Which world to trust? Inception,Sherrod

I’ve joined the millions by seeing “Inception”. I enjoyed it and it is a brain teaser. Partly because of the plot and partly because of plot holes. My mom review would that at times it was hard for me to sit through since a main theme is DiCaprio’s character wants to get back to his children.  A young girl and younger boy.  Just like my set.  It made me do a manicure in the theatre ( rip off the tops of my nails) and I very nearly ran out of the theater to go home an see them.

Didn’t help that Vivien was so upset that we left her with a sitter, but jeez, I never see movies and it was just one afternoon.  But, as the tension in the film goes on and on I could see her unhappy face standing on the front porch I wanted to escape the dream scape, toss the keys to Mark and Oliver and go running home. Or call a cab. When we did get home she was sitting and laughing with my mom.  Glad I didn’t go chasing her down several levels ( that’s an in joke for people who have seen the film).

The Shirley Sherrod debacle caused a lot of talking heads to say that this shows that “race is a big issue in America”, or “Obama bungled again” or “what kind of name is Vilsack anyway?”  But, I think the big take away, the teachable moment is this: don’t trust bloggers.

I say this as one.  But c’mon, there is no journalistic ethics in the blog world.  I don’t have an editor going over my copy or fact checking.  The O in online stands for Opinion.  That is what it is.  Take it all with a more than a grain of salt. Trusting the veracity of an assertion from a non affliated blogger ( meaning, it’s not a Time reporter, extra) is like thinking some guy in Nigeria does have your lottery winnings.

Gotta love a winner!

Alexandra was the first winner of the General Mills snack contest.  She sent me an email excited about the huge bounty of General Mills snacks she had received as her prize.  You might recall her winning idea on creative snacks for kids was to put them in muffin tins.  It worked for her 4 boys.  She sent along this great picture of her embracing some of the snacks.  With 4 boys I bet they get eaten.  Congrats Alexandra!
Our First General Mills Lunch Care Winner - Alexandra

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.

OWN Show

You might have heard that Oprah is starting her own channel.  Which funny enough, the Oprah Winfrey network spells out OWN.  The name of the channel and the name of the contest they are doing to elicit submissions for people who want to star in their own show.  So, hey I’ve been knocking around basic cable for years on the G to H list so why not enter the contest? I feel like Cool Mom is already my mini show and how many comedic shows are done in people’s house?  I’m not including the girls next door variety.

So, if you like Cool Mom vote for me!

My F-Up

Hey, those Cool Mom readers who clicked on “Home Alone” saw something I had not intended for anyone but an editor and producer to see. It’s my raw, uncut talking to camera for an upcoming momversation about what do you say to a parent who has lost or is losing their child. It’s going to be a discussion between me and Heather Spohr who, sadly, has first hand experience with this subject. I cringe that I posted the wrong video because it’s such a sensitive issue, and I wanted to give it the proper context.

I labeled my videos incorrectly on my desktop so when I uploaded them you saw a heavy, sad video. I really try to keep my Cool Mom vids on the lighter side. I think the world is sad enough, and I would like to provide a little laugh and smile to you all. I know how much humor has helped me through dark moments, so I feel like it’s the one thing I can do. I’m not that clever or bright that I can cure the ills of the world or often even my own. But I do like to have chuckles on Cool Mom, so I’m really sorry I mixed the videos up. Thank you all who added your kind comments. I am going to move those to the comment section when I post the Momversation on this subject. I think that will be in a few days. Also note, the fading red blotch on my eye.  I’ve been a bit beat up by my month-long cough fest.

But you did just see the raw footage of a Momversation. That’s sort of what they are like when we send them to the producer and then they get all diced up with music.

I’m embarrassed I labeled the wrong vid. I’ve been a little sad and distracted lately.

BYU TV

Since I’m still kind of new to this blog world I haven’t done much press for this aspect of my life. I’ve done interviews and such for my radio, TV or stand-up work. So, I was flattered when I got an email last year from BYU TV to appear as a guest on a show they were doing about mom bloggers. I was also surprised that 1) BYU had their own TV station and 2) that they would want a heathen like me.

Now, I’m a big old agnostic, but I kind of have a soft spot for Mormons. Partly because my husband was raised one, and though he has left the flock, I think he and his siblings are nice people with good values, so not a bad way to grow up. And Utah is my favorite place to ski and frolic in the snow. So, I asked the non-coffee drinkers (right there, I couldn’t join up) if they could get a nice gal to watch Vivien, and I would bring her along and make a fun trip out of it. They said yes.

So many months later and so many emails and phone calls from BYU that I snapped at them, “You have pre-interviewed me more than Oprah did!” we were off. It was the first time Vivien and I have taken a trip just us two since Rex was born. Though I was a tad nervous that there would be icy roads, and my Southern California brain wouldn’t know what to do, what I should have worried about was if my daughter could drive. When I went to pick up the rental car they had reserved for me I couldn’t take possession of the keys because they had rented it under Vivien’s name. They took an hour to straighten out that a 4 year old could not drive the car. Not even if Toyota fixes their pedals. Miraculously during the wait, Vivien was fine jumping around the dark garage, even though I had plied her with the last treat I had.

Sidebar: We avoided disaster when the rental car lady said to me, “Um, that could be a problem.”  I turned to see Vivien putting her tongue on a metal pole! I guess we have to watch A Christmas Story. Fortunately it wasn’t that cold, and I explained why that was a BAD idea.

Off we went into Salt Lake (what a convenient, civilized airport) for a quick nosh. Then off to Provo. It was a modest hotel but fine, and there was a sweet little river running along side it. Any signs of nature is pretty exciting to these LA women.

We drove the minute to the BYU studio where I met the other bloggers on the show. Some local gals and my Momversation friend, Mindy Roberts. I feel like I already knew Mindy from Momversation and from our emails. She is a delight in person. Also present was Kadi of The Girly Gazette. She has 7 kids and a tiny waist (be-atch!). It took us 5 minutes before we bonded. Smart gal and anyone who can be sane with that many kids, well, better man than I!

A nice gal named Mary was put in charge of Vivien. It took Vivien 2 seconds to warm up to her, ’cause hate to generalize, but Mormons are nice people. They fed us all dinner. Sometimes cold chicken Parmesan hits the spot after a day of travel. And Vivien went to the theater next door and saw Princess and the Frog. Perfect.

Now, everyone was very nice, and they had make up and soap opera lighting, but it all took a while. Lots of time hanging out in the makeup room since our call times were not staggered. And the poor makeup gal, how she could work on any of us with only over head fluorescent lights I don’t know. Before we started taping they did ask us to please not say “God” or “Jesus.” Fine, I think I can do that. But I was thrown when one of the producers thought my knee length dress might show my crotch.

Me, ever subtle and polite: “I’ve worked in TV for 14 years, and I’ve never shown my snatch and don’t plan on it.”

For the show, I joined Mindy on the couch, and she moved over in Ed McMahon, Andy Richter fashion. Nice host. Blogging, vlogging, blah, blah. Then we had our View-like segment where we conferred on various blog related subjects. FTC rulings and such. My privates were covered, and I didn’t commit blasphemy.

Everyone was very nice and thanked me for my participation. Vivien had had a great time. Then one of the producers said that this was a pilot, and it might air in September.

WHAAAAA?

I said, Look, this was kind of pain to get here. I left my baby; I trucked out here because I want to get more eyeballs for my site. I’m making it a fun trip with Viv, but the point of the show is too expose coolmom.com to other people. If after all this this never airs, I will be irked. And the part I didn’t say was, “Brother, you LDSers can spend this much money on a show that never airs?”

The senior producer assured me that it would air.

Vivien played for a half an hour in the cold, icy snow piles in front of the studio. I enjoyed seeing her happiness, but kept saying, “Tomorrow I’m going to take you to a place that has way more snow then this.”

But more about that later…

The Web Files

Still trying to get my mojo back after a whirlwind work trip to NYC. And then someone said, it’s Christmas this week. Say what?? While I get my blogger fingers and my vlogger sass back, here is an interview I did for a web show called The Web Files. It’s longer than a cool mom vid by about 5 minutes. Just a warning, there are a couple of pop ads that flash across my face you might need to click off.

Oh and cover your ears, I’m about to yell “I”M NUMBER 33, I’M NUMBER 33!” Babble ranked the top mom bloggers and this vlogger made the list. My name was misplaced, but that’s okay.  It ‘s the thought that counts.

No Comment

That was the name of my favorite page in Ms. magazine when I was growing up. I was a good little feminist as a child of the ’70s. Ms. was new, and we had a subscription right away. Most of the magazine was over my little head, but on the back page they had (and think they still do) ads and billboards that were so objectionable toward women they were not worthy of comment.

I have thought of that through the years. About a year ago, there were awful billboards for NIP/TUCK that showed the two male leads surrounded by dismembered parts of a beautiful woman. Presently, I cringe when I see the posters for the new Bruce Willis film SURROGATES. More dismembered woman.  And what of my little almost 4 year old seeing those? What is she to make of how violence toward women is glorified? Or when my son can take it. Will he think less of woman because of junk like this?

Häfn
Creative Commons License photo credit: außerirdische sind gesund

Today though, I must comment on a sports column that was published in the OC County register. This writer uses Jaycee Dugard’s nearly 20 years of being held captive and raped to catch her up on what she missed… wait for it, wait for it… in the world of sports.

Pause. Yes, that’s right.

The value of a child abducted, raped, kept from her family is so little that it’s a column about the last 18 years of sports highlights. Read for yourself if you dare. The man is a dirt bag.

If a US Solider was a prisoner of war for 18 years and he was physically, sexually brutalized would a column be so callous? I would hope not, and I would think not.

The story of her captivity has been haunting me since it broke, as I am sure it has others. It’s rare to find someone who is really this big of a jerk, but the Orange County Register has found him.

Thanks to my wonderful stepdaughter Vanessa for sending me this. There is steam coming out of my ears.

Empathy

I’ll be honest, I’m still a bit rattled by some of the reactions to the vlog, “What to Say.” What got me were the comments that basically went like this, “Hey, former rich lady, quit your crying a lot of people have it worse than you.” The line that really got me was, “I don’t feel sorry for you.”

I have exposed myself more than I had EVER planned to when I started on this blogger path. I think I was a tad naive about the boundaries here. Since there aren’t many. I really only wanted to do amusing videos and help moms feel less isolated. But one can’t always find the humor in life. And after many months of saying nothing, I did decided to reveal on Cool Mom arguably the most traumatic thing that ever happened to me. And NOT just me, but my stepchildren, my husband, some of their relatives, and my own children. As all moms know, it’s one thing to have something happen to you, but when something affects your kids, it hurts much more.

On Momversation, there was recently a discussion about Jon & Kate Plus 8. Some have criticized the parents for exposing their kids to the TV glare, that everyone will have seen their divorce unfold on TV. Well, at least in LA, it was quickly known that my husband was invested through a feeder fun with Bernie Madoff. So, my children will grow up with their friends knowing more details of our personal financial life than most ever share. My stepchildren have had people come up to them, “Sorry about what happened to your family.” etc. And yes, that pisses me off. I’m sorry that will be a part of their personal biography. But as I often tell myself, one can’t control others actions, one can only control how one RESPONDS. So, that is why I thought, well, let’s try to find the silver lining here.  And I don’t mean the obvious, “Hey we have our health.” But all the people who are going through financial turmoil can reach out to each other and not feel alone, not feel isolated. Again, isolation is a theme here.

The other aspect of the comments that irked me was after having our money stolen and having to lie to my daughter about why we are moving was to have people say, “You don’t have it that bad.” Or in a sense what at least one person said, “I never had that kind of money to lose, so shut your yap.”

In 2001, my friend Nina and I were robbed at gunpoint. The man said, “If you scream, I will kill you.” We gave them what we had and they let us go. We called the police immediately. They arrived and never did catch the guys. But as we stood there shaking, one of the police officers said, “You are lucky they didn’t rape you.” I sort of feel that was what was being said to me again, right here on this site.

When a friend has a parent die of a heart attack, do you say, “Well, my dad lingered in a cancer ward for months; be glad you never had to see you dad whither and die like I saw mine.” No, that wouldn’t be kind. You will have 1) taken the opportunity for your friend to express their grief and 2) made it all about yourself.

But one might say… “I’m so sorry for your loss, at least he went peacefully and wasn’t in pain for long.”

It’s very slight the change in speaking one has to make to say “the right thing.”

At the same party where I said to a stranger, “Well, we lost money with Madoff” who then abruptly replied, “I know.” (slap) Another person handled it more artfully. She knew I had moved out of the ‘hood and asked where we were (indicating she already knew why). She started telling me about how badly some of her families investments have gone recently. I put my hand on her shoulder and said, “It’s very nice of you to share this with me,” knowing she still had her big, pretty house and all. She said, “Well, that’s why I shared it. I didn’t want you to feel it’s only you.”

That’s why I speak about what happened to me. And if you don’t like me or don’t like that Yes, I do mind having to sell my house, lose my retirement, to have the money my husband earned after building a successful business where he worked long hours and stood on his feet for years being stolen from him, then GET LOST. My setbacks, my challenges are mine. If they aren’t good enough for some, well, too bad. I have way too many other things to worry about. My son needed me to nurse him today, my daughter needed me to hear her feelings about her day, I needed to prepare for my TV job the following day. Not to mention I needed to give my husband some love and figure out when I could visit my dad in assisted living. Instead, I was preoccupied by the critical remarks I had read. Sorting this all out.

Please don’t leave me a nasty comment about this. The old axiom if you don’t have something nice to say… then just move on. Go to another blogger. I’m too raw about this issue. I’m trying to hard to move forward and not look in the rear view mirror. I had hoped to to create a forum of sorts for everyone to share stories about what they are going through. This is an unprecedented time in most of our lives.

“Please my friends be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting their own hard battle.”  Plato

More Craigslist Drama

No, I wasn’t killed. But you know how I wanted to sell our old bed?  Well, I posted it on craigslist, and I used my husband’s work as the “meet up” place if asked. Well, I get a couple of emails from a guy who wants to buy it. He then says he can’t get there himself, so he will send me a cashier’s check with the amount I’m asking for the bed-$400-plus what it would cost to ship. Thought it seemed a bit weird. Who spends money without making sure the bed is OK?

But OK.

So at my husband’s work he gets a UPS envelope addressed to me with an unfamiliar return address that does NOT match the name on the email of the person who wrote to me. Inside is a cashier’s check for $3,200!  But the return address is not Turkey; it’s in California. And there is NO note. All very weird. I email the guy and ask him for clarification, and I get nothing.

I smell weirdness.

My guess is if I go to cash this check, it will be full of beans, and I would have shipped of my bed for free. Has anyone heard of this scam? I held the check up, and there is no visible watermark.

Meanwhile, I told a lady I had sold the bed when she asked. Harumph.  Gotta try to sell it to the psychos again.