Me, Myself and HER!

article-2338039-1A2D4055000005DC-603_634x433 (2)It’s happening again. This time at the library. I am just told I have three books that are 8 weeks overdue. “Well that sounds just like you, Stephanie,” I can hear you thinking, my dear reader.

True. Except for the title of the books . . .

  • The Power of Math in the Real World” 
  • “Confessions of an Obsessive Housecleaner” 
  • “Chocolate. What’s All the Fuss About?” 

Uh huh.  See what I mean?  I immediately snatch back my $27 in late fees, justifying loudly, “That’s not me. It’s her again.”

Librarian:  Her Who?

Me:  There’s Another Stephanie Lewis.

Librarian:  Smart, clean, skinny little devil, isn’t she?

I know “Lewis” is a common last name, and I’m proud to share it with famous people like Jerry, Carl and Shari but really, there has to be precisely another Stephanie Lewis??  And she has to be in my exact neighborhood, running in my same circles, traipsing around respected public institutions, checking out obscure books and pinning the blame on me?

But this is not her worst fault.  Oh that’s right, I know all about her even though we’ve never met. She has an overbite and bleeding gums. She needs her wisdom teeth out, which she’s putting off until her last kid goes to college. Yep, we share the same dentist and our files seem to be interchangeable. I wonder if she ever takes the credit for my cavity-free check-ups?

Back when people rented movies in a physical storefront, she’d be the first one in line, booking in advance all the new releases like “Kramer Vs. Kramer” and “Rain Man.” This Stephanie Lewis had to be a video hog AND have impeccable taste? Upon checking out my own personal selections, I’d be informed (in front of others standing in line!) “We’ll have “Tootsie,” “The Graduate,” and “Ishtar” in for you any day now, Ms. Lewis.” I’d nod, then smile evilly as I secretly printed my name on a reservation slip for “Deep Throat” and “Reefer Madness,” and then never show my face there again.

T’was a little parting fun surprise for Stephanie’s husband, who perhaps thought her crush on Dustin Hoffman was her biggest issue.

Even with all the mistaken identities at medical facilities, including having the wrong prescriptions delivered to my home (once I almost telephoned her to recommend she eat more yogurt for all those yeast infections) plus mix-ups at dry-cleaners, banks and car-dealerships, I think the very worst thing about having the same name as this woman has got to be her utter and complete altruism and philanthropy.

I cannot tell you the number of times my family replays messages left on our home answering machine stating that I’m being recognized at a special dinner for all my volunteer hours at the homeless shelter. Or receiving an award for calling out Bingo for the senior citizens or the tireless hours spent reading to preschoolers. Because my children know me so well, they instantly delete every one of those niceties.

Well big deal. Listen to what I can do… “I-19.  G-42. O-75.”  And that’s not all. “Goodnight stars, Goodnight sky, Goodnight air. And Goodnight Stephanie Lewis’ everywhere!” See? She thinks she’s the only selfless humanitarian around!

Lately I’ve become accustomed to explaining they have the wrong Stephanie Lewis whenever these charitable organizations call, but now I am starting to feel a tad guilty.  I suppose I can find a little time to “give back,” right??  How hard can it be to “Pay it forward” every once in a while?

So it came as no surprise to me when the head of the school PTA called yesterday, informing me I would need to bring my own set of power tools when I came to help set-up for Grad Night at my son’s high school this weekend. Remembering my newfound unselfish philosophy, I gleefully tore apart my house, searching for a stray hammer or wrench so I could show up during her designated shift and finally meet this Stephanie Lewis in the flesh once and for all — a wonder woman who apparently needed no coverage for any of her gray hairs at The Tousled Tresses Salon around the corner.. FullSizeRender (6)

No sooner did I set foot in the high school parking lot when I saw a very pretty lady getting pulled over by campus security as they loudly announced on their walkie-talkies, “We’ve finally apprehended Ms. Lewis. Now we’re gonna collect on her back-owed tickets!” She sat mouth agape in her sparkling red car, no doubt wondering how she’d accrued over $440 dollars in penalties because (obviously!) she’d always diligently ordered that pesky required parking permit.

I scurried away as the Principal of the school and a guidance counselor strode sternly in her direction. Again I knew what this matter was about. Poor woman apparently now had a son who organized not only Senior Ditch Day but also Senior Prank Day and there were 1500 water balloons that had exploded and damaged some antique desks that belonged to Abraham Lincoln.  Tut, tut. My Her son should definitely lose his cellphone for that little indiscretion.

Before I left the scene entirely, I made an impromptu decision to drop by her car and interrupt the commotion for just a moment. As I grabbed her power tool case, (I informed her I’d be happy to fill in for her tonight) I dropped a Hershey’s bar on her front seat. “Here you go, Stephanie. You may as well find out right now why chocolate will be your sudden “go-to comfort food” in this exciting new life of yours.”

Don’t worry – – she’ll be fine.  She might just want to spell Stephanie, “Stefanie” for a bit.

And now if you’ll excuse me dear Readers, I’ve heard that this other Stephanie Lewis has just published an article on Scary Mommy, which is an amazing online magazine that I’ve been dying to get my writing on for months.  I think I’ll just go clarify in the comments section that I’m actually the Stephanie D. Lewis author they should be crediting RIGHT HERE.

A Rose By Any Other Name . . .

hello!When I went to a networking meeting two weeks ago, I reached for a pen to fill out the “Hello, my name is . . . ” tag and instantly wrote down “Rose.” As I slapped “Rose” onto my chest, I thought WTF??

Yes, Stephanie is a three syllable name and does take longer to write down, but huh?!? So without any notice, I was “Rose.”

I was neither flowery nor thorny, and I certainly wasn’t Rose Kennedy . . .  nope. I was feeling very Titanic-y. Where was Jack Dawson?  “I want you to draw me like one of your french girls, wearing this. Wearing only this . . .”photo-74

In about an hour I was yawning, tired — evidently now channeling “Briar Rose” from Sleeping Beauty. But I was excited because I realized from this point on, I could be someone brand new each day!

Here are my results: 

Bernadette — Boy they sure clamoured around me at a cocktail party. (It might’ve been the platter of shrimp I was seated near)  They wanted to know if I spoke French? Finally I ended up giving a few people some legal advice after they twisted my arm and found out my closest friends know me as “Bernie the Attorney.”

Harmony — Barefoot in the supplement section of our local grocery market, three separate people (upon overhearing me answer my cell phone confidently with, “This is Harmony…”) asked me if I could recommend an herb for energy and tranquility.  “Well, if you gotta have both together then it needs to be organic, raw, whole, virgin, bitter, and very very green.” I said, knowingly.  “Vitameatavegamin!   Yes, without question, Vitameatavegamin will let you spoon your way to health. It’s so tasty, too. Just like candy.” Then I winked. There was no question in my mind who I was going to be the next day.

Lucy — As Lucy, I kept wanting to be in the sunlight so the reddish highlights in my dark hair might catch someone’s eye. But nobody really laughed at anything I said or did. Frustrated after telling each stranger my name and asking, “Don’t you love Lucy?” I overate a bunch of chocolate candies, stomped on a few grapes (no wine) and decided to look for Charlie Brown instead. The day was a total bust.  I fell asleep at night to Kenny Rogers crooning, “You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille.”

Mary – – This was an interesting pick for a nice Jewish girl. Although I was blessed once by two people as I sat in the Dr’s office waiting room, but in all fairness, I had just sneezed. I also was feeling cranky, grumpy and tired.  It could be the sore throat I’d been battling but quite frankly, I couldn’t stop thinking, “Mary, Mary, quite contrary…”  I needed to do something quickly to cheer myself up, so I began to smile really big and toss my hat up into the air.


Wouldn't it great to turn an entire world on with your smile?

Wouldn’t it great to turn an entire world on with your smile?


Minerva — Never having picked up a single Harry Potter book (or movie) in my life, I had no idea what I getting myself into with this name. I just wanted to sound smart. But it was too late. At the park, smart alec kids wouldn’t leave me alone. All sorts of questions about Hogwarts and Gryffindor and Muggles. Seriously? In one hour flat the name Minerva was getting on my last nerva and I immediately changed it to. . .

Grace — I resisted an urge to pirouette and arabesque right there in the sandbox, but quite honestly, elegance and class were now my middle name. I told all the confused children that I missed my calling and would catch them later, perhaps in the Royal Opera House and immediately went to a high tea where the waitress curtsied after I signed my name on the check. Perhaps I may have inadvertently scrawled the word “princess” before it.

Bertha— I didn’t think I’d last long as a Bertha.  I answered a few personal ads and nobody would write me back except one man who sarcastically responded, “Boy, I sure dig Bertha.” He asked for my measurements and I replied I didn’t know them, but offered to send him a photo instead. He wrote, “that’s okay, nobody can miss seeing you in Seattle.”  Seattle?  I googled “Bertha, Seattle” and decided that I was keeping this name for the entire day.  I needed to feel down to earth for once.

Mirabelle — I dunno. I always wanted to have “Belle” as part of my name.  Annabelle or Isabelle always captured my fancy, but Mirabelle just suddenly rang a bell.  I went to a different hair salon and wrote my name on the client log. When the stylist called out “Mirabelle” it took three times before I realized that was me, jumped and followed her back to her chair. She looked me over and told me that Mirabelle needed a pixie cut and maybe some spiky bangs. I got panicky and exclaimed, “My name is actually Stephanie!”  She shook her head, laughing. “Yeah, right.” I tossed my long hair indignantly, “Stephanie needs glamorous long curly tresses,” I insisted.  She cocked her head skeptically.  “And maybe some credibility?”  After informing me there was no way I looked like a Stephanie, I pleaded for her to just look me up online, read a few of my blogs, perhaps a Huffington Post.  “Oh,” she said suddenly getting it. “Let’s coax some of those natural gray highlights to show through, dearie.”

Gray? Dearie??  And in that moment, I realized with a long sigh — I would always be “Little Miss Menopause.”

Hey YOU!  What do YOU think is in a name?  Do you get upset when someone can’t remember yours?  UPDATE: As a bonus for leaving me a comment about this piece, if you tell me your first name, I shall tell you what I associate it with.  That’s highly valuable!

The Lame Name Shame Blame Game!

photo-250Could our given names play a large influence in the quality of the lives we lead?  Could the “perfect” Blog name give you an extra boost for success?   I am not setting out to definitively answer these questions, but I am going to probe the issues with my own personal brand of quirkiness!

My own name (Stephanie) was picked right inside the delivery room.  My parents were set on calling me Samantha, but days before I was born, the popular show depicted below was televised and the main character was named (what else?) Samantha.

Maybe I woulda had a 2 inch waist like hers too?!

Maybe I woulda had a 2 inch waist like hers too?!

Plagued with the idea that people would call me a witch, my mother switched it at the last minute.  (I secretly suspect however that it was really her fear of being thought of as “Samantha’s mother, Endora”  Remember her?!)   To this day, I wonder how different my life would have been if I were Samantha instead of Stephanie.  Samantha twitches her nose bewitchingly and casts super cool spells.  Stephanie blows her nose incessantly and sneezes a few times. (For a little extra charm?)

Nowadays, I have six kids of my own.  This means I’ve had half a dozen chances to drive my husband(s) frigging crazy over choosing the “ideal” child’s name.  And rest assured,  I didn’t squander even one opportunity!

Me:  If it’s a boy, I want to name him Mitchell.  It’s not as common as Michael, yet it still sounds “Presidential.”

Husband:  Presidential??

Me:  Yes, when he’s ready to step into that position. But when he’s a baby, we’ll call him “Mitchie.”  Then he can grow into “Mitch” as a teenager.  And finally, when he’s a Senator, he can go by his first and middle name – –  “Mitchell Harrison.”

Husband:  Gotcha.  What’s for dinner?

Me:  No, wait a sec.  It could be a girl!

Husband:  We don’t get to eat supper if it’s a girl?

Me:  If it’s a girl, I love the name Jamie  – – do you remember Helen Hunt’s adorable character in “Mad About You?”  But I don’t want her to be 1 of 8 Jamie’s in her 1st. grade class.  So I have this idea. . .

Husband:  It’s an excellent idea.  Say, Little Jamie’s probably pretty hungry right about now, so whadya say we go grab some Chinese?  Again, wonderful idea!

Me:  You haven’t even heard the idea yet. I want to formally name her Jamisyn.  That way she has a Fallback Name if there are too many Jamie’s in her Kindergarten.  Plus she can go by “Jay-Jay” when she’s a baby and can’t pronounce her own name.  I like names with options.  Don’t you?  What do you think about options?

Husband:  Options are so important.  So would you prefer Chinese or Mexican?

Me:  You’re not paying any attention.  What have you heard?

Husband:  I heard that you want to give our daughter a name that she will not be able to pronounce.

Somehow I was able to bestow all six children with terrific names (including twin boys, ‘Dustin & Benjamin’ that came straight out of the movie The Graduate – – Dustin Hoffman played the character Benjamin Braddock!) that most everyone agreed were unique, but not bizarre.  Beautiful, yet not too cutesy.  And intelligent, yet not too nerdy.

So why couldn’t I think of a name for one simple blog?

You see, I knew about the concept of Branding and even wrote a post about how important it was.  (Check this out if you haven’t read it yet.)  Plus I used to write a Humor Column for my college newspaper and since my maiden name was Mark, I had some built-in natural branding coming my way – – I could’ve called my column, “Make Your Mark!” or “On Your Mark, Get Set….READ!!”  But I eventually decided upon, “Mark My Words” and it was wildly popular throughout campus.

But then I got married and my last name became a little more “worldly” as in ‘Mrs. Stephanie Atlas.’  However, I couldn’t think of any creative way to utilize that name other than claiming to be married to Mr. Universe, “Charles Atlas.”  So much for my worldly writing.

Sadly I got divorced and remarried to just become a plain ole “Lewis.”  Now I ask you, what can you possibly do with that boring last name?  (Oh hello there, 2nd Ex-Husband!)  Certainly it does not lend itself to a clever blog name.  And when naming your blog, there are no useful charts to consult.  You know, like the top 100 most popular names for male or female blogs.  What if I named my blog something that turned out to be the common equivalent of Jennifer or Jason from the 80’s?   Or a name that boxed me in to one particular theme?  For instance, I loved the witty name, “The Blogical Conclusion,” but I never make ANY sense at all.  And I take pride in that nonsensical personality trait.  Yep,  I can’t think of a worse fate than being pegged as Logical.

One day I came across a Blog Name Generator.  You can try it here.  But first please finish reading this, lest you become addicted enthralled with trying it out and continuously toying with naming your blog some of the ones it suggested for me.  “Chesty Language?”  (Hmmm, seems Mr. Blog Generator somehow knew about my post entitled, “The Quests for Smaller Breasts?”   But then it threw out, “Challenged Notebook” or “Screecher’s Blotter?”  Okaaaay.

Bottom line – –  for weeks I went around telling people I was an “Expectant Blogger,” (unfortunately Expectant Bloggers don’t get to park their cars closer to shopping malls, and nobody throws them a Bloggy Shower with white cake and presents either.)  and then finally it was my “Launch Day.”  That’s sort of like a blog’s birthday and when the official name excitedly gets revealed.

By that point, all I could think of was that cruel famous family with the last name of Hogg who named their poor daughter Ima.  (By the way, it’s a rumor they named her sister, “Ura.”)  So I was about to just go with, “Ima Blog” until my smartass ex-husband (would that be #1 or #2?)  suggested my blog have a middle name –  – “Randy.”  That was the end of that.

Maybe I was getting too clever for my own good.  I would just keep my own first name with the word “Blog.” Clean and Simple – – “Stephanie Blog.”  Perfect.  I could even honor my favorite movie star, Mae West, and call it “Stephanie Mae Blog.”  But then again, (after this nutty post) Stephanie May NOT Blog.  Ever again!

Leave me a message and tell me how you came up with your child’s name or your Blog name.  And then try the Blog Generator and tell me what it suggests!photo-252