Sometimes I regret going public with my blog. There are so many anonymous writers out there. I’m very jealous of these people.

  • They can write whatever they want about themselves … with no fear of being ambushed by a group of well-meaning do-gooders and dragged off to the nearest mental institution.
  • They can write whatever they want about their kids … with no fear that it will get one of them wedgied, pantsed or bullied-using-their-own-clothing-against-them-in-some-other-way on the schoolyard.
  • They can write whatever they want about the people in their lives … with no fear of cold shoulders, stares, glares, resentment, hate mail or flaming bags of poop left on their doorsteps.

They can just … write. Without judgment or concern of any kind. I think that’s pretty cool. And extremely cathartic.

In MY world, every word and every picture in every post I write is given careful consideration before I hit publish. “Would that description piss her off?,” “Is there any chance I’m going to get that guy fired if I let this go public?” and most of all “Are people going to think I’m nuts if I admit the full truth here?”

Probably. To all of it. So I edit … and I abridge … and I massage … until, in the end, I am still left with the truth, but it’s a polished truth. It’s the one I’m prepared for you to see when you look at me. Think of it as Picture Day at school. The end result really is a picture of your child, but his hair is actually clean. And brushed. And he’s wearing the one shirt that doesn’t have a big stain on the collar. Plus you paid extra for the photographer to airbrush out the scab on his chin.

Why am I blathering on like this?

Well, for starters, it’s what I do best. I figure if I talk long enough, I’m eventually bound to say something brilliant, meaningful or at least that you’re willing to listen to until I pause to take a breath. Secondly, I guess it’s just because I’m a little blue. Because my girl started back to school today. It’s her last first day at the little elementary school we settled into after Hurricane Katrina. My son’s already moved on to a new school. She’ll be starting a new one for 8th grade next year. (Remember, New Orleans high schools are weird.)

And … because I’m me … my mind can’t help but wander to a few years down the road when they’ll both be gone for college. I know, I know. It’s still years away. But wow. I don’t know how anybody does it. Maybe I’ll figure that out in the future. But I doubt it.

Until then, I’m just going to pretend I’m not really thinking about it when we’re talking about something else completely unrelated so you don’t think I’m too crazy, alright? Even though a portion of my consciousness will secretly be consumed with it every day until it happens. Then, when I smile and say, “Pleeeeease. I’m fine. Let’s go grab some lunch,” you just pretend to believe me.


Because since I’m standing in the middle of the room wearing a big, stupid name tag that says “Michele Robert Poche,” that’s about as much as I’m willing to let loose right now.


Have a great first day of school, Viv. I’ve enjoyed every single one of themNow … um … let’s go grab some lunch.

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All this talk of Elvis and the recent pilgrimage to Graceland got me to thinking, I’ve never had a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. You know what I mean, right? The sandwich Elvis was supposedly eating when he died whilst sitting on his (ahem) throne. Some storytellers even go as far as to throw bacon on that infamous sandwich.

Of course, by now we all know it’s just an urban legend. Because not only did Elvis NOT die eating on the toilet, I’m still not even sure he’s actually dead. And, for that reason, I decided to try my hand at a little Hunk-Hunka Heart Disease Special … just in case he ever swings by for a meal.

What? It could happen.


Viv and I made these together the night we came home from Memphis. We couldn’t wait. I should point out that this recipe yields only three sandwiches. Yet it calls for ONE ENTIRE STICK of butter. I should also point out that I chickened out and used only a pat for each sandwich. I’ve become accustomed to my veins running loose and free and I like them that way. And the sandwich (cooked in a pan a la grilled cheese) was still plenty indulgent.

Check it out. (Caution: I am not a food photographer.)


The post was written in response to MamaKat’s writing prompt asking for a recipe I love. This one was pretty dang easy. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Thank you.

Thank you very much.

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It’s time for Ketchup With Us. Hosted by Mel and me on the 1st & 15th each month, this one is SOOOO easy!

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Selfies. We’ve all taken one. Or hundreds. They can showcase your whereabouts, your accomplishments or sometimes just your new haircut. Showcase being the key word. Because they’re often regarded as vane and not very community-minded, maybe it’s time for a new trend.

Enter the USIE (sometimes spelled ussie, always pronounced fussy). And we want to see yours. Need some examples?

Most famously, taken by Bradley Cooper at the 2014 Academy Awards.


Less famously, by my friend Mel with one of our favorite fellow writers (Linda at ElleroyWasHere.com) at last year’s BlogHer conference in Chicago.

20140731-110404-39844531.jpg Or even just last weekend in Memphis with my mom and Viv. (Sure, it was a photobombed selfie … but that still counts!) 20140731-110403-39843091.jpg

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Our esteemed Ketchup With Us Featured Writer from last time is …

Feed Me Dearly

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Click here to read how this foolishness all began.




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We give you an USIE to inspire you to KetchupWithUs.

All you need to do is LINK UP YOUR OWN USIE!

And, for the love of the flapping motion needed to develop a Polaroid picture, TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

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Technically, we were still home for this pathetic display. But I always find Milo’s defiance regarding our family travel both entertaining and pitiful.


Here’s where we stayed. (Note: I’m lying.) Pictured is the historic Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis which is directly across the street from our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express. For the record, the HIE was perfectly adequate. Plus it rented for only one-third of the price. But for old world charm and pageantry … there’s no place like the Peabody. (clicking heels)


Well, yeah. Of COURSE we visited Graceland. Remember the Elvis play Viv and I did together last month? It was sort of the whole reason for this pilgrimage trip.


And it did not fail to impress. Not one bit. It’s now officially added to my time travel list. (Yes, I have such a list.)


Seriously, I am standing in Elvis’s kitchen … fighting the crippling urge to rifle through all the drawers and cabinets. And run up the (off-limits) stairs to say hi to Elv-I mean, “whoever” is up there.


Here’s where he makes his smoothies, you guys! Okay, fine. Where he MADE his smoothies. (rolling eyes)


And here’s the swing set where Lisa Marie spent her childhood. (Does anyone else hear a creepy, off-key music box and ghostly whispers?)


Interesting fact: Elvis died two years before his own father (Vernon Elvis) who, in turn, died a year before his own mother, Elvis’s Granny (Minnie Mae). That’s some weird family chronology.

20140730-100659-36419121.jpgI can’t tell you how glad I am to have gotten the chance to see Elvis’s planes (especially the interior of the Lisa Marie) before they’re removed from Graceland by their new owners next year. With 24K gold seat belts and a phone that could call any landline in the world (how was that even possible back then?), I’m sorry I didn’t buy it first.


We also visited the FedExForum, home of the Grizzlies, in honor of my boy, Dean …


… and Beale Street, where Viv and I taught Gigi how to take a selfie (Viv did it in one try, it took me two and Gigi three – guess that’s a sign of the times) …20140730-093359-34439591.jpg

… and, of course, the March of the Ducks at the Peabody Hotel. They hold it twice daily. We went so many times (cough … five!) that I’m now suffering from withdrawal.

Because me in a girly red jacket prodding Milo and Herve with an old umbrella to waddle down the hallway in single file to a Sousa march just isn’t the same.

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Thanks, Memphis, for a great weekend.


Wonder where we’ll go for our next girls’ trip.

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1. Sleeping

Yep. That probably makes me pretty dull. But I love it. And I very seldom get enough of it. Especially with a pink bunny.


2. Getting a massage

No, that’s not me. I’m the jackass at the keyboard writing about getting massaged, remember?


3. Eating cheese

You guys had to see this one coming, right? This chick is exhibiting one of my favorite pastimes. Except she’s a disgrace to the cheese-loving profession.   Jarlsberg?!!? Woman, please.


4. Watching a movie

I love movies. I could watch them all day. And yet, compared to the average person, I’ve seen so very few. How is that fair? P.S. If anyone reading at this moment wants to see a movie, text me. Now. (Bet you think I’m kidding.)


5. Singing on Broadway

What? The prompt asks for Nine Things I’d RATHER Be Doing. Right now, I’m wearing an old Johnny Depp T-shirt sitting on my bed typing a goofy blog post with  Disney’s Jesse on in the background. You know what I’d rather be doing? I’d rather be singing on Broadway. With the right song, I’ll bet I could … oh, never mind.


6. Being the one holding the pen at a book signing

Well, as long as I’m singing on freakin’ Broadway …


7. Traveling internationally with my family

With your family, Michele? I know. That’s what *I* thought as soon as I typed it. But yes. I want to see as much of the world as I can. And I want them with me when I see it. Honestly, sometimes I wish I was more of a gypsy.


8. Time traveling

Well, crap. Since my suitcases are packed, right? Let’s see. I think my first points of interest would be … my children’s babyhoods (I’m bringing a better camera this time), my teen years (for a little damage control … and some classic MTV) and maybe the 1960s. I want to be on Ed Sullivan. (What? Did you expect 1776? It’s like you guys don’t even know me.)


9. Hugging my kids

This is the one thing on my list that I could actually go do right now. Come to think of it, if I chew while hugging with a DVD on in the background, I could probably knock out THREE simultaneously.

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This post was written in response to MamaKat’s writing prompt asking for Nine Things I’d Rather Be Doing Right Now.

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This really happened.

Recently, I had some one-on-one time with my son. His dad was out of town and Vivien was spending the night at her grandparents’ house. Dean and I don’t get time for just the two of us nearly enough these days. I blame myself. (Would somebody please get me a Football for Dummies book?)

Anyway, it was nice to have him all to myself. We had a little shopping spree at the stores of his choosing (Champs and Footlocker) then finished up online when we returned home. He’d been hoarding a lot of Christmas gift cards so he was able to purchase a decent number of things (all athletic gear) on his own with a little help from me.

When we were done, we started to toss around ideas about what we could do with the rest of our night. A quick perusal of the current movie listings pigeonholed all available choices into three categories:

  • Movies that were animated, Happy Meal fare with singing rabbit fairies.
  • Movies that interested neither of us.
  • Movies that would provide a most uncomfortable experience for a mother/son viewing combination.

So we opted to find something we could watch at home. With Amazon, Netflix and OnDemand available to us, we knew there just had to be something out there. So we both started looking things up on our various devices. Being an idiot, I decided to play a little joke on him.

Me (running into room excitedly with the mail):

“Dean! Look what finally arrived today! Vivien’s dance recital DVD! Remember? Oh, my gosh. Let’s watch THIS tonight! Okay?”

Now, I should point out that …

  • The recital is 4 hours long.
  • He already attended the live version last month.
  • The boy would skip meals to watch ESPN.

Him (looking up from his phone like a deer in the headlights … the headlights of a giant 18-wheeler carrying nothing but show tunes DVDs, Barbie dolls and pink nail polish):

“Um … sure. Okay.”

Cut to me with my mouth hanging open. That boy was going to sit through his sister’s entire four-hour dance recital AGAIN without so much as a whimper. Because that’s what he thought *I* wanted to do. Just when I’d decided my kids were selfish and always thinking of themselves, he proved me way wrong.


I love that kid.

Somebody remind me of this story the next time he’s driving me nuts.

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It’s time for Ketchup With Us. Hosted by Mel and me on the 1st & 15th each month, our link-up gives you TWO ways to play: (A) Write about anything for 10 minutes OR (B) Link up an old post. Or both!

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Eight days?!!? Gosh, has it really been eight days since I last wrote something for the blog? Shame on me. Well, except I can’t take all the blame. Because I was, as they say, at sea for an extended period of time. Overeating, overdrinking (but only one day), oversunning and overworrying about my kids who ran amuck on that ship like they were a couple of college kids.

We had a great time. All eleven of us. (We like to travel in throngs.) And I’m just now starting to catch up on my sleep. So I wanted to take a minute (ten to be exact) to share a few points of interest from my most recent cruising experience.

(1) If you’re going to sing a song karaoke-style, take some time to choose your selection wisely. And think about the original person who performed it. If you can’t hit every note in the shower, then you sure as hell can’t hit it in front of a room full of people. I’m still shaking my head at my own stupidity. Sheena Easton. What was I thinking?!!?

(2) The Mayan Ruins in July? If I wouldn’t take on an activity during the summer months in my home city of New Orleans, then I certainly shouldn’t be trying to do it in Mexico. It’s 651 miles CLOSER TO THE EQUATOR.

(3) Just because the catamaran crew says I can drink as much as I want doesn’t mean I should drink as much as I want. You’d think I would have learned that back in college. Or in my 20s. Or in my 30s.

(4) Dave and I need to create trivia contests on the boat. Or at least the 80s music trivia contest. (pause for questions) Why yes, I’m glad you asked. As a matter of fact, we DID come home with a 1st place trophy.

(5) Four is apparently the maximum number of appetizers I should order in one sitting to create a meal of “small plates.” Not surprisingly, cream of mushroom soup, a crab cake, a (distinctively small) sushi sampler and a cheese plate can be quite filling when combined to create one overindulgent feast the likes of which we haven’t seen since ‘Gluttony’ was depicted in Brad Pitt’s Seven.

I could go on. And maybe I will in another post. But, for today, I just wanted you guys to know I was back on the grid. And that I didn’t forget about you. And that I so appreciate my friend, Mel, stopping by to say hi while I was away.

Did we take pictures? Well, sure. We took plenty. But for now, I’ll just leave you with one, taken of Dave and me at dinner the last night. For the record, the picture beneath it was taken at dinner on a cruise just like this one exactly ten years earlier.

Please be kind when you compare them.


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Our esteemed Ketchup With Us Featured Writer from last time is …

Adventures in Weseland

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Click here to read how this foolishness all began.




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WE give you a (completely random) picture to inspire you to KetchupWithUs.

All YOU need to do is link something up.

And, for the love of Heinz-Ketchup-FINALLY-Available-in-Dip-n-Squeeze-Tubs, TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

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{July 9, 2014}   When Michele’s Away…

So, Michele is away. She’s busy sailing around the world this week. Okay, maybe not around the world, but that makes her sound fancy, doesn’t it? Actually she’s literally cruising. On a ship. I bet she’s snorkeling, laughing, having fruity drinks and walking along pristine beaches. What a…(be nice, jealous Mel) LUCKY girl!

Meanwhile, back at Casa de Bugaj, the closest thing we have to fruity drinks are the Capri Suns I just bought for the kids. And since Michele’s away, well, I thought I’d come play on her blog. Why do you all look so panicked? No worries. Michele will be back on Saturday.

In all honesty, I miss her. I often share silly pictures I’ve taken throughout the day. And so now, my “photos I want to share with Michele” are backing up on my phone. Not only that, but since my brain is like a sieve, it would probably benefit me to post them here so I don’t forget. That way she can find them when she’s done galavanting around the delicious buffet tables.

Below are the pictures, questions, commentary and other foolishness I would have sent her over the past few days. Enjoy!

IMG_0444 Check out the tattoo on this guy’s leg helping me in Auto Zone.

Is that Lurch, Herman Munster or Frankenstein?

IMG_0518Reading “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” He’s been laughing at the word “fart.” For the past FIVE minutes.

He never finds ME this funny!


Playing with her dolls in the driveway. Of course she decided to hang out in the shade cause I just took 10 minutes to meticulously lather her entire body in sunscreen.



The Baby Huey of all baby carrots. Or a finger. It could be a finger.


This is kinda cruel, but check out my cheese platter I got! That’s apricot chutney and some kind of fancy relish. I should stop describing it to you before you come through my phone and eat my warm goat cheese. HANDS OFF MY CHEESE PLATE, MICHELE!

IMG_0528Sooo, turns out, if you FILL the bird feeder, they will come. Why do birds gotta be so picky?

IMG_0530Did I do this right? Now what? I forget.

IMG_0531Mags wants to show Viv the cut on her eye. She has no idea where it came from or even noticed it until I pointed it out two minutes ago. Now you’d think she’s going to lose her eye. Sigh.


Welcome home, Michele! Pretty sure the only things left in your fridge safe to eat

after five days away are the INEDIBLE things. YUM!


You guys remember Herve, right?

Well, the poor little guy was not feeling well recently. And even though he is a hamster … and even though he is now two years old (which is, like, 65 in people years … or something like that) … we brought him to the exotic vet. No, I don’t actually have an exotic vet. This guy was referred to us by our regular vet. (Milo‘s doctor.) And he was the bomb. Wanna hear about our experience? Well, why the heck else would you be here?

(Storytelling style stolen borrowed from beloved children’s author Laura Numeroff.  And my friend, Mel.

* * * * * * * * * *

If you take a hamster to the exotic vet, you’ll probably meet a friendly squirrel.

If you meet a friendly squirrel, you’ll learn that he has his own Facebook page.

If you take a seat in the waiting room to look up the squirrel’s Facebook page, you’ll suddenly notice that you’re sitting right next to wiggling blanket that scares the crap out of you because you have no idea what’s under that blanket.

If you investigate the wiggling blanket because you’re concerned that a rabid badger might be under it poised and ready to kill you, you’ll discover that it’s actually just a spazzy chinchilla whose owner is not very friendly.

If you discover that your neighbor is just a spazzy chinchilla, you’ll realize that there is not a “normal” pet in the room.

If you notice that there are no normal pets in the room, you’ll want to take an inventory of the bizarreness.

If you take an inventory the bizarreness, you will find one social networking squirrel, one spazzy chinchilla, one stoic rabbit, one ailing ferret, one obnoxiously-egocentric bird, one suspicious-looking lizard and one unidentified, midsize, introverted rodent and you will start to feel less weird about sitting in the exotic veterinarian’s office with your daughter waiting for your hamster.

If you start to feel less weird, you will actually learn to embrace the eccentricity and decide it’s worth sharing on your blog.

If you decide to share the experience on your blog, you will start taking notes on your phone (which is probably a good idea because it will distract you from the murderous chinchilla/badger beside you).

If you start taking notes on your phone, the vet’s assistant will come out and tell you that Herve the teddy bear hamster has had a full battery of tests and everything looks A-OK.

If the vet’s assistant mentions “a full battery of tests” for a hamster, you will probably picture him running on a treadmill with those sticky electrode thingies all over his tiny body and the doctor telling him to turn his head and cough and you will fight the urge to crack up laughing in the assistant’s face.

If you fight the urge to crack up laughing, your face will contort into a weird expression that probably makes you look constipated but results in the assistant thinking you’re a complete idiot and speaking more slowly to help you understand her.

If the assistant thinks you’re an idiot and asks if you understand, you will probably just nod yes because, well, you know she’s not so far off the mark on this assumption.

* * * * * * * * * *


Bet y’all didn’t believe me about the squirrel.

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Deliver us from evil.

Until today, I thought only of those four little words as the closing to a comforting and familiar prayer I’ve known since childhood. After today, they will also forever be associated with this terrifying account of demonic possession the likes of which I can barely watch on my computer monitor. Opening in theaters today, Deliver Us From Evil is described as “an intense dramatization of actual events, following New York police detective Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) as he tries to solve a series of bizarre crimes. He turns to an unconventional priest (Edgar Ramirez) for help when it becomes clear the evil he is fighting is more spiritual than earthly.”

(shivering and fleeing to safe spot in back of closet for the rest of this post)

I plan to bring a vial of holy water with me to the theater.

And a crucifix.


Thanks to our friends at Grace Hill Media, Mel and I are giving away prize packs to two lucky winners. Each pack contains the following items:

A copy of Officer Sarchie’s book Deliver Us From Evil (formerly Beware the Night, description found here)


Deliver Us From Evil t-shirt


See that smiling idiot? She actually thinks she’ll be able to SLEEP in that shirt tonight. Of course, she’ll probably wake up levitating over her bed while blood trickles down the walls of her room.

Don’t do it, fool!

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Want to win a Deliver Us From Evil Prize Pack?

Click HERE to Enter!

The contest ends on Wednesday, July 9, 2014.

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et cetera

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