Posted in Just Funny, Quirks and Other Weirdness, Uncategorized

good luck will rub off when i shakes ‘ands wif you

She sat on the back row of the bleachers wearing a brown plaid A-line jumper and ribbed white turtleneck, swinging her feet back and forth and wondering why they were HERE on this show today instead of in Kindergarten melting leaves & crayon bits in-between pieces wax paper, or dancing around the room to “Chim Chim Cheree” like yesterday.

Who is Captain Spaceman anyway?” she wondered to herself, looking at all the rows of lights hanging from the high ceiling of the television studio. Oh, well, at least the man in the giant blue leotard says our time is almost up, he just needs to draw a name for the prize. Sure, a prize would be nice, but not if she had to walk down in front of everybody to get it. No thanks. Her little wallflower self would rather just sit here watching her feet swing than be made a spectacle of, thank you very much.

Wait. What did he say? T20000 leagues gamehe giveaway is a Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea game? Icky Yucky Ooky. She may only be five years old, but she’s smart enough to know that Jules Verne, and for that matter, all Science Fiction stuff is for boys. And she did NOT want boy stuff.  No thank you very much. Besides, surely they wouldn’t call out a girl’s name for a boy’s toy. That would just be mortifying – like that awkward moment when the boy in front of you toots and then looks at you so everybody else will think it WAS you. She’s rather die. But she told herself there was nothing to worry about. Only a 1 in 30 chance even if they DID include the girls, “Which they wouldn’t,” she thought just as they announced … HER name. WHAT? NOOOOO!

1st Grade StephAnd that, boys and girls, was the beginning of my lucky streak. I have gone on to win tickets and gift certificates to nice restaurants and books and videos and essay competitions and savings bonds and a video player and $200 in a photo contest and numerous cds, weekend getaways, a smart tv, and if you have EVER been to a “sales party” with me, be it Pampered Chef or Creative Memories or Tupperware or whatever, you know my name is ALWAYS the one that gets drawn for the door prize. Always.

Some decades later, only a few petals remain from my wallflower days. I have since learned to embrace Jules Verne, giant squids, AND feminism, no thanks to that stupid boy board game.

Today the sun is shining, my one-year-old blog is flourishing, and no fewer than a dozen of my stories and articles have been featured or purchased by BlogHer, Experts Among Us, and others.  I feel very VERY lucky.

And since I just got my vanilla latte free, I guess my good fortune still holds.

Either that, or I’ve already purchased ten this month and my punchcard was full. Still…

*The little dude next to me was my first “boyfriend” despite the fact that I was clearly taller. But he gave me a bracelet. Gotta love a guy who gives you jewelry. And it’s quite possible the girl next to me was Cindy Brady.
Posted in Beauty, Just Funny, Minimalism, Quirks and Other Weirdness, Uncategorized

Monogamy & Handbags

For the last three years I have been in a serious monogamous relationship… with my purse. I have carried this faux-leather sensible black handbag (with a frivolous lime green lining) through better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, forsaking all others and remaining completely faithful to my beloved handbag “until death do us part.”

We are very much alike, this handbag and I:  practical, organized, oversized, and somewhat amusing (reference the lime green lining). She has been a faithful companion.  She supported me without fail, and we have, for all practical purposes, been inseparable.

Regrettably, my $40 faux leather partner had a lifespan rivaling the career of an American Idol contestant or the shelf-life of an incandescent light bulb. “For as long as we both shall live” turned out to be about 32 months, thus I found myself in mourning.

After her untimely demise, I must admit to a brief rebound relationship with an adorable little buckle bag, but at only 5” tall, she turned out to be much too shallow for any kind of meaningful relationship. I’m also ashamed to admit to a lust-based one-night-stand with a flashy metallic copper number. However, she proved to be nothing more than a vacuous tote, a hollow single-compartment chasm in which I could find nothing.

I’m happy to announce my grieving phase has finally ended. I am once again in LOVE. My new purse is practical – large enough to hold my grown-up coloring book, but small enough to wedge into the console between the front seats of Eddie van Honda. She is designed for organization – monogamy handbagcompartments with magnetic snaps, a separate pouch for the progressive trifocals I never wear, and a small zippered pocket so I always know where to locate my elusive keys.

Most importantly, my new bag is a bit whimsical – ivory leather with silver studded fringe.  She’s nearly perfect. I love her.

I’m sure I could draw some sort of spiritual analogy here about how we were all created for a specific purpose, or about the wisdom of choosing good companions, or about the how our physical life is just transient, but, after all…it’s just a purse.

Posted in Family, Grammar Nazi, Just Funny, Uncategorized

To Whom it May Concern


My daughter texted, “Knock, knock”

I returned, “Who’s there?”

She replied, “To”

53140214230f1e85e4f8b99ac4e70126So I typed, “To who?” but I couldn’t do it. Before I hit SEND, my Zero Tolerance Approach to Bad Grammar required me to correct the blunder, so I changed it to“To whom?” and pressed the green button.

Her next text stated flatly, “DANGIT” and then she proceeded to curse me with extensive PG-rated cursing while I laughed my goofy head off.

Apparently I ruined her joke.

Come on, it’s not like she didn’t know.

Posted in Down on the Farm, Just Funny, Uncategorized

Ice Skating with the Devil

Back in January, the cowboy made room in our 24×28 garage for me to park the car. We’ve lived in this house 16 years and this is a first.  I mean, I never minded NOT parking in the garage, but when the temperature outside rivals the interior of the deep freeze, or I’ve got a trunk full of groceries to haul inside, it sure is lovely. Point being, now that I can park my car in the garage, I have no need to be outdoors. Not even a desire really. In the winter it’s too cold or too windy or too gray. In the summer it’s all buggy and weedy and there’s the ever-present “odeur de equine” that blows northwest from the barn. I’m just an indoorsy girl at heart. Give me a bookstore or a museum and I’m happy as a nerd.

My husband, on the other hand, spends every waking not-at-work minute outside. He comes in the house after dark to eat and sleep. If he’s not working with his horses, he is cutting down trees, or disking up fields, or hauling hay, or chopping firewood, or, well, you name it.

So, he comes in from the mailbox the other day, the latest edition of “Saddle Boy” magazine in hand, proclaiming, “I have found the destination for our next vacation!”

I glance at him skeptically over the top rim of my 2.25 reading glasses. One, because we rarely go on vacation, and two, because we never agree on anything, much less recreation pursuits.

“No, I’m serious,” he assures me.

I’m in a good mood, so I bite.

city slickers
from “City Slickers”

He proceeds to describe a “vacation” that has all the appeal of Yemen and ranks right above Chinese Water Torture on the fun-o-meter: a working dude ranch.  I’ve seen “City Slickers”, thank you very much, and there ends the extent of my interest in Big Sky Country and, for that matter, the late Jack Palance’s acting career.

Once again I glance at him over the top rim of my glasses. This time with less skepticism and more sarcasm, “You’re a funny, funny little man.”

He gives me a sales pitch with all the perks: You get to work with horses, cut down trees, disk up fields, haul hay, chop firewood, and, if you’re lucky enough to have double-X chromosomes, you also get to help fix the chow! And, let us not forget – YOU get to pay THEM for the experience!

feltandwire
from feltandwire.com

The cowboy cannot seem to grasp the concept that THIS IS NOT A VACATION. Not for a sane person. But to him it sounds like heaven. To me it sounds distinctly like something I plan to do… right after I go ice-skating with Satan.

Posted in Just Funny, Quirks and Other Weirdness, Uncategorized

Dances with Wools

Things I Hate:

Injustice. Litterbugs. Mosquitos. Wintergreen. Comb-overs. Fluorescent lighting. People who have to “one up” your stories. Having only vowels in a Scrabble game. The smell of sardines. Using “would OF” and “could OF” when you mean “would’ve” and “could’ve”. Cheese Whiz. Not being able to find my keys in my purse. People who mispronounce the word nuclear. Pumping gas in the winter. Three friends – two final pieces of sushi. Yogurt. The guy who decided Pluto could no longer be a planet. Getting all comfy in bed and realizing I forgot to pee. Reality shows with housewives or bachelors or anyone willing to compromise our intelligence for their 15 minutes of fame.

But the one thing I hate most?

Socks. Darn them.  

Cotton. Wool. Nylon. Striped. Solid. Argyle. Athletic socks. Trouser a socksocks. Ankle socks. Knee socks. Crew socks. Toe socks. They are evil in its purest form. Be a-frayed. Be very a-frayed. Masquerading as “essentials”, “comfort items”, “fashion accessories”, they are nothing more than vile, wretched, sweat-inducing, pedicure-hiding, foot-enclosures. AND. I. HATE. THEM. Wearing them forces my feet to go spelunking against their will. I don’t mean to be a heel, but it’s cruel and unusual punishment. And to add insult to injury, I’m pretty sure some of my toes are claustrophobic.

Three-fourths of the year my toes are happy little campers. Strappy sandals or microfiber mules or casual clogs – all sock-free. But then winter sets in and my feet either roast or freeze. And since I don’t particularly look good in blue…

Besides, my oh-so-comfy winter-weather leather loafers require socks. So, for Christmas, I asked my children to buy me socks. Cute ones. Cute enough to get your attention, but not so cute that you lose respect for me. And comfortable ones, though I know in my heart there are no such things. My children refused. Kacey even went so far as to Facebook her brother saying, “Do NOT buy our mother socks. No matter WHAT she says she wants, she hates socks. You don’t want to be remembered forever as the ‘child who bought her those stupid, awful, toe-torture devices’“… or something like that.

Now, I’m not stocking up on them, but I did break down and buy my own socks. And I broke down further and wore my own socks.

I think I may have to start a humanitarian group called “PETF” – People for the Ethical Treatment of FEET, or maybe the ASPCT – the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Toes.

The absolute worst is sleeping in socks. I don’t know if it’s the fact that my bed is on the north wall of the house, or that my cotton sheets lack warmth, or that I frequently sleep alone; regardless, I find myself often wearing socks to bed this winter. At some point during the night, Emma Lazarus calls to me… “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free… “ and my right big toe grasps the top of my left sock and frees my left foot and my left foot returns the favor by stepping on the toe of the right foot so my right foot can free itself, then both feet push the socks into the floor (“Out, out damned socks!”) while my ten toes do a little socks by the bedmiddle-of-the-night emancipation dance.


And for some bizarre reason, despite the fact that the kitchen is clean, the towels are always
tri-folded, the sheets are washed every Monday, and the dvd’s are alphabetized… the socks remain in the floor until their services are required again.

I don’t know why.

Oh yeah, because I hate them.

Posted in Just Funny, Minimalism, Uncategorized

Perhaps her heart was two sizes too small

Everyone, it’s assumed, liked Christmas a lot
But Steph, who’d felt scroogey, most certainly did not.

Oh, she loved all the sharing and wee balls of rum
And songs about drummers who rum-pa-pum-pum,
But she hated the shopping and wrapping and glitter
And taking the tree down alone made her bitter.

Utility BeforeIt could be perhaps
that her socks were too pinchy
Or the stuff in the utility room
made her grinchy.
But whatever the reason,
the socks or the junk,
She stood here in January,
feeling the funk.

She snarled with a sneer,
“I can take it no more –
This house is too full,
the stuff has to go!”
Then she got an idea!
An awful idea!
Why, Steph got a wonderful, awful idea!

She gathered some empty containers and sacks
And took down the lights and the ornament of Max.
She packed up the wrapping and shiny red balls
And rolled up the garland that decked out the halls.

“Now all I need are some boxes to fill.
I’ll pack up my stuff, and I’ll go to Goodwill”
She cleaned out the closets and shelves of the clutter
And emptied the fridge of the last Nutter Butter.

She boxed up a wreath and a vase and a candle
And even got rid of the “R” on the mantle.
She slithered and slunk with a smile almost gruff
And cleared out the house of all excess stuff.

She got tired more than once, and thought she was through,
But she mustered the strength of ten women, plus two.
She kept working all day and into the night
When she heard a deep voice that gave her a fright.

She turned around fast and saw You-Know-Who
The teenage boy Kevin, who was no longer two.
He looked at his mom with gleaming blue eyes
And said, “Why are you cleaning and boxing up, WHY?”

And you know, that ol’ Mom, was so tired and so sick,
Of working alone, that she schemed really quick.
“Get out the step stool and climb really high,
Take down the tree topper, then be a good guy

Haul these to the dump and then when you can
Load the rest that’s for charity, into the van.”
Her jobs hushed the boy, then she patted his head
And said, “Thanks for helping!” and sent him to bed.

utility AfterNow the chaos was vanishing
from under her roof,
The odds and the ends
were all going “POOF!”
She’d bah-humbugged throughout
the whole holiday season
But please don’t ask why,
no one quite knows the reason.

It just could have been
that her socks were too pinchy.
Or maybe her heart
had become mean and grinchy.
But the most likely reason
for holiday gloom
Was all of the stuff in the utility room.

Posted in Family, Just Funny, Uncategorized

Dirty Santa and the Great Mystery

The way I see it there are three good gift types:
1. Something you need that you can’t afford. (Furniture; new car tires; stainless steel cookware; etc.)
2. Something frivolous you love that you would not likely buy for yourself. ($100 hurricane lamp; rabbit-lined leather gloves; 600-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets)
3. Something fun that suits your personality and interests. (a massage; tickets to a concert; a first-edition book)

This leads me to question the “Dirty Santa” game we play with my husband’s family each Christmas. The girls bring a girl gift, the guys bring a guy gift. The girl stuff ranges from spa gift cards to jewelry to chocolate. No problem there. It is the guy stuff that perplexes me. This year the gifts were as follows: wire-ties4Electrical tape; Duct tape; garden hose roll-up thingy; plastic rain gauge; wrench; box cutter; a dozen pairs of work gloves; and various colors of plastic cable ties. Seriously. And they grappled over these things like Hungry Hungry Hippos going after marbles.

Now, I gave this some thought. The girl gift equivalents would look something like: A travel sewing kit; box of safety pins; nail clippers; twelve pairs of yellow dishwashing gloves; spatula; a curling iron caddy; and an old lady clear-plastic rain bonnet.

Am I the only one who sees the humor in this? These are not gifts. These are the purchases of 5 men who do not have a clue how to shop and were equally relieved that none of the other guys knew how to shop either.

Gift cards make sense to me. Big boy toys I can appreciate. Electronic gadgets I understand. Game systems I even like myself. But plastic cable ties remain a mystery to me.