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Mmm-mmm-GoodI can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten food poisoning from eating my grandmother’s food. Wait, “Gotten” is not the right word–”been given” is more accurate. In her Stegasauric-sized brain, my grandmother was convinced that my allergy to mushrooms was, she claimed, “All in your goddamned head, Miggin.”
Countless times at family dinners at dear old granny’s, she’d serve spaghetti with sauce or gravy (or whatever the hell you want to call it.) Countless times, she’d swear there were no mushrooms in the sauce. Countless times–she lied. Countless times I’d spend the dessert course of her meal puking in her toilet. Puking even harder from smelling that nasty toilet hanging thing…..

My Sister: Nanny, did you put mushrooms in your spaghetti sauce?
My Grandmother: Yeah, I did. Miggin ain’t allergic to mushrooms. It’s all in her goddamned head.
Me: (vomit sound)

The following month:
My Sister: Nan, don’t put mushrooms in the sauce, Megan’s allergic.
My Grandmother: She ain’t allergic—she just don’t care for mushrooms is what she said.
Me: (vomit sound)

It was like a cartoon–me, as Charlie Brown, her as Lucy, telling me she wouldn’t pull the football away if I wanted to kick it. “Don’t fall for it, Charlie Brown,” come the cries from everyone. “Trust me, there ain’t no mushrooms in that sauce,” says Lucy with pin curls and dressed in a muumuu. “If you can’t trust your Nanny, who you gonna trust?” Good point. Hence, my lifelong mistrust of everyone.
My grandmother was about 4 IQ points from being labeled “special,” and one mushroom-laced, poisonous pot of spaghetti sauce away from being labeled a murderer.
I got my cooking skills from my grandmother. She had several simple rules:
1. Boil everything before cooking it—especially meat. It seals in the “flay-vahs.”
2. Leave food out at room temperature for several hours before serving, just so no one burns themselves eating.
3. If one clove of garlic is good—-52 cloves of garlic must be “bet-tah.”
My grandmother had a language all to herself. She referred to herself in the third person. “Get Nanny a beer.” Also, in my grandmother’s world, subject/verb agreement was optional–especially when contractions were involved.
I don’t, You don’t, He, she, it don’t, They don’t

Double negatives were fair game—encouraged even–the more, the bettah.
Sample: I ain’t got no books.
And the even more confusing: He don’t never come here no more. (Don’t even bother to try and figure it out.)

Monthly poisonings and bad grammar aside, my grandmother was good to me. I always had presents at my birthday and Christmas—-though if there was any sign of misbehaving by my brother or me after October 1st, we were constantly threatened, “And Santa ain’t comin’ to give you no gifts, ‘coz he don’t like bad kids.” My grandmother–Eleanore “The Threat” Muller. She did, I suppose, the best she could with the hand she was dealt. I suppose. I think I would have folded and asked for a re-deal.

A friend of mine–a much younger and hencely, DUMBER friend, recently suggested that perhaps it was time for me to join a dating site that was more appropriate for my age. “One that’s for–” I watched as her infantile brain searched for the right words that wouldn’t offend me.  She searched in vain.   She spoke slowly, ” You know, like, Megan, like, a dating site that’s, like, for–OLD PEOPLE–like you.”  Yep, this embryo said, “OLD PEOPLE.”  

After sneaking seven tablespoons of Metamucil in her sippy cup*, I realized that my former friend was right; I needed to find someone my own age.   I had grown weary of scrolling through dozens of winks on Internet dating sites from 19 year old mountain men named Cletis, or Otis, or Eustis.  Most often, Cletis, Otis/Eustis’s profile picture featured my potential beau dressed in a flannel shirt, no pants, and a well-worn pair of brown work boots. In one hand, a can of rolling rock (nip-sized, thank you,) the other hand resting lovingly on a gutted deer hanging from a tree in front of his cabin.  On his face, along with a healthy dose of  “mountain man morning face fur”,  was a sleepy, “come-hither” look mountain men have first thing in the morning, you know,  before they’ve finished their AM six pack, and had a good b.m. in the backyard.

*BTW–does anyone under the age of thirty drink out of  glasses or bottles or cans anymore?  I coach a high school girls’ basketball team and during the time-outs, the athletes look like baby lambs being bottle fed by one of Old MacDonald’s farmhands. 

If you’re single, you may have noticed that type-specific dating sites have sprung up everywhere on the Internet. Whatever kind of love you’re in search of–it’s out there.  Spend a few minutes and you can find sites for Divorced Christian Love, Black People Meet, Big Fat German Bakers, Middle Child.Match, and Macular Degeneratives Seek Love.com, to name only a few.  So, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of dating sites out in cyberspace suitable for “OLD PEOPLE.”   There is an abundance of companies willing to cater to-a.k.a. prey on- those of us who spend much of our remaining time contemplating our own mortality, the meaning of life, regretting decisions made, opportunities lost, and years wasted. (Side note–on the Internet, there’s a site called the “Death Clock” which calculates– based on your health, family history, and emotional stability– how much time you can assume you have left to live.  My death clock holds a permanent place in the upper right hand corner of my computer screen…a subtle, but constant reminder to CARPE DIEM.) Yes, these geriatric dating sites know who we are, what we’re scared of, and aren’t afraid to pounce on our fears; the biggest one being that no one will lie on their deathbed, and while gasping, rattling, and raling toward the heavenly gates, in their last breath call out our names,  like Napoleon crying out, ” Josephine…”**

**A little bit of historic trivia for you–it is reported that seven years later, on her deathbed,  Josephine’s last word was, “What?”  

I found: “Senior Time–Or do you really want to die alone?”  and “Join Gray Panther Love–because it’s later than you think.”   I eventually settled for an online site called, “Crotchety Old Fart Mingle.com” because of the marvelous membership package they offered.  For only $39.95 a month,   I received a free portable defibrillator and a pocket guide entitled: “Ten Signs your Date is Having a Stroke,” autographed by George Hamilton–indisputably, the oldest eligible man in Hollywood.  But, my favorite freebie had to be my medic-alert bracelet that read:

I’ve Fallen — in love–  and I Can’t Get Up.

There was also an in-depth questionnaire to fill out.  I was asked questions like:

1.)  At dinner, your date begins to discuss his most recent bowel movement.   You:

a.  nod understandingly, but quickly change the subject.

b.  hope he’s going to give a power point presentation.

c.  can’t wait to show him the stool sample you carry with you at all times in case of an unexpected visit to the E.R.


2.) With 1 being most important and 10 being least important, rank the following qualities you seek  in a potential mate:



a full set of teeth

a hefty pension

a love for animals

a sense of adventure

a sex drive

a driver’s license

a waist

a double digit IQ

In addition to the questionnaire, all dating sites have a list of rules you must agree to before you’re accepted as a member.  For instance, the list of rules for “plenty of assholes in the sea.com” is fairly simple and straightforward:

1.  Members may not wear sunglasses in their photos (presumably so potential suitors can detect the tell-tale “666” sign of the devil reflected in the iris of your eyes.)

2.  Children may not be in your picture (an obvious deterrent to pedophiles who have mistakenly strayed from the IAMTHE LOWESTFORMOFHUMANLIFE.COM site created expressly for these perves.)

and, that’s it.

Crotchety Old Fart Mingle.com had its list as well:

1.  There is to be no correspondance after 6 p.m.  This rule was strictly enforced.  Crotchety Old Fart Mingle.com actually closes from 6 p.m. until 5 a.m. each day.  Though admittedly, they relax the curfew on Saturday nights, when members can troll until the ungodly hour of 8 p.m.

2.  Members should post photos featuring only one chin. Remind me someday to tell you about the curse of middle age and its effect on one’s “chinage.”

3.  Members must post a recent photo.  The folks at COFM.com were very lenient with this rule.  After scanning through several member profiles, it seemed that as long as your picture was not a daguerrotype, they were willing to look the other way.

4.  Members may not schedule dinner dates for after 4 p.m.

5.  Members may engage in no activity that increases one’s heart rate beyond 20-30% of one’s maximum target heart rate.  This roughly translates to 220 minus your age minus twice your shoe size.  So, we’re talking nothing more taxing than a heady game of Parcheesi.

Now, I’d love to spend more time writing to you today, but it’s nearly 4 p.m. and I’m off to meet my latest Crotchety Old Fart for the early bird buffet at China King Palace…Geez,  I hope I get to try out my new defibrilllator….


This was an email I recently received from one of the forty five online dating sites I subscribe to:  “Your dating profile has been viewed 2861 times.”  Seriously now, this was supposed to make me feel good???  Knowing that out of 2861 men who looked at my profile, only two  found me reasonably attractive enough to “wink,”  knowing that I was an obvious disappointment to the other 2859 viewers, it’s no wonder that my confidence is at an all time low. 

One evening, over a few gin and tonics, I was complaining to a group of friends (married friends, mind you) that the only man who’d shown any interest in me since I’d joined a particular dating site two months earlier, was a guy named “Shrek”  (and yes, there was a strong resemblance.)  My friends explained that I needed to take a more “pro-active” approach to online dating.  “Go ahead, Megan, don’t wait for the man to wink at you– be bold, be daring; men like women who know what they want. You make the first move.  You wink at them first.”  What did I know?  Okay, three gin and tonics later, I was ready.  I sat down at the computer and with the heavy alcoholic breath of my four friends curling the small hairs on my neck, we searched, scrolling through dozens of profiles.  The headlines glared at me–scary words from scary men, expressing sentiments like: Not into Head Games, No Gold Diggers, I Don’t Like Liars, If You Can’t be True– Then I Ain’t  for You, My Ex Wife is a Nasty Bi**h….the list went on and on, all written in bold, caps and/or italics–the written equivalent of screaming at the top of one’s lungs.  I realized, here was the refuse heap for hundreds of men– burned, broken, bitter and damaged goods–excellent, I thought– just like me! 

The five of us continued to “prowl” the profiles–now, I’ll be honest, the photo is not the first thing I check out when I’m prowling a dating site–it’s the spelling.  I can’t date someone who can’t spell.  I know, I know, my sister tells me that I’m a spelling snob and I will never find a boyfriend because this pet peeve of mine most assuredly eliminates 99.99% of the world’s population.  I know, but I just can’t see myself with someone whose profile reads:  Night in Shineing Armour Seeks Damsle in Disdress (not dat-dress, dis-dress.) Your in for a treat… Let’s just say, when I read that  “eye past” on that bachelor. 

At last,  one profile finally caught my eye–hmmm, I detected no confusion with his use of the words: there, they’re and their. Two, too and to were also in order.  He lived locally (unlike  “Sunshine State Ken,” a welder from Tampa, who felt strongly that the distance between Florida and Virginia was no reason not to explore the possibility of chemistry between us.  I agreed and replied, asking Sunshine State Ken if he wanted to meet for lunch that day…for some reason, I never heard back from him.)  Anyway, as my eyes glanced up toward the photo of the good speller, I saw he was reasonably attractive….hmmmm–wait, what the?  There was one minor problem with his profile picture–he was wearing a beanie–a beanie with a propeller on the top.  “Hey,” my friends scolded, “Don’t be so judgmental.”  “Megan, look at it this way–he’s got a great sense of humor, right?”  “Wink at him and send him an email right now, before he gets away.”   So, I did exactly what my misguided friends suggested; I took a large gulp of my gin and tonic and set to work writing an email to ‘Propeller Beanie, Good Spelling Guy’–before he was snatched up by someone else.  My goal was to send something witty, yet coquettish, showing interest, but not desperation.  My email went something like this:  “Hi!  I read your profile and aside from the beanie, I think we have a lot in common.  Want to chat?”  I should have listened to my gut–It was against my better judgment to be the “first responder,” but there I was with four friends squeezing my right index finger until I swore I’d press the ‘send’ button.  What could I do?  I pressed the ‘send’ button.

Within  three minutes, I received a  response from ‘Propeller Beanie, Good Spelling Guy.’  My friends cleared their throats, preparing for their “I Told You So’s.”  The reply was short and to the point.  It said,  “No thnx.”  That was it.  “No thnx.” …I was rejected by a man wearing a freaking propeller beanie.  Was this an omen of things to come?

Meme–Mannequin Art

Mannequin Art

Mannequin Art

In addition to teaching Middle School English,  this year I am also Director of Development at Virginia Beach Friends School.  My first project in development is to coordinate a Silent Art Auction to benefit our school’s art, music and drama programs.

I’m looking for artists willing to donate a piece of their work to be auctioned off during the event.  We’re expected more than 200 people from the Hampton Roads area.

All artists will have their piece featured on the VBFS website along with a link to their own website.

As an artists, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that the value of integrating the arts into students’ daily school day is immeasurable.  In addition to providing children with outlets for creativity and self-expression, countless studies have shown the links between exposure to the arts and enhanced academic performance. 

The school website is: www.friends-school.org  Have a look at the  terrific programs we offer.  I’d love to have you help us continue to be a school where the arts flourish!

Best wishes-

Megan Murphy

“I AM”

Inspired by a quote from Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar,”

this collage is titled, “I AM.”

“I took a breath and listened to

the old brag of my heart

I am   I am   I am”

I’ll be donating this piece to the Virginia Beach Friends School’s Silent Art Auction in October.

Latest Collage

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