My son got a Wii from Santa. (Dear Santa, if the Tarzan comes back with a vengence I'm going to pluck out your beard white hair by white hair.)

My daughter got a trampoline. Stink gets to jump on that after his hour on the Wii. My new theory is that the cure to TS and high dopamine levels is flexible rubber! (Well, flexible rubber is how I ended up with my little ticker in the first place, so never mind. Da Dum Dum....)

And moving right along, Rex and I agreed to not buy each other Christmas gifts and instead hold out for discount Wicked tickets in January.

But first my goal is to get my blog set up at my new Wordpress domain. More on that when I'm not ready to reach inside my computer and strangle all those widget buttons and overpriced font themes.

And second, which has nothing to do with anything, I uncharacteristically shopped retail today and bought the above
Born leopard skin patin leather clogs from DSW Show Warehouse. With their two inch heels, I'm pushing 6'3. I'd love to say I'm hot yoga mom now, but I don't do yoga. I'm more a cross between suburban cougar and transvestite drag queen. But they make tics look goooooood.

How did you survive the holidays? More ticking? Less?

We have seen a decent spike in head nods and some minor Tarzaning. But that's to be expected. When I get him into Brain Balance, after I make my fortune on Ebay and my new blog site, and I stop spending money on animal print shiny mules, and I cease thinking that the end to tics will include trampolines, Milk Thistle, decaf and a sprinkle of fairy shit, all will be right in 2012.
 
 
Finding joy is like exercising flabby muscles. It's hard work. But once you get strong, you get addicted to the push and pull of the bar. You will think back on how weak you were before and decide you can't live life any other way. Strength is awesome.

People with muscles still encounter sorrow.

They still fall.

But they get back up quicker. They are resilient.

Perhaps this year you will get some inner strength and joy you had not thought possible. Perhaps we can help each other along the way.

For those of you new to the T.S. diagnosis, please know that, if you take the path of joy, you will look back over your child's life and remember tics as being part of the picture, but not the overwhelming theme.

Think of my blog as your pass to find happiness again, despite a minor set back. You are not alone! If you want to inch your way back to peace, while you work on suppressing some tics, then sign your name on this blog as pledge that signifies, "Tics are not going to take me down!" You'll likely meet other mamas in the same boat who can support you.

Until December 27 I'll be taking a break. 

Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannuka, and JOY to the world of T.S.!

Love you all -

Andrea
 
 
Hi all -

I'm attempting to figure out my life in the next month. I'd like to make some money, but I also want to be true to my heart. Part of that is writing my TS book.

What began as a "Way to Fix Tics" theme transitioned into the the real theme of my life, "When You Can't Fix the Tics, Fix Yourself."

I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to "fix" tics - and I have found many ways to alleviate them through diet and positive attitude adjustments. But the bigger theme is truly what happened when I was forced to grapple with the real sticky question of: "What do I do when I don't get what I want?"

We all have these issues in our lives. We handle them differently. We all have different backgrounds, different genetic makeups, different temperments, addictions and faith outlooks that determine if we're going to go gracefully like Buddah into that gentle night and let things roll of our backs, or if we're going to throw ourselves kicking and screaming on the floor in a tic induced tantrum screaming "NOT FAIR NOT FAIR NOT FAIR NOT FAIR NOT FAIR!"

I have done a combo of both. Perhaps you have, too. Or maybe you're so new at this journey you can't stop crying enough to even consider what you will do three days from now.

Should you find yourself in an emotional whirlwind so strong your brain is spinning and your husband - who perhaps isn't bothered by the tics one bit which is just completely insane but very common -  wants you to JUST STOP TALKING ABOUT CURING T.S. - let me be your virtual bitch slap and tell you this: It does get better.

Now, back to me! (I can only comfort so long, then it's back to the Andrea show. Let's continue.) Put on your editing hats.

I'm putting up my first chapter now. I was hoping you'd take a look at it and tell me a few things:

1. Is this relevant only to the T.S. crowd and my readers, which means I'll sell maybe 29 copies via E-book?
2. Or do you think this could be interesting to the Non-T.S. crowd as well? So many people are dealing with special needs kids. I'd like to think my journey of embracing what I don't want to embrace is an experience others might be benefited from? Am I smoking crack?
3. Voice? What do you think?

In closing, I'm going to take this down in a week or so. But for now, take a look-see and please, share your thoughts, either here or email me at LifeHappins@Gmail.com

Thanks, everyone!

Happily Ticked Off

Dedication

When my son was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome five years ago, I encountered loads of disheartening information on the internet about tics, ADHD, OCD and disturbed children with behavior problems. 

I found blogs full of victimhood stories and medications gone wrong.

I found a few helpful but ultimately dry informational books written from medical and nutritional view points on how to suppress tics through natural or pharmaceutical means. 

What I didn’t encounter, however, was a book on humor, support and most importantly, hope.

So I wrote one.  

For all you mamas out there who are hanging by a thread, I’m asking you to tie a knot and hang on. Happily Ticked Off was written for you.  

Introduction

Happily TIC-ked Off

Tics or A TS Diagnosis

If you’ve picked up this book there’s a decent chance your child has recently begun to tic or has just been diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome.  You’re pretty ticked off.

My son was diagnosed at 4 with TS. He’s now 9 and wonderfully adjusted, social, smart and funny. With the right plan and perspective your child can have a similar outcome.

You want to believe me, but you’re still panicked. Second only to dismay over this new diagnosis is the regret that you didn’t invest stock in the Kleenex Corporation. You can’t stop crying.

Neither could I. I’d sob to myself, my friends, my family - even bewildered gas station cashiers who simply wanted to sell me a Diet Coke – not hear a dissertation on the boring clinical definition of Tourettes.

Boring Clinical Definition of Tourettes

Named for Georges Gilles de la Tourette in 1885, Tourettes consists of both vocal and physical tics that wax and wane in nature and last up to one year.  I’ll get into more detail later, but for now, let’s move on to something you can really relate to… like whining!

 “What happened to my perfect little boy?” was my broken record twenty four hours/day. No one had an answer, but I have one for you: Nothing has happened to your child. Your child is still perfect. Just hang tight. I survived this initial scary period and you will, too. I promise.

The Symptoms

Maybe you have no official label yet, but something is wrong and you’re freaking out. What you used to see as your child’s occasional quirky habits has morphed into unrelenting blinks, eye rolls, jerky head nods and spastic facial grimaces. 

It’s hard to watch your child go through this, but stay strong. Tics are like visiting in-laws who invade over Thanksgiving – they’re annoying, can drive you to drink, and just when you get used to them they take off as quickly as they arrived.

The Nature of Tics

Like the departure of your extended family, you feel immense relief that the tics are gone. But Christmas is just around the corner. You have deep sense of foreboding that those tics – and those in-laws - will be back. What if this time they bring friends?

It’s true that after a quiet period tics often return. Sometimes kids exhibit the same tic as before and add a different one. Sometimes one tic goes completely away only to be replaced by a new one altogether. Like your Aunt Sally, tics are eccentric and always changing. At least they don’t wear housecoats and smell like old musk.

The Evil of the Internet

You are a normally well-balanced person, but you begin to worry something more serious is at the root.  After searching like a madwoman on the internet, you’re bombarded with hundreds of frightening  outcomes for your child.

Seriously, this isn’t helpful. Turn off the computer. (Okay, fine. Don’t listen to me. Keep researching deep into the night like a crazed lunatic. I did the same. But let me reiterate THIS ISN’T HELPFULl!)

Perspective Lost

You begin to slide down that rabbit hole. In that dark pit, you become dizzy and disoriented. You lose perspective. You go to dismal places like brain cancer.

It’s not brain cancer. Your overworked mama brain, however, is spinning like a jacked up tilt-o-whirl on truck stop java. Stop the ride!  Minus some extra dopamine, your child’s brain is perfectly healthy.

Perspective Gained

In most cases – as will be the journey relayed in this book - TS and tics remain mild to moderate until adulthood.  Then like your wonky Uncle Donny and Cousin Frankie, they disappear altogether. (Pssst…it’s such a relief no one goes looking for them!) 

Focusing on positive outcomes can really keep your negative thinking in check. If you can’t instantly change the tics, change your thinking. Don’t think you can do that? Skip directly to Chapter X. (Chapter on Positive Thinking)

Severe Cases & Seeking Medical Attention

In extreme scenarios your child is screeching, spitting, jerking and more.  This is understandably upsetting and, as with mild tics, it’s always advisable to seek medical attention.

Start with your primary care physician who can then refer you to a neurologist if needed. Don’t be surprised if, after seeing your pediatrician, they seem very unconcerned. Your “emergency tic OH MY GOD IT COULD BE SEIZURES” situation is very commonplace to them and it can take months to see a neurologist. I say this not to frustrate you but to assure you that your child isn’t the first one to ever experience this.

Identifying the Triggers (As Well as the ever important legal term known as “Butt Coverage”)

I am not a doctor. I am not a certified nutritionist. I am not a psychologist. I am, however, a mother who has been dealing with Tourettes for over five years. This book will share what has eased my son’s symptoms, what has exasperated them, what has eased my symptoms of panic, and what has exasperated them! (See Chapter T)

Even if your child is dealing with an acute onslaught of tics, the present doesn’t need to indicate the future. Many mothers, with time and patience, have pinpointed triggers for their children’s symptoms. Once these triggers were eliminated, they were able to drastically reduce the tics. Read about this in Chapter XX.

Medication vs. Supplements

You are not a patient person. You want to stop the tics this instant and are hell bent on getting a prescription for Clonodine or Tenex quicker than you can say Giles De la Tourettes. You want a quick fix and medication is your answer.

That is a very personal choice and I support you on that journey.  I am considering this possibility for my own son, especially as he enters those tumultuous tween years. I’ll keep you updated on this!

Self Esteem

Many of you will opt for a more natural route to easing tics, but worry about your child’s self-esteem while you work out a game plan. You don’t want him teased. Your heart breaks that some nasty kid will poke fun at his arm thrusting tic.

I understand your concern. I was crushed at the prospect of some bully tormenting my baby. But I set my emotions aside and focused on a more important reality: cruel kids are going to tease other children whether or not those children have tics.  My son’s heart, character and personality would define him, not his tics. (Chapter B)

“That’s easier said than done,” you might wail.

To that I will respond with a resounding, “Duh.” But with practice, you’ll learn to focus on your child’s strengths, not his tics.

Mild Tics/Mild Annoyance

If your child has mild tics, there’s a good chance he doesn’t notice them or isn’t bothered by them.

This last statement is hard to believe, but it’s true. Your kid might be happily watching Spongebob, coughing like a bronchitis stricken seal six times a minute, and his only complaint at the end of the show will be, “Mommy, I could really go for a bologna and cheese sandwich.”

Your Child’s Life Is Not Over

To highly tuned-in moms  like yourselves, your children’s inability to be affected by tics is baffling, because every minor gulp, throat clear and tongue click will be magnified into LOUD! RICOCHETING! EXPLOSIONS!  They will boom like a fog horn in your ringing ears, taunting you that “Your child’s life is O-V-E-R.”

Your child’s life is far from dooomed. Tics or TS is not a death sentence. The only thing that needs to die is your old vision of what you thought your child’s life would look like. He can experience as much success as a non-ticking child.

It’s Not Your Fault

I’d lie if I said I have 100% embraced TS, but after five years at this, I have better days than worse days. I might make my kid eat brocalli on purpose, but I didn’t give him TS on purpose.

Whether your child has a unique case of TS or he had a genetic pre-disposition to it, stop feeling guilty about it. Focus instead on passing down other incredible gifts to your child, such as the ability to educate himself, the ability to love, the ability to experience endless joy and the ability to belch on cue. (Never underestimate that last talent. It far surpasses tics any day of the week.)

“I’m devastated,” you might moan. “Acceptance is about as likely to happen for me as winning the Lottery. And frankly, I’d trade in tics for a million dollar jackpot any day of the week.”

 Unlike tics that often appear out of nowhere, transformation doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll need time to both accept this crazy syndrome as well as come up with a protocol that will lessen your child’s symptoms. You need to be patient.

“How can I be patient?” You’ll snap. “As if I didn’t already have the stress of bills, housecleaning, work and a husband who, for the record, seems eerily unshaken by these tics and has no idea why I’m freaking out, I now have to listen to lip smacking five times a minute for three hours straight?!?!”

To this I’ll respond, “Patience comes when you stop paying such close attention.”

And to that you will respond with something that sounds like “Duck” and ends with “You.”

Go ahead. I can take it. I can also handle your protests about how you’ve tried not to pay attention to your kid’s noises, but you can’t help yourself.

It Gets Better

“There he goes again!” you’ll complain, as you read this introduction and scan for tics with the obsession hound dog sniffing out convicts. (Congrats on the multi-tasking, btw.)

To all this I will heartily add that “I have been there! I get it! It will get better!”

You will simply roll your eyes, wondering for a brief moment if you yourself have tics but then realize you’re simply being catty to me which, again, I forgive you. You will then convince yourself that no one else could possibly understand your frustration and hopelessness.

But I do understand it.  I have been locked in car rides through the desert where no amount of country music could drown out my son’s post swimming throat clears. For days afterwards, similar to Old Faithful, I couldn’t help watching and waiting for his well-timed and unremitting eruptions.

Other People Don’t Notice Tics Like You Do

 “Old Faithful is an excellent analogy,” you agree, “because everyone is going to stare at him in public - clapping and jeering at this unique and boisterous spectacle.”

Unlike visiting a national monument, most people are not interested in the incredible national treasure that is your child. They simply will not notice the minor sounds and vocal movements.

No Room for Fear

But I’m terrified he will be ostracized by his peers!  What if he be barks after busses and curses the F-Word in circle time!”

Get that fear a muzzle, because like your bad high school boyfriend, it lies like a rug. (For the record, less than 10% of TS kids uncontrollably curse. So let’s keep this worry in check and take it one step at a time, okay?)

Moms Survival Tactics

You consider getting ear plugs but figure good mothers would never avoid the sounds of their children. You berate yourself for finding excuses to fold laundry to avoid watching your daughter blink and jaw thrust over her chapter book.

 One of the best mothers I know rearranged her houseplants so she wouldn’t have to see her daughter head nod at the breakfast table.

Many people would call foliage adjustment poor parenting.

I call it brilliant. It’s survival  until you accept the tics.

Patience

By now you’re not sure if I’ve completely lost my mind, but a small part of your brain is telling you that I might be making sense. You agree to try out a little patience but aren’t sure how to start.

How about right now?

Take a deep breath.

Tell yourself that for just this moment everything is going to be fine.

All you have to do is be your child’s mother – in whatever state he or she is in.

Tell yourself that you don’t have all the answers, but you’re going to try your best to take it one step at a time.

Take another deep breath.

And now allow me to share a little story with you as you take your first jaunt down that long and windy road of patience. This inspirational yarn ditty is one I heard long before my little Stinker was diagnosed with Tourettes. On rough days for me– which at the beginning were every day – its encouraging message would soothe my brain like a good cabernet.

·         Side Note:



Drinking

During the early days, a bad cabernet worked just as well. If you, too,  find yourself drinking a bit more to calm down at the end of the day, you wouldn’t be the first frazzled mama to do so. But I encourage you to keep it in check. TS isn’t going away anytime soon. Does your ticking son really need to be flanked by a slurring mother hopped up on Two Buck Chuck? And really, it’s going to be hard enough to find time to cook healthier meals, schedule in more exercise,  shop for supplements and fit in a meditation schedule.  Combined with AA meetings, you’ll soon find yourself ticking, too. Careful, okay?  

 

Now, back to our regular scheduled programming of inspirational story telling.

Story Time

One day a family of five boarded a plane headed for London. It was winter, which meant their luggage was filled with sweaters, thick wooly socks, mittens and scarves. The mother, who had dreamed of this vacation ever since she had children ten years prior, had planned out the entire trip in painstaking detail. They would have tea near Buckingham Palace after shopping at Harrods. They would tour the Tate and take a family Christmas  photo in front of Big Ben.  They would catch a show in the West End and go to mass at St. Paul’s.

After two hours on the plane, she looked over at her three children who had magically fallen asleep in the seats between herself and her handsome husband. She grabbed her mate’s strong hand, smiling at how perfectly everything had fallen into place.

At one point the captain’s voice streamed over the P.A. system.  “Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for flying with us today. Due to some unexpected orders from the ground crew, this plane will no longer be flying to England. We will be changing directions entirely and landing in Africa. I can’t give you much information other than we cannot alter our course. You will have no choice but to make the best of the new arrangement. We’re not sure when we’ll be able to get you back home but you all seem like capable people who can wing it just fine. So, with that in mind, enjoy your new destination!”

Understandably, the mother was horrified at this news. Her husband remained cool and collected. She was both grateful, and horrified, that he wasn’t as freaked out as she was. How could he be so calm??! How could this enormous error happen? She wasn’t prepared for this abrupt switch of plans! This was not the way her dream vacation was supposed to go! The remainder of the flight was spent in abject misery as she ruminated, sulked, cried, moaned, hollered and generally cursed her fate.

By the time the plane landed, she was in quite a quandary. While this was one of the most unsettling experiences of her life, she also knew that falling apart would not help anyone. She’d have to be strong for the kids. She’d have lean on her husband when she could. But mostly, she’d have to lean on herself. She’d attempt to make the best of it. What choice did she have?

Once on the ground, the luggage never arrived. Everyone was sweltering in their woolen sweaters and itchy pants. What could she do? She borrowed a pair of scissors from a taxi driver and cut off the sleeves which they used as headbands. She turned their pants into shorts and hailed a taxi.

As this disheveled family of five crowded into a cab, the driver had a good laugh at their outfits. It turns out he spoke English and asked what happened. Against her normally private nature, she told him. He invited her family home to his home and she said yes. Clearly she needed help and couldn’t rely on herself anymore.

For the next two weeks, her family  did not shop. They did not tour museums. They did not eat at restaurants.

They ate home cooked meals around a plain wooden table with the taxi driver’s wife, her sisters, their kids and 20 other people with names  she could barely pronounce on Day 1 but by Day 20 knew as well as her own family’s names.

The kids ran around  barefoot  with chlidren who didn’t speak their language but sure knew how to laugh.

Her husband helped reupholster  taxi driver’s car which earned the family some extra money which they turned around and used for goodbye feast when the time came to finally fly back home.

With bellies full of food and hearts full of gratitude, they said their tearful goodbyes and boarded the plane.  As they flew back, the mother couldn’t help but think that Africa was a far cry from England. It wasn’t as civilized. It wasn’t as comfortable. But it was exotic. It was different. And her family bonded more in that two week unplanned adventure in an African village than they ever would have in pristine London hotel.

That mama, despite feeling like she was going to drown in despair, faked a good attitude until a true, authentic joy bubbled up from the pit of her soul. Despite signing up for it, she made the best of it and had an adventure of a lifetime.

You will, too. Grab your TS passport. TS is an adventure. It might seem scary, but let this book be your road map.

Let me be your tour guide.

It’s going to be a bumpy ride, but I promise you’ll land safely and have the time of your life. 

Buckle your seatbelt. It’s time to Happily Tick Off.

---------------------------

All chapters will have the word "Tic" in the title, such as DiagnosTIC, SpasTIC, FreneTIC, OpportunisTIC, UnrealisTIC, etc.

Okay, lay it on me!

* Photo of a table that I love, which is shocking because it's not really retro like the normal diner sets I love. And yet, it has that real family theme that says "sit and enjoy and eat!" It's like a grown up version of a cafe' booth.
 
 
Highlight: Super nice producer friend who has major follow through with me and is running a major television show.

Lowlight: Note in my in-box just now: "So... as I warned you a bunch of people all had to love your scripts, and not everyone did. Sorry. I will keep my ear to the ground for other opportunities though."

Highlight: More time to find something I really love to do with my life and writing - perhaps going back to my book project again.

Lowlight: Battling insecurities such as, "Well, maybe you're not getting your book done and no one is hiring you in TV because YOU SUCK YOU STUPID OCD OBESSIVING OVER TICS DUMBASS.

Highlight: More time at home now to obsess over tics! (Oh, wait... that one isn't it...) Chance to flex those courage muscles once again and find something that means more to me than working in TV right now!

Highlight again: Lots of encouragement from all of you! Such as comments along the forms of, "You can do this you're not an insecure twit even though you are but ALL OF US ARE SOMETIMES WE LOVE YOU ANYWAY!"

And on that note, I'm off to Ebay and have breakfast with Topanga T in her cabin. With her dogs. Who love me, despite not getting a writing gig.

Love you all!
 
 
I did not Ebay my kids' favorite stuffed animals today in an attempt to be three dollars closer to Brain Balance.

Instead, I went to Bible Study.

Then I saw Master Therapist Sam who I pay every two weeks to prove to me that I am not indeed crazy in dealing with a lot of stuff but am indeed "strong" for admitting sometimes I am vulnerable. (That guy is running a racket with his crazy God talk jargon, but I keep going back. Like a lollypop who can't change colors, I'm a sucker that way.)

Then I came home to a clean casa (which I somehow managed to sweep before the kids went to school) and hung out with two girlfriends and their kids and had a lovely dinner followed by some Advent Calendar goodness.

Then I ingested more pistachios than is humanely good for me. It's shocking I'm not ticking now.

Which is of course why I came to the computer to find I'm twenty bucks richer due to a random UCLA retro sweater that sold on Ebay!

Life, like T.S., makes no sense. The only clarity I can say is that in relaxing and not trying to fix everything things seem less daunting. They are at least more peaceful.

Like sleeping!

Which I'm going to do now.

Who is going to start meditating with me beginning tomorrow? Because, you know, it's so easy to find stillness one week before Christmas. I mean, can't you just picture focusing on the quiet while your kid is throat clearing in the background? Doesn't that sound like total serenity?

Oh, wait....
 
 
Sorry for the delay in posts. I had to re-think my big "Let's make 6 grand in Ebay in 3 months to pay for Brain Balance" scheme.

2 amazing things came out of this venture:

1. I have had blessed friends who showed up my door with items like dusty Sony radios, folding Britax strollers and vintage brass silverware to sell online in an attempt to make an additional 100 bucks. My sister-in-law gave me some lovely jewelry and some baby clothes. My friends at school dropped off some designer brand name kids clothes. My sister is donating a used snore machine. (Anyone want to bid on it? I bet if you put Vics Vapor Rub in the mouthpiece it would cut down on vocal tics by 50%.

2. I have realized that although my work ethic is commendable, and my love for my son is without question, fear was running me. Making $400 in two weeks is awesome, but doing it pennies at a time? Not so much. There's a fine line between motivation and panic, and sadly, I fell into a big pile of OH MY GOD WACKY freak out.

This Sunday I had a big talk with my husband. I told him I was mad at him for not seeing Brain Balance the way I do. I told him that I thought he was being a cheap axx and to get with the program. "This is our son!" I yelled at him. To which he responded, "I agree. So let's do it. But let's not lose our minds in the process. Let's take a few more months and do this together so if I lose my job all our money is not being poured into a kid that is already happier than any kid I know."

Well, fine. That works, too. 

I'm no angel. I'm still irritated. 

But I'm not willing to lose my marriage or my sanity. If there was a perfume at Costco called Desperation, I'd have bought it. You could smell me from the East Coast. But I must remember that my kid is happy. I'm being ridiculous. I'll get him in Brain Balance when the timing is right and not before. (Brain Balance for a nine year old when Mama is unbalanced? Bad plan.)

This is your fearless leader, 50% less agitated than this morning. And with that, I bid you good night. I have a big day ahead of me tomorrow. I plan on spending it Ebaying, but also writing and doing what makes me sing, not live in the mental losing it zone.




 
 
 
There's something about a discarded piece of furniture that just sings to my heart. Some folk rescue dogs. I rescue 1960's square side tables that are low enough that a six foot one woman like myself has to break her back to find her Bible, her issue of Oprah or her loaned copy of The Help.

I'm not saying that going for a walk to see Christmas lights in 40 degree weather in our pajamas is normal. But last I checked, writing a blog for strangers about Tourette Syndrome survival is not exactly normal either.

And yet, I persist.

And like this table, which we found laying around by its lonesome on a corner in front of a neighbor's trash cans, I will encourage you to see the treasures beneath the scratches. The potential beneath the less than lovely exteriors.

And when you can't, like what my kids did when we found our latest eye sore... errrr.... beautiful antique... just roll with it.

(Yup, our new baby has 1970's wheels on it. Wait 'til you see it transformed! Just like you, it's going to be HOT!)
 
 
I'm back! It's been a bit nutty but fun around these here parts.

It's Christmas! Love this time of year. I'm making it a point to do something festive every day. Sometimes it's the advent calendar.

Sometimes it's adding a few new ornaments to the tree.
Sometimes it's bringing a tree to Grandma Nancy's. 
Sometimes it's singing carols at Ellen's on Friday with cocktails and the kids running amok in the background. 
Okay, so our cocktails aren't as grand as the ones above, but I always feel so loved when I'm at Ellen's. (And it's not just the glass... or two... ahem... of red wine.)

It's gatherings and encounters like the ones above that keep me going in my job search. My motto is to be rejected at least once/daily, and I'm happy to report I have far surpassed this number! This means I'm trying, right?

Today I had a little excitement in hearing back from an old writer friend of mine who is now producing a pretty popular show. The chances of me getting a job as a writer are slim, given I've been out of that loop for almost a decade. But in the mad scramble to locate my best sample scripts, it made me realize how much I miss it. I want to go back. 

It reminds me, a bit, of the fire I feel in my belly about this Brain Balance option. With the opportunity to help my son's symptoms regress permanently without drugs, I feel more focused than ever before. I feel determined. I feel empowered. It took this need to get me moving toward money.

While I won't lie - I'm a bit mad at my husband for not seeing the same potential as I do for this program - I'm also seeing this as an opportunity to show true love. Love isn't always getting what we want. (Waaaaaaahhhh) It's often in the forgiving, the steps forward, the steps back and the delicate balancing act of my needs versus your needs that creates the pulse of a strong union. Rex and I, though soooo different (did I mention that we are different) force each other to grow. I'm grateful for that. 

In closing, Pip and I had the opportunity to see The Los Angeles Ballet's performance of the Nutcracker on Sunday. 

Sure it was the day after her school talent show...


And it was a bit mad cap to run across the city after church.... but we scored $95 each orchestra seats due to the newspaper review I was doing. It was truly magical. I don't think she loved chatting with Santa during intermission........
But taking her to dinner - just the two of us - was truly a memorable experience. We're making it a holiday tradition for sure.
I sometimes feel like a rich man/poor man. I'll write an article for free, but I get amazing tickets in exchange. The food around these here parts is a bit plain, but the lack of tics is such a gain. And while my bank account is lower than it's been in quite a while, I feel a hope bubbling from within that is richer than any gold could offer.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. Don't let the tics ruin your holiday. If you can't fix them, fix your attitude. I'm here to help you on your way! 
 
 
There are a few things I'm going to do for my son to keep his tics to a minimum this holiday season.

1. Stay calm myself. Stink is currently back on his Tarzan tic. This one drives me insane. I must not show my frustration, because this is my problem, not his. I will exercise, try to sleep well, pray, and keep my overall plan for him in mind so that I can get through the times we are together and he's a bit noiser than normal. This leads me to #2:

2. Have a plan for the tics: I know that my son has T.S.. I am also convinced that Brain Balance will help him. I refuse to fight with my husband over the six grand it is going to cost to send him to this program. As far as Rex is concerned, we've tried the diet, we've tried the acupuncture (once... big woop), we've tried the Epsom salts and the supplements and the UCLA doc (who is taking forever to get back to me) and on and on. I refuse to get resentful that because Rex does not understand or have faith in a new option that it is not a valid option. I am taking matters into my hand and working my way toward the six grand. Plan to have it by April through Ebay.

3. Have a plan for my writing: Every week, once a week, I'm going to write my book. This will make me feel that I have not become a hack writer who has gone from writing national columns to selling other people's crap online for a commision on Ebay. I realize that part of this is my ego, but part of it is that I am a writer. I don't mind doing a little work to take a chance on a new program for my kid, but I need to always work on me.

4. Keep my house clean: As weird and wacky as I am with loving to thrift store shop, I also love to entertain. I love my retro home. I love eating gluten free bread off 1930's plates. I don't like it when my house is a sty. Every morning, for one hour, I will start my day by going through the house and just keeping it nice. This will help me get into Ebay mode and keep me calm when the tics are up. (Hey, if my kid is going to tongue click, I might as well sip some Yuban in a Spode tea cup in front of a warm fire in a polished living room.)

5. Do something fun for myself every day: I don't care if that's just coming here and writing. (I love doing this blog.) I deserve it.

In composing this post, I see just how far I've come in accepting the T.S.. Notice this post is about calming mama down to calm the tics down. It's not about trying to find a mad cure-all for T.S.. However, there are some things that will help Stink in a true physical sense, not just an emotional one, and I will create that list tomorrow.

Hope to hear from you! It always brightens my day.

* Photo of our Advent Calendar. Every year, beginning December 1, my kids take turns opening up a door. Inside they find a note that rhymes that leads them to a silly gift wrapped somewhere in the house. Once they found an eraser wrapped in Papa's slipper in the freezer. It's silly and fun and how we roll around here. What are your traditions?