The envelope, please

OK, the results are in!

I had intended to video the entire drawing and post it here, but this is all I came up with:

Jeff and Matt had agreed to cooperate with helping me film the drawing, and since it’s a beautiful fall day here in York County, we thought it would be fun to film it outside in our back yard, where the bloom-again azaleas were in full celebration mode and our camellias were beginning to sneak out for a peep, too.

Jeff coached me to Be Sure My Camera Battery Is Charged (a frequent oversight of mine, but in this case it was, and I had backups too). I even checked the SD card to make sure it had plenty of space. Half empty; looked good to me. What I should have realized, but didn’t, is that videos eat up the megabytes VERY quickly. At least on a camera they do, and I don’t have a smart phone.

SO, when Jeff said “OK, that’s all!” just when we started to film, I couldn’t believe it. I was sure he must be reading it wrong. But no, the camera said “card full.” Since Jeff and Matt had other plans awaiting, and in any case have only so much patience with this computer nonsense, they wanted me to go with what I had. It then occurred to me that we have a S-L-O-W internet connection here in York County, so I reluctantly agreed to go on with the drawing OFF camera.

Which turned out to be a good thing, because even with a 37-second video, it took almost an hour to load, and longer than that for me to figure out how to get it posted correctly here, and it still looks a bit distorted to me, as if it didn’t download very well. During all that time, my computer was totally unavailable for anything else such as getting email, reading comments, etc., so I apologize if I kept anyone waiting!

I decided to go ahead and post the abbreviated video for comic value, since it cracked me up that Matt could NOT resist looking into the bin before he drew a name out, even though all the slips with names on them were folded over twice so he couldn’t possibly have seen whose he was picking. I am still wondering whether he has x-ray vision, because one of the second place winners is a definite favorite of his.

In any case, here are the winners, none of whom have asked to remain anonymous. If anyone listed here wants to change their minds on that, let me know and I’ll gladly edit you out! You still get the prizes.

Matt drew the names in reverse order, starting with the third prize winners:

Judy Walton
Pat Eastin
John Slingerland

And the second prize winners:

Carla Hutto
Ann Weldon


Jenelle Maloy!

Longtime readers with good memories may notice a coincidence here; in the only other time I awarded any prizes on this website, in an unannounced contest to send a $10 Amazon gift card to whoever could “find the mystery couple” in that day’s photo, Jenelle was the winner in that one too. Jenelle, if I ever announce a contest to give away a Jaguar or $10,000 here, I highly recommend you plan to show up for it!

OK, now for the Defeat Despair Community Activism Award:

For those who read the comments, it will come as no surprise that Sheila, Boomdeeadda, Eric, Michael, Amy Hill and Mary Ann were the six contestants (based on the statistics on the day the contest was announced, as described in that announcement). The WINNER is: BOOMDEADDA! I must say I am happy to have at least one international winner among the prizes I will send out.

Boomdee and Jenelle will need to let me know ASAP what kind of gift card they want (sorry, Boomdee, I could not find a gift card to Auntie’s Aqua Extravaganza Emporium).

Judy, Pat and John will need to let me know what kind of chocolate they like, or if they don’t like chocolate, let me arrange for psychotherapy to find out what is wrong with them tell me what kind of alternative treat they want. Carla, Ann, Sheila, Eric, Michael, Amy and Mary Ann will need to figure out how to use Amazon, or else figure out whom to give a $10 gift card to that won’t get insulted (maybe the mail carrier or paper delivery person?)

Everybody else, your party favors will be on the way to you within the week (I hope!) THANKS AGAIN for coming to my party! It was so much fun, and you wouldn’t believe how low the catering bill was.


  1. Nancy

    Well…Matt, aka Vanna, was AWESOME!

    • Hee-hee, and we didn’t even have to buy him an expensive wardrobe. πŸ™‚

  2. good to hear your voice πŸ™‚

    • I’m sure you would recognize it anywhere! Do I sound any older since the last time you heard it? πŸ™‚

      • Not at all, Beautiful Lady! πŸ™‚

        • Well maybe the voice is the last thing to go πŸ™‚ in my case let’s hope so!

  3. Jenelle

    Oh. My. Word. I cannot believe it! I am shocked and, oh, so happy πŸ™‚ Julia, yes, a jaguar sounds fantastic so count me in πŸ˜‰ What a great surprise for this lovely Sunday out there in CA. Thank you Matt, you did a wonderful job πŸ™‚ P.S– the video shows how beautiful the fall day is needed. Cool! Congrats to Boomdeeadda and all the other winners!

    • Yes, I thought it was pretty amazing too. I keep thinking, hey, you’re on a roll, maybe you’ll hit the bonanza with Steve L’s agency, although I would guess they get many thousands more submissions every week than I did yesterday! Still, aim for the best, right? Plus in that situation, your skill is the main factor, not just luck. πŸ™‚

  4. Congrats to all of the winners ~ great job! Happy Blogaversary to you!

    • Thanks so much! I am so happy you were part of the celebration. I have your email on a “to be answered soon” queue but if I somehow drop the ball, please remind me! πŸ™‚ I appreciate your kind words and sharing!

  5. Sheila

    Julia, thank you so much. I always say,” Kiss a winner, hug a loser!” πŸ™‚ I have no idea where that came from, but it’s just one of those eccentric things. Haha!

    • Hey, I never heard that one! I tend to prefer hugs; maybe that’s natural for one who seldom wins anything!

      • Sheila

        Julia, I enjoyed the video, just to see you having so much fun with Matt, hear your happy voice, the beautiful day there, and knowing that Jeff was filming the moment (even if it did not go quite as planned). Have a wonderful week! Happy Veterans Day to all! πŸ™‚

        • Thank you Sheila! The video, like many things that do not go quite as planned, was still a lot of fun. I’m glad you enjoyed it! I was happy to capture the sunny fall day that was so bright I had to leave my sunglasses on and Jeff had to stand behind a tree to be able to keep from blinding the camera lens!

  6. Judy from Pennsylvania

    Such fun here for the past couple of days. I’ll take milk chocolate, and thank you so much. Loved the video and wasn’t prepared to hear your voice with such a soft southern accent. Quite lovely. Matt was the star with his going off script in the pulling of names and making you giggle. Good job Matt!

    • Hi Judy, I’m so glad you have been enjoying this – I have too! I have lived away from the deep south for well more than half of my life now, but I’ve never lost my accent, for which I’m grateful. It always amazes me how quickly people pick up on it, because I don’t hear it at all – over the past three decades as we’ve moved all around the country, I got so accustomed to the “where are you from?” question that I decided to have fun with it – I started answering “Brooklyn” and it was fun to watch people’s reactions before they caught on that I was messing with them. Sometimes they would actually say “Wow, your accent doesn’t sound like that!” πŸ™‚ Matt is pretty much the star of our lives in many ways. He has been making us laugh for a long time now. I’m glad you enjoyed seeing him!

  7. This was very cute – how many times did you tell him not to look!

    • I lost count before I finally gave up! It was easier just to laugh it off. BTW when Matt was a toddler he had a nursery rhyme book that featured reproductions old Volland pictures, similar to some of the ones on your blog. He got totally obsessed with it and was fixated on Humpty Dumpty in particular. That was before his autism diagnosis but he was already starting to have the very focused interests common to kids with that label. He still gets a kick out of the pictures on your blog when I show them to him.

      • How nice of you to tell me! Thank you and say Hi to Matt for me – you two made a great team picking out those names.

        The Volland illustrations are beautiful, and Humpty Dumpty is worth some thought – I used to wonder about him. He was an egg and he took a great many risks – I wondered why he couldn’t see it was likely to end badly. I wanted to warn him.


        • Perhaps that was part of his fascination for Matt, too. It seems that almost every illustration of him features a tragic expression. The good thing that came out of the Humpty Dumpty fixation is that Matt learned to work a jigsaw puzzle of him VERY EARLY (supposedly before the chronological age such is usually done) and he’s been hooked on jigsaw puzzles ever since. It’s is major pastime. He plays public radio classical music in the background while he works them and appears to find it very calming! I think his love of reading (he taught himself to read before he started kindergarten) started with those very detailed and imaginative illustrations. So glad you liked the video!

          • He sounds like a very smart guy and good with spacial relationships – always a plus in life. The brain is an amazing thing!


            • That’s what makes it so amazing – his visual/perceptual skills and spatial skills are the lowest subset scores on his IQ test, and drag the global number down significantly! The puzzles are a glaring exception and I think it’s just his enjoyment of the topic that motivated him to learn. The brain really is an amazing thing, and we somehow manage to compensate for our shortcomings when the motivation is there.

              • Really, oh my. With all my mental deficits – honestly – I will never be able to organize everything around an IQ score. Those scores make a much mess in the world. Although an IQ score is supposed to predict intellectual achievement – do you really think that an IQ score means anything?? Really??

                You have a child who did things before the curve, a child who taught himself to read! That is what every parent hopes for – it is a strange world and kids do things as they will. There is never a time or an IQ score that can come before your experience of a person. I think many a fine mind is a bit messed up and we are lucky to know that mind.

                Lucky you,

                • Oh, I agree totally. But you would not believe how many things are STILL pegged to a person’s IQ score. I had no idea until I had a child with “special needs.” What’s so crazy is the whole notion that a person’s future can be predicted (and unfortunately, in some cases, determined) by a number on a test administered on one day– or maybe two? by a practitioner who may or may not be doing it “correctly” (and what does “correctly” mean anyway?) And, possibly even worse, that parents are often encouraged to seek and accept these numbers or labels as the only gateway to “services” of dubious value. I found the dynamic assessment more useful, but even so, people cannot be reduced to paper documents. I do agree with you that I am lucky! And I can’t wait to read the latest book from my favorite contemporary author, Malcolm Gladwell. Apparently he explores our often-mistaken ideas about “advantages” and “disadvantages” – if you haven’t read it yet, you might like it too!

                  • It sounds like a good read. I will pick it up next time I am roaming around the book store – Thanks.

                    IQ . . . don’t even get me started!

                    Thanks again,

                    • Elephant, I should get myself a T-shirt that reads “Don’t get me started…” – I can think of dozens (maybe hundreds) of topics to which that would apply! As it is, I have a quote on my fridge that says “DON’T MAKE ME CALL OUT THE FLYING MONKEYS!” πŸ™‚

                    • I will keep this in mind! I thought those flying monkeys were entirely frightening – I don’t want them chasing me through the forest!


                    • Yes, I’ve always thought that whoever came up with that part of the film version was a genius. It took me years and years to figure out that the big ones that landed and grabbed everybody were actually people in monkey costumes – that’s how believable they were to me!

  8. john slingerland

    Hey julia, I enjoyed the video!!!!!!!! Matt just had to look. On the chocolate treat , I can’t do milk or tree nuts so dark chocolate would be great.

    Thanks, john slingerland

    • I’m not allergic to anything but I much prefer dark chocolate myself. They say it’s healthier for you too so now I eat lots more of it :-). Yes, Matt can’t resist peeking sometimes!

  9. Hi Julia,

    I hate I missed the party, but yesterday was a really busy day. I did want to take a moment to congratulate you on your 365 posts though. Quite an undertaking. I did it in 2011 on FB and can attest to how time consuming it is, but so worth the effort. I know we have not heard the last from you. I will look forward to future posts and the development of your blog. You certainly are a gifted writer and should definitely keep it up.

    My best to you and your family for a wonderful holiday season. May God’s continued grace and blessings be with you all as Jeff and Matt undergo upcoming surgeries.

    Tell Matt I think he is a fine looking young man. A delight, I am sure.

    • Thanks so much, Starr! I really appreciate your support and understanding. I will always think of meeting you as one of those “holy introductions” Torry talked about :-). Matt smiled when I told him you liked the video. Blessings to you and your family too!

  10. Ann

    Woo hoo! What fun! Matt’s my man for picking my nameπŸ˜„

    • πŸ™‚ I still think it’s suspicious the way he kept looking into the bin. X-ray vision. πŸ™‚

  11. What a brilliant day you had in your garden with charming young Matt! I was so excited to see you and hear your darling southern charm coming to me in the cold white north. Thanks for persevering thru all the technical challenges to share your day with us. You are both the cutest and your giggling made me giggle too πŸ˜€

    I’m tickled to be the recipients of one of your fab gift cards as well. Thank you so much for including me Julia, this has been so fun! Honestly, I’m having the best darn weekend. Mr B was away so I got to sloughed off. As in no cooking, lot’s of crafting, talked with Alys, won prizes and got to see you live and almost in person in your gorgeous garden.

    I have a feeling you’re teasing me about ‘Auntie’s Aqua Extravaganza Emporium’, LOL. Just in case you’re not, I’m putting it on my bucket list πŸ˜€

    Thank you, I choose your image of April 30th, 2012. It’s your lovely Pasha looking out to the lake. So many things speak to my heart here. I love the water, have spent most of my adult life living at a lake and have been the lucky friend of two of the best dogs in the world (yes, I know, all dog owners say that). I also really connect with Drew’s words, remarkable for a fellow so young. You’ve got nice boys my dear. Dogs do live in the moment their whole lives and we are the lucky recipients of all their joy.

    Congratulations to all your other guests and friends too. Like them, I’m so happy we can share time with you here Julia! Love & Hugs Kelly

    • Thanks Kelly a.k.a. Boomdee, you definitely need to put Auntie’s Aqua Extravaganza Emporium on your bucket list; don’t let a little technicality like the fact that there is no such place (yet) stop you! It will be one of the first stores to host a grand opening in Boomdeeville South, and will feature all kinds of unique items such as aqua cast iron skillets (for making cornbread), aqua azalea plants (still being cultivated with limited success in the botany labs at Georgia Tech; don’t give up guys) and the limited-edition commemorative aqua Coca-Cola cans and Atlanta Braves regalia (in which aqua is substituted for red; that navy and aqua combo looks so lovely even on those tobacco-spitting baseball players who scratch themselves on national broadcasts).

      I do love that photo of Pasha at Lake Tahoe. I simply must send you one of my favorite cartoons of all time (from Rhymes with Orange by Hilary Price) about how all dogs are the best dogs ever! Thanks so much for being here, it’s been almost as fun as a trip to Boomdeville!

      • Oh my, we could start a franchise. That’d be a store with a line up to get in. LOL, I think you’re really on to something there! HA, so witty you!

        • That’s what they told Steve Jobs when he started Apple πŸ™‚ NOT!

  12. Hello Julia,
    Many congratulations to you on your splendid success of your party.
    The ambiance of backyard of your home is really beautiful and worth wondering πŸ™‚
    Till then Take care,
    Harshit Chauhan

    • Thank you Harshit, I was so happy you were able to part of the celebration! Our backyard is one of my favorite places in the entire world. And that’s saying quite a lot. Just a sentimental attachment, but I love sitting at the breakfast table and looking out on the view.

  13. tpeastin

    Hi Julia!

    This is my third time trying to comment. So it will either be ‘strike three’ or ‘the charm’…hopefully the latter! Anyway, how cool that I won 3rd prize…totally unexpected! I agree with all of Judy from PA’s comments including putting in for milk chocolate…and will share with hubby and the two grands! Have a great Veterans Day! Love, Pat

    • Isn’t that “disappearing text” business frustrating? It happens to me often when I’m answering comments. Somtimes hitting Control/Z will bring back the accidentally erased text, but sometimes not. I’m glad you persevered! Can’t wait to send you the chocolate goodies. Maybe I should buy myself one of everything I send out, so I can taste it and make sure it’s OK. I “taste” a lot of food that way :-). I had to quit baking cookies because I “tasted” so much dough that very little of it ever made it to the oven! Thanks so much for being part of the party!

  14. Michael

    It is with humble gratitude I accept this coveted prize. It makes my day. Matt did a great job too. The Camelias? look great.

    • Thanks Mike, just don’t spend it all in one place! Those camelias have grown by leaps and bounds in the last ten years. When we see the photos we took when we first moved here, we don’t remember them ever being that small. We put Miracid on them the first few years but finally decided we didn’t need to do that. Our gardenias we planted in front struggled, though. One died within a couple of years, but the other held on in a near-death state for the longest time and only recently took off.

  15. This is great. I love your comments and I TOTALLY understand your frustration with technology. I can so hear Jeff saying, “OK, that’s all.” I love Matt helping. What a fun party and thanks for inviting me. IF you should decide to give away a car or money just put my name in place of Jenelles. πŸ™‚ The garden is lovely even this late in the year. Thanks for sharing. I love you.

    • Hey Amy, those camellia bushes have gotten enormous since you were last at our York home. I need to mail you your Amazon card but you didn’t say what party favor you wanted. I guess I couldn’t go wrong with the tea bags! πŸ™‚ We should have a surgery date soon – I’ll keep you posted.

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