Dani Stone

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Listen to Your Mother


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Listen to your Mother – The Table Read

Listen to Your Mother

LTYM OKC 2017 cast – The Table Read

Yesterday, I traveled to Oklahoma City to meet my fellow cast members for Listen to Your Mother 2017. The first table read is always the most emotional day. No matter how giddy and nervous I am when I get to the rehearsal space, by the end, I just want to rock in a corner with a box of tissues. The women who audition for this show are brave and bold. I’m ecstatic to join them and go on this adventure one more time.

Ghosts of Listen to Your Mother Past

This will be my third year to take the stage at Listen to Your Mother (LTYM). In 2013, I was part of the original Kansas City cast where I shared the story, Mama Knows, an emotional tale of my daughter’s brave battle with a rare brain disorder – Vein of Galen Malformation (VOGM). In 2016, I traveled the other direction and joined the Oklahoma City cast where I lightened the mood with Parenthood – You’ve Got 10 Seconds, Live It Up. The tone of the stories is not the only difference in these two videos. There is also the issue of about 20 extra pounds. Yikes! But food is so good, you guys.

Oh, you’re a LTYM alum, that’s cute, sit down….

If you think being a LTYM alum means I was prepared for anything and nothing could phase me, well, my friend, you’ve never attended THE Table Read.

The first rehearsal is actually a bit of a surreal experience. A few weeks before, cast members are introduced online. You might get brief glimpses of your new pals by stalking their Facebook posts and Instagram pictures, but we all know social media can be a veiled view. Except mine. I tend to share every damn thing, much to the embarrassment of my children and the delight of my husband (Doug) who has become a bit of a Facebook sensation even though he doesn’t even have an account. #dougie #somanly

For me, walking into the rehearsal space for the first time is like walking into class on the first day of school. I scan the room for people I know, make sure I’ve located the nearest restroom and candy machine, and then I sit quietly because nervous awkward outbursts are kind of my specialty.

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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 PERFORMANCE HERE! 

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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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.

collage man lovely collage

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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How I Write

This week I was invited to participate in the How I Write blog hop. I hesitated briefly because what I have to work on far outweighs what I’d like to be working on, so I wasn’t sure which type of writing to discuss, but when a blogger asks you to hold her hand and come hop, you don’t say no. It’s like saying no to a slice of homemade cake. That would just be rude.

I was invited by Lisa Allen, who is also affectionately known as my Ginger Bestie. We met last year at the inaugural Listen To Your Mother show in Kansas City. We were thrown into a unique situation where moments after saying hello, we immediately bared our souls with other cast members during the first read-through of the show. I was struck by her eloquence and poise as she read her emotional piece. I have since come to admire her for being a single mother and phenom writer. This year she’s part of a production team bringing Listen To Your Mother back to KC for the second year. I can’t wait to see it – this time from the audience.

book signing pic 1

First Book Signing! Weee! *clap clap*

How I Write

What Am I Working On? Currently I’m a freelance writer contributing weekly to Diets In Review and Health Bubble. I also write dating profiles for a prominent matchmaking site (never a dull moment there.) And I’m always tackling miscellaneous one-and-done projects for editing, web content and marketing material.

I also have a super secret project on the horizon that I’m beyond excited about, but until I’ve signed the contract, I can’t reveal. When there’s a lawyer involved, you know it’s a big deal.

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I’d Rather Talk About the Cardigan-Wearing Chicken

jake headshot 2

There are two times during the day I can count on having the undivided attention of my children, and they can have mine, those would be at the dinner table and on the drive to school. Sure, there are other mealtimes and drive times but on average, these are the two occasions where the most chatter occurs.

Conversations run the gamut from current events to homework, chores and family matters. Nothing is off-limits, which my son reminds me is not always a good thing. Of course he’s referring to the day I broached the subject of artificial insemination over lunch. I don’t even remember the segue but it was knowledge I felt I needed to drop at that moment while he was simply trying to enjoy a mindless TV program, and eat his Chicken Jalapeno Lean Pocket.

AnyHOO –

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Kansas, We Need To Talk

kansas wheatfield

Kansas. You’re killing me.

As a lifelong resident I’ve played on your prairie land, attended your schools, hidden from your tornadoes and always maintained a sense of pride about hailing from the boxiest  state on the map. Over the years, I’ve cringed when the media called you, “backward,” “slow” “unhealthy” and that time you were named the worst city to live in for allergy sufferers. *reaches for another Kleenex* Even though I think that one is. . . *sniff*. . . totally true.

I’ve endured countless jokes about the Wizard of Oz connection and when I’ve traveled beyond these flat plains, I’ve laughed politely when people in other states reminded me, “You’re not in Kansas anymore, are ya?” Ahhh, that never gets old. *whisper* It totally does. Hell, I’ve even paid tribute to and capitalized on Kansas’ kitsch by making it a central theme in my short story, “No Place Like Home,” as well as, my novelette, “Next Left.” *ahem* Shameless plug.

But now, Kansas, you and I have a problem. Lately your lawmakers have been drinking the crazy Koolaid and once again, the world is taking notice. Last night I saw this tweet from The Daily Show:

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