The Big DumpTruck

Throwing Little Thought Pebbles at Your Windshield Since 1996

Category: Real Life

All About Julia

My kid is historically an over-achiever. He was married by the time he was five. I went and found all the related posts and present them here.

The Ninja Dance

Junior announced to me this morning that he had to go to work, get into his ninja costume and do the ninja dance (that his boss had taught him) with his girlfriend the cheerleader, Julia.
I had no idea he’d finally found a job.

Ninja Followup

After showing me the “ninja dance” this evening, Junior added “You know why we do that kick at the end? Because the grown-ups only want to see the cheerleaders.”
He also introduced me to his invisible girlfriend Julia. When I said hello to her, he informed me that he doesn’t speak for her, she does her own talking. This should be a quiet evening.
*newsflash* Oh, wait, it isn’t his girlfriend…it’s his WIFE! He told me the reason I didn’t get to go to the wedding is because “you weren’t invited.” Wow, I already hate my daughter-in-law and I just met her.

She’s Still Here

My new daughter-in-law is still hanging around. Apparently she slept in the spare room last night. She hung around with us in the car today but at some point she must have wandered off because he hasn’t talked about her or to her for 5 or so hours now.

My Invisible Daughter-in-Law Update

Julia, my invisible daughter-in-law, hasn’t been making many appearances. I have to admit I kind of forgot about her. But last night, Junior approached the coach and said

“I can’t find them! I can’t find my kids! I was supposed to only get one, but he game me two!”

“Two what?”

“Two babies. Julia and I have two babies now.”

“Who gave them to you?”

“Joe. He’s the guy who gives out the babies. And he gave us two but I can’t find them.”

“Well, you’d better get looking because I don’t want strange kids running around my house. If you are going to have kids, you have to be responsible for them. You need to keep an eye on them.”

“They’re a boy and a girl. The boy is named Jonah, and the girl is…the girl is named Jody! I’ll go check my room. Maybe they are up there.”

Damn. A grandmother and I’m not even 40.

How Could I Forget!

We had this exchange the other morning.

Jr: After breakfast, Julia and I have to have a talk.

Me: Oh?

Jr: Ya. She’s gonna be moving out.

Me: I hope it isn’t because of something I said.

Jr: No, it’s just time.

(Okay, so I feel like a total slimeball now. Cause I think my teasing about not liking her because she didn’t invite me to the wedding has made him decide to toss aside his wedding vows.)

Lookout, Julia

I know it’s been a while since I’ve talked about my invisible daughter-in-law Julia, but she does come up every once in a while. About two weeks ago Junior mentioned something about Julia and Jim (Jim is his invisible buddy, I’m not sure if he lives with us or not), but since then nothing.
Yesterday when he got home from his new child care center, aside from gushing that it was the greatest place in the universe, he casually mentioned that he had a new girlfriend. I’m loving and supportive, and trying hard not to be the jealous psycho mom you see in TV movies, so I don’t tell him he’s too young. I don’t even tell him that because he’s already married to Julia he can’t actually have a girlfriend. I just ask what her name is.

“I don’t know. But she wears an orange shirt.”

“Well honey, what if she isn’t wearing that shirt tomorrow?”

“She has a mountain of hair.”

Oh good gravy, it’s so hard to keep a straight face sometime. Don’t you just want to eat him up? Miss Mountain-of-Hair is a very lucky young lady.
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Love Boat Questions

I hate to admit how many episodes of The Love Boat I’ve watched. But it’s a LOT of them. I think my favorite part is the gritty realism. But if you can get past the danger and intrigue and look deeper, you’ll see the pure nonsense that is my favorite reason to watch the show. Here are my some of my favorite things to ponder, in no particular order.

 

  • Why is the gift shop so small? I’ve seen bigger gift shops in a Ramada. This is the spot where passengers can buy anything they forgot to pack and various episode that happened to have shot inside show a ton of jewelry and some dress shirts. if you need a watch, they have them. sunscreen and magazines? I’m not so sure.
  • Vicki is Captain Stubing’s biological daughter but he had to adopt her for some reason. I haven’t seen that episode. So Vickie is on the boat from the time she’s 12. Unlike The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, there isn’t a school on board. I’ve never heard mention of homeschooling, so I guess she’s a University of Phoenix alum.
  • Vickie worked as Julie’s assistant from an early age, which  I assume was an unpaid role because she was only 13. Between her “studies” and assisting Julie in whatever it is she does (see below) Vicki can, uh, swim? a cruise ship is probably an awful place to be an indentured servant.
  • Why does everyone buy a piñata (or a tiny chair) when the go ashore? You just watch the extras in every episode as the disembark at the end of the cruise.
  • Captain Stubing doesn’t really drive the boat. he’s never on the bridge unless someone swings by to talk to him and then that conversation gets his FULL attention. I guess there’s another officer who does the heavy lifting, but he/she is faceless and names less. Aside from the main characters, the only other staff we see are engineers, maids, and waitresses in the Pirates’ Cove Lounge (not to be confused with the Acapulco Lounge) dressed like pirates.
  • Is it really possible to meet someone, fall in love and get engaged on a 3-day Mexican cruise? Apparently true love means never needing more than a long weekend to get to know each other.
  • Julie my cruise director spent a lot of time walking around chatting and not a lot of cruise directing. Gopher and Doc don’t do much more, but at least Doc once did surgery in his tiny office, and diagnosed a guy with ALS and another with cancer. Doesn’t she have parties and events to plan and oversee? She must be good at her job because once she threw together a pirate party and suddenly all the passengers had costumes. She did accidentally hire a male stripper once thinking he was a regular dancer. Attention to detail much, Miss McCoy?
  • Isaac is the clear winner of the “Most Valuable Employee” award. He appears to work 18 hours a day and isn’t constantly falling for the passengers unless they are Diahann Carroll. Isaac should be calling to complain to HR about how much more he works than Everyone else.  While Doc, Julie and Gopher are hogging seats at the captain’s table sitting *closest* to the captain (what the hell? isn’t that for VIPs?) he’s been seen doing bartender things on the side of the dining room. I’d be mad as hell if I were him.
  • Would the captain and key staff of a ship that does three-day jaunts to Mexico be asked to all take over a ship with a European trip? They arrive at the ship basically the day before they sail, which doesn’t leave much time to learn enough to help passengers. Or steer the ship. Or get a license to practice medicine in a foreign country. Isaac will be fine, though, because he’s awesome.
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Couch Life

The idea of a weeks-long medical leave to recover from my surgery made me giddy! Oh the things I would accomplish! I could write a novel! I would nap! I would take walks when I felt better! I would….

…Play solitaire and watch tv shows about serial killers and cruise ship employees that are allowed to pick up people while on duty. I would spent a lot of money shopping online. I would set up a table near the couch so I could simply not move for weeks.

My couch is starting to feel like a prison. I’m not looking forward to going back to 40 hours a week of stress and nonsense, but it will be nice to leave my living room.

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Forgot To Press the Magic Button

I wrote a post a while back and it was sitting in draft mode. I may publish it with a previous date. I just might do that, don’t you try to stop me!

I have really ignored my site and that’s a shame because next year is the 20th anniversary of bigdumptruck.com and maybe I’ll have to fire things up and offer prizes to people who actually read my posts and can answer questions. Or people who send me money or diamonds. They could get a prize as well. Amazon has a whole thing now where you can offer items as prizes, which makes me laugh when I’m looking at something particularly expensive. I think I get seven visitors a day (probably because I update so infrequently, what with Twitter taking up the ten minutes a day I used to devote to writing here.

If I offer a prize, it will likely be something incredibly useless. I think those are the best prizes of all, don’t you?

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Hummingbirds

I was going to start by quoting the Seals and Crofts song “Hummingbird” which is the only song I can think of about hummingbirds. But really, that one is so pretty, how many do we need?

I spent way too much money on a plant that is supposed to attract hummingbirds yesterday. I think they are amazing, and my goal is to sit on my deck, like the guy on the Titanic who didn’t notice the icebergs, and take photos of the birds when they arrive. If they arrive.

Mandavilla Vine

Mandavilla

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hummingbird in my neighborhood. Maybe some of the neighbors have, as they may have feeders. But me, nothing. I’m not even convinced this plant will do any good. How will they know it’s here? How will they find it? They are probably all 10 miles away in someone’s wildflower garden. Why would they even think to swing by my house to see if I have FINALLY gotten some good flowers?

If any of you personally know a hummingbird, could you send it my way? On a day when I’m here and might see them would be even better.

Thanks!

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A Staples Death Rattle

Did you ever encounter a situation that was so unbelievably silly that you can’t even really get mad as it’s happening, but you get more and more angry about it later? Let me tell you a little story about my Staples adventure!

 

I had been thinking about getting an external keyboard for my iPad mini. Because my printer is low on black ink I ran to Staples and thought I’d see what they had. I’m kind of a Goldilocks when it comes to keyboards so I like to try them out.

 

I found the section with iPad keyboards pretty quickly. All the boxes had “Display Unit” on them (one box per brand/style) so I walked around looking for the display, which didn’t appear to be anywhere in the store.

 

Sales guy approached and I asked to see the keyboards.

 

“We used to have them on display but they took it away.” (Who is they, and why would they do that? And how is this a valid explanation for anything?)

 

“Oh, because the boxes all say ‘Display unit.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“…so there aren’t any in the boxes.”

 

“No.”

 

I wait a moment, because surely he’s going to help me, right? I’m pretty sure it’s his turn to offer up information.

 

But no.

 

“So I can’t even take one out of the box to try it because you literally don’t have any on the shelves.”

 

“Right.”

 

“Just empty boxes.”

 
“Sorry.”

 

Okay, Staples? How is this even remotely acceptable? Aren’t you in the business of selling things?  What is this nonsense of filling shelves with empty display boxes? Watch me walk out the door and not come back the next time I need something tablet or computer related. Because “Display only” boxes with no display is one of the most stupid things I’ve run into in months. And I can go to Target or Walmart or Best Buy and get a damned keyboard and I’ll bet the boxes aren’t empty.

 

Also, train your sales “people” to anticipate my follow-up questions and not give a one word answer to a reasonable line of questions if you want us to bother driving to your store instead of just ordering things online.

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Time to Think About My Major

When my son was very little he became alarmed while watching An Extremely Goofy Movie. That’s the one where Goofy’s son Max (wait, we’ll get back to the fact that Goofy reproduced later) is going to college. My son went into a complete panic at the thought that he’d have to leave home and go to college. At the time, he had probably just started elementary school (there may even be a post on the subject somewhere from when it happened) so I didn’t even think he knew what college was. But he did understand that you moved away from home and lived at the school, thanks to the movie. And he hated the idea.

So he asked me, tearily, if he would have to go to college. I said that I thought he would want to, but that if it would make him happy, I would go to college with him and be his roommate. He was very happy with this, and dropped the subject completely. (See, parents, sometimes when they are little, it isn’t about being honest with them, it’s about making them feel like you won’t ever put them in a scary situation alone.)

Anyway, I’m a woman of my word and he graduates high school in 2016, so he and I should probably sit down and start to talk about what schools we will apply to, and what my major should be.

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Show Your Love

I hear you all murmuring “How can I show Jody some love?” It’s a common question. I’ll help you out.

First, sure, donate money to worthy causes in my name. That seems like a good thing.

But, if that’s just not enough, we found a gallery in Kennebunkport with an original painting by one of my favorite artists, Edward Gordon. My parents and sister chipped in to buy me a framed print many years ago, and i still stand in front of it and just look at the detail periodically.

I had never seen an original painting of his, and I was giddy about it. For only $14,800 you could buy it for me. Wouldn’t that be super nice of you? I think it would be!

http://www.maine-art.com/ArtDetail.asp?Size=med&Inv=EG1113

If that’s too steep for you, the gallery also had the 9th signed and numbered print of this piece:

http://www.gordongallery.com/current/april-evening.html

It’s only $500 for the large signed and numbered print, or just under $1000 framed. I’ll let you choose.

(I own a small print of this piece http://www.gordongallery.com/current/morningtempest.html . The large on on my mantel is Dreamdancing http://www.gordongallery.com/archive/lithos/dreamdancing.html. The picture of the latter does not do it justice.)

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Camera [Not] Shopping

I shot with Canon cameras for years, and have owned at least four of their dSLRs until I finally sold some bodies and bought a big girl camera, the 60D.
Then, through magic and wizardry that I can barely understand, I got the opportunity to own a Sony A77 mirrorless (so not really a dSLR) for basically free. It moved me up to the next level camera (comparable to a Canon 7D). It was different. The digital viewfinder still startles me. The controls weren’t the same as my trusty 60D.

Change is hard. It took me almost a whole day to fall in love with this camera and the AMAZING photos it takes. The Canon is my backup now, but I never touch it.
20140501-072942.jpg
Photographers will understand this love when I say I was willing to walk away from thousands of dollars worth of Canon lenses (including L-glass and my first “white” zoom lens, just like the big boys at Sports illustrated) to shoot exclusively with my A77.

The most starting thing? The video it shoots is CRAZY good. The Canon can’t refocus when recording video. The Sony was flawless (although it doesn’t handle extreme low light as well as a dedicated video camera, but that could be my inexperience using it to shoot video.)

Why all the yammering? Sony announced an upgraded version. I wonder how much $$ is in the change jar…

Thing is, my A77 is so good that I won’t even feel bad about not being able to afford/justify getting the new one. That’s saying something.

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Breaking Down a Recipe

I was reading a humorous article about Barbie dolls (as one does) and linked to the author’s website. She provided some favorite recipes, which seems normal enough, until I started reading one. I hope she never ever writes a cook book.

My favorite parts:
– The small bowl of butter (I wanted to use my biggest bowl. Darn.) and the bowl of cheese. Cheese (from the bowl?) is mention in two different steps. What kind of cheese? She’s not saying. Figure it out yourself, like she did!
– An oven is listed as an ingredient. If you don’t have one, back away from the website.
– This recipe only calls for 2 green beans. Filling.
– Frying carrots in a “vessel”. Seems like a pan would be a good choice for frying, but she doesn’t want to be dictatorial. Pick a vessel, any vessel.
– Melting the [bowl of] cheese on the fried veggies should cause a nice solid mess. Good luck pouring it into the baking dish of undetermined size in a later step.
– The whole mess gets cooked in an oven “over medium flame.” I am calling her bluff. She doesn’t even own an oven.

Here’s a screen print of the full recipe. Do let me know how it turns out. I’d rather gnaw on dog treats.

20140410-114334.jpg

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