Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Road Less Traveled

The Road Less Traveled is an excellent place to take your niece and nephew when you babysit them. Except for the poison ivy and the snakes, it makes for an excellent hike. Just don’t joke about running out on the hang gliding ramp, because eight year olds think you’re serious. Don’t sweat it; I tackled her before she got to the edge.
Four wheeling through the forest on dirt roads at midnight was a big hit with the kids and their grandmother. We hit every single puddle, got hopelessly lost, and turned the music on full blast – but for some reason we didn’t see any wildlife. It was probably because we let the eight year old pick the music. I have reason to believe that bears like my tunes.

When was the last time you had calloused hands from playing Frisbee?  It had been awhile for me too, I’d completely forgotten Frisbee blisters. We played tag in the evenings and I taught them the Cool Aunt (read; these are not my kids, I’d never had taught my kids this game) version of tag. That’s the one where you play by a mountain stream and take a mouthful of water and chase; tagging with hands or water counts. Grandma lost. Boy was she MAD. Thus Spit-Tag was born.
After playing in the mountain water, we decided it was necessary to swim in it. Now comes the part where Cool Auntie has to suck it up and get in that ice water with the kids. It was a blast. After about twenty minutes you can’t feel your body anymore, so it isn’t so bad. We got out after my nephew lost all feeling in his hands. No worries, it came back after a few hours.

As I sit here rubbing cortisone on my mosquito bites covered in poison ivy with my blistered hands, I’m contemplating the road less traveled by. It has made all the difference, but you might want to dress for it. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Seven Things You Don't Really Want to Know

Do you remember chain letters?  They’ve morphed into postings on social networks and email messages but they’re all the same. Basically you have to forward a message to others in order to save yourself from impending doom, and you are promised some type of reward, monetary or magical. All you have to do is annoy some of your friends by passing it along. I hit delete without even looking at them. Once I did make one up myself. Wish I’d saved it. It involved attacks by invading aliens and mange. The reward involved sprinkle donuts and anti-gravity boots, or something like that.
Yet when Diane Graham tagged me in a blog post that threatened to make my ears fall off, I was intrigued. Diane wrote a novel called, “I am Ocilla”. She possesses a quick and candid wit and lives a fascinating life holed up in a bunker somewhere with dragons and men who morph into trees to scale walls. Or maybe that was her book. Whatever. According to Diane I must share seven things that even my own mother wouldn’t really care about, and tag seven other bloggers to do the same. If my fellow bloggers don’t also blog seven unwanted details, they will not be confounded by any falling ears. Oh no, they will suffer the Space Bar Curse. It sounds quite intergalactic doesn’t it?  No you will not be working the Lido deck for Captain Kirk. Your space bar will only work with your left thumb. Sound innocuous?  I spent two years living with it and look what happened to me. ‘Nuff said. Oh, except for the seven things, and I hope blogs are exempt from competency hearings.
1.   My neighbors already know this, but I don’t really live in Iceland. I’m trying to disorient my female teenage stalker and am planning to move there anyway. In Iceland I will spend my days holed up writing, and my nights swimming in volcanic pools.
2.   My vision is telethon worthy nearsightedness. Sometimes I like to go without my glasses because everything looks very Monet and lovely. This leads me to number…
3.   Without my glasses/contacts on, I can’t hear. It is a very Helen Keller experience. I’ll have you over for eggs sometime and demonstrate.
4.   As a child the only lies I can remember telling are when my Mom took me to confession. I hated to disappoint the Priest.
5.   Sports bore me into a near coma. If I watch any sport with you, know that I love you.
6.   For at least one entire semester while I homeschooled my children, Geography Class consisted of watching The Wild Thornberry’s. My kids aced college, so ha, it worked.
7.   I know all the family secrets, and they’re all destined to become novels. Sorry, Mom. All is fodder for The Glitter Globe.
Now for seven fellow bloggers, click on their link to check out their work.  (And bloggers, no tag-backs – you’re it.)
Beta Extraordinaire
Raj - In Search of Waterfalls
Kimberly - Does it all and looks great doing it blogger
The Shieldmaiden, Kelsey
Isabel - Writer, Artist, Filmaker
Devin - Down Under
Norma - In Search of the American Dream with this Lovely Lady

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fiction, Facts and Fences

Why read fiction? In a world that seems to be losing its sense of humor at an alarming rate, facts and statistics are the soup du jour, not novels. Daily information/disinformation sound bites greet us at every turn. A non-stop barrage of why you should worry and be afraid is shot down your throat, like birds shoving protein down baby beaks. “What if!”  “Did you hear?”  “It could happen to you!”
What does a fiction novel uniquely offer? Escapism may seem the obvious answer, but that comes in many forms besides books. Dabbling incognito in a logical, scientific community, I’ve felt the need to have an answer to this question.  This is my conclusion. Fiction offers something valuable. It is a simulation, a chance to delve deeply into another perspective, another life, another world. Besides an experience, what does reading fiction give you? Empathy. You live another point of view inside a novel.
Enough with justifying my existence. This writer's quest to kiss a baby lamb may or may not have been fulfilled this weekend. I spent it hanging out at a college, crashing in a bunk bed at night, eating cafeteria food, enjoying flash mobs, and walking across campus barefoot. Did you know you can get second degree burns doing that? Neither did I. You can, and yes, I did.

As soon as I arrived on campus, I was given the location of a nearby sheep farm. No questions asked. A photographer volunteered to come, and someone else offered to help herd the lambs. These people understand quests. Like the electric fence, let’s skip over the dodgy details and get to the point. I soon found myself face to face with a fairly good sized lamb. I scratched his ears, leaned down to kiss his wooly head and BAM, the dude head-butted my face so hard that my head snapped up. “I missed that,” my photographer said. Round two, I fed the lamb a piece of grass, and bent down to kiss him again. BAM, again he jerked his head up. At this point my nose was numb, I wasn’t certain if I’d kissed the guy or not. My lips definitely came into contact with his rude, butting head, and the photographer had again gotten only the before and after shot. I may be a slow learner, but I was not going for round three.
So what do you think? If you’re trying to kiss someone and they sorta punch you in the mouth with their head, does it count or not? I’m not asking for leniency, though I may or may not need to call someone to bail me out if I keep questing over fences. Not that I’m admitting to trespassing, I knew someone who knew someone who knew someone, who said it was okay to be there. That counts right? Do I have your empathy? Probably not, but this quest was fact not fiction. So be afraid! What if you try to kiss a lamb and he punches you in the face? It could happen.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Violence of the Lambs

It's never what you expect.

That came to mind today as I resumed my quest. You know the one where I promised to kiss a baby lamb in exchange for a free book?  A sweet little baby lamb, I can do that. I often hike a place that has fields of sheep. I live for a good quest. Let me just cut to the moral of the story right here and now. Sheep smell carries microscope airborne adhesive that will stick to both your lungs and skin. Nothing can remove it. You will smell like Eau de Sheep forever.  Did you think the moral would involve a warning about rashly agreeing to go to first base with quadrupedal, ruminant mammals?  Heck no. Life is short. Grab the bull by the horns. Seize the Day. Smooch the Lamb. Just don’t wear flip-flops when you chase it around the barnyard. (You can't catch it in flip-flops AND the ground is a tad - mucky BUT your photographer laughs a lot.)
Where does the scent of fresh cut grass take you?  How about lilac?  Or watermelon?  Remember sitting in the backseat of a car with the windows rolled down, hot summer vinyl sticking to your thighs, a summer breeze blowing on your face?  What does summer smell like to you?  Fireworks?  Skunk?  Somebody’s grill?  Did anybody in your car ever shout, “SHEEP FARM?”  If they did, I bet you know this is the cue to cease breathing and get those windows up in nanoseconds. Faster even. Then go trade the car in, burn your clothes and move far away.

Had forgotten that childhood tidbit until today, when once again I resumed my quest. The lambs were out at last. I think there were about a hundred of them. They seem to arrive in pairs, and they are picturesque, sweet, fuzzy, white/black and you just want to pet them and give them a kiss. That’s how cute they really are. Good luck with that. Good luck with that, because electric fence/donkey/llama/Brother Pierre’s monkly mandate to keep outside the fence aside – this is what is waiting for you.
"Bring.  It.  On."
Oh, one little fella, despite his Mama’s warnings, wandered right over to the fence and let me pet him. I could have fulfilled my quest right then and there. It would have been quite easy to grab hold of that helpless little guy and kiss him right through the fence. I could not do it to him. I thought about it, briefly. I just could not be the one to make him lose all that newborn, innocent, misplaced trust in humanity. I scratched his ears and let him walk away.
The quest continues…
*No commandments were broken, and no sheep were molested during this quest. (But I did ruin another pair of flip-flops, and I still smell like sheep. There are probably reasons why writer's friends tend to consist almost exclusively of their imaginary ones.)
Welsh lamby photo lifted from my Beta

Thanks to my daughter/photographer/fellow quester for her inspiration and support xo