The Stories I Tell ~ from The Word Cellar

Stories. Anecdotes. A free round of words for everyone!

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I love stories. I'm the one at social functions with a dozen new anecdotes. But I worry about hogging the conversation. Sometimes I tell myself that I'll be quiet and let others do the talking. But no matter how hard I try, my stories insist on bursting out! Here I can let my stories (the classics that I tell again and again, as well as new ones that unfold along the way) run free. I'm a professional writer and editor, and sole proprietor of The Word Cellar. I write for a variety of publications and clients on everything from green buildings and nuclear reactors to entrepreneurship and the arts. If you need words written, edited, or enlivened, I can help. Contact me.


After All These Years

Some old loves never die. And just when you think you've plumbed their depths, new beauties arise!

Many thanks to my friend Jack Warren (who is married to the lovely and talented Melissa Mander Warren) for sending me a
link to live Harrod & Funck recordings. There are several previously unheard (and presumably unrecorded) songs, which is a really nice surprise.

Don't know who Jason Harrod & Brian Funck are?
Find out. (And here's an interesting site if you're looking for lyrics and guitar tabs. Disclaimer: I haven't tried any of these.)

Although this duo is no longer together, Jason Harrod is still making music. (And I'm even listed as his friend on his Myspace, which is silly, I know. I'm not all that into the Myspace revolution, but I do have a little corner over there.)

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add to kirtsy | 12:02 PM | 4 comments


Big Big Man

I think that I promised pictures of a giant football player in a previous post. Here you go:

And here's an up-close-and-personal:

This guy is outside of a garage/tire store a few miles from my house. (He used to hold a tire in his right hand.) He's been there since I was a little kid. I don't know who he is. I could guess, but I might be wrong, and that's embarrassing.

There used to be another giant man somewhere nearby. Where was it? And who was he? Why does Paul Bunyan come to mind? Does anyone around here know?


add to kirtsy | 9:59 PM | 3 comments


Five Guilty Pleasures

There's a "Life's Simple Pleasures" tag that's been going around. Hannah, my blog fried by proxy (via Allyson), has suggested a Guilty Pleasures tag. Always one for some good, clean guilty pleasures, I'd liked to volunteer for the initial post.

Five Guilty Pleasures
1. 80s music (also see #6 in the list of weird things about me.)

2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson's Creek, and Angel

3. Oh-so-many really-good-tasting, really-bad-for-you foods (which is a really great guilty pleasure, since you need to eat to live; it's like a bonus!) There's just not enough space to list them all.

3. Bottled water (the guilt comes in when you factor the cost)

4. Advice columns (like Since You Asked and Dear Prudence)

5. Playing hooky

And I'm tagging:
Jess (since you have no blog, you must post on mine)

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add to kirtsy | 1:50 PM | 10 comments


Maybe Baby

A good friend told me today that she is pregnant. She'd initially faced some struggles conceiving, and is just overjoyed with this news. I'm so happy for her. She said, "All I do is eat and sleep. So if you want to go out to dinner anytime, I'm game!"

Having pregnant friends poses some problems. For one thing, they try to make me pregnant by proxy. My co-worker-turned-friend Jenelle had a baby last October. All summer long I heard, "Let's go get ice cream!" "Anyone want to go out to lunch?" "I have snacks in my drawer!" It's okay for you future mommies to pack on the pounds, but what about those of us who need to lose weight before even considering conceiving??

All of this baby making seems to make the topic unavoidable. As if it wasn't a constant theme in my head anyway. I really thought that by the time I was 30 I'd figure out whether or not I want kids. But my third decade dawned last December, and I'm still listening ever-so-closely to hear my biological clock. I'm really not sure that it's even ticking.

I spent a lot of my life swearing off kids. They just didn't interest me. Some time in my twenties I decided that I was open to the possibility of offspring. And there was that weird episode last summer when I thought that I might be accidentally pregnant and wondered if I might be disappointed if I wasn't. Turns out, I wasn't, and I wasn't. (Jenelle, who was about 6 months pregnant at that point, seemed more disappointed than I was.)

I have quite a number of friends and acquaintances who desperately want children and haven't gotten pregnant yet. I almost feel guilty about my ambiguity. Society programs us to accept parenthood as the natural progression of life. And really, I guess it is for most people. I feel like I should want them. But that's not a good reason to have them. Neither is the advice I got from my husband's boss: "Once you had a baby you'd love it SO MUCH!" (say this with a southern drawl.) (She then made comparisons to how much I love my cats. Which makes either her or me crazy. You decide.)

For the record, I never said that I'm a baby hater. I'm sure if I had one I would love it. Again, not a good reason to just jump into things!

To help me ferret out my true feelings on this subject, I bought Maybe Baby. It's a collection of essays originally published on, in which "28 writers tell the truth about skepticism, infertility, baby lust, childlessness, ambivalence, and how they made the biggest decision of their lives." The book is divided into three sections:

Part One: No Thanks, Not for Me
Part Two: On the Fence
Part Three: Taking the Leap

The different perspectives are fascinating. And it's also been good to see that I'm not alone in my fears and ambiguity and such. (For the record, one of my best friends is also on the fence about having kids, so that also helps a lot!) But so far, I haven't made any inner progress. Then again, I'm still in the "On the Fence" section. Maybe "Taking the Leap" will do something for me.

But I doubt it. No amount of reading is going to help me decide if I want to completely upend my life, for the rest of my life.

Thankfully, I have a husband who shares my ambivalence. But I see him inching towards wanting a family beyond just the two of us. He says that he's always wanted kids, but now that the time to have them is here, he's not sure about actually doing it. Before we got married I told him that I may never want kids and asked him if that would be a problem. He told me that he'd rather have me without kids than not have me at all. Good man.

Still, the biological countdown has begun, even if my clock is silent. With each passing year my fertility declines. Will I be 50 and regret not having kids? I don't know. Conversely, will I be 50 and regret having kids? That would be the true tragedy.

I could go on about the loss of freedom, self, and individual identity that motherhood seems to bring. I could expound on my fears that the drudgery of motherhood would suck the life out of me. But then I'm afraid that I'll get lectures on the joys of motherhood and how the sacrifices are worth it and that children are the best thing in the world, etcetera whatever.

But those lectures, well-meaning as they may be, don't help. They just make me feel like I'm missing a maternal gene. (which, by the way, might be a real thing)

But most people don't lecture me. I think that I lecture myself. I just wish that I would stop feeling ambiguous. I told my brother that I wish that I wanted kids. He said, "Isn't that the same thing as wanting them?"

Not really.

I'm not sure how I'd feel if baby lust suddenly appeared, but I think I'd be relieved.


add to kirtsy | 9:57 PM | 9 comments


The Hope of Easter and Spring

They may not exactly be lilies, but...

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:25-34)

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add to kirtsy | 9:27 PM | 3 comments


Flamingo Caper, Part II

Better late than never, eh? So I set up the plastic pink flamingos in my front yard for April Fool's Day, artfully arranged for maximum impact. James would be home from work in about an hour. I took a few admiring photos and went to take a shower. As I was doing my hair, I had a bad feeling that something had gone wrong with the birds. I looked outside and discovered that the two closest to the road were missing. But one of them had left a single, metal stake leg behind. A birdnapping! And right here in suburbia!

These were borrowed birds. A woman I know at work knew another woman who happened to have 16 fake flamingos. She connected the two of us and the bird lady graciously leant me the pink beauties. And now two of her birds were gone! I dragged a dining room chair out into the garage and sat vigil over my front yard. I felt like Farmer Brown guarding his cornfield, minus the rifle.

James arrived home and we had a good laugh over the joke. Then I told him about the theft. He couldn't believe it. In the interim, I had called my mom about the caper. She suggested that I drive around the neighborhood to see if I could find the flamingos. I said, "Who would be stupid enough to steal them from my yard and put them in theirs? Especially with one missing a leg.

James and I put the birds back in their boxes and decided to go out to eat. As we approached a stop sign about five houses up from ours, I noticed some teenage boys playing hockey in their driveway. And next to them in their yard were the flamingos. "Those are my flamingos!" I shouted. "Stop the car!"

"What are you going to?" James asked.

"I'm going to take my birds back!"

The boys' father was standing in the yard. I struck a friendly yet guarded and decisive tone and said, "Hi. I'm missing two flamingos. And one of them," I paused dramatically, and pointed, "is missing a leg." (I stopped short of shouting 'A-ha!')

I marched up to the flamingos and swiftly uprooted them.

Boring dialogue ensued about how I had borrowed these birds and it was prank for my husband. The boys stayed silent, but one of them did point to another as if to say, "It was him!" The dad didn't have much useful to say. He said something about the boys must have been pulling a prank, etc.

As I was walking away he finally said that he was sorry. I got the feeling that he just didn't know what to do, or just didn't care. Maybe he should teach his kids not to steal. Keep in mind, I don't know these people. It's not like they're my neighbor-friends and we all had a good laugh and that was that. I wonder now what the kids planned to do with the stolen lawn ornaments. Display them in their yard for awhile and then bring them back? Keep them? Come back for the other leg? And didn't their father wonder where these random birds had come from in the first place? Or maybe Daddy was with the boys when they took them. I could wax on about the decline of society's ethics, but that would be boring.

In the end, all 16 flamingos returned safely to their owner. So -- and you had to see this coming -- no harm, no fowl.

The two in the upper right hand corner (hard to see) were stolen.

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add to kirtsy | 8:07 PM | 3 comments

I've been tagged. Oh my.

Okay, my bro has tagged me. I'll play along. This time.

Each player of this game starts with "six weird things/habits about yourself." People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own six weird things/habits as well as state this rule clearly.

At the end you need to choose six people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says "you are tagged" and tell them to read your blog.

1. Like others in my family, I must carry lip moisturizer with me at all times. It seems I've outgrown Chapstick. Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm is my stick of choice.

2. When I was a little girl, I had to sleep with at least a sheet covering me, especially if I was sleeping on my stomach. Without the sheet, that monkey in the ceiling might stick a hypodermic needle in my butt.

3. A car once crashed into my kitchen, blowing the stove out of the wall and narrowly missing my mom.

4. I didn't have my first tooth cavity until I was 23. It required a root canal.

5. I will only drink chocolate milk if it's at least partially frozen.

6. I love 80s music. There's just nothing like a good power ballad.

I don't have time to tag anyone right now; I'm going to be late for a lunch date. And come to think of it, I don't think I have six friends who blog. Hmph.

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add to kirtsy | 11:25 AM | 4 comments


Before Anyone Says Anything

Before any of my lovely friends or siblings harass me for my short blog hiatus, I'd just like to say that I'll be back in the next day or so with more flamingo photos (and the story of the plastic birdnapping), perhaps a few nature shots, as well as a giant fiberglass statue of a football player. I might even include commentary with the photos! :)

Basically, this posting is a pre-emptive strike to stave off complaints from you blog-o-maniacs.

In the meantime, check out the interesting musings and lovely photos of Superhero Journal, which I discovered courtesy of the Daffodil Girl.

add to kirtsy | 12:10 PM | 5 comments


Belated April Fools'

James and I have an ongoing debate/argument/joke about plastic pink flamingos.

He says they're tacky.

I say they're so tacky they're COOL.

So this April 2 (because he worked late on the 1st), I filled our yard with the lovely birds.

Two of the feathered friends were stolen, but recovered. More on that later. I'm going to bed.

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add to kirtsy | 11:37 PM | 2 comments


Taking it Easy

Somes days you just have to take a break. Cheska understands this.

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add to kirtsy | 11:40 PM | 2 comments