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Monday, January 08, 2007

Picture This

birthday muffin

I was awakened on my birthday by loud singing from the kitchen. My girl, baking blueberry muffins and happily singing Brandi Carlile songs, recently learned from the CD Daddy got from Santa.

Oh, Lord,
What can I say?
I'm so sad, since you went awaaaaaaaaay
Time, time,
Tickin' on me
Alone is the last place
I wanted to beeee

You haven't heard that song until you've heard a muffin-making 10-year-old sing it (o' course, you probably haven't heard it anyway!).

We have big, fat candles. They're Chanukah candles! I saw them in the grocery store in early December and was all, "Whoa, cool candles. Chanukah candles? Why should the Jews get all the good candles? Would it be wrong to put these big, fat, happy candles on a Christian birthday cake? I'm thinking, 'no...'" I talk to myself a lot in the grocery store. So, anyway, I got a big, fat candle in my muffin. (Don't feel sorry for me, with no cake. By the time the holidays and Jif's birthday are over, we really are over-caked, here. A birthday muffin is a good thing.)

Then I remembered that I needed to get my license renewed. Now ain't that a helluva way to celebrate a birthday? But it was necessary. One of the nicest things that happened on my birthday was that Jif offered to stand in the DMV line for me, and let me sit until he got up to the head of the line. Something about WTF Disease makes it difficult for me to stand, just stand. I can walk OK most of the time; but just standing is tough, I get weak and shaky. But I told him I wanted to try. And I did it. I just had him hold my absurdly overloaded purse. Even though I stood by myself, it really touched me that he offered to stand in the line for me. He must really like me (in spite of what he was about to do).

So I get the license, and I pick up my peeps from the bench on the way out, as I look down at the picture on the license. Ohgoodlord. I hold it out to show my husband. And we become the center of attention at the DMV because he laughs so loudly. All the way out the door and onto the sidewalk, where he's doubled over. "Did you mean to look like that?"

"Shut up. It's not as bad as that college ID I used to have." It is a pretty scary-looking picture. Or rather, scared-looking. I don't do well with ID pictures. I really did have a graduate school ID card with a picture that would make anyone, I mean ANYONE, in ANY situation, laugh hysterically. The person taking the picture told me to "look up here," but apparently, I looked "up there," because in the photo, my eyes were huge and rolled almost up into my forehead, like I was being visited by aliens, or a pterodactyl was about to crap on my head. And it was damned funny. When I was suffering from clinical depression, I would routinely take that card out and make myself laugh. I would flash it at unhappy-looking strangers in line at a fast food restaurant, and it would change their lives! My new license isn't quite that good, but it's pretty good (bad). No, I will not show you. Not yet, anyway.

In general, I'm fairly photogenic, and so is my daughter. But we both have photographic challenges in certain areas. For me, it's any sort of official ID card. For LG, it's the annual school photograph. I don't mean to brag (yes, I do), but my kid is really cute. I take fantastic pictures of her. If you only saw her school pictures, though, you would think that her only hope is to grow up to be featured on Extreme Makeover or The Swan. She did OK in preschool and kindergarten. But from 1st through 5th grades, picture day has been a dark, dark day at the Fairchild house. Well, not "picture day" itself, but the day when they send home the pictures. LG's school has a racket where you have to pay before the pictures are even taken. And then if you don't like them, you can get a refund. Do you know how hard it is to tell your child she has to take her pictures back to school and get your money back? Yea, we have a lot of unwanted pictures in the cupboard, here.

I know what my problem is with the driver's license photo. I never smile. Mostly because when I do try to smile, I smile for 20 minutes, and then when I stop, the person takes the shot. I know they do that on purpose, and then they laugh at me. But also, because the purpose of your license is really so that when you get stopped by an officer of the law, you, the individual in the vehicle, must be identifiable as the same individual in the license photo. When an officer of the law approaches your car window, do you have a big cheesy grin on your face? No, you do not (unless you're drunk, but I'm not). You have a look that says, "Is there a problem, officer?" Or "How fast was I going?!" Or even "Don't shoot!" Actually, I think that last one is the look I was going for in my newest license.

I cannot say that I know why LG can't come home with a decent school picture. They take them twice a year at her school, fall and spring. There was the one where she had what appeared to be Oreo crumbs on her lips. More than I can count with bizarre hairstyles that she did not have when she left the house, nor when she returned, and which she has no memory of anyone having perpetrated against her during the school day. There have been those times when we forgot it was picture day and she wore some abomination against all things matching and coordinating. And that in itself is not usually enough to make us reject the photos, but those times are usually combined, perhaps in an effort to compensate, with what is supposed to be a big smile but is actually a very menacing, teeth-bared expression. We know by now that the pictures are going to be bad, so we don't get disappointed anymore. We plan to laugh at them. And laugh we do. Loudly and at great length, all three of us. And I always, always tell her (in case you were worried), "You are a beautiful child, and we have beautiful photographs of you, but for some reason, these school photographers just don't capture you. We're not laughing at you, we're laughing at the silliness of the picture . . ." And she knows that's true.

I promise if I ever come across that grad school ID, I will show you.

Oh, and for the blogfriend whose daughter sent LG a school pic and is awaiting one . . . it ain't gonna be a school pic, but we did take some super-model shots in the woods over the weekend, just so we could send you one.

file under: &Family

32 heads are better than one . . .

Anonymous kalki said...

That you can make me laugh, out loud, just by describing that grad school photo...well, that must be one hell of a photo.

Anonymous RzDrms said...

(it's weird how, when only one person has commented, it reads, "1 heads are better than one." kinda makes me nervous and such.)

anyway, i wanted to say that i will NOT make a dirty comment whatsoever in the name of our Lord about your sentence, "I got a big, fat candle in my muffin." i swear. i won't. i promise. seriously. i'm behaving.

(nor will i comment about my word verification word, "harradx." like hairy dx. nosirree. i won't.)

(being single makes a girl act like this, you know.)

Blogger Circus Kelli said...

Now, it could be that I'm beyond tired and still have to leave the house to go to the grocery store, but I read "So, anyway, I got a big, fat candle in my muffin", and my mind immediately fell into the gutter... not that it was fall to far from the curb...

I'll have to come back when I'm more awake and read the rest of this...

Blogger Susie said...

kalki, it's one-of-a-kind, I tell you. Until I have occasion to get the next ID card.

razand ck, ahem. How to respond . . .
A. Even after I show you a picture of a big, fat candle in my muffin, you think that?
B. I know; it's not like I didn't giggle when I wrote that.
C. Well, it was my birthday :)

Blogger Just Me said...

When I was in college my ID card was so scary looking we used to make a sign that said "do not disturb or THIS will get you", stick my picture to it, and study happily for many hours on end. My grad school ID on the other hand was the best picture ever and I have kept it to remind myself that not all pictures are bad.

My current driver's license made one of my patients once insist it was a mug shot....

And thanks for the reminder to renew my plates!

Anonymous kalki said...

Rz, I totally noticed the 1 heads are better than one thing too, this evening! It gave me pause as well.

But I did not at all notice the fat candle/muffin comment in the manner that you did, and I have to say I'm rather disappointed in myself.

Anonymous Sharkey said...

Pennsylvania does some weird-ass things with its DMV/licensing. But one thing they get right is the pictures. You sit down with the clerk, hand over the paperwork, and he takes your picture. Then he turns the monitor around so you can see it and he says, "Does this look okay?" I was so shocked that I said yes, but I assume he would've retaken it if I'd said no.

I'd love to see you ID photos, but the pic I really want to see is one of Jif holding your purse. You're right--he is a good man!

Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

Dangit, everyone got to the candle in the muffin before I did!

Come to think of it, isn't that an Elton John song about Marilyn Monroe?

And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the muffin

I mean, not that Elton's candle goes anywhere near muffins, but still...

Blogger WILLIAM said...

I love the idea that a Driver Lic. Picture should look like the way you would when you get pulled over. The next time I go to get my DL I will have to remember to strike that type of pose.

Anonymous hemlock said...

Thanks for the laugh Susie! The visual of you springing your license photo on an unsuspecting gloomy Gus just cracks me up. We need more people like you in the world... people who do silly things to make someone smile.

I hope you find it so we can all have a good laugh! :)

Anonymous LadyBug said...

Wull, daaaaggumm! I hope you got more 'n a candle in yer muffin! It was yer daggum birfday, after all!

(Ahem. Sorry. I seem to be channeling Mater this morning, possible because we've watched Cars approximately 17,000 times since Christmas.)

Blogger Squirl said...

Sometimes when I read at work I miss things. Thank goodness everyone else here caught the line about about candle in muffin. :)

My DMV lets you look at the picture first, too. We both agreed that mine was good enough. But, if you know me, the smileys that I put in my posts and comments are real because I smile a lot. It's the best anti-depressant I know.

So, on my license, I am grinning like the cop just let me go without a ticket. I hope it works like that.

That reminds me of the worst school picture I'd ever taken. I was in seventh grade and had some self-esteem issues. One of the ninth-grade girls told me I had a cheesy grin so I didn't smile in my school picture. Big mistake. I've learned to never listen to ninth-grade girls anymore. :)

Blogger Nina said...

Well I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one to not get the "I got a big, fat candle in my muffin" that was until I read the comments here. I have to say that is rare for me indeed. I can't wait to tell John, there are people out there who have dirtier minds than I do.
I love that your daughter made you muffins and that Jif doesn't have purse phobia. :)

Blogger WILLIAM said...

Let me just add, you have a lovely muffin.

Anonymous platypus said...

I was laughing at your post and then the comments made me laugh even more. I've got nothing! I'm just sniggering into my drink! :)

Blogger Von Krankipantzen said...

I think it is a conspiracy. That is the only reason I can think of as to why I ALWAYS get the very short person at the DMV to take my photo which results in a fabulous nostril shot. My last school ID photo clearly shows me with black lips although I was not wearing any lipstick at all. Sadly, it is one of the best photos of me in existence.

Your daughter sounds like the cutest thing.

Anonymous Gene Maudlin said...

Well, look at it this way: Now you know where to go for your passport photo.

Blogger Circus Kelli said...

Ok... I had a lovely comment that I typed up this afternoon after I read your whole entry. It was witty, and funny and respectful. I even commented on your commenters and how their comments made me laugh.

And then Blogger ate it. All I remember from what I typed was this:

Susie, you're beautiful, your daughter is beautiful and I'm sure Jif is beautiful, too.

And Ladybug's "Mater" comment (which cracked me up!), combined with your "picture" entry inspired me to put a less than lovely picture of myself on my blog.

All I have left to say is "ka-chow!"

Blogger eclectic said...

Well, I consider myself somewhat of a muffin connoisseur -- not anywhere near Bucky's league, of course -- and William's right: that's a lovely muffin you've got there Susie!

Now then, as to unflattering photos: I am the queen of school picture horror stories. LG and I will have to swap stories over iced tea someday. I break out in a sweat just thinking about picture day still... and I haven't had a school picture taken now for many years. ***shudder***

Maybe you could tell the DMV that you are ID photo-impaired, and suggest that the ADA requires them to accommodate you by providing a photo-model?

Blogger Susie said...

justme, that scary one sounds most impressive. You should blow up the good one and frame it :)

kalki, if I ever don't get at least 2 comments, I'll have to give them to myself, to get over the "2-heads hump." hehehe And I, too, am disappointed in you, kalki.

shawkey, I have never heard of being able to get a do-over on your license photo. Jif with the purse, he sort of just sat on the bench with it beside him . . . although I must admit, he has been known to carry it for me on occasion. Actually . . . somewhere I have a pic of him and my bro both holding their wives' purses, I think, and standing arm in arm. That would be worth a search. Gimme a little time . . .

bucky, I beg your pardon. Everyone got their candle in the muffin before you did? Just what are you trying to say?
That is a beautiful song. Do you know the rest of it?

william, see, you get all sorts of useful life skills here ;)

hemlock, yep, silly things 'r us :)

ladybug, it was a really great candle! I'd like one every day. I haven't seen Cars yet; now I'm a little scared.

squirl, oh, wow, you bring back school pic memories. Second grade, my mom told me not to smile because I had no teeth. She was teasing, but I didn't smile. Third grade, serious buck teeth. By sixth grade, the teeth had settled down, but I cut my own bangs. Or rather, I cut a hunk out of the front of my hair. And I tied a yarn headband on top of the whole 'do. Hot.

nina, your dirty mind is slipping! You must do dirty mind exercises, to keep it in shape. LG loves to bake muffins for breakfast, and Jif is not afraid of a purse :)

william, thanks, and you have a really great shoe. Now I must sing,
"You light up my life . . . "

platy! this is twice in a row you've been here drinking. Do we need to do an intervention? Because I'll come right over . . .

kranki, do the Canadian police shine a light up your nose when they stop you? Your good photo sounds very goth.

hoss, but I wouldn't be able to use the passport; I'd look like a terrorist.

ck, you're beautiful, and you can tow me anytime ;) You are way too funny, and cute, even as the daughter of a truck.

eclectic, first you're over there chasing tail, and now you're a muffin connoisseur. Do we know you at all? I still remember (fondly) your first profile pic. You should put THAT on your license. No one would ever ticket you. Hey, maybe I could put it on MINE.

Blogger MrsDoF said...

Oh yeah, Blogger was giving me some serious trouble for several hours today. I e-mailed my Copy of what I wrote for my Comment.

We got CARS for Christmas, too, but we've only watched it twice.
Seeing that the youngest person in the room is 21 years old, twice was fun.

Blogger Dawn said...

Doesn't it suck that you have to do the licence renewal thing on your birthday. it's like "happy birthdy, now that'll be $xxx.xx"

my licence renewal last year was the best. i had to get my picture re-taken and re-taken and re-taken. I turned out every colour(purple, green, yellow and orange). -i actually broke the camera(and the dude told me it was working for the person before me)-lol. They had to switch me over to the next camera-that was a sad, sad day :)

birthday muffin-what could be better than that ;)

Anonymous platypus said...

It's OK, Susie, it was only a mug of tea! :)

Anonymous Ortizzle said...

I probably can't top you for unusually funny I.D. photos, but I think I take the prize for unflattering ones. And it's not just the usual lament, even people who love me say, "Uh... gee, you're really not that ugly in real life." And I try to smile sweetly into the camera. Maybe I need to try the eyes rolling up at the ceiling trick.

Blogger Effie said...

I hate to brag but I got both my Driver's licence and my Health Card renewed at the beginning of December and both of the pics turned out fairly nice--one with short hair and one with long! (yes, in Ontario we have a photo on our provincial health card)

Eeewwie! do you smell that?? I think I have to go change somebody's stinky bum!! Ta!!

Blogger lawyerchik said...

Candle, muffin .... SNORK!! :)

Hope you had a happy birthday, Susie! You know you share your birthday with Elvis, right?

Anonymous peaches said...

Happy Birthday!!

Thank you for the Christmas card and beautiful ornament. Except, i'm keeping it around all year, to remind me to have hope in all I do.

Thank you and I love you!


Blogger Amy said...

Oy vay the license pic! I look like a stranger just reached forward and picked my nose for me in mine.

Aw, poor LG and the oreo crumbs! Tell her about my middle kid. He just lost four teeth in one tragic christmas eve and he will be smiling with a hole in his face for a couple of years.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just stoppin' by to say hi Susie! I've got no muffin comments or anything funny but I sure did get a fit of the giggles reading all of them!

Blogger Annejelynn said...

BELATED but most loud and joyful HAPPY BIRTHDAY to YOU, dear Susie!!!

Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Taken all together, its sounds like you’ve been having a fine, fun time!

Did I give you a birthday blessing? If not, here’s one:

May the blessings of light be upon you,
Light without and light within,
And in all your comings and goings,
May you ever have a kindly greeting
From them you meet along the road.

Blogger Susie said...

mrsDoF, yes, thank you for the emailed comment :) I must see this CARS!

dawn, you're right; it's your birthday, so go wait in a long, irritable line to tell a stranger how much you weigh, and let them take a very bad photo of you, and then pay them for it. How bizarre!

platy, sure it was ;)

ortizzle! If your "friends" say "you're not that ugly in real life," you need new friends! You are very photogenic and adorable in your profile pic I've seen, and I'm sure you are in real life as well.

effie, it's so good to see you, little mama with the cute ID photos. And yes, Katrina is so amazing that we can smell her stinky diaper all over North America and parts of Europe, so by all means, go change her ;)

lawyerchik, the post was on The King's birthday, but my actual birthday was the day of um . . . the (three) kings :)

peaches, you're so welcome, honey. I HOPE this is a great year for you. I think it will be :)

amy, oh, such toothy drama! I'll come and read, and share with LG :)

traci, hi, there :) glad you got some giggles here.

annejelynn, thank you, loudly and joyfully :)

ssnick, thank you for the fine birthday blessing. You are a masterful blesser.


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