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:

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

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But they overlapped.

too merged-small

So I flipped this picture….

Flipped-small

And combined it with this picture…

Twin-small

And made the colors slightly richer and was done:

Twin-done-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.

People Who Like Cats vs. Cat People

I used to have a cat named Richard. Richard was insane.

No, really, he was insane.

I had to leave him at the vet overnight for blood work. I warned the vet technician, “He’s a bit difficult to deal with.” She poo-poo’d me. Everyone thinks their cat is a special wild snowflake. Back up and let the professionals deal with your “wild” cat.

Ok then. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The next time I dropped him off for blood work the receptionist called out the alarm to the rest of the staff, “It’s Richard! Richard is here!” The vet technician appeared, face intent and focused, wearing heavy leather gloves that went up to her elbow. She stuck a piece of masking tape that read “DANGER!” on Richard’s carrying case.

Respect. That’s the word for it. They finally showed some Respect.

When we’d go away on vacation we tried to hire young adventurers to feed Richard: you know, people who juggle balls of fire or bungee jump. They all turned us down. Too risky. My mother-in-law was forced to feed him. She would arrive armed with a cookie baking sheet as a shield against the hissing, puffed up Richard. You’d think he’d be grateful for the food but if there was ever an animal to bite the hand that feeds it, it was Richard.

One day my dad visited and had let down his guard. Big mistake. He walked through our narrow hallway within cat-arm’s length of Richard’s claws. Richard was immediately affronted and quick as a viper, slapped my dad’s leg as he walked by. My dad was wearing jeans but Richard’s swipe was strong enough to draw blood through the jeans.

And let me tell you something. There are people who like cats and then there are Cat People. Here’s the difference between people who like cats and Cat People:

My dad immediately apologized to Richard for upsetting him and then rhapsodized about how strong Richard was. “That’s a strong cat! He managed to draw blood through my jeans! What an animal!”

Richard died a few years ago. Diabetic shock. We were all pretty upset.

But now we have Cat and just two days ago we got Myles. Cat came to us declawed, but Myles has his claws. After playing with Myles, Boy12 came up to me bleeding on the thumb and said, “Poor little Myles. I was playing with him and he scratched me.”

An hour or so later Boy9 comes up to me, a scratch on his hand, “I was playing with sweet little Myles. I’ll have to be more careful next time.”

Cat People adore the cats who torment them and take all the blame for any bloodshed. Cat People don’t hit cats or toss them outside if they get a little scratch. Cat people unconditionally love their terrible sweeties and recognize their awesome magnificence.

No, the relationship between cats and Cat People is not a healthy one, people, but one little purr and it’s all worth it.

Dirty Teeth, Hell is Cold, and Kittens

So, it’s a Tuesday afternoon at 3:11. My kitchen hasn’t been cleaned in 3 days so it looks like I haven’t touched it in 71 years. Kitchens are the Lamborghini of rooms. 0-60 in 2.8 seconds. Sparkling clean to health hazard before your last bite of Cap’n Crunch at breakfast.

So, it’s a Tuesday afternoon at 3:11 and I’m elbows deep in the freezer. If you know me then you know I’m completely miserable. Freezers are cold. You ever watched Scrooge? Not Scrooged. Just Scrooge. It’s a version of A Christmas Carol. During the Ghost of Christmas Future scenes we find out that Scrooge dies next Christmas. The movie shows Scrooge dead in hell being forced to work like Bob Cratchit in a freezing cold room. Freezing cold for eternity? That’s hell, people.

So, it’s a Tuesday afternoon at 3:11 and I’m elbows deep in hell the freezer and the phone rings. Well now I’m not only cold and miserable but I’m also annoyed because I hate talking on the phone. Send me a text message. I will not return your calls. I won’t. Stop trying to make me. I paused to listen as the answering machine picked up the call just in case it was important.

“Hi, I’m calling from Dr. Rodger’s office…”

Eyes fly wide open, lunge for the phone scattering frozen hamburger patties all over the kitchen floor.

The dentist! The boys had dental appointments at 3:00.

So, it’s a Tuesday afternoon at 3:12 and we’re flying down the road dodging the elementary school kids on their way home from school. Get out of the way! And that’s when I remember that I left all my frozen hamburger patties scattered all over the kitchen floor. ARGH.

Drop kids at the dentist, head back home to stuff everything back in the freezer, head back to the dentist.

But hey–the reason I forgot the dentist today is because we unexpectedly took the day off from school to go get a new kitten. Two hour round trip. Totally forgot about mundane things like dental appointments.

I’ll be doing a newborn kitty photo shoot soon so you can see him.

Music Stinks

I am rabidly defensive of my music choices.

See, I don’t much like music.  I mean, I like music, sure, but just not much of it. I don’t own music.  I might have owned maybe 10 music cds in my entire four decades of existence. So this Christmas, 14 years after iTunes was created and 3 years since I’ve had my ipad, I finally asked Darling Husband to teach me how to buy music on iTunes so I can listen to all the songs I like.

For the past two months I’ve been creating a list of all the songs that I like so I would be ready to download them on Christmas day when I got my iTunes gift card.  There are 109 songs on the list.

That’s it.  That’s the complete list.

Some people adore music and play it all the stinkin’ time.  Drives me nuts.  I told you about that one time I went to a therapy session and the therapist had some quiet music playing in the background.  I couldn’t help my eyes from glancing at the cd player. She said, “Is that too loud for you?”  “Yes.”  “You can turn it down.”  I did.  But still kept glancing at that irritating noise. Why do people play noise when they’re trying to talk to someone? Irritating. She said, “Is it still too loud?”  “Can we just turn it off?”  “Sure.”  “Has anyone ever asked to turn off the music before?”  “No.” I’m a trendsetter, I am.

With only 109 favorite songs in all the world, this music must be something else, huh?  It must be the best of the best.  The most beautiful or meaningful music in the world. Right?

Nah.  I’m rabidly defensive of my 109 music choices because they stink. They’re really bad.  They’re terrible songs. They’re cheesy. The only reason I like them is because they’re catchy and easy to sing along with.  That’s it.  That’s my criteria.  Super catchy; can sing along.  Done. Only 109 songs fit the bill.

While the rest of you are listening to a cool jazz medley while cooking some exotic foodie meal in the kitchen, I’m listening to Play that Funky Music White Boy and eating my Royal Farms chicken on a tv tray.  Yes, really.  Play that Funky Music is one of my all-time top 109 favorites. Already been purchased and downloaded.

Two days ago, for the first time EVER in 22 years of marriage, Darling Husband asked me what songs were my favorites–what songs had I bought with my Christmas gift? Ooo. Risky. He pressed the issue. “Why are you so afraid to show me your list?  What do you think will happen?”

What did I think would happen?  What did I think would happen?!

What would happen is that he wouldn’t be able to help himself from losing respect for me.  I mean, Play that Funky Music??  That’s a horrible song!  (Oooo!  I’m sorry, Funky Music! You’re not a horrible song! Forget I said that! I still love you!)

He said, “It’ll be fine. You can show me.”

So I did, with trepidation.  He was ok with many of my song choices, but he did say that Play that Funky Music was really bad and just couldn’t be forgiven.

And then he showed me the songs he likes.  Oh yuck.  They’re classical Chinese music and I don’t know what else.  Bizarre stuff.  I made fun of them. Darling Husband pointed out, ‘Looks like the only person making fun of the other person’s music choices is you.”

Ouch! He was right.

Since my tastes are pretty juvenile, let’s end this post with a song I’ve loved since I was 8 years old.  Stray Cat Strut.  Ooo.  Such a great song!  I love you, Stray Cat Strut!

Hypocrite

I am an utter hypocrite.

So there I was sitting at the kitchen table reading my HGTV magazine. Each issue is packed with clever ideas of decorative handyman-type things to do around the house. There’s nothing that I hate more than doing decorative handy-man type things around the house.  But reading about other people doing them, now that’s entertainment.

So there I was sitting at the kitchen table reading my HGTV magazine and there was an article about some guy’s vacation home (envy), and in every room he has orange. Orange curtains or orange pillows or orange vases or whatever.

And I thought, “Ewwww! Orange? Why? So garish.”

I finished that issue and picked up the next.  This time there was an article with someone’s mudroom (envy) and it was painted orange.

Ewwww! Orange? Why? So ugly.

And another article further in showed a kitchen island painted, you got it, orange.

Ewwww! Orange? Why? So jarring. Why would anyone want orange all over their house??

And then I looked up.

I am so ridiculous.  Because this is my kitchen.  See:

Orange walls. Orange curtains. Orange lightswitch plate.

Orange walls. Orange curtains. Orange lightswitch plate. Orange cat.

Sigh.  People are just ridiculous.  All of us.  Including me.

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:

photo

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

Ahem.

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
enlightenment.”

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.