Gift Reactions: A YouTube Playlist

As I get deeper into this YouTube world I am amazed at how any subject you search for results in a plethora of vids about it. Hmm, gift reactions? Yep. My favorite part of these is seeing how everyone’s house LOOKS LIKE CRAP on Christmas Day. Everyone LOOKS LIKE CRAP on Christmas Day. It wasn’t just me with dirty hair, no makeup and pajamas saying, “Open this one,” while cradling a mug of coffee. There could just be a separate channel for reactions to getting a Wii.

It’s a lot of pressure this present opening. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. Feelings can be hurt, days can be made and someone might hurl.


Thanksgiving ’11


We were back.  Back in a house big enough to host Thanksgiving. In our home.  Or as I call it out corrective emotional experience.  It was a great day.  Sure, my friend Whitney got my car into a little accident two days before.  It wasn’t his fault and I have a rental that is clean for the next week or so.  Sure, all my house guests never used the same cup twice and I’ve never loaded the dishwasher this much, piffle!  Everyone was upbeat, fun and ready for football. Yes, the low rent Kennedys were at it again.
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Our annual football game.  We always have the strong players, my nephew, husband, brother in laws, friend Whitney.  They actually seem to know the rules and how to catch a ball.  Then there is the plucky.  My sister Cecily who doesn’t know all the rules, but can run and catch.  Then it drops down to my sister Carole and I who are like big, dumb guards.  You do not want to throw to us, but we can block and distract. Every year there are the wild cards.  More than skill we like enthusiasm.  This year we had a European player.  My sister in law’s boyfriend, Reinier,  from Holland.  A great cross cultural experience to play with a man brought up on soccer, or as his people call it, football.

After the first down Reinier said  : ” did they score?”


“so it’s our ball”

“no, they get 4 tries”

“this is the stupidest game”  It sounds even better with the Dutch accent.  That was the name we gave him as well.  “Dutch”.

“Dutch, you hike the ball”

“to what, where?”

It was hard to explain to him the ins and outs of football as I really don’t get it either. There is Dutch holding the ball.

Vivien and her friend Gracie played, but when my brother in law Kevin decided to make Vivien the running back she left the field in tears.  Great idea QB, little rough for the 6 year old.  Everyone charging at her.
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 She stayed with her Aunt Leslie after that and cheered us on.
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 Gracie was also promoted by Kevin.  Great idea.  She left bewildered and with a small cut on her hand.  Which was also a bummer because we lost her father “Neighbor Bob” who could actually play.

Brogdon girls are not known for athleticism as this photo certainly bears out.  But, we have the aforementioned needed enthusiasm.
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We played at a nearby park and towards the end two large brothers asked if they could play.  They were drafted immediately.  My team had Roman.  Sadly, they came to late.  The other team scored and the final score 2-1  ( how we score it)

“Wish you guys had come sooner.” we told the brothers. Don’t know why they didn’t want to pose with us in our final shot. Probably had had enough of this rag tag crew.

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Mark really dove for a ball at the end and got a little scraped up. Wolverine, I mean Whitney, tries to help him out here.
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Later Dutch mentioned he was surprised that Mark played only three weeks after his hernia surgery. It shows my Minnesota roots that that didn’t even occur to me. Of course he had to play football!

We head home and change into our dinner clothes.  Serve apps and the losing QB redeems himself with martini making.  I made a good savory tart, goat cheese, carmelized onion.  Cecily made one with nuts and cranberries.  Then we have dinner, go around the table for everyones list of gratitude and at desert I break out my annual “Turkey Trot Trivia” contest.

By the way, the turkey was from Campanile and was brined for days.  Mark was up at 4am for three days preparing thanksgiving dinner for over 700 people at the restaurant ( and a few carry outs like myself)

Rex was fussing, but I forged ahead as I still wanted to put the camera on the tripod and get a picture of us all.  Then we did the funny poses.
“okay, kung fu”
“okay, fake family portrait”

Poor Rexy, I finally put him down to bed and he had a little fever.  He had just gotten a cold.  Maybe it’s the time of the year for that or maybe his crazy distracted mom and family upset him.  I did worry a bit.

Though now he is better and I am congested and feel like my eyes are bleeding, so guess it was just a cold.

We do have so much to be grateful for.

Jump for joy.
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Home for the Hernia

Ever had a relative you have to take care of after a surgery? First there is compassion, but if you are like me that can fade pretty fast. In general, I think my marriage works in part because my husband is a busy guy. Unless, of course, he is recuperating from his hernia surgery. (By the way, it was a few weeks ago and he is fine now).

Since many of us have had family come to stay this past week maybe we can all relate. (Mark is played by my camera man Rob, great job, dude!)

Have You Tried to Talk to This Person?

Sure you have. We all have because we ARE this person. Sometimes in my capacity as a restaurant co-owner/chef wife, I talk to tables, welcome them, make sure they are doing well. I don’t sit in their lap and overstay my welcome, but I’ve noticed that for some it’s fine to click away on their phone the whole time while I’m talking. Now, I get it if someone looks up and says, “A message from my boss. Sorry, just a sec.”  But I know sometimes it’s just the mindless scroll. Obviously, since they are patrons I pretend I don’t see it … kind of like you pretend to not hear a fart.

When I was shooting an internet show [I don’t want to use the real name. Let’s say it rhymes with ‘SerHey’], it was a running joke about how much the main host was on her smart phone. I know her and like her, but this was not good for team building and it was distracting to the work. One day I shared the “stage” with another rotating co-host and as we settled in on the set to do THE JOB WE ARE BEING PAID TO DO, she pulled out the smart phone and click, click, clack, clack. I grabbed it from her and flung it across the couch, “NO phones on set.” The entire crew cheered. I wish the producer had mandated this as a rule from the get go… seems like basic professionalism, but with a society of super involved folk, we need reminding. The gal I did this to took it the right way. “Oh, you are right, so used to that here.”

Later though she pulled it out AGAIN. I said something along the line of, “Come on!”

She said, “I’m emailing my agent (or manager). I’ve got nothing going on. I’ve got to get something going on.” Translation to those outside of showbiz, I only have two days of work this week and I’m hoping I’ve an audition, meeting, showcase to hopefully pay my rent and stop the voices in my head.

Me: “Look around. Do you think the camera guys, the PA getting the lunch are going, “Ah, I’ve made it, I’m working a couple days this week on an internet show NO ONE has heard of at a lousy rate.” We all want something else to be ‘going on’.

Thus, was the germ of this video play.

Reunions: A YouTube Playlist

Thanksgiving inspired this playlist. If none of these vids make you teary eyed, don’t worry. It just means you don’t have a heart. I start of light… a little “Sound of Music” reunion anyone?

We have so much to be grateful for!  I’m grateful for people who come to coolmom!

Occupy My House

Sure, lots of left leaning folks watched in horror as Mayor Bloomberg cleared the campers of Occupy Wall Street. I’m 100% with the 99% and its message against economic inequality and politics spooning big banks  while hustle for a hand holding. But when you have someone who is demanding, sleeps, eats and poops all in the same place, well, one can get frustrated.

Maybe this “‘movement” will mature or at least try the potty?

Our Reporter Daphne Brogdon is standing by, Daphne?

If a Mom Debated Like Rick Perry

The Cool Mom team tried to get this up as quick as we could (considering we are not built for quick).

In case you have been in a cave, here is a link to the Rick Perry debate stumble of last week and the funny top ten list he did on Letterman afterwards (good job, handlers).

George Bush probably watched and thought, “And they said I was the dumb Texan!”

Teaching Kids About the Farmers Market

Hey, I posted this vid via a blog post awhile back; it was connected to a deal with Hillshire Farms. I felt it was good enough to tweak and run here as a feature. (Sidebar: we do buy Hillshire Farms deli meats and love the reusable containers.) I am hopeful my kids get a sense of what REAL food looks like. The bumps, the imperfections, the sweetness and full flavor.

How do you get your kids to connect with plant life? Nature? Or do you?

my late halloween post

Here is my update: Mark had hernia surgery- tough, but he is doing better.

Shot a bunch of Cool Mom vids yesterday.  Exhausting.  Will do one more shoot day before the end of the year. Not sure what my shoot sked will be like next year as I may need to get a new model for this “business”. More on that as it goes along.

It’s my mom’s bday!!  11-11-11  Very special day for a very special lady.

Good Halloween.  Here are some pics.
My mom is in the background here.
The black fedora and trench made Vivien a cold war era spy, so she since she has no idea what that is we also bought these spy glasses. Makes it more “Spy Kids”. The were also good for finding her when she and her friend were ahead of us in the dark with the crowds of kids. When she got tired of wearing them it became more challenging.

Our new home came with an odd lampost. It was built by the owner before the last. His son came by and told me his dad liked to go to flea markets and bring things home. That explains why the back of the address sign says “Whiskey Alley”. This lamp post use to be on an LA city street and was decommisioned. The man built a brick post around it. Which I have banged my car door and fender a few times. My friend Larry almost got a concussion when his head hit the address/whiskey alley part of this folk art. It became a ghost for the occasion.

Where I grew up a neighbor use to dress up as a witch and really do up her house. It was awesome. She always had a pot of vampire guts on her front door. Over cooked spaghetti noodles that in the dark when you are 6 really feel like vampire guts! We loved it. So, we got a black plastic cauldron and tried it here. Viv loved the idea. It felt like vampire guts to me! I think are front porch isn’t creepy enough to support it. I need to change the light next year and have creepy sound effects. I had Thriller, Monster Mash and Ghostbuster running on a loop. I left our babysitter to give out candy when we went out and she was about to lose her mind from the repitition by the end of the night.
Vivien wanted me to dress like her and Mark improvised a look at the last minute. The motorcycle jacket he is wearing he has had since he was 19. We were impressed he could still zip it up, though he said he was having difficulty breathing.
spy family

I thought we need some stolen secrets to sell our spy motif. But, props are quickly a burden when balancing candy, a small childs hand and a glass of red wine.

spy family

Just getting the kids dressed ( or not) was enough for my mom. She tries to escape here. But, the spy family held her for awhile.
 Rex refused to put on his cowboy costume at the 11th hour, but liked the candy part.
The spirit award goes to these guys who live near our friends. They make people dance for their candy and have a different them every year. Here they are the Cheerios from Glee. I want to be that creative and good at planning when I grow up. Mark strikes a pose with his fake tats.

I would show you a picture of the American Flag we put out this morning, but I wouldn’t get to it till Thanksgiving.

Have a great long weekend.

Vivien chose to be a Spy.  Love it.  There is my mom who came over for the start of the candy hunt.

Vaccinating Your Kids

I’m very pro vaccinations. I get press releases from time to time about anti-vaccine issues. Delete. Sorry, not my bag. But it doesn’t mean I enjoy these doctor visits. For example, I know I need to have my fillings fixed, but I wish they would give me laughing gas for that … or maybe the Michael Jackson milk.

This vid is not a serious polemic. It more explores what goes on in my mind as my children are getting their shots. Of course, most of the time my kids have been stuck with needles it’s been vaccinations. But when Rex was 7-weeks-old he was in the hospital and that was deeply disturbing. I allow the medical professionals to do their job, but if they only knew what I was really thinking.