Marcus, Marcus, Marcus

When I was a kid, I loved watching the Brady Bunch.

It was one of my very favorite shows and I even share a name with the beautiful older sister.

But even though people have always, ALWAYS, come up to me and said “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia”, I didn’t identify with the popular Marcia Brady.


I’m Jan…..all the way!


I didn’t want to BE Jan…..I just was.

I’m a middle child.

And like Jan Brady, the middle child is never considered the smartest, the most beautiful, the funniest, or the ANYTHING.

We’re just there.

In the middle.

Between the perfect oldest child and the sweet, precious baby child.

Except in my family, we have TWO baby children.

Molly likes to pretend sometimes that she’s a middle child but oh no!

She’s definitely a baby.


A baby child.

Did I just call her a baby???


Anyway, since Molly was the baby for six years until Marc came along, she quickly decided that she was NOT giving up her baby status for no BOY!

Hence, two babies.


Baby children.


And just in case you think that the curse of the middle child goes away with age, let me assure you that it does not.

Not by a long shot.

Just this very last month the Jan Brady Syndrome reared its ugly head.

My brother, Marc, came to town for a few days and so the Mr. and I decided to go to church with him at Mom & Dad’s church.  This is the church I grew up in so I know most everybody.  But recently, the church hired a new youth minister and I thought of this right as the service started.  I leaned over to Mom and said “Which one is the new youth guy?”  She told me that he and his family were behind us a couple of rows.  I figured I’d goon at him after service and then I just kind of forgot about it.

When the service was over, we turned around to gather our stuff and Mom said to the youth pastor, “I want to introduce you”.

So I grabbed the Mr. by the arm and told him to hang on.

Mom’s introducing us.

That’s when my sweet mother said “This is our son, Marc.  He’s a youth pastor in Arizona.”



Pleasantries all around.

Now it must be my turn.

Yep, time to introduce your daughter.

The daughter standing right here.

Right here beside you.

Remember her?

Your kid???

Your MIDDLE kid????



Not a mention.

Not a nod.

Not even a look that says I have a clue as to who you are.

So what’s a Jan Brady to do when she’s been dissed by her very own mother???

She looks at the Mr. and says, “Yeah, we can go.”

Sorry that you missed out on meeting me, New Youth Guy.

I’m really a very nice person.

Just ask anybody.

Well, maybe don’t ask my Mom.  🙂


A Day Late and A Dollar Short

That’s not really true.

I AM a day late but I stole some moolah from the Mr.’s wallet so I’ve got a dollar.

Anyway, yesterday was a special day for our family.

Well, for all of us except Dad.

No, to Dad, yesterday was just another day.

Just an ordinary-like-all-the-others kind of day.

But to the rest of us, it’s special because HE is so special to us.

He’s our rock.

Our protector.

Our spiritual leader.

The wise old head.

The umbrella holder.

He’s DAD.


Dad & Shelby

Dad and Shelby

He’s never been one to get over-excited about his own birthday.

He can take ‘em or leave ‘em.

I don’t really know how to process that.

I love me a birthday.

I start mentioning my birthday MONTHS before the actual event.  Just to be sure no one forgets and I’m treated like a queen.

Well, maybe not a queen, more like the court jester, but still.

I love to celebrate ME!  🙂

{By the way, my birthday is about 3 months from now so start shopping!}

Dad is soooo not like that.

So I’ve decided that in honor of this great man’s birthday, I’d share a little Dad story with you.

I hope I haven’t shared this before but since I’ve managed to stack up a fair amount of birthdays myself, I can’t really remember.

So here goes:

Back in the olden days of the 70’s and 80’s my family practiced that long extinct ritual of the family supper.

I’m sure you’ve heard of this before.

It’s where someone, usually the mom, cooks a meal using pots and pans and skillets and such and then the whole family sits around a table and eats and talks together.

I know, it seems weird now.

No microwave.

No TV.

No electronic devices.

Just talking to each other and enjoying a good meal.

Unless it was hamburger gravy; then it was just a lot of griping.

That stuff was NASTY!!

Our family was quite large by today’s standards, there were six of us in this tiny little kitchen and once you sat in your seat, you didn’t get up.  It’s not that getting up from the table was forbidden.  No, it was because the kitchen was so small, there was no way to get out of the room until EVERYBODY got up!

I remember one night we were sitting at the table and for some reason, I was sitting by Dad.  This was unusual because Molly always did, and still does, like to sit by Dad.

I don’t know why, really.  He usually had her squalling by the end of the meal.

He had this thing where if you put your elbow on the table, he would pick up your arm and bang your elbow on the table.  Not super hard; just enough to make you about four/thirds mad.  He didn’t do it because he minded elbows on the table, it was just fun to crack that funny bone.

I know, I don’t get it.

Boys are weird.

Anyway, Dad did this to Molly almost every night and she would fuss and she would cry and the next night, she was right back by his side.

So this particular night, I was sitting by Dad and we had a delicious meal of country ham.

Now, for those Northern folks who may be reading this, let me explain country ham.  It’s ham that’s been cured with salt before it’s smoked.

And no, we didn’t smoke it; we never could find papers big enough to roll it in!  haha

Sorry, sometimes my McLean comes out in me and I can’t stop it.

The thing about country ham is that it is super salty.

And very yummy!

You just can’t beat country ham, biscuits, fried potatoes and gravy.

So this night I was happy as a clam, eating my country ham, minding my own business.  But there was a grisly part on the side of my piece of ham that I cut off and laid on the side of my plate.  No biggie.

Toward the end of the meal, Dad noticed that piece of meat and says “Are you gonna eat that?”

Before I could answer, quick as a blink of an eye, he popped that tough piece of ham in his mouth.

All I could do was look at him and say “No, but I sucked it”.

Sure enough, when I realized that piece was too hard for my little teeth to chew, I sucked out all the salty goodness and laid the now bland piece back on my plate.

Well, when he realized I had been sucking on that meat rind, he just about lost it.  He jumped up from the table but, of course, there was nowhere to go!

He was trapped!

Dad learned a valuable lessen that night.

He’s never swiped a piece of food from a plate since that day.

At least not without finding out more about where that food has been!

Happy belated birthday, Daddy!!!




Love Hurts


Have you ever said something and as soon as the words come out of your mouth, you wish you could take them back?


Just me???

Sadly, I do this more than I’d like to admit.

And last night was no exception.

If I’d only taken the time to think it out in my head before I let those words fly out.

If only I’d kept my thoughts to myself.

If only I had remembered what Dad had tried to instill in me.

I knew better.

I was taught better.

But there it was.

Out there.

Feelings were hurt.

Remorse set in.

I’ve replayed it over and over again, knowing full well that I am a disappointment to my raisin’.

Maybe it was the pain from a mouth covered in fever blisters.

Maybe it was the sore nose that is apparently gearing up to replace Rudolph next Christmas.

Maybe it was the headache that started in my actual eye socket.

Maybe it was the lateness of the hour.

Whatever made me do it, I swore right then and there that I would never let it happen again.

Never again will I allow my mouth to get ahead of my brain.

Never again will I give the Mr. the opportunity to out-McLean me.

Because, my friends, he JUMPED on it!!!

In my hour of weakness, I innocently and without thinking said these words to the Mr. just as we were going to bed last night:

“My face hurts”.

That’s when my sweet, loving, caring, precious husband said, without a moment’s hesitation:

“Yeah, it’s hurting me too”.

He’s been in the family too long!


Tis The Season

Now that the weather is turning cooler and the sun starts going down around 2:30 in the afternoon, my thoughts start leaning toward the holidays ahead.

Today happens to be Halloween, which I don’t necessarily celebrate but not because of any high and mighty reason. Just that I’m old, have no little kids and, well…………I’m old.

One of my most memorable Halloweens was back before the Mr. and I got married. I flew to NY to visit and got to go with the Mr. to take the kids trick-or-treating in the Mr.’s old stomping ground of Sloan.

Or as the Mr. once told me, the capital of Poland. 🙂

Anyway, the Mr.’s grandma lived in that neighborhood so we walked all over and ended up at her house for a visit. It was lots of fun.


As you can see, they were (and still are) just cute as CAN be!

But that little Brian was (and still is) a rascal.

{See him with that sword right in his brother’s back????}


That aggrevatin’ guy kept sticking his plastic sword down in the storm drains which were full of leaves and gunk and then he would stab at his brother with it.

I wish I had a nickel for every time I said “don’t stab your brother with that nasty sword”!!

I’d be rich!!

I also remember that night because of a Dracula dude that lived in that neighborhood.

While the wife was handing out the candy, that scary guy would walk toward me on the sidewalk trying to scare me.


A woman fully growed???

You think I’m sceared????


I’m still a little scared just thinking about it.

Every time he saw us, he would come toward me with that creepy stare and that capey-cape on!


But this week also boasts another holiday.

One that my sisters and I look forward to every year.

One that brings us great joy.

Did you know about it??

Did you hear???

The news was first heralded by my friend, Heavy D, on the Facebook.

Is this right?

Can it be true?

Is it time?????

Then, almost as a miracle come true, Molly confirmed the news…………



Yes, people, it’s celebration time indeed!!!!

That yummy slab of “pork” doused in delicious bbq sauce and covered in onion and pickle is here for a limited time.

Be still my heart!!

{Well, actually, you eat enough of these things and your heart will indeed be still!}

I had one today.

It was awesome!

Happy McRib, everybody!!




Today I’m gonna make this short and sweet and just give you a little glimpse into the “real” us:



Mark & Andrew

{For the record, no Andrew’s were hurt in the making of the above photo}

{Grandma wasn’t too happy though!!}


Happy Friday everyone!!


Turn That Frown Upside Down!

I’m ornery today.

Everything and everyone is getting on my nerves.

I’m sure at this point your thinking “that poor, poor Mr”.

And you would be right to feel sorry for him because when I’m in this kind of mood I am a pickle to be around and there will most likely be no supper preparations at my house tonight!!

Why am I like this?

I slept good last night.

It didn’t snow as much as was predicted.

It’s one day closer to the weekend.

I don’t know……it’s a mystery.

Must be the phase of the moon.

But I wanted to share something with you today that made me smile.

I got a card in the actual mail last week.


Just out of the clear blueness of the sky.

And isn’t that just the best kind of mail????

Here’s a peek at the inside of the card…..


{Yes, ladies, I see those smiles!!}

You see, my New York sisters-in-law know of my forever love of Matthew McConaughey.

Not only is he a great actor but he makes me weak in the knees.

But don’t worry, the Mr. knows this and has agreed that if Matthew ever comes a knockin’ on my door, well, let’s just say the Mr. isn’t too worried!!  🙂

When I turned 40, my sisters-in-law threw me a surprise birthday party and I got several Matthew-related gifts; including an autographed photo.

Funnily enough Matthew’s signature looks very similar to Jenal’s.


Lisa had a special pillowcase made for me with a collage of Matthew photos and, just so that the Mr. wasn’t left out, she included a case for the Mr. with Carrie Underwood’s photos.

We LOVE them!!!

The pillowcases AND the sisters-in-law, too!!

And so now every once in a while, I get a “love” note from Matthew.

It just makes my day.

As a matter of fact, just sharing this with all of ya’ll has perked me right up.

Not enough to cook supper, mind you, but I’m definitely perkier than I was.  🙂




Speedy Costello

Speedy Gonzales

I drive like a grandma.

I didn’t always but due to circumstances totally within my control, I’ve become the kind of driver that annoys even me!

I think it all started because I’ve been pulled over a time or two back in my younger days and the thought of a ticket scares me to death.

Plus when I lived in the Frozen Tundra, I stopped driving when the first snowflake fell (around August) and didn’t drive again until the thaw of July.

So now I’m just a Nervous Nellie out there on the road.

I’m sure you’ve passed me.

Probably while riding a skateboard, according to my beloved!

The last time the Mr. asked me to drive part of the way home from NY, when we switched back he said “Now we’ll make up some of the time we lost”.

Of course, in my defense, I failed to realize that to him, it’s a race!

I’m not sure who exactly we’re racing, but we’ve got to make better time than the other “contestants”.

But before you get too bad a picture of me in your head, let me assure you that I do go the speed limit (mostly).  And that’s because when Dad was teaching each of us kids to drive, he told us “if you can’t go at least the speed limit, you got no business behind the wheel” so I try to keep that in mind.

When I was in college a bunch of us decided to go out to the lake late one night.   At the time, Marti and I shared a car.

And by car, I mean a big car.

And by big car, I mean a great big car.

We had a blue 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass.


It was tricked out.

And by tricked out, I mean it had an 8-track player!

Very stylish for 1985.

So that night we loaded up in that big ole boat and took off.

Did I mention that the car had bucket seats in the front?

Did I also mention that we had 3 people crammed into those bucket seats?

And did I mention that the reason we had 3 people crammed into those bucket seats was because we had 5 or 6 people in the back?

As a matter of fact, one person was laying across all the others in the back.

But we were having fun so we took off.

That’s when I saw the blue lights.

I immediately start to tear up because I’m a world-class-crier and because, oh my goodness, what if Mom & Dad find out????

That’s when my friends started yelling at me to get out of the car and do NOT let the police man see all that gob of people in the car!

So ever one to give in to peer pressure, I hopped out of the car to “meet” the cop.

Did ya’ll know that the police don’t like when you hop out????

Well I sure didn’t!

I thought I was gonna get cuffed right then and there but once that police guy saw my tears, he gave me a warning and never did walk up to the car and see all those folks piled in there.

Needless to say, the trip to the lake was over and one of my friends drove us back to campus.  I was in no shape to drive what with all the tears.

And I’ve been a chicken driver ever since!


#1 Let me just say here that there was absolutely NO alcohol involved in this stupid stunt; we were just THAT stupid!!!


#2 Marti was in no way involved in this incident.  She wasn’t even in the car and I’m quite sure she’s just now hearing this story for the first time.  And that’s mostly because at the time I was as scared of her as I was of Mom & Dad.  You see, Marti is a hitter.  Actually she’s more of a slapper. If you ever hear that girl say she’s slap happy, get the heck out of dodge!  Cause she does indeed slap when she’s happy!!!!  TRUST ME!!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I’m fully aware that the little guy at the top is actually Speedy Gonzales but when Marc was a kid he called him Speedy Costello.

He also had a problem with “Sippity” Sam.

Yosemite Sam

Bless his heart!