Dani Stone

I Hear Laugh Tracks

ten seconds collage


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Parenthood – You’ve Got Ten Seconds, Live It Up

Performed at Listen To Your Mother 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Video coming soon…..

ten seconds collage

Don’t blink…time flies…

A few years ago I attended a baby shower. I’m a sucker for these pastel-colored gatherings because I love to shop in the baby section and look at all the onesies, footie pajamas, and other tiny things. Plus, I still swoon when I smell Johnson’s baby shampoo. The only thing that smells better is the intoxicating scent of a baby’s neck. As the mother of an 11-year-old girl, and 15-year-old boy, I don’t do a lot of neck sniffing anymore. Oh sure, I still try but then I’m reminded it’s weird and I should respect their personal space.

During the baby shower we were all given index cards and told to write our best piece of advice to the new mother.

My pen hovered in the air as I looked at the six lines on the card. How could I ever tell a new mother everything she needs to know about this baby business in just six lines? That’s a lot of pressure. I mean, I thought I was going to spend a few hours looking at miniature socks, discreetly sniffing all the baby bath products and eating cake. I was not prepared to dole out advice of this magnitude.

Should I focus on her physical well-being? Remind her that even though her body is a birth-machine and milk factory, it still belongs to her and she should probably wash it regularly. Tell her that even though the experts say, “sleep when the baby sleeps,” that watching back-to-back episodes of House of Cards on Netflix can be just as rejuvenating.

My mind suddenly became a flip-book of motherhood scenes from the last 15 years. So many things that caught me by surprise, like cleaning the never-ending crevices on miniature downstairs boy parts. I don’t know how many times I shouted, “It’s like cleaning a friggin’ Shar Pei in here. That’s it. One more diaper explosion and we’re sending him to the dog groomer.”

Finally, I settled on the one thing I knew to be true about parenthood so I wrote, It’s all a phase. So get through the bad and cherish the good. Someday you’ll wonder where the time went.

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I Crapped My Pants, But It’s Okay, and Other Monday Mantras

Remember when Charlotte "Poughkeepsied" her pants?

Remember when Charlotte “Poughkeepsied” her pants?

Today the world conspired against me. For 25 minutes, the world stacked a series of obstacles in my path causing a major embarrassment. When it was over, I could have shouted and snarled, but in the end, all I could do was laugh.

In life, sometimes you’re the mom who has her shit together. Other times, you’re the mom who finds it running down her leg on her own front porch.

A few weeks ago, I was diagnosed with cellulitis of the abdominal wall, which is a fancy term for, “infection of the innards.” It was painful and annoying, but the hydrocodone was delicious. If you can get your hands on some, I highly recommend it. I’m kidding. Don’t do that. You can’t share. It’s illegal. But if you have some left over from a toothache and it’s just laying around in the bathroom cabinet , you should really treat yourself.

AnyWHO, the first round of antibiotics looked at my infection, yawned, turned three tight circles on the rug, and went to sleep. Worthless. When my doctor gave me the second round, he warned they were very strong and I might experience diarrhea. “Great,” I remember thinking. “I’m already walking around with a painful gut goiter. Why not add a runny backside to the mix. Splendid times.”

After a few days, my pain diminished and the redness subsided. I was ecstatic. AND lucky me, I even avoided the not-so-sexy side effects of the stronger medication. I found myself smiling, laughing, cleaning house, and even running on the beach wearing white linen like I was the star in my very own Summer’s Eve commercial. Okay, so the beach was actually the grocery store and the white linen was black stretchy yoga pants, but the point is, I was feeling on top of the world. Then, Monday came along and said, “YOU. HAVE. HAD. ENOUGH. JOY.”

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A Letter of Apology from Your Helicopter Mom

A few months ago I was given a writing prompt: Write a letter of advice to your son or daughter as he/she prepares to leave the nest. Though mine aren’t quite ready to fly away, I jotted a few things down. With Mother’s Day and the last day of school on the horizon I thought I’d share.

A Letter of Apology from your Helicopter Mom

Dear Jacob,

As you prepare to leave home, I’ve come to the realization that at times our house probably seemed more like a fortress with padded walls. No wonder you’re throwing things into a duffel bag like a person packing for storm evacuation, “Underwear, cell phone, laptop, Cheez-Its – screw the rest. We gotta go, NOW.”

I acknowledge the fact that I’m a helicopter mom. The whirring of my blades overhead was the white noise of your childhood. In my defense, you were my firstborn and I was scared to death. Your father and I kill plants and we often forget to feed the cats. Clearly we felt unprepared for your arrival. In retrospect, perhaps I overcompensated.

dani jakie collage 650 helicopter

When you were 10, you turned to me and shouted, “You think you know so much about me just because you’ve read your little book? That’s right, I found it, Raising Your Spirited Child? Boy, you sure did mark a lot of pages in THAT one.” I think this comment expertly exhibits what I was up against. You’ve been a ball-buster from the get-go, but I just hugged you tighter.

Now that you’re heading out into the world to make a life for yourself, I fear I’ve inadvertently hobbled you with my close-knit parenting. Some might also call that, “smothering,” but I don’t think we need to put labels on people. I should’ve let you fall, fail and fend for yourself as a child, so you would know how to do it as an adult.

In many ways my helicopter parenting was inconsistent. I realize that now. I never let you use the oven or stove top because I was afraid you’d get burned or set the house on fire. But then when you used your birthday money to buy a laptop, I didn’t set up parental controls or even do much in the way of monitoring your internet history, partly because Windows 8 is a mystic portal that still confounds me. In your own apartment, I fear your diet will consist of microwave taquitos and endless loops of porn.

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This Is Where I Leave You – Cynical Critics No Longer Enjoy the Movie Experience

this is where i leave you movie

A few months ago I listed Jonathan Tropper’s, This Is Where I Leave You as one of my favorite novels of the year. I ended the post in typical excited-Dani fashion with a “Weee” and a “clap clap” after mentioning that a movie based on the book was scheduled for later this year.

Well, later is now and last night I went to see it. I was supposed to wait for my book club ladies, but on opening weekend I decided to be a jerk and go by myself. They’ll forgive me when I buy a round of queso dip and guacamole at our next meeting.

After the movie I sat in my car and ugly-faced cried while texting messages to my four siblings. My emotional sonnet of undying love took three paragraphs to convey. Their replies consisted mostly of emoticon faces and pictures of fist-bumps. Also, my brother told me to quit being the weird crying chick in the parking lot. God love ’em. And they’re all mine!

The movie, about a dysfunctional family who has to sit Shiva for seven days after their father/husband passes away, was a nice homage to the book. Was it better? No. But what movie-based-on-a-book is? This is Where I Leave You has a stellar cast with a few of my favorites including Jason Bateman (does he EVER age), Tina Fey (go read her memoir, Bossypants, right now), Connie Britton (Mrs. Coach from Friday Night Lights), Dax Shepard, and the bald guy who played Peter on House of Cards.

this is where i leave you

I loved it. Critics hated it. WHY?? *dramatic fist-raise to the sky* I cannot tell you how many times a critic has bashed a book or movie that I adored. Do I have perpetually bad taste? Possibly. On Roger Ebert.com, one uptight staffer gave the movie two stars and reported that all the siblings did was, “gripe gripe, gripe and snipe, snipe, snipe.”

Um, YEAH. You put four adult siblings in their childhood home for seven days under stressful circumstances and that’s the reality. Though with my siblings it would be more like, “gripe, eye-roll, under-the-breath mumble, fist-clench, hum Amazing Grace 278 times and finally, shout, stomp, door-slam.”

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Facebook is Not the Boss of Me, But Okay, These Are My Top 10 Books

If you hang out on the book of Faces, you’ve probably seen people posting their 10 favorite books, and then tagging friends to do the same. I’ve been tagged twice and since I’m chatty, I decided to blog about my list. As one does.

My 10 Favorite Books of All Time and All The Reasons Why!

 

god scarlett to kill a mockingbird

The Books of My Youth

Are You There God It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

When this book was released I was 14 years old and at the time it seemed absolutely scandalous. It was like Judy was reading my Garfield diary when she talked about cute boys, school girl drama, raging hormones, teen angst and even. . . psst. . . menstruation. Ewww! I know. I still can’t say it without cringing because I am a child. Judy talked about things that adults and even my peers weren’t comfortable discussing.

Scarlett – The Sequel to Gone With The Wind by Alexandra Ripley

I’m a card-carrying member of the Scarlett O’Hara fan club so I was skeptical about a sequel to Gone With The Wind, particularly one that was not penned by the mighty southern hand of Margaret Mitchell. Then, Alexandra Ripley showed up out of nowhere to put Scarlett on a horse and send her roaming the Irish countryside in search of Rhett, responsibility and true love. Picture me clutching the book to my chest whilst I twirl in the mist with an ancient castle rising up behind me in the background. Why do I love Miss Scarlett? I think Tina Fey said it best, “Bitches get stuff done.”

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I don’t remember much about high school (probably all those Aqua Net fumes) but I do remember inhaling this book and being completely consumed by the lives of Jem, Scout, Atticus, Calpurnia and the other characters in their sleepy town. Boo Radley scared the bejesus out of me, right up to the point where he became the unlikely hero. The courtroom scenes were tough on my little kitten heart, but they definitely cemented my love for the courtroom drama genre and led me to seek out future authors like John Grisham and Michael Connelly.

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Dark and Twisty Favorites

The Man From Primrose Lane by James Renner

It’s safe to say I’ve written more about this book than any other. And once again there’s only so much I can say without giving too much away, because as much as I don’t want to believe it, there are still people out there who haven’t read it and I don’t want to ruin the moment. This book is memorable because I thought I was reading one kind of story, but then it turned into something completely different and I was spellbound. Recently, that rapscallion, James Renner let it slip that there is a sequel-of-sorts in the works. I’m giddy, I tell you.

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Old Cat Lady Chronicles – Episode One

Our 100-year-old cat (who has cataracts) decided to join us in bed at 2:30 this morning. She proceeded to use my face chest and hands as stepping stones (claws out). I tried to help her over to her designated sleeping spot, but instead, I accidentally placed her on Dougie’s sleeping face (claws out).

Following this cat-assist fail, there was so much spicy language exchanged that the old cat lady decided she should bed down somewhere else, so she fled the flannel and her bloody victims immediately fell back to sleep.

End scene

Also, never leave your water unattended because she will stick her face in it. Centenarian cats have no shame.

Lucy water


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Worst. Air Freshener. Ever. Taco Bell’s 20 Year Assault On My Senses

WHY DOES MY CAR SMELL LIKE A TRASH DUMPSTER, is something I may have asked in my outside voice this morning when I slid into the van to take the kids to school.

To clarify, I would describe the status of my housekeeping skills as, “comfortably lived-in, but never a pig stye.” We keep our cars the same way. You might find a stray backpack or gum wrapper, but that’s about it. Trust me, The Colonel wouldn’t have it any other way.

Immediately I turned to my son, because unless I had mistakenly purchased milk, tuna, eggs and meat from the store, then unwrapped them and left them in the back cargo bay of the van under a grow light for three days, I had a feeling the smell could be traced back to him.

He’s 13. He’s a slob. God love him. He’s always on my smells-radar.

Me –  Jacob – Why does my van smell like death?

Jacob – *looks around wildly* *mumbles* It’s probably the taco wrapper in my bag.

Me – What? Seriously? Get it. Now. *eyes of irritation*

Jacob – *Opens his backpack, retrieves wrapper without commentary, gets out of car, proceeds to trash can*

Jacob – *Starts to put on seat belt, stops* – Oh, wait. I think I have one in my other bag too. And I don’t think I finished that one.

Me – Tacos? From where?

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