Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction


It Was All Over Once We Measured Our Heads

My husband has teased me for over ten years about the canned message I used to introduce myself to him online.

Yahoo PersonnalsOn 06/23/2005 04:06 pm EDT, I sent: “I like your profile. Tell me more.”

It was the only time I had ever sent anyone a canned message. After seven years of being widowed, I didn’t feel like putting any more effort into this whole finding-a-perfect-mate thing.

On 06/24/2005 06:03 am EDT, he replied with his own canned message: “I’d like to know more about you. Maybe you could take the Personality & Love Style Test?”

A test? Who does this guy think he is? A test? Oh, I don’t think so. My plan was to play hard to get.

On 06/24/2005 05:21 pm EDT, I wrote: “I found the test and downloaded the Flash Player they said I needed to take the test. I’ve downloaded it 6 times, yet no go. Does this mean I flunked? If you have any hints as to how I can access this test, please send them along. Thanks. Clarice.”flash-player

If he wanted me to take his stupid test, I wasn’t going to make it easy on him.

On 06/24/2005 09:56 pm EDT, he wrote: “Not to ask a really dumb question, but after downloading Flash Player, did you install it?  I know, that’s a lot like asking if your TV’s not working because it’s not plugged in, but it’s all I could think of. David.”

Did I install the Flash Player? I downloaded it, wasn’t that good enough? What more did this moustached man from New Hampshire want from me? Well, I wasn’t so desperate that I needed to put up with this nonsense!

On 06/25/2005 08:57 am EDT, I wrote: “You must think my e-IQ is below average, but I’ve tried, really I have. I’ve clicked on the Personality Test and downloaded and installed the Flash 7, oh, probably 15 times by now. I have also re-booted more than once. Anyway, until I figure this out, here are a few facts about me:

  1. I’m much shorter than you.
  2. I don’t have a moustache. I’ve been told I’m attractive (even without the moustache).
    profile square

    [Ralph] David James 2005

  3. The symphony puts me to sleep, but I don’t think that’s a sin.
  4. I want to lose 10 lbs.
  5. I am honest [Correction: Make that 20 lbs.] and dependable and able to adapt to most situations in quick and positive manner. [I’d just put that on my resume and thought it sounded pretty good, so included it.]  Have I scared you away for good? Clarice

There. No harm in sending him a few bits of  information about me. Actually, there were 20 other things on the list, but does that make me a bad person? It’s not like I asked him to write a “What Marriage Means To Me Essay” or anything. (Well, maybe I did, but not until a month later.)

On 06/25/2005 11:20 pm EDT, he wrote: “Ack! I didn’t mean to act like you were e-IQ challenged! I was just admitting my own inability to come up with a solution to your problem. I’ve always thought ladies should be able to walk under my outstretched arm without mussing their hair. So 5′-2+3/8″ is a nice height. Moustaches on ladies have a very limited following, so your lack of one is no disadvantage.”

Ten more paragraphs followed. He gave as much as he got.

Our daily writing continued through July and August—without one phone call or date (despite all the hints I threw at him). We wrote about everyday stuff: faith, family, food, church, music, work. After a while, I decided there would be much less pressure if we took our time getting to know each other by writing. (Besides, he really never gave me a choice.)

In early August, our relationship took an unexpected turn toward intimacy when he told me he had a big head (literally). I’d seen his picture on his profile so I bet him that he was wrong. To settle the argument, such as it was, we both simultaneously measured our heads and reported the results.

It was all over after that. I knew this guy was for me. Who else would use a 25’ Stanley measuring tape to measure his head for a woman who didn’t know the difference between “download” and “install,” one who would try to use a 12″ ruler to measure the circumference of hers?

Big Head CapsThe first time we spoke and met in person was on September 21, 2005. Since I was looking at his head from a good 12+” below him, it seemed a normal size to me. Even so that Christmas I got him a hat from It fit.

My husband needs a big head if he’s going to live with me. Where else would he store the knowledge base he uses to help get me through my days? (See this blog for more on that.)

“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.'” ~ Genesis 2:18 (KJV)


Ten Favorite Home Decor Stores and Why I Like Them

If you’ve read any of my profile, you know that I love home decorating projects–whether doing one of my own or working on someone else’s.  Here are a few of the places, in alphabetical order,  I can count on to find what I need!


CTS Matelasse BeddingChristmas Tree Shops:  The first Christmas Tree Shop was located on Cape Cod where I lived up until my recent move to New Hampshire. It was one of my first stops on my home decorating buying sprees. But you have to go often, because their merchandize is always changing. And it can change from store to store and from town to town. When they were bought out by Bed, Bath & Beyond in 2003, I noticed an increase in the quality of the CTS’s home décor and bed and bath linens.  I recently found a king-sized, cream-colored mattelasse bedspread I’d been searching for in stores and online. The cost: $39.99.

HGTV Home Furniture:   If you’re a fan of HGTV home design shows, then you’ll enjoy seeing their new brand of furniture and household furnishings–the same ones their designers use. The site tells you where you can find their brands locally so you can check things out in person.

Hobby Lobby:   Yes, if you’re a crafter or hobbyist, this is the place for you. But I was excited to see so many home décor items, including pottery, pictures frames, mirrors, small pieces of furniture, outdoor goods, and quirky items in this store—items that required no work and no assembly. Good for me!

HomeGoodsHomeGoods:   This is another place I love to poke around in even when I’m not actually working on a project. I usually check TJMaxx, too, which is their sister store. My most recent finds were the perfect ottoman for the end of our bed, a small chest of drawers for my office, and some lined curtain panels the right shade of grape for my bedroom–only $18.00 per pair!

Kohl’s:   This is my go-to store for kitchen and bath area rugs, bath linens, and kitchen ware. They have some great sales, too. The other day I was getting ready to order a picture frame online from Kohl’s for $49.99, but I was psyched when I saw the same frame in the store for $22.90!

Pier 1:  Okay, I admit it, I like their commercials, especially when that colorful sock monkey sings! Even though they have a good selection of dinnerware, art, glassware, and candle holders, I often imagine the perfect customer for this store is a single woman. It’s a good research place for writers, too.


kohls rugGrandinroad: This is my new favorite catalogue! I love the fresh colors and fun patterns in their area rugs, pillows, ottomans, and painted furniture Even their leather side chairs come in ten colors! This catalogue makes me want to start decorating my home all over again. But don’t tell my husband.

Home Decorators:  This company is similar to Grandinroad. While Grandinroad might be a little more eclectic, their style is more classic. Cool side tables, buffets, and trunks.

LampsPlus: After looking in box stores, local furniture and lighting stores, and major department stores, I found the perfect hanging light for over my dining room table at LampsPlus. It’s a Kathy Ireland design. When I first got this catalogue, I said, “So this is where those TV designers get their light fixtures.”  This is a cool website and so easy to navigate. They’ve got a great search engine; I’ve used it tons to find just the right style, size, material, and shade of area rug.  Shipping is either free or $2.99– no matter what you buy. Returns are easy, too.Lamps Plus

The next time you’re out and about, stop in one of these places and get inspired! Don’t forget to bring your paint swatches, measuring tape, fabric samples, and list of your room and window measurements.

Or find your find online!

Tip: Find out the store’s return policy, keep your receipts, and plan on returns. You never know how it will work until you get it home. For example, I bought an ottoman I liked at HomeGoods, but found one I liked even better in another HomeGoods.