers.

There is a thin brown blanket underneath it.

Different thoughts: Is someone sending us a warning?  Like a mob hit.  Did someone hit this poor cat on the street last night, thinking it is ours brought it to us in a kind ‘oops, sorry we killed your cat’ gesture?  It was creepy and I worried that it was one of my neighbors cats.  I went next door and woke him up.  He came out.  It wasn’t his cat.  It didn’t have a tag.

“well, it’s trash day”.  he said.

I really didn’t want the kids to see this.  It would have really upset him. It upset me. I ran to get Mark.  Really glad I am married as I knew my husband would ‘take care of this’.

After breakfast…which was a tad hard to eat… I was running around trying to get Vivien out the door to school. Rex was going to stay home with dad.  Mark was on the phone.  I knew he was talking to a relative about another relative who has had mental health issues.

“hey honey, will you be home by 11?”

“probably, well, not sure, why?”  Oh, just that they had decided this family member needed to be committed and he wanted to be there.

“I’ll take Rex with me.” I offered.  My trudging with a stroller a couple blocks didn’t seem that big of deal anymore.

I drove the kids while I tried to sort the placid routine of life with the bombshells life throws at you. The large socks full of horse manure, to paraphrase a Woody Allen line.

On the one hand, make sure Vivien eats breakfast and is taken to school, on the other hand someone close to us is having a breakdown.

The kids heard the word “hospital” so they were asking questions.  I didn’t lie, but tried to make it seem matter of fact.  Then Rex worried about other people in the family and started asking about them.  I told him they were fine.

“But, where is Oliver?” he asked with stress.

“He is at school”

“what are the names of his teachers?”  A few blocks later Rex came up with this:

“mommy, when I have my new daddy, he will be my new daddy.”

Me:  “Rex, I admire that you are going to be so adaptable should something happen to your father, but your daddy is fine and he is and will always be your only daddy.”  Vivien and I tried this line for a while, but Rex kept talking about his new daddy.  I gave up and went to distraction.  Played knock knock jokes. It got a new line of thinking going.

Poor guy. I’m really glad he didn’t see the cat.

It’s was 8am.

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