April Love

I tell folks that Petey was my first love.

But that’s not true.

His name was Lancelot.

My parents bought him for me the April I turned 16.  He cost $500.

He was a 1971 Dodge Dart Swinger.  It was love at first sight.  He was white with a green faux leather top.  He had the kind of windows where when you rolled down both front and back, there was no center bar so the whole side of the car was open.

It was a kinda-convertible.

Is it just me, or do these girls look a little, “Red Rum”?

He didn’t have an AC, but there was a vent with a little door next to the brake.  I could slip off my left shoe, and while barreling down the road, use my toes, turn the latch, and open the little door smooth as silk.

In 1981, my best friend Kitty and I saw the movie, Excalibur. It was wonderful and we loved it; the cast includes Dame Helen Mirren, as Morgan Le Fey and Sir Patrick Stewart.  If you haven’t seen it, do so with all due haste, Gentle Reader.

King Arthur was handsome, kingly, and dignified.

Does he look like a 1971 Dodge Dart Swinger?

But Lancelot.

Chiseled cheekbones and jawline, dark curly hair, and eyes of sapphire blue.  Kitty and I fell in love.  We became obsessed in the way that only teenage girls can be.  And somehow, my dreamy ride was christened “Lancelot”.

My little brother stenciled the name on the back bumper. 

Two things; at the time, there was no “click it or ticket” law.  And, Lancelot had bench seats in the front.  I’m sure you know where I’m going here.

Because although the car usually contained only Kitty and me, there were times when every possible inch of seat was full of friends, with more kids sitting on laps.  In this Jenga-like manner, I could fit a total of eleven people in the car. 

One of the first “death-defying” adventures we had happened on the way home from school.  The car was about ¾ full, the music was on full blast, and we were flying down the road. 

On Halstead Blvd, there was a railroad crossing without lights or gate.  We saw the train coming, but being a neophyte driver, I didn’t yet have the experience to judge the distance and speed very well.  Nowadays I would just wait for the train.

But.

But I was a dumb kid, with a car full of dumb kids.  And as such, we were foolhardy and immortal.  So, I sped up.  We crossed, it seemed, with inches to spare.  Every one of us was screaming bloody murder.  After the crossing, I pulled over to catch my breath from our brush with the Grim Reaper.

In all truth, it probably wasn’t that close of a call, but again, a car full of dumb kids full of drama and imagination.

I loved Lancelot with every bit of me.  That car was my freedom and my sanctuary.

But, I was also careless with him.

Before my dad let me pull the car out of the driveway the first time, I was trained to change a tire, check the fluids, and add oil.

Unfortunately, I never bothered to perform this maintenance.  You’d think the first time I ran it without oil for so long the engine seized up and my dad had to replace it, I would learn.

You would be very wrong.

I can still see my dad, the day the second engine seized and expired.

He was standing next to Lancelot, whispering, “Never, ever let this happen again.” What really made an impression and kind of scared me though, was the way he was gently banging his head against the garage wall.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at d@bullcity.mom.

Face Plant

I feel seen.

From the time I learned to walk until I graduated from high school, I sported at least one, two, and sometimes even more skinned knees.

What say you, Gentle Reader?  That a person with the usual number of knees can have no more than two?

I’m afraid, my friend, that you would be wrong.

As I write this column, I have five separate and distinct areas of knee skinnage.  Three on one knee, and two on the other.  And even though my right knee only has two abrasions, one of them is 2 ½ by 1 ½ inches (literally, I just broke out my tape measure).

Three and a quarter square inches may not be a lot when measuring Grandfather Mountain or the dunes at Jockey’s Ridge, but when it’s a completely raw and weeping patch on the body’s largest joint, let me assure you, Gentle Reader, it is positively, painfully elephantine.

But shockingly, I am not the only wounded member of the Matthews Family Band this week.  In the last seven days, every two-legged member has been injured.

Even worse, the assailants were the four-legged family members; our pooch Crowley, and The Kid’s dog, Bella.

The first, and most grievously injured of us was Petey.

He had recently changed his dog-walking route.  He switched from an older, quieter neighborhood, to a newer, busier, more populated one (we live kind of in-between both areas).  I walk both, so am familiar with the new neighborhood and its inhabitants, the human and the canine.

I know which homes have dogs and how they react to our pooch walking past their territory.  But I didn’t even think to give him the 411, because he has much more upper body strength, and he’s way better at not falling down than me.

The other night he came in after a walk, sat down, and asked, “Is my head bleeding?”

Uh oh.  Crowley had taken off running.  Petey had put the brake on the leash, but the momentum of our 118-pound pup sent him you-know-what over teacups.

The back of his head wasn’t bleeding but had a goose egg.  His eyebrow was cut and bleeding.  And he’d hurt his thumb.  I took one look at it and knew it was broken.

You see, I’d broken my thumb last year almost exactly the same way—although no dog, just me and my adversarial relationship with gravity.  I’d tripped over my own feet.  When I fell, I landed on my thumb.

I made him promise that if his thumb got worse, we’d go to urgent care. 

It did.

X-rays showed the thumb was broken, and a cat scan showed evidence of brain, but no concussion.

Next up was yours truly. 

A couple of dogs got my silly boy all excited.  He didn’t take off but did these little hops he does when worked up, his legs got tangled with mine, and I went down over him and landed on both knees—hence, the skinnage.

Then tonight, The Kid came over for dinner with a couple of sore knees and a painful ankle.  Bella and Bella’s best dog friend Addie had gotten extra playful, and my child got clotheslined. 

See how close the Matthews Family Band is?  Next time we have a group bonding experience I’d like for it to be less hurty and more amusement park-ey.

If you’re still wondering why I said I feel seen, it because after more than fifty years of shingling multiple Band-Aids to cover a skinned knee, they’ve finally started making one adhesive bandage so big that it covers the whole thing. 

I think I’ll stock up.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at d@bullcity.mom.

A Jersey Shower

I was five months pregnant with The Kid, and Petey, my mom, and I were driving north.

Unbeknownst to me, every living soul in New Jersey that was related to me in any manner was coming together to throw me a baby shower.

And this wasn’t a sweet, sedate Southern baby shower where one ate tiny little pimento cheese sandwiches, little pieces of cake, nuts, and sweet tea. 

A baby shower in New Jersey, or at least the ones thrown by my Italian relatives, is a very different kind of soiree.

First of all, the attendees are not the mother-to-be, her mother, mother-in-law, her sorority sisters, and a few older ladies from church.

When I say it was every family member, I’m not kidding.  This was every living sibling of my mother, their spouses, male and female, their children, their spouses or SO’s, their children, and anybody else who had a drop of shared DNA.  There were new babies, babies on the way, and a few gleams in various eyes.

The tables were groaning with bowls and platters of potato and macaroni salad, sausage and meatballs to pile on sub rolls, stuffed mushrooms, at least three kinds of pasta, and zucchini and eggplant parmesan.

The cake was neither small nor dainty.  It was a large, showy, whipped cream drenched confection that came from the local Italian bakery.  Even if every single guest was pregnant and eating for themselves and a litter of babies, there would have been more than enough food. 

I was still in the dark, party-wise, and didn’t know what was coming, so mom and Petey took me to the Englishtown mall.  It was January, and I had been disappointed that there was no snow when we arrived.  But at the mall door, I saw what looked like one last lonely mound of snow.  So, I decided to jump into it.

After I leaped into it with both feet, I discovered it was a mound of ice cream—sticky ice cream that splashed my sweet little maternity jeans from the knees down. We went in anyway (we really entered the mall because preparations were going full tilt putting the party together).  And Petey had been tasked with keeping me away.

Downtown Emglishtown, I spent a lot of time here as a child, when my family visited New Jersey.

I’m really glad about this mall visit, because of two memorable encounters I had.

The first was at a Body Shop store.  When I walked in, the salesperson asked if I was expecting.  Normally, this is a very dangerous question to ask, as I have learned to my own shame and embarrassment.  Now I wouldn’t ask a woman if she is with child unless said child is actively exiting her body.

But, she was right and I was thrilled to tell any and everybody that I was growing a human.

She gave me a gift bag of products for the new baby and mother.  Think baby wash and skin cream. 

The second encounter was revelatory.

It was at lunch.  The food court had a real Jersey deli.  I wasn’t able to eat rare roast beef because, pregnent, so I had a Reuben.  It was delicious, but the stellar part of the meal, that thing I’ll never forget, was the pickle.

It was the greatest kosher dill I have ever tasted.  It was crispy and balanced and perfect.  I wish I’d bought a barrel of them to bring home.

But of course, after the baby shower, there was no room in the car for a barrel of pickles.  There was barely room for the three and a half of us.  And we also had a stowaway.

Next week, I’ll share part two; the road home.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at d@bullcity.mom.

Deferred, Now Fulfilled

It’s a photo of me. 

I was about three years old and standing on my bed.  How about the matching curtains and bedspread?  Seeing it now, it looks kinda creepy.

My bed is a trundle bed—so cool for sleepovers.  When I was in junior high my dad stripped off the white paint and refinished it.  It got passed down to The Kid.  We did get new mattresses for it, though.

Some other badass women I admire…

I keep that photo of little debbie on the corkboard on my desk for inspiration. She expected me to be a badass woman, and I try to live up to her expectations.

I was very lucky because when I was a child, my parents always told me that I could be whatever I wanted.

Look at that photo; she’s a pirate in a flannel nightgown.  Hands balled up, tucked, and ready.

That fierce little thing knew she could do anything.

She was the best bee and firefly catcher in the neighborhood, with a mayo jar and lid always close by.  There may have been a measure of sugar and spice, but she was not afraid to mix it up, little boys did not mess with this little girl.

This little girl taught herself to swim by watching a kid at the pool.  She never had any fear of water and often thought she might be part mermaid.

She had a freakish ability to catch.  Footballs thrown from any distance and any speed were plucked out of the air into her little hands. 

Every.single.one.              

This gift turned her into her big brother’s cash cow as he placed bets with kids who hadn’t seen this unexpected, preternatural ability firsthand.

The little girl had tons of plans for the future.  Why not, when her parents frequently told her there were no limits to her possibilities?

This little girl wanted to be a go-go dancer because she loved the boots and liked to dance.

This little girl wanted to be a performer and had plans to be in the Elvis Presley movies her mom loved so much and tour as a singer with the Partridge Family on their Mondrian-painted school bus.    

This little girl loved horses and puppies and wanted to become a veterinarian to make sick animals all better.

This little girl wanted to have a job driving huge construction vehicles because they looked like “giant Tonka trucks”.

As the years passed, the little girl grew up.  The fierceness remained, but the girl began to have small, quick feathers of experiences and lessons that came from all around.  Feathers that by themselves weren’t weighty but multiplied by tens of thousands they acquire the ability to choke the spirit.   

In high school, she learned that there were limits.  Girls couldn’t try out for football, no matter how amazing their reception skills were.  And some colleges were off-limits.

As an adult, the woman learned that many think women weren’t quite a fully formed human and needed to know their place.

Years passed; girls could play football, most colleges admitted women, and all occupations had trailblazing women working in them.

All except for one job.

And although over the years, women got tantalizingly close, there were just too many people who, unlike the woman’s parents, didn’t think that women belonged in that ultimate position, or adjacent to it.

The same year our little girl was born, another little girl was born.  And this little girl remained convinced that she really could do anything.

That little girl grew up to be the very first female Vice President of the United States.  And the other woman, this woman, is so proud and excited that we can tell girls that they can accomplish anything.

And really mean it.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at d@bullcity.mom.

Trippin’ With The Kid

Gentle Reader, my child is a human pratfall whose very existence is chock full of frequent, unintentional slapstick.  Every day is a new, embarrassing installment of “looking back, years from now, this’ll be hilarious”.

It’s like I gave birth to both Lucy and Ethel.

And it’s never more on display than when The Kid is on a road trip.

In college, our little scholar snagged an internship at the Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay, California, about thirty miles south of San Francisco.  The child decided to drive.

Across the country. 

Alone.

So, in the days it took to make the trip, I barely moved away from the phone (still only have a landline).

And, one day, THAT phone call came.

The car had blown a tire, in the middle of Texas, in a desert, miles from anything or anybody.  The force of it had also cracked a rear fender.  Luckily, The Kid had the presence of mind to call AAA for assistance before calling home.

My heart broke for The Kid.  And at the sound of my voice, my child, all alone with a damaged car, broke down.  I promised I would stay on the phone until help arrived.  We were only on the phone for a few minutes until the call ended abruptly.

It seems the spot where the poor thing was standing happened to be a fire ant hill.

Eventually, tire was replaced, duct tape was procured for fender, ants were washed off, cortisone applied, and road trip resumed.

Later in the trip, a bungee cord replaced the failing tape.

And until the day the car was sold, the fender was held together with an industrial-strength bungee cord.   

We decided it was time to pony up for a GPS when late one night on another trip, The Kid got so totally turned around in West Virginia that a mountain tunnel was traversed five times in one very confused hour.

After the last trip through, my little Marco Polo got directions—from the very serious Homeland Security agent that stopped the car.

Red flags had been raised when cameras picked up the multiple tunnel trips in the middle of the night.  Travel was resumed after The Kid promised to never use the tunnel again.

Then there was that time when the recent college graduate decided to travel to Ireland—in January.  Why you ask, Gentle Reader would any human travel to Ireland in the chill of January?

Because plane tickets to the Emerald Isle in January are about fourteen dollars apiece; because nobody, even Hibernophiles and native Irishmen want to be there then.

The Ireland portion of the trip went well.  But to get the slashed airfare, one had to fly out of Boston.  So, The Kid had to make the drive home, from Boston, In January. 

Petey was very ill in Duke hospital at the time, each day a new life or death struggle.  And fittingly, a nor’easter was approaching the northern US Atlantic coast bringing feet of snow in its wake. 

So yeah, I was in a very Zen state of mind.

The Kid’s plane touched down with the storm bearing down on Boston.  My child jumped in the car and headed South.

With a storm in the rearview.

Literally, on the drive home it was like an Indiana Jones movie where a lava flow is following close behind our hero.  Only instead of lava, it was a wall of snow chasing my child down I-95.  The Kid pulled in the driveway, along with a snowstorm that dumped a foot of snow on the Triangle.  

The storm had made the trip hanging off that darn bungee cord.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at d@bullcity.mom.       

Resolutionist History

Janus is the Roman god of beginnings, endings, doorways, and transitions.  He is also the god of duality, and as such he’s pictured as having two faces, so that he can look forward and backward at the same time.  January is named for him.

Rome is also where we get the custom of making New Year’s Resolutions.  This year around 50% of Americans will make their own vows of self-improvement.

Only 10% will keep them.

I’ve done a deep dive into history and discovered some of the resolutions that have been made throughout the ages.

Gaius Julius Caesar:

December 31, 45 BC-Life is great as dictator.  I really need to get around to meeting with Brutus, Casca, and his brother; they seem especially disgruntled.  But I’m so busy, let me check my schedule…Okay, morning of March 16th, I’ll have ‘em over for Portia’s famous hot cakes and we’ll get everything ironed out.

Catherine of Aragon:

December 31, 1525-I think maybe I’ll fire that new lady-in-waiting, Boleyn.  She’s snooty, she leaves a scandalous amount of her hair uncovered, and I don’t like the way Henry looks at her.

William Shakespeare:

December 31, 1584-I’ve got a good life here in Stratford.  I’ve land, a rich wife, and three kids.

So, I’m leaving it all.  I’m moving to London to act and write, even though my fellow Englishmen think theatre folk live in the cellar of the privy of polite society.

I might even write a couple of poems, too.

Marie Antoinette:

December 31, 1777-I’m going to have my hairdresser create a coiffure with a basket of kittens in it.  We’re going to make an alliance with those charming revolutionaries in the America’s so they may break free from the chains of the British.

And, I’m going gluten-free.  No bread, no cake, I’m not even going to talk about it anymore!

Abraham Lincoln:

December 31, 1864-I need a new look; I’m losing the beard and’ll rock a soul patch.  This whole Civil War thing has completely worn me out.  In 1865, I am not going out after work.  From now on, if Mary and I want to see a show, we’re just gonna stay in, Netflix and chill.

Lizzie Borden:

December 31, 1891-My stepmother is a butthead!  Nothing I do is ever right. I hate her…and my dad is just as bad!  He lets her be mean to me and says nothing.

This year, I have made up my mind.  I am moving out!  I’m getting my own place where I can live in peace and quiet.  I won’t bother anybody, and nobody’ll bother me.

Coco Chanel:

December 31, 1909-As much as I love music, I’ll never make a music hall star.  I can’t sing. 

I’m giving up show business and I’m going to a designer.  I’m going to open a boutique and transform fashion forever.

…I think I’ll start with some perfume, and maybe a little black dress.

 As you can see, even fabulous historical figures didn’t hit the bullseye with every resolution they resolved. 

I have resolved to burp the entire alphabet in one burp for double digits of new years.

And failed.

But, each year I give it another try.  And one of these years, I’ll do it.  And you’ll hear about it, too.  I’m calling a press conference.

My point is to do it and succeed, do it and fail, or think about it and then don’t even mess around with it.

My resolution, which I’ve been working on for about six months now, is to accept and nurture the gift that is my authentic self. 

So, Gentle Reader, in 2021, you do you.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at d@bullcity.mom.

Ring In The Holidays

I honestly thought it was a promise ring.  It wasn’t my fault though, the man gave me absolutely no direction.

I’d only known Petey three years, but I already knew he was the hedgiest of bet hedgers.  He avoids straight answers and declarative statements the way other people avoid bathing suit shopping and taking the last doughnut at work.

It was Christmastime, and we’d been dating almost a year.  We enjoyed each other’s company, understood each other, and were absolutely okay with that knowledge.

We hung out together almost always when we weren’t at work or school.  We ate a lot of Pizza Inn, Sonic, and walked around the tiny mall often.

There was a Belk’s on one end, a Roses on the other end, and twelve or fifteen smaller shops, including a Jewel Box.  As we glanced in the window and I saw a diamond ring, and said, “Buy me that!” It was a joke, like saying buy me a sparkly pink pony, or asking for a ride to work on the space shuttle.  We kept walking, and never mentioned it again.

These are actual 80s ski togs. You could be buried 100 feet in an avalanche and they’d still see you…

We’d begun thinking that for Christmas, we might go up to the mountains for some skiing. I’d bought him a ski parka for Christmas and had already given it to him.  As we were leaving my folks, he asked if I wanted mine. 

The three-year-old inside me was screaming and jumping up and down all over the place.  I calmly answered, “Sure if you want to give it to me now.”

And there, in my mom’s garage he put his hand in the pocket of his new jacket, pulled out a ring box and handed it to me—without opening it.  But his grin was huge and the sparkle in his eye could have lit the whole place.

I opened it.

It was that ring from the jewelry store at the mall. I was as flabbergasted as a possum presented with a spork.  Not only could I not speak, I also had no idea what the ring was for.  I’d had no inkling that marrying me had even entered his thoughts.

I couldn’t make my mind believe that it was an engagement ring, so without the power of speech to ask, and with nothing forthcoming from Petey, all I could come up with was a promise ring.

For the young and/or uninitiated, a promise ring represents the intention to become engaged sometime in the future of the future.  It was normally a tiny diamond chip surrounded by a collar of sparkly metal to fool the eye.

The ring didn’t fit, so we headed to the mall for it to be sized.

At the mall, we ran into a girl from school who worked at Belk Tyler’s.  I showed her the ring.  She was the one to finally ask the half carat solitaire, four-pronged question.

“What’s it for?”

Good question, Mary!  I looked at Petey.

His infuriating, enigmatic, response? “It’s for whatever she wants it to be for.”  Honestly, it was like I was going steady with the Oracle at Delphi!

I finally lost my patience.  We left Belk’s and walked over to the fountain in the center of the mall.  I sat down and said, “Look, I have a few ideas, but I want you to tell me what this ring is for right now!”

Men!

Still standing, Petey held the ring out to me, and said, “Debbie Ross, will you marry me?”

And we lived happily (mostly) ever after.

Thanks for your time, and from silent Petey, The Kid, and me, have the very happiest of holidays and an uninteresting but joyful 2021.

Contact me at d@bullcity.mom.

The Ballad of Susan

When you’re a military kid, every house is temporary, usually only lived in for three years or so, then you pack up and move on.

We’d arrive in a new town with almost nothing; no house, no friends, no school, and aside from what we carried with us, no possessions. 

It would eventually become a pseudo-home, but it wasn’t a hometown, with history, extended family, and friends that you’ve known since diapers.

Living this nomadic life meant that our parents’ hometowns were designated “home”.

Granny and Pap-Pap’s house is gone, but here is where it stood in Pittsburgh.

Dad’s from Pittsburgh and on visits, we’d stay with his parents, Granny and Pap-Pap.  They lived in a house built right into a steep hill, so the kitchen and basement were on the same level, up the narrow, steep stairs, were the bedrooms and Pap Pap’s workroom, where there was a door which opened up right on to the backyard.

It was as if the house had sprung from of the slightly creepy, Byzantine imagination of Roald Dahl.    

My mom’s parents died years before she met my dad.

So, our home base in Jersey was at Mom’s oldest sister, my Aunt Polly and her husband Uncle Bill’s, our surrogate grandparents.  They had a huge yard, a damp, cool, slightly mysterious cellar that was under the house, and a kitchen cupboard dedicated to cookies, candy, and chips. 

When we lived on the east coast, we would often spend Christmas at both homes; a few days in one, six hours on a turnpike, then a few days in the other.

This particular year we spent the first portion of our trip in Jersey, so we were there when Santa came and opened our presents there.

One of my presents was a baby doll, but not just any old baby doll.  She was a Vogue doll, a well-made, beautiful baby with brown hair and bangs like mine, a soft body, and the sweetest expression.  Vogue dolls were the Rolls Royce of toy dolls; in today’s dollars, it cost about $100.  It was my main gift from the jolly fat man.

A couple of days later our family was in Pittsburgh. Once there, I was happily swilling my grandmother’s homemade grape juice, eating her potato bread, and following my older cousins Cookie and Gerry around like a Christmas puppy.

The first evening after dinner, my two-year-old brother Bud and I went upstairs to change into our pajamas.  I came downstairs, and my little brother hurried after, not wanting to be upstairs by himself. 

He took the first couple of steps, then lost his footing and tumbled down the rest of those treacherous stairs.  He landed in a heap at the bottom.  My mom, a world-renown worrywart and nervous mother was a writhing ball of frantic.

Luckily, the only injury was a busted lip.  They cleaned him up and settled in for a night of keeping Bud awake to watch for signs of concussion.

Then something rather curious happened.   

My bro had been wailing away, non-stop, ever since he fell.  When I came over to him, holding my fancy new doll, he suddenly stopped.  He was fascinated by her, and the only thing that kept him from hysterics was holding her.  I was persuaded to temporarily turn her over to calm him down.

I never got her back.

He named her Susan, shaved her head, and gave her a face tattoo with a magic marker.  She was his constant companion for years. 

To be honest, I don’t think Susan would have gotten from me anywhere near the love and devotion he showered upon her.

So, that injury-induced change of custody was probably for the best.

It is shocking how much this little guy looks like a toddler-aged Bud.

Thanks for your time.

Contact debbie at d@bullcity.mom.

Thoughts While Watching TV On A Sunday Afternoon

Before I begin, there’s something you have to know, Gentle Reader, about my ever-loving spouse.

Petey watches television, especially movies, like no one I’ve ever met before.  Except for sporting events, he doesn’t schedule any viewing.  For my spouse, the only “Must See TV” is Duke versus anybody and all football. Lately though, because of pandemic-related issues, the pickings have been tragically slim. But he loves to watch it and has an uncanny ability to find televised contests.

This is some type of competitive…something.

Recently, I have walked in on him watching sheepdog trials from the Outer Hebrides, Mongolian wrestling, and flaming puck unicycle hockey from Saskatoon.  If there are scores recorded and folks yelling at the participants, he’s in.

I get the sports, though.  I have yelled at the screen during more than one episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, and you don’t want to be in the same zip code with me when I’m watching Britain’s Best Baker (OMG, Paul Hollywood’s eyes!).

But it’s Petey’s viewing habits of non-sporting television that still puzzle me after almost forty years of marriage.

The man is constitutionally unable to watch a movie on TV all the way through.  We’ll be sitting on the couch together, watching a movie, it’ll go to a commercial, and ZAP! He changes the channel.  The new show will be on for a bit, long enough for me to get interested.  I’ll wonder, “What’s the deal with the shoes?” or “Who is the guy with the rusty soup ladle?”

And ZAP!

It normally takes 17-39 showings of a movie before I’ve seen the whole thing, and even then, it’s like watching a film made by a director who just heard about the concept of flashbacks and can’t stop using them.  It’s jigsaw-vision.

When I joined Petey on the sofa today he was watching an X-Men movie—but of course, not for long.  So, I thought I’d share with you the things running through my head during this entertainment tsunami.

This is the guy from the movie–Juggernaught. And what the heck with the name?

That mutant bad guy is wearing some sort of leather harness and what looks like a foam helmet.  How do these guys decide to wear this kind of thing?  And every single day?  Don’t they ever wake up and think, “It’s a snuggly sweater and boots day.”?  Or “I feel like a nice, bright Hawaiian shirt.”?

 And where do they procure these ridiculous getups? Do they make them themselves?  I can’t quite picture this dude squinting, trying to thread a needle… Do they have a guy?  Evil Mutant Uniforms Я Us?

Oh.

Alright…Wait, what?  Are they doing an interpretive dance in church? 

Oh.

OMG, I know he loves sports, but please don’t tell me this man is going to seriously watch a high school basketball game from 1978?  Is he really that desperate?  Good grief those shorts are short.  They look like they’re playing in bikini bottoms.

Oh.

 Oh look!  Ooh…It’s Robin Williams, I wonder what this is?   OMG!!!  Noooo!  It’s Hook!!!  Change it, for the love of all that’s holy, change it…

 Oh.

Sheesh.

It’s…a musical.  Rock of Ages?  So, musicals.  What is the actual deal? How is it supposed to work?  Somebody just bursts into song, and suddenly there are all these random passersby in coordinating outfits, dancing a choreographed number?  Is it all in the singer’s head?  Does that mean every musical is a look at someone’s descent into madness?  Oh, I forgot Tom Cruise is in this.  What misguided casting director ever thought this was a good call?

“Thanks, Petey, but are you sure you don’t want the remote?  Ok, I guess I could find something to watch…”

Hello boys.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at d@bullcity.mom

The Nicest People In The (My) World

Well, so far, 2020 has been an e-ticket ride in the worst possible way, hasn’t it, Gentle Reader?

To keep from curling up and crying for the rest of the year, I decided to take inventory of the people in my life whose goodwill is inspiring, and a good reminder that not everybody in this world has been broken by this year.  The folks who never fail to share a cup of the milk of human kindness when I’m all out and need to borrow some.

     Mizz Katz.

Before she retired, Mizz Katz used to run the hot bar at my local Carlie C’s.  She always had a minute to chat, and always answered my cooking questions.

She knew I loved her slow-cooked Italian green beans.  She also knew that I usually didn’t make it in on time the days she served them.  So, when she made them, she’d set aside some for me and stash them in the cooler.  Those delicious beans always tasted even better because of her thoughtfulness.

     Angela.

The entire Matthews Family Band goes to the same doctor.  At the office, they have a liaison person to facilitate communication between patient and office.

This remarkable person is Angela. 

If you’ve ever been married or even spent any time around a man, you know that guys are not the best when it comes to medical matters.  And when Petey forgets to let me know his medicine needs a refill, and now he’s out, I call Angela.  When our doctor is out of town, and we have a question, I call Angela.

And, far from ducking my calls, or having no patience, the woman’s a ray of sunshine.  She is always sweet, friendly, and actually seems happy to hear from me. 

If you’re having any kind of trouble in your own life, call Angela.  She’ll happily fix you right up.

Jose and Becky.

I’ve known this couple for five or six years and just adore them.  They are masters of Puerto Rican cooking, and like my Italian mother, food is love.  They share lessons, recipes, and food, food, food. 

Also, like my parents, they are ridiculously generous.  One day, I was in their kitchen and admired a funny fork/tool.  About a week later they called and asked if I could come over to see Jose at work—they had bought one for me!  I mentioned that we, but especially The Kid adore pernil; a slow-cooked pork butt full of garlic and citrus.  So, for my child’s birthday, they made one.  And made sure we got it when it was still hot from the oven.

In the before times, we would meet for smoothies and conversation.  To occasionally pay, I had to physically wrestle Jose to the cashier. 

This adorable couple has retired and spends time taking classes together.  They’ve taken a painting class and love showing me the art they’ve come up with. 

One day they showed me their latest subject—a nature scene with a bear.

I absolutely adore bears.  I think they are the cutest squidgy faces ever.  So what did that wonderful couple do? 

They framed and gifted me with Becky’s painting. 

Thinking about the nicest people I know makes me so happy. 

So, two things.

I know way more than four kind folks.  Every once in a while, I will tell you about a few more that are just the best.  And second, I want you, Gentle Reader, to think about the people in your own world that continue to be a ray of sunshine in what has been a pretty gloomy year.

Then tell them.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at d@bullcity.mom.