Phone, Email or Text?

By · Comments (1)

I’m an emailer. Ask anyone who knows me or has worked with me and they’ll tell you. Yep, there’s Kelly– right there in my inbox! Again.

I’ve been a fan of snail mail since  I was kid, but when AOL and email came along? Woo to the hoo. Type my mail. No envelope or stamp necessary. Just hit send and wait for that “You’ve got mail!” message to signal a reply. It was like crack. It still is to me in many ways. Even though those dial-up AOL days are long gone and I’m a gmailer now, I check my email oh, about 100 times a day. My laptop and my gmail are almost always open when I’m home.

Oh, I don’t mind a nice phone conversation once in a while and I can get in my chatty moods, but that requires timing of availability and logistics and moods of both folks involved.   If that’s going to be the case, let’s just meet for lunch.

Email is just so much more damn convenient and versatile. You can type a message to anyone at any time of the day, and the recipient can read it and respond when it’s convenient for him or her. Messages can be quick thoughts or longer memos or letters. They can be fun and conversational in tone, or they can be more formal and businesslike when needed. (True, some people don’t understand that yes, there is and should be a difference between formal and informal email– audience and purpose and all that–  but that’s probably another post.)

Well, I guess I don’t really need to be going on about the advantages and capabilities of email here, because if you’re reading a blog, I’m pretty sure you’ve got a handle on the whole ‘send mail electronically through the Internet’ concept, so I’ll just say that email mostly works for me because I’m better in writing, when I get to think about and play around with what I want to say until I get it right.

And I wouldn’t be giving email its due props if I didn’t say that I have friendships that would not be the same without it. Truly.

Then there’s the texting. You’d think I love it. But not so much. Well, it’s not that I don’t like it, I feel like it definitely has its purpose, but people sure do have differing views on what that is. Texting is great for short messages or quick questions when you’re out and about. The key words being “short” and “quick.” But there are people who try to have full on conversations with me via text, and I must admit, it makes me a little nuts. I find myself yelling into my phone, “Can you just pick up the phone and let’s actually talk and figure this out in a two minute conversation instead of these unending beeps and texts. My thumbs can’t take it!” Try as I might, it’s not the same as email on the go and I can’t seem to embrace it that way. Oh, I know that with smart phones these days, there is email on the go, but that’s a little different.

For now, I prefer my conversations in person or with my fingers on the home row.

What about you?

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Kelly Stevens
Categories : journeys in life
Comments (1)

Worth Repeating

By · Comments (1)

Hey there, Readers!

Thank you! That’s the gist of it. That’s what’s worth repeating– thank you!

There’s so much to see and read here in the blogosphere, so the fact that you’re at this little space of mine tickles me pink. and it does not matter to me one little bit if you’re visiting because you know and love me or because my mother told you to or because you stumbled on this blog accidentally. I am enormously grateful either way.

I have loyal readers who comment faithfully and that makes me feel loved. I have people who stop by for just a brief time on occasion, and that gives me the warm fuzzies. I have some new readers too, and that, well, that makes me all tingly inside like any new relationship with possibilities.

I’ve written this before, but it’s worth repeating.

1. Know that your comments are always always welcome– if you have something to say. If not, that’s okay too.

2. To make sure you are commenting on the correct post, click on the number in parentheses directly underneath the title next to my name.

3. (And this is new) When you type your comment, there’s a box you can check underneath that reads “notify me of followup comments via email,\.” What checking that box will do is send you email alerts if anyone else comments on that particular post or if I (or anyone else) replies to your comment. I am trying to be better about replying to comments, so you’ll know if I do through email instead of having to check back. Just wanted you to know that feature was there.

4. You can always use my contact page if you don’t know my email and would prefer to send me a private message instead.

5. If you click on any links to products or use the Amazon search box on my sidebar, well, yes, I can make a teensy weensy bit of money that helps pay for this site.

(The upside of not being a super popular blogger is that I don’t have trolls and people who leave mean comments and messages just because they can. I’ve never understood mean people because spending time and energy simply to make someone else feel bad seems rather pointless and sad to me. That’s not to say you’re not allowed to disagree with me and say so in the comments. I love hearing other points of view. Just be nice about it!)

I think that covers it.

Thank you for being here. I love company. Come back and visit whenever you’d like! Bring your friends– the more the merrier!



Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Kelly Stevens
Comments (1)

My New View

By · Comments (5)

I got my first note home from school that was not all good. I need to work with Charlie on recognizing her numbers and letters. Here’s the part where I need to confess to a parenting failure as apparently, I really should have been doing that already, but didn’t know I should.  Too wrapped in my own world, I guess. Sure, I play with my daughter and spend lots of time with her on the days she’s not in school. We read together and we watch movies and we color and we snuggle. But no, I haven’t been really teaching her.

Enter wake-up call.

And enter a strange reversal of roles for me. I used to be a teacher and not yet a parent. Now I’m a parent and no longer a teacher. I’m starting to see the education world from the other side now, and the view is a little different than I thought it would be.

Oh, it’s not like was a holier-than-thou teacher who thought all parents were crazy and now that I am one, I’m changing my tune. Not at all. After all, I am a middle child and I am pretty empathetic and diplomatic by nature, and as a teacher, those traits found their way into my relationships with parents.

I remember sitting in a team meeting once with a former student’s parents. Two parents, four or five teachers, an administrator, and a counselor. One by one the teachers discussed the difficulty he/she was having with the child. Then the administrator discussed strategies and consequences, and the counselor talked about the role she would play. It wasn’t pleasant. And I just kept looking at the parents thinking, Man, this is their KID. And here we are sitting around talking about how difficult he is. How freakin’ hard this must be for them.

One of my first parental run-ins as a teacher involved a mother going totally batshit over a spelling bee. Yes, a spelling bee and a rookie mistake on my part as the sole moderator and judge of said bee. It’s a long story, but the upshot was a girl who was declared the winner, was really not. The debacle was a result of my error. I knew that, admitted that, and apologized. Profusely. No matter. To read the scathing letter that wound up in my principal’s office the next day, one would have thought I ruined this kid’s self esteem and her chances for Harvard in one fell swoop. I don’t’ remember the specifics of the letter but it went way past the “my kid has been wronged and how dare you” stage and tumbled off the deep end with crazy accusations and threats.

As I was flipping out a little when my principal read me the letter—overreacting to this parent’s overreaction—I very clearly remember her saying something like, “You’ll do the same thing when you have kids.”

I quickly retorted, “Oh no I won’t. Of course I will stand up for my child when need to, but I will NOT go about it this way. I get that she’s upset. She has a right to be. But this is not the way to handle it.”

During my fourteen years as a teacher, I dealt with lots of students and lots of parents. I saw lots of mistakes (because it’s always easy to see parents’ mistakes when the kids aren’t yours, right?) and I saw lots of great things too.

Well, now it’s my turn as the parent. And lo and behold, I’m making some mistakes.

So when I first read the note from Charlie’s teacher, many thoughts raced through my mind. First, I got a bit embarrassed. (OMG, these teachers must think I’m the lamest mother ever! I can’t believe I didn’t think to be working on these with her!) And then my internal pendulum swung the other way, and I got all defensive and judgmental. (Well, what is their curriculum exactly then? They can’t expect her to recognize all the letters at once if she hasn’t done this before! Are they even going about teaching her the right way?) And then I got just plain panicked. (What if Charlie isn’t smart? What if she really struggles in school and I don’t know how to help her? Will this be a battle for her her whole life?)

But then, I stopped.

And I took a breath.

And I remembered all those parents who must have had those same kinds of thoughts when I was the teacher.

So I took in my new view from my new seat at the parent/teacher table.

As a teacher, my view was a worried parent and a child that needed help.

As a parent , I thought my view would be a caring teacher that I would look to with empathy and understanding. And it was.

But the view was also much bigger than that.

It was a caring teacher and a child’s, MY child’s future– an expanse of unknown I was not quite prepared for.

The note home reminded me that I have a huge responsibility for my daughter’s education. There will be many hurdles to get past, and many decisions to make. She’s only in preschool. This is only the beginning. Hell, it’s only the beginning of the beginning. I will remember and use the lessons I learned in the classroom. I will use my experience and time as a teacher to be more objective and more informed about my daughter’s education.

I know that having been a teacher will help me in my journey as a parent. But now, from my new view, I also know now that it’s not enough. As a parent, there’s simply so much more at stake. My child’s future is in my view.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Kelly Stevens

I Got Nothin’

By · Comments (0)

“Hey, It’s George….I got nothin’ to say.”

~George Costanza’s  (Seinfeld) message on Jerry’s answering machine

Today, I’m feeling a little like that. I got nothin’.

It’s about 9:00 pm and I was starting to get a little panicked about my blog as I hadn’t posted for the day yet, and worse, I had absolutely no ideas in mind. I committed to posting every day this month, and I’ve been doing well, and it’s been good for me to force myself to write every day. But some days, it just stresses me out. I went to my list of blog post ideas I started at the beginning of the month, but nothing sparked. I looked to my daughter hoping for inspiration for some “mommyism” to share. Still nothing.

Sit down and start writing, Kelly. Just sit down and start writing, dammit.

So here I am. And all I can hear is George Costanza in my head.

Some days I battle the self doubt demon, some days I’m just plain lazy, and some days, like today…well, I just got nothin’.

I started the usual regimen of self-flagellation: Maybe if I read more or followed the news or knew more about what was going on in the world or was a better mother I would have something to say.

Sure, I got a cute kid and a fair amount of personal reflection and self-discovery, and an opinion or two on things that I can throw in the ring. But some days my world, my brain—it’s quiet.

Is that such a bad thing? I mean really.

Yes, there are plenty of things going on in my life and in the world, and there is indeed so much to say. But that’s just it. I think of all the millions of blog writers and the millions of Facebook users and millions of Tweeters, and all of the noise.

Good God, the noise.

Everybody is saying something and everybody is clamoring to be heard.

Is it a wonder I am so hesitant to compete in that din?

That’s the hard part about writing on this space every day. I hate to write for the sake of writing. But I also have to write for the sake of writing.

A paradox, no?

So here I am– a part of the noise.

It’s all well and good. I don’t want to be lost in the crowd, silent.

But I’ll save my shouting for when I have something to say and I want to be heard.

For today, I’ll just whisper…I got nothin’.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Kelly Stevens
Comments (0)

I was meeting a friend at Barnes & Nobel and wandering the aisles as I waited for her. She came up behind me as I started playing with the Nook running my fingers across its tempting screen. “No, you can’t have one,” she teased.

“That’s ok,” I responded, “I don’t really want one.”

As glossy and fun as it seems, no, I just can’t get on board with the eReader.


Oh, I can see that for certain people and in certain circumstances, it definitely has its advantages over an actual book. For anyone who travels extensively, I would imagine it would be quite handy. There’s far too much waiting in airports and hotels to be without fresh reading material, and who wants to lug around magazines and paperbacks (or hard covers!) when space in luggage is a premium these days.

I also imagine it would be handy for avid readers who gravitate to fast and easy fiction for simple escape and pleasure. (That is, those who have more disposable income and don’t make use of the library!)

And I also see the eReader a very useful tool for someone who subscribes to lots of journals and magazines to read up on the latest trends and stay current in certain industries.

For the minimalist who still likes books, there’s a seduction in knowing you can keep all of your favorites without cluttering a bookshelf.

Finally, I would guess that eReaders are the preferred means of reading by younger folks who are simply used to seeing their world through some typed of screen because it’s what they have always known.

I don’t fit any of those categories, so those advantages are lost on me.

But mostly, I’m used to a book.

Yep, there it is—the whole ‘I like the feel of a book in my hands’ argument against eReaders. When it’s the go-to defense, well, there must be something to it.  Liking the feel of a book is about more than just an “I’m old and don’t need no new-fangled contraption” way of thinking. And it’s even more the tactile pleasure of holding a book. There’s the practical nature of it—a book has pages, real pages.

I was an English major in college and then a teacher, so I’m not used to simply reading a book beginning to end once and that’s that. For me, there’s reading along with jotting notes and thoughts in the margins. There’s highlighting and dog-earing pages to go back to. There are sudden thoughts or insights that make you flip back to earlier passages and then flip back again. (I find this especially true of the non-fiction genre I am mostly reading these days.)

When I read, I am reading to learn, and I am active in my reading to do that. eReaders have not found a way yet to make the virtual page trump the real thing in that department—although I’m sure they’ll come up with one soon enough. And yes, then I’ll re-visit.

Yes, okay, there is a hint of “I’m old and don’t need no new-fangled contraption” in my thought process. It’s hard for people to change the way they do things, especially when it’s something as fundamental as reading. New ways of doing things takes time to get used to.

I’ve loved word processing programs since my first Brother word processor that preceded the personal computer. It was a Godsend for typing and especially for revising. But as a writer, for the longest time, I still needed to take pen to paper to create my first thoughts. I could not compose on computer. I remember when I was a teacher and the very first laptop I had was one issued to me by the school. I was responsible for taking minutes at our team meetings, and for the longest time, I refused to use my laptop. I took notes on a pad and then went and typed them after the meeting. It took me years to get comfortable with composing first thoughts with a keyboard. And now? I don’t know what took me so long.

So maybe the eReader will just take time. I imagine I’ll get tempted at some point. I balk now, but I also won’t be surprised if it eventually find its way into my heart and has me wondering why there was a time that I felt I needed actual pages.

But for now, give me my paperback.


Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Kelly Stevens
Categories : journeys in life
Comments (1)

Dinner Conversation

By · Comments (1)

Dinnertime has always been an important part of my life. Even though she worked full time, my mother always still came home and cooked dinner for us. We rarely ate fast food. As much as schedules would allow, the five of us—my two sisters, my parents and I—ate together as a family.

I wish I had one of those dinner table conversations recorded somehow. I would love to know what they were like and what we talked about, because honestly, I only have vague recollections—probably because they were such a part of my life that I took them for granted. I never stopped to soak it in. My father told me that we all talked over each other and non-stop. With three girls, I imagine that’s about right.

Now that I’m married with a family of my own, dinnertime is still one of the things I cherish. I know my daughter is only three, and we only have one child, but it’s still important to me that we sit down together for dinner as much as we can.

Life is about the moments, like simple dinner conversation. As an adult, I try to stop and remember that as much as I can. I try to make a conscious effort to hit the record button in my brain from time to time and soak it all in. Because the moments? Well, you don’t get them back.


An excerpt from tonight’s dinner:

CHARLIE: I was not a good listener at the store.

ME: No, she wasn’t.

GREG: No, huh? (To Charlie taking a fork full of pasta) Here. Eat your dinner.

CHARLIE: Two more bites and then I’n done?  (not a typo, she says “I’n”)

ME: We’ll see. Have some of the asparagus—the green stuff

CHARLIE: But I don’ like the green stuff.

GREG: Here have this piece. It’s small.

ME: Try just one piece. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to have any more.

CHARLIE: Shakes her head no.

ME: Then I guess you don’t want your dessert.

CHARLIE: She takes the asparagus piece and shoves it in her mouth smiling.

ME: (To Greg )Sorry about the mushrooms, Honey. I totally forgot about them until I was tasting it and thought something was missing. (To Charlie) Charlie, tell Daddy about school today.

CHARLIE: I cried.

GREG: You cried at school?

ME: Yes, Miss Kim said you cried. Tell Daddy why.

CHARLIE: I pointed to the bathroom.

ME: Miss Kim said that when you need to go potty, you start to cry instead of just going or telling someone you need to. And you won’t use your words, you just point.

GREG: Oh, Charlie…

ME: Eat some chicken, Honey,

CHARLIE: Two more bites and then I’n done.

GREG Okay. (Sectioning off two big pieces of chicken) These two bites.

CHARLIE: And I gonna have green ice cream!

ME: (To Charlie—trying to get back to today’s school issue and trying to use peer pressure to my advantage) You can go potty at school whenever you have to go. You don’t need to cry. Does Mia cry at school when she has to go potty?

CHARLIE: Shakes head no.

ME: Nope she just gets up and goes. Does Samantha cry when she has to go?

CHARLIE: Um…yes.

ME: She does?

CHARLIE: She says, “It’s not comin’ out.”

Greg and I both laugh

GREG: Man, the things we know about these kids.

ME: (To Greg) Well, we still have to work on letters and numbers. Samantha can count up to 100. And she recognizes the numbers on paper.

GREG: Really? Man, we blew it. Six months at home with both parents– she should be reading the classics. Instead she can quote Scooby Doo.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Kelly Stevens
Comments (1)

My Little Miracle

By · Comments (0)

My Daughter. She’s a miracle of modern science, she is. Here’s the very first photo that was taken of her:

Don’t ask me which one is her, but one is. One of those five clusters of cells grew into a healthy baby girl. It blows my mind.

I know in vitro is pretty old hat by now and well, hey, everybody’s doing it, but for me, it doesn’t seem any less amazing. Were it it not for advances in science and technology, I would probably not be a mother (or at least a birth mother). But more than that, I know that God had a hand in this.

Man can do amazing things. He can invent sliced bread and planes that can fly us through the sky. He can build skyscrapers and miles of tunnels under water. He can invent the Internet and ways to see and talk to people thousands of miles away in an instant.

And man can even take a syringe full of sperm and an egg harvested from ovary and make an embryo in a petri dish. But man? He can’t breathe life and soul into a cluster of cells and turn it into this:

Kind of makes the iPad look like tinker toys, doesn’t it?

Thank you, God.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Kelly Stevens

The Window

By · Comments (0)

We had been looking at townhouses and houses to rent for about a month and half and were growing a bit discouraged. We had our list of “must haves” and our list of “really wants” and, of course, we wanted them all reasonably priced.

We needed a two bedroom and were hoping for maybe an office space too. And we needed a place that would allow dogs. Greg really wanted to rent a single family home so that we could have a fenced in yard like we did in Burbank– boy did we get spoiled there! But most homes we saw were too big (and expensive) for our needs, and most townhouses weren’t the best situation for the dog. It was difficult trying to find a place we could be happy in for a year or two and not feel claustrophobic while still trying to keep the rent under a certain amount.

We got the phone call from our realtor that she found a place, a duplex, we should look at right away, so off we went. When we saw it, we decided pretty quickly that we would take it. It was the first place that both my husband and I liked equally well. There was something very charming about it. We were won over by the obviously family and dog friendly neighborhood. And it had the perfect amount of space. We signed the lease on the spot. It was Mother’s Day.

We moved in slowly and it took some time unboxing all of our things and getting used to our new surroundings. It’s an older building, so it has its problems for sure. There’s not enough electrical outlets and counter space, and cabinets and doors don’t close quite right, but there are great things about it too.

There’s enough room for us all. Greg has an office space on the top floor with the bedrooms; I have an office space on the bottom floor; Charlie has her own bedroom; and we set up the small porch off the living room as a play room for her.

I’m pretty sure Charlie’s favorite thing about the place is the window on the wall between the living room and the porch. Obviously the porch was added on after the original structure was built and the window probably looked out over the yard. But now, well, it’s a convenient portal for Charlie. A perfect passageway from her play room to the rest of the house.

She loves to climb through the window and bounce onto the couch.

It’s a great view for movie watching while eating some PB & J.

Obviously, the window was meant for Charlie. And the rest of it? For us, for now, it’s home.


Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Kelly Stevens

NOT Waving the White Flag

By · Comments (2)

I have been offered a job.

Funny, I’ve been out of work for so long now, that when I imagined writing that last sentence, the sentence came with all sorts of happy emoticons and exclamation points. I mean, at the very least, it was written in all caps. But no. It’s just this: I’ve been offered a job.

It’s the same job I wrote about in this post feeling so torn about taking a full time job and putting Muffin in daycare full time. I’m still coming to terms with it.

Okay, now my sister is reading this and yelling at me through her computer screen about having a better attitude. I am supposed to look at this as a new adventure. And I’m going to try. I swear. Because this job could be a real fit for me. It really could. And it certainly has its share of advantages in the plus column.

I need to take it. We need the money. I need to work. And in my quest to get more clarity on exactly what it is I want, taking this job will help me to get to know a few things. It’s a brand new experience for me. And I will get to the place where I am excited about that. But for now, any excitement is overshadowed by good old fashioned mom guilt, and more than that, a feeling of defeat.

I suppose I thought when I’d be taking a new job, I thought it would mean I finally figured out what I wanted and it would be at least a step in that direction. This does not feel like that. This job, way down in my gut, does not feel like the path I am supposed to be on. It feels like a side trip that I must take. In keeping with a running theme of this here blog, it feels like, well, another detour. And I kind of wanted to be done with those for a while.

Silly me.

But I am not giving up.

Wait. I need to rephrase.


I will find my dream job. I will figure this out.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Kelly Stevens

Bampires and Gores

By · Comments (2)

Muffin’s got a new obsession: monster movies.

It’s so interesting to see what she’s drawn to. Our daughter? She has truly eclectic taste. She loves her Disney, of course, and will ask to watch Tangled (which she refers to as “Punzel”) or Peter Pan three times a day. But lately, monsters and princesses are running neck and neck.

I’m not sure if it’s because Scooby Doo was a gateway obsession, and she’s simply upping the ante for her witches and ghosts, or perhaps she just inherited the love from her father. He tried to play it all cool, but I know he could hardly contain himself when she found his collection of Universal monster movies, and intrigued by the pictures on the box, asked to watch Frankenstein. “I want THIS movie!” she insisted. And then she wanted to see Dracula. And then The Mummy. It’s been kind of a nightly ritual for The Muffin and her daddy to sit and watch a monster movie after dinner while I clean up.

The white board in my office where daddy drew pictures at Charlie's request

“Oh Charlie,” said her dad, “if you liked that one, I’ve got another one with Frankenstein AND Dracula.” Then he proceeded to show her Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

I really didn’t like the idea at first. After all, she’s not even four years old. I worried about her having nightmares, but it hasn’t been an issue. She sits in front of the television totally transfixed and asks her father questions. It’s kind of cute to see the two of them on the couch together. In the end, she seems to be none the worse for wear (or watching as the case may be). I guess the classics he’s showing her are pretty tame. I figure my husband loved them as a kid, and he still turned out a pretty good guy.

Her play usually involves monsters and chases. “Okay,” she’ll order. “You be the bampire and I be the gore.” (Translation: “You be the vampire and I be the girl”) Or sometimes she plays the monster and she’ll say, “Now you scream and say, no no!” Daddy has been the mummy who has to pick her up and carry her to the swamp. She’s pretended to put a stake through my heart. It’s all a bit crazy– and probably a bit creepy.

I’ve got to admit I wonder (and worry) if she talks about any of this stuff at school.  I’m hoping she sticks to the Disney princesses there.  Ariel and Jasmine they get. But her classmates might not understand if she tries to bite them on the neck.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Kelly Stevens
Comments (2)