Friday, August 31, 2012

Fail is a Four-Letter Word (So is Date)

After Juan stood me up, and showed up later bloody and broken, I agreed to go out with him again purely out of pity. Then he tried to kill me mountain climbing, but failed, hah. I only gave him a second chance to kill me because I really wanted to try skiing anyway. To be fair, the whole ski trip fiasco wasn’t Juan’s fault. He was terrific, all golden eyed and great smile. We walked into the lodge and stopped by the fireplace to warm up. Then the ladies swarmed, “Swoon!  Juan, didn’t we go to school together?  I’d remember your smile anywhere!” So he ordered drinks and started chatting up his admirers. Whatever. I left him there, recommending he take them hiking sometime, and headed to the ski slopes myself. He called after me to start on the Bunny Hill, where they offered lessons for newbies, and he’d catch up. Good luck with that.

Standing outside I noted Bunny Hill appeared to be slang for four-year olds, and that lessons would take up half of my allotted time. Talk about a waste of time. Besides that an unseasonable warm-up had hit, and the snow machine barely kept enough snow on the main drag. Most of the lower slopes were a slushy mess. I trotted over to the ski shack to rent skis. The Mandatory Handsome Ski Guy (MHSG) offered to help me out. Cool. Day is looking up. “How much do you weigh?” he asked. “I weigh 110 pounds,” I replied. The trick here is not to break eye contact. You must believe it when you say it. It’s a whole Jedi Mind Trick thing. “You’re not skiing in jeans, are you?” he asked. What else would I be skiing in?  I looked around then, and noted that the other skiers were wearing ski pants. Ah well, at that time in my life there was little on earth that could have gotten me into a pair of big puffy Santa pants. “I’m wearing jeans,” I told him. “They won’t be comfortable,” he warned. Comfortable?  Pants?  Where’d they get this guy?  These were the best pants I ever owned, they looked good!  Just a little tight in the legs, but no problem there, I avoided bending my legs.

MHSG (Mandatory Handsome Ski Guy) then needed to know what size shoe I wore. This is beyond the pale. State secrets. Like I was going to admit I pretty much fit the box the boots came in?  “I wear a size…7 ½ shoe,” employing Jedi Mind Do not look at my size ten feet Trick. “Our ski boots only come in whole sizes, so 8 or 7?” he said. “Seven.”  Damn that Cinderella and her little feet. How many blistered, hobbled feet is Walt Disney personally responsible for?  Or should we dump that sin on The Brothers Grimm?  Whichever. Personal responsibility is so passé I know the guilt rests with one of them.  Suited up I slid right onto the main thoroughfare. Hey I’m a natural. I can slide, cool.

For someone without an engineering cell in her body, a ski-lift is as wonderfully magical as a remote control. Big metal gliders are jerked up the mountain attached by what appears to be a twisty tie. Only the twisty isn’t tied, it magically sticks to a skinny little cable. That cable miraculously supports the weight of a hundred metal gliders and the weight of hundreds of skiers fed on cheesy fries. Could not wait to hop on!  Figuring out how to walk on skis, I made it to the ski lift and got in line. Wait. They don’t stop so you can get on?  Everybody just skied into place and hopped on the lift. Uh-oh, I’m pretty sure if I attempt to turn in these skis, I will be taking down everyone in a six foot radius. Maybe I’ll go practice.

Found a small hill and practiced. How cool is this?  Sliding down, sliding down, wait, sliding down fast!  Leaning back. Big mistake. How’d I get buried in snow?  No worries, I popped up and tried again. (Tip:  Don’t lean back.)  Now I’m moving fast, but going with it, because apparently there is no speed control on skis. And here’s the bottom of the hill. Stop. Stop!  People ahead!  How do you stop?  (Tip:  If you don’t know how to stop, don’t worry, there are many options. All of them hurt.) Okay, the stopping thing is a problem, but if you give yourself plenty of space to slow down on a flat surface, gravity will do it for you. Like skating!  Got it. Let’s go uphill so we can slide down and have some serious fun. Now getting to the top of the hill must involve the magical ski lift, because the other option was an epic fail. (Tip:  Don’t wear jeans skiing. After you’ve fallen, and been dragged through slush by the tow rope, your legs are now half frozen and soaking wet. No worries, the water is starting to freeze.)
Good news!  If given enough incentive, they actually will stop the ski lift to let you get on!  It’s all a matter of collateral damage, but you’ll figure it out I am sure. (Tip:  When you fall getting off, duck your head. They don’t stop it then.)  So here we are at the top and there are choices!  Let’s chat international signs for a moment. I don’t know about you, but to me they pretty much even everything out, because now no one knows what is going on in any language. Ah well, all the paths appear to lead down, and that is where I’m headed. Yep, I’m headed down, fast. This rocks!  Don’t lean back, don’t lean back. (Tip:  You will lean back, you will pay.)  Hey, what’s that sign say?  What’s a mogul?

We now know what a mogul is. Mogul is Mongolian for ‘You will fall on the far side of a snow mound and be battered by skiers who know what they are doing, Moron.’  The problem here is visibility. By the time you figure out where your skis are, and clamber to your feet, an airborne four-year old will take you out. Crawling isn’t an option either; remember you can’t bend your legs in those jeans. That is actually irrelevant though, because they are frozen stiff anyhow. This is where Juan shows up. Yep, he appears with one of those magnificent skier stops that blows white powder all over you and your frozen jeans. “Do you like it?”  Oh heck yeah!  This man is destined to mysteriously disappear while hiking with his wife someday. Considerately, Juan doesn’t help me out from beneath the mogul until I ask straight out. I am so not ever going out with this guy again.

You know what’s fun?  You can take another nearby ski lift, and go much higher up the mountain!  Let’s. And we do, and Juan shows me how to get on the chair without harming anyone, including myself. And he also shows me how to make it swing back and forth really fast, so I can enjoy the full experience. I wonder if he’ll just accidentally fall off of a ski lift someday – you know, skiing with that hypothetical wife. Betcha. At the top he expertly jumps out and waits while I manage my best imitation and flop out behind him. One of my skis pops off and goes sliding down the hill by itself. Really fast. Yep. There it goes. I put the boot on the snow and sink down to my knee in powder. “What do you do when this happens?” I ask. “I don’t know,” he says. “I’ve never seen it happen before.”  He bends down and checks my skis. “They shouldn’t have given you those skis; they’re for someone…much smaller.”  (Tip:  Don’t lie about your weight when you rent skis.) No jury of her peers will ever convict Juan's wife, should he ever have one someday.

Juan wishes me luck and heads down the mountain, all golden and graceful and gorgeous. I debate my options. I could try one ski…we both know I’m going to end up sliding down on my back most of the way anyhow…I could take off the other ski and try walking, but since the ski-less leg is now thigh-deep in snow, I’m thinking that won’t work…Maybe I could just sit and sort of scoot all the way down – it’s not like I have any pride left. “Excuse me?  Do you need help?”  It’s the Demi-god of Ski Patrol Guys (DgSPG) in spandex skiwear. He’s pulling a toboggan. I don’t know what to say. Would “I love you?” be too forward?  Possibly assuming I’ve suffered a head injury and cannot speak, he helps me into the toboggan very gently. I don’t even have to bend my legs!  This is good, because remember I cannot – and my pants are actually ice encrusted at this point, so he lifts them into the toboggan for me because I can’t. How awesome is this?  DgSPG takes off skiing as I recline behind him, sliding down the mountain. The only sound is his skis over the snow. It takes an impressive amount of time to reach the bottom, and once there he helps me out of the toboggan and apologizes about the defective ski. No problem, I had a great time. I love skiing! 

Have you ever noticed that trip is a four-letter word? Ever been on a trip that turned into a series of unfortunate events? The kind that are funny only in hindsight? Dish. What was your absolutely best bad idea?

The Epic Slinky Dog Giveaway continues here at The Glitter Globe!  Half a dozen are being tamed for mailing even as we speak.  Please be patient if you won one this past week.  (The ear mouse slows me down. Ear mouse saga at .)  Please follow my blog, if you haven’t already. Right over there ---à where it says “Join this site”. And be sure to leave a comment below, for a chance at your very own Slinky Dog! For every five new followers I get, I randomly choose a winner from my comment sections.  This round starts with this blog post, so comment away for your chance to win!
For the story of my first date with Juan, check out  .

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Food Philosophy 101 - The Optimist

Have you ever eaten a perfect peach?  Maybe it came right off the tree or fresh from a farm stand. The memory of that golden sweet, sun-ripened, Garden of Eden fruit will beckon to your optimistic taste-buds for decades. Sadly there is no supermarket fruit that can ever compare, but you will continue to buy store bought peaches all of your life, in hopes of locating even a distant relative of that fruit you tasted once. The same goes for watermelon. You know dang well those superstore watermelons are going to end up testing the strength of your kitchen garbage bag, or will they?  Will this one taste like that watermelon you had on the 4th of July that summer?  There’s only one way to find out.
How about fresh from the field corn-on-the cob with real butter and salt?  Consuming one single ear of corn from Upstate New York can be responsible for every corn purchase you make for the rest of your life. The big plastic bag of frozen corn-on-the-cob, the one with the picture on the outside and the freezer burned corn inside?  Canned corn?  These are not rational choices people, these are examples of wishful thinking.

Packaged cookies are a perfect example. They are sweet, and they are crunchy – but so are termites (or so says my BFF). Can that begin to compare with fresh-from-the-oven-I-use-real-butter oatmeal cookies?  I think not. But who has time to roll out sugar cookies?  For that matter who keeps real vanilla, fresh eggs and good chocolate chips in the house for every time the cookie monster emerges?  So we settle for the termite equivalent
Remember that time we met at Fridays after work?  We drank iced-tea and ate that killer spinach-artichoke dip?  Or how about the block party and that guy’s grilled chicken?  (The guy raised on a poultry farm, remember?)  Then there was the family reunion – Grandma’s potato salad. Stellar meals might offer a clue about grocery cart selections. What is in the cart?  Several boxes of frozen appetizers – do you think they taste as good as the picture on the box promises?  There are also ingredients for the six chicken recipes I googled, we’ll just combine them all into one…And since potato salad takes too much time, and I have a novel to edit, I got the stuff from the deli!  Just because I don’t have the time or inclination to make something, doesn’t mean the desire to eat it isn’t firmly in place. Are you with me?  Are you a Food Optimist? 

What foodie memory have you failed to replicate?  Garden tomatoes?  Bluesberries straight off the bush?  I know you’re out there. I looked in your cart at the supermarket.


The Epic Slinky Dog Giveaway continues here at The Glitter Globe!  Please follow my blog, if you haven’t already. Right over there ---à where it says “Join this site” and be sure to leave a comment below, for a chance at your very own Slinky Dog!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

First and Last Dates

Photo Credit: Clarita/Morgue Files

The first time Juan asked me out he stood me up. He was immediately written off. The Glitter Globe offered no second chances for this type of violation. So later that night when he knocked on the door, I took a moment to prepare myself mentally for the scathing reception he was about to receive. Opening the door, there he stood in the porch light covered in blood, his hand in a cast of some sort and his arm in a sling. Cheater. I totally caved. Completely fell for his excuse. You know, the old “My car caught on fire in an under-ground garage. I thought the gas tank was going to explode and it was parked next to dozens of other cars. I tried to pull the fire alarm, but that thing you break the glass with was missing. I had to use my hand. By the time the fire department came, my car was completely engulfed in flames – the tires even melted. I would have called you then, except they took me to the hospital. I had to have surgery on my right hand, and the left was burned so I couldn’t use the phone even afterwards. Can I borrow your car?”  Yeah, I know. I was so naïve. But, hey, the next time was a pity date!

Juan enjoyed hiking and wanted to take me. He asked if I liked nature. I absolutely love flowers, and that’s part of nature, right?  And I’d hiked around a castle in a nearby park at least twice!  We had so much in common!  “Sure,” I said, “I’m very outdoorsy.”

In order to reach the bottom of the mountain, we had to cross a railroad trestle. Halfway over I was told to hurry, just in case a train came. 

Then we had to crawl over the face of a little cliff under a bit of a waterfall. It totally wrecked my hair.

After that it got hard, climbing up a mountain. Grabbing onto a skinny sapling to haul myself upward, it came out of the ground and I slid downhill a ways. Lost a shoe too, well, it fell off when that happened. Then I lost it throwing it at my date. It started to rain then, and despite the exertion from the climb, it was cold. We took refuge beneath an overhang in the rock. I scooted deeper inside the nook to avoid the blowing rain, but was told not to, due to the rattlesnakes that tended to inhabit that spot. This was so our last date. At that very moment my BFF was enjoying Mackinac Island – or someplace equally as civilized that involved fudge – with her boyfriend. I thought about that a lot as I climbed.

We crested the top of the mountain, me flat on my stomach, scrabbling over the ledge. It occurred to me at that point that we had to now get down. I’d almost decided to push my date off the mountain, to test that exit strategy, when I heard rustling in the bushes. It was getting dark at this point, but I could see men hiding there. They were dressed in military fatigues. Juan nodded sagely. “That’s just the National Guard. They practice up here on weekends.”  Dang. Witnesses.

The National Guard hadn’t climbed up the way we had. They took the road. Yep. There was a road, and I started marching down it, arms crossed, in that cold silence that most men of dating age are quite familiar with. A truck pulled up alongside us within minutes, offering a ride back to town. There was heat in it. I huddled over that heater and Juan said, “Have you ever been skiing?”  Skiing?  I hadn’t, but I’d seen people do it in movies. “Because I was wondering if you’d like to go skiing with me sometime?  This winter?”  He smiled his terrific smile. “Sure, I’ll go skiing with you,” I promised. I had always wanted to try skiing. People were always smiling when they did it in the movies. I wondered if ski lodges had fudge. Pictures of roaring fires, ski lifts and fun filled my head. How hard could it be?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mouse Trap

It feels like a mouse crawled into my ear. It didn’t die though, because sometimes I can hear it swallow. Wonder what type of doctor specializes in that?  Refusing to allow a stray rodent to keep me from my novel any longer, I got out of my sickbed and started moving some commas around. You don’t have to be able to hear from both ears to work on your novel.

Despite rumors to the contrary, apparently I do some housework, because the landscape sure changed around here in the last ten days. I didn’t have the energy to double check, but I’m pretty sure that every dish was dirty. My buddy, Zeus, stopped by for lunch. He was disappointed to find that my illness had kept me from keeping enough food in the house to satisfy a giant. Thanks to my loved ones though, there was enough canned soup for just that purpose. I told him about my ear mouse, and we tossed around the likelihood of medical intervention providing any relief. I’ve become a firm believer that, like in the case of a jury trial, you need to provide physical evidence of your complaint when you see a doctor. You know, like a missing or broken limb, oozing, or at least having the decency to faint a bit. I doubt I could provide the mouse. Zeus considered this theory, and said, “Look at you!  Trust me - they’ll believe you’re sick!”  Sometimes I worry that Zeus will never get married. For the record, I was planning to shower today – well – at least I decided to after he said that. Zeus then urged me to get some groceries, insisting that I’d blend just fine at Walmart. If he does get married, I’ll bet he disappears.
The Doctor did confirm the whole ear-mouse theory. Well, okay, she called it fluid in the eustachian tube, but she can't feel it! She told me it might take three months to get better. I am not satisfied with this prognosis - so I'm looking for home remedies while brushing up on my sign language. So far I've tried blasting him out with my iPod.  I couldn't hear it, and I suspect neither could the mouse because he didn't even move, let alone dance out. Tried running and yoga hoping to knock him loose. The only thing that happened with that is I needed a twelve hour nap after, and I think he ate while I napped because I'm pretty sure he's bigger. Please feel free to post your ideas!
The Epic Slinky Dog Giveaway continues!  Leave a blog comment. Every time I get five new followers, I draw from those who left a comment. They're going so fast - well - fast as Slinky Dogs can go.  Okay, that's not very fast, but two went out just this week!  Woo-hoo! 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Keeping in the spirit of not whining, I am looking on the bright side. There’s a summer cold going around that practically requires an exorcism to be rid of. It had been floating dangerously close to The Glitter Globe for many weeks, taking down loved ones. I tried to keep it at bay with orange juice and chicken soup and shouts of, “Cover your mouth when you sneeze!” Alas, it snuck up on me and knocked me right off my typing shoes.
You know how you can feel these things coming, even before the sneezing and oozing begins, but you lie to yourself? Pretending not to be sick, I’d gone for a run, and then agreed to help a friend mark a property line. Said friend didn’t warn me that we were marking a boundary along a mountain, starting at the bottom and going up. I didn’t mention I might be carrying The Plague. My job was easy, all I had to do was walk straight up hill for hours, and spot the red ribbons tied on trees deep in the forest. My buddy, let’s call him Zeus, needed my help in this for one reason only, he’s color blind. The odds of him spotting red ribbons in a forest were a tad slim. I was an enormous help.
“Seriously?  Are you on Facebook again?”  Zeus caught up with me. It was about the third time he caught me sitting on a log, playing with my phone.
            “Yeah,” I confessed, fiddling with the location device. I was really glad Facebook knew where we were, because I have never been so hopelessly lost in my life.
            Zeus glared, and he has an impressive glare. I knew he would never have taken me into the woods if he could have found even a seeing-eye primate for the job of ribbon finder. I tried to hurry up and check my email. He fished a water bottle out of his backpack, continuing to glare, and said, “You actually have a connection here?”  He didn’t really sound impressed.
            “I know, right?  I couldn’t believe it either. I have three bars!”  Luckily I spotted the next ribbon at that point. Those suckers are hard to see even with the ability to spot color. It’s like Where’s Waldo in the forest, only Waldo’s in camouflage with a bit of pink lipstick on.
            As we neared the top ridge of the mountain, Zeus said, “You’re sweating like a man.” 
            “Gee, thanks.”  I mean really?  Guys, even if you think it ya don’t say that!
            “No really. You should see the back of your shirt.”  By now I had a staff fashioned from a tree branch and it was doing most of the work as I dragged myself uphill. I’d drunk most of my water and the cell was firmly in my pocket. I was still lying to myself though, it was in the 90’s after all and the shivering was surely on account of all that man sweating. Apparently Zeus suspected I was considering crawling. He said, “I can mark off the rest of it another time. Why don’t we head back to the truck?”  He got on the two-way radio, to chat with my Dear Hubby – who was somewhere in this vast forest. I continued up the hill and Zeus yelled, “Hey?  Why don’t we just take the path back?” What? There is a path? If I’d had the ability to balance on two legs at that point, Zeus might have accidentally been knocked back down the mountain. Accidentally.
Eventually we found Dear Hubby and I climbed into the back of the truck and closed my eyes. Then they started trying to drive out of the forest. Did I mention that we drove into the forest?  Not on a path, I mean we drove into the forest. I commented that this was the first time I’d ever been lost in the woods in a vehicle. The guys pointed out that we weren’t lost, they knew exactly where we were, just not how to get out.
So, yes, that was the most fun I’ve had in a week. The rest wasn’t nearly as good, but I have compiled a list of the highlights of having a wicked virus in the middle of summer. Remember The Interactive Joy List?  Well, this is a Silver Lining List:
·         Those new Kleenex with the lotion in them. You can be sick twice as long before you rub the skin off your face. Yay. They also come in a Vick’s Vapor Rub scent which is the only thing you can smell when you’re sick.
·         Urgent Care. I’d never been to Urgent Care. I try to avoid going to doctors at all. They ask too many questions, starting with, “What’s your name?”  But my regular Doctor wasn’t open when my hearing clogged shut, so I dragged myself to Urgent Care. They didn’t even ask for my name, just an ID and that was it. In fifteen minutes I was at the Pharmacy with a script for antibiotics. That rocks.
·         Less Air-Conditioning despite the 90+ degree weather. I spent the entire week shutting it off and crawling under the electric blanket. It’s a wonder my family didn’t kill me, but I was saving money on electricity!
·         Reading time. I will admit the first couple of days were almost a treat, curled up with a book all day long. I read two months worth of books this week. Bet Amazon stock is up too.
·         Cold comfort things:  Luden’s cough drops (Do they do anything?  Anything at all?), saltine crackers, orange juice, canned soup crossing that off – sorry that stuff is just gross. But I did request it and was given a bunch of different kinds, all of which went into the “gross” pile. Now if you can get someone to bring you homemade soup (especially in August) that is a perk. Tea. The best. I give my cold comfort award to hot tea when you’re coughing and oozing. It’s almost as much fun as getting lost in the woods in a car.
Do you have anything to add to the Silver Lining List?  Come on, anything at all works. I know of one friend who fills out those forms at the Doctor’s office with interesting tidbits. She insists they never read them, told me once she put “Figure Skater” under occupation. Dish.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Epic Slinky Dog Giveaway

Shopping is not my thing, yet a couple months ago I found myself at Toys R Us searching for an emergency unicorn. It happens. Fortunately the mission was a success and there were two to choose from. One had a defective horn and the salesperson suggested I pick the other one. Shaking my head, I explained, “I don’t like the look in his eye.”  These little details are important, who wants a unicorn giving you the stink eye?  I was leaving the store, cripple-horn unicorn in tow, when I spotted an entire aisle full of that type of candy that really isn’t edible. You know the kind I mean:  lollipops as big as your head in colors not seen in nature, gummy rats, candy buttons, rubber candy shaped like hamburgers and ponies. I pondered the sanity of consumerism run amuck. Then I saw him. Slinky Dog. Now that's just cool. I bought them all.

They were quickly adopted out. There are now Glitter Globe Slinky Dogs all over the country and abroad. Luckily a new shipment arrived this week, so I can share even more! The guy who delivered the Slinky Dogs was shaking the box. They rattle and a whole herd of them sound impressive. He was curious about the contents so I opened it and showed him, and he just shook his head. This guy has been a little bit afraid of me ever since I used him to reenact a particularly gruesome scene from one of my novels. The thing is if you interrupt my writing – even to deliver a package – you’re taking a chance.   
Now onto The Epic Slinky Dog giveaway…we can play this until I run out of Slinky Dogs!  If you haven’t already, please follow my blog (by clicking on “Join this site” or through networked blogs) and leave a comment on today’s blog – or any future blog. I’ll keep track of your comments. Then for every five new blog followers I get, I’ll share a Slinky Dog with one commenter, starting today and going until I run out of Slinky Dogs. There’s an entire nest of them next to me, so this could take awhile. Uh-oh. You know what I just noticed?  Every one of them is giving me the stink eye!

*Thanks to Girard for the awesome picture!