Chocolates Galore and Scary Photographers

Do you remember that scene in The Princess Bride where Inigo Montoya is trying to convince Miracle Max to do a miracle for him and Miracle Max only agrees to do the miracle if it’ll humiliate Prince Humperdink?  Inigo assures Miracle Max that there will be “humiliations galore.”  Here it is–all 2 seconds of it.

When I survey the wonderful bounty in my house I can hear Inigo’s voice saying, “Chocolates galore.”

Chocolates galore.  That’s what I’m faced with.  Chocolates galore.  Hang on while I go eat one.

I’m back.  See, I was asked to set up a photobooth for a Valentine’s banquet at church.  We needed Valentine’s Day props.  So I bought three little boxes of chocolates that people could use as props.  I didn’t want people accidentally opening the boxes and all the chocolates rolling around and people stepping on them and the chocolates being wasted.  I’m not like those stereotypical Americans that you hear about. I’m all about not wasting things, so I kept those chocolates by golly, and I’m proud to say so.  I’m doing my part to make the world a greener place.  Someone has to eat the chocolates–why not me?  When you add those three little boxes to the big box Darling Husband got for me there most certainly are chocolates galore.

My friend Jo-Ann’s cousin was skinny and in dire dread of gaining weight. She kept careful eye on every bite she took.  One year someone bought her a box of chocolates for Christmas and those chocolates proved to be more than she could withstand.  She called Jo-Ann on Dec 26th and broke the news. “You know that box of chocolates I got yesterday for Christmas?  Well, it’s empty.  I ate them all.”  Jo-Ann was properly scandalized, “Oh my goodness!,” until she asked, “Exactly how many did you eat??!!”  The breathless reply, “Four!”

I’m pretty sure there was a lot of eye rolling on Jo-Ann’s part and she hung up the phone in disgust.

I am not like Jo-Ann’s cousin.  I have many more than four chocolates in my house.  I have chocolates galore.

Every year at the Valentine’s banquet someone volunteers to take pictures of each couple and they print them out and everyone has a picture of themselves dressed up.  I never liked that part when I attended the banquets.  You had to stand in front of a Scary Photographer who made you smile, and you knew the smile was just ghastly and you knew the picture would be horrible and, oh, it was just All Too Much. And I was right. I always looked like I was dying in those pictures.

Well, now I realize that the Scary Photographers taking the pictures were people who have since become my friends and they’re actually quite nice and not scary at all (well, most aren’t), but I didn’t know that then.  And no one else knows it now.  They don’t know me.  I have become The Scary Photographer!

So this year when I was approached and asked if I’d set up a photobooth where people use the remote to take their own picture without a Scary Photographer looming it seemed like a good idea to me.  There would be props to hide behind for the very shy and if you didn’t like the picture you were free to try again.

Darling Husband couldn’t make it to the dinner, so I thought it might be fun to take a picture of an invisible Darling Husband.  But it didn’t turn out quite as clever as I liked and since I didn’t want to look like a total loser who has no friends to take a picture with I decided to take a picture with myself.

So I took this picture from earlier in the day when I was setting up the booth:


And tried to combine it with this picture from the night of the banquet…


But they overlapped.

too merged-small

So I flipped this picture….


And combined it with this picture…


And made the colors slightly richer and was done:


Speaking of colors, look at my hair.  I’m the same person with the same hair, so why the different colors?  They’re not really different.  Cover the bottom half and look only at the hair on the top of my head.  It’s brown.  That reddish color growing out at the bottom?  Yeah, that’s from Wendy’s costume party where I dyed my hair red for my costume.  It was supposed to wash out in 28 shampooings.

The party was in October of 2013.

I swear to you, I swear (!) that I have washed my hair more than 28 times since 2013.  Honest!

Stupid hair dye.


My Home is Showcased in a Major Magazine, Sort of

So the other day a friend posted a link to an estate sale.  Here’s the link.  Oooo.  Fun!  I settled down to look through the pictures and gawk at all the stuff. Most of it was pretty bad.  I mean, there were framed pictures of hobos and teddy bears.  No, I’m not kidding.  See pictures #48 and 51.  Framed pictures of hobos and teddy bears, people.  That’s pretty bad.

Hobos and teddy bears aside, there was something pretty amazing in one of the pictures, right at the beginning.  Look at picture #1.  I’ve copied it here for you:

Do you see that awesome piece of furniture in the front right?  Oh, I love that piece of furniture.  Why can’t I have amazing furniture like that?  I sat there and just drooled over that piece of furniture for a good, oh, 10 seconds.

Until I realized…uh…wait.  Wait.  I do have amazing furniture like that.  I mean, really just like that.  I have that exact same piece in my dining room right now.  See:

photo (1)

Wow.  Silly me!  I didn’t even recognize it at first.  Huh!

A couple of days later I was reading my HGTV magazine and this ad caught my eye:

photo (2)

It’s all about dust triggering your allergies.  Ok, whatever.  What I was interested in was those books.  Look at those books!  Aren’t they just lovely?  Old beat up, dusty books, you just can’t get any better than that.  I would love to have those amazing books.

And then I realized…uh…wait.  Wait.  I do have amazing books like that.  I mean, really just like that.  I have one of those exact same books.   The green one.  The Thousand and One Nights–see:


My copy isn’t as beat up as the one in the ad and the greens look different because the books are in different lighting, but look!  My bookcase is covered with dust, just like in the ad, and it even has a cobweb, just like in the ad.  I shined a little flashlight onto the book from beneath so you could read the title.  Look at what a lovely job it does of showcasing that cobweb.

But, silly me.  I’ve been saying things like, “My home doesn’t look like the homes in HGTV magazine,” yet it does.

This has got to be one of my proudest moments.

People From India Give the Best Compliments


I have an announcement to make.

I have been compared to…are you ready? Are you ready for what I was compared to?

I have been compared to a guru, nay God himself, who gives enlightenment.

Did you read that? A guru! God! Giver of enlightenment!

Oh yeah, that is so me. I’ve been wondering when someone would finally notice.

See, I have a consulting job helping people prepare for tests that are a lot like the SAT tests.  These tests have essay questions. People like to prepare for the essays by writing practice essays. My job is to give feedback on the practice essays.  I do this all online and I never see the students in person.

One of my students is from India and is named Nutan. I thought Nutan was a man. I’ve been writing, “Dear Sir, ” on all our correspondence.

She let me know she is most certainly not a man. She is a woman.

I replied:

“Dear Nutan,

I was confused about your name. I have not heard it before. I am sorry I was calling you sir.”

And Nutan wrote back:

“Dear Madam,

No mam please don’t say sorry. You are my teacher, my guru, and guru is like God who gives you

Being a Christian, I have to say I’m a little uncomfortable with being compared to God.  That’s the sort of thing where the phrase “pride goeth before a fall” could come into play.  But I can totally latch on to “Guru, giver of enlightenment.”  A little embellishment would be acceptable, too.  If you felt the need to call me, “O wise guru, giver of enlightenment,” I wouldn’t stop you.

I can be reached for enlightenment any day after 4:30.  I charge $100 an hour.  Paypal only please. Or camera gear.  I will work for camera gear. 

If I Should Die Before I Wake

Most of my energy came back yesterday, but it’s a fickle thing.  It likes to hang around all day eating up the Doritos, and then when I need it most, saunter out the door with me asking plaintively, “But where are you going?”  “Out.”  Fickle, fickle energy.

What I’m up against now is the Nighttime Coughing and none of my old tricks are helping.

Falling asleep with a cough drop–doesn’t work.

Sleeping propped completely upright in a chair–doesn’t work.

OTC cough suppressant–doesn’t work.

As soon as the sun goes down The Coughing begins.  Darling Husband has been delightedly making fun of my coughing as payback to all the fun I made of his cough earlier this month.  Ok, I wasn’t technically the one making the fun. Boy8 was.  But I did laugh at Boy8’s antics.  Clearly, Darling Husband is collecting his payback.

And then, when I lie down, it gets worse.  The dragon awakens in my lungs and begins to bellow.  Roar, roar, roar.  After an hour or two of endless coughing, I finally pass out from the drama only to be awakened again every 30 minutes from The Cough.  The Cough leaves me with no air in my lungs and me gasping for breath, tears streaming down my face from the force of the cough, afraid I’ll suffocate by morning. Really, I can’t breathe.  It makes the prayer, “If I should die before I wake” feel dreadfully relevant.

The only thing that works is standing up.  If I stand up, the urge to cough goes away.  I’ve spent the last three nights alternately trying to sleep on a chair, propped up on a couch, or pacing the room mentally inventing various harnesses that would hold me up in a standing position so I can get some sleep.

My last resort is a medicine called  Tessalon Perle.  It’s a gel capsule that is supposed to anesthetize the tickle that makes you cough all night.  Barbetta, my nurse practitioner friend, told me about it at dinner one day.  Someone else at the dinner was complaining of a cough and Barbetta talked about using “pearls.”  I thought this was fascinating since Barbetta is normally highly skeptical of home remedies.  Why would she think that swallowing pearls would help a cough?  But we got that all cleared up (tessalon perle, not pearls) and I said to her, a bit testily, “How come doctors never tell you about this stuff when you have a cough?!  How would I get my hands on this stuff?”  She said that you have to call them and tell them you cannot sleep and ask them for heeeeelp.  I filed this tidbit away for a rainy day.

So this morning, clearly a Rainy Day, after three nights of unrest I called my nurse practitioner (Jen) and got an appointment.  Jen works in the same office as Barbetta, which is a good thing.  I tell Jen all the time, “Barbetta tells me this and Barbetta tells me that,” about my medical conditions.  If Jen didn’t know Barbetta I’m sure she’d just roll her eyes at all the things “my friend Barbetta” tells me.  But Jen knows Barbetta and hopefully trusts that Barbetta knows her stuff.  So when I desperately grapped Jen by the lapels and demanded said, “Barbetta told me that Tessalon Perle can help coughs. Give me some!” she gave it to me.

We’ll know in a few hours whether or not it works.

Oh!  And she also said that it sounds like I had the flu.  The flu!  Influenza, people!  That’s way worse than a man cold.  No wonder there was all that whimpering and lack of energy and tissues everywhere and having my family wait on me.  The flu!  That’s what killed Edward and turned him into a vampire, people!  This is serious stuff!


I finished Breaking Bad two days ago.  I had to buy those last 8 episodes, if you recall.  Without giving anything away to those who haven’t seen it, the one thing I expected to happen, happened.  I mean, we all saw that coming so it wasn’t a big shock.  We were just curious as to how the writers bring it about.

But all the other stuff!  Ay yi yi!  Those writers were brutal.  Wow.  I didn’t expect any of the other thing to go down the way they did.  Breaking Bad is a cautionary tale:  If you do wrong, you’ll get your due.  No exceptions.  Even the innocent bystanders.  Yipes.

Apparently my 70 year old aunt is watching Breaking Bad, too.  She posted a bizarre post on Facebook calling us all “B——, yo!”  Huh?!?  Aunt Ginger!  You are not a 20-odd year old drug dealer!  You’re a little old lady!  You can’t go around calling people names like that.  Someone’s gonna beat you up, yo.

Do Not Disturb for the Next 8 Hours

I was doing so well and then major setback.  Major.

I slept in until 9.  Darling Husband brought me breakfast in bed at 10.  I sat there looking as pathetic as I could to garner sympathy, watching Breaking Bad on the ipad until noon.  I showered and I ate.  I was feeling pretty good.  Just a little worn out but not like being hit by the truck, like yesterday.  One more good night’s rest and I’ll be right as rain.

And then I finished the last episode of season 5 which is when Breaking Bad runs out on Netflix. (Nervous anxious sound)

Ok. This is ok.  There has to be another way to watch the final 8 episodes of the series.  There has to be.  I mean Hank just saw the WW book!  He saw it!  I can’t stop now!  (voice increasing by an octave)

Ok. Ok.  Deep breath.  I can go to and buy the episodes.  No problem.  Click that purchase with a single click button.

I get a message that it won’t work. What?!  Why not?! Ah.  Old credit card on there.  Add the new one.

It still doesn’t work!  Why?  Why doesn’t it work?  Whiiiiine! Ok.  Now I need to create some sort of pin number.  Ok–created.


I was starting to feel much, much better, my man cold all but gone, but this stress has set me back.  I need to go lie down again.  Darling Husband took the ipad from my shaking fingers and said he’d figure it out and told me to go assess an essay.  Assess an essay!?  What, now?  When Hank found the WW book?!?  Ahhhhhh!

Don’t tell me how it ends.  I mean, obviously our guy has to go.  He has to.  We all hate him by now.  He’s terrible.  I have no more sympathy for the guy.  I just want him caught.

Jesse should leave the country and start a charity for orphans and devote the rest of his life to doing good.  I want weepy Jesse to get out alive.

Skylar should burn the money in a big soul cleansing fire and pour her energy into making her job a success and in about 7 years, when she can trust people again, find herself a man of strong morals who doesn’t cheat on his taxes.

I don’t know what to do about Walt Jr.  I don’t want him to find out what his dad did.

…Hang on….Darling Husband is coming into the room. …Hang on…

He fixed it for me!  Huge sigh of relief.  What a man!  He said that in the process I managed to buy the final season twice plus a lone episode, but he called Amazon and got it all fixed.  I’m teary-eyed.  Darling Husband said, “You can download these to the ipad so that if you’re away from our wifi you can watch them.”

What?  Away from our wifi?  As if.  I’ll have these watched by tomorrow morning, yo.

I’m still alive

I’m still alive, in case you were wondering. The man cold hasn’t killed me yet.  Boy8 and Boy11 have been making me toast and caressing my brow and saying, “Poor little bunny,” throughout the day.

Boy8 asked me what I used to do when I got sick and they were babies.  Thinking back I remember having woman colds back then.  I’d manage to tend to them while being sick at the same time.  I told him, “Well, one always takes care of the babies, so I would take care of you no matter how bad I felt.”

Thank goodness those days are over!  Man colds are way better than woman colds.  Bring on more toast and poor little bunny carresses!  Of course, when I’m done suffering through my man cold I’ll add a home ec class to homeschool so I can teach the kids how to cook my favorite meals for the next time I’m stricken with a man cold.  A woman cannot live on toast alone. A little Tuna Helper is welcome from time to time.

I Have A Man Cold

I have a Man Cold*, people.  A Man Cold!  Ahhhh!

I’ve never understood those women who talk about how their husbands become big babies when they’re sick.  When Darling Husband is sick he still goes out and shovels snow and mows lawns and irons clothes and basically never stops and won’t let me play nurse.  I’ve given up.  Now when he’s sick I just sort of wave my hand in his general direction and say, “What, sick?  Do you need some aspirin or something?” and leave him be.

But me?  When I’m sick?  The world stops.  It’s into the bed for long naps, it’s balled up tissues littering the floor, it’s bottles of cough syrup and bags vitamin C drops on tv trays, it’s whimpering and looking for sympathy and letting my voice crack when I try to speak.  I was going to take a picture to show you how miserable I look but that would involve standing up and pressing a button.  It’s just all too much.  Blech.

Darling Husband and Boy11 have been coughing for 5 weeks straight now. They’re getting a little better. Boy11 can shift positions on the couch without going into a coughing fit.  Now he only coughs if he bounces through the house.  He certainly hasn’t been to his karate class in 3 or 4 weeks.  Running around like that would set off an embarrassing coughing fit.  I’ve honestly been a little nervous that maybe the karate people would call some sort of child protection agency to tell them I was hiding my child.

For the past few weeks I’ve been leaving Boy11 at home when I drop off Boy8 at the karate studio so he doesn’t have to breathe in the cold air. But since he’s getting better today I took him with me to drop off Boy8 and then Boy11 and I ran some local errands.  After the errands we arrived at the karate place and the karate instructor saw Boy11 through the big window and came out to greet us.  He had a confused look on his face.  At first I wasn’t sure if his confused face was because Boy11 was actually there, or if it was because Boy11 was wearing his fez. Yes, fez.  It’s a Doctor Who thing.  Boy8 wears his cool fedora everywhere he goes and Boy11 wears…the fez.  Sigh.  It’s a darn good thing he’s homeschooled or he’d get beaten up after school, I know.

Anyway, the karate instructor comes out, glances at the fez, and says, “Boy11!  We wondered where you were!  I thought your parents might have sold you for some extra cash.”


Hang on.  I just remembered that Boy8 ordered himself some bowties.  They should arrive any day now.   It’s a Doctor Who thing as well.  I guess they’re both equally nerdy.  A fez and bowties. Hey, what’d you expect with parents like Darling Husband and me?   They’re doomed, poor dears.

And now I need to go lie down and watch some TV.  I’m almost at the end of Breaking Bad** and realized that Netflix doesn’t have the last 8 episodes.  Ugh.  And when I’m sick, too.  What a world, what a world (yo)…


*After I finished writing this I looked up the link to Man Cold.  Hilarious!  That’s exactly how I am when I’m sick.  It’s uncanny.  Do you see all those tissues around the guy and the stuff on the coffee table in front of him?  That’s me right now so you don’t even need a picture to know what I look like.  Yes, when I’m sick I look like an overweight British guy.

**Speaking of selling people, I’m on the episode where Jesse thought that Gus was selling him to the cartel.

Cool fedora below.  We didn’t take pictorial evidence of the fez.