Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Incident of the Scallop in the Nighttime

The word nighttime is defined as follows:

"the time between evening and morning; the time of darkness."

The time of darkness.

It is darkness which I come to speak about today.

A story has slouched towards my blog to be born today, and that is the incident of the scallop in the nighttime.

I was raised in Texas, which, contrary to popular belief, is not in "The South." Is it in the southern portion of the United States? Yes. But "the South" is a bunch of Eastern states more clearly known to Texans as "The Deep South" or those states in which people talk funny, pollute tea with sugar and eat crawly "mudbugs" born in storm sewers. Texas is firmly located between the South and the West. Truth be told, Texans, as children of the Great Republic of Texas, in general do not consider themselves to be a part of any group of like things, because as anyone will tell you, there isn't anything like Texas.

But that being said, Texans are Southerners in the sense that we do have good southern manners. We say yes ma'am and yes sir - even to people in AT&T Customer Service, we open doors for people, we pull over and STOP for funeral processions and fire trucks, and we don't air our dirty laundry in public.

We also accept gifts, regardless of our feelings about said gifts, with a warm and sincere thank you, even if we are shuddering on the inside. The thing about Southerners, unlike, say, Facebook, is there's actually a difference between our INSIDE and our OUTSIDE, and that, at its core, is the essence of being a Southerner.

Hence the scallop incident in the nighttime.

One evening, in THE TIME OF DARKNESS, my sister and I went to one of our favorite haunts in Austin - a very upscale restaurant which I shall not name. At this restaurant, we were such frequent guests that we had a familial relationship with a server who was from a city and state we were very familiar with, as we had family there, and we became friends with this server and requested him every time. We were such fixtures in the restaurant - we always came during senior citizen hour because our favorite dishes were half price - that he always bought us some dish or dessert that he knew we'd love as a gift. He picked out some amazing things that we loved. But it was an extremely busy place, and sometimes he forgot that there were foods that neither of us would eat even if we'd been waterboarded mercilessly prior to the suggestion.

Such as a giant diver scallop, which arrived one night, compliments of our server, and sat jiggling between us like a fishy Jell-O mold from hell.

We. Were. Horrified.

Our faces began to sweat and we knew we didn't have much time to dispose of the body before our beloved server came over and asked us how it was. The problem was, the thing was the size of a chihuahua. This wasn't a small problem.

We quickly decided - cue the Frasier theme music - to put the body in a napkin and take it to the bathroom and flush it.

No, sadly, I'm not kidding.

What happened next is what happens sometimes when you are going out of your way to be polite, and by that I mean complete chaos, followed by embarrassment far worse than just saying no thank you to the scallop would have been, even for two people with manners.

The scallop, which was wrapped in a napkin and on an unnamed lap, ready for transport, fell onto the dark, beautiful carpet next to our booth.

The screaming inside our heads had barely begun when another server came by and said "WHAT IS THAT ON THE FLOOR?" and immediately got the sweeper, which spread the 48 pound scallop into a 4" x 3 foot long white streak of guilt and shame - a HIGHWAY of smashed scallop - next to our booth. A river of stinky, expensive and highly visible good intentions.

Inevitably, our server returned and said "WHAT HAPPENED HERE?" when he saw the mess, to which we feigned obliviousness and changed the subject.

It was at that exact moment that we both started carrying paper towels with us wherever we go. I buy purses now solely on their ability to conceal and transport diver scallops safely to the place they belong - the toilet.

There is some history here too. My sister, who hated milk, nearly since birth, went to great lengths not to drink it. I remember distinctly being at a restaurant on a road trip when I was little, and a waitress coming over and saying "Is that a glass of milk on the floor?"

So while manners might be our forte, we probably both need a little work on subtlety. And for the love of God, please don't ever send a scallop to someone. It's not really a universally acceptable gift.

However, if you DO want to give someone a gift, might I recommend a favorite childhood toy?

Pin It

Do you see the toy? It's one of those toys that I feel like might have turned me into the person I am today. Or just spoke to the person I am today.

Fashion Plates. Did you have these? I LOVED them so much. I'd put this in the box with my Lite Brite, the Spirograph and Super Elastic Bubble Plastic.

I freaked out when my friend Mary Dawn pointed out that you can get them - complete with a super cute carrying case, on Amazon. These are the ones I got:



I can't wait to use the Action Plates one! SO fun!

But for this card, what I did was set up some random plates, and then used my Derwent Inktense Blocks - well, BLOCK - just blue :) - to rub the images onto Strathmore Ready Cut watercolor paper.

Then I just spritzed them with water to blur out the images a bit.

After they dried, I went back in with Mission Gold Watercolor in Ultramarine (on sale on Amazon right now with only a few left in stock) just to add some painted areas and a smooth contrast to the textured areas that preserved the rubbing detail.

Then I used my mini MISTI to stamp the sentiment numerous times to make sure it was solid on the watercolor paper. The sentiment is from one of my fave sets EVER - Feel Goods.

Maybe that's not the right sentiment for my story, but I don't have a stamp that says "she tried to flush an expensive diver scallop down the toilet in a high end restaurant, but she couldn't."

So this will have to do.



  1. Your story is hilarious! Sounds like something my sister & I would do. And I love the title. I've actually read, well, listened to, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime". And I'm right there with you on the Spirograph & Lite Brite. Put my Miss Beasley talking doll in that box & I'd feel like my 6 yr old self.
    Thanks for the giggles & memories.

  2. I knew it was Fashion plates!!! I LOVED mine as a kid:))
    Your card is awesome as well as that scallop story!

  3. Love your story but scallops are delicious btw!

  4. Remind me never to read your blog shortly after eating more frozen custard than was really necessary. I laughed so hard that my stomach hurts!! :) Too funny!! Love your fashion plate card!

  5. Oh My Gosh! Growing up I LOVED my Fashion Plates, LiteBright and Spirograph!

  6. You are so hilarious! And so right about us Texans!! Thanks for a very entertaining and fun read!! Love the sentiment on your card!

  7. Love this card and of course your story. I keep waiting for a spirograph inspired piece of art to show up. And I concur....scallops are icky.

  8. Your sweet, funny story was my smile of the day! Thanks for sharing! 😊

  9. It isn't a good thing to torment a creature from the ocean big enough to take revenge. It's not a pretty sight watching a large blob of something laying on a plate and quivering every time a door opens. That is way too close to Voodou for me.

  10. Scallops, Fashion Plates, Sisters, Texans, the Deep South - your post made me laugh as I enjoyed it this morning while drinking my coffee!

  11. Thanks for helping me burn a few calories this morning! Now I'm racking my brain trying to figure out what I am. I'm not sure, being from PA I'm surrounded by those crazy folks that get their own TV shows, and I can't figure out why. I'm not a Redneck, because I don't own a single confederate flag or camo. East coast girl makes me think high maitanence housewife. Makes me wonder what a Texan would label me?

    And btw, I love scallops but prefer them on the smaller size. I do not like food I have to chew. I only like steak if it's a fillet. And can not tell you the last time I ate hamburger. More then you wanted or needed to know this morning.

    My fashion plates came in this awesome pink case, I hated the pencils that came with so always had crayola that I kept in the original box until it fell apart.

    Love the blue card!

  12. I think I am going to have to go to my parents and see if my fashion plates are still around! This card is super amazing just like you! And I can't wait to see what you make with the super hero set.

  13. I think I am going to have to go to my parents and see if my fashion plates are still around! This card is super amazing just like you! And I can't wait to see what you make with the super hero set.

  14. Loved your card and your scallop story! I would probably be horrified as well to be presented with a scallop!! I don't remember fashion plates as a kid but I do remember my pencil box with little drawers, etc. - I slept with it!!! Still love colored pencils, pens, shapes, and a cool way to carry them!!! Thanks so much for all you share! XO

  15. You are just plain fall-down funny. Still have tears of hilarity running down my cheeks. Your card is amazing...saw your sneak on IG and couldn't wait to see what you were up to. It goes perfectly with that fabulous sentiment and your story of shame.

  16. So funny! I so thought you were going to say that you clogged the toilet with it!!! lol Beautiful card! You're so amazing...always thinking outside the box and all that!

  17. HAHAHA...I can imagine the size and shape of your future purses. Life has to be exciting for you because you have so many funny stories to back it up. I think you have a barrel of fun with your sister....especially IN THE TIME OF DARKNESS.

    Love your card and how you've made it. Fashion plates????? Well, I guess I'll have to have some of those. You're such an enabler. My stencil brushes have arrived from So Suzy. Guess where I found out about those. Yep, that's right...your blog. :-)

    BTW, being from the South, I do love sweet tea. I do try to drink it without the sugar, though, because I don't need those calories. Ugh! Mudbugs? Don't know what in the world that is, thankfully.

  18. LOL! What a story. I am so glad to know that I am not alone in trying to do something polite and ending in chaos!

    Your art looks amazing on your card! After seeing the sneak peek on FB, I was eager to see what you were doing!

  19. This is fabulous! I'd have never guessed you did this with a toy! It's so artistic and love the effects! Hilarious story about the scallops so thank you for the laughter!

  20. Interesting card!
    Love the blues!

  21. I think I see a scallop in her hand....hugs, Di - who loves scallops..but not as much as I Love YOU!!! Too funny I was walking around yesterday with a whole roll of paper towels at the food truck place we had a down pour and I needed to wipe off my bench. Hugs, Di

  22. You had me rolling on the floor laughing at this story! Thanks for the laugh!

  23. I knew Texans were special when at my first visit the Hotel served waffles for breakfast that were SHAPED LIKE THE STATE OF TEXAS!! You guys are absolutely crazy!! ;-)
    And I do think you still got lucky with that scallop! As I was reading I was just waiting for the moment that waiter would return with another scallop to replace the one you dropped so unfortunately!! LOL What would you have done?

  24. Lydia, I love you. Thank you so much for the story, and your great witty way with words.

  25. Lydia, I love you. Thank you so much for the story, and your great witty way with words.

  26. See I stumbled upon your blog due to the Hero Arts blog hop and now I'm a follower and a huge fan and OMG this is the most hilarious thing EVER!!!!! Reminds me of a story I have, which is in no way like yours LOL. Years ago, a waiter flirted with me every time I came to a Mexican restaurant that went out of business that I still miss. He used to give me free desserts and mentioned one time that his birthday was the next weekend and that he was working. I stupidly got a cake and brought it to the restaurant, but the hostess said he'd called in--his FIANCEE was taking him out. I went home, ate half the cake and stopped eating there!!

  27. Hellz yeah on the Fashion Plates! I have an original one in my basement right now.
    (And I also would flush a scallop before touching it!)


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