pre travel jitters

I think I become OCD before I go on a big trip.

I have pulled our passports out 4 times already and will do so 10 more times before we leave.

I always have the soap opera look, “Did I leave the stove on?” expression as I check, recheck and check again. I’m not a nervous flyer.  But, I do worry about leaving things that are essential.  Passport, credit card, children.

Of course this trip I am purposefully leaving a child behind. This has it’s tension.  I was up late wrapping little presents for his aunt and baby sitter to give him while we are gone.  Then I started thinking will he be wondering “where is mommy?” more when he gets a present from her?  How am I harming my child this time.   Finally went to bed hugging him next to me. His skin never seemed silkier, his breath never sweeter, his little hand holding mine.  The magic of holding his hand.

I warned Vivien, “When he leaves with Aunt Cecily today don’t cry.  He will follow our lead. We have to be strong for him.”  I was really telling myself.  I’m having my sister come before we go to the airport as I want him to feel he is leaving us, not the other way around.

The leave takings are always the hardest, and once a trip has started you lose yourself to the trip.  But, this is new ground for me.  One I purposely set out on, filled with misgivings.  Like going to grad school.

I pray Rex has a great, fun week playing with his cousins and friends, knowing his aunts and uncles  are there for him.

My mantra as I board the plane “it’s only a week.  It’s only a week.”  7 sleeps is what I said to Rex. 7 sleeps away from the soft skin, the sweet breath, the little hand.

Favorite Family Toy

I love this swing.  It has been a huge hit and loved by all who see it or ride on it.  It’s the Swing and Spin.  They asked me to review it.  PERFECT person to ask as we had a home made tire swing hanging from our giant pine tree.  As proud of my husband as I was for creating that I did want to give this new web like swing a try.  It went in easily and we have never looked back.  There are different sizes, this one cost about $150.  So much more fun than going to an amusement park and the food is better at my house.

Poor Tire, just sits on the side of the yard now.

( note:  I was not paid to review it, just got the swing, I really love it)

Particularly good if you are trying the old fashion “go play in the back” summer instead o paying for camp. Only a few left last time I checked so others must have same idea. I call it Camp Daphne

Brave is odd

Brave plays like a psycho-drama about mothers and teenage daughters.  It’s not the story of a plucky, brave girl who is bucking the trend like I had expected.  It’s about a girl who is so pissed at her mom that she stupidly allows some strange lady to give her mom a drug that turns her into a wild bear.  Bears are her father’s sworn enemy, so there is even more Freud at work as she has to stop her father from killing her mother. My kids were huddled face down in my lap.

Poor “Brave”  Mom.  She is just trying to stop war in the lands.

“It will end up okay, it will be okay.” I said rubbing their back, thinking “glad I spent $30 on this not including popcorn.”

It didn’t have to be that way.  It started off well.  Adorable girl with red wavy hair, fun dad, funny little brothers that Rex liked, kind mom.  Then the whole bear thing. I thought it was going to be about how she didn’t need to get married and her fierce independence, not poisoning mom so she is hunted.   Huh? Turned into premise for a Jerry Springer show.  Reminded me of when I performed long form improv and we had a good story going and then someone makes a kooky offer ( improv speak) and the story goes down the rabbit hole, but we all have to commit ( actor speak) and see the story through how ever absurd and weird it gets.  Later after the show at a bar we would could discuss.  “Why did you endow (improv speak) the brother to be a washing machine??

Forlorn actor holding a long neck, “I don’t know, sorry about that.  Just popped into my head.”

But, we were unpaid performers in a small black box theater.  This is Disney and I think they had ample time to have a beer and figure this story out.  As the credits rolled I said to Vivien, “It was no “Bolt“. A film we really loved.  Plucky girl, moral choices, suspense, comedy,lovable dog.

Vivien said, “I hope “Madagascar 3″ is better.”

Later while I made dinner I put on “Ice Age” for them.  They hadn’t seen it and Vivien yelled into the kitchen, “It’s better than “Brave”.


I get so pissed at these bait and switch kid movies.  The Tale of Despereaux was suppose to be a fun romp with a tough mouse.  Instead it traumatized Vivien so greatly I had carry her out before it was at the half way mark because the dark, boring film had caused her to cry.  Then Mars Needs Moms was hard enough on my kids, but drove another friend and his child into therapy.  The child’s mom had passed away a few years before.

Disney, Pixar, et al, I know you all make big bucks, can you just make happy kids films?  Life is trauma enough, what do you think?


New TV fave

Over the years I have become obsessed with different TV Shows.  “Mash”, “The Avengers” ( Mrs Peel!), “Get Smart” and “Wild, Wild West.”  Also, “Maverick” and “Bonanza”.  Great thing about syndication sometimes I could watch these shows 5 times in a day.    Clearly I have a thing for cowboys and action.

Now as a grown adult there is a new TV obsession in town:  the revamped “Dallas”. When I was a kid my sisters and I use to dance to the “Dallas” theme song.  Back in the late ’70’s  and  early 80’s ,when if you wanted to watch something you watched it live on the few channels you had.  The show lost me the last few years.  I was over it in college and barely noticed when it left the air  in 1991.

A few months ago Josh Henderson, who plays JR’s son, came into the Tar Pit ( our now defunct cocktail lounge and eatery)  He had his faint mustache that night, it’s  good look for him.  He knew some of the people working there and he was so sweet and very appreciative of the opportunity.  He said that Linda Grey, Patrick Duffy and Larry Hagman had been great to him.  He is playing kind of slime ball, so I think he has some real acting chops because he wasn’t like that at all when I spoke with him.

The other reason I love watching the new”Dallas” is in the pilot JR reminded me of my dad.  My brain is on high alert for men who reminded me of my dad. Did you hear that Robert Wagner? Larry Hagman is   similar in age to my dad and also has a little Southern lilt to his voice.  My dad was never a big oil tycoon, but was a bit the loveable scoundrel. Though I wish someone would trim Larry Hagman’s eyebrows. I use to do that for my dad.  I can come on South Fork and fix him right up.

Now you may not go in for a gringo telenovela like I do, but you fiddle around with their website.  Someone got the whole TV/ internet thing right at TNT.  If you are on Facebook you can put yourself and your friends in the iconic opening.



It randomly picks the pictures and the people.  But, you can chose your cast if they have enough pictures uploaded to Facebook.  Best of all you can out in your own address and make the opening about your own town.  

Like “Pacoima!”  So, instead of seeing SouthFork at the close your tract home pops up.  It’s a scream.  The one flaw, and it’s a big one, is they don’t allow you to send the link of what you created to your new “co stars”.  So, I’m left to laugh on my own.

Oh, wait, that’s usually how it is.  Well, give it a try. 


Forbes Top 100

Did I make the Forbes top 100 best ways to make money? Or the Forbes Top majors to make a mediocre living at?  I could have, take that Sociology.  Happily, Cool Mom rated again on Forbes for one of the top 100 sites for women in the US.

Thank you, thank you.  This stuff can seem kind of silly and all, but I’m still smarting from being bumped this past year off of Babble’s list.

Who doesn’t like recognition? Thanks Caroline Howard for the inclusion.  Now, I need to go check out the other 99.

Children’s book review

Here is a cute book that both of my little kids enjoyed.  “On my Way to the Bath” It was written by Sarah Maizes who is a mom and mom blogger.

I’ll tell you about the book, but first how I know Sarah.

She and I met when Vivien was 6 weeks old.  I was not working out of the home then and was in a shell shocked new mom state.  I knew I needed to do something.  Something like, shower and walk outside for a start.  I felt very shaky those first few months.  I had just engaged a lady to help me some days, but I was nervous about leaving Vivien with her.  Though this woman was mature with a stellar resume, I was not thinking clearly.  So, what would an anxious new mom who feels she needs to something other than obsess on her new daughter do?

If you said, take a sketch comedy class you would be right.

We lived walking distance to the Acme Comedy theater.  I had tons of experience in improv and stand up, but little in sketch.  So, I walked the 5 blocks from our apartment to the theater one Saturday.  Feeling like a hostage who had just been released.  Not sure who to trust or even trusting depth perception. IS that car stopping at the stop sign or is it going to hit me?

I sat down in the theater.  There were about dozen adult students yearning to be funny make small talk.  A smiling brunette started talking to me.  In the course of our talk I said I had a newborn at home,  “You look great!” she beamed.

I do?  I feel like a truck has run me over.

That nice lady was Sarah Maizes.  Mother of three and snappy, upbeat , funny and most what I needed at that moment, kind.

At some point she told us that she had worked in children’s book publishing.  You could see the Hollywood hustle scrambling in everyone’s brain, “I should pitch her the idea of Tommy, the laughing strawberry!’  I think, it’s in my file in between my one woman show and my sitcom treatment.”  But, she made it clear she was done with children’s books.  That was behind her.

So, I was intrigued when her publicist asked if I would like to review her children’s book “On my Way to the Bath.”   The pull of the glossy, color pages had pulled her back in!

Since I like Sarah if I didn’t dig the book I would never have mentioned it.  But, it’s a lovely book.  About a spunky, imaginative little girl who sees so many things while her mom is trying to get her to the bath.  Vivien and Rex both liked it. Rex asked for a reread yesterday.  High praise. I liked it because it reminds us parents who can scream ourselves hoarse  that our children are dealing on  a different plane.  They are not beat down like we are, they still see wonderment and we need to give them some room for that.

The illustrations are by the guy who did the TV show “Maggie and Ferocious beast”, which  was a big fave in this house.  Wish it was still on.

So, if you are looking for a gift for a kid’s birthday and they are in the range of 3 to 7 I can say thumbs up to this book.  ( maybe get a few and stash for the times you forget you have a party to go to, or am I the only one who does that?)


Dad Humor

In other of Father’s day I pay tribute to a unique aspect of fatherhood: the jokes.

Oh, poor dads. Under appreciated and the recipients of many eye rolls.  But, c’mon they can bring it on themselves.  Not remembering the names of their kids friends, being five years behind on what the kids like  (“I got tickets to see The Wiggles? What don’t 9 year olds like the Wiggles?”).  Hardest of all for me to take is the sense of humor.  From my dad’s generations, to my lovely husband dad humor would get them the hook at a comedy club. Their hacks.

So, where can a dad perform?

What are the forehead ( not knee) slappers in your house?

Happy Father’s day


Angry airline people

Woah, Nelly!   I just got one the nastiest comments ever.  Oddly it was written in regards to a post I did in 2008 about people being pissy about kids on planes.

here is the comment:



Y’all need to shut your little shit babies up. They’re not adorable, they’re annoying. You’re not any better than anyone else for breeding. Have respect for the people around you or get an abortion.

My guess is “Jiz” is a nom de plume.  Probably closer to what this person should have been spending his or her time doing at 12:46 am instead of drunk googling.    Obviously here is a person who knows a lot about “respect for people”.

Some days it’s hard to know who is the target of more anger: moms, sexy women or teachers.

Oh that’s right the hatred is for kids.  Watch out people, the intolerance for people at different stages of their lives is only going to grow.  I hope grandma isn’t thrown off a plane next.

Are people getting more cranky?


The silly

At dinner time I ask “what was your rose, your thorn, your silly today?”   Granted sometime dinner is my kids parked in front of a TV while I hunch over my food,  a glass of wine and a trashy magazine, but when I’m being good mom, this is what I ask.

Here some recent examples  of Silly.


attractive helmet, the nose really anchors the look

Does this count as the first pony ride?

on a hot day Vivien thought this damp napkin would cool her. Rex, thought other things


After I said “Time for bath” four or five times, I finally raised my voice “I said, it’s bath time!!”

My kids were very smart.  They ran to the bathroom and when I came in they were standing at attention ( Rex ran when he saw the camera).  It was nice that they complied and nice to have my kids make me feel like a crazed goofball, which I certainly am.

Humor is always the best way to deal with conflict.

Cheaper than a lawyer.

What was your silly today?