Gone Wrapping!

Other than popping ibuprofen for cramps this week is all about wrapping and cooking.

Wrapping because the kids are out of school shortly and then wrappings gets complicated.  I’m running out of of space above 6 feet high that I can hide stuff.

Cooking because I got one of those organic produce deliveries and I know from past experience that if you don’t use the farm fresh wonders fast I will have a moldering box of vegetable matter.

“What is it?”

“um, think it WAS a radish.”

So, last night I chopped up the kale, mixed with olive oil and kosher salt and popped in the oven at 300 for about 12 minutes.  It’s a tasty snack, but you must be alone to eat it as they 1) crumble and 2) get caught in your teeth.  So I looked like a hillybilly when I was done.

While they were cooking I chopped up the mountain of red chard that had arrived. Must attack the chard.  First the stem. cutting chard Then saute with onions, garlic, olive oil.making chard

After about, hmm, 10 minutes.. time stood still has checked on my kale, then I add the pieces of chard leaf.  First I thought there is no way I’m getting all of it in this pot, but gradually it worked.  Which is another reason  I must tackle these produce boxes quickly, my fridge CANNOT hold them.  I’d have to swap out something that is really needed around here in order to make room like, milk or that jar of pickles we’ve had for 2 years.

It was done and it was fine.  But, maybe it’s the Christmas spirit, but I thought, this needs CREAM.  basic sauceSo I made a quick sauce, flour, butter and a cup of half and half. Whisk.  I calculated the calories and was briefly appalled… but then I thought, hey I’m only going to eat of fistful of this dish, not the whole pan.

creamy chard

it cooked down a bit after this point

transferred the chard into the creamy sauce, cook a bit with a few pinches of nutmeg.

I ate a bit and had tons left over for the larder as well as my soy sauce, maple syrup chicken thighs the kids had raved about at dinner time.chicken and chard

With it’s green and red look I’m going to make it for Christmas dinner, but I think I will add a little more of something.. thinking smoked paprika or chile powder.

Next I started to cut up the squash to roast, then realized the kids were nodding off  So, I stopped to wrap!

I love this Christmas stuff

My nose is running, I’m tired and have skin so dry I could plant corn in the cracks, but I do love this time of year.  It’s all because of my 4 and 8 year old.  christmas kidThis precious time where they

1) Still want to hang out with me

2) Still believe in Santa Claus

3) are open and excited and haven’t become cynical jaded f*cks.

That time will come, but till then I’m loving it.  I love sharing them with my mom

kids, Aunt Cec, mom, niece Lily

kids, Aunt Cec, mom, niece Lily

best gingerbread house

The four at home in front. maybe I should have asked for a little guy just off the plate to represent Oliver in college

and going to holiday teas, church Christmas boutiques, (my splurge here from the Solvang Bakery) Last year my splurge was piano playing miniature teddy bear. What can I say I’m weak for Christmas kitsch.

Mom, are you sure we can't eat it?

Mom, are you sure we can’t eat it?

personalized gingerbread house

Making hot chocolate, buying our tree.  They insisted on flocked this year. decorating a flocked treechildren decorating christmas trees I have bought ONE gift so far and need to do my budget of what is possible, but in the last few years I’ve just come to accept that anxiety at what I’m putting on the credit card is as much a part of Christmas time as hot apple cider.  Oh, by the way Christmas bazaars, this year no one has had hot apple cider.  What gives?  I’m calling Fox News.

Christmas time goes so fast that one really has to have everything staged and ready to go.  I’m pretty good, but still trying to dig out my Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra holiday CD’s. Good I have spotify, but I have to skip a lot these modern ballads.. blech.

children's christmas

Thanks for the Mick Jagger pose Rex

One reason I have been looking forward to Christmas is so that Vivien can finally wear this exquisite dress that Mark’s cousin Vicki made for her.  She visited us earlier this year and we went fabric shopping. She went back to Oregon and then sent us this picture perfect dress.  Red velvet, green silk sash, ruching on the shoulders. homemade christmas dress A one of kind.  Years from now when Vivien is off clubbing or running her medical practice I will be clutching this dress, shooing  my cats away from its beauty.

kids and santaDear Santa, let this sweetness last as long as possible.teddy bear tea


happy anniversary Bernie!

Today is the 5th year anniversary of Bernie Madoff’s arrest.  And they said it wouldn’t last!

CNBC called me a few days ago and asked me if I would go on camera and talk about how I am coping as a Madoff victim.  The producer said she had just spoken to someone who said “they had moved on.”  Some people she said “are relunctant to talk about something so painful.”

good gravy, those people look miserable

good gravy, those people look miserable

Me: “That’s cool, I’ll talk, I’ve been coughing up my soul for years.” (cut to montage of my solo shows, stand up, vlogging, after too many drinks at a party)  I was the lead plantiff in a class action suit against Stanley “died before convicted” Chais so I have not been a shrinking violet when it comes to my absconded retirement fund.  I’ve always been ENRAGED.  

As is often the case with these things I don’t love the way it was edited.  First off, none of my funny lines made it in. Like when it came up about Madoff talking from prison and I said,  “I don’t want to hear a thing from that guy.  Unless, it’s hey, Daphne, there is a box of money I kept hidden and here is it’s location.”They didn’t get me choking up, tears in my eyes.

Can I direct this thing?

Also, the other woman who they interviewed talks about getting the money she originally invested.  She must have been a direct investor. We weren’t so we didn’t get anywhere near it.  But, whatever.  Here is another few minutes in the reality show called my life! CLICK HERE  There is an EP of Madoff suckers  victims here.  But, scroll down past his ugly mug to the vid with us.  I’m glad they got the part  about OTHER people, with their own ugly mugs, who have not had to pay the piper. Yet.

The producer said I was good on camera.  I suggested I host a show for CNBC called, “How not to invest.”  She laughed.

I am going to play Sun City

Suck it “We are the world”  for my money the best superstar, cause anthem was and is “Ain’t going to play Sun City.”  It has terrific energy and even though the haircuts look very ’80’s I think it holds up well after all these years.

It was also one of things that started to make me aware of apartheid. Sun City was a white only resort smack dab in an impoverished black homeland. ( ironically the guy who created it went on to do a casino on Indian land in the US….hmmm)

This is one of the awkward times when I have to admit the age I really am.  I was no child when the divestment issue was going on in the ’80’s.  I was sitting in and got arrested.  It’s easy to see things as black and white when you are a teenager.  Youth can be insufferable in their righteousness, but with Mandela’s passing I find myself glad I was not detached.

I would not have been asked to play Sun City and I doubt Run -DMC would have been either (Frank Sinatra did, ouch).  My sister and I use to change the lyrics to “ain’t going to play Culver City.” And put in our own hometown references like this:

flashing red light on Overland

lines at Alpha Beta I can’t understand

Sorrento Market isn’t open late

We are driving to the Marina, just to get a bite,

Say it, I I I I, ain’t going play Culver City-tay.. ahhh

But, the song created by Steven Van Zandt did the job. (full story here) Apartheid wasn’t cool and only unhip people participated in it.  Love the references to Reagan in the video, the whole thing screams my youth. Some notables who are gone  performed on it, like Lou Reed, Joey Ramone and Miles Davis. There is a lot of “wait, who is that guy?  Oh, yeah Peter Wolf.”

On the occasion of Mandela’s passing I think of the other greats like Martin Luther King or a nameless protestor sentenced to death after  Tiananmen square who did not get to grow old and continue to seek liberty for all. We are fortunate that Mandela was able to fullfill his mission. To survive prison is a feat, to come out and not want to knock heads when you do is inspiring.

This is about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  Nelson Mandela dancing to some Irish music and these two dudes start dancing with him.  A rainbow world rejoicing in song.

So, I’m going to be cranking “Sun City” because it’s a good song, reminds me that sometimes it’s good to be naive and think you can effect change.  Because you can. Mandela would want us to dance.  Dance together.


soccer weirdos

What is the matter with you AYSO?  Let me explain.

Blessfully, soccer season is OVER.  It was a struggle this year.  I made a mistake.  Vivien is young for her age group ( September bday) and she is not the most ambitious player and she had no school friends in our league. So, I moved her to a different league, a younger group.  My thought was she would have less pressure.

"Kids, listen up, when the parents start yelling, kick the ball right at them."


We went from a coach who played tag as warm up to one with a whistle.  We went from a team where she knew a couple of the girls for years, albeit not from her school, to a team where she knew some girls from her school, but they didn’t connect to about 3/4 of the way through the season.  We went from a small group where all the parents had at least facial recognition to a very large group and I’m still not sure the names of the girls let alone the parents.  Mind you I give a lot of love and respect to those who volunteer to coach, it’s a big time commitment and their heart is in the right place.  But, some veer a bit farther from what I expect .

I was the assistant coach the last couple of years, but since I bring people skills, not ball skills I bowed out.  Let someone who really knows the game take the lead.  Mistake.  Sometimes it’s better to ask girls what their favorite ice cream flavor is.  Does it make them great players? No, our old team resembled the Bad News Bears in our success ratio, but like the Bad News Bears, Everyone played.

Which brings me to my indictment of AYSO.  Yes, it’s all volunteer and hard to run an organization like that, but there needs to be stronger controls to combat human nature.  Because adults screaming and yelling at tiny little girls on a Saturday morning is really disagreeable.  The say this on their site: 3. You’re Enthusiastic and Supportive
Your AYSO kids set their own goals and play the game for themselves. Because you don’t impose your own standards and goals on your child, him/her doesn’t have the heavy burden of having to win games to feel good about themselves. Did you know surveys reveal that 72 percent of children would rather play for a losing team than ride the bench for a winner? Your enthusiasm and support definitely does not go unnoticed.

But, some of these parents can’t help themselves.

One day our opposing team had a mom and dad coach team who  I nicknamed, “Mr and Mrs Great Santini”.

The ref should have red carded for their obnoxious shouts.  “ah, c’mon Susie ( name changed to protect the innocent) you can do better than that.”  Constant haranguing.   Not of the “Go Apple Rockets!” variety.  One of our parent/coaches and I ( guest co coach for the day) exchanged horrified looks of the  “Shut up, they are 7 years old” variety. At one point their kid got hurt, was crying.  I counted to three before the put downs of her perceived kicked in.   Another dad who looked like pre father hood he was probably doing blow in a club on Sunset strip was equally charged screaming at his daughter. In 1992 at the Roxy did he really think this was a good use of his energy?

Vivien has to be cajoled to go to soccer this year.  She missed her old coach, her old team.  Never a jock, my switcharoo was partly at fault for her lack of drive.  So I made it clear to her that this behavior was wrong.  I asked the ref if she could eject them.  She declined.  I would understand it if the college scholarship was on the line, but

1) they are LITTLE kids

2) most, like my daughter are not natural born athletes, look some of them are even hopeless as players, but I thought the point of AYSO is to have fun.  Get out, move your body in the open air.

3) Shut up you big loud mouths.  Who wants to hear you scream at someone who comes up to your thigh?

A few more weeks of me stating, “Let’s finish what we start.” As I walked her into the park promising a cookie afterward.  She had some good games, fun practices, but she was ready for it to be over, as was I.

My straw was broke on the second to the last game.  While her parent / coaches of that game were individually nice to the girls I didn’t like what they yelled from the sidelines.

“We’ve got to win it!”  No, we don’t.  We aren’t even suppose to keep score.  One little girl heard my grumbling and said, “He means win the ball.”   “Fuzzy distinction” I retorted.   Both of the adults in charge yelled repeatedly, “If you don’t hustle we are going to pull you.”  Keep in mind Viv was placed on a team where she was the oldest so there were 6 and 7 year olds on this team.  They were not played equally as they are suppose to be.  It’s one of the reasons our old team didn’t “win”.  We could have played our 2 ringers the whole game, but we kept swapping them out for those who might have been the bench warmers.

I decided we would pull ourselves.  I didn’t say anything.  I just knew it was time to move on.  As we walked away, Vivien’s hands full of her post game snack.

“That’s it Vivien we are done.” She brightened.  “Really?”

“Yes, you did a good job, you finished what you started, you really improved your skill set, you made a big effort.  I’m proud of you. But, this is not our place.”



The week after

Yes, it was great, but I’m eager to get back to life.  Thanksgiving week was  bit different for me this year as I had lots of work.  The kind of work that means I had to sit in a chair all day with other people.  I’m only a tad better at this than my my 4 year old son.  Friday I was Fried indeed from the Thanksgiving cooking, dinner, hosting, football. We are the low rent Kennedy’s so there is always a football game.  

As you can see I bring spirit, if not talent to the game.

Friday day I needed to be sitting.  Sitting. Sitting.   In work mode.  Acting like an adult.  So, when I finally got home I was a tad pent up. The last guest remained, my old travel buddy Whitney.  (“Hey, kids who wants to see the pictures of our trip to Mexico in 2000?  No one?”) So, Whitney caught my vibe ( note: baby sitter scurry away, running toward her car, Mark seen before, ignores us).  Click here to see crazy lady dancing around the house

At least as I sat and sat last week I was with people I like who treated me with respect. I thought of friends who are treated shabbily in their work and  how soul killing that is . I’m a performer at heart, so even if the job of the day doesn’t entail a performance I need to let the monkey roar.