The Chocolate Lady

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Christmas card photo saga, Part 6

After the fiasco that was, Christmas card photo 2004, I really needed 2005 to be less stressful.

As it turned out, I was coordinating efforts to sell Christmas Cards for our local Children's Hospital and one strategy was to ask neighborhood merchants to host card sales in their shops.

One store, an adorable baby/children's boutique, was owned by a mother and daughter, and they always went out of their way to support charitable events. They gladly agreed to sell the cards in their store, and as we were talking, it came up that the daughter is a photographer. Since I know Im not the only one that goes through the search for the good, yet reasonable priced, Christmas card photo, we worked up some photo sessions that were super well priced, that would be available to the public (ie, other moms, customers, and those that were buying Christmas cards).

Many local moms signed up for the photo session, and the daughter put a ton of working into building a Christmas/Hearth backdrop. She used a real mantle, faux brick background, etc. and it looked really nice.

I try to dress my kids a bit differently each year, rotating formal, casual, etc......and in 2005 found some cozy matching jammies.

Here is the picture from our Christmas card for 2005, taken in the back of the children's boutique:

So you might be saying, "hey, that looks perfect, what's her complaint?"

And, I dont have one. I loved this picture, and it was so much easier than years past, and reasonably priced.

As I think back, Im not sure why I didnt go this route for my 2006 picture too.....I dont remember if the daughter-owner was too busy, or, I got too busy and didnt ask. This past year the dear ladies closed up shop. It was very sad to see, as they were wonderful Christian gals who went out of their way to support our community. As it turns out, the property management company in our community, rented to another baby boutique - a chain store. Well, this family-owned boutique couldnt compete. This is how small town America loses it's way...but I guess that story is for another day.

So, I got a good picture for 2005, stay tuned to hear about 2006 and 2007.....

Christmas card photo saga, part 5

So, while I was getting Pooper dried off, and trying to prevent his catheter from getting contaminated (which truly would be life threatening), Beauty and the photographer were busy doing this....

Soon, the numbing cold became too much, and Beauty retreated to the blanket with Pooper. And, because Im all about being accurate (and stretching out my blogging time, so that I dont have to go find all the left socks in the laundry) I went and looked up the weather for this particular day, at the end of October, 2004, and saw that at the very hour that my kids were wet and naked on the beach, it was 63 degrees. And I dont want any big sighs from the east coast/mid west folks who are used to snowy winters, because, that is pretty cold for us Californians, especially when you are soaked in salt water, and the winds are blowing along the coast, AND, it's about to start pouring rain again, because we got 1.34 inches of rain that day!

And if we were normal, this would be the point when we packed up our naked kids and trekked up the wet and rocky cliff to go home. But why would we do that??? Apparently, everyone but me thought it was really funny that I was going to be charged hundreds of dollars for pictures of my kids, none of which was a horizontal shot of them holding hands with the water in the background, in color. NONE.

No, this whole episode was hilarious. So, rather than go home and get warm and protect your very life, why not just stay in the setting sun (with impending thunderclouds) and take a bunch of artsy pictures like this....

and how about some smooches like this......

and some funny faces like this.....

and this....

I would love to show you all of the pictures she took of my kids wrapped up and going into hypothermia, but it would probably crash your computer, because, she took a lot more pics. And, Id just like to point out, that there is hardly any sun left..notice the darkness and lessening shadows in the pictures, it's sunset people, and the rain clouds are almost overhead.

The nanny and I had packed everything up, including the wet clothes, and now it was time for someone to insert some sanity into the situation and bring the kids I come to get the kids, see my foot in the bottom right corner?? Here I come, let's go home now, this party is over!!!

"No, we want to stay here and freeze!"

and now Pooper is looking at me, realizing that it's finally time to get out of here. While the ever professional, photographer kept snapping pictures!!

I got the kids, and all of their wet clothes, and the nanny and I had to carry them up a difficult hike. And we got in the car.

The photographer seemed happy as ever, and let me know she would send me the proofs....

The thundering rainstorm began just as we were driving away, and poured down on us, and I wondered to the nanny if I would get a discount, since the kids ended up getting soaked, which was caused by the photographer's obsession with trying to get a reflective shot.

Fast forward a few weeks, when the proofs came. She took 3 rolls. One ENTIRE ROLL was in black and, no Christmas Card photo I had asked for color. There was also one ENTIRE ROLL, I KID YOU NOT! of my kids wet......a half dozen of Beauty in her birthday suit, and the rest of the roll of my kids wrapped in that darned blanket.

So, I had one roll left from which to scour the pictures for my Christmas Card photo. I had already selected my Christmas Cards...they required a horizontal card.....but there was not one horizontal card in the bunch that had the two kids together, facing the camera in any way. Not one!!

I was furious. This cost me hundreds of dollars!! I had contemplated spending this kind of money on pictures, and should have known better.

Our nanny was with me when the pictures arrived and we went through them together to try to find something to use with the Christmas cards.

"Was I not clear enough? Did she not get the horizontal thing? or that I wanted them in color? clothed? let alone the ocean in the background or anything like that....did she not hear me????"

My nanny replied, "I dont know how she wouldnt have heard you, I heard you many, many times, you told her what you wanted, and this just isnt it."

So, I called the photographer....

Me: Hi (name left out so I dont get sued), I got the pictures today.

Her: Oh, dont you just love them!!!!! (no question mark needed, as I dont think she was really asking me, I dont think she cared what I thought, this was all about her.)

Me: There are some precious pictures, however, Im disappointed that the ....Horizontal picture of the two of the, with the ocean in the background.....was never taken. And I already have my Christmas cards, and I made it clear to you what I was looking for to use for my Christmas picture, and I dont have one that will work.

Her: Out of all of those you dont have one to use?????

Me: Well, no. I have an entire roll in black and white, and I let you know I didnt want black and white, I wanted color. And I have a whole roll of the kids after they nearly drowned, and those wont work either. You are charging me for three rolls, and I only have one roll of color pictures of my kids in their MATCHING, EXPENSIVE outfits.

Her: Oh, I think they are such gorgeous pictures...I, I,

Me: There are some great pictures, but I was very clear about what I wanted, and it's not here.....

She ended up giving me a SLIGHT discount (one roll free)...which was still a rip-off to me.

And, her loss, because this year we did take the nice big picture to put up in the family room, and I didnt hire her to do it, because I knew, depsite her ability to snap pictures in all situations, she wouldnt get the shots that I wanted.

In the end, I found this picture, it was THE ONLY picture of the two holding hands smiling with the water in the background, dry and in color....and it was vertical, so I had to get different cards to send them out.... and I would have prefered not to have that giant clump of stinky sea weed.....

I doubt that anyone that saw this picture had a clue as to what went on that day. It looks like it was a warm summer day, all peaceful and calm, and perfect! HA!

and the saga doesnt end there....this was only 2004. I still have 2005, 2006, and let's not forget 2007 - which we (maybe) took last week...which was a disaster, and the impetus for this whole vent.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Christmas photo saga, Part 4

So, I watched, in the freezing cold, as my kids frolicked along the beach. The sun was setting and the dark clouds of drenching rain were almost overhead, and the photographer was oblivious to MY requests (me being the person who hired her) and she was now working on HER desire for a reflective photo like this.....

and then the inevitable happened, and the result was this...

That's right, in her quest for the perfect reflection shot, she had the kids way out there, and the next thing that happened was a crashing wave over took both kids. Besides the fact that it was FREEEEEEZING, it quickly became an unsafe situation. Beauty, who had only learned to walk 5 months prior, was totally overtaken and submerged. I remember seeing her face under the water, as I was rescuing Pooper. Because Pooper had a broviac catheter in his chest, which is like IV tubes that go directly into your heart and hang out your body, and THEY CANT GET WET! They especially cant get wet with dirty beach water, that typically has very high bacteria levels during storms, when all crap gets washed into the ocean.

We grab the kids, and btw, I dont have any pictures of them underwater, which means the photographer may have stopped snapping shots long enough to help out, I dont know....but we quickly got them out of their wet clothes, with the intent of wrapping them up in dry blankets. But, then again, why would we do that? Why wrap them up and prevent pneumonia from setting in, when we can pick up our camera again and get a half dozen more shots like this....

So, while Im tending to Pooper, trying to minimize the tainted sea water from contaminating his catheter, she's busy shooting a Lady Godiva pictorial.....and she's not done yet!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Christmas Card photo saga, Part 3

Where was I? Oh yeah.....In preparation for the Christmas photo for 2004, we had found a professional photographer and went down to the beach to take the pictures. It was colder than I ever remember around these parts, and despite the clear skies over the ocean that you can see in the picture, the area behind us was darkened gray, and the rains that had drenched the coast for the days prior, were only taking a few hour break before the downpour started again. We had sunlight for a brief window, as it was quickly setting to our west.

I had repeated myself like a manic myna bird; I want a horizontal picture, with the ocean behind them, and the kids holding hands...IN COLOR.

Much to my horror (only realized when I got the prints weeks later)....the photographer had lolly-gagged around taking black and whites for the first part of our "session" I was worred that we only had a scant bit of time to get the picture, not to mention it was icy cold outside, and she was behaving as if it were noon on a summer's day, with all the time and sun to get the perfect shot.

So, just to update, by this point, a had an entire roll of sentimental black and whites, but nothing even close to the picture I wanted for our Christmas Card. And...this chick charged by the roll, in addition to the pricey "sitting fee".

Sure there wree adorable pictures such as this one;

but that wasnt what I told her I was wanting....

at some point, she switched to color, perhaps the impending sunset reminded her that time was running short. But perhaps not, because she pulled out some bubbles to let the kids play some more. Which is fine at noon, but not when you only have a bit of time left, and it's freezing. Clearly, I wasnt going to have a picture of bubbles on my Christmas card, so what was the deal????

And then there were INDIVIDUAL poses such as this one...HELLO?? Im not going to use that for my Christmas, let's get on with the show!! and besides, she looks like she is going potty - which isnt festive to anyone!

By this point, the sun was near gone, the dark clouds were pracitically overhead, and I was really annoyed.

I understand that some people pay for a photographer to follow their kids around and get precious candids, but this wasnt one of those times. Our nanny and I both kept asking each other, "When is she going to get some shots of them together with the ocean in the backdrop???" We were cuddled up in blankets watching this all unfold, marvelling in how the kids were handling the chilly weather, on the wet sand, in their bare feet.

And then she had them hold hands and take some shots together, finally!

She was describing how she was trying to get their reflection in the water, and how beautiful a large print of that would be in our house. I reitterated that I wanted the ocean behind them, not a reflective shot, but she gushed over how lovely it would be. At that point, I told her that my son's thinning hair, with patches of baldness, was not his typical "look" and we would probably wait until his hair thickened up until we took that portrait photo that would grace our mantel for eternity. (and by the way, she then earnestly insisted that his hair looked absoulutely wonderful to her, and she couldnt believe that it was "thinning". I guess it's kind of like the time that I was searching for a dress for my Jr. High graduation, and I found a clingy knit dress *with no waist* that I liked...and the sales girl raved on and on about how fabulous it looked on me, yeah, kinda like that, right Grandma J??) But this photo session was simply to get the Christmas card that I had described a thousand times...that's it. I had a card already picked out that would compliment that beach scene, and it was a horizontal card.....and....that's what I was wanting from this particular (expensive) photo shoot.

But she went on and on.....taking shots like this.....

It was really annoying. When I worked at Del Taco as a teenager, we were taught the ole "customer is king" theory. If the person pays you for a taco with extra cheese, dont give them a burrito with sour cream....or they will go elsewhere for their tacos in the future. The person who pays is kinda the boss....they are paying for a service or a product...we must give them what they came for.....

Somehow I think that was lost in "photography school"....because no matter what I said, she kept setting them up for shots like this....

And trust me, I cant emphasize this enough, things only got be continued.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Christmas photo saga Part 2

The photographer for Christmas 2003 had moved away. She had taken my pregnancy pictures with Beauty, as well as some adorable infant pictures of Beauty, including the one used for her birth announcement. So we had been using her for nearly a year. But shortly after the Christmas photos, she relocated out of the area.

As Christmas 2004 approached, I started asking around for recommendations....and I dont know who, but someone recommended this great gal, so I called her. She seemed nice, and the photos on her website were amazing. She was more than I wanted to pay, charging a hefty sitting fee, as well as a chunky price per roll. But, I knew what I wanted, (to be repeated a million times; a horizontal shot, of the kids together, with the ocean in the background, holding hands.)...any photograher worth her salt would be able to get that in one roll (40 shots per roll, by the way).

So, we set the date, in late October, for the beach. Perfecto!

The date approached and the weather took a strange turn. Our normally warm season became freezing, with lots of rain. Dark clouds filled the sky for days, with barely a peak at the sun. I knew the photo session would be cancelled, although the photographer said to, "wait and see"...and smart gal, she was right. We had about a 2 hour window to take our pictures, literally. We touched base via phone, and the kids and I trekked on down to the beach.

The place she had selected was isolated, which was great for keeping people out of the picture (On sunny days when people go to the beach)....but it required a hike down an unstable cliff. Pooper was still on intensive chemo, and had only recently been able to walk well again, and Beauty was not yet 2, and needed to be carried down. And me, well, let's just say Im not a hiker and leave it at that. We also had a nanny at the time, and she came and helped out.

Once on the sand, with a blue sky (truly a miracle) we got things set up. There were ominous clouds in the wings, although not visible in the pictures, so we knew we had limited time....I was of the belief that it would be good to get those, "horizontal, water in the background, standing together, holding hand " shots in...before it began to rain, or the sun set (it was late afternoon with only an hour or two of sun left.)

But this gal, she was a professional, and she had other things on her

playful pictures of the cuties....we got lots of this type of stuff......

there is nothing wrong with this sort of picture, but with a narrow window, I thought it was best to focus on the goal, and then, if there was extra time, she could get more shots. AND, let's not forget that she charged by the roll, and my primary goal was that ...horizontal, water background, blah blah blah....not a portfolio, just a good shot for a Christmas card.

But she snapped away as the kids frolicked around, and did I mention it was FREEZING???? As the kids traipsed around the coast with the photographer, the nanny and I stood shivering, and I asked her, "do you think I made it clear? about just wanting a Christmas card photo? I mean, I was clear right? that I want it horizontal and all that?"...she assured me, that I had pressed the issue over and over, and certainly that photographer knew...although my nanny also wondered why she was busy snapping pictures like this:

And, also, I said COLOR...I didnt know until I got the photos that she had spent an entire roll on black and whites! I realize black and whites are nice...but it's not what I wanted, and time was of the essence, with the thundering clouds approaching, and she was charging a large per-roll fee.

But she was not in a hurry, and she snapped away like a little shutter bug, getting sweet photos such as this one.....

And this one.....

I bet Pooper is watching as the sun prepares to fade, thinking to himself, "I wonder why this lady is not having us take the shots my mom keeps telling her she wants?????"

Suffice it to say, I have an entire roll of artsy fartsy black and whites....beautiful treasures, but I was still waiting for her to shoot some potential Christmas card shots....the sun was edging closer towards the horizon, and the clouds to the east seemed to be chasing the sun westward.....

But we werent done yet, no, the best was still be continued.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The great Christmas picture saga or why I have such issues with photographers

Every year, I send out a photo card for Christmas. The first two years, it was a "family" shot, including me and My Honey. But for the past 5 years, I just send pictures of the kids, because nobody really needs to see how large and overflowing my muffin top has become or how gray My Honey's hair is....those images dont make anyone sing lovely Christmas carols, unless the song is about a fat and gray Santa...My Honey and I might make people think of Santa, but it's just not the image we are going for, so we stick with pictures of the kids.

For some reason, it is not easy to find a decent photographer to take a picture of your kids...and let me specify, that you might find one to take pictures of your kids, but not necessarily pictures that you can use as your Christmas photo. And, not if you are trying to get said pictures at a rate that doesnt require you to sell your soul on ebay.

This week, we attempted to take our Christmas pictures. Im still annoyed with how it all went down, but I shouldnt be. I should be used to this by now, because finding someone to do what you want, at a price you can afford, is like expecting Santa to really squish through your chimney to deliver gifts....and to do so to every other household in the planet, all on one night.

In 2003 I had a neighbor take our pictures. She was a mom, who, like me, had been frustrated by professional photographers who just didnt get the job done. So she developed her own company, As Cute As It Gets She had a studio at her house, and as Im remembering her indoor studio, Im also flashing back to the pictures I took near the end of my pregnancy with Beauty. (Im definitely not going to post them) but Ill say that I was the largest with Beauty, as she was 4 inches longer than the other two, weighed more, and made my stomach grow into an enormous, sagging pumpkin. I took my pregnancy pictures outdoors, near naked, and the neighbors that lived above her had a pretty good view of a fat lady, on her knees, on bricks, wrapped up in a sheet, with her belly exposed...not comfortable...but I digress.

She typically took pictures in her indoor studio. She was patient with the kids, gave us plenty of time to take the shots...and we fared very well. She was just starting out, and her prices were incredibly low.

Here are a few examples of our Christmas pictures in 2003. Pooper was sick and his face was swollen, not to mention his thinning hair....but they are precious pictures.

Now, I told her what I wanted...I wanted them sitting together, a horizontal picture....and for them to have a decent expression on their face. That might not be as easy as it sounds, because Pooper was going through a particularly difficult time in his treatment and felt miserable.

But she was good at listening to the mom, who also happens to be the person that hired her and was paying for the important thing for the photographer to do....

she let the kids have some fun..........

She took some beautiful shots......

Some spunky shots.............

And ultimately, she got the job done.

Then she moved away.

She still takes pictures, and occasionally comes out to Orange County, but it's not as close as having her studio in the neighborhood...and her prices have gone up too.

So for the 2004 photos, I had to look for a new photographer...and oh what a doozy she turned out to be...........

Ill continue this the meantime, please take the poll up in the top right corner....Every year I send a Christmas letter to friends and family that live out of the area. I like to think people want to know how we are doing, and what's new, sharing our accomplishments without bragging TOO much. How about you, do you like to get a letter? Do you send one yourself?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Time away

Im sorry that I took so much time away. I've been feeling rejected by my orphaned, refugee, almost-daughter, Sandra. She hasnt written me in over a week. I was willing to open up my home, my life, my heart, and this is the thanks I get! Maybe it's better after all, because she seems like a complete ingrate!!

Lucky for me, I do have other kids....who manage to keep me busy with important things, like spy parties and with some not-so-important things too.

I think most of you know that I have the other website to write about those things that are meaningful in life, and I come here to ramble on about those that are truly insignificant.

Dont get me wrong, insignificant things can really take a toll on you....consider this "insignificant" situation, which is actually one of life's great mysteries; what in the world happens to all the socks?

No sooner do I buy my kids socks, cute socks, decorative and MATCHING socks...because I DO buy them in pairs.....does one sock seem to hop away into the abyss. Heck, even the plain, grey-heal-and-toed athletic socks that I buy Pooper...that come packaged with 6 identical pairs....seem to end up lost...with only one, lone sock surviving.

So, if I havent written in a while, it may be because I have been spending all my time looking for the matching partner of these socks:

and this is just the beginning....I have tons of lonely single socks....and I end up spending time trying to play matchmaker, hunting down their perfect companion.

Im not sure how all the left-foots (or right) get lost, or where they have ended up, but it's really be wrecking havoc on the morning routine around here, making sure my kids arent going to school as targets for teasing, with clashing socks.

Im really trying to get a handle on such things, when Im not sobbing over being rejected by the orphan, Sandra.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Because I've got nothing better to do.....

As Im sure you can tell, Im kind of a boring person, with not much to do in life, except for, write this blog and stuff.

Pooper is on a swim team, and the coach needed to see a copy of his birth certificate. They like to verify age, and be all official. Well, the deadline to turn it in has long passed, and the coach gave us the FINAL day to get it to him....this past Friday.

Because we live in a perpetual state of organization and order, I couldnt find the darn thing. So Friday, because we like to live on the edge, and wait until the last possible minute, My Honey went on his lunch break, to the county offices, and got an official copy. And then he came home, and brought a copy to the coach, leaving it in an envelope under his front door mat.

Imagine my surprise this morning (Monday), when the coach emailed me to say he never go the birth certificate! I was rushing around, getting each kid ready, and myself too, as I work Monday mornings, and started freaking out, wondering why the coach didnt have it.

I called My Honey, who said, "I dropped it off at #39, just like the coach said."....which is so weird, that the coach would say that, since his house is number 34!

I got in the car and drove up to the coaches house, looking for number 39, so I could get the darned thing and turn it in....and found an entire street of EVEN numbered houses.

In my most tender loving voice, I called My Honey and asked if he could think about where he might have left the BC. Do you remember the color of the house? (NO) Do you remember the style (a white porch), can you remember if it was on the corner, the middle of the street? (I dont know). After driving in circles searching for a white porch, scavenging around on a few door steps, and explaining my suspicious behavior to a couple of curious folks......I called back My Honey, who now was wondering if he hadnt just gone to the wrong street altogether.

And why not. What fun would it be to just drop it off at the right house? What else would we do with our morning if we didnt sneak through a neighborhood looking under pumpkins and mats? How totally bland it would be to go through the day without imagining how far in the "new identity" process an illegal immigrant had gotten with our son's birth certificate.

After work, My Honey came home, and retraced his steps, and found the envelope under someone's mat, and brought it to the coach. Whew! Thank goodness...except, now we are totally bored again.

AND, to boot, my heart is breaking, that my new daughter hasnt written me in 3 days.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Who am I?

I have decided that I will be identifying myself to my dear, soon-to-be, new daughter, and wanted to find the *perfect* picture.

It's important that my picture convey the loving, nurturing, trusting, self that I am, as a way of impressing the generous orphan Sandra Bucas.

I picked up a few ideas, and want your input....which one should I be??

I like this one, for many reasons, mainly, because I got the photo from googling my name, "Kim Sprague", this gal really is Kim Sprague. If the sweet orphan with internet access should try to verify my photo, she would see that I am who I claim to be...AND, she is black, as is Sandra, which may make her seem more like a mother figure to the dear orphan.

I could send this one, and when Sandra says she wants to live with me, I can let her know that I will be so thankful to have a daughter help me with some of my care (ie. bathing and hygiene)

Now this is a random picture of a "kim" that I googled....she looks nice enough....

Which one do you think is the best image to use, in order to further endear myself to my new orphan daughter?

Friday, October 12, 2007

You dont have to live like a refugee

Well, my dearest new daughter-to-be has contacted me, and I *sense* her patience with me is thin. I can hardly blame her, she is in a refugee camp, after all. Ive never been to a refugee camp myself, but Im wondering if they are like our California jails, where everyone gets free internet access? Not what I would picture, I had more of an image of some African jungle with huts, but my dear Sandra has daily internet availability, so probably she is not in a hut. But she has reminded me, HELLO, that she is in a REFUGEE CAMP, and she cant just go get pictures with orphans, DUH!

Here, read for yourself:

Dear Kim,

Please kindly understand that i am not in the position to get you the picture of the orphans , because am in the refugee camp here and they doesn't allow the refugees to go out of the city. That was why i contacted you to help me out of this refugee camp by contacting the bank and summit your bank account where the bank will transfer the funds into. To enable you to send some money to me here, so that i can get my traveling paper to meet with you over there in America. To start a life with you. Once again i thank you very much for your prayers towards my present critical condition.

Thanks and God Blessing you.

Ok, So, Im still not understanding how come she is so confined that she cant get a picture (mind you a picture that will then prompt me to SAVE HER LIFE)..but she can dilly dally on the internet everyday. Hmmmm.

She neglects to explain her intentions of being my I need to spruce up the guest room? Help with college applications? I mean, if Im gonna be her mom, I want to get things ready for her, poor dear.

Im hoping that my next email will be met with understanding and thing I am not willing to tolerate is a wayward daughter who doesnt follow basic directions....hopefully she wont continue to display such stubburn resistance to my SIMPLE REQUEST FOR A PICTURE, that will SAVE HER LIFE!

Here, what do you think??

Dear sister in the Lord,

I have been praying throughout the day for you, and my heart is blessed to be able to assist you.

I am still unclear as to your future plans. Are you hoping to come to the United States? Will you need a place to stay? Have you already selected a school to attend? I am sorry if I am not understanding these things, please explain them again so that I can support you with your future plans.

Also, as you know, It was amazing how during this time that God has put orphans on my mind, that I would get an email from you, Sandra the Orphan, whom I dont even know. That is surely a sign from God that He has selected me to help you. However, I was conflicted by the Bible verse that says not to take money from Orphans. I spent much time in prayer, and God instructed me to receive a picture of you with the orphans or refugees at your camp. I know this will assure me that it really is what God wants me to do.

I am encouraged that you have internet access at your refugee camp, even if you dont have a pool, so Im hoping that someone at your location can take a picture of you with your fellow refugee orphans, to confirm God's plan for my assistance.

Stay strong my sister,

Should I put up a new poll asking if you think she will send it or not????

Thank you Monika (hugs and kisses, as I havent seen you in so long!! ) for the great link,,,, those were funny. It was NOT the one particular one I had read (and nearly peed my pants reading) in the past...this was on some ladies blog, and if I remember correctly she did something with horses, or something farm-like, but it wasnt The Pioneer Woman

Does anyone remember that blog??

We shall see what sister Sandra does next....maybe I should send a picture of myself to her, Ill have to find a "good" one.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

She's an orphan, ok, so dont go thinking she is getting to lounge by the pool!

Perhaps I have misjudged my dear sister, because it has been brought to my attention, that she is not filming hip-hop videos, poolside...rather, she is in a REFUGEE CAMP! Ok, so, let's try to gain a bit of empathy for this poor gal.

Besides, she is as dumb as a rock, either that or she thinks Im Korean, because she thinks Im her brother, here, see for yourself:

Dear Brother in Christ,

I thank you very much for your urgent response to my message. First of foremost i thank God that you are a good Christan and you have man kind, which i believe that as soon as the bank transfer the funds into your account in your country there, then you will use the money to build orphanage home, school and other good things for the orphans. Remember i told you that i left my country because war going on over there that was why am here in the refugee camp suffering. Coming to my picture i sent you those pictures was took in my home when my late parents was alive, is not a current pictures. I want to know if have you contact the bank regarding the transfer of the funds into your account, please kindly update me the outcome.

Thanks for everything in Advance and may the good lord bless you abundantly.
Your Sincerely,

I felt so awful for not fully understanding the terror that she must face each day, so I sent her a letter apologizing, and also trying to clear up a few things....

Oh Sandra, I am so sorry that you are not in your country, I didnt realize they had moved you away for the refugee camp. I am praying even more for God's protection on you! I am sorry for not understanding your situation.

I read again your prior email and it said that you would like to come and live with me, and I would be in charge of paying for your schooling with your funds. You may be very happy to know, that in the United States, you can be in charge of your own self when you are 18, you are able to make your own choices and it is a wonderful freedom that we value here in America. I didnt know at first that you wanted to come to America, but when I read your email again, I see that you want to come here. I need to pray some more about your education, do you already know what school you will attend? Please also tell me if you will be hoping to live here with me, I have never had a child, but it has been the desire of my heart, so if God would allow me to be like a mother to you, that would be an extra blessing.

As I have been praying, I feel very fortunate that God has placed this blessing on me, and that I will be able to help you escape this hardship. During my prayers, I can almost see you with the orphan children, and if there is a way to send me such a picture, or you with the orphans, I know it will be a sign from God that I am supposed to help you in this matter.


As you can see, I also asked for further clarification re: her plans to LIVE WITH ME and for me to pay for her schooling (clearly I would be able to pay for the finest school with her $15.5 million) but I really need to understand this new role that she is asking me to take on.

You may notice, that I keep pressing for a picture...that's because I am basically just stealing this great idea from another blog that I saw (Gosh I wish I could remember that web address!) where the gal went back and forth with a bank scammer, having them send her all different things, as further confirmation from God that she should help them. She would ask for pictures, and they would always send them doctored up from photoshop, so funny....and so, as a stealer-of-ideas, Im just seeking the same kind of thing here.

And thank you mom, "Grandma J" for pointing out the fine print...I hadnt even noticed that she wanted to come live with me....she has no idea what she is can imagine, if I wont allow Cracker Jacks in the living room, Im probably not gonna allow dangling navel rings, belly tops and pole dancing either. That's right, if she comes here, we will probably start a whole new blog on the transformation of Sandra!

Let's see what happens next!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

sweet little orphan Sandy

** Word of caution, the following post may contain some material deemed inappropriate for most people, and also makes some judgemental generalizations about orphans, stripper poles, and dangling diamond belly rings. So, if you think you might be offended, here is your word of warning that you may want to exit this page now.**

Well, I heard back from sweet, sweet, little orphan Sandy. She sent some very official documents with her email, along with some, um, pictures (dont worry, they arent *quite* porn.)

Here, let me just show you:

Dear kim,

Thanks for your urgent response. I appreciate your willingness to help me out of my present critical condition. I pray that Almighty God will guide and protect us until final end of this transaction. This funds was deposited in the International Commercial Bank of Ghana. And i am presently in the refugee camp here in Accra Ghana, because of the political crisis in my country Cote D I'voire for my safety.

However i have a proper discussion with the bank manager regarding the transfer of the funds and he told me that am too young to handle the transaction alone that i should look for someone abroad who i can trust to handle over my funds. That was why i contacted you to assist me by standing in the bank as my late father foreign business partner on my behalf regarding the transfer of the funds into your account in your country. As soon as the funds is in your position, then you will invest the funds in a good profitable lucrative business, to enable you to take good care of my school fees and also to get residence permit for me to start a new life with you.

I am giving you the contact of the bank where the funds is now to enable you to contact them regarding the transfer of the funds to you. Below is the contact of the bank.

TELEPHONE: +233-242-820-353

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me after you contact the bank.

Thanks very much and my feeling the most distinguish.
Your Sincerely,
Sandra., she is 22, but lives "refugee camp" because of "political crisis"...certainly people know she is wealthy, I mean, she is like the Oprah of Gana, No?? And she has to stay in a "refugee camp"?? Which, by the way, is not an orphanage...a point Ill make in my reply.

Here are the official documents:

But, poor little Sandy, at least someone is making sure she is comfortable and well decorated, as noted by the BLING dripping out of her navel.

Now, Ive been thinking about my response letter, and Im gonna have to play it cool. I dont want to let on that I know she is a scammer, or scare her away, so, probably not a good idea to ask if she has been forced into child labor, or mention how the grip she has on the tree looks like she is ready to take a twirl around a stripper pole (which I would know nothing about, if not for that trashy show, "Rock of Love" and...did you see the reunion show? What an ending!) but I digress.........

So, here is my reply back...........

Dear Sandra,

I am so sorry for your situation, that must be very hard on you to stay in a refugee camp. In our country, we once had Japanese people in camps, during the second World War, and I know it was very hard on them. I will pray that God is caring for you and protecting you there.

I am glad to see you have a swimming pool, because that at least will allow you some comforts. At the orphanage where I used to work, we had 2 swimming pools, One deep pool for the older children, and a small, shallow pool for the toddlers, it was really a very nice treat for them.

I have spent time in prayer, and in Exodus, it says not to take advantage of the orphans, and it also says not to make money from them! This made me worry that the Lord would not want me to take any money in exchange for assisting you. I feel as if I should just assist you with no reward, because you are a sister in the Lord and in need of help.

Then, as I prayed more, he showed me a vision of how the money I am given can really help so many orphans, and God confirmed that He does want me to help you and to use the money I receive to help many orphan children, what a blessing!!

The word orphan, with pictures of children was really impressed upon me by God. I was hoping that one of your pictures would include you with some of the orphan children from your camp, because that would be the absolute confirmation that I would need from God.

In our country, being 22 is not an orphan, you must be under the age of 18, so if you could show me a pictures of young orphan children, that would really help to confirm my prayers of helping you.

God bless you sister, please know I am praying for you.


Let's see how this shakes out, Ill keep you posted!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Helping the orphans

Today I got one of those emails that I usually delete before even opening them. No, it wasnt to enlarge my penis, or to send me "super grass seed" (what is with the grass seed market? Ive been getting a lot of those lately) was one of those bogus bank scams.

The subject line read, "From the Orphan Miss Sandra Bucas"....and if that doesnt pull on a heart string, I dont know what does. So, I opened up the email, and here was the tugging plea.....

Calling For Help,

Hope this mail meets you well, please permit me to introduce my self to you, my name is Sandra Bucas, I am 22 years old, the only child of Late Mr. James Bucas who was a famous cocoa merchant based here in Abidjan , the Economic capital of Ivory Coast ( Cote D'ivoire). I am seeking for your assistance to help me transfer the sum of ($15,500,000.00) Fifteen Million Five hundred Thousand United State of American Dollars that I inherited from my late father to your bank account.I am willing to offer you 15% of the total fund as a mode of compensation after the transfer for your time and effort. All the necessary documents concerning this fund is intact. Please get back to me, then more details concerning this fund and I will equally send you my photos so that you will see and know whom I am. If you agree on this proposal and ready to assist me please indicate by furnishing me with your phone and fax numbers including your full address to enable easy communication between me and you.

Yours Faithfully,
Sandra Bucas.

You know, once, I found my way to a blog where the gal, for fun, responded to these con-emails. She had so much fun leading them on, and I thought this was the perfect one to have a go at it. BTW, If any of you reading remember that blog, please list the address, I dont remember it, but it was hilarious.

So, I decided to bite the is my email back.....

Dear Sandra,

Your email was like a message from God. I had been praying today and reading
in the book of James, and in James 1:27 it says to take after widows and
orphans. I have actually worked with orphans before and they are so dear to my
heart. When I got your email, it was just a reminder of how God tells us to
take care of orphans, and so it is like God directly told me to help you.

Also, if your father was a cocoa farmer, that is also a sign from God, because I
love Cocoa, it is one of my favorite things in the world.

This is certainly a message from the Lord. I am looking forward to helping you.

With Blessings,

Now...truth be told, I used to work with orphans at our county "children's home" (homey word for orphanage) and have been working with our pastor to set up a ministry at our church. So, I wasnt lying when I said I have been praying about this.....but that's where the truth ends.

Stay tuned while I have some fun with this gal....Ill keep you posted on her response.

and...there are only 2 days left.....go ahead and vote for your favorite invention (see top right corner of blog.....if your selection isnt there, let us know what you think you could never live without.)

AND.....I love how my new site meter tells me the (very general) location of my we had folks from the UK, Australia, Italy, Sweden, and Spain...not to mention several Canadian readers....welcome, aloha, wilkomen, ciao and hola...and all those other words that they have painted on signs on the It's a Small World ride at Disneyland.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Welcome to the neighborhood

The other day at the neighborhood pool, while Pooper was having swim team practice, I saw my friend, oh, let's just call her, "Jane" for the sake of anonymity.

And, can I just add, the community pool seems to be the place for all the action lately...

anyways....Jane comes strolling up to sit and chat, as her own daughter was also swimming, and I noticed her shirt.

"uh, nice shirt Jane." was all I could muster, as my jaw gapped open and my eyes kept blinking, certain that the image wasnt registering correctly in my brain.

"oh thanks" she said, in her happy-go-lucky tone. That's the thing about Jane, she is so down to earth, so unpretentious, so real....but perhaps a little TOO REAL, I mean, the shirt, come on, Jane!

I then mentioned that I hadnt realized she was SUCH a free spirit, and, even if she was, did the whole pool need to know it? I realize that the Olympic swim coach is quite handsome, but was this really the appropriate manner in which to make a move, and in front of the kids???

She looked down at her shirt, in total shock (real or fake? who knows) and said, "I never even noticed what was on this shirt! I got it for $6 at an Old Navy outlet, I saw the rack '$6' and I just took a shirt, I didnt look."

Really? The giant 69 across your chest, and you never noticed? Did, say, your husband notice? or perhaps did YOU notice that people at your kids' school, or the market or somewhere might have been staring at you?

Jane acted so shy and embarassed, most of the time, but I did catch her winking at the Olympic swim coach, so, Im not sure I am buying her story at. all.

But this is what I am bombarded with around my neighborhood, perverted old men literally sitting on the edge of their seat trying to land a "date" and now even other moms out prowling at the community pool. The sexual stuff is just overflowing around these parts, It makes me totally see why people run off and become amish, and live in communes, separating themselves from the Janes, I mean, Jezebels of the world.

Of course now when I see Jane, she always makes a point of bringing up "Bible Study" and stuff. Hopefully Jesus can help her get her mind out of the gutter, or at least buy her a new wardrobe.

PS. Several people have mentioned that they are unable to leave comments, I have recently changed the settings so everyone should be able to post in the comments section.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

oh thank heaven!

Im not sure why nobody has ever nominated Dr. Harry Coover for the Nobel Peace Prize, but he is WAY deserving, so Ill just throw the nomination out there now, because, someone's gotta do it!

This man saved Beauty and I from losing our minds tonight, honest.

Let me explain....

During Pooper's swim team practice, I sat and chatted with other moms, while Little One wandered around dangerously close to the pool edge, and Beauty played in the shallow toddler pool.

All of a sudden, from across the deck, I hear Beauty screaming, as only she can do, while clutching her head. I immediately jumped up and grabbed her, and upon looking at the area she was holding, saw that her ear lobe had a deep slice in it. I carried her back to the toddler pool, to try to figure out what happened. Their was a dad sitting in the foot of water, surrounded by kids, and he smiled as he held up the hard plastic fish that had been beaned at Beauty's head. Um thanks.

I knew I had to take her to the ER, and as other moms gathered around to help, Beauty became panicked, frenzied, screaming that she DID NOT WANT ANY NEEDLES.

Thank God for great neighbors, as moms volunteered to take Little One and Pooper while I hurried off with Beauty to the hospital down the street.

She was still soaking wet, in her little "stars and stripes" bathing suit, and I wrapped her in a towel and told her to keep pressing her ear.

During the 4.2 minute drive, Beauty was hysterical, going on and on about needles and not wanting them.

The old, "do-I-lie-and-pay-for-it-later-or-tell-the-truth-and-shove-her-completely-over-the-edge" argument went back and forth in my mind. And then I came up with the ole, "Im gonna tell them you dont want any needles!" promise, emphasizing that I was on her side about this. It didnt do much to calm her down, but it was better than ignoring her.

Long story short, after the bloodied mess was cleaned and pulled and prodded, the doctor announced, "this is a good laceration for Dermabond" and then the clouds parted and a choir of the most glorious angels sang ALLELUIAH!

Beauty was still screaming, but eventually we calmed her down and promised, and assured, and said over and over with certainty, that there would be NO NEEDLES!

Of course, in the end, she was fine, her ear was glued, it was painless and we made our way home.

But through the whole ordeal, I couldnt help but wonder how things might have been if that Super Glue had not been invented. We would be using a needle and thread, just like they used to stitch my head back when I was her age....the time I had to be put in a straight jacket because I was so upset about a NEEDLE piercing through my SCALP, over and over again. Which then caused me to get a big worked up, just at the remembrance of that life scarring event, and wishing someone had invented that glue earlier, which made me think of other things that werent invented during my childhood, that I missed out on, like video games better than Pong, but anyways.....

At least someone tried to make it better, and invented STAPLES...Um, was this really an improvement over stitches, STAPLES, metal being slammed into your wound? I dont think that was really even worth inventing, because I dont think it was much of an advance at all, really.

But this glue idea, that was really something, ....I thought back to ALL The wounds I had ever suffered in my life, and how awesome it would have been if I would have just glued them all shut. I thought of the suffering that would have been spared to me.

Well, Im glad it's here now because it surely saved Beauty and I from a night of total hell.

When I came home, I thought Id look up the most fabulous inventor of this life changing substance...and guess what, ...well, first of all, it's basically super glue, THE super glue. It was invented in 1942, and was first used medically during the Vietnam war.

Guess what that means? Yeah, are you thinking what Im thinking? I (we) could have been using it all along, instead of sewing needles and staples. It was there for the taking at our local market...and it worked on wounds. Heck, I read that they put organs back together with it, so the real question, is why was it kept a secret for so long? Think of all the trauma and tears that could have been spared if people would have just shared the love and told us that Super Glue could be used for wounds. Thanks a lot to the secretive, sadistic people that were hording one of the worlds most amazing bits of information.

And while it's come way too late, Im so thankful that Dr. Harry Coover invented the stuff, and believe that this product, all by itself, has brought about more peace than most anything I can think of. So, that's my nomination, and if he wins the Nobel Peace Prize, you saw it here first.

BTW, check out my hero at Alex's Lemonade find the "heroes" link and you will find my Pooper. I sure wish we could find the "super glue" for childhood cancer!!

PS. Just when you thought it might be safe to wander out into my neighborhood....Ive found a new sex fiend on the prowl, complete with a picture...I promise to post it, hurry back.