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Posts Tagged ‘family’

  1. Things That Drive Me Crazy

    April 10, 2016 by Diane

    Bun Karyudo The Man, The Legend, The Paper Bag

    Bun Karyudo
    The Man, The Legend, The Paper Bag

    I discovered Bun Karyudo on Twitter some time ago, and I’ve enjoyed his sweet, humorous blog ever since. He can turn the mundane into something rip-snorting funny. I invited him to write a guest post on my blog and he obliged, without any arm-twisting. Enjoy! And to check out more of his fun ramblings, please visit him at

    Things That Drive Me Crazy by Bun Karyudo

    “But write about what?” I ask in my email.

    “Things that drive you crazy,” comes the reply.

    I pull at my earlobe and try to think. Anger’s not an emotion that features much in my usual repertoire of responses. There are people who can so concentrate their fury, they need do no more than lower their eyebrows three-quarters of a millimeter and thunderclouds gather in the sky, the earth begins trembling, and grown men and women fall to their knees begging forgiveness.

    This never happens in my case. I can jump up and down, snarl, wave my arms, bang my fist on the counter and the clerk at the post office will merely look through me and shout “Next!” or else give me directions to the nearest restroom. But a guest post is a guest post, so I decide that the next day, I will make a special effort to notice everything that registers the slightest tiny blip on my rage-o-meter.

    The following morning begins, as do most mornings, with the ceiling. Wow! It’s so bright! Have I woken up in the middle of a New Year’s firework display? A naval barrage perhaps? No, it’s just the irritatingly luminous display on my wife’s alarm clock. So what time is it? I have no idea. I can’t actually see the numbers from my side of the bed, just the eerie green glow they cast about the room.


    Woah, great start! The first modest blip on the rage-o-meter!

    I stagger through to the bathroom mirror and see myself. Oh there I am, fresh as a daisy – although, sadly, a daisy in a meadow used by tap dancing elephants.


    As I avert my eyes from the mirror, I happen to notice that one or other of my sons has used up a roll of toilet paper and then simply left the empty cardboard tube in the holder. I try not to give in to annoyance. After all, how can I really expect a mere teenager to manhandle a hulking four-and-a-half inch cardboard cylinder – one weighing almost 1.5 ounces! – and lug it all the way to a wastebasket very nearly four feet away?

    Blip! Blip!

    Like it or not, I’ll have to look back toward the mirror if I’m to shave. Oh look! My elder son has left the mirrored side doors of the bathroom cabinet open again so that he can see his hair from every conceivable angle. He seems to have ignored the fact that I asked him to keep these door closed in order to avoid head-bumping incidents. To be fair, it may simply have slipped his mind since I’ve only mentioned it to him one or two hundred thousand times before.

    Blip! Blip! Blip!

    I shave, splash some water on my face and then look at my face carefully in the mirror again. There has been a massive improvement in that I’m fairly confident any visiting aliens from Mars could now identify my approximate genus. Perhaps they might even be able to make a stab at my species after I’ve had my shower.

    I turn on the water and wet my hair and body. Then I hunt through the various pairs of matching plastic bottles around me for shampoo and conditioner. I check the blue pair first. The conditioner bottle is full but the shampoo bottle is empty. Perhaps the white pair will hav— No, same again. The pink pair? Oh, for goodness sake! My children do this every time! They use up all the shampoo and ignore everything else. It looks like this is just another of those days when I’m going to leave the shower with the best conditioned dirty hair in the Northern hemisphere.

    Blip! Blip! Blip! Blip!

    I turn off the water and reach for the towel which I keep hanging on the rail outside the– Agh! Not again! My towel has been folded back over on itself for some reason, thus ensuring that it hasn’t dried properly. The only light my wife and children can ever shed on this fiendish towel origami is that it definitely, absolutely, positively has nothing to do with them. Oh, those accursed towel fairies!

    Blip! Blip! Blip! Blip! Blip!

    Left with no choice, I begin patting myself with a towel that’s probably wetter than I am. Slowly, my upper body does begin to feel drier, although this may owe as much to evaporation as to anything else. Yet for some reason, my feet feel no different. I peer down to find out what’s going on, and notice the water is not disappearing. I remove the drain cover and check beneath. How can it be clogged with hair again? I removed all that just the other day!

    I think about my other family members and check off each of the possibilities in turn just to be sure. No… no… no… They’re not Yetis, not alpacas and not Afghan hounds. Where can all this hair be coming from? I’m not very excited about having to touch something that looks like it was coughed up by a saber-toothed cat, but I don’t want a flooded bathroom either, so reluctantly I bend down, pick one corner of the squelchy mess between my thumb and forefinger, and toss it into the wastebasket.

    Blip! Blip! Blip! Blip! Blip! Blip!

    After I’m fully dressed, I take a step toward the bathroom door and open it, only it doesn’t open. Recently, the lock has decided that instead of closing when turned left and opening when turned right, it would be much more fun to remain closed whether it is turned left, turned right, turned left-right-left-right-left, is hammered, is kicked, or is sworn at. I eventually get the door to open, but only at a terrible cost…

    Blip! Blip! Blip! Blip! Blip! Blip! Blip!

    Seven blips! My highest total so far.

    At this stage, I decide to call off the experiment. By forcing myself to take conscious note of all these minor irritations, I am quickly being worked into an unhealthy state of agitation. I’ve barely made it out of the bathroom and already I’m feeling angrier than I have for months. If I go on like this, I’m bound to lose my temper at some point today. There’s even the possibly that I might begin raging at some poor store clerk or passerby, and who knows were that might lead? Most likely, down the passage, first on the left, second on the right, to the nearest restroom.


  2. Is it Wrong to Make “Grrr!” Noises at my Brother?

    April 2, 2016 by Diane

    Dear Digby,

    I’m not sure if this counts as a squirrelly moment. When I was about nine, I bought a fantastically huge burger from Burger King (I think). I only just had enough money for it and I was so looking forward to it.

    My brother asked if he could have a bite, so reluctantly, I held the burger towards him. Then I swear, his jaws opened wider than the monster’s in Alien and it was clear he was going to leave me with nothing but a pathetic crescent moon of a bun. I pulled my hands back quickly, but the burger dropped onto the street, and the bun split so the patty fell onto the ground and beyond saving.

    Is it wrong that still now, some forty years later, if I happen to be with my brother and then recall that day, I make “Grrr!” noises in his direction?


    Dear Bun,

    This is an appropriate response. I suggest you bare your teeth as well. Because after 40 years of repressing your anger over the “burger incident,” a mere “Grrr!” and snarl is a much healthier option than flinging yourself across the dinner table at a family gathering, grabbing your brother by the throat and wrestling him to the carpet.

    On the other hand, it might be time to let go of this 40-year grudge. If you were the kind of nine-year old who stuffed his feelings into his metaphorical pocket, try this: close your eyes, breathe deeply, climb into your imaginary time machine and zoom back to that moment. See your brother’s gargantuan jaws open. See your hands yank back and the burger plop onto the ground. Feel whatever emotion rises. Then look your brother in the eye and say whatever is in your heart. Give him a shove if you want. Get it out of your system.

    If, after 40 years, you’re still mourning the loss of this burger, well, can anyone blame you? After all, you saved your pennies to buy the thing. You probably lay in your bunk bed at night in your cowboy pajamas and thought about riding your bike down to Burger King and buying it. When you finally had it in your hand, and smelled the aroma, and saw the juices running down the sides of that big toasty bun you could almost taste it. And then…plop.

    I know your pain. I had a “sock incident” with my boyfriend. One day I spied him pulling on my favorite pair of hiking socks, stretching them over his big ‘ol feet. “Hey, those are mine!” I said, and tried to pull them off as he laughed uncontrollably. After a lengthy tug-of-war, those socks were never the same. My favorite pair.

    However, this is one of my fondest memories. Remembering his impish expression and utter joy never fails to make  me smile. And I suspect that your “Grrr!” is a long-standing joke between you and your brother, recalling that special moment on the sidewalk in front of Burger King when his piggishness cost you a precious patty.

    So by all means, carry on.


    Got a question for Digby? Need advice on dating, relating, in-laws, out-laws, the medical profession, overcoming insomnia (yeah, me too!) or dealing with anxiety? Post your question on the Contact page (it’s working now) or in the comments below.


  3. Not Every Christmas Must be Memorable to be Cherished

    December 27, 2015 by Diane

    When I logon to my computer a reminder pops up:

    It’s Christmas Day.

    As if I can’t remember that yesterday was the day before Christmas. As if I can’t recall last night’s dinner with friends…

    We bring a cheap bottle of Chardonnay to the Italian family-style restaurant where we meet every Christmas Eve. He’s wearing shoes that he dusts off once a year, she’s wrapped in a muffler knit by hand. I shrug off my rain coat with the broken zipper, unable to shrug off the wisps of my day at work, the customers with their pained, desperate faces: “Do you think my son’s girlfriend’s mother will want this? She’s sixty-nine.” The man sets a bottle of lavender massage oil on the counter.

    “Do you even know this woman?” I wanted to say. “Why are you buying her a present? Go home and spend time with your son instead.”

    These thoughts swirl in my head as my two friends reminisce about their adventures as a duo in times gone by before I came into their lives. I can barely hear what they say but I’m too tired to participate. I hear instead the family in the booth behind me chattering. I hear snippets of Dean Martin singing the lounge-lizard version of The Christmas Song, or is it Frank Sinatra? My eyes rove the walls adorned with old photographs: Sophia Loren sitting next to Jayne Mansfield, her eyes cutting down to Jayne’s pendulous breasts spilling over that low neckline. Another photo: a dapper man passed out on the table, one arm flung overhead; his companion, a young woman with short curls, stroking his slick hair. Did he have too much cheap wine to drink? Did the chicken marsala do him in? I wonder these things as my companions reminisce about a hostel in Marin under a full moon, a lump of man snoring in the bottom bunk.

    We wait close to an hour for the eighty-dollar dinner to arrive and it’s disappointing: the spinach and tomato and red onion salad limp in a puddle of balsamic vinaigrette, the chicken breasts shrunken, not Jayne Mansfield proportions at all.  A disappointment; but still, this yearly tradition with our makeshift-family is something we all look forward to, tucking it away like a favorite present to be admired when winter has bleached the color from our faces, and nights are long and lonely.

    Another reminder pops up on my computer:

    Tomorrow is the day after Christmas.

    Those geniuses at Apple are on it.