Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Until now “bite your head off” was just an expression.  No one does that really.  It is a metaphor for “stay out of my way.”  An expression of anger… at you… at me… at something…  The what doesn’t generally matter.  No “wrong-doing” need actually occur between biter and bitee.  To bite your head off is an act of displacement, transferring aggression between brother and sister because mom just scolded one of you.

Until now... when I yelled at my dog Rover to "COME HERE; BAD BOY!” The next dog (her name is Addie) to get in his way after being duly humiliated by me got more than just a show of teeth.  I was shocked.  Rover is usually so quiet.  I used to call him a beta dog until someone corrected me and said that isn't a term.  But alpha dog is a term and Addie is an alpha dog until Rover set her straight by barring his teeth and growling then lunging at her face to bite it off for simply sniffing and welcoming him to the dog walk.

Bite your head off.   I get it.  Even dogs pass it on.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


If Tommy wasn’t a Boy Scout, I might never learn to pitch a tent because my husband refuses to camp with me.  He fears I’ll make him do all the work.  In Boy Scouts, the boys have to do all the work so I’m good to go now!

Eric finds birding boring.  Tommy signed up for Bird Study two years ago and now he wants to finish it.  Since summer started we’ve gone biking and kayaking together and identified at least 10 birds.  He needs 20 birds for the badge.  You know what that means?  Tommy and I are going hiking soon.

No Scout becomes an Eagle Scout without completing Family Life.  And no Scout earns Family Life without doing laundry.  Tommy earned Family Life; I made sure of it.

It’s come to my attention that making lists is a girl thing.  Not a boy thing.  However, making lists is an important life skill.  So when it was time to pack for Philmont, do you know the first thing Bobby did?  He made a list.  It’s a start and I’ll take it.

Ga-Ga, Murder & Mafia
I still haven’t figured out what the rules of play are but one thing is for certain – when the boys are playing Ga-Ga, Murder & Mafia they are unplugged.

Boy Scouts leave their electronics behind when they go camping, including cameras.  And as much as I would like to see some of the places they go without me, the stories they come home with are even better.   

Beef Jerky
Personally, I won’t touch the stuff but at least I know Tommy won’t starve on the trail as long as he has a bag of beef jerky.

Less is More
When Tommy came home from Seabase with a bag full of laundry, I knew he didn’t over pack – he took only what he needed.  Isn’t that how traveling should be? 

Speaking of Scouting          
Boys Scouts speak all the time.  They speak at weekly meetings; they speak at Court of Honor; they speak to one another when they are camping.  In fact, you’d be surprised how much a boy has to say when you don’t ask them, “how was your day?”

Earning Merit Badges is fun and they look good too.  Even Tommy thinks his uniform looks better with 13 badges adorning it.  And I think the look of pride on his face every time he earns a new badge is beautiful.  But badge or no badge, the real merits of Scouting are the experiences gained every time the boys are camping, hiking, biking, skiing, rafting, caving, volunteering, orienteering or just plain cheering.  No one can take that away from them; they earned it.    

Monday, July 1, 2013


Control has nothing to do with the hand you are dealt in life especially when you are playing cards. On this particular night I am playing Apples to Apples with 4 of my nieces and nephews and my 3 kids.  On my left is my nephew Ian and on my right is my son Tommy and we are having a great time betting our wits against each other.  What newbies don’t know is that Apples to Apples is really a Personality Test.  In other words, it doesn’t matter how many green cards you win throughout the game, it only matters what the cards say in the end.  

We must have played an hour or more by the time some mom said time for bed.  But before everyone scattered, we each took a turn reading our hand.  Tonight’s tally was especially fun:

My son Tommy won the game with the following cards:   Busy, Absurd, Wild, Boisterous, Cute and Emotional.  (I think he couldn’t have been happier with his sum total.)

I got POWERFUL, Dead and  Unreal (I was pumped when I won Powerful first; when I got Dead and Unreal, Ian told me that made me a Dictator. Hummmm.)

My husband got: Smart, Glorious, Meek, (Again, hummmmmmmmmmm.)          
As it turns out, my daughter is Talented, Stunning, Perfect, TWISTED (BTW, she used to win cards like Sweet, Cute, Playful and Happy.)

And it didn’t matter that that my 18-year old son Bobby joined the game late; in short order he picked up: Fabulous and Sharp.  (You know, “every girl’s crazy about a sharp-dressed man” and how the cards new that, I don’t know.)

Angela won Creative.   If you are handed only one card in life, I would argue that CREATIVE is the best.

Little six-year Dominique picked up Frightening.  Even she laughed out loud.  And her brother Xavier won Fresh and Loud then squealed with delight I’m sure imagining what his mother would think of them apples.

And finally, Ian, the nephew on my left, got: FILTHY, Primitive, Idiotic.

Ian didn’t win but judging by the look on his FILTHY face, you wouldn’t know it.  Instead, you would have thought he won the grand prize.  Ian has a wry sense of humor and understands irony well as does the rest of this bunch.

I love Apples to Apples because in a world where we are constantly trying to find ourselves it really is written in the cards.  You just have to play it and read it for yourself.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


What would you expect a bald Geology teacher to say when he walks into class holding a bag in his hands?

Well, forget about it.  This Charlie Brown moment only happened in my head.  Too bad though, I think Professor Marx missed his moment for stand-up comedy.

Half the time I am the only one who has a question and Professor Marx loves questions.  In fact, he starts out every class, “Does anyone have a question?”   Sometimes I ask one to mask the fact that I didn’t read the material but I still want to impress him that I’m interested in rocks.  Other times, I really am baffled.  But then I’m afraid that asking my question will hit Professor Marx’ re-set button at which point he will start at the very beginning again when the earth was a hot ball, cooling from the outside-in, over 4.5 billion years ago.  

So here’s what I’ve got so far:

The study of Geology is a crash course in sediments where information accumulates, layers, shifts, solidifies then makes me question the ground I stand (or sit) on.

Monday, February 25, 2013


“Hey Momma, how did you and Daddy meet?”

Well, dear. The answer to your question happened a long time ago.  When your Daddy was a Junior at Lafayette College, his sister encouraged him to join the Crew Team.  Because he joined the Crew Team in college, he found the Baltimore Rowing Club after college.  He was lost, lonely and looking for friends.  And that’s where I come in.  I was lost, lonely and looking for friends too and joined the BRC for the same reasons Daddy did - to get a little exercise. 

Daddy’s and my relationship started with a word: Nerd-Alert.  You see, I was sitting on a log next to my roommate Sheila, who was also learning to row, when her boyfriend Will walked by.  I teased the heck out of Will all the time and on this particular occasion I called him “Nerd-Alert.” As it so happens, your Daddy was walking alongside Will at the same time.  He stopped short, looked around, then saw me.  He thought I called him “Nerd-Alert.”  What can I say; it was love at first sight.

Later that season, when I failed miserably as a bowman, the team threw me into the coxswain seat and told me to steer the boat.  They didn’t bother giving me a cox box because even spectators on the shore could hear me shout, “give me ten.”

We had so much fun rowing, your Daddy and me.  Daddy taught me how to steer the boat and made it possible for me to compete at The Head of Charles as a coxswain.  By the way, did I ever tell you about the day Robert Redford showed up at the boathouse?  It’s true!  In 1988, Robert Redford campaigned for Presidential Candidate Michael Dukakis on the shores of the Middle Branch River and I was there! (What do you mean you don’t know who Robert Redford is?)

Anyway, Daddy and I don’t row anymore because we have you, Ape.  Bobby joined the WJ Crew Team the second week of his Freshman year.  It took a little convincing on my part but in the end Bobby realized I was right.  And today he’s a Nationals Petit Finalist!  Next year, Tommy will discover I am right too when he learns to row.  Then, in seven years’ time, you will benefit from the wealth of my wisdom when you discover there is money for college for women who row. 

And so dear, because of Crew, I have you.  And that’s why we Voits row.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Having the last laugh is the best revenge, isn’t it? 

Today, after being away for nearly 2 weeks, Eric is tired, slow to motivate, and he wants me to cheer him up.  To do that I must sit on him, literally, and talk to him.  I can talk about anything I want; he just wants me to help him take his mind off of work for a few minutes.  That’s not such a tall order.  However, I have a lot on my plate this morning and I want to get on with it which means now I am irritated. But I sit there anyway and begin to tell him a story-

“Last week the cleaning lady pissed me off.  She knew I was running behind schedule; I told her so when she arrived.  You know I love her but she wouldn’t leave me alone about your soap.  She chased me around the house telling me that I had to stop using bar soap in the shower.  I told her it was yours but she wouldn’t let it go.  So you know what I've been doing this week?  I’ve been steam cleaning the entire house so that when she returns in next week, she’ll have nothing to do.  How’s that for getting even!”

Eric says, “I hope you don’t get mad at me, do you?

“Well yes, I do get mad at you.  And I used to try and get even with you too – at least until you hurt your foot.  I purposely moved stuff in your way like the settee at the end of our bed so you would bang your big toe on it when you came in our room late at night.  You’re always waking me up.  And that’s why I did it; so you would feel my pain.”

After that Eric released me. Within an hour, he was back and hovering as usual.  I reminded him that blue-balls is another form of revenge.  With that, I walked out of the room to flip the bacon.  When I turned around, he scared the be-jesus out of me because I didn’t hear him follow me into the kitchen.    And then he laughed and said:

“Is that a masque on your face?  SWEET!”

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I’ve lost track of the original words that precede this scribbling but it was private and it should probably remain that way.  The sentiment that follows is an echo of the run-around in my head I enjoyed so much. 

It starts with
2 points
on a circle:

Woman rounds bend
Chasing man
Until woman; I am she
Catches him.

Circle of love
1 is a son
2 is a son too
3 is a daughter I name after me.

1 stretches  me;
2 baffles me;
3 puzzles me even more.

1 leads the way;
2 embarks too;
3 brings us all back together again.

In a circle
No one leads
Unless someone says, “Catch me;
You’re it.”

To Man and Superman, GBS, you're it.  Thank you.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Note to reader:  The information put forthwith in this post are solely based on my limited understanding of what Professor Marx told me in class today ONLY if I managed to write down fast enough the slew of information he shared and got it right.  You may, should you choose to comment on my blog, tell me I am 100% wrong.  Then you, my dear reader, will be my teacher too.

At the near end of my first Geology class, my teacher Joe Marx explained Geology’s relatively new acceptance as a serious science by today’s standards.  The study of rocks being more than the evidence for creation-based observations began around the start of the 18th century, give or take a few years depending on what country of origin you are from.  The reason being is when people stopped seeing rocks in an absolute way and  allowed for singular events like meteors hitting the earth to shake things up a bit, scientists began to take an interest in the many stories that those little and big pieces of metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary rocks have to tell us.

And at the very end of class today, my teacher digressed a bit and talked about the end of the planet as we know it.  Now mind you, I spent the entire time wide-eyed and mystified by what he said because my knowledge of rocks is based on throwing them in the water and counting the rings they make.   When he said, “the planet will end when the sun blows out and engulfs the earth,” he lifted his hands up, cupped his fingers as if holding a ball, and moved them outward in the air to show the sun grow the VERY SAME WAY my son Tommy did at dinner Tuesday night when he explained how the sun’s crust will turn red, expand and gobble up the earth.

It’s a sign I’m meant to take Geology and start looking at the environment in a whole new way.  And  I can’t wait to begin.

Monday, January 7, 2013


I hate to admit it but the following is even too painful for me to read!


Saturday I took my first hike of the year with my family along the Billy Goat A Trail at Great Falls, MD.  Billy Goat A comes with lots of warning signs - Don't Swim, Don't Jump, Don't Bring Your Dog. But what they really need to post is a picture of the human musculoskeletal system with a list of possible injuries to beware.  So here's what I learned about this human body while hiking along last Saturday:

Hammer toes slip

Ankles twist

Meniscus tears groan

Adductor pulls

L-1 shifts

Deltoids cringe

And I am not alone with vintage injuries.  Eric discovered since straining the big phalange on his right foot and tearing the flexor digitorum longus tendon on his left foot, he's a bit slower too.