Monthly Archives: August 2013

~ To Us ~

My Captain took me on a surprise date tonight.  We went to Union Jack’s in Bethesda.

The food was wonderful.  The atmosphere comfortable and not too loud (it was early!).  The service was top-notch.

But none of these things compared to the toast.

Not Rye.  Not pumpernickel.

A “Beloved” Toast.

After our drinks had been served, the handsome, quietly confident hero with whom I have the great fortune to spend my life turned, pierced me with his smoldering dark eyes, raised his glass to me and said simply,

“To Us.”

I paused, waiting for the punch line.

I held my breath, expecting the smarty remark.

I looked for the ‘just kidding’ wink.

But all that returned my gaze was unwavering sincerity, honesty, and love.

That was the best damn meal I’ve had in years.

And it wasn’t from the food.

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~ I Won’t Give Up On You ~

Last night was ‘Back To School Night’ at Varmint’s middle school.   It’s hard for me to go to these things for several reasons:

1)  I know, I just KNOW, that I will screw up and eventually say something to a teacher that will embarrass my Varmint.

2)  I have a knack for embarrassing My Captain at these things.

3)  I think many of the other parents are embarrassed for me, because when I’m talking, their faces resemble those of the audience of the VMA awards when Miley Cyrus, and Lady Gaga, um, performed.


4)  If I weren’t so numb to my own foolishness, I’d be embarrassed as well.

My family puts up with me and my foibles for reasons unknown.  They never disown me.  At least, not to date.  I think that they know that I always go in with the best of intentions, but no matter how I try to stifle my           “ME-ness,” it just comes pouring out.

And usually in an overly loud, bowl-everyone-over-like-a-tsunami kind of way.

Intention SHOULD count, I tell my family.  I only mean to do good and right, honestly I do.

But in my defense, I was NOT prepared to see the dead, vacuum packed frogs the children will be made to cut, that would send me into an emotional tail-spin the likes of which you’ve never seen.  Think Jewish/Italian/Hispanic mothers at a funeral/wedding/briss.

And NO ONE had informed me it would be hotter than blazes in the room and I’d have to take my sweater off, thus showing my pants were ripped a bit in the behind.

And I had no idea that once I squeezed my middle-aged big butt into a 7th grade desk-attached-seat, and then went to stand up quickly when we were dismissed, that my girth would carry the desk halfway up with me, and then, when my folds could no longer compensate for the force of gravity, would send it crashing down.

I mean, we need to consider the intent before we condemn all of  these unfortunate events.  Am I right, or am I right?

Of course I’m right.

I console myself that I didn’t fart on anyone in the school.  At least, not obviously.

But we don’t need to go down that road.

The final classroom we visited last night was Varmint’s English teacher’s.  On her wall was a colorful poster that simply read,

“I Won’t Give Up On You.”

Isn’t that a beautiful thing for a teacher to put at the front of the class?  Isn’t that the most marvelous thought a teacher could gift to struggling young tweens?

I wish my family would hang that up in the kitchen for me.  Maybe one of you could send them a hint!  Nothing obvious, and please don’t tell them I sent you!

That would be swell!  You guys are the best!



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~ The Day My Butt Went Psycho ~

It had been a relatively quiet day.  School was out.  Our lives had slowed to match the lazy summer current…we were totally going with the flow, Vern.  (Can I call you Vern?)

Other than babysitting some chickens for a friend, both Varmint and Critter had relatively few demands on them every day.  They were free to go out and explore, to play, to veg out.  Critter, being a typical 10 year old boy, had been itching all school year to be able to just run around outside, chase butterflies, look for frogs and hike up creeks.  He was chomping at the BIT to run loose and let out some of the energy that truly pounds through his veins.  And when that last school bell in June rang, out he went, full-throttle!

Fast forward: Half of the summer was over and, as I said, it had been a quiet day.  It occurred to me that while Varmint had been gone for a playdate, there was no good reason why Critter was so dang quiet.  It was suspect.

Anyone who has raised a Critter knows that silence – in relation to a Critter – is nothing short of OMINOUS.

With great stealth (hard to achieve with my, er, stout stature) I tip-toed around the house until I came upon him.   Critter.  The wonder boy who has boundless energy and finds sitting in a classroom nothing short of tortuous.


Sitting in my favorite rocking chair, eating a cold grilled cheese sammy, drinking milk, and reading.

At least I think we can call it reading.  A book entitled “The Day My Butt Went Psycho” might not be considered a great literary work in some circles, but it DOES contain words, and those words MUST be read, so there.

I took a picture for posterity, but also for proof when he comes home whining that he simply CAN’T sit in his classroom all day.  I’ll simply show him this picture, and say in a rather snarky tone,  “Er, WHAT was that you were saying?”

Because pictures speak a thousand words….

and are hard to argue…..

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~ Hot Oil Treatment ~

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How much would you pay for a bottle of Olive Oil?  How about a bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil?  This bad boy cost $20.00.  Seems like a lot for Olive Oil, right?  So what gives?

Well, you see, this particular bottle has been infused with Pepper.  HOT pepper.  This is the kind of oil that hurts twice, if you know what I mean.

My family LOVES to throw it in a bowl with parmesan, salt, pepper, and garlic, and dip a hearty bread into it.  We cry the whole time we eat it, but they are tears of joy.

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Grandma Jane’s Beau, Mike Buchanan, bought this bottle for us from one of his favorite restaurants, Difebo’s, in Bethany Beach, Delaware.  They make it there….and apparently their kitchens have connections with the bowels of hell, because this stuff is HOT.

Did I mention the hurts twice thing?

If you haven’t ever been to Difebo’s, and you are in Bethany Beach, I hope you’ll try it.

It’ll get your attention!

In a delicious, but painful way…..

I’m not related or connected to Difebo’s, I just love their oil, man!

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~ Multi-Tasking ~

We have a balancing toy in our house that would easily challenge any adult.  It’s a several-sided, multi-colored board, that sits upon a ball.  The object of the game is to remain balanced on it, as it commands you to put a certain color of the balancing board on the floor in certain sequence.   The farther along you get, the faster it goes.  And if you get the colors out of sequence, or lose your balance, it mocks you.


It’s tough.  I’ve watched grown firefighters cry on this thing.

I’ve damn near broken a hip on this thing.

My Captain won’t go near it.

But Critter…..

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He can get to the highest levels of it, it while killing zombies on Minecraft, and  singing ‘Roxanne’ in true Sting fashion.

He thinks he’s a hot-shot because he can do it so effortlessly, but I am quick to shoot him my most arrogant, disdainful, condescending look and assure him that when he can drive down an eight-lane highway, while drinking coffee, swatting at children behind him, adjusting the DVD player console, and talking on the speaker phone without causing a multiple casualty vehicular incident…..

…..then I’ll be impressed.

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