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Monday, November 17, 2014

Heard Around the House

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for an Invisible Woman Costume

There is a phenomenon known to all teachers and parents.  You can be in the same room with students and children and as long as you don’t make eye-contact or ask them a question, you are pretty much invisible.  This has enabled me to learn much this holiday season.  Here are comments and  conversations overhead by the Invisible Woman.

“You guys leave your Christmas tree up all year huh?”

 

“So how many presents have you found in Mama’s  secrete hiding place in  the attic?”

 

“Why does he have more presents than me?”

“Well, the things you want are much more expensive than his.”

“Yeah, you should want cheap stuff like me.”

“Well I don’t think wrapping each Ugg boot separately should count as two separate gifts.”

 

“Do you think if I say “Call To Duty” would help my social studies grade, Mama would buy it?”

“The game or the con?”

 

“Why are we eating dinner in the dining room?”

“Mama cooked.”

“Real food?”

 

“If the temperature drops below 32, Mama takes us to school in the truck and you can sit on the heated seat.  But if the temperature is in the teens, we go in the car and I get to use the remote to start the car from inside the house.”

Yeah, because Mama doesn’t have a hot seat.”

 

“I know what Mama wants for Christmas.  Medicaid.”

“Merry Maids,  MERRY MAIDS! you idiot.”

 

The way this is going I will end up with a maid on Medicare, searching the attic for the left Ugg boot present, and dusting my Christmas tree in August.

Maybe if I wore a bell around my neck….  




 

 

Monday, November 10, 2014

When Did This Happen?

by Jody Worsham, co-author....wait for it....wait for it...."Kin We're Not Related To"
All rights reserved for  What Not to Wear Now

When did the clothes in my closet become costumes to be raided for Halloween and Red Ribbon Week?

Today was Dress Like a Decade.  The kids found a poodle skirt I had made for one of the first bunch of kids in the closet. 

"Let's dress up like they did in the fifties" said the thirteen-year-old.

“How do we know what that looks like" asked the nine-year-old.

"Easy, we'll ask Mama. She was there.  She probably has some of the same clothes she wore then still in her closet."

How dare that little twerp imply that I am old and I think I did save a couple of those 500 yard petticoats up in the attic.

Rigging up the boy's costume for the fifties was easy.  Roll up the cuffs of his Levi jeans, slap on a pair of white socks, hunt up a pair of tennis shoes, snatch the dog tags off the dog, bleach out a white tee shirt, roll a box of crayons up in the sleeve (fake pack of cigarettes) a little cooking oil on his hair and you have a an instant nine-year-old Fonze!

Now the thirteen-year-old was different mainly because I actually wore clothes from the 50's every day...in the fifties.  She would be totally accurate. 

I know; you want to know if there is a costume prize, certificate, recognition etc.  Well, not this time, at least not that I know of but there will be pictures in the annual of the best costumes...which we will have.

The skirt that she found was originally for one of the girls from our first family and judging from the size of the skirt, I had not realized we had, at one time a short, round fat midget of a girl.

Fortunately, I had a bolt of gray felt that a sorority in town had used for something and was throwing away, but I beat the trash truck to their street.  We folded the felt and laid it out on the floor.  Using a yard stick and chalk we marked out a semi-circle.  The good thing about felt is that you don't have to hem it. We salvaged the felt pink poodle from the other skirt and attached it at just the right spot to show at all times. The entire skirt was finished in less than an hour.

We tossed the two 500 yard petticoats into the dryer to fluff them even more.  She found a white blouse that I starched heavily so the collar would stand up in back. I cut my long pink silky scarf so she could have a tie around her neck and a longer piece for her pony tail.

"Put the pony tail up higher.  It has to show slightly above the crown of your head," I said.

"And you think I am particular about how I wear my messy bun!"

With her pony tail at just the right height, 1,000  yards of net petticoat beneath the gray poodle skirt, white Keds, cuffed white socks, starched collar turned up, and my, yes, my 1958 letter sweater, she looked like she had just stepped off the pages of my year book.

"Hey, this is pretty cool."

Pretty cool!  High praise and definitely deserving of several pictures in this year's annual.

No therapy required this time, well not for her,… maybe for me.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Doggie Do!


By Jody Worsham,and yes I co-authored "Kin We're Not Related To"

All rights reserved for Dog Whisperer

Yes, it was that time of year again...The Great Pet Costume Contest.  Still glowing after the Funniest Costume win with the nine-year-old, I wanted more, and this time there were actual prizes.

Last year, Pork Chop, son of Tia Mia, won First Place in the Lite Weight Division AND over all GRAND CHAMPION as "Taco Bill" wearing my original homemade Taco costume.  This year it was up to his mother to carry on the winning tradition.

Now to win, you have to be clever, stand out in the crowd, and be unique.  I had an idea but first I had to create a helmet for a dog.  Shih Tzu’s have a small head.  I thought about those green Styrofoam balls you stab artificial flowers into, but those were costly and they had to be hollowed out.  I searched the house for something round.  Cereal bowels were too heavy, no time to create a paper mâché helmet, tin foil would bend, and cardboard required many small cuts between the cardboard ribs and then it would only bend one way.  Like Thomas Edison, I discovered many ways not to make a Shih Tzu helmet. 

Then beneath the kitchen sink, I found the Cone of Shame Tia had once worn when she had a hurt paw. It fit, but it needed to be round.  I tried twisting Wal-Mart sacks (we have a lifetime supply) around the base of the cone to build it up.  It had the shape, but would need something to cover the sacks.  Felt was too stiff.  A white tee-shirt in the Not-Ever-Going-to-Wear-This-Again-but-Too-Good-to-Trash pile caught my eye.  It was soft, pliable, and it was white.  However, the twists in the Wal-Mart sacks showed through.  I settled on some batting left over from quilting.  All the helmet needed now was some gold duck tape around the edges, and a rounded visor I covered in gold duck tape.

With the helmet out of the way, it was time to tackle the air tanks.  I had bought two extra two liter bottles of root beer and Dr. Pepper for the previous Scuba Zombie costume.  I instructed the two kids to empty the contents, which they eagerly did.  Tossing me the empty plastic bottles, the hyper children ran outside to chase the squirrels.  I sprayed the bottles white then added pieces of red plastic and strips of orange construction paper to the opening of the bottles to represent flames.

I printed out two American Flags and glued those to the tanks.  All that was left was printing the name on the helmet and Astro-Mutt was ready for a win.  And WIN she did. 

First Place and Best of Show!  Whaoo!  Automatic Dog Feeder and $30 in dog food.

This doggie did do it, and yes, therapy will be required.

Monday, October 27, 2014

WIN! WIN! WIN!


By Jody Worsham, co-author “Kin We’re Not Related To”

All rights reserved for bigger, taller, wider, heavier trophies


Our state song says it all:

“Texas, our Texas, all hail the mighty state!  Texas, our Texas so wonderful so great!                   Boldest and grandest, withstanding ev'ry test.  Oh Empire wide and glorious, you stand supremely blest."

Now you might think it was a sad day when Alaska joined the union and became the assumed largest state, but Texans just claimed that when all that ice and snow melts, Texas will still be the biggest state.
Texans are by nature the most competitive people on earth.  Whatever it is, we have to be the best, the biggest, the tallest. the smartest, the cutest, and the fastest.

 I was born and raised a Texan so I am competitive to the bone.  Get a room full of Texans and a contest, well, what can I say.  This past week has been highly competitive.  I made a quilt for the school's Fall Festival.  Rather than raffle off the quilt, the school decided to hold an auction for the quilt.  Now I had spent six months hand quilting that thing and as soon as the auctioneer asked for an opening bid, up came my hand.   Then another Texan raised my bid, and my husband raised that bid.  Well, not to be outdone I raised his bid. 

"Jody, you're bidding against me," Dr. Hubby said.
"That's ok, it's your money.  You can afford it."
"Not at this rate” and he hustled me out of bidding range.  I heard the quilt went for a high price, but it would have gone higher if Dr. Hubby had just let me stay in the bidding.

Then there was the Fall Festival Children's Costume Contest.  No prize, just a First Place 8  1/2 x 11 Xeroxed certificate...in color.  The thirteen-year-old flat refused to wear anything I created.

"Mama, I have to go to school here.  I see these people every day.  You really expect me to go as 'Miss Recycle' and wear a costume made out of trash?   Pleeeeeease don't ruin the rest of my life!"  as if I had ever done anything to ruin any part of her life... past, present, or future.

Ok, she is thirteen...and taller than me...and I would have to raid a couple of dumpsters for the necessary recyclable material.  On the other hand, the nine-year-old is shorter....

"Look boy, just do what she says.  You might as well learn now; it is easier to give in then to argue with a woman, especially one born and raised in Texas her whole life. You are not going to win," said the wise and experienced Dr. Hubby to the panicked nine-year-old.

"You only have to wear the costume for five minutes.  Just long enough for the judges to be suitably impressed. " I blatantly did not lie, just stretched the truth a little.

"Ok, but can I at least be a zombie?"

"Sure." My brain neurons began firing like tinfoil in a microwave. 

I skillfully sprayed two empty two liter sized Dr. Pepper bottles and a swim mask with gray paint. I found a gray painters head stocking I had been saving for just such an occasion. I cut the straps off a back pack (oops sorry, did you need that for school?) removed the vacuum cleaner hose from Dr. Hubby's shop vac (you never really cleaned your shop anyway)  hot glued part of a semi-broken flashlight to the vacuum hose, and made some swim fins out of construction paper.  I guess you don't mess with a man's chain saw covers.  They were too heavy anyway.

I hot glued some dead leaves and twigs to the mask and glued the "air tanks" to a piece of cardboard.  Then I slapped some white baby powder on the nine-year-old's face and Wah-la!  Scuba Zombie! 





And yes First Place Funniest Costume.  And yes, therapy will be required.

Next, Atwood's Pet Costume Contest.  Let the Competition Continue!!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

It's Bow Beau Season! Or What Really Happened to the Mayans?


By Jody Worsham, co-author “Kin We’re Not Related To”

All rights reserved for Dictionary of Homonyms and Jerky

“Tomorrow is opening day for bow season,” yells the nine-year old.

“I don’t care.  I already have a beau,” comes from the just-learned-a-new-word-and-turning-obnoxious thirteen-year-old.

“Great!  We can go shoot’em.”

“M-a-a-a-a-m-a-a-a-a-. “

In the past, the opening of bow season was a time of peace and quiet.  At 4a.m. on opening day, Dr. Hubby would grab his compound bow, a thermos of coffee and head out for the deer stand.  If he got a deer, he would bring it home, dress it, and later, over breakfast, he would tell me all about it.  The children would awaken an hour later and after hearing the story from the original Deer Slayer, would offer comments like “That’s nice.  Can we go play?”

Today preparation for Deer Season Opening Day for Bows (sounds like a red neck concerto doesn’t it?) began with me making yet another trip to Wal-Mart.  This time for hot chocolate, in case the temperature was below 80, Dr. Peppers in case the temperature was above 80, Honey Buns in case somebody got hungry, and an extra charger so the  I-pod could be fully charged in case the deer were late showing up and somebody got restless. 

The inner-layer being taken care of, it was time to start on the outer layer.  The outer layer actually began during the summer with an extension added on to the deer stand to accommodate a cot, an additional window, and carpet.

 Now it was time for the clothing.  Camouflaged shirt, camo  pants, camo socks, camo underwear (don’t ask), camo jackets, camo boots and camo bows were located. 

 Three alarms were set for 4a.m., as if the nine-year-old would actually go to sleep.  Both old and young checked the deer cameras that had been previously set.  They checked the weather forecast again and the feeding table for deer.  (Aren’t deer always hungry?).  They were ready.

In the meantime preparations for Beau Season were underway with the thirteen-year-old.  It was time for the “Big Harvest Costume Dance”.    Being competitive and a theatre arts teacher, I was all for creating the winning costume.  She was all about creating the “right look”. 

“How about these jeans and this top?” I suggested.

“Noooo.  Those jeans make me look fat.”

“They didn’t make you look fat two days ago.”

“Maaaaaaama…..”

“Sorry.  What about the top?”

“No, that won’t look good if it is a fast song.”

“There’s a special wardrobe for fast dances?” I foolishly asked.

“My   arms    will   show   if   it   is  a   fast  dance” she said patiently and slowly  as if speaking to a hearing challenged teen-fashion alien, which I guess I am.

After going through her entire wardrobe, she settled on a batman shirt and the same jeans that an hour ago had made her look fat.    

Then it was on to the false eyelashes, her one concession to a costume look.  No matter how she attached the lashes, she ended up looking like a deranged spider.  Even I agreed she looked more like Spider Woman than Batman’s wife.   She ditched the lashes.   Once she got the adhesive removed, she looked normal.  Ok, maybe a little red around the eyes, but I kept my mouth shut.

I dropped her off at school for the dance, then came back home to help load the truck for the Bambi Safari.  The nine-year-old decided to sleep in all his camo clothes.  “It will save time in the morning.  I can just wake up and shoot a deer.”  I hope he gets out of the house first.

I picked up the scowling thirteen-year-old from the dance.  On the not so silent ride home, I learned that Beau #1 had turned into a real jerk.  Great!  Tomorrow with my luck I will spend the day dealing with beau jerky and deer jerky. 

As I was hanging up the car keys, I noticed the souvenir Mayan calendar on the wall.  Youth Bow Season and the beginning of Thirteen-year-old Obnoxious Beau Days had occurred on the same date.  Now I know what really happened to the Mayans.

Happy Bow Beau Day!  Oh deer, oh dear!

 

 

 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Canned Quilt


By Jody Worsham, co author "Kin We're Not Related To:

All rights reserved for Cream of Quilt Soup

I entered my chicken scratch quilt in our Piney Woods County Fair Craft Show.   Now what is a chicken scratch quilt, you may ask, and rightly so. 
 

Chicken scratch is a sewing technique whereby you fill in the squares of gingham print by sewing double X’s over the white squares,  then sewing single X’s and connecting them in a circle using embroidery thread.

 And what is gingham print you ask as if you understood exactly what I just wrote?   Gingham is woven checked material. 

 The quilt is going to be auctioned to the highest bidder at our school’s Fall Festival Fund Raiser in late October, so I thought this would be a good way to get the quilt seen and to advertise the festival.

 I did not expect to place.  I did not expect to win.  I did not expect the unexpected. 

I shall explain.

There are age divisions within the craft show as well as categories.  There was no age division for “Jesus was my next door neighbor” so I just entered as an adult.  “Kin We’re Not Related To” has just been published so if they have not read the book, then my “adult” status would not be challenged.  Category was a different matter.

There was no quilt category so I had a choice of:  A) Cross-stitch, B) Miscellaneous, or C) Specialty Sewing, French Hand Sewing.   I had to register my project before 6p.m.  I waited for all of the other entries to come in before submitting mine, trying to gauge the competition in each category and working up the courage to enter at all.  There were already a bunch of cross-stitch pieces entered and miscellaneous would have me competing with popsicle ash trays and scrapbooks.  That left category C.  

The ladies at the registration table were scrutinizing each entry.  I decided my best bet was to go for Specialty Sewing, French Hand Sewing.  To be on the safe side, I threw in a little French accent.

“Si vous plait.  Pleaze, e vish to enter theeze quilt with zee special cross-stitch in how you say Specialty Sewing for the French.”

They looked at me, at the quilt, and back at me. They huddled together discussing the various aspects of the quilt and my ancestry.  I heard

“It’s a quilt.” 

“No, look at the cross-stitching. It’s cross-stitching.

Yes, but it is a specialty cross-stitching.”

 “Y’all, I don’t think she’s Southern.” 

Then they looked over at me.   I was afraid one of them was going to say “I remember you.  You taught me in high school as well as my daughter and her daughter and my great-great-grandniece,” but they didn’t.  Finally one of the ladies handed me a Category C: Specialty Sewing, French Hand Sewing registration form.  I was in.

The next day while my children were competing in the broiler show, I checked back to see if my quilt had been placed in a good position for advertising the Fall Festival. 

There in the corner of the display room was my quilt with a huge purple ribbon with “SWEEPSTAKES WINNER” written in fake gold letters.  I checked around.  Nobody else had a fake gold lettered purple ribbon.  Then I saw it.  Overshadowed by the loops of the big purple bow was the coveted blue ribbon.



FIRST PLACE   CANNING.

 Maybe they thought, since I was French, I wouldn’t notice.  Or maybe they ran out of FIRST PLACE  CRAFT ribbons.  Or maybe they read my book.

Anyone want to bid on a First Place Blue Ribbon Sweepstakes winning canned chicken scratch quilt?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hawaii Five-Go! How to Sell Your Book


By Jody Worsham, co-author "Kin We're Not Related to"

All rights reserved for Author’s “Birth of a Salesman”

After giving birth to a new book, I am like those first time parents who greet you at the door and shove their new baby in your face with "Look what I made”… only I add “Here, take it home with you.  It’s free.”


Wanda Argersinger, my co-author, keeps telling me I have to SELL the book, not give it away, but I view it as spreading the laughter about.  If I give it away, they will laugh and maybe tell their neighbors "No you can't borrow my book, buy one of your own."  So far I have spread the laughter to Boston, Louisiana, Dallas, Blooming Grove, to my dentist,  family members and one to a total stranger.

I am afraid I am not a salesperson.   I don’t think I could sell life rafts on the Titanic.

 I don’t mind driving around with “Kin We’re Not Related To” letters stuck to the rear window of my suburban.  I can wear a t-shirt with the cover of our book splattered on the back.  I can even convert a normal white blazer into a “book jacket” with pockets for the paperback books.  I can create a miniature cardboard outhouse and stack the books inside for a table display.  I can drill a hole in the book and tie it to the outhouse door and advertise it as a “clean humor.”  I can drop the tailgate on the truck and sit in the Wal-Mart parking lot, where people hawk puppies, with a big sign saying “Funny Book for Sale”.  I can dress up in a white wig, cat eye glasses, purple polyester pant suit, and make a you-tube book trailer with no problem.

 It seems I have a knack for creative marketing and no fear of stupidity; just don’t ask me to come up to people and say “Buy my book.”

At the rate I am going, I cannot afford to write a second book without taking a second mortgage on the farm.  So far I am my own biggest customer at Create Space Books.  If my loan goes through, I may single handedly  move “Kin We’re Not Related To” from 1,543,908 to #1 on Amazon’s Best Seller List.  If everyone in your town has our book, it is probably because I flew over in a helicopter dropping books out by the box full.

I really need to overcome my aversion to self-horn-tooting and selling if for no other reason than so my children can go out in public without a bag over their head.   There is only one thing to do:  hire a salesman named Daniel. 

Then I can say “Book’em, Dan-o.”