Category Archives: Misunderstandings

Happy Spring!

Another one of my favorite spiritual authors is Brother Richard Rohr.  A Franciscan priest, he approaches the Universe in a unique way, deeply, profoundly.  Sometimes so deep and profoundly I don’t know what he is getting at.  But I persist in trying to understand him.  I do not think I understood most of what he wrote before I turned 50.

Today is his 75th birthday.  Reading his birthday memoir post was a gift to me this morning that I would like to share with you.  The truth, of course, makes an appearance.  Enjoy!

Hot music tip:  download Sarah MacLachlan’s Prayer of St. Francis and Medicine for the People (all of it).


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Filed under Birthdays, Life, Misunderstandings, Reading, Religion

The Irish Good Bye

Recently, my family was at a party and some of the guests left without saying good bye.  My Things snorted and said, “Well, that was an Irish good bye.”  I had never heard the phrase.  While watching the TV series Schitt’s Creek yesterday, one of the characters mentioned  the  “French exit”.  It turns out they are the same thing.  Americans implicate the Irish and the Canadians and Brits finger the French.

Per Urban Dictionary, “the irish [sic] exit refers to the departure from any event without telling any friends, associates or acquaintances that one is leaving. It is almost always the result of being very inebriated/intoxicated.”  Here is a good article on this topic as well as the very millenial form of separation called “ghosting”.

In the case of the above noted party, intoxication was not the reason.
In other news, my DNA per revealed that I am about 29% Irish,  27% British, 33% Scandinavian, and the rest is Western European, including 6% Iberian Peninsula.  There was no German, which was odd because I was always told I was also German.  This later Iberian dollop did not show up in my father’s DNA, so we have to surmise it came from The Radish (sadly, she did not spit in her tube before passing away).  My Aunt SuSu had no Iberian Peninsula in her DNA.  Raftbuddy sent me this interesting article explaining why siblings get such varied DNA.  So, sisters, order your kits and let’s see who is the most Irish and who’s the most Iberian!    The truth will out!
I trust that none of my readers pulled an Irish exit yesterday!  My father, Big Mike, made my mother’s corned beef recipe, key lime pie, and soda bread.  You cannot believe what a fantastic, nourishing feast that was.  The potatoes, sadly, never made it to the party.  The Truth be told, I forgot to bring them.  The cabbage, however, was not missed.
Question for you:  Have you ever pulled an Irish goodbye and if so, what were the circumstances?  TELL THE TRUTH.


Filed under Family, Fine Dining, Holidays, Life, Misunderstandings, Parenting

Never Going Back to Malaysia

As today is St. Patrick’s Day, I reread my posts from the past on this day and truthfully, they were pretty darn good.  I really need not say more except that I have totally forgotten the face of my duende and need to find another one, this time perhaps in the yoga studio.   And I never heard the crazy drunken wedding song because I left the marathon festivities in the early evening.

Since snakes have featured heavily here over the past week, I am sharing  this article/video with you.  It is not for the faint of heart.  I cannot explain this behavior.  Thank you, St. Patrick, for ridding an entire country of them.

Congrats to my Irish sisters – MCVWasHere has run her 20th half marathon and MoodRingMomma has another Dawg in the house!


Filed under Family, Holidays, Life, Misunderstandings, Spanish vocabulary

All About Eve


The truth is that no one really likes reading about the truth.  The truth may be that the truth is a very hard Lenten project.

This morning upon exiting yoga I received this string of texts.  I would screen shot them for you but then you would know the names of my daughters.  Although the group text included all family members, Thing 2 apparently declined to comment (where is he???).  In any event, when I was responding to the string of texts, I had not been able to download the photo.   So this was what I got:

Thing 1:  holy CRAP this was in our pool patio!!!!!!

Thing 3:  oh my gosh….DISGUSTING!

T1:  i’m worried now about going out there/letting the animals out!!!!

T3: try to find the snake.  it had to get in there somehow.

T1: hell  no, not while I’m alone

T3: don’t let the animals out

T1: i’ll wait for mom to come home

T3: Right.  But when Mom or Dad is home

T1:  should we call animal control?  how do we deal with this?  it looks like its 4 plus feet long

EPP/Mom:  I can’t download it but you know I am not going out if there’s a snake

T3: that’s gross.  lock the cat door to mom and dads room

T1:  how big would you say it is??? the bowl is like 5 inches in diameter

At this point, I returned home.  I am not just sure what Thing 1 thought I was going to do about the snake.  She explained that she’d already called animal control – in Florida you must subcontract a snake wrangler.  As we debated this, I took a closer look at the aforementioned snakeskin minus its inhabitant just as the doorbell rang.   Cue the Sheriff.  Chagrined, I explained to him that it was a …


T3:  ???


T3:  dunce award


Mr.U/Dad:  Good Lord.

Thing 1 had failed to tell me that she called 911 to report the snake/snakeskin.    Apparently the local sheriff’s office is supposed to deal with minor animal services.  Local contractors presumably are the ones hired to deal with situations like this near our house two days ago:


What is the lesson here?  Sometimes the truth is just a damned dirty piece of crochet.  Perhaps Eve forgot to put her contacts in that morning?  Maybe we need to investigate a little more carefully before getting our knickers in a twist?   It was cold last night …. hardly the time for a long, skinny snake to be shedding its skin.  At least now we know who to call….

I have been dining out on this all day ….  many thanks to Gypsy Jords for making the crochet pet leash/snake/not snake and my favorite self-Caviezel (pleases refer to much earlier posts) of all time.  My mother is laughing SO HARD in Heaven.  SO HARD.  There are snakes in the desert during Lent but sometimes they are just a good yarn.


Filed under Family, Life, Misunderstandings

Persian Aversion: An Ode to Martha


One of the oddities not mentioned in the After Your Heart Surgery brochure that a hospital gives a patient and their family before going home is that the patient will become a Food Diva.  If they were a Food Diva before the surgery, this aspect of their personality will become heightened, exacerbated, enlarged, inflated.  Once the pain is over and the patient returns home, small portions of any food not resembling hospital food will be requested.  This is natural.  But “requested”, perhaps, is too gentle a word.  Strongly suggested?   The very thing the caregiver is suggested to make, however, will offend the patient’s also heightened olfactory senses.  Chex Mix (TM) can send a patient into paroxysms of disgust.  Crockpot pork shoulder, lovingly rubbed with chili, garlic, salt, and cumin, can send a patient over the edge.  Who knew?

If one is not a natural born cook yet finds them self in a primary caregiver role to a Food Diva, this is a bitter pill to swallow.   Where does it say I have to be Alice Waters, Julia Childs, or Ashley Rodriguez?  To the patient whose primary love language is Acts of Service – The Provisioning of Healthy Meals to Your Family – to find oneself in the clutches of a merely serviceable cook of a caregiver is to find oneself gazing about the ramparts of the pits of hell.  Some snarky, possibly overtly aggressive, comments about pizza and the frequency with which it is consumed, just might be uttered by the patient: “You just keep eating your pizza.”  Food shaming at its best!

MoodRingMomma and I were at our collective caregiving wits’ end the other night.  I suggested to our mother that we could eat either a) crock potted chicken thighs in green salsa from her own website or b) Stromboli from the Italian restaurant a stone’s throw away.  MoodRingMomma added that she was willing to cook c) chicken curry.  A veritable smorgasbord of options, with a green salad on the side!

But no, The Radish wanted effing ground lamb kebabs on flatbread with roasted tomatoes from Naomi Duguid‘s cookbook Persia.  No matter that we did not have the skewers the recipe required, a grill, or ground lamb.  Hamburger would do, mixed in with the grated onion, mashed into pasty little sliders by my very own dish pan hands, and cooked on the pancake griddle.

I later commented that really, this very labor intensive  dish, was a Persian version of a poor Greek’s gyro, one we could probably get as take out.   I felt it needed some tzatziki but all agreed that the sumac spice was essential (this, of course, we had on hand).  Nonetheless, the Radish was pleased with the outcome and the smell did not offend.  She enjoyed watching MoodRingMomma cry over grating the onions and me mashing the meat paste into “kebabs”.   There was no sitting at the feet of Jesus for these sisters.

It was shortly after this that I had a hissy fit on the phone with my other sister MCVwasHere, during which I explained that everyday with a heart surgery patient is like being on a roller coaster.  Up one hour, down the next, with loop de loops, hanging upside down for extended periods.  This is no reflection on the heart surgery patient.  It is the nature of the beast. But no doctor tells you this beforehand, of course.  A heart surgeon touches your body exactly twice: once to cut on you for 4-5 hours and then again to remove the staples, and maybe then he or she  might even make a different healthcare worker do that nasty bit of business.

My ten year old nephew, overhearing the conversation, piped up and said,

“Wait!  You’re on a roller coaster????”

Like we were whooping it up on vacation at DisneyWorld.  It still makes me laugh hard.

Sometimes life demands that a Martha show up instead of a Mary.  Marthas get sh*t done.  Martha would not have hesitated to wipe up the blood and crust from the wounds of Jesus but she might have been resentful that she had to unload the dishwasher and milk the yak too. I am not so sure that That Other Mary would have been up to the task, something I will inquire about in my personal one-on-one conversation on the other side.  For today, Sweet Jesus, let me make it to Christmas.  At least there have been no poopy diapers.


Shopping Suggestions:  you are cutting it close, shoppers.  I think you can still order Naomi Duguid’s books Persia or Burma, which are part travelogue, part stellar photography, and part recipes.  Even if you never cook from them, they are beautiful books.  Alternatively, order some baklava from  I like to think Martha served both Jesus and her sister a piece.  YUM!!!!








Filed under Domesticity, Family, Fine Dining, Holidays, Life, Misunderstandings, Reading, Religion, Sightseeing

Tom Brady and a Can of Whoop Ass



Dear Friends,

Yesterday I had a cup of coffee with Polly Positive and we had a post Lent & Easter wrap up chat session. She is continuing on in her new role as Polly Positive as a result of her Lenten exercise. I took half a week’s break from blogging and am now faced with the dilemma of what to blog. Since we have covered religion for the last chunk of time, I am taking that off the table as a theme. Other taboo dinner table topics are sex and politics. Do you really want me to go there???   Be careful what you ask for.

When I pressed Polly for the exact adjective she used to describe me, she reminded me that the word was constrained. I was not sure the word applied to me but looked it up here. Does this mean I am doing a better job of holding my tongue than I think I am?  The only definition I will accept is #5 of the full definition. Of course.  Who would want any of the others???  As it is, the analogy to a sausage is inescapable.

Having said that, I am not sure I will be constrained when writing about the next topic my readers choose. As a premio (prize/treat) before I move on to the next topic, I will tell you a little story to tide you over.

One of Thing 1’s classmates at Migraine Boot Camp is from Arkansas. Last week, I met Hot Tonya and her delightful mother, Miss Angie.  Hot Tonya is a mother of two children, one of whom has cerebral palsy and the other who had a traumatic brain injury at a young age but is doing well. She home schools both of the adolescents. Part of the recovery process for her daughter with the TBI was a one eared mule named Buster – a therapy animule, as it were.  He is featured above.

During the story telling I interjected that today was Good Friday and that Jesus rode into town on one on Palm Sunday. I was promptly corrected.

“Oh no, dear, it’s a mule, not a donkey. But don’t worry, my brother has a miniature one of those named Tom Brady.” Hot Tonya beamed.

At this point of the conversation, I didn’t know which tack to take so I opted for the simplest and most obvious.

“Tom Brady? Is that because he’s an ass?” I asked. As you may or may not recall, I am not a fan.

“Well, he’s had him about 10 years so I don’t think so.” Miss Angie chimed in.

“That thing just roams the country side. One day we had someone ask us if we had a miniature donkey on the loose. And we said, ‘Yessir.’” Miss Angie paused here for effect.

“Well,” the donkey finder said, “the donkey’s up at the church.”

Miss Angie assured the gentleman, “Oh, he’ll come back home, he’s not lost!”

“Sure enough,” Miss Angie continued, “He came back home a few hours later, walked right up onto the porch and peered into the window to let us know he was back.”

Since then, I have learned the difference between mules and donkeys, miniature or otherwise. A donkey is a domesticated ass (equus asinus). A mule is a hybrid of a male donkey and a female mare. (Are you still with me?  This is the simplified version.)  America’s favorite online retailer has a commercial out, which first aired in the UK in November, featuring Asa (?) a miniature horse who is also a dwarf.  A charming video on Asa’s history can be found here. And finally, here is a video of Trevor and Tulip, real miniature donkeys.  Just so you don’t get confused.

Oh, the joy when worlds collide! Thing 1 has “family” in Arkansas before her parents ever move there!  At the end of the day, I requested (OK, demanded) that the women show me how to “call the hogs”.

Many people have asked  me,”How are you going to live in Arkansas?”, as if I am moving to the moon.  I respond, “Just like I have in every other place I have ever lived.”  The Natural State is just like another foreign country except they speak my language – with a twist.

WOOOOOOOO  Pig …..Sooooie!!!  WOOOOOOOO  Don-key Sooooooie!!!


Filed under Domesticity, Family, Friends, Life, Misunderstandings, Moving, People, Religion, Spanish vocabulary

Polly Positive, Paragon of Virtue


Today I had coffee with Polly Positive.

With the exception of my Bible Study, my friendships in Ohio are compartmentalized.  I have about 3 friends that I meet up with for coffee or lunch.  Polly and I discuss all manner of topics – families, politics, religion – nothing is taboo.  We do not always see eye to eye but pretty close.

For Lent this year, her project was not to dump on her husband.  Apparently, he gets the brunt of whatever is bothering her, usually related to her family.  So, rather than be Negative Nellie, she morphed into Polly Positive.  Her husband has noticed.

With one exception, I have never heard Polly say anything negative about anybody.  So I was surprised when she started the conversation by saying that she was slightly irritated at her husband.   I then confessed my Proud Mary moment, about which only my youngest sister MCV knows.  (Frequently, I have a teeny tiny heart. I try to keep this to myself.)  

Polly is good at listening and sorting things out.  

But then she sort of rocked my world by providing me a different perspective on myself, a dose of truth serum.  She said that I was – and here I don’t really remember how she phrased it – but I think the word was “contained” (ok, it might have been “controlled”.  Whatever).   That I don’t ask others for help when I am in dire straits.


That is not how I see myself AT ALL!

But just to be safe, I had to ask myself if perchance, there wasn’t the slightest bit of truth in Polly’s observation.  Which, of course, there is.  Let me say here that I was not at all offended.  NOT AT ALL.  REALLY.

This seeming ability to appear “contained”,  I think, is a direct result of a) not wanting to burden others b) 17 years of living in countries where there is no 911 and  sorting out emergencies myself  c) chatting with God who gets the brunt of my cries for help  d) having a helpful family (blessedly) who always volunteers and e) former expat communities who saw needs and just jumped in.   MAINLY, I HAVE NOT HAD TO ASK FOR HELP.  UNTIL RECENTLY.

Polly Positive was my Marian apparition for today.  Don’t you think Mary would be a truth teller?  Are you good at asking for and/or receiving help?  Do a little bit of soul searching and get back to me so I am prepared to meet your future needs! Or not!

Finally, I have noticed that God also likes to get a jump on the next day’s blog post with the former day’s  title.  Talk about Our Lady of the Snows!  Also, this is not going to be a Bag on the Expat Princess Forum, friends.  Try and channel Polly Positive in your comments.  She will be making an appearance tomorrow.

Featured above are Nittany Kitten’s actual photos from the church, stained glass windows from the hospital where I recently had tests (ne freakez pas), and some of my flower vases.  I enjoy the commonality.

Herewith concludes Day 32.











Filed under Friends, Life, Misunderstandings, People, Religion