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Friday, September 30, 2011

Before the Before

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Photo Shoot…preferable with a shotgun.

When you see those television commercials with the Before and After photos, do you find yourself scrutinizing the two photos to see if it is really the same person? Granted if you lose 300 pounds you are going to look different, but does that weight loss also affect the size of your head or the length of your ears? The Before Photo shows the fat person with scraggly hair, wearing baggy clothes and a frown looking full front into the camera. The After Photo always features the person with a lovely hair-do, stylish clothing, a big white Crest smile, and the body torqued in such a way that the least amount of waistline is facing the camera. Any fisherman worth his weight in big mouth bass knows those camera tricks.

All this got me to thinking of a way to supplement my non-existent unpublished writing fund. I call it my Before the Before Concept. I figure I am the perfect universal Before picture. Put some baggy saggy ugly clothes (right out of my closet) on me, bring the camera up close, and I am the perfect Before Jenny Craig photo. Even if the After person only lost five pounds, dress her up, put on some make-up, back the camera way off and there you have it… a perfect size two compared to the Before photo.

But weight is just the start. I am the ultimate Before Rogaine. Shoot the top of my head, photo shop the gray hair to whatever shade the After Rogaine has and voila! Remember, they never show the Before person's face. Photograph my ugly toes, rough heels, bitten ragged fingernails, and I can corner the Before market for Pedicures, Pedi-Eggs, and Press-on-Nails. The good thing is that even the slightest improvement on my look-a-like would be sure to gross millions in increased product sales when compared to the Before. I am a marketing gold mine! One photo shoot fits all.

So while I'm waiting for that publishing contract to arrive in the mail, I'm standing by the phone waiting for that call from Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Rogaine, Bare Minerals, Pedi-Egg, and Press-on-Nails. And the best part is no talent or preparation required. I just have to be myself!

Wonder why no one has called?


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cone Head, the Barbarian

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for movie version

You could finance a small country for what it takes to keep a Shih Tzu healthy, much less happy. Shih Tzus stress over everything. They stress out if you take them to the groomers. They stress out if you don't. If you clip them too short, they sunburn which causes stress. If you just clip their faces, they stress over what the other dogs might be saying.

No matter what causes the stress, it manifests itself in the form of skin irritations and in Mia Tia's case, hot spots just below each ear. I tried treating the hot spots she had scratched raw with Neosporin and Benadryl gel but nothing would stop her scratching. I began to feel sorry for her. Here she was pregnant, hottest summer on record, and now hot spots. I was feeling the stress myself.

I checked our life's savings, the kids' college fund, our line of credit, and then made an appointment with our veterinarian.

Miss Tia was too stressed out to walk into the vet's office, so I had to carry her. She was too stressed to remain on the scales long enough for the technician to get her weight. I had to sit on the scales and hold her while the technician subtracted more pounds than I care to admit to, in order to determine Miss Tia's pregnant weight of 12 ½ pounds. Now I was stressed. At least we weren't asked to move to the cattle and horse scales.

The technician took her away and in a few minutes the doctor returned.

"These dogs are highly susceptible to stress."

Try raising a six-year-old and a ten-teen when you are in your very late sixties, I thought.

"She has had an allergic reaction, probably to something she ate."

I swear I only gave her a small portion of the purple chicken.

"Or going to the groomers may have triggered the reaction."

Good, I like that. Blame it on the groomer.

"We will have to shave around her head and clean the wounds."

Ok, more stress and probably more scratchy spots for Tia.

When the doctor returned, poor Tia was wearing the Get Smart Cone of Silence. Miss Tia needed a shot. Ka-Ching! She needed a special spray. Ka-Ching! She needed a special flea repellant and heart worm medication for pregnant mommies-to-be. Ka-Ching! Ka-Ching! She needed her six-months flea repellant prescription renewed for after the puppies came. KA-CHING! There went our life's savings and the first two semesters of college. Our credit card balance now qualifies us for debt consolidation and financial counseling.

After carrying Miss Tia to the car, she was too stressed out to walk, we returned home. As soon as we got inside, she ran around the house doing the happy dog dance while knocking her head cone against the floor, the walls, the refrigerator, and the sofa.

When the six-year-old came home from school, he immediately dubbed her "Cone Head the Barbarian".

"Don't say that!" I cautioned, "You'll stress her out." "Oh, she's just a dog. She won't get her feelings hurt", he nonchalantly replied. "Ok, the expense for her next you-are-stressing-me-out-hot-spot comes out of your future-all-we-can-afford truck".

Cone Head the Barbarian was soon dropped, but now I can't get it out of my head.

Oh, the stress!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Check, Please!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for 360 degree full length anti-magnifying mirror

When my children were younger, I employed the Mama Cat cleaning method for the on-the-way-to-church-and-just-before-we-arrived check. Keep in mind, Mothers have done this for centuries and this was before zip-lock bags with a wet wash cloth or wet wipes. With six children in the confined space of a van, all at one time, I had the chance to make a final check before we went inside the church. Lick finger, wipe smidgen of jelly from cheek amid screams of "Eeeeeuuu, spit, nooooooo!"

Getting six children up, fed, and dressed along with myself was a running battle, literally. As soon as you chased one down and dressed him with a semi-matching outfit and clean socks, the fashion diva would streak by wearing a tutu and nothing else declaring she was ready for church. No one was surprised when the church nursery worker discovered that I had often forgotten to put diapers on the toddlers.

Fast forward to the teen years. The Mama Cat method is no longer needed as the teens have discovered body wash, lotion, conditioners, deodorants, after shave cologne, powder, lip balm, Clearasil, perfume and make-up. Before leaving the house, the teens had to subject themselves to the "bend over and touch your toes" method for blouses that may be too low or skirts that were too short. "Boy, your car is on fire. Run and put it out". If their pants were too baggy to "save" the car, they failed the insurance test and had to change. Girls also had to pass the white towel check for make-up. After blotting, if there was a distinct imprint resembling Tammy Faye, the make-up had to come off.

Now that I have entered my senior years, the children are seeking their revenge. They want to install full sized magnifying mirrors if I continue to fail the "Dripped your breakfast on your shirt this morning, did you?" Check.

I admit as senior citizens our eyesight isn't what it used to be. In fact, nothing is like it used to be, so I am suggesting that before we go out to meet the public, open the door, or the children come over, we should have a "Senior Check." If we had had Senior Check, my friend would not have shown up at work wearing white slacks. It was before Labor Day so that wasn't the problem. The problem was she was wearing bright orange underwear. I should have told her. The fact that she lives 600 miles away was no excuse; we do have web cams on our computers if we only knew how to use them.

For those of you entering the Senior Check Phase, allow me to offer some suggestions. Before going out, besides checking the obvious, are you wearing clothes? here are a few things to look for:

  1. Pants zipped…up Check

  2. Two matching earrings, one on each ear, check

  3. Bra on, cups in front…check

  4. Shoes at least in the same color family preferably with the same heel height… check and check

  5. No evidence of previous meals anywhere… check

  6. Make-up application/colors close to the style for this decade …check

  7. Lipstick applied to actual lips, not where lips used to be …check

  8. No sleeveless clothing unless wearing accompanying jacket… Check

  9. No flip-flops or backless sandals unless you have used the Pedi-egg or #8 grit sandpaper with Black and Decker power sander within the last few hours... Check

  10. White underwear, white slacks... Check, Check and Double Check!

Just by following this simple list, you may never have to experience "Oh Mother, before we go, you've got a bit of bran muffin stuck to your cheek. Just let me get that ..."

" Eeeeeuuuuuu, (spit), noooo!"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Germs Have It?

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for a little common sense.

Maybe because it is late at night and my brain is only hearing half of the television commercials or, which is more likely, the commercials really are that dumb. My subconscious has been subjected to ads for giant cupcake pans, Eggies for boiling eggs without the shell provided you can still find all the parts, and pajama blue jeans which only look good on those physically fit who wear a size two.

The ultimate dumbest commercial to date, just slightly ahead of the Eggies, is the hands free soap dispenser. Now granted, a hands free touch faucet makes sense. If your hands are really dirty, then touching the faucet with your elbow, your nose, or your big toe if you are into yoga or Pilates makes sense. Even a hands free paper towel dispenser would protect your clean hands, especially if the previous person touching the paper towel dispenser lever did not do a good job of washing his/her hands, but a hands free soap dispenser?!

The advertisement touts "prevents the spread of germs." Ok, now you are getting soap to wash the germs off your hands, right? So washing a few extra germs picked up from the soap dispenser isn't going to break the germicidal bank. Plus, is the soap dispenser suddenly going to shower the room with germ spores? Are the germs congregating just south of the dispenser mechanism waiting to make a gigantic jump through the air? If the soap in the hands free soap dispenser cannot fight off the germs left by the hands the soap is supposed to clean, then it isn't going to make any difference if the soap dispenser is hands free or not. Besides, who is going to touch the soap dispenser and NOT wash their hands?

Better that germ fearing inventors turn their efforts toward inventing a hands free toothpaste dispenser. Now there's a germ laden object just waiting to explode. Think about it. Multiple hands touching the tube, (why am I the only one with toothpaste in the house) then tossing it on various counters that may or may not have been the semi-final resting place for pet frogs, worms, and gold fish? Hands griping the twisted distorted tube, squirting crusted semi-dried goo onto a toothbrush, then said hand and brush going to your mouth. Bleeegh!

Put toothpaste in those individual packets like catsup or put toothpaste in your hands free soap dispenser. At least that would make sense.

If, however, you are one of the millions who bought the hands free soap dispenser you can just toss it in the drawer with the missing eggie parts when the batteries run down. Your hands can still get clean with old fashioned soap-on-a-rope.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Frying Purple Chicken Beater!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for red wine with meat, white wine with fish, blindfolds with chicken!

Some of you have suffered through my tales of cooking woe. I'd like to say I have improved just like I would like to say Vanna White is grooming a replacement, but we know that isn't true. She's still there and I'm still turning chicken purple. I'll explain.

I recently visited my friend, Wanda Argersinger (Land of Confusion blog). She is a good cook so I watched carefully as she prepared a chicken dish. It didn't look too hard; chicken, simple batter, wine, mushrooms, spices, beef bouillon, I could do that. I would do that, just as soon as I got back home.

Most of my culinary disasters seem to occur when I try to substitute or take short cuts. This time I would do just as Wanda did. Well, except I couldn't find the same Sweet Red Wine with the footprint on the stopper so I found a red wine with some kind of kangaroo on it. And I didn't have an iron skillet so I used my super heavy aluminum one. Oh, and I didn't remember exactly the order of ingredients so I dumped everything in at once. I did buy a meat hammer and I beat the stuffing out of those chicken breasts just like Wanda. When they hit the skillet, those chicken breasts were as flat as mine were as a teenager.

My first hint that something was going south, and I don't mean the Yankees, was when my chicken turned purple. When Wanda added wine to her dish, her breasts did not turn purple, the chicken breasts not Wanda's although they may have. She was wearing clothes so it was hard to tell and I was intent on her cooking methods. My mushrooms remained perfectly tan, not brown, and did not even slightly curl like her mushrooms. The dish was tasty but I'm telling you, purple chicken is a definite appetite depressant so everybody ate with their eyes shut.

For my next attempt at Wanda's dish, I found the right Sweet Red Wine with the footprint on the stopper while I was at Wal-Mart between trips down the great elbow smashing slides at Great Wolf Park in Grapevine. I bought several bottles and hoped I didn't get stopped by the authorities. Once back at home I invested in a cast iron skillet. Wanda also e-mailed me the correct sequence of ingredients. Got it! Right? Wrong.

Back to the kitchen, more breast pounding, batter slathering, and a hotter skillet. This time I managed to get the chicken to turn mostly brown with just a tinge of purple after the wine was added. The mushrooms still did not turn brown but I did manage to turn the beef broth into gravy, sort of. Wanda didn't mention it, but I think there must be a precise ratio of flour, water, and beef broth to make gravy that is not the consistency of wall paper paste. Just sitting on the table, it looked like gray purple tinted dog barf. Again, a tasty dish that, eaten with blindfolds on, was delicious.

This evening I decided to give it one more try. The newly opened wine bottle was on the counter and only half gone. The beatings began in earnest. The children came running into the kitchen at the sound of my pounding. "Hey, Mama's cooking again," said the ten-teen. "Can we help?" "Sure," I replied as she hurried off to get the fire extinguisher. "Great," said the ever helpful six-year-old, "I'll get the blindfolds!"

The radio began playing a golden oldie "It was a one-eyed; one horned, flying purple people eater, pigeon toed, under-clothed frying purple chicken beater." At least I think that's what I heard. Only a smidgeon of wine made it to the skillet, so I'm not sure.