Two scenes — an interactive blog!

Today’s prompt: Who is your favorite author and why?

Sometimes actors are asked, “What’s your favorite role?” and they’ll answer: “The role I’m currently playing.” Younger actors might toss in a grand Shakespearean role to prove they have the chops.

It might go something like this:

INTERVIEWER: What’s been your favorite role to perform?

ACTOR: (pretends he’s never heard that question before) Oh, that’s a hard question. (looks lost in thought for a second) If I’m being honest…and I know this will sound cheesy…I’d have to say it’s….it’s…the role I’m currently playing!

INTERVIEWER: Fascinating!

ACTOR: (laughs) Ha ha ha, yes. (lowers voice to whisper) But I absolutely adored the time I played King Lear in the Finger Lakes. Such fond memories.

End of scene


BLOGANUARY PROMPT-WRITER: Who’s your favorite author?

BLOGGER: Oh that’s so tough. Let me think. If I’m being honest…and I know this will sound cheesy…I’d have to say the author I’m currently reading! (pauses, lowers voice) But I loved Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Such fond memories.

End of scene


In the words of Natalie Portman, “No more questions.”

Thanks for reading. Who is your favorite author?



Today’s prompt is What irritates you about the home you live in?

House is more than 100 years old and is in a constant state of needing some kind of humongous, expensive repair. But House is our home and I don’t feel right calling it — or any part of it –“irritating.” That would be like talking about someone I love behind their back. I won’t do it.

We’ve been with House for 15 years. We added the library in 2012 and it still gets used every week. Right now there is an abundance of self help books in there, which I’ve noticed happens every January.

House hasn’t always been purple. We painted it in 2020. Here’s what House used to look like pre-purple.

I appreciate history as much as the next person but whenever I see the “old” color, I cringe.

We also added a pond in the back several years ago. One afternoon Sam started digging and now we have this. It attracts toads, ducks, opossums, raccoons, great blue herons, snakes and foxes and it’s where our goldfish live in the warmer months.

Here’s what it looks like when it’s cold. I love all the turkey tracks.

Our house takes good care of my family. It provides free books to the neighborhood and a safe place for wildlife to get fresh water and food. House, if you’re reading this, please know I love you and am thankful for you every day.

As for the rest of you non-house readers, thanks for reading. I am thankful for you, too!

Homebody Kuntz

Baby simple

Cracking open a cold can of diet coke

What color describes your personality and why?

I like the Bloganuary challenge but these baby simple prompts get on my damn nerves. That said, I’ll answer. The color of my personality is brown. Brown is reliable and adaptable. It’s a color you see in every season, in every person, in nature, coffee and artificial things like Diet Coke.

I was at a board meeting last night. When a young man was delivering public remarks in favor of funding education that reaches underserved kids and communities, one of the board members opened up a can of Diet Coke.

Crrrack! Tsssss!

Even a baby knows what sound a can of soda makes upon opening. If a six-month-old has heard it a few times, they know to anticipate the sound. The elected official knew she was interrupting.


Minutes later, she said the whole thing had gotten out of hand by “the media.”

Talk about baby simple. When you don’t want to be accountable, just blame the media!

The media, by the way, had simply reported that the board was not forthcoming with data. The community, through public remarks, addressed the lack of data. The majority of the room applauded the young man who expressed concern for the lack of data. The applause was louder than the opening of the can of Diet Coke.

She offered no data and said they had to do what was best for the taxpayers. The board moved on to discuss gambling and slot machines, of which they had plenty of data. They went line by line with that data. Thank God our golf-playing taxpayers will have easy access to slot machines! That’s certainly more important than making sure kids develop a respect and appreciation for nature and the environment.

This is a developing story which I’ll try to keep separate from this Bloganuary challenge. But I had to write about it today.

There are two different types of brown. The browns of our earth and the manufactured brown of Diet Coke. Which brown are you?

Yours in earth,


The most important meal

Today’s prompt is What’s your favorite meal to cook and/or eat?

I love cooking breakfast for my 12-year-old son Angelo. He is the only breakfast-eater I have ever known. I’m not talking about a banana and a piece of toast nonsense. I’m talking about enormous three-egg omelets loaded with turkey, cheese, mushrooms and spinach served with sides of fresh veggies, fruit and toast — chased with a glass of Rockford’s finest tap water. Delicious!

Though I don’t like eating breakfast, I love cooking it for Angelo. As such, I’ve found that cooking breakfast is the most important meal of my day. Watching my son wolf down his breakfast makes me feel successful. Do not ask me why. It just does.

My son Sam still loves strawberry shortcake for his birthday. Everyone else prefers store-bought cake so I love that I still get to “mom it up” for his birthday.

We don’t do much for Thanksgiving because we’re all usually exhausted so I make a pared down version of the traditional feast with the family favorites.

When the kids get home from school, I usually have a charcuterie waiting for them. This one is for the meat-eaters.

If there is a game, Fern has to stay late at school for band so I’ll bring her some hot turkey soup for her break. She meets me in the parking lot and fills me in on her day between bites.

And once a year or so, Jesse will say he has a taste for homemade pizza so I’ll throw some together for him with whatever ingredients we have in the house.

As everyone gets older and busier, the needs and traditions of the family change. Except for birthdays and a couple holidays, we no longer gather at the table. We haven’t for years. But I’ve found ways to have fresh food available for them to eat. If you look closely, you’ll notice that I have spinach tucked into every meal.

And once a week, usually on Tuesday, you can count on Anna’s Pizza delivering two enormous veggie pizzas to our house. Sam insists that one be “minus spinach.” I wonder why.

I’m not much of a cook but like most people I have a few decent recipes ready to go at a moment’s notice. Thanks for reading / looking at my pictures.

Time to wake Angelo and start his breakfast!


For every action…

Fern and Jocelyn in 2013.

Today’s prompt is Describe the happiest day of your life.

Will you settle for a happy moment?

It was the Christmas I was pregnant with Angelo. The year was 2009. Our three oldest kids and I were baking. We had just pulled a sheet of hot peanut butter cookies from the oven and it was time to “set” the chocolate kisses.

Jocelyn and Sam, at ages five and three, were old pros at this and quickly started centering their chocolates. Fern couldn’t see very well so we moved the cookies to her level and her siblings urged her to put the kisses on.

“Put it on the cookie!” “You can do it!”

She didn’t seem to understand the fuss but she did as instructed and the chocolate started to immediately melt.

Joce and Sam started to cheer but cut their “Yay!” short when they saw Fern’s eyes widen. She was mesmerized by the melting chocolate. Her wonder-filled reaction made all three of us laugh. We resumed cheering for Fern and I felt Angelo “kick.”

I think about all these pure reactions every time I bake peanut butter kisses and see the chocolate kiss start to melt into the cookie. I’m grateful.

Thanks for reading.

Yours in reactions,


Special to the Bloganuary Prompt-Writer: The happiest day of my life was April 16, 2004. That’s the day Jesse and I got married. It was a small, private ceremony. As such, I’d like to keep the memories of that day between the two of us.


The good kettle.

Today’s prompt: Do you have a memory that’s linked to a smell?

My husband loves tea. Chai tea, green tea, black tea, Sleepytime tea, chamomile tea, you name it. If it’s tea, he’ll drink it. Last month he had a dental appointment and the hygienist, while cleaning his teeth, teased him.

“Somebody sure likes his tea,” she said. Scrape, scrape, scrape.

When he got home, he reported this to me with absurd pride. He smiled at me with both rows of teeth as he put the red kettle on the stove and heated up the water.

Sam painted this in 2020.

We had the red tea kettle for many years. It had a slightly wobbly handle, but we made it work. One year, Sam painted a picture of it at an art pop-up. Every time I look at it, I love it a little bit more.

Last winter, the handle of our beloved red kettle finally fell off and we had to throw it away. That night, Jesse was forced to use “the good kettle.”

The good kettle is a cast iron work of art and it resides on our mantle, surrounded by other small works of art and relics of nature. It’s precious to us and we only use it when we go camping.

But that cold winter night, out of necessity, my man filled the good kettle with water, placed it on the stove and turned on the burner.

A few minutes later, he came upstairs and told me to follow him.

“Connie, come here,” he said. “You’re not going to believe this.”

He led me to the stove. Smoke was gently wafting off the kettle.

“You can smell Rock Island.”

And we could! With each tiny whirl of smoke, we could smell hints of the summer campfires. The scent didn’t fill the kitchen, we had to get close to the kettle, but it was enough to remind us of our favorite place.

“I can’t wait to go back,” he said.

“Me too.”

That winter night, the good kettle not only took us back to our family camping trip; it gave my husband and I a special moment in our kitchen and reminded us that it would only be seven more months until our next trip to the island. Lovely.

Thanks for reading.

That’s the tea,


P.S. Rock Island is a small, remote island in northern Wisconsin / Door County. We camp there every summer.

Blog Takeover: Connie’s Anxiety!

Every once in a while, Connie’ll mention she has anxiety. That’s me. I’m anxiety. Hi!

Connie asked me to be today’s guest blogger and of course I said yes. I always say yes.

To be clear, the “yes of anxiety” is not the cool “yes and” of the improv world. It’s not the yes that opens doors, frees minds and shatters stereotypes. My yes squeezes her focus so tight that she can’t think about anything except getting that one friggin’ thing done. My yes makes her stop trusting yourself, her instincts and others. But I’m not all bad. Trust me.

I’ve been living with Connie for decades. She used to ignore me. When she was very young, she called me “butterflies in her stomach” even though (1) ew! and (2) that’s not what I feel like. As she got older, she called me “nerves” or “stress.” Again, no. For a while, she thought she was “over-caffeinated.” Nope. Not related.

Eventually she noticed that I wasn’t what made her “jittery.” I was what made her sick.

I used to make Connie throw up every week. That started in her twenties and lasted well into her thirties. For a while, she thought she might be bulimic but that wasn’t it. In those days, she would try to anticipate my arrival. This next part is important: Connie is not a doctor but back in the day, she wasn’t afraid to self-diagnose or self-prescribe. So here’s what she’d do with me:

She pictured me, her anxiety, as something she ate and would retch and retch until she vomited the “ingredient” (usually a bite of a raw or undercooked vegetable such as a pepper or mushroom) into the toilet.

She thought she was vomiting me! Lol! Nope. I am here to stay!

The retching would begin late at night. It would last an hour or two and would be so exhausting that she would fall asleep after vomiting. For many years, she told herself that the vomiting would help get rid of me. Jesus that’s cracks me up!

Connie experimented with other things to make her feel better. She was a vegetarian for several years. She used to run long distances. Those are great “things” but eventually she realized writing and being in nature were her tickets to mental health. Those are two “things” she’s been consistent with her whole life. I still try, every single day actually, to make her doubt the value of writing and fresh air.

Oh please don’t think I’m a jerk. I’m not. Once Connie made space for me, we became good pals.

I should mention I live inside her. I sleep a good 20-22 hours a day but wake up a few times a day at different times. Connie simply says, “Oh you” takes a deep breath and invites me to “park a fanny.” I don’t have a fanny, but I know what she means. I get comfortable and stick around as she goes about her business.

If you know her, you have probably seen me around. I’m the one who makes her voice quiver and hands shake. I’m the one who makes her turn down food (she’ll says she’s “fasting” but really she’s just making sure she doesn’t eat “a problem” that will make her vomit). I’m the one who makes her eyes widen, her neck and cheeks flush. In other words, I make her feel afraid.

Today’s prompt is What fear have you conquered? Connie hasn’t conquered fear as much as she has concurred with it. She’s agreed to acknowledge fear (and me) as a part of her daily life. She lets us run concurrent with her days and nights without completely disrupting her but that doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying.

This is the part of the blog where Connie would thank you for reading but I’ll tell you something. I don’t have an attitude of gratitude. I’m a taker and I always want more. That said, I know when I’m not welcome so bye.

Unparking my fanny,


Gore, Gore or Gore?

Today’s prompt: What is your preferred mode of travel?

I like to sleep whenever I can because that is how I travel to sanity.

I’ve always been kind of lazy. Sleep comes easy to me but I have a bad habit of falling asleep with the TV on when my husband is out of town. He is in New York this week so a couple nights ago, I dozed off while watching Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.

Tarantino’s films usually, maybe even always, contain scenes of violence and offensive dialogue and “The Dogs” is no exception. There are gun shots galore, depictions of torture and cruelty, and an abundance of sexist and racist language.

The film is about disparate gangsters brought together by the boss who renames each man with a specific color. So one is “Mr. White” and another is “Mr. Brown” and another is “Mr. Blue” and so on.

The “colorful” men are instructed to rob a crowded jewelry store in broad daylight and then meet back at a designated spot — an empty warehouse — to check in.

The jewelry heist goes awry because one of the dogs is an undercover cop who tipped off the cops. Mr. Brown and (probably) Mr. Blue were shot to death by the cops. Several civilians and cops were killed in the “shoot out.” When the surviving “dogs” meet back at the warehouse, they, with emotions ranging from cool rage to profound disappointment to instinctive loyalty, try to figure out who the “rat” is.

It’s a riveting film. I’m not sure how I fell asleep to it because the last thing I remember is Mr. Blonde (AKA “Toothpick Vic”) pouring gasoline on a cop he just brutalized. But fall asleep I did and when I woke up, the credits were rolling. I sleepily turned off the TV and drifted back to just wonderful, deep sleep.

The next morning I wondered what kind of “effect” falling asleep to such a violent movie would have on me. Would I, Connie, turn into a gangster? Would it be sudden or gradual? Would I be a tough, no nonsense gangster like Joe? Or would I end up like the quirky non-tipper, Mr. Pink?

I had many questions and couldn’t wait to watch it all the way to the end, which I did on Thursday night. It was awesome.

I love gangster movies but Tarantino is my favorite modern writer and director. The sense of community he creates is second to none. His casting is ingenious. The portrayals of love, loyalty, paranoia were outstanding. I can’t wait to watch it again!

But, again, will watching violent movies turn me, Connie, into a gangster?

Approximately ten years before Reservoir Dogs came out, Tipper Gore (the former second lady) raised a stink in Washington D.C. She wanted to add content warning labels to music. This happened because Mama Gore bought her 11-year-old brat a Prince album and when they played the album at home, she was flabbergastted to hear suggestive lyrics. From Prince! That’s when the then-Senator’s wife decided that music should be labeled so parents can make “informed decisions.”

I’ll tell you something: I can’t stand busy-body moms. Busy-body dads are worse. And those warning labels? Knock it off. And watered down versions of music? Are you kidding me? Stop it! This ridiculous government overreach is what ignites my gangster rage.

If you haven’t watched Reservoir Dogs, I recommend it. There isn’t any sex or nudity in the film but if you need that kind of thing to be entertained, here:

I am still shook by that pornographic display and it begs the question: What kind of gore are you into? Tarantino’s gore or Tipper Gore or Al Gore? I have to go and unfortunately don’t have time to add Gore Vidal but feel free to share your favorite “gore” in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

Team Quentin,


Ego Rain

Which billionaire smells like plastic in the rain?

Today’s prompt: If you had a billion US dollars, how would you spend it?

I’ve been so inspired by our nation’s billionaires. They make the best choices! If I had a billion dollars (US), I’d put that money to good use and create my own perfume. I’d have it manufactured overseas (of course) and I’d call it Ego Rain. It would smell like the following haiku poems I wrote this morning.

Eau de Elon 

his musk clouds my mind
hints of oily arrogance
i can't stop gagging

No. 45

a squirt of orange Tang
a Cheeto-inspired scent
manufactured lies

Meta (Digital Cologne)

one click and you will 
forget the importance of
thinking for yourself

Warren's Buffet

bouquet of bootstraps  
will pull you up but keep you   
down to earth and poor

Amazon (E-perfume)

a tropical spritz 
of online shopping brings the
rainforest to me

Gotta go. Thanks for reading my poems. I hope they didn’t stink!

Sensibly yours,



You’ve heard of “The first gift of Christmas!” I present, “The last scrap of Christmas!”

Today’s prompt: What chore do you find the most challenging to do?

I used to take pride in getting holiday decorations down quickly and efficiently.

When we only had two tiny tots, I would “strike” Christmas on Christmas afternoon.

“Strike” is a theatre term and Jesse and I are theatre people. When a show is over, you immediately “strike” the set. You take it down, flat by flat, piece by piece, screw by screw. You store the set, lights and props, roll up the marley, return the costumes and clean the hell out of the stage.

We apply a similar logic to holiday decorations. At first, Jesse wasn’t completely on board.

“Don’t you think it’s a little soon?” he asked, silently indicating our bewildered children.

“They won’t remember,” I’d say as I worked maniacally to “cleanse” the house. “They’re young!”

Once we had all four kids, we would force ourselves to wait until December 26 to take down the decorations. The kids appreciated our efficiency. That’s what I told myself.

This year Fern said, “Can we not take down the tree the day after Christmas?”

She made several good points about relaxing. Her siblings agreed with her so we kept the decorations up until they were ready for them to come down.

I wasn’t sure when that would be. I didn’t ask because I didn’t want them to think I was pressuring them. I silently wondered if we’d become “that house” that has their decorations up until April.

“There are worse things we could be,” I told myself, not believing a word of it.

I came home from work on December 31 to a dark house. The kids had taken down most of the decorations and I was so relieved and grateful! It turns out they had grown tired of waiting for me to “pull the plug” on the Christmas decorations and made a decision took care of the “strike” themselves. Fern said she was getting impatient.

“We don’t want them up in the new year!” she said.

They did a terrific job but there are still some holiday scraps. For instance, there is a strand of Christmas lights still hanging over the entrance to the sun room. I just went in there to take a photograph of my “most challenging chore” for this blog and realized Jocelyn was doing her barre work in the background.

Though I’m used to her practicing ballet a few feet from me while I write in the early morning darkness, I don’t often watch. I wouldn’t have seen this pretty moment if we didn’t have the scraps. I think I’ll leave the lights up a little longer.

Thanks for reading!

Strikingly yours,