Vaccinations.. invented for a reason

I’ve been seeing a lot of people sticking their neck out on social media to say, “enough Anti Vaccinaters” in light of the recent measle outbreaks.  I hadn’t rushed to the barricades for this round of the vaccination controversy, however we do have a story to tell.  Most of it is in this video I did when I was pregnant with Rex.

Years later a producer for a PSA to raise awareness about the rise of whooping cough contacted me.  She had heard my story and wondered if we would share it in the PSA.  I said, yes, however they didn’t pick us. What chilled me was she said of all the families she had spoken to we were the ONLY ones who had had a newborn in a house with Whooping Cough where the baby did NOT die.

I’m a very lucky/blessed/happy person that this wonderful little girl is still with me.

Remember 12 year olds need a booster shot for whooping cough.  I do not think parents should get an exemption for vaccination and imperil the rest of us.  I never believe in hiding behind religion for bad decisions that run counter to the prevailing norms of the day.  It’s no excuse to shroud woman and make then second class citizens.  It’s no excuse to mutilate a newborn boys’s penis.  It’s no excuse not to use modern medicine to protect us.  As my friend and mentor Dr. Dean Edell once said to me when I was in a pique of hippy talk, “Mother nature doesn’t care if you live, mother nature wants us to die.”.   We need to trip up her plans if possible.

 

 

More Summer trip…

Slow down summer!  My hair has been in a dirty ponytail for weeks and I don’t have to be anywhere before 9.  This is living.. So the trip I mentioned a few weeks ago continued up to Mendocino.  North of SF you see a lot more green and drivers let you change lanes on the freeway.  Definitely out of LA.  I like it aesthetically up there more, though when I have lived in No. Cal.  I did miss the dynamism of LA.

We stopped for lunch at a small, old town, Hopland.  So many towns up there you could scamper around and make a trip out of.

Hey, look there, another pretty spot

Hey, look there, another pretty spot

Eventually we got to our prize, Dr. Dean’s home.  Many acres of nature and fun.  The smell is always striking as is the quiet.  The constant noise we experience in cities makes us deaf and crazy, yet I don’t notice it till I’m far away.   There was a fawn born on their land days before our arrival.  Breathtaking to see such a deer and we hoped her mom would be able to protect her from other wildlife…not always the case.baby deer

This doesn't look like La Brea avenue

This doesn’t look like La Brea avenue

Last time we were there they were hollowing out a great old redwood stump for their grandkids to play in.  This trip it had been masionized.

What you doing under there?

What you doing under there?

The kids loved it and it was no surprise when I saw recorded on the Edell’s DVR “Extreme tree houses”.

Rex wants them to put in an elevator.  One morning he got up early to speak to the carpenter working on it.  He was trying out his favorite joke.

Rex: “why are you under there?

carpenter: “I’m working.”

Rex: “But, Why are you under there?”

It took a while but finally pay dirt.

Carpenter:  “Under Where?”

Rex “I got you to say underwear!”

Trying to be a good guest I made an error that is causing me discomfort still.  I decided to repair the wood borders of the path to their river spot.  I moved a bunch of sticks that had been the border of the path, but had moved during the winter.  I went near one shady spot at the base of a redwood to pull up a longer downed branch to make a border and then felt pain.  I looked down and there were yellow jackets all around me.  Mark had been stung on an off beaten trail the day before and Dean’s wife Sharon had told us the best thing to do is run.  I did just that.  Into the river.  I pulled out a stinger when I got there.  It was much worse than a bee sting.  My arms and ankle swelled and got flushed.  The cold of the river worked as an analgesic.

safely away from yellow jackets

safely away from yellow jackets

I sipped a beer and tried to calm myself.  It felt bad.   By dinner I was a bit better and Sharon gave me two Benadryls to help.  Before desert I was face down.

Dean: “You can’t handle that!  I knew you when!”  Sure, in my twenties my ability to process foreign substances was far greater.  I crawled to bed.   “Get up” Dean exhorted me.  “We got s’mores ready for the kids.”

Okay, I staggered to the gathering, but after shoving one melted marshmallow in my mouth I limped off to bed and sank.

A week later back home the swelling returned.  My hair follicles burst upward and the itching was intense.  A non drowsy antihistamine helped, but now back to acupuncture and Chinese herbs, which is the biggest help for my annoying skin.

Another way we try to be good guests is we cook.  Well, easy when you travel with Mark Peel sure, but I jump in as well. It’s easy with Sharon’s garden and she went to Fort Bragg and got a whole, fresh wild salmon that Chef Peel did his handiwork to.  You don’t get salmon like that everyday! Melt in your mouth.

great dinner.. before I passed out

great dinner.. before I passed out

There was a cauliflower dish I am refining I enjoyed and one morning made these scones. Some mornings you need something fresh baked!  They have yogurt in them so they are a little less decadent than a normal scone. I put orange zest in them, but I want to tweak some more and add more orange flavor and some whole wheat flour.yogurt scones

Better than a bottle of wine as a host present, Mark brought the fixins to make a tree swing.  I swooned when he put ours up.  Using a sling shot and some creative thinking he did the same for Dean and Sharon.  He spent days searching for the perfect tree.

Mark Peel, Tree Swing maker

Mark Peel, Tree Swing maker

On the trip I didn’t let my damaged skin get me down.  It’s always hard to leave their paradise, but a dose of reality in the country marked our departure.  They are off the grid so we took some trash to the dump for them when we left.  The chain smoking ladies in pajamas and their tatted up men folk dropping of their waste showed us we were not at Kennebunkport. (Note: file that character away for a sketch one day)

Caught lunch on the way

a place this cute has to be good

a place this cute has to be good

and then a big, good smelling whiff of nature when we rolled into Marin County to stay with our friends and my god daughter.  Next day headed to Santa Cruz, saw another friend and then took the kids to Santa Cruz beach Boardwalk.

skee ball queen

skee ball queen

Back when I was a little kid we use to “summer in Salinas”. ( Yeah, not the Cape)  We would spend a couple of weeks with my cousins after our Yosemite camping trips.  My folks barely slowed the car as they push us out and speed off to Monterey for a couple of nights of child free time.  At the time I thought, “Why do they need to leave us behind?”  Now, of course, I get it!

My cousins were hilarious and we loved going to the boardwalk.  It could never be built today.  Coastal commission, what have you , so it’s great to walk on it’s creaky boards and smell the frying of corn dogs.  When I was little — I was the youngest of all the cousins I tripped over a $5 bill.  The cousins and my sisters surrounded me.  “If you don’t buy us tickets with that money we all have to go home.”  Oh, sure, I don’t want to go home.

Cut to I’m playing skee ball with my kids and you have to spend about $800 in tokens to earn enough tickets to redeem for a fruit shaped eraser.  The kids were a few tickets short when I — NOTKIDDING-  FOUND A $5 BILL!!  I bought tokens and won a few more tickets for my kids.  Still not enough for a back scratcher though. One thing that is different so many years later… the rides where I have to go in loops make me VERY ill.  I can feel the plaque on my brain crumbling.  I’m sure I’ve sped up aging on a tilt a whirl. Mark and Rex are the daredevils in the family.

father son bonding

father son bonding

We stayed so late we couldn’t make it far down the 101.  So our one non coach surfing night was in a hotel in Salinas.  You know how I said you can find so many towns in Sonoma and Mendocino that you could explore and enjoy?  Salinas not so much.  35 years later and gentrification never stopped here.  I found a good little coffee place down town, but most of the patrons looked like they would have been friends with my uncle.  The only hipster in the place was the barista.  There were empty store fronts nearby.  I once asked my cousins, “what do you do in Salinas?”  They replied, “Go to Monterey.”

We stopped back at Vines on the Marycrest and I stocked up on more wine.  I had given out most of my host presents and now I needed a gift as I went back to the noise of the city.  For the smell maybe I should tape a piece of lavender to my upper lip.

Family Road Trip

Okay, so here is magnum opus on my last hurrah of summer.  To some driving around in a mini van for two weeks with two small children might be hellish.  I was in heaven.  Did they listen when I tried to tell them the importance behind Bob Dylan’s “Shelter from the storm”?  No, but we bonded in other ways.  Most of it we did as three for the road, but Mark joined us 8 days in.

Being a mom of two littles is easier for me on the open road.  We aren’t chained to our screens.  Away from stressors.  That’s why they call it vacation.  Mountain of laundry

Dr. Dean Edell in retirement, an interview

A huge part of my life were the 6 and half years I spent as the producer of the Dr. Dean Edell radio show(’93 to ’99).  Dean brought me on as side kick, I had “Daphne’s corner” and even a theme song thanks to Amy Turner!  He and Jeff Fischgrund gave me my first ever TV job as his on screen “screener” for his TV show “Hey, Dr. Dean”.   So I would love the guy for the breaks he gave me, but I really love him because in the words of my mom  “he re-raised you.”  He has been an incredible mentor, friend, second dad. Whether listening to my drama unfold on some dating situation to career advice he was there for me.  I relied on him so much that when I gave notice, because I wanted to spread my wings creatively, do more TV, probably return home to LA ( we were in San Francisco) I gave him a years notice.

Now the syndicated radio show, the syndicated TV, the local TV are all behind him as he enjoys retirement with his wonderful wife Sharon.  My kids ( and Mark and I) love visiting them at their sprawling country spread in Mendocino.  We are as close as family, but as relaxed as friends.   On our most recent trip I said, “Hey, let’s do a video.”  You can hear the sounds of the country.  Dean said, “we could prop the camera up over there.”  But, someone volunteered to be the camera person.

 

I’m filled with joy that our friendship continues.

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.

 

Divorcing with Children

Blah,blah, me, me.  Even a blogger gets tired of writing about themselves.   So, let me put the light on a fellow blogger.

Mindy Roberts and I became friends when we were Momversating a few years back.  (The picture above is when we conversed in person on BYU TV.) Video chatting and emails can make you as close as  20 minutes into happy hour .  Except they cut out the sex talk in the final edit.   I would have liked Mindy anyway, but then she said she named her daughter (sort of) after me we were bonded for life.  She use to listen to The Dr. Dean Edell Show in the Bay Area where I was known as “That Daphne”, his producer and side kick.  So, there is a cute little Daphne in her home.

Mindy divorced her husband. They had 3 kids.  They get along and successfully co parent.     As we know, this is not that common. So, she wrote a book.  If you or someone you know is thinking about pulling the plug on the marriage this is the book for you.  Our other Momversating pal, Heather Armstrong ( that little blog called Dooce) wrote the intro. (Hereis one we all did together, oh, so long ago… like 3 years.. it’s like dog years) Here is Mindy’s book to help navigate a really difficult situation.

I hope you don’t need this book, but just in case… maybe you should buy one for your spouse as well.  One less thing to divide.

Water Cooler

A Cool Mom Classic:

This is how desperate I get for light conversation with an adult: I watch my own vlogs for company. Hey, it’s someone I agree with! But it’s not just moms who find working from home a tad lonely.

My friend Heather produces the Dr. Dean Edell show (my old job) from her apartment in San Francisco. But she is a social animal. She thinks work parties are fun, so it’s a crime that she no longer partakes in that. Not to mention all the cute outfits she doesn’t put together and because there are no people to compliment her on it. We have “The Office” to show the tedium of work life, but since we are social creatures, there are worse fates than making fun of your boss.

Who do you chat with at home?

Food Mistakes

It’s always humbling when you realize as a parent you’ve screwed up. Hopefully, it’s something small and not bailing your kid out of jail. Reading a recent issue of the health section of the NY Times told me what I kind of already knew (and my mom kept telling me): that I shouldn’t ride Viv about eating food – any kind of food.

In the video, I say I’m going to link to a study about how picky eaters still get enough calories. I remembered it from my days with Dr. Dean Edell Radio Show. I couldn’t find it, so I emailed him. He said he no longer had it either, but he wrote me this: “The bottom line is, if kids don’t eat lunch at all, they make up for it at dinner… the daily caloric intake is very stable in kids but meal-to-meal is unstable… does that help?”

Take a listen to the other do’s and don’ts.