My Favorite Vince Quote: “Life Isn’t Fair: I Went Bald.”

Vince felt that my blog about our last dinner together didn’t tell the whole story.  He requested that he be given a chance to tell his side of the tale.  (Refer to this post for my take on our evening together.)  Take it away, Vince:

Hi, my name is Vince.  My family and I are friends with the Dustylizards, and have been so for at least 5 years (except for that year where they found new friends-refer to this post).  The best way to determine the length of our friendship is that we became friends during the season of “Lost” where they figured out someone was trying to kill them. I know, that was pretty much every season, but we estimate it to be around season 4.  Anyway, I digress.


I asked Jackie if I could be a guest writer for the blog, as I would like to set the record straight on a few matters.  First, we do not have 41 children.  We have 38 and a half. Please look at the picture above.  That is me answering my door on the last visit the Lizards made to our home. I was shocked and confused that we had dinner guests, and I think they simply dropped in uninvited (refer to this post).  Anyway, they insist it was prearranged, but with as many children as we have, it is hard to keep track.  That particular evening one of our kids, whose name I still don’t know but she responds to “Hey”, had a soccer game.  I was waiting for Hey to call me.  Actually I think Hey might not live here, but we often taxi her around.

Trying to be polite, we invited them in.

When they came in, two children followed, and I immediately asked who gave them permission to go outside and told them they were grounded from TV.  Jackie quietly told me they were her children.  I felt sheepish.  Sadly, two of mine were fighting over something inane again.  “He touched me”  “No I didn’t”  “Yes, you did”, and on and on and on, and on again.  I don’t think Hey ever gets into these squabbles

There might be some leftovers in the fridge...

The lady in the picture above is my lovely wife, Gail.  She can do many things at once, like tie a shoe, feed a baby, fold clothes, feed the cats, wash a toilet, and manage to listen to me.  I actually think she might be Alice the maid from the Brady Bunch, but I am afraid to ask in fear that she might start charging me for her help.  Or she will run away with Sam the butcher and leave me with these children.

Gail, as you can see, is flexible and can go with the flow.  “Oh look dear, we have guests,” and she moves right into hostess mode.  As you can see I am staring off in the distance trying to figure out what to serve the Lizards, since they arrived after we ate. They refuse to eat meat products, so that leaves out the hot dogs we were going offer. Gail offered an appetizer, and pretended that she knew they were coming over.  Jackie questioned Gail about the salad, wondering if it was organically grown.  I cannot grow hair, let alone organic lettuce, what was she thinking?

Tips appreciated

At this point in the evening, we decided to serve them leftovers, and I got into trouble with Gail.  I often feel that it is acceptable to charge our guests money for dinner, or at least ask for a tip.  Normally, Gail doesn’t know that I have done this, but tonight she caught me.  I think we are going to have a talk later about this practice that I have.  See the big kid in the background? I think his name is Joe.  He also serves as the butler.

It's all we've got.

Despite what was already written, we did serve Bryan some non-organic lettuce and a burnt piece of cheese from lasagna that had been in the fridge for a week.  I don’t know why Bryan was dubious, but he ate it anyway.

Dump cake?

Again, Gail, the polite hostess, and I are looking at what Jackie brought over for dessert.  I think we are test subjects for her science experiments, and if we don’t pass out or die, she knows it is safe to feed to the other friends she made in the year we didn’t see them.  (Incidentally, we didn’t see them that year because we had three more children show up at our home.)  This is what she calls Dump Cake.  Think that over. Dump Cake.  Hmmm, yeah I thought the same thing.  Dump Cake.  Dump Cake?  Most people bring brownies, cookies, Rice Krispies Treats.

Dump Cake.  (Refer to this blog for the recipe.)

I'd like a refill please.

Since Bryan was excused from paying for the family meal, I thought it appropriate to ask him to serve me my dinner.  Guess what? Gail wants to talk about that later, too.  How about Bryan looking shocked.  Imagine how I felt when I opened the door.  Anyway, the butler can serve me.

Wah wah wah Knots Landing wah wah wah

Here we are discussing TV shows.  Again.  That is what we have in common.  Bryan is crying because I won’t let him tell me any more about Once Upon A Time.  Also, I won’t shut up about Knots Landing.  Yes, that Knots Landing from the big hair 80’s.  I didn’t discover it until I was 40.  Let’s just not talk about that.

Put it down!

I can’t believe Jackie picked this up!! Due to my OCD, I like things to be in their place, and not to be moved.  We haven’t dusted since 2004, and I wasn’t afraid to tell Jackie to not pick things up like this cheap pot we got in London.  Gail was not amused, and I was pinched under arm, and given a firm reprimand that Jackie was our guest and she brought Dump Cake.

Dump Cake.

So if you set your aperture to 4.5 and your ISO to 200...

At this point in the evening, the butler came out and did his job.  We left the table for about an hour as Jackie continued to discuss her camera and its shutter speed.  I wanted to talk about Dallas, yes that Dallas.  Again, let it go and move on.

Every time we get together, the Lizards want to play games (refer to this post). I hate board games, but being the friend that I am, I will do what they want.  I just wish we could start the games earlier at night, say around 7:30 instead of 9:00 when I am going to bed.  The butler asked if we wanted coffee, and we all said yes.  Oh, and Hey showed up with a boyfriend tonight.  She checked in, said “Hey”, and left.

...and bump up the exposure to 1 1/4, and turn off the flash...

See, I told you not to eat the Dump Cake. And Jackie is still talking about the camera and lens control.  Can we talk about Dynasty?   See you next month.

The Bugs Muscled Their Way into my Picture, Two Presents (!), and It’s a Small World

Today is grocery shopping day and wouldn’t you know, as soon as we left the house there was a tremendous downpour.  I told you so!  But at least Darling Husband wasn’t with us, so, shew!, sigh of relief.  I won’t have to cry in the grocery store bathroom.

I shook my fist at the sky and made the rain go away.  But when the sun came out I realized I didn’t have my sunglasses with me, so I had to squint for the rest of the day.

Before the grocery store, the kids and I stopped by Vince’s house to give him a CD of the pictures that I took when we were visiting on Friday. Remember, he told me yesterday that he wants to be a guest blogger and write what “really” happened when we visited.  I don’t know what he’s talking with all this “what really happened” nonsense.  I’m a trustworthy narrator and never, ever exaggerate or make anything up.  Really.  As if.

Vince's Street

This house and barn are on the road that Vince and Gail and their 41 children live on.  Gorgeous!  Had to stop and take pictures.

Then, on to the pediatrician to pick up a prescription.  This house is across the street from the pediatrician.  I have a particular fascination for Dogwood trees against red brick houses; it’s such a pleasing combination.

Dogwood and bricks

Got home after Darling Husband did.  I’d told him to reheat leftovers, but when we got home, he was sadly wandering around the house with a frowny face.  “Why are you looking so sad?”  “I’m not.  I’m trying to remember the last time we ate out.”  Bing!

I called Gerhard and Janet to see if they wanted to go with us, but Gerhard had just finished washing his hands in preparation to try out a new recipe for tortilla soup in his brand new blue Dutch Oven, so they didn’t come with us.

On our way to Li’s Buffet, we saw some lovely clouds.  If you recall, I’m collecting cloud pictures.  But look at these goofy little bugs getting in my shot!  Dumb bugs.  Another day I’ll write about the monster bugs around here.  They live in my basement and work out on the weight bench down there.   There are so many I have to put my name on the sign-up sheet to get a turn on the weight bench.

Dumb bugs

While at Li’s Buffet, Jin pointed out that I was using the chopsticks wrong.  Apparently, it’s a matter of etiquette as to where you hold the chopsticks.  Darling Husband was doing it right so here’s a picture of where you’re supposed to hold the chopsticks. (High—not close to the food.)

Chopsticks. Oyster Sauce. White shirt. Doomed.

Not sure it really worked for Darling Husband, though.  The poor man can’t eat a meal without spilling food all over himself and that goes double for when he’s wearing white.  His first bite of shrimp went winging out of the chopsticks and flew through the air and landed on his shirt.  Same thing happened later with a mushroom.  I couldn’t bear to watch.

While paying the bill I admired some earrings for sale at the counter.  I asked how much they are and Jin said, “For you, they’re free.”  “No, no…I couldn’t.”  “Yes!  Take them.”  “No…really?”  “Yes!”  I think he felt bad for pointing out my bad etiquette with the chopsticks.  Either way; a present!  I love presents!

Aside:  Jin said that the recipes will be completely different at the new restaurant and they hope to open in about a month.  Boy9 told Jin about how he put the cigarette in the Dragon’s mouth at the new restaurant.  Jin said, “I wondered who did that!!”  Here’s the picture again.

Who did that to our dragon???

Then we stopped by the Gettysburg library.  I tried taking pictures of it in the dark, but it was a tricky shot.  I wanted both the well-lit sign and the dark columns.  It was either bright or too dark.  So I used spot metering on the sign and upped the exposure for the columns, and this was the best I got.  It’s so-so.  Not the best, but not horribly bad, and I couldn’t have gotten it at all if I didn’t know about spot metering.    I really should pay Scott in something besides lemon bars.  I can’t believe all the photography stuff I’m learning from him for free.  I wonder if he likes earrings?

Tricky shot.

While we were in the children’s section, we heard the librarian talking on the phone:

“Hello, Gettysburg library.

Sweetie, you’ll have to slow down, I can’t understand you.

No, no…wait.  First, what’s your name?

Can you repeat that slower?
You are Leia Doe.

Yes.  Yes, we have it right here.

No, we’re about to close, but we’ll be open tomorrow at 9:00.”

While we were at the checkout I saw a red lightsaber behind the librarians’ desk.  I thought, “Poor kid who forgot their lightsaber.  I hope they realize they left it at the library and come back for it.”

When we got in the car, Boy9 said, “I wonder if the Leia Doe who called the library was the Leia Doe that we know?”

This made sense.  The Leia Doe that we know talks pretty fast.  And how many kids named Leia Doe are there around here?  I got home and sent her mom a message on Facebook, “Did your Leia call the library this evening?”  Sure enough, it was her!  She’d called because she left her lightsaber there.  Small world.  No, not small world: small town.  You can’t help but know everybody’s business in a small town.

(I wrote about Leia Doe in this post.  You can see her picture—with lightsaber.  She loves that lightsaber.)

Dutch oven, resting in a warm sudsy bath after an evening of hard work.

Got home just in time for Gerhard to call and say the soup was ready and there was a container of it for us if I would come and get it.  Walked down the street to get my soup, and the recipe, and took a picture of the new Dutch oven.  Gerhard also gave me a Cadbury egg.  Two presents in one day!  And of two of my favorite things: earrings and Cadbury eggs.

You Got That at the Dump? Lucky!

Wistfully looking at the knife

Vince and three of his 41 children stopped by for a visit with Darling Husband today.  No, it wasn’t a drop in.   Vince burst in the door and said that he wants to be a guest blogger on my blog and tell the truth about our last visit together.  I have no idea what he’ll say, but I told him it was a great idea.  Guest bloggers are always welcome!

While here, Boy9 showed Vince’s kids The Knife from the Dump.  They were suitably impressed.  My boys kept telling his boys over and over, “It’s from Japan.  It says it right here on the blade.”  That was a big selling point.  None of them have ever seen anything made anywhere besides China.  I’m not sure they know that anyone makes anything besides China.  I’m not sure I know that anyone makes anything besides China.

Except this head.  This was my mother’s day present last year, both to my own mother and to myself.  I got her one and loved it so much that I went back for another one for me and told Darling Husband, “You got me this for Mother’s Day.”  I like to buy my own presents.  And I like it when other people buy me presents, too.  I’m easy to please.

Still got all her marbles

I kept the sticker on the head because it reads Made in Spain.  Spain!  I’m pretty sure that hollow glass heads are the only export out of Spain.

Anyway.  The boys were gathered around the Japanese knife and Boy9 was telling them the story of how he got it.  He might even have hitched up his jeans and spat some tobacco out of the side of his mouth when he told the story:

“So, me and my dad were at the dump….”

“The dump?  There’s a dump around here?  Where?”

“I dunno.  It’s…somewhere.  Anyway, we were at the dump and I saw this knife on the ground….”

“They have knives just lying around on the ground?”

“Sure do.  And I picked it up and said, ‘Can I have this?’ and the guy who worked there said, ‘Sure, kid.’”

“Really?  So your family just goes to the dump to get your stuff?”

That was where I cut in, “No!  We don’t go to the dump to get our stuff!! The stuff at the dump is all picked over.  You have to go to dumpsters to get the good stuff.”

The boys were properly awed and jealous.


Red Shirt death toll: 2.  They were beamed onto a planet that wasn’t there.  Ooo.  Nasty way to go.

Creepy Chanting Children, overcome by the ‘evil within’, due to the influence of an alien angel:  5


Song in my head today.  It’s in a key I can sing in.  And that’s as rare as something made in Spain.

This is What Yesterday’s Blog Should Have Been About

Burned chicken lasagna, a lettuce leaf, and some tea.

Ok.  As you all know we went to Vince and Gail’s for dinner last night.  They’re the ones with the 41 kids.

As soon as we arrived, Vince said, “Did you bring your camera?!” because he wanted to be in all the pictures.  When his kids asked, “Daddy, what are you doing?’ about all the picture taking, Vince said, “Kids, this is what grownups do for fun when they’re old and have a bunch of kids.  We take pictures.”

I’m thinking Vince’s spring break will be much like Darling Husband’s was.   (Vince teaches 8th grade and their spring break is coming up soon.)

Since Vince wanted there to be lots of pictures and lots of material for me to work with for the blog, he made us reenact everything that happened over the course of the evening.

In the above shot, here’s what happened: Darling Husband went into the kitchen for some more chicken lasagna.  But when he came out, he had a fat strip of burned cheese from the bottom of the pan.

So, Vince said, “Hey!  Let’s pretend that all we offered you guys for dinner was burned cheese and a leaf of lettuce!  And then gave you a baby fork to eat it with!  And half a cup of tea!”

Do NOT touch the centerpiece!

Vince is a little particular about the centerpiece apparently, because every time I touched anything in the centerpiece he got a little tense.  He realized he was getting tense and decided to embrace it and admit that it was bothering him, which led to another picture.  “Take a picture of me not letting you touch the flower pot!”  Darling Husband took this one.

Do NOT touch the stylus!

Soon after the flowerpot incident, Darling Husband was showing Vince the ipad.  Darling Husband looked up to see Vince squishing the top of the stylus.  This time Darling Husband tensed up and said, “No no!  Don’t do that!”  So, the above is another dramatic reenactment of the “Don’t Touch The Stylus” incident.

I'm winning!

And here’s the playing board for the game we played:  Loaded Questions.  Obviously, I’m the yellow playing piece.  You can tell because I’m the one in the lead.  The others aren’t even out of the start box yet.  Here’s how to play:

When it’s your turn, you ask everyone a question from the cards.  They write down their answers, but don’t let you know what they wrote.   When everyone has written down an answer, one of them will read them to you.  You have to guess who said what.   For every person’s answer that you guess correctly, you move forward a space.  I tend to be really good at this game.

Gail is VERY polite.

In this one Gail made the mistake of asking me what I did at Photo Club last week.  So I gave her an unwanted lesson on shutter speed (4 second shutter speed in the above shot).  I rambled on and on and on.  And on.

And on.

Hey, it’s not my fault!  Gail is a talented actress and looked completely mesmerized with the lesson.  It wasn’t until I’d been talking for quite awhile that I realized she was probably bored out of her mind, but was just being nice to me.  Gail is a very good friend!

There were lots more pictures, but these were the ones that made sense to blog about.