I’m Not Laughing at You!

I was pregnant when I taped this, but this issue has not died. How can I make my daughter understand the difference between laughing with and laughing at? And furthermore what strength it gives you when people can laugh at you? Not in a belittling way but in a “There is nothing you can say that hurts me because I am already aware of my shortcomings” way, which is the inner voice of all comics.

Well, she is only 3.

Worst of the Week

No, not another piece about the falling stock market or whether I agree with Obama’s stimulus package. ‘Cause frankly, I have no idea what to think about that. If this downturn has taught me anything, it’s that I’m going to make sure my kids are more financially savvy than I am. That they understand mortgages, and that condo boards can make your home financially impossible, and still the jacuzzi is broken. That they understand if they invest in stocks they better be able to understand things like cost ratio and leverage, you know, the stuff I barely grasp.

I’m part of that generational shift where we were told we were unique and wonderful. And I bought it. I thought I was special. But the more years I have learned is I am one of the masses. During macro economic upturns I have done well; during downturns I lost money or experienced unemployment. The graphs of the U.S. economy almost exactly mirror my own ups and downs. So, along with the big dose of liberal education I have received and positive thinking, a greater grasp of finances would have been a plus. And I’m not a total knucklehead; I don’t walk around with credit card debt, and I know how to balance a checkbook.  But I’ve certainly stepped in some dumb money decisions.

Anyway, so what did my education make me fit for? Writing jokes for Star magazine. I write jokes every week for the “Worst of the Week” pages. It’s one liners about famous people’s bad outfits. Sometimes I’ve never heard of them, but I still write jokes. I send in about 2 or 3 per person, and then the magazine decides which to run. And it’s a good thing I’m not famous because I’d be snapped dropping my daughter off at school and be ridiculed more than Octomom’s Donald Duck lips.

I didn’t major in satire.  I majored in Sociology.  Same thing.

The picture is one from 2 years ago when I came home from commenting on the Oscar fashion for CNN headline. My hair is underwhelming, but they would only provide makeup for me, so I had to wing the hair. I had to find a designer who would loan me a dress myself. But that’s life on the G-list. Viv is the best accessory. There is probably a joke there like: Don’t buy a designer bag; buy a designer baby!

And You Thought Your Divorce Was Bad?

Nothing like having a newborn to remind me of how freaking hard it would be to be a single mom. Even when my husband bugs, I would be hard-pressed to cut him loose just so I can say, “Can you get me a glass of water?” while I am nursing. Seriously, he’d probably have hit me across the mouth before I’d want to go it alone. I don’t have that much energy.  Unless I had gobs of money for the round the clock help… then unmarried woman here I come!

Here’s a wacky tale of an obnoxious divorce.

Blogging and Motherhood

Been on a blog semi-holiday since I’m still trying to get the hang of a newborn and having two children. Just when it seemed like I could handle it, the kids and I caught colds. Felt so bad that little Rex got sick. Vivien was nearly a year before she got sick. My body was impervious to all ills while pregnant, but now that nature took its protective coating off, I feel every ding and zing.

Here’s a photo of me trying to blog while Rex seemed like he was going to sleep and Viv was the park with a neighbor friend. A pacifier can be so helpful or such a pain. Here he wanted it, but every time it fell out he was crying. And it fell out every 10 seconds. Thus I was getting stuff done at 10-second increments. Hard to know when to binky and when not too. Maybe the present will help?

I am doing much better though then after Vivien. There is nothing like new motherhood when you are really in the “what the f%^&!!!” mode. The first two weeks with Rex waking up at 1 and 4 a.m. for feedings was no biggie. And I was so excited by him. But now, I’m nearly in a coma when I do. Mark is good about helping. I nurse, nudge him, and he takes Rex for burping and trying to get him back down. Rex is big enough that the doc says he doesn’t need to be woken up for feedings yet. Rex has not gotten this memo.

By the way, if I post blogs where I say the same thing multiple times, forgive me… I can’t remember what I have said or done…

DVD in the Car

It’s been many weeks since Vivien and I got to jam around in the Traverse with the DVD player, but we are still trying to convince dad to go for the minivan.  Or rather I am, and I say, “Vivien really liked it.” Mark says “Oliver doesn’t want me to get a minivan.”  My reply: in less than a year he will have his license so he can pick his own car to drive.  Mark said recently, “What about a Scion?” Oh, that’s LESS geeky?

Momversation: Responses to Circumcision

Well by talking about it more, we might all go blind, but what the heck. Maybe we should put a snappy title on it, like “Moms talk foreskin!” This Momversation revisits our discussion of circumcision and some of the feedback we got. Now, don’t let the disagreement fool you. Alice and I had different viewpoints, but I think she is a real wit and love following her tweets and her blog. And she sent me a supportive message the day I had my son. So, we are all fine in the end.

Will I Get on the Oprah Show?

Update:  The show airs Monday, April 6, 2009!

Okay, I’ve got to tell you about how I was almost NOT on the Oprah show. It was days in the making. The producers were planning a show called “Real Moms Confess.” They were having various moms and mom bloggers send in videotaped bits. First, I got a call from a producer asking me questions about motherhood for about 45 minutes. I did a full nursing while we chatted.  I said, “I work in TV. I know this all is distilled down to a 30 sec bit.” She’s like, “Uh, huh.” Then more questions. At this point, it wasn’t for sure they would pick me to be on the show. Later, I got a call that they did want me to be on the show and were sending me a camera to record some of the things I said and instructions on how to upload them. Figuring all that out was another day.

I kept thinking, “Do I get to go to Chicago?” But no, they had other people destined for Chicago, but maybe I would be Skyped in. I waited. Then the call came: Yes, they wanted me to Skype in and was sending the equipment. Got the laptop, mic, cables, etc. and instructions on how to assemble it. Then a call to make a date to test equipment. Check and check; it all worked.  I left it set up in the husband office/playroom since there is a window there and thought the natural light would give me Oprah-like light. I was doing this largely so they would mention Cool Mom. I was told no by the nice producer that they weren’t plugging websites on the show in a sort of “This is the Oprah show; we are not negotiating” way. And what was I going to say? “Well, then I’m going to go on a bigger show!”  American Idol wasn’t going to have me on. The other reason I wanted to go on was just to say, “I was on Oprah!!”

A day or two before, I was told by the show that they needed me to fax my children’s birth certificates and my marriage certificate. Huh? It was required. I made my own assumption that after that author said he had written his memoir and then it turned out it wasn’t true, they weren’t messing around anymore and just taking people’s word for it. I could have invented some family just to get on Oprah. I could have pretended to have 8 kids and put on big fake lips. Oh, wait, someone really did that. So, fax I did.

Next day: do I have my stepson’s birth certificate? No. Is he on my taxes? The fact that I had neither handy made me think, maybe I have made this kid up? Who am I fooling? Then I said, “I have his report cards.” Crickets.  I have a copy of his passport…. Oh, but then I couldn’t find that either. Crap, I did make him up. Then I said to the producers, go to www.campanilerestaurant.com. Look at my husband’s bio.  All of his children are listed there. That sufficed. If the Oprah show says I have stepchildren. then I will believe it too.

The plan was that we would tape at 7 a.m. I had to get up at 6 a.m., turn on the Skype, and then I could go and have my coffee and put on makeup. I am not banking a lot of sleep these day,s so I hired a baby nurse to spend the night with Rex. She’s a doll, and in more prosperous times I would have had her 6 days a week. These are NOT these times, but Oprah needed me (or I needed Oprah), and I needed my rest. I still had to get up to pump, but it’s much easier than nursing and then getting Rex burped and back to sleep. At 5:45, the phone rang: “Get up; this is the Oprah show.” I slurred into the phone something and staggered downstairs in my bathrobe. I took the steps to turn on the Skype like before, and nothing happened. I was on the phone with their engineer who (I appreciated) kept his cool as I slowly started to panic. There was much advice and troubleshooting, and still it wasn’t working. He said, “Call Time Warner.” Oh, great, why don’t I call the DMV while I’m at it? I said, “They will not help.” The engineer said, “Tell them you are trying to get on for the Oprah show; that should speed them up.” I ran and got my husband, who (bless his heart) got up right away. He may be a man, but he knows Oprah is a big deal. I spoke to two people at Time Warner as the clock ticked to 7:00 and every passing minute a smaller chance I would get on Oprah. “I’m trying to get on Oprah”  No reaction. “Yes, ma’am, can you restart your computer?” I thought how bummed I would be when I later saw the show and there were other moms and mom bloggers on there and I wasn’t. Time Warner said that I didn’t have an active modem and asked when would l like to schedule a service appointment. I practically screamed, “I don’t want an appointment; I’m supposed to be on Oprah.” They didn’t care. Then at 6:51a.m., I said to the engineer and producer who were on the line, “My husband’s work is only a mile away; would there be time if I went there?”  Yes, they said.  I was so glad they hadn’t already bumped me. They must have like my anecdotes.

Oliver was eating his morning cereal Mark told him to grab the Skype and throw it in the car. Mark had gotten dressed and drove. I was getting calls from the show every 3 minutes asking, “Are you there yet?” Had I not hired the baby nurse, I would have had to call it quits. Mark could not have left, and I can’t figure out all the keys to get into his office. We went through the service entrance, up the stairs to his small, dingy office that he shares with half his staff. It has god-awful florescent lighting overhead (not Oprah lighting) and chef’s jackets hand about. But zip, zang, the Skype worked here. I had thrown on a bright orange top before we left and a pulled on sweat pants on my unwashed body. I slapped on some makeup as the Oprah staff said things like, “Can your husband get ride of those aprons?”  It was strange, ’cause they could see me, but I couldn’t see them. Another voice from Chicago said, “Can you do something about the light?”  I knew overhead fluorescent would not be a good idea for national TV. I grabbed a small desk lamp that was nearby and tried my best to aim it at my under eye as I had seen professional lighting people do with professional lights. The voice from Cchicago gave me enouragement: “That’s good. Now move the camera.” The camera is a tiny one hooked on the top of the laptop. Amazing that a big show has such primitive technology and amazing it all works!  I was thinking later, hey what to those reporters do who are stationed in Iraq and places like that? They have to wing it all the time.

As I waited, my dream hubby brought up a freshly made espresso from the bar. As I took my first sip I suddenly heard a woman say, “Put that down!”. Then the show came on my laptop. They had started late (apparently waiting for me, I was so honored). I could see the show, but there was no sound. During the second segment Oprah suddenly spoke to me. I was startled. Talking on Skype makes one very insecure because while you are talking you can’t see people’s reactions or hear if people are laughing. So whenever I spoke I thought, Am I making an ass of myself? Is Oprah going to be glowering at me?

Well, I have to leave the cliffhanger there because they asked us not to talk about the body of the show till it airs (made me write in my blood). I will say this, once it got rolling, it went well.  The whole staff was very nice to me even when I was holding up their production, and I now have more respect for Oprah than before. She is at ease and in charge and very good at connecting. It’s one thing to see it but another to experience it.  Also, being a host myself, I know that to have that many elements to interview and probably different producers talking can make a person jittery, but she is cool as can be.  As was I… in my dumpy office!

Horoscopes Are For the Birds

A couple of years ago, I was performing at the Comedy Store on Sunset Blvd. in LA. A male comic came on later and brought the house down, the kind of rolling, “I think I may pee” funny. I wish I knew his name to give him credit. He did a bit where he said, “You know, the only people who care about astrology are straight woman, gay woman, and gay men. Straight men would sooner have a discussion about how much money it would take for them to give another man a blow job than talk about astrology. Which, by the way, for me is $4,800 if I’m drunk, $6,000 if I’m sober.”  I’m sure I’m getting a few words wrong, but this comic had us in stitches. A friend of my husband’s was undone, “OMG, I’ve had that conversation.” I wish I had written that bit because for a long time now this astrology thing has really bugged. about Here’s a vlog I did when I was still pregnant about astrology.