Dani Stone

I Hear Laugh Tracks


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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.

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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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Only My Father Would Have a Heart Attack on April Fool’s Day!

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Dad and Jacob – Both of these fellas had a big week!

Over the years I’ve heard a handful of phrases that have rocked me to my core:

~Your Grandma Gordon has stomach cancer

~Your baby’s head is right THERE, do not push (This was said to me during a routine checkup for my firstborn who wasn’t due for another 6 weeks. Surprise!)

~Your daughter has a rare brain disorder

~Your father has cancer

and last week:

~We think Dad had a mild heart attack.

The message was delivered by my sister, Melissa, via voicemail. As I sat in a Girl Scout meeting and listened to her explain the situation on my cell phone, the shrieks of my daughter and her fellow scouts faded away. Missie’s voice was deliberately calm because apparently even though I am the oldest of five children I also have a reputation for overreacting. It’s not uncommon for my brother to tell me, “settle your crazy ass down.”

My sister swears she left everyone the same kind of slow gentle voice mail message, but I’m betting she’s a liar-face. She could just as easily have been talking to a child, small animal, or someone who was heavily medicated. I mean, it’s not like I fall out on the floor and start shouting, “Help me, Jesus,” like a guest on Jerry Springer, but I am prone to bouts of uncontrollable sobbing at the mention of illness or accident so in hindsight, that was probably a smart move on her part.

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I’d Rather Talk About the Cardigan-Wearing Chicken

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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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Doughnuts, Lesbians on the Disney Channel and Other Things That Make Me Smile

Disney Channel Shows Lesbian Parents on Good Luck Charlie

Since we have 7,000 cable channels, my children watch their fair share of television. Though I can’t stand  most of the shrill little characters, there are a few shows that I will admit to having a vested interest in over the years including iCarly, Victorious and Good Luck Charlie. The writing is clever and while there isn’t always a lesson woven into the storyline, these sitcoms are entertaining and contain less violence and flatulent humor than the animated crap they zone out to in the morning.

This week the Disney Channel made my heart happy when they briefly introduced a set of gay parents. When you watch the short clip, notice how everyone acted weird and awkward and the kids were confused and frightened and . . . wait. . . nope, that didn’t happen at all. Instead, everyone acted like it was no big deal because, come on, people, IT’S NO BIG DEAL.

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I Believe in WestJet Santa Claus

Christmas magic! It’s my favorite part of the holiday season. Stories about families in need being surprised with groceries and gifts, wedding proposals in front of Christmas trees (thanks Dougie), pets who find their way home on Christmas Eve, George Bailey finding Zuzu’s petals in his pocket after he thought he’d never see them again, the face of a child after receiving the, “I never thought I’d get this,” gift. The list of things that make me weepy this time of year goes on and on. Today, weepy turned downright gushy after watching the “Christmas Miracle” video from WestJet Airlines.

WestJet Surprise 2

Some people are calling it an “icky” PR stunt, and I hope Santa Claus puts coal in their jaded stockings for saying so. In case you’re not familiar with the story, Canadian airline, WestJet, recently created a surprise event where unsuspecting passengers on two flights were asked by Santa what they wanted for Christmas before boarding the plane. When the flight took off for its destination, WestJet elves dashed out to purchase the requested items. Then they were wrapped, tagged and waiting for passengers in the baggage claim area when they landed. *sniff* So good, right?

Raise your hand if you’re already crying? Note – If your hand is raised, grab your box of Kleenex, frosted sugar cookies and comfy PJs, then come to my house so we can watch a marathon of Christmas movies including Love Actually, The Holiday, It’s A Wonderful Life and The Family Stone because clearly, we are destined to be BFFs.

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Is My GPS a Silly Prankster or Trying to Kill Me?

A few years ago, Dougie gave me a GPS unit as an anniversary gift. Be jealous, ladies. At the time, I accepted it with a mix of appreciation and bemusement. Ohhh, sure, I tend to get lost sometimes. Okay, a lot. Okay, I’ve actually gotten lost so many times that it’s become a running joke with my family. But an anniversary gift? Come on, man, where’s the romance?

Me with cute and practical, Dougie

Me with cute and practical, Dougie

The king of the practical gifts had struck again. Then he said, “So you can always find your way back home to me,” and I melted. Of course he was also probably thinking, “and cook for me, because I only know how to reheat leftovers” but still, the sentiment was there.

Countless times I’ve pressed the “Go Home” button simply because I had a full bladder and needed the most direct route to my bathroom. The GPS became my friend. I named her Jill. But now, I’m convinced Jill was simply trying to gain my trust – so she could KILL ME!

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