Posted in Down on the Farm, Family, Just Funny, Uncategorized

PipeBusters on The Reality Channel

3:00 ET, 2:00 CST

Narrator’s voice:  On the pilot episode of PipeBusters, we find Stephanie rising at the crack of 8:15 and making her way to the kitchen. She hears a noise. A terrifying noise. An ominous sound. An ominous hissing sound. (cue hissing sound) She lurks around quietly, trying to discern the location and cause. Snake? If so, Stephanie and her family could be in danger. Grave danger. Freon leak? If so, Stephanie and her mangoes could be in danger. Grave danger. Just then, in another room of the house, her son starts the water for his shower. Instantly, the threatening hissing noise is silenced.Almost simultaneously, Stephanie’s phone beeps. A text. Who could it be from?WHO??? (cue suspenseful music)

COMMERCIAL BREAK

pipe busters leakThe synchronized stoppage of the strange hissing sound in sync with her son’s shower and the incoming text is an awfully big coincidence. (Of course, everyone knows, there are no big coincidences or small coincidences, only coincidences.) Still, she grabs her glowing purple cell, eager to discover who, WHO, has texted at this wee hour of 8:15 a.m.??? It’s the cowboy, who left for work just after discovering the hissing noise. Text: Wrench in garage. Leak under house. Turn water off at meter.

There is a leak under the house. A leak. A water leak. Under the house. What to do? WHAT TO DO? (cue William-Shatner-deliberate-pause reading style). The cowboy says turn it off. TURN. IT. OFF. But her son is in the shower, preparing to leave for Missouri in 42 minutes (cue ticking clock sound). Missouri! In forty-two minutes! This could be the last decent shower he has for months! And Stephanie has yet to bathe. And it is imperative that she leave for work in 3 hours. Three hours! Not to mention vital laundry to finish – whites AND darks. And teeth to be brushed – 60 between the two of them, as Stephanie’s wisdom teeth were surgically removed in 1979. They need the water.NEED the water. (cue suspenseful music, pt.2)

COMMERCIAL BREAK

There is a water leak under the house. A potentially disastrous water leak. The water must be turned off, and fast before the crawl space becomes an ocean(cue John Williams’ brilliant music from “Jaws”). Yet Stephanie and her son need the water to finish getting ready. Stephanie urges him to shower quickly,”Rinse and go, boy, RINSE. AND. GO!” Once out of the shower, Stephanie begins a load of laundry, doing the unthinkable: mixing essential colors with whites in the same load. Now the cowboy’s tightie whiteys are in danger of turning pink. PINK.(cue “Get the Party Started”) There is not a single western shirt in his closet that goes with pink underpants. Not one. If this happens, he will not be happy.Not be happy at all. But drastic times call for drastic measures. SONY DSCNow Stephanie runs her bath water while the washer fills, simultaneously her son fills 2 pitchers, brushes his teeth. Miraculously the laundry finishes spinning only moments after Stephanie’s legs are shaved…DONE! And in record time – only 38 minutes from text to wrench twist and the water is OFF!

COMMERCIAL BREAK

Stephanie and her son are ready in record time, and the water is off, stopping both the leak and the hissing sound (which, of course, are one and the same, but still). Two half-gallon pitchers of water have been filled, giving them enough clean drinking water for 24 hours. Twenty-four hours. Only one day.After that, who knows? What will happen to them? Will they call a plumber? Will they make it a do-it-yourself project? Will they die from dehydration?

Tune in next time for episode 2 of PipeBusters on the Reality Channel.

 

Posted in Birth Stories, Hippy-Dippy Stuff, Parenting, stephanie2morrow, Uncategorized

Why You Won’t Have a Natural Birth

I rarely rant. I almost never rave. If I seem taller than usual, it’s more likely from my new sparkly summer wedges than from standing on a soapbox. But … well … I want to say something that’s going to make some of you furious and others of you feel justified:

Natural childbirth is not possible in an unnatural world.

And we do live in an unnatural world — X-Men, Photoshop, reality tv, fast food, Donald Trump’s hair — and we believe what we see. (Except maybe for the hair.)

Why You Won't Have a Natural Birth

Our culture encourages those same “unreal” perceptions regarding childbirth. Movies and tv shows tell us labor will begin with intense pain and agony. We are shown images of women screaming and begging to be medicated. We are told to freak out when water breaks and rush to the hospital. We listen to the horror stories of our “friends.” We ignorantly put ourselves in the hands of people who are exceptionally well-trained to handle abnormalities and emergencies, hence all our births have become such abnormalities and emergencies.

And that’s just not reality.

We are NOT educating ourselves. We have lost our communal knowledge of the art of birthing and have chosen instead to simply trust the medical profession to decide what is best for us.

You can SAY all day long, “I want a natural birth,” but if you aren’t educating yourself, your chances of actually HAVING one are practically nonexistent. I mean, if you want to be a safe driver, but you don’t read the Driver’s Manual, or learn to operate a vehicle from someone who knows how, or even take a driver’s ed class, you MIGHT get in the car and know WHERE you want to go, but what are the chances of actually making it there safely? Probably about the same as having an uneducated natural birth.

Now, by “educating yourself,” I do NOT mean taking the little hospital class that tours you through Labor & Delivery, makes you watch the epidural video and discusses all the things that “could go wrong” and how the hospital will deal with them. NO. NO. An emphatic NO.

Read for yourself: Literature from both ends of the spectrum, from Twinkle Ding-Dong Yoga Birthing toShut Up and Put Your Feet in the Stirrups. Go ahead and take the Labor & Delivery tour at the hospital, then go to an independent childbirth class. Drink in A Baby Story on TLC, then chase it with The Business of Being Born on Netflix.

Why You Won't Have a Natural BirthRead up on epidurals and episiotomies; C-sections and vitamin K shots; vaccinations and circumcisions; fetal monitoring and forceps; meconium and mucous plugs; contractions and colostrum; dilation and doulas; VBAC and PRoM; breech babies and birth positions; posterior presentation, placentas, pitocin & postpartum depression, and for heaven’s sake, PARENTING.

What determines the outcome of your labor hinges sharply on choosing to educate yourself and surround yourself with the support you need.  And, as a doula, while I heavily advocate drug-free birthing, my job is to help you have the experience you want. Schedule a C-section, squat in a cornfield, whatever. It is, after all, YOUR body, YOUR baby, YOUR decision.

Just please, please, please make it an INFORMED one.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Bouquet of Newly-Sharpened Pencils

I find the dialogue in most chick flicks to be fluff, and outside of a feather pillow or a lightly-toasted marshmallow, I don’t have much use for fluff.

But lyrical dialogue? Well, it has me still holding my eyes open at two a.m., completely enthralled with a sappy movie I have watched a dozen times because of language like this:

It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, meant we were supposed to be together… and I knew it. I knew it the very first time we touched. It was like coming home… only to no home I’d ever known….

I would have asked for your number, and I wouldn’t have been able to wait twenty-four hours before calling you and saying, “Hey, how about… oh, how about some coffee or, you know, drinks or dinner or a movie… for as long as we both shall live?” And you and I would have never been at war. And the only thing we’d argue about would be which video to rent on Saturday night.

I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell you on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

I’ve been thinking about you. Last night I went to meet you, and you weren’t there. I wish I knew why. I felt so foolish…. Anyway I so wanted to talk to you. I hope you have a good reason for not being there. You don’t seem like the kind of person who’d do something like that. The odd thing about this form of communication is that we’re more likely to talk about nothing than something. But I just want to say that all this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings.

All I’m saying is that somewhere out there is the man you are supposed to marry. And if you don’t get him first, somebody else will, and you’ll have to spend the rest of your life knowing that somebody else is married to your husband.

People are always saying that change is a good thing. But all they’re really saying is that something you didn’t want to happen at all… has happened. Someday, it’ll be just a memory. But the truth is… I’m heartbroken. I feel as if a part of me has died … and no one can ever make it right.

I’m gonna get out of bed every morning… and breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won’t have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out… and,then after a while, I won’t have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while.

Do you ever feel you’ve become the worst version of yourself? That a Pandora’s box of all the secret, hateful parts – your arrogance, your spite, your condescension – has sprung open?

Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So, good night, dear void.

And then the dream breaks into a million tiny pieces. The dream dies. Which leaves you with a choice: you can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.

And my favorite,  to be read with the Scottish brogue of Nanny Maureen: “Never marry a man who lies.”  🙂

Nora Ephron would have been 75 today had cancer not stolen her from us.  She was witty and wonderful.  She made the preposterous seem plausible and had the gift of making the horrible truth hysterical.  And she is the writer I most identify with.

Nora Ephron, you were a treasure, and you are missed.

Posted in Family, Just Funny, Minimalism, Uncategorized

It’s Not the End of the Road

For the last 20 years, a print entitled, “End of the Alley” has been on display in my house. I fell in love with this picture, I think because it reminds me of a print my mom had when I was growing up.

Whatever the reason, I spent my birthday money on it some years back, and hung it in the most prominent location in my home: the wall behind the toilet.

Sidebar: I have this long-term goal of one day becoming a successful minimalist by eliminating one possession per day. Unfortunately for my online-shopping-self, it’s kind of a ‘one step forward, two steps backward’ process.

8d4ab-end2bof2bthe2balleyAnyway, my quest for simplicity finally led me to this 16×20. I love it dearly, but it is woefully dated and needs to go (much like that herb-laden wallpaper border in the kitchen.  But that requires a stepstool and a boxcutter and two hours of my time, and I’d rather whine about it than strip it. But I digress.)

I took “The End of the Alley” off the wall behind the toilet and placed it in the Goodwill box.

A couple of days later my husband announced he was having urinary issues. “What’s the problem?”  I asked, “UTI?  Prostate?  Asparagus?  What?”

“Well,” he said, “for years I have been peeing at the ‘End of the Alley’ and now I don’t know where I’m supposed to go.”

Good grief.

Later, my son was generously helping me pack up the Goodwill box when he saw the frame and mourned the loss of the familiar picture that brightened our bathroom since he was in Pull-Ups. “Don’t you like it anymore, Mom? Cause I think it’s kinda cool.” And I admitted that I really do still like it, but the frame makes it look out of style.“Maybe I could reframe it and hang it in the bedroom.”

“You COULD reframe it,” he said, “but I wouldn’t advise hanging it in the bedroom. Dad may still try to pee at the ‘End of the Alley’.”

Good call, son. Good call.

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.