LAFF: Things I Don’t Understand…..

  1. Tide Pod Eating-Why? 
  2. *If you never leave your house, HOW does the flu find you?? :-O
  3. Why does my cat prefer to hang out in a room that is 20 degrees cooler than the rest of the house? And why when I keep that door closed because of the cold, does he look at me like I just replaced his regular food with a bowl of citrus fruit? (He HATES the smell of citrus.)
  4. Doritos for Ladies: There are just no words for this. Apparently, before the proposed product was scrapped, the advertising hook was that they were less crunchy and more dainty (this last descriptive word is just conjecture) and would, therefore, be more appealing to women. Ah, what can I say about this? Here’s the thing, I don’t know about most woman, but I know for sure this woman loves the crunch. She NEEDS the crunch. For the love of baby Jesus KEEP THE CRUNCH! (And all of a sudden, I’m not sure we are talking about chips anymore. 😛 )
  5. Why is Postmates not available in every city and small town? What am I supposed to do when it’s 1am and I have a chocolate craving and there is none in the house? Go without? Yeah, I don’t think you understand the magnitude of the situation, bruh.
  6. Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl performance. I still can’t figure out what I just watched. I was further confused by his outfit and spent half the time trying to decide if it was a patterned fabric or video projection.
  7.  Why does everyone site Psycho as Hitchcock’s scariest movie when The Birds is 1000x more creepy. Yeesh. #NotFakeNews
  8.  **Cab passengers who call to book a ride, but can’t give me an exact pickup address. This will never stop being confusing. 
  9. Finding something in the frozen food aisle that has instructions for deep-frying, conventional and toaster oven but no microwave instructions.
    This happened to us just this week and confused me because this item was being sold in an area that has 10 microwaves per half city block per capita. I guess breaded avocado slices are too bourgie for the microwave. 
  10. The other day, Chad woke up to this. Now see that little brown tuft of hair peeking out from the top of the blanket? That’s me.: rileyphoebebed(2)

My question is this: why isn’t the following scenario an acceptable reason to be late for work, “I couldn’t get out of bed because my cats refused to get off of me”?

Happy Weekend!

*Thankfully whatever I had in my body was gone by the time I woke up this morning.

**And yes, whenever I get a passenger who can’t give me an exact address, I request that they give me the name of a business around them or ask someone. 


Throwback Tuesday: The Harsh Reality of Dreaming Your Dreams……

Throwback Tuesday.
I made it up. 😛

Because today I wanted to republish a story that I wrote in 2005 for the Spina Bifida Association of Wisconsin. Although I had written it specifically for that chapter of the Spina Bifida Association, the newsletter that it had been written in had been sent out to all chapters of the association. So in honor of my first national article, I’m rewriting it here for all to enjoy. 

Living with Spina Bifida brings with it a natural level of anxiety and questions about specific milestones experienced by most people; specifically dating, marriage and having children.  Another milestone that brings anxiety includes living independently from your parents. 

Since moving into my own apartment 8 months ago, I have experienced joy in new-found independence. But several weeks ago I was forced to re-evaluate my dreams of getting married and having children after discovering an ominous bruise on my big left toe. After a precautionary visit to my doctor and a series of x-rays, it was determined I had a small fracture between my big and fourth toe. As soon as I heard the verdict of the bruise, I felt a sinking feeling. I had a pretty good idea of what caused the bruise. It was the result of my life-long habit. 

I am a compulsive sleep kicker and had obviously kicked my battery operated wheelchair that was beside my bed. 

As the youngest of 3 children, my kicking habit banished me to many a hotel floor when my family went on vacation and my parents doled out the sleeping arrangements. I knew my habit was a bit of a nuisance during a college choir tour where I slept in the same bed with another female member of the choir. After one night of sleeping in the same bed, my friend told me she had to remove my leg from on top of her during the night because she couldn’t wake me up (I also suffer from deep sleeper-itis but that’s another issue for another column 😉 ). 

Despite prior knowledge of my unconscious kicking habit, sitting in my doctor’s office with a broken toe made me worry and take stock of my dreams for the future. I thought, “If I can physically harm myself in my sleep, imagine how much damage I’d do if someone else was sleeping in the same bed!” So far I’ve come up with several solutions, however unconventional, to keep my future husband safe from my flailing appendages: 

1. Trade in my normal sleepwear for one of those puffy, rubber sumo-wrestling suits.

2. Purchase helmet, elbow/knee pads, athletic cup, and umpires vest as wedding gifts for my new husband. 

3. Rig legs up with a string attached to a bell. Each time my legs kicked I’d wake up (although this would require my husband to wear heavy-duty earplugs). 

4. Keep index cards in my purse explaining the scope of my habit. Give to dates when it appears the man could potentially end up with several broken bones as a result of years of sleeping next to me. Also, make sure the guy has updated tetanus shot. 

Maybe this last one is more on the mark. After all, isn’t part of the dream finding a guy who will stay with me despite my shortcomings, and work with me to find a solution that will keep us both from my mysterious bruises on our feet? 

 PS-Years have passed and I still have this habit, unfortunately. But there was a solution that I didn’t even consider. We ended up getting a king-sized mattress.

Problem solved. 

Also, I changed very little editorially speaking and yep. You are right-I HAVE improved my writing style in the last 10 years. Although the biggest change I would make is to change bell into foghorn because the man I ended up marrying sleeps so deep you could explode a cannon in his face and he wouldn’t wake up. 

Probably. Not that I’ve tried this. 😛 Or thought of doing this ever. 


LAFF: Lulabelle’s Guide on How to Procrastinate…..

The other day Chad and I were faced with a small crisis. Both our bathroom sink and bathtub became clogged to the point where when you step into the shower, it could double as a bathtub. The time had come to try to plunge both the sink and tub.

Now our bathroom drains had become clogged due to both having long hair. When I was a kid (with much shorter hair) one of my jobs since I had my own bathroom was to clean out the drain of hair every few weeks. I actually thought it was pretty fun and I never thought it was particularly gross.

Flash forward almost 25 years and things have changed. Not only is my hair significantly longer than it was when I was a kid, but now my gag reflex has become so sensitive that I can only take gummy vitamins.

Suffice it to say I was not looking forward to plunging the drains and cleaning out all that hair.

So instead of adulting and cleaning out all that gross hair, I thought I’d make a list of things to do instead of doing what you are supposed to be *doing:

1. Clean out the gutters. It doesn’t matter that it’s the middle of winter and snowing heavily.

2. Suddenly become obsessed with alphabetizing your pantry.

3. Taxes. April will be here before you know it so getting a head start is a good adult life choice. Yep.

4. Buy a subscription to Rosetta Stone-Mandarin so you can communicate with your niece and nephew. Start practicing immediately.

5. Actually work on that book you told everyone and their mother would be published in 2017.

6. Suddenly remember that you’ve never seen Justin Timberlake in concert and his TV performance starts in an hour. Might as well watch the preceding football event before it. 

7. Meal prep for the week for the first time in your life.

8. Take a broom, turn it upside down and put a dry cloth over the brush part. Then go along each corner of every room of the house sweeping away the cobwebs. 

9. Wax all nostalgic while rewatching old David Letterman segments with cute animals and the Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. 

10. Make a list of ways to procrastinate and upload it to your blog. 

**Lulabelle and are not liable for any job termination or grounding you may receive from doing anything on this list while you are supposed to be doing something else. 😉

Settle For the Best….Avoiding Red Flags to Finding Happily Ever After…..

“It’s better to be single the rest of your life than married to the wrong person”

 “Women with disabilities have a 40% higher chance of being a victim of domestic abuse
(2017 Stats American Psychological Society)


Over the weekend Chad and I celebrated 4-1/2 years of wedded bliss. And it made me reflect on my life and what it took to get me to this point. To be able to wake up every day to the man of my dreams. 

Growing up I never had a boy show any interest in me. Even through high school, I was never asked out on dates.

This changed my sophomore year of college when I was introduced to a guy who was a mutual friend of one of my college suitemates. Although we lived several states apart, we began emailing and phoning back and forth and I fell head over heels for him.

He was charming and funny.

He told me I was pretty and that he loved me. We made tentative plans to meet in the summer.

Then things got weird.

Whenever I would mention hanging out with guy friends, he became extremely jealous. To the point of contacting some of my guy friends to tell them we were a couple. And to basically back off.


Then through our conversations, he began to ask inappropriate questions like what my ‘measurements’ were.

Um, ew.

He then suggested I needed to get off my anti-depressant because “I thought having a boyfriend would fix all your problems.”

You know that thing where your mouth works faster than your brain? Yeah. That happened a lot with this guy. Except that his brain believed what his mouth was saying. ( e_e )

To be honest, this made me uncomfortable, but as a 19-year-old who had never dated before, I clung to the very thin shred of good stuff.

Even though he saw me as an object to be possessed, not a treasure to be cherished.

But then he would tell me I was pretty and that he loved me.

Even so, I decided one day I needed a break. I asked him to not contact me through phone calls, email or snail mail for one week. So I could get my thoughts together.

This is when the gifts started arriving in the form of flowers. That I could not enjoy because I knew he was trying to manipulate me to get back together. Even so, I decided to get back together with him. 

Afterall he said he loved me and called me pretty. And I’d never gotten flowers from a guy before. 

Weeks passed, the school year ended, and my parents came to drive me back home. During the 18-hour trip, we had a long talk about my relationship with this guy. And their concerns that he wasn’t treating me well. Then my mom asked me something I’ve never forgotten: “Do you think this will be it?” In other words, “Do you think this will be the last time a guy shows interest in you?”

And to be honest in that moment as a 19-year-old, my answer was yes. I honestly thought he’d be the best I would ever have. Nearly 20 years later, I see the flaw in that reasoning. To think that things couldn’t ever be better. That I deserved better. 

Dear reader, the enemy comes to lie, cheat and destroy. The enemy will feed you the lies that this is the best you’ll ever have. That you don’t deserve someone who loves you for you. 

These are lies from the pit of hell. 

If he sees you as an object to be possessed, instead of a treasure to be cherished, he’s not the one. 

If he forces you to disconnect from friends or family, he’s not the one. 

If he hits you, even once, he’s not the one. 

If he forces you to do anything that you don’t want to do, sexually or otherwise, he’s not the one. 

You deserve the best and I promise the wait is SO worth it. 



LAFF/In Reel Time-YouTube Version……”Tigers Reaction to Kittens” by Michael Jamison…….

The other day I saw something so ridiculous I knew I had to blog about it. So today I thought I’d revisit the video and translate what I believe the characters (kittens and tigers) are thinking.

Now as far as I can tell, this video was shot in South Africa on some sort of animal rescue sanctuary. I have no idea but assume the guy in the video is a professional and knows what he’s doing.


Basically, I’m hoping this guy isn’t some sort of animal hoarder who needs to be reported to whatever governing body looks after large, dangerous animals.

Legal disclaimers aside, let’s get into the video:

The first moments of the video show the sanctuary guy putting the kittens into a carrier to take them outside by the tiger enclosure. My commentary starts at 1:42 when he’s carrying the kittens down the stairs of his house with the mama cat in pursuit.

Mama cat: What are you doing? Where are you taking my babies?

Sanctuary guy apparently doesn’t speak cat because he doesn’t answer but instead mentions that this might be a bad idea as it’s 5pm and it’s feeding time for the tigers and they might get the wrong idea.


Thank god there is a fence separating them.

2:24-sanctuary guy reaches into the carrier to take out a kitten as a tiger over the fence makes a sound, not unlike a cow. Kitten looks confused and a little nervous.

I would be too.

2:52-One tiger growls and walks past as another one comes up to the fence as the camera pans to the carrier of kittens as the mother has now climbed up on the carrier and is sitting on top of the mesh bag as if to say, “I’m lodging a formal complaint. This is stupid.”

2:59-As tiger approaches the fence, the kitten is looking nervously anywhere except at the tiger. “If I don’t look at him, I’m invisible to him.”

3:07-Tiger smells kitten through the fence.

3:09-kitten looks back at sanctuary guy like, “Are you freaking kidding me? He’s HUGE!”

3:14-Sanctuary guy says, “Well, that’s probably closer than she feels comfortable with.” Camera pans to mama cat on carrier looking at sanctuary guy like, “Duh, you think. WHAT ARE YOU DOING??”

3:49-Sanctuary guy puts kitten back in the carrier and zips it shut. Shows the mama cat by the carrier. “I just wanted to make her realize everything is fine.”

Mama cat: “Everything is NOT fine. You held up my babies in front of a lion-like Michael Jackson dangling his baby over the ledge window. NOT OK DUDE!!”

7:36-after giving the kittens a brief break, sanctuary guy picks another in the litter and brings it back up to the fence for the tigers to check out. Once the tiger is close enough to the fence, you can see that the kitten is roughly the size of the tiger’s nose. You can also see the tiger is probably thinking about what kind of gravy goes with kittens. 

Thankfully the tiger decides the kitten is too many calories and walks away. 😛 

You can check out the full video here .

Happy weekend!

Throw Back Thursday: It’s All In Your Head……

20 years ago this past summer I walked down the aisle. Not at my wedding, at my sister’s. And the most remarkable thing is that I looked like myself from a month earlier.

Why was that remarkable? Well, I had just had brain surgery 3 weeks prior. And I was one of my sister’s maid’s of honor.

This was the first wedding I went to where I was actually in the wedding party. And I knew I needed to look great. I even practiced walking down the aisle in our front yard.

But there was a problem.

See, a month or two before I had been suddenly hearing a clicking noise when I turned my head. Specifically, the left side of my head where my shunt was placed when I was a newborn. (A shunt is a tube that runs from my head to my stomach to drain excess fluid off my brain.)

Also on that same side, I was curiously able to run my finger up and down my shunt at my neck and I could feel a gap. A literal canyon where my shunt dropped off and then picked back up an inch down from where it stopped.

Even though I was able to feel and hear these changes, when I’d tell my parents that something was wrong, they didn’t believe me. Which made sense because when I was in school, I was a bit hypochondriac-y, and I didn’t have the classic symptoms of shunt malfunction such as headaches, double vision and morning sickness.

No joke, when your shunt isn’t draining properly, and you suddenly get up from a lying down position, it can for some reason make you throw up.

Yeah, fun times.

So I know all about the symptoms of a shunt malfunction because when I was in kindergarten, I had a full replacement after a malfunction. Here is what I looked like on the day I was discharged.

Shunt Revision Kindergarten

Now as you can see, a quarter of my head had to be shaved for this revision. Fast forward 11 years later and as I’m hearing that clicking noise on my shunt side every time I turned my head, knowing that I had to be in a wedding in 3 weeks, I kinda started to panic. I began to imagine myself walking down the aisle with a bald spot covering a quarter of my head.

Of course looking back on this, I could figure out now how to rock that look, but high school Laura was a bit more self-conscious. Most days. Other days I fearlessly rocked weird fashion that I look back on now and cringe. Case in point: I once wore a large jacket with sunflowers on it to school. Now that doesn’t sound so bad, but the jacket was made out of upholstery cloth and had large brass buttons down the front.

I resembled a couch from the thighs up (of course it was oversized. Duh! 😀 ).

But darn it, I did it was confidence.

So I was worried about how my head would look for my sister’s wedding. And that fear was intensified when I was sitting in the doctor’s office looking at the x-ray of my head a few days later.

Yep. I was right. There was a clear gap between both sections of my shunt where the break occurred. I remember laughing because it was so obvious and ridiculous. Here’s the craziest thing; my shunt had been in there SO long that when the break occurred, it was encased in ANOTHER tube of tissue that had formed around it. So it was still draining properly, but eventually, it would stop working altogether. We were told I’d need surgery in the next few days.

In the meantime, we began wondering what to do with the shaved head I was definitely going to be sporting at my sister’s wedding. We began to look into different types of hats and scarves that were fancy enough for a wedding. People started donating hats and I actually got one that would have probably worked well for a wedding.

My surgery went well and I was able to go home a few days later. The best and most unexpected part? I was able to keep ALL but about a quarter-inch of my hair on the bottom (I had a short pixie cut back then).

Three weeks later I walked down the aisle in a long lavender dress, a bouquet of fresh garden flowers rubber banded in my hand and around my arm crutch handle.

So I guess the moral of the story is two-fold: 

  1. When your kid says there is a clicking sound in their head and they say their shunt is broken, believe them so that their head and hair has time to recover before a major fancy pants event.
  2. Even if you have brain surgery right before your sister’s wedding and you look different then you thought you would on the big day, don’t stress. Weddings are about family, togetherness and of course food. 

    *Besides, that dress you’re wearing will be out of style in 20 years anyway. 😉

    *I have to say that is normally the case. However, I lucked out when my other sister chose a timeless tea length strappy dress that my mom imitated when she made it for me in purple. 

Lulabelle Cooks Without a Net: The Episode Where Lulabelle Can’t Even Find Her Measuring Spoons (Peach Cobbler Edition)…..

Today’s blog is dedicated to my sweet friend K, who loved to bake and whose smile and laughter could brighten up the darkest room. Sleep well dear friend. We’ll see you in The Morning….♥♥♥

I have a new YouTube obsession (She said, shocking nobody).

For the past week, I have been watching Nerdy Nummies (Rosanna Pansino) as she makes geeky/entertainment themed cakes, pizzas, cookies, and drinks. She also just came out with the cutest baking line ever. Seriously. We’ll be ordering her oven mitts next week.

I don’t know if it was watching her so much or if I suddenly had a food craving for something peachy, but I decided I wanted to attempt to make peach cobbler. Blog style of course, without a recipe.

So I had some leftover frozen sugar cookie dough from a previous LCWAN post (not homemade. Duh 😉 ) and a few quart sized ziplock bags of frozen peaches from our tree harvest last spring. I had an internal debate as to whether or not I should add sugar to the peaches because they were plain, but in the end, I decided to forego sugar on the peaches and just rely on the sugar from the cookie dough.

Was it risky? Yes. But I figured either way it went it would make a delightful blog. Long story short it paid off and I’m glad I didn’t put in any extra sugar (and we were out of sugar anyway).

With all the ingredients gathered, I began the process of assembly. I thought I’d put the cobbler stuff in my rectangular glass casserole dish.

Upon discovering I didn’t own a rectangular glass casserole dish, I settled on a round, non-stick cake pan given to use by my sister on our wedding day because apparently, she has more faith in my potential to be a world-class baker than I do. And before our wedding, I didn’t have the pan so I’m that much closer, apparently.

Even though I bake so infrequently that when I do turn the oven on, the oven gets confused and literally looks at me like I’ve lost my ever-lovin‘ mind.

Oh hey, did I mention the sugar cookie dough and peaches were both frozen solid? True story.
So I decided to put them on the counter for an hour to unthaw.
I mean thaw out.
Anyone else use this term? 😛

But after one hour they were still very frozen-y. So, I dug deep and remembered a little trick my mom taught me. I ran both frozen packages underneath hot water for a few minutes and opened the package of cookie dough to prepare the pan.

Now my idea was to split the dough into two equal parts and put one half flattened on the bottom and one over the top of the peaches. I managed to put down the bottom “crust” part, with only a few tiny holes I hoped weren’t a big deal.

(Actually, I was going to patch the holes with a tiny bit of the other half of the dough before putting the peaches down, but I forgot until I had already dumped the peaches in. At that point all that was left to do was pray and hope for a miracle).

At that point, I was ready to pour the peaches, into the pie pan, but they weren’t at the same place mentally that I was. They were still a bit too frozen to be moved, so I had to take a fork and stab away at them until I got enough fruit loose to justify putting the entire thing in the oven when it wasn’t just crust.

The took a series of sessions consisting of aggressive fork stabbing followed by microwaving the frozen block for intervals of 15-20 seconds. And then I realized that the bowl I had to microwave them was too small, so I had to bring out ANOTHER bowl, dividing the peaches into two frozen bowls, refrigerating one for later and microwaving the other until it was thawed out enough to dump into the pie pan of raw cookie dough. 

The next step was adding cinnamon to the peaches and mixing it in. This is where disaster almost struck. (Speaking of disaster, as I was making this cobbler of dreams I was watching one of the many made for TV movies that were done for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic. The cinnamon discovery came around the same time as the boat struck the iceberg.) 

What was the near disaster? I couldn’t find my measuring spoons. They were not in the sink or in the drainer by the sink. (Where most of our dishes live after being washed. Because it’s us. :-P.) Fortunately, we had several coffee scoops that were in our utensil drawer. 

Unfortunately, they did not have any measurements on them. The only words written on them said, “coffee scoop” which is something I didn’t need to read because I knew what it was by looking.  

So I had to just eyeball it and trust my instincts. Turns out my instincts are amazing and I should probably bake more without a recipe with just my instincts to guide me. 

I topped the peaches with globs of dough, figuring that during the baking process they dough would spread and it would all be OK. Like the ending of most sitcoms in the 90’s. 

After the cobbler was assembled, it was time to bake. This is where things got a bit tricky as I put it in for 14 minutes at 350 (as per the instructions on the cookie dough package), but it still wasn’t done. So I put it back in for another 8 minutes, but it was still not done. Back in it went for another 5-7 minutes. For a total of what I believe was close to 35ish minutes. 

Basically what you need to do is start out with 14 minutes and then if it isn’t done, put it back in until it starts to smell amazing in your kitchen, but you don’t smell anything burning. Bonus points if, when you take it out of the oven, the top crust is beginning to get golden brown. 

Wait about 30 minutes for it to completely cool before sampling it, even though you made it for breakfast the next day. 

Bon-Appetit’ Y’all!


PS: regarding the sugar we didn’t have that I didn’t use: turns out we didn’t need it as the sugar from the cookie dough is plenty sweet on its own.