Friday, March 29, 2013

O Hoppy Day

Yum, cake.

Once Upon a Time I won a live rabbit. It was in the church Easter egg hunt. Imagine the look on my mother’s face when I trotted towards her with a full-grown white rabbit in my arms. Parents send their kids to Sunday School to keep them safe from farm animals! In my eyes the creature had been sanctioned by the church, practically a gift from God, and poor Mom knew she didn’t have a leg to stand on. I named him Easter, to reinforce his sanctuary status. We used to eat Lucky Charms together. He only ate the oats, I only ate the marshmallows. It was a perfect relationship.

Yesterday Easter candy kept hopping into my cart while I shopped. Normally I make sure all candy that comes into the house is stuff I don’t like. That is usually easy, I’m Team Dark Chocolate. For some reason most anything shaped like a chocolate rabbit is an exception to the rule. Gnawing the ears off a chocolate rabbit – no matter the color of his skin – is just one of life’s great pleasures. My cashier at Target approved my selection of chocolate rabbits – most destined to be given away minus ears – and told me she got a horse one Easter. Imagine that? My mother got off so easy! Have you ever gotten a farm animal for Easter?

In Texas I lived near a feed store. (It’s where you go to buy food for your livestock, City Slicker.) They had pigs, wallabies, and emu too. At Easter time they dyed baby chicks and rabbits in bright colors and sold them. At least until PETA found out or something. The feed store hosted humongous Easter egg hunts of near-riot proportions. Taking my children to them always made me nervous. Not so much that the egg hunters would stampede my preschoolers, no, my fear was of Pet Karma.

You do realize that the universe has a colossal sense of humor and justice, right? Surely we’ve all gotten our karma smack downs? You know what I mean, every time you looked at someone else’s bratty kids, before you had your own, and scornfully announced, “My kids will never!” the angels in heaven wrote your snide little remark down. Later they took bets on Divine Retribution, and sat around eating popcorn watching while your kid wiped boegies on your sister-in-law’s couch, threw a tantrum at Walmart, and took their diaper off in church. The time your kid got you kicked out of Walmart was directly responsible for more than one pair of wet Angel knickers. They really enjoy justice up there.

Pet Karma is basically everything your parents suffered because of your pets, squared, and right back at you. I whole-heartedly believe in Pet Karma and went willingly to my punishment. Hermit crabs, geckos, aquariums of assorted fish, dogs, cats, hamsters, frogs, bait, snakes, and the white Easter rabbit that lives forever. I figured it was exactly like a friend once told me about teenagers. She said, “Enjoy your kids while you can, because the teenage train* is heading down the tracks right at you.” I asked my friend, “Should I run?” “Oh you can,” she said, “If you want the exercise, but it won’t matter.” So I accepted my Pet Karma fate, and faced it head-on.

Besides the live Easter rabbit I won as a child, Pet Karma accumulated as I brought home “stray cats” and fed them cans of tuna. Years later I realized that not every outside cat was a stray. We went through a lot of tuna. I’ll get into my gerbils and pet mice that lived in bird cages another time. Suffice to say when my own kids dragged baskets filled with candy eggs past cages of live rabbits, and pleaded for one, I already had a bunny hutch ready and waiting at home. Preparation did not make the pet rabbit mistake any better. That was the meanest rabbit that ever lived. It chased the kids by jogging on its hind legs, kind of like one of our cats did. Hmmm, odd coincidence wouldn’t you say?  Apparently my Pet Karma is still working off the pet monkey. (Though that monkey was never mine, he was my grandmother’s. I totally demand a Pet Karma refund.)

Remember the cashier at Target who got the horse for Easter? I wonder if it “went to live at the farm” when she spent the night at a girlfriend’s house? Despite his sanctuary status, that was my rabbit, Easter’s fate. That’s what happens when you can’t housetrain your pet bunny, and when you live somewhere cold without outside bunny hutches. My kids’ attack rabbit was gifted to a neighbor when we moved cross country. She doesn’t talk to me anymore. Guess we’ll get into Neighbor Karma another time.

What condition is your Pet Karma in? Did you inflict any painful pets on your parents? Have your kids inflicted any painful pets on you? Did you ever have a pet who “went to live at the farm”? 

The Teenage Pain Train is Just a Ride at Disneyland - or should be - teens are people too - or should be ~ The Glitter Globe

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


California Spring

Signs of Spring for the Desperate

Just returned from a trip to California where spring is firmly in swing. The tourists are the nabobs at Disneyland taking pictures of all the blossoming trees and blooming plants. Ah well, it’s that or pictures of my friends while we stand in line for forty-five minutes waiting to ride The Tower of Terror again. In homage to what I hope is the inevitable arrival of spring here in “Iceland” (don’t really live in Iceland, but I have a stalker and the Iceland thing actually works) So here we go with pathetic, yet visible, signs of impending spring.
·         Bird doo on the driver’s window. Yay!
·         The first time snow turns to rain, and the driveway is covered with worms.
·         Groundhogs appear from their burrows flush along the highway. Mostly you see them post mortem, but sometimes you see them churn across the road in front of you. Those suckers have extra joints in their spines, don’t they?
·         There are little containers of wax worms on top the refrigerator in the garage. You might miss this sign if your husband doesn’t fish. Lucky duck.
·         There are containers of orange fish eggs inside the refrigerator. More fishing bait. Gross.
·         The inevitable bird’s nests surrounding the front door. It’s sweet to hear all that expectant chirping out there. Did you know that baby birds get potty trained to “go” outside the nest? It’s not so sweet then.
·         The pajama people at Walmart are wearing flip-flops instead of slippers.
·         Easter candy hops into your cart.
·         You put the beautiful pot of purple Easter hyacinths inside the garage so that you can breathe.
·         You purchase Zyrtec and Kleenex in bulk, because even though there is no sign of green, your sinuses have announced the arrival of another allergy season.
·         Zipping down the highway you smell skunk, and get all hopeful and nostalgic.
·         On principle you leave your winter coat at home and opt for running and freezing. It is spring. It is spring. It is spring.
·         You try on shorts at the mall, cry a little, come home and make yourself a cup of hot cocoa and hope warmer weather takes its sweet time.
The sun is always shining somewhere
Are you keeping an eye out for signs of spring? Can you add to my list? What constitutes a sign of spring in your neck of the woods?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Glitter Globe Does Disneyland

·         There is no sleeping late at a hotel near Disney, unless you want a maid or maintenance guy to walk in on your shower.
·         Apparently those double locks on the hotel door are not really maid or maintenance guy proof.
·         I wondered what that banging noise was, but between the cheerleader convention and the remodeling upstairs, I didn’t think much about it.
·         A naked wet “SERIOUSLY?” needs no translation.
·         Thirteen hours at Disneyland seemed like a brilliant idea. I forgot I might ever want to use my legs again.
·         If you slip in early via the monorail rather than Main Street USA, you’ll get up to forty minutes of quiet time and no line for Space Mountain.
·         A banana costs $1.99 at Disney. I once thought Target’s .25 was over the top.
·         It takes more nerve to ride “It’s a Small World” than “Space Mountain”. Double dog dare ya to ride it.
·         The Tiki Room song can remove all the above songs, and possibly a year of college.
·         It’s your lucky day if the Buzz Lightyear ride breaks down with you inside of it. It’s a ride where you get to shoot your ray gun at targets, and you can really rack up hundreds of thousands of points just sitting there. I’m like Supreme Commander of the Universe now.
·         If you’ve mastered the art of sleeping with your eyes open, there are couches downstairs in the Innoventions pavilion.
·         Part-time vegetarians shouldn’t eat Corn Dogs no matter how good they are at Disney. (See the red trailer at the end of Main Street, next to the Birthday Place. First Aid is right behind it.)
·         When was Captain EO filmed? I saw a mullet.
·         Indiana Jones just doesn’t get old. I wonder how many archaeology degrees that movie is responsible for? I opted for the much more lucrative English field.
·         You can make your own light saber in the Star Tours gift shop. You need one, I don’t know why, but you do.
·         Another go on Space Mountain is better than the fireworks. At least that is what you can tell yourself when you miss them to ride it again.
·         Why does Space Mountain not bother your vertigo, but the cross country flight does? Land Sickness is a real thing. I’m avoiding it by refusing to return home. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My Fling

Photo Credit: Stephanie Karfelt

Since I live pretty much in Amish Country, when I travel I tend to go overboard. Normally I’m quite content with some fresh apples, old jeans, and writing my current story. Then I get out in the great big sparkly world! Whenever I travel I manage to find time to stock up on shtuff. From lip balm and lotion (The Body Shop, Oh Baby) to sparkly lanyards for conferences, and – yes – I admit it! I had a fling with The Cheesecake Factory. Oh, it was just salads off their Skinnylicious Menu. Salad is about the best food on earth, and Orange County seems to have mastered the art. Okay fine, my fling may have involved blueberry cheesecake and tiramisu cheesecake (so far). May as well own it, you’ll know anyway because there will be no full body shots on Facebook for awhile. Right now I just hope I can still fit in coach for the trip home. Don’t think I’m kidding. It doesn’t take much to tip the scales.

Slinkylicious, right?


Dear Hubby is here with me, wrestling for space on the 2’x2’ hotel desk. Since the conference is one of his, he usually wins. I sit on the bed with my dinner cheesecake and poke fun at the Optical Fiber Conference. He patiently explains Silicon Photonics Design again (I think, I just pretend to listen) and he pretends to look at my new sparkly lanyard. As an intelligent, 21st Century man he doesn’t make any comment about the cheesecake, even though he is well aware that he will be forced to share in my cottage cheese, yogurt penance. Poor guy, he’s lactose intolerant. Let the record show that marriage isn’t easy.

My awesome sparkly lanyard!
And neither is sleeping when you’re staying in the same hotel as a few hundred attendees of a high school cheerleading conference. Yep, the girls in the room next door placed! Yay! I found this out despite the fact that it was 3:00 a.m. my time. It was Saturday night, and this was their first trip without their parents, AND they placed. Give me a dang? DANG! I didn’t get to see their winning moves, but I got to hear them! After I stick my chronic-vertigo self onto a plane that bounces against the jet stream for six hours, my glitter globe head bounces for another twenty-four hours after. Apparently it’s called land sickness and it’s a thing. It’s kind of like drinking until the room spins without any of the fun drinking part. It's hard to appreciate cheerleader enthusiasm in that condition.

The next day I posted something smarmy about the cheerleading conference on Facebook. A friend from primary school saw it and replied that she was at it with her daughter. Yay! A for real yay, isn’t that serendipitous? This conference is about thirty or forty states away from our grade school state. So I ducked out of the engineering conference, and managed to slide through the crowd of billions of cheerleaders and found her. Caught the tail end of the awards ceremony while we caught up. That is a challenging catch up, you know? "Since fifth grade I got married, had children, and I still wile away my time writing stories." My friend moved to a sunny place, and had two children with cool names, one of whom is an award wining cheerleader. She drives through hideous traffic to spend the day watching billions of cheerleaders and keeps right on smiling with those awesome dimples that I remembered. How would you sum up your life in a few sentences? What have you been doing since grade school? Are you still smiling your awesome smile?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Side Effects

·         The side effect for loving chocolate is that I will never wear skinny jeans, that and the fact that I haven’t been dead for two years.
·         #Icanfeelmyfatcellsexpanding
·         Crest Whitestrips really work. Only problem is if you smile outside on a windy day, you’ll have to pee. It’s true. Try it and report back.
·         Buying things at those mega shopping clubs means that come the zombie apocalypse, you’re set for Advil. Do zombies get headaches? I hope so or I wasted $40.
·         Refusing to read instruction manuals means the clock on every digital device in your home will blink incessantly. Forever. Because you’re not giving in are you?
·         Those who are intolerant to caffeine must nap. (It should be in the Americans with Disabilities Act.)
·         Jerk-face bosses who refuse to allow nap time have employees who learn to sleep with their eyes open.
·         If caffeine affects you like a hallucinogenic drug, you will stereotype and judge the trustworthiness of all Starbucks employees.
·         If you ask the barista over a dozen times if he is certain that that is decaf, he will offer to let you make it yourself.
·         If you ask a barista over a dozen times if she is certain that that is decaf, it won’t be.
·         When you make a sexist barista comment, it won’t matter how many anecdotes you have to back it up.
·         Pretending to remember someone’s name the second time you meet them (because they remember yours and it would be awkward to ask) now means that you will have to fake it for years.
·         Trying to introduce someone without knowing their name is an excellent time to practice your fake fainting skills, you fraud will invoke a hush heard around the world while you struggle to come up with something.
·         Hypothetically speaking – if someone were to have given people they worked with excellent monikers like “Limitless” “Phenomenon” and “Mel Gibson’s good-looking brother”, this is the part where they’d now know why. (It’s not you, it’s me.)
·         When the doctor says “side effects are rare”, the emergency room doctor will tell you otherwise. Congratulations. You’re rare.

Everything has a side effect doesn’t it? It’s all one great big butterfly effect. Have you noticed any in your life? What happens if you have too much caffeine? Too much chocolate? Too much time with your relatives? Hmmm? You can tell me, I’m sure it will have few side effects. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sweet Antidotes

And my jeans just sigh...

Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

Can you justify eating one of those caramel apples? That is what those pigs are, in the above picture. I settled for simply snapping their photo, but normally I can justify about any sweet treat. It’s a bit dangerous, not being a math person, rational parameters like ‘a cookie equals a seventy minute run’, rarely enters the math-free mind. It goes more like this:  “Ewwww CAKE! Is that dark chocolate on the sides? OMG, yes! Yes!! Ugh, my jeans are getting tight…but I had salad everyday this month…that would matter more if you stopped pretending like lattes and hot chocolate were healthy food….but I run! Every single day, I run! That too would matter more if you didn’t afterwards sit and type twelve hours a day…well, what about the zombie apocalypse?  If we’re all going to be consumed by the zombie apocalypse, I might as well have cake first! …Yeah, well, you eat that cake and the zombies will devour you first….good point…but that Russian meteorite could have very well hit here, life is short, I’m totally having some cake." 

"Yes, thank you, I'll have a piece.” 

 See what I mean? Sometimes my jeans don't just sigh, they groan.

Like You Wouldn't?
That logic stuff would come in handy when faced with a cake like that. My only real hope is in the fact that I like to do things that require strength and energy. Fear of being stuck in the bottom of The Grand Canyon in my fat pants is not an irrational fear. And I delight in many things that aren’t cake related. Sweet, but healthy antidotes if you will. For instance flowers run a close second to cake, right? Work with me here. I have a special fondness for free flowers. The kind you pick alongside the road, or outside your neighbors' fence. Really nice ones grow there. Take pictures of your flowers and they last a really long time. Do you do that? What do you think, are these as good as cake?

Not Free Flowers

Free Flowers

Free Flowers - Aren't they perfect?
Due to the flu our extended family Christmas celebration merged with Easter this year. We gathered together on a weekend in March to exchange gifts wrapped in aged Christmas paper. Sadly a few chocolate gifts had mysteriously vanished. Everyone was understanding about it, we all know how boxes of good chocolates have a tendency to evaporate. It was fun to mix the holidays up a bit and celebrate anyway we wanted to. Stockings sat beside Easter baskets and the weather pulled springtime out early, which we all preferred over snow. We made my Bohemian Gram’s traditional bunny cakes. If you like coconut, and if you didn't watch the nine year old making them, you’d like these. Since I did happen to watch the nine year old making these, it was very easy to enjoy them without taking a bite. (Trust me, don't eat it.)

Happy Creaster - You don't want no part of this.

They're pretty to look at though, aren't they? I enjoy them even though I don't eat them. I left my round cake pans behind on that Creaster trip, and bought new ones just so I could be sure to make a couple more for the real Easter celebration. Even though I won't actually eat bunny cake, they're tradition. Like daffodils, hyacinth, and someone else's potato salad, some things are just for looks. For instance every spring, birds nest in the eaves of my house here on Spooky Hill. They nest in the fake bush by the front door, and sometimes even inside the wreath on the door. The wreath is a bad idea, because every time someone opens the front door Mama Bird flies into the house. Picture that scene from Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation with a bird instead of a squirrel and you'll get the picture. (If you're picturing a bird trying to sit on a moving ceiling fan and people trying to catch it with a butterfly net, you've got it.)

Not for use in potato salad.  Don't eat.

Score! Yes, Yes, Eat That One! (Nah, it's milk chocolate, let it hatch!)

What is as sweet as sugar in your life? I'm compiling a list of sweet things that are better than cake, better than the ears of a chocolate bunny, and something that won't make my pants sigh. Do you have anything to offer? In addition to free flowers, I'll offer up jumping on the bed too. What can you add to my list?

Jumping on the bed. A sweet antidote.