Story of The Sting

IMG_5090So the other day, I was weeding in the garden when I felt the most outrageous “Ow! What is that?” and then, “Ow! This is getting markedly worse” and then “OK, relax, deep breath, you can call an ambulance if you need to” sting on my leg.

It was at the point in weeding where I was no longer leaning over to pluck because my hamstrings were tired and I was no longer resting on my haunches because my haunches (whatever they are) were tired, so I was sitting on a blue gardening pad and digging out whatever happened to be in my vicinity. I was wearing shorts because it was a hot, sunny day and, generally, me and Fitz-Bitz, who likes to “help,” were having a pretty good time.

Now, I’m not accusing anybody, but at the very same time as The Sting, I noticed an ant crawling down my leg. I’m not saying he was scurrying, because that would imply guilt, but I am saying there was an ant hurrying — yes, I’ll at least saying hurrying — down my leg.

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Foodie dog in the house

IMG_5220This morning, I was sleeping peacefully until my husband, upon heading to the shower, announced, “Fitz just threw up.” I opened my eyes and, right beside my pillow, I saw an unguent black mass that looked exactly and completely like an organ.

Lest I be accused of being melodramatic, I will say it wasn’t heart- or lung-esque. The deposit was more of the more minor, expendable organ brand, like an appendix or a gallbladder.

I screamed, of course, coupled my outburst with a few calls to God, and our puppy, the culprit, looked at me as if I also had just expelled an organ, one of the thinking variety.

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The parking lesson and the Tidy Cats


1:33 p.m.

After more than a year of trying to get 60 hours of practice in, Gabrielle Baker is nearly ready to take her driver’s test. It’s been, dear readers, one heck of a long road. First, she needed to learn how to drive standard. Then she had to overcome considerable anxiety. Finally, she had to convince a pretty strict dad that she is ready to drive on her own (the two incidents in which she forgot to turn off the car upon arrival at her destination set her back).

The only step that remains? Learning how to parallel park.

Cue doom-conveying music here.

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Love for the sacred sandwich

the-ba-muffulettaSandwiches are beautiful. Sandwiches are fine. I love sandwiches. I eat them all the time.

Yes, singer/songwriter Fred Penner, yes, you said it. Sandwiches are beautiful. Sandwiches are fine. And god knows, I eat them every chance I get.

I was thinking about this as I was preparing a muffuletta for my husband and I this morning. We’re on a staycation this week, one that is liable to go from relaxing to boring, so I thought I would make this little New Orleans gem to inject a little celebration in the day.

I started by slicing a whole loaf of bread in half lengthwise (usually a boule works best) and pulling out its crumb. Then I chopped celery, a lot of black and green olives, diced tomatoes, and minced garlic and parsley. Added that into the bowls the bread loaf has become, drizzled a good amount of olive oil and red wine vinegar into the mix and then topped with 1/3 pound each of Genoa salami, ham and provolone.

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She was just 17

Last night, Gabrielle Baker was boarded up in her room studying U.S. history like her life depended on it. She’d set herself up with a mug of green tea, she had some frozen strawberries on a plate beside her, her hair was washed and her jammies were on. She had four days before the big A.P. exam, in a subject that, let’s just say, hasn’t been her favorite.

But this was game time. She’d either do well enough on the exam to be exempt from ever having to take U.S. history again. Or she’d have to consider taking it in college. And so, it was time to study. Feverishly.

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Having and eating the cake

IMG_4991The cake stood in the center of the kitchen table. It had two tiers, separated by a band of candy pearls. The most dainty penmanship covered the top tier, written in icing with the finest tip, making it look like a cylindrical love letter. And in the shelf between the tiers, one red frosting rose.

Surrounding the cake were all of my friends who, when I opened the back door, shouted “Surprise!” I covered my mouth and started crying.

The cake itself stayed quiet.

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The word on the Street


193“One, two, three, four five,

Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,

Eleven, Twe-e-e-e-e-e-e-elve!”

Sound familiar? Immediately stuck in your head even?

Then you, like me, spent an entire childhood watching Sesame Street in the early 80s, the best kids’ show just about ever.

Every morning before my afternoon kindergarten started and after my bowl of Cream of Wheat (with butter and brown sugar, of course), I would head straight to the basement in time to catch the theme song of the Street. Remember it? Who can forget? “Sunny day, sweeping the clouds away, on my way to where the air is sweet.”

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The click and the treat

200_sIf my husband and I had to identify with one of the couples in the movie Best in Show, we would be Hamilton and Meg Swan, the uptight duo (she has adult braces, he favors turtlenecks) whose own neuroses screw up their pooch.

If we are one of the couples in the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, we are most definitely Todd and Margo Chester, the equally uptight twosome who are constantly being imposed upon by the unruliness of their neighbors.

So, when it came to dog ownership, no one accused us of being too laid back about it.

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A dog walks into a saloon


Fitzgerald, aka “Fitz-Bitz,” Kaprowy-Baker after an exhausting day at puppy school.

Anyone know what a play bow is?

What about a prey bow?

Or a whale eye?

I can now say I’m in possession of these answers, thanks to Caroline Short and Puppy School 101. Our puppy Fitzi started five weeks ago and, I’ll tell you, it’s been fascinating.

This, of course, because he’s the meanest student in the class.


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Monopoly, my love

18xp-monopoly-master768I was listening to NPR last week when I heard some important news that may not have hit the front page of The Sentinel.

The thimble, the wheelbarrow and the trusty boot have gotten the axe.

A T-Rex, a rubber ducky and a penguin are taking their place.

For now, the Scottie dog, the top hat, the cat, the car and the battleship are safe.

For most of you, it’s enough to speak in nouns, but for the rest not as up to date, No, I’m not speaking in spy code names. I’m talking about Monopoly, one of the best board games on the planet.

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