A book of this nature turned out to be a lot more work than I ever envisioned. Entire 12-plus hour days were dedicated to finding photo shoot locations, scheduling models, prop making, story writing, and muffin baking. I don't think I've ever been so tired in my life. Am I complaining? Oh, heck no!! It was the Best Job Ever! (Next to being a mom, of course, but now we're talking apples and oranges. Or would that be Beef Cakes and Baby Cakes?)
My previous work experience is as follows: I started in the snack bar at my high school at age 14, moved on to babysitting, gas station attendant (remember those people who actually pumped your gas and washed your windows?) Hickory Farms Beef Stick hawker ("....it's 100% beef, no pork, garlic, or pepper..."), movie theater concession clerk, clothing store salesperson, bakery store salesperson, lace store salesperson, kennel attendant at a Humane Society (worst job ever, as I had to euthanize unwanted animals...sob!) and Catholic middle school science teacher. I can honestly, whole-heartily say that none of these employment opportunities gave me a fraction of the joy that this project did. I mean, c'mon: oiling down hunky guys, wiping off excess oil from hunky guys--how can this possibly be bad?
That said, my favorite part of the project had to have been the photo shoots. Each was special and enjoyable in its own way, and like children, I couldn't possibly choose my favorite model:
Jack (aka Sparky) our Breakfast in Bed Stud: He was our first, and you always remember your first anything, right? I just recall stepping back from all the flurry of setting up the shoot, with Jack looking incredible and Tammy working her magic, and I cried, once again. (Hmm, I wonder if I'm too emotional?) But this moment is etched in my brain, as it was the physical realization that I was living my motto of "Make a wish, then make it happen." Stud Muffins was actually happening, right there before my soggy eyes. Way too cool.
Catoris, our Optometrist Stud: He has a beautiful smile, but the shot that spoke to us was his slight, come hither grin. I hope you might one day see his pearly whites, as they are stunning. One other remembrance was that we paid him with socks. He liked the pair we used for his ensemble, so it was the very least we could give him. That, and some muffins, of course.
Ron, our Camper Stud: His sessions went very smoothly, as he's had some photo shoot experience as a pro-softball player. He was also very generous with his time, as we had to re-shoot at a better location. All this while he was waiting to hear the news about the arrival of his first grandchild. Go Grandpa Stud!
Anthony, our Butler Stud: What you can't see in the photo is his heavily bandaged leg. He was only several days out of knee surgery, and we had him limping up and down stairs to get the shot we needed. Then, at our cast party, he was only several days out of laser eye surgery, which found him blindly maneuvering around cake tables and bar maids. He's been a real trouper, but I've warned him that should we go on Oprah, he'd best stay healthy, as we can't have his pancreas (or any other vital internal organ) oozing out on camera.
John, our Coffee Stud: He's been with us since the beginning, helping us with the initial photos we took to sell the project. But in fact, we've known John for many years before that, as he was the PE teacher at the Catholic school where we all originally met. Yes, I have taken him from lowly coach to international supermodel. He owes me big. (John, that means a 10% finders fee. Paid in cash.)
Jeremy, our Pool Stud: He is our youngest model and a real sport as we made him float, tread water, and/or hang from the edge of the pool for hours to get his shot. Also, he allowed us to alter his "do", which was originally spiked up in the middle. And while he wasn't too crazy about the way his hair looked, I told him I thought he looked like a young Robert Redford. To which he replied, "Who?" I felt very old that day.
Stephen, our Golfer Stud: Actually, he is Dr. Stephen, a very well-respected orthodontist in our area. It was fun showing his audition shot to friends, who would exclaim, "He our orthodontist! He is so handsome! And so nice!" Yep, those are the two qualities we required for our models. (The handsome and nice part--not so much the dental experience, although my kids' teeth might need some work one day...) He was also kind enough to allow us to use his personal golf clubs for the shot. And, of course, his smile was just perfect, as one would expect!
Up next, the other half of our gaggle of guys. Or would that be herd of beef?
WINTER OLYMPICS UPDATE FROM 1998 - Twenty years ago in Nagano, I attempted curling. Incredibly, I did not medal.
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