• Life,  Photos

    The One In Which I Show You

    JNY Coat Makowsky BlockedAll right – what happened was that I decided that Out was In (order). So I got dressed today. See – everything that I was going to do was canceled due to snow, including writing my Note.

    Aside: The 14-year-old ambled in around 2p. In her pajamas. “Huh. You’re home?” Yeesss. “School was canceled?” Yeesss. That makes sense. There is, like, six inches on the ground. It reminded me of the time Kate was in third grade, probably, and she was waiting on the school bus at the end of our Michigan driveway. Mooomm, I don’t think there’s school today! “What? Of course there is.” Noooo, no one is going to school today. “Well, even if no one else goes to school today, YOU are.” She comes in fifteen minutes later. Seems a lady stopped and told her school was delayed a couple of hours for fog. So hard to believe that state calls themselves Wolverines. Or worse, Spartans.

    So I walk outside. Or look outside, rather, from the garage door. I cannot wear these boots. They’re cute and suede. I promptly had to make changes which, because I love (me, you) so much, I’m going to show and tell.

    The Slouchy Boots became Kamiks. We all need Kamiks. Smart-looking and weather-proof. Not warm, but you’re not walking a great distance, are you? Love my Kamiks.

    CC Purple Suede BagThe purse was changed after I got home. I noticed water spots on my bag while I was out. Because I adore this Brandy-brown B. Makowsky Rebel bag, this is unacceptable. The snow on my Kamiks melted, my purse touched my Kamiks, and I got to thinking, “What if the snow/melty-stuff/water had … salt in it from the salt-trucks?” I love this bag too much to risk unknown harm. So I’ve now transferred all my worldly goods to this purple suede bag which I picked up for $15.00 when I was Christmas shopping at Coldwater Creek for the older1 people in my life. Fif-teen dollars. It’s $48.99 at the Outlet right now.

    There would have been something wrong with this purse with that outfit, though. It’s hard to see, but I am sporting a purple sweater dress.2 I just fill it out more than the Vera Clutch woman with beautiful long hair and fifty-nine-inch-long legs. And I don’t wear that ridiculous scarf and not just because a scarf around my hips looks ridiculous. Oh, go have a kid whydoncha. And don’t carry a purple bag with that dress. This Simply Vera Wang ruched clutch in burgundy would have been a sharp choice. Man, I love that bag too . . . .

    I don’t know what is up with me today, but maybe it’s passed. I need a new WordPress post category like Something Shiny or Manic Moments.

    (PS) Is my “I am supposed to be writing an opening, closing, direct, cross, cross, direct, and Note” showing?

    (PPS) I solemnly swear to clean that mirror one of these days.

    1 There is nothing wrong with Coldwater Creek, per se. But you have to admit that if you are not very, so very I’m unwilling to do it, picky, you will look like you are headed to the nursing home, not as a visitor. I kid, ha ha. <- that is for my dear Gina who loves Coldwater Creek and asked me “What is wrong with Coldwater Creek?” when I saw her at Christmas. Stick with their solids and they have some very, um, solid choices. But all that print old-woman stuff? My own PSA – skip it.

    2 My gay friend doesn’t like this dress – he’s “not a fan” of the tunic and tights look. “Honestly? It makes your hips look bigger than they are. Andthey’renotthatbig.” Why doesn’t he just shut up and stay out of my head?

  • 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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  • Family,  Photos

    Her Biggest Fan

    My Kate as Laurey in Oklahoma! July 22, 2008 (Illinois).



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  • Family,  Photos


    I’ve always teased that my children do not resemble me whatsoever. However:

    Gwyneth (7) and me (5):

    gwyn xmas

    180 miss la petite









    My friend remarked: “Wow. That is uncanny.”

    It gets better.

    stooge 1

    160 shell bwstooge 2

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  • Family,  Photos


    Harper's Ferry WVA

    2002: Kevin is off doing pre-war stuff in the U.A.E. and I’m alone. With the hostages. So we take off from Oklahoma City and head up to see family in Missouri. Then Chicago just for the fun of it. Stop off in Michigan to see friends (we lived there in residency) and then down to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.

    We were going to Washington, D.C., but the sniper hit right at that time and it just didn’t seem as prudent as it did back in OKC.

    Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. They were celebrating something about the election of 1860 or the Lincoln/Douglas debates. I forget now.

    At the gate, the lady asked, “You do know there’s a sniper loose, right?”

    I said, “Here? Now?”

    “Oh no, not here, now. There. In D.C.”

    “Oh. In that case we’ll just walk real fast. We drove a long way not to stop in. Thanks for the warning.”

    I know you can’t tell it, but it’s sort of raining in these photos. And while I am just about all girl, I do not melt in the rain. I rarely carry an umbrella. It’s important for me to point these things out because I have friends and not a few family members who think just because I don’t camp, I must have no redeeming value whatsoever. Well, see? I play in the rain. (I do, however, pop a trash bag over the little one there. Who needs rain coats when you have Hefty?)

  • Family,  Photos

    To My Daughters

    1999 08 05 before cropOff the top of my head tonight … Having a baby is work. It really, really hurts. Can’t nobody push that baby out but you. But it is doable. Women have been doing it for thousands of years. And, we often have more than one. But there are some things I thought I’d mention.

    Your anesthesiologist (you know, the doctor they want you to pre-pay) won’t show up until you’re an 8. (That’s out of 10, my young ones.) He’ll saunter in in his cowboy boots and southern boy drawl and say “Sorry ma’am; couldn’t get here sooner…” just as your doctor decides you’re having a c-section and you can’t have drugs until they get you to the operating room. Oh hang on. That’s Caleb’s story from Oklahoma.

    Today, we’re going on about Gwyn. I was going back through our photos circa 1999. A good year in many ways. My last pregnancy and by far the worst, as counted in pure pain. Six blood transfusions, three of those in-utero. (Which also hurts. Looking at the needle hurts. And for some reason I always turned down the Valium. I’m not sure why.)

    I had an otherwise healthy pregnancy. Take a look, I think I look happy, 1999 08 05 before 2maybe even glowing a little. I always enjoyed being pregnant. I never complained about being “fat.” It’s a special time in your life, don’t ruin it by being miserable.

    I have a few things I want to mention. One, your father is a doctor but does not do well in the delivery room with me. Thank God he never actually serves as my doctor. It’s bad enough having him on the sidelines.

    With Gwyneth, he said utterly inane things like:

    “Epidurals don’t just fall out.”

    “I just delivered a seventeen year old without meds and she wasn’t crying.”

    I’ve got two words for you. Real. Doctor.

    No, make that five: I want a real doctor.

    The epidural had fallen out, never took completely anyway, and I had that thing we optimistically call back labor.1 Four babies, and only one was turned the wrong way, thank you God. Had she been first, she’d been last. If you think having babies is painful, twist that baby the wrong way and see nine months of good memories fade to black as every contraction slams the little urchin against your back . Get her out; reach in there and get her out.

    Minutes before they wheel me to the OR, my anesthesiologist rushes in, takes one look, and says (God love her): Her epidural fell out. She flipped me over and gave me a spinal block and within thirty seconds I was in love. (The next time I saw her was on the elevator. I hugged her.)

    The next thing I want to mention is that you can go into the hospital looking fairly chipper. You will leave looking larger. There is a reason: to add insult to injury during labor, they pump you full of fluid. Nice. You’ve got this new baby and want photos but you look pale. And tired. And swollen. Pushing is hard work.

    It bears repeating.

    1999 08 07 gwyn

    Let’s compare and contrast with the above. This photo is totally embarrassing, but illustrative. Two days after birth and I look like death warmed over. And notice. I’m in a nightgown and hospital robe. I know you think I’m some place private. Oh no. I just didn’t care. We’re at “How to be a good sibling” class. With other people present. No idea how I got down there in this state of undress.

    Gwyneth was a very sick baby. I smile when people tell me, “My baby 1999 08 09 gywnwas jaundiced too.” No, not jaundiced. Rh blood disease. Dying. They let me stay in the hospital in a vacant room. Every day, every two hours, 24/7 I would go down to the NICU and feed her and speak with her and stroke her face. It was hell. When you have a baby, you’re supposed to get to bring them home.

    Your father and I alternated emotions. I was in the throes of despair. He was trying to keep it together. Then one morning, he came through the door of my room, sat down with his head in his hands and said, “I think this is it. We’re losing her,” or some variation thereof. But just that morning, I felt this was the day it all turned around.

    Six days, three blood transfusions, a consult with a French doctor, and several helpings of polar bear gall bladder extracted medicine, and our baby was coming home. It was an almost instantaneous reversal after that medicine. Amazing.

    And yeah. I’d do it again. But I’d demand a real doctor.

    1 Nothing can prepare a mother for the severe unremitting pain that accompanies labor when the baby is in a posterior position. Now you know.

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  • Personal,  Photos

    Eight Things

    Miss AHS 1989 I like a couple of things about memes, namely that I’ve been dying to pull out my late-80s-hair Miss AHS photo for quite some time. *Grin* Who let us outta the house with this much makeup?

    Thanks for the tag, Kitchen Madonna.

    Here are the rules: Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.

    At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

    1. I am a Sanguine Choleric. That means I talk a lot but get annoyed when you do.2 It also means I don’t follow rules particularly well; tag 8 people . . . right.

    2. My parenting style is best summed up (by me, of course) as:

    Stockholm Syndrome Parenting. I love these people, I just don’t let them know it. I mean, really. I miss them when I go to the freakin’ grocery store but the minute I get back home I think, “What was that all about? I need outta here.” Usual SSP M.O.: I tell them that if I see them, they’re cleaning something.

    3. [Redacted]

    4. I’m addicted to fountain Diet Coke. It is an expensive habit, you rightly point out. Kevin tells me he’d rather I buy a $.99 two liter at the store, take one sip and pour the rest out than buy one (or two, er…) fountain drinks a day at $1.69 (McD’s) or $1.05 (local 7-11) a pop. Economics, sheesh.

    5. I coined the phrase “Scary Friends.” This is a friend that you know would turn on you in a New York Minute if you did something they didn’t like. They must have the power in the relationship — must be the smarter and funnier one, (can’t handle the truth usually, too) etc. — and so you give it. (which, really, means they don’t have the power oddly enough…)

    I refuse to have more than one Scary Friend in my life at a time. I let the previous one go before taking out an ad for the next. Scary Friends aside, I am a very loyal friend.

    6. Animals love me. All animals. I’ve been fawned over by a horse, for cryin’ out loud. Cats? All over me. Why? Because animals like a challenge. I can take them or leave them. That bothers even the most apathetic of cats.

    7. I take frighteningly hot showers.

    8. I really dislike cooking. I want to like it and think, shouldn’t a mom like to cook? But no. So what I do to compensate is collect, what else?, cookbooks and aprons. Yeah. Total sense. The other day I made frozen chicken and tator tots and the little hostages, I mean children, threw their arms around me in total adoration: You cooked!3

    Lunch today was pizza. I said, “See what happens when I cook?”

    Hostage #3 said, “Well next time you cook, ask for extra garlic sauce.”


    Stress? What stress? It’s just a move from Japan to Idaho in one year and then turn around 11 months later and move from Idaho to the other side of the country.

    2 I am actually a very good listener. Ask anyone except my Scary Friend.

    3 See? It works. Stockholm Syndrome Parenting. Look for the book late ’08.