A Mystery is afoot!

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Two days ago while speed shopping through our local grocery store, my eyes cruised the ever dreaded ice cream isle. Now being one that doesn’t particularly follow any diet fad, weight loss program or calorie counting insanity. It has come to my attention that this particular body no longer holds that stealthy shape once honed through hard work and persistence previously acquired prior to Leukemia invading our household.  Although my weight does fluctuate pre and post beer consumption the true curse ensnaring my ever rising muffin top is ice cream! MMMMMMMM Ice cream! That frozen tasty, melty goodness oozing with everything from strawberries (a fools trick towards health) to salt, caramel and chocolate! If it wasnt a frozen item I would believe the devil conjured its ingredient infusion himself.

Staring at a thousand or so manufactures of ice cream, much like micro brews these days it seems everyone is an ice cream perfectionist and or connoisseur. This steely glare caught a reflection of something different, something attractive and suave. Its packaging reeking of taste and elegance. Gelato!

Oh yes, I have heard of you gelato! Many a times while strolling some special event or walking through the inner workings of our local college town this confectionary dream buzzword arises! Gelato! Have you had some? Oh my goodness I just paid $5.50 for a teaspoon sized scoop but it is soooo worth it!!! Gelato; Its Italian obviously, so therefore anything Italian must be good right? No wait, anything Italian must be GREAT! Italians are the true inventors of exceptional culinary delights much to the chagrin of all Frenchman everywhere! Of course being an Italian creation, backed by the mass consumption of anyone either in college or living superbly, comfortably inside a tax bracket that none of us will ever see, well then Gelato must be that river of gold we should all heartily dip our cups into while the dippin’s good!

Oh by the way before I go any further, Gelato is just Italian for Ice cream, so drop all the pretentiousness while eating it in front of your friends. It was and is pure marketing genious but from an Italians standpoint (uh me) it just makes you look really dumb. Although amusing, dumb none the less..

Gelato it is; my wife is craving some ice-cold sweet goodness for her throat which remains sore from having a breathing tube inserted during her operation. It is also just the excuse I need to purchase me some fat building frozen calories! Hey its bulking season and that waistline isn’t going to grow itself!!

Two tubs purchased, one for me and one for her. Both lovingly cradled and carefully placed inside our freezer on the top shelf for all to see. That is right little Timmy we dont have ice cream here at our house we have Gelato!!! Hee hee..

A few days go by, my wifes tub of caramel and sea salt goes unmolested. Placed neatly below her popsicles it is very clear this tub belongs to her and no one else. On the other hand my tub of strawberry (yes I fell for the health trick thing) chocolate truffle is decimated. Empty container lying in the trash, there is no hiding the fact you can probably hear my fat cells expanding, bursting as I walk through the kitchen.

Then comes yesterday. A text, just like the thousands of texts I receive on a weekly basis pops onto my phone. Casually glancing my phones direction, its (the texts) words confuse me, as though I am four years old trying to learn the alphabet my eyes blink rapidly working overtime at shape recognition!

Jacy: Did both ice creams get eaten?? I’m craving some and its gone??

Ok no time to panic, you got this, a simple answer, I mean it was there last night right? RIGHT? Oh yes I remember, My middle son grabbed it and asked for some, seeing it was unopened he was asked to put it back and remember that particular bucket of Gelato (said with a snobby undertone) was for mom!

Betty: No the other one was there last night unopened.

Phew, maybe she just didn’t see it.

Jacy: Its gone!!! I can’t find it!!

There is no way its gone! What the hell is she talking about!! Maybe Leukemia or Benadryl has her seeing things, maybe the freezer has become like the Mojave desert and she is only seeing a frozen mirage!! It was there, unopened, sealed tighter than fort Knox, at eleven o’clock last night!!!! Crap what do I say?

Betty: Ah second shelf? It was under the popsicle??? (Three ??? means sheepishly asking)

Jacy: GONE!

And so the mystery began! First order of business was find where the ice cream went or at least where the remnants (the body if you will) of the ice cream was disposed of. The body was found sometime later in the downstairs freezer, the top portion of Gelato mercilessly scraped away leaving nothing but the soft underbelly exposed for consumption. I now had something to go on.

After throughly questioning myself without a lawyer present because I hold no guilt and really I am not much of an interrogator anyways, it became clear we had two main suspects.

Middle son and youngest son.

Now the daughter was off at science camp but I was fairly certain somehow her name would arise as a suspect regardless. Both boys when questioned held to their stories.

Youngest son: uh, I was asleep? Plus I am scared of the dark so there is no way I am going downstairs into the dark kitchen to eat ice cream. No way!!

Middle son: why would I steal it? I would just tell you I ate it and take my consequences!

Both held compelling arguments.

The youngest had opportunity but no real motive as fear restricted his very movement. The middle child had motive and opportunity yet the whole owning up to it portion threw us for a loop! Could it be a ploy? A distraction keeping us from the truth?

We threw every tactic we knew the middle boys direction; from good parent bad parent, mom sweet and innocent; you wont get in trouble honey, honest, just tell mommy the truth, with me scowling in the background, arms crossed ready to slam my fist on the table at any moment! (I KNOW IT WAS YOU!!!!) To confused Jimmy Stewart parents; Well, well gosh little buddy none of this is making sense; shucks you got us in a real pickle here; maybe, just maybe you could help a feller out with a decent explanation? We even resorted to consequence parents; Just tell us you took the ice cream, oops I am sorry, the Gelato and we will just chalk it up to poor judgement on your part. If you dont tell us you took it, you can’t go to State for rodeo. NOTHING!!!!!

None of it worked! Nothing worked on either of them!!! Holy crap, either we live in a house with the very best liars in the world (seriously we couldn’t get a read on either one) Or a ghost ate it, then levitated the Gelato to the freezer downstairs where it was carefully placed to look like it had been there nestled amongst the Ego’s all along! These boys should work for the CIA!!!

Of course the best explanation offered came from the youngest. Maybe just maybe the middle child was sleep walking, (yes he does sleep walk to the amusement of the youngest and myself) his sleep walking self finally figured out how to get downstairs where he opened the freezer door, took out the ice cream (we are calling it what it is now) opened it, found a spoon, then took it downstairs to eat it amongst the laundry in the basement where no on would find him sleeping and eating. When he was finished he placed it back into the freezer so he could sleep walk to it later? Yep that sounds plausible. All I could picture was the sleep walking scene from Stepbrothers and sorrow for the future wife of said middle child. images-5

In the end the investigation hit a dead-end.  We determined someone ate it, someone moved it, someone tried to hide it, and Gelato is really just dumb old ice cream.

Rubbing my head the case is placed into the unsolved files.

Maybe somehow my daughter teleported her ice cream eating skills from 200 miles away really did do it!!! Stranger things have happened right?

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A cry for help…….

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A few years ago a promise was made.

I Betty, promised without outside influence or undue strain to lose weight, become healthier both physically and mentally. I Betty promised to change my eating habits, giving up three square meals a day (ok my meals were really more like a long rectangle) of grease, fat and yummy goodness, for the more reserved, deliberate, granola eating, salad munching variety. I also promised to cut down on my love for fine beers! Dark beers, light beers, heavy beers, bitter beers, and smooth beers, if it gave head in a glass I was in! (Read into that what you will, I aint your mom)

Why? Why did I change my ways? Give up the good life? Stop adhering to my strong belief that if God hadn’t intended me to enjoy these devilish treats then he wouldn’t have created someone to create them for me! Why? Why you ask?

Because my son told me he didn’t want me to die!

Kind of grabs ya by the old ticker don’t it? Imagine these pie shaped eyes looking up at you as he asks; Daddy doesn’t being overweight kill people? Daddy my teacher says alcohol is bad for you and that some people even die from drinking it. Daddy why do you smoke cigars? Aren’t they made of tobacco? Tobacco kills people doesn’t it? I have seen the commercials dad, the ones with the smoke that looks like a skull creeping in and killing a baby, dad I seen it!!!

Yeah it’s like that. What do you say to that? How do you approach it? An honest child’s question deserves respect! It cannot be cast aside and made fun of jovially as you talk up a good game with your buddies! No! You have to actually listen and either come up with one hell of a great lie to justify your obvious ignorance as far as the child is concerned or actually get down on one knee and apologize to the kid as though you were in freaking confession and praying for a reduced sentence on the hail Mary front! Now those questions were really me paraphrasing a conversation held between myself and two of my boys at different stages in their lives. The elder won out with tobacco and the junior won out with health and wellness.

Now two almost three full years after the latter round of questioning involving eating and weight loss or gain as it were for myself and I have lost almost 25 pounds! I am in absolutely the very best shape of my life! I have run in a few 5K’s, practiced with my eldest’s cross country team, run the “Tough Mudder” and completed it in a respectable time with my wife and a few close friends! I currently am lifting weights and riding my bike ten miles to work! It is fantastic the way I feel! Now don’t think for a moment I am bragging. Oh no my children, I am merely setting the stage, drawing you a picture for what I am going to say next because I am at a quandary, a roadblock, a wall of great proportions in my narrow view of life and it just wouldn’t make sense without having given an accurate description of events.

So with that statement along with what appears to me as being a fair picture drawn here it is…..

I LOVE CHOCOLATE!chocolate

There, I said it! I love freaking chocolate! I see it in everything, cake, ice cream, candy bars, bacon (yeah I said bacon so what) smores, little truffles, m&m’s, cookies, hell they have even jammed chocolate in granola bars, puffed it into cereals, wrapped it around drinking straws, created a martini based on chocolate! Its splashed over nuts, caramel, fruit, peanut butter, wafers, bugs (yep even insects get the chocolate treatment) and they have even made chocolate flavored medicine!

It’s everywhere! It makes me sweat when I see it! I tremble and my knees weaken! But that and that alone is not the worst of my confession, oh no!

Because….

Because you know what goes great with a gorging of chocolate, regardless of its source? What really brings the chocolate lover in you out of the closet? BEER!!!!! It helps wash down the guilt all that chocolate leaves adhered to your soul! Then you know what happens after you have a few too many beers washing down all that chocolate? YOU EAT MORE CHOCOLATE!!!! Before you know it your mouth is all dry and sticky from devouring the previous chocolate morsels so you better open up a few more beers, because gosh darn it you can’t wash down all that chocolate with 12 ounces, nope chocolate is a 16-24 ounce minimum!

Then it depends on what kind of chocolate you are eating! Cheap milk chocolate you say! No problem any domestic light beer works great! Snooty dark chocolate, that takes a micro brew and heaven forbid you’re eating the sweet sinuous, melt in your mouth English chocolate, because then, all bets are off! It goes with everything!!!! YAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!

beerNext thing you know I am a bloated toad lying on the couch trying to hide my stomach distension from the family while tossing beer bottles under the couch and shoving candy wrappers in the cushions! Feeling much like a super model with the need to “purge” I am constantly looking for an out, trying to detract from my obvious discomfort and keeping all little ones at bay as one fly by would lead to the courts discovery of beer vapors emanating around the lip/mouth area!

Much like a fat man wedged deep inside a Duncan doughnuts delivery truck, it is not a pretty sight! I am known far and wide for my chocolate locating ability and like the fabled ant eater has a nose for ants I can smell chocolate before it hits the parking lot! I will sit straight up in my chair, nose twitching as the wife asks; what is it boy, what do you smell huh? What do you smell boy? She pats my head as slowly I start panting and before long with the stature of a bird dog on the hook I freeze and point. Chocolate found, chocolate soon to be destroyed!

So you see my dilemma? I am weakening, my resolve is expiring, the goodness I have done for my body is one thing, but the fat kid inside me is winning the fight! I work where food is always present, I am surrounded by friends and family who enjoy a good beer or two and lately stress has ruled my life forcing my inner demons to emerge! I am going down people, I am going down hard! Hands are shaking, knees clacking, nose twitching, and my beer hand is strengthening its grip! I am going down, yes I am going all the way down like a sinking ship on the open sea!

If you see me on the street you’ll know, wedged in a bakery window slathered in chocolate cream, lying on the sidewalk outside a 7-11 covered in M&M’s with Coors light littering the sidewalk, face first in some chocolate cake with butter cream frosting outside a restaurant or passed out in the local Big Spoon with fro-yo down the front of my shirt and every chocolate topping they offer scattered around my $45.00 yogurt. No longer a hero to my children….11950-550x-franceso-de-molfetta-new-idols-front

So don’t laugh, don’t take pity on me, I did my best, held on as long as I could. Please just walk on by and remember how strong I used to be if even for a little while. Then tell my kids I loved them.

Sigh…………

*This is not a true cry for help but self-deprecating humor of my love for beer and chocolate. No chocolate or beer was used in excess or harmed while writing this piece.

Im BAAAAACCCCCKKKKKK!

im back

Hello dearies’ Betty is back.

So lately I’ve really been having a hard time coming up with anything to write about. My life has held quite a few ups and downs and along with the occasional 5pm nip’ to sooth the soul, well let’s just say Betty is plum tuckered out!

But not to fret! Today while working around the station I made a promise to myself that tonight would be the night, and if it meant writing about the very first thing popping into my shriveling brain (age you know) then darn it so be it!

Tantalizing huh?

Anyways I am seated at the computer and well, ok, uh, here goes, we are writing about the very first thing that POPS into my brain. Hmmm-maybe after I adjust the seat a little…. There we go, now how about a sip of lemonade? Yes, yes I feel something profound coming on….. Turn off the phone, maybe a little music to stimulate the senses, that may work don’t you think? Ahhh wait a minute I think I may have something, Yeeees, yeeeeeees, YES!

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!peanut butter

Now everyone who’s enjoyed old Betty’s company knows that alongside the world-famous hot dog there is nothing I like better than a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich! The thought of one right now leaves my taste buds drowning like the bottom of Niagara falls! Beloved by children around the world this little piece of culinary mastery has been the staple of lunches for generations! Bringing smiles of pleasure while ingesting with a crisp cold glass of milk and a Oreo cookie! (We will cover Oreo’s at another juncture)

MMMMMMMMM-M! Yep, filling, satisfying, tasty and good for you too! (Don’t give stats on nutrition I don’t care as far as I’m concerned it’s next to perfect) But where the real secret in the Peanut Butter and Jelly (PB&J) sandwich lies is in how it’s made or “crafted”! I know freaking crazy huh? All this time you were just slapping those two ingredients together and BAM! You thought you were in the clear! Sheer perfection done! But no my children, sadly it’s not that simple. The preparation, the dynamic, the love placed into every one of theses sandwiches is legendary and with its tradition must be honored or held with the highest regards! But before I get into the specifics let’s take a stroll down memory lane to understand the origin of the PB&J.

History

In the early 1900s, peanut butter was considered a delicacy that was only served in New York City‘s finest tearooms. The product was first paired with a diverse set of foods such as pimento, nasturtium, cheese, celery, watercress, and on toasted crackers. In a Good Housekeeping article published in May 1896, a recipe “urged homemakers to use a meat julia davis chandlergrinder to make peanut butter and spread the result on bread.” In June of that same year, the culinary magazine Table Talk published a “peanut butter sandwich recipe.” The first reference of peanut butter paired with jelly on bread to be published in the United States was by Julia Davis Chandler in 1901 in the Boston Cooking-School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics. By the late 1920s, this sandwich eventually moved down the class structure as the price of peanut butter dropped. It became popular with children. During World War II, it is said that both peanut butter and jelly were found on U.S. soldiers’ military ration list, as claimed by the Peanut Board. –Wikipedia

Good enough for a soldier than damn sure lip smacking good enough for my little heathens I say! Julia Davis Chandler I love you for thinking outside the box, throwing caution into the wind and not allowing Boston’s elite to scoff at the idea of pairing the ever so coveted peanut butter with a poor man’s ration of smooshed up fruit! Humph!

Hey that reminds me; you got your chocolate on my peanut butter! No you got your peanut butter on my chocolate! Hee hee, a topic of peanut/chocolate/ desert delight best held for another time.

Now I am not sure sweet caring Julia knew at the time, but to build a perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich one must choose the proper ingredients, hand-pick the perfect bread and place them all together in sequence or you just end up with a soggy poo sandwich!

  1. The bread must be white! Not that marketing ploy I am healthy for you fake wheat/white bread they are selling oh no! Smooshy, white, bleached white, squishy, soft, smells straight from the oven white bread! Now for a more sophisticated connoisseur, gathering a few slices of sourdough in place of white and serving the sandwich as such will wring the hundred-dollar bill from any man, but for the heart and soul of this sandwich nothing less than real white bread will do!
  2. Jelly is a sticky subject (all pun intended). There are spreads, jellies, jams, preserves and whatever that stuff is that comes in the white wrapped generic bottles from the bottom shelf of every grocery store in America! In my humble, little ole opinion, jams and preserves are the only way to go! If you are taking the time to enjoy the fruits Mother Nature has provided on a sandwich paired with the butter of a peanut then for the love of god it had better EXPLODE with fruity flavor! Now there are multiple choices when it comes to the jam/jelly arena of battle! But for my taste buds only Strawberry or Blackberry will do. You can use what you want, but please remember this; marmalade is not a jelly, I don’t care what anyone tells you! Oh it looks like jelly, its labeled jelly and its makes a good attempt at tasting like jelly! But jelly lives on the wrong side of the tracks people! Over yonder where the rich kids dare not go! So never and I mean ever pair that homemade blue-collar, loving life jelly with a marmalade! baconYou are just asking for trouble and the next thing you know kids in the town are going to want to dance! And hold a school dance on the outskirts of town in an old grain mill… Sorry got stuck in the 80’s for a minute. But even so, It just aint right.
  3. Peanut Butter comes under many guises. We have creamy peanut butter-smooth and soft like a fat baby’s underbelly! Heavenly taken from straight out of the center of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup! Crunchy peanut butter-rough, gritty, nutty it shouts I am alumberjack lumberjack, or Sasquatch lives here! This crude creation melded so slightly with white collars soft frailty overloading your senses with a feeling of all natural while sliding into something from Ralph Lauren. And of course last but least there is Natural Peanut Butter all oily and un-mixed, kept in a fridge for fear it will actually age and turn more disgusting. Yah that’s all I got on natural peanut butter. I see that jar come from the fridge and I instantly roll up a newspaper and smack that person on the nose screaming; NO! NO! YOU PUT THAT BACK! NO! BAD PERSON, BAD PERSON!
  4. Last but not least. Place an equal amount of peanut butter on one slice of bread as you would jelly/jam on the other side of bread. Too much peanut butter and the sandwich sticks to the roof of your mouth which can be like asking your tongue to wrestle stretch Armstrong. Too much jelly and a diabetic coma is in your future complete with desert like thirst and the need to lick some coffee grounds to even out the sweetness. Place both halves together gently, careful not to squish as squashing creates oozy, seeping jelly bread and enjoy!

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So there you have it, the first thing that came to my mind encompassing the four major components of the Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich.

Hope you all are glad I am back! Hee hee hee!

pb&j

Resolutions…….

 

2013

Well I wasn’t going to do it! I promised myself and screamed to all who would listen! No way in hell was there any chance of me writing about New Year’s resolutions.  Everyone does it; the blogosphere is loaded with rambling and grumblings about new promises, kept promises from years past and flat out lies.  Nope, no way! It just wasn’t going to happen!

Then it dawned on me.  We; as in the human race aren’t supposed to be here! The world according to the Mayan culture along with several mayanthousand overly educated individuals was to have met its fiery demise on December 21st! Yet here we are, 7 full days after the end of the world and a mere 3 days from the beginning of a new recording of time (2013).

So what does this all mean for me and the loathing I hold towards New Year’s resolutions?

It’s a new age, a new beginning, it’s the first day of the rest of my life, and therefore I should put aside my personal feelings and be celebrating not commiserating. The very thought of making resolutions once a year to solidify the minor changes one should make accordingly throughout the year long cycle is absurd at best! Yet for some reason my heart feels obliged to give it a shot.  2013 New beginning, first days and all, it just makes plain good old sporting sense..

So here it goes!

I Betty resolve in 2013 too…

Not be so damn sarcastic! Shit I have already failed…. I TOLD YOU THIS WOULDN’T WORK!!!

Ok I’ll try again…

I Betty do solemnly resolve in 2013 too…

Quit being so angry: unless of course the situation warrants it, or it’s needed to purposely expound a point! Or my Irish becomes inflamed, or even if I am trapped in a situation where tolerance over ignorance shown towards stay at home fathers and dads inscreamer general becomes more than I can take, thusly leaving me no choice but to rage against a proponent with my expert use of the English language in an obscure tirade upon my blog. Yeah passive aggressive attack, that’s the ticket! See it’s easy to put aside blood boiling rage and quit being so angry! Maybe this isn’t so bad! Let’s try another one!

Laugh more with my children: A child’s laughter is a gift from god and should be enjoyed every chance we get. Plus by sharing in the laughter you are helping teach your children to laugh and relax, thereby allowing them to share the very same learned expressions with friends, ultimately leading to your children being able to laugh at themselves; a good quality by the way.  Of course there is the exception to the rule; you know when they are laughing 9-11-2011 011and you are not due to them having done something so erroneous there can be no alternative emotion than to become irritated.  Such as finding pee all over the bathroom floor and dripping down the sides of the toilet!  Recognizing the difference between light dirt and poo smeared across the shower curtain! Oh yes, because apparently our little angels eyeballs haven’t developed to the point of recognizing the need for toilet paper BEFORE sitting down to do their business! Yet the pea sized brain has acquired a MacGyver like reflex allowing them the ability to think quickly and improvise in sticky situations leading to the shower curtain being used as Charmin!  Yeah the laughter is real hearty while donning latex gloves and decontaminating the old levorotary! Laughter has a tendency to fall off the charts after I have told them several  times to clean their rooms and all they’ve done is throw a sheet on theirpoop beds after shoving everything that was on the floor under the bed and into the closet! Or after begging them to feed their animals before dark only to be ignored! Now that it’s dark outside no one is going to go out to the barn and feed, so instead of having just done it the first time they were asked they throw a crying screaming fit about how scared they are in the dark and they really shouldn’t have to go out and feed now cause it’s just too damn scary! Yep more laughing is coming right up in 2013!

Eat healthier foods: last year was a real life changer for me in this department! Eating was not just a means for sustenance it was an event! Big breakfast, big lunch and even bigger dinners! The only exercise my body partook in was getting a beer from the fridge along with the subsequent 12 ounce curls that followed! But I made images (7)a change and lost 20 pounds this year alone! So I promise to keep up the good work with a solid diet and exercise to match!  Holidays will be the exception of course. Where I shall continue to stuff my face with all the greatest holiday creations one can muster! Cookies, chocolate, mince pies, cupcakes, more chocolate, apple pies, pumpkin pies, candies of all sizes and did I mention chocolate? Other than that all healthy foods, in small portions; oops I need to also include dinners at the firehouse as an exemption, I mean I really have no control over what someone else cooks, and I wouldn’t want  to be perceived as rude so firehouse dinners are definitely out! But for every other meal, Yes! Better, healthier foods coming right up!

Go green in 2013! Our family is a huge believer in replenishing our resources by reusing and recycling! Nothing brings us a greater sense of good than helping out our environment! We placed windmills on the roof of our shop to produce electricity and are looking forward to possibly placing solar panels on the property generating more electricity for ourselves and others who may benefit! But we have one larger issue. We need to purchase a fuel efficient “green” truck, yet the last time I checked they don’t make a fuel efficient “green” vehicle to replace my 3/4 ton diesel truck cowcarthat is connected to a horse trailer pretty much all week long and in today’s economy it really isn’t feasible to purchase a “green” car and a new “lesser carbon footprint” truck to replace my tattered old truck! So to go green it’s going to cost us well over $100,000 dollars! Who the hell has that kind of cash lying around? Cold day in hell before a loan for $100,000.00 is taken out under my name for anything other than a house! Maybe I should just stay focused on recycling materials? Smokey truck, recycling cans, see one offsets the other, I am already ahead for 2013!

Drink less alcohol: Social drinking has always been a big part of my life! Nothing beats having a brew with your buds or a glass of wine with your lovely wife! At three in the morning when you have had to much, just get up, hover over the toilet and purge away!  Good times and weight loss rolled into one! Yet having cut back dramatically in 2012 I have recognized the need to do more! 

barfingDrinking can definitely become a health concern and at my age I really need to be focusing more attention on life longevity.  Speaking of life longevity on the Dr. Oz show I saw red wine is actually good for you! Seriously, a couple of glasses a night are supposedly good for your heart! Man that’s like almost a bottle a night! Yee Ha!  Maybe I’ll have to re-think the whole drinking even less theory and look into the redeeming factors associated with Jack Daniels too? Anyone?

There you have it! Betty has gone against his better judgment and laid out five resolutions for 2013! Funny though, I feel as if they are destined for failure and I am not sure why?  Maybe it’s that whole sarcasm resolution I failed in the beginning.  Hmmmmmm…..

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A snowball effect….

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The other night after a long day of he said, she said, don’t touch me, and leave me alone along with all the other phrases (both appropriate and inappropriate) reverberating through an active family household.  I found myself stressed beyond belief.  My chest hurt, the lungs yearned for air, a mildly cold sweat lay across my brow and my stomach hurt.  The only thing I could ponder was how much longer until they all were grown.

Of course I have no room to complain because there are the 48 hours straight I am at work, holed up in my firehouse the last bastion of supposed sanity from the trials and tribulations of being a full-time parent! My poor wife does not enjoy such luxury.  But then again aren’t all us firefighters really just kids with badges and super cool toys we use to help the public?  Anyways that night had taken quite the toll on both my wife and I.  All we could think about was the peace and quiet that came with bedtime.  Then something wonderful happened that brought me back to reality.

We baked cookies…

Yep that’s right its Christmas time and nothing says “I care about you” more than fresh-baked cookies! It really is the best Christmas present ever! I would personally take 20 tins of delicious cookies from loved ones over someone spending money on something they hope I will like!  Cookies, chocolate, brownies, mince pies they all say “hey buddy its Christmas and I was baked just for you” enjoy! But these cookies, oh these cookies are super special! Every year we bake these little doughy droplets of gold and place them in specially purchased Christmas tins then set out across town “ to snowball”.

Definition: To Snowball; During Christmas time only, place a tin of cookies with an anonymous uplifting note on the front porch of an unsuspecting family.  Ring doorbell, knock loudly on door and run!!!

Snowball has become a very special part of our Christmas traditions! The children look forward to it every year almost as much as Christmas morning itself!  Snowball is treated like a covert mission, complete with blacked out car, dark clothing and squealing tires. Giggling is inevitable as mishaps are also a part of the fun.  Falling over hedges, tripping before reaching the car, only to beimages (29) grabbed by an older brother and pulled in as the car rips away from the scene! No man left behind is our motto! On one occasion one of the boys had to hide under a hedge just feet from the front door as it was opened by the homeowner before a full retreat was completed! It’s just plain, good old-fashioned Christmas fun! We hand out yummy goodies; hopefully make someone’s night with no expectation of reciprocation.  Then hope it leaves a snowball effect on its recipients, passing good cheer forward for the holidays. This is the way we enjoy observing Christmas, it truly feels better to give than receive!!

As we are preparing for our night of Christmas ninja stealth, the children all do something unheard of lately.  They begin to get along, working together as one to complete this monumental task.  My wife and I step back out of the kitchen and even though the urge to take over and correct small mistakes is astronomical we don’t.  She moves into the family room to watch TV, and I hover around the front room images (28)tending the fire and staring in awe.  My oldest works like a baker, carefully tossing out flour, and rolling the dough out to perfection while the others take turns cutting out cookies made of angels, snowmen, stars and mistletoe.  The middle boy handles placing them carefully on cookie sheets and transfers them back and forth from the oven only asking that I place them inside while removing the cooked ones.  It was seriously the happiest, stress less, most magical moment I’ve had around our children in a while.  It truly made our night.  My wife iced them with green and white frosting then placed them carefully into round Christmas covered containers.  She wrote another fantastic letter and we all called it a night with smiles upon our egg-nog covered faces.

One simple act of doing for others as a family can erase hours of selfish bickering.  I am often reminded of a very simple saying; you only have one childhood with your children. Enjoy it!

When things get stressful, bake some cookies together and let them be children.  All will look better in the end and your stress will subside. I promise…..

Merry Christmas!

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My Words of Wisdom for the Day

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Mamma always said life was like a box of chocolates; you never know what you gonna get……

Bullshit!

Because once you open it all your friends will pounce on it and then you damn sure know what you gonna get! That little Peanut Brittle nugget, cause in a box of chocolates no one wants the god damn Peanut Brittle!!

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So unless you are willing to eat peanut brittle all Christmas long, keep your box of chocolate to yourself.  Just saying..

Carry on that is all…

DR. FRO-YO is in….

 

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As a parent my world revolves around our children. They bring to our lives purpose and a fulfillment that just can’t be achieved by denying their existence. No really you can deny they’re yours all you want but try leaving Chucky Cheese unnoticed when one of them yells; Hey dad where ya going? That damn family hand stamp you received when you arrived ties you right back to the little darlings! Anyways I only tried it once, no harm no foul right?

Yep those little ones fill our days with delight! From the moment their sweet little angelic eyes open in the morning, birds begin to sing! They’ll float down to breakfast as ifimages-13 Miss Mary Poppins herself was their nanny! Poise, confidence, smarts they are perfect and all yours. Every day is greeted with excitement because you’re able to cherish hundreds of precious moments with these wondrous gifts from god!

Often times in the morning I am heard across the neighborhood hollering out our back door as they skip off to school, backpacks in hand, looking sharp dressed in their finest knickers; Have a great day children and remember daddy loves yoouuuu!! They always stop, hold hands and in unison shout: We love you to daddy!!!! Sweet visualization huh?

Parenting is a calling, you don’t realize how important it is until it happens to you! Becoming a parent brings together all the unknowns about your existence, solidifying them in one complete, mind altering, unrelenting realization.

At some point you are going to need a drink!

Because after that Disney fantasy world of morning departure, as the door closes and you’re left all alone with nothing but your thoughts, life becomes very clear. You may need a drink! It starts out harmless enough; the house is yours so you figure knocking out a few chores such as laundry sounds like a good idea. I mean you are the maid right? So images-17you grab a cup of coffee, haul a few hampers, wash a few loads it all sounds so easy? But oh no my friend how wrong you are because it’s then and only then you see the light! For example, apparently all four of my children were performing on America’s got talent last night! How do I know? Because every single one of them went through at least three wardrobe changes yesterday leaving two of them scattered across the bathroom, bedroom and hallway floors! Only someone who performs on stage needs that many wardrobe changes to get through the day right? The laundry basket is filled with an equal amount of clothing exchanges from the previous three days as well and by the time it has been transferred to the basement it appears the bottom of the basket is filled with clothes I washed and folded on Friday of last week! Those clothes now smell awful because apparently the littlest one peed the bed and has thrown the urine soaked clothing on top of the aforementioned clean clothes! Feeling the need yet?

Did I mention the bathroom? Between cleaning up piss scattered about the base of the images-6toilet and poop that has made its way miraculously down the side of the bowl. (Serious skill or a disturbing problem) There is an endless river of shampoo and body gel making its way around every part of our bathroom except (judging by quantity only) onto the filthy bodies of my pristine little gems! Thirsty for a snort?

As I feel happiness slowly draining from my body like the last remaining droplets of coffee from the pot downstairs, I decide grabbing some chocolate will harden my resolve and strengthen my nerves.  One problem, it’s all gone!  I don’t know when or where but it’s gone all gone!  Hands shaking, teeth grinding, creating new curse words, the laundry is dragged to the basement and tossed into the machine, our bathrooms are cleaned to perfection,  the floor is swept, mopped and left to dry while I burn time folding clothes. I call it “burning” time because it’s not what I want to do it’s what I have to do so I prefer to burn it with my hatred!! After an hour I start missing my children again (I know freaking crazy huh?).  The bottle on the counter doesn’t seem quite as tempting anymore, yet Jack is always a gentlemen and he remains smooth as silk in his delivery.

The day trots’ on with more highs and lows; high when I find a bedroom closet cleaned, low when I find all my missing chocolate wrappers under a bed, high when finding a note left behind by one of them saying how much they love me, low when realizing all the words are spelled backwards, leaving me worrying about his education! High while realizing they are all taking fairly good care of their animals a very big responsibility, low when reaching into a box of Hot Pockets to find it has been placed back into the freezer empty!  AARRRGGGHHHHH! Getting thirsty again…

By the time our children are let out of school my emotions have traveled a gambit of expressions and yet even though exhaustion is ruling my body, and sleep would be a welcome sight even for just a few minutes, I pull my boot straps up, put on a smile and rush off to gather them for the return ride home.  A trip into town takes but 15 minutes, just enough time to sing a few songs on the radio, down a beer and let the Percocet take hold! Just kidding!!! Don’t get uptight now my belligerent story has almost concluded!

images-18While waiting in the hallways I take note of many other children, some are sweet as pie, others in need of a good old-fashioned ————-! (You fill in the blank! Really anything you want! Time out, walk in the park, smack on the tush, trophy for being the most obnoxious, whatever works for you! This is the kinder gentler, stranger society we occupy so live it up!)

My conclusion is this; our children will always be sweet little angels, the stuff Disney movies are made of, no matter what anyone else says!  They could do whatever they wanted and dad would stand behind them all the way! Ok except for getting arrested and maybe starting a fight, yeah that’s never good, also selling drugs would be a hard one to back all the way unless junior is gonna hook a father up with some sweet green!

I digress….  So my children walk up, hugs are given and no longer do I feel the stress of a long day!  Life is ok; all is right with the world.  We climb into the truck and before we leave the parking lot three of them are fighting in the back seat, one is crying two are punching each other all while words such as butthead and fart face are thrown about as frequently as a bug hitting the windshield!  So with the calmness of a school librarian Unknown-2(they still have those don’t they?)  the truck is turned north, our home is no longer an approved destination for I have determined they (our children)are feeling the very same stresses I feel  day after day.  Their stress revolves around working hard, strengthening the farthest reaches of their little brains during a long day of school! So it would make sense for them to release stress exactly the same way dad does, through spastic, angered verbal retaliation.  Of course mine is directed at no one because I am usually home alone. A feeling of daily stress that just can’t be contained from sitting in ones room for being grumpy.  Since children can’t drink (not legally anyways) it’s on to the next best thing! Pulling into the Frozen yogurt shop a hearty FRO-YO chant bellows comes from the back seat, sharing the very same exuberance a dock worker feels when his ride home at the end of a long day stops at the local pub for a pint… or two….

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Everyone pours out of the truck, piles into the store, flavors are picked, toppings are served and we take our little pint-sized treasures out to the tables in the shade.  Not a word is spoken, peace and harmony exists, the only sounds to be heard are that of; thanks dad and mmmmmmmmmm!  Ok except for my littlest who between spoonfuls is conducting an imaginary orchestra with his spoon! Holy cow people are staring at him….. Cooollll…… Climbing back into the truck all is right with the world.  They have de-stressed, genuine conversation is at the forefront of our ride home.  We are a communicating caring family once again!  All because of a little sweet FRO-YO.

At home they are playing joyfully in the backyard. Chores completed with smiles and homework finished. I pray they have the ability to stay in Disney/Happiest place in the world mode a little while longer; I’d like their mother to enjoy some of this FRO-YO high as well?

Now where did I put my old friend Jack?

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(this story is sarcasm based, no alcohol, children, parents or animals were harmed in the telling of this story)

Somewhere in the Halls of Justice…..

A tub of chocolate chip cookie dough has been discovered open.  Now this is no giant revelation in the grand scheme of things around Betty’s house, but this time is a bit different. You see lately there has been a sudden rash of midnight food thefts.  Of course one might wonder if it’s the result of us starving our children to the point of  emaciation? After all they are always screaming about how they are starving, there is nothing to eat, they are dying! Hypochondriacs! Maybe it’s because our food stamps ran out this month after I traded them for cash to a local street entrepreneur so I could score some vodka and cigarettes? Don’t judge me a guys got to do what a guys got to do right?

But sadly no, Betty and spouse have stocked the home quite well with food for all.  Three squares a day and all the snacks one could handle. Not even the prison commissary has more crap than Betty’s Basement for snacking and munching.  But what makes this crime of chocolate chip passion so incredulous is the fact we have been mired in a swamp of lying lately.  Several attempts have been made through modern-day practices to arrive at the truth, trick questioning, good parent bad parent role play, single chair in the room hot spot light grilling, even a little military action has been used, but alas the waterboarding failed miserably. Thank God for AFLAC! Yet no matter what we tried the famed culprit “Mr. I don’t know” is usually to blame! What to do, what to do??

On this particular occasion while staring at the evidence a moment of brilliance overcame me! Sheer genius really as too many nights of late night crime TV took over, guiding me through a fair and just investigation.

Calmly calling the main accused subject to the front of the room I leaned down and gave the suspect every opportunity to answer me truthfully the first time.  Each time I asked, the suspect stood their ground claiming no knowledge of a crime committed.  Finally I held the subjects hand, slowly pulling the forefinger out straight.

Once the hand was firmly in my grasp over the bucket of sugary goodness with the forefinger pointed out straight I said; (Law and Order moment here) My dear, this bucket of chocolate chip cookie dough has been picked out by a single solitary finger.  The great thing about fingers is no two are the same.  Therefore if I place this finger inside this bucket will it match the marks made by the thief? She calmly stated no, stood her ground while beginning to look very confused.

Slowly lowering her hand I said; this is your last chance.  Her brow furrowed, her resolve was set. Down went the hand and behold the finger mark was a perfect fit!

Now one could point the opposed bony finger of justice at the accused and scream GUILTY! But that’s not how Betty rolls.  In a smooth almost sweet voice I asked the accused to step back, explained it was a perfect fit but in the interest of justice we would call in the other accused suspect to appear before our Kangaroo court.  The call was made and suspect number two was brought downstairs and placed in front of suspect number one.  Now suspect number two doesn’t have quite the moxy suspect number one carries.  So there was an instant look of guilt upon his reddening cheeks.  He tried his best poker face with a loud; whats up dad? (insert nervous laughter here)

The same investigative speech was provided for suspect number two and when he recognized the significance of important scientific data such as “no two fingers leaving the same mark in cookie dough” the confession spewed forth like that of man carrying heavy guilt for some time!  No splayed out finger, no hand-held over the tub, no look of shame needed! Just the fear of scientific data, fact, serious CSI shit, to break his silence and expose a true culprit.  The crime had been solved or so it seemed, but as with any criminal facing significant prison time this young lad was no different from any other! He started singing and he sang like a freaking canary, throwing suspect number one under the bus in the process.  Hearing the overwhelming load of evidence thrown her way she lowered her shoulders and confessed to it all.  The facts of the case had been revealed, two culprits one definitive finger match and all with a little knowledge learned from watching to many Law and Order episodes late at night.

The investigating officers report read as such:

On the night of 25 November 2012, One 8-year-old female suspect made her way into the family’s basement, avoiding detection from the parental units through stealth measures developed over an unspecified period of time.  The female suspect finding the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough tub in the main downstairs refrigerator carefull removed a tool from the adjoining refrigerator intentionally piercing the cellophane cover, exposing the dough goodness held inside.  Using her fingers many samples were had/stolen until the sounds of people moving her direction stopped her from enjoying more of the holiday treat. She retreated through the shadows into her room retiring for the night.  Sometime later in the evening suspect number two seeing the lid had in fact been opened and fully knowing who the main culprit may have been felt as though the perfect crime would be committed by helping himself to the same sugary goodness then leave suspect number one taking the fall for the crime. A thorough investigation was held, both suspects were apprehended and suitable punishments were doled out through the use of plea bargaining. 

Case closed.

Now if only I can use this late night psychological shit to figure out who is stealing my underwear and socks….

Chocolate

CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE 

Hello everyone: My name is Betty and I am a choco-holic!

Everyone: HELLO BETTY

Betty: Its been six long days since I have partaken in the sinful, uninhibited, mind altering ecstasy that is chocolate!

Everyone: (round of applause) good for you Betty, good for you!!!

Betty: as much as I enjoy and long for your love and admiration, I have failed you all…

Everyone: heavy sigh with muttered speech around the circle

Betty: (Shoulders slumped)

I awoke this morning from a restless night of tossing and turning, cold sweats ravaging my system.  I tried contacting my sponsor but she was unavailable( ok she was asleep right next to me)!  It was terrible, TERRIBLE I TELL YOU!!!! I can hear it (chocolate) calling my name in the middle of the night! The house is quiet, and yet there it is, taunting me, calling my name! BETTTYY, BEETTYYYY, COME EAT ME!  

The chocolate rustling from within a satchel, squirming, rubbing together so the cellophane makes a very distinct sound.  MMMMMM Chocolate! I just can’t stand it! I CANT STAND FREAKING STAND IT!!!!!

This is the way I picture a support group devoted to the insane addiction that is chocolate. Together as one we discuss the evil side effects associated with loving chocolate just a little too much!  guidance and help provided to get you through a day without finding yourself holed up in a downstairs closet, gorging on a fist full of dark, creamy sin, hoping no one from your family finds you in this degrading example of uncontrollable excess!

It’s truly a struggle for us chocoholics! Its our drug of choice! Having a bad day? Nothing a Dove bar can’t fix! Gotten in an argument with your significant other? Well that Reese’s peanut butter cup is just the ticket! Kids giving you a migraine? Stand back Mounds bar you are all mine and if you don’t like it, I’ll eat your little buddy Almond joy too!  It’s that simple! One lick, one sniff, just a little taste, you’re hooked and there is no coming back!!!!!

Making matters worse our society has screwed chocoholics to the wall by enveloping certain holidays with candy! Any holiday where candy is present is a holiday where chocolate rules the day!  So when Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the ever so dreaded EASTER come around we sit, salivating at the mere prospect of having one day, just one where we can stuff our faces in public without scrutiny from the fitness police!

Hell at Christmas time what is the gift of choice for most business partners, acquaintances, distant family members and friends?  SEE’S CANDIES!!!! Yep that’s right they opened a store dedicated to nothing but CHOCOLATE!!! Its like finally getting my medical marijuana card then being told I can only shop for product once a year. One month and one month only the dispensary opens up allowing me to fulfil all mymarijuana needs!

So whats a guy like me to do? A man who can smell chocolate pulling into a parking lot at 300 feet! A man who over the last 2 years has lost close to 40 pounds by fighting, working out and struggling to eat healthy! A man who on Halloween night watched his children divvying up their candy treasure like a hawk eyes its future dinner from above, waiting for the right moment to strike! As the kids placed their treasure back into Halloween sacks for safe keeping, my mouth salivating at the thought of locating these sacks then prying them from there secure spots for future pillaging.  I know its wrong. I really do!!

Yet I can hear the chocolate calling, like a zombie only living off the urge to bite, I follow my snapping jaw towards fresh meat, it’s there and chomping into it will bring a frenzied relief to my suffering.  I struggle with this feeling on a daily basis.

A valiant effort was put forth last night, but before long as with all addicts I succumbed to the urge, finally giving in to my inner demons around midnight! Looking back on it now, it was sad really; There I sat on the floor in the kitchen, bags in hand sobbing uncontrollably as piece after piece made its way down my gullet.  Melted chocolate on my lips, chin and hands. I cried out of disgust for the 3200 calories I had just ingested, I cried for letting myself down, I cried for the hypocrisy of teaching my children not to steal from each other and yet here I sat red-handed (or chocolate-brown handed as it were) stealing piece after piece from someones secret stash!  Oh yes a pathetic shell of a man covered in milky way, caramel, peanut butter and dark chocolate.  But what made it the biggest failure of all?

It felt good! Sugar, chocolate, sweetness coursing through my veins, bringing relief to the cold sweaty pains of laying in bed knowing it was downstairs!

I was found in the morning surrounded by candy wrappers, in the same location on the kitchen floor.  I awoke from my chocolate coma, disoriented, blurry eyed surrounded by little people staring down at the lump of a father who laid before them.  I could have asked for forgiveness but they have heard it all before.  No tears, no anger, no hurtful words were spoken.  Just the woeful tired look glaring back from eyes of disappointment.   I sat up and tried to speak, but three heads looked to the ground as the oldest pointed upstairs, suggesting that I leave.

As I headed upstairs, feeling as low as a snakes belly I heard the littlest one mumble to my oldest; I found him first and kissed him to wake him up. He was sweaty and it tasted like a milky way.  That is weird right?  The oldest quietly answered back it was weird and together they decided it was time to hide what remained so I may never ever find it..

As I turned the corner at the top of the landing, my daughter was overheard mumbling; maybe we should just give the chocolate away so we never end up like dad..  They all agreed.  See maybe I am teaching them something after all…..

My name is Betty and I am a chocoholic…..