Hold me I’m frightened…

Rex started kindergarten.  I was surprised by my reaction.  Felt fine.  Till we crossed the threshold of the campus that was filled the chaos and crowds of Kuala Lumpur right before the Japanese approached. Then I wanted to cry.  Sob.  My tough boy was gripping my hand as I said my hellos.  I kept indicating without words how I felt so as not to upset Rex. ( Finger from corner of eye down, tear).

on the way to school.  Support from his sister

on the way to school. Support from his sister

At one point a nice mom spoke to me about something unrelated.  I nodded politely, but she might as well have had burning hair on her head as I couldn’t make out what she said.  “I’m in CRISIS right now”  I thought.

The last few days he had been saying “I want to stay in pre school.”  I can’t say the truth.  I do too. You are right.  It’s all down hill from here.  Until you get your drivers license and feel someone up sexually.

Happily They only have half days for the start.  So I took him out to celebrate.  Sweets, natch.  cupcakes

I was squeezing the last bit of summer I could out of this truncated season.  I do not believe it is right that children begin school before Congress is back in session. Totally messed up.  So, now that Labor day is no longer sacred we traveled till the 11th hour.  We spent the last 10 days glamping it through California.  A family reunion with American and Dutch family was like a dream commune existence, but with continental breakfast.  Kids jumped out of bed to safely play with extended cousins while we slept in and leisurely made some coffee before we hiked, swam, drank beer.

a few of us who discovered some vineyards

a few of us who discovered some vineyards

" eat this, my dad's a chef

” eat this, my dad’s a chef

in case Mark and I lost each other, we had name tags.

in case Mark and I lost each other, we had name tags.

 

Off to my family’s annual pilgrimage to Yosemite.  I love it so.

Rex finds his own perch

Rex finds his own perch

That $600 in swim lessons paid off.  First summer with out a float vest.

always somewhere to climb

always somewhere to climb

Side bar,  one interesting thing I noticed in Yosemite this year.. no, not low water, brown grass and over priced bland food, I expected that, but there were so many foreigners.  I don’t mean to sound Archie Bunker, and I know it’s  a world wide destination, but there were more Europeans there than any year I can remember.  I offered to take photos for so many German tourists I was afraid the French and British visitors would brand me as a collaborator.  Later when we were at the Lodge in the valley a French woman was complaining to the hostess at the Mountain Room Broiler ( they call it grill, but whatever it was called in 1978 is what I call it) Oh, I’m from Culver City and I know it’s not great.  If you were from France, oy!  I had to interject.  “It’s not good, no where around here is going to be good.”  The hostess smiled, while French lady looked unbelieving.  I found her husband outside, “I just talked to your wife.  Tell her we all know the food is not very good in the park.” Blank face.  I should have just offered to take their picture.

Rex loves the cafeteria there.  He calls it the “Room with all the food.”  Me:” the cafeteria?”  ie, that dump?  “Yes, mommy I love it!”

We played in the river.  We saw deer. deer in yosemiteyosemite with kids

Rex ran naked through the fields and woods. I brought my wine, so it was all good to me. I got no cell reception–yippiee!  That’s living.

One day we went to the pioneer village and watched a Blacksmith work. kids and blacksmitth I have rarely seen my kids so fascinated and focused on the 3 dimensional world.  I didn’t prattle on about my love of Laura Ingalls Wilder, just in my inner voice.stagecoachWhen I take the winding road in or out of Yosemite I marvel at the people of yore who came there on horseback and coach.  10 minutes in a stage coach and I needed a kidney transplant.  How did they do it?  When we left I offered to take my kids to the Mariposa Grove to see the big redwoods.  Rex has been talking about big trees for two years since we went through a deep forest near the Oregon border.  “NO”  They screamed.  They were worn out.

45 minutes later.  “You guys let’s say we get lunch in Fresno and go back to school shopping.”  The back seat cheered.  I cheered to be in a smaller scale city with a Macy’s I could practically park in front of the door, everything was on sale and they called me ma’m.  Big city living can be tasking, nice to be in  a medium market.

So, we are the brink of day 2 of Kinder.  “How was it Rex?”

“Horrible and sort of awesome.”  I told Mark that Rex said he is afraid of not having friends.  Mark looked up, ” I’m still worried about that.”  I think that’s why it does choke me up.  We all feel uneasy going into a new space, new people, but as we age we learn to shove the feelings down, or mask them.  But, we know our little ones are still open, vulnerable.  Will he be ok?  Probably.  But, it’s also the beginning of me not being able to fix things in his life.  The separating.  My heart breaks a little. Wish we could get back on the road where I feel somewhat in control.

 

couch surfing road trip

WHEN KIDS TAKE PICTURES   I go to a restaurant and I want to eat in peace and not be thrown out so I give my kid my phone.  Later I find many, many photos on my phone that I delete.  But sometimes there is a gem.  Perhaps I should an curate art show.  “Shots my kid took that were actually good.” I bet, you have found some good ones as well?  By the way… Who puts Venetian plaster on a ceiling? When you travel as we just did, you do go to restaurants more than at home.  So it’s good to have your batteries charged. The ones in your phone, for your human battieries, you get out of town.  But, when you are watching the dollars, HOW?  We did a couch surfing through California trip.  It helps if your friends live in cool places.  Our first stop is with the Abascals at their Vines of the Marycrest winery.  Victor family knew my family so when our kids play we are gazing upon  a third generation friendship.  They live in Paso Robles and we speed up the road so we could get to the town square in time for Paso’s first concert in the park of the summer. vines of the marycrestI love this picture, except I’m not sure why I have my hand like that.  Perhaps my hand wanted more wine since it’s pointing in the direction of Vic’s winery.  We are Culver City kids and he planted his first vines on our hill at the top which is called Marycrest Manor. Objectively, the wine is great and I’m a wine snob.  You can’t find it in stores unless you live in Paso, so order some!   We use to serve one of his reds, “Heart of Glass” at Campanile when it was, well, you know… open. The most recent vintage of Heart that I tasted has a great smokey taste to it. Now, in general I’m not a fan of California wines.  I tend to like the taste of old world wines more.  More restrained.  Victor has found the balance of restraint with the fruit flavor we get from our California reds.  Plus, his rose’ “Summertime” is so good I bought a case and passed them out like Johnny Appleseed as host presents to all those who put us up for the night.  Another reason my first stop is his place.  I’m a white wine nut, usually French whites, which, I use to be surprised by, are often cheaper than California whites.  I like the dry, crisp, mineral nature of them.  However, once again Culver City boy has made a white I love.  Appropriately titled, “At Last”.  You can see he likes music.  None of the overly fruit, buttery Cal syrup I can’t stand.  Goes great with fish, cheese, the leftovers I’m eating right now standing in front of my fridge.  Oh, we’ll skip that. I love the dry air up in Paso there and we walked the vineyards before hitting the road to San Fran which has cold damp air that I don’t love.  vines of the marycrest All 26 acres was covered in almond trees and Victor took them out himself.  So, you could buy some crap wine that has the muscle to get into  a supermarket, but why?  Often for the same price you can buy quality stuff from people who don’t have the marketing budget.  Please, don’t tell me there is good wine at Trader Joe’s.  There isn’t. vines of the marycrest moms who love wine   Back in the car the next day.. if I’m not driving I watch a movie with the kids.  “Nanny McPhee” is good.  Guess Rex had seen enough.colin firthroad trip with kids There is never enough time to see all the friends I want to in Nor. Cal.  I lived there for 12 years.   We had expensive dinner in SF.  It was good, largely seafood, but I was surprised at the cost.  No wonder I cook at home more often than not these days.  The problem is where to source good ingredients.  My local markets fish, eh at best.  I just got ground beef that was neither smart, but certainly final, the final time I buy meat from them.  I digress. We save on a hotel though.. a friend left the keys to her SF pad for us ( she was in Tahoe).  My kids were so charmed by the small balcony and little back yard. san fran with kids I think Rex started to go nihilistic urbannihilistic child I tried to explain that this was a good amount of space for the City, but they didn’t care.  They perched themselves on the tiny metal balcony and watched people go by. Time to head back to the country…. ( Next post)

I am going to play Sun City

Suck it “We are the world”  for my money the best superstar, cause anthem was and is “Ain’t going to play Sun City.”  It has terrific energy and even though the haircuts look very ’80’s I think it holds up well after all these years.

It was also one of things that started to make me aware of apartheid. Sun City was a white only resort smack dab in an impoverished black homeland. ( ironically the guy who created it went on to do a casino on Indian land in the US….hmmm)

This is one of the awkward times when I have to admit the age I really am.  I was no child when the divestment issue was going on in the ’80’s.  I was sitting in and got arrested.  It’s easy to see things as black and white when you are a teenager.  Youth can be insufferable in their righteousness, but with Mandela’s passing I find myself glad I was not detached.

I would not have been asked to play Sun City and I doubt Run -DMC would have been either (Frank Sinatra did, ouch).  My sister and I use to change the lyrics to “ain’t going to play Culver City.” And put in our own hometown references like this:

flashing red light on Overland

lines at Alpha Beta I can’t understand

Sorrento Market isn’t open late

We are driving to the Marina, just to get a bite,

Say it, I I I I, ain’t going play Culver City-tay.. ahhh

But, the song created by Steven Van Zandt did the job. (full story here) Apartheid wasn’t cool and only unhip people participated in it.  Love the references to Reagan in the video, the whole thing screams my youth. Some notables who are gone  performed on it, like Lou Reed, Joey Ramone and Miles Davis. There is a lot of “wait, who is that guy?  Oh, yeah Peter Wolf.”

On the occasion of Mandela’s passing I think of the other greats like Martin Luther King or a nameless protestor sentenced to death after  Tiananmen square who did not get to grow old and continue to seek liberty for all. We are fortunate that Mandela was able to fullfill his mission. To survive prison is a feat, to come out and not want to knock heads when you do is inspiring.

This is about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  Nelson Mandela dancing to some Irish music and these two dudes start dancing with him.  A rainbow world rejoicing in song.

So, I’m going to be cranking “Sun City” because it’s a good song, reminds me that sometimes it’s good to be naive and think you can effect change.  Because you can. Mandela would want us to dance.  Dance together.

 

Getting back to my roots

Let’s talk about the really big news around here.  My hair.

After 20 years of dying my hair blonde.  I have gone back to my roots. Well, with a few highlights as well.  I’ve been thinking about this for a long time.

I'm naturally blonde and I have a cake!

Hear is my Hair Story:  Like many of us I was a blonde little child.  Golden locks, wispy buttery strands that flew through the rich Culver City air.  I stood out in my clan as they were all brown haired, brown eyed people.

Make Blonde not war

Then in adolescents.. I started to change.  The hair became darker, so I sprayed on Sun In.  But, that left it kind of orangy.  By High School I was done trying.  It was all brown.  My super thick hair a blunt cut that sat on my head like a helmet.  So, I cut it SHORT.  Very Molly Ringwald 1980’s. Daphne Brogdon 1980’s.

Molly, not me, but very close

I went to college and let it go where it would.  I was thinking about saving the world and listening to Grateful Dead, wearing huarache sandals so I didn’t realize that I had developed (gulp)

A MULLET

It was even kind of blue for awhile and then red, due to some temporary dye that wasn’t.  But, hey college is a time of experimentation, right?

"Does that girl have a mullet?"

I went home one summer before my junior year and walked into my friend Carolyn’s hair salon.  “OMG ” she screamed,  ” You look like someone from Sonoma County.”  This was before Sonoma county had great wine and cheese, but was hick central.  I finally came to.

“HELP ME”  She chopped the party in the back off.  Several weeks later she put in highlights.  Then I was on the road to blonde.  It felt like I was back to me.  The golden child.

Now, blondes do turn heads.  But, not so much when they are in sweat pants pushing a stroller.  I like my blonde when I’m all done up or on TV.

If only I always looked like this. But then I'd be on Real Housewives of Culver City

But, that’s not what most of my life is like.  I still want to be pretty.  I have not “given up”.  But, I don’t want to chase a look right now either. It’s also a lot of maintenance and money. I tell Vivien as I gaze at her naturally perfect highlighted hair, don’t chase the blonde Viv.  When you are older, go gently into the sweet night of brown. I don’t want her to spend time on that when she will be in a great scientist discovering a cure for cancer.  She has better things to do.

So, I’ve gone brown.  I’ve gone bangs.  Michele Obama said her bangs were her mid life crisis.  I feel kind of the same way. Although, I would prefer Channing Tatum or Bradley Cooper to also be part of this crisis.“Daph, we like brunettes. Brown brings out the blue eyes”

This is going to sound really goofy, but going darker is one of the bravest things I’ve done in a while.  My friends really see it.  Most like it, a few say they prefer the blonde.  Talking about hair sounds trite, yet it is a part of our identity.

I’ll probably go blonde again.  I always pictured myself a little old lady in a golf dress  with over tan skin in Palm Springs, short blonde hair dropping coins for the lifeguard to pick up for me

I would love to look like Cloris when I'm her age

We’ll see.

 

Old (dead) friends

As some of you know I’m proud of my esteemed Culver City roots. But, you might not know that The Brogdon Girls were raised in the Culver Crest. Yes, that Crest, the Bel Air of Culver City. Or so we thought in our middle class minds frolicking in a sea of ‘50’s ranch houses.
Recently my sister Carole ran into a woman who was also a “crestor” . They were excited to connect as we knew each other’s families. We quickly arranged a dinner. She brought her two brothers, one who I had known, the other I did not. They are lovely, accomplished people. It’s funny how much you have in common with people you haven’t seen in over (well over) 30 years.

I had gone to the dinner thinking, oh, I wish their dear mom was still alive, I wish my dad was still alive. But, by the end of dinner I felt like the winner on Survivor.

I found out several people of our generation were gone. Some many years ago. Accidents, tumors, drugs, all different reasons. I wrote my brother ( like a brother, long story) in Australia. He called right away. He too was shocked at the names of the people who were no longer on this earth.

It is hard to reconcile the uneven teeth smile elementary school pictures in my mind with what happened later.