QA with a QT

You know, you happen to be right.  I vent all over this thing, and then forget to follow up.  So bring on the questions.  I will attempt to answer them in a timely fashion (though if the Moose writing is going well, it might take me a while, but I will answer it).  Let me start with this update:

Lucas Beckett.
  We’re still calling him Lucas, when I’m not busy calling him several alternative pet names (even sometimes Linus by mistake).  I took him for another MRI last Wednesday (of the spine and brain), to check everything out.  I haven’t heard or discussed the results with his neurosurgeon yet, though we have a follow-up meeting with him on Sept. 20.  Last time we were at his office, the neurosurgeon talks with us, but is eying Lucas.  "You know," he says, "I want you to bring him across the hall to get checked out for plagiocephaly."  Phil and I look at each other, then at the surgeon.  Plagio-what?  I watch the surgeon watch my son.  "Flat head," he says.  I turn to Phil, in front of the doctor, and begin to laugh.  "We’re gonna have a fucking helmet kid."  And he starts cracking up.  "Anything else you wanna lay on us Doc?"  So time passes, and Phil brings Lucas to Dr. Helmet, who says Lucas’s head is flat on one side and has pushed one ear forward.  He believes, as it has been communicated to me, "it’s a mild to slightly more than mild case."  Basically, it’s by no means severe, and insurance wouldn’t cover the cost of anything since it would be purely cosmetic.  So, our options are, put a helmet on the kid or "work on positioning him," and hope it will make a difference.  They took "before" photos.  Basically, when a kid is fitted for a helmet, they need to be checked each week, literally every seven days (because the helmet puts gentle pressure on the head).  "And it smells," the doc told Phil.  He’d need to keep it on for 23 hours a day.  So we’re going to try to avoid going there and simply force the bean to sleep on his less preferred side.  23 hours a day?!  He, just last week, started to sit on his own (though he doesn’t get into or out of a seated position by himself).  He can stay up, though sometimes he falls, and I hear a thud.  Which makes me wince.  Even on soft carpeting.  We always put a pillow behind him.  He is also able to finally turn over, too.      

What was that thing on your face and did you find a cure?
I have no clue.  The dermatologist said I was allergic to something.  I have this thing about not believing doctors when it comes to certain things.  If it’s something serious, say, involving my vagina or any major organs, I believe.  But once I went to a doctor, and told him my ear was bothering me.  I would blow out my cheeks, and feel liquid in there (not liquid that was trapped from swimming, but actual ear fluid).  And I pushed and pushed.  So by the time he looked in my ear, he called in a colleague, and they stood there scratching themselves.  They prescribed antibiotics.  I never bothered to fill it.  I just stopped pushing.  And it went away.  So the dermatologist said, "no make-up, tide-free, dove sensitive skin, and here’s a special shampoo."  It was so bad, I wouldn’t even think of makeup, but no gel in my hair?  Change my whole life?  "And stop using baby wipes on your kids.  Only use water to clean them."  Yuh.  Like that’s going to happen.  I used the ointment he prescribed: PROTOPIC.  It went away!  Though I am still using it here and there whenever they feel dry.  I suspect my Head and Shoulders shampoo was the culprit.  I don’t know why I think this.

What about your anniversary? 
Our wedding anniversary was today.  All those people who came to our wedding and never gave gifts… their time is up!   I don’t know how people do that.  But whatever, I don’t really care.  Phil completely surprised me with an iPhone (I actually found it when I was, shockingly enough, straightening up the scrapbooking room/office).  He came home and said, "You were cleaning?!  You found it didn’t you?"  I smiled and hugged him.  Awww.  I LOVE my new phone.  LOVE.  In turn, I tried so hard.  He says he refuses to wear sunglasses, insists they all look terrible on him, yet he always steals mine when he drives the convertible, or when we play tennis.  I wanted him to have something to open.  So, I purchased some clothing from SAKS, nice cruise wear. Lacoste.  Pink.  And a pair of kick ass sunglasses.  And I explained that my gift was a weekend away, just the two of us… to one of the top ten tennis resorts in the country, and the clothes and sunglasses just represented the idea.  He then said I spent too much money, that he didn’t want to go to Dallas, etc.  So I started to cry.  Not because he said anything wrong.  I just felt… inept.  But he was sweet and loving about it.  I explained that I didn’t care where we went, as long as it was a vacation.  Once I handed in the book.  So, we’re off to Vegas mid-October.  Just the two of us. 

Did your "friend" from fat camp ever reach out again?

The Lineman.  I miss him.  Lea graduated from massage therapy school and has decided not to move to Texas.  She is happy in Montana and needs to find a job.  Linus lives with her.  I miss them both.

My Mother.  She got remarried, and she’s happy.  They’re traveling through the US by way of recreational vehicle (though they actually have a house in Florida).  They’ll be here in late October for a visit.  Mom called me the other day asking, "Have you spoken with Lea?  Did she start looking for a job yet?"
"Mom, no offense, but I can ‘t think about anyone but myself,"  and then I kind of hoped she knew "right now" was coming after that comma.

My Grandfather.  He’s met his great grandchildren.  He sleeps a lot now, depressed.  My father keeps calling me, "I don’t think he has much longer."  Dad has been saying this for a year.  But I believe him now, which of course makes me sad.  But it’s also time.  He’s just not happy.  He’s the only real link I have to a past someone is willing to narrate.  My father doesn’t know all the history of my Grandfather’s life.  I always encouraged him to either tape record his stories or write them.  But he never did.  Neither has my father.  I wish they would.  I hate the idea that I’ll flip through one of his photo albums, and even though the names will be marked on the backs of photos, no one will know who the people are.  It’s sad to lose a whole generation of my family. 

  I still haven’t done it!  I have a room for it (which is pretty incredible) but haven’t had the time.  I’m all about Hybrid scrapbooking.  Phil got me the Silhouette die-cutting machine, and we got a wide-format color printer as a wedding gift from a friend of Phil’s, a friend of ours, really, so it will accommodate 12×12 paper. I can’t wait to finish this book!  When I do, I’m all about getting my teeth cleaned, taking these babies everywhere, working out again, more tennis, more blogging, more loving. 

My Mac.  I want a new one.  My K key has come loose, and now it is hell to type… you know, just in time for my deadline.  And my caps lock key no longer works.  Joy. 

My Weight.  Ha. I’m still workin’ the muffin top.  When pregnant, I was 175.  After giving birth, 156.  And now I’m at about 137.  I would love to get back to 128.  But quite honestly, I really don’t give a shit.  Though I’m sure I will once it’s time to stand in front of a camera again.

I’m still struggling. You get to a point, or I do, where everything I write, I want to delete.  I have an editor hat on instead of just writing.  I question too much, think too much.  Tonight I came home from writing and declared, "I’ve decided, for the next week, I’m going to be drunk and see how it goes."  Because when I’m soused, the words come out without restraint.  And sometimes I really need that.  It’s why I blog in the first place. 



  1. Thanks for the snapshot! Glad to hear things are looking up for you guys. And I know it'll be a relief to get The Book behind you. I know others have suggested that you get a deadline extension, but in my mind (and I've done my share of writing), that just delays the invevitable and adds more stress. In the long run, you'll sigh with relief and feel so accomplished. Best to all of you!

  2. People are going to comment about all of these updates, and so I'll keep my thoughts short. First, THANKS for the update on Lucas…we'll keep the prayers going, and hey, that helmet thing isn't bad…short term you know…

    And, I want to comment on Vegas in October! I live in Vegas, so, seriously, you want any tips on where to stay or what to do, I'm your gal :) And…hope you plan a sneek away here again for a book signing when Moose comes out!

  3. Hi Stephanie! I reached out to you via email a couple of times…."welcome to Austin, we're both Libras, same anniversary but a year +1 day apart(b/c it was a Saturday)". Then the preemie thing…not twins, but he was a 26 and a half weeker who is now 21 weeks old, or 7.5 weeks gestation. AND he had a brain issue-an IVH. Yadda, yadda…just listing these things so maybe you'll remember who I am. Anyway, I check up on you + the little ones through your blog often and had to laugh b/c my anniversary is today (Monday) and guess what I got from my husband? An iPhone. Ha. That's funny.
    I'm still here to grab lunch or a glass of wine…when you finish that book of course. Hope you are well!

    -Stephanie P

    FROM STEPHANIE: We absolutely must! No question. Happy anniversary. Once this book is handed in (even though editorial process will then begin, at least I'm hoping to have a bit of a break).

  4. How tall are you, Stephanie?

    The weights need a context…

    FROM STEPHANIE: I'm 5'5" (and for every inch over 5 ft. a person would ideally weigh 3-5 lbs. for each inch). I happen to know my comfort zone is about 123-128.

  5. many people don't give gifts for second weddings.

    did you get married soley for the gifts?

    FROM STEPHANIE: I never had a first wedding. And yeah, that's exactly why I got married, for the vases and dinner plates. Please.

  6. Stephanie: Thanks for the update! Having read your blog for a l-o-n-g time, there are times where I find myself feeling selfish for feeling frustrated that you haven't written about certain events in your life in more detail.

    For example: I'd love to hear more about your readings for "Straight Up & Dirty", your writing process (especially now that you are wrapping up "Moose"), if you've made any progress in decorating your house. Your wedding – even though it was a year ago, you've said precious little about it.

    I feel selfish because I know that (like the majority of your readers) you live a full life, and are busy working, being as mom and a wife – so, to some extent, I understand the pressures you must be facing. Despite all those pressures, you manage to keep your readers engaged.

    Thanks for the update!

  7. I have an 'appointment' in January to meet with my aunt to get down that family history… I figure she's getting on and no one else seems interested. I too hate the thought of all that history going, going, gone.

  8. Wedding,

    If you're gonna chime in with something smug at least do your homework. Read STRAIGHT UP AND DIRTY! Stephanie never had a wedding before. And not giving gifts? You give a gift because you want to share in someone's special day and show your love. You obviously go to the wedding for the centerpiece and open bar.

  9. My questions:

    Are you drunk right now? ;)

    Did your mom get upset with you at all because you wrote about her (limited but nonetheless). I was thinking about this the toher day regarding Straight Up. You seemed to share more personal things about your mom than your dad, not in a negative light, just honest. But did she get upset?
    I ask this b/c my mom has gotten angry with me before when writing about her.

    How did you handle it if she did get upset? If she didnt, did anyone? Leigha maybe?

    FROM STEPHANIE: I cannot imagine what they would have been upset with, either my mother or sister Lea. However, my mother was hurt that her photograph was not included on the cover. Which was a complete oversight, since I had handed in photos of her with me to be included, but they were black and white and never made it. It was of course not intentional, and even once I explained it, she didn't feel much better. Look, we can only try to do our best and know our own intentions. I'm pretty sure people will be offended by some of the things I write in Moose, but when I start to really worry about that, my writing stops being mine, stops being true to what I experienced.

  10. -Maybe you don't have to try so hard with the anniversary type of thing. I've accepted that my husband is more romantic of a soul than I am and he's always going to do better like that. I feel like if we're good to each other the majority of the time- that's a celebration. An anniversary is just a day. If you're still together and happy about it- that's good enough.

    -I don't get the wedding gift thing. (My first and only wedding) We didn't receive gifts OR a card from 2 people out of 146 that should have known better. I didn't care at ALL about the gift- I didn't need their $100-$200. But- I don't get how you go to a wedding with NO CARD just wishing us a happy & healthy lifetime together. Both of these people are single women and the excuse I make up in my head is that they've never had a wedding and just don't "get it". Even if I was poor, I'd at least give a card. People are so weird.

    -I had an issue with some kind of rash on my face too. It went on and off for about 6 mo. It was ugly and annoying and this moronic dermatologist told me it was adult acne. Clearly it was not. I now refuse to go to a dermatologist because in the words of Jerry Seinfeld- Pimple Popper MD isn't a big help to me.

    -Glad to hear that it seems like Lucas is doing better.

  11. Happy anniversary to you and Phil. And all the best to the beans! Enjoy that trip together!

  12. Even better get yourself some good weed… That shit'll make you write your ass off. Just make sure you listen for the doorbell, it will probably be Child Services, sent by one of your impending commenters. There is nothing like writing when you are shnockered. Long as it's not an email to an unrequited love interest… 'cos that hurts more than the headache in the morning.

  13. Ya know, I started my blog the very day I found yours. And for that very reason.

    Dunno where that came from… but in my head, it seemed relevant.

  14. Hi Stephanie,

    I've been wondering how the pilot you were writing is doing?

    FROM STEPHANIE: I handed in the outline (which details every character and ever single scene and what happens in it) quite a while ago to NBC. They accepted it! And then gave me the go ahead to write the actual pilot, but given all that has been going on in my life (especially Moose), I've been holding off, so I can just knock that out next. I'm also in talks with some other big networks about other storylines I have.

  15. If you don't already have it, you should go buy a Boppy pillow. It will eliminate the "thud" when Lucas falls over.

    Your post reflects the original "Stephanie" that hooked me. You have so much going on in your life but it seems as if you're showing it who's boss!

  16. last night, after a week of being drained of all emotion dealing with crap that is connected to a dear friend's death, i thought the same. get drunk, then write. i bet we would be brilliant. but i also want a beret to wear while drunk writing…and someone to take my picture to document this monumental course of action.

    then, when our drunkweek is done i am sure we will be able to sell our heaving emotional page and 1/2 to the highest bidder. maybe you will have more pages to sell. not me. drunk to the stage of passing out. that's what i am shooting for.

    yes, still, dreamers abound.

  17. Stephanie-thanks for the update-you answered all the "I wonders" I had, except one-still wondering if you still wanted to do the bingo or bowling-can't remember which you had mentioned a while ago. You have PLENTY of us here in Austin who would love to get together for a "girls night out"-even moreso, some (like me) who could really use one! Also, for some even more ridiculous fun, I've heard the Drafthouse has singalongs where they play 80's and 90's music. Just a thought. If you think it sucks, sorry :).
    Happy anniversary to you and Phil!

    FROM STEPHANIE: Totally still want to do bingo night, but will need to find a babysitter for that. And the singalong sounds completely like something I'd LOVE! Oh, I cannot wait for free time!

  18. It is rude to attend a wedding, or even a dinner party for that matter, without so much as a card for the couple. (Actually, you're supposed to send a gift even if you don't go to the wedding.) I remember using the cards we received to make a list of thank you cards to send after my own wedding and being surprised at the names that were missing. Did they really not even give us a card? It seems silly to feel slighted at someone over a little slip of paper, especially if you know they've gone out of their way to spend a precious summer Saturday at your wedding, but you just can't help it. At the end of the day it's just bad manners on their part…

  19. I have posted before… in fact, I posted about my child having Plagiocephaly… yes, she was a "helmet kid". I was concerned about the looks and the questions, and I did get them, but more concerned that if I did not get it fixed now, she would come to me at age 15 asking me why her forehead protruded (since often the opposite side forehead can protrude from where the flat spot was). Also, we had to go have physical therapy for Torticollus because she was favoring one side and not developing the muscles in her neck and shoulders on the other side.

    …. and there was no smell…. not even sure why that would be brought up…. unless you don't clean your child and wipe out the helmet, that would not be an issue. They wear it 23 hours, but it is 4 hours, then 1/2 hour breaks throughout the day, til bed time.

    Honestly, it was not a big deal at all and it was kind of nice to have the helmet when she was starting to move around more and bump her head…. and when people asked, I just said hey… this is Minnesota, we love our hockey here and we start em young! ;)

    Oh…. and I am going to send you some pictures of her with her helmet…. so you can see how adorable a helmet kid can be!

  20. I've heard it before but I just don't buy that "3-5 lbs per inch over 5 feet" rule. At 5'2", I would have to starve myself to weight 106-110. Unrealistic "rule". I'm healthy and a size 2 at 115–not "overweight". So glad you sound happy.

  21. hi.! This was great.
    As for the helmet, my best friends little boy had to wear one; for he had used one side too predominantly and etc etc. you know the drill. it was cute. it worked wonders. i think it was 6 months (?) and his little head is fine, it was lightweight, (expensive) but fine. They painted it for different occasions (especially football and halloween) and he didnt mind it one bit! and hes fine!

    I'm still praying for the little guy, your little guy.

    I'll be in Vegas in October for work. Yours sounds more fun!

    Good luck with the writing, the tennis and the MRI.

    God blessings to you all!
    Oh. and thats still so sad and heartwrenching about LInus. Ihope you get to visit him soon!

  22. Lots of babies get flat heads on one side from laying on that side too often. It happened to my nephew. As soon as he was turned and started sleeping on the other side and was then rotated from side to side, his head "un-flattened". I never knew there was a medical term for it. The boppy pillow is a good suggestion. Good luck!

  23. This bit..

    "We're gonna have a fucking helmet kid." And he starts cracking up. "Anything else you wanna lay on us Doc?"

    Laughed and choked on some sandwich. It sounds like he is out of the woods at least. I never knew about the helmet correction thing but I am glad he is doing better.

    And people who attend a wedding without giving a card and or gift? Cheap as cat shit. You shouldn't even show up at someone's dinner party empty handed much less a wedding. Anyone citing the '2nd marriage gets no gift' imaginary rule can stay home and watch tv. That is galling. Christ, at least cough up a goddamned toaster or hand mixer. SOMETHING. No one needs to know if it was from Target if money is an issue. I think it would be lovely and rather funny if you sent a florid thank you note to the 'forgetful' guests thanking them for some random gift. Just to make them feel uncomfortable. S'fun.

  24. Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for the updates. Happy to hear you're all doing much better!

    I was wondering if you can add the link for the interview posted May 23, 2007. When I went back to read your interview the link was gone.


  25. Stephanie, happy anniversary and thanks for the updates on what is going on with you! Sounds like all is working out. BTW, my youngest had a "flat spot"..pediatrician thought it was from how quickly he came down the birth canal..kind of noticeable until he grew more hair, but he is fine now. There was mention of the "helmet" thing too, but we were like you & Phil, we opted out and you can't even tell now, he is 3 1/2.

  26. I was at a birthday party recently and saw a mom that I hadn't seen in a while. Her baby was a "helmet kid" and while I was still thinking of the appropriate way to respond to it when I went to talk with her–say something, don't say something, pretend like I don't notice it? My husband blew right past me and said to the baby "I like your helmet dude." Refreshingly honest.

  27. Thanks for the update, so glad Lucas baby is out of danger. I love your blog, it has saved me from many a boring day at work.

    Now as for me, I need to step away from the ho-ho's. I am 5'6" and 145 pounds, and since that's 17 pounds heavier than I should be, I better get my fat (but really, it's only a size 6!) butt to the gym.

    P.S. I am a 34G bra and wonder how much each hooter weighs….maybe that has something to do with the number on the scale.

    FROM STEPHANIE: G boobs, I like to call "grocery bags." That would explain it. And it ain't my rule. I just know myself, as I'm sure we all do.

  28. I'm chiming in with mom2boyz. By these weight standards, the only time five foot me was ever at the correct weight was when I was a NCAA division 1 athlete and ran for an hour, lifted for an hour, and rowed for two hours every day. I didn't look or feel good, just hungry and tired all the time.

  29. i've never heard that weight rule, which surprises me since i have heard so many in my ongoing quests to lose weight… i am the same height as mom2boyz but am definitely NOT 115 pounds… in fact, i am about 140 pounds but do not think i look overweight… i work out, am totally healthy and a comfortable size eight, often a six. and while i'd love to lose weight, i'm so used to the way i look that if i got down to 115, i'm afraid i wouldn't look like myself anymore! weight is such an arbitrary number. i teach high school and am so scared of what women obsessing over the number on the scale can do to young girls.

  30. Your title for this post reminded me of William Steig's children's book _CDB_. Do you know it? U R A Q T *N* A B-Z B, Stephanie. (Little geeks grow up to be big geeks, I guess.)

  31. Dear Stephanie, thank you for the update – it answered so many things – just lovely.

    Now, a couple of things.

    1. Are you planning on doing another themed Christmas tree for charity again? I've thought…oh, three dozen times…of all the ornaments I should have, could have, sent last time…but didn't, but would still like to.

    2) How is Abigail? Is she developing red ringlets like her mom?

    Thanks for sharing everything – it's just the best ever. Can't WAIT for the book.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Thanks 3 Teens'. I don't know about the tree yet. We'll be in NY for Thanksgiving, so I will not be doing all that cooking again. As for Miss Abigail… she has been pulling herself up into a stand for a long time now. She can walk around objects as she holds onto them, and knows how to reach for toys on the floor with one hand while keeping herself steady and standing with the other.
    She also knows how to steal Lucas's toys!

    Lately, I'll catch her, say "No," while signing it (yes, I'm still doing sign language with them) then tell her to share, signing that, then hand her a replacement toy, giving Lucas back his. She'll throw her new toy down, about three times, continuing to steal from her brother. But when she gives up and plays with the replacement toy, I praise her a lot. So we'll see how that goes. And no, her hair is brown now, and grows in a swirl over her forehead… though I didn't have curls until I was much older.

  32. Agree about the no wedding gift people. We had a few at our wedding, too, including some IN THE WEDDING PARTY. Weird. I would like to think that they meant to get around to sending a gift and just forgot. The people I really don't understand are the ones who don't send thank you notes for wedding presents. Isn't that just basic etiquette? I couldn't live with the guilt!

  33. Hey so glad to hear things are looking up and Happy Anniversary!!! Hope your book is progressing nicely :-)

    Hope we can get together when things (moose) calm down ;-)

    Call me if you need some back-up

  34. The same thing happened with my Macbook. I think it was the i key, came completely off. I took it in and they offered to replace the whole keyboard for free. Only downside is it would take 2-3 days. Fortunately, I flirted with the Mac Genius. He yanked the i key off their test computer, put it on mine, problem solved. So, if you can part with your precious computer for a couple days, take it in. I know, it's hard. The idea gives me anxiety. Or, I guess, just plug in a keyboard until you go on vacation and can live without the Mac.

  35. Hi Stephanie,
    Thanks for the updates.
    First Happy Anniversary. A trip together is really a good solution. Like a second honey moon.
    I am also happy for Lucas. Good luck.

  36. First, I'm so glad to hear Lucas is doing well.

    Second, I believe in expensive shoes and sunglasses. Those are my two splurge expenses.

    Third, I am something of a Vegas regular and have some limited expertise when it comes to the spa and dining thing. I have also stayed pretty much everywhere. Please feel free to email me if you need suggestions or recommendations. It is hard to have a bad time in Vegas, but often it is the hotel that will do you in.

  37. I also laughed about the Helmet Kid. And I agree with you about sticking a helmet on the child – he's gone through enough, fergawdsake. It will come right by itself. He's so handsome, nobody'll even notice a flatter side.
    Flathead, jeezus.

  38. ATX- I did the note thing. Tacky, yes, somewhat. But, when a family member attends your wedding, brings extra guests, and doesn't chalk up a gift or even a card? Umm, yeah. Not to sound really cheap, but those extra guests cost me $$. Money, that definitely could have been applied towards my china pattern, damnit.

    Thanks for the updates Stephanie! We have to get together before I have this baby! :)

  39. Hi Stephanie,
    I was just wondering…you said Moose had to be handed in by Oct. 1st but do you know how long the process will take until it is in the stores? I imagine it takes time.
    Anyway, looking forward to it. Will there be camp photos in the book? You will feel sooo good when it's finished.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Yes, there will be photos from camp… before and after photos along with others (including actual diary entries from that time). As for when it will be in stores… I believe Spring 2008. The reason we don't want to push it back is TV is dark in the summer, so if you want any TV PR, you must release in spring or fall, and in fall a gazillion books come out… and given this is a book about summer… we're aiming for the spring.

  40. I was also wondering about the Christmas tree event. I love the crafty posts. I craft vicariously through others.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.