November 28, 2009

my first cell phone. a love story.

I have a new cell phone. It's a bit newer than my first one, I didn't invest much in it, and it's pretty basically a good functional cell phone.

Problem is, I don't love it. Not that there's anything wrong with it, in all fairness. It's just that I didn't really want a new phone. I really LOVED my first phone. We had the perfect relationship, this little Nokia and I. But it broke. I scratched up the screen, I wore out the battery, and there was a red half-heart-shaped piece broken off the body leaving exposed wires and I'm still not sure how that happened. Apparently it just couldn't take the pressure of living with me on a day to day basis.

And though we were only together for a couple of years, the first phone holds so many memories that I found I couldn't transfer to the second one. And trust me, I tried. I even read the manual. There were special ringtones like the "Peanut Butter Jelly" one that let me know when one of my doula clients was in labor, there were text messages from Sara encouraging me to "breathe in and breathe out" on days when it just seemed too hard to remember to do it on my own, photos of Emily M. on our "Countdown Calendar" weekend, video clips of Kevin blowing pizza bubbles (trust me on this, you don't want to know), audio files of Mike singing silly songs, and thousands of other clips of my life that are irreplacable and very special to me.

So though I committed to a long-term contract with this second phone, I'm still carrying the broken one around in my purse. What can I say? My heart will always belong to the first one.

November 24, 2009

traditionally untraditional . . . or why Kevin probably shouldn't be allowed to eat the Rum Cake. A holiday story by Stephanie Reynolds

My side of the family loves to be traditionally untraditional. Especially when it comes to food. For years Mom would get up in the wee hours of the night to baste a turkey, only for us all to admit afterwards that none of us really like turkey. A few years back Dad ordered a Tofurkey or Turducken or somesuch critter combination (just don't say it incorrectly and shock your grandmother . . . ), but it tasted pretty much like it sounds. For the last few years we have thrown caution to the wind and dad has grilled. This year he did ribs with a brown sugar/black peppercorn marinade and a Jack Daniels pork tenderloin. Add double-stuffed potatoes, 9th Street tea, and rum cake and, well, it was nothing short of A. Mazing.

Adding to the traditionally untraditional feel is Mom's flair for drama in decorating. The mantle, the kitchen table, the dining room are completely harvest-festive, down to the little touches like individually moulded butter pats in the shape of fall leaves, that sort of thing. Then we all come to the table in our best (cough, cough) clothes - dad was in his paint-stained pants, Kevin in his black Beatles t-shirt . . . you get the idea.

Here is where I will verbally reprimand my mother for callously engaging in the tacky practice of irreverent holiday jumping. When I said the mantle, kitchen table & dining room were harvest-festive, I should also say the Thanksgiving holiday was confined to those spaces, and those spaces only. Mom and Dad had already completely Decked the Halls for Christmas . . . and the front porch and the den and the garden room and the foyer and all three bedrooms AND THE BATHROOMS. I am so not kidding. Mom's house looks like an issue of Southern Living Christmas . . . she begins decorating in August and finishes getting it put away in June.

I, on the other hand, am contemplating whether or not I want to go to the effort of putting a wreath on my door.

The most bizarre of the traditionally untraditional had to be our dinner conversation. Did we share all the things we are thankful for? No. Did we discuss politics? Barak Obama, the health care system, Nancy Pelosi, Global Warming, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck's Christmas Sweater, or the economy? Thankfully, no. Was there mention of Michael Jackson's death or Oprah ending her show? A discussion of the best books and movies we have read this year, like Crazy Love or The Blind Side or Where the Wild Things Are or anything Twilight-related by Stephenie Meyer (in book form, not on the big screen). No. No. No. Instead, Kevin nearly stabbed his dad in the face (accidentally . . . at least, I think) with a steak knife, and Mom was displaying a burn on her hand from a decorating mishap. The 10-person, full-table discussion went something like this:

"There are 3 things you should never grab:
a pan right out of the oven, a sharp knife, and a hot glue gun."
"AND OH, THE ARK OF THE COVENANT!" the cowboy instantly interjected.
"Yeah, that would be a bad way to die."
"So that would be 4 things then, not 3."
"So . . . would you rather die by getting chomped in half by a shark
or swallowed whole by a whale?"
"No, whale"
"I'm afraid that if the lower half of me was bitten off by a shark,
the upper half would still be alert and know what was happening."
"True, but if you were swallowed whole by a whale,
you might get in there and find out you aren't alone."
At this point, Kevin waves and, pretending to be inside a whale,
says, "Hi Elvis!"
Kevin then goes back to the kitchen to refill his
previously overflowing plate.
"Speaking of dying, how many squirrels have you killed at the bookstore,
Paul?" (Paul is my dad, the bookstore is his business).
"342 glorified rats, all with a single shot 22!"
These potatoes are so creamy.
"Wow, of course none of those squirrels were shot when
Nancy (mom) was around!"
"Of course not, Nana sets them free, then cuts down an oak tree
so the squirrels can find food without having to climb so high."
(At this point mom asks if anyone wants cake.
The answer is a resounding, and unanimous "no").
The conversation continues with my sweet 90-year-old grandmother:
"I used to catch mice and put them in the garbage disposal."
She repeats with her quiet soprano voice,
"I used to catch mice and put them in the garbage disposal."
Shock and Awe. Oh, and Disgust.
Kacey turns three shades of green and begins to look
like she is going to lose her recently-eaten holiday meal.
(Again, mom asks if anyone wants cake.
It has been approximately 6 minutes since the last time she asked.
Again, the answer is a resounding, and again unanimous "no!")

Since Kacey is now in a pukey mood, she shares the memories of a "Fear Factor" competition from college when she had just finished drinking a pureed hamburger, peanut butter and DIRT milkshake and was the only remaining female competitor. (Yes, yes. A proud moment indeed in her $80,000 college career.) Kacey tells her end of the table (mostly men):
"After that I quit. The final contest involved eating bull balls."
The mostly female end of the table didn't quite hear her,
so she repeated louder,
"After that I quit. The final contest involved eating bull testicles."
The cowboy then wanted to know why she felt comfortable using the term
"balls" with him, but chose to say "testicles" to the matriarchs.
These potatoes are so creamy.
"I used to eat brains and eggs. I liked brains and eggs."
"Gross. I can't imagine eating brains, though I do like the eggs."
"Hyena eggs?"
"You said 'hyena eggs'"
"No I didn't. I said 'I do like the eggs'."
"Oh. Nevermind."
"Speaking of balls, when is Nana going to pass on her
Christmas ornaments to Kacey?"
"HEY! Some of those are MINE!" Kevin objected.
"Yes," Kacey said, "But the Frosty Friends are all mine."
"Fine. But I get all the Star Wars ornaments!"
Yes, because nothing says "Christmas" quite like Darth Vader.
Kevin went back to the kitchen for thirds.
I widened my eyes at him and he shrugged his shoulders and said,
"I can't help it. I'm 16 and this is yummy!"
"Speaking of yummy, anybody want cake?"
"No! But what does everybody want for Christmas?"
"I don't know. I haven't even started thinking about Christmas yet."
"How can you not be thinking about Christmas
when the entire house is decorated for it!?!?"
"I had to start decorating early, we have a church party
here next weekend. Can't relax till it's done!"
"Speaking of relaxing, did I tell you I had a facial last Monday?
It lasted for a full 90 minutes."
"I got a pedicure for Christmas one year. It lasted for 9 months."
"9 months? The pedicure lasted for 9 months?"
"No, the polish on my toenails lasted for 9 months."
Dad interjected,
"Apparently they painted her toes with automotive enamel."
"Really, ya'll, does anybody want cake?"

At this point we imbibed in a rum cake so strong it was illegal for Kevin to eat in most states. Then we cleared the table, put away the cornucopia of autumn decor, and mom began decorating the dining room with a trio of silver glittered Christmas trees.

November 20, 2009

faster than a speeding bullet-point

*Daily visit to Lowe's for my 7th attempt to ascertain the perfect shade of . . . well, I don't know, but somewhere between rust and tangerine. I'll know when I get there. Sara just shakes her head at me and tells me I'm hopeless. She, of course, is right.
*Evening spent getting to know new friends better, and trying to work on a couple of brain teasers from NPR, one being: Name an auto manufacturer and telecommunications company whose names are exact opposites. (The best I came up with is Dodge and Sprint. Not exactly opposites.) It's been 5 days . . . still working on this one.

*Paint girl at Lowe's greeted me by name. Well, not by MY name, but rather by my original paint name, "Hey! It's the LaFonda Copper Lady".
*Called mom to go to lunch, but she turned me down. Sad day. Okay, so she already had other commitments, but still . . .
*Went to the movies to see 2012 at the STRONG insistence of daughter-face, who thought it so nice she saw it twice. Now, I like a good action flick as much as the next easily-entertained American, but COME. ON. I rolled my eyes so much I think I may have snapped my optic nerve. And since I dragged a couple of people to the theater with me for this disaster of a disaster movie, I'm sending Kacey a bill for $17.25.
*Belated Birthday Sushi and only 24 days after my actual birthday! Two additional friends, who have never experienced the bliss that is sushi, were supposed to join us, but every time we have made plans to go she has found an excuse to back out. This time she was "sick". Jessica, I think you are suffering from ichthyophobia. Or omophagiaphobia. No! I know, it's consecotaleophobia! (When it's time for Christmas Sushi, we will let you use a fork!)

*For Kevin, last day of co-op this semester, then guitar lessons.
*For me, an office filled with people all day, making it very difficult to work, work, work.
*I also had to "break up" with a doula client today . . . the most important aspect of childbirth is for everybody to be comfortable with everybody else involved. After our third phone call, I could tell that was not going to be the case, so I did my best to amicably part ways.

*Was planning to go to our Women's brunch . . . when I thought it started at 9. Turns out it started at 10:30. Apparently they hid that tidbit of information in the invitation they gave me. If only someone had told me I actually needed to READ the invitation.
*So, instead, it was just work, work, work, then . . .
*Administration meeting from 5 until . . . whenever it was we finished. This time of year it's all about the budget. Blah. Necessary, but blah.

*More work, work, work. (Be it known, when I say "work, work, work" there is NO negative connotation to this. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my work, work, work!)
*Grocery to stock up on pre-Thanksgiving necessities.
*Friday Night High School Hangout crowd arrived for French Toast and games! No, Erin, there will NOT be cow-chasing tonight, or ever again!
Tonight's Highlights:
**5 females to 1 Kevin. They made him watch Runaway Bride. I love these girls!
**Erin arrived, stood in the living room and observed the multi-paint-layered walls that look like that piece of paper you test color all your nailpolish on when you are trying to find that ONE shade that is NOT orange but blends with your autumn sweaters, then came into the den and said, "Stephanie, your living room is going to be a foot smaller by the time you decide on a paint color!"

*Kevin has a Recording Technology workshop to attend; the cowboy, I'm certain, will head to the barn for the morning; and I, well, I will be shrinking the square footage of my living room by adding a coat of pumpkin spice latte to the walls. Wish me luck.

November 17, 2009

a beautiful system of communication

Last weekend at the Youth Conference (Celebration), my co-chaperone and five of our high school girls had a couple of really great late-night girl talks in our cabin. Laughing, crying, sharing . . . the usual heavy, deep and real estrogen-laden conversations. My favorite form of "bonding".

On the last day of Celebration, Aymee mentioned to my son just how much fun we had with our girl talks, then she asked him if the high school boys had experienced similar bonding times.

Kevin replied, "Uh, that'd be a no. We stayed up late watching 'Snakehead Terror." (Which, based on the title, sounded pretty cheesy but I recanted when I discovered the plot: Bruce Boxleitner and Carol Alt battle against mutating fish.)

Aymee was clearly dismayed by the startling revelation that boys don't really do "boy talk" in the same way girls do "girl talk", and she struggled to understand why boys prefer to live like ostriches with their heads in the sand.

Kevin explained, "Men don't share their feelings, we watch tv. It's a beautiful system of communication."

November 12, 2009

bound for independence

He did his chores, plus the dusting and vaccuming.

He practiced his guitar.

He turned in the money he collected from the Youth Group for their Compassion child.

He offered to go to the bank and get lunch for me.

He got all his schoolwork done, including AP biology, without complaint.

He visited with his grandparents.

He went to the gym and worked out for an hour.

He packed his bag for a weekend camp retreat. Knowing he has NEVER successfully packed for a trip without forgetting something vital, like say, his pants, I run down the usual checklist:

"Did you remember to pack your bedding? Pillow? Sleeping bag?"
"Did you remember clean underwear? Pajamas?"
"Yep. Yep."
"Got your toothbrush?"
"Deoderant? Toothpaste? Shampoo?"
"Yep. Yep. Yep."
"Q-TIPS??? Did you remember to pack Q-tips?"
"Oh, you did NOT!"
Smiling and nodding his head as he bounded away down the sidewalk he confirmed,
"Oh, YES I did!"

A proud moment, indeed. When he is on his own, he will have clean ears. Clearly, my work as a mother is complete.

November 06, 2009

bait and switch

If you haven't read Mike Cope's blog today. Read it. He's always insightful, but this one is especially wonderful:

discourse with daughter-face

The beginning of Wednesday . . .

Kacey texted: "What is the word for when you attribute human characteristics to something that isn't human, or possibly even inanimate? Nathan and I tried to think of it for an hour last night and we couldn't come up with anything."

And because I'm a good mommy, which you know by now, because I tell you all the time, I answered: "Personification"

She replied: "Are you sure?" (Am I sure? Does she KNOW to whom she is speaking? Of course I'm sure! Even when I'm wrong, I'm sure!)

"Yes," I stated, "Personification is a figure of speech in which inanimate objects or abstractions are endowed with human qualities or are represented as possessing human form, as in 'Hunger sat shivering on the road.' "

She retorted, "No, I just googled it, and the term for which I was searching is ANTHROPOMORPHISM: The attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behavior to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena . . . BooYah!"

"NOT the same thing," I argued, "as anthropomorphism is a basic cognitive process in which some entity comes to stand for or represent something else. It is more sociological in nature, whereas personification is more literary."

Her reply: "Is TOO the same thing. But Nathan says he was thinking of your word anyway, so it doesn't matter." :o)

Then we discussed her brother dressing up like a log.

November 04, 2009

diaLOG with my son

ME: "So, what's your costume gonna be for the Halloween party?"
KEV: "I dunno. Maybe I'll go as a telephone pole."
ME: "You COULD go as a tree."
KEV: "No, that's boring . . .(long pause) I think I'll go as a log."

He did.

So, six pieces of poster board, a roll of woodgrain contact paper, and some black mesh garnered him a prize for "scariest costume" . . . not because the costume itself was creepy, but because the brain that produced the idea to dress up as a LOG is, apparently, pretty darn frightening.

I told him he should put a nametag on his log costume that read, "Hello, my name is Lincoln." Then I laughed my silly head off.

He didn't think that was funny.

November 03, 2009


"If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever
believes in me . . . streams of living water will flow from within him."
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Yes, more water analogies. When you are spiritually dehydrated, there is nothing to "overflow". Hence: burnout. He alone quenches our thirst. He fills us when we let Him.

There are two selfish problems with this: 1) It has to be proactive on my part. Being filled with Him doesn't happen by osmosis just because I'm in the right places with the right people, and 2) Note the language that occurs AFTER you have been filled, "streams will flow" and "you may overflow". Overflow requires a time commitment. Time to be filled and time to be spilled into the lives of others.

I've always sort of prided myself that I wasn't one of those "girly girls" who has to pee every 53 minutes. You know, the one everybody hates on road trips because you have to stop at every truck stop, rest stop, and 7-11.

Turns out, another by-product of being physically dehydrated is that there is no excess fluid in your body to get rid of. So, imagine my disappointment when I began drinking 72+ ounces of water every day and discovered it didn't matter if I thought I was Wonder Woman or not, "streams of water" still have to flow every 53 minutes.

Water in, water out, so to speak.

And while the "blue restroom" and I share a wall thin enough to hear my male co-workers', uh, cell phone conversations, the "pink restroom" is on the other side of the building, exactly 96 round-trip steps from my desk, resulting in several necessary 3-minute/14-second "potty breaks" throughout the workday. By 5 p.m. this results in a half-hour of time to just "overflow", so to speak.

There is not enough time in my day to run to the girl's room that much. Seriously.

I just thought you needed to be aware.

November 02, 2009

for today, November 2

Outside my window.....
the full moon rising through the trees

in the back yard. One of the joys in life

I never take for granted.

I am thankful....
for my bed. I was just thinking about it last

night when I crawled in. Soooo comfy and warm.

Then I thought about all those sleeping on the

ground and on park benches and on dirty floors.

It's amazing how spoiled I am with the things I consider basics.
From our studies....

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Shawn Baldwin loaned this

book to Kevin last night, so today after Kev went to the gym and

finished up his regular schoolwork, he cloistered himself in his

room and knocked out six chapters. He is reading even still.
I am wearing....

the most comfortable pair of shoes I have owned in a long time.
I am thinking....

about taking off those shoes, now that I am home

and my toes are longing to breathe free.
Around the house....

Waiting for the paint fairy to show up

and finish repainting the living room.

She's had a month and still the walls remain mostly

Longhorn rust. I don't know what her problem is.

The cowboy is just hoping the paint fairy knows how to use a drop cloth.
I am going....
to start dinner. Soon. Really I am.
I am reading....

I am finishing

"The Blind Side", which I have thoroughly enjoyed.

I am hoping....
for Mike to get well and beautiful weather for Celebration this weekend!

I am hearing....
"The Magnificat" in my head. Kelly W. called me earlier and asked

me to sing it to her on the phone. I did. AND I was in the chiropractor's

office at the time. There were some strange looks. Of course,

I was the one making most of them, but still.
From the kitchen....
Chicken Noodle Soup with mushrooms and rosemary and . . . basil.

Made especially for the sick and infirmed. You know who you are.

Now, get well. Seriously.

One of my favorite things....

fall. fall leaves. fall colors. fall weather.
A few plans for the rest of the week.....

getting my house cleaned, getting the bills paid, getting ready for Celebration, getting over myself.

At least, that's the plan. :o)