Monthly Archives: March 2013

~ Houdini ~

Critter thinks he is the Bee’s Knees because he’s got a true gift of hiding.  Any game of hide and seek he will win because he is the MASTER of fitting into places there is no way on God’s Green Earth he should be able to.   He’s 10 years old, and 55lbs… and of COURSE he makes it work for him!

But he’s getting cocky.  I’ll find him in the craziest squeezes and he is so dagnab proud of it he boasts about it.


I can’t allow that kind of cockiness.  Sure, he’s good, but he’s never spent an entire puberty squeezing into Calvin Klein jeans that were three sizes too small because he couldn’t bear the thought of being a size 16.

And yes, I got them zipped.  Sure, I spent the day in perpetual agony and chaffage and wedgies did occur, but by golly I squeezed into those babies.

You know how Brooke Shields bragged that ‘Nothing gets between me and my Calvin Kleins?’

Well of course they didn’t!  Nothing more could have possibly squeezed in there!

So to your cockiness, Critter, I want to say, “WHATEVER! Spend a day in a pubescent girl’s pants and we’ll talk.”

But then I realize that might not sound the way I meant it, and I end up merely saying, “Good job, honey.”

Which explains a lot about the current state of Critter’s ego.

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~ Why, No, I’m Not Serving Junk Food, Why Do You Ask? ~

I had just pulled my home-made bacon, jalapeno, and cheddar stuffed potato skins out from the oven for an after school snack with my munchkins, when My Captain called and informed me that our family doctor had just called him, admonishing us to eat better, maybe drop some weight, and watch our carb intake.

As he told me this, my gaze dropped to the piping-hot pan of high-fat, high-cholesterol, high-sodium, high-calorie yummy comfort-food goodness before me, and dear friends…

I shamelessly perjured myself.

But seriously, look at these:


Perjury smergery.

Don’t judge.  Just shut up and grab a fork.

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~ The Flavor of Grandma ~

We try to have weekly family meals.  The whole gang loves it, with the slight exception of Critter, who hates anything that drags him away from playing….even if it’s an amazingly scrumpdilicious menu like homemade noodles or chicken and dumplings.  I tell you, how he came from my womb is beyond me.  And no, I didn’t drop him as a baby.


But during our last family meal, Grandma Jane couldn’t make it.  She’s got one hell of a social life, that woman.  She’s always going out to dinner or to shows or lectures or ballets.   Her past includes such accolades as former congressional aide, former manager to the national chapter of Kiwanis, past president of numerous charitable and volunteer groups, and most impressively, mother of two exceptional boys who grew into mover and shakers.  Oh, and me.  But she tries not to mention that if she can help it.  Two out of three ain’t bad, after all……

I jest. She loves me more than she knows.  I tell her that all the time.

Back to dinner last week…  Grandma was busy and did not join us.  Critter was at the table with us, actively avoiding his veggies, and out of nowhere whispered, “Dinner tastes better when Grandma is here.”

My Captain and Varmint missed it, but I caught it.  And if you don’t think I shared that little epiphany with Grandma Jane, you’re woefully mistaken.

There is something about having Grandma around, so entirely accessible, that gives our family so much more depth.  It calms me, because she’s my ma, after all!  She is a sounding board for Varmint, when her mama is not approachable on any given subject.  She’s a safe haven for Critter, when he’s been constantly disciplined at school and at home.  She gives assurance to My Captain that his wife might one day grow up.

It’s a dagnab shame that everyone is not as lucky.  It’s sad that not everyone can go to Grandma’s orchard for a liberating run in the sunshine after a long school day.   And it’s amazing that Critter, at such a young age, appreciates the value in having Grandma so deeply enmeshed in his life.

That’s rare.

And not a bad lesson for me.  I’d do well to take heed.

Let me promise you this.  It’s not the orchard.  It’s not the proximity.  It’s not even the sunshine.

It’s her sure promise of open arms.

Someday I’m going to be that.  The one with open arms.

There are people who’s life’s goal is to become president, or a doctor, or a school teacher, or a firefighter, or a businessman.  Those are all noble professions.

Me?  I just want to be Grandma Jane one day.

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~ Snow Day ~

Winter Storm Saturn has arrived here in Dickerson, Maryland, and my Varmint and Critter and I are enjoying the snow day, while My Captain is staged with the Collapse Rescue Team.

We all slept in,…well, we all had the potential to sleep in.  When I crept downstairs at the tender hour of 8:00, I found both children, who fight getting up on any other school day,  sitting in the family room of the little cottage eating Jolly Rancher popsicles, and watching DVDs of The Carol Burnett Show.

It’s like I’m back in 1978…

…only 50 pounds heavier, and sporting substantially more facial hair.

On the agenda for today we’ve got:  baking homemade cinnamon rolls, making cookies, painting snow with spraybottles filled with food coloring and water,  enormous quantities of sibling bickering, and at least three Mommy-meltdowns.

We LOVE snow days!!!

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~ Cherried Forgiveness ~

Our dear friend, Peggy, has moved back to town from Whitefish, Montana.  We were not going to forgive her for moving away from Montana, where we could easily and shamelessly use her house as a base camp…..but then she fixed us dinner last weekend:

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Pesto and dill encrusted salmon, roasted vegetables, Basmati rice, and chocolate-dipped potato chips,

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washed down with chocolate wine.

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She is SO forgiven.

But not because of any of that.  Nope.

And not because she brought us Montana-made stoneware mugs.  Nope.

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And not because her hearth was bright and warm and felt like home.  Nope.

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And not because her conversation was engaging and witty as always.  Nope.

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She’s forgiven because she made us this:

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with cherries she picked by hand, herself.  And to it she added this:

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And some of these, which she also made:

2013-03-01 19.51.15Oh, what are those, you wonder?  Cherries.  Hand-pitted by Peggy, herself.  And drowned in 100-proof Vodka.  These ain’t your usual, run-of-the-mill Marachinos, Baby!

She mixed it all together to make this:

2013-03-01 19.51.47And by my second one, I couldn’t even remember she had ever lived in Montana in the first place.

We love you, Peggy!

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