They have the cleanest streets

I now understand the moral isolation of the rich.  For part of Spring Break  got to spend a week on Balboa Island off of Newport Beach.  It’s so clean and delightful my sister asked if we were in “The Truman Show”.  I was lucky to the live auctioneer at our school fundraiser last year who no one could hear.  I also had done research on the items and knew they had low balled the value of this charming house which was up for auction for a week of Spring Break.  So as the bidding progressed Slowly, I jumped in with my bid, no one countered and it was Sold!  To me.kids on balboa island

Mark is working so hard he was not able to come down for a minute.  But, he is so dear as I came in from a break of paddle boarding I phoned him and said, Gosh I was so much a part of the development of Bombo, but now that it’s open you are working non stop and I’m wondering if tonight I should make a Gin and Tonic with lots of lime or a Manhattan with rye or bourbon?

He said, “No, don’t feel bad.  You are taking care of Vivien and Rex.”  So wonderful that my husband really understands a family partnership.  Now, where were those kids??mark peel's bombo

Oh, right, they were not missing the grit of their Hollywood environs, they were having the time of their lives.  Sometimes their cousins were there, sometimes some friends. action kids

The first few nights my mom was with us which was great.  Perfect multi generational vacay spot.  You can scamper, read multi generational travelor rent a boat!

Cruising cousins

Cruising cousins

One night it was just us so we went to the movie theater at Fashion Island nearby.  I was once told the average income around there is $750k a year.  My ticket was $22.  I almost fell out of my ballet flats.

“No way” I wailed.  “we are not going.”  But, Vivien begged and we were there, and it was vacation.  I relented.  “Okay, but we are never coming here again.”  My rant was abated when we walked into the lobby and it looked like a  Four Seasons, or at least 3.  A handsome young man stood behind a counter asking me if I wanted to purchase a glass of wine or beer on tap.  The price of my ticket faded from my mind when he said, “if you would like a second glass during the movie I can bring you that.” Wouldn’t you know it an hour later he did!  Later Rex asked how I liked “Home”.  I thought, gee, I don’t know, seemed more enjoyable than all those other animated movies I sit through with you guys, but I had two glass of nice California white, so my judgement is impaired.  “It was pretty.” I said.

Most of the week we barely drove.  I’m so sick of driving.  I am obssessed with my pediometer app. I was cracking 10 thousand steps no problem as we walked to the ferry, to the paddle boats, to a Balboa ice cream bar, to rent a motor boat.  Water, views, breezes everywhere.  Where were the homeless?  They must ship them up to LA.  I couldn’t figure it out.  In our sister school there was an encampment.. tents, flooring materials, stench, but here, there isn’t so much as a gum stain on the street. ( sidebar, I finally got to the right people in the city and the trees were trimmed and we got the encampment moved).

It’s easy to feel like the problems of the world are far away.  Or at least in Santa Ana.  I do prefer paddle boarding over driving, but hey, that’s what vacations are for, right? But, it seems like it’s always vacation down here in the OC.  Is it wrong to enjoy living like this?  I’ve always thought it was, but now not sure.  Daphne and children

Let’s try something new…

So, haven’t posted lately because Mark and I are consumed with opening a NEW eatery.  It’s the first time he has done a fast casual concept.  I give you a news links HERE  Please like it on FB or instagram.

He has been working VERY hard.  Excited for it, but already wondering how this will impact our lives!  I’m very proud of my sweetie.  I helped get things in line the last year and half, but now it’s all him and he takes it very seriously.

If you are in LA, check it out!

trying out the fried chicken.  They like it

trying out the fried chicken. They like it

bittersweet recipe

It’s very exciting these few Sundays now.. where I watch my show.. where I get tweets from people I don’t know saying they like the show.  I get emails from distance cousins who I have heard not from in years that they are loving seeing my show.  I also loved in the most recent episode bringing in some of our friends to be on the show.  I also thought that overall of all the Daphne Dishes, this one was the best.  It held together. I loved making the food, loved my cocktail.   It’s a light, fun show… I hope… with some information. However, the making of it was more fraught than is seen.

One clue to that can be seen at the end of this show..”In Memory of Jeff Wannberg.”handsom

I have made reference to there being a big loss that shadowed the filming of the show.  The night before we started shooting my brother killed himself.  Jeff was not my blood brother, but a brother he was.  We came into each others life at about 2 or 3, start of pre school.  I got kicked out because my mom was the teacher and the school thought it better if she didn’t teach her own kid.  But, Jeff stayed.  It’s hard to describe to people who didn’t know us in childhood, teen years, 20’s, but each year he became more and more part of us, and visa versa.  Our homes were a few doors away and he was the only kid in his house.

4th of July in Culver City in the '70's. Dad, Cec, Jeff, me

4th of July in Culver City in the ’70’s. Dad, Cec, Jeff, me

We needed a brother, he needed us.  We went to the same progressive school for a while, so we had short hand for our unconventional childhood.  “We joined a cult” Jeff said just a couple of years ago in his characteristically dry humor.  In our teen years organically we began to call him brother, he called us sisters.  It annoyed us to no end if someone said, “but you aren’t REALLY siblings.”  We responded with annoyance or cut them out.  As he once said, “I’m not going to say, they are my really, really, really, really good friends.  That’s not right.”  It wasn’t.  We were far more ingrained than that.

I cannot sum up our relationship or Jeff in a blog post and it wouldn’t do him justice our lives together. But, since September 9th everything has been…different. He was in my sister’s weddings.

Happy Day

Happy Day

I officiated at his US wedding.  I was his best man at his Australian nuptials ( where is wife is from). We are use to him being here for family events.  It was hard having him in Australia the last several years, but he wanted to come home.  We wanted him to come.  It was just a matter of time before he did.

He was always with us at Thanksgiving. We started playing football at Thanksgiving because of Jeff.

Thanksgiving. Jeff behind, brother in law Kevin next to my mom.  I'm the one with the mullet next to my dad

Thanksgiving. Jeff behind, brother in law Kevin next to my mom. I’m the one with the mullet next to my dad

He often made a turkey.  Jeff loved to cook.  He loved French food and classic American food.  He opened his own American steak house in Australia.     I, like all those who love him, are left bewildered and bereft.  In my case I’m puffy and bewildered as I’ve put on some big grief pounds.

He was so smart, quick witted, a brain like no other.  Even while he was living far away I kept up with him with skype, phone calls, email, social media. But, it’s no subtitute for being there.  When I moved back to LA in 2000 I took an apartment that was less than a mile from him.  When I decided to do my solo shows he was the only one I wanted to direct me.  The only one I trusted.  He was a photographer, a post production producer, an app producer, dog lover, bon vivivant.  He was and is someone very special.

love

love

I didn’t know if I could get through the filming, as I mentioned before Food Network kindly offered to postpone the shoot, but I know these opportunities might not come again and I know how hard Jeff hustled to get projects that he wanted off the ground.  His wife said, go for it.  That shot at the end of the show  (“Eat up Sports fans”) When I catch the ball from Vivien was the only time my face was onscreen that first day. I can see the puff and the pain in my face. Bewilderment.  People who are also survivors of suicide know the bewilderment.  The shock.  The first few days I would wake up early before the crew arrived.  Make coffee, talk to Jeff, “Why, why?  How could you leave us?”  I would lie down on the floor and cry.  Then I would get into hair and make up and when the producer said, “Sparkle in the eye”  I turned it on.  Everyone I worked with was very patient and kind with me.

“What do you need?”  a Food Network executive said that first day.

“Ask no one to bring it up.  I will come un done.”  She did and they didn’t.

Vivien was with me the first few days.  She would stand by the cameras before we started, give me a smile and a thumbs up.  “You can do it mommy.”  It would fuel me.  I was torn up by grief, survival guilt, and guilty that I had a big project going on when he was having a hard time making his opportunities come to fruition.  When Vivien wasn’t there I would look at her pictures on the fridge and then turn around and cook for camera.  Like so many moments in my life my kids are joy gas.  I’d be a broken down jalopy without them.

my kids there for me on a shoot day... before my grief weight set in

my kids there for me on a shoot day… before my grief weight set in

When we had a day off I really collapsed.  That’s when I realized how much the show was good for me.  I loved the absorption of work.  The first few days I was trying to contact everyone who needed to know about Jeff. I had a great need to speak to people who knew us when we were younger, before something went wrong, something went sideways.  But, then I switched and I couldn’t speak about it.  If I did I wouldn’t be able to work.  I clicked over and while the camera was on, or even with the crew I started to have fun.  Jokes were coming more easily.  So, for the Game Day show it was later in the process ( except for the football scene) and I was feeling better.  When Trish showed up, who is truly one of my best friends and who knew Jeff, I could let my guard down a little.  When I give her the drink and we toast it’s pregnant with meaning.  She knew how special he was and how deep our connection was and how I was hurting.

After the shoot we had his memorial, his celebration of life.. what is the right thing to call it?  We decided on JeffCon’14.

While we were shooting I asked if he could have a memorial credit.  It has to go through some channels.  Then a few weeks ago I got an email.  Yes, his name would be there.  I was glad, but I got back down on the floor and cried.in memory of jeff wannberg

Like anyone who has lost someone you don’t want your loved one to become “the dead guy” and with suicide you don’t want their method of departure to define them.

Some of Jeff’s friends and I have connected or reconnected like never before.  It’s been a great source of support. Also, I went through an 8 week Survivors of Suicide group.  A lovely group of people.  That helped a lot to sort through the layers of feelings with people who were on the same journey. The sense of failure, rejection, lost.  One friend of Jeff’s was over a couple of months ago and said that I should start posting and talking about the show coming on.  Really?  I was not feeling like celebrating.  Then I remembered what one woman in my group said, “Fake it till you make it.”  So I did start posing about it and talking about it and people were very sweet and excited and that felt good.  I just want Jeff to be here with me.  So by having his picture in the first episode about my mom’s healthy eating and his name in the game one I feel there was a touch.

Of course the way my brain and humor works is so influenced by him he is part of it.

So, it might seem just like a light little food show, but there was a lot going on.

it’s beginning to look NOT like Christmas…

January 14th.. not to bad for taking my tree down right?

When my brother Jeff, was a Lothario in the ’80’s, and he was on the verge of breaking up with yet another girl he had been crazy about for two weeks previous, he famously said (paraphrasing), “Love is like a Christmas tree.  It’s starts out smelling so good.  It’s pretty, it makes you happy to see it sparkling, but then it dries out and becomes a fire hazard.”

That girlfriend was toast.

As I was undressing my tree I thought of the difference from the night we brought it home, the kids so excited to decorate it as I made hot coco, Frank Sinatra carols,  the warmth of our home on on a cool evening.  To this morning, harsh glare of Eastern light coming in the window, applying the anti aging wrinkle cream Santa brought me .  christmas tree and kidsI’m alone in my black sweats,  covered in flocking.

A Flocking Mess

A Flocking Mess

IMG_0746

Cody, smile for the camera

I have to pry the ornaments of the tree because the tree is dying and has curled over the hooks.  Parts of the tree come off and I pull the dead branches off the ornament so I can neatly put them away in my ornament storage ( took me 20 plus years to figure out the importance of that).  “Get off of me you dead tree. I’m done.”

The promise of love, the promise of yuletide glow.  It’s over.  Unstringing the lights it felt like the morning after a one night stand.  Heated, and exciting the night before,  But now my lipstick has been kissed off, I’m tired, look bad and Romeo doesn’t look so hot now in the glare of the sun, and I’m just wondering, “Where is my bra?”

Get your crap and get out of here.

Get your crap and get out of here.

But, hope springs eternal.. we will hop in the sack again next year.

 

 

is it too soon for history?

We are back from a spring break trip to Washington DC.  lady in washington hatIt was great except it snowed the first day, the last day and rained the others.  Wait, there was ONE day we had clear skies. So much for “Spring”.

Viv, sis and I ready for sightseeing.  Is it Spring yet?

Viv, sis and I ready for sightseeing. Is it Spring yet?

Fortunately it was the day we walked on the Mall.  From Arlington Cemetery to the Spy Museum.

map of the dc mallThe trip was meaty.  Lots going on.  Sights of historical significance, Ford’s theatre, great food.  Red Hen was the best dinner of the trip.  Great architecture, show me the brick!.   Kafe Bohem, sigh,  I miss the great breakfasts.   Seeing old friends.

if you are in DC area check out my comic friend Queen Aishah, HIlarious and great person

if you are in DC area check out my comic friend Queen Aishah, HIlarious and great person

Loved not driving most of the time.  Metro, I loves ya.

But, more than once I thought, are my kids ready for this?  Moments where I thought, “I DID THE RIGHT THING”.  When Vivien was transfixed by the Lincoln Memorial and read his speeches carved into the wall. children and lincolnchildren get lincoln When I said, “this is where Martin Luther King gave his ‘I have a dream speech’ and she didn’t run and scowl, but stopped and took a picture there.  children and I have a dreamTouching how many parents are doing the same thing.  After the memorial Vivien was begging for a hot chocolate, “we must keep going.” cried crazy mom.  My sister Cecily, who traveled with us knew better.  “I’ll get you one” as she helped my limping 8 year old to a warm coco.  I walked along the Vietnam memorial overhearing parents say to their kids, “you see it was a time of great unrest…”

What is the right age to take this in?  Or is it in dribs and drabs?  Certainly when I lost Rex in the spy museum ( an over rated for profit venture) I thought, I was wrong to come.  When he ran up the down escalator in the Metro I thought “too young”.  But, if I wait till he is ready for knowledge and travel Vivien will be a jaded teen lost to me.

Certainly a highlight was visiting the White House.  Had to pull some strings to get in their and even so there was a long, cold wait to get in. visiting the white house Not like the ’90’s where I had a friend who work in the White House and I was waved in more than once with a only a look at my license.  At one point Rex started to go under the velvet rope, but a secret service man scolded him and he shrank back.  One of the many times I was fine with a stranger reprimanding my son.  “Go for it, I need the help.”

DC , like many American cities of late, has improved.  We we rented  a home in an area some friends were worried about.  A mixed neighborhood that had seen riots/uprisings in the ’60’s, crack in the 80’s. But, now the historical structures of Ledroit Park can shine and it’s lovely.  It’s near Howard University and we had occasion to visit their ER for a minor problem and they were great.  It was far nicer than any ER around LA. I like feeling like I live in a place when I visit.  I walked thru the snow to a grocery store.  I would stay there again for sure.

One day we rented a car and went to Mt. Vernon.

Cecily is fun to travel with

Cecily is fun to travel with

A place I remembered from visiting with my dad when I was 9.  Since then they have added a memorial to the slaves that toiled there.  They have also added a video presentation with of all people Pat Sajak telling visitors what to see at George Washington’s home. Was Vanna not avail?pat sajak mt vernon “Don’t forget to see the slave quarters and where they stored the tropical plants.”  My sister leaned in, “because there is a real moral equivalency.”   When the five minute Wheel of Washington was done Rex said,

“He was nice.  But, he seems like a reporter.”  Close Rex.  Yes, hundreds of years of slavery is not Pat Sajak’s fault.  But, I was getting irate at the founding fathers.  Um, what was that about independence, rights of man?

It was raining so I didn’t make it to the slave quarters.  Rex’s shoes and pants were soaked in rain and mud.  He was gleefull.  We stood before George Washington’s old tomb and he said, “mommy, I got to go pee.”

soaked

soaked

“Rex, wait.”

“I can’t”. Pause.   Then he ran off splashing more in the mud. Well, maybe it was fitting.

Fortunately, Walmart is close and I ran in and got him a whole new outfit as we were headed to meet friends for a nice dinner.

One key note about air travel with kids, if they don’t have individual screens on the plane, forget it.  We didn’t have them going, but did coming back and it made a huge difference. I wish we could make our reservations based on this.  I can handle the crap food, but kid climbing on me is tougher.  Course one consequence was I watched “12 years a slave” on the plane.  Woof.  Brutal.  When we got home I had insomnia and stayed up reading slave memoirs online.  The sexual exploitation alone makes me marvel that black people didn’t rise up and kill all white people.  Jefferson, sneer.  He allowed his own children to be enslaved.  They got to be freed when he died, that’s the bone he threw them.

When I went to Europe I ruminated about the holocaust.  I know, I could walk any area near me and think of the Native Americans killed and run off their land.  Sadly, man’s humanity to man is too clear.

So, in the end it is dribs and drabs for my kids and for me.  You know history, but at different moments facts and sensory collide to make it more real.

Flu flew in

Like a dumbass I didn’t get a flu shot.  Earlier this week I felt it coming on. Came on fast.  I got in the car to go to a home improvement store and by the time I was asking for vinyl mesh (so my dog doesn’t crawl out of our gate) I felt sick.  Aches, thick head, chills, cough, etc.  It’s been years since I had it, but I remember.  It truly sucks.  Fortunatly, I knew to call my GP and left a message asking her to call in a prescription for Tami Flu.  If she had made me truck cross town to be examined by her, honestly, I don’t think I could have done it.  She did not ( cancel plans to change doctor).  Mark picked it up for me and by the next day I felt a wee bit better.

how I feel and I feel I look

how I feel and I feel I look

The other issue was Rex.  He is getting his annual in a couple of weeks which will include the flu mist.  I called his doctor and got an appointment for him first thing in the morning for the flu vaccine.

“I want to cuddle with you mommy.”

keep this kid healthy

must keep this cutie healthy

” Baby, I want to cuddle with you too, but until you get your vaccine you need to stay away from mommy. Here, you can play with my Ipad. Wash your hands a lot”

I’m still a bit sloggy, aching, stupid in the head.  But, Tami Flu arrested the symptoms considerably.  I don’t care that even with insurance it cost $70.  It’s worth it.  Thank you modern medicine.

Now, if you haven’t already get your flu shot!

Recent nostalgia

I’m looking at pictures of my kids when they were younger like they just got married.  Rex is near 5, Vivien 8 and my stepson is 20. Okay, with him, big difference, but it’s not like Rex still doesn’t need an overnight diaper.  Yet, I’m gazing at their little pictures.

Rex’s sausage legs and curlsfamily trips

Vivien pre braces

IMG_0108

Or her round face babyness.cute baby

Not sure why it’s hit me, this looking backward.  I was in Inglewood this morning for a vet appointment and it hit me, “Aren’t I near Grandma’s old house?”  My grandma died when I was in high school.  I liked her very much and have fond memories of her ground floor apartment next to an Astro burger.  No, not like having Rose Kennedy as your grandma, but we always had a great time.  She would make us penny hot dogs.  Hot dogs, cut up in slices.  She always had a pot of Irish stew on the stove.  A big stack of old computer paper that we could color on on the unused side.

Inglewood in the 1970's

Inglewood in the 1970’s

I looked up Astroburger.  It is still there.  So was the building with the apartments that my Grandma Maxwell lived in. a house in inglewood The neighborhood was not great 30 years ago, it looks worse now.  There is a big fence in front of her building.  No plants.  But, otherwise, pretty much the same.  I wish we had taken pictures of our time there.  I only have the images in my head to go on.

You know when you get off the freeway and you see a little house or apartment, or maybe it’s next to an auto part part store, or next to Astroburger and you think, jeez, that sucks to live there.  Glad I don’t live there.  Well, people are living full lives in those non pinterest post worthy abodes.  Kind words, good smells, and lots of crayons.  Sausage legs and round faces.

 

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.

People,ugly

I just took the kids to a local amusement park, The Santa Monica Pier.  The kids love the rides.  I love seeing them happy.  But, the same thought goes through my head at this place and every other place full of humans in casual clothes in crowded places.

You people look awful

There is clearly a serious weight problem in America.  Check. I know, I’m not the first to note this.  Also,  I’m a big old fogey with my dislike of rampant tattoos. Anything intersting or meaningful has to be inked all over skin now.  Can’t we get to know each other and then I’ll learn of your love of oak trees, your uncle, your dead cat? How about scrapbooking? The other visual blight is  piercings that look like some food was stuck on someones face.  I almost handed a lady a napkin in line for the bumper cars till I realized that the dot of a food crumb above her lip was nailed into her flesh.

We are all slobs

Yes, it was hot, even a tad humid, which never brings out the best in humanity.   It certainly hasn’t brought out the best in our sartorial choices.  But, let’s start out with  things that don’t hug every hunk of bat fat, or back breasts as I recent’ heard them called.  Gent’s, you don’t need a tank that bares your clumps of back hair do you? I knew I was going to trash land so I chose a t shirtwith a drawing of  a mobile camper.  As if to say, yes, I look like trailer trash today.  I’m already judging myself.  I had trouser shorts, which are an appropriate length.  Unlikes some of the sausage thighs I saw with barely a fistful of material swathed around them.  With Rex in tow I’m assured There Will Be Spills.  Maybe even bodily fluids on my clothes by days end, thus breaking out anything beyond the Old Navy, TJ Max clearance rack pointless.

I plucked a happy birthday cone hat on my head while we were there.  Again, admitting, that good looks had not been achieved and if you can’t be handsome, be funny.  I also thought it would make it easier for my kids to find me if we were seperated.

Tennis shoes, sunglasses to hide lack facial flaws in over head sun. I give kudos who the mom who I saw who had a 3/4 billowy black sundress and large white sunhat.  Block of colors and covering any figure flaws while being comfortable.  Good job mom.

Maybe we should just wear costumes.

Bill Maher had a bit on his show a couple of years ago where he said if we get any more casual soon people who be walking around in diapers.  When I look better I do tend to feel better.  Dressed badly I feel every figure flaw.  I should follow these gals lead from 1960’s

Look how happy that they are dressed in cute day clothes.

I think a lot of people have the same one I have.  I have NICE clothes, dresses for work, blazers.  I have a bunch of crappy t shirts.     I think we need to work on the middle a tad more folks.  My husband did well today.  He had a Cuban style shirt over jeans.  I think that’s a nice medium look for a man.  Nothing hugging a gut.  I have a few casual Target dresses that are wash and wear and can accessorized up a bit in the medium category.  A button shirt over capris or shorts would work as well ( clearly capris bring joy)

In old pictures people looked better

So, when did the change come from people going out like this 

to this? 

The early ’70’s I think.  But, why with greater equality for women, all races and microwave ovens did we have to go to slobville?  Clothes are cheaper than ever.  Just because someone gave us a tank with a logo on it, doesn’t mean we have to wear it.

Oh, and how did my funny hat finder work?  Not well.  I lost Rex for a minute and when I found him crying a young gal covered in tattoos, pierced something, her guy friend, shirtless were trying to help him find his mom.  I know, scrappy slobs  can be very nice people.  I just wish we looked nicer.