Saturday, February 28, 2015

Meteorology Mayhem

20% chance of flurries they said...

Little to no accumulation they said...

Sleet and freezing rain possible but again, no ice accumulation, they said...

And this is why I say I'd have more respect for our meteorologists if they would say something like "See this blue patch on the radar? We actually have no idea what that means. It could be snow, it could be rain...heck, for all we know, it could be a cloud full of frogs."

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Right Way To Eat A Red Velvet Oreo

Did you all know that Oreo just came out with a new, limited edition flavor: Red Velvet ?

Since Opie absolutely loves red velvet anything, I got him a package the first weekend they were available.
I'm like the Vanna White of Oreos over here
And, as often happens with all things sugar, I immediately loved them more than he did. I mean, he liked them but he didn't have what I consider the appropriate appreciation for their amazing sugary goodness.

Seriously, what is up with my thumb?
It looks deformed.
"They're good," he said. "But they almost have too much stuffing."

Which, honestly, might be the craziest thing he has ever said.  In fact, it might be the craziest thing ANYONE has ever said.  EVER.

Because, yes, they do have more stuffing than your average Oreo:

This was the moment in the photography process
 that I realized I don't have a future in hand modeling.
But the stuffing is clearly THE BEST FREAKING PART OF THE ENTIRE COOKIE. There can never be too much.

And that's when I decided to show him (and, apparently the rest of the world) the RIGHT way to eat an Oreo. Any Oreo, actually, but especially a Red Velvet Oreo.

Step One: Remove the Lid:

Yes, I call the top to the cookie the lid. It's
the  lid covering the  sugary goodness.

"THAT'S the best part," Opie said.  "Not the stuffing."

But, as has already been established, Opie is clearly insane when it comes to Oreos. Plus, he is an amateur. I, on the other hand, am an Oreo-Eating Expert. If Oreo Eating were a sport, I would probably win the World Championship.

Because it's all about the technique.

Step Two: Eat the Lid. Then, carefully fold back the icing on top of itself:

Now my whole hand looks both deformed and wrinkled!
Is this how it always looks?? How come no one ever told me
about my horrible hand problem??!!
This creates a fabulous double-layer of stuffing:

At least I have a good manicure going on.

But--and this is important!--don't dig in yet. The Oreo is better but still doesn't have the appropriate cookie-to-stuffing ratio.

Step Three: Bite off the half moon cookie portion that has no filling on it, leaving yourself a half-moon of cookie with a double layer of stuffing:

Ok, yes, this picture isn't the best but I was
getting impatient. I've never taken this long
to eat an Oreo in my life.
"You are a lunatic," Opie said. "That's way too much filling, you can't even taste the red velvet anymore."

This is why he will always be an amateur when it comes to Oreo eating: he lacks vision.

Step Four: Take a big drink of milk to cleanse your palate and prepare your taste buds for the perfect taste explosion of cream cheese stuffing and hint of cookie crunch.

Pretty sure "hand-modeling" isn't the only modeling
 I can eliminate as a career choice.

And that, my friends, is the right way to eat an Oreo.

Now I'm just waiting for this blog to go viral, catching the attention of the Oreo magnates, so I can finally embark on my career as a professional Oreo Eater.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Perfect Puffs

If you know me at all, you know I'm a little weird about my dogs.

And you know that my life is one dramatic disaster after another.

So it should come as no surprise that finding a good groomer for her Royal Highness, Princess Snowflake Sassypants, has been a bit of a challenge.

I was taking her to Petsmart but then we had the Unfortunate Balding Incident of 2014 when I went in to pick her up and wasn't even sure they were giving me the right dog:

(It is interesting to note that when I sent Opie
 this picture at work he asked "Did you ask them to do
 that?" Like I would ask anyone to bald my dog.)

The groomer assured me that this was totally necessary, that underneath her topcoat she was a matted mess of dreadlocks. So, idiot that I am, I actually took her back one more time and THEY SHAVED HER EARS AGAIN.

"You really need to brush her ears," the groomer told me while I was still fighting the urge to beat her to death with a pair of hair clippers.

"I do brush her ears," I snapped. "I brush her all the time.  I brush her, I put her hair in bows to match her outfits and she's probably the best-dressed dog in Oklahoma! I can't understand why this keeps happening!!"

The groomer had no explanation but I think it's fairly obvious she was secretly a neo-nazi skinhead who was trying to populate the world with skinhead dogs as part of some sick subversive skinhead rebellion.

Opie calls that kind of conclusion "over-reacting" but he's always been a little naive about the nefarious ways of violent fringe groups.

In any case, we both agreed it was time to get a new groomer.

And then I remembered that my friend Paula has a Maltese named Charlie and she recently bought a pair of clippers and began grooming him herself. "Maybe I should do that," I said. "Think of all the money we'd save!"

After we stopped laughing about the sheer ridiculousness of that suggestion, we asked one of our neighbors who they took their dog to.

Which is how we met Stella Faye.

On the upside, Stella Faye is a great groomer. She's a sweet older lady, probably in her 70s or so, she and her daughter run their shop out of a converted garage and she's been grooming small dogs for over 40 years.  And she has so many clients that she doesn't even need to advertise, she's not even in the phone book for the love of heaven,which is why we had never heard of her before.

On the downside, her name is Stella. So every time I go into the shop, or talk to her on the phone, or mention her to Opie, I am nearly overcome by the urge to scream "STELLA!" over and over like Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire.

The other downside is that I'm pretty sure Stella Faye thinks I'm crazy.

As you may have guessed from the fact that she has two first names, Stella Faye is as country as a turnip green. Sweet and nice but not the kind of person who appreciates things like a fabulous leopard print puppy coat with matching collar.

This was not noticeably helped by the fact that one of the first things I said was "If, for any reason, you decide to shave her ears I'd appreciate it if you'd call me first."

Stella Faye stared at me for a long minute and then asked "Honey, why would I shave her ears?"

Since this was our first meeting, I decided not to share my skinhead theory and just muttered that we'd had some problems with our last groomer.

The second issue was that she has two Maltese puppies herself and assumed I wanted one of the traditional Maltese haircuts which look a little something like this:

"Not exactly," I said.  "Those are too masculine. I want something a little more lady-like. I want the body cut really short but I want her ears, topknot and tail left long."

"I can do that," she said.

"And I want boot puffs."

At which point Stella Faye stared at me for another long minute. "What are boot puffs?" She asked.

"You know, puffs of fur left long around her ankles so it kind of looks like she has boots on."

"If that's what you want," she said dubiously.

But the first time she tried it, she only left the fur long on Sassy's paws.  Like she was wearing strange, dustmoppy, bedroom slipper puffs--NOT the look we were going for at all.

So, the next time we went in, I tried to explain better. "I want the puffs to go further up her legs," I said. "So when I put socks on her, the fur puffs out over the top of them and it looks like she's wearing fur-lined boots."

"You put socks on her?" Stella Faye asked.

"Only when it's cold," I lied.

At which point I'm pretty sure Stella Faye was so horrified by the thought of a sock-wearing Sassy that she couldn't really concentrate on appropriate puffs. That time when I picked her up, she was puffy all the way up her she was wearing thigh-high puffy boots like some sort of prostitute dog.

It's kind of hard to tell from this picture
 but these are the ridiculous full puffs.
But the third time was a charm!  I found a picture on the Internet, took it in with me, and Stella Faye created the perfect puffs:

She always looks so serious in pictures!!!

"Yes, yes, YES!" I gushed when I picked her up.  "Those are the perfect puffs! I have a perfectly puffed pup!"

"Honey," Stella Faye said. "I've been grooming dogs for forty years and NO ONE has ever asked me for anything like that for a Maltese."

"Not yet," I told her. "But just you wait.  You know how people are always copying royalty...I think this is going to be the next big thing in canine fashion statements."

And Stella laughed.

But I'm pretty sure she still thinks I'm crazy.

So, to summarize, boot puffs are awesome but hard to explain, you should always ask people you know before getting a new groomer, and if you know what's good for you, you'll be on the look-out for a subversive skinhead grooming rebellion.

Friday, February 20, 2015

If We Could See The Future

So it was pretty cold this morning and I wanted to huddle in the house all day but I had to get the recycling on the curb first. I did what any sane woman would do: threw on the first outfit I could lay my hands on.

Which means that I ended up running out front in bright pink sweatpants and a red sweatshirt that make me look about 20 pounds heavier than I am.

And I realized if my 17 year old self:

Yes, that's my real hair.  

Could see the way my current self is apparently comfortable leaving the house:

How cute is Sassy photobombing me?

It might actually kill her.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Photojournalism in Action

Well, Opie got me an amazing camera for Christmas and I think it’s safe to say that I have never been more annoying. I mean, I'm  pretty sure I was annoying before--I am the one, after all, who essentially crawled down the side aisles at my nieces and nephew's First Communion masses and took surreptitious pictures--in one case, in direct defiance of the priest.

(It's interesting to note that several people told me I wasn't being surreptitious at all during these events yet still cheerfully accepted all copies of the pictures I tool.)

In any case, I'm even worse now--as anyone who has been at a family celebration with me in the last few months can attest to.

The thing is, this camera has a lot of amazing features that I'm still trying to figure out, including the ability to take action shots.

Which means that as soon as I got it out of the box, I asked Opie to run around the yard as fast as he could.

"I don't really want pictures of me running around the yard like an idiot," he said.

"I'm not going to take pictures of you," I promised. "But if you start running, the dogs will run after you and I can get some shots of them."

He looked at me like I might be a little crazy but I'm used to that look so it didn't even faze me. "I'm not going to get tired of asking."  I assured him. And proved it by saying "Come on, just run.  Just a little jog?  Would it kill you to run a little bit? Come on! Please?!" until he caved.

Which was great because then I was able to test the burst motion shot thingy and get this picture of Bubba and Sassy.
Please note that I was true to my word,
you can't even see Opie's shadow in this!
A few more weeks of this and I think I'll be ready to start shooting for National Geographic.

And you might think this makes Opie a saint and me an unreasonable freak show but that’s because you don’t know all the things he refused  to do.

I mean, sure he’s been going on long nature walks with me and hauling my camera bag all over the place and even posing as I hone my skills for National Geographic:

(How about the squirrel photobomb?)

But after I got this shot:

And suggested that he run through the woods, crashing through the underbrush as fast as he could, so we could flush out even more birds, he said no.

Then when I mentioned that it would be even cooler to get a picture of these guys flying off the water:

He wouldn’t even consider jumping off the dock and doing a cannonball right into the middle of the lake.

And when I hinted that he could probably lure this hawk into an amazing, attack-mode pose:

By waving his arms in the air and rushing at its nest, he acted like I was kidding.

And when I told him that he should run through this flock of ducks:

like you see people do with seagulls on the beach, so I could get a shot of him surrounded by hundreds of birds flying in the air all around him, he reminded me that I had forced him to do that exact thing the last time we were in Florida (when I only had the little point and click Kodak) And not only did the birds NOT fly off like they do in the movies, they actually got in his way and then started chasing after him.

“I hope you realize that you’re stomping all over my dream of becoming a photojournalist,” I told him.

And you know what? He didn’t seem one bit sorry.

So, who's the unreasonable freak show now?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Going Postal

If you know me at all, you know I suck at putting things in the mail.

Say, for example, I need to send a niece or nephew or other beloved child in my life a card. I consider it a success if that card gets to them within a four-week window of the actual date of whatever event they’re celebrating. If there's a package and trip to the post office involved, I need a 6 week window minimum.

And that's with children. With adults, who are better emotionally equipped to deal with disappointment, all bets are off.

My friend Martha's birthday is in the beginning of October and I finally gave up on ever sending her her present; I just gave it to her when I saw her over Christmas.

So when I made it to the post office on January 16th with the Christmas package for my friend Eric's children, I considered it a screaming success.

At first.

Here's what happened

I took the Christmas package and another package containing a return to the post office in the early afternoon, thinking this would be a less crowded time. Unfortunately there were approximately 7462 people in line ahead of me.

Which was odd since there’s only about 17,000 people in this entire town.

But I knew if I left I wouldn’t make it back to the post office for at least another month so I gritted my teeth and waited. And waited. And waited some more.

I got to the counter and put the return up first because it was ridiculously heavy. Once they got that weighed and in the bin, the problems started.

“Ma'am, we can't mail this,” the clerk said, pushing the Christmas package back to me.

To be honest,  at first I was a little more focused on the fact that he “ma’am-ed” me. Ma’am? Who is the joker calling ma’am? He’s got to be 10 years older than me! When I got past that insult, I just assumed he was practicing some form of subtle postal humor and smiled in that ‘I don’t get the joke but am willing to pretend that’s funny’ sort of way and pushed the package back toward him.

“It’s just going to St. Louis,” I said.

“Ma’am, that’s a wine box,” he said.

“There’s not wine in it,” I assured him.  “You can even open it up and check.”

“But it says wine all over the box,” he countered. “We can’t do it.”

“Is there any chance you’re making this up just to irritate me?”  I asked.

And he gave me that same 'I don’t get the joke but am willing to pretend that’s funny smile.' Touche, postal clerk, touche.

“No ma’am,” he said.  “They won’t accept it.”

Ever vigilant to the changing nuances of the English language, I couldn’t help but notice he had switched from “we can’t” to “they won’t.” As if he was somehow distancing himself from the nefarious power structure of the postal service.

“Here’s the thing,” I told him. “From my perspective, you are they. So, if you take it they will have taken it and I bet the rest of them assume that they have somehow given approval for it. And then everyone’s happy.”

“It doesn’t work that way,” he assured me.

And then I pulled out the big guns. “Sir,” I said. “Would it help at all if I told you these are Christmas presents?” And then before he could interrupt, “That’s right. Christmas presents.  For children. Children who already think I suck because Christmas was 3 weeks ago. If I have to schlep this all the way home, and wait until we somehow have a box that didn’t previously contain alcohol, repackage them and bring it all the way back here, those poor children might not get their presents until Easter! Wouldn’t the kindlier response be to just write NOT WINE all over this box and let those children have a tiny bit of joy?”

He was, I’m sad to report, completely unimpressed.

“Ma’am,” he said somewhat firmly. “I really need to help the next person in line.”

It is interesting to note that these kind of situations are the exact reason we have so many empty wine boxes at our house.

So, to summarize, I suck at putting things in the mail, I’m great at drinking wine, and Eric’s kids got their Christmas presents at the end of January…which, considering my 6 week window, is right on time.