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.

 

 

Etiquette time with Lizzie Post

What do you do if you lost the list of gifts and givers for your son’s bday?

now, where did I put that list with the gifts Rex got??

Yes, it happened to me.  So I asked Lizzie Post, etiquette lady.  What should I do?  She said I should tell them I lost the list and to remind me of the gift.   Then I can write a proper note.  She also said if I lose a scrap of paper maybe I should write the list down digitally. I guess so.

Then I asked, what her thoughts are on thank you notes where the parent acts like they are the kid, “I loved my truck”  when we know the kid can’t read or write.  I use to do this, but lately I’m thinking, who are we kidding.  So my notes have been “Rex loved the truck”.

Though this year I have been really bad about sending notes out.  I seem to go in manner waves.

Ms. Post wanted to talk about summer manners which lead into weddings.  She disspelled something for me.  The gift doesn’t have to be the value of the dinner they are serving.  My mom told me that it did.  I said, If I don’t go I can send a cheaper gift, right?  No, Said Ms. Post.  The gift should be based on your budget.

My last question.. is it in the water or what?  But, lately I have had the experience of offering my hand when I’m meeting someone , I say, “Hi I’m Daphne.”  The new person says hi and doesn’t tell me their names.  “I’m sorry are you George Cloony or something and I should KNOW you?”  I think.

“Yes,” said Lizzie “This happens to me too.”

shaking the hand, saying her name

She does what I have done, “I’m sorry, what was your name? OR Can I ask you your name?”  But, it is so odd not to profer your name upon meeting someone.  I can’t figure out why people don’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do I have to vote with my vagina?

This was originally posted on Momocrats.com earlier this week.  I have touched on this subject on coolmom.com, but I think this was a more thoughtful exploration of the issue and bit less “bloggy”  for me at least. I added a couple of personal snap shots to this.  Thanks to Momocrats and Donna Schwartz Mills for having me on as a guest.  I’m also going to be a guest on the Momocrats podcast this Friday the 17th.  

Back in the ‘90’s when I was a budding young professional I got a call from EMILY’s List. Their pitch was they helped elect pro choice female candidates nationwide. Since as a child in the ‘70’s I participated in ERA rallies, had an account with the first Women’s Saving and Loan in West LA, wore my “Keep Abortion Legal” button in marches I participated in Junior High. I gave them money that day and continued to periodically give them money here and there over the last 15- 20 years.

But, I’m not going to any more.

When Hillary Clinton ran in ‘08 for President I was a lukewarm supporter until the media seemed to be positively howling with delight in her Iowa defeat. After her comeback in New Hampshire I was on board, even going to Texas to help work the caucus.

greueladFront side of Wendy Greuel campaign mailer, funded by EMILY’s List. View the ad in its entirety here.

Now in the Los Angeles Mayor’s race it has come down to two pro choice candidates. One was born with a penis. One was born with a vagina. The latter is getting support from EMILY’s List. Well, that is their mandate, so that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense to me is that they spent money, money that people like me gave them, to send out a mailer smearing the candidate with a penis.

All those years I gave money to EMILY’s List I assumed that my money went to NOT electing anti choice, anti woman conservative men. Some guy who pats the waitress on the behind, loves his guns and cuts funding to for day care.

Not sure why I assumed I was defeating this cartoon Archie Bunker. But, this mailer that EMILY’s List sent out against Eric Garcetti is such a comic. It depicts an attractive blonde women in a slinky dress getting out of a fancy car. “Not everyone in LA lives like this, but Eric Garcetti does,” it says.

Politically, this hate mail doesn’t jibe with the man I know at all. He is a pro choice feminist endorsed by NOW, who as a councilman put aftercare programs in all the schools in his district and unlike his female opponent says there should be no age barrier for getting Plan B. I know this doesn’t jibe with the guy I know personally. He has a Prius, never wears dresses and has brown hair with a little grey at the temples. The other night I was at his house while I and other volunteers phoned for his campaign. Eric came in tired after a day of campaigning. He went upstairs to put his little girl to bed. When he came back down he looked at the fridge for something to eat. I felt bad for him. He was pooped. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were going to be here or I would have brought you some food from Mark.” I said. My husband is chef Mark Peel who first met Eric when his sister worked at my husband’s then bakery. Not a job of privilege, by they way.

“Oh, that’s okay” he smiled, sense of entitlement not be found. Tired, he sat down to answer his emails. A family friend started chopping onions in the kitchen. “I’ll make him something.” she said. What, no servants? 7 cars? Loot he collected from city services? He asked his friends about things in their life. Wait, Emily’s List said he is “in it for himself?”

Eric and my daughter Vivien. I cropped it so his daughter wouldn't show. (My policy I don't post pics of other people's kids.)

Besides being a mischaracterization of a friend, the mailer is divisive toward women. The attractive, slinky dressed lady is the “bad” one. The one who doesn’t take care of the citizens of LA. The other side is a picture of a slightly older lady holding a child. A mom or a nice looking baby sitter I assume. She is part of the verbiage of why Wendy Greuel is the better pick for mayor. Oh, that old saw. Sexual female is bad. Non sexual woman is good. That one takes care of the city.

I feel naive that I ever trusted EMILY’s List to do the right thing. Why couldn’t they have sent out a mailer with positive statements about the candidate with the vagina and not smear the candidate with the penis? Why should they waste their money on the LA Mayor’s race when women are systematically being denied access to reproductive freedom in Kansas and North Dakota? A candidate who isn’t pro-woman in LA would be run out of town on the speed train, whenever it’s built.

When I worked for Hillary was it partly because I wanted a women president? Absolutely. But, I also strongly believed she was the best, most qualified candidate. I went to Florida for Kerry in ‘04 as well. I work hard for people I believe in. I wasn’t going to hit the bricks for Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sarah Palin. Sometimes the candidate who was born with the penis is the best candidate. People speak of a Post Racial period, are we ready for a Post Sexual period? To paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr, I have a dream that my children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, or by their reproductive organs, but by the content of their character.

As a mother of a daughter and a son I have this dream.

 

Road trip 2

Okay, so this is the part 2 of my Spring Break family adventure.  Not like Hangover 2… except I think they both had barf in them.

Just so you know what an awful mother I am… we pulled over while Rex was sleeping.  In the FRONT seat, he would only barf in the back seat.  Well, we wanted to redeem this sick ride and pulled over to see the Giant Redwoods.

There were almost no cars on the side of the road… a little bit off the highway… where we parallelled park to where you can walk in and scramble under and on these massive redwood trees.  The downed trees lay on the ground and the standing ones let in little sunshine so it’s a mossy, insulated carpet like world.  We locked the car with Rex inside  I was planning to only walk a few feet away with my brand new camera, but was so captivated I walked further.   I think ten minutes passed when Vivien and Mark were climbing over a downed tree asking me to climb up as well.

“no I better check on Rex”  Usually he is out for a long time when he sleeps in the car.

There was an old lady sitting on stump near the road.  “It’s like Avatar!”  She started talking to me like I knew her.  I was trying to be polite but felt I needed to get to the car.  Then I heard the shrieking.  Rex had awoken.  To an EMPTY car.  He was LOCKED in.  He was POUNDING on the glass.

“Excuse me”  I said as I ran to the car to let my trapped child out.

The kept talking, “if one tree dies they all die.”

I opened up the car.  He was hysterical. Poor baby.  I felt like crap.  Well, I really felt Mark should feel like bigger crap, because at least I came back.  He was still skipping around like a blue faced what cha ma call it.

Rex recovered fast and he liked the trees too.

the boy formerly known as traumatized

Then about 90 minutes later we were at our goal.  The country home of my former boss, mentor, dear friend, second dad Dr. Dean Edell He and his wife Sharon have a happy life there.  He is retired and has a great spread, kind of like his own little Yosemite.  I visited once before when Viv was 3 and Rex was in my belly.   The carefree days of thinking I had a secure financial future.

Dean and lil' Viv

It was great to see them.  They are dear people.  Sharon has a PhD in Geology and co authored the first book on California Oaks, so hiking with her I learned more than in most college class.  Bonus, no homework. It was great for my kids to just run and play and not scream at them for fear they were going to be hit by a car.

I really dug that the Edell’s said my kids were the most fearless kids they’d seen there.  Vivien went on her own little hike and came back with a deer jaw.  Later I walked with the kids and we saw the other parts remaining of the deer.  “This is how animals really are, it’s not like Disney” I said.  Really telling myself since I grew up in LA I thought nature was Swiss Family Robinson Tree house in Disney land.  Fiberglass looks so real!

It was too short of a visit.  Next time we have to stay longer.  Next time I’m not driving down from Portland!  The ride home was a tad brutal.  So brutal I begged to have a few hours of sleep at some truck stop motel.

The kids were kissing the house when we returned.  It did go through my mind.. “why did I do this? Why do I make the effort, spend the money?”  Ah, we ate great ice cream, saw great friends and saw deer bones. That’s why.

 

Notes from the Road

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

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

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

We were in July, or construction.

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

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

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

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

“Crapola.”

“Damn.”

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

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

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

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

errrrrrrr…………..

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

crapcrapcrappitycrap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Perfect, officer.”

“Perfect?”

“Yes, officer. Perfect.”

::son whispering:   “Mom! don’t lie!”


:: me whispering:   “I’m not lying!”

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

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

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

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

Officer: “Ah… I gave you a warning.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

LA Mayor Race

On President’s day I was sitting in LA City Councilman’s Eric Garcetti’s house making cold calls to voters while my children played upstairs in his bedroom with his daughter…how did I get here?  This is my story… 

“Since when do people care about the LA Mayor’s race?” a friend queried the other night at dinner.  It’s kind of true.  It seem like a bigger deal this year, but I can’t tell, because it’s a bigger deal to me personally.   

Being politically minded since I was in pre school and campaigning for my dad I always pay attention.

my dad running for re election in Culver City. I'm the one with the peace sign

However, this year I’m much more involved because we are friends with one of the candidates, Eric Garcetti.

Now, for non Angelenos, bear with me. This is still the life of a mom trying to keep her hand in the world and teach her kids at the same time. Eric is a city council member of the 13th district (Silver Lake,Hollywood), he was city council president for years.   In a race with two women in it Garcetti got the endorsement of the National Organization for Women.  A couple of highlights in that arena:

- More than 60 percent of his commission appointees have been women, and many of top posts in his staff are held by women.

Eric tripled the number of parks in his district.   He has been a big supporter of charter schools. He got aftercare in all of the public schools in his districts. His district had job growth even during the recession.

Now, those are the beats on a good brochure and things that line up with my politics.  But, the personal is what puts this over the top.  I wrote a few years ago about being at a dinner party where I met Councilman Garcetti and his mom Sukey Garcetti.  My husband already knew them since Eric’s sister had worked for him and because at the helm of one of top restuarants in LA for over 20 years my husband knows everyone.

I was entranced as I spoke to mother and son.  They are warm, down to earth, smile on their face.  Over the course of dinner I learned that Eric is an accomplished jazz pianist, Rhodes scholar, Navel Reserve and foster parent.  I asked Sukey, “How did you raise a child like this?” wanting to duplicate her results.

“Hold them close and then let them go.” She smiled.  I knew there had to be more to it than that.  I kept in touch with Sukey for dinner.   Sukey’s husband Gil is a former District Attorney of LA .  Then we heard Eric was going to run for Mayor.

first of many events

Mark agreed to do the food for an event.  This was back in ’11.  Eric was efusisive in his appreciation for Mark’s contribution and when Eric spoke to the party about why he was running for Mayor I was moved.  He is a true Angeleno, not one of these sad sack actors who has come to rape the land and complain about the pizza.  He is 4th generation and he is a mix like LA itself, Jewish, Mexican with an Italian last name who grew up in the Valley.

Little Eric with grandfather and sister

Last March when The Tar Pit closed I reached out to Eric’s office to see if he had  ideas of where we could relocate in his district.  He met us right away with an aid who helped with business development.  For other business reasons we didn’t act on this fact finding mission, but we appreciated his direct approach to helping a small business maintain viability.

As his campaign slowly ramped up I kept in touch with one of his associates so I could figure out how best to help.  I heard him talk many times at small meet and greets at people’s homes.  He has Clinton like charisma with Zen calm.  He deftly handles all questions with charm and a vigourious understanding of the issues.  One can see how he is a former college instructer as he lays out an issue, it’s problems and solutions.   I always learn when I hear him speak.

I threw a “Grilled Cheese For Garcetti” luncheon for Eric at Campanile last summer  ( oh, remember when we still had a restaurant?) to introduce him to LA mom bloggers.  Sukey attended as well so mom and son could work their charm offensive.  Some of my favorite mom bloggers were there like Donna Schwartz Mills of SoCal mom,  Jessica Gottlieb, MomsLA, Yvonne and Sarah ( their video with him here) , Heather Spohr, Kim Tracy PrinceSarah Maizes

Sarah Maizes, Jessica Gottlieb, Yvonne Condes, Sarah Auerswald

Sarah, you may remember her for her hilarious star turn in one of my “how to be a mom ” series with Cafe Mom.  She played the annoying parent.

"let's vote for Eric Garcetti for mayor"

My sister Carole, of LaGirlNow was there as well and immediately signed up to do an event for Eric.  She packed her lovely home in November for a big cocktail party where many people got to hear Eric talk about his vision for LA. Carole gave him a great introduction where she said the Brogdon girls hadn’t been active in a LOCAL campaign since one of our dad’s, but Eric had inspired us to get back involved.    He took many questions that night and one was from a man who was a bit grouchy.  (My sister wanted to leap across her living room and knock the plate of middle eastern food out of his hand that she had provided for being so cranky at her gathering.)  Eric handled it smoothly and with answered his concerns in detail ( it was about the business tax). He let the guy know he was hearing him.  That man now has a “Garcetti for Mayor” sign on his lawn. It’s one of the many times I’ve seen the councilmen with a “water off a ducks” back ease about whatever comes his way.  He is never thrown for a loop and is up on the issues.

Okay, so that takes you up to the end of 2012… More on this story of my local politics renaissance tomorrow.