Monday, October 29, 2012

Slinky Vs. Sandy

Epic Slinky Dog's Life of Leisure - Viva Las Vegas


Check out Epic Slinky Dog's latest adventure on YouTube, courtesy of the talented and beautiful (inside and out) Kimberly Robertson.  She made my hurricane-infested day bright and shiny with this video! 

Slinky Does Vegas (Click on the link to YouTube!)

BFF and I had been at the supermarket long enough to choose tiramisu, a pomegranate, and a bag of crackers, about an hour.  We’re on vacation, you see.  Vegas it is not, we’re simply having a girl’s weekend.  Tomorrow is my wedding anniversary.  Since I married my Tarzan during archery season, my BFF spends that day with me most every year.  The packed store didn’t seem unusual, it’s Sunday night.  It hit me about the time I plunked fruit, candy, and magazines onto the conveyor belt. Something is going on.  I may be blonde, preoccupied, and near-sighted, but eventually the obvious drifts into The Glitter Globe.  Most carts contained batteries and bottled water.  “It’s the storm of the century,” said the Cashier, “The worst one in thirty years!” 
Between frantic bouts of Wii Dance 4 (I won) we filled containers with water, wrote down the instructions for hooking up the generator, taste tested the tiramisu, and dug out flashlights and candles.  Tonight we’re staying up all night and enjoying our last bit of electricity for a few days.  Morning will find us battening down the hatches and riding out the storm. 

The Plan is to Remember the Epic Slinky Dog Motto

And that eventually we'll have hot water and electricity again.  So even if we wind up, up a tree for a time...



As long as we can climb up it, and back down it again…

That’s really all that matters. 
How about sharing your storm stories with me?  They don't have to be Hurricane Sandy stories. Just leave the story below, and be sure to follow my blog if you don't already.  I'll share an Epic Slinky Dog with one or two of you.  Eventually, when my electricity returns and I can read them, and get Slinky out of the tree (or Vegas), and get to the Post Office.  In the meantime, stay safe and dry! 
*Note how I get to use a ladder when I climb the tree. 
Uncredited photos are courtesy of Stephanie Karfelt and her obsessive camera usage. 



Friday, October 26, 2012

Creep Out

Comrade cannot bear to have her neck touched, a fact which delights all those near and dear to her. She seizes up and makes very distinctive and admittedly amusing sounds. It is a very public Achilles heel, easily accessible whether she’s lecturing a kid, or singing in the choir. A gentle touch against the neck and she curls up like a pill bug and emits a noise something like an inward sneeze. If squeaky toy manufacturers could replicate it, they’d make a fortune in Chihuahua sales alone.

Angel is into extreme sports. I’m talking sea-kayaking in some of the roughest, shark-infested water on the planet, cliff-climbing, bungee-jumping, surfing, sky-diving and crawling through pitch-black, unexplored caves with a flashlight clenched between her teeth. I’ve seen her lean against the glass wall of a skyscraper, looking down at the city below, and say, “I would love to be able to jump this.”  The woman is fearless. Unless you look her right in the eye, lean towards her and say, “Rawr.”  She cries. Oh, she laughs while she cries too, but it creeps her out every single time. I don’t mean shout it either, I mean a conversational “Rawr”.
George is a big, burly lumberjack, He-Man, Master of his Universe kind of guy. Fells trees, hunts animals that can hunt back, a general nuisance in public places while fearlessly (and loudly) defending his habits, hobbies and opinions. If a baby or child excretes anything in George’s vicinity, George gets sick. Once Mrs. George explained his sad condition to me, I did not buy it. Certain that this was George’s way of escaping less than pleasant tasks, I decided to test him. It wasn’t pretty, talk about an experiment gone awry. I’ll spare you the gory details beyond I believe him now.

Maybe it says something about me, that I keep this mental list. I like to think that it is a writer thing. Mostly. In my defense I have never touched Comrade’s neck, nor said “Rawr” to Angel. Still, I am not above playing with kryptonite when it amuses me. Dear Hubby worked in electronics for years, so he’s highly sensitive to being shocked, because it’s happened so many times. At least once a winter I’ll zip through the house in my wool socks, and discover the air is nice and dry and everything I touch will spark brilliantly. Even though I know that the penalty will be grave, I still have to do it. Yep, I sneak up behind my kind and patient husband, and touch his ear. He’s a very forgiving man, but even if I end up outside in the snow, wet, it was still worth it, and I can’t even say why.

Maybe it is going out on a limb to say that most of humanity probably shares a top ten list of things that creep us out, though the movie marquees at Halloween tend to back up this theory. I’m not referring to those creep-outs. I’m talking about those little peculiarities we harbor as individuals. The elderly person who wears her shirts inside out because she doesn’t like seams touching her, your friend who can’t watch you put in contact lenses because it creeps her out so much (and you never say, “What’s this?” and touch your eyeball when she looks), or the kid who is so ticklish that you can’t put socks on him without a wrestling match. What is your particular or favorite little creep-out?  Feel free to rat out your family and friends if you like.
Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

The Epic Slinky Dog giveaway continues here at The Glitter Globe. I can tell you Slinky Dog’s creep-outs. There are two, hot-dog buns and that springy sound his tail makes if you keep messing with it. If you’d like an Epic Slinky Dog of your very own, leave me an awesome tale of a little creep-out (and follow my blog) and maybe I’ll send you one. Be sure to check back, to see if you won!  I post winners in the comment section.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

“What do you want for your birthday?  Gift card?” I instant messaged my nephew, let’s call him Zeke. He replied, “No. Something good, better than the flying squirrel.”  Well, all right, I love a challenge. It’s kind of hard to top a flying squirrel, just like it has been hard to top my annual summer adventure since the whole sky-diving thing. (Link to the flying squirrel tale .) My first thought was a copy of the book, “A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving, accompanied by the best taxidermy armadillo money can buy. Unfortunately, the best specimen money can buy proved to be leagues out of my Birthday Boy Budget.

So that is how I came up with the Chinese Cricket Cage, imported all the way from China – of course. Mostly because that is the only place I could find one. Then came the dilemma, how to stuff a cricket in it, long distance?  Turns out you can buy the suckers on-line, one small detail, the smallest amount of crickets you can purchase is 500. Yes, Zeke’s Mom sent me a flaming text message about the crickets, AND told my Mom. It was worth it though, when Zeke admitted to me that the cricket gift was better than the flying squirrel.
I think the most memorable gifts are experiences. An experience is better than a thing. Once I surprised Dear Hubby with the opportunity to fly a Navy fighter jet*. The co-pilot promised there was nothing DH could do in the air that he couldn’t correct. Hubby flew from Santa Fe to Los Alamos, buzzing the volcano caldera, even got to do loops and barrel rolls, and he only stalled the jet once. There was oil all over the side of the craft when they landed, but land they did. DH can now tell you exactly what it feels like to pull G’s so hard that your navel meets your spine. He really wasn’t in the mood for southwestern food afterwards though, averted his eyes through my guacamole consumption, but I’m pretty sure he really liked the present.

Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

The Gorp you see above is homemade granola. I make a batch every Autumn for DH and Zeus. By make I mean I assemble it, which is dangerously close to baking. Last week I did bake a cake to give as a gift, used my Gram’s old-fashioned Poppy-seed cake recipe. It involves all those time-consuming baking maneuvers like separating egg whites and beating them, making sour cream, etc. Taking time away from writing to bake is not something I often do. But this was a special gift for monks at a local monastery. It may or may not have been to appease my guilty conscience after the whole lamb-questing deal in the spring. I am not admitting anything that I may or may not have done in pursuit of fulfilling that quest. (Some guilty lamb quest details here .) Yet bake that cake I did, even timed the cooling process so I could flip it out of the pan at the right time, and it didn’t even fall apart. Score.

Then Angel stopped by. “Cake!” her eyes lit up. “No, it’s for the monks,” I explained, and we started to chat. It wasn’t until she used exaggerated gestures, dropping bits of cake into her mouth that I realized she was pinching off bits of that cake and eating it. When I protested, her eyes got really big. “You were serious?  You’re making a cake for monks?  For real?”  Sheesh, doesn’t everyone?  Well, they would if they’d…never mind. Anyway, the monks ended up with a pumpkin cranberry cake – made from scratch. So I did double penance and used up two years worth of baking energy in one day.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Karfelt (Monk Cake, the one that survived)
The Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans giveaway here at The Glitter Globe was a huge success. Honestly the stories about people actually eating those beans slay me. Bring on the gory details of when you ate the vomit one. I literally get nauseous just reading them. I only have a couple boxes left, so share a story with me if you’d like one. Have you ever received or given a memorable gift?  Have you ever baked a cake (doesn’t have to have been for the monks) and someone ate it with their fingers?  (By the way, that wasn’t the first time that happened.) 
Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt


Speaking of giveaways, The Epic Slinky Dog giveaway continues. Leave a comment below if you’d like an Epic Slinky Dog, and tell me why you need one, and I’ll give one away this coming week if it moves me or makes me laugh. (You also have to follow my blog.)  The Epic Slinky Dog giveaway has been my favorite. I’ve ended up with some really epic photographs of Slinky Dog. As a matter of fact Slinky even hit the beach. 

* (If you want to send your Dear Hubby, or yourself, to learn how to do barrel rolls!)
Photo Credit:  LaDonna Cole/Slinks & iMonk

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dream On

The Great Lake stretches to the horizon like an ocean. People traverse the pebbly shoreline, enjoying late October sunshine. To the west a wall of water rises fifty feet into the air, Cecil B. Demille style. Impossibly it holds there, appearing to stretch from the U.S. coastline clear to Canada. People on the beach stare in confused wonder. Some pull out their cell phones and snap photos. A few dart for their cars, escaping as fast as they can. One carload of escapees happens to have a topography map. They manage to unfurl it and read as they head for higher ground. An entire day is spent racing away with tidal waves crashing just behind their bumper. That is how I spent last night, racing tsunami waves in a carload of people I don’t know. Just before I woke up, Bruce Willis had a close up and got erased by a Niagara-size rush of water. The whole story took a Sixth Sense type of turn when he reappeared ghost-like. It was an excellent movie, I’m glad I dreamed it up, spectacular special effects, brilliant acting.
Do you have excellent dreams?  What I’ve noticed frequently is that I’m rarely in my dreams. I think I’m usually just the writer in my dreams too.

Summer has had a recurring dream all her life. She dreams she is in a field, no bigger than the daisies surrounding her, basking in sunshine. Far in the distance are two giant washing machines with the lids open. Summer knows someone or something is going to put her in there, and WASH her. She doesn’t want to go in. They’re far off, huge and inescapable. To this date the dream ends with the lids slamming, and Summer waking up. Summer also has a dream where someone gives her a box with a very tiny dog inside of it. It is her responsibility to take care of that wee dog. She’s worried that when she talks to the dog, her great big voice hurts his teeny miniature canine ears. Imagine the sensitive hearing on a three inch dog, she points out. Imagine what Freud would say I point out. “Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious.”
Angel has a dream she really likes, where her house fills with four feet of water. Not usually anyone’s dream, but Angel says it is sparkling clear tropical water, and now she can swim and float around her house. Angel also has a dream where a panther lives in a closet at the end of the hall. It wears an apron, and when guests ask about it, it tells them it is celebrating Halloween. Angel says it is a creepy dream, because it isn’t Halloween and it is a real panther hiding in a pink apron, and that disguise does not fool her.

I love the nonsensical nature of many dreams.
Once my buddy Zeus told me that he’d dreamed he flew cross country to visit someone. I do not know what made me ask, “In an airplane?”  To which Zeus replied, shaking his head and holding his giant arms straight out at his sides, “No. Like this.”  Flying dreams are my personal favorite. Do you have them?  I always ask for particulars on flying dreams. Zeus flies like a jet or an aircraft carrier (he is a giant after all), he just zips through the air at high speeds. Summer said she often is stranded on the ground, watching others fly around her and unable or unwilling to try it. I tend to fly like I’m swimming through the air, and I often take deep breaths and hold them while I do it. Dear Hubby has poked me awake in mid-flight because he thought I was holding my breath far too long. Do you fly high or low?  I tend to keep just above the tree-tops, in case Hubby pokes me awake and I have to land quickly. I used to have trouble controlling my direction. That problem was taken care of years ago. Oprah showed me how to steer with my foot.

Usually I argue with creepy dreams, but aren’t the strangest ones when they tell you something you’re missing in real life?

At some point, years ago, I started to put my magical steering foot down if a dream turned dark. Some conscious part of my brain will actually say, “I will not have this dream.”  And then I change it. So it disturbed me when I had several back to back dreams where something wicked emanated from the ground beneath my house. It kept trying to get inside and make me sick. I thought about it for a couple of days, as it repeated. I even tested the water, and it was fine. The dream stuck in my mind though, because I’ve been sick for a couple of months now. Turned out that I have a type of mold inside, and I’m very allergic to it. Doors and windows are being torn off my house and replaced, and standing outside looking at the dark mold I experienced déjà vu. Then I realized that this is exactly like that dream, and wow, the subconscious is an amazing thing.

Now I’m holding out hope that tonight’s dream will give me a clue about some plot twists I’m working on. My conscious is moving slowly with it.  A boost would be nice. Has your subconscious ever alerted you to something you missed?  Do you ever dream full length movies, and you’re not even in them?  Has your cat ever fixed you fabulous French toast in a dream?  Oh, and do you fly in your dreams?  Dish.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Walk on the Wild Side

Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

Standing outside a Walmart in Roswell, New Mexico, I snapped pictures of the front of the building. With little more than an eye-roll, I’d driven past the touristy UFO museums and streetlights shaped like alien heads. This was too sweet to pass up. A big beefy biker dude watched me. I battled the blinding desert sun, hoping to get a decent picture of the storefront mural. The biker got off his bike and made his way over to me. Somehow he managed to wear head to toe leather despite the heat. Skin not encased in leather was covered in tattoos. “Come ‘ere,” he said, “Wanna show ya somethin’.”  Broad daylight, Walmart parking lot, big freaky biker guy, I’m game, so I followed him back to the bike. “Lookit tha’” he motioned with his head to his bike. I know as much about motorcycles as I do cars. They consist of metal and rubber. He proudly pointed out the kickstand. It looked like the alien in the Sigourney Weaver movies, only in chrome. Sweet.
Sometimes I put it on my mental to-do list. ‘Today I will do something that scares me.’  The purpose of the mandate is writing fodder. That road trip through New Mexico provided plenty of opportunity for scares and fodder. My favorite creep-out being the “CAUTION RATTLESNAKES!” signs at the rest areas. The scariest being bedbugs in a rather nice hotel, I could have lived without that. It has plagued me at every hotel I’ve stayed at since.
Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

Flying doesn’t bother me, but my favorite part of flying in an open cockpit airplane was definitely the landing. Sticking your head out of a moving aircraft isn’t nearly as much fun as it sounds. Even though flying over my own house was kind of cool. It made me realize that we don’t weed-whack nearly enough. Someone should get on that.
The National Whitewater Center has a really fun ropes course and whitewater rafting opportunities. I hit the water one chilly autumn day and enjoyed every shivering minute of it. The part that scared me ended up not being my time in the water. Continuing a lifelong tradition of refusing to climb into a rental wetsuit sans underclothes, I was then faced with the reality of soaking wet and icy cold under things for my long drive home. A half hour later I sat at Sonic with a Cherry-Coke slush, commando. My rafting buddy, Angel, and I decided it was rather liberating. Talk about taking a walk on the wild side.
Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

Still handing out boxes of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans here at The Glitter Globe. Are you up for trying something that scares you?  Tell me about your walk on the wild side. What have you done lately that scares you?  Was it as bad as you thought it would be?  I’d really like to know your favorite creep-out. 
Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt
The Epic Slinky Dog Giveaway continues here at The Glitter Globe also!  Dual giveaways!  Follow my blog, to be eligible, and leave a comment. I’ll pick five comments for a box of Every Flavour Beans. And for every five new followers I get, I randomly pick someone from the comment section for a Slinky Dog!   
Photo Credit: Zachary M.
Now that just scares me

Sunday, October 7, 2012

What's Your Sign?

Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

There is a bridge out near Spooky Hill. A cryptic detour routes you through a scenic, mostly one lane road, with car-swallowing ditches on the sides. Today I played chicken with a FedEx truck. You don’t want to do that. I didn’t want to do that, but it is wooded and I was going downhill. By the time the truck came into view, all I could do was pray. The detour makes Spooky Hill even more difficult to find. Turn right by the missing bridge, left past the horse farm, and drive through the woods until you hear banjo music - then turn left on Beers Road. Hopefully you have a GPS because there are no street signs on Beers Road. I have a theory about why, and it involves a sneaking suspicion that a big ‘BEERS’ sign might be considered art in a college dorm.
Once I lived on a road where speed bumps were installed by the local homeowners association. One of the residents took it upon himself to order signs warning drivers of the under-carriage scraping bumps. Next thing you knew there were big blue signs installed along the road that said HUMP. Yep, those disappeared by the first Wednesday. The guy who ordered them was perplexed, God love him, “Why do they keep swiping my HUMP signs?”  No one was going to take that on, but they were soon replaced with BUMP signs – apparently not as popular in college dorms.

Back when Spooky Hill was being haunted by the Evil Contractor (Link to Evil Contractor posts here: When Pigs Backfire and Pirate Attack) somebody had the audacity to refer to it as Hell Hill. That was a bit of an exaggeration, purgatory perhaps, but certainly not hell. Admittedly Evil Contractor and his minions had a frightening effect on the residents of Spooky Hill, warping their sense of humor – perhaps permanently. So a Hell Hill sign was promptly ordered and custom made. At the very next neighborhood gathering, the sign was hung over the Spooky Hill road sign, and we all had a collective laugh about it. That night after I tucked the kids into bed, I asked Dear Hubby if the sign had been taken down. Unsure, he shrugged and promised to check in the morning. It didn’t seem an issue, who comes to Spooky Hill at night anyway?  You probably have as much chance of stumbling upon El Dorado in the dark. So no worries, right? 
Dude. We want our sign back.
Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

In celebration of another October on Spooky Hill I’m giving away Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans!*  Now if these candies were to contain a flavor of my choice, it would be Poppyseed – and my idea of a nasty flavor would definitely be Pig’s Feet – which my Bohemian Gram used to make to terrify the Grandchildren into submission.
Today the Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans are an easy win. Based on your own life, what flavor would you like to see included?  And based on your own childhood, what flavor would be your own personal nightmare?  I’m planning to give away five boxes, so post away.
Of course the Epic Slinky Dog giveaway continues too. Be sure to follow my blog -à over there and leave a comment if you want a chance to win a Slinky Dog. For every five new followers, I draw a random name from the comments section. How easy is that?

*British spelling for my Beta.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Spot On

Photo Credit:  Kimberly Robertson
Meet Frank.  You can tell by the look on his face that he's worried someone is going to put this picture on Facebook or a blog somewhere, can't you?  The Epic Slinky Dog giveaway has been a blast.  I've sent out dozens of the little guys to good homes all over the globe, and sometimes I get terrific pictures like this one.  So I have absolutely no intention of stopping just yet.  It's too much fun. 

Slinky Ai

Are you familiar with the "Where's Waldo" game?  I like to make up my own rules whenever possible, so how about a Glitter Globe version of "Where's Slinky Dog?"  You tell me where you think Slinky Dog is, but guessing his actual location is secondary to entertainment.  Tell me where you think Slinky is, and what he is doing there.  I want your Slinky Dog stories. 

Slinky Be

You probably cannot tell by these pictures that I had a very busy day today.  I finished up a novel, registered it with Writer's Guild East, sent it off to people who were waiting, and worked at a job that actually pays me.  Instead of sneaking a nap, I sneaked Slinky around town and took pictures of him.  

Slinky Ce

If you'd like to play along, leave a comment below and tell me what you think Slinky is up to.  Feel free to comment on Ai, Be, and Ce, or just one if you like.  My favorite stories will win either an Epic Slinky Dog delivered right to your house, or a sneak peek into my special October giveaway.  Be sure to follow my blog to qualify, and be sure to check back to see if you win!  I'm going to pick my first five favorite stories as winners, so happy posting.  Where's Slinky Dog?