Prom Night

 

The day after prom and I’m at brunch with Oliver and his friend who he took to the prom. A girl who is a friend, but not a “girlfriend”.  I can’t get a word an edgewise as they tell me every little detail of the night.  The music, the hook ups, the intrigue, what illegal things were consumed. They tell me about their feelings, their dreams of the future.  I feel so in sync with their life!

Yeah, right and then I woke up in a shower like Bobby Ewing.

That’s right, that didn’t happen.

But, I did get to be part of prom weekend and I cancelled a trip in order to do so.  I am so glad I did.

The little kids and I were going to go glamping this weekend. It had been planned with other families for a while. The place is not cheap.  You are in a cabin by a fire pit, but there is a pool and they deliver food to you if you like, so hence the glam in camping.  Two weeks before Oliver told me he was going to his prom in the understated, no big deal attitude that his very him.

I returned that Perry Como vibe with my Ozzy Osborne, “what, you are?  When?  Can I take pictures?  Do you need help?  Can I get your flowers?  Do you need me to put on a chauffeur outfit and drive you around? What can I do?? Where is Sharon?”

“um, can you give me the money to by my ticket for Ida ( friend he took)?” Yes, I said signing the check with a flourish.

“I hope it’s the not the weekend I will be gone.”  He told me the date. It was the weekend I was gone.  Crap. Cut to  two a weeks of stewing about this ala The Clash.  Should I stay or should I go?  Teenagers do not place a premium on family time.  I know at his age I thought my family was revolting, and I liked them.  But, if you are a step mom who makes videos of family I’m sure I’m as desirable as a wet dog in your bed. Also, remember we are not the primary home for Oliver, his mother’s home is.  I’m what I call the “B” Team.  But, since his mom was out of town it meant he would be with us.  So desperate stepmom eager to be part of her stepson’s life really needed to make hay.

I told Vivien the trip was on the chopping block.  She pouted and crossed her arms.  Which actually pissed me off.  She knows I’m annoyed if I start a sentence with “look…” In this case, “Look, in a few short months Oliver is going off to college.  He will move away.  To a different STATE.  We will rarely see him.  He will have friends and experiences that we know nothing about ( not that I’m so in the loop now).  I want to be with him as much as I can and I think it would be really fun to see him get dressed up and go to his prom.”

Vivien, “Oliver is moving away?”  She hadn’t connected college with leave taking. “I don’t want Oliver to go.” Tears.  Oh, me and my big mouth.

Oliver kept saying, “It’s no big deal, we are going as a goof.”  Visions of my own prom night danced in my head.  When my then boyfriend Tony picked me up my parents and sister changed into nicer clothes for the occasion.  My dad even broke out his own tuxedo.  He was very proud that he owned it.  “Do you own yours?” He asked Tony.  Tony thought it was a strange thing to ask, but hey, throw the guy a bone, he is showing his feathers, county workers don’t get a lot of opportunities to wear a tux.

Tony’s parents were out of town.  At 17 I thought that was odd.  Their last born is going to prom and they go on a trip? And that was before I was old enough to know how fleeting time is, how I would look back at the pictures of that night for years to come.  How I would regret  letting that lady at the mall talk me into that shade of lipstick.

No, I was staying.  Would Oliver care that I was present?  Probably not much, but I would care.  As a stepmom I’m a guest star, not an unconditional love player, so these moments are important.

The day of the prom I made sure he had a good lunch and continually harassed his father, who was at work, that he be home on time to take pictures.  Once Oliver started getting dressed I gave him a cold drink. “Hydrate”, not that I as encouraging drinking, but if it happened I wanted to help future headaches.

He chose a white tux on his own. Rex was zoning on TV and Viv was taking a nap so I could focus on him without distraction.  Rare.  He wasn’t sue about how to deal with cufflinks, he needed dress socks, various formal dressing aspects which I eagerly assisted. (” he needs me, he needs me!!”) I wrote another check for his part of the limo. We waited for others to arrive.  He was spending the night at a friend’s place closer to the prom.  I told him I would come get him in the am.  “Whenever you want!”

We decided he shouldn’t put his coat on yet as he felt hot.

Then Ida, her mom and two family friends of both kids showed up.  Fortunately for me the other ladies were also eager to take pictures.  Ida, is a lovely girl and shares Oliver’s laid back attitude.

“look like you are putting the boutineer on him” One of the ladies directed.

Ida and Oliver seemed confused by our mandating the steps they should be taking. “why am I pretending to do this?” Ida asked.

Me; “because we are middle aged ladies living vicariously through you.”  She handed the wrapped flower bundle to me.  I pinned it on Oliver. Poor teenagers were getting the “let’s get away from crazy people” look.

First picture of Oliver on coolmom.

But, Mark still wasn’t back.

“um, we should go.” Oliver started.  I called Mark again.  “Where are you? You are going to miss it”

A few minutes later he came running in.  I took a couple of pictures and then Oliver finally put his foot down.  “We have to go.”

What I can’t take a clay impression of how you look right now at this moment? Ok, fickle teen have your way.

Mark drove them to the house where they were meeting friends and limo.

Vivien asked “Why isn’t Oliver driving?”

Me “He is going to go in a limo with his friends.”

Viv “Why?  He can drive.”

Me ” Well, the assumption is that alcohol might be consumed.”

Viv nodded.  Not bringing up the underage issue.  Should I have b.s’d that answer?

The next day Mark took Viv on a special daddy daughter hike.

I took Rex to ride the rails. We have a new light rail in LA and the first weekend was free.

As Rex and I rode the East bound train Oliver texted, “we are ready to be picked up.” Rex and I got off and then boarded the Eastbound train back to our car.  “Getting in the car.” I texted back.

By the time I picked the prom goers up Rex had fallen asleep.  “Anyone hungry?  I’ll take you guys to brunch.”  Rex rallied for pancakes and we had a nice time.

“So, how was it?”

“fun” they nodded.

“Was there a band?”

“no, DJ.”

That was it. Then I was on to extract new information.   Summer plans, college.  I can ask questions to monosyllabic answers all day.

I was so happy.

 

How to get your kid to stop watching TV

 

I’m not the best mom. Yes, sometimes in order to get stuff down or end a tantrum I park my child in front of a TV.  But, at some point I think enough with this 2 d world. Whether it is what I want to do or not I have to get this kid away from the boob tube.  This was one of those days.  I’ve been getting this revamped site loaded and needed the free baby sitter, aka TV, to mind him while I did so.

Now, it was time to venture onward.  Surely he would be happy with the exciting choices I lay before him.  Park, library, play space, back yard?  Hello?

I didn’t know I was about to be ambushed like a foreign journalist reporting in Libya.

 

inappropriate sandwich shapes for kids

In my quest, like many parents, to keep my children interested in that thing called eating I have tried on occasion to form food in fun ways.  Astronaut carrots, deforested broccoli, you know the usual.

As I was taking my pizza cutter to shape a sandwich for Rex today I had the impulse to make really inappropriate sandwich shapes.  Here are are some of my favorites:

A gun

Devil, but it didn’t look devilsh enough, so I thought I would try the crazy anti semite leader of Iran Ahmandad..whatever and add coffee grounds for his permanent sort of beard.  This was not my finest.

I was more pleased with my next creation, Crime Scene House

By the way, Rex picked up the gun sandwich and the barrel went limp.  “Momma, it broke.”  Yeah, there is a reason sandwiches are  NOT shaped like that.

What kind of sandwiches do you make your kids?

I’m a Meme!

I’m so proud that a total stranger would take my image and make vaguely rude or suggestive jokes with it.  After a career in failed cable shows and blogging I think of my circle of fame to be a very small one. That’s why I never minded the mail from prisoners or foot fetishes.  At least someone was watching!  Probably why I love the character of Jenna so much on “30 Rock”.  A mere exaggeration of my own id.

Yesterday a friend emailed me, “OMG, you are meme.  I bet I’m the 100th person to tell you.” No, which means not only do I toil in obscurity, but I have few friends. Or no friends who keep up on meme.  Can’t say I’m that super hip either.  So first,

from wikipedia:

meme (play /ˈmm/meem)[1]) is “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.”[2] A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures.[3]

The word meme is a shortening (modeled on gene) of mimeme (from Ancient Greek μίμημα Greek pronunciation: [míːmɛːma] mīmēma, “something imitated”, from μιμεῖσθαι mimeisthai, “to imitate”, from μῖμος mimos “mime”)[4] and it was coined by the British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkinsin The Selfish Gene (1976)[1][5] as a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. Examples of memes given in the book included melodies, catch-phrases, fashion and the technology of building arches.[6]

Proponents theorize that memes may evolve by natural selection in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution. Memes do this through the processes of variationmutationcompetition and inheritance, each of which influence a meme’s reproductive success. Memes spread through the behaviors that they generate in their hosts. Memes that propagate less prolifically may become extinct, while others may survive, spread and (for better or for worse) mutate. Memes that replicate most effectively enjoy more success, and some may replicate effectively even when they prove to be detrimental to the welfare of their hosts.[7]

 

So will it be replicated?  Will I be?  Okay here it is.. two screen shots.

Love that Amy Pohler is some how part of this.  I don’t know the other lady, but I can share my meme.  I think the idea is to take the piss out of what a “coolmom” is.

Now some of these are accurate.  I do knock and wait for a response once your are over a certain age.  I would pick up my teens “drunk ass” at a party if needed, it has not been needed, but I have told the interested parties I would.  I do not look the other way if there is pot involved.  I’m not cool that way.  I also wouldn’t buy anybody else children beer, but if my own wanted a sip, sure.  I think the European way on this is better than making a bunch of binge drinkers.  And I’m NOT Stifler’s mom.  But, I might hit on a cute dad! ( kidding.. well maybe after I’ve been married longer)

You can add your own caption to my smiling face.  I did.  I made fun of myself.. well, the picture and image of my meme self that is. Here is the link.

Go on, it’s okay.

 

Refresh!

So, what do you think?  It looks different right?

Coolmom.com has had a face lift.  In many ways it’s a make under.  I wanted a cleaner look and I needed to upgrade what I was working with as the site was built in early ’08 so it was like trying to keep a ’65 Fiat running.

Thanks to Steve Tsai for doing the work.  Here he is with his lovely wife Candice.  I took them to dinner at Campanile as a thank you.

A few things still need to be tweaked.  He still needs to import my vast video library.  It’s coming.  Notice the feature video on the right and we are refining the “best of” part as well.  I love that the blogs scroll from one to the next. I like this on others site and long wanted for here.

So, I started coolmom.com with Deca.tv.  It was their first foray into the mom blog world.  I did not want to be a blogger I just wanted to make funny videos for moms. Short ones.  In a few short years Deca evolved into a well known place for creating online video content for moms and I became a reluctant blogger.  Momversation was an off shoot of cool mom.  It began as we saw that advertisers wanted many voices to sponsor, not just one.  I used to own part of it, but then sold my part in it a few years ago, but stayed on as a contributor. Now, Deca is building bigger concepts and they kindly have handed me all the keys to coolmom.com.

Now, like a lot of mom bloggers, I’m doing this all on my own.

I will probably make mistakes.  I still have to figure out how to monetize this better.

I want to keep making funny videos for parents.  However, do to my new solo status they may have a lower production value, be simpler, have my clunky editing.  Please hang in there!  I will be writing more and want to maintain my original goal of being of giving moms ( and dads) a chuckle when they get a minute to themselves.  Short attention span theater!

Please feel free to give me advice, feedback, whatever.  I can’t do this without you!  I am also going to do some give aways to thank the core group who have hung on and tolerated my bumpy 2012.

xo

We are making changes

We are moving in a different direction.
It’s not you; it’s our corporate restructuring.
The many things you are told when you are no longer wanted at a job.
I just got a very nice boot from Star Magazine. For over 5 years I wrote jokes for the their worst of the week feature.
I really don’t mind.
The managing editor wrote me himself, which was classy not leaving it to a flunky. Frankly I don’t blame them. I was having a hard time getting it up for it. How many times can one write a funny line about a disheveled Helena Bonham Carter?
( “ The char woman wants her look back.” )
worst
At some point we just need to accept she has had children with Tim Burton that’s her look! Like we finally got it with Diane Keaton. The lady likes blazers and hats.
How many times can you make a joke about a wanna be starlet, who I have never heard of, but shows up on the red carpet in a too tight cheetah pattern? ( “Don’t call the wild, they’ll call you!”)
I was first asked to be on the panel when I hosted TV Guide’s “The Fashion Team”. Last year it was cancelled and I thought, “I wonder when Star will cut me loose?” I didn’t tell them my show went the way of the dodo bird. I had Coolmom.com in as part of my credit and had hoped that would drive traffic to my site. But, actually it didn’t. I was usually rushing to do the jokes on a Tuesday night while making dinner. Or I would be dropping off Vivien at school on Wednesday and get an email from the editor, “are you sending the jokes?” Crap, I would race home to make the deadline.
One thing that bothered me was the candid shots of celebs on the street.
Look Bai- Ling and Phoebe what’s her name want to be photographed. The ones that dress up in kooky or sexy outfits on the red carpet are fair game. But, Hillary Duffy going to get a Starbucks in sweats, Rumer Willis shopping in shorts and no make up? They are just leading their lives and I look like a hot mess when I go run errands. So, those always made me feel ethically uneasy.

Also, sometimes the editors got it dead wrong. I would get a picture of a celeb in a fashionable outfit and I would write back, “Good look, no joke here.” Fashion can takes chances and still be in good taste. They don’t have to look like Rihanna.

Just in case anyone is planning on hitting the red carpet and doesn’t want to the Worst of the Week here are a few tips.
– No animal prints
– No shiny clothes
– No too tight clothes
– Not too much flesh
– Not too directional in anyway

Will I miss seeing my face in a magazine while I get my pedicure? A bit. But, I will no longer have to correct people when they say, which they did all the time, “ I just read you in US magazine!”

worst

Plugged

Clogged rectum. I had never heard that phrase before..or condition rather, but it is very illustrative. There was a LONG article by doctors about the kiddy constipation epidemic on Huffington Post.
The big causes:

  1. Kid’s fiber free diet. (it’s not just about being overweight anymore!)
  2. Early toilet training

Are there problems with kids who are trained later, yes, but I decided to stop really paying attention to the article after this point was made as it backs up my decision not to push Rex to the toilet. He is 3 years, 2 months.

I have encouraged. I have sad there will be a puppy in his future if he moves to the land of no diapers. I have gone, “oh, lord, can’t wait for you to go to the toilet” once in a while when he has had a particularly gruesome poop. But, mostly I just go with the flow ( so to speak). I know it will happen.

The article also discussed kids holding in their poops for years at school because their bathrooms were gross.
THAT WOULD BE ME. My middle and high school, a public magnet which was treated like an crazy homeless guy who has come into your yard by the LAUSD ( LA school system) had dark bathrooms with countless large divots in the toilet seats. How did they get there? Still a wonder. I never went number two from 8:22am to 3:10 for years.

I feel very lucky to have avoided chronic clogged rectum.

But, I still don’t know my multiplication tables.

Ben’s balloons

Last year I did 3 events at The Tar Pit, our now shuttered bar and restaurant, called Cocktails and Crayons. An especially big hit on mother’s day it featured great food and drink for all ages, and the best balloon artist I have ever seen. Ben Gordon is a sweet heart. He is a tall young man who is really skilled with balloons. My mom remarked that his creations would make great centerpieces.
At the Tar Pit events after he had doled out characters to the kids adults would would ask if he would come to their table and do something for them. Perhaps part of my fascination is that this takes the kind of crafty, spatial arrangement skills I was not born with. He is very patient with kids, and adults who have had a few drinks.

I asked him to make a house call for Rex and be interviewed in the coolmom.com studio.

Ben is available for parties- young or old—and if you are in the LA area I highly recommend him. If you mention coolmom he will give you a discount to boot. Check out his FB pager after the vid.

Babies are boring

Lets be honest. Babies are boring. Life affirming the object of our undying love and boring. I’m reminded of this when I got a text from a new mom friend. An honest one.
“IM SO BORED”. Yes, she knows she is blessed to have this scrumptious gift, but it’s dull. They can’t talk, play craps, play who would you rather.

That’s why when I meet mother’s who never hire a sitter or don’t have a handy relative to help I think THEY ARE CRAZY AND SHOULD GET THEIR TUBES TIED. Sometimes the monkey needs to roar.

If you have a baby it’s OKAY to think, “This is boring.” Better than thinking that you should be in a constant state of ecstasy and excitement. Better than thinking, is everyone really fulfilled and I’m the bad mom who wants to watch a movie uninterrupted, travel the world or have sex with that guy who I just saw in the parking lot? Normal thoughts.
Play out all you want in your head. Think whatever goofy fantasy or try to steal to the computer to catch a glimpse of an adult conversation.

If POW’s can get through their experience so can you.

You do have to show up for motherhood, but your thoughts are your own. And as you count the delicious little toes and put plastic blocks out for your baby to suck on you think, “I’m so BORED” that’s okay.

Very few moments of motherhood look like this.

me and Viv