The New Yorker

There is a lot in pop culture about how it’s really better no to fit in. From “Mr Smith Goes to Washington” to “Revenge of the Nerds” we are sold that though it may hurt it’s really better to be the iconoclast. And granted I have comforted myself with this at times… even recently.Some moms on the playground had a bee in their bonnet about an altercation with another mom.  And I said, “Hey, I’ll confront her, ’cause I don’t care if people like me anymore; I feel cranky.” Which only half true. I do feel cranky, but we all want to be liked and fit in.

Also, one wants to stand out for positive attributes. In junior high there was one small clique of girls who always had perfect hair. Cute french braids that held up the sides of their hair. Perfectly places barrettes. I looked like a mess as did my close friends. I use to jam a hair clip in my hair in the hopes of it looking swell; it always sagged, and by second period I had shoved it into the outside pocket of my back pack. Sad thing is, I’m still lousy at styling my hair! Oh, God… (sigh).

Anyway, sometimes you try to fit it, but in your heart, you don’t.

Books That Change Your Life

Wow, did momma need some powder in this one or what? Well, apart from my shine, I’m trying to go the extra mile in this vid. Getting real fancy with editing.

The concept for this one came from a recent Momversation.com that I took part in. Maggie wanted to talk about books that changed our lives. We all spoke about our favorite books and how great they were. But my question is, were they?

Momversation: What Books Changed Your Life?

I was very curious to see this Momversation.    It started out “back stage” as it were.  All of the “momversationalists” get an email at the end of the week saying what’s happening for the next week, i.e. “Daphne is going to start our conversation on Monday with “would you leave a cheating spouse” and these moms will do that one.  Anyone who has a problem, speak up.”  This one week there was to be a guest panelist and Mindy sent an email saying “welcome aboard and I have your book on my bedside table.” The email is like a forum, it goes to everyone on the list.  The guest said she had Mindy’s book on her bedside table.  Then everyone piped in about what they were reading, could no longer read, then it became what happened?  We use to be readers and so forth.  Maggie ( of Mighty Girl) proposed expanding on something from her blog about “what books changed your life?”  And this Momversation kind of became a blend of both.

I talked about other books then are in this video as I am sure the others did as well (and darn it, I forgot to mention “To Kill a Mockingbird” but Karen does).

But, let’s have a coolmom book club here.  Not that kind where we all run out and buy the same book, but “talk” about what books mean to you and what kind if any do you make the time for?

Presents from a Movie Star

So, I always liked Jamie Lee Curtis, if for nothing else, for how honest she is about her body and all that love yourself stuff. And “A Fish Called Wanda” is still one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. She comes in to my husband’s restaurant with her husband, Christopher Guest (NOT looking like one of his hilarious characters) from time to time.

Jamie Lee Curtis on AskMen.com

When she first saw Vivien as a very small baby, she rushed over from her lunch saying, “I have to smell that baby.” What a sensualist, what a mom. Loved it. Of course, it’s always heartening when anyone gushes over your baby, but if she’s a big famous lady, all the cooler.

So about two weeks ago, Vivien and I were eating dinner at Campanile and Jamie Lee, her husband, and their attractive young lady daughter came by to say hi. She said she was going to send Vivien the children’s books she had written. I had remembered a book she’d written about being five or something like that; I thought maybe there were two books. I wasn’t counting on getting any books, since in LA, moments like that can often be what my friend, reporter/writer Mary Ellen Geist, calls “room love”: they love you for that moment, but then it’s over.

Vivien with books from Jamie Lee Curtis

Yesterday morning Mark called from his office. “There is a big stack of books from Jamie Lee Curtis for Vivien.  And a book about alcohol for me.” (He is working on opening a bar and restaurant, so that is also thoughtful.) I was so impressed that she had followed through on her word and that she was such a prolific children’s story writer. That afternoon, Vivien and I came to pick them up and Mark presented them tied up in a big gold ribbon. Another nice touch, Ms. Curtis. There was a little card that said, “As promised,” signed by the actress herself. And she wrote a thoughtful note in each book to Vivien. Well, now I REALLY love her.

All of the books have great illustrations, and not too many words. ‘Cause if you have watched my vlog about children’s books, you know I can be picky about my reads. One book  I can hardly read the title of without choking up is Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born. This would be sweet for any child to read, but this book is about an adopted child being told about being born and her parents coming to get her. Just writing about it makes me want to cry. I had read that she and her husband had adopted their children, so this is obviously a heartfelt story, but like all of her books, it has a lot of whimsy.

I read it aloud to Mark and Vivien and he and I both got choked up because of the dearness of parents taking their adopted children into their hearts and souls just as biological parents do, and it made us reflect on the “night” (really, 8 am) when Vivien was born. I am getting this book for my friend who has adopted and one who is on the verge.

When anyone goes out their way with a generous, gracious note, I shouldn’t be but am always taken aback. Like my new neighbors bringing cookies, or the other neighbors who brought a welcome basket. I’m probably just not generous enough myself, so I appreciate it from other people!  And being raised in LA, there is an “LA vicious” attitude. Even in San Francisco (where I lived for 9 years), it’s not a warm and cuddly town.

But it does make for a fun story that this gift was from a big fancy, schmancy, movie star.

Hanging with Clifford The Big Red Dog!

Remember when you were in elementary school and you got to order your Scholastic books? Well, they are so much more than those sweet little anticipated books in your first-grade hands. They have a big, rad store in SoHo. Who knew?

Daphne at the Scholastic store in Soho

Next time you are in NYC, forget the tourists traps and go there. The beautiful, modern building is probably courtesy of Harry Potter, since they had a piece of that which has accounted for about 50% of their revenue. But, of great interest to me is their part in Clifford the Big Red Dog. They have a coin-operated Clifford. Which sadly wasn’t working. But it’s a big, beautiful, child-friendly book store.

Vivien and Mark reading at Scholastic

I had a meeting upstairs while Mark and Viv scampered downstairs. Nice to do something for Vivien before I dragged her to a few stores to shop. But I ended buying more stuff for her, per usual. It was an honor to wear a tag with Clifford on it. But that Chloe, she is such a pushy little dog.