Category Archives: It Doesn't Take Much to Amuse Me

Doesn’t Sound Appetizing



I’m not sure what disturbed me more about these items on Pho Mai’s menu: The odd fish balls visualization or the “barbecure” pork typo.

At least the price isn’t too expensive!

Dunking the Duck!

The car wash duck is ready to be washed.

Let’s check out our latest It Doesn’t Take Much to Amuse Me story, shall we?

Yesterday the Mister called me in the morning. He had brought his car in to be washed, and somehow his keys had gotten locked in his Honda Odyssey. How? No one’s sayin’. Just that it happened. Sounds like something my sons would pull. If they hadn’t been at school, they would’ve been the #1 suspects.

So I brought him his valet key (we only live about 10 minutes away) and was rewarded with a free car wash for my Pilot. That’s my favorite kind!

While we were waiting for our cars to go through the wash, I saw the above duck that was on the other side of the windows near the car washing machines (why did I just imagine gigantic Maytags?). Inside the building was a device that let you spray the duck with water.

My lame-duck attempt to spray the waterfowl

I just happened to have my handy-dandy Nikon D700 and Nikon 35-70mm lens just in case a photo op popped up. Boinggg! Here it was! I held the camera and tried my darndest to focus and shoot with my right hand while using the sprayer with my left. Missed the duck by that much!

The Annie Oakley Mister hits the target.

Fortunately, the Mister came to my rescue! He manned the duck-shooting controls, while I took care of the Nikon. Know what we discovered?

The swiveling duck

The duck swivels on the base! It was like a carnival game . . . without being goaded by a carny into paying $10 and without winning the giant stuffed bear (which we so don’t need in our cluttered house even though the #2 son would love it).

The duck comes around to the front again.

The Mister proved to be an excellent shot . . . perhaps the Annie Oakley of the car wash duck world. And I didn’t do too bad myself with the Nikon despite having to shoot through glass.

Here comes my Pilot behind the duck!

Before we knew it, there was the Pilot squeaking its way to clean behind the duck. The decoy waterfowl really had helped us pass the time in a fun way.

Big chamois strips dry off my car.

Now the Pilot was getting dry.

Drip dry duck

As the duck soon would be . . . until the next car wash patron decided to have some fun.

Next time we get the cars washed, I think we’ll bring the boys. They would love the chance to dunk the duck!

We just have to make sure that car keys do not “accidentally” get locked inside the Odyssey or Pilot!!

Hitting the Bottle

The #2 son gets ready to throw.

It all started so innocently last night. And it ended up being so much fun. Plus it proved yet again that it doesn’t take much to amuse this family.

The Mister can't bear to look.

The Mister, the #2 son, and I were watching “The Rookie” (for the 50th time) on TV (the #1 son, regrettably, was at work). Suddenly, the Mister put the almost-finished Diet Coke bottle he had been drinking on his head. So, of course, #2 picked up a soft ball near by. It was time to play a carnival game!

Sidebar: Concerned wife that I am, I immediately asked the Mister, “Are you sure the cap is on tight?” The cleaning crew had just come, and I didn’t want soda spewed all over the family room. It was.

It’s a miss.

#2 was sure he was going to knock the bottle off his dad’s head every time. However, more often than not, he was off target.

The Mister tries the pillow defense, as the bottle flies off his head. But where’s the ball?

Of course, I picked up my Nikon D700, which already had the Nikon f/1.4 50mm lens on it, to try to capture the action. The ISO was set from 1250-1600, giving me a shutter speed of at least 1/300th of a second. It was quite a challenge to try to have the ball and the bottle in the same frame, let alone the ball actually hitting the bottle.

The ball barely misses hitting the bottle.

Which explains why out of, oh, 100 shots, I ended up keeping maybe 15.

Success for me and the #2 son!

In order to have any chance of capturing both the ball and the bottle in the same photo, you have to start snapping (thank you, burst mode!) as the ball leaves the thrower’s hand. Which you can’t really see, because you’re concentrating on keeping the bottle in focus. When the thrower misses, as #2 did more often than not, you’ve got at least five photos to delete.

#2 does a great job getting the ball and the bottle in the photo.

All three of us took turns tossing the ball at the bottle. I hate to brag (which means I’m going to), but I knocked the plastic off the Mister’s balding head on the first try. And the #2 son actually got a pretty good photo of the ball taking direct aim on the bottle! Proud photographic mom moment!

The Mister scores a bullseye!

We figured that the Mister would be the most accurate of our threesome, because he excels at these kinds of games.

#2 cringes as the ball nears the bottle . . . but doesn't hit it.

Even so, #2 seemed very nervous when the bottle was sitting on his head. As he should’ve been . . . the Mister missed way more times than he hit.

Aha! Finally got the picture I wanted!

We spent about 20 minutes playing knock the bottle off the Mister’s or #2’s head. It was a great stalling tactic by #2, who was putting off doing his World Geography homework, and a wonderful photographic exercise for me. Plus we had a blast!

When our family says we’re hitting the bottle, we mean it literally!

Bubble Bear

He's forever blowing bubbles!

He's forever blowing bubbles!

Let’s file this under my It Doesn’t Take Much to Amuse Me category, shall we?

When we were in Kansas City last week, the Mister and I took time out to drive to the University of Kansas, home of the Jayhawks and four generations of my next-door neighbor JJ the organizational whiz’s family (daughter Lindsey is about to start her sophomore year there).

The Mister poses with a random Jayhawk.

The Mister poses with a random Jayhawk.

As we drove around the lovely campus (almost as lovely as my alma mater, the University of Illinois), we stopped to snap random photos.

Sidebar: I Googled to see what in the world a “jayhawk” was. Apparently, it’s a mythical bird found all over the KU campus!

Coach Phog Allen

Coach Phog Allen

JJ’s wonderful father, the temporary Texan, has been battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at MD Anderson’s cancer center here in Houston. I texted JJ and asked where his favorite spot was on campus. She told me it was Allen Fieldhouse, home of KU’s stellar basketball teams. So the Mister and I headed there.

In front of the statue of legendary basketball coach Phog Allen, frozen in time as he guards the fieldhouse and hexes opposing teams like my beloved Fighting Illini, I offered up a prayer that the temporary Texan be able to once again walk along the campus and watch his cherished Jayhawks. And I hope the timing for that isn’t as long as the preceding sentence!

We then moved to the campus town area to eat lunch. And that’s where I saw the bubble bear doing his thing outside of a toy store. Glad I had my Nikon D300 and Nikon 24-120mm lens ready for action!

Pretty bubbles in the air!

Pretty bubbles in the air!

Beary cute!

Never-Ending Illness and Text Disabled

Mind if I join you?

Mind if I join you?

Once again, I’m looking out for your best interests! Instead of continuing to merely milk my never-ending lung infection by using my Sick Day sign, I have a new photo that neatly fits in my It Doesn’t Take Much to Amuse Me category. I snapped it yesterday with my iPhone at our local Half-Price Books store. I think “Old & Interesting” is a good description of me! Can I wedge in there between a couple of books?

Blackberry Curve

Blackberry Curve

See this smartphone? It’s the Blackberry Curve, the same phone I urged the Mister to buy.

Sidebar: Because the Mister’s cellphone plan at work is Sprint, he couldn’t get an iPhone. And, really, is the man cool enough to own the same smartphone as me? Think about it.

So, of course, he bought the Curve. I wanted him to be able to check his e-mail away from his office and, most important, to be able to text. To say the man is text-disabled is like calling Yao Ming tall. He visibly starts sweating and quaking as he eyes the phone’s keys, reluctant to even start typing. He even has others text for him, especially the #2 son. So I figured the Curve’s keyboard would be easier for him than that of his old flip phone.

Yeah, right. Why didn’t I just ask the man to learn Italian in a week? That might be easier for him!


As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the Mister and the #2 son are in Kansas City, Missouri, for the Disc Golf World Championships.

Sidebar: After two rounds, #2 is tied for tenth out of 25 players in the age 16 and under division.

The Mister was supposed to let me know how #2 was doing during both rounds yesterday. I know that there’s not supposed to be a lot of noise on the course while play is going on. Disc golfers can be like regular ball golfers in being sensitive to cell phones ringing when they’re about to putt. But how noisy is it to text if your phone is on vibrate? Or even if it isn’t?

Do you want to know how many times the Mister texted me during 36 holes of disc golf, knowing I was anxiously awaiting any morsel of news? Any crumb of information?

Do you really have to ask? A big, fat zero.

Yeah, we had a little talk about that last night over the phone. I told him at the very least all he has to do is type “b” for birdie, “p” for par, and “bo” for bogey. How hard is that for someone who has fingers and/or thumbs that work? He agreed to do that.

And you know what? He just texted me and used more than one letter! He even typed several words at once!!

Sigh! I’m so proud of him.

No Connection . . . But Both Funny

Hmmmmm . . . .

Hmmmmm . . . .

A couple of items in my It Doesn’t Take Much to Amuse Me file.

When I drove past the above sign at one of our area elementary schools yesterday, I was taking the #2 son to meet the Mister, both of whom were going to play disc golf. I laughed, dropped off #2, and then drove back to snap the photo with my handy, dandy Olympus Stylus Tough-6000.

Now really, should an elementary school be boasting about having a “kinder, new stud?” I guess that he’s “kinder” is good to know. Is the fact that his name is Reg, as in maybe Reggie Mantle from the Archie comics, important?

Sidebar: When I showed the photo to the #1 son, he sighed, rolled his eyes, and told me I was reaching here. But it still makes me chuckle!

Absolutely no connection here


I subscribe to a local Freecycle group on Yahoo, and I must admit that I laughed and laughed when I saw this. Having two sons, I can well understand wanting to fill a large kitchen trash bag with toddler boys. Been there, was tempted to done that.

And I really love the line that says, “I have guests coming tomorrow evening and need this stuff gone ASAP!”

That applies to husbands, too—as long as you have extra-large trash bags!

Dog Days of Summer II


Let’s put this in my It Doesn’t Take Much to Amuse Me category. In the fall of 2007 during one of the #2 son’s flag football games, I noticed one of the player’s dogs looking at me as I was taking action photos. In fact, he seemed to be talking to me! This was what I think he was saying, starting with the above photo.


Quite honestly, in the wrong hands, the ability to do talk and think bubbles in Photoshop probably is a bad thing.


Love the look on his face! Love the word “puparazzi,” too!