The Bee Story

Yesterday was very busy and today is going to be very busy, but I do not want to ignore my blog for two days straight.  I really don’t have very much to say, so I thought I’d tell a story instead.  It’s a short story, but it’s one that makes me laugh every time.  I was not there to experience it.  My friend told it to me.  

Basically, she knew this guy.  I don’t remember his name, so let’s just call him Doug.  Doug was having a terrible day, and he was telling everyone about his terrible day.  Just as he was listing off every terrible thing that had happened to him, “I failed this test and then I spilled my lunch and then my girlfriend broke up with me…” a bee flew up his shorts and stung him on the butt.  

I’m not sure what the moral of this story is, but I do feel very sorry for Doug, whoever he is.  I hope his life has vastly improved since that fateful bee sting.     

The end. 

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Monday Report

Hello, everyone.  It’s the start of a new week.  It’s also very cold.  I’m sure it’s also very cold where you live, unless you’re a lucky duck Australian, in which case, I envy you a great deal.

I feel like I have a lot to talk about, but nothing so pressing that I’d dedicate an entire post to it, so I figured I’d give you a few tidbits of what’s been floating around in my mind all weekend.

1) I saw Catching Fire for the fourth time this weekend.  I’m relatively open about my outstanding nerdiness, but in case you’re new to the blog, I’ll say it again.  I am a huge geek, and one of my favorite things to geek out over is The Hunger Games.

I could go on and on about everything that I love about the books, and the movies, for that matter (Jennifer Lawrence!), but I won’t because I would literally be typing until my fingers fell off.  So, I’ll try to stick to the point I originally set out to make.

*WARNING: Possible Spoilers Ahead*

As with any franchise I find myself fawning over, I desperately want to know more about the other characters and what was going on behind the scenes of Katniss’ point of view.  One of the reasons I love the movies so much is that they give us a glimpse at the other characters and what they’re doing while Katniss is in the arena.  The books are told entirely from her perspective, so we only get what we’re told her shown through her experience, but in the movies, we get to see a little more, like the game makers who control what happens in the Arena during the games.  I LOVED seeing how they did that!  I also really love any scene with President Snow.  Seriously, he gets the best lines in the entire franchise!

“Hope.  It is the only thing stronger than fear.”

“Because of her, they all pose a threat.  Because of her, they all think they’re invincible.”

And that moment at the end of the first one where he just turns and walks away all dark and creepy?  Or how about in the second one when he realizes that Plutarch has deceived him?  I LOVE THOSE MOMENTS.

Speaking of Plutarch, he’s who I’d really want a separate book about.  Well, him, Haymitch, and the tributes like Johanna and Finnick who were in on the plot to break Katniss out of the Arena during the Second Quarter Quell.  How long had they been communicating?  How did they get the others in on it?  I am DYING to know.  I’m also dying to know more about Finnick and Annie and their love story.  All we got from Finnick in Mockingjay was, “She crept up on me.”

Seriously?  That’s it?  NO!  That is NOT COOL, Suzanne Collins!

2) Today, one of my coworkers at my job that’s not writing came into where I was filing and handed me an envelope.  Then she said something like, “It’s your 10.60” (I don’t remember the actual number).  For some reason, I really thought it was money, so I got really excited.  But then I opened it and realized it was just a bunch of tax crap.  I have finally and begrudgingly come to accept that people will not just walk up to me and give me money.  That is not the way life works.

3) I also went to the post office today to renew my P.O. Box, so that was fun.  And $30.  But hey, it made me feel like a real responsible adult, which you know, really isn’t that great a feeling, but everyone seems to think it’s something to which we should all aspire, so whatever.

4) Cemetery Tours received another amazing review from Paul Ruddock at http://echoesofthepen.com.  Thank you so much, Paul!  Your review almost brought tears to my eyes!

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5) Last night, as I was writing, I was watching The Walking Dead (again), and I’m beginning to think that maybe I really just can’t handle that show.  I always feel like I end up writing about the horrific experiences I’ve had while trying to enjoy a show while simultaneously ignoring my natural instincts to avoid all things zombie.  I’ve finally reached the point where I’m almost totally immune to blood and guts (though there’s still one scene in the second one that just… ugh…).  I’m still NOT okay with puke, but that’s something I’ve lived with my entire life and will probably never overcome.  Last night, however, I discovered that there is one thing in the zombie universe (or probably any sort of disgusting universe) that I absolutely can not handle.

Maggots.

Oh my gosh.  I don’t know how I never noticed them before, but there is one scene with a corpse in a tent and its nasty forehead is crawling with MAGGOTS.  One even falls off his forehead and onto his ear where it wriggles around until it finds its way back to the flesh.

EWWWWWW.

Now, I’ve always been pretty girly, but I usually can watch just about anything (except puke) and not get grossed out.  Those maggots grossed me out so much that I thought I was going to gag.  I even had a minor meltdown on Twitter because it was 2 AM and I had no one else to talk to.

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So yeah, you get the picture.  It was horrible.  Thankfully, my brain spared me further trauma in my dreams.

Well, that’s not entirely accurate.  I actually dreamt that my friend became a plastic surgeon and decided that I needed plastic surgery to make my hands more feminine (they’re kind of manly) and so she cut up my hands and wrists, but I kept telling her I didn’t have health insurance, so instead of stitching me up, she just put band-aids on my wounds!  I was so scared that my hand was going to fall off, but she assured me that probably wouldn’t happen.

But at least I didn’t dream about maggots.

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Have a good week, y’all!

How Not to be Cool

Recently, I’ve received a lot of sweet and encouraging words about my posts.  My favorite messages are the ones that say that I make them laugh.  I love being told that I’m funny, mostly because in person, my sense of humor can be really awkward.  I always think I’m hilarious, and people do end up laughing at me, but it’s usually because I’m being inadvertently funny while trying to be funny in a totally different, cool-person way.  I’ve finally come to accept, however, that that’s just never going to happen.

I’ve never been very good at hiding my true nature.  Trust me, I try.  Even when I was little, I tried to make everyone think I was cool and adorable.

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But the truth is I was crazy… and a little gross.

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So, instead of telling you stories about how awesome and cool I am, I’ve decided to share a few stories that are actually true.  And hopefully funny.

One of my mom’s favorite stories is the time she caught flipping the bird at the Easter Bunny.  Let me just say right now that I was three years old and I did not know what I was doing.  A few days earlier, I had gotten my middle finger stuck in our screen door.  That was apparently the scariest moment of my little life up until that point because I still remember it.  I thought I was going to be stuck in that door forever and they were going to have to chop my finger off.

Anyway, later that week, my mom and my grandma took me to see the Easter Bunny.  I’m sure Mom and Mimi were really enjoying their day until they paid for the pictures and turned around to see me, standing right in front of the rabbit, and about ten other kids waiting to get their pictures taken, and shooting him The Finger.

“JACKIE!  What are you DOING?!” my mom screamed.

“Showing him my hurt finger.”  Duh, Mom.

At that point, my mom walked right up to that poor fellow in the rabbit costume and explained, with a distinct emphasis on every word, “SHE’S SHOWING YOU HER HURT FINGER.”

The rabbit just nodded, bobbing his head up and down.  Good thing it didn’t fall off.  That could have been even more traumatizing than the little kid with hobbit hair making rude hand gestures in the middle of the mall.

Sadly, I don’t have a picture of that day, but I do have a picture of the day I met Roger Rabbit.  I was terrified of his movie as a kid, so I have no idea why my parents thought I wanted to meet him.

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Clearly, I am not happy.

Speaking of things that scared me, nothing in my entire life, not even my intense fear of zombies, compares to the day I realized what it really meant to be afraid of something.  To be honest, I still feel really guilty about it, because it stemmed from a really sweet gesture.  Around the same time that I flipped off the Easter Bunny, my dad bought me E.T. the Extraterrestrial on VHS.  That night, we all gathered around the television, turned off the lights, and played the movie.

I didn’t last five minutes.  As soon as I saw E.T.’s creepy little silhouette running through the grass, I was done.  I was so scared that I started bawling and my parents quickly turned the movie off.  Now that I think about it, I think I had the same reaction to The Wicked Witch of the West, but my fear of her was nothing compared to the sense of sheer terror that E.T. ignited in me.  My fear of him lasted for a ridiculously long time.  I even had my dad go back and make sure he wasn’t hiding in my room after my cousin showed me a picture of him when I was nine.

I didn’t try watching E.T. again until the restored version was released on DVD, and I am proud to announce that I am no longer scared of him.  I think the new CGI effects had a lot to do with that, as I’m still not overly fond of the puppet.

Confession: Although I have successfully overcome my E.T. phobia, I’m still not okay with Yoda.  Creepy little puppet, he is.

Along with being a little wuss who was scared of absolutely everything, I was also remarkably dumb.  Although I do not blame my exposure to Disney for unrealistic expectations in men, I do blame them for misleading me on what should have never even been up for discussion.

For example, thanks to Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, I truly and honestly believed that diamonds and rubies and sapphires came out of the ground looking beautiful and sparkly.

I can’t even tell you how long it took me to figure out that real diamonds do not look like this.  I actually think I was in college before it finally hit me that Snow White totally lied to me.  I don’t know why it took me so long.  Granted, it’s not something that I think about very often.  I just remembering being in a shop and I saw a garnet rock, the way it actually looks before it’s cut down into the diamond shape, and thinking, “Huh… that’s a funny looking garn… OH MY GOD.”

Dumb.  Kid.

The other example I have of my sweet and simple trusting nature (at least when it comes to Disney movies) stems from my repeated viewing of The Lion King when I was six years old.  My took me to see that movie at least five or six times because my grandma was really sick and my mom was pregnant with my sister, so he got to entertain me.

After one such viewing, we were driving (I think to the supermarket), and I was looking at my new Lion King trading cards (all of which I still have).  I found one with a photograph of a warthog.

“Look!  It’s Pumbaa!”  I showed him.

“It is!  You better not call him a pig or else he might charge you!”

That, of course, was a reference to Pumbaa bowling into those hyenas that called him a pig, but as a young and embarrassingly naive little girl, I didn’t realize that.  Thus began the next five years of actually believing that warthogs understood the word “pig.”

When you think about it, it isn’t much of a stretch.  I mean, dogs understand “sit” and “fetch.”  Why couldn’t a warthog understand the word “pig?”  Not that I’d ever get brave enough to actually go up to a warthog and yell “PIG” at him, but still.

Speaking of yelling things at animals, I had a friend who was absolutely convinced that if you yelled at an emu, it would fall over and die.  Fortunately, I never bought into that one.  But the warthog thing?  Oh, that lasted forever.

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There I am, watching my Disney and believing every life lesson those characters taught me.  You can tell from the blank look on my face that there is absolutely no brain activity going on in this picture.

So there you have it.  My childhood in a nutshell.  I like to think that today, I’m a little wiser and a little less gullible, but then again, I want to write for a living.  Maybe wisdom and reality are simply beyond my reach.

So… How was YOUR Christmas?

The day after Christmas.

I only had one glass of wine yesterday, but I definitely have a Christmas hangover.  Way too much food, fun, and laughter.  Not that that’s a bad thing.

The holiday festivities began with our annual Christmas Eve trip to Santa’s Village.  Santa’s Village is a fun little thing that the Public Library does every year.  They set up a bunch of little fun houses for kids to go in and get cookies, Christmas ornaments, write letters to Santa, etc…  My sister and I have outgrown the actual houses, but it’s still fun to walk around and look at lights.

Funny story real quick… One year, my sister and I took our little cousins around.  Our oldest cousin was probably about nine or so.  Anyway, we took her and her little sister into Mrs. Claus’ house, where she was handing out Christmas cookies.  As expected, she smiled, wished us a Merry Christmas, and handed each of my cousins a sugar cookie.  Upon receiving her cookie, my cousin looks her straight in the eye and says, “Thank you.  I’m just getting over strep throat.”

I’m sure the look of sheer alarm and panic that poor Mrs. Claus sent me at that moment mirrored my own stunned expression.  It only took me about half a second to recover.  “Okay, then, thank you, Mrs. Claus!”  I said and quickly ushered my cousins out of her house.

After we met up with their father, my older cousin, he asked how it had gone and I told him the story.  He gives me this bewildered expression and goes, “No she isn’t!”

Anyway, that’s one of my favorite Santa’s Village stories.  This year’s trip wasn’t quite as eventful.

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Although, my sister almost did get run over by a reindeer.

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Afterword, we went to Midnight Mass.  It’s a beautiful service.  We sang my favorite Christmas Carol, “A Stable Lamp is Lighted.”  However, being the High Church Episcopalians that we are, we had incense that not only stinks up the entire church, but also stinks up your hair and your clothes.  Seriously, that smell sticks with you.  I also happened to be acolyting, so I had to stand right behind the thurifer (or the guy who swings the incense).  At one point, I took a deep breath because we were singing “O Come All Ye Faithful” and I inhaled a mouthful of that holy smoke and started choking in front of the entire church.  Fortunately, Episcopalians are really into their Christmas music, so no one noticed.

After the service, we headed home to wait for Santa.

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Midnight was excited for Santa also, even though she knows climbing up on the table might land her on the naughty list.

After about three and a half viewings of A Christmas Story (“Agggggghhhhhh I can’t put my arms down aaaaghhhh!”), we finally headed to bed to wait for Christmas morning.

We had a lot of surprises waiting for us!

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For example, I got a whole elliptical!  I love it!  I only hope it isn’t my parents’ way of telling me I need to work out more.

I also got Monsters University and Allegiant, so I’m a pretty happy camper.

My sister on the other hand…

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She told my parents that she wanted checks for Christmas.  Well, they delivered.  (She actually got some really great presents.  This photo was just too funny to pass up).

After a morning of Christmasy goodness, we headed back to our friends the Kisers’ place (In case you don’t remember them, they’re the ones we spend every Thanksgiving and Christmas with… https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/its-the-holiday-season/).  I’m not even sure how the tradition began.  We’ve all just been friends forever.  The stories I could tell… maybe one day I’ll write a book.  The Annual Kiser-Smith Holiday Shindigs.

Mr. Kiser always has a fun new holiday toy for us to play with.  Last year, it was Robot Fighter Bugs.  I named mine Horatio.

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This year, it was Robot Fighter Spiders.  Remote controlled and slightly bigger and creepier, because they actually walk on creepy little robot legs.

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Just like any good Christmas gathering, there were Christmas cookies.

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However, if you look closely, you’ll notice that someone ate the head off of one of the gingerbread men and then put him back.  Morbid.  And a little gross.

We (the “kids”) took a Christmas walk to the park.

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December Skies in Texas are actually very beautiful.

We’re all adults, so naturally, we played on the swing set.

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This is Bobby, my brother for all intents and purposes.

While we were at the park, we met the absolute cutest little boy named Keegan.  He came right up to us, with his dad looking on, and began patting our friend Ashwin on the leg and saying, “Buddy… buddy.”  Then, he walked over to Bobby’s little sister, Jenny, and said, “What a mess!”  His dad explained that he’d had a lot of health problems, and that he really liked playing with big kids.  I got a high five from him.  So, so, so cute.   I hope he had the best Christmas ever.

After that, it started getting really cold, so we scurried back to the Kiser home, where we engaged in another holiday tradition: Mario Kart.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it.  I’m not very good at Mario Kart, but my sister is absolutely disgraceful.  This year, however…

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She came in third place!!!  It’s actually a Christmas Miracle!

I don’t know how to bring up the highlight of our Yuletide Celebration, so I’ll just say it.  There was a toilet.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Jenny got a toilet for Christmas.  It actually wasn’t the first Christmas toilet in the family.  Bobby got one when he and I were still in high school.  Let me tell you, he was not amused.  His mom (and the rest of us) thought it was hilarious, but he was so angry.  It was just about the funniest thing.  Now that we’re older though, we know how to appreciate the value of a good Christmas toilet.

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He’s over 21, I swear.

You can use it as a wine table.

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The evening ended with a delightful chocolate cheesecake dessert.

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Good thing I got that elliptical, because I’m not letting this beauty go to waste!!!

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Dessert and more battle bugs.

I hope everyone had the most delightful and merry of Christmases!

Now onto 2014!

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