Tag Archives: mamakat

Dear Thing Living Under My House

Dear Thing Living Under My House,

I know you’re there. I hear you outside of my house. At all hours of the day. And night. I work from home. And sometimes, when I’m alone and it’s very quiet, I can hear you. Scratching … clawing … dragging against the flimsy, manmade, laughable barrier between us. It is most unnerving. I don’t even know what you are.

Or who you are.

I know you’ve figured out that I am aware of your presence. Because you seem to vanish into thin air when I summon the courage to rush outside to catch a glimpse of you. But you’re very fast. And eerily stealthy. And I know that you’re watching me.

I know that every time I cower on my hands and knees, desperately clutching a flashlight and searching for answers, that you are staring directly into my eyes. Into my very soul. And there, cloaked in the shadows not moving or even breathing, you remain hidden just waiting for me to surrender and retreat into the house so that you may continue with your diabolical plan to drive me to madness.

For the record, I am not the only one who knows you’re here. It’s painfully obvious that the cat has known about you for weeks. Stupidly, I dismissed him and assumed we were dealing with the usual benign suspects. He tried to caution me time and again, stopping to howl at the window, at the exterior wall or (because my home is raised three feet off the ground for your convenience) at various points in the floor. He hears you.

But your main concern should not be my sharp-toothed, albeit somewhat sluggish, fifty-percent-declawed feline warrior. Rather it should be my husband. He doesn’t tire easily. And your mind games only awaken the inner obsession and insatiable thirst for justice that make up the very fiber of his identity. He will stop at nothing until he’s taken you. Dead or alive. It matters not.

See you in Hell,

The woman who lives above your lair

Written in response to MamaKat’s writing prompt asking about something that spooked me.

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Six Things I’m Really Gonna Miss About Summer

1. Sleeping late.

And by late, I just mean like 7. I don’t like getting up before the sun does. There’s a reason humans can’t see in the dark.

2. Summer drinks.

Especially when they have cucumber in them. I like to pretend I’m being healthy.

3. Movies.

From Blended and The Nut Job to National Treasure and Walter MittyI honestly think I set a personal best for numbers of movies seen inside of ten weeks this year. (That’s a whole lot of sedentary.  I’m going to make a kick-ass old lady.)

4. Summer feet.

Who knows? Maybe one day I can pursue my dream of being a professional foot model?!!? 

5. All Shook Up

Elvis music set against a Shakespearian plot line housed in a Methodist church. It’s a wild formula that made for a great couple of months with my girl.


6. Family vacations.

Sure, there are always a few moments when we want to kill each other. But the memories we make and the food we eat always outweigh the death threats.


Created in response to MamaKat’s weekly writing prompt.

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Eat like a King! A FAT King, but still …

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. Anyway, here we go …

Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwiches

  • 2 large bananas
  • 6 slices white bread
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup butter)
  • 1 cup peanut butter

Peel and mash bananas. Mix peanut butter with bananas thoroughly. Toast bread lightly and spread mix on bread. Melt butter in skillet and brown sandwiches on each side slowly until golden brown.

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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A Funny Text Exchange (with one of the cutest kids I know)

My daughter turned 12 recently (Happy Birthday, Vivien) which, as any concerned … conscientious … 20th century parent knows, means an annual trip to the pediatrician’s office. I still can’t believe I actually managed to take care of her well visit during her birth month. I don’t think I’ve done that since I used to carry her into the office in my arms. But I promised myself we wouldn’t be racing against the clock to see the doctor, the dentist, the orthodontist, the barber, the shoe salesman, etc. all in the month of August this year. So far I’ve knocked out, well, one … so don’t be too impressed.

Fortunately, all went well and we didn’t need any shots. So it was like Christmas. Or at least Labor Day. But … we still had to wait a while in the waiting room. In the very quiet waiting room. In the very quiet waiting room filled with lots of people we don’t know.

Have I mentioned that Vivien is a normal 12-year-old who dies of embarrassment with just about anything I say loud enough for a stranger to hear? (In her defense, I’ve been known to sing show tunes at full volume while walking through the grocery store. Oh, if only I were kidding.)

So there we sat, side by side in the bolted-to-the-floor, germ-unfriendly hardback chairs next to the oversized aquarium, passing on the Highlights Magazines in favor of our electronics. I was “busy” playing on social media when my phone vibrated with a text from the adorable 12-year-old girl sitting next to me who was tired of waiting her turn to do something she didn’t even want to do.

She’s a funny little monkey so we always have entertaining text correspondence. Even when she’s so close I can reach out and hug her.


This post was created in response to MamaKat’s writing prompt asking for “a recent text exchange that made you laugh.”

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Something I “got away with” as a kid (plus a BlogHop)

It’s time for Ketchup With Us. Hosted by Mel and me on the 1st & 15th each month, the link-up gives you TWO ways to play: (A) Write about ANYTHING for 10 minutes straight without stopping OR (B) Link up an old post. I’m an indecisive pain in the ass so I always do both!

The year was 1980-something. And I was having a sleepover with one of my best friends named … wait, I shouldn’t actually call her by her real name, should I? Well, let’s just call her Bolleen. A few weeks earlier, Bolleen and I had decided we wanted to try to sneak out in the middle of the night after everyone had fallen asleep.

So we spent weeks planning our big escape. Should we use the front door? No, it was too close to my parents’ bedroom. The back door? The side door? No, both of their locks were sticky and we’d surely create too much of a ruckus and wake up my very light-sleeping dad.

Maybe a window. Yes, that’s it. We could sneak out through the big bay window in the breakfast room. But not the one on the left. One of its springs was broken and it made such a loud popping noise every time you opened it that we would’ve woken up my parents, the neighbors and possibly a few families in the next zip code if we attempted it.

Fortunately, the other window was whisper quiet when you slid it open. In the weeks prior, I checked it a few times during the day when no one was around. I just needed to remember to leave it unlocked before we went to bed that night so that the flipping of the lever wouldn’t wake anyone. Never mind the fact that I was leaving us all open to the wrath of any and all escaped axe murderers in the area.

I was on a mission.

Now back to the big night. Bolleen came over for our sleepover and we pretended to go to sleep and waited everyone out until sometime after midnight. Then, we quickly changed from our pajamas into the all-black ensembles we’d preselected for the occasion. Our only references back then were from goofball comedies like Laverne & Shirley.

Now fully clad in black (including dance tights), we snuck out of my room and down the stairs. That whole run was carpeted. No problem. Then, we rounded the corner at the bottom of the stairs from the foyer into the den. At that moment, we were about exactly ten feet from my sleeping father. If we could survive this part, we could survive any part of the night.


We crept through the carpeted den and into the breakfast room over to the unlocked-by-me-earlier-that-afternoon window and took turns stepping through it into the garden just outside. Then, we walked around the back of the house, through the side gate and into the driveway.

We’d done it. Surely, it was at least one in the morning by now. We were outside. All by ourselves.

And we were free!!!!!

(awkward pause) (blink, blink)

Of course, being kids, we hadn’t really thought about anything beyond that point. I don’t think either of us actually expected to get that far. So we both stared at each other for a moment or two. What we were going to do? Where were we going to go? We had no plans. We had no cars. We didn’t even have driver’s licenses.

We were only children after all. So we just sat in the driveway a few minutes to revel in the glory of our “rebellion,” then we climbed back in through the window, changed clothes and went to bed. And no one but Bolleen and me ever even knew about this little story. Until now.


In response to MamaKat’s prompt asking for “something you got away with.”

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



Click here to read how this foolishness all began.






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

All YOU need to do is link something up.

And, for the love of Taco Bell’s new Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco, TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

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Just Call Me Janet Jackson

Who? Me.

What? My dress.

Where? Senior Prom.

When? Seriously, stop asking me so many stupid questions.


(obnoxious harp music indicating a flashback)


I still remember finding that dress in the store. I think it was at a likely-defunct little cheesehole called 5-7-9. It was white. It was lacy. And it had the biggest sleeves I had ever seen.

I just had to have it.

So I grabbed two different sizes and went into the dressing room. They both worked, but one was a little tight and the other a little loose. Hmmm. Do I get the big one and risking making mySELF look bigger? Or do I vow to drop a few pounds and buy the smaller one?

Enter teenage dysfunction.

Duh. Crash diet. Plus whenever you can get a smaller size, you should get a smaller size. Right? Of course, right. I just knew I’d made the right choice as I gazed at my profile in the mirror, stomach sucked in tightly.

Flash forward to prom night.

I don’t recall what drastic measures I took to lose weight … or if I even remembered to do so. All I remember is my prom night itself. I put on my beloved white dress and inexplicably pink shoes then styled my hair. Thanks to my trusty hot rollers, it was almost as big as my sleeves. I looked good. (If we were speaking in person right now, you’d be able to hear the sarcasm in my voice.)

My date arrived and we took the obligatory pictures by the fireplace. I told my parents goodbye and headed out the door. On the way to the car, the heel on one of my (still inexplicably) pink shoes caught on something. I started to look down but my date stopped me … in an urgent kind of way. “Whatever you do, don’t … look … down.” He was looking directly at me and he seemed very serious so I obediently maintained my forward gaze.

“What is it?” I asked, curiosity getting the better of me.

“Do you really want to know?” he asked, fiddling with my shoe and tossing something into the bushes.

“I … think so,” I said, not really sure I was making the right choice.

“It was a frog,” he said. “A frog kebab.”

My heel had impaled the little amphibian.

I have no idea what I said here. I’m guessing it was something like “Gross!” Then, he wiped his hands on his pants (or the grass, I don’t remember) and we got into the car to meet everyone else for dinner.

The restaurant was packed with my friends and their dates. I think it was a Chinese place. We had a huge room and were all gathered around a big table. The food and the company were great. We were a page out of the Big Book of Group Prom Dates. Everything was going just as I expected.

Then something catastrophic happened.

Especially to a 17-year-old.

Maybe it was because it was the first time I’d allowed myself solid food in a while. Maybe it was because I (like every other girl there) was a social butterfly getting up and down to talk to everyone. Or maybe it was because I’d actually made the wrong choice a few weeks earlier at 5-7-9.

I could feel it starting to tear, ripping right along the seams in the bodice. The dress was two layers. Lace on top and thin silk-like fabric on the bottom. Silk-like fabric that now had two gaping holes in it that literally exposed my bare midriff. (I was so ahead of my time.)

I panicked. What in the hell was I going to do? After leaning over (very carefully) to confer with a few friends, we decided that the best course of action was for me to borrow another dress from the girl who lived closest to the restaurant. Her house was literally 5 minutes away. Mine was more like 25.

I fought the urge to cry (remember: teenager) and agreed to the plan. I don’t know what excuse we gave to everyone for needing to run to her house or if everyone just secretly knew behind my back. But, in any event, I was outfitted with a new prom dress, still white but minus the gigantic sleeves, within minutes.

But I was not happy.

THIS wasn’t the dress I had carefully selected … and purchased  inexplicably pink shoes for … and planned to wear all evening. And thus (confession) I spent some time crying in the bathroom once we arrived at the dance. (It’s a good thing my date and I had been going out a while. He was actually pretty understanding about everything.)

My friends finally convinced me to come out and take the stupid picture. They all took a really fun picture together as a big group. But I refused to participate in that one. Just in case I hated it, I didn’t want everyone else to have their own copy. So I just took one with my date.

And you know what? Looking back, I realize that the second dress I wore that evening was actually WAY cuter than the first one. Go figure.


Please pardon the Kelly Kapowski-wideness of my face.

Oh, and I still have that stupid ripped dress in a box in my attic. It never really got to meet its potential. Maybe one day I’ll use it as a Halloween costume.

Today’s post was brought to you by MamaKat’s writing prompt asking for a story about a wardrobe malfunction.

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The Post about Honda, bugs in food & feeling gassy. (Plus some other stuff.)

Each week, my friend MamaKat (I’ve never met her before but she seems like a nice lady) posts five writing prompts to inspire her readers to create something. As a change of pace, I decided that rather than choosing only one of the prompts I would instead try responding to all five (in a manner that hopefully makes sense) in the same post.

For your reference, here are the five prompts:

1.) What were you writing about last year at this time? What has changed?
2.) Things that make you happy.
3.) Something you bought this month that you love.
4.) 8 accounts you love following on Instagram.
5.) A blog post inspired by the word: Easter

(Taking deep breaths and stretching a bit) Okay. Here goes. … Expect nothing.

 * * * * * * * * * *

On this day in 2013, I wrote about a horrible experience I had at my local Honda dealership (#1) and the complaint letter I sent them about it. In short, the service department was manned by a bunch of boobs who grossly mishandled me that day, but at least my letter scored me a free oil change.

I love free stuff. “We’re so sorry you found a roach in your soup, ma’am. Which was actually supposed to be a BBQ Chicken flatbread. Please allow us to purchase a round of drinks for your table.” Restitution makes me happy. (#2)

Of course, my children’s joy makes me the happiest of all. Which explains why, when I suggested that they each pick out a treat from the grocery today, I wound up purchasing these heart-healthy delicacies. (#3) I’m getting gassy just thinking about them.


Oh, and speaking of pictures of stupid things, let’s talk Instagram. I’ll admit … I’m a suckish Instagrammer. Where Facebook is for sharing pics of your delectable Beef Bourguignon  and Twitter for throwing out the perfect one-liner, Instagram seems to be for people trying to combine the two. And, seriously … I CAN’T BE EXPECTED TO COME UP WITH ZINGY ONE-LINERS ABOUT FANCY FRENCH BEEF! Thus, I am a passive user. Although (truth) I did hurry to find MamaKat and follow her before I went live with this post. It seemed not only sensible and polite but also PC given the circumstances. So there’s one loved account. But I still need seven more. (#4) Leave your recommendations in the comments so I can catch up with them, too.

Did someone say “Ketchup?” (Well, no. I know it was “catch up.” Plus no one actually said it. It was typed. Duh, it was me who typed it so I’m totally aware of what happened. Just go with it.) Like Mrs. LosinIt (I’m not actually sure what part of MamaKatsLosinIt is her last name so I just broke it in half), I also run a blog hop. I co-host it with my friend Mel on the 1st and 15th of every month. It’s called KetchupWithUs (oh, now you get it) because it always features a picture of one of us in a full-body ketchup costume. I know. We’re a couple of geniuses. But it’s supposed to inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and not take yourself too seriously. The current link-up is live right now and my chosen subject matter is Easter. (#5) Here’s hoping you’ll come check us out, too.

Until then, Viva la MamaKat. Thanks for the prompts, my friend.

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This post is ridiculous … and gross … and probably was never published for a reason

I’m posting an old fragment of a children’s story that I wrote but but never published a few years ago. I have another children’s story that I might (one undetermined day in the future) publish. It’s the one of which I’m proud. It’s the one by which I’d like to be remembered. And it’s the one based on subject matter that isn’t, well, disgusting.

But I have a friend in the biz who once told me, “Kids love gross. Seriously, that’s their frame of reference for humor. Farts, burps, oozy, dripping monsters … the yuckier, the better.” Which is why one day, while sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, I wrote this little story on my phone. The protagonist is a big blob of …. you know what? Just read it.

Oh, and sorry. Blame MamaKat. She issued a writing prompt requesting for “a blog post you didn’t publish.” You asked for it, MK.

Carl the Booger

There I was … clinging desperately to the wall … when I saw the fluffy fabric coming to cover the hole. It was my only window to the outside world. Then, everything went black. I readied myself for what I knew was coming. The force was amazing. It was like a giant vacuum sucking everything to the surface.

But not me.

“Maybe next time, suckers!” I screamed defiantly. But when I looked around me, I realized I was alone. I was the only man to survive. “I must head north … and go deeper, ” I thought. “To the sinuses!”


Well, I never claimed it would be Shakespeare.

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My Five Favorite Things (Spoiler: There IS a cheese listed here.)

Today’s post is brought to you by MamaKat: Name your five current favorite things.

This task seems easy enough. Except it says current … so I can’t pick Donny Osmond or leg warmers or anything like that. (Both still totally awesome, by the way.) And actually, since I’m limited to only five things, I think I’m going to impose a few more rules on myself.

  • I can’t list any people. People can’t be favorite things. That’s just demeaning. (Plus I might do something tragic like list Johnny Depp before my kids or something.)
  • I can only list one food. (Otherwise, duh, this list would just be five different foods.)
  • I can’t let this post sound like a sponsored advertisement by extolling the virtues of my favorite hair product or anything like that. (Yawn.)

So, with those extra rules now in place, I give you …

My five current favorite things

1. Mt. Tam Cheese

There are no words to describe the amazing delicacy that is Mt. Tam. Screw that. Here are the words: It’s made by the cheese WIZARDS at Cowgirl Creamery. It’s their signature cheese and, if you must know, also mine. (Yes, I have a signature cheese. What of it?) It’s an award-winning, decadent, buttery, triple-cream cheese that is said to have “a  mellow, earthy flavor reminiscent of white mushrooms.” I got a full wheel of it for Christmas and (truth?) I ate the entire thing by myself in two sittings. If you reach toward my plate when I’m eating it, I make no apologies for what could happen to you or your grabby, little fingers.

2. H&M Shirt … AND … 3. Skinny Mirror


Is it confusing that I’ve combined numbers 2 and 3. What am I saying? You guys are geniuses. You’ll keep up, right?

I bought that shirt on a trip to New York at the H&M Store on 5th Avenue. I walked right past Saks, Prada, and Salvatore Ferragama and strolled my frugal ass into the H&M Store. I love that place. Because I can usually get six great things for less than three digits in under an hour. (God, I hate shopping.) It’s colorful (I’m often accused of wearing too much black), feminine (always a good thing when I want to prove I’m a girl), and goes in at exactly the right place on my waistline. And if I had to do it all over again, I would buy five of them. Seriously, it takes ten pounds off me.

And speaking of taking pounds off … I want a skinny mirror. But not just any skinny mirror. I want the one that hangs in the girls’ bathroom on the first floor of Vivien’s school building. (And now that I’m posting it here publicly, there go my chances of stealing it off the wall. Geez, I am such an IDIOT!) Over the years, I’ve taken a few friends to gaze into its fallacious … fictional … flattering reflection. And it’s never disappointed. Honestly, it’s probably best that I don’t have this magical tool all to myself. For I might spend the rest of my days staring at a distorted image of my own hips. Just call me Narcissus.

4. Modern Family

If you’ve seen the show, you can stop reading. Because you get it. Modern Family is funny. It makes me laugh. And, honestly, I don’t laugh a lot. I’m a hard person to make laugh out loud. So I love it when I find the rare show that can accomplish that. Over my lifetime, there really haven’t been very many … 30 Rock, Frasier, Friends, Newsradio, Seinfeld, Cheers, Taxi and Arrested Development. That’s about it. So thanks, Dunphys and Pritchetts. And please, keep it coming.

5. Writing Prompts That Ask for Lists

Number 5 is sort of my Being John Malkovich moment in this blog post. It’s the self-aware part where I actually list “writing lists” as an item on my 5 Favorite Things list. Does that make sense? Well, it’s true. Nothing makes for an easier entry. So thanks, MamaKat, for yet another opportunity to list out a few mundane things about myself and then have the nerve to call it “writing.”

* * * * * * * * * *

What are some of YOUR favorite things right now?


I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

My Top 12 Posts of 2014 – Not necessarily what I expected

Today, we’re taking a look at the top 12 most popular posts of 2013. Partly because I find it interesting. But mostly because it’s a writing prompt by my friend, MamaKat. So here they are, in no particular order, for your enjoyment.

For your convenience, there are tissues … barf bags … and rotten tomatoes located in the boxes under your seats. You be the judge.

Ten Things That Are Now 50 Years Old

The Day I Saw The Conjuring (aka The Day I Nearly Peed My Pants in Chicago)

Congratulations to My Son on His Graduation Day


Seriously, that boy’s going to be a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a gold medalist AND President of the United States one day.

A Letter to Hamilton Beach … Toaster Department, Please

Happy Labor Day from ODNT

Goodbye, 3850 Red Cypress Drive. And Thank You.


Oh, but if these walls could talk …  my brother and I would’ve gotten into WAY more trouble back in the ’80s.

The Day Things Got Hairy at Disney World

What do I have to do to get you into a pair of #MonsterInspiration headphones today?

Letter #3 to Hamilton Beach (I’m a lover, not a fighter)


Thanks to Hamilton Beach, I am now a wanted felon in the small appliance community.

With Hamsters like Herve, Who Needs Coffee?

Make Money, Not War … with gapNsnap!

One day, somebody’s gonna find that missing body part in my hallway


Because when you accidentally circumcise your toe, nothing goes down better than Chick-Fil-A.

Tomatoes. I KNEW it would be the tomatoes. (sigh)