Balls, Brits and Country Music

burnt ends3

Welcome to the official first edition of Burnt Ends! In case you missed yesterday’s post,, I am trying out a new format for my blog that will hopefully be a little more reader-friendly ( and also writer-friendly.)

Let’s get down to it!

balls in the air

This past week has left me seriously fried- in the brain, on my skin, and as you probably read yesterday, down to my eyeballs. I had envisioned lazy summer days, sleeping in, drinking ice tea, reading a book on a lawn chair while the kids gleefully jumped through the sprinklers.

The days of early alarms, yelling at kids to eat breakfast, brush their teeth and throw their shoes on were to go away as soon as the last bell rang in June, right?


Reality set in last week when Nathan started tennis camp and got even more real when Parker started soccer camp this week.

Alarm going off an hour and 15 minutes earlier than during the school year, dragging Nathan and Parker out of bed, yelling for them to eat brush their teeth, get their shoes (cleats) on…

Nathan’s camp is at my old high school, my old stomping grounds.  It’s a 15- 20 minute drive down the hill into my hometown. His instructor, Andy,  grew up two blocks down the street from me. His dad was and is the tennis coach at my high school, and Andy is a tennis pro at a club in another town.

Parker’s camp is closer to our house, but starts at the same time as Nathan’s camp, so I have to drop Nathan off early to get Parker there on time.  The courts will be empty for another 20 minutes.

This morning I noticed a large group of pretty girls standing not too far from the courts.

“Look! pretty girls! I wonder if they are cheerleaders.”

“They are,  they were here yesterday. ”

“Oooh good. you can look at the pretty girls while you wait for everyone to show up!”

“I’m not going to watch them like some creeper! Seriously. You are creepier than any guy I know!”

Those were his parting words as he got out of the car.

Parker’s soccer camp is run by a bunch of players flown in from the UK for the summer, whose accents and flat out adorableness require me to put in a little more effort getting ready than I might normally make. I have, in the past, been known to roll directly from my bed to the car when having to do early morning drops-offs. Not the case this week, I can assure you.

Parker’s coach is Declan, a young lad from Scotland who can’t be more than 21. His brogue is so thick that I do a lot of smiling and nodding and hope he’s not actually asking me a question I’m supposed to answer. Have you noticed those UK accents always sound like they are asking questions even if they aren’t?

I had anticipated hearing that Parker spent the entire time grilling him on the Loch Ness Monster, but so far he has restrained himself. I asked him if he wanted to wear his Union Jack shirt to camp (You know, the Benedict Arnold shirt he wore to our 4th of July celebration?)


He declined, and then stuck his tongue out at me for even suggesting it. He did tell me that he’s learning to “speak Scottish,” which I assume to mean he’s starting to be able to understand Declan’s instructions.

female justin bieber

Meanwhile, Zoe’s new obsession has arrived via UPS in the world largest box. (Someone needs to explain to me how Amazon can give free shipping on a box that would cost me a thousand dollars to mail. )

She’s been asking for a guitar for months, and finally last week her “Adam Levine acoustic guitar” arrived. Parker immediately took off with the giant box and turned it into his new home.


At one point he was using the flap as a table for his tv remote and a cup of water.

Zoe’s never taken lessons, but that doesn’t stop her from strumming and singing at the top of her lungs.


She told me she wants to be the female Justin Bieber, to which I replied, horrified, “No! You don’t want to be like Justin Bieber!”

She reassured me that she only meant in the way that he was discovered. Unfortunately that means posting videos on YouTube, which I find concerning in itself.

farmers and country music

I tend to be one of those people who lives my life in phases.  Earlier this year I ate a lot of pineapple and listened to Reggae in order to escape the winter doldrums. Last year I went through an “All Motown all the time” phase.  This year, in addition to binge-watching “Hart of Dixie,” crushing on Farmer Chris on “The Bachelorette,” and spending a whole lot of time in my hometown full of small town charm and attractive people selling things at the farmer’s market, it has become the summer of country music.

Nathan is not happy about this development, especially since he’s been spending about an hour a day in the car with me coming and going from tennis camp. There’s something about driving through the valley into town- the hay bales dotting the fields, the tractors hoeing the rows, the corn that’s already as tall as my waist- that makes me want to listen to country music right now. I can’t explain it.

Yesterday he was heckling me about the music.

I said, “Zoe’s been listening to it more than you, and she’s finding songs she likes,”

He responded, ” Yeah, well if you dive in a dumpster for an hour, you’re likely to find something that’s not complete trash. But you’re still in a dumpster.”

As you might imagine, I had a difficult time coming up with a rebuttal for that one.

Last Saturday night I made homemade minestrone and roasted redneck garlic bread using mostly vegetables I had bought at the farmer’s market.

My husband has inferred that a simple observation of attractive organic fruit and vegetable purveyors has influenced my organic fruit and vegetable purchases of late.

I argue that it’s merely love and care for my family that motivates me to hit the market each week. I think I should be offended by his inference. Don’t you?

After trying the soup, he smirked and said, “It tastes extra hunky.”


white noise


Jeff got a white noise machine last week to help him sleep. I was totally okay with the idea, until that night at 10 pm when he turned it on.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m going to sleep.”

“But I’m watching TV and now all I can hear is ‘shhhhhhh.'”

“I need it to help me sleep.”

I stared incredulously at him for a moment, and then a moment or two longer.

He stared back.

We had a stare-off.

“Does it at least have another setting other than ‘10,000 shushing librarians?’ Waterfall? Rain maybe?”

“Blame it on the rain,” He sang.

He reached over, but instead of turning off the machine like I hoped, I began to hear the opening melody of “Blame it on the rain,” by Milli Vanilli streaming out of his phone.

“No.” I said.

He giggled. “Blame it on the rain. Blame it on the rain.”

“This is NOT okay,”

“Blame it on the rain! Blame it on the rain!” He sang.

I gave up, turned off the TV and rolled over to the sounds of Milli Vanilli and the 10,000 librarians.





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