I am Iron Man…er…I mean Igor.

Ah, Walmart.  My parents used to work at Walmart.  They hated it.  The managers would lock them into the building late at night and refuse to allow the workers to leave until all of the items that customers had misplaced had been put back where they belonged.  They’d be locked in there for hours past closing time.  The employees considered calling the police and saying they had been kidnapped but never did.

My parents told me that immigrants from Eastern European countries would work there for a while, but then would quit.  The immigrants said, “We left Chelstezistahn to get away from oppressive regimes.  You Americans who keep working here are crazy!”  No, I’m absolutely not making that up.

I found myself in Walmart the other day, oppressive regime or no. Sometimes I dash in and dash out.  Not this time.  This was a meander up and down the aisles misplacing items willy nilly kind of trip.

As many of you know, I get cold easily.  And I’m cheap.  Bad combination in winter.  This means that I freeze indoors because I’m too cheap to turn up the heater.  I rely on hats and long johns.

I don’t like wearing winter knitted hats inside because the dry winter air makes my baby-fine hair staticy in a knitted cap.  I was wearing my Steelers hat a couple of days ago.  When I pulled it off my hair stood on end and static sparks flew around the room almost igniting Boy8.

I prefer to wear hats that are acceptable to be worn indoors, like my  newsboy hat. (Google it.)  The only problem with my newsboy hat is that it doesn’t cover my cold little ears.

So I meandered to the hat section in Walmart to see what hats they might have that would cover my ears and would be acceptable to wear indoors.  I found this one, put it on, and looked in the mirror:

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Oh my!  If that doesn’t make me look absolutely adorable!  Now I know why people think I’m sweet, I mean, look at me!  Don’t I look like a sweetie pie?   Gosh, am I cute or what? I admired myself in the hat for some time and snapped a few pictures.

But that felt more like an outdoor hat so I didn’t buy it.

My eye happened to fall on a wall of winter hats.  They were in all colors and had those little knitted strings at the bottoms of them.  I’m not sure what those strings are for.  I decided to put on the hat and tie the strings together so the hat would stay on my head.  I looked in the mirror…

…eeep!  Oh my!  I look like Igor from Young Frankenstein.   Or maybe a babushka from Chelstezistahn,  No, really.  I do:

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Of course, it was slightly better without me making the face, but only just.  I mean, I took one look at myself in the mirror wearing the Igor hat and burst into cackles.  I had to get a picture of it, it was just so wonderfully absurd.  Unfortunately there were a few children nearby and I had to turn aside so they wouldn’t see me taking my pictures.  Didn’t want to scare them.  “And then we saw a witch in the hat section!  I swear mom, she was a real live witch! We heard her cackling!”

I didn’t buy that hat, either.

I meandered to the long john section and considered whether I wanted a white undershirt or a black undershirt.

And that’s when I saw it.  Oh, the angels sang and the sunrays burst through the roof of Walmart.

It was a long john-type undershirt, but it wasn’t the regular long john material.  No, it was fuzzy and thick and soft on the outside and the inside. And, get this, the sleeves were long and had thumb holes. (!!!) I’d never heard of such a thing, but it makes sense.  You can’t wear a long john shirt alone; you have to cover it with another shirt.  But thick fuzzy material like that would bunch up in the arms if you tried to put on another shirt. With the thumb hole, however, you can slide your arms into another shirt without bunching.  Oh, brilliant!

And cheap as I am, I bought it on the spot.  I considered telling Darling Husband that he just bought me a Christmas present and then waiting until December 25th to wear it but, nah.  I put it on right away.

Here’s a picture of the thumb hole.

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No wait!  No, no…I’m er…not Iron man.  Not Iron Man.  Nope.  Just ignore that last picture.

Here is a picture of the thumb hole:

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You can see how fuzzy and thick and cozy that shirt is from the picture can’t you?  The only problem is that I love it too much to take it off.  I’ll be pretty rank by December.  Maybe Darling Husband will get me a couple more for Christmas so I can take this one off and wash it.

How I Think I Look…How I Actually Look

I went clothes shopping today at the Gettysburg Outlets.

There I was, minding my own business walking past the stores, when I happened to glance in the window of one of those clothing stores for people in their teens and maybe their early twenties. I don’t even remember what the store was anymore, but I glanced in as I meandered by.

And there, beckoning, calling, frantically waving at me, was a gorgeous fluffy white vest.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  What an exquisite piece of cloth.  It looked like one of those sheepskin rugs that Ikea used to sell for people to put in front of their fireplaces and roll around on, naked.  Oh, come on, that’s the only reason people bought those rugs and you know it.  If you couldn’t provide evidence that you had a fireplace in your home they wouldn’t let you buy the rug.  I remember there was a big scandal because people were taking pictures of other people’s fireplaces and trying to pass them off as their own.  It was all over the news in the mid 90’s.

I had to touch the fluffy vest.  Had to.

I ventured in to the store with the music too loud and the spotty teenagers tagging along behind their parents and I felt that gorgeous vest.  It was soft.  It was fluffy.  It felt like a baby bunny.  And it was half off.

Half off!

I had to have it, teenager store or no.

As I walked through the store to the fitting room with my cheek lightly resting against the soft fur of the vest, I imagined how gorgeous I would look wearing my new bunny fur, sheepskin vest.

I would wear the vest and my hair would puff out in gentle waves.  My skin would be soft and smooth and I might even get an alabaster brow.  (Nod to fans of Anne Shirley.)  Darling Husband would take one look at me and fall even further under my womanly spell.  He would tell me how beautiful I am and coo love poems to me in Italian.  Well, maybe not coo.  I don’t suppose that men coo.  Well, whatever it is that manly men do, he would do.  Because Darling Husband is certainly a manly man, of course.  He wouldn’t be caught dead cooing.

And all this for half off the retail value!

This, this is how I would look:

Fluffy vest A

And then I tried it on.

Why, oh why did I even bother trying it on?  Why couldn’t I have stayed in that happy place where I was beautiful and desirable and 18 years old again?  No.  I had to go and try it on.

And when I did, I looked short and squat and every single second of my 40 years.  It didn’t help that Boy11 had a sleepover birthday party the night before and no one got much sleep.  The lines on my face and the bags under my eyes were deeper and baggier than ever.  The vest was supposed to be size small, but it fit on me about as well as a puffy vest from a men’s Big and Tall store would fit.

Basically, I looked like an Ewok wearing a tauntaun skin.  (Look it up  in wookieepedia if you need pictures.)

Here.  Here is what I actually looked like in that hideous fake fuzz vest:

Fluffy vest B

Not the svelte young thing of my imagination that could inspire men to give double takes and coo sweet nothings to me in Italian.  Nobody’s double taking, unless it’s the same double take you give the bearded lady at the circus.  I mean, seriously. Can you picture me showing up at church wearing that?  Or to Soup Day?  In a big old puff of fake fuzz?  For Christmas last year we got Boy8 a fluffy bathmat.  He loves fluffy bathmats.  This vest looks pretty much exactly like Boy8’s fluffy bathmat.

I scuttled out of the store, head down, past the teenagers and their parents and found a store for grownups.  I ended up buying three sensible button down shirts and a pair of jeans.

Huh.  Just realized I have a fireplace now.  I wonder whether Ikea still sells those sheepskin rugs?

Clothes Shopping Again, With Pictures

I wanted to look like an Easter Egg.  I tried to look like an Easter Egg.  But I couldn’t do it.  I’m just not an Easter Egg, no matter how much I want to be.

What am I talking about?  Clothes shopping.  More specifically, spring/summer clothes shopping.

As you are all well aware, Darling Husband and I are cheap thrifty.  We are stingy smart with our money.

Since we’re so cheap economical, we don’t like to spend a lot on clothes.  I don’t know what Darling Husband’s excuse is for not buying decent clothing because he’s a guy and wears the same clothes every day of his life.  He could actually buy a good quality shirt and keep wearing it until 2043.  If he’d pony up the extra cash for material that doesn’t fray after a season, no one would ever know how old the shirt is.  That’s how easy men have it.

It’s different for women, especially women with short attention spans, like me.  The reason that I buy cheap clothes is that I get bored with my clothes and want something different, so I don’t mind if they wear out after a couple of years.  Why spend a bunch of money on something I won’t want to wear by 2015?

This means I head out about twice a year to refresh the wardrobe.

And every spring I try very hard to be an Easter Egg, but it just never works out for me.

On Sunday I headed out to the outlets and started at Maurices*.  Oh heaven!  One look in there and it’s like being inside of one of those sugar egg dioramas.  Do you remember those?  Why haven’t I seen one of those in a while?  Do they still make them?  They’re eggs made out of sugar, covered with frosting, and the insides have a little 3D scene of bunnies or chicks made out of candy.  Google images for ‘sugar egg diorama’ for examples.

Maurices is like a sugar egg diorama.  All the clothes are sweet and girly and pink and purple and everything has ruffles and flounces all over it.  Maybe this year I would finally look good in pink, frothy clothing.  One can always hope, anyway. So I gathered up all the frilly, ruffly, pastel colored clothing I could fit over my arm and headed to the fitting room.

First, here is what I wore going in.

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When I go shopping I wear something I like so I can see whether the outfit I’m trying on looks as good to me as the outfit I’m shopping in.

Note the dark colors and marked lack of frills.  Also note that I haven’t edited any of these pictures, so they’re not the things of visual wonder you’re used to seeing from me.

First up: an Easter Egg Yellow dress.

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Um….maybe….how about the back?

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No.  It’s too thin and makes me look like I have a lumpy butt.  Of course I don’t actually have a lumpy butt (ahem.)  But it makes it look like I do.  Just say No to lumpy-butt dresses!

Easter Egg Purple top with a cute bow.

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Feels like lingerie.  Maybe not to anyone else, but it does to me.  I don’t wanna wear lingerie around town.

Peach frills?

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Nope.  Just not me.  Not sure why not.  I just can’t seem to carry off a lot of busyness in my clothing.

Something a little less fluffy?

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I sort of liked this one, but it’s obviously much too small.  They didn’t have the next size up, and the size after that was too large.  Oh well.  Moving on…

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I like this button down shirt.  I tend to be able to wear button down shirts pretty well.  I think most people can as long as they don’t floof out in the back and make you look really thick.

Turned to check.  Um.  It didn’t floof out in the back, but the back of the shirt was lace.  See through lace.  Nope.  No see-through clothes at my age.  Not gonna happen.

Bat wings?

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No.  No bat wings for me.

Another sort of button down shirt?

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No, I look utterly ridiculous in that shirt.  How about pretty blue?

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Oh, dang it!  Almost.  I kinda like this one except for the saggy boob part.  I don’t like wearing saggy boob shirts.  And I’m not gonna try to figure out how to have it altered, so back on the rack it goes.

One last chance at a dress with a nice bird pattern.

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Feels frumpy.

Let’s move to another store:  Old Lady.

They had a bunch of button down shirts at Old Lady, but apparently the 80’s are back with their big blowzy shirts.  I look like a big balloon in big blowzy shirts.  I managed to find a normal-looking button down shirt.

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But it doesn’t quite fit the way I like button down shirts to fit.  It’s too square.  I am not square shaped.  Back on the rack.

And this, my friends, is why I’m not a model:

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Models have to be able to wear pretty much anything and look good in it.  I do not look good in this dress.

Drab olive green shirt.

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Hey!  I look awesome in drab olive green!  And thus, my Easter Egg dreams are toppled.  Oh well.  At least there’s a hint of ruffle in the shirt.

I bought it.

Might as well get some tshirts while I’m there.  In red.  (One of my best colors.)

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And kelly green.

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That doesn’t look kelly green.  Gerhard, why doens’t it look kelly green on my camera??

A new store.  Dress Barn.  Because I want a dress.  No, actually I want a skirt.  Every year I try to find at least one skirt that fits.  They’re nice in the summer.

How about this one?  (With the black t-shirt I got at Old Lady.)

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That looks nice on me!  Sure does, if I want to stand in one spot all day.  The thing was oddly tight.  I had to take tiny mincing steps to beetle across the fitting room.  No.  I can’t live my life beetling around the house.

Ok–get ready for this one because it’s not something I’d normally get, but in the end I did.

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A long shapeless tablecloth skirt.  Yup!  I got it.  No, it’s not the most flattering on me, but I needed something that’s cool in the summer that I can run around in with the kids.

And for fun, I tried one more Easter Egg shirt.

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No.  It’s not me.  It reminds me of my maternity clothes–especially because it tied in the back.

On to Van Heusen.  Ooo!  Pricey!  Nah–outlets, remember?  They have ‘markdown sales!’  Everything is always $80 off the original price.

I tried on the polka dots.  I have a soft spot for polka dots.  I met my husband wearing a polka dot shirt.

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It’s ok.  How about something in pastel:

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I liked this one better than the polka dots.  But it didn’t fit right.  One size was entirely too small, but the next size up was too large.

Red?

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Yup.  I like red.  Bought the red.

And then I was hungry.  But I’d spent money, and you know how I feel about that.  Called Darling Husband, “Should I get myself a sandwich from Quiznos or come home and eat?”

He said, “For things like this I ask myself, WWJD?”

WWJD?  Either not turn the stones into bread or multiply the sandwiches and feed all the shoppers.

“Um.  Who is J in WWJD?”

“Jackie.”  Ah!  My name is Jackie!  Indeed.  What would Jackie do?  While I was wondering what Jackie would do Darling Husband said, “By the way, what’s for dinner?”

Exactly.  What was for dinner? If I came home, I’d have to figure that out and not just for myself.  I’d have to feed all four of us.

“I’m eating at Quiznos.  You guys will have to fend for yourselves.”

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*  I am leery of thrift stores.  It cost us about $2000 to get rid of bedbugs a couple of years ago.  A cost analysis leads me to believe it’s better to buy new then to have to exterminate bedbugs.

Chocolate meets Peanut Butter or Model meets Photographer

The last time I saw Elizabeth was on her 7th birthday last May.  It was at her birthday party and I tried taking her picture, but she was not cooperative.  She successfully sabotaged any picture taking by implementing evasive actions such as leaving entire slices of pizza dangling from her mouth.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could get away with that as an adult?  Oh wait…you can:

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Back to the story:

Yesterday I finally met up with Elizabeth again as a guest in her home.

I arrived and like any normal seven year old she fled at the sight of me and hid behind the couch.  When she realized how boring it was behind the couch, she came out and stared at me.

And I stared at her.

She stared at me.

I stared at her.

Stared at me…

Stared at her…

Why all the staring?

I stared at her because she has these amazing blue eyes.  They’re huge and blooo.  They would be gorgeous in a picture.

She stared at me because I was simply not wearing enough makeup.  In my defense, I was wearing lipstick, mascara and even a touch of eyeliner but that was small potatoes compared to what I clearly needed.

We’re all pretty sure that Elizabeth was switched at birth because her mother, my friend Jo-Ann, couldn’t be less interested in fashion and makeup, while Elizabeth can’t get enough.

Finally Elizabeth asked me if she could “do my makeup.”

Uh…

You all know how I feel about being touched.  “Doing my makeup” would require lots of physical contact…with my face.  A hug, a handshake is one thing, but pawing all over my face…I dunno.  That’s pretty intimate.

I hemmed and hawed, but at the same time, I really wanted her picture.  Those huge, blooo eyes.

She patiently waited and about 10 seconds later, she asked again if she could do my makeup.  More hemming and hawing.  Those eyes!

And then, after coercing her mother into having her makeup done, she turned to me and asked yet again.

I came to the conclusion that the only way to get a picture of her eyes was to agree to the makeup.  Apparently Elizabeth came to the conclusion that the only way to do the makeup was to agree to the picture.  It was a mutually beneficial conclusion.

I submitted to the makeover and I’m quite positive that I’ve never had rosier cheeks than yesterday afternoon.  I managed to make it through all the physical contact, even the part where the q-tips jabbed into my eyeballs.  Then it was time for the photoshoot.

We set about the house to find a good spot for the picture.  Elizabeth’s mom said, “There aren’t really any good spots for pictures…” but what does she know?  She’s crazy because we found a mostly empty room upstairs with a lovely hardwood floor, a colorful oriental carpet, adorable little window, and walls pretty much the exact same shade of blue as Elizabeth’s eyes.

I couldn’t have created a better photo studio for Elizabeth if I’d tried.

Elizabeth put on a dress while I fiddled with the camera and flash settings.  Honestly, I wasn’t too hopeful about the pictures, but thought I might manage to get one good shot.  Seven year olds get tired of having their pictures taken after about half a minute.

Out she came and stood there slumping at me.  I told her how to stand and got an amazing shot of her looking over her shoulder.  I was pretty pleased with it and assumed we were done.

But no!  Elizabeth went into her room to change into a new outfit and out she came again for another picture.  Oooo!  This time, I had her looking pensively out the window.  After about 4 clicks of the camera, she was done.  I started to put away my camera.

But no!  She changed outfits yet again, and came out for more pictures.  Amazing!  This time we used a stool.

But she was beginning to tire.

And then she got that look on her face that people get when something is dawning on them.  She said, “Are you a photographer?”

I mumbled, “Well, maybe one day…”

She said, “Are you a photographer?”

What the heck.  “Yes.  I’m a photographer.”

And then our photoshoot took off.  Later, Elizabeth’s aunt saw some of the pictures I took and wondered, “How did you get her to stay still?”

Really, people, it wasn’t all that hard. Once a fashion aficionado realizes she’s in front of a real live photographer who will immortalize her outfits forever, it’s like chocolate meeting peanut butter.  Two great tastes that belong together.

We got lots and lots of shots.  She followed all my direction on how to sit, stand, smile, etc.  When we were done, she hefted out her Vogue magazine to show me the pictures in it.  I promised her, “Next time I visit, we’ll look at the magazine first and re-create the poses.”

The two of us can hardly wait.

Here are all the pictures from yesterday:

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Compare the picture above to the picture below.  The eyes are the exact same color in both pictures.  The difference is that in the bottom one, I added a sepia wash to the entire picture except for her eyes.  When you look at her eyes surrounded by sepia tones instead of all that blue, you can see just how blue the eyes are.  _DSC3582-small

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What I Learned about Fashion from Hockey Movies and Football

Sick people are really boring.  I should know because, as you know, I got sick a week and a half ago, which is rare for me.  And as you all further know, I’m a complete baby when I’m sick.

I happened to be on the phone with my mother a few days ago and mentioned how sick I was.  I told her how I had to lie down for days on end resting and napping.  She said, “What was wrong with you?  The flu?”

I told her that I’m pretty sure it was just a really bad cold.  She started snickering.  “A cold?”  To defend my honor I told her I had a fever, too.  She stopped snickering and said, “Oh, a fever.  You poor thing.  Well, that makes a difference.  Was it a high one?” I told her, “100.4.”  She misheard me and said, “104?  Well, no wonder…”  “No!  It was 100 point 4.”

And that’s when she burst into unrestrained laughter.

All she could come up with was some nonsense about being “in the hospital with internal hemorrhaging on Christmas Eve and still recovering a month later from the loss of blood, but even then I didn’t have to lie down and nap for days on end.”  She kept laughing until she couldn’t breathe.

I was so glad I could bring joy to her life, what with her recovering from her stint in the hospital.

Of course, it was after I talked with her, and thought I was on the mend, that my normal cough developed into the Cough of Doom.  If I lay perfectly still, like on a couch in front of the tv, the cough would go away.  But if I stood up, like to get to the box of Junior Mints, the Cough of Doom would come rushing in full force.  Every single breath for the past 7 days has been painful and I could hear horrible rasping noises when I breathed deeply.  Darling Husband could hear the noises from across the room.  Kinda scary.

I’ve been forced to lie around napping and coughing and making pathetic whimpering noises for the past 10 days of misery.  But I’ve learned a few things while I’ve been sick.

First of all, I really, really, really enjoy lying around watching tv and eating Junior Mints all day.  When I’m not sick, I tend to be a somewhat hyper and driven person.  I once told a co-worker that I’d love to retire and lie around somewhere warm for the rest of my life.  He said, “No you wouldn’t.  You need to have things to do.  You’d get bored.”

He is so wrong.  I laid around for 10 days taking naps and watching tv and it never got old. Seriously—it never got old.  The only productive thing I did was to clear out about 700 items from my Netflix streaming queue.  But then I had to take a bracing nap after all that productivity.

The second thing I’ve learned is never trust Rob and Jo-Ann when they tell you a movie is good.  They told me Attack the Block was a good movie, albeit a bit gory.  It was an alien movie, so I settled down hoping for a movie like District 9.  What I got was Killer Klowns from Outer Space.  What a disappointment.  Darling Husband said, “Well, what did you expect from an alien movie made in the 80’s?”  I said, “Dude!  It was made in 2011!”  And he looked confused and crushed and said, “But…but…the music!  There were…synthesizers!”  That’s right people.  Synthesizers.  It was Just That Bad.

I’ve also learned that men had really long legs in the early 80’s.  How do I know?  Because I watched about 20 minutes of Miracle on Ice and those men had really long legs.

That was another bad movie.  No wonder I had to take so many naps.  All those bad, boring movies really wear a body out.  Maybe Miracle on Ice suddenly got better 21 minutes into the movie, but the first 20 minutes were pretty bad.  There were about 500 characters that I couldn’t keep track of and they all randomly skated around a hockey rink looking slow and bumbling.  The coach yelled a lot and absolutely nothing happened.

I was feeling really bad the day I watched A Miracle on Ice and was wishing I could take a nap, but I was afraid I’d have nightmares about those men and their long legs.  All 500 characters, except the coach, wore painfully tight jeans and it made their legs look freakishly long.

Speaking of men’s legs, I’ve also learned that black really is slimming from watching football.   That wasn’t this week that I learned that.  No, I watched a few minutes of a football game, once, about two years ago. One team had white pants and the other team had black pants.  The football players with the white pants had legs that looked muscular and strong.  The football players with the black pants had legs that looked small and delicate. Football players aren’t supposed to have skinny bird legs, so, like Moses turning aside to ponder the wonder of a burning bush in the desert, I stopped to watch the game long enough to figure out why one team was so delicate looking.  Upon closer inspection, I realized that it was the black pants, slimming their legs.

Look at this skinny leg:

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This is a picture in a Children’s book from 1916.  It’s supposed to be Cinderella running away from the ball.  My mother and I would pull out this picture from time to time and stare at Cinderella’s leg and cackle at it until we were choking.   The longer you stare at that leg, the funnier it gets. Go on, stare at it for a few minutes.  Try to picture the entire leg.  Now, picture both legs.  And picture her standing on those spaghetti legs in a pair of shorts.  If that doesn’t brighten your day, nothing will.

My Misshapen Head

As you can see, yesterday was grocery shopping day.  Go head.  Snicker all you like.

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—–

I’m determined to master flash photography.  I plan to practice it a little bit every day.

So there I was practicing using my flash on Boy7, which is  rare thing.  He doesn’t like having his picture taken. In order for him to let me post these pictures online I had to bribe him with bite-sized MilkyWay bars leftover from his Christmas advent calendar.

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A little too dark.

A little too light

A little too light

The best in the series (for lighting.)

The best in the series

And halfway through the photoshoot, I noticed that the new headband I bought at the grocery store was popping off my head. I made Boy10 take pictures of my misshapen head and the popping off headband.

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Headbands are very frustrating to me.  When I tell other women, “My hair is acting up today.  What can I do with it?”  They often say, “Wear a headband.”

Apparently all the other women on this planet are able to wear headbands to disguise a bad hair day without them popping off their heads.  Why can’t I?

And here’s the part where it all comes together so nicely.  Follow along:

I posted a photography question on a secret Photo Club page on Facebook.  After expressing annoyance at a complicated answer I got, Gerhard wrote to me:

“Just calm down. When someone is trying to teach you things, you have a tendency to half listen and think 2 or 3 steps ahead to “what if I did this or that”. Slow down, you’re thinking too fast. Give ideas time to sink in. Just because we’re digital and seeing our images instantly,it’s still a slow process to learn this craft. Am I being too blunt?”

My first thought was, “What? Surely I don’t have such irritating habits as all that!  Not moi!”

But then I read it again, and realized that nestled in his observation was the brilliant explanation as to why my headbands pop off.   Read Gerhard’s comments again,

“…and think 2 or 3 steps ahead…you’re thinking too fast…”

Obvious now, isn’t it?  The reason why my headbands pop off is because of my enormous brain.

——————

There were thousands of perfectly formed snowflakes everywhere this morning.  I threw on my coat over my robe and family sweatpants to take pictures.  I didn’t even realize I still had on my Steeler’s hat until the next door neighbor came outside to accuse, “What is that thing on your head?”

Eh, he’ll get over it.

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Darling Husband tried to get pictures of the snowflakes on his own with my camera.  He observed, “You need a macro lens.”  What an amazingly highly intelligent man that I married.  He’s very, very smart.  And he’s right.  I do need a macro lens.

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I changed clothes for the first time in 26 days yesterday

Yesterday evening about 16 people from my church were going to be baptized.  The people being baptized ranged in age from 7 to 60-something.

It sounded like something fun to watch, so I bundled up the kids and we headed out. It wasn’t until I got there that I found out that a bunch of my Soup Day friends and my kids’ friends were being baptized.

Huh?  What’s up with the secrecy guys?

Anyway…remember how I told you I’m friends with a couple who remind me of Mary and Joseph from the bible?  Last month I took their Christmas card pictures.  Mary was sooooo happy with the pictures that she cried happy tears. Yes, I checked to be sure they were happy tears and not tears of bitter disappointment.

Here are their Christmas pictures:

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Well, Mary and Joseph’s boys were going to be baptized.  And when she saw me arrive last night, she said, “Oh, Jackie!  Oh…do you think you could…?”

She wanted me to take pictures, but she was afraid to fully ask, because she didn’t want to impose.  I mean, she’s just like Mary and Mary would never impose.  But how could I say no to Mary?!

I couldn’t.

Fortunately, I’ve been given special permission as a Photo Club member to take photos of any church event that I want to, from anywhere I want to.  I double checked that it would be ok and I made preparations to head up to the very front of the church for picture taking.  The baptismal tub is built into the wall waaaay at the front of the church under a stained glass window.  You wouldn’t even know it’s there if no one told you.

I got all my gear ready (two lenses, flash, batteries for the flash, batteries for the camera, and rag for cleaning lenses) and stuffed it all into my pockets.

The pockets of my bright red vest.

The pockets of my bright red vest that was over top of a bright white shirt.

Aw, man.

Photographers at solemn spiritual events are not supposed to be wearing attention-getting bright red vests with blindingly white shirts underneath.  Photographers at solemn spiritual events are supposed to be dressed in dark clothes.  Like, maybe dark navy blue sweaters.

Do you remember back on Christmas day when I wrote about a dark navy blue sweater my mother bought for me for Christmas?  I wrote, “Along with a very lovely sweater that I’m wearing right now and will probably wear every day for the next month because I love it so much (hey, I’ll change the shirt under it), my mother bought me…”

Well, just as I predicted, I’ve worn that sweater every single day since then (and am wearing it now) except for last night.  I finally got tired of wearing it for 26 days in a row and threw on the white shirt and red vest.

So, instead of heading to the front of the church to take discrete pictures of a solemn spiritual ceremony in a subdued dark blue sweater, I just had to be the flashy photographer sauntering to the front in my glowing red vest and blindingly bright shirt.

I found this old picture of the front of the church that Michael gave to me.  Ignore the fishy pictures on the sides.  Look at the big black arrow.  That’s where the baptismal tub is hidden under those flower arrangements.  See the red woman?  That’s me.  I was standing on a shelf behind those chairs.  Waaaay up front.  Waaaay up high.  Bright red.

Red Vest at Baptisms

Barbetta was working in the nursery and watching the baptisms beamed in on a tv screen.  She said, “…and then I saw this blob of bright red move across the screen and thought, “Who is that?”  Then I realized it was you.  Jackie, you really should dress more subdued if you don’t want everyone staring at you when you’re taking pictures.”

Yes.  Yes, I know, Barbetta.  I know.

Anyway.  I have to say I’m soooo glad I practiced with the flash on Saturday.  The lighting was dark and the baptism shots would be action shots.  I’d need a flash or they’d be a big grainy blur.  I wanted to do right by Mary and Joseph.

And I figured that since I was already up there, I may as well take pictures of everyone.  Half of them being baptized are my friends anyway.

So I did.

Here’s a sample:

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As a final word, it turns out that a lack of expectations makes all the difference in photography. When no one expects pictures and you take them as a happy surprise, it’s kinda fun.  I didn’t even care that I was in front of a crowd of 100 or so people in my bright red vest.  I was the one with the very best view of each and every person being baptized. Very cool.

But I may take to leaving black shirts in my car, in case I ever need to do an emergency photography session at church ever again.

Trying Not to be an Embarrassment to My Friends

Do you remember waaaay back when I posted about how bad of a patient I am?   It was on Jan 25th, (click here to read) when I told the pathetic tale of how I have the sorry honor of being the Worst Patient Ever at a certain ophthalmologist’s office, and how I was asked to leave a blood donation center, when I was already hooked up to the needle and dripping blood into the bag, because my (valid and insightful) questions about blood donation were freaking out the other donators.  Wimps.

Well, I’ve been wanting to move to a new doctor here in town.  Unfortunately, Barbetta just got a job as a Nurse Practitioner at the very office that I want to move to.  Grrrr.  The pressure is on.   And Barbetta knows it.  I’ll explain.

See, I can’t see Barbetta as my provider.  Boy10 didn’t understand why and I told him, “Well, what if you had an embarrassing condition, like a wart on your butt?”  (Yes, this is how we talk at home.  We just put on a good show in front of the rest of you, pretending that we’re elegant and refined.  But in the privacy of our own home, we also use the word “fart” and “stupid” quite often in conversation.)  “You wouldn’t want your friend to know you had a wart on your butt, would you?  That’s embarrassing.”

He said he’d rather have a friend know, who cares about you, rather than a stranger who might make fun of you.

I don’t agree.  So…can’t see Barbetta as a provider.  (And no, I don’t have a wart on my butt!)

Before the appointment with the other Nurse Practitioner in the office (Jen), Barbetta told me about Jen.  “Jen is great!  You’ll love her!”

And, unbeknownst to me, Barbetta told Jen, “Jackie’s great!  You’ll love her!  No weird medical conditions.”  (Well, unless you count that wart…no, no!  I’m kidding.  I have no warts.)

Today I went to see Jen and realized that I would have to Behave.  No freaking out about bleeding to death from getting my blood drawn, no passing out in the ophthalmologist’s office out of fear of going blind.  (Just read the January 25th post already.)

So, even though there were lots of times when I wanted to crack a joke, I didn’t.  I stayed calm and serious and was a Good Patient.  Very boring.  Very normal.

Tonight, I talked to Barbetta and she said, “Well?  What did you think of Jen?”  I told her that I liked Jen.  And Barbetta gave a sigh of relief. “Shew!  I like Jen and I like you, but what if the two of you thought each other was weird?!  That would be embarrassing.”

Barbetta, I’m sorry to inform you that….I am weird!  Hopefully, I can continue to keep it under wraps in front of your co-workers, but who knows?  Put me in a pressure filled medical situation and I’m bound to Fall Apart and be a Complete Embarrassment and you’ll be forced to look for a new job.

I am unhappy to report that Jen made me get a tetanus shot. I’ve been smug in the knowledge that I don’t have to get shots and when my sons have to get their shots I’ve been sympathetic, but firm, “Oh, it’s just a little shot.  You’ll be fine.  I’ll get you a slushie when it’s done.”

But when I had to get my tetanus shot, I broke out in a sweat and my mouth went dry and I felt a little dizzy.  It’s really warm in that office.   But I had to be brave in front of the boys, and, more importantly, in front of Barbetta’s coworkers.

So, I got the shot and it was nothing!  Nothing!  Barely any pain at all!  I made fun of the boys, “Guys!  That was it?  All the drama and having to buy you slushies after your shots for that?

But then, about 2 hours later, the pain set in.  The shot site hurts!  Ouch!  I can barely lift my sweet tea tonight, so you know it’s bad.  And no one even got me a slushie.  😦

———-

Picture of the day.  Tonight is Haircut Night at Wendy’s house.  Now that Soup Day is over (good going Barbetta, getting a job and cancelling Soup Day forever), we have to come up with other ways to get our haircuts.  So, every six weeks, we have Haircut Night.

I’m here at haircut night right now, writing The Blog, because Darling Husband called to inform me that the internet is down at my house.  The internet people say it won’t be up until after midnight.  335 posts into this Daily Blog Challenge and this is my first brush with technical difficulties.  So, I’m staying late for Haircut Night, hogging Wendy’s laptop and composing The Blog.  And yes, she’s impressed with my mad typing skilz.

Bond Girls, Puffy Women, and the Loo

Why is it that I can go days, nay, weeks without having to use the loo, but sit me in a movie theater and within 10 seconds of the start of the film, I’ve got to go.  What’s up with that?!

So, I went to the movies today and stayed until the last credit rolled up the screen, as I usually do.  In today’s credits there was a “Thank you to the Royal Navy for the use of the Wildcat Helicopter” which makes it obvious what I went to see.  I mean, is there any movie in the entire world that the Royal Navy would obligingly lend their Wildcat Helicopter to except one?

After today’s movie, I have good news for my long-suffering friends.  As you all know, whenever anyone mentions James Bond within earshot, I can’t help but launch into a passionate rant about the distressing lack of James Bond music in the last few James Bond movies.  It’s just not a James Bond movie without the James Bond music, I don’t care how many shaky martinis the man drinks.  Without the James Bond music, it may as well be a Will Smith movie.

But after today, I can lay all my rants to rest.  There was much blaring of trumpets in today’s movie.  Finally.

In honor of the James Bond movie, I spent an alarming half hour with Alex (my camera), attempting to see if I could ever pass as a Bond girl.  Ay yi yi.  I had to rely on some serious smoky-eye makeup and lots of help from photo editing software to come even close..

Anything I can’t fix with the photo editing software will have to be handled in other ways.  For example, Bond women always have accents.  I’ve got that covered–I can do an amazing American accent.  I sound just like an American when I talk in my American accent.   And, I’m the perfect weight.  All I have to do is stay this same weight, but grow another seven inches, and then I’ll be tall and skinny, like all the Bond women are.  And I know how to grow taller from watching old Brady Bunch episodes:  hang from a jungle gym.

I’m so glad we have movies and TV nowadays.  No wonder all those Renaissance women in the paintings were puffy and overweight.  They didn’t have the Brady Bunch to tell them how to grow, and they also didn’t have non-stop, unrelenting, never-ending images of women who are 5’11 and weigh 103 pounds to aspire to.  We’re soooo lucky.

Wait….pale skin? Glowy yellow eyes?  Looks like I make a better vegetarian vampire than a Bond girl.

My New 70’s ‘Do

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been growing out my hair.  It’s been quite the ride.  For the past couple of days, this is what’s been happening:

Now, quick: look at this video.  Yes, you have to click on it.  If you’re at work, turn down the volume.  Go 45 seconds in for a closeup.  Go on–get clicking.  I won’t write another word until you do.

Are you back? …

Wow!  Do you see that resemblance!  Wow!  Not only does my hair look eerily similar to hers, but I even dance like her.  Well, I dance a little better; I like to add a little finger snap every few beats just to keep it fresh.

Normally I’d write more, but I’ve stayed up so late for so many nights in a row that I’m about two seconds from passing ou…. *thunk—-zzzzzzzz*