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.

How to get your kid to stop watching TV

 

I’m not the best mom. Yes, sometimes in order to get stuff down or end a tantrum I park my child in front of a TV.  But, at some point I think enough with this 2 d world. Whether it is what I want to do or not I have to get this kid away from the boob tube.  This was one of those days.  I’ve been getting this revamped site loaded and needed the free baby sitter, aka TV, to mind him while I did so.

Now, it was time to venture onward.  Surely he would be happy with the exciting choices I lay before him.  Park, library, play space, back yard?  Hello?

I didn’t know I was about to be ambushed like a foreign journalist reporting in Libya.

 

Played out

This week has been one of the more challenging ones in memory. Rex is having a hard time recovering from surgery. He will be okay, but hurts. I knew this would be a tough week so I taped a few things in advance and I thought I’d pick one that represents what I like to do when the going gets tough…watch trash TV.  Haven’t had much chance this week, but I did get a few snippets to clean the brain.

What do you think is played out?

God, do I look tired.

Movie-Watching Mom

One of the best things about flying… actually, the best thing was watching movies. I NEVER see movies so I was catching up. On the way home I watched A Serious Man. It was nominated for best picture, and I’m not sure why. I appreciated the acting and some of the motifs, but where did it go? Nowhere. I finally got to see The September Issue, a documentary about Vogue magazine. Loved it. Ate it up. I watched Nurse Jackie, the Edie Falco show on Showtime. I was enjoying it. She is a good person who tries to help people; meanwhile she is addicted to drugs that she gets from her pharmacist lover. Near the end, we see that she is married and has two young girls. Forget it. I didn’t want to watch anymore of that. Knowing that character was jeopardizing her daughters would make me too uncomfortable.

This same mom brain couldn’t get through 5 minutes of United states of Tara.  The star of that has won awards playing a woman with multiple personalities. But a few minutes in she switches from normal mom to an alter ego who thinks she is her teenager’s friend. Her kids know she is nuts and one plays along and one is really unnerved. I was with him. Click, off. The billboards for this show that have blanketed LA act as if all of her personalities are kooky, fun. I just think of the years of therapy her children will need to go through.

Oh, and I am reading Kathy Griffin’s book. She is one of my heroes. It’s very enjoyable. And since I know people, who know people here is my signed copy. She wrote, “Am I your Cher?” Guess she knows I like her.

Wendy Part 2

What a surprise. Going to NYC and back in 36 hours has left me tired and with greasy hair.

Okay, so I got up early Tuesday morning to pump and shower before the car picked me up to take me to The Wendy Williams Show. I am not going to order $20 coffee in the hotel so I popped next door to get one at one of the those little deli places that NY is lousy with. Sadly, this  was one that didn’t have espresso.  And I’m an admitted COFFEE SNOB. I got a cup of what tasted like cardboard steaming hot. I didn’t want to be late so even though I belatedly saw a Starbucks across the street I jumped into the waiting car. Even at the TV Guide Channel they will get coffee for a guest, so I figured I’d be safe.

I had a cute little dressing room waiting for me. Fancy. They had bagels and something in a plastic tub for me. Great, cream cheese. Well, can’t watch my girlish figure when I’m tired. I lathered on a smearful, took a bite and had to spit it out. It was butter. Butter is good, but I need to know it’s coming.

Across the hall in another dressing room I saw a familiar face. I was still pre-coffee, so it took me a minute to realize who it was. Life and Style editor Rachel Zalis. She has been a guest on Fashion Team many times. Hugs when I walked over and I saw that she had a fruit plate and cream cheese.

“You have fruit.” I see how I rate.

“You can have some.” she offered. I’m not proud. I took grapes and some cream cheese. She was doing a segment on spring trends. (I’d skip the hippie prints but,the bright blue and flowers, cute.)

I tried to ask in the kindest least diva way that I really needed a triple espresso. After they decided they liked my pink dress over my orange red dress I was led to D’angelo, make-up artist and all around nice guy. I tried to make small talk but kept thinking of my triple espresso that would soon open up my brain.

“Here you go.” The gal proffered a cup from Dunkin Donuts. Oh, no. Um, thanks. I tasted it. Cardboard with milk.

“No, sorry. I can’t.” D’angelo agreed I needed better coffee.  But, now I was worried it was becoming too much of a drama. A PA was asked, and then a producer, then someone else. I was made up and was a tad worried I would have to go on without my triple espresso, which would make it darn near impossible to have Wendy Williams energy.I stole some more fruit from Rachel Zalis’s room and waited.  Meanwhile the stage manager brought me downstairs to rehearse the show open. On Wendy’s show a guest opens the show. I had my hair up in hair clips and no coffee as I entered the studio of fun. The music was pumping, and the audience was already jumping around as only a NY audience can. There is a reason shows prefer to tape in NY over LA. Because unless you are The Price Is Right, LA audiences are more mellow, jaded, and lackluster. If you have a B or C show (as in all of the shows I’ve ever been host of) you will need to pay your audience. But in the tri-state area, they are excited to be there.

So Martin Short’s doppelganger showed me how he would count me down to say something along the lines of “Hi, I’m Daphne Brogdon of Los Angeles, California and today on Wendy Williams..” (something about the octomom) and some other stuff and then I deliver her signature line “How YOU doing?”  And the emphasis is on the YOU, not the Doing. Then I say, “Here is Wendy!”.

“And she will come out, hug you and you sit down in the front row of the audience and in segment 2 she will ask you about Momversation.” Cool. If I could just get that espresso.

As God as my witness I will never show up to a taping without having pre-coffeed.

I went back up and didn’t hear at first what this new face was saying to me.

“You asked for a triple espresso?”

I nodded.

“There it is.” She point to the cup near my tub of butter.Oh, sweet joy.

I threw it down my throat and felt my brain chemistry align.

Do you ever have a nervous bladder? You are about to walk the door of your house and even though you don’t think you have to pee you get worried that you will be driving or in a subway and you will have to pee so do a prophylactic pee? Well, that’s how I am before taping a live show. Would if I have to pee just as Wendy hugs me?

I’m whisked downstairs to more great contemporary dance hits that I have NO idea who or what performs. I keep asking the young gal next to me. “Who does this song?” Because I notice others seem to know all the words and perhaps they don’t live under a rock like myself. I’m such a mom.

5-4-3-2-1

“HI, I’m Daphne Brogdon… and “How YOU doing!” Martin Short gives me the thumbs up. Then:

“Here’s Wendy!!!”

She did hug me.  And in segment two she introduced me and asked me about Momversation. I got a quick plug in for cool mom, and we quickly chatted about the topic of how I hate cute names for privates. She agreed with me, btw.

After my segment was over the producer asked me on the break if I wanted to go back to my dressing room.

“I think I should stay.” I was into it now. Sitting with my new young friends from Jersey or wherever, clapping to the music. The one thing that throws me though is the audience had all been briefed on when to jump up and to follow the stage directors cues. Applause, stand up, sit down. Not only am I more use to being on stage then the audience I’m also from LA, which means I’m mellow, jaded, and lackluster. Martin Short had to shoot me a look a couple times as if to say, “Get up.”

But it’s a fun show, and it went by quickly.

Afterwards I cooled my heels in “my room;” it had my name on it. I was waiting for Wendy to do her promos and then I was going to break out the flip and do a little cool mom vid with her.

Me: “OMG, I’m in Wendy Williams dressing room!” I had to bring the tri-state energy. She is very warm, and we had a nice little chat that I will play soon. She was forthcoming about the challenges of when she was a new mom and being a working mom. She was very interested in the world of mom blogging and wanted to know more about it. I was thinking, frig mom blogging, you have your own syndicated show. But think she got how it’s a nice support for the regular gal.

I jumped back into my jeans and cabbed down to meet my stepdaughter Vanessa. She always knows the cool places to go in NYC. We ate at the Breslin in the Ace hotel. Loved seeing her. She went off to work and I did do retail therapy. I wanted to buy everything in Kate Spade, but way too spendy. Got two blouses. One at Intermix, not cheap, and H&M, cheap. I hoofed it back to the Ace where I had boarded my bag and had one thing to do before I got in my waiting car. In the Ace they have a great coffee bar. I didn’t want to get on my 6 hour flight without pre-coffeeing.  Dang, it was good.

Wendy Williams Show

As you read this I will probably already be in NYC. I am leaving at the crack of dawn for a one-night trip to be on the Wendy Williams show. I was asked to be on because of Momversation and Cool Mom. Specifically, they would like me to riff on my bit about how I hate the cutesy names for private parts. That’s good TV. Looks like a fun show to do.

Today is also my Birthday!!! I’m kind of relieved to not have to worry about what I’m going to do on my bday. I will have dinner with a couple of friends in NY, and that’s all I will have time for. I do the show Tuesday morning, and then I want to get Wendy on my little video camera. She has a big, fun personality, and she is a mom, so I think that could be some good Cool Mom material. Then I’m going to have lunch with my fabulous stepdaughter and fly home.

Wish me luck!

Phineas and Ferb

Yes, it’s pretty much on our house EVERY day. 

Not only does Vivien love it, so do Mark and I. He is hunkered down right now with her watching it. Come on, that’s a  clever show. Those boys can do anything. I like the writing, very funny.

Please note Mark’s new glasses. He got two pair; these are the slightly better ones. The others are rounder and light brown. I’m not a fan. We had a tiff about them since he bought them without me. Talk about “You don’t bring me flowers!” I can hear Babs and Neil Diamond now.

“When we first went out you liked that I came to pick our your glasses (which were way cooler and went better with his face than these ones).”

Him: “But my eyes are getting worse, and I just needed glasses.”

If you see steam roller I may chuck them underneath it when no one is looking.

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…

American Idol

Despite our best plans to hold Western civilization together realty shows, have become a part of our lives. Well, most of us. From the higher brow like Amazing Race, to those put-a-bunch-of-white-trash-girls-in-a-room variety, at some point we watch them. The Bachelor? No, never liked it. Blech. Talk about setting woman back.

But American Idol? Well, you see where I am going with this. And what do you think of Ellen so far? I think she’s fine.

My TV

The other day I read this article in the LA Times by their critic about what TV she would watch were it not her job. I agreed with a few and it inspired me to share my faves. ‘Cause I have to say, after a couple years of not much to look forward to other than The Daily Show or Ugly Betty, some 30 Rock or a bit of Mad Men, I’m in love again. There is a reason I walk away from the computer.

Remote Control
Creative Commons License photo credit: skpy

Castle on ABC. I used to love mystery novels so this one about a mystery writer teaming with a cop is my cup of tea. Nathan Fillion, the lead, is also my cup of whatever he wants. Handsome and quippy with topical references. Sigh, he might go on my list. Throw in the sweet relationship with his daughter and his mother, and that’s on my Tivo. Downside, LA is clearly the stand-in for NYC, and for location savvy gal like myself, it looks kind of lame sometimes, but nowhere near as lame as the overly slick CSI franchise (blech).

The Good Wife on CBS. On ER, Juliane Margulies kind of bugged, but not here. On The Good Wife, she is the working mom dealing after life slapped her in the face. For her, the slap was her politician hubby (Chris Noth- Mr Big) involved in a political scandal that exposed his infidelity and landed him in jail. Since I’ve been forging ahead after my “money manager” went to jail I watch with a “you go girl!” enthusiasm.

Modern Family on ABC (Hey, ABC is geared toward a female demo). The pilot was super funny. The rest have been not as funny, but good. Yes, they have the have a skinny woman who looks about 34 with three kids, the oldest being 15 (who looks 20), but other than having to suspend my inner math, I do enjoy this show. The gay couple really make it. When they go to a mommy and me class and feel self-conscious, it struck a blow for all of us who have gone to those classes or groups feeling like all the other moms are friends or who worry where our kids rank developmentally.

The Middle on ABC. Why isn’t this being talked about? The most realistic mom on TV is played by Patricia Heaton. I love that her kids are all losers and her husband really looks like he would be her husband. Her house is messy, and she is always running around between her job and her kid’s school or taking care of elderly relatives. It’s not like The Cosby Show where the parents calmly sat and waited at home to talk to their smart kids. Or In the Motherhood where they all too cute with their jeans tucked in boots. Downside, they always tack on a voiceover with a “but all in all, my life is great.” That undercuts the realness that has transpired for the last 25 minutes. They don’t need to. It’s still a comedy, she still loves her family, we get it, don’t need the forced Pollyana bit.

These can all be watched online as well.

Okay, so that’s what I do after the kids are asleep. How about you?