Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Good Witch of the North (Bing)

Bling!  The Good Witch is here to save the Bing!
Hiya, Friends!  I've recently seen The Wizard of Oz, and I've gotta tell ya, that Good Witch of the North sure gets to wear some pretty dresses and travel in style!  She rides around in a BUBBLE!!! 

Do you know who else loves pretty dresses and BUBBLES?!  ME, ZOE!

It was meant to be, really, Friends, that I would become the Good Witch of the North (Bing).  I mean, The Bing is just like Munchkinland, without the Yellow Brick Road, and the people are taller, and to my knowledge, nobody breaks out in spontaneous choruses of song.  At least not where they can be seen and heard.  Also, we wear different clothes than they did in Munchkinland.

Otherwise, my town and Munchkinland are practically twins!  How about that?!

So it as only natural that I'd elect myself Good Witch of the North (Bing). 
And this office entails riding around in a bubble, wearing pretty dresses, and using my Magic Bottle Brush-slash-Magic Wand to grant wishes and to help where ever I am needed.

I'm still in my training period, and I'll be honest with you, Friends.  Some wishes are pretty intense.  I can't grant 'em, so instead, I bestow a pet guinea pig on the hapless wisher, so they don't go away empty-handed.

Then there's the travel-by-bubble.  That's not as easy as you'd think it is, Friends.  That's something nobody told me when I elected myself to this position.  Oh, getting the bubble off the ground and into the air is easy.  I'd even go so far's to say it's fun.

Once you're up in the air in that bubble, though, Friends, all bets are off.  I haven't learned yet how to steer very well, so I'm kinda at the mercy of whichever layer of air I've found myself in.  I guess I've gotta learn to read the air and go up and down according to which layer's going my way, and all.  But do you know how hard it is to read the air, Friends?  It's like a stream-of-consciousness story written by a crazy person!  It really is!

Then there's the landing.  Holy smokes, you'd think that bubbles would be easy to land, but they aren't.  It takes a coupla stabs at it, and sometimes, I just hafta pop my bubble when I'm close to the ground and hope for the best, you know?
The Bing is like Munchkinland, except different and with taller people!

You know what they say, though.   If ya can fly in a bubble, ya can pretty much do anything, so that's my hope right there.  And of course that I make the Bing a better place, being its Good Witch and all. 

I think Mommy had the right idea, though.  She picked being a Wicked Witch, and wears black all the time, and she gets to fly around on a Dyson.  If ya look close and listen carefully, you'll see her fly across the full moon sometimes, cackling to beat all!  I guess those Dysons can reach some pretty fast speeds up in the air, and they're not susceptible to the whims of the air.  They can pretty much power through anything.

And unlike the movie, throwing water on Mommy the Wicked Witch doesn't make her melt.  I cannot stress that enough. 

I've sure got my work cut out for me.  That's for true.  But I'll get it, Friends.  I'll get it!  In the meantime, if you're trying to find me, don't follow the Yellow Brick Road, whatever you do.  There isn't one, mostly, is my reason for telling you that.  Just put a nice pillow out in your yard, in case I'm out learning how to fly and land in my bubble. 

I love ya, Friends!  Muah!  *Bling!*  Guinea pigs for EVERYBODY!!! Hahahahaha!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Best Thing Since Mum-Mums!

Friends, I've gotta show you something I think is great!
Friends, you know how much I love my Mum-Mums, and if you don't, lemme explain 'em to ya!  They're a really thin, really crispy rice cracker in the shape of a surfboard, and they come two to a pack, and they're delicious.  Got it? 

Remember, I REALLY love Mum-Mums.  I mean, when I ate my first Mum-Mum, I felt my whole world rock!

Now.  What I've recently discovered is the next best thing to those Mum-Mums!  Guess what it is!  It isn't even food, so you'll never guess!  But try to guess, anyway!

If you guessed algebra, you'd be wrong, and also kind of weird.  But if you love algebra, who am I to judge?  I'm just tryin' to get to whatever number comes after ten, so...

Me with my long, lovely, green silken hair!
Anyway, my amazing discovery that's the best thing since Mum-Mums are my colorful playsilks!  They're pretty much silk scarves, dyed in very pretty colors, and I can play with them however I wanna!  The other day, I tied a corner from two playsilks together and made a cape.  I've also seen 'em tucked into the waistband on a pair of pants to make a faerie skirt!  Or draped over something to make a tent.

One of my favorite things to do with my playsilks is to drape 'em over my head and pretend they're my hair.  I don't have long hair yet, so it's fun for me to pretend I do by using my playsilks.  I like to pretend I have fanciful-colored silken hair, like green!  In the picture off to the side, I'm the Little Mermaid in Reverse!   How about that?!

Another fun thing I do with my playsilks is make headwraps out of 'em and pretend I'm an exotic stranger in this fanciful land.  I even got a Foreign Dignitary Discount in the cafeteria here at my work, one time, when I forgot and left one of my playsilk-headwraps on my head.

Now I'm Babushka Lady, witnessing an historical moment on a grassy knoll!
At first, I felt really bad about that one, getting a discount in the work cafeteria.  I'm not foreign, and I'm not a dignitary!   But when I brought it to the attention of the girl at the cash register, she felt bad for assuming that I was a foreign dignitary, and then she felt bad for not recognizing me, and she called over her manager, and it was all a big hubbub. 

Long story short, now I'm known around the cafeteria as "Ambassador Zoe," and I always get the foreign dignitary discount, because the manager thought it was better to assume somebody's a foreign dignitary and give 'em a discount than to let a real foreign dignitary get by without a discount, so I guess I'll take the discount without protesting about it.

Hey, two percent is two percent, after all!  Am I right, Friends?!

Monday, July 29, 2013

It's MY Office an' I'll Keep It Messy If I Wanna!

Hey! My office, my space!

Sorry.  I'm type-yelling. 

Friends!  How's that?  Is that better?  ... It is? ... good!

Friends, I have a bone to pick with Mommy, and I'll tell ya what it is.  My office is MY office, but it seems like every time I turn around, she's come in and re-arranged all my things, and "neatened" things up, and "tidied" all my belongings.

I'll tell ya what!  It makes me MAD! 

Say I go up to my crib for a nap.  When I leave for my nap, all of my things are right were I can find 'em.  To some people, to Mommy, to YOU, even, it might look like a jumble of Playsilks, stuffed animals, and toys that make noise.  To me, it looks like I'm being creative and productive!

You're not tidying up back there, are ya?
And then it happens.  I'm up in my crib, sleeping and having wonderful dreams about floating down a strawberry milk river past a cupcake village, and when I come back to work, all my stuff's all in different places!

Some of my things are in bins!  Some of them are inside my Red Retro Kitchen!  Some have been stuffed away in my toy-pods!  Most egregiously to date, I was workin' on a big project.  I was workin' on how to spell "CAT" with my magnetic letters on my magnetic board, and that MOMMY undid all my hard work!  When I came back to work, those letters were all lined up on my board, according to alphabetical order.  I didn't ask for that!  I didn't want that!

Or.  Another example that just gets my blood boily.  My playsilks.  I like to have 'em down where I can play with 'em when I want, for as long as I want, and that Mommy takes 'em and clips 'em onto a hanger and hangs 'em up where I can see 'em, but I can't reach 'em!  OoooooOOOOOOOOOOh!  It just makes me so mad!
I just need my creative space to be creative, Friends!

I know whatchyer gonna say, Friends.  If I'd just put things back the way I think they oughtta be, Mommy wouldn't hafta pick up my office for me when I'm out of my office.  I know you're gonna say that, and I have an answer all ready for ya.  A rebuttal of sorts.  The thing of it is, I DO leave my office the way I think it oughtta be.  I like my creative space looking like a creative space.  It's Mommy, messin' it all up.  Far's I'm concerned, it's Mommy who has the problem here, not your pal Zoe. 

By golly!

Here's what I propose to my Mommy, to keep the peace in my office.  She should just let it be how I want it to be, and that's a creative space.  If she wants to tidy up the rest of the place, I will do my best not to un-tidy it, but I probably will, anyway, but at least she could leave my office alone.  I think that sounds more than fair!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Workin' Your Face Muscles!

Work your face muscles!
Smile, smile, smile!
Hiya, Friends!  Hey, have you ever smiled so much that you were sure your cheeks were gonna fall right off your face?  Well, I have!  And I've been readin' up on it, and as it turns out, your cheeks won't fall right off your face, but you WILL make those smilin' muscles nice and strong!  How about that?!

Smiling is my favorite form of exercise, because it doesn't matter what the temperature is doing, you can still exercise your smiling muscles without getting all sweaty and gross and fatigued.  You can smile anywhere, really!

You know what, Friends?  When I'm havin' a bad day, I just go ahead and smile, whether I feel like it or not.  Eventually, I DO feel like smiling.  It just turns things all around for me.  I think some of you out there call this approach 'faking it until you make it.'  I fake smiling until I make myself smile!

For extra abdominal work and burning extra calories, I even add in anything from a little chuckle to a deep belly laugh.  Depends on how many of those deep muscles you wanna work in your core.

Hey!  I just thought of something!  Smiling is like sit-ups for your face!  Except even more fun!
Laugh, too, if ya wanna!

Wear goggles- they're like weights for your face!
Unlike those expensive infomercial gadgets and DVD sets, smiling and laughing, smiling doesn't cost you a thing, and you don't hafta worry about whether or not you can hang your clothes on a smile, like people do with their unused treadmills and exercise bikes and other gadgets.

You can start right now, with your smile training!  You don't even hafta wait for your smile to ship.  How about that?!  I'd call that a bargain, Friends!

Come on!  Let's all work our face muscles together now!  SMILE!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

About Our Recent Cold-Snap

Uh-oh.  I think I have a confession to make!
Hiya, Friends!  I have a confession to make, and boy is it ever a doozie.  Now, stay calm and don't get mad at me when I tell you what I think I did.  It was an accident, and all.  An honest mistake.  Could happen to anybody, but as it turns out, it happened to me. 

Okay.  Are you all nice and calm and ready for me to tell you?  Are you sure?

The recent chilly weather?  I think it's my fault.

Have a listen as to why.  It's really quite reasonable, if you just give me a chance to explain.

I know I've told you I'm friends with Santa Claus.  Yes, that Santa Claus.  North Pole, white beard, Christmas.  Santa and I are pals, and we go way back.  Way back for me.  Not really way back for him, since he's immortal and all. 

Anyway, Santa calls me on a magic telephone every now and then.  When it's cold out, talking to Santa on the telephone makes me feel warm, and I can smell a fireplace, and hot cocoa.  It's really quite nice!  In the hot summer, when Santa calls me on the telephone, he sends me a blast of North Pole air, and it's scented with peppermint.  It's really refreshing.  Helps me get through the hot days!

I think what happened, though, in regards to the recent cold-snap, is this: when Santa Claus called me on the magic telephone this last time, I was busy doing some things around my office.  Sorting my playsilks, I believe.  And I put Santa Claus on speakerphone.  I told Santa what I was doing, because it isn't nice to put people on speaker if they don't know they're being put on speaker, but I think that cold arctic air also was on speakerphone, and it leaked out of my office and onto the porch, down the yard, and from there, it caught up with the air on the road and followed the roads wherever they go, and next thing ya know, the whole region is in the grip of a cold snap here in what's supposed to be the hot part of the summer.

You're not gonna stay mad at me, right Friends?
You see?  It's a logical explanation for what happened, and I said I was sorry.  Now Santa Claus and I know that if I put him on speaker phone, and he sends the cold air, and the conditions are right, or wrong, depending on how you look at it, I can accidentally change the weather patterns for the area in which I live.

I know what I did wrong, and now Santa Claus and I are working on a localizer to put on my magic telephone, so that any air from the North Pole, hot chocolate-scented or peppermint, stays just in the room with the telephone, and that it doesn't travel down to the road and follow the road wherever it goes.

Santa assures me that pretty soon, our regular summer weather should return, right as rain, so please don't report me to the authorities, okay? 

I love ya, Big People!  Muah!

Friday, July 26, 2013

French Friday

I like something that isn't very good for me.
Hiya, Friends!  Well, you know me.  I'm usually an eater of healthy foods.  I like fruit and salad.  Yes, salad!  I even like bleu cheese crumbles, just a couple, on my lettuce and tomato and carrot salad.  But recently, I've become acquainted with something called a French Fry.  I know these aren't all that good for me.  I know they're fried in fat and then salted like crazy. 

The thing of it is, I really like 'em!

See, while I don't shy away from foods that are crunchy- my Mum-Mums, carrots, animal crackers, and apples fit the crunchy bill, just to name a few- sometimes, I like to sink my teeth into something nice-n-soft.  A good French Fry fits that bill: it's sort of crunchy on the outside- not crunchy like a carrot, but you know what I mean, don't you? ... Crispy.  Crispy, I guess, is the description I'm mostly looking for.  And then, inside the good French Fry, it's soft.

Well, and then you add ketchup to that sweet, crispy/soft saltiness, and it's just mmmmmMMMMMmmm!

Oh, my goodness, I'm making myself hungry!

Over at my favorite restaurant, the Texas Hot in Downtown Wellsville, I've seen people put all kindsa things on their French Fries.  Gravy.  I'm actually talking about gravy.  That's what they do at the Texas Hot in Downtown Wellsville.  I've seen cheese on French Fries at other places I've been.  Chili.  Salad.  ... Or maybe the French Fries are ON the salad.  It really doesn't matter.  I'm not interested in any of these variations on French Fries.  Just give 'em to me normal.  French Fries, an' a bottle of good ol' Heinz.  I guess Hunt's, if you prefer.  I like the taste of Heinz, myself.

Some people get political about their ketchup, I understand.  I mean I understand they get political about their ketchup.  I don't understand why they get political about their ketchup.

But if I say no French Fries, ever, French Fries are all I want!
Anyway, I know if I eat lotsa French Fries, I won't enjoy the good health I currently enjoy.  I've been reading on the World Wide Web about what happens if you eat too many fatty carbs, which is what French Fries are, and it isn't pretty!  Too many fatty carbs makes your legs look like turnips, and it puts dimples on your bottom!  Or, it could make you get The Sugar.  I don't want turnip legs and a dimply bottom!  I don't wanna catch The Sugar!  I don't!

I don't wanna stop eating French Fries, though.  If I said I'm gonna stop eating French Fries, that's all I'll be able to think about.  Mommy told me she's made this mistake before, saying "I'm not gonna eat this anymore, ever!"  You know, M&Ms, cake, cookies... she says the minute she Swears Off Something For Good, that's all she can think about, and next thing ya know, she's bought a 5-pound bag of M&Ms, or made cookies or even a cake, and then she eats the whole thing before Daddy even gets home from work! 

Obviously, Mommy did this funny-business before I came along, because if I'd have been here, I woulda helped her out with all those things.  I love M&Ms, cookies, and you know how I feel about CAKE. 

I'll eat French Fries on French Fridays, and be happy with that!
But I'm talking about French Fries.  If I swear off 'em, they're all I can think about, so I've decided that I'll eat French Fries only on special occasions.  Like Fridays.  And I'll eat 'em in moderation.  So I'm calling today "French Friday."  You can participate, too, Friends.  And if anybody asks you if you hafta speak French on French Friday, the answer is no, because French Fries aren't really French.  If anything, they're Belgian.  But it just rolls off the tongue nice, doesn't it?  "French Friday."

That way, I have something to look forward to, which is eating French Fries, but I won't overdo it, because I'm getting French Fries every day.  And also, I'm not not eating French Fries.  It's all about balance!

Does that sound like a good plan, Big People?  I sure hope it sounds like a good plan, because it's the plan I have and the plan I've decided to stick to.  All right, Friends!  I love ya!  Muah!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

North Telephone Pole

Who's callin' me?  It's a number with an Arctic Area Code!
Hiya, Friends!  You know what I like?  I like it when my friend Santa Claus surprises me with a surprise telephone call.  It's really exciting when the phone rings, because it's a magic telephone, and the number that comes up on the ID window has an Arctic Circle Area Code, but that's not all.

When Santa Claus calls me on the phone, he can send nice and cold North Pole air through the telephone here in the hot summer.  That air smells like peppermint and makes my face nice and cool and makes the end of my nose all frosty!  It's just the ticket on a hot day!

In the wintertime, when Santa Claus calls me on the magic telephone, he can send the warm from his fireplace, and I feel like I'm sitting in front of it with him, drinking hot cocoa!
Well, hell-ooooo, Santa Claus!

But I won't talk about the hot cocoa right now, Friends.  We're in the hot part of the year, when Santa Claus calls me up when he's taking a break from the shop, and he sends me some nice arctic air, because he knows it's very hot right now where I live.

That Santa's a really interesting fella to talk to on the telephone, too.  Did you know that he works from the second half of January until the day before Thanksgiving on the year's Christmas presents, and then on Thanksgiving, he turns up at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to kick off his Tour of America, and then he heads home to the North Pole on December Twenty-Third to load up the sleigh to do his Christmas Eve thing, and finally, from Christmas Day until the middle part of January, Santa Claus goes to Hawaii and has a vacation?
I love it when my friends call me on the phone!

It's true.  I asked him to explain how he can do all that stuff he does, and he said it's part magic and part knowing how to go back and forth on the spacetime continuum.  He said it's a lot to understand and know, but I could just chalk it up to magic and excellent planning.  So that's what I do.

I don't hafta know the hows and whys of EVERYTHING.  I don't.  Some things, it's just more fun to let 'em stay magic.

Anyway, it was good to hear from Santa Claus and to get to breathe in some of that peppermint-scented cold air from the North Pole.  Now I think I can manage the hot weather here at my house a little better.

Stay cool, Big People!  I love ya lots!  Muah!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Advice for the Royal Baby

Psssst.  Your Highness.  Roy.  I've got some advice for ya!
Hiya, Friends!  Well, have you heard all about this Royal Baby that's been born?  Am I the only one confused by all the hullabaloo over here in the United States of America over the Royal Baby? 

I mean, just a few weeks ago... twenty days, to be exact, didn't we JUST celebrate Independence Day? I did some looking around on the Internet, and as it turns out, our Independence Day is celebrating the anniversary of the founders of the USA signing a document that declared our independence from Great Britain, the very country into whose Royal Family the Royal Baby (I'm gonna just call him Roy) was just born?

Americans, this baby really doesn't have any effect whatsoever on us!

Just the same, lotsa Big People are excited about Roy, and I'm just gonna assume it's because Big People love babies.  Heck, I love babies.  They fascinate the daylights outta me.

Anyway, I've got some advice for Roy, from one veteran baby to a rookie baby.  Will you indulge me, Big People, in giving a bit of unsolicited advice? ... Well, if you don't wanna, you can close out of this window and continue looking at pictures of kitty cats and picking fights with complete strangers.  I'll see ya tomorrow.  If you're still here, here goes my advice for Roy.


Be a normal kid as much as possible!
Roy-Boy, you're what's known as one of the "fortunate ones."  In America, we'd say you were born on Third Base.  The rest of that saying is "...and he thinks he hit a triple."  I'm not sure what this means, exactly.  I think it's a reference to a sport I don't follow, but the gist of it is that you've got a good headstart on a lot of people, Roy, so remember that, and don't get a big head about it.  Your Mommy and Daddy seem to be really nice people who won't let you get all big-headed, but there's a lot of people around you who'll try to make you so, and don't let 'em, mmmmkay? 

This one kinda goes along with the first part of my advice, but don't let the men in dark suits keep you from being a Regular Little Kid.  As Regular Little Kids, we love to make noise, make messes, fingerpaint with our food, and eat out of the dog's bowl. We Regular Little Kids also like to resist arrest... I mean naptime.  We like to run screaming down long corridors (and I hear your house has lots of 'em!), climb on stairs (careful!), and make life a contact sport.  In other words, we Regular Little Kids like to live our lives on all twelve cylinders!  If the Men in Dark Suits think they're gonna stop you from doing so, at least give 'em a run for their money, Roy!  You deserve to be a Regular Little Kid, too, not some Little Lord Fauntleroy in a velvet suit!

On the other hand, Roy, you're gonna have cameras pointed at you pretty much every minute of your life.  I kind of experience that same thing, except not so many people care what I'm up to.  You, though, Roy, have the WORLD watching you, for some reason.  I don't really get the magicalness, but hey, Big People hafta have something to fixate on.  So don't let 'em have anything to fixate on you for, except that you're a really nice fellow.  But remember that no matter what you do, somebody somewhere is gonna have a lot to say about it.  Let 'em flap their gums.  Roy, you be you. 

Smile and have fun in your life and be good to others!
Roy, if they have Cheerios in England, and I think they do, because you British people are always saying "Cheerio!" to each other, insist that your Mommy buy you the Honey-Nut Cheerios.  Go with her to the store, if necessary, and make sure she buys the Cheerios with the bee on the box, not the other ones, because if you don't see the box, the Honey-Nut Cheerios and the Regular Cheerios look exactly alike, until it's too late, and you've got the paste-tasting Regular Cheerios in your mouth instead of the sweet, sweet, delicious and sweet Honey-Nut Cheerios.  I cannot stress this enough to you, Roy!

Finally, Roy, I've gotta tell ya.  A good night's sleep is just about the best fix there is to anything.  So soon's you can get off the late-night snacks, forty winks will fix almost any jelly of a jam you find yourself in, at least when you're little.  Trust me on this one.  When you're tired, everything seems worse than it is.  When you get some shut-eye, the sun seems a little brighter, the sky seems a little bluer, and everything tastes, smells, and sounds a little better.  Except plain Cheerios.  Plain Cheerios are just awful no matter how much sleep ya get. 

Oh, one more thing.  Roy, remember to wear your sunscreen!  Sunburns hurt, and you're British, so SPF up, kiddo!  And have a great life!  I'd like to say I'll be following you from all the way across the ocean, but really, I'm pretty sure the only time I'll think about kings and queens and princes and princesses is when I'm playing dress-up.  Don't take it personally. It's just how it is!  Mmmmkay!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Spaghetti Betty

Tell me about this spaghetti tree you saw!
Hiya, Friends!  You know what?  I love spaghetti.  I love it so much I even have a spaghetti-based nickname because of it.  You see, my middle name's Elizabeth, and a short form of that is "Betty," so my spaghetti-based nickname is "Spaghetti Betty." 

I know it's not super-original, but that doesn't bother me at all, and neither does having the nickname in the first place.  I really do love the spaghetti.  Doesn't matter if it's plain, buttered, with tomato sauce, with meat in the sauce, with mushrooms, meatballs, or other vegetables.  I just love it.

One of the main reasons I love spaghetti so much is because when you get it out of the box, it's like little twigs, and then you put it in hot water, and it turns into spaghetti you can eat. 

Didja hafta mulch it with Parmesan cheese?
If that isn't magic, I don't know what is!

Another thing I love about spaghetti is that when I have some on my plate, I can pick it up and swing it around and then slurp it into my mouth and chew it right up.  When I learn how to braid, I betchya I could braid my spaghetti on my plate!

I can't remember when the first time was that I tried spaghetti, but it was when I was a little kid.  Mommy cut it all up for me, so instead of being in long, swing-aroundable strings, it was in short little pieces.  I'm not gonna lie.  That was a big bummer.  But overall, I liked the spaghetti a lot, and now she'll let me have it in a long spaghetti noodle sometimes, so I can twirl it around and around on my fork the way I've watched my Big People do.

Look at that!  Spaghetti of my very own!
Someday, I'd like to have an orchard where I can grow spaghetti trees.  I'm pretty sure I read on the World Wide Web that spaghetti grows on trees, and I sure would like to raise spaghetti.  I'm not sure really how it works, but I think that when the spaghetti grows on the tree, you hafta harvest it and put it in the box.  I'm pretty sure the boxes don't just grow alongside the spaghetti, right there on the tree. 

I imagine it's kind of a trying thing, being a spaghetti orchard farmer, but I think it'd be worth looking into, with as much as I love spaghetti. 

So that's how I got my nickname 'Spaghetti Betty.'  If you know anybody else that loves spaghetti as much as I do, I have a list of nicknames, if they fit.  Here goes:

Meatball Paul, Marinara Sara/Sarah (works either way!), Saucy Flossie, Alfredo Sauce Ross (but only if Ross really likes Alfredo sauce!), and Parmesan Cheese Louise.

There you have it, Friends!  I'll see ya tomorrow!  Muah!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Yay, Zozie!

There's the finish line!  I see it!  I'm gonna win!
Hiya, Friends!  Hey, you know who my biggest cheerleader is?  No, it isn't Mommy and Daddy or Gramma or Grampa or Aunt Colleen or Uncle Lorentz or Rozzie.  I mean, they're all really supportive of me.  They really are, and they cheer me on whenever I'm doing something, and encourage me when I get frustrated, but my biggest cheerleader is actually....


I don't think it's egotistical at all, being my own biggest cheerleader.  The way I see it, I have the potential to be my own harshest critic, so if that's possible, what's so wrong with being my own biggest cheerleader?  You know what I'm saying?  I mean, every coin has two sides, so if you're gonna accept that there's things about yourself that need improving, ya might as well toot your own horn to yourself when ya do things right!

Even though I beat me, I still deserve to give me a standing ovation!
It just makes ya feel good!

Now, I'm not saying you should be all obnoxious about it, or only tell other people how good you are at being better than everybody else.  That's not what I'm about at all.  What I'm talking about is the way you talk to yourself. 

For instance, when I successfully count to ten, I clap my hands together and say "YAY, ZOZIE!"  I acknowledge that I did something right!  Also, when I put my clothes in the white hamper in my room, I give myself a big "YAY, ZOZIE!"  It works for all kinds of things, big and small, from beating myself in a one-gal footrace to eating all my salad at suppertime. 

The important thing is for all of us to know that it's okay to feel good about ourselves.  Self-esteem.  That's what I'm talking about.  If everybody had good self-esteem, the world would be a much happier place. 

Sometimes, people need a little nudge, saying nice things about themselves to themselves, so if you notice somebody doing something well or something good today, or even if they just look particularly nice or they have a knack for getting things out of the vending machine when it's all jammed up, maybe it'd be nice for ya to tell 'em you notice.  Might put a smile on their face!

Remember to say something to yourself that puts a smile on your face today, too.  For me, it's "YAY, ZOZIE!"

I love ya, Friends!  Muah!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Place Of Endless Wonder

Flowers, stars, the sun, leaves, people....
Hi, Friends.  Well, now that I'm on the home stretch of my second trip around the sun, I've got to say, I think I've come to a place of endless wonder.

No, no.  Hear me out!

You see, when I got here, the place was green, and it was pretty warm.  For part of the time, it was dark, and the rest of the time, it was light.  Sometimes, water would fall from the air, and that fascinated me!

Next thing I knew, the green started turning orange and red, and it started getting cooler.  I'd have a heavier blanket over me when Mommy and Daddy took me out in my carrier.  I smelled new smells in the air like woodsmoke and cold.

The red and orange gave way to brown, and then to gray, and sometimes, big white flakes would fall from the sky.  Now THAT was magical!  I could lie in my crib at night and listen to the wind whip and whistle through the bare trees outside my window, and just when I started to think that this was how the world was going to stay, the sky turned blue again, and I noticed little buds on the trees outside my window.  I noticed the world smelled kind of wet, and green, and before I knew it, I woke up one morning, and brrrrrrrrring!  It was green again, just like it was when I got here!

Only this time around, what I used to think was green blobs was really little leaves on the trees, and blades of grass!  I could feel the sun on my skin, as long as I put on the thick, white suntan lotion, and wore my hat.  I could sit outside and watch the clouds go across the sky.

And then it happened all over again, just like everything knew what to do, all by itself!  The leaves on the trees turned red and orange and brown, then a storm came along and blew them right off.  I got so I didn't mind wearin' soxieshooz, because my feet would get COLD without 'em!  When the big white flakes fell from the sky this time around, Daddy took me out in a bright orange sled and let me RIDE in that cold stuff, which is SNOW, and I found out Rozzie-Dog LOVES it when you make little snowballs and toss them to her, so she can catch 'em right out of the air and eat 'em!

It seemed to take a little while for things to warm up this trip around the sun, but here it is, summer again, and I love taking my soxieshooz off and running through the grass, especially right after Mommy mows it.  I love that smell, and I love watching my toes turn kinda green!  I can sit for minutes, watching the clouds sail through the air, and this year, I can see SHAPES in those clouds!  And then there's the MOOON and the STARS up in the sky, and who knows, but maybe there's little men on the moon, making green cheese, and maybe those stars have their own planets like ours, with little people on 'em, just like us.  How about that?!

Oh, my goodness, and bubbles.  Anybody who doesn't think the world is a place of endless wonder has obviously not spent enough time in the company of bubbles.  I love the way they come out of the bubble wand and grow, and they have all the different colors in 'em, but you can see through 'em, and also they reflect the things around them.  I guess that's called iridescence and translucence, if you wanna be technical.

....The world is full of endless wonder!
Flowers.  Friends, flowers are right up there with bubbles for me.  Even the dandylines in the yard.  Those dandylines are pretty cool.  One day, they're yellow like the sun, and the next day, they're white puffballs.

I don't know, Friends.  To me, I think this world is a place of endless wonder, and we get to live in it.  I know I'm still new around here, but just about every day, something I see just makes me stop and drop my jaw open in awe and wonder.  It kinda makes me think that if everybody got to see the world through new eyes, everybody'd be so taken aback at just how amazing everything is, that they wouldn't have any time left to fight.  They just wouldn't have it in 'em. 

That's what I think, anyway, Friends.  So promise me something, would you?  Today, if you get to feelin' grumpy because it's too hot, or you got bad news, or you're just in a mood, go outside and see the world the way I see it.  Go take in some of the endless wonder.

I love ya, Friends!  Muah!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Countin' to TEN!

I usedta think numbers were too numbery!
Friends, you know how when ya get mad, people are always tellin' ya to count to ten before you say anything or go off like a rocket ship?  Well, for my whole life, this presented me with a serious problem.  Not that I get mad often, but I do get frustrated sometimes.  I mean, my motor, verbal, and social skills on the outside haven't caught up to how I feel on the inside yet, and that can be really frustrating.  Think about it!

Anyway, I'm always hearing 'count to ten,' and I always wondered 'what does that even mean?'

And then I realized it.  I already know how to count to three.  Remember 'one....two....three...WHEEEEEE!'  Remember that from a few days ago?  Do you?  I remember it!  And guess what!  Counting to ten is like the sequel to that.

I figured it out the other day in the tub.  I started counting '!'  And there it was!  TEN!  I was so darned excited, I splashed Mommy and did it all again, except this time around, Mommy helped me fill in the blanks.  As it turns out, 'wheeeee!' doesn't come after 'three' when you're climbing all the way to ten.  That hit me as quite a shocker, but hey, I wanna learn to do this the right way, so I'll keep my mind open to it.  And then 'something' doesn't come after five.  'Something' is SIX!
But now I just can't get enough of 'em!

So there I have it!  One, two three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, TEN!  I can do it!  And I found out there's even MORE numbers after ten!  I can't wait to meet 'em! 

Truth be told, though, I'm kinda hoping Mommy makes me mad today, so I can practice counting to ten some more.  I guess she'd say I don't hafta get all mad to practice, but where's the fun in that?  Where, Friends?

Well, maybe I'll just hafta practice counting to ten when I'm calm, so it's there when I really need it.  Maybe that's the way to go.  I bet it's the way to go.

So I'm off to get crackalackin' on that, Friends.  Remember, I love ya!  Muah!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Water Ice Versus Italian Ice

Is it 'Water Ice,' or is it 'Italian Ice?' Do you know?
Hiya, Big People!  How's your Friday?  You know what, with all this heat, I've been thinking about cold treats and came upon a debate between 'Italian Ice' and 'Water Ice.'  It's very pertinent to my situation right now, because the other night, Mommy said we ought to get some Water Ice, and I thought 'huh?' and Daddy flat-out said "Call it Italian Ice.  It never made sense to me calling it 'Water Ice.'  What other kind of ice is there?"

And Mommy being Mommy started to list off all the different kinds of ice there could conceivably be.  For those of ya followin' along at home, Big People, my Mommy's kind of a nerd and she hasn't forgotten much of anything she's read since she was my age, and apparently, she once read a science book about all the different types of ice.  Please don't engage her in this conversation, Friends.  I love ya too much to let her bore ya nearly to death like she did me and Daddy over this Water Ice thing.
Call it whatchya want- I call it delicious!

Anyway, anything with 'Ice' in its name sounds pretty darned great to me in this weather, so I got to lookin' around on the World Wide Web to see which of my parents was right.  Is this delightful frozen treat 'Italian Ice' or is it 'Water Ice?'

Well, first of all, I needed to find out what the heck I was looking at, with this 'Ice Storm' of sorts.  I found my answer right here in this article.  It's pretty darned informative, differentiating between granitas, Sno Cones, sorbets, shaved ice (known as 'shave ice' in Hawaii!), and Ice Pops.  And I'll tell ya what, I'd like to try all of those ice treats, especially the coffee granita!  But that really informative article didn't tell me which of my folks was right on the Italian Ice / Water Ice bit. 

For the answer to that, I had to embark on an Indiana Jones-like crusade for knowledge!
Nothin' like a sugar rush on a hot summer night!

Unfortunately, what I found out was that Italian Ice and Water Ice are the same exact thing, but that Big People like to argue about whether it's Italian Ice or if it's Water Ice, and whoever wins the argument gets all the credibility.  Big People, why are you like that? 

So this is what I've decided: if you wanna call the frozen treat that involves fruity flavor incorporated in super-fine ice granules 'Water Ice' or 'Wudder Ice', be my guest.  If ya like calling it 'Italian Ice,' molto bene, amici!

I say call it whatchya want, Big People.  For myself, I'm deciding to call it 'Water Ice.'  Easier to say.  Just rolls off the tongue.  'Course, in my present speech pattern, it sounds more like 'Wahgur Iyess!' 

Whatever.  I think we can all agree that it's delicious.  And if you don't agree, go get yourself maybe some Iyess Cream and don't be cranky and try to fire up an argument with me about whether or not Water Ice is any good.  I'm not going to play the Big People Quibbling Over Semantics and Other Stuff that Ultimately Doesn't Matter Game.  You Big People are a tetchy lot.

And besides, I'm off to play some Parcheesi in the club car.

I love ya, Big People!  Muah!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

How Hot Is It?

Stay frosty, Friends!
Hiya, Friends!  You stayin' cool in all this heat?  Boy, isn't it funny how it took so long for it to really feel like Summertime, and now here we are, boiling up hot?

I do my best to stay cool.  Actually, what I do is try not to get too hot.  Stayin' cool is impossible.

Anyway, I saw a video on the World Wide Web of somebody cooking an egg right on the pavement, and that was fascinating enough, but then I saw another where someone was attempting to bake some cookies in their car!  How about that?!

Now, I'm no MythBuster, but I tend to think that those folks who are trying to bake cookies in their hot car are the victims of hyperbole run amok.  You know why?  On the rare occasion Mommy bakes cookies for me (and it's a rare occasion, because my Mommy has no self-control, and I've watched her shove a half-dozen chocolate chip cookies in her mouth in a time that would make Cookie Monster say 'Slow Down!'), I've noticed that the oven gets preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

And don't try cooking things in inappropriate places!
Now, I know I'm new here, but I'm pretty sure that 350 degrees Fahrenheit is hotter than the hottest car gets on the hottest day.  I mean I could be wrong.  But if ya think about it, eighty-five, ninety, even a hundred degrees feels really hot to us humans.  I'd say a hundred and ten or a hundred and twenty also feels really hot, but I think it'd just belabor my point, and also I've never actually experienced anything over a hundred, I don't think.  And then ya figure water boils at two-twelve.  That's hot enough to scald your skin!  Ouch!

Now, you hear all the time about people claiming to bake cookies on their hot, closed-up dashes in the summertime, but do you ever hear of anybody boiling water in the cabin of their car and making Jell-O while they're at work?

No.  You don't hear of those things, because I maintain that it simply doesn't get hot enough to boil water, much less bake a batcha oatmeal scotchies in your car.  It might heat up the dough.  It might melt the butter.  But if you're expecting to come out of your cubicle farm at the end of the hot day and enjoy a nice, crispy cookie, baked fresh on your dashboard, you'll be disappointed when ya see just a pan fulla warmish dough.

So instead of tryin' to bake cookies in your car on a hot day, I think your time and energy would be better spent splashing in a fountain and finding your town's best ice cream or water ice joint.  That's what your pal Zoe has to say about the matter!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pop N. Fresh and Me

This is me with Pop on a recent visit to Gramma's.
Friends, have you ever met the Pillsbury Doughboy?  His formal name is Pop N. Fresh, and as it turns out, he lives at my Gramma's house, right the heck on her very kitchen counter!  How about that?!

Well, back when I was a little kid, Pop N. Fresh and I had a lot in common.  People like to poke Pop in the belly to make him say 'heheeeeee!' and they also liked to tickle me in the belly to make me say 'heheeeee!' and you know what?  Neither one of us liked it much.

Well, actually, we don't mind, neither one of us, but it's the whole idea of having our personal space invaded by poky fingers and pinchy fingers that would get us all upset.

So Pop and I became fast friends one February night, when I was just a baby, when I helped him fend off a tickling pincher!  I used my Fabulous Feet of Fury and kicked and kicked and kicked until our would-be assailant just gave up and went and did something else, instead of bugging me and Pop.

This is us, the night we became fast friends! See my feet?
It was a watershed moment in both our lives.  For Pop, he realized that he didn't hafta let people poke him in the belly and make him laugh, just because he's cute and has a round little belly and big cheeks.  For me, I realized that, too, but I also realized that I have the means to defend myself if I need to!  I don't hafta be tickled if I don't wanna be!  All's I gotta do is kick my Fabulous Feet of Fury!

On a recent visit to Gramma's house, I took some time to sit and talk with my friend Pop N. Fresh.  I asked him if people are still poking him in the belly against his will, and he said they're not, because when they start, he says 'No! I am a doughboy with feelings and I ask you to observe a Cone of Respect around me and kindly keep your fingers to yourself!'

He says it's cut down dramatically on the number of times he gets tickle-attacked, so that's good.  I'm glad that works for him. 

I just love Pop N. Fresh!  We're gonna be friends forever!
As for me, I still work my Fabulous Feet of Fury.  I wear soxieshooz now, but that doesn't mean my feet are any less fabulous or any less furious.  I think it makes my feet more of both.  And to be sure, I work 'em a little bit every day, practicing my kicking.  Some people practice karate, some people practice judo, tae kwon do, or ken-po.  I practice what I like to call the Pop-n-Fresh method of self defense.  I named my style in honor of my friend Pop N. Fresh, since he's the one who inspired me to become empowered in the first place.

That's a really good friend, right there, Friends.  A friend that inspires.  And also a friend who bakes me nice things to eat like Crescent Rolls and cookies with little designs right in the middle of the dough.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Up, Up, UP!!!

Music puts a smile on my face and a song in my heart!
Hiya, Friends!  I bet you know how much I love Sixties Dance Music, and New Wave Music from the 1980s, but I bet you don't know what my favorite song is.  Well, I'll tell ya.  It's a song I got in one of my Boxes I get in the mail.  Not the one with the stuff all about Potty Training that's forever tainted my days with constant questions like 'Do you wanna use your potty today, Zoe?'  The answer's no.

No, the box that I got my favorite song in was a different box.  It came with a book and a See-Dee, and it has glorious music on it.  The song and the book is called "Up, Up, Up!" and it's about flying up, up, up... up in a balloon!  It's about all the things you can see while you're flying up in a balloon, like trains and race cars and bikes, and all the different animals, and jungles and cities, and countries, and how if your balloon goes up high enough, everything looks GREEN!

I'm singin' to ya right now, Friends!  'UP, UP, UP!'
It's my favorite song that's the reason I like to tell Mommy everything's green.  I know the difference.  I think we've talked about this before, but that's why.  Because in my favorite song, the balloon goes up high enough, and eventually, everything really does look green from far away, so technically, I'm not wrong.  Somebody, somewhere is always up high enough just to see green, so it doesn't matter if Mommy's holding up a red towel and demanding for me to say what color it is.  To somebody up in a balloon or in an aeroplane, that towel's green, by golly!

What I really like about that song is that it has a nice tune and a really good message.  That we're all on this blue and green marble together, Friends.  And that helps me feel not so alone, when I'd otherwise feel kinda lonely.  It also helps me remember to help people out when I can, because I'm not here by myself.  There's lots of us here!  And we can all be friends! 

Now that's a message I can get behind!  I love ya, Big People!  Muah!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Eating to Win!

What? They're grapes.  I'm eatin' grapes.
Hiya, Friends!  Recently, I watched the NHL Draft Day, and noticed that when they talked about a lot of the players that were going to be drafted by hockey teams, they talked about "So-and-So already knows the importance of eating to win."

It got me to thinking that I wanna win, too, so I'd better figure out how to eat to win, myself, even though I'll never be drafted by the National Hockey League.  There are lots of other arenas in life in which I can win.  It doesn't hafta be a hockey one.  But wouldn't that be cool if I did get to play hockey in some league, and I could eat to really win?

Anyway, I've done a lot of reading about it on the internet, and as it turns out, sweets really are too good to be true.  That makes me really sad, because I like cookies, and cake, and candy, and as much as I'd like to eat those things all day, every day, I've learned that if I wanna win, I can't.  It'd be like if I poured sugar into the gas tank of one of Daddy's cars.  Besides Daddy getting really mad, the car wouldn't run very well, and because I'd been eating lotsa sugar and putting it in my gas tank, I wouldn't run very well, either.  So I guess sweets are a sometimes-treat, and that's okay.

The next thing I learned is that I've gotta eat to fuel my muscles so I can run faster, jump higher, and just be in better shape.  And food provides me with the right building blocks to build stronger muscles and a stronger me!  For instance, eggs are really good for you!  They have protein.  I love eggs!  Meat also has protein, but I'm on the fence about meat.  I don't not like it, but sometimes I just don't like to chew it. 

Milk and milk foods help my bones and teeth get strong and stay strong.  This is good news for me, because I like milk. I drink it by the bucket-ful, six ounces at a time.  I love string cheese!  And yogurt!  And ice cream!

Winning, one bite at a time!
I also like whole grains.  They give me a dose of energy right now. My favorite thing right now is Ezekiel Bread or Rye bread with seeds, toasted, with some coconut oil on top instead of butter.  I like butter all right, a lot even, but butter (and ice cream, if I'm being painfully honest with myself) isn't something you wanna eat a lot of when you're eating to win.  Coconut oil tastes really good, anyway, so I really like it on my toast!

My favorite food group is the one with fruits and vegetables.  I haven't met one of either I don't like, but I DO have my favorites.  You know I love bananas, and blueberries and grapes.  They're my favorite right now!  But did you also know that I love to eat lettuce and tomatoes?  It's true!  I've been fascinated by romaine ever since I could sit up by myself, and now I finally get to have some of my own! 

I think I like Eating to Win!  I'm gonna keep up with it, but not be above a treat every now and then.  So look out, World!  You never know what Zoe's gonna win next!  I love ya, Friends!  Muah!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Goggle Me!

Hey, Friends! Check me out in my goggles!
Hiya, Friends!  Do you know what one of my favorite things about summer is, besides summer?


Well, I think you Big People call 'em 'sunglasses.'  Either way, I love 'em.  One minute, I can be just me, and then I put on a pair of my goggles, and I'm still me, but I can be anything in my head that I wanna be!

While I'm wearing my goggles, I can imagine I'm an ace girl-pilot, flying loop-de-loops in the sky!  Or I can imagine I'm a racecar driver, zooming around the track.

Maybe I'm a scientist, and my goggles protect my eyes from fumes and spurts from my scientific experiments.  Or I'm a chef, cutting up onions, and I don't want the onion-juice to get in my eyes.

Don't laugh!  Onions can really mess you up if their juice squirts into your eyes while you're cutting them up!  They'll make you cry!
Come on, Friends! Let's go to the pool!

I'm not always imagining I'm an adventurer, though.  Sometimes, when I put my goggles on, I'm a Fancy Girl on vacation someplace Fancy!

In the picture to the right, for instance, I'm at a fancy hotel for the Convention for Helpers of the Plight of Little Giraffes Everywhere.  I went last year and met my friend Nora!  This fancy hotel is pretty great, because the pool has a swim-up donut bar!  How about that?!  You just swim, and ride the water slides, and then when you get hungry, you can swim up to the donut bar, or ride your floatie!  How about that?!

I like to visit that fancy hotel in my imagination a lot, Friends!  Although this year, I hear that the hotel where the Convention is this year has a Cupcake Village where all the houses are cupcakes and you can go inside and get cupcakes.  I can't wait to go to the Little Giraffe Convention this year!

In the meantime, it'll be me and my goggles, lookin' sharp and imaginin' things!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Oh, My Stars, So Many Cars!

Hey-ya, Friends!  Let's go for a RIDE!
Hiya, Friends!  Well, I love cars.  I really do.  Anytime Daddy has one of the sassy cars out, I've just gotta go out and look in it.  I love sitting in the seat.  I love the way the steering wheels feel in my hands, and I love imagining I can shift 'em.

I think shifting's gonna be FUN!

You know, I haven't really met a car I didn't like, either.  They're all pretty neat, in their own way.  Even Toyota Priuses, which I'll admit DO sort of put me off, but it's only because sometimes people who drive them look at those of us who don't drive them like we just pooped on their shoes for driving a non-hybrid car.

Self-righteousness, is what I'm getting at.  I don't care much for the self-righteousness.  So whatever you drive, whether it's a pick-up truck or a Prius (and I know that just got some Prius-driving teeth out there to gnash in disgust, putting Priuses and Pick-Up Trucks in the same sentence!), just live and let live.  If you're in the Prius, just be happy that YOU'RE getting excellent gas mileage, and that YOU'RE above all the issues that people who drive cool cars must have.  You can walk around with a smug little grin on your face in celebration of your superiority, but let's not start verbal altercations with people who drive something other than a hybrid car.

Because once you start going around the parking lot, criticizing the other drivers for their automotive choices, it gets to looking to a casual observer like me like mmmmmmmaybe there's a certain Prius driver out there who's maybe got some issues of his or her own.   I won't go into what issues I think they are, because on my part, it's all assumption, and you know what they say about assuming stuff!

Back to me and my love for cars, though.  I just think they're pretty neat.  They come in all different shapes and sizes and colors!  They all make interesting sounds, or in the case of the Prius, no sound at all- a stealth car!  How fun!

Don't forget to buckle up!
I gotta say, I like the noisy cars best, most of the time, because the noisy cars usually mean an older car, and for me, that's where all the car-character comes from. The older cars, you wouldn't mistake them for each other.  You know?

What I'm saying is that these days, cars in a certain genre all kinda look alike.  My Mommy's Jeep, for instance.  If I don't see the front grille, and just see the back quarter panel, I don't know for sure that I'm looking at a Jeep or a GMC or a Buick or a Ford.  Minivans like my Gramma's are the same way.  They're getting so they're all watermelons with windows, or slightly squared-off watermelons with windows.  And the Prius, that vehicle I can't decide whether I love or hate, well, it looks like you could swallow one of those babies and let it drive right through your digestive system and out the other end, and it wouldn't hurtchya a bit.

I mean, it'd hafta be all shrunk down, pill-size.  I'm pretty sure doctors would advise against swallowing a whole, real-size Prius and letting it drive through your digestive system and out the other end.

Now let's see how this thing corners!  Beep-beep!
Those old cars, though.  They had style. They had class.  Some of 'em even had fins!  Now why the heck would a car have fins, other than just to have fins.  I mean, WOW, there were some crazy things going on back in the Fifties and Sixties, weren't there?  And in the Seventies, like the cars that live at my house, they had muscle, and growl.  And the Eighties gave us the Delorean.  I LOVE Deloreans!

Anyway, there's a lot of kinds of cars out there to see and enjoy, Friends!  I think since we're all just trying to get from here to there and back again, we should all just be nice to each other, and not get all self-righteous around people who don't drive the same kind of cars we do.  Think about how boring the road would look if everybody drove a white Prius-shaped vehicle.  I like a little variety out there, folks, and I think deep down, so do most of us! 

I love ya, Friends!  Be nice to each other out there!  Muah!

Friday, July 12, 2013

"Something-FLAVORED" Never Tastes Like the Thing It's Supposed to Have The Flavor Of!

How come things that say 'grape' don't taste like grapes?
Hiya, Friends!  Boy, do I ever have a beef I'd like to chew today.  It's about foods. You know, I love foods.  I have, ever since I had my first spoonful of sweet potatoes all the way back in February Twenty-Twelve.  I don't want to go on and on about my sweet potatoes, because I liked those, and when I got to have the real thing, not all zizzed up in a blender even, I loved 'em even more. 

It's like that with a lot of the foods I eat!

The thing is, there's all kinds of foods out there masquerading as other kinds of foods.  For instance, the following candies/drinks bear no taste-bud resemblance to the foods after which they've been named: Watermelon Gum and Candy, Green Apple Candy and Gum, Grape anything, and fake maple syrup.  To a lesser extent, things that say they're Orange- or Lemon- or Lime-flavored.  I think it's easier to get those citrus foods closer to the real thing.  But they're not the real thing!

Is that real Maple Syrup you're fixing to put on my flapjacks?
I just don't get it, Big People!  Why even have stuff sharing the same name, when they taste nothing alike? Like the above-referenced different fruits, I love 'em all!  I love little Mandarin oranges, and I'm happier than a pig in slop if I get to have a lemon or lime wedge when I'm out and about.  I love the puckery sourness!  I'll pick the pieces of a green apple right out of any salad Mommy's eating, and when I get to eat fruit salad, the big, red chunks of watermelon are what I eat first!  I love the coolness, the crunch, the way the juice out of those fruits pops and runs down my throat!  It's the same with grapes.  I've taken a liking to real grapes, plucked right off the bunch, and sliced in half. 

Here's my beef, then.  When I bite into watermelon candy, it's too sweet.  Likewise with the grape candy.  I suppose you could say that grape candy tastes a little bit like grape jelly, but once you start talkin' jellies and jams, you're one remove from the fruit.  Kinda like Six Degrees of Separation from Kevin Bacon.  You can't say you know Kevin Bacon because you know somebody who's on the sixth degree of separation from him.  You can only say you know a friend of a friend of Kevin Bacon's.

Friends, insist upon real food whenever you can! It's just better!
That's how I feel about fruit-flavored candies, Friends.  You can't say that Apple-Flavored anything tastes at all like an apple.  If I'd had the apple-flavored candy first, I wouldn't go near an actual apple, and that'd be too bad!  You can't say that Grape Kool-Aid tastes like grapes, because they don't.  Real grapes aren't that sweet.  By rights, they oughtta call it Grape Jelly-flavored Sugar-Based Beverage with Copious Amounts of Food Color Squirted In It (TM)!  That isn't as catchy as Kool-Aid, but it's closer to the truth, anyway!

I don't even know where to start with the Maple Syrup.  I love real Maple Syrup.  The Maple-Flavored stuff is cheaper, I understand.  I get it.  And I don't even mind it.  It isn't the same.  At least they're honest with me on the label: they say "artificially-flavored."  If I know not to have my mouth set for a taste that came from a tree, but set for a taste that was created in a laboratory and made in a factory, I'm much more receptive to it.

That doesn't mean I hafta like it.

Friends, insist on eating real food whenever you can.  That's the rule I'm living by, and I hope you do, too!