My first professional job in broadcasting (which means I got paid) was doing the local cutaways — i.e., news for a National Public Radio station.  I had a split shift, so I either had to get up at 4am and be done with work at 10am or go from 2pm to 7pm.  M/W/F I did the am’s, T/TH the afternoons.  Sometimes I had both shifts.  It was exhausting.  But I was very excited for the gig and the opportunity.  I still listen to NPR.  I was once on the Tavis Smiley show — twice actually — and the part of my stand up he liked the most is when I made fun of NPR.  Since NPR got in hot water recently, I thought I would trot some of this material out.

Happy New Year

Hard to shake the sadness of Tucson Tragedy.  Sorry, but a guy who looks as crazy as that guy does shouldn’t be allowed to buy bullets and at a WalMart no less.  How about crazy face legislation?  If a salesperson suspects crazy face, no bullets or weapons. Maybe their greeters could become spotters. It’s the kind of profiling I think we can all get behind. Like if someone is kicked out of junior college, put them on the watch list, kay?

My heart breaks for the family of Christina Green. Her funeral was today.  Here is some info about it and a fund that the Dodgers and her family have started.   My kids made my holidays the best I’ve had in years.  Children are so healing.  No punishment is enough for taking that lovely child away.

Please, 2011, no more bullets killing children and kind people, please?  A naive hope, but a hope nonetheless.

When Rex thinks there is something to celebrate, birthday, new years, Christmas he says,” Happy-day-o”. Sometimes it’s a  giant lego with a tower in the middle that mimics a birthday candle.    Happy – day-o as long as I have my kids.   Happy- day-o to all children.
happy new year
So from our family to yours  HAPPY DAY-O!
happy new year

As long as I Don’t Stay in Vegas…

A quick trip to Las Vegas for CES related activites.  Not one nickel went into a slot machine or any form of gambling.  Not one penny.  I lose enough, thanks. The drink I had was not very good, food expensive.  Which is why my first stop from the airport is the Whole Foods so I can have healthy snacks on hand without walking 4 miles through a lobby to try and find them and only end up with a hot dog by Nathan’s. CES is a too large convention for geeks.

But, the full night sleep in a hotel room?  OMG beyond fantastic.  I woke up at 6:30am per usual and was semi giddy when I realized I could go back to sleep and I did for for two more hours.  Mark was suppose to go with me so we could combo a little boogie time, but the LA courts had another idea.  Mark was called to jury duty.

I did meet some great people.  Lisa Stone from Blogher.  Ends up we have mutual friends and I’ve known her sister for nearly 20 years.  Small world.  I did a show live for pulse network.  It is a MAJOR ordeal to penetrate CES.  I don’t reccomend it.  No wonder I hadn’t been there in 12 years when I was there representing CNET and hosting a panel.  The fun part was doing the show live and whoever showed up to be my guest I winged it.  Like I like it.  Some of those I intereviewed were momfinds and zinio.  While talking to that gal I was so wowed by her cool mags online on her iPad I started to think for the first time, I NEED one of those.  (covet, covet)

Fun, but way too noisy dinner with my partners at Deca and various guests.  Like the guys who started  New cool social media. Good luck boys! Also Catherine McCord of  She and I knew each other as hosts about 10 years ago.  She hasn’t aged at all.128_4263.JPG

I finished one book and then bought another. The Checklist manifesto.  Thought it was right up my alley when I saw the author on The Colbert Report as I do love a To Do list (see vlog).  But, it’s like a good magazine article that got turned into a book.  So often the case with Non Fiction.

24 hours is plenty.  I didn’t love that scene before I was a mom and now that I can come to this I really want to make it a short trip. 128_4264.JPG

I took the kids to brunch with friends the day after I came back and Vivien and doll are wearing an outfit set I gave her for her birthday.

I hit the jackpot.

Madoff: 2 years later

December 12th 2008 is our families darkest day.  Our own Sept 11th where everything changed, well not everything.

I have to take it as a healthy sign that was I was unaware the anniversay was on upon us.  That is until Thursday night MSNBC called and asked if I would speak about my experience the following morning.  I am on the media radar as I quickly stuck my neck out, after we found out about being robbed, by finding a lawyer who would take up our case.  I was the lead plaintiff in a class action suit against Stanely Chais, the head of the feeder fund we were in (though we had to drop it once the gov.’t stepped in).  I had never heard of B. Madoff, that was the late Mr. Chais’s secret that he was handing all the money to him. I agreed to do it because 1) to give a face to this story 2) they said they would mention coolmom and I always need to drive traffic here.

The anchor asked me to talk about the day that I found out.  I did and told her the wrenching tale.  I also mentioned that I had thrown up for 24 hours after I found out.  She asked how we were doing and I said basically that, after the shock we decided that Madoff ruined his life, he wasn’t going to ruin ours.  We had a baby boy on the way and we would celebrate that.  We did have a party, albeit potluck, but it was great.  I told the newswoman, fab Chris Jansing, that it was hard to rebuild in the great recession.

“Do you still get sick to the stomach?” She asked

“No, I think I am passed that.” But I spoke about my anxiety and how some of the members of my family have had depression issues because of this.

I was driven home by a car they hired. I was thinking, that went okay, good I will be home in time to take Vivien to school and then it hit me.  I ran into the house and I did get sick.  I had flown to close to the flame.  I had allowed myself to get too deep and feel the trauma again, the life change, the “holy crap what are we going to do now?” pit in my stomach.

But, what always sets me right again is time with my kids, (exercise as well, but not in the cards that day) seeing good friends.  Okay, deep breath, seeing the glass half full again.

Then Saturday came the news that Mark Madoff had hung himself.  I found this very upsetting.  I always thought that he and his brother knew something of the scam, though I don’t KNOW that.  Yet, I was shaken by his suicide just from a humanity level and because his 2 year old was in the next room.  He left behind 4 children.  Call it the Stockholm syndrome, but I did feel a connection with Mark Madoff at this news.  Two years later, though we had never met and were on different ends of this grand theft, he was still very affected by it as was I and my family.  It actually made me feel less odd for feeling sick to my stomach.  I thought a lot about Mr. Madoff’s death as I slept. Sunday, I realized my body was aching.   I told my husband that I had been physcially dormet this week and I wanted to go and take a yoga class.  At first it felt good, but half way through the class I couldn’t stop shaking, like I was freezing, but I knew I wasn’t. I felt ill and I phoned Mark. “you must have a touch of the flu” he said.  I drove home and got into bed.

Fortunatly my sister Cecily- a therapist- came over and was very good to talk to.  She said it’s standard mental health stuff that people are vulnerable around the anniversarys of trauma.  Mark Madoff clearly .  Now, I was having a little anxiety attack of sorts. Some good food and time with my kids started to lighten the cramping in my body and warm me up, literally.  She reminded me about a great, cheap massage place near my mom’s.  I went when Mark came home from work and I felt a TON better.  Maybe the laying on of hands.

When I came home to our crowded, messy house with the four of them eating in front of the TV, the dinner table dishevled and abandonded because “The Santa Clause” was on I felt so content I happily cleaned up the plates and the mess in the kitchen.

This weekend I was also thinking of Elizabeth Smart and how she has been able to go on after the nightmare that was foisted on her.  People like that are amazing, I know she must have her dark moments, but admire how she holds her head up and continues on.  If she can do that, this should be a walk in the park for me. But, of course it’s all relative and I think that the important thing for anyone who has had a blow of some sort, death of someone close to them, a crime, is to know that there are times, like anniversaries, that can wallop you without you knowing it.  Be gentle with yourself at these times.  Ask for help with the kids or take a walk, get a massage.  Eating lots of sugar and white flour and wine do not seem to help, I know, I’ve tried that route.

(By the way, when I write about this I ALWAYS get a few snarky comments, so let’s skip those shall we?  I know how dare I be bummed about having a lot of money stolen from me and my family.  Just humor me.)

Two cent Tuesdays: 11-16-10

I took a little hiatus from these..but TCT is back.


A fellow alum of TV Guide Channel is John Fugelsang.  He is a host and a comic and has some of the funniest twitters this side of s-t my dad says.  He is so right on I have to stop from retweeting everything he writes.  I have gone through periods of watching vast amounts of MSNBC and Chris Matthews.  He is kind of nuts, yet, compelling.  Here is a clip of John on the radio doing his imitation of Matthews. So funny.

Great Recession

Feel like this is the elephant, the undercurrent that is always present everywhere, even when not spoken.  It’s a weird time in that I know some people who really aren’t that affected by it.  Other than the shop that sold the best fabrics has shut it’s doors and now they have to find another places to make drapes. But, I spoke to a friend’s husband today who is on month 6 of unemployment.  When I talk to a restaurant owner– of which we obviously know a lot of– it’s not a question of “is your business down?”  It’s only a matter of how much?  20, 30, 40, 50 %

We are business owners and it’s tough.  There are some great nights and some bordering on scary. It’s hard to predict.  I was the co host of a TV show, now I barely get called once a month to do a segment, so I it’s scary in all fields.

But, its not terrible.  But, the worry is there.  How are you all dealing with it?  I remember asking this in the Fall of ’08 and was surprised by how few seemed to be impacted by the recession.  Maybe it’s different now.

Charity begins with small businesses is my motto. I subscribe to all those groupons and other discount sites, but I have only bought them once.  What I do is see some I might be interested in and go and buy the sandwich or what have you a regular price.  If they are doing that site, they need the dough.  Also, if you do go out to eat and charge the meal, try to leave cash for the tip.  Not because the waiter won’t get their full tip.  They will, it’s against the law not to.  But, the owner of the restaurant has to pay 3 to 4% of the sale to the credit company, so they subsidize the tip.

Care Packages

A vet just started working in one of Mark’s restaurant.  A lovely young man who spent 13 months in Iraq.  I was humbled thinking of now that is working in hospitality he will get a complaint about someone’s drink not be cold enough when he was in combat. “I came back with my limbs and my mind, so I am lucky,”  He told me.  Right after I complained about my drink not being cold enough (Joke!)

I said, “hey I hear it’s a drag when you don’t get a care package over there”. He said any piece of mail is welcome.  I am the biggest anti war person going.  It’s my biggest beef with Obama that he has continued Bush#2’s march of war.  But, I feel for the soliders.  So here are a couple of sites that coordinate sending packages to the troops.  Something to think about this holiday season.

Bush’s book tour

Speaking of blood on his hands… W has been doing the book tour thing.  He always came across to me as an affable guy who I’m sure I would think was a charming person if I was sat next to him at a lunch.

But, I know too much. I don’t forgive him. Oh, and Kanye West is suppose to apologize to Bush, but no apology is forthcoming from GWB for what he has wrought.  That was 8 funky years we are still paying for.

Well, hello Kitty!

To conclude on a lighter note.  IS there anyone in their heart of hearts who doesn’t LOVE Hello Kitty?   The Sanrio circus came to town.  I almost missed this. Genius!  If that isn’t a dream car, I don’t know what one is. Dream car with demonic driver hello kitty

worn out

It’s starting to all catch up to me.  The great recession, not enough sleep, losing my dad.  Today is his birthday and I have a pit in my stomach.  I keep trudging, moving, working, volunteering at Vivien’s school, living life.  But, I just want to crawl into my bed and weep and sleep.

I said to a friend the other night “I peaked in the ’90’s” he said

“we all peaked in the ’90’s”

There are so many lovely moments in my life, chief being my kids.  Also nice to sip a cocktail at The Tar Pit with my sister ( which I will be doing to toast my dad).  But, dang don’t you feel like we just need a break?  Some relief from this cloud, or maybe that is just my own stuff.

The other night I went and saw Michele Obama and Jill Biden stumping for Barbara Boxer.  After Madoff I become far less political, but decided to go since I could walk there from my house and I like the first and second lady and I am voting for Boxer. All three spoke well and at one point Michele Obama was saying something along the lines, “we know change hasn’t come fast enough for many people”  It was a good speech and I was feeling that old juice from ’08. Then she said, “remember how you felt on election night?”  The crowd cheered.  I cheered too thinking how proud I was that our country had moved past racism.  I remembered being with my family and friends at Campanile crying with joy and feeling hopeful and patriotic.  Then she said, “remember how you felt on inaguration day!”  The crowd cheered.

I did not.  That was one of the worst days of my life.  That day as thousands bundled up in the cold to see the swearing in Mark and I were signing the escrow papers to sell our house.  My dream house.  I looked down at the floor.  I couldn’t shake the sad feeling even as I applauded at the end.

Election night, my dad was alive, we spoke and he was a gracious Republican that night, I was pregnant with Rex, I was settled.  Now, my financial security, house and my dad are gone.

Look I know I am a lucky person.  I really believe I am, I’m just pooped and sad.  I’ve been downsized on my TV show, The Fashion Team, to that of a contributing correspondent, not one of the main hosts. That stings a bit, I won’t lie.

If I could just get a little sleep., that would be change I could believe in.

Tuesday Two Cent 10-19-10


I love me some Tom Brokaw.  Yes, I had a big ol’ crush on him when he was on The Today Show.  I would watch him as I got dressed for school.  Oh, Tom!

Anyway, he wrote a very good op-ed in the NY Times yesterday which in a nutshell says, “Hello, people, there is a war– 2 wars going on, you know?” (Which I couldn’t access off of their site because I can’t remember my user name, but found on site with a charming name here.) I don’t know why that is not a subject for Tea Party types that a war, that has dragged on for 9 years, has drained our taxes and resources away.  NOT to mention the thousands of Americans killed and maimed.  Do wars create jobs?  Yes, but so does building highways or bailing out the car companies that supports our way of life here and does not kill brave citizens. This is a dual party failure– Wait, trio party failure– as Dems, REP and tea.


But, so much easier just to call names.  I thought Sharron Angle was a nitwit before, but now I think she is a mean, sexist nitwit.  This is the lady running against Harry Reid for his Senate seat in Nevada.  I’m not a big fan of his. Don’t hate him, but he’s kind of whatever.  But, in their recent debate she had clearly planned with her people to somehow get in a demasculating reference to Reid.  She jammed in a crude phrase in reference to him tackeling the finances of America.  It began with “man up, Harry Reid”.  Awkard, but it served her well as all the morning outlets ran it with as much political dissection as 4th graders.  Basically, it was a “oh, no she didn’t!”

It was sexist.  If Reid had told her to “fem up” or “estrogen up” he would probably be in jail right now. Like I always say to Vivien, “even if you have a right to be angry, once you hit you have lost the argument.” So has Angle with her verbal jab.

Then there are the moments when I say, “oh, liberals, stop, you are embarrassing me.”  Only problem is this one comes from a Moderate Republican, Mayor Bloomberg.  He wants more specifications on how poor people can use their food stamps.  No sodas.  Sure that would be nice if people all used their resources for the highest and best, but we are human, we don’t.  Most juice you pick up at the store as as much sugar as sodas. Food stamps can’t be used for hot food either.  Which is pretty stupid when you consider that they can be used for a bag of candy, but not a big plate of tacos made with delish grilled meats at Chipotle (my new fave!) This is TOO much interference.  I would say things like this make me a libertarian except Libertarians wouldn’t dole out food stamps at all.  Food stamps can’t be used for diapers either. (list of places to donate them) Do crack mom’s smoke diapers?


Kind of thinking of bagging my beat up Blackberry and getting the Droid.  So hard to get web access on the Bberry.  No, can’t do iPhone, I’m not with AT&T.  Thoughts?

Two cents Tuesday 10-12-10


Read an interview with a gal who wrote “Living Large”  a book about American’s obsession with anything big.  One line caught my eye.  The author said, Sarah Z. Wexler said, “We have to stop thinking about downsizing as a punishment.  It is a way to live well with less.”  Can someone needlepoint that?  The motto of the decade

speaking of which…

I am thinking of making a bumper sticker that says, “I MISS THE NINETIES”.  Love my husband and kids, but when I get the at social security report it shows that till 2000 I made more every year.  Then, in the zero’s the pattern was more like a heart monitor.  Ah, sweet ’90’s, we could walk up the gate to see someone off or great them.  We got to keep our shoes on in the airport.  We hadn’t started two non ending wars that have taken far too many people. Short skirts, cosmo’s and my old BMW, the ’90’s rocked.


When attending a potluck one should arrive prepared.  Best NOT to bring frozen food that has to be baked, bread that has to be cut or ask the hostess to dig around for a bowl or platter.  Just hosting and providing drinks takes more work than I had anticipated at a recent school soiree.  There is the hiding the junk in the garage, dispatching various family members for “more ice, for the love of god, more ice”, and cleaning bathrooms so we don’t look like the slobs we really are. ( big shout out to to the parents who helped clean up at the conclusion.)


Not that I don’t calm myself at night by purchasing some stuff online, but sometimes it feels good just to window show online, why?  It’s like like going to an open house for a house you know you won’t buy.  We get to briefly exit our own life and check out another option. I thought this was a middle class thing, but I recently met some high rollars who also love to go to open houses.  I think, “but you have a mansion!”  Human nature I guess.


I love Sean Penn as an actor, but I really can’t stomach support for Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. He has just liberated two more private companies. Um, did no one else take History of Latin America in college?  These take overs of companies and agrarian reform didn’t turn out so well.  Besides the encroachment on civil liberties, on a macro level it doesn’t work.  Venezuela is marching towards being North Korea with better weather. And yes, Chavez is a big, fat pig.


On the other extreme, sorry, you can’t say you don’t like government’s reach then complain if you A) don’t get your Medicare or B) a tornado hits your house and you bark about the government not stepping in to help.  Make up your mind.  I like capitalism with a government safety net.   I get looking for a reason of why we are in the dumper or a way out, but I don’t think voting for Sarah Palin’s picks is the way out of an economic downturn. Kind of like coming to a potluck and then wanting to be served.

Two Cent Tuesday 10-5-10


So, teens are better at using condoms than us big folks.  When I read this I thought of my single days.  I so wished I had been part of the pre AIDS world.  I would have been looser than than I was–by 50 times. Condoms were never NOT an option as I saw it.  I never used the Pill because the idea of it bothered me and I didn’t like that it absolved men of responsibility.  I got more guff from men my age or older “wa, wa, I don’t have as much sensitivity”  To which I would say “wa, wa, I don’t want venereal warts, chlamydia or an unwanted pregnancy. Sack up, or we will stop at kissing.”  Younger lovers were always cooler about condoms accepting them as the PRICE OF ADMISSION to fun, naked, spanky time.

EVEN in monogamous relationships I insisted on condom use… ’cause sometimes what we think is a monogamous relationship is NOT.

Sidebar, I was distressed to learn that a woman can get some STD’s just from naked grinding with no penetration.  Is that third base?


We were in Montana recently (more about that later).  I met many nice folks.  One person I met said they did not buy anything that said “Made in China”.  My first thought was , “good luck.”  I too have gone through periods where I try to buy locally.  Sadly, it’s nearly impossible. Here is one family that attempts to do so. Here is another.

Toys?  forget it.  Our kids birthday’s are China’s best friend.

Now, I believe we are in a global economy and all boats should rise. But, you don’t have to have an advanced degree in economics to figure that the USA borrowing cash from China and buying so many of our goods from China can’t make our economy or dollar stronger.  Not to mention the environmental implications of flying or shipping everything here.  Be nice if some of the jobs could stay here.

Which brings up the point… when we say “I got it at El Cheapo store for only $4!”  Better believe it was NOT made in America. So are the bargains worth it in the long run?

two cents tuesday 9-28-10

My Two Cents is shorter this week and I will tell you why.  I had to evacuate my house yesterday.  Los Angeles had the hottest day on record.  They have been keeping record since 1877 and yesterday it broke the thermometer.  Literally.  It hit 113 and then broke.  They think it got hotter, but can’t say for certain.  My car temp said it was 118 and later 115.  I grew up here and I have never felt heat like that hear.  There was one end of summer that was a runner up in the late ’70’s where my mom and sister and I just lay flat on the floor of our family room trying not to move.  That was pretty bad.  But, yesterday was very scary.

Our air conditioner broke.  The AC guy said he couldn’t fix it till it had been off for 24 hours.  I tried to keep writing at my desk, but my computer is in the hottest part of the house.  The coolest part is Oliver’s closet.  He came over in the afternoon with a gal pal and I was sitting in his closet.  Mark joined us and we all had a pleasant visit.  Meanwhile, my very nice landlords booked us into a nice hotel nearby.  It was 89 degrees INSIDE my house when we left.

I can’t say it was a great night sleep for me as each of my kids woke up at one point and demanded I shift beds to be with them.  I was too tired to move Rex to his tiny crib so I left him on the bed he had fallen asleep on, as it was low to the ground and I surround him with pillows as a barrier.  But, at about 4am I was awoken from my deep sleep by a thud followed by a cry.  Rex had fallen! Yikes.  I nursed him back to sleep. After our $50 breakfast we had a short drive to Vivien’s school.

Mark had dragged Campanile’s AC guy to our house very late and he got it working.  Said it was a dirty compressor.  Praise the working AC!

So, my two cents is this: global warming is real.  People who work against us trying to minimize it’s damage REALLY piss me off.  What kind of world will our children live in?  Mad Max?  Even if one is skeptical–and I do not know why one would be– all the things to minimize our carbon footprint just make sense on their own.  We only have one gas powered car, guess what?  We save  money.  We both walk more because of it. Last time I checked walking was good for you.  Trying not to use to much water or electricity?  Saves you money. Now, we don’t want to live like cave people, they didn’t have air conditioning, but the US has a giant carbon footprint that needs to be dealt with.

My California wrath is directed at the knuckle heads supporting big oils prop 23.  It would gut AB 32.  what is that?

“Passed by the state Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, AB32 has set a goal to reduce California’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050.

To reach these goals, regulations are being created that would require cleaner cars, more energy-efficient buildings and appliances, and power plants that use alternative energy sources like wind instead of older fossil fuels.”  Read the rest

They want this suspended until California’s unemployment goes down to 5%.  Fat Chance that’s happening anytime soon.  We have over 12% unemployment in some parts of the state.  Also, this country should be refocusing on green technology because China sure is.  Do we want to buy everything from China?


Did anyone hear the ambassador to the Seychelles on NPR saying they will be a failed state in 50 to 100 years because of climate change?  Very powerful.  Their coral is bleached and dying, the island is sinking.  He said he had given up on world leaders doing anything and he was now talking to the people of America and other countries directly.  We have to put the pressure.  Don’t let them hide behind the BS of job creation.  That just means bigger profits for a few fat cats.

Okay, that’s my two cent rant for today.