Monthly Archives: September 2014

~ Tough Family ~

My Captain and I stayed at a bed and breakfast this past weekend to get a breath of fresh air, and a change of venue.  We do that every millennium, you know, just to stay fresh.

We went to one of my favorite places on the East Coast:  Ohyiopyle, Pennsylvania.  There is a river there that I used to kayak when I could fit in my boat.  It’s called the Youghigheny River….but after you twist your tongue into knots trying to say it, you can just call it the “Yough.”  (YOCK).

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And on that river, just above Ohiopyle is a little village called Confluence, where three rivers intersect.  And near that confluence of rivers is a bed and breakfast I’ve gone to since the ’90’s called The River’s Edge.  2014-09-14 07.31.59My Captain and I love its simple, peaceful, throw-back-in-time-ness.  It’s a humble ’30’s cottage, decorated in vintage style, and has no internet access!  For me, this is not a big deal, but for My Captain, it’s akin to taking a bottle of milk from a baby.

A 200lb, crazy-busy, over-tasked, workaholic baby.

Which is why I made the reservations.

Right after we woke up, I poured us each a coffee and My Beloved met me out on the back porch.

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All we could hear was the water falling over the rocks, the early morning birds waking up, and the crickets trying desperately to stay warm while we sat on the porch with our feet up, sipping fresh coffee.  The mist was just rising from the water.

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I could see My Captain soak it in as if he were re-visiting some long-forgotten friend.

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It’s easy to get so wound up in the day to day, that we forget the big picture of living.

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There was no judgement here.  No criticism.  No demands.  Just the earth waking up.

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Okay, there was one judgement, and that was that my socks were distracting in my camera lense.  But dang it, my tootsies were cold!

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After breakfast, we went for a hike on Ferncliff Peninsula.

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I’ve been struggling with foot issues,

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so it had to be an easy hike.

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And thank goodness My Captain wore orange so I would not lose him in the woods.  I could barely keep up with him. (Okay, okay, I held back on purpose so I could enjoy the view…..)

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My Beloved, being the gentleman that he is, cleared the way for me as necessary.

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This tree had to be moved…..


We came across the best discovery!  Funky mushrooms.

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Understand that I have never seen a red mushroom with white polkadots outside of a children’s story!

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I was beyond excited!

My Captain, appreciating Varmint’s disgust of all things fungal, took pictures of himself ‘touching’ the mushrooms.

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“Why are you doing that, Beloved?”

“To tease Varmint.”

“How will a picture of you touching a mushroom tease Varmint?”

“I’m going to show her these pictures, and then tell her I touched something in her room after touching these, and then I’m not going to tell her what I touched.”

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And then he snickered.

I kid you not.  The man who is a hero all the other days of his life, Snickered.

It’s not easy to live in this family…..

Now I’m not so sure that giving My Captain downtime is a good thing at all….

….and I really hope he washed his hands…..

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~ Not All Heroes Wear Uniforms ~

I knew at about 10:00am that it was not going to be an easy day today.

Sir Monty, who often comes out to the garden with me when I’m weeding or putzing, likes to run amuck.

Running amuck, in his world, means tearing up and down the hill, like he is on fire, scrambling about 10 feet or so up a random tree or two, and then jumping down.  He gets so excited to be out there with me that he acts like a fuzzy little crack addict, too energized to be in control of himself.  (Kind of like me, when My Captain comes home.)

And today he tore around the yard and bounded up this particular tree.


See him?

Here, let me help.


In his excitement and boundless energy, he got a leetle beet too far up the tree.  He’s a good 25 feet up there.

I figured he’d come down eventually.

THREE HOURS LATER, he was still up there mewing!!!  I couldn’t take it anymore!  My heart had bled to death hearing his pathetic little mews! And I was sure our resident hawks and eagles were coming for him any minute.

As you can see in that picture, I tried to see how close our little 8′ ladder would get me to him, in order to coax him down.  He wasn’t having any of it.

I called the Veterinarian.  They had no advice to offer, other than to bait him with food.

So, I tried putting an open can of cat food out to lure him down.  The good stuff!  With gravy and everything!!!

He told me he was too upset to eat.

I called Papa.  He was not available.

I called Mike, the man who talked me into adopting this miscreant. (And by talking me into it, I mean he said, “Hey, would you like a kitten?”  He’s a sweet talker, that guy.)  He didn’t have a ladder big enough to help.

I called my friend Maggie, who is a firefighter/paramedic, as it is her day off, and asked if she had a ladder.  She wouldn’t be home for a while.

I called My Captain, who’s predictable retort was, “He’ll come down.  You never see a cat skeleton in a tree.”  To which I replied, “Yes, but we have Red Hawks who love little Sir Montys for Breakfast.”  To which he poo-pooed me condescendingly.  To which I stuck my tongue out at the phone. 

So then I called my friend and neighbor, John.  John works as a subcontractor in construction.  He happened to 1) have a ladder long enough to reach my wee little kitty, and 2) be about 3 minutes away.  I had not even gotten off the phone with him when he pulled in the driveway, whipped out his super-ladder in less time than I’ve seen some firefighters do it, and had Sir Monty down.  I barely had time to snap this photo with my phone. 


I couldn’t thank him enough.  Monty thanked him by clawing his shoulder to shreds. 

The long and the short of it is this:  The hero of the day today was John, NOT a firefighter, NOT a policeman, NOT a soldier.  Just a man who stopped his day for a moment, to help a woman and her kitty in distress, without mockery or condescension.  He wasn’t looking for payment, or accolades, or recognition.  He wasn’t even looking for my gratitude, frankly.  He was just being kind.

Obviously, John has homemade cookies in his future.

The world needs more Johns, if you ask me.



(Hey ladies….he’s single!  Lives right here in Dickerson, Maryland, too! )


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~ Boston Cream Birthday Boy ~

My Captain turned 49 today.


(I can say that with an obnoxious tone, because I am 46.  Ha.)

This is a man who is so self-sufficient, he has absolutely no need of any gifts.  Or, more accurately put, there is nothing I can buy him that he wants.  If there is, he has already bought it, and bought the RIGHT one.  So Christmas, Father’s Day, Birthdays….fugggetabout it.  He is absolutely impossible to buy for.

But today, I decided my gift to him would be twofold.  First, I wrote a series of “Top Ten” lists on Facebook in his honor.  The subjects ranged from “The Top Ten Reasons My Captain Is A Better Kisser Than Fabio,”  to “The Top Ten Reasons My Captain Will Thrive In Montana When He Retires.”  Some of them are purty dadburn funny.  Some are sickly sweet.  One of them was about the second part of my gift to him:  His favorite birthday cake…a Boston Cream Cake…homemade, baby!

That Top Ten list went like this:

***Top Ten Reasons My Captain Will Love His Homemade Boston Cream Birthday Cake***

10) Duh, it’s cake. But, it’s also his FAVORITE.
9) I made it with Xylitol, a natural sugar alcohol, digested in the lower intestine, it doesn’t mess with the glycemic reaction in your body. Also, in large quantities, it causes explosive diarrhea.
8) I made it with half regular white flour, half whole wheat flour. So it’s healthy-like.
7) I used Hershey Chocolate in the Ganache Icing.
6) I used real Vanilla Beans in the custard filling, with whole milk, because skim milk makes a sucky custard.
5) I used organic eggs in the cake batter.
4) I didn’t eat half of the batter before baking it THIS time, so there was actually enough cake batter enough for two layers.
3) I didn’t burn it.
2) I made it fresh TODAY.
1) It was made entirely with LOVE.

 So, fast forward.   Here is the cake when I finished baking it:


It looks fantastic, don’t you think?

I couldn’t wait for him to come home and taste it tonight.  Everyone raved about how delicious it looked.

We did the whole blow-the-candles-out-oh-wait-they-are-the-trick-re-lighting-kind-so-blow-them-out-again thing.  We sang The Birthday Song in 6 part harmony, which took talent since there were only 3 of us singing, and then we cut into that bad boy of a dessert.

It. Was. Awful.

Dense (thanks to the whole wheat addition).  Dry (God knows why).  Not very sweet (Thanks, Xylitol, you’re a peach).  The ONLY good thing about it was the custard, and believe me, the ratio of custard to cake was not nearly large enough to offset the rest of that fiasco.

But you want to know what My Captain said?  I mean, no one had to say it tasted bad.  That was painfully obvious. And My Captain is not one to waste times with white lies.  So do you know what he said?

“Honey, I can taste the love.  Thank you for making me a birthday cake.”

I love that guy, I tell ya.

But next year, I’m sticking with my Top Ten Lists, and going to Safeway for the cake.

I just hope he can still taste the love. 

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~ One Gallon Basket ~

Ever seen a 20 pound cat stuff himself into a 1 gallon basket?

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Why yes.   Yes you have.

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~ First Day Of September ~

Today was so sad.

Mostly because summer leaves us so completely. 

Critter gets quiet every year about this time.

Not for long, mind you, but you can tell he’s doing a mental farewell to the freedom and energy of summer.

We went for a pensive walk as a family, but Critter wanted to walk ahead alone with his thoughts.

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We did a little creek exploring, but Critter wanted to stop and build a dam by himself.

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We talked a bit about our goals for this coming school year, but Critter remained silent.

And during all of this, I walked into about 40 spider webs, give or take a couple hundred, resulting in my “HOLY-GUACAMOLE-GET-IT-OFF-GET-IT-OFF-GET-IT-OFF!” dance.  This made Critter laugh.  FINALLY.

I hate those dingdang things.

But if it brings Critter out of his back-to-school funk, I’ll walk face-first into a couple hundred more.




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