Yes, that was a very bad reference to a NKOTB song. If you don't know what NKOTB stands for, consider yourself lucky.

So my next 4 week online writing class is starting next week! Who wants to take it? Who wants to let the world know on their blog that they can be one of the last five to get in this session? Now is the time to give me a plug! Nothing like five days notice to get this thing rolling.

On other notes, my mom is home, I finished painting my kids' room, and we've thus far managed to avoid death by swine flu. (But not avalanche by thrift store piles. Working on that one.)

How are you all?



People keep calling me to make sure I'm doing okay with my mom's condition. Offers of babysitting to food shopping have been dropped in my lap like manna from the heavens. I'm so grateful. Even if I don't take you all up on it, it's so gratifying to know it exists.

Emotional cards have been laid on the table also. "Andrea, you know... it's okay to have a good cry... This is a scary time... Call me! I'm here for you!"

I know that. And I appreciate it. But my mom is responding really well to treatment. She'll be home next week. She's not kicking the bucket anytime soon. For that, I am so grateful.

I have realized through this experience, how strong I really am. But I can't take all the credit. My faith, my husband, my friends, family members, you readers... all of it has allowed me to find beauty and humor in the daily struggles.

More and more I see that the way we look at things makes such a difference in our moods. Do I have anxiety imbedded in my genetic make-up? Sure. But I also have a soul to reach for God. I have a brain to reach for good people to surround myself with. I have a heart to help others and get outside of myself.

And I have a thrift store addiction when none of these things work.

More of my writing can be found daily at Good Housekeeping.



For two weeks my mom had some pretty bad headaches. After being told it was nothing, then being treated for a sinus infection, a cat scan revealed a subdural hematoma.

In very simplistic terms, her brain was bleeding from a fall that occurred a few months back (The original cat scan showed nothing.) She didn't feel it at first, but ultimately the blood had no place else to go and caused debilitating headaches.

The news was very sobering, but for some reason both of us remained calm. We were relieved in many ways. It was good to know she wasn't nuts. She had pain for a reason.

We both got slap happy when we were transferred back to ER, waiting for the neuro surgeon. As we huddled together in Kaiser's crowded nurses' station (she in a wheelchair and I going on seven hours with no caffeine - guess who was more disabled at that point?) an elderly charge nurse took over.

Nurse (to my mom): Hello, Dear. Any idea why you're having headaches?

Mom: Because my BRAIN IS BLEEDING.

Duh, you dum-dum!

There's two ways to treat a subdural hematoma: Surgery or hope it goes down on its own with meds under tight hospital watch. Mom chose the second and so far is doing very well! (More prayers, good thoughts... thanks.)

While I'm obviously relieved that she's not going under the knife to drain the blood, I am a bit disappointed that the neuro won't be implementing my suggestion of plugging up her post surgery drilled head holes with some green Shrek antennae. Seeing her white hair and bright green sticks winking out over a hospital gurney would have made my year (not to mention a super blog pic!) Another time for sure.

Glad you're okay, Mom! (And how ironic that the day I start my period your brain starts to bleed. You just HAD to top me, didn't you?)

PS: Everyone, if you have older parents or know anyone older, remember that you need to be their advocate! Use your voice! Demand help! Let's keep them around to watch Shrek 11 with the great grand kids! Don't forget to scoot over to Karin's site! Give away ends tomorrow.



In honor of Earth Day, Life Happins is giving away a fabulous designer bag by

They're part designer purse part grocery bag and trust me - you'll never look like a bag lady while food shopping again.

The contest is being held over at Karin's space - Gin and Bare It.  All you have to do is pop over there and leave a comment with the style of your favorite bag.

Any plans to do something nice for the earth this year? I will continue to recycle my bottles and cans, do the washing on minimal settings to save water, plant a few flowers and get a fabulous hair cut.

That last part was for myself. But the bags from Rumebag would sure compliment my new look. So go to Karin's and leave a comment before I steal the bags myself.

* Photo from Google Images


Whether you celebrate Easter, Passover or you're simply a fan of Spring with all its colorful glory, there's little doubt that this time of year is about rebirth.

With my kids' caterpillars now living as butterflies somewhere in our little suburb (I'm hoping they've settled on tree branches and not windshields) I am once again drawn back to the theme of transformation. It seems that no one wants change, and yet, if we embrace it as a new beginning, rather than the death of an old habit, amazing life and adventures can come from this.

I, for one, used to hope, dream and relish such changes. I realize, as I'm nearing 40, that I don't transition as well as I once did. At twenty five, it seemed like nothing to go after a writing career - to go after a new man - to change my hair or go shopping to cure the blues. I did these things because, at the base of my soul, was optimism. I also had the safety net of my fabulous parents to fall back on should that show not work out. I knew I was loved. I knew that no failure would diminish me in their eyes.

But now, my dad is gone. My mom isn't her usual self. Poor Grandma Stella is in a bad way with her neck. My husband is off working like a fiend. And while he absolutely supports me, it's not his job to 100% fulfill me. Oh, God, I'm an adult! And adults work! And yet, despite my pouring my soul into a gig I really loved, I was let go.

My kids are off in school. And sometimes, like an old person might review their life, I sit at home in silence and reflect upon my past - how starkly different it is from where I am. Unlike when the kids were first born - when I had nothing but positive and outrageously wild expectations of their lives - I am now a bit more cautious. I've seen people die. I've received unexpected diagnoses. I've battled some demons in my brain and had to weigh the differences between healthy and toxic friendships, unrealistic expectations and settling in marriage, living for the earth of the earth or living of the Spirit.

I don't know what will happen to my family, my children or my husband. I certainly can't predict how the world will keep spinning. I can't predict war or famine. And while I can't say that I will never live in fear, I'm not going to go down without a fight.

My gift to myself at 40 - which is in 11 months? Run a half marathon, kick my nasty caffeine habit, live with joy, intention and careful detail to myself.

And more than anything, I aim to stay positive, not negative. Because I don't know why we're here on this earth. But I know that I am , and I don't plan on letting any insecurities block my path. Especially now that I've stopped drinking coffee after 3PM. I just don't have the energy for that crap.

What about you? Any Easter reflections? What are your plans for rebirth within yourself?

 * Photo of Pip and Stink hunting Easter eggs on Sunday morning. I love how they checked the water meter with full enthusiasm. They were certain that eggs would be hidden in their favorite little hiding spot. They had no fears of black widows biting them. All they envisioned was candy. Like how I hope to live my life, they just went for it with the full confidence that sweet rewards would be theirs. (And they weren't disappointed.)


Nothing screams Spring Break like taking two toddlers to the hospital to get Grandma Nancy's cast sawed off. (Look closely where Stink's fingers are and you'll see the inscription from Grandma Stella.)

Once Stink's juicebox was done, and he had negotiated his position as "the button pusher on the elevator going down but not going up unless someone else presses it by accident and that's a different story" he became concerned about Grandma's wrist. Would she have to have the cast put back on?

Pipsqueak, who somehow morphed from a toddler to a pirate once the carrot sticks kicked in, had summed it up with her expression (followed by mine) below.

Glad to know Grandma Nancy's wrist is healing and only a brace was required to finish the job. Now if only Grandma Stella's neck would follow suit. Blog to come on that one.

Thanks also for all of you who wished me well on my last day at BabyCenter. Onto the new!

More of my writing can be found daily at BabyCenter (but not after today because I suck apparently)  and Good Housekeeping.


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So my normally very easy going son had a heart attack when he found out I was painting his old blue treasure chest red to go with the rustic camping theme in he and Pip's bedroom. "I liked it blllllluuuueeeeeeee," he wailed.

But I held my ground. Because life is not perfect! And you can't always get what you want! And all that.

But the truth is I hated that damn blue. And it wouldn't match the $250.00 I had spent on matching bedspreads and accessories (including the cutest vintage lantern light you've ever seen in your life) at Target. Nor the green and cream curtains. Nor the cream wall. (Last two things? Totally not done yet. Just my grand scheme.)

MY scheme.

See, Stink just wanted his blue. And if the point of giving he and his sister a lovely room is to give them an encouraging place to dream, create and relax in, then perhaps it's less about my vision of retro camping and more about what makes them happy.


So while Stink was at school this week, Pip and I did some "art projects." Translation: We put some white primer back on the hutch. The blue will be added tomorrow when it's dry.

It's amazing what a little perspective, and a fresh coat of paint, can do to something worn out and tired.

And, speaking of white things all worn out and tired, can we all just stop talking about the Queen of England getting hugged by our First Lady? My ex-boyfriend is a queen, and quite frankly, hugging him just makes my day. So let's all move on.

To hugs, new starts, listening to our kids, controlling our egos, and weekends! Will catch up with ya'll on Monday.