Rose parade

Happy New year folks! Getting back into it…

I feel I always greet a new year with optimism, hope, fresh resolve.  Now I think, Why bother? Maybe it’s better to adjust my expectations.  Then life could look more rosy at benchmark’s along the byways of 2014.

Speaking of Rosey…my family and I went to the Rose Parade this year.rose parade float It’s that one time of the year where dear old Pasadena, California for one day becomes the center of the country with petals glued to a hulking object over wheels and some dudes from the mid west knock heads ( or Northeast and West this year).   People camp out for days to get the primes spots on Colorado Blvd, the main drag of the Rose parade.  Why anyone would camp out on concrete over night, save for a political demonstration perhaps, I don’t get.  But, I want to witness it. The night before the parade I slowly drove my Cheerio wagon down Colorado with my kids.

“Look, you guys, look at all the people camping out on the sidewalk.”  They gapped in wonder at the throngs in their parka’s.  Folding chairs, blow up beds, many had wood fires in portable pits.  Some sat and drank, some looked bored and then…INCOMING.  Whap! Our car was hit with whipped cream.

Rex: “Mommy, what was that?”

“Whipped cream, I think it’s a thing.”  wide-eyed and amused we saw a grown man hurl a tortilla at our windshield.  It slowly slipped down, left a goo mark as it was coated with honey.

A few more tried to pelt us. There was some silly string.  I never felt in danger, yet felt, hmm, this could turn into anarchy pretty darn fast.  I moved into  the left turn lane as we approached the street I needed to turn onto.  Provident, as the car that was left in the right lane was bombarded by three woman with white gooey stuff… some whipped cream type thing.  I thought, “Where are they going to the bathroom?”  I’m sure they added some porta potties, but I thought, “Where are they brushing their teeth?”  It was all too grisly to consider.

The last time, and only other time, I spent New Years eve in Pasadena I was single and I was with one of my best friends Whitney.  We use to travel to exotic locales for NYE, but work schedules prevented us from doing so that year ( I was hosting a show for Discovery at the time), so if you can’t go tropical, of course you go Pasadena. We had drinks where an old improv friend was bartending.  A pathetic bar that had been a funeral home at one time.  Now, that same friend Josh Temple is a successful host for DIY and was wandering the streets of Pasadena for HGTV for their Rose Parade coverage and I’m Not hosting a show for Discover ( ironically, all of those channels are owned by Scripps).  I got a text from a friend when I was on my way to dinner, “Josh is interviewing people by floats.” Performing improvisationally is a much better fit for him.  Oh, what time will do.

After spending a challenging night on a slowly deflating air mattress with Rex’s foot in my back, neck, face we woke to meet the parade.  My sister made a fantastic coffee cake and then we walked a mere 8 blocks and we were right at the barricade of the parade.

Vivien and Rex gaze must have brought Michigan State good luck.

Vivien and Rex gaze must have brought Michigan State good luck.

No compromising our hygiene for this spot.   I thought I would most like to see the floats.  There were some pretty ones.  Though Trader Joe’s was so lame, “Relish the dream’ with bunches of olives and such.  Yeah, we get the message, “We sell condiments!”  Come on corporate America, try to look like you care about the greater good. Especially considering all the money I shell out at TJ’s they could have stepped it up.  We saw the Rose Queen, KC and the Sunshine band.  Clearly since he gave up coke it’s harder for him to keep up his figure.

KC is the big guy up top, in the front

KC is the big guy up top, in the front

But, what I really enjoyed was the marching bands.  This bands are 10 times bigger than most high schools.  Some are forced to wear the most god awful outfits, but they perform very well.  Thick nylon ish jumpsuits. rose parade marching band There must always be a struggle between “are we performing in cold or heat?”  With girls mid sections being the loser.   There are some though, that don’t finish on their feet.  Maybe they partied a bit too much the night before, or the thick nylon plus heat did them in.  For them there are vans, “loser bus” my Pasadena friends called them.  I once saw an over heated tuba player prostrate next to his instrument gasping in the van as the crowd jeered.

Everyone claps for the people following the horses.  Ah, show biz!rose parade pooper scoopers

It was pretty warm and I wish I had dressed in cooler clothes.rose parade spectatorsno mistaking me for the belly daners.belly dancers at rose parade

But, didn’t matter what I wore.  After an hour Rex was DONE.

Get up Rex, who know show slept there last night

Get up Rex, who knows who slept there last night

He had stayed up to 11 the night before.. trying for midnight.  The kids were hot so we walked back before it was done.  It is very worth seeing up close.  Not, sleep on public street worth it, but couch surfing worth it. It’s a nice moment in a string of various moments.  Like a year.  Like a life. It’s all about expectations.

Muesday

Wait, isn't it Museday?

As language evolves we sometimes need to nudge it to keep up with us.  Thus I propose a new word: Muesday.  Not a day to look for inspiration, but a day after a school or federal holiday where your Tuesday becomes a Monday.

This Museday had me behind the eight ball.  Vivien growled at me from her nightgown, “where is the Nutella mom?  You said you do the shopping on Monday.”

Yes, I started to answer, it is Monday. But, wait!!  Cut to sharp close up of my face in startled terror.  Oh, no it’s TUESDAY.

Everything gets backed up.  Right after drop off I ran to the store.  I actually had to tell myself when I remembered the calls and tasks for work related things I had to do, “just act like an adult, just bear down.”  I wanted it to be Fuesday.  That would mean the end of the week.

 

 

Heels on Wheels

I’ve been tardy about writing about a special junket I took part in.  It happened right around the time we moved so my notes and brain were an unopened box  ( my excuse and sticking to it).
Quick background:  many years ago in SF I reviewed cars for a radio show and a local magazine.  Really enjoyed it.  Through a friend I was introduced to the gal putting on the first ever Heels on Wheels event. Put together by the fab Christine Overstreet.  They were looking for different media of the female persuasion to take part and since I have an interest in cars I was invited.  Women make most of the car buying decisions, but are under represented in automotive journalism. Not to mention  American women have a purchasing power of over $5 trillion and women make 65 to 80 percent of service and maintenance decisions
Also, since I’m always looking for role models for my daughter  here is one:  an engineer from GM was in mix.  I loved hearing a woman talk about designing a car  ( take that Hannah Montana).
It was at the Viceroy Hotel in Palm Springs and it was all gals.  From the hardcore auto journalist and the women reps from the various car companies there seemed to be a palatable relief that there were no dudes in the room.   Simply put:  The women felt like they had more room to talk and that it didn’t feel competitive.  Which is good for me because I was one of the least knowledgable in the room.  I was the voice for mom’s.
“I can’t get a stroller in that trunk”
“Sure would like a mini vacumm in this van”
“When did I start looking so haggared?”
Stuff like that.
Here is a video of me driving the Chevy Cruze Eco.  I was taken under the wing by two lovely gals from Kelly blue Book  (www.kbb.com). They also had a lot of great info about the influence of women buyers and drivers.
Cooper tires hosted a breakfast and let us know about how they are going to start a campaign addressing the importance of safety of tires.  IE:  scaring the bejezus out of nervous mom’s.  It worked, I’m going to check my treads.
Here are some of the cars I drove.
I was a smidge dissapointed in the Mazda 5.  It was okay, but I thought the mini mini van would be the answer to my prayers.  Maybe I like more frills.

Honda civic hybrid…. nice, smooth, but I need a bigger car.
Denali … luxury SUV with a capitol L.  Very nice.
Town and Country by Chrysler
Sigh
It was a bit of a tease.  I think I’m in love.  It also helped that Kathy, PR marketing gal from Chrysler, drove with me and we got along like a house on fire.  Nice Michigan gal.  If I ever get to do my Cool Mom tv show I hope Kathy will be my Andy Richter.
I’d love a longer ride in that Town and Country and for more girls to grow up to be engineers.

What the F–eather?

One of the perks of being a blogger is you get invited to get together’s where people give you some free stuff.  Now, we are not talking Emmy gift suites like I reported on when I worked at TV Guide Channel.  It’s more baby lotion, cookies, coupons for stuff.  Honestly, I don’t go to many.  One reason is I feel like if I do I need to write about it and I’m not a product review site and if I don’t really love it I don’t want to write about it.  Also, if I don’t love it I don’t want to slam it…well, till now.  I’m NOT going to name names, but more indict a trend and my passiveness in participating in it.

So, I went to a crowded room and was shown the way to the “pamper” room.  Nail polish?  No, thanks, rarely do my nails these days. Chair back rub?  No, hurts my neck.  I was trying to make out what looked like cool make up brushes- interested, when I was told they were feathers to put in your hair.  I almost laughed.

“Oh, not for me.  I’m too old for that.”

The nice hair/feather lady said that was not true.

Me: ” this is what the kids are doing, right?”

Her: ” yes, everyone!  We get the supplies from tackle shops and the flyfisherman hate us.  They sell out.”

Fly fisherman, my hair, yes, I should have moved on to the cupcake table.  But, no.  I allowed the eager lady to put a little feather in my hair, ala hair extension.  The feather was almost the color of my own processed hair.

“if I put it like this you can pull it forward to show it or hide it .” She said moving my hair around. I thought of Cher in the ’70′s and the feather on the roach clip.  When I saw the lady coming at me with a PLIERS!.

“Can I just take this out myself?”

“No, you need a professional.”

OH, Crap.  Once for a TVG shoot I had eyelash extensions put on me and it was like having trantula’s surgically attached to your eyelids.  I had to go back the next day and have a very uncomfortable process to have them removed.

For the next couple of days I showed people my feather.  A nice YOUNG girl who bartends at The Tar Pit thought it was great, my husband said he could barely see it     ( of course he also says “where’s the butter?” as he stands in front of an open fridge) finally a mom friend who is close in age to myself said flat out, “Take that out.”

“it looks ridiculous on me, right?”

“yes.” she said bluntly.  Later it was really bugging me physically.  The feather was clamped on to my hair with metal.  I couldn’t see how to get it off.  I pulled out a scissors and cut it all off.  I have enough hair, I won’t miss that little bit of hair.Fwd: Feather

I ask myself , why did I allow to be put in my hair in the first place?  Lucky she wasn’t offering up free tatoos.

Day at the Trashes

As I’ve mentioned my son is in the hardcore trash truck phase of his life. We are all very supportive of this since trash trucks are pretty cool.
While Rex and I were doing our usual hunt for trash trucks in our new neighborhood we were surprised when the trash truck stopped in front of us. Not to pick up debris, but for a chat. We met Luis. The nicest sanitation worker in Los Angeles ( perhaps there are others, but I haven’t met them). He told us that the following day ( Saturday) the sanitation yard was having an open house. He wrote down the info as he had given out all of the flyers.
I phoned Mark immediatly, “we have an important field trip tomorrow.”
day at the trashes
The event started at 11am, and if I go again which I would, I say get there at the start. Some of the free stuff is gone by 1pm. They had a DJ, free hot dogs and hamburgers and a line of gleaming new trash trucks. Big ones, small ones. The kids could climb in the cab.

They could push the controls to grab a trash can and then who did we see? Luis, the nicest sanitation worker in Los Angeles ( or LTNSWILA for short).
day at the trashes
He let both the kids ( Rex was on Mark’s lap) get in the cab and control that mechanical arm that grabs the cans and shoots them up and over. It was thrilling. Vivien proved quite adept at it.day at the trashes I tried it and it was harder than it looked.
There was a also a truck for huge object retrieval. It was more like construction equipment, but the line was too long for us.
There were tents set up where eager sanitation workers were trying to educate us all about the different types of trash pick ups and things like what to do with medicine. Don’t flush it down the toilet. It’s toxic waste. I told them I had been driving around town with my batteries. I had hoped they would take them from me. They did not offer. But, an organization was there that said they would plant trees for free on our parkway if we liked.
Mark made me poise for this picture.
day at the trashes
Yes, ironic, as a mom at a trash day event is always looking her best.
Vivien filed this brief, yet succinct report

Landscaper Lady

Not in the provocative early 2000′s way, but in the dirt under my nails.  Okay, two stories, here is one of them…

1) When we took possession of our new home we had about two weeks to do a lot to it.  From the mundane, termite tenting to the glorious, new wood floors.  I was project manager and yes, I did bring it in at budget, thank you.  So, there is a little clubhouse/ man cave structure in the back yard at the top of a hill. It’s a little rickety and according to our inspector is going to be eaten to dust by termite as a big tasty, uninsulated little morsel in about 2 to 3 years, but in the meantime I’ve made it the art room for the kids and the place where Mark and I can hang up our vanity.  You know posters of cancelled shows, promos for cookbooks.  Things that say we have had brushes with accomplishment, but would make our house feel like a tavern if we put them in our actual home.

So, I had budgeted for my termite tent and for a few pieces of eaten up wood to be replaced. I was leaning into the floor guys ( tough job, not me, them) because no point in tenting until after the floor is down and I was trying to hustle so I didn’t have to pay anymore rent. The termite guy sends me an email that they can NOT tent because the plant that is poking out of the rafters of the clubhouse is from our neighbors and even though they signed releases that in effect said, “spray away”, the termite dudes won’t go near it.

“There has to be daylight between their plant and your structure.”  Here is a pic, though it doesn’t do it justice.  It was deep, dark, thorny.  Staring at it I felt like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now.   I called my landscape gardner friend.before

“I need someone to cut this thing.”  It was about 8 feet deep and 3 foot wild of gnarled mass.

“Probably $300.”

Gulp…over budget!

We had the added pressure as well that since the termite tenting had not been done during escrow our lender withhold a considerable amount of money until there was evidence the work had been done.

I started to chop.  Not much success.  Plus both my kids needed my attention from time to time.  Then, one of our new wonderful neighbors said she would take Vivien ( she also has a daughter) and lent me a really good cutting device.  Gloves on I yelled a rebel yell and went in while Rex busied himself nearby with dirt, balls, whatever.  20 minutes in I was bathed in sweat.  I really doubted I would be able to finish. Thank goodness Rex was not feeling needy, because I was able to push forward for 2 and half hours.

How did I do it?  I told that thorny shrub that I was going to make it my bitch.  I did.  Chop, chop, chop.  I was obsessed. My arms throbbed ( screw the gym) and I took a few water breaks and to make sure Rex was alive, but I did it!  Except… for three branches at the top of the structure I could not get to from any angle.

Then right on cue, Mark popped home.  He climbed on top and chopped the last few.  I was glad that he showed up, but was a tad jealous that after all of my hard work he got the “mission accomplished” moment.

I took a picture and sent it to the termite guy. after In effect saying, “Get your tent and your poison here”.

Now, clearly, it’s not looking that pretty right now, but saving $300 never felt so good.

Second story tomorrow.

Cool Mom Awards Sweepstakes Official Rules

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She’s back!

I get knocked down, but I get up again!

Hey,  a dear person, Michael, who works at TV Guide contacted me shortly after I was downsized and asked if I would be the featured performer for a comedy show.  I was touched.  I started Cool Mom in large part because I wanted a creative platform, but no longer wanted to go to a scummy comedy club and leave my daughter in order to do it.  So, this will be hte first time in nearly 3 years I have hit the boards and performed comedy live.

Well, I did M-C  a big sales thing in NYC, but different vibe and not as much creative freedom.  If any of you are in the area please come on out.  It’s going to be at a big theater and the Gay and Lesbian Center this MOnday, November the 1st.

Here is the info.

No drink min.

Help

um, I really need some assistance her,e people.  My nice organized toy area as exploded overnight.  Well, actually it’s been in the making for a while, but I think I finally got enough sleep to see how ghetto our play room had gotten.  This pile gets an larger and FEMA is going to have to come in and assist (and we know how helpful they are).

HELP!

So question: what’s an attractive (not super cheap crappy) shelving, storage for this stuff that isn’t real expensive? What has worked for you?  I can’t throw it all out.  Old Viv toys are now being played with by Rex.  I’ll try to think of some reward for the winning idea.;)

Forbes Top 100

I was super excited and honored to be included in Forbes.com’s list of Top 100 women websites!

Their criteria alone made me blush… in a good way.

“We’ve searched the Web for the most dynamic, inspiring and helpful websites for women. We’re delighted to present this list of ForbesWoman’s Top 100 Websites for Women.

To determine which sites and blogs made the cut we looked for compelling and decidedly female-oriented content, outstanding design, an active community and frequent updates. In short, sheer clickyness.”

It’s always a trip to know people see what you are doing when you are in your nightgown while your son crawls at your feet, taking apart your handbag.  But, it’s all because of YOU who come to Cool Mom and play the vids and comment and support what I am trying to do.  So thank you so much.

I liked that Forbes said I was also commenting on pop culture.  Since when I had the idea for this I didn’t want it to be just diapers, but all the thing that filter through our mombrain.

Rex doesn’t seem quite as excited about making the list as I do.