Monthly Archives: July 2013

~ Best Friends ~

My Captain’s oldest and best friend, Ty, is, and always has been, a hottie.


They became best friends in third grade and grew up in our small town together!


How cool is that?   Talk about a sense of continuity.


But equally cool is the fact that both My Captain and Ty are tall, dark, and handsome.  Both are fabulously in shape hunks of extreme masculinity.  Both are Fire Captains with decades of Fire and Rescue experience.  Both are Seasoned Paramedics and teachers of Paramedicine.   Both have a fantastic sense of humor, are trusted leaders, and devoted family men.

Both have AMAZING wives.

No, seriously.


Ty met Maggie years ago in the fire service.


Maggie is a firefighter/paramedic as well, and heroic as any manly-man firefighter you ever met.


She’s even been decorated for her heroic efforts on the fireground!  (If I wanted to get REALLY obnoxious about it, I would tell you that both Maggie and Ty have been decorated…which is rare, …obnoxiously rare.  They’re the best of the best, I tell you!)


It’s not just that she is tough and heroic, smart, brave, and talented, though.  She is also incredibly BEAUTIFUL.  I mean gorgeous.  I mean drop. dead. holy. crap. take-a-double-look striking.


They started out as co-workers, and then they became friends, and then they became so much more….all while saving lives and fighting raging fires.  Can you imagine the drama that swirled around them as their love grew?  Good Lord, no Hallmark Movie could come close to it.  I would SO love to write a romance novel about their love story.


Don’t get me wrong, My Captain and I have romance too, but ours is more of a romantic comedy.  Ty and Maggie are like, right out of some Jane Austen story,

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and My Captain’s and my relationship more resembles something along the lines of “I Love Lucy.”


The love is there!  But it often has to fight its way through bongo drums and chocolate candy assembly lines.


Anyway, the four of us met for dinner the other night.  I don’t know how she let me, but somehow I talked Maggie, who is like, a quarter of my size, out of her Zinfandel or whatever the hell sissy drink she was about to order, and talked her into about three martinis, ranging from chocolate to lemon drop.

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I don’t remember much of the details of the conversation, which is unfortunate since I was trying to get the scoop of their romance for the blog.  But I DO know we had a darn good time.

And I’m happy to report that, with all they have been through together, My Captain and Ty’s friendship is old enough and tight enough to withstand a little, er, silliness from their spouses.

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Which, if you have come to understand me at all, you’ll know is a good thing.

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~ Bag Of Moose ~

Grandma Jane likes to knit.  She does it anywhere and everywhere.  And she keeps her needles and skeins of yarn in her purse at all times.

By purse, I mean enormous bottomless black leather satchel a la Mary Poppins.

My whole life, the woman has been able to supply anyone who asks her for just about anything from that bag.  Kleenex? check.  Super Glue?  Check. Band Aids? Check.  Wind Up fuzzy Easter Bunny toy?  Check.   Rubber Chicken?  Check.  ( You think I’m kidding.) I’m fairly sure if she put any real effort into cleaning that thing out, she’d find Elvis, Jimmy Hoffa, or Howard Hughes.

She comes over often to be with with her Varmint and Critter,  plops her butt in a chair, and kerplunks her black leather satchel on the floor by her feet, as she pulls out her knitting.

Enter Moose.

Moose is our 18 pound black lump of a feline.  He’s built for comfort, not speed.  And he’ll never forego a comfortable seat.  That’s not unusual for any cat, I suppose.  But Moose has a bit of a fetish with purses, apparently.

EVERY TIME.  Every. Stinkin. Time.  Grandma Jane plops her satchel down, Moose makes a beeline for it, and does his best to squeeze his fatty-fatty lard butt into it.

Mind you, he doesn’t fit.  Not remotely.  Watching him squeeze into that thing makes me think of my teen years and a particular pair of Jordache Jeans that I had no business trying to get into.

But he can’t help himself.  We don’t know if it is the smell of the leather, or what, but he has a thing for Grandma’s satchel.  He’ll bury his nose in it and start sniffing it like some kind of creeper.

It’s weird is what I’m saying.

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I don’t want to judge him too harshly, or mock him too much, because I see myself.  There I am, trying desperately to fit into those jeans.  Believing I could.  That’s Moose, in the black leather satchel.

Just trying to fit in.

In the years to come, when Varmint and Critter are going through the teenage-bullshit-angst that every tween and teen goes through, and complain about feeling like social outcasts, I’ll ask them if they really want to be a fat Moose in Grandma’s Satchel, trying to fit in someone else’s bag.

And the beauty of it?

They’ll know exactly what I mean.

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~ Crispy Pork Belly ~

My brother Graham and his family started a tradition a while back, of sending My Captain and me a gift certificate at Christmas for a local restaurant called The Comus Inn.  The Comus Inn is known for being a place for special events,and fine, fine, FINE (as in, clean underwear required, and for gosh sake, wash your face.) dining.  It sits near the base of Sugarloaf Mountain, and its view is famous.


‘Course, we were there for the food.

This place has become known for its fantastic, really WELL prepared, creative dishes since its newest chef took over a few years ago.

First of all, I have to promise you that, while I don’t make a habit of it, I had not one, but TWO ice-cold glasses of Chambord Royale, complete with fat, juicy blackberry garnish, without remorse.

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Right out of the starting gate.  I’m prettier when I drink, at least that’s what I tell My Captain.

So I was flying pretty high when my soup was served.  Not just any run of the mill pre-dinner soup…..check this out friends:  Watermelon Gazpacho!

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Watermelon freaking Gazpacho!

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It was amazing!  A chilled puree of Watermelon, tomato, onion, jalapeno, different herbs…I was absolutely in heaven.  The brain child of GENIUS Executive Chef Elise Wendland, this soup made my stomach go, “Huh? What the……YES!!!  For ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY YOU MUST EAT MORE OF THIS!!!”

Look, I know my excitement for creative foods might be a bit excessive, but you have to find joy where you can, folks.  Am I right, or am I right?  Of course I’m right.  Let’s move on.

To what, you ask?  How about the Crispy-freaking-Pork Belly!  Served in a bourbon-cola glaze…I’ll take two, please!

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Oh LAWDY yes!  Chef Wendland serves this beautiful piece of pig up with Fried Green Tomatoes (You KNOW I love those. Fat chicks HAVE to.  It’s kind of an unwritten rule.)  It was one of those dishes that you eat, not with abandon, but slowly, making small loving sounds and moans through each bite.  It’s the kind of dish that makes your dining partner uncomfortable, is all I’m saying.

Let’s move on to the Collard Greens.  The Tasso (PORK Butt!) was sweet and salty on these amazing greens.  We slurped up the juices afterwards.  I’ll not lie to you.

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And then to the main events.  My Captain likes Lobster, and rarely gets it.  Rarely, as in, has never eaten it in front of me.  Ever.  But he did last night, and while I could never let what amounts to me to be an Ocean Cockroach pass my lips, I do realize that many people LOVE them.  He loved these two tails, and promised me they were cooked exactly they way they ought to be.  He was smacking his lips.  (Which I found ironic since he had been mocking me for moaning just moments before.)  They had been served in a basil butter, with sweet corn and pine nuts.

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I chose the Chicken.  This wasn’t just any chicken.  This was pan seared chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese, golden raisins, and sliced country ham, and served on citrus carrot puree and basil vinaigrette.  This was CHICKEN, baby! Oh my was it good.  I needed a moment alone with it.

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When we had finished the main course, we couldn’t possibly eat any more.  So we ordered three desserts…..ahem.

Don’t judge.

Pastry Chef Karen Himes wowed us with her summer trifle.  Deliciousness served in the cutest jelly jar.  (And you KNOW how I love jelly jars!)  What was so wonderful about this trifle was that it wasn’t too sugary.  She really is a master in her craft, because Chef Himes allowed the freshness of the berries to shine through on their own.

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But let’s talk about Mama Boe’s dessert.  You KNOW that is where the money is.  It was a pyramid of chocolate….but wait, let me explain!  A square of cake, topped with chocolate mousse, iced with a kind of ganache, and then decorated with candied, chocolate covered almonds.  It was served on a swish of chocolate and honey and HOLY CRAP was it good.

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You know you’ve eaten a good dessert when it’s described as ‘Holy Crap’ good.

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And out of the kindness of her heart, Chef Himes served us this beautiful Galette to take home.  My friends, I think you know me well enough by now to know that the Galette didn’t really make it home, er, WHOLE, as they say.

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The Comus Inn….amazingly fresh, local, creative, clean, beautiful….in a word, Charming.  I would go every day if I could!  It’s not cheap…it’s definitely a special occasion kind of place.  But this is why my brother Graham sends us the gift certificate, I think.  And we certainly enjoyed our Christmas in July!

Thanks, Graham and family!  We love you!!!

PS:  We found out last night that The Comus Inn has a Chef’s Tasting Menu.  For $65.00, each guest is treated to several small portions of Executive Chef Wendland’s menu.  See the website for details!

PPS: I am in no way affiliated with The Comus Inn.  I just loved the place, friends!

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~ Earning A Man Card ~

It has been hotter than a World War II Pin-up Girl here in Dickerson this week.  Though the thermometer reads 95 degrees, with the humidity that comes with the swamp that is the greater Washington DC area, the Humiture is usually around 105 degrees.  Basically, you walk out of any air-conditioned building, and the hot, wet air hits you like a concrete and steel-reinforced, brick wall.  The air is so stifling;  every breath feels used already…. like someone is breathing directly into your face.   It’s nasty.  And gross.  I don’t do well with pre-breathed air.

My Captain, when he wasn’t working this week, has had the unlucky task of digging up the wooden border around Critter and Varmint’s old playground.

The one outside in the back yard.

The one in the sun and pre-breathed air.

The one with all the bugs and yucky mud.

Poor Captain!

Critter watched him from the coolness of the kitchen, and wondered aloud about how long it would take to finish the job.  I eyed him speculatively and answered, “I dunno, but I reckon it would go a lot faster if he had some help.”

“I can’t do anything to help him,” he shrugged.

“How would you know if you don’t ask?”

Man I’m good.  Smoother than 30-year-old Whiskey, and twice as effective.  I lobbed that guilt-grenade right over his head…he never saw it coming.  Dead Bulls-eye.  I’m like a guilt-sniper.  Ka-POW.

He grumbled and went out.  And by ‘grumbled,’ I mean bitched.  Audibly.  Copiously.  He was, as they say, unwilling.

Five minutes later, however, I watched him through the window wielding a hammer, and some other strange device that, while probably originally designed for a different task entirely, looked to me like a Medieval bludgeoning device.

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Apparently My Captain entrusted him with the task of removing screws from 25-year-old pressure treated 6X6s.  This is NOT an easy task…..And certainly not if you are 60lbs, working in the sun when it is over a hundred degrees, and the bugs are eating you alive.

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I was sure there would be more, er, unwillingness being communicated.

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But Mama learned a lesson in Male-ness that day.  Instead of focusing on being too hot, or too bug-bitten, or too frustrated when screws would be difficult, Critter dug in.  He took it as a challenge, not as an undesireble chore.  And I could see that a little bit of discomfort and adversity actually sat well with him.

I’m not saying he would sign up to do it every day, but he wasn’t a tool about it.

I could see My Captain was just as surprised as I was that Critter wasn’t quitting in disgust.  It was obvious he was enjoying being ‘one of the men,’ and doing manly tasks.  You might even go as far as to say he took PRIDE in working with My Captain.

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He didn’t have time to whine.

He was too busying earning his man-card.

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~ There’s Extra Large, and Then There’s Extra Large. ~

I ruined dinner tonight.


One of these days I’ll figure out that using a spoon to measure out spices is wiser than just opening the lid, and tap-tap-tapping at the opening, in the assumption that the correct amount will magically fall out, instead of half of the ding-dang jar.

But until that time arrives, we can always fall back and rely on the either of the two fine pizza establishments here in the little town of Poolesville.  We have Cugini’s, and Kristopher’s.   Poolesville used to have a Dominos, but the other two pizza joints are really so good at what they do, even a big chain didn’t stand a chance.  So naturally, when I finished mopping up the tears of frustration from my latest dinner fiasco with my favorite apron,  I reached for the phone.

Kristopher’s was the chosen pizza joint tonight.  We try to spread the wealth between the two places.  Er…not to say that their services are required THAT often….ahem….

The pizza order conversation went a little like this:

“Pick up, or delivery?”

“Pick up please.”

“What can I get for you?”

“An extra-large, half plain cheese, half pepperoni please.”

“You want the new Extra Large?”

“Yeah, that’s fine.”

“Half an hour.”

Now, at this point, many of you might ask me, “Aren’t you curious about what they meant about “New” Extra-Large?”  Well, dear readers, no.   Frankly what my frazzled brain knows is that it takes an Extra Large to satiate me, and still have enough left over to give scraps to my family.  I don’t need to know the nitty-gritty details of what it is, I just know that I need it.

Don’t judge.

I arrived at the allotted half hour mark, and in I went to pay and pick up.  I paid, and they hefted a super thick, heavy-duty, reinforced cardboard, 2-foot square box to the counter.  And for the first time since the phone order, my two brain cells actually clicked.

“Er, that isn’t MY pizza, is it?”

“Eyup.  The new Extra Large.  24″.  A full 2 feet.”

“And what will this cost me?”

“$30.00, Ma’am.”

There was a moment of silence as the enormity of what I’d done hit me.  Not only had I wasted money ruining dinner, but now I had also carelessly ordered enough food for a small army.  Or John Candy.  But he’s dead.

I sighed.  The cashier, a young, attractive lass, looked hesitantly at me, as if she were expecting me to go ballistic or something.  I fear others before me may have.

So I smiled at her, and the gentleman who made my pizza pie behind her, and then I winked, and said, “Well hell, if SOME is good, MORE is better!”

They both visibly relaxed and agreed wholeheartedly.  And the gentleman kindly offered to cut the slices smaller so my kids could handle them easier.  I did note that he didn’t offer to cut them smaller for me…which makes sense because one look at me and anyone can tell this ain’t my first rodeo. I’m a seasoned pie veteran.  Believe you me,  I know my way around an unwieldy piece of pie.  And when you’re that good, it shows.

They wished me good luck as I left; I hauled it out to my car, and carefully put the box on top of the hood……

….because transporting this little gem in my little Chevy Equinox was going to require me to move the seat back in order to fit it in.

I had to move my car seats, folks.  Now THAT is an Extra Large.

When Critter and Varmint saw the box, they reacted differently.  A gleam came into Varmint’s eyes, reminiscent of a warrior who has just received a challenge.  I know that look well.  She got it from me.

But Critter….Critter actually looked scared.  With his big brown eyes, he beheld the ginormous box dubiously,  then glanced with concern back up at me, and then back to box.  Then he simply whispered,

“I don’t think I’m going to want dessert.”

A pizza that takes the desire for sugar away from Critter?

My standards have just been raised.  Well played, Kristopher’s Pizza.

Well played.

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