Yay For Me!! Uh, Wait…

I recently got a message from Word Press congratulating me on my 50th blog post. I was feeling pretty proud of myself since I fittingly started this blog on April 1st, 2013.

IMG_5855  I looked like this.

Until I remembered that I only write about 5 paragraphs, and had a 12 Days of Dysfunction Christmas song, where I added a line a day. Suddenly, my stats were not so impressive.

Like most people, real life and time constraints come into play. While I always have blog ideas swimming around in my somewhat fuzzy brain, I find myself spending most of my available time reading some really impressive and entertaining posts by other bloggers.

We are gearing up for the The Buffer Zone Dysfunctional Family Survey posts, so check back to amuse yourself with crazy family incidents, and feel better about your DNA. Until then, I will be re-blogging some of my favorite posts by incredible writers.

Remember you only have 123 days until The Buffer Zone Day.

Heading to Thanksgiving Dinner?



On the way to your family’s house for Thanksgiving dinner with the extended clan? I’m going to guess that your dinner table companions do not resemble the ones in this famous Norman Rockwell painting, except maybe the guy in the bottom right hand corner. He looks a little creepy….

Which it is why it is very important to get to the dining room table first so that you can stake out the best seat, far away from your repellative (our term for ridiculously crazy relatives), and close to the exit.

Hopefully, you have done some deep breathing exercises in the car on the way, and have packed a little flask of holiday spirits.

Wishing you a thankful day.


They’re Coming! A guest post about family and food from The Buffer Zone

Excited about my first guest blog, and inspired to make a few of the healthy recipes on Small Potatoes as soon as the triple chocolate caramel creme cookies come out of the oven!

Small Potatoes

Each month, Small Potatoes will be inviting a guest blogger to share  stories, recipes, and relationships to their food systems. Enjoy this first one from Diane at The Buffer Zone. Would you like a side of dysfunction with that turkey? 

H_bushesThey’re Coming!

Diane, of  The Buffer Zone

Buffer  n. 1. Something that lessens or absorbs the shock of an impact.  2. A neutral area between two conflicting powers.

Buffer Zone  n. 1. Where you can hide when you realize the “conflicting powers” are your dysfunctional relatives.

Lately, I’ve been trying to follow a diet I like to call the “Don’t Eat Crap Diet.” You know, no processed foods, no Diet Coke, blah, blah, etc., which is why I check out this blog about eating locally grown, right-from-the-ground type food.  However, Thanksgiving is upon us, and that means relatives breaking our established Buffer Zone to join us for dinner…

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And double “Whew.”

It took us 3 whole weeks to recover from Buffer Zone Day 2013. Wine and liquor bottles have been recycled, and you can once again find cheese at the local groceries. This year’s winner was truly deserving, and we can’t wait to see where they display their lovely, and oh-so-special trophy. Thanks to everyone involved for sharing their dysfunctional family stories and incidents, and for all the nice comments pertaining to this year’s Buffer Zone Day.

Schadenfreude is a German word that translated into English means ‘Fail-Joy’, or pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. If Buffer Zone Day gets any more schadenfreude-ish we will need to start dressing in lederhosen.

Every year, we strive to make Buffer Zone Day bigger, better, and more festive that the last. Frankly, we are a little stumped as how to top BZD13. Maybe we will have a contest for Buffer Zone Day 2014, open to everyone, with a spectacular prize for the best dysfunctional story or incident. We are still kicking around ideas, amusing ourselves in the process, so stay tuned to this blog.


Happy Buffer Zone Day!

July 31st is Buffer Zone Day! It is one of our favorite holidays, along with Christmas (because, well, it’s Christmas) and Halloween (because you can’t tell how dysfunctional our family is when they are dressed in costumes). It’s a day we celebrate creating a Buffer Zone, putting distance between ourselves and the wacko relative we all have.

Since everyone, yes, EVERYONE, has a relative like this, we throw a big party every year, with lots of yummy cheese-laden food and abundant alcohol. After a quick catch up and a nosh, each guest takes a turn telling a story or incident that best demonstrates the craziness of their particular relative.

Again, we do not want to hear the heartbreaking stories that, unfortunately, are all too common. We are only interested in those dysfunctional family moments that amuse us, and make us glad we are not you.

After each story, we laugh, raise a glass, and congratulate the speaker on the fact that they have established a Buffer Zone of X-number of miles from the offending repellative. If they have not yet established a Buffer Zone, we are there to commiserate, and offer helpful suggestions, such as “Dude! You’ve got to get away from them!”

Oh, the stories we have heard. They seem to get more absurd every year, so we like to reward the guest with the best (or worse, if it happened to you) story with a trophy (this year’s coveted award is pictured). There is no significance to the trophy we choose, only that we chuckle when we think of it displayed on the winner’s mantle for the next year.

photo-502Besides the good food, drink, company, and the excitement over the stories and trophy reveal, party guests leave feeling their extended families could always be worse.

We wish you the very happiest Buffer Zone Day, and another year free from family funk!