Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…

When I got home from my trip, I felt a big surge of love for my husband. He had totally dealt with the kids. He had come early to let Dolly go home at a decent time, as opposed to letting it ride when I’m here. He even bailed on work one night because Vivien said she wanted him home. Ahhh, that’s my guy.

I got on an earlier plane and called them from the airport so Vivien stayed up for me. Also, she wanted to give me my birthday present, a coffee mug that she made with Mark at Color Me Mine.

“Momma, is it okay that there is some purple here?” It was more than okay. So sweet. Granted it probably cost $40 by the time it was done, but she had fun making it.

And I got what I really wanted for my birthday: two new nightgowns. They were EXACTLY what I wanted. Old-fashioned, short-sleeved, knee-length, vaguely house coats. My old gowns were literally fraying so it was time to set them ablaze. Or whatever you do with old nighties.

Valentine’s Day

I think the day I would like to have is Sit-on-the-Couch day. I’ve been nursing a cough… Rex and I have mommy and me coughs right now. Before I had kids, if I felt off I could put on my pajama pants, my worn sweatshirt from the ’80s, and watch trash TV on the couch while I ate chicken soup.

Well, that ain’t going to happen. But, oh, if it could. That’s the gift I would want.

My New Scent, a.k.a. I’m Obsessed

Years ago in the Clinton era, I was a swinging single in San Francisco. I used to wear Issey Miyake perfume. I’d put on my short skirts, vest without shirt, short blazer (think Melrose Place), chunky high heel loafers, a splash of Miyake and work it! A guy friend used to inhale me as I came near. It actually was kind of a problem as we were always dating different people, but my scent made him wild, and I was wild for the attention.

Then one day I saw that friend, and he didn’t inhale.

“It doesn’t work anymore.”


“Your scent, it changed. The Miyake, it doesn’t work. It’s gone,” and he walked off to crush on another woman’s smell.

I had sensed what he said. My scent wasn’t working.

Then in the zeros, it was Michael Kors. That was my smell. I put on jeans, with high heels, an empire shirt, and rode the ups and downs of the ’00s with Michael Kors. I landed a husband, so it must have been okay.

But while my previous scents were about attracting men and feeling sexy, my newest scent holds for me the association of prosperity, security, a newly remodeled bathroom in a big house. In short, what most woman want as they approach middle age. Let me explain.

Shortly after we got the bad Madoff news, my co-host Lawrence Zarian gave me a bottle of Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin bath oil.

I took it home to my beautiful house that I knew we would have to sell soon and plunged my big pregnant body in a warm bath with a splash of this new scent. I was transported. Does it smell like Lime basil and mandarian? No, it smells like a fresh start. It smells like my bills are paid, and I’m pretty. I can’t explain it, I need a scratch and sniff web site. What else are you going to do to unwind when you are pregnant? Run? No. Drink? No. Pop a tranquilizer? That would be another no. I would breathe in the clean, fresh, spring, soapy-like scent of the Jo Malone and tell myself that it was all going to be OK. That my baby would healthy and we would have another nice home one day, and I wouldn’t be eating cat food at 70. That smell always made me feel better.

Cut to this past Christmas when I asked my husband for knee-high boots and Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin bath oil. They ain’t giving it away, but I figured, hey, we got through this year, time for a treat. Christmas day I got the wrong boots (took them back, added money and got the ones I wanted), and no Jo Malone. I said to Mark, “Um, you said you were at Nordstorms. I told you EXACTLY what I wanted.”

Him, “But then it wouldn’t be a surprise.” Argh! I am slightly embarrassed to say how bummed I was about this. I was, a tad furious. I had been waiting to sniff the stuff in my smaller, but nice, rented house and do my affirmations for the new year.

Once again I had to take matters in my own hands. And Voila, here it is. (I also got their vitamin E body balm. The smell is different; see if that shapes up my arm skin.)

And on a rough day, the smell still makes me happy.

Hello, scent for the teens.

Momversation: Who’s the Better Gift Giver?

This was more a more interesting conversation than I would have imagined it. I ask the ladies, who is better at gift giving, men or women?  Not sure I can give it to the women. My ex-boyfriend Tim gave me arguably the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received. Before my birthday (back in the late ’90s when we dated) he asked me to go through a fashion magazine and tell him what I liked. Cut to a couple of months later on my birthday, I open up a box, and Tim had created a Daphne Doll. He had taken a picture of me standing in a slip and then cut out and created small clothes on magnets to go with it. So I could dress “Daphne” like a paper doll, or a magnet doll. I was speechless thinking of the time this must have taken. It was an extensive wardrobe. Then there was one small box left. I opened it and it was one more magnet mounted dress for “Daphne”. But it was a dress I had pointed out in the magazine. I turned it over, and he had written that he had called Cynthia Rowley’s studio in NYC (the designer), and it wasn’t in yet, but it would be sent to me within the month. I still have the dress. I am not a tenth that thoughtful.

Maybe guys are better at gifts because my mother-in-law gave one of the most questionable gifts I’ve seen. Bless her heart, but when Oliver turned 11, his grandmother gave him stuffed faux chickens. Oliver is so kind he didn’t go “wtf?” a one would expect. He looked quizzically at it and then moved on to the next present.  My family and I were stunned. I said, “Oh, when he was little did you guys have a special book you used to read about chickens?”

“No” she replied. She must have known that most 11-year-old boys love wheat sculptures made to look like poultry. After an X Box why not?

So, I bet you all have good ones about super thoughtful and not-so-thoughtful gifts.

New Mom Visor

My mother-in-law has a ton of crap at her house. Now, there are some diamonds in the rough: old photos, an arts and crafts china hutch, a vibrating recliner, but there are also piles and piles of old magazines. And yes, she does still have her property tax bill from 1967, just in case anyone wants to see it. So one way she is thinning the herd is she gives us things from her house. And no matter what it is I have to accept it, right?  Even though I’m throwing my own excess stuff out by the fistfuls. (Sidebar: when I say I no longer want presents, I really mean it, but that’s another blog post.)

So, the other day she gave me this visor… but I’m making this gift work.

Getting Ready For Sibling

Here’s a vlog I did while I was still pregnant about Vivien and getting her ready for her new sibling. I have not one but four presents for Vivien from the baby. Everyone says to do this. I bought stuff awhile ago and kept stashing it in places where Viv wouldn’t find it. Then I forgot about it, so I was just happy to discover: a puzzle, two skirts, pajamas… oh, and something else. What was it? My brain is going.
Also, a friend told me that when the sibling visits Mom and the new baby in the hospital, Dad and the older child should bring the baby to Mom.  That way, the mother isn’t already holding the baby causing the older sibling to think, “Get off of my mom!” Well, she probably thought that anyway. I’m the youngest, so I never experienced this. I was always jockeying for attention. Hmm… reason I became a performer?

Diaper Cakewalk

Boy, do I look big! Can you believe that is supposed to be dress? It was done by the winner of Project Runway, Christian Siriano. I thought it a bit skimpy for my party, so I threw on the leggings underneath.

This was at the “he’s almost here!” cocktail party we had. It was so great. I asked only for people to bring food… a potluck. But many were very generous and brought presents for my little guy. Before the party, I received a present through Diaper Cakewalk. It was so cute, layers of diapers and a little blue elephant, lotions, binky, washcloths. It’s a twofer, ’cause it’s a gift and a centerpiece. If you are hosting or attending a shower I recommend it. I put it in the middle of the dessert table and got many compliments on it.

One drunk tried to take a bite out of it. I have to stop inviting her to stuff.

And The Winner Is…

…No, not the Emmy Awards. I couldn’t watch more than 20 minutes – just wanted to see the clothes.

I’m talking about the winner of the 3rd Birthday Present award. Out of all of the super cool gifts Vivien got this week, so far the one that has made her the most gaga is this Music Box. It arrived this morning from her friend Mercy (via her mom, of course).  She was absolutely mesmerized by this good, old-fashion keepsake. Vivien insisted on taking it to school where many of the kids were also enchanted. It plays “Beautiful Dreamer” and is from Enchantmints.

Music Box

She also really liked the “decorate your own crown” from her friend Charlie as well as playing with the t-ball set with dad last night. But today, the music box has been kept near.

Can’t blame her. I still have my little log cabin music box I was given at about 5 or 6. I still get a kick out of it when I open it and it plays “Edelweiss.”