Monthly Archives: June 2012

Day 25 — Mindy Cohn

Day 25 — Mindy Cohn

“What Not to Wear.” One of the shows Chuck and I watch together; it is also a show that has struck fear in me that the hosts will one day show up at my work in hopes of making me their next makeover project. (I have made it clear to Chuck not to bother nominating me…it would be a wasted trip for Clinton and Stacy.)

For those who aren’t familiar, WNTW receives nominations for hundreds of potential makeovers – mostly women – in dire need of help with their wardrobe, hair and makeup. Family, friends or co-workers do the nominating for the oblivious makeover candidate. Once picked, hosts Stacy London and Clinton Kelly descend upon the unknowing person, with help from the nominators — genuine surprise and embarrassment always ensue — then make them an offer of a sweet $5000 credit card to be put toward clothing, in exchange for the present wardrobe they have.

Of course the show only centers around those that surrender, and that’s where the fun begins.

We were watching the show the other night, and the makeover project was “The Facts of Life” child star Mindy Cohn. Remembering how fun it had been seeing Stacy and Clinton go to work on another child star, “Blossom’s” Mayim Bialik a few years back, we settled right in.

Never exactly a “The Facts of Life” fan, I did catch a handful of episodes in its heyday (unfortunately none where George Clooney guest starred), so I was familiar with all the cast, including Cohn’s character Natalie.

So, during the “What Not to Wear” episode, it was a joy to see that, as a grown woman, Mindy Cohn still possessed the same vibrancy and charm she had as a child. And yes, she is still very round.

Most WNTW makeover guests break down in tears at some point during the show, fearful of change, not finding the right clothes, having to part with their own clothes, general frustration, etc.; but not Mindy. She was receptive to change, yet confident in her present self. She was humorous, witty, entertaining, a good listener; her dancing eyes spoke volumes. She was someone you wanted to be around, that delicious person you wanted at your next dinner party.

What I especially loved about Mindy is that, throughout the whole show, not once did she lament about her size. At age 44, let’s trust that she has more than likely visited that prospect during various points in her life. But in the here and now, she wanted clothes that fit her body, a wardrobe that enhanced her curves.

“She’s precious!” I erupted a couple of times during the show. “How refreshing is she?”

“Invite her over,” Chuck half-jokingly replied.

In all reality, yes, Mindy Cohn would be considered obese. Yes, she may have weight-related health issues; she may encounter numerous obstacles getting work in her (acting) field; perhaps her love life suffers; that is all really none of our business. Besides, deep down, I have a feeling that with Mindy Cohn, what you see is what you get.

In a world where most celebrities seem so obsessed with drastic weight loss, cosmetic surgery — anything to make themselves more marketable and better than the next person, it was so refreshing to see Mindy Cohn with her sense of joie de vivre and genuine love of self. She wasn’t trying to be someone different; she just appreciated the help WNTW gave her in making her look her best. She was receptive to change, but within her means.

Within her means. Wow, wouldn’t we all benefit if we were receptive to change within our own means, instead of depriving ourselves, going bankrupt, overdoing everything, treading water, driving ourselves crazy; in an attempt to reach some unattainable and/or temporary goal, only to wind up right back where we started? Exhausting and futile, yes?

My hope is that Mindy’s appearance on WNTW will open more doors in the entertainment industry. Personally, I think if — Lord help us — Rachael Ray can land a talk show, then Mindy is well overdue for her own.

Best of luck to you, Mindy. And thank you.

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Day 24 – Date Night

Date night. Well, sort of. Chuck and I are staying in and watching a movie – Paris, je t’aime; and since I will run with any opportunity to go with a theme, dinner will be comprised of Escargot (not in … Continue reading

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Day 23 — Pork Noodle Soup – A Taste of the Past

One of the most euphoric, exciting feelings a foodie can have is when you get a craving for a particular dish, and it turns out you have all the ingredients to make it. In this case it was Pork Noodle … Continue reading

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Day 22 — The Glory of Gathered Gumption

Do one thing every day that scares you. – Eleanor Roosevelt I was having a late breakfast with my friend April earlier today, and we were talking about how things have been somewhat slow in our respective lines of work. … Continue reading

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Day 21 – Advice to my Childhood Self

Day 21 – Advice to my Childhood Self

While walking my dog Griffin in Balboa Park, I was wondering what to write about for Day 21 (of my “40 Days of Writing” project). Right then I noticed a folded white slip of paper stapled to a tree. I opened it, leaving it intact, and on it was this typed-written message, “What would you tell your childhood self?”

If that’s not a sign, then please show me what is. It reminded me of the freeway sign that kept sending Steve Martin messages in “L.A. Story.”

As I continued to walk Griffin I began asking myself not only what I would tell my childhood self, but also asking my present self, “How far back am I going, and at what age is the cut-off point?”

Age 12 and under seems about right. There is always time for a sequel where I can cover my teen years; then twenties, perhaps even thirties.

I can probably come up with more pieces of advice to give my childhood self, than there are crayons in a jumbo box of Crayolas, so it is probably best to just hit the bullet points.

1. What I would tell myself first and foremost is, “Kelly, please stop worrying.”
I inherited much of my mother’s anxiety when I was a child; always fretting, “Would I be liked at school?” “Would daddy come home drunk again and terrorize us?”“Will one of the Rickies – several bullies in our neighborhood all sharing that name – try and beat me up tomorrow?” “Will Mom fix something I don’t like for dinner tomorrow and try to make me eat it?”

I even credit my constant worrying for my being a bed-wetter until I was 8 years old (which only added, “Will I have a dry night?” to my repertoire). I only know this because one night as my mother was tucking me into bed, she said, “Before you go to sleep I want you to take all your worries out of your head. I want you to tell yourself that everything is going to be fine.” I don’t find it much of a coincidence at all that I never wet the bed again after that.

2. Without being paranoid about what people think of you, do care enough to ensure that you use good manners; remind yourself that to say “please” and “thank you” will get you invited back to peoples’ homes. Be sincere about it; Mrs. Cleaver saw right through that crap that Eddie Haskell handed to her, and your friends’ parents will, too.

3. Be kinder to animals. Just as they appreciate love and affection as much as you do, they are also frightened of any abuse that is inflicted upon them – just like you are. You’re still little, but you’re much bigger than they are. Treat them, as you would like to be treated. On a side note, also talk to mom about getting your pets neutered and spayed, offering to donate some of your allowance if necessary. You have way too many kittens and puppies running around this place.

4. Also remember to treat people, as you would like to be treated. I know this is a tough one for you, but you’ll get the hang of it after a while, and it will pay off.

5. Pay all good things forward, and share. If you find a dollar in the street, buy some Cracker Jack or red licorice ropes for you and a couple of friends.

6. There is no shame or cowardice in saying, “You hurt my feelings.”

7. Spend more time with Grandma and Grandpa, and ask them to tell you some stories from when they were young.

8. Get up and sing a solo in front of people. Pick something you know well, like “Over the Rainbow,” or the Carpenters’ “Close to You.” You may surprise yourself.

9. Rest assured, the bullies in your life right now will wind up getting their own asses kicked later in life. Some may not even make it out of their teens. One very close to you, in fact, won’t be in your life much longer. Let’s just leave it at that (and for Heaven’s sake, please don’t worry).

10. The spoiled brats that say and do anything they want with no consideration for your feelings will more than likely not amount to much, either. Just sayin’.

11. On that same note, reach out to the underdogs and those that are bullied by others; not only will that help your compassion shine through, but they’re the ones that will provide you with more insight, and they’ll more than likely grow into worthwhile, quality adults that you will want to have in your life.

12. Floss your teeth. Don’t just wait until you have something stuck in them; floss everyday. If you need proof of how vital this is, go a couple days without flossing, then floss your teeth and smell the floss. That’s right, smell the floss. That putrid smell is bacteria that have accumulated since you flossed last, and enough of it will cause cavities.

13. It is never too early in life to start surrounding yourself with people that not only make you feel good, but that are good for you.

14. Don’t worry about boys just yet, and don’t rush things. Believe me, when you’re ready, they’ll be there.

15 Karma. Learn what it is, how to trust it, and how to apply it.

16. Trust your instincts (trust me on this).

17. Don’t ever lose your sense of humor, joy and wonder; they will see you through many obstacles and heartbreaks.

I am sure there are plenty more, but since 17 is my favorite number, I’ll conclude there. Just the same, wow, that really turned out to be quite the box of crayons! For the record, blue-green was always my childhood favorite; but as you would now find a dozen different names for similar shades – Mountain Meadow, Caribbean Green and Magic Mint, just to name a few – in the average Crayola box today, there are dozens of paths we can take in life, no matter what kind of advice we receive.

It’s not possible for me to go back in time and apply all of this wisdom to my youth (wouldn’t I be quite the child prodigy of Dalai Lama-esque virtues if that was the case?). But it is somewhat remedial to be able to put it all into perspective, and in the process perhaps honor the child that – even without all that great advice – still persevered and made her way out into the world and into an adult who, in spite of numerous foibles, (including a mouthful of cavities), really didn’t turn out so bad.

Although I have no child of my own to pass any of this on to, I do cherish the thought of anyone reading this to perhaps enlighten a young person in their own life with what I have learned, and what I wish I would have known. Whether he or she will take the advice to heart is really up to the child.

Most kids have to stumble through life and gather wisdom along the way. Some of us are still stumbling, learning and growing. But I’m happy to say I haven’t had a cavity in years.

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Day 20 — To Leash or not to Leash

James Patrick Bulger

The subject of child safety harnesses – or more casually known as leashes – came up this morning on one of the radio shows I do traffic for. The hosts took calls from listeners giving their views, and it seemed the pro and cons for leashing were about even. Some folks see it as animalistic, while others swear by leashes, especially in crowded areas such as the San Diego County Fair (going on now), not to mention amusement parks of any kind, where sometimes kids get so excited that they – yes, like 4-legged creatures – bolt.

Had I decided to become a parent, I would have definitely fallen into the leash camp. Nothing drives my decision more than the 1993 abduction, torture and murder of 2-year-old James Patrick Bulger. I remember the story vividly; he was with his mother Denise at the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle, not far from his home in Liverpool, England. Denise was distracted for a moment while placing an order at the butcher shop in the mall. Two 10-year-old boys, Robert Thompson and Ben Venables saw the toddler near the door, took his hand and led him away. This action was caught on security cameras set up in the mall.

I can’t bear to go into the horrific details of young James’ murder, but I would venture to believe that if Denise Bulger could go back in time to February 12, 1993, she would have gladly had her young son attached to a leash of some sort, no matter what kind of disapproving glances she got from others.

Months after the trial, Denise and her husband had another little boy, but soon after that, their marriage collapsed. This news didn’t surprise me, as even the strongest of marriages can be threatened when your world is turned upside down. I had also heard that, at one point, Denise, so distraught from her son’s death, had even tried committing suicide. “Of course she did,” was my reaction, “Who could blame her?”

But back to the initial subject of whether or not to leash your child, if you choose not to, that is your prerogative; but to cast judgment on a parent who chooses that method of keeping their child safe, is unfair and intrusive.

“Leashes are for dogs,” some spout, while others advise, “Just hold your child’s hand or put them in a stroller!” If that works for you and your child, fine; but many children fight having to hold hands with their parents, while others detest even more, being confined to a stroller. A child safety harness allows a child to roam, hands-free, but within feet of the attached parent. What is so horrible about that?

A very sobering fact is that children of all ages are abducted everyday; and although you can’t keep a leash on your child forever – I’m sure many parents would love that – when they are especially small, it only seems logical to me.

Having children is a personal choice, and how you choose to keep them safe once they are here is just as personal. There are many stresses in life, so if a safety harness for your child helps to alleviate some of that stress, I am all for it. If people insist upon glaring disapprovingly, or worse yet, vocalizing their sentiments, just tell them to either mind their own business, or better yet, to Google James Patrick Bulger.

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Day 19 — High Maintenance People

Harry Burns: There are two kinds of women: high maintenance and low maintenance. Sally Albright: Which one am I? Harry Burns: You’re the worst kind; you’re high maintenance but you think you’re low maintenance. —   When Harry Met Sally My … Continue reading

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