I'm Past All That

 

Excerpt:
Learning to listen to your own kid, not the voices in your head.
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Hey Kids, Let's Share the Shame

 

Excerpt:
Parental shame is a two-way street, and my kid is already pedaling down it -- on the pink tricycle he...
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My Family Is Crazier Than Your Family. No, Really.

 

Excerpt:
When people talk about their "crazy" families, it really brings out my competitive nature.

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The Evil Stepmother Dies

 

Excerpt:
What do you do when you lose someone? Someone you really hated? It's a little awkward, I'll tell you that much. Last month, my stepmother of more than 25 years died at age 67 of lung cancer. It was a terrible death, one I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, which, incidentally, she was...
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Taking a Husband's Name, for Better or Worse

 

Excerpt:
Good news and bad news about having the surname Strasser. Maj. Strasser is a character in "Casablanca," arguably the best movie of all time. On the downside, Maj. Strasser is a major Nazi, which causes major confusion in Hebrew school and thereafter for a Jewish girl like me...
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A Baby Story

 

Excerpt:
Right now, I'm the sidekick on a morning radio program and co-host of a weekly television show on deep, deep cable. Based on my career trajectory thus far, my next job will be a series of non-union Mobisodes...
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I'll Sit This One Out

 

Excerpt:
I'm at a small house party, lounging on a couch, drinking a beer, flanked by girlfriends, safe. Everything is fine. That is, until some hateful former college DJ feels the need to crank up his party mix and "Staying Alive" fills the air. No matter how hip and alternative people are, they lose their minds when they hear the Bee Gees...
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Saying Goodbye to an Angel in Sin City

 

Excerpt:
Mr. Snead has an artificially orange comb-forward and the type of throaty voice and desiccated face one only acquires after living in the desert for awhile. He is an undertaker. On his forearm, I make out what are obviously two prison tattoos; one reads "Love" and the other is a name, "Jenna," maybe. He is filling out forms with a mechanical pencil like a man for whom writing doesn't come easily...
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The 'L' Word

 

Excerpt:
How do you spell crippling inability to connect? L-U-V. That's how I spelled it. After months of trying to make myself say the "L word," I finally managed only three of the letters...
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Disaster-proofing Your Habitat For Special Guests

 

Excerpt:
I might own a book called "Stop Obsessing! How to Overcome Your Compulsions". There may be some CDs in my collection by Mariah Carey. I own various expired prescription rash medications and a jar of Jolen Cream Bleach. I have the entire series of "Fat Blaster Plus" home workout videos...
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A Big Flop in the Name of Love

 

Excerpt:
There was a time in junior high when I would introduce myself to strangers as "Andi, with an 'i'."
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That's No Way to Treat a Lady, Girlfriend'

 

Excerpt:
When I met Amy, I thought she was "the one." Our freshman year of high school, we did everything together.
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Counter Offensive

 

Excerpt:
I never thought I'd have anything in common with Russell Crowe, but I think I do and, sadly...
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Committed to a Little Lady Named Envy

 

Excerpt:
Paris Hilton looks flawless, even in that tacky, wrestler-inspired, jewel encrusted one-piece bathing suit she wears...
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Money: The Root Of All Issues

 

Excerpt:
I knew the union was doomed when he picked up a $12 triangle of aged Parmesan cheese and tossed it in our shopping cart at Trader Joe's as if it were just another affordable family-sized tray of frozen enchiladas. Lactose I could tolerate, but $12 cheese made me queasy.
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The Dress, The Ring, The Registry and The Rest

 

Excerpt:
Once upon a time, Teresa Strasser was The Jewish Journal's award-winning singles columnist. Then she met Daniel. Next week the two will wed. In the series below, Strasser charts her journey from "I will" to "I do." And we're sure they'll live happily ever after...
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Leave the House

 

Excerpt:
There's nothing more smug and insidious than a girl who has finally fallen in love and thinks she now has all the answers. She can save you from your sad, pathetic, damaged love life and cure you of your nasty man-repellant habits...
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Caught in the Haze of the Dating Maze

 

Excerpt:
There are blind dates, there are speed dates and, unfortunately, in Los Angeles, there are vague dates. You know the kind: the painfully squishy kind; the outing that makes you ask yourself (and whatever girlfriend you can get on the phone), "Was I just on a date?"
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N.Y. or L.A.: Which Is Better for Dating?

 

Excerpt:
In my now perhaps exceedingly long life as a single woman, I've lived in both New York and Los Angeles. When people ask me which city is better when it comes to dating, I can only answer by citing a famous scene from the horror classic, "When a Stranger Calls."
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What Is The Sound of a Woman Thinking?

 

Excerpt:
Helping friends find Mr. Right at a Buddhist retreat? Breathe in, breathe out and keep quiet. Does the bread buttered for you with compassion by a hot guy standing near the toaster at a Buddhist retreat taste better than regular toast? I swear, it does. Call it the Dharma of Flirt Toast.
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So Uncool It's Cool

 

Excerpt:
I favor the type of acrylic French tip nails that are considered fashionable only by mid-level porn stars. I still wear Uggs. Pink is my favorite color. I've seen the movie "G.I Jane" twice, and not for camp value. I thought it was good.
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He's My...

 

Excerpt:
The term "boyfriend" is like the knee joint on someone who is morbidly obese. It is being asked to do way more than it was designed to do. It is buckling under the pressure. Where it once could do the job, it is now carrying too much weight.
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Thanks, But the Veggie Platter is Fine...

 

Excerpt:
I'm at a Thai restaurant in Larchmont Village. The lighting is good and I'm halfway through a cocktail. Without warning, I'm face to gills with the restaurant's special, an enormous whole catfish staring up at me with roasted eyeballs from my date's plate. This thing isn't dinner; it's something pulled out of a boat on ESPN2.
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Missing: My Mojo

 

Excerpt:
I can't explain it any better than this. I think I've lost my mojo. That phrase has been going through my head for months now. Lost my mojo. How do you know you've lost your mojo? You get a couple clues. I'm eating dinner alone at a restaurant when an attractive older man approaches. He puts down his crossword puzzle. We chat. I discern that he's a divorcee with a teenager, not much my type, but since I'm feeling the mojo slip away, I'm less discerning
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That's Nice

 

Excerpt:
Women love bad boys. Nice guys finish last. Welcome to the most damaging and far-flung myth ever to hit the dating world. I'm sure you've heard it in its many forms; if you want a girl to fall for you, don't let on that you like her, treat her badly, be aloof. Never work too hard or call too soon. Keep her waiting. With only 800 words at my disposal, I don't know if I can fully emphasize how misguided this notion is, but with the help of some Chocodiles, I'm going to try.
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Got Closure?

 

Excerpt:
I'm 18, I'm flipping through my yearbook, reading over the cursive messages of my friends, "Stay sweet" and "Great sitting next to you in French" and "Have a great summer." On the next page, there are a few more notes advising me not to change, to remember that night at the beach drinking wine coolers, to "keep in touch."
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Roadside Distraction

 

Excerpt:
I'm sitting at a Mobil Station in Minneola, my feet propped up against the bottom frame of my car door. The door is swung open so I can take in the desert air, exhale my Camel Light into the breeze. I just bought a pack of gum and a green plastic lighter inside the store, where a long- haired desert baked clerk seemed at a loss to respond to me.
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Painted Clowns

 

Excerpt:
I'm drinking at a bar called the Dirty Horse on Hollywood Boulevard. Well, that's not the real name but I never got a look at the sign and that name seems right. It fits the place, with its plastic pitchers of beer, painted clowns on black velvet, bowls of peanuts and the fast talking, baseball hat wearing guy at the end of the bar who clutches a clipboard and swears he can hook you up with tickets to a taping of "Yes, Dear."
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Hotel Holiness

 

Excerpt:
I walk into each new hotel room, look at it suspiciously, shake it's clammy hand, put my suitcase down gingerly. I unpack my makeup, put my mascara and lipsticks in a water glass, hang up my coat. I see what cable channels I have, check out the room service menu for any items that aren't medically contraindicated.
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How Not to Date

 

Excerpt:
Look, I'm not going to tell you how to find "the one," how to radiate that "I'm available" light, how to register for wine tasting seminars and join networking groups. I have no dating advice. None. I won't suggest clever phrasing for your personal ad or how to choose a photo to post on jdate. I'm not an expert on any of these things, but without bragging, I will admit I'm truly excellent at one thing: how to not date.
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No Vacancy

 

Excerpt:
Last week, before the premiere of my new show "While You Were Out," I got my first big national magazine review. I wasn't expecting it. I had just had a tooth pulled and my mom was in town for the day to take care of me. I was just minding my own business, sprawled on the couch, taking painkillers like Pez, flipping through a magazine. There it was: my name with the two-word description, "incessantly vacant." Incessantly vacant.
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Meeting Dr. Soul Mate

 

Excerpt:
Somehow, the universe knows. It knows when you have on a fresh coat of MAC gloss and some cute heels you got on sale at Charles David and clean hair that's looking halfway decent. It knows. That's the night you won't meet anyone. If a principle is true than so is its opposite, which I proved by meeting the future Mr. Strasser in a Utah emergency room, between bouts of moaning in a fetal position and dry heaving.
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Car Shame

 

Excerpt:
It happened fast, like swerving out of the way of a stray cat. I was driving toward the valet parking kiosk of a fancy-pants department store in Beverly Hills. As I approached, I saw clusters of press and well-dressed young women gathered to attend a charity brunch. A Mercedes was coming to a slow stop. I don't know what made me do it; I took a sharp left, veering away from the valet kiosk and into an adjacent public lot.
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No Pre-Nup for Places

 

Excerpt:
Let the courts decide who gets custody of kids. What I want to know is, who gets custody of the coffee shop? The grocery store? The brunch place? It's been seven months since I broke up with Z. and I miss our old haunts, the places we used to go together, the places I relinquished when the whole thing fell apart like a three year-old Daewoo sedan. Finding another guy wasn't so hard, but there's no replacing Stir Crazy, the best coffee shop ever.
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In Praise of Geeks

 

Excerpt:
Don't bother me with the guy voted "Cutest smile." That guy's gonna go bad on you. That guy will be of no use. Worse, someday soon he will bore you; he will frustrate you with his basic inability to understand human suffering the way a geek can. Johnny Dimples never endured unwieldy growth spurts or had to wear glasses to pre-school. Dimple's parents dressed normally when they picked him up from school in their normal car. Dimples went to the prom, had sex before he was 22 and saw "Star Wars" fewer than three times.
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We're Wedded to Cohabitating  

 

Excerpt:
If that whole "women over 30 have a better chance of getting killed by a terrorist than finding a husband" thing didn't make us question the media's ability to interpret statistics, we'd be 82% crazy. The latest statistical soup being served up is data from the 2000 census, heralding either the disintegration of the American family, or the resurgence of traditional values, depending on how you read the numbers.
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East Side Miracle

 

Excerpt:
There's a storefront church next door to my friend Bill's apartment in New York City's East Village. I'm staying with him for a week, so I pass the church a lot and the sign in the window becomes like a refrain. "Free: hugs, foot washing, Band-Aids & money. While $upplies last." You can also drop off your prayer requests through a slot in the door and a note promises your prayers will be sent out daily.
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When Booty Calls

 

Excerpt:
Sometimes, a Booty Call can sneak up on you. Case in point: a second date with a guy I met at a bookstore. He was running late, called to say he'd have to baby-sit his niece and nephew and wouldn't be available until after 10 p.m. No problem, I said, grateful to be able to watch the tail end of a 'Law & Order' rerun.
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The Great Stuff Swap

 

Excerpt:
In comes the summer and out goes my latest boyfriend. He was a great guy, funny, smart and possessing what my mom calls "The Big Three," that is, a job, a car and an apartment. The only problem was that getting his affection was somewhat like getting gasoline during the Carter administration; I could only seem to do it on odd number days.
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The Physics Of Hiatus

 

Excerpt:
You're standing in line for the ATM. Your car's illegally parked down the street. It starts to drizzle. You're convinced the man in front of you is taking out a home loan. He seems to move in slow motion, pulling scraps of paper out of his pocket, pausing to look up and momentarily ponder the meaning of life. He tries one pen, then another.
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Cereal Killer

 

Excerpt:
Things aren't going well. I know this because I come home from work, eat six bowls of cereal and climb in bed still wearing my clothes and shoes. The end is near and I can feel it. I know cereal isn't love and companionship, but it won't turn on you and it hurts a lot less (except Captain Crunch - that stuff can wreak havoc on the roof of your mouth.)
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Plush Reminders

 

Excerpt:
Bunny. Dastardly Bunny. Stupid stuffed, fluffy gift from his ex-girlfriend. Bunny, you've enjoyed life on his pillow for awhile, but now you must die. Bunny must die. This is what I thought as I tossed Bunny out the window of his bedroom last week.
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And Guest

 

Excerpt:
To all the people who've invited me to events with those two fateful words, "And Guest," I apologize. I'm sorry you have to look through your wedding or shower or bar mitzvah photos and say, "Who's that?" when looking at my date. "What was his name?" said my aunt, squinting at the uncomfortable looking guy standing next to me in a wedding photo.
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Snapshots of Summer

 

Excerpt:
When I have things to write, I suddenly seem to have things to read. Yahoo online stock profiles for example, of stocks I don't own, because I don't own any stocks. It's too hot to work, I tell myself, sitting with a fan the size of a large potted plant at my back. And it's amazing what a thorough reading of the daily newspaper I can accomplish when I really don't want to work. The metro section is my new best friend.
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Wings Out

 

Excerpt:
I never thought I'd find myself in any place called "The Winner's Room," mingling with soap opera stars and clutching a huge gold statue. But there I was. Well, that's where my body was, though some other part of me was hovering above the Century Plaza Hotel, just watching myself the way you watch an awards show on TV.
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Swollen

 

Excerpt:
Some days, you really don't feel like taking the high road. Take today, for example, when I read a letter from a reader named Molly (not her real name). Maybe I just wasn't ready to deal with this total stranger who seems to have taken a keen but rather unpleasant interest in me.
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Shameful Behavior

 

Excerpt:
You go out. You talk to a lot of people you don't know. Maybe you gossip a little. Maybe you flirt. Maybe you try too hard and end up acting just a bit like someone else. You wake up the next day with the uneasy feeling that you've just gotten drunk and had a one-night stand. But you haven't.
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Boy Meets Mom

 

Excerpt:
Busted flat in Barstow, I realize the desert is no place for an old Plymouth. The mechanic says something about "a machine shop in Victorville" and I think that is one phrase you never want to hear in a sentence with your name. That and "feeding tube."
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Smoke Signals

 

Excerpt:
I meet a guy. I'm pretty sure I like him because I haven't erased the message he left on my answering message. I call my machine from work and listen to it a time or two, smiling and blushing and feeling like a complete idiot. His voice is soft and deep, a little awkward and exceedingly polite.
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A Priceless Day

 

Excerpt:
You have three goals for your Sunday. Wash your car, wash your clothes, wash yourself. You've accomplished two of the three when you find yourself driving by the Farmer's Market on Fairfax in West Los Angeles. You pull in and find a parking place right away, which you think is a good omen. This must be where you're supposed to be.
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Looking For Mr. & Mrs. Losnick

 

Excerpt:
It's a sweltering day in Central Hollywood, the kind that always reminds me of melted gum sticking to my shoes. I don't usually walk around my neighborhood, due in part to the preponderance of strung-out transvestites and crack dealers. Today, though, I'm antsy.
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Reaching New Haights

 

Excerpt:
The Synergy School was fine for me for a while. We called our teachers "Rusty" and "Kathy," learned macrame and group poetry and signed "agreements" that we wouldn't "hurt each other's feelings." It was 1979. My mother was perming her hair into an afro, wearing her knee-high Frye boots and hoping her daughter's creativity wouldn't be squelched by "the system" and its public schools.
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Free Fallin' in Monrovia

 

Excerpt:
I'm in a sport utility vehicle in Monrovia with a man I've just met. We're in the parking lot of the Brass Elephant, an establishment the likes of which I've only seen in movies like "The Accused." The Brass Elephant is closed now and my brain is too marinated in Southern Comfort to brave the drive back to Hollywood.
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Going Home Again

 

Excerpt:
They say you can never go home again. Well, you can. Only you might find yourself staying at a TraveLodge, driving a rented Ford Contour and staking out your childhood home like some noir private eye just trying to catch a glimpse of the Johnny-come-latelys that are now living in YOUR HOUSE./blockquote> »   Read More