Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy 2010!

Welcome to my blog! I hope you enjoy my short memoirs. If you enjoy please pass my blog on to someone! I am recreating my site and I will be posting new pieces soon.

The name Cookie Logic comes from my husband, Allen. We were married on January 16, 1988. When we were dating I would tell him something and he would look at me usually rather puzzled and say, "Oh, that must be Cookie Logic." Most of the pieces I write are ordinary everyday events that happen to me. They just happen to be my version of the events. They are Cookie Logic.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said to write for your audience and for the times. So, if you are reading this you are my audience and I am writing for you. I hope you enjoy.

Cookie Stoner
January 2010

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dia-RRhetoric Of The Mouth

Why is it that as a 45 year old woman I can still transform into middle school insecurities? The other day I was in the post office when a local well-known interior designer walked in. I could just tell you her name and what happened, but that would not paint this story for you. This lady is perhaps 60 years old, but she is the reason that 60 is the new 40. She is beautiful-always well dressed and has a charismatic
personality to complement the package. When she walks in the room it is like the cool girl has just appeared. Now, I see myself as a fairly confident 45 year old woman. At this point in my life there is not too much that really intimidates me, but on Wednesday I was off my game.

The day began as "just one of those days." You know the day. We woke up late. I had a sick child that I had to take to the doctor. I had to get taxes and bills in the mail and I did not get my hot tea or breakfast that morning. In other words-I started the day off on the proverbial wrong foot. When she glided into the post office in her coral colored coat covering her sleek pants and blouse which had the hint of coral-----her hair was perfectly coiffed and she had the glow of a well-rested 2 weeks in her Honduran condo on her lovely face. I, on the other hand, got up-threw on a pair of running pants, grabbed a spandex top, hoodie and threw my hair in a pony tail. I don't think I matched, but I did have on lip gloss. I always wear lip gloss. I suppose I think the sheen on my lips will deflect from the bags under my eyes. The only memory on my face was a late night at the office figuring how much Uncle Sam and everyone else was getting from our latest personal injury settlement and consoling a child with a sore throat at 3 a.m.

Now when she got in line behind me we exchanged pleasantries. She was trying to get back in her groove. She and her husband had just returned from a two week vacation. I know how it is getting acclimated after being out of town. I suppose looking back it was the combination of running late, no caffeine, doctor's appointment at 10:30, another appointment at 1:00 and not eating breakfast, but I just couldn't just say, "hello" and be done with it. I had to say exactly what I was thinking. After she told me about her day I proceeded to comment on the stack of brown envelopes in my hand. "Well," I said, "money comes in and it goes out in the mail to freakin' taxes." She just smiled probably mentally checking off her list of things she had to do. That is what I normally do in the post office line. But, you see, I couldn't stop there and let it go. I realized that "freakin'" may have sounded sort of offensive and I wouldn't want this poised lady 15 years my senior to think I said such a thing. So I announced, "I said freakin' and not F***KING." As soon as I saw her wince and look around I realized that the quality that makes me well-heard as a public speaker or on the stage was at the top of my game in the main Decatur Post Office. F**********ING echoed off the post office walls. The man standing at the counter behind us stopped and stood at attention.

I just stopped. I didn't say another word. Thank God it was my time at the window to mail my "freakin'"mail. Before I left the line I turned to her and apologized for my lack of discretion. She graciously smiled and scoffed as she told me it would take a lot more than that to offend her. Of course I felt like an idiot for the rest of the day. I had to share this story with my sister and my friend, Kate. They both laughed and told me it probably wasn't as bad as it seemed. I knew better. It was bad, but I could laugh at myself.

The next night the lady in the coral coat with the perfect hair and I attended a get together at a mutual friend's. We all laughed and had a great time. I left earlier than most of the girls. As I was walking out she told me she hoped I had a "freakin'" good night. Just like middle school it wasn't as bad as I remembered.

Monday, January 21, 2008

"Be Still My Heart"

I am not even trying to imply that I understand Homer, nor have I studied his works in depth. But somehow I don't think he was referring to parting with clothing when he quoted "Be still my heart; thou hast known worse than this." But, sometimes I am not sure if there is a worse feeling.

Allen was cleaning out his closet on Sunday when I saw a couple of suits he was discarding. I immediately started hyperventilating. "How could you? Those are beauutiful suits. Classic." As I slowly cried my words.

He reminded me that he had bought the "blue suit" and the "gray suit" 18 years earlier at a suit sale at The Locker Room one of his favorite men's clothing stores. I reminded him that the blue flannel wool with pin stripe and the gray herringbone worsted wool suit still looked as good as the day he bought them.

He just believed it was time to move the suits out of here. Plus, he went on to tell me, "I have got to decide where I am going to end up with my waistline." I couldn't believe it. Couldn't he remember how dashing he looked in those suits when he was standing in front of the mirror before he purchased them. The connection that made his heart jump as he saw his reflection. Oh, maybe those were my emotions I remembered. And, it didn't really matter if they fit now; one day he might get back into them.

He just saw a "blue" suit and a "gray" suit that were a little snug. Then I thought. Doesn't he remember wearing the blue flannel suit to our daughter's Christening in December of 1991? How in the world could he do that? Just throw it out.

I still have the green silk outfit with spit up on the shoulder, which has been cleaned numerous times, that I wore to Ben's Christening in December of 1996. It is too big, thank God. And, I doubt if I will ever wear it again, but it reminds me of a very special day. Of course, if the truth be known I think I am holding on to it because I paid too much for the outfit. I bought it because I had a wild five 1/2 year old and a 6 month old when I was shopping for something special to wear to his Infant Baptism. I went to Steinmart and it was just too hard. No special attention. Where could I put that stroller in that small dressing room? So, while Camille was in preschool one morning I went to one of my favorite boutiques to try on clothes while the sales girl held my little one and told me how great I looked. The purchase was worth it. I felt great on the big day and the outfit is carefully tucked away in my armoire downstairs. I just don't think I'll part with it.

How could Allen be so detached? He just plucked the suits out of his closet and tossed them in a pile without the faintest expression on his face. "I could find room for them somewhere." I pleaded. "No, it was time," he said.

I told him how I had actually panicked when I had finally cleaned out my closet in a fit of Spring cleaning back in 2000. One dress in particular was the dress I had on when he and I had reunited after a six month break-up in 1986 prior to our engagement. "You know the dress. It was chambray with a high neck and a peplum." I remembered how he had remarked how nice it looked on me and of course it was a special day so it was a special dress. Allen told me he was trying to remember the dress, but he didn't know what I was describing.. The chambray and peplum, what are you talking about?" he asked. "The dress was light blue with a ruffle on my ass." I said. "Oh, that dress. Yes. I remember that one." I could see I had sparked his memory.

I did grieve as I put the dress in a box to give to the Goodwill. Would another girl wear the dress and hold onto it for for 14 years as I had. I doubt it. That look has not been back around. Yet. Somehow, I think that someone probably had a hoot as they picked it up on the thrift rack to wear to an 80's party. I still miss that dress. Just knowing it was there gave me a sense of comfort. Even if I somehow knew I would never wear it again, I still had it.

I do routinely clean out my closets. I believe in the idea that if I haven't worn it for a year, then I should pass it on. But, I don't just stand at my closet and snap a piece out and throw in a pile. I carefully take out the piece of clothing and look it over. I stop to think what type of mood I was in when I bought it, where I wore it-was it a special occasion; how did it make feel when I wore it; how much it cost and if there is a possibility that I may ever wear again? If it does make it to the discard pile, there is usually a rapid heartbeat; my eyes kind of squint; I hold my breath and there it is. In the pile. The pile that I must part with. It is done. Over. Finished. Be still my heart. Then, I am off to my favorite boutique to make more memories.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

... And What Did You Learn Dorothy?

It really is a small world. Allen calls it the Six Degrees of Cookie Stoner. It seems that no matter where I go I will meet someone with whom I have a friend or acquaintance in common. Allen first noticed this on our honeymoon in San Diego. I called the car rental place and reserved our car. Since I am the wheeler-dealer in the family Allen always lets me do the honors. When we arrived I talked to the young man and got to know him. The young rental agent told me with his thick Greek accent that his name was Panos Sacopolous. He really sounded like he was straight off the boat from Greece. I told Panos we were from Alabama-Birmingham and moving to Montgomery. "Oh, Montgomery. I have a friend from there. The last name is Goldsmith" "Mike Goldsmith- I know him. I just interviewed with him. And, oh his daughter was just recently killed in an automobile accident." His eyes widened with shock- "Yes, that was my friend's sister. His son is my good friend." Allen just stood there-amazed. He told me that he knew that I was always networking-but he could not believe that I had met someone with a mutual friend 2000 miles from home. The truth is it really wasn't that surprising to me-I have always experienced the six degrees phenomenon.

Usually my encounters are harmless meetings where I find that I know someone who knows someone. But, a chance meeting with me taught a group of married men that what happens at the beach doesn't always stay at the beach.

One weekend in Spring of 1987, eight girls and I road-tripped down to Pensacola Beach from Birmingham. Allen and I had dated for about a year when he decided he wanted to "date other people" aka as "having his cake and eating it too." So we or I decided that he could date other people, no problem, but that he couldn't date me too. It was Birmingham, Alabama in the late 1980's-I was young and single with a great job and great friends. It broke my heart that we weren't dating anymore, but Birmingham had many young men from which to choose. Professionals, medical school students and law school students. I went out with a variety of guys, but there was one guy I dated who was in law school with Allen. They didn't hang out, nor were they friends, so it was fine for us to date. Besides, Allen dumped me. So I had a great time while he was out having his cake.

James was the guy's name. He was a lot of fun. We weren't serious, but we did go out quite a bit. I knew that Barrister's Ball was coming up, but James hadn't mentioned it so I figured he had no intention of asking me. So, I planned a trip to the beach with the girls. James called me a few days before the ball to ask me if I would like to go with him to the dance. I am not really sure what day-but I do know that it did not fall within my guidelines of-"if you want to go out with me on Friday you need to ask me out by Monday-and for a formal occasion a minimum two weeks is required." That is something my mother taught me and I am passing it on to my children.

I thanked him for asking me, but I had already made plans to go to the beach. He was incredulous. He couldn't believe that I didn't want to go to this "special event" with him. After all it was Barrister's Ball. I nicely reminded him of my dating rules and that "special events" require "special preparation."

On our first night out at the beach we decided to go into Pensacola to eat and party at McGuire's Irish Pub. It is always a fun place to go- with fun and good food. As we sat at the bar waiting for a table for our large party we attracted a group of men who were in town to play golf. They were 10-20 years older than most of us. The men asked if they could buy us drinks. We thanked them, but told them no. Another dating rule-don't let some random guy-especially if you aren't really interested in him, buy you a drink. He may think he owns you for the rest of the night. Or you, at the very least, have to be polite and talk to him while you are guzzling down the drink he bought. We didn't want them to buy us drinks, but they still stood there. These guys were too attentive. We should have let them buy us a drink-at least they could have paid for the elixir that made our encounter with them much easier. We wanted them to say hi and move on. But, we were sitting at the bar so it wasn't like we could have our superficial bar conversation and move on. There was a line of nine of us sitting on stools and standing next to each other at the bar while we were waiting on our table.

As a group of cute girls we were all pretty cocky-you know how we are when we travel in packs. But even we weren't mean enough to make a mass exodus and move on. So we sat there and endured what many of us did when we were in the bar scene - we endured the bar leeches. Some of the girls were rude-they would turn away from the men and talk to one of our group-some talked to the bartender. Of course, I felt really sorry for the men because they were really trying very hard to score a prize for the night. We really wanted them to go away.

One of the men from the group was harmless, but he was a man my daddy's age trying to pick up girls in their 20's. It was gross. A couple of seconds later a question made its way down to my end of the bar. The question started at the other end and each girl turned her head to ask-"hey, do we know a guy in law school name James R. When it got to me I said, "yes, remember he's the guy I've been going out with-who asked me to go to Barrister's Ball with him this weekend, but remember I told him no." Well the golf tan on this man's face disappeared; he turned white. "Oh, he stammered-that's my son." He then went into daddy behavior, deacon of the church, upstanding citizen mode. Immediately, he quit acting like a "hey baby how ya doin'? kind of guy to a "well it is a pleasure to meet you" kind of man. He and his friends all got an awkward, but good laugh. They straightened up and began to act like the daddies and husbands they were. These men were all businessmen-leaders in their community. One was actually the mayor of their city.

On Monday after I returned from my beach trip I saw James at the gym. He had his head tucked in that kind of amused shame. He said, "My daddy is so embarrassed-they were all just having a little fun." I told him his dad was harmless and to tell him hello for me.

Something tells me that this group of gentlemen learned something that weekend - what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay there.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


I have been looking for a literary agent. One agent's website said that there are not really any new ideas to write about-it's just the way the writer presents the idea-the way he tells the story. What a relief! Now I could go back to my writing and tell my stories. They are nothing new. I just tell them my way.

Writing is a lot like sitting in a meeting full of recovering alcoholics. Each alcoholic shares his experiences. Some stories are outlandish and seem unbelievable-some are benign, yet it may have great significance to the one telling the story. I realized that just because I had never gotten a DUI, been to jail, lost my job or my family I still had a story to tell about my experiences as an alcoholic.

My writings are the same. My mother didn't give me to her therapist, my family has never been homeless, I didn't grow up in a war ravaged country and I've never had a sex change. My life is rather ordinary, but I have had a few experiences that have made a mark in my life and it is my hope that in writing about them I can entertain someone and if they feel inspired along the way-then great. My intention is not "if my stories can touch just one person then I will have succeeded..."-my single motive is simply to use my life experiences to entertain. Period. I think I'll add a disclaimer that states, "These stories are meant for entertainment purposes only-should be read by readers with a sense of humor."

I remember in the early 90's when Oprah confessed on her show that she had been molested it became acceptable and actually encouraged others to do the same and tell their story. While I applaud Oprah and am very empathetic to her situation I believe it became very vogue to share one's experiences as a child abuse victim. The world is full of bulimic, alcoholic, trans-gendered, bi-polar people with inverted nipples and they are all on the New York Times Bestseller list!

I decided that while I have had a couple of experiences in my life as the victim of someone else's mean-spirit or lack of self-control-I will never put anything in writing that will hurt someone else. My mother always told me never to put anything in writing or on photos that I didn't want anyone else to see. I have always followed this advice. Words spoken or on paper can hurt or destroy. I have actually written venomous words-hateful words. It felt great-at the time. But, there is simply no entertainment value and I had to make an amends.

F. Scott Fitgerald said to "write for your audience and write for the times." What a solid and logical piece of advice. My audience is full of readers and the times-they are right now. So I will continue to live my kooky sometimes sad life and write about it.

I sent my first letter to a literary agent. I attached my stories with a professional, but cute letter. I told her that a rejection letter would not make a very good story-she needs to help me add to my repertoire by giving me my first chance at publishing my writings. Now that would make a great story!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Cookie's Goals (Subject to Change)

I hate making New Year's resolutions. But every year for 20 years my husband, Allen-the planner, encourages me to make a list of goals for the upcoming year. The goals to which he so euphemistically refers is an obvious code word for resolutions. There are a lot a things I plan for now-being a good wife and mom-taking care of myself physically and spiritually and meeting my daily obligations as a worker or volunteer. There are a lot of things I planned for in the past with such thought and care- finishing my college education in less than four years, my wedding, my career, all five of my pregnancies, my grocery list and meals when my children were younger.... But, as I've gotten older I've realized that there are some things that just happen that I didn't plan. My mother dying when she was only 59, losing three babies(2 died in utero-one at 14 weeks, one at 16 weeks and then I miscarried at 8 weeks-at the time it was really tough), moving away from a great group of friends 10 years ago this Spring and finally admitting that I am an alcoholic. No, these definitely were not part of my plan. Life just happens sometimes.

So today- like I always do-I sat down and wrote my goals for the year. It at least makes Allen feel like he's having some sort of positive impact on me. It's kind of our little tradition that makes him think he's in charge. At least we start the year off that way.

As always I have the usual suspects-more family time, less food, more exercise, less cursing, more prayer...... but like any good recovering alcoholic my most important plans are to live one day at a time, take life on life's terms, plan not to take a drink today and be of maximum service to God and to others. Other than these important goals-this year I want to write more, talk less, and be honest about who I am without worrying what others think or say about me. If I put all of these days together- then on January 1, 2009 even if life throws me a few curve balls- I think I'll say that 2008 was a very good year.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Trite Little Tale

I couldn't write for a few days. I was sad. Wednesday was full of emotions. My life was fine-great. I had so many things for which to be thankful. I hear people say that. I have said it. But, do we really-do I really mean it. What does it take for us to be thankful for what we have- right now- at this very moment. Sometimes other people's pain or our own pain is what it takes.

Wednesday was a normal day. Our alarm went off at 5 a.m. just like it does every weekday-and of course we hit snooze until 5:10, until 5:15 and in 5 minute increments until we hopped up at 5:30 ready for our hot tea and to get on with the business of being The Stoners.

I executed my routine with perfection. I got out of my warm and cozy bed. I walked downstairs and to the Persian rug in front of the fireplace and I got on my knees to pray and meditate. I got up and sat in my chair where my hot tea was presented to me by my husband of almost twenty years. We chatted for about 20 minutes like we do each day. We talked about what was going on with us, our children and the office. We made sure we were on the same page as to what needed to be done that particular day. I got up and made hot tea for the children. Camille usually likes a good stout tea and Ben is partial to "Tazo Calm" tea-thank God. I made their breakfast which consisted of microwaving a biscuit or pouring cereal. I made my husband his next cup of tea. I then made lunch for each of my children. Some days I put silly notes in there just so they can remember how much I love them. Some days we are yelling and screaming to get ready and that we are running late. On these days I am pissed off so I figure they are lucky that I am even making their lunch. Some days I see this as a chore. Some days I stop and thank God that they are still young enough that I am making school lunches.

On Wednesday I did something as mundane as run an office errand for Allen. I went to the printer. A lady I have known for several years who works there told me that Sunday had been the 3 year anniversary of her twenty something year-old daughter and her 5 year old granddaughter's death in an automobile accident. I stood there and listened to her recount the last time she talked to her daughter-how her daughter had begged her mom to be careful on that horrible rainy day. I listened as she told me how her granddaughter called her Gan-ma and how they had taken a walk the day before. She told me how it used to drive her crazy when her daughter would throw her head back and sling her long blond hair around while she was standing in the kitchen. She told me how her granddaughter was a handful and was always a bundle of energy.

She told me that she wished her daughter could be in her kitchen today slinging her hair around. She told me that she wished her granddaughter could run through the house with a roar.

She told me to go home and hug my children and be thankful for all of the mundane tasks, all of the arguments, and all of the noise. She said, "Be tough-teach them right and wrong, but really stop and be thankful."

I stood there and cried. I cried for her pain, but I also cried for me. I cried that I am never really satisfied and that I always want more. I cried that I had sent my children off in frustration that day.

I cried that I have been married to someone I love and LIKE for almost twenty years who will still bring me tea. I cried that my son procrastinates when it is time to get ready-but so does his daddy and if he is anything like him and- I think he is-he will grow into a fine man. I cried that my daughter talks back and tells me exactly what she thinks, but I realize she is just like me and I always know where I stand with her and that she has a heart and a conscience. I cried that I can't have a glass of wine or spiked eggnog for the holidays, but that I've found a group of people who have helped me accept that. I cried that we have had a tough year financially, but that we haven't missed a meal, we have two cars in our driveway and we have continued to wake up in our warm comfortable home. I cried that my mother is not here, but that I do have great memories. I cried that I can't lose that last 10 pounds, but that I have at least lost the first 10. I cried that I need to drive to Hunstville to buy my favorite Laura Mercier lip-gloss, but that I have just enough at the bottom of the tube that I can scrape out.

I cried because sometimes I don't stop to be thankful. I cried for the lady teaching me this lesson. I cried because I needed to be thankful that someone else shared her pain with me-that it wasn't my pain. Even though I was sorry for her-it was her pain that could teach me.

I was in a hurry on Wednesday; I had so many things to do. But, I am so thankful I stopped long enough to learn a lesson. Of course, this is not the first time I have heard this lesson and I am pretty sure I will need to hear it again. But, I suppose one of the things for which I am most thankful is-that as a student of life I get the chance to start over each day and if I do it right and carry over my lessons-they may just stick.