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Author: Arionis

642 Things To Write About – 2/642

642 Things To Write About – 2/642

For the backstory on this series of posts see here.

642 Things To Write About

Remember something momentous that happened to you. Then write about what happened right before the incident.

My culinary skills back then were definitely not up to Chef Ramsay’s standards.  They still aren’t, but significantly better.  I could probably give the local chef at the Golden Corral a run for his money.  Anyway, that night my wife had to work late so I decided to fix dinner.  It was going to be one of my go to meals from my single days, Pizza Quicks.  Basically they were little pizzas on bread instead of pizza dough.  To do them right you really needed to use Texas Toast, but in California that was hard to come by, so I used hamburger buns instead.

My 7 year old step daughter loved Pizza Quicks and I enlisted her help in preparation.  I gave her the job of laying out the hamburger buns on a baking pan covered in tin foil.  While she was working on that I grated some mozzarella cheese.  Then I got the other toppings together; sliced pepperoni, mushrooms, and black olives.  I spooned out the sauce from the Pizza Quick jar onto each bun and spread it evenly, making sure not to make it too light or too thick.  I sprinkled the cheese on top of the sauce and then let my step daughter place the toppings.  Pepperoni first, followed by mushrooms, then black olives, and finally a little more cheese on the top.  We set the oven to bake and slid the pan inside.  We both crouched down and watched through the little window as the buns began to brown and the cheese started to melt.  For the last minute we switched the oven to broil to make sure the toppings and extra cheese would get thoroughly cooked.  Then we took them out and dished out a few onto three separate plates, which we placed on the table that my step daughtered had dutifully set.

Not the most gourmet meal you’d ever see, but we had a good time preparing it, and I was looking forward to sitting around the table as a family while we ate and discussed our day.  I looked at my watch and noticed that my wife was running a little later than she had planned.  I let my step daughter go play in her room and told her I would call her when we were ready.  A little while later I heard the front door open as my wife came in.  She looked at the table set for our evening meal.

“Thanks for making dinner,” she said.  “I’m having an affair….”

More Messing Around With My Go Pro

More Messing Around With My Go Pro

This isn’t a real post.  I went on an overnight hike last month that I briefly mentioned in another post and I brought my Go Pro along.  I made a short edit of some of the video I shot on the hike and thought I would show it to you.  Enjoy!  Or don’t.  Not trying to tell you what to do.

Who Gets Arrested For WUI? That Would Be Me.

Who Gets Arrested For WUI? That Would Be Me.

Recently my friend Christopher Waldrop wrote a post on his blog where he made a funny quip about being pulled over for driving under the influenza.  I told him in the comment section that if he told me that story, I would reciprocate with a story about the time I got arrested for walking under the influence.  Turns out he was just kidding.  I, on the other hand, was not.  So I am going to make him come to my blog to read the story.  I’m just needy like that.

I had kind of a tradition of hosting a party on the NFL Championship weekend.  Everyone had competing Super Bowl parties, so I thought I was being clever holding my party the last round of games before the big one.  This year I had invited all the usual friends but I was getting some tepid responses on the RSVP’s.  The word I was hearing was that everyone was tired of crowding around my 25″ TV to watch the games.  One of my friends had just gotten one of these brand new fangled 50″ projection TV’s.  Yes, this was back in the dark ages before flat screen LCD and Plasma.  My friend was considering hosting a party of his own and everyone was holding out to see if they could claim a few of those 50″ viewing angles.

Of course I was a bit miffed.  My pleas to tradition pretty much fell on deaf ears.  Even a promise of whipping up my famous Taco Dip was not enough to get any hard commitments to my soiree.  I briefly thought about getting a new TV of my own, but I was in one of my single phases and I didn’t have projection TV kind of money lying around.

That weekend rolled around and I went ahead with my plans.  Surely they would come to their senses right?  Nope.  As game time drew close I found myself the only one in attendance.  One of my friends at least had the decency to call me and tell me he was going over to Mr. Fantastic Fucking TV guy’s house.  He tried to convince me to go too but I knew I had planned on drinking, like A LOT, and I would not be in any shape to drive home.  He offered to come pick me up and bring me home afterward but my feelings were hurt so I told him to get bent and hung up the phone.  Five minutes later I called him back and told him to come pick me up.

Holding my taco dip, now in a Tupperware container (presentation completely shot), I rode over with my friend to behold the wonders of 50 inches of viewing pleasure.  Goddamn,  it was awesome.  Couldn’t deny it.  Copious amounts of beer were ingested during the two games featured.  When that was done there was a general consensus that we should all go over to a nearby bar that we frequented often.  However, people kept milling around and nobody actually made the move to head that way.  So my inebriated ass decided to walk to the bar and I told the other slowpokes to meet me there.

Nope, I didn’t get arrested while walking to the bar.  Hold your horses, we’ll get there.  I ambled into the bar, which was called Pirates, and ordered a galleon of beer, which is pirate speak for BIG ASS beer.  After drinking two of those mother fuckers, none of my friends, including the one that promised to give me a ride home, had shown up.  Was this the worse offense ever committed against mankind?  No.  But my brain was now swimming in fermented fluid and I took great umbrage.  So I decided I was going home.  With no vehicle in which to do that, you would think I would remember that there was a whole industry built around providing that service for a fee.  Namely, a taxi.  However, this drunk fuck had a much better idea.  Yea, I would walk home.  8.5 miles.  Nothing could go wrong with this plan.

Off I went!  Probably got at least a mile or two when I came upon a piece of the sidewalk that had been pushed up by a tree root.  It couldn’t have been more than a couple inches above normal height but I still managed to trip over it and down I went.  Rolled off the sidewalk into a thicket of bushes that had these sticky things that imbedded themselves in my right arm.  I managed to right myself and sit down on the curb.  My head was bent down attending to the task of removing these sticky things when I noticed a change in the ambient light of the surrounding area.  It was now filled with red and blue flashing colors.  I looked up to see a police car pulling over to where I sat.  How nice, I thought, a police officer checking up on me to see if I am OK.

“Sir,” the male police officer said, “Are you OK?”

“I’m ohhh kay, offissser,” I eloquently informed him.  “Just fell and got some sticker things in me.”

“Let me help you.”  The police officer helped me to my feet.  What a nice guy.

“Thank you.”

“Sir, have you been drinking tonight?”



“Yes sir! That’s why I’m walking and not driving.”  I was thinking a medal was in order for my responsibility.  Maybe even a key to the city?

“OK, step over here near the car.”

Why would he want me to step over near the car?  Maybe he wanted to help brush off all the detritus I had collected on my clothes when I took my unfortunate tumble.  What service!  I stepped closer to the car and he, in fact, moved behind me for what I thought would be a brush down of my back.  Instead, I felt one of my wrists, shortly followed by the other, enclosed in the cold metal of handcuffs.  Whaaaa?

“Sir, you are under arrest.  You have the right to remain silent…”

I immediately gave up that right by exclaiming, “WHAT?  I was walking so I wouldn’t drive drunk!”

“We appreciate that sir, now watch your head,” was what he told me as he was guiding me into the back of the police car.

WTF?  Where I came from in one red light town, Texas, a policeman would give you a ride home in this situation.  Evidently that was not the case in Ventura County, California.  This jizz waffle was taking me to jail!

Yup, to jail on a charge of intoxicated in public.  For real?  I had seen all out bar brawls that didn’t result in charges and I was going to jail for walking drunk!  A few hours later I found myself dressed in Ventura County Jail orange pajamas and being escorted into a two man cell on the top tier of a cell block.  As fate would have it, my first cell mate was already in residence and at the moment, taking a dump on the gray steel toilet that sat in one corner of the cell.  Was quite the reception.  Turns out he was in for rape.  Yea, they didn’t house people in this jail according to severity of their alleged crimes.  I met all types in the cell block.  Those incarcerated for crimes such as drug possession with intent to sell, breaking and entering, assault, and yes, murder.  During the times we were let out of our cell to mingle in the common area for meals or to watch TV, the new guys always got asked what they were in for?  When I was asked that question I instinctively figured that walking drunk was not really going to win me any respect in here.

“I stabbed a mother fucker!” was my response.  I tried to make a real mean face when I said it.  I’m not sure it was really that convincing but for some reason no one ever challenged me on it.  That might have been because I managed to incur a bit of favor from the other inmates.  There were two pay phones in the common area where you could make collect phone calls.  One of these phones was missing the receiver (for Millennials that was the part of the phone we used to talk and listen).  That left us with only one phone.  Not too long after I got there I was waiting in line to use the phone when the guy currently on it got, what I can only assume, was bad news.  He proceeded to beat the shit out of the phone and in the process damaged the cord to the receiver on the last working phone.  The guards showed up and dragged him off somewhere, the hole?  I don’t know but I can tell you they were none to concerned about getting the telephone man in there to fix it.  So now we were without any telephones.  Wouldn’t you know it though, I just happen to be an electronics tech.  I managed to splice the damaged wires in the cord and we were back in business.  That won me some brownie points with my fellow miscreants.  One of them even gave me his chocolate pudding dessert because he was so happy he had the chance to call up his wife and tell her he was going to fuck her world up when he got out.  That was some tainted pudding, but I took it all the same.

Have you noticed I am talking like I was in the hoosegow for a while?  Good observation.  I was in there for three fucking days!  That happened to be a federal holiday weekend for Martin Luther King Jr. day and there was no court on Monday.  When Tuesday rolled around they had such a backlog of cases that they did not get to me until Wednesday afternoon.  Before we get to that I have a few other jailhouse tales.

Remember when I said this happened during one of my single phases?  That’s not entirely true.  I was involved in a long distance relationship with my now current wife, Michele, who at the time lived in Vancouver, Canada.  We talked every single day, either on the phone or chatting online.  The last she had heard from me was a message saying I was going to a football party.  I had tried to call her from the jail but you could only make collect calls and, for some reason I still don’t remember, she had a block on her phone for collect calls.  You would think I would just call one of my friends and have them call her.  That would have worked if I didn’t have a terrible memory for numbers.  Hers, mine, and my work number were the only ones I had committed to memory.  I actually had a Palm Pilot (remember those?) with all my other numbers in it.  Think they let me keep that?  Yea, not so much.

On Tuesday, I managed to make a collect call to my work number (Holiday on Monday, no one there) and my friend picked up my phone.  Ironically, it was the same friend who had hijacked my party with his fucking fifty fucking inch TV.  Now, however, was not the time to point that out to him.  I told him what had happened, got him to put me on vacation days, and call Michele.  When I called him back later he told me Michele had already figured it out.  After calling all the hospitals and getting nothing, she called the jail and was informed I was there.  However, she was not informed why I was there.  My friend told me she met his explanation with some skepticism.  Hell, I didn’t blame her.  I would have too.

I experienced one more exploit before gaining my freedom.  The cell block I was in was set up with two tiers of about 20 cells and a common room with tables and a TV.  Due to overcrowding they had set up bunk beds in the common area to accommodate 20 additional prisoners.  We were only allowed out in the common area a few hours at a time and when we had to go back to our cells, the ones in the bunk beds had to go lay down and not move.  The ones in the cells at least could move around a bit but not the guys out in the common area.  Ventura County has a significant population of Hispanics, and it seemed like mostly those were the ones getting stuck in the common area bunk beds.  This was not lost on them and the grumbling about it grew louder and louder as the time went on.

It finally came to a boiling point when we were out in the common area watching Cops on the TV (most of them cheered on the criminals).  The guards sent us back to our cells and shut the TV off right in the middle of a crackhead attempting to jump a fence and getting his underwear caught on the barbed wire.  The guys in the bunk beds were pissed and started overturning their beds and throwing shit everywhere.  Then they started pounding on any guy they knew that had their own cell.  I was one of those guys and my phone repairing favor was not going to protect me from this full out riot.  Sirens started going off and general chaos ensued.  I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge my way back to my cell without getting bodily injured.  Shortly after, a multitude of guards in riot gear showed up and commenced to quell the uprising.  The jail stayed on lockdown from that point until I got out.

On Wednesday I went in front of a judge on close circuit TV, and on the advise of my court appointed attorney, whom I had met five minutes before that, pleaded guilty to one count of public intoxication.  I was sentenced to time served and a $300 dollar fine.  That was some expensive beer I had drank.  I was also sentenced to much skepticism by Michele who did not believe for one second that I had been arrested for walking drunk.  She maintained that I must have been doing something worse.  Like sexual congress in public.  If only…

When I got processed out, there was another guy being released at the same time.  As we walked out the door he asked me if I knew where the nearest bar was.  I gave him an incredulous look and turned to, you guessed it, walk home.  Luckily, the jail was only half a mile from my house and I managed to navigate my way past sidewalk upheavals caused by evil tree roots.

Ranger Rick? Try Ranger Dick!

Ranger Rick? Try Ranger Dick!

I spent the last weekend on an Appalachian Trail backpacking trip with my hiking partner, Sawyer, The Trail Wonder Dog.  While we were lying in our two man one man/one dog tent in the dead of the night, all alone in the wilderness, I remembered a story about the time I went camping a few years ago with my sons and thought it would be a good blog topic.  Then I got slightly distracted when I heard about 42 coyotes (not even sure they have coyotes in the mountains of Virginia*) start howling all around the tent.  I looked to Sawyer for protection.  He looked back at me as if to say Me? What the fuck are you going to do about this situation?  Well the first thing I did was to turn on my phone and jot down a note so I wouldn’t forget about this blog post.  Then I closed my eyes and pretended the walls of the tent were made of  vibranium.  Sawyer was less than impressed with this solution, but apparently it worked, as we were not devoured, or even slightly scratched, and I was able to write this post.  You’re welcome.

The Trail Wonder DogTrail Dog
Un-Vibranium-Like TentHiking Tent

My sons and I went for a week long camping trip at a well established campground called Loft Mountain in the Shenandoah National Park.  Even though it was a normal campground that you drive to, they had some sites that were called “hike in” spots as they were more secluded and you had to walk a bit from the parking area to get to them.  We chose one of these spots because it was in close proximity to the Appalachian Trail and we planned on doing quite a bit of hiking during the trip.  Here in this beautiful mountainside paradise we had the most non-paradisey encounter with the head ranger (please feel free to insert dick in front of that title).

I’ll take a second here to say that most rangers that I’ve encountered in my life are truly selfless servants that try to strike a balance between preserving nature and enjoying it, for not much pay.  We usually call these individuals Ranger Rick from the magazine that the National Wildlife Federation created for kids.  Also, it’s alliterative, and feels nice rolling off the tongue.  However, by the time our trip was done, we were referring to this guy as Ranger Dick, for reasons which I’m sure you will agree.  Unless, of course, you are him, or his immediate family.  Although if I was his kid I would probably think he was a dick too.  OK, I am getting off track.  Let’s continue…

When we checked in we were given a list of rules by Ranger Rick Jr.  This guy couldn’t have been any older than my two sons who were in their 20’s.  He was a nice guy and very pleasantly pointed out two major rules on the list.

  • Quiet time began at 10 PM.
  • This was bear country and all food must be locked up in the provided steel bear box at each campsite when you were not present or when you are in your tent.

I was no stranger to the first rule.  It was pretty standard among many of the campgrounds I had visited.  The second rule was new to me.  I had never camped in bear country before.  It sounded pretty straight forward and quite sensible.  Put all my food in a steel box so bears don’t come sniffing around for pic-a-nic baskets.

We got our site all set up and put Sawyer (did I mention the Trail Wonder Dog was on this trip as well?) on a leash as that was also one of the rules.  Because we all lived in different places, I hadn’t visited with both of my sons at the same time for several years.  So we were having a good time, cooking out, playing cards, and yes, drinking some alcoholic beverages.  Nothing out of control though.  I had brought my iPod and a Bluetooth speaker and we were playing some music, but not loud at all.

Promptly at 10 PM we turned the music off.  We put the Rubbermaid plastic bin with all our food in the bear box.  We put the cooler with the cold food in the bear box.  Then we went into the tent where we quietly played one more game of cards then went to sleep by 11 PM.  So to my way of thinking, we’d complied with both the major rules.  Slightly after midnight I was dreaming about the fun we were going to have hiking the next day when I was rudely shaken awake by my eldest son.  When I got my eyes open I saw a light being shined directly into the tent.

“Who is out there?” I asked.

“It’s the campground hosts,” I heard an elderly voice say, “We need you to come out of the tent.”

“OK.  Give me a second.”

“Sir, we need you to come out now!”

Now it was a warm summer night and I was sleeping in nothing but my underwear.  “I have to get dressed.  Be out in a sec.”

“Now sir!”

“You want to see me in nothing but my skivvies?  I can assure you, you do not.”  This seem to hold them at bay for the amount of time it took me to drag on some shorts and a T-shirt.  I exited the tent to see nothing but a bright light being shoved in my face.  “Could you lower the light please?”  The light was slightly lowered to my upper chest area and I was then able to make out a couple who must have been in their 70’s.  She was the one holding the interrogation light and her husband was standing there by her side.  I had seen camp host before and they are usually older couples who get to camp for free as long as they look after the place when the rangers are not on duty.

“We’ve had some noise complaints about your party,” the lady informed me.

“Noise complaints?  We turned the music off at 10 and went in the tent.  When did you get this complaint?”

“About half an hour ago.”

“Impossible.  We’ve been asleep for over an hour.”

“Nevertheless sir, we’ve gotten complaints.”

At this point I decided to just go along to get along.  “OK, we’ll be sure to keep it down then.”  I thought this would suffice to let me get back to sleep, but apparently the hostess with the mostest was not done yet.

“Sir, we also noticed that you did not use your bear box before you went in your tent.”

“Huh? We put all the food in the bear box.”

“What about this,” she said as she spotlighted a 12 pack of unopened beer.

“The beer?  It’s unopened.”

“Doesn’t matter sir.  It needs to go in the bear box.”  Apparently there were some alcoholic bears in the area with a superursine ability to smell beer in sealed aluminum cans.

I shrugged and moved the 12 pack to the bear box.  But she still wasn’t done yet.  Without as much as a statement to her intentions, she began to rifle through the rest of our plastic bins that we had stored non-food items in.  She pulled out bug spray, candles, matches, soap, pots, pans, and several other items that could not even be considered close to food items.  When I inquired as to why these things needed to be in the bear box she explained that anything with a scent, or anything that had come into contact with food no matter how long ago and how many times it had been washed had to go into the box.  Also, several times during the shake down she had pointed her light at a bag of charcoal and told me that my dog food needed to be in the box.  Each time I informed her that it was charcoal and that the dog food was already in the box.  She then admitted that charcoal didn’t need to go in but that my little smoky grill did need to go in because it had a history of food being cooked on it.  After the first time, I put the grill in the box and then every time after had to keep reminding her that I had already put the grill in the box.  After about a half hour of them ripping our campsite apart they were finally done.

“Sir, we will have to report this incident to the head ranger in the morning.  He’ll want to come down and talk to you,” she told me with what looked like glee in her eye.

Exhausted, I just said, “OK.”

Then as they were leaving she shown her light on the charcoal again and told me I needed to put my dog food in the box.  OMG!  I face palmed myself and said rather tersely, “IT. IS. CHARCOAL!”  She kind of flinched a bit and then they finally left.

I looked around my campsite and realized now that 80% of everything we had brought was now in the bear box.  Now this required some creative packing because this bear box was not a dimensionally transcendental TARDIS.  This is when I realized that the word “food” on the list of rules I got from Ranger Rick Jr. was a very relative term and should have been revised to the following:

  • This is bear country.  Everything that is not staked down or used as a place to rest your asses on should be placed in the steel bear box when you are not present or when you are in your tent.  Good luck finding room for all that!
Bear Box: NON-TARDIS style (source: Box

The next morning I got up before my sons and made some breakfast.  I noticed that there was a couple in one of the sites next to us with a very small tent and minimal equipment.  I figured they were AT thru or section hikers.  People that hiked the trail from beginning to end all in one trip or did long trips a section at a time.  I walked over and introduced myself and confirmed that they were in fact, section hikers on a two week trip hiking the AT through the park.  Hot meals are a rarity for these hikers so I invited them over to eat some scrambled eggs and sausage I had just cooked up.  They graciously accepted and while we were eating I told them about last night’s drama.  They told me they had hardly heard a sound from our site until the camp hosts had shown up.  Of course, maybe they were the ones that complained but were not going to say anything about it after I fed them breakfast.  I didn’t get that feeling though.  They seemed genuine, so I took them at their word.  After breakfast they quickly broke camp and headed on up the trail.

I roused my sons up and fixed a second breakfast.  My younger son, Dusty, and I then drove up to the camp store to resupply on ice while my older son, Decker stayed back in camp so we wouldn’t have to put everything in the bear box yet.  When we got back there was a female ranger talking to Decker.  As I came up she introduced herself and told us she had been notified of a noise complaint and wanted to talk to me.  She was very nice and was only doing her job so I made sure to remain calm myself.  I explained to her that I didn’t see how we could have been the cause of a noise complaint when we were asleep when the complaint was made, but that in any case we would keep it down.  That seem to satisfy her and she left.  The camp hosts had said HE when referring to the head ranger so she was obviously not the head ranger.  I thought that maybe after the report was made by the camp hosts, the head ranger didn’t feel it was a big enough problem to see to it himself and had delegated that duty to the aforementioned ranger.  WRONG.

A little while later we were gearing up to go on our first hike and were getting everything ready to put in the bear box when I saw a ranger and another guy coming down the trail to the site.  Before either one of us had a chance to speak, Sawyer, who was on a leash that was tied around one leg of the bear box, looked up and uttered a single little “Woof”.  I think he had some animal instinct that could already tell this guy was trouble.  But that is all he did.  He didn’t even get up.  The ranger immediately unholstered a can of mace and pointed it at Sawyer as he yelled to the top of his lungs, “RESTRAIN YOUR ANIMAL!  RESTRAIN YOUR ANIMAL!  RESTRAIN YOUR ANIMAL!”

I just looked at him dumbfounded and walked over to where the big teddy bear of a Golden Retriever was lying there looking at this raving lunatic.  I grabbed the leash and displayed it to him.  “He is tied up,” I informed him.

 He reholstered the can of mace and said, “Dogs must be on no longer than a 6 foot leash!”

That was true.  I had read it on the list of rules that Ranger Rick Jr. gave to me.  The leash that I had was 20 feet long because I like to give him freedom to roam without being unleashed when we went to certain places like the beach or a park.  However, since there was the length restriction here, I had tied the leash off to the leg of the bear box so that he only had 6 feet in which to roam.  I explained that to the ranger.

“Doesn’t matter.  You can only have a six foot leash period,” he persisted.

“Yeah,” said the guy next to him.  I would come to find out he was what they called a camp volunteer that came out and helped out the rangers.  I immediately thought of him as a toady because after nearly every thing the ranger said the guy would say, “Yeah.”  I’m not going to write anymore of the toady’s “yeahs” because even thinking about them is annoying me.  Just imagine them after every sentence the ranger makes.

“OK,” I said, “I have a four foot walking leash I can put him on.”

“Also you are not allowed to tie him to the bear box.”  I looked for that one on the rules list later on and it was not there.  Big shocker there.  But I complied with that one too and tied him up to the table.

He moved on to the next order of business.  “We had no less than six noise complaints about your party last night.”  Six noise complaints?  I looked around.  As I mentioned before, we were camped in “hike in” spots that were down hill from a parking lot and about a minute walk down a trail.  Only the two sites on either side of us had been occupied that night and there is no way that anyone heard us at the regular camping spots over the hill, even if we were screaming our heads off.

At this point I was getting exhausted by the whole affair.  I’m the kind of person that does not seek out confrontation and tries to get along with people the best I can, sometimes even to a fault.  So I decided not to even try to defend ourselves anymore and just agree to everything he said and assure him we would comply with any and all rules.  Oh, but that wasn’t good enough for him.

“You should know that I have the authority to kick you out of this park and you will not get a refund for the days you have already paid for.”

What was I supposed to say to that?  “OK, hope it doesn’t come to that,” was my reply.

“We’ll see.  Now I was also informed that you did not put your food in the bear box last night.”

“We put what we thought was our food in the bear box.  We were informed by your camp hosts that there were more things that needed to go in.  This is our first time in bear country so we were unaware of additional items that are considered food for bears.” MAYBE SAY SOMETHING ABOUT ANYTHING WITH A SCENT ON YOUR RULE LIST!**  That’s what I wanted to shout but I restrained myself because I didn’t want to get us kicked out.  At this point, he and his toady proceeded to go through all our stuff again pointing out the same exact things that the camp host had done the night before.  He even found some additional items to add.  Ibuprofen and band aids?  Guess Yogi Bear would steal them for his Boo Boo.  See what I did there?

He still wasn’t done.  When he saw the 12 pack of beer he looked at my sons and said, “Are you 21 or over?”  My sons were 22 and 25 and they informed him of this.  “You sure about that?  I have the authority to write you a citation if I catch you underage drinking.”

“Their ID’s are in the truck up in the parking lot.  They can go get them,” I told him.

Ranger DickHe looked at me for a second and then said, “No, that won’t be necessary.”  Then why did he just give that spiel about his authority to write citations?  That’s when I pegged this asshole.  He was the kid in school that got picked on a lot.  I know, I suffered my fair share of bullying when I was that age.  The difference between him and I though, was that he grew up and got a little bit of positional authority and let it go to his head.  He was going to get back at the world for treating him like shit when he was a kid by showing us he was the big man on campus now.

“OK,” I said again to him.

He looked around a bit longer to see if he could harass us about anything else and when he didn’t find anything he announced, “I’m still trying to decide if you will be evicted from the park.  I’ll come back in a few hours and let you know what I’ve decided.”

That wasn’t going to work.  We had planned on hiking for most of the day and we wouldn’t be back until late that afternoon.  At this point I decided I had had enough.  “We won’t be here in a few hours.  We will be out hiking all day.  I’ve already told you that we were sorry about breaking any of the rules.  Even the ones we were not aware of.  We will comply with everything you have told us today.  We are going to go hiking now.  If you decide to kick us out it will have to wait until we get back unless you want to find us on the trail and inform us.  I’m sure you have the authority to confiscate our stuff, so if we get back and it’s gone, I guess that means we’ve been evicted.”

He didn’t seem quite sure what to say next.  He thought about it for a second and then said, “I’ll be back by to check up on you later this afternoon then.”  With that, he and his toady moved on to harass other people.

“What a dick,” Dusty said when he was well out of hearing range.

“Yeah,” I said, “Ranger Dick!”  And from then on out that was what we called him.

Let me return to Ranger Dick’s statement about how six people had complained about us.  That was obviously bullshit, but I do believe there was one party that complained about us.  It was the people who had been on the opposite side of our site from the ones I had had breakfast with that morning.  When I saw them come in and set up the day before, I also surmised that they were either thru or section AT hikers.  I have the upmost respect for these hikers as they are accomplishing a spectacular feat by being on the trail for weeks or months at a time with very little creature comforts.  These hikers hike all day and are exhausted by the time they have scouted out a place to camp for the night.  These places are usually near trail shelters erected along the AT or unestablished back country sites with no amenities whatsoever.  They refer to “Hiker’s Midnight” as the time they are usually in their tent going to sleep, and it is around 8 or 9 PM.  This is understandable when you have been hiking all day and you have been doing it for weeks on end.  I believe the hikers next to us were perturbed that we were up past hiker’s midnight when we were camping in a “hike in” spot.  They must have been the ones that complained.  They had already been breaking camp when I got up that morning and I thought I caught an evil eye from one of the guys before they headed back out on the trail.

While I have the upmost respect for these hikers, here is my problem with this attitude.  These hikers decided to stay at an established campground.  This was not the back country or a trail shelter and they should have realized that some of us can’t afford (as much as we’d love too) to take off months at a time to hike.  Carving a week out of our lives to come up to these campsites are about the best we can do to be able to get in some day hiking and camping of our own.  We are not going to be going to bed at 8 O’clock when we only have a week to enjoy it.  If we had been out backpacking on the trail, then sure, we would have observed the hiker’s midnight tradition.  But we weren’t and they made the decision to stay at a campground who’s 10 PM quiet time rule we had observed.

So after Ranger Dick’s departure we continued to get ready for our hike and packed pretty much the whole site up into the bear box.  My sons headed down to the AT while I was getting Sawyer ready to go.  That was when I heard someone from up the trail to the parking lot yell, “THERE’S A BEAR COMING!”

What?  Did he just say what I thought he said?  I looked up the trail and sure to shit there was a motherfucking bear ambling down the trail to our site.  It was a medium size black bear.  It was an amazing sight, but I didn’t have time to think that then.  I was scared shitless!  I was also worried that Sawyer would try to go after it.  He had as of yet not noticed the impending ursine incursion, so I scooted him around to the back side of the tent that blocked his view.  I was still able to see the bear, who came down into the site and started sniffing around.  He had some bad timing though as we had just packed everything up.  In his utter disappointment, he emitted a exasperated snarl and moved down to the next site.  That’s when I was finally able to get my wits about me and we slowly slinked down the path to the AT where my sons wanted to know what took me so long.  When I told them about the bear they didn’t believe me.  Dusty even went back up the path to the site for a few minutes until I heard him running back the other way exclaiming there was a bear moving off to the other campsites.  Hah, told you!  If he scored any beer at the other sites I hope he didn’t get drunk, fall down, and scrape a knee, because he wasn’t getting any of our ibuprofen or band aids!  You can thank Ranger Dick for that, bear!

We went on our hike that day and when we got back our stuff was still there.  True to his word, Ranger Dick came back that afternoon and announced that in his graciousness he wasn’t kicking us out but we were herby put on notice that if there was even on more infraction we would be history.  I think he honestly thought we were troublemakers when it was the furthest thing from the truth.  Throughout the rest of our stay he or his toady would make a point of strolling through our site to see if we were fucking up.  Sometimes we wouldn’t even know he was around and then he’d step out of the bushes like he had been hiding to see if he could catch us violating any of his rules.

Troublemakers on the trail

He must have been disappointed because we went above and beyond to make sure we stayed on the straight and narrow.  As annoying as it was to constantly be worried about Ranger Dick, we didn’t let it spoil the overall experience of the trip.  We went on several awesome hikes and one day we provided Trail Magic to the AT thru and section hikers.  Trail Magic is basically feeding hungry hikers.  We grilled up some hot dogs and had soda and beer for them.  We got to meet some very interesting people.

Trail MagicTrail Magic

Toward the end of our stay I think Ranger Dick finally figured out we weren’t the hooligans he thought we were.  He didn’t come around as much and when he did he actually started to be pleasant and have normal conversations with us that didn’t involve reminding us who was in charge.  We even thought we might stop calling him Ranger Dick.  That was, until the last day, when he proved his Dickyness all over again.

We were breaking camp and when the time came to move all our stuff back up to the truck we were not looking forward to hauling it back up the hill to the parking lot.  The campsites to one side of us had a different trail to a different parking lot that had a less steep uphill grade.  You were supposed to park in the lot designated for your campsites but nobody was camped in the adjacent sites, so I had Dusty move the truck to the next lot so we could carry our stuff up the less steep trail.  We had all taken turns carrying a few items up to the truck when I saw Dusty come walking back down the other steep trail.  Ranger Dick had driven by when Dusty was putting some items in the truck and given him a ration of shit for parking in the wrong lot.  Dusty had explained to him that there was no one camped in those spots and we were only using it temporarily to load the truck from the less steep path.  Evidently that didn’t wash with him.  He instructed Dusty to move the truck back to the other parking lot and use our “authorized” path to load the truck.  So yea, he maintained his Ranger Dick title from that day forward.  As we were rolling out of the front gate to go home I didn’t see Ranger Dick, but I did see his toady hanging around the gatehouse.  I gave him the one finger salute as we passed by.  “Yeah!”

Do you think I was justified in calling him Ranger Dick?  Anyone have similar stories of abuse of positional authority?  Anyone actually make it to the end of this ridiculously long post?

* They totally do have coyotes in Virginia.  I looked it up on the internet and as we all know, if it’s on there it must be true.
** To be fair, I went to the Park website after writing this and noticed that they did update their rule list to include scented and food preparation items, but I swear it was not on the paper list given to us by Ranger Rick Jr.
Clowns to the left, Jokers to the right…

Clowns to the left, Jokers to the right…

When I started this blog I promised myself I wouldn’t post about political issues.  This is as close to breaking that promise as I’m going to get.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, especially when it comes to writing.  I can’t blame it all on the current temperament of the country, but all the screaming surely isn’t helping.  There’s screaming from the left, there’s screaming from the right.  There’s screaming on TV, on my Facebook page, and on my Twitter feed.  There’s screaming everywhere and I’m stuck in the middle.  So when things get like this I like to watch the below video.  It’s the only type of screaming that makes me feel good.

That is all.

The 100 year old beer

The 100 year old beer

OK, it’s not really a 100 years old.  It’s only 14 years old. What in the hell am I talking about? Why it’s this one can of beer I’ve had in my fridge that whole time.  I’m sure a few questions leap to mind.

  • Why do you have a 14 year old beer in your fridge?
  • Why do you call it a 100 year old beer?
  • What do you plan to do with this can of beer?
  • Are you retarded or something?

I’ll answer all these questions in due time, but first let’s get a peek at said beer:

100 Year Old BeerThis can looks like it is a 100 years old doesn’t it?

Why do I have a 14 year old beer in my fridge?  Back in 2002 I was between wives (yea I know I keep promising to tell the story of the three wives, but today is not that day) and I was living the single man’s life.  One aspect to being single again was that I had been reduced to one income stream while still trying to maintain the same living conditions that two streams had afforded.  As you can imagine, this did not leave me with a lot of disposable income.  One Friday night I had some of my single friends over to hang out and play darts.  Beer, of course, is a requirement during such activities.  I already had some Bud Light in the fridge, and while I am no beer snob, this was the lowest quality I was willing to go.  You’ve got to have some standards.  The darts playing eventually gave way to a drinking game called Kings Cup.  This is a fun game, at least until the hangover the next day, but it depleted our beer supply rather quickly.  Not being done for the night, we desperately needed to get more beer.  None of us were rolling in the dough, so all we could do is pull out our pocket change and throw it on the table.  After picking out the lint and gum wrappers we totaled up our treasure trove and it came to about six dollars.  So off went a couple of my friends to the store, which was in walking distance, thankfully.  When they got back they proudly displayed their newly acquired fermented refreshment.  It was a 12 pack of something called PABST GENUINE DRAFT LIGHT.  There is only one way to say this.  It tasted only slightly better than horse piss.  Of course I am assuming this, as I’ve never knowingly ingested the urine of a horse, but I am betting I am close to the mark.  However, for a bunch of already drunk guys playing a drinking game, it would do.

The next day, I noticed there were four cans of the Pabst Equine Elimination left and I almost threw them out.  But on second thought I ended up shoving them in the back of the fridge.  These cans came to be known as my Emergency Backup Beers.  If I ran out of my regular beer and I was that desperate, I could dip into the emergency supply.  Over the next several months, two of those cans were called upon to fulfill that role.  Shortly after that I got a promotion and my financial situation improved to the point where I always had some decent beer around and I never needed the backup beers.  They eventually became forgotten but stayed in that back corner of the fridge waiting patiently for the day that they may be called upon.

In 2003 I got married again, and not long after, we moved to a new apartment.  When we were cleaning out the fridge in preparation for the move I came across my two backup beers.  I should have just thrown them out but for some reason I tossed them in the cooler with all the other refrigerated items that were coming with us.  At the new place, in the new fridge, they went back in a corner and continued to stand their silent vigil.  There they stayed for the next three years.  There were times during fridge cleaning days that I almost (and was asked repeatedly by my wife) got rid of them.  But as time wore on they came to symbolize memories of my past single days and I was hesitant to dispose of them.  They became somewhat of a conversation piece among my friends.  Which brings me to the next question.

Why do I call it a 100 year old beer?  Do you remember the TV show Fear Factor?  Contestants had to compete in a series of three stunts to win the cash prize.  One of these stunts always consisted of eating something not so pleasant.  One episode had them eating what was called a 100 year old egg or a century egg.  It’s an egg that the Chinese preserve in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls for several weeks to several months.  Through this process the egg turns a brown and green color and emits a strong pungent flavor.  In other words, DEEsgusting.  The next day I was talking to my friend, Rich, about the episode, which he’d also seen, and he likened the 100 year old egg to what my back up beers must taste like by now.  Thus, they became known as the 100 year old beers.

Wait a minute, you say? The title of this post is The 100 Year Old Beer.  Single.  Did something happen to one of them?  Surely you didn’t drink one?  Yes, something did happen to one of them.  But you are going to have to wait until I get to that part of the story.  Kindly hold all additional questions to the end.  Gawwd.

Where was I?  Oh yea, fast forward to 2006.  Due to a transfer at my job, we moved from California to Virginia.  Didn’t even hesitate, my 100 year old beers went right in a cooler in the back of the truck and made the 2769 mile journey with us.  For the next two years they stayed in the fridge in our condo and then when we moved into a house, they came right along and took up residence in a fridge in the garage that was specifically placed there to keep beer and other assorted liquid refreshments cool.

We still live in the same house today, and the same fridge is still out there in the garage.  A few years ago I made a fateful decision (for one of the 100 year old beers) to have a party for all my co-workers.  There were probably around 30 people at the party and I instructed all the ones that brought their own libations to store them in the garage fridge.  At one point during the party I headed for the garage to get a beer.  When I opened the door from the house to the garage I beheld a most gruesome site!  One of the 100 year old beers was open and laying on the floor, leaking it’s (really stinky) life’s blood on to the cement.  I rushed to the beer and picked it up, noticing that there wasn’t much liquid left.  I briefly thought about giving it mouth to mouth, but in the moment, I hesitated (wouldn’t you?) and it was too late.  All I could do was hold it’s tiny pop top tab between my forefinger and thumb, comforting it as it passed away.  I looked around and didn’t see anyone else, but I did notice that the side door to the garage was slightly askew and a trail of liquid ran to it.  I can only assume that one of the partygoers had mistakenly grabbed the 100 year old beer and drank some of it.  I can’t imagine what happened next.  I’m thinking they probably only got a few gulps down before realizing something wasn’t right, dropped the can and staggered out the side door to go die in the woods next to my house.  I never did find out who drank it.  There was this one new guy at work that I never saw again.  I wonder…

Beer FridgeI should probably put up a sticky note like this.

Of course I was heartbroken that I had lost one of my 100 year old beers.  I took the empty can and buried it in the backyard.  I can’t be sure, but I thought I heard the sound of taps being played.  OK, no, this is a total rip off of A Christmas Story.  This is a beer story.  Truth be told, I didn’t bury it.  But I did leave it lying in state on the top of my workbench for a month or so before I gently laid it to rest in the recycling bin.  So that’s why I now have a single 100 year old beer left in my fridge in the garage.

What do I plan on doing with this beer?  Before the demise of one of the beers, Rich (who still lives in California) and I talked about getting together one day and drinking one a piece.  I guess we could still split this one.  We also talked about drinking them on an audition video for a reality show such as Survivor or Amazing Race.  That might get someone’s attention.  If we survived.  But I don’t think I could hack it on Survivor and I’ve already been turned down for Amazing Race once.  True story for another time.  Wait!  I got it!  We could get together and play the ultimate game of Kings Cup.  It would probably be the last game for one of us, since the end of the game has only one person drinking from the cup in the middle.  What do you think?  Got any suggestions?  Let me know in the comments.

Now, for the final question.  Am I retarded or something?  That’s kind of a politically incorrect way to ask that isn’t it?  Well let me respond with a question of my own.  Are you new here?  If you are, look over some of my other posts and you will probably be able to answer that question for yourself.

One More Trip Around The Sun Completed

One More Trip Around The Sun Completed

Birthday Orbit

Today I completed my 49th solar orbit.  Now I’m starting out on the big FIVE-OH trip.  Normally I want these orbits to seem like they last as long as possible.  However, this year I am kind of looking forward to getting this one over with quickly.  Why would I want a year of my life to go by quicker? I’m anxious to get out of my 40’s, that’s why.

When I was in my 20’s I was young but I didn’t know it.  I was married with two kids and I thought I was all grown up.

Then I hit my 30’s, which usually freaks people out, but I was fine with it. In my 30’s I got to do things that I should have been doing in my 20’s if I hadn’t been to busy trying to grow up so fast.  I also met the person I was really meant to be with for the rest of my life, my soulmate, Michele.

Then came the 40’s and all of a sudden I/we didn’t fit in anymore.  We were too old to be considered young and too young to be considered old. It’s the purgatory of age groups. You don’t fit in anywhere.

So I’m ready to be 50 and just call myself old.  Saying I’m old is not a bad connotation. It doesn’t mean I am going to start eating dinner at 4, sit in a rocker on the porch (although we do have a pair) and yell at those kids to get off my lawn! Ha! What kids? They are all on their phones and the only way they would be on my lawn is if they wandered on to it by mistake while snap chatting. Hmmm, OK maybe I will do a little old man bitching, but my point is that I will still be going to work, will still be hiking up mountains, and still be living life.  I can do all that and call my self old at the same time right?

The Fork Theory

The Fork Theory

I’m going to take a break from trying to be funny and write a serious post on something that is personal for me. My wife, Michele, suffers from a horrible disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis. She was diagnosed with this disease when she was just a little girl and has been dealing with it all her life. She has pain in just about every part of her body all day long. Despite that, she does her best not to let it affect her day to day life.

When I met her 14 years ago, I had little understanding of the disease. To me, Arthritis was just something old people got . I had no idea that Rheumatoid Arthritis was a whole different animal, with Juvenile RA being even worse.   As the years of our marriage went by, I began to see how much she had to overcome each day just to function. Even with this increasing awareness I really had no true idea what it was like. Even when you love someone it’s easy to get frustrated with them when you don’t understand why they can’t do something that seems so easy for you.

That’s when a little over a year ago I came across The Spoon Theory.   It was written by Christine Miserandino who suffers from Lupus. It’s a brilliant article that opened my eyes to what it was really like to live with a debilitating disease. If you have the time, click on the link and read the article. If you don’t, I’ll give a little summary here. She explains to a friend what her everyday life is like by grabbing spoons from tables in the diner where they were having a snack. She gave them to her friend and explained that each day she would only start with a limited supply of spoons. As you completed even the simplest task throughout the day it would cost you a spoon. Her friend soon realized that she would quickly be out of spoons long before completing one of her typical days. You should really read her whole article because she explains it a lot more eloquently than I can.

After reading The Spoon Theory it seemed like I had a whole new understanding of what my wife had to go through each and every day. I was so overwhelmed with clarity that I immediately posted on her Facebook page.

 This article allowed me to communicate with her about her disease on a much deeper level. Now we typically talk about how many spoons she has when planning our tasks. I’ll sometimes wish her a drawer full of spoons in the morning, which is my way of saying have a great day. It truly has given me, and many others from what I’ve seen on social media and other blogs, a whole new avenue of understanding when it comes to communicating with your loved ones who are cursed by one of these diseases.

However, The Spoon Theory is not the subject of this post. What I want to talk about is The Fork Theory. It’s a theory that has been germinating in the back of my mind when we talk about spoons. Here it is in a nutshell. While the people living with these energy sapping diseases have to manage their limited supply of spoons, all their disease free loved ones, be it family or friends, carry a different utensil around. You guessed it, it’s a fork. Furthermore, we only carry a single fork around with us. Our loved ones have no choice but to give up a spoon when completing a daily task. We, on the other hand, must strive to keep our fork put away and never bring it out. Why, you ask? Because when we bring that fork out and hold it up, we’ve lost the battle of understanding by saying FORK YOU!

It should never happen, but if you are being honest, you know it does. Want to go out on Friday night but she can’t go because she just doesn’t have any spoons left? Out comes our utensil, FORK YOU! Want your husband to cut that yard but he’s saving his last spoon to walk the dog? FORK YOU! Snuggled up to the wife in bed at night while subtly suggesting some sexy time, only to discover she didn’t budget a spoon for that today? FORK YOU! (Or more accurately in this scenario, no forking for you.)

Don’t get me wrong. I know this kind of struggle in no way compares to the one living with the disease, but it’s a real struggle. It’s a struggle that all loved ones of a person with a painful disease should fight hard to win. You should try to keep that fork firmly planted in your pocket. You won’t always be able to do it, but when you can, it takes away another level of stress when your disabled loved one is already juggling those spoons.

Even the most insignificant things can cause that fork to rear its ugly tines.  For example, my wife is very active in fund raising for the Arthritis Foundation to do research for a cure. She was recently honored at a fund raising event for all her efforts. It was a well-deserved honor and I was very proud of her. After she received her award on the stage and was walking back to where I stood, I went to give her a hug. She walked by me and started giving hugs to her family that had come from out of town especially for the occasion. Somehow she missed me entirely and I immediately became angry. I reached for that metaphorical fork and had it halfway out of my pocket.  I was ready to shove it in her face when I realized that it would ruin her entire day.  I’m sure she was just overwhelmed, low on spoons, and inadvertently overlooked me.   Even good things that happen to her cost spoons, and she wanted to spend them sharing her excitement with family members she hadn’t seen in a long time.  So I slowly pushed the fork back down in my pocket.  It wasn’t about me. It was about her accomplishments.

The honoree!

So all the loved ones of somebody who has to manage their spoons each and every day just to get by, remember The Fork Theory, and join me in doing our best to keep that damn implement out of sight!

642 Things To Write About

642 Things To Write About


Last Christmas, my wife gave me a book called 642 THINGS TO WRITE ABOUT.  That was thoughtful of her since she knows I like to pretend to be a writer.  So, of course, I placed it on a bookshelf and promptly forgot about it, which was quite thoughtless on my part.

Fast forward to now, which is almost a year later.  I saw the book sitting on the table along with several other items that my wife had planned to give to my mother-in-law when she visited for Thanksgiving.  Well now, you know I was having none of that. I snatched the book up and informed her that it was mine. The fact that I had never used it was not germane to my argument.  That’s man thinking right there.  You’re not going to give away my stuff, even if I don’t use it.  Which is a dumb way to think, but hey, Y chromosome and all.

Now that I have a blog, I realized this book might come in handy for times when I can’t think of anything to write about, which happens more often than I’d like to admit.  True to it’s name, there are 642 random topics listed inside to write about.  Not sure how they set the maximum number of topics at 642.  Were they just spitting balling ideas for a few days straight and then like, OK enough, we’re done? Hey intern, count those up.  642?  Sounds good to me, go to press!

Under each topic they have space to write below it.  Write? As in longhand?  What is this, the dark ages?  I have a better idea. I’ve decided that from time to time I am going to randomly pick one of these topics and write about it here.  Who knows how it might turn out? For this post I am going to pick the first topic in the book. From there on out I will randomly pick one.

Here we go, 1/642.

What can happen in a second? Kind of a general topic but let me see what I can come up with.

  •  Well, I’m an electronics technician by trade and I deal with all kinds of timing circuitry of the mili, micro, and nano second variety. But my hope is to attract readers, not repel them. Pass.
  • I’m obligated (by who?) to go a bit dirty, so quickies come to mind. But, srlsly, I’ve never been that quick. Believe me, I’ve tried. My wife bet me I couldn’t finish in under a minute. Nailed it! Literally. Maybe something of which I shouldn’t be proud. Come to think of it, she probably just wanted to hurry so she could watch Dance Moms. Again, I’m sure this is repelling readers. Pass.
  • OK, I got one! I can know within a second if what I’ve said to my wife will put me in the dog house.  All I need to do is see The Look. Unfortunately, I usually spend much longer than a second in it.
  • OK, I am on a roll now. What else? I can break a pair of sunglasses in a second. The more expensive they are the quicker I will break them. I am death incarnate for sunglasses.
  •  My golden retriever, Sawyer, will wag his tail in a second when he sees me come home from work.
  • It takes a second for me to kiss my wife good-bye every morning. Something I always try to do, even when I’m in the dog house. Not if she happens to be in the bathroom, though. That’s just gross.
  • Finally, it’s going to take me a second to click the Publish button on this post, and millions of seconds thereafter to regret it.
Turkey Turkey Turkey

Turkey Turkey Turkey

Thanksgiving is hands downfull-frog my favorite holiday. What’s not to like? There is food, alcohol, and football. Those right there are three out of the four basic things needed to make this small cog a happy boy. The fourth one is sex, but really, sex is pretty much off the table after stuffing myself into a food coma.

Oh yea, and being thankful for things. Of course, I am thankful for my family who is spread all across North America. From Virginia to Florida to Texas to Iowa to Alberta to British Columbia.  I’m also thankful for some of the fond memories I had as a child celebrating Thanksgiving. We would load up and drive over to my Nanny and Papaw’s place where all the cousins, some of which I hadn’t seen all year, would play outside until it was time to eat. Then we’d chow down on turkey, ham, deviled eggs, and dressing/stuffing.

stuffing-dressingIn the south most families ate dressing.  Dressing, for those who haven’t heard of it, is a cornbread based dish that is cooked externally from the turkey. Stuffing is wheat bread based and, as the name implies, cooked in the turkey. It was sacrilege in my family to even mention stuffing, much less show a preference for it. I stuck to those guns for most of my life until I met my wife, who is Canadian. They do stuffing, and our first Thanksgiving chocolate-piestogether she tied me down and stuffed some of that stuffing down my gullet. I’ve been addicted to it ever since. She makes THE BEST stuffing in the world. I now have family members that won’t even talk to me because I crossed over to the stuffing dark side.

Then there was dessert. We had the traditional pumpkin and pecan pie but my favorite as a kid (along with all my cousins) were my Nanny’s individual chocolate pies.  She baked them in muffin tins with a flaky crust, chocolate filling, and a fluffy meringue topping. It was like biting in to a fluffy cloud filled with dark pleasure. So good.

A few years ago I documented our Thanksgiving on Facebook with a pictorial play by play.  Check it out.

Way after!


I caught hell the first time for posting this.  Probably going to catch even more now. If you think I would have learned by now then you must be new here.

One of our more recent Thanksgiving traditions is to repeatedly review the below video throughout the week. We discovered this gem several years ago while watching a special on game shows funniest moments.  Next to screaming goats, it is one of my favorite videos, and it makes me chuckle every time I watch it.  Most apropos for this time of the year.

One other thing I am thankful for this year. Getting to know some fellow bloggers who have made me feel most welcome to the community.  Whether you prefer stuffing, dressing, or neither, I hope you all have a wonderful Turkey Turkey Turkey Day!