Notes from the Road

Trying to post Alexandra’s next guest post has not been easy.  Having a good time overall, though Rex is a HANDFUL on the road.  Then just when mommy really needs a cocktail he calms down and plays with my phone so I can have a nice dinner.  Viv is an angel, but poor angel has a tummy bug today, so lots of cartoon watching today. Ha, great, while I vamped for time our workers here at CoolMom in exile got it going:  here is Alexandra’s funny tale “Never act responsibly in front of family members”  Thank you Alexandra!!

It was a hot and humid 97 degree day last summer. I had an hour’s worth of driving to do in 30 minutes time. I had just picked up my 15-year-old sweat soaked son from his soccer practice, and we were on our way to his swim lesson, with three errand stops in between. He sat, shirtless, next to me, while I was my own GPS; “recalculating” my way between two small towns amid all the summertime construction and road repair.

You need to know that Wisconsin has two seasons: construction, and winter.

We were in July, or construction.

Earlier that day, with a string of errands before me, I had run out of the house barefoot, jamming two twenties into my front pocket. With just my housecleaning clothes on, I grabbed nothing on the way out except for my lemonlime Powerade. Before hitting the community pool, I had planned a quick stop at MickeyD’s for dinner to make tonight work, (I hear your gasps, and I know, and I don’t care) and then a run into the grocery store – which my son will have to run in and do for me – since I’m sans shoes and all. All this while, I know I have 20 minutes to make it to pick up my youngest son from his soccer practice at another field, in the next town.

I guess I must’ve been going too fast, because I looked in my rear view mirror, and I saw the cherries go on behind me.

Yup. Those cherries, the kind you find on top of police cars.

In the front seat, with my impressionable teenage soon to be driving son sitting next to me,  I glance into the rear view mirror and say, “shysters.”



Visions of my littlest boy, forlorn as the Matchstick Girl, waiting at a soccer field for the mommy that never came, made me almost burst into tears.

“Mom!  Is that the cops?? Are they after you?”

Holy frijole. “Yes. It’s the cops. And they are after me. And what’s worse? This is never quick. Never.”

“Mom? How do you know it’s never quick?”


“Well, I mean, you know, they have to check all your information… and… CRAP! I left the house WITHOUT my purse! Oh, they are going to nail me to the wall.”


The non panicking part of my brain kicks in. I start the smart dialogue to myself: The role parents play in the lives of their children is lasting. This is truly a defining moment.  One my son will not soon forget. Great example. High expectations. Be that awesome role model!

I look across the seat at my young, still morally developing teen son. I take a deep breath, and say, “You know what we do now? We pull over. And then we stay in the car and wait. He’ll walk to us here.”

“Then what happens, mom? Do they take you to the police station right away? We’re going to be so late.”

“Yes, yes, we will be late. And I must’ve been doing something. And a sign somewhere must say what the speed limit is, but I didn’t see it.”

The police officer walks over to my rolled down window. “How are you this evening? May I see your registration and license?”

Me, extending my palm out: “Officer? Please give me a ticket.” My request was earnest.

I continued, “My son is at an impressionable age, and he needs to see what happens when a person breaks the law. Please serve me with the maximum allowable for breaking the law in a residential area— NEAR A CHILDREN’S PARK YET— in this obviously quiet, residential street.”

“Is that your son here?” the officer asks me.

“Yes, officer. This is my son. And I want him to see what happens when a person breaks the law. Please. Do everything allowable by penalty of law for speeding while driving.” I feel the need to have this ticket.

He peeks into the car, and looks at my son: “Hello, how are you? Ma’am? How’s your driving record?”

“Perfect, officer.”


“Yes, officer. Perfect.”

::son whispering:   “Mom! don’t lie!”

:: me whispering:   “I’m not lying!”

“Let me go check, if it’s ‘Perfect,’ we’ll decide from there.”

The officer walks away with my registration information, we wait; a tense 10 minutes we wait. And don’t think there was quiet in the car: “See, son, because of this now we’re really messing the whole night up. I should’ve noticed the speed limit. Look, there’s a kid’s park, and it’s a single lane, all CLUES, honey… all CLUES…”

The police officer returns, “Well, your driving record is perfect. I’m going to give you a warning. Pay attention to the speed limit. There’s a kids’ park here.”

“Officer, I really need you to give me something. Like a ticket. My son needs to see this.” There is such an affordable lesson here, I want this ticket.

Officer: “Ah… I gave you a warning.”

“Officer, I think my son needs to know that I should have gotten a ticket for speeding NEAR A PARK.” I will plead my case.

“Ma’am, I did do something. I gave you a warning. You have a perfect driving record for 30 years. A warning is what you got for going six miles over the speed limit. Don’t do it again.”

“Officer, can you tell my son that speeding is wrong while driving? And that he should not do as I did, and he should pay attention to the speed limits posted?”

“Ma’am? I think he’s gathered enough information from our interaction here. I think he gets it.”

“Well, thank you, officer. Thank you. And this was a wonderful lesson. And God bless you. And I won’t speed again and I’ll make sure that I talk about this with my son some more and thank you for doing your job and pulling us over. This was a time appropriate opportunity, thank you so much. I’m so happy you pulled us over. This couldn’t have been more perfect –he’ll be driving soon, and this was just wonderful. Thank you…”

“Well, you seem like a very nice woman. And I think your son understands what happened here.”

“Officer. I know I should really leave this alone, my husband tells me this all the time. But, I just have to ask you one more time, can you give me a small ticket? Just like, a little bitty small one? You know, to show this is wrong… for my son to see…”

::son hissing: “Mom!! you should just go, dad is right. just.go”

::me hissing: “You need to see what happens when you speed! And don’t carry your license!”

“OK, then officer, thank you, again… this has been such a wonderful, wonderful night. Thank you!”

::son eye rolling: “Mom, you are so crazy. You know that? So. Crazy.”

“Yeah, well, honey, I may be crazy, but you won’t forget what it feels like to see cherries going in your rear view mirror and looking back at your own face reflected in officially issued regulation aviator mirror sunglasses anytime soon, will you?”


Teen week

Hey gang, It’s Spring Break for us. I’m taking the kids to see some family so in my stead my dear blogger friend Alexandra Schultze is going to hold down the fort.  She is funny and dear.  Take it away!



I met Daphne online four years ago. With her posts that blog about the warts and all of life, along with videos that made me laugh out loud every time, she pulled me through a very difficult patch in my life. I am forever grateful for that.


In this spirit of gratitude, I feel it my sacred duty to return the favor, and give Daphne a peek as to what’s ahead; when those you once carried on your hip now tell you “you ain’t no longer hip.”


Right now, my friend Daphne is loving her days as the mommy of beautiful Vivien, and an adorable pre-schooler, Rex.

Ah, the sweet days when you could contain your children within the confines of your home and were in charge of every thought and deed that came out of them.


Welcome to what’s not that far up ahead, Daphne. Welcome to Teen Angst Land.

Clues That Your We Had Joy, We Had Fun, We Had Seasons In The Sun Have Now Passed


I went to college in the 80’s, and I, back then, had this as my daily uniform:

Proudly, too, right down to the tights around the head

The $10 a tube matte red lipstick, the mismatched earrings, the Ray-Bans. You can’t see the Walkman I’ve got in my hand, but it was there, along with the Pat Benatar cassette playing: “You’re a heartbreaker, dreammaker, lovetaker, don’t you mess around with me… no nonono no!”

Time stands still. It will always, I am convinced of this in 1984.  I have been walking tall and sniffing pies in heaven, as my grandmother used to tell me in Spanish, ever since.


Flash forward to a morning when getting ready to take teen DDG* son clothes shopping, I pull on my 15-year-old cowboy boots, stand up ready to go, and I say, “All right. Let’s go.”

And, he– being 15 years old, says the words that freeze any woman in her tracks: “You’re going like that?! Mom!?”

The following knee jerk responses run through my head:

  • never let them see you sweat
  • they sense fear
  • don’t lose your dominance
  • speak with confidence
  • maintain the status quo
  • do NOT buckle
  • keep your pole position

But I’m a woman, my appearance is my weak spot. I eek out,”Whaaaat, whaaa — umm, what is it that you mean, honey?”

“Mom. The way you look. You need a trip to the mall, not me.”

A woman and her appearance. Put the two together, and the images of how you still see yourself despite reality fight to be heard first:

I was hot!
Here, see? A picture in case you don’t believe me.
Wait, go ask your dad. No. Don’t.
I’ve got love letters in a box upstairs, behind my boots, that would sear your young eyes!
I once had to double book two dates for the same night, little boy.
You can’t imagine …

But, no… no well adjusted, normal, grounded mom would ever go there with her child. He already had enough terror in his voice, I couldn’t dump my stuff on that poor thing. No. I would work this s**t out.

It’s time for the truth to be the truth that needs to be faced. No more hot mama days.  There it is.

The parts are starting to fall off, and plastic replacement is not a possibility in our household. Time for age appropriate hairdos, professional hair coloring– no boot black done at home die jobs, time for shirts that cover the belly, and belts that prevent droopy diaper butt.

Time to remember that when you let your hair down after it’s been up in a rubber band all day, that you look more like Crazy Mary that roams the streets downtown mopping the bridge, then you look like a flower child.

I have often told my husband that you can tell what the year was when a person was plucked out of the dating game, by the bust-a-move they pull on the dance floor. Frozen movements in time, they will forever be doing the very last bump and grind they were popping and locking it to, before they were picked up, and plunked down into their new life as a parent.

Me? I’m still doing Madonna’s “Holiday” skip~skip~shoulder lift~shoulder lift.

I let my son suggest what to wear, and replaced the cowboy boots with the Danskos he likes better (in my mind, I’ll always be Thelma and Louise).

We get to the mall, and head toward the stores he likes best: H&M, American Eagle, Aeropostale. We pull the double doors open, enter, and begin to walk the long corridor.


All heads turn.

They are on him.

Yes, DDG*, your turn, baby. Your turn.

*Lady Di would call Prince William DDG, short for Drop Dead Gorgeous. I have always loved that.




unnamed happy birthday

“is this a significant birthday?” friends ask.

Not in a number sense.  But it was important to make it more joyful than last year when some bad business news arrived on my birthday 2012.  A dark cloud hung over it and stayed, and stayed. I can’t say it better than Eddie Murphy did in this old sketch.  That about sums up my feeling

The clouds have not entirely parted, but as Mark and I have now learned what to do.  Live with the clouds, don’t let them cover you. When the going gets tough, the tough throw a party.  So, Mark threw together a lovely cocktail party at our home. He made the food.  He told me proudly he had used my meatball and savory tart recipe.  I’m flattered.

woken up on my birthday. Perfect!

 We had a bartender.

I bought a new dress.

I drank a couple of Manhattan’s.  My favorite drink.

I’m very lucky to have friends and family show up for me.  Their presence was the present for sure.


There better be WMD’s if you are calling me at 4am

Remember during the ’08 elections, the primaries when Hillary and Obama were going at Hillary had that commerical about who would do best when the phone rang at 3am?  Now, they were thinking about a national security issue.  “Russia has invaded Puerto Rico.”(see spoof here)

Then and now I think Hillary could do a good job in the middle of the night so I was wondering if she could answer my phone when it rings at 4am, as it did last night. It also rang at 4:16am, 4:31am, 4:40am, 4:52. It’s scary to be woken up in the middle of the night. Rather it should be, but I wasn’t rattled, I was just tired and pissed.  See, I knew there wasn’t crisis.

Cousin Floyd” was agitated.  New parents know the sleep deprivation of a newborn. But, grown up people can be more exhausting.  THERE IS NOTHING CUTE ABOUT THEM.  I don’t can’t have another Black Smoke day, but I’m exhausted.  When Rex kept me up with his stomach bug we did spend parts of the day cuddled up on the couch watching cartoons.  Now, I think I need to sleep and or find a support group.

But, most urgently, How do you block a number from calling your phone?  Would Hillary know? Do you?  Because I can’t function like this and my kids can’t either.  Vivien was so upset at being woken up and I don’t blame here.  It’s hard to have compassion at 4am, and 4:16, 4:31, 4:40…

Then the texting started.  That’s easier to turn off.

New Moms, win stuff



"I'm just chillin in my mommy, oh yeah."

Chatted with a pediatrician the other day. Not our own, but Dr. Bhargava …..  She is the spokesperson for Web MD’s new pregnancy app. Which is available for free.

It was well timed as Rex was home sick. He had been throwing up for a couple of days, but no fever.  So, my first question was,  no point in calling a doctor, right?  Basically, the answer was yes, just keep him hydrated.  I told her I was having a “Black Smoke” day, NOTHING was getting done.  I was wiped out.  Then I moved beyond my immediate life

TIRED MOM BLOGGER: As a pediatrician you want to take care of kids, but you end up having to  treat the parents in a sense.  Is that a drag?

Dr Bhargava: No, they are key stake holders.  They have to be comfortable with the information they get.

ME: ( still digging for the parent dig) Is that difficult, because you wanted to help children and now you have to deal with these adults?

THE PERSON WITH WAY MORE EDUCATION THAN I:  I like talking to parents.  It’s team work.  I’m one of the team members. It’s a priviledge.

ME GETTING TO THE SELLING POINT: Now you have this app, which I would have loved when I was pregnant because I was going online all the time to check the size of the baby and check my experience as compared to other women.   It does feel like there are so many more things available to a pregnant woman, than just 4 years ago. Is pregnancy more popular right now, or what? Is there a hunger for information or to curate that information?

DR:  There is a hunger for information on a variety of health issues.  There is a lot of information coming at people and you have to be careful who you are getting it from.  You want it based on facts.  This is a great way to get this.  WEB MD updates there information regularly.

ME WHILE DRINKING MORE COFFEE: What’s one of the big missing component that pregnant women aren’t getting?

DR: ( she didn’t think anything was missing) One thing this helps with is to remember what to ask your doctor during your visits.  It also helps keep your memories of the pregnancy.  What was your craving, things like that.

WOMEN WHO STUDIED IMPROV: Since you are a working mom, what did you do on days you had to go in a practice medicine when you had been up with your child?  When you were having a black smoke day?

WOMEN WHO STUDIED MEDICINE: (laughed) I love the black smoke days.  I’m going to borrow that from you.  I’ve had so many of those.  I thought when my kids were over 3 I was over those sleepless nights, but as they get older you are up for different reasons.  Look, moms need to take care of themselves.  They are the center of households and they need to take the time to destress.

So that was the interview, no here is the giveaway!!  If you are a new parent, or know one.  Leave your name and I will randomly pick a name on Friday to get this new app and other great things to have when you have a baby.

1.     Swaddling blankets:  SwaddleDesign Ultimate Receiving Blanket

2.     Digital thermometer:  Vick’s Baby Rectal Thermometer

3.     Towel & Washcloth:  Aden & Anais La Mer Towel & Washcloth

4.     WebMD magazine most recent issue

5.     Other collateral from WebMD on pregnancy (Note: I don’t know what collateral they plan to send, hopefully not collateral damage)

Leave your name and if you win that’s a white smoke day!


My letter to the editor

The LA Times published a letter I wrote them.  I was a little surprised they did as they must get so many. But, was pleased they did. I wrote it after reading an article that was sympathetic towards the LA Pot clinics in regard to treating a councilman’s cancer pain.

Here is the letter that was published.

Re “Medical pot is here to stay,” Column, March 8 

I’m glad that Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl has the marijuana he needs to help him cope with symptoms related to his cancer and treatment. But I’m sorry that his remarks at a City Council hearing on banning pot shops – “You want to kill me”? – were not balanced by someone like me, who could have said, “You are helping to destroy a family member.”  

Pot can be helpful for patients like Rosendahl, but it can also be a powerful addictive drug that ruins the mind. I’m tired of people saying that “it’s just pot.” It’s just wine unless you abuse it.  

Doctors have told my family that marijuana can cause psychotic breaks. Sadly, we have found this to be true.  

Within a mile of my house in one direction, there are eight pot clinics. Must this unchecked threat to our mental health continue? 

Daphne Brogdon

Los Angeles

Let’s just say I wrote this because of “my cousin Floyd”  I don’t have a cousin Floyd, but I can’t discuss the real person in honest terms here.  I stand by the letter despite the negative comments.  Typical anonymous online comments.

We have a weird thing in California.  Pot is basically legal if you have a prescription, which is as easily obtained.  A while back a doctor with a face like a “Real Housewife” had a billboard saying to come see her for marijuana prescriptions.  The federal government does not recognize it as legal, but it’s not enforced.  I would be thrilled if people who need it like the aforementioned Councilman could go to CVS or Rite Aid pharmacies and get what they needed.  But, cousin Floyd gets pot with a prescription with greater ease than I was able to buy pot in in my twenties.  It’s also FAR more powerful than it was in the olden days.  The last time I smoked pot was the early zeros.  It was no longer the giggly, “let’s eat chocolate” experienced I remembered, but a numbing agent that made it impossible to go to sleep as my mind kept churning.

In Amsterdam they have the coffee houses that people can get pot like we do a beer.  Holland does have issues with that.  Many there would like it to be just for residents and not for the tourists.  However, there seems to be something more honest about saying “here it is for recreation” than hiding behind the cloak of medicine.  My cousin Floyd has called it his medicine.  It is not.  It changes Floyd’s personality utterly. I think pro pot advocates think someone like me is basing my views on an old copy of “Reefer Madness”.  I am not.  I know there are plenty of people who can imbibe pot and be just fine.  Go to work, love their kids, mow their lawns.  But, don’t tell me these are pot “clinics’.  Don’t tell me pot isn’t addictive. Don’t tell me pot can’t be a trigger for mental illness.  It can.  I’ve seen, lived it and still live with it.

Washing up #spon

If someone asked me the best way to clean one self after a visit to the loo BEFORE I was a mom I would have made a face like this 

However, once you have a baby you spend years wiping little bottoms.  That’s how I learned that doing so with a moist wipe is easier and more effective than dry paper.  So, when Cottonelle asked me to try their “Fresh Care Flushable Wipes and Cottonelle Clean Care toilet paper” for people with big butts as well I was on board.

The idea is that we never clean up with out water any other time, so why neglect our loving back side?  There are some funny videos ala Candid Camera that demonstrate this

Hey, not to get “fresh”, but if given the option the way we care for our babies can be nice for us as well.  If a fresh feeling tushy isn’t enough to get you interested in putting your cleaning logic to the test, how about a bathroom makeover worth $10,000 

Why not use a flushable wipes?  You deserve it!

Getting back to my roots

Let’s talk about the really big news around here.  My hair.

After 20 years of dying my hair blonde.  I have gone back to my roots. Well, with a few highlights as well.  I’ve been thinking about this for a long time.

I'm naturally blonde and I have a cake!

Hear is my Hair Story:  Like many of us I was a blonde little child.  Golden locks, wispy buttery strands that flew through the rich Culver City air.  I stood out in my clan as they were all brown haired, brown eyed people.

Make Blonde not war

Then in adolescents.. I started to change.  The hair became darker, so I sprayed on Sun In.  But, that left it kind of orangy.  By High School I was done trying.  It was all brown.  My super thick hair a blunt cut that sat on my head like a helmet.  So, I cut it SHORT.  Very Molly Ringwald 1980’s. Daphne Brogdon 1980’s.

Molly, not me, but very close

I went to college and let it go where it would.  I was thinking about saving the world and listening to Grateful Dead, wearing huarache sandals so I didn’t realize that I had developed (gulp)


It was even kind of blue for awhile and then red, due to some temporary dye that wasn’t.  But, hey college is a time of experimentation, right?

"Does that girl have a mullet?"

I went home one summer before my junior year and walked into my friend Carolyn’s hair salon.  “OMG ” she screamed,  ” You look like someone from Sonoma County.”  This was before Sonoma county had great wine and cheese, but was hick central.  I finally came to.

“HELP ME”  She chopped the party in the back off.  Several weeks later she put in highlights.  Then I was on the road to blonde.  It felt like I was back to me.  The golden child.

Now, blondes do turn heads.  But, not so much when they are in sweat pants pushing a stroller.  I like my blonde when I’m all done up or on TV.

If only I always looked like this. But then I'd be on Real Housewives of Culver City

But, that’s not what most of my life is like.  I still want to be pretty.  I have not “given up”.  But, I don’t want to chase a look right now either. It’s also a lot of maintenance and money. I tell Vivien as I gaze at her naturally perfect highlighted hair, don’t chase the blonde Viv.  When you are older, go gently into the sweet night of brown. I don’t want her to spend time on that when she will be in a great scientist discovering a cure for cancer.  She has better things to do.

So, I’ve gone brown.  I’ve gone bangs.  Michele Obama said her bangs were her mid life crisis.  I feel kind of the same way. Although, I would prefer Channing Tatum or Bradley Cooper to also be part of this crisis.“Daph, we like brunettes. Brown brings out the blue eyes”

This is going to sound really goofy, but going darker is one of the bravest things I’ve done in a while.  My friends really see it.  Most like it, a few say they prefer the blonde.  Talking about hair sounds trite, yet it is a part of our identity.

I’ll probably go blonde again.  I always pictured myself a little old lady in a golf dress  with over tan skin in Palm Springs, short blonde hair dropping coins for the lifeguard to pick up for me

I would love to look like Cloris when I'm her age

We’ll see.


out of sync

As so often happens in my life.  I’m out of sync.  I’ve been working for my chosen mayoral candidate like I’m getting paid, I’m encouraging voters like, I dunno, it’s a right people have DIED for and then I see this:  Only 16% of LA voters voted.  It’s not just the mayors race I was keen on.  The school board race is darn important and a battle between entrenched LAUSD ( a behemoth) and parental choice.  Comic and former co worker John Fugelsang recently twittered “If you supported the Iraq War you don’t have a right to complain about the deficit.” Here, here. If you live in LA  and you complain about city services, pot holes, the schools, and you didn’t vote SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE.

Don’t tell me candidates don’t talk about what they would really do to solve problems.  Yes, they do.  I was front and center, and not looking that good, the day after the election.

from LA Daily News

Eric Garcetti came in first, but didn’t get 50% of the vote so he and Wendy Greuel now have a run off for May 21st.  Sure, he starts with general campaign stuff, but then did get into specifics  ( I’m sure it’s the same for all the candidates).  On TV that night they only showed a quick clip of him saying something general.

Do parents understand that the school board makes choices that directly affect their children’s schools? That even if you don’t have children you have a stake in how our future generations are educated? In other cities they must.  Chicago has 48% for city elections.  One of my picks was defeated, one won and the other Antonio Sanchez is in a run off.  I do not live in his district, but I still go and hear him speak and wrote a little check for the dude and while I did I yammered on about changes I wanted to see to the school system.  Do you think they listen to people who don’t show up, knock on doors or write checks ( not Bloomberg money here, probably enough to get some subs for hungry volunteers)?  Why would they?

In this country people have died trying to vote.  In other countries they still do.  It’s your responsibility to be educated about the issues and the politicians.   If candidates seem to have a narrow scope it could because they are targeting the handful of people who come out to vote, unions and old people.

In LA everyone else is too busy complaining about the pizza and pining for snow.  Be where you are, live where you live.