Garden Camp

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crafts hung on the tree

We aren’t big camp people.  I never went to overnight camp because my parents were afraid of child molesters and mosquito bites.  Vivien has given me the evil eye, “I’m so not happy with you mommy” stare when I’ve pushed her to go to camp.  The big assemblies and rah, rah, “We are the Mighty Turtles!” cheers shut her down.  While I see a fun day of crafts, and waterplay she sees an over earnest intrusion into her psyche.  Both can be correct.

great camps for kids in LA

popsicles made from the garden

But, last year a friend told us about the  garden camp.  It combined two of my favorite things: nature and old parts of LA that posers who live in Brentwood or dine on Sunset blvd wouldn’t be caught dead in.  Correction, they don’t even know these areas exist.  You see The Garden School Foundation started about 11 years ago to educate Title 1 kids (ie, low income) kids about nature, nutrition, and wearing floppy sunhats.  In the West Adams district of LA, an area famous for beautiful Craftsman homes and the evisceration of LA’s upper class African Americans when the 10 freeway plowed through it’s neighborhood in the 1960’s, sits the 24th street school.  A typical LA unified asphalt covered elementary school.  But, there is a hidden part!  A big one.  A 2 acre garden in the back of the school that abuts the 10 freeway. It is an oasis in the urban jungle.  A drink of water in a concrete desert.  A snow ball in the desert.

There are sweet garden teachers who show the kids how to make humus with a blender powered by a bicycle, how to grow kale and make art with beans..and glue and stuff.

One of my favorite things to this burnt out mom is that you do NOT send them with snack or lunch.  They eat from the garden.  My kids ate salad every day and liked it.  They came home excited to try recipes.   Rex has tried to make a few things since he went.  Do I have to spend 30 minutes cleaning after he does so?  Yes, but at least he is trying!

sweet garden teacher

sweet garden teacher

Vivien even liked it because the groups were small, there was no assembly or cheering. Plus they are OUTSIDE all day.  OUTSIDE around pretty green things, not the outside of their school in Hollywood with homeless, smells of pot and obnoxious billboards.

“I wish school was like this” said Rex.  I wish life was like this.  I could sit in that meandering, folk art strewn garden for hours, even if the hum of the 10 murmurs nearby.

City kids need any bit of nature they can get.

DILF

Anyone who knows me my credo is “I’m married, not dead.”  Yes, I’ve gone years in the most unattractive cargo like pants, stains on my shirt as my haggered face drops my kids off at school, having not YET had a shower.  But,  sometimes.. and more lately as my kids get older I remember THIS  ( touching my body) is MINE!!  I forgot about it.

So, whether it’s at a school function, at a park or a soccer game I’m not just thinking about my kids.

school volunteer burnout

It happens every June… I’m burnt out on volunteering at my kid’s school.  Also, I volunteer other places, but knowing Summer is in sight, that I’ve almost reached the mountain top makes me want to run screaming from the campus.

Also, Vivien is graduating from Elementary school and for months I’ve been part of a group putting that shing ding together.  I retired from beautification after 5 years, but got pulled back on fundraiser party committee, but the one thing I’m bound and determined to not do next year:  serve hot lunch.   Here is a video I did the first time I did it when Vivien was in kindergarten.

 

I need to do the update… I’m a veteran now.  I know what to do and which kids are going to be picky and which ones stare at the sky while I repeat, “do you want apples?  Do you want apples?  I said, Do you WANT APPLES?”  Sweeping the smashed food under the tables.  Ending the shift and realizing I only have 90 minutes before pick up.

Four more days…

Then in the fall I have to have the strength to just say no.

What are you looking forward to when school ends?

 

 

 

what’s a matter with that ladies face?

4 days after surgery

4 days after surgery (photos nicely done by http://www.nylaportraits.com/)

 

 I had an eye job.  Let’s get that straight right from the start. I wasn’t beaten by my husband or in a car accident. I get that you might wince or feel empathetic pain looking at these photos but when they were taken a few days after my surgery I felt fine.  A little tired from the pain meds, but considering I had my face cut open, pretty good.

could have been in season 3 of Daphne Dishes!

could have been in season 3 of Daphne Dishes!

 

I had been thinking about doing this for a while.  I can see dwindling collagen and gravity were altering a few things on my face… and other places.   Finding out my show wasn’t renewed seemed like a good time.  Don’t need to be in front of the camera’s any time soon.  I’m not going to apologize or feel I have to justify it. In the grand scheme of things it’s not such a big deal.  In an age of self transformation from multiple piercing to transgender, who really cares about a middle aged lady fixing a saggy eyelid?

 

Yet, when women do it ( and men too) they hide.  Why?  I’m greatly influenced by my brief time living in Miami.  Miami is populated with lots of South Americans.  Maybe because Brazil is in the top 10 of countries with plastic surgery ( South Korea is number one)  Or maybe because Miami is a city you can reinvent yourself, but people walk around with some bruising.  People say, “oh, did you get the fat pocket surgery?  I’m thinking of doing that.”  It’s no big deal.

 

Why not be open?  People will judge me for it, but I judge the sloppy dressed lady behind me at the supermarket.  I cringe at  pierced septums, I fixate on mucus hanging from their hoop when they have a cold.  I’m startled when I see a neck tattoo.  So judge away.

While these pictures are a bit alarming I’m glad we took them because by the next day a lot of the bruising had receded.  Moms at school would remark, “It’s really gone down.”  and “I’ve never seen anyone out after surgery, everybody hides.” I’m outspoken and honest to a fault.  It’s gotten me in trouble.  A lot.  But, the flip side is this is my authentic self.  When my friend Cheryl sent me the photos she took she said, “they are vulnerable and funny, like you.”  I think it’s why comedy resonates with me.  I’ll make fun of myself before you can.  Funny people are famously a bit dark.  Yep. Think that’s true.  See my mangled face!  Bwahhh.

 

The question I get asked the most is ,”Did it hurt?”  A bit, but not much. I did it without general anesthesia.  Partly because I find recovering from that difficult, and partly because not doing it saved me $2,500.   I took two xanaxs, a vicodin, an antibiotic and a few minutes later as I was getting woozy my doctor started shooting me up with lidocaine around my eyes.  That kinda hurt, about like a botox shot feels on your forehead.  That was maybe 30 seconds, then I fell asleep.  When I woke up my husband was there ( I took a cab solo to the procedure, no use someone waiting around).  That was when I had the most pain.  I felt throbbing soreness around my eyes.  They gave me a pain pill and by the time I was in our car I felt nothing.  I slept propped up and my husband dutifully woke me up every 4 hours to give me the meds so I could stay ahead of the pain. He also woke me up at dinner time to give me a bowl of homemade Carbonara pasta.  My favorite!  “Hmm, this is good.” I ate a small bowl and passed out again.  By the next day I was feeling better.

 

Now, it’s not without problems.  Mostly because I’m taking an opiate for pain and I went cold turkey one day.  At that point the pain could be controlled with a little Advil, but I started to slip into Kurt Cobain like depression.  I called my husband who said, “Go take a half pill, you have to wean yourself.”  Which I did over the next few days.  Between the surgery and pills I was a bit more emotional than normal.  

I'm bruised, but still your wacky mom

I’m bruised, but still your wacky mom

I had prepped my kids that I was going to look like Frankenstein when I got home.  They were fascinated to see the stitches on my eyelids.  They are pretty grizzly looking at first.  The lower lids were artfully stitched up on my lash line so they were unrecognizable. The uppers, yikes! My kids liked helping with my cold compresses the first few days, and later the warm ones.  They let me sleep the first two days.  Then they wanted mom on the go again bruised or not.  Kids roll with it.

 

call me crazy, but I love this picture

call me crazy, but I love this picture

I hear,  “ I didn’t think you needed this.”  Well, thanks friend/family/dude at gas station.  That’s kinder than saying “I wondered when you were going to tighten that up!”  But, I didn’t do it for anyone else.  I did it for me. My own selfish, self centered, vain self.    It got to the point that when I put on liquid eye liner on my top lid it would end up near my eyebrows as my drooping lid would fall and catch it. When I smiled a ridge of flesh like a caterpillar was forming under my eyes, especially my right one. It bugged me.  So, the doctor removed some skin at the bottom and artfully stitched me up on my lower lash line.  Very well done.  Harder and longer to heal is the upper lids.  A month later all bruising is gone, but I still have flesh bumps on my lid where the stitches were.  They say it can take 6 months for the swelling to completely go away and for it to settle.  I hope so, because of after the hassle and expense of this I do want to look refreshed. That’s why I thought I needed this.

 

I get the resistance, but  I didn’t think that pretty girl at the sandwich shop should have put that large tattoo on her shoulder and gauges in her ears, but she didn’t ask me.  

no make up?, that's just the start

no make up?, that’s just the start

Don’t worry I tell friends, I’m not going to become the cat lady and change the plane of my face and have puffy lips.  At some point, I will go gently into the aging process, a lineless 80 year old might be unnerving.  But for right now I just want to look a smidge more like the lady I’ve been staring at for years.   I’m not justifying, I’m explaining and I want to support anyone who has done this or wants to.  If you saved your acorns to do it, good for you. We all have our reasons, and they are our own.

Mom hair cut

Oh, yes, I have been tempted over the years to hack off my hair. Have flirted with bangs.. could for hiding forehead wrinkles.

mom bangs

mom bangs

I’ve done shoulder length, but I still have long hair. even though it can be more work.

I cant' do my hair today... I .. can.. not

I cant’ do my hair today… I .. can.. not

Is it an age thing when you make the change?  Or is it motherhood?  Funny vide on the topic.. not mine, but SNL.  I saw myself a LOT in this.. See if you can relate.

Me with “The Cut”…almost

almost "The cut" with newborn Rex

almost “The cut” with newborn Rex

Click to see HERE

Sum recipes, sum changes

I keep thinking, well I USED to be on Food Network.  but, guess I’m still on cause my episode Sum Sum Summertime is on tomorrow.  It’s got some tasty stuff on it.  Chorizo sliders, chorizo slidersfish tacos… rock it!!  All recipes HERE

 

But, since I NOT filming new shows…right now, something else is cooking.. so to speak.  Me.

If this light was always on my I wouldn't have needed an eye job.  And by "need" I mean want.

If this light was always on my I wouldn’t have needed an eye job. And by “need” I mean want.

I’m laying low.. literally I am finally getting my long awaited eye job!  I’ve been wanting one for a long time and I’m not going to that BS of disappearing for two weeks and everyone says, “did you get bangs?  What’s different?”  I’ve been saving my acorns for this for a while and it’s a big middle-aged present to myself. But, I will not be laying low for long.  Oh, no.  I’m not hiding.  Just resting.

So, I’m feeling all Brian Wilson, on my back, on pain killers while my Chef husband hand feeds me home made pasta Carbonara ( for reals).  I’m feeling like maybe I’ll get my own pet sounds out of this.  Need to shut my eyes and rest, but soon enough I’ll show it all to you Fuchsia bruises and all!

As much as I hate when skinny celebs say “yes, I eat burritos and ice cream”, I’m not going lie about this.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all fish lips, change the planes of my face, just got a little “redundant skin” that has been bugging me  on my lids and a bit of “crepe” under.  I know gravity is not going to make better.   NO cheek implants, no over arched eyebrows.  But let’s say I did go all Mickey Rourke, whose to call it?  You know what, gender reassignment, tattoos, piercing, hair extension where is the limit?  Body as art, body as self-expression?  Or maybe just as simple as mom who recently discovered her own body, her own sexual self and is tossing out the granny gowns and doing something for herself.

 

To be continued…

 

Daphne Dishes…no more

Dear everyone who has ever been nice to me.  Last week I found out that Daphne Dishes is NOT getting a 3rd season on Food Network.  I am, of course, super bummed.  The ratings were good, but the daytime programming is very competitive, tight on their schedule.  They have been very kind and say they would like to find another place for me, but it won’t be this show.

Setting up a shot

Setting up a shot

I loved working with everyone on the show.  I can’t say it was a dream come true because I never would have that that 1) Food Network would ask me to do my own show 2) it was my own show 3) I could do it from my OWN home with with my Own kids.  I’m very grateful for the opportunity.

working with my kids was the be

working with my kids was the best

I worked really hard on the recipes and tried to give it my best even though I shot most of the episodes when I was either reeling from my brother’s suicide ( season 1) or done in by C diff ( season 2).  Craig Anderson at Concentric was more than a producer, but a dear family friend.  The whole crew was.

Craig directs the kids

Craig directs the kids

David, food stylist, a sweetie and also works on Pioneer Woman's show.

David, food stylist, a sweetie and also works on Pioneer Woman’s show.

 

My first priority was making sure my kids were well taken care of and they were.  Even when I was in NYC last year and met with the heads of the network and Harriet Siew who found me ( Thanks Harriet).  Rex and Vivien were with me and they were giving them things to take and play with.  Everyone should feel so welcome with their kids in a workplace!

such pros!

such pros!

I would have loved to tell more funny stories, to make more food,

my pea soup

my pea soup

to impart more things I’ve learned as a home chef with some professional experience and influence, and a very supportive chef husband!

Thank you for watching.

 

Aint’ nobody here but us chickens!

by @nylaportraits

by @nylaportraits

 

We have taken the leap!  We are urban chicken farmers.  We have been talking for years about getting chickens. We have a big yard.  Mark has had them before.  He knew what not to do: have a rooster that makes your neighbors mad.

One day our friend Larry the landscaper texted Mark that a family was selling their chickens, coop and all.  An orthodox Jewish family who were moving to Vegas for a lower cost of living.  No use taking the chickens to Nevada when they already have the Chicken Ranch!

Mark came home with 6 chickens which the kids promptly named.  I heard “Steve” and “Dutchess” and then lost track.  Our two story chicken coop is easy to move around the yard so no one part of the yard gets all the fertilizer!

Cody in a friendly mood

Cody in a friendly mood by @nylaportraits

Upside: Eggs!  About 5 eggs a day.  Which challenges Mark and I to keep working on more egg dishes.  Frittatas, quiche and last night a souffle!  (should I get my cholesterol checked?)

if a frittata and a quiche had a baby it would look like this

if a frittata and a quiche had a baby it would look like this

 Here is a recipe for ham and egg fried rice from my Food Network show Daphne Dishes.  Which by the way.. is repeating every Saturday at 8am.  And no, no word on a pick up so I think that’s no, but dunno :(

We have gone to some of our neighbors and gifted them with our fresh eggs.

Hey neighbors, want some eggs?

Hey neighbors, want some eggs?

Our chickens are free range and are on a vegetarian diet so they live better than me.  Well except for sleeping on their excrement.

It’s also been a good lesson in responsibility for my kids.  They have cottoned to the chores associated with the chickens more than they ever did with Cody.  Let them out in the morning, check their water and feed.  Put them in the coop and lock the door so the raccoons don’t get em.

Speaking of Cody.  He is sometimes fascinated by the hens.  But, other times his primal side comes out and he starts chasing them.  He never hurts them, but scares the chickens and causes them to squawk and jump on the fences.  Then we take him up to the house or put him on a leash.

So, if you are in the area, come and get some eggs!

 

stealth vlogger: homework

As my kids get older I’m less comfortable with blogging about them directly.  Vivien is savvy enough to say to me now when I take a picture “Don’t post that”.  Poor kid.

So, it’s been harder to figure out how to pivot coolmom to still be relevant to parents.  This tussle has lead me to not post at all sometimes.  So, thanks to the 4 of you for bearing with me as I figured this out.

One thing that has been getting to me recently is HOMEWORK.  I hate homework.  I come home with the kids btw 3:45 and 4:15 and it’s the time of the day I’m my MOST exhausted and I hae to say, “no screen time till you do your homework”  The wrestling begins.

But, I’m an alternative school kid and I don’t even believe in homework most of the time.  My kids need to chill and isn’t better if I let them just start to play creatively?  One day I did and they turned my driveway into a delightful homeless encampment.

sort a Gilligan island

sort a Gilligan island

 

They took empties out of the recycling to make a it look like a home.  Clearly they used the palms for a tropical thing.  But, most days are more like the following video.

So, here is a quick one I did recently.  Because if I do something as a mom and don’t blog about it, did it really happen?

Hence why so many moms are winos.