Saturday, March 29, 2008

You've Got Hate Mail, Part 3

After finishing up a post on approval addiction for BabyCenter, I happened to check my Good Housekeeping site. I don't do that often, since their comments are kind of messed up and people have trouble posting. But... they have a new platform, and with it, comments are working. Which means all the crazies are coming out of the wood work!

Here's a super one that made me all warm and fuzzy right before bed. Who needs a bath after this:

The title: Is Living A Cliche Painful?
I'm female and I love watching Star Trek with my husband and numerous other "geeky" things. I deplore Meg Ryan movies and anything involving Julia Roberts (really, that woman should be stopped...intelligent women everywhere should take up a petition and get some sort of ballot initiative going). Some girls LIKE sex and LIKE video games and some of those naughty girls grow up to be naughty women who ready naughty comic books and Kurt Vonnegut and openly laugh at women who read AND/OR write for Good Housekeeping. But, I digress... Honestly, this post defies words. I'm sick of running into women who perpetuate tired stereotypes and try to turn the world into some strange neovictorian, Disneyfied nightmare where "soccer moms" and "nascar dads" really DO exist and breed legions of breathtakingly ignorant (yet somehow "honor roll"), squeaky clean children. Do you want a better sex life? Read banned books, question reality, enjoy your passions and hobbies without fear that they aren't "motherly" enough, free your mind from the box, and for once embrace the fleeting moments of your feable existance with a romp between the sheets.

Aren't people swell?

More of my writing can be found on Goodhousekeeping
& Babycenter. under the name Andrea Frazer. Drop me a note! I’d love it! Or don’t.I write
* Photo of the best dessert on the planet. And by dessert, I don't mean the pie that goes in the crust. I mean just the crust. By itself. Mmmmmm... I might have gone through 2 in a 24 hour period. I think, like the crazies that comment on the other sites, it's best to stop counting calories after a while. Happy weekend!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It matters to me

As some of you might know from reading my BabyCenter blog, I've been dealing off and on with my son's tics. He has a combo of motor and vocal tics that have lasted over a year, hence his Tourettes diagnosis. Most times you would never know he has tics, and other times, they're more obvious.

I vacilate between being open about his Tourettes and keeping my mouth shut. After all, his issues are his, not mine. But at the same time, by keeping it hidden, what good does that do? Don't most "disabilities" only get more accepted with an open mind, love and support?

What I've found the most frustrating about Stink's situation is that just when he seems to be doing well, he gets a bad bout of eye rolls or coughing tics. Some of it is food related. We're having him tested. Some of it is excitement based. But alot of it is just the nature of the tic.

If you're interested in reading more about Tourettes, you can find it here.
I can promise you this: It is not as bad as the media makes it out to be. And more people have it than are even diagnosed with it.

The main thing I'm trying to remember is to not get stuck in the "let's fix this" mode. Tourettes is a neurological disability in which certain wires get crossed. Tics change in nature from eye rolls to shoulder shrugs to blinks. It doesn't mean a person is going to bark and curse like our lovely media loves to portray. It simply means that sometimes they get tics.

Medication helps a lot when a child is older. For now, we're using homeopathic techniques. And we're lucky, because tics or not, Stink is about the most popular kid on the block. They don't affect him at all. At some point, if the tics continue, kids will ask. I'm thinking of getting a tee shirt made for him, "I have Tourettes, What's Your Excuse?" but again, that might be in bad taste. The verdict is still out.

Sometimes, like the past few weeks when his tics were not so great, I feel an overwhelming sense of sorrow. It is hard to see his outside not match his inside. I worry about his future. This boy is so open and sweet and bright. I would DIE if someone made fun of him for something he couldn't control.

But don't kids get made fun of regardless? Or am I just making myself feel better? Maybe, but what choice do I have?

I'm trying to remind myself that a child with Tourettes with strong parents and confidence is heads and tails over a child without Tourettes but no self esteem. And sure, I can be upset at times. Who wouldn't be? But my child is perfect just because he is here. He is not a Tourettes kid first. He is a kid who is the light of my life, smart, funny, sensitive, talented, adorable. Oh, and he has Tourettes.

Tonight, he had his best friend from school come over. As always, I never see such joy on Stink's face as when he's with this child. There's no such thing as tics with these two kids. It's all about muddy mudpits, cars, Scooby stories, begging for pizza and laughter.

I'd love to hear from any of you who are experiencing the highs and lows of raising a child with an unexpected diagnosis. Because really, no one has everything.

And, as Meno once said, "No one gets out of here alive."

More of my writing can be found on Goodhousekeeping
& Babycenter. I write under the name Andrea Frazer. Drop me a note! I’d love it! Or don’t.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Our Lady of Leopard Prints

My friend Cecelia joked once, in support of a slew of hate mail at my Baby Center blog, that the only damage I'm going to do to my child is the fact that I dress her in a lot of leopard prints.
That made me laugh.

It also made me think because, until she said that, I had never really considered the designs I was choosing for Pip. I've always loved spunky stuff, and given Pip is quite peppy, it seemed to be a natural fit.

But it does make me wonder: Is she a funky diva because Mommy has always dressed her like the inside of a Tiajuana bargain bin, or is it her natural inclination anyway to wear rainbow legwarmers and pink gloves in summer?

As Pip gets older, it's important for me to set aside what I think she is - a firecracker who will take the fashion and medical community by storm - and encourage her to be who she wants to be. Maybe that's a quiet ballerina librarian? Maybe it's a short haired truck driver? Maybe it's somewhere in between?

It's not what I want her to be, but who she wants to be, that really matters.

The same goes for my son. For Easter today, for example, we sat in the big church for the first time. According to some of my friends, running laps with Cheetos in hand in the "crying room" is not the equivilent of a spiritual experience, so off to the big pews we went.

It went well. Not only did I enjoy hearing the beautiful music, but I actually heard what the priest had to say. When the mass was over, I asked Stink what he thought. His response was pretty direct, "That was boring."

I'm sure for a little dude, an hour of sitting still wasn't exactly fun. But I really believe, in my heart, that he'll thank me for it one day. I'm banking on the fact that even if he rejects Christianity, he will find some peace and understanding through God in some way. Even my non-religious friends have agreed that there's some solace in the structure of a mass. That taking time out for family/God/whatever is your thing can only aid a child's development. That being part of a community is a nice gift to leave your kids.

Again, the idea is to lead Stink and Pip him toward something, but ultimately it's their decision.

Now if my daughter wore leopard prints and mini skirts to her First Communion we might have a problem. Until then, I'm going to take it day by day...

Meow and happy Easter. Happy Passover to those of you who celebrate that. For those of you who celebrate nothing in particular, thanks for always coming back to me and letting me be me.

More of my writing can be found on Goodhousekeeping
& Babycenter. I write under the name Andrea Frazer. Drop me a note! I’d love it! Or don’t.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I Want A Weekend Do-Over

Did any of you play handball as a kid? Remember when the ball hit the line at a certain angle and you could call, "Do Over!" That's what I want to do with this past weekend.

The good news? Rex came home on schedule. We grabbed a quick lunch together before I had to get the kids. Nothing like a little In and Out Burger to soothe the soul. I forgot how nice a shoulder feels, also. Almost as good as a Diet Coke, but not quite.

All the Diet Coke in the world wasn't going to make me get into the charter school of choice, however. After attending the public lottery, and even shuffling cards, Stink got space #173 out of 200 applicants for 30 spots. Even if another kindergarten class opens up, it's not looking good.

So three hours later, I left. To find a parking ticket on my car.

Then I came home to another message about another school that didn't work out.

And then I was supposed to go on this corporate sponsored paid trip (which to be honest, I was nervous about as I'm a terrible traveler, but damnit, I was doing it!) But then they overbooked so I don't get to go.

And then I discovered a new wrinkle on my face.

And I can't jog 2 minutes without wanting to curl up into a fetal position on the front lawn. Of course, two minutes out, it wouldn't be my front lawn I'm curled up in. Which might make the neighbors a bit skeptical of the giant snoozing near their "Kiss Me I'm Irish" sign from the 99cent store.

Speaking of Irish, Happy St. Patty's Day! And think good thoughts for the Italians also. In addition to being a pain in the neck, Stella actually HAS a pain in her neck and doesn't feel so good. Think good thoughts for her! (And Stella, just kidding about the pain in the neck part. You know I love ya and will drive out next week for Spring break so I can sleep on your couch while you ignore your shooting spinal pain and watch my kids. I'm nice that way.)

May the luck of the Irish be with you all! I'll chat you up tomorrow because, well, damnit, it's going to be better! If the worse thing that happens is I get turned down from one good school and have to send my kid to another very good school, I'm thinking I hate no right to complain.

But I will anyway.


Okay, done.

* Image of my kids with their cousins. It was taken last year and has nothing to do with this post at all except that, well, I'm lucky to have them so close by. Given they are Jewish, I will wish them the equivalent of St. Patty's blessings and shout "The Luck of the Hebrews!" Oy and out.

More of my writing can be found on I write under the name Andrea Frazer and can be found here. Look for me at in mid January.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Two New York Husbands

I watched a brief news show tonight on the Spitzer scandal. In looking for a link, I got sidetracked by all the tee shirts being sold which I won't justify with a promo. Just 24 hours after someone's downfall, another person is making money. If that isn't capitalism at its best, I don't know what is. Not that I can blame anyone in a way... it's just odd.

What I find interesting is that in one building in New York is a husband whose wife can't wait to come home. (That'd be me. Who is freakin' TIRED.) In another building in New York is a man who is locked inside with his wife for fear of being swallowed alive by the media. (Um, for something else being swallowed earlier. Bad joke... I know, but I had to go there. And I'm guessing that she's not exactly writing him love notes right now.)

What I really want to know is: How did this guy think he could get away with it? And more than that? The hookers alone, what about all the money he swindled?

And what I'd like to know even more is what the heck would you do if you found out someone you loved was cheating on you? It's easy to say you'd kick the man to the curb, but say it wasn't a public humiliation. Would you? I know one of my readers as talked very eloquently about surviving an affair. It's not always easy, but she did it.

My first reaction to Rex cheating would be disappointment. Not at the sex so much. But at the fact that after all the things that might irritate me about Rex, trust is something I have never worried about. THAT would be the hardest to get over. Because if he did that to me, then what could I count on in the world? Friends that could move? Family? People that could die? Rex's stability is the one thing that never ever changes, and if he cheated on me, that would rock my world. And my favorite joke would go away. "Rex would never cheat on me... he can't multitask."

What about you? What do you think about cheating? What would bug you the most?

* Photos sent from Rex tonight. In a way, I could kill him. They are such beautiful buildings and I'm not there to see them. I plan on living in a highrise like the one shown some day. And as far as the church, I had to laugh. The closest he's been to one in years is driving past one in a hurry, clicking away from the company car.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Help! My Husband is Cheating on Me!

Got ya with that title, didn't I?

I'm frustrated to hell with my email - who I can only refer to as my other husband as it supports me throughout the day with its general "how ya doin's" and '"what's up's" and never ending to-do list.

Also, like my other half, it sometimes decides to take a big stinky dump when I'm least expecting it. (Sorry, Mom, for the poop reference.)

As it turns out, I'm not getting some emails from folk, and some of it's not even showing up in my Outlook's spam. Nor my Google spam. Does the fabulous spam monster keep every note known to man about penis enlargement and "How to get bigger boobs in 3 days?" Sure. But notes from people I might actually care to hear from? Not so much.

Anyway, if you commented recently, and it's not showing up, nothing personal. I hope, like my busted walls and messy messy office, to fix it soon.

Meanwhile, may you delight in these photos of summer fun! Even though it's barely Spring in L.A.. But my kids, and the family dog, didn't know the difference. (Dog's name is Boo Boo, but my son calls him "Rover". Long story. And, like a poor step child, he spends most of his time with Grandma but occasionally does "sleepovers" here. When Rex is out of town, he stays more often. When the cat's away, the dog will play!)

Regarding the light, fluffy, California frolicking - some of you might want to kick my ass as you freeze your way through April. But my kids have a squirty octopus, a busted Slip N Slide, and a new 15.00 white rocker purchased at my favorite thrift store, and I'm so happy about it, I just don't care! Not that I'd get your wrathful email anyway with my computer as it is.

I also scored a Persian rug and a new couch - the total coming to less than 98 buck-a-roos! Yeah for me!

But my server is being trecherous and awful and sending my emails to other mommys instead of me, so boo for me.

But I'm an optimist, damnit, so I'm going to leave this on a good note! Um...... I don't have ear wax! I just cu-tipped!

Happy days. Even if I never hear from you again.

More of my writing can be found on Goodhousekeeping
& Babycenter. I write under the name Andrea Frazer. Drop me a note! I’d love it! Or don’t.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Settle Down, People!

Rex is out of town for a week. With a full schedule ahead of us, I kind of feel like that cover of Home Alone. Cue me, hands around my cheeks, big wide expression, wondering what the hell I'm going to do.

Sometimes I don't feel that way. I'm pretty independent, and have been known to go for up to two weeks without batting an eye. But when your mate goes out of his way to be nice to you - not in the way that he finds is important - but the way that you find important - well... it makes you feel kind of sappy.

Here's the odd thing about marriage: You want to find a man that lets you be you, but if you're too much of you, then you feel like you're missing out on the "we". But if you have too much of the "we" then you're missing out on the part of the "you" that used to radiate and shine that made you, well, you. And so, like with everything, there's... yes, I'll say it again... balance.

I'm kind of scared to write this down, but we've found that recently, and it's been nice. Three weeks ago? Not so much. Funny how life can switch over with a little down time.

On a related note, there's a very interesting article here that talks about settling in marriage. It's called "Marry Him: The Case For Settling For Mr. Good Enough." I found it through Rachel Sarah's blog - a writing colleague at BabyCenter. While Sarah refuses to settle for the reasons the author, Lori, writes about, I can see where Lori is coming from. In fact, such reasons on my part led to a huge falling out with someone at one point in my life. What I've learned is that this is a very touchy subject - this idea of settling. Because everyone has different reasons for it, and different definitions of it. If settling means not traveling much anymore, and buying a condo instead of a house, or not getting a dog because the dude is allergic to cats, or whatever, then it might not be right for you. If setting means giving that stuff up in return for something else you want more, then that's cool, too.

What gets people into hot water is when two sides of the coin argue for their choice, because it's very difficult to defend one side without incriminating the other.

As for me, I settled for the good things and let go of the others. Sometimes I am frustrated by the constraints of marriage, and other times freer than I've ever been in my life due to a wonderful support system.

As of right this second, I can only be so grateful for the man in my life who has loved me for who I am since the day he met me. He might disagree with my choices on many areas of life, from finances to our views of entertainment, but he never disagrees with who I am as Andrea.

Today he surprised me with a nice note from New York. "I love you and am so happy to be meried to you." A speller he is not, but I love him just the same. And since he is an I.T. manager, not a copy editor, it doesn't really matter. You can bet your sweet ass he can spell every alien on Star Trek though.

What are your views of settling? Is there such a thing?
* Image taken of Rex during our Hawaii trip almost ten years ago. Pre kids, pre marriage, pre his trip to my hairdresser for a unibrow removal - his one job before the wedding. I guess I can't complain he's too anal when he allowed a woman twice his age to pour hot wax on his Italian arches. Ahh, Rex. Miss ya, buddy.

More of my writing can be found on Goodhousekeeping
& Babycenter. I write under the name Andrea Frazer. Drop me a note! I’d love it! Or don’t.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

More Tushin' For the Pushin'

Some of you already read this in my BabyCenter post, so please indulge me when I write that, as of today, three days later, the whoppee cushion is still a never ending source of amusement for my Stink and Pip. Given to them as part of a goody bag from a party, let me tell you that I have never seen either of them laugh so hard, and so long, in their entire life. Stink literally guffawed so hard in the SUV that I thought he'd cough up a lung.

They have gone from simply blowing and squeezing out air (smaller, longer gas) to running and landing on them (quick farts!)

Yesterday on our walk, Stink left Snoopy at home in favor of his new "tushie cushion." Everyone we'd pass by, he'd shout a hearty hello of welcome. Stink: "Hi! My name is Stinker? What is yours? Betty? So, Betty, want to hear a really cool fart?"

Who could resist an intro like that? One ripper was all it took to get the neighbors chatting. We heard stories about their youth, how their kids loved those, how they haven't seen those since the war.... Who knew that a fart bag was such an equilizer? Perhaps all our political candidates should start out their debates with a good squeeze of the tushie cushion.

Happy Tuesday. May you have enough gas and laughter to get you through Friday.

* Blondie is our babysitter. She's as sweet on the inside as she is cute on the outside. No joke. I want to hate her, but I can't. Besides, she loves a good blast from the cushion as much as I do. How could I diss that? Even her dog dropped his chew toy to smile at the fun.

More of my writing can be found on Goodhousekeeping
& Babycenter. I write under the name Andrea Frazer. Drop me a note! I’d love it! Or don’t.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A Diet never looked so good...

1. Why yes! Those are Diet Coke earrings shaped into hearts dangling from my ears. I found them waiting for me today from a little Rabbit Run Cottage gal residing in Ohio. Thank you, Susie Q! I love them so much!

2. Why yes, that is about the closest up photo of me you will ever see. Now you know who to look for if you plan on going to BlogHer this July 18 - 20 in San Francisco, CA. I will add a link later. For some reason, Blogger won't let me. It's probably confused by the extraordinary size of my noggin.

On random notes, my kids won't stop screaming, my sister-in-law just birthed the cutest child on the planet, and I spent a lovely morning visiting with both my sister-in-law and the other cutest baby on the planet, her neighbor's new daughter. I really want another child. But since this is about as likely to happen as my husband becoming a born again Christian, me becoming a Trekkie, my son giving up his passion for Scooby or my daughter being rendered mute, I'll have to make due with other people's spawn. Perhaps at Blogher! I hear lots of people come with babies attached to them! Maybe I'll sport a Baby Bjorn also. You'll know it's me because instead of lugging a newborn, I'll be carrying a liter of Diet Coke.

Fun to be had by all.

Now are you coming to Blogher?

Oh, look! It linked up! Yeah! I'm so excited! Is it because I have only two hours until the kids sleep, or because the caffeine is sinking in! I don't know, but yeah! And bad for me for typing when my kids are home. Off to pay attention to them. Bad... bad Mommy!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Excuse me, I'm being witchy...

Wednesday was one of the best days ever. For the first time in a month, both kids were healthy and I could drop their cute little butts off at school. What would I do with five hours of uninterrupted alone time? I predictably ended up at my favorite thrift store, of course.

While perusing CDs, I came across a child's tale called "Baba Yaga". It's a Russian fairytale about a little girl named Vasalisa who, after being nice to a cat, a dog, a tree and a gate, is saved from the evil witch, Baba Yaga. It seemed perfect for my little Scooby Doo fan and fairy tale princess. It wasn't a traditionally marketed CD. No production house or fancy cover, but for $2.99, I could be a sport.

Let me tell you - it turned out to be an amazingly orchestrated tale with awesome sound effects. The witch, by far, was the best character on there. I kept listening to this actress cackle and howl and sing and thought, "Wow, there's a reason I write and don't act. I could NEVER do that. She is gooooood."

Cut to Thursday. I pull up to a friend's house in Pasadena. She is actually a woman who used to produce the show I wrote for. Think Barbie at 45. She became a mother for the third time a few years ago when her brother, before landing in jail, got a girl pregnant. Word on the street is that moms addicted to drugs aren't the best parents, so Barbie, an avid Scientologist, took over. She also recently got married. So now in addition to being a writer, producer, and new wife, she's a mom.

What is so interesting to me is that while we always liked each other, we probably wouldn't be hanging out if it weren't for her son. But motherhood is the equalizer. 5'3 barbie doll mom? 6'1 shellpy blogger? It's all the same when you're wiping ass.

So I show up, and say, "Pipsqueak, tell Barbie about the witch you're listening to in the car..." and before I can finish, Barbie says, "Baba Yaga?"

I couldn't believe it. "Yes! How did you know! That's so random!"

Barbie: "That's my best friend, Penny Wiggin's project. She made that 8 years ago when she was broke living in Hollywood."

Now is that a small world or what?

So of course, Barbie calls Pennie, who cackles into the phone for my kids, "Hellooo, little dumpling balllllls! Are you being good or do I need to eat you!!!!!!"

My kids, who will have a conversation with a washer/dryer, would not go near that phone. "Get her off!" they shrieked, running for cover under the birch tree.

Barbie and I laugh, then go on to compliment Penny, telling her that it is the best CD ever. It's true. So much talent! Penny is so thrilled. Now an actress doing very well at a Las Vegas vaudeville show, she's ecstatic to see that her early years were not wasted.

"Where did she find the cd?" she asked Barbie.

"At the bargains bin at the local Salvation Army!" Barbie answers.

That probably wasn't what Penny wanted to hear, but she was happy non the less. Hollywood gives you a thick skin that way.

Any whooo, how weird, and convoluted, is that story? I mean, is that a coincidence or what?

Besides that strangeness, I've been working a lot, babysitting in my off-hours for a few friends. I'm hoping to go on vacation later in the year, paint my walls, organize my closets, lose 5 pounds (really... gonnna knock it out this time) and spend more time with Rex. I'm also attempting to not computerize while I'm with the kids, and it's working out okay, but not perfectly. So far, though, they still love me and don't want to trade up for another mom. I mean, who else would drag their butts to Disneyland on a Tuesday and have more fun than them? Oh, let's not forget I'm going to re-do my look. Because I'm tired of the unibrow, stringy hair do. Worked for Sissy Spacek, but not for me.

I'm not an overachiever or anything, am I?

How are you all??????