• Kids,  Life

    Dumpster-diving with Son

    “Son, we need to box some things up around the house and get ready to show the house.”


    “BOXES. Boxes to put junk in. Of course, if we don’t need it now, why we want to box it up and take it with us is questionable.”

    Where do you get boxes?

    “Wal-mart, grocery stores, dumpsters.”


    “Sure. I’ve found boxes behind 7-11-type stores before in great condition. Want to come? You need to know how to do this. I’ve done this nine times in just your short life. This is how you get boxes.”

    Dumpsters? Dumpster-diving? O-kaayyy.

    “I’ll be there in 15 – be ready.”

    I’ll be ready as soon as I go ask the Smiths for their leftovers.

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  • Family,  Kids

    My Kate

    Just got her acceptance letter: transferring into UIUC as a junior, fall, 2010, Psychology.

    No clout required. Thank Vishnu.

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  • Kids,  Law School,  Life

    What Rocks My (Consumer) World: the one that overuses the word “amazing”

    Joan JettI want to complain out loud, right now, but I’m not. Because I’m going to read at least three articles for my Note and organize my iCal and my Google calendar. I do not have time to complain. About the kid who “has style, it’s just not yours” which is said while she’s dressed head-to-toe in an outfit I put together for her, half of which is mine. Or should be. Lately I’ve been channeling Joan Jett, which goes very well with this child’s style. Sure, she doesn’t like or wear everything I do, but I know her style. She robs my closet.

    I let her try on my Victoria’s Secret Blue London pencil jeans (because if I see one more American Eagle swoosh-like thing on a back pocket I will burn my own), and I proceeded to put together her current outfit: the great Miss Sixty faux-leather motorcycle jacket (that I can borrow and I thought would look amazing on her and it does), her long sleeved black tee (I have my own already, thanks), and new (Thanks to who? Me. Yes, me.) short-sleeved Brad Butter tee to go over that. I suggested the black knee-high boots with tucked-in jeans and my burgundy multi-strand necklace. I would wear this outfit – and might I say that we both look good in it.

    I similarly brought this child home a white long-sleeved tee with a black “I’m in love with a fictional vampire” short-sleeved tee to go over it (I’m totally borrowing this, I don’t care how ubiquitous it is) and a Tryst brown and aqua long-sleeved tie-dyed tee . . . mmm, no. That is now mine. I look good in that shirt. With my brown scrunch knee-high boots? Give me back the Blue Londons.

    Clearly, my point is that I have great style I am the definition of über-hip she’s just unthinkingly reactionary as are all 14-year-olds you don’t define your style as Anti-Mom while you are dressed in your mom’s stuff. Moron. But I’m not complaining. It gives her something to say and sometimes (read: never) she’s just too quiet. I just hope she looks good today and tomorrow. (And I know she will, because I freaking dressed her.)

    However, what rocks my Consumer World today is the point of this post:

    (1) Sherlock Holmes. This is an enjoyable movie. Do it again, Guy. Do it again.

    (2) My new coat. I can’t stop touching it. It is in charcoal and It. Is. To. Die. For. The Coat

    Aside, from Dinner at Eight, Frasier:

    Niles Crane: Oh, oh-oh-oh, the food is to die for!

    Martin Crane: Niles, your country and your family are to die for; food is to eat.

    And then, like Oprah, I have a few favorite things:

    (3) My B. Makowsky Rebel bag. I can’t stop touching it. It’s amazing. The leather. The hardware. I’m bringin’ back big bags. (To my gay friend: “Look, look: I look like Nicole Richie in pencil jeans with a bag two sizes larger than I am!” Gay friend scrunches nose. “This is not a good thing.”) This bag, though? Good thing. He’s an idiot. Beloved, but even so.

    Bayamo Drs Bag(4) My Samsonite Black label Bayamo Doctor’s Bag. You shouldn’t stop touching it. (I did not, however, pay an exorbitant amount for it. But I might have. It’s that amazing.)

    (5) Mittens and gloves, fingerless (warm and you can still do things with your phone – what is not to love?) and standard: long winter white fingerless mittens (like these), short black fingerless gloves, sorta long black leather gloves and I’m still looking for the right pair of opera length black leather gloves.

    For the love of … It’s about information and affirmation of existing standards. Comforting noises, even.

    Oy! Like all Law-Students-Writing-A-Note, I have Law-Student-Writing-A-Note Tourette’s. Halfway through writing this entry, that sentence – the idea really – begs me to write it down and translate it to a page and a half, if I’m good, of quasi-indecipherable language and like every Law Student who is only 17 pages into the 30 quasi-indecipherable ones required, I wrote it down right where I stood, which is here on this very page, lest I lose it. Or right where I reclined. Which is in bed. In pajamas. It’s very, very snowy out.

    Oh look. It’s the genesis of Law-Student-Writing-A-Note ADD: something shiny! (Psst – it’s the hardware on my B. Makowsky. Yeah, baby.)

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  • Kids,  Photos

    The Kids

    2009_07_05 Stephens Kids 6Favorite moment: Gwyn’s phone rings. She answers. We all stare. Kate hits her in the head.

    Gwyn storms off. Kate: Get back here. You are NOT a teenager!

    Gwyn returns.

    Me: How’s it feel to have the power to stop an entire family’s life for 7 minutes?

    (Caleb 16, Kate 18, Gwyneth (almost) 10, Corinne 14)

    (PS) The Way They Were – Japan 2006 (Gwyn 7, Corinne 11, Caleb 13, Kate 15)

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  • Kids,  Life


    (1) Head games – my last fortune cookie:

    You think that is a secret, but it never has been one.

    tacori_blue(2) Cori will be 14 tomorrow. We agreed to a ring, hairstyle, and summer week-long camp as gifts. I showed her a ring that I keep admiring online. She loved it; we ordered it. Tonight I came home to a sticky note on my black dress from this morning which read, among other things: “You are the most stylish mom I know / the best. I love you so much.” Clearly, my favorite child. sticky_note

    (3) The first time I ever pumped my own gasoline I guess I was sixteen. I remember it was a station way out in the middle of nowhere. I paid, put the nozzle into my gas tank and pulled the handle. Nothing. I made quizzical faces at the young station attendant. He made gestures through the glass at me. We were at an impasse. I was certain something was wrong with his gasoline machine.

    Momentarily, he ran out and flipped the lever down and to the right. I guess I didn’t see exactly what he did. I thanked him, he ran back inside the store, and I happily finished dispensing gasoline into the car. However, when I was finished, the nozzle would not go back into place on the pump. That lever! I kept bumping the nozzle against the pump like Austin Powers doing a three-point turn. I finally laid the gas nozzle atop the pump, waved at Attendant Boy and drove off.

    2007: As my friend comes out of the gas station, I am smiling and telling the gentleman “Thank you.” Friend: “What. now?”

    Me: Look at this. BP labels their gas ‘regular’ ‘silver’ and ‘premium’. I was just asking him if regular was safe for our car or if it was leaded. ‘Regular’ threw me off.

    Friend: Were you born in 1942?!?

    (Note: Since 1996, sale of leaded gasoline for on-road vehicles is prohibited by the Clean Air Act. The move to unleaded began in 1972.)

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  • Kids

    Happy Valentine’s Day

    This just in my bedroom, lying on the bed, tonight:

    Hi Mom and Dad. Happy Valentine’s day. I miss you and ive had a very hard day wiphout you. Bat ive made lots of frieds. inclooding my teacher. I wated to tallc wiph you bat i havint got the time to tallc wiph you. I rily, rily, rily, rily, rily miss you! Love Gwyneth.

    Just three weeks, Blonde One, three weeks.

  • Kids


    From 06-02-2008

    I just miss Gwyn. Tonight, while working on criminal law, I saw a document with her name on it. I open it.

    Good times with Gwyno reading to me this morning:

    “I had a glass of (mink, milk),” she reads. “What’s mink?”

    After wiki and understanding that mink fur is not like sheep, in that the animals are killed for their fur rather than merely sheared, we talk about animal activists, animal welfare, etc. “Aww, [the people who want mink] don’t even KNOW them. I’m naming one Sammy. You know, in the past, we needed animal skins to keep warm. Now we don’t. We should REPAY them now. You know … TAXES.”

    Choosing between th/wh we come to a flip-flop. “That’s a ‘thong,'” I tell her.

    “I’ve never heard of such a shoe.”

    “Well, we don’t really call them that anymore, we call them ‘flip-flops.’ Know why?”

    “No.” (Why did I ask her that?)

    See you soon, Blonde One.

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  • Kids

    She’s Eighteen

    And all I can think at lunch is:

    That’s my sweater.

    Sheepish grin. We’ve been here before.

    “You never wear it.”

    It’s never in my closet!

    “Yes it is. That’s where I found it.”

    Happy Birthday, Kate – Bait. Stay out of my closet and you can have this one sweater. And the Voyager phone. And the ski trip. And whatever else you can con us out of.

    I loveth you.

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  • Kids,  Life

    Did You Hear That?

    (From 4-14-08)

    (Perhaps a bit hard to follow Gwyn’s reasoning in the beginning, but the practical matter is that I was away from her.)

    Gwyneth : “No offense, but I don’t think I’ll do this to my kids. Law school is kinda tough on us. How long do you have to stay there?”

    She’s been left alone upstairs while everyone is watching an adult movie in the basement.

    “I am proud of you, just like you’ll be proud of my public school. I just miss you.”


    “Hold on a minute.”


    “Did you hear that?”

    No, Gwyn, I didn’t.

    “I put the phone up to my heart.”

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  • Kids

    Where’s The Golden Calf?

    (From 03-25-08)

    My laundry room door is never shut. Today I saw the doorknob.

    The barbie eruption was disturbing. But as a quiet perfectionist, it never, NEVER occurred to me as a child to PLAY with one-legged Kens.

    I do not know from whence she came.

    (Cell phone quality which is to say: not.)

    Gwyn-o in my bed, this AM:

    So what’s up with all the barbies in the laundry room?

    “I was just playin’.”

    WHO plays with a one-legged Ken?

    “I do. I care about them.”

    You care about them?

    “Yes, also the armless, the legless, and the headless.”

    The headless? You play with the headless?

    “Yes. I call them The Blind.”

    (The Coda: “He Sees!”)


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