Posts Tagged ‘rosemary clooney’

Dina and Me, a Relationship in Spanglish

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

me and Dina, on our way to Catalina Island

She read Kierkegaard and Proust while I read People magazine. I realize opposites attract, but we really weren’t all that opposite … although she was definitely more sophisticated than me. Dina Mendosa, who I have now known for 25 years, is from a third world country, Mexico. I am not.

Here is where our relationship started. I received a thousand dollars as a gift from my ex-husband’s rich aunt and was instructed to use it for “help” after giving birth to my second child. I made it last a very long time and ended up moving Dina in to live with us for a few years, but I’m getting ahead of the story.

When I interviewed people for the live-in nanny/housekeeper job, she was not the one I hired first. Dina was far too beautiful and it appeared that there might even be a hickey on her neck. So, I nixed her and hired another person. That person was a no-show and so I called Hickey Girl back and told her the truth. We hired someone else, they flaked — do you still want the job? She did. She came that very day. Good sign. Good start. And the “hickey” turned out to be a birthmark. She wasn’t the slut that I had judged her to be. Not in the least. (more…)

Little Drummer Girl

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Fredrica Duke, Little Drummer Girl

I have a favorite sound, not that you asked. And no, it isn’t the obvious one, crashing waves. Nope. That’s my second choice.

I once went to Orange County with my husband to see a friend who was a famous jazz singer. She gave us free passes, we couldn’t resist. As we approached “will call” to retrieve our tickets, I overheard the orchestra tuning up. This was years ago. I looked at my husband and announced, “That is my favorite sound. So, if ever we are on The Newlywed Game and they ask you my favorite sound, that is what it is, please remember.” I doubt that he made a mental note of it, so we won’t be winning any game shows.

I have a prized possession – a note I wrote to my daddy when I was little. The note says that my grades are good enough to get into orchestra. Proudest moment of my life, and I needed to share the good news with my dad who was in London producing a play (and turning down an unknown band called the Beatles who wanted to come to the States). I looked forward to that day — being in the orchestra — my entire school life. I would watch the elegant older girls clutching their violins and dream of the day that that would be me.

I brought home the application for orchestra. There were a few questions on the form and I enlisted my brother Alan’s help. He asked me what instrument I wished to play. I said, as if there were any other answer, violin. He then said, “Okay, second choice.” I again said “violin.” He said “No, Fredde, they need a SECOND choice, what other instrument might you want to learn?” “Nothing Alan, I only want to learn to play the violin. Just put that and let me turn it in tomorrow, that’s good, thanks,” I said, as I tried to pry the paperwork from his hands. He refused to accept this as an answer because he goes by the rules. I kept insisting, “I ONLY want to play the violin and no other instrument — don’t even write one down.” Now it was a battle. “Listen,” Alan said, “the bells could be fun, you might find them easy since you already play a bit of piano? So, how about those bells?” “Okay, sure,” I reluctantly gave in just to get him off my back, and he filled out the rest of the form. (more…)

Love Letter to Augie on her 25’th Birthday

Friday, February 4th, 2011

my stunning daughter, Augie

Dear Augie,
It was 25 years ago today that we, all my best friends and I, stood around you at the hospital fighting over just the right name. There was Cordelia or Cornelia, but I had thrown them out of the mix long ago. Theodora, Willemina and variations of Willy remained. But now, it was down to the big ones. Would you be called Phillipa, my favorite British name? Or possibly Paloma? Spanish origin, but maybe too affected. Truly, I was leaning towards Augustine, not Augustina, didn’t want the A at the end. Just the simple Augustine and for short, I knew I would call you Augie. I grew up loving my name and my nickname so much, that I wanted the same for you. For a brief moment, I even entertained the idea of just naming you Fredrica! It makes me happy to know how much you do love your name.

Carrying you around became a huge draw, much better than a puppy; it was like I was carrying baby Jesus. People would come from across stores and streets just to look at you. And of course, you at them. Staring at people became a pastime. You became a great studier of people. As a kid, when movies or stage plays were going on, you would often rush to the front of the first row, turn around and stare back at the audience watching the performance. Your magnetic personality kept building and now often, when you walk into a room, you light it up with your presence. People often ask, “Who is she? Is she famous?”

Augie, eternally smiling and laughing

I should probably mention here how beautiful you are. I can honestly say, I’ve never seen anyone quite as beautiful as you. Truly. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say you are the most exquisite person. You have all (and then much more) of my mother’s drop-dead looks, mixed with my father’s magnetic personality. What a combination! The most important aspect of your beauty, however, is the inner one. Augie, you have zero malice. You don’t even have negative thoughts towards those who might have hurt you. Not a vindictive or mean bone in your body. I’m so impressed with your generosity of spirit. (more…)

The Not Best Kept Secret in L.A……Giorgio’s

Monday, January 25th, 2010

It actually has a different name, some cockamamie name like Giorgio Baldi.

There’s a story behind that, I just don’t know what it is.  There’s probably a LOT of stories behind this restaurant.  And some rumors like that this restaurant first started right here in Pacific Palisades. It didn’t quite “make it” here and moved to it’s permanent and quite successful location in Santa Monica canyon.  Which of course, proves my conspiracy theory about the Palisades  (refer to earlier piece called conspiracy theories).giorgio's to go

Is this ghetto? When I’m craving the pasta from Giorgios , I head down the hill and pick it up to go.  That’s what I did last night.  The rain throws us off here in Los Angeles, so much so that we won’t head out to restaurants or go anywhere for that matter.  And it really isn’t safe, there’s some serious flooding in the streets, trees tend to fall over and even onto cars. So we stay in.  I realized last night, not so when it comes to the amazing and yes famous Giorgio’s.  It was getting packed at 6:30 when I was picking up my to go order.  I was impressed with that fact.  And I too would have been there braving the rain soaked streets to get the best meal L.A. has to offer.  But no one was interested in going out so I ordered it in.  But the truth is I often order in as I said, when I’m craving the penne with langoustines in a slightly spicy tomato sauce.  I hate to go food or home delivery so this is the only place I would ever pick up from. (more…)