Monthly Archives: February 2016

~ He’d Be Dead If It Weren’t For Me ~

Even though it is February, it’s been so beautiful, I decided to write out on the patio this morning.  My Captain was already out here, tweaking the garden wall in the sunken patio.

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What’s wrong with the current garden wall?  The structure is fine, and with the copious amount of anchors and heavy-duty framing he built into it, it’s got more retention capacity than I do after a night of cheese fondue.

But during the last rain…and by rain, I mean monsoon-ing deluge…we had a rawthar large erosion issue.

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In fact, we had a small river redefining the edge of that particular garden bed.

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And it buried about 150 feet of the patio bricks in good ol’ Dickerson compost.  Predictably,  I had just augmented my garden beds with a fresh load of cow manure last fall.  And that golden mud was slicked all over the patio floor.

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This is after I shoveled it yesterday.  I had a few words to say on the subject, none of which are appropriate here.

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A trench had been carved out where some of my bulbs had been.  You’ll note the past tense.

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So My Captain, the love of my life, took it upon himself to cease the gnashing of my teeth, and shaking of my fists, by constructing a sturdy wall to re-direct any future rain rivers.

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I love that guy.

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He was up an at ’em before me this morning, so I didn’t cook him breakfast as I usually do.  In fact, in the course of the entire day so far, he has only eaten a sausage and cooper cheese-filled soft pretzel from the Amish Market in nearby Germantown.  And thank goodness he did.  They are mighty tasty, and probably pack a good 1,500 calories per pretzel.

Even though this guy is a work-a-holic, and regularly tends to put in 20 hour days, he is lazy in one particular area:  He won’t eat if it isn’t served to him.  He’s the laziest food preparer there is. He’ll go all day without eating, if he has to put effort into making it.

This is a huge, baffling enigma to a woman who’s every waking moment has some thought about when and what her next meal will be.  And since he, by way of being my Beloved, is an extension of me, he benefits by my constant flow of home-made sustenance.  He married a foodie.  And thank God he did, because I keep that man alive!

When I’m having a bad-attitude day, and feeling low about my accomplishments, or existential point in this big, scary world, I console myself with the knowledge that this wonderful, noble, heroic, self-sustaining-in-every-other-way man would be dead if it weren’t for me.  And OF COURSE, by natural flow of linear reasoning, this means that every life he saves at work can also be linked to my cooking, and thereby to me.

Which means I’m a golllldarrrn HERO!   Every time he comes home with a life-saving or life-changing story from the firehouse, I can pat myself on the back, put another notch in my wooden spoon, and modestly say, “Just doing my job. You’re welcome.”

Don’t judge.

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~ Diseased Hag ~

I’ve been sick for something like, six weeks.   I tell you this, not so much to be informational, as to cheekily pander for sympathy.

I can’t even claim it is something more serious than bronchitis and all the crud that that implies.  It’s not even a noble or heroic illness to be borne.  It’s just a nasty, phlegmy cold.

As I basked in my hot shower this evening, trying to loosen the phlegm that has plagued my lungs and sinuses, I hacked and I gargled, and I snorted, and I growled up all the crud I could, when it hit me:  I’m NOT ever going to be a romantic heroine.

I thought of all the sweet heroines in books and movies, and shoot, even some of my friends, who, when ill, somehow manage to retain their femininity.   They flush beautifully when feverish.  Me?  I get clammy and pale, and turn a distinctive pea-green shade of yuck.

Their sick-bed hair is charmingly tousled.  I end up looking slightly Rastafarian.

They blow their noses gently into their hankies.  I honk like a moose in mating season, while blowing through entire boxes of Puffs-Plus-Lotion.  Tissues litter the floor, because the trash can is ALWAYS just a little too far away.

They cough quietly into their hands.  I sound like – I kid you not – Snaggle Puss, as my coughing jags run rampant for several minutes, and frequently end in an unintended, non-controllable fart.

They bravely suffer their aches and pains and charge determinedly on.   I whine and whimper, and am always SURE this is THE END of me.

What I’m saying is, I’m not exactly a text-book patient.  I wish I could help it, but I can’t, honest.  And I felt bad that My Captain has to see this side of me.  Why?  Why couldn’t I be just a LITTLE bit feminine when I’m ailing?

I look to him for reassurance that he still loves me, despite my disgustingly diseased body’s failings.  I sent him a text describing my many sufferings today.  His response?

“You’re a mess. Don’t cough on my pillow.”

Not a HOT mess. Just a mess.  Can’t he see that I’m obviously DYING?!!!  Couldn’t he throw me a bone or something?  Doesn’t he realize that with every cough that makes me pee my pants a little, I feel more and more like a hag??

I’d decided to go cough on his pillow, while probably peeing myself on the way, when his next text came through:

“Try to get some rest.  I love you dearly.”

Well then.

I feel better already.


Don’t judge.




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~The Valentines Day That Wasn’t, But Really Was ~

Everything we attempted this Valentine’s Day,  initially FAILED.

FIRST: If you don’t know what an Aebleskiver is, lemme explain: If a Pop Over and a Pancake got married and had babies, they would be Danish Aebleskivers.   In a perfect world, they look like this:


This morning, I woke up bright-eyed, and bushy-tailed, because I was excited to make some Aebleskivers for my darling, with my brand-spanking new Mini-Aebleskivers pan.   But guess what,  turns out that it’s really hard to make Aebleskivers with a mini-Ableskiver pan, when you haven’t first pre-seasoned your brand-spanking new cast iron pan. And since mini-Aebleskivers are so small, they cook (ie: burn) faster than you can turn them, which means they’re not spheres, they’re ovals, and who makes Aebleskivers in an oval shape????  No One, That’s Who.

But guess what, if you put enough powdered sugar on an Aebleskiver, it still looks good, sphere, or no sphere.  I’m not proud, so that’s what I did.

My Captain was a hero and, without complaint, delivered my powder-sugared, slightly burnt, non-spherical mini-Aebelskivers to  a couple of neighbors for Valentine’s Day.

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It’s the THOUGHT that counts, right?   It’s imperfectly perfect, you know?  Totally cool.

But you know what was NOT cool?

Cleaning the mess that my new, non-pre-seasoned, mini-aebleskiver pan left on my stovetop, which now needs to be scoured and loved and rubbed with vinegar so it doesn’t smell like old grease anymore.

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That falls into the NOT cool territory.

So we left that for later, like any other couple who leaves messes behind them, because they’re too busy leaping ahead into the day’s next adventures.

And those adventures today included delivering Varmint’s Valentine gift for My Captain’s best friend, Ty.  Remember Gwen outfoxed Ty at Christmas with a gag-gift that was a bust of some Roman dude, gilded and gloriously tacky.  Ty was going to give it to Varmint for Christmas last year, but she beat him to it! She picked it up at Mrs. Brown’s Attic, the coolest little knick knack store ever (in Barnesville, Maryland), and left it under his Christmas tree.  It was an entirely awesome smooth one-up.  My Varmint rocks.

After Christmas, Ty took it back to Mrs. Brown’s Attic, apparently, and this weekend, we picked it up again for Varmint, who gave it to Ty AGAIN, only this time, for Valentine’s Day.  Did I mention my Varmint rocks?

Ty and Maggie were out and about doing romantic things to celebrate, so we left the bust of Ceasar, or Brutus, or Mark Antony, or whoever the heck it is, on Ty and Maggie’s doorstep.

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Fabulously decorated for the occasion, just waiting for them to come home!

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You might not be able to read Varmint’s Valentine, but it says, “Be Ceasar’s Valentine!! (Or be fed to the lions!)

Why so threatening? Look at his face!  This is not a mushy kind of Cupid. He’s more of an Alpha-Male Cupid.  You know, “You WILL fall in love with me. Over and Out.”

Sort of like My Captain is.  He looked at me, thought that thought, wiggled his highly powerful eyebrows, and I was Over and Out, believe me.  I didn’t stand a chance.

After we dropped off Ceasar Cupid,  our GRAND, Romantic plan for the day was to have NO plan, other than to go explore The Shenandoah National Park.  We had no time frame, we just wanted to wander over to the Park, (a several hour drive) drive along the ridge, and then come home after a bit.  We didn’t specify where or how we’d get there. We were just going to kind of go where the wind took us.

That’s all we had in mind.  We stopped for meals and potty trips, but for the most part we were just wandering, exploring, and seeking out new and exciting places to take the family later this year.

We saw exactly 583 vineyards, which would be AWESOME if either one of us liked Wine.  I like my grape juice fresh, and My Captain prefers Hop juice.  Micro-brewed, if possible. It’s frustrating to me, because it looks like visiting vineyards would be so much fun; I totally feel like we’re missing the party.

We saw approximately 3844 horses eating.  No one was riding them.  They were all (all 3844 of them) just standing in their pastures, for all the world looking like really expensive lawn ornaments.

We passed exactly 39399999  7-11 stores.

And finally, we arrived at the Gateway to the Shenandoah, and Skyline Drive.  We drove up to the Ranger Kiosk to pay the fee, and were told……… we had to turn around!

Skyline Drive was closed, because they hadn’t finished clearing off the snow from the last storm!  We felt like we’d just been told that Wally World was closed.

“Sorry folks, the Moose out front should have told ya’!”

My Captain looked at me.  I looked at him, and then we both said, “We probably should have called first.”

And the Ranger, who was patiently waiting for us to turn around, agreed wholeheartedly.

My Captain turned our car around snickering, and said, “We didn’t even plan our day, and we still didn’t get it right!”

But you know what?  I don’t think we will plan anymore Valentine’s Days ever again.  They just don’t get better than this! We had a whole day together, just the two of us, a full tank of gas, and the road stretched out wide before us.

It was, simply, imperfectly Perfect.

Kinda like my Aebelskivers!


Happy Valentine’s Day, Gang!  I love ya!


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~Wacky Pants-On-Fire ~

You know those ridiculous ‘quizzes’ you find on Facebook for various things?  If you were a sandwich, what kind would you be?  If you were a dog, what breed would you be?  If you were an elf, what would your name be?

Well today I took the quiz about what our Cupid names would be.

Mine was…get this….Dreamy Chunky Monkey!

But even better was My Captain’s!  His was:  Wacky Pants-on-Fire!

I snickered and chortled and shared this with my Beloved.

His response?

“Nailed us, didn’t they?  It’s a little bit creepy.”

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Why, yes, Wacky, it is creepy.


Don’t judge.


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~ Multi-Grip Valentine ~

I get the award for THE BEST Valentine’s gift to a hubby this year.  I don’t care if you gals got your hubbies season tickets to a private box at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  I don’t care if you got your Beloveds a case of his favorite, over-priced microbrew and a booklet of homemade coupons for favors that you made out of candy sweethearts.   I WON this Valentine’s Day.  I’m the queen.  Put a Capital on that:  I’m the QUEEN of Valentine Wifey Gifts for 2016.

“WHAT???”  You beg, jumping up and down in excitement, “What makes you the Queen this year, Mama?”

I’m so glad you asked!

I thought about My Captain, and how difficult he is to give to during any holiday.  He’s impossible to shop for for Christmas, Birthdays, you name it.  It’s not that he’s high-maintenance, or overly particular.  It’s that he is exactly the opposite!  He is LOW-Maintenance.  He doesn’t want anyone spending time and money on him.  He ignores the argument that other people might enjoy giving as much as he does.  He refuses to be a receiver.

Santa gave up on him decades ago.

So I thought about him.  And I thought, and I thought, and I thought.  What makes this man happy?  What, within my realm, could I possibly give him to make him grin ear-to-ear, and feel absolutely taken care of, the way he makes me feel so supported?  What do you give such a  man???

Which led me to this stroke of genius:  HELLO!!  He’s a MAN!  The answer was suddenly so obvious, if it had been a snake, it would have bitten me.  Twice.

My friends, I bought him a TOOL. But not just ANY tool!  I bought him a genyouuuuuiiiine, original, one-and-only FIRE FALCON.


I gave it to him today, in advance of Valentine’s Day, because I have NO ability to keep a secret, and I just CAN’T WAIT!!!!  Patience has never been my strong suit. Thank goodness My Captain finds it charming!

At least, I tell him he does.

What is the Fire Falcon?  I mentioned it in my last post: Stovetop Grease Fire, A Love Story.  This is the best, fanciest, hardest-core, extreme firefighting tool ever made, here, and around the world.

It’s not cheap, because it’s made of highest grade materials, like composite, steel and fiberglass.

It has advanced engineering, and was created by one of the oldest, saltiest firemen in the nation.

It is The Cadillac of fire-overhaul and battle weapons. This thing is THE BOMB, and every firefighter out there secretly covets one of these.  Believe me, it’s right up there with the lastest iPod, or iWatch, or gizmo gadget.   Anyone who uses this thing can’t HELP but channel a little bit of Batman when he’s working.


What, exactly,  does the Fire Falcon do?

When a firefighter is in a fire, they have to COMPLETELY extinguish that fire, and they have to get it right the first time.  And if the fire has extended into areas that are hidden, ie: behind walls, or over ceilings, or under floors, they have to find it.  To do this they have to expose these areas…they have to open the walls or the ceilings, or the floors, to find a sinister little phenomenon that they call “Fire Extension.”   Using the right tool to expose this can mean the difference between life and death….No Joke.

See the three-pronged grapple talons, or, as I like to call them, ‘whosie-whatsies’ on the one end?  (Do NOT judge my kitchen rug…I’m not a photographer, people! I’m a Mama!)

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It’s closed, then with a twist of the multi-tool handle, the spring-loaded talons open.  It can be used to break through a ceiling or wall, and the talons will fold down as it passes through the drywall, then open to a grapple-hook of sorts… (Do NOT judge my poor camera skills!)

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…which then can grab more dry wall, or whatever they are trying to clear to get to fire extension.  It saves valuable time and muscle resource, and come on, it’s cool as all get out.

See the loop on each end?

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Those are for attaching rescue carabiners, in case of a need to bailout of a window, or off a roof, or some such calamity.  In other words, a firefighter in need of extreme escape can ram the grapple hook through a wall after attaching his rope to it, and then fling himself down and away from the inferno with a much greater chance of survival.  That’s a good thing!

And see this other end?

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It’s a hammer. It’s a Prying End. It’s a combo-grip.  This end is great for prying apart trim work, breaking doors,  ramming walls, and other forcible entry needs, and it’s also a mighty comfortable handle.

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And look at the grip.  THAT is a grip, baby! (I’m talking about the handle, not the hand!)

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OF COURSE I did my homework, and asked the company to send the right size for My Captain.  The Fire Falcon comes in many sizes to fit each firefighter!  My Beloved is a long, tall drink of water, and he needed a big one!

I think he liked it.  I KNOW he wasn’t expecting his Valentine’s present to be made of Steel and Fiberglass.  I definitely know he is the only one on his shift that is getting one for Valentine’s Day!  He’s special!  So yeah, I think he liked it.

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Wanna know how I know?

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I win!!



Valentine’s Queen, 2016



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