I’m still with her

I’m still with her.  

But, I’m at a loss of what to say to my kids.  There is all the stuff any good parent says to their kids: “Be kind, be smart, do your homework, treat people with respect, do onto others, be humble, don’t grab women’s pussy’s.”  But, it rings hollow now because the guy who just got elected broke all those rules and is being richly rewarded.

for election watch party

for election watch party

Why did women vote for him?  You really think he will create jobs Michigan?  Why is he building a wall against Canada?

I am proud of Hillary Clinton.  She worked so hard.  She put up with abuse and ridicule that 99.9% would have crumbled under.  She came so very close.  She won the popular vote.  Last night I had hoped to sit between my mother and daughter and cheer the first ever female president of the US.  Instead I held my daughter and niece as they sobbed and my mom had already left saying “I can’t take it.”

my kids helping me make calls for Hillary two days before election

my kids helping me make calls for Hillary two days before election

By saying I’m with her I also mean I’m with people of color and immigrants, gays, handicapped, POW’s, my gosh, our Generals!  All the people President Elect Game Show host has insulted in his 18 month campaign.  

This morning as Vivien cried, “Mommy, what do we do?”  I said, “I don’t know.”   So, it was all the more helpful when Hillary talked right to her.

“To all the little girls watching…never doubt that you are valuable and powerful & deserving of every chance & opportunity in the world.”

We must keep reminding them this in the face of living in a country which elected a man who boasted about grabbing women’s privates, who condescended to Hillary all the time.  In the face of having watched the debates where she was vastly more articulate and informed than him and yet, she will not be the president.

Making history... voting in the morning.  Hopeful and wearing white for sufferagettes

Making history… voting in the morning. Hopeful and wearing white for sufferagettes

I‘m with her means I salute my mom, a life long feminist.  I was a little girl when the ERA wasn’t ratified and now, years later… sigh.. same old story.  The old white boys club.  The FBI, Trump, GOP and some misguided working class people who think he is their champion.

I resent that he is a guy who never did a day of community work in his life.  There is commitment to public service.  I’m wondering the point of all of mine.  I’m discouraged.

I’m with her because I’m not going to be a nice little girl and go away.  I’m a proud Nasty Woman and I’m staying that way.  History does not run on a smooth trajectory.  I know this election is on the wrong side of history, but we are on this zig zag nonetheless.   

I’m with her because I’m going to support my daughter and son to be feminists.  Who judge a person by the content of their character.  Brother, this President Elect is wanting in that department.

Would have been nice instead of talking about polls… that were wrong.. if the media had EVER done a compare and contrast with the candidates policies.  But, who am I kidding? It wouldn’t have changed the outcome in a society riddled with sexism and adoring of reality TV.

I was overjoyed that my country elected a man of color in ’08.  Yay!  My country isn’t as racist as I thought it was.  But, it is as sexist as I thought it was.  SEXISM RUNS THROUGH ALL COLORS AND CULTURES.  

I’m still in shock.  A cross between being jilted, a death, a bit of 9/11, of “what world is this?” feeling.  But, when I manage to wash my hair again I hope to have a plan.  Because a big part of me wants to become a hermit and live deep in Michigan.. if only to vote in the next election.

Sorry Dudes, Trump is ruining it for you

I’ve always been political.  News junkie.  First professional job in broadcasting was as a news anchor for a local NPR station.  So, I can get heated. But, never before have I felt so personally traumatized.  Sure, Bush v. Gore was VERY upsetting,

But, Trumps behavior and millions condoning it has me questioning every relationship with men I have ever had.

You see,  like many women I’ve spent  my life accommodating the male persona. I’m a feminist, but I’ve still done it.  Maybe less than others, but in a world where they are often your boss, or the majority of your co workers, it’s hard not too.    From making sure my dad had the seat at the head of the table and a plate of hot food, to nodding politely when some male stranger said something condescending.  Well, he is an old guy, he doesn’t mean to demean. From “Smile honey” to  bosses who made lewd comments about me or other women I worked with.

something I pasted together

something I pasted together

The worst were several males and bosses I worked with in radio in the 90’s.  Pigs.  I worked with some great, respectful men of all ages.  But, hands down the worst were at KGO radio San Francisco.  Constant sexual comments.  I would smile, and then every few weeks go into an empty studio and cry.   I wanted to work in radio.  What was I going to do?  It was top down at that place.  I eventually learned to become like my torturer.   When they would say something gross, I’d shoot back , “Yeah, but you have a small dick.  So, can I have the AP report now?”   It hardened me.    I spoke of one incident to a woman superior.  She made excuses for the guy, “But, he never touched you, right?”  No, he never did. But, I was stuck with him and a guy engineer on a remote broadcast who made everything we spoke of into a way to bring in my body parts.  Once I wasn’t working for the station directly, but for a show taped there, it sheltered me a bit. Like an abuse victim I didn’t stand up to any of these men till I saw it being done to a younger woman who had started working there.  Unable to defend myself I did tell one guy to not talk to her like that anymore.  “I thought it was a compliment?”  He said.  “No, no woman wants two senior men to her at work to hold up a Victoria’s Secret catalogue and say, ‘Yes, it does look like her.”   I couldn’t reprimand the other guy, he was even higher up.

NOT JUST SEXUAL

As I moved onto TV I had all different type of co workers and bosses.  MANY who knew were the line was.  (Consensual sexual relationships between co workers is fine..albeit later Awkward. )  However, this taking care of the man isn’t just about letting some fat, fart think he has a chance with you.  It doesn’t have to take a sexual form to be menacing and manipulative and to keep women from freely expressing themselves and their ideas.   How many times have you been in a meeting with a male boss who mansplains you to boredom?  Who is detailing something middle management figured out months ago?  Who shows you how to do something you already know?  Who assumes you do not have what a certain task will take?   Who silences you so a man can speak? Who wants endless praise for one idea he has come with?    But, most of the time I  humor them.  Laugh, smile, rag on them later when I’m at happy hour with a co worker.  The few times I have protested, I’m alone.  So, I  back down and I needed the paycheck.

Sorry, guys I probably would have kept doing it, but now that I see this heavy, lurching manness writ large with Donald Trump I’m done.  I’m calling it and I’m not going along with it.  Trumps intense meanness to Hillary Clinton in the second debate made my stomach hurt.   I watched it with others and the men in the room were also upset.  “I have to have a drink” one said.  It was so tense.  In order to get along, Hillary rarely fired back. I get why.  It’s NOT a level playing field and she is carrying Bill’s sins on her coat tails. Though I don’t know why when a woman is cheated on and gets angry at the other woman she is an abuser?  Couldn’t a woman calling a woman she is angry with be called “locker room talk?”   No, because entitled men reserve excuses for themselves and the brotherhood.  Pat Robertson and his ilk think it’s fine.

I know there are good guys who don’t even realize their impact on woman sometimes.I  t could be from someone who otherwise I think is a lovely person.  Maybe a super liberal,don’t matter.  They stand too close. their voices are naturally deeper, louder. They think everyone wants to hear what that have to say.  I had a boyfriend years ago who was large.  6’7”, 240lbs.  He acted very contrite and respectful around women.  I was surprised at how gentle this giant was.  I asked him about it and he said, “I know my physical size is very intimidating to women and I don’t want them to be scared of me.” He did not abuse his power.  Sometimes Mark says something that startles me or Vivien.  When we say, “why are you yelling?”  He says, “I wasn’t.  I’m not even mad.”  It’s the timber.  The other day at Bombo he came in during my shift and started telling me IN FRONT OF OTHERS about the correct ice to lemonade ratio.  I just nodded as I thought screaming  “Don’t Mansplain to me”  might be bad for business.  In a private moment I said, I know this is not what you intended, but here is how that felt to me.  He understood.

OUTSIDE OF WORK

The belittling of woman is not confined to the work place.  Oh no.  It can be from dear people who don’t even know they are doing it.  Being who I am I freely express my opinions on all types of topics.  One thing both men, and some woman have said when I do this MAKES ME GO NUTS.   It’s a line that has a few variations… but it undercuts whatever the speaker has just said.  Here it is:

“Daphne, tell us what you really think?”  Followed by chuckles.   It could also be, “Daphne, go on, tell us what you really think?”   Chuckles.  Or “You never have to guess what Daphne thinks about something.”  Continued chuckles.   I have had women do this to me too, usually when we are in the company of men.

Frankly, I don’t know how it’s taken me so long to say, as I recently said to my husband when he did it too!,

When I said “That is so sexist and belittling.”  (he got it)

 

However, I have NEVER heard any gender say that to a man expressing a definite opinion.  EVER.   If you have ever said this ask yourself, why?  Were you uncomfortable with the statement?  Was it controversial?  Because if it was a hot button issue one could say instead,  “I appreciate you feel really strongly about this, I just don’t want to create any friction on a night I thought we were going to do Jager shots out of hose.”   But, if it’s not something like, oh, where does life began, but perhaps a well articulated critique of a popular author, why say it?

 

The saying is the personal is the political.  It certainly is here.   I remember in ’08 thinking, yeah I guess I’ll vote for Hillary, but I’m not getting in a later about it.  Then in a primary debate Obama dismissed her with “You are likable enough, Hillary.”  She smiled and took it.  I was a plane for Texas helping her campaign win the caucus.

Yes, I usually vote Democratic.  But, I’m pining for the days of Romney, McCain, even W.  They would have competed against Hillary Clinton strongly.  They would have made powerful arguments for their conservative vision.  They would have pointed out were they think her policies were flawed or not executed.  Good for them.  They would not have stalked her in a debate using their physique to intimidate her.  They would not have commented on faces and body parts of a female competitor.   I already abhorred Trump for his lack of intellect, his reality show pedigree, his race baiting, his hostility to anyone who doesn’t look like him, his insults to Gold Star families and POW’s. I also do not like how he has advanced the coarsening of our societies dialogue.

I have sometimes placated and tolerated men with a  sense of entitlement, humored them.  But, I’m not doing it anymore.  Thank Donald Trump.

 

 

 

 

Garden Camp

IMG_0098

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.

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.

sweet ’16

Happy New Year!!

Resolution easy to keep:  DVR the reruns of my show “Daphne Dishes” on Food Network starting Jan 2nd, Saturday 8am.

Hello New Year!  before shooting a scene on Daphne Dishes

Hello New Year! before shooting a scene on Daphne Dishes

Check it out, pleeze and got to the site and find recipes you might like HERE

Before I get out of town taping a cooking segment on the always delightful Home and Family on Hallmark channel.  Airs Jan 4th

If if does well again I might get a 3rd season which will keep me from having that mid life crisis that I have on my “maybe To do” list.

I’m breaking out a bit and taking my first ever, trip for me for no real concrete reason ( work, wedding) and going out of town with a bestie.  I was so nervous about leaving children and husband, but once I announced that I wanted to do this they all seemed pretty non plussed.  So, goes to show you limitations are so often OUR OWN creation.  I hope I can retain this lesson for 2016 and breakout out more in other areas of my life as well.

Have a great 2016!!

Bomb Threat day

Well, here in Los Angeles us  public school folks have our kids home due to a bomb threat.  Mark and I were doing the “NOW, we really have to get out of bed now” chatter.  I was walking downstairs in my ugly, comfortable slippers and nightgown to make coffee when Rex yelled, “mommy, you have a call.”  He knows if he wakes up really early I’m so desperate to keep sleeping I will give him my phone and he gets screen time.

Who would be calling this early?  Oh, maybe my neighbor to see if we can take her son to school today.

No, a robo call from LAUSD saying school is closed because of a “credible threat”.  All this before coffee. Hey, what??  But, we are in a charter so does this apply to us?  A flurry of calls and texts.  Yes, it does.

I go to tell Vivien who didnt’ want to wake up. “no school today”  Yeah, she cheered from her pillow. The new snow day.

A mom sent an email out that she would be happy to take some kids if moms had to work.  I did the same.  Within an hour two were dropped at my door and my neighbor came down later with her son.  As we tried to get three first grade boys to do homework I thought, as I have thought many times, how do teachers do this?  Exhausting.

I think it’s all a bit creepy and maybe alarmist.  I really hope this is not the new normal.  I hope at worst we look back on this like we do the old ’50’s duck and cover videos. lausd the new duck and cover? Those seem funny not because we now longer have nuclear bombs, but because it seems so foolish to think hiding under a desk would save you.

Course last year  I did hide under a wood lectern when a gunman came into the building I was in.  So I know how terrifying it is to be involved in a shooting.  I bet the schools would have been okay, but I of kind don’t blame officials for being a bit jumpy.

Side note:  I’m doing much better with my pneumonia.. been a month and two days.  I am still deaf in one ear, and have a TB cough, but MUCH better.  Trying to take it easy so I don’t relapse, but I did go to a holiday ball I help put on at our women’s club and it was so fun to get dolled up and feel like a person again.. or at least out of my nightgown!

at dinner with one bf's and "second husband" Jasen

at dinner with one bf’s and “second husband” Jasen

 

brain draino

As I lie in bed.. and I’m not going to lie.. lying in bed for a month, I’ve lost weight and I like it.  Look for my new book “Do nothing, lose weight.”

cover of upcoming book

cover of upcoming book

Anyway as I lie in bed and read the paper and the internet it’s hard to not feel dread and sadness at the shootings, at Trump’s hate speech, feel like the world is going to hell in a hand basket.  What helps me is not to stay in the macro, but to also look at the micro. Let me offer you some brain draino from the negative of the day.

In my micro world I’ve been humbled by the goodness of friends of neighbors helping me and my kids while I have been sick.  The first week when I thought it was a bad cold it was hard to make sense of what was going on .  Mark was still rushing off to work per normal.  I got pretty upset and emotional.  “I can’t do what I normally do.”  I can’t be the one who makes breakfast and school lunches everyday.  I would have filed for divorce if I could have gotten out of bed.  The fevers where making me loopy.  I wasn’t sure of my thoughts. I was so tired I could barely get to the bathroom.

Slowly, he started to step up, but there are still gaps when he is gone and week two I was much worse.  I texted a neighbor, “can you please bring me soup and feed my kids?”  I didn’t know I could do such a thing.

food made with love tastes the best

food made with love tastes the best

So  desperate an ask.  But she came over with soup for me and took my kids to her house for a few hours where she made them dinner and they had a good time.  She continued to bring tea or soup over the next several days.  I just gave her my key.  I wasn’t going anywhere.

I had to punt Thanksgiving to my sisters.  I cabbed over for about an hour, but I was a zombie at the table.  I thought I would have made my creamed spinach, my cheese pinwheels..but was a feverish day dream.

Days kind of blurred. Another neighbor texted, “may I bring you dinner?”  Please.  Meanwhile another neighbor whose son is at our school was picking up my kids almost everyday.how to bring food to the sick

I think people think if people are married they are covered, but “it’s takes a village” is a real statement.  It’s not it takes a nuclear family.  When I’m healthy I need my friendships, I need the camaraderie of the world and certainly when I’m sick I’ve learned my level of need.  I knew I had to go back to the doctor ( I went early and I tested negative for everything).  I decided I would call a cab and get to the Sunday clinic when they opened.  My friend Anya came over with a big tea pot and said, “I will be here at 8am and take you.”  I said, only if you promise to leave because the stress of her waiting with me would get to me.  I don’t want to be burden.

at the doctor's they asked me to put this on. My Tinder photo?

at the doctor’s they asked me to put this on. My Tinder photo?

She drove me the next morning while my family slept and sure enough the doctor said, “pneumonia”. I got some antibiotics and the fevers lessened.

Long story, but I needed to go to my regular doctor the next day to adjust the meds.  An uber took me there and back.  I love just being able to lie down in the back seat.  Money well spent.  I got the right medications.

A friend texted me, “anything I can do?”  Yes, can you get chicken tenders from Vons for my kids?”  I had soup, but I needed a ringer for my kids and I couldn’t stand let alone cook.  Now, at this point you might say, Daphne, aren’t you married to a chef?  Couldn’t he have made a week of meals for your kids that you could heat up in his absence?  But, friends that’s how I ended up with a cooking show on the Food Network.daphne dishes  I am the cook of the house.  Mark is still annoyed that the kids don’t want some fancy multi part dish he would like when they really want butter noodles.  Plus, when you cook for a living I don’t think you do at home. I don’t know.   I needed to figure out work arounds. This same friend brought some take out a few days later which I made about 4 days worth of meals out of.  By the way, ones appetite is pretty dinky on pneumonia.

My  sister Cecily took Vivien to a Christmas event I couldn’t make.

good aunt

good aunt

My mom came and hung with the kids because I started to worry that they were alone too much.  My kids have been so kind to me.  They haven’t complained.  Vivien fills my pot of tea.  Rex gives me massages.  One weekend Mark took Rex to a long planned father son camp.

won the first two heats of the box car race

won the first two heats of the box car race

One of those nights I got Vivien a sleep over so I could totally rest.  I knew I was no fun, not able to help with homework, zippo, so I kept wanting to find my kids fun time, company.

I was also fortunate to be friends with an Eastern Doctor who makes house calls.  So, I got acupuncture which helped open my breathing and relax me. She gave me some herbs and pro biotics that erased some side symptoms I was having.

Week 4.. I’m much better, but weak.  I drove to school for parent teacher conference.  Walking in and out of campus.  Talking for an hour my chest hurt.  I felt light headed. I went back to bed.  The kids and Mark went to get the tree.  “help us decorate the tree mommy?”  I can’t.  I got some boxes out and lay on the couch.  “Okay, unspool the lights and walk them around.”  I directed.  I’m so proud of 2014 Daphne, she organized the lights and ornaments for 2015 Daphne. organized christmas So, it’s not just about taking care of others when you can.  Take care of yourself!  Because you don’t know when you will be broke down and your stronger self can help out.  I was so proud of them.  They did the whole tree. I just had to stand on a chair and put the star on, that’s it.trimming the tree

As this was going on a dear old friend ( more than 20 years) showed up with three different entrees.  Home made mac and cheese ( fab) home made chicken soup and a frozen chicken curry.  Also from her kitchen.  It’s people like this that make me strive to be a better friend, a better person.

So, when you read the bad things let’s remember that most people are good.  That if we ask for help it comes!  For years Mark and later I too have done some fund raising for Meals on Wheels.  Man, I really get it know. Being a homebound, elderly person with no one visiting you but a sweet person bearing food.  That would make quite a difference in your life.   I don’t need any presents under my tree I already got more than I could ask for.

The Italian Tampon

As I’ve written about we we lucky to go to Italy this summer.  What can you say about Italy that hasn’t already been said?  The food is sublime, the language is beautiful.  Contribution to the art world is deep.  The lifestyle, the wine!  Bellissimo.

However on my trip there was one Italian thing I did struggle with.  This is my story

Prosaic adventures in Italy

More on that Europe thing. No, not the humanitarian crisis, just my little trip.. right before the pudding hit the fan.  There are the instagramable moments when you travel abroad, but there are more that are not.  So often travel is more about all the little bits inbetween the “Hey Facebook friends, look where we are” moments.

So, beside Milan expo we stayed in a villa ( we were lucky to be asked to be there) North of Milan in the Lombardy region.  The first 3 days we were very jet lagged and their was a wicked heat wave. jet lagged with kids So despite the fact that we were in Italy. We barely moved.  The kids and I in particular stayed low and I perfected my Cacio de pepe.  ( buttery spaghetti with parmesan and black pepper)italy with kids

 

I did spend a fair amount of time in Italian grocery stores.  Most excitedly I learned there Rex is a supermarket tycoon!  Rex supermarkets in Italy

The non fancy grocery stores have such nicer food than we have in US markets.  They don’t have has large a variety, but what they have is great.  Fresh pasta galore, great meats, Vitello tonnato at the ready.  Yum.  They do organize things differently.  We were all confused that toilet paper and paper towels where on opposite sides of the store.  To us, it’s all paper.  To them they probably think, oh, gross, why put your hand towels next to butt towels.

Because of heat and jet lag I wanted to lay low the first day, but had to rally. Mark and I and his business partner needed to go to a chef event associated with the expo.  My luggage had been lost (found a day later) so I borrowed my sister in laws shoes and dress.  My feet are smaller so combined with cobblestone sidewalk I went down.  Hard.  A kind woman came running up as I lay spread eagled on the ground and she asked in English “Are you okay?  Do you need some water?”

Are American’s known klutzses? Is that why she spoke English?

We naively drove and drove around the expo for about an hour looking in vain for a place to park.   Well laid out highways, big, new asphalt parking lots.  But, no room at the inn for us.  This is a “sustainable” event which made parking unattainable.  We were told by guards the only parking must be made by reservation online.   I thought, oh, but SURELY, like would happen in the States, there is some scrappy entrepeneur who will flag us down and sell us a space on his brother in laws lawn for $40  ( exactly what happened to me once when I tried to go to a Trojan game).  After an hour we would have paid anything.  We couldn’t figure it out.  We finally sort park/abandoned it in a corporate area, and grabbed a cab.  Luckily we weren’t towed. When we got to the Expo I blabbed to every English speaking Italian I could pigeon hole “what’s with making parking so hard?  Why is no one trying to turn a buck here?”

They shrugged, “It isn’t done.” (one of those I am so AMERICAN moments)

The next time we went we made a reservation, but the parking was more than a mile away with Rex’s little legs and my little crankiness it was not ideal

parking for expo milano

now this is a parking structure!

The third time was the charm  I searched and searched online and found a parking lot that promised a shuttle to the expo.  When we finally found the lot it looked like it was semi abandoned space ( good I thought, it’s these kind of areas that have reasonable priced parking.) Manned by two immigrants… I think East Asians (Yes, scrappy Immigrants, this is what I’m use to).  “Where is the shuttle?” Over there they kept gesturing.  Apparently,
“shuttle” must be Italian toward “walk that way”.  We used our divine trust in enterprising immigrants and walked.

Seriously, this is the way to the big international event?

Seriously, this is the way to the big international event?

It looked like we were headed toward a freeway.  But, lo and behold, once we rounded the top of the ramp.  There was the entrance to the expo! Eureka.

When the heat broke we did explore Lombardy.  Major highlights:  A cooking class with a real down home Italian chef.  A wonderful woman named Giovanna.  I highly recommend her class if you are ever in the area and in general it’s a great thing to do so that you feel connected to where you are.  cooking class in lombardyOur group of family was a diverse group of professional chef, Mark to Vivien, to a friend of my niece who can’t boil water.  We all enjoyed it and learned.  The great thing too about cooking is while there was a language barrier between our teacher and us, it didn’t matter.  We spoke a different language.

Watch out Food world.  Vivien was very good

Watch out Food world. Vivien was very good

Then we sat in her lovely garden and ate the food, drank wine.  Perfecto.

Our day in Lake Como was also a perk.  So many places in Italy are over run with tourists but not here.  We took a boat up and down the lake.lake como with kidsThe wind, the light rain starting as we looked out on the vista. It was exhilarating.  Everyone always looks better with a wind machine. mark and daphne in italy

But, you look even better as an action star! how to be an action star

Speaking of stars.Yes, I did see George Clooney’s house. But, I’m not saying where it is.  I’m a degree away from someone who once stayed there.

I said how I wished we’d find a good wine store.  Mark found an enoteca online.  Charming place that gave me MANY tastes. enoteca in lake como I wanted to take some wine back to the house where we were staying with many others, but I didn’t want to schlep back to the car.  Then they said one of the workers could bike it back to our car.  Oh, well, then I’ll buy a case.

Vivien guards  the wine

Vivien guards to the wine

When it comes to wine I’m an old world sipper.  The California wines that were big, bold, oaky, buttery 1990’s wines.. NO thanks.  I’ll take a dry, crisp, mineral vino.  I like Italian wines.. but I LOVE French wines.  Of course, lot’s of California wines have improved since the old buttery days.

Another moment when I felt my Americanist come over is when I was driving in Italy.  Stick of course, small, winding roads.  Our Tom-tom would say every few Seconds “make a right in 400 meters, go around the roundabout, make a left in 500 meters, make a right in 300 meters, go around the roundabout.”  I think round abouts a great idea, but I was muttering, Ah, my kindgdom to just be able to gun it down a long straight away!  The 101 heading into Ventura!  The other problem with the small, windy roads was some of us got car sick.  Then I’m trying to spot from the road what looks like the “Italian Target” so I can get a change of clothes for the sickie.

Yeah, I guess there are moments that are not instagramable.

 

colon diaries

I know what you are thinking, Daphne, how is your colon?

As some of you may recall while filming season 2 of Daphne Dishes for the Food Network ( Oh, Please food god let their be a season 3, pls, pls pls) I was hit with a bowel tornado.  As I made delicious food that I eventually couldn’t swallow it was found that I had C-diff.  A perfect storm of too many antibiotics and picking a germ that KILLED the good bacteria in my gut.  It lead to some misadventures like getting locked in a bathroom at UCLA hospital.

you would never know, but this was the day it hit.  Filming Daphne Dishes at Santa Monica Pier "Food that scare you"

you would never know, but this was the day it hit. Filming Daphne Dishes at Santa Monica Pier “Food that scare you”

So, 3 rounds of medication later I’m about to set sail ( fly) to Italy.  Again, I prayed, “Please let me eat in Italy, pls, pls, pls) Maybe it was the meds, the chinese herb tea, the acupuncture, the begging, the mediterranean heat, but I did well.  I did not need to rush to the Toilet, I did not have super grinding pain.  I had some pain with beef, cheese and more pain with raw vegi’s.

So, lucky me I enjoyed the trip.  Now, when I come back I see the specialist I had booked months ago.  He is a big booster of the fecal transplant.   So, get this.  A company has monetized crap. It goes and finds the best crap. Tests it for bad…stuff.. then freezes it. So if I were to get this done, if the C-diff returns, I would have a colonoscopy and this ice cube of crap would be put deep into my intestine.  It is said to work very well.

In October this same company has a new pill coming out basically full of crap.  I would have to go to the doctors office, take 30 pills with lots of water. Then come back the next day and do it again.  So, swallow someone’s doo, or have it put in my back side.

For, now I don’t have to decide as I’m mending. (pls,pls, pls)

By the way, all those who tell you to lose weight by not eating carbs?  Bread was virtually the only thing I could eat with C-diff for weeks. I lost 10 lbs.my diet since I got sick and I’ve  I knew that was … crap.