Little reminders

When I go dark, know this: things are rough. Neighbors making threats over a road (because in America we have no bigger problems), a pot of boiling water slipped from my hotpads, shooting water in front of me, but the tops of my bare feet were scalded.

On the bright side, casting has started for Run Like Hell, a movie I’ve been working on, and production is on track for May (may I just interject its wrong that I get paid for doing what I love, and working with awesome people can happen- and the 20 yr wait was worth it)–editor gave me back my latest manuscript tonight at 7:30, with a modicum of edits. Must write the last 30 pages then its gone-

In the midst of this- I took some time to tap into my inner, non-creative self and do a homey- wood-kitschy thing that I love. Actually, I made 4 diff ones after I got a taste of what a little paint can do to a flat slab of wood.

Heels. Spurs. Vegas. Don’t go out. Go ‘Glamping’

It used to be that only the word Vegas popped up in my issue of Cowboy’s & Indians when referring to the great wholesale events for all things dead and stretched (think furniture with brass tacks and ostrich trim). Not so anymore. Those marketing experts who created the global catchphrase “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” must have come up with another, and it’s a dandy. It’s called Glamping, short for Glamorous Camping.

Silverton Casino Hotel, Las Vegas Nevada Lodging
Go western in Vegas or stay home

Here’s how I figure. Vegas conjures images of half-naked bodies in pools, half-naked bodies on the stage and in clubs, and in general, half-naked bodies. For those of us who only travel to Vegas for trade shows (think Comdex, where one stands on ones feet for 12 hours, schlocking products), the indoors of a convention center is about as exciting as it gets. On the other hand, lots of people go to Vegas to

actually compete in a sport (drinking does not count as a sport, despite what you may have heard). My husband, for example, makes an annual trek to play in a national hockey tournament that’s about as sacred to the stinky-hockey-players-society as the journey to Mecca is to those of the faith.

To each his own, I say. And that goes for Cowboys as well. Or, better said, for those that want to be a cowboy. Now you, (should you fall in this category) can go to Vegas, don your high heels and spurs, and go Glamping. The Cowboys and Indians Suite Package is offered at the Silverton, and I know this, because I got a brochure. This was followed up by my turning the page in the latest issue, and seeing yet another advertisement.

What does this buy you? A western-themed bed, replete with pine log bed posts (ties not included). Western decor to book. For an entire weekend (3 days/2 nights), 2 buffets, and $100 Bass Pro Shop Gift Card. Love that. Transportation to and from the airport and $25 to play slots. Of course, one must leave the room to take advantage of the buffet, gift shop or gift card. Details, details. If you do get out, don’t forget to see if a western-type convention is in progress. Great couches, shoes and all things leather, or not.

Next time you try to get your friend, spouse, mother, on to camping, glam it up. Go Vegas. Go Glamping. Those Vegas marketing folks. I think they’re onto something.

Doing it like Apple-do: firing myself

Fall on my sword time. I got bored. Of this blog. Went on vaca, lost my mojo, stopped writing, called Aunt Jane. 

Nothing like firing myself
“You have to keep writing, I read it.” Okay A. Jane. But here’s deal.
“I want to write about family and friends and work and drama,” I moaned. “All these people check out the blog.”
“Do another blog then.” Right. Another blog. That’s all I need.
So I did the equivalent of getting bangs when I want to die my hair Gwen Stephani white. I changed my blog.
Then the haters came on board. People crawled out from under their rock to give me opinions.
“Hate the font,” wrote one of the kinder readers. “What are you trying to be? NBC?” Ouch. I hate NBC. “Too much white space. Boring!” Well, that one I agree with. Last but not least, from Kelly, my fellow pitbull-loving, nurse-giving-big-breasted-flowing-haired-single friend whom all the waiters at Italian restaurants fawn over. Said she: “Can you just go back to the inviting, non-stressful blog you had before. I really hate this new one and I don’t even want to read it.”
When I complained to the illustrious She, no sympathy was to be had.
“I wasn’t going to say anything, but I will tell you, after about three days, people will stop coming back.”
It was day three.
So here I am, like Scott Forstall, wanting to keep my job after releasing the biggest technology bomb of 2012 (released Apple maps in case you missed that). My boredom did me wrong. I’ll now have to tinker with this site in the hopes I’ll keep my mojo (and friends, and relatives, and co-workers), since I can’t write all the really juicy stuff I want to !!…yet…..

Giving up the dream

Who wouldn’t like the view from
the passenger window?

Twelve-thirty in the morning is when dreams and pragmatism intersect. With each toss, I’m thinking about the New Year ahead. Naturally, this leads to what I want to accomplish and what I need to give up. Let go. Move on. That includes the dream of becoming a licensed pilot. The male groupies may be disappointed. Don’t be. It’s the best for mankind. 
My dream is to fly around, enjoy the sky and be free, the above ground equivalent of scuba diving, which for me, translates to unlimited freedom. Yet if I make a mistake underwater, only I bite it (and the Darwinian in me would say good-riddance. My DNA doesn’t deserve to live on). In the air, lots of people are affected.
Here’s why I’m formally throwing in the towel, my own personal litmus test:
1.     Too much checking. I like the gadgets, my hand-eye coordination is good, and I have a fearlessness that propels me to jump out of planes. Unfortunately, a pilot must also check out the plane. This is monotony. Propellers. Gas quality. Flaps. On my car, I don’t check my tires before I start the car, nor do I check the gas, the windshield wipers or the engine. If I had to do this, I’d never drive. I’d take the bus.

2.     No site-seeing. I’ll admit this: I like to look around when I’m up in the air, it’s part of the fun of flying a small plane. It’s different if I were skimming through the stratosphere in my G5 on my way to Bali, but no. I’m putting along, a thousand feet above the air, checking out the scenery. The passenger role is 

fun-do nothing, pay for nothing, talk and ask questions. The pilot? The pilot actually has to be looking all around, all the time, especially when it’s sunny. I can just see me gazing down at a golf course and running smack into another plane.
3.     More paperwork. Another strong point of mine. Not. The fancy navigation systems are great- when they work. Yet they fail, and it’s like doing math without a computer, you need to know how to do long division. Case in point, a friend of mine had his million-dollar King Air out for his second flight, and the entire computer system failed. He had to fly it manually. Of course, he’d just finished two weeks of training and so it was fresh, but can you imagine? Reliance on computers is addicting (at least for me). No such thing in a plane. When I fly with my husband, he’s forever flipping charts or punching in codes or talking to the tower. I want to be in back, hanging with my family.
I’m sparing the world
4.     Trusting myself, not the computer. Well, this will get me killed. Case in point: John F. Kennedy. We can theorize all day long, but every pilot who has an opinion to share (and I’ve never met a pilot that lacks an opinion) believes that he didn’t trust his instruments, got himself turned around (and upside down) and met planet Earth going way to fast, face down. Guess what? I have a hard time trusting 

instruments. I want to see it and feel it and that’s a sure way to death. Why didn’t I know this prior to starting out, or why wasn’t it brought up? Probably because I never thought about it.

Once again, I go back to the car analogy. W hen I’ve run the gas down in my car (past empty) I’m driving along, saying my prayers that I can make it to the gas station. Twice in my life, I’ve run out of gas, once in a regular car, the other time, a diesel. After that, I never did it again. Yet I know of a local doctor who was flying 7 people, either didn’t tabulate the weight/gas ration correctly or thought he could make it across the last stretch of water, and ended up landing his plane on a lake. It was freezing cold. Everyone died but his 17 year old son, the only person strong enough to swim to land.

5.     Lack the passion. Last but not least, it’s a passion thing. The really, really experienced pilots I know (e.g. 2-3,000 hours), devote their spare time to flying. (can you imagine me being a great driver—just doing nothing but driving around in my car, fixing it up, doing all the work myself? I think not). My KingAir friend- well, he has three planes, and while he skis (occasionally) and golfs (rarely) and fishes (when he has to), he just wants to do everything in his plane. He doesn’t want to take his big boat to his island getaway, he wants to fly there. He never drives the two hours to see his family, he flies. It’s his passion. Rog? Same thing. He loves it, and will go out several times a week just to get in and fly around. I like to site see, but I only want to do that a few times here and there, not every week. 
Since every good pilot wants only other people in the air who are equally good and passionate, I’m doing us all a favor. I can fly take off and land a plane quite capably, and fly it in the air, but I’m sticking to what I like even better, and that’s being a passenger.

The year was 1955


The year was 1955 

Did you hear the post office is Thinking about charging cents just to mail a letter? 
If they raise the minimum wage To $1.00, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store. 
When I first started driving, who Would have thought gas would someday cost 25 cents a gallon?

Guess we’d be better off leaving the car in the garage.

I’m afraid to send my kids to the
Movies any more. Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying DAMN in GONE WITH THE WIND, it seems every new movie has either HELL or DAMN in it. 
I read the other day where some
Scientist thinks it’s possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century.
They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it down inTexas
Did you see where some baseball 
Player just signed a contract for $50,000 a year just to play ball?
It wouldn’t surprise me if someday they’ll be making more than the President. 

I never thought I’d see the day 
All our kitchen appliances would be electric. They’re even making electric typewriters now. 
It’s too bad things are so tough 
Nowadays. I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet. 
It won’t be long before young 
Couples are going to have to hire
 someone to watch their kids so they can both work. 
I’m afraid the Volkswagen car 
Is going to open the door to a
 whole lot of foreign business. 
Thank goodness I won’t live to 
See the day when the Government takes half our income in taxes.

I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to government.
The fast food restaurant is 
Convenient for a quick meal,
 but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on.

There is no sense going on short 
Trips anymore for a weekend. It costs nearly $2.00
 a night to stay in a hotel.

No one can afford to be sick
Anymore. At $15.00 a day in the hospital, it’s too rich for my blood.

If they think I’ll pay 
30 cents for a haircut, forget it.

Starting holiday traditions

Everybody loves a cowboy: hence we all need a cowboy Santa

Why is it that my best blog ideas come when I’m having a marital spat? I’ll digress on that some other time, but for the moment, I’m harnessed by the reigns of fond memories of times past, where the love was flowing as freely as the money, all was a-glitter with the new-ness of a first Christmas together. Year one was followed by year two, which was a honeymoon all over again (actually, year one was like hell, since we’d both been married before, and were two war-horses, used to getting our way, which was probably the reason for the demise of said marriages, but we got through it and found our way to love around the holidays-or at least a truce). This continued to year two, when we found ourselves out of our city-dwelling townhouse in the middle-of-nowhere multi-year-tear-down-redo that has become our home.

So it was that we had two Christmas together, no kids, no dogs, no family in state and I felt alone, like a  lighthouse beam searching the dark night for a symbol of life and reason and finding none. When I mentioned this to Rog, he took it as a personal insult, then his pragmatic problem-solving persona kicked in. 

“Let’s start some traditions.” Problem was, we didn’t really have any. I searched my own memory banks and found that yes, in fact, my Swedish family did have some traditions, but they were more like pinball posts that we bounced to and from depending on my mother’s mood.

Rotund Santa. 
This is my 40’s santa. love it
Thankfully, Rog and I, still in the newlywed bliss (that conveniently continues to rear its sweet, outsized and generally over-stuffed-with-turkey-head around Christmas), we stumbled upon a few fun things, and guess what, after 14 years together, they have, in fact, become traditions. I’m proud to say that we are now passing these along to our kids.
This was one of our first-no strings
it’s so fat and heavy he sits
1. Ornaments. The first year we happened to be in Whistler B.C., peering through windows that showed items way out of our tax bracket. Walking in the falling snow was romantic however, and we happened to find one store that we figured had at least a few things we could afford. Barely. We bought a single Christmas ornament. It was of a Santa, and that begat…
2. Santas. Go figure. Some people collect angels, others elfs. To each his or her own. For me, I liked the notion of Santa ornaments. So it is that I have cowboy santas, a santa from Hawaii, repleat with a loud Hawaiian shirt. A santa fishing, one glass Santa in a 40’s car. It’s all over the map, but believe it or not, the notion of santa ornaments isn’t overwhelming. I put the cowboys on the cowboy/western tree (in our dining room), the nicer ones on the formal tree and the fishing/sporty ones on the lodge tree. That has led us to…
I like big ‘old world
elegant santa
3. Different theme trees. I know at this point you are thinking we are eccentric. Here’s the deal: we’re not. We’re just….aging. We’ve been married 14 years. Traveling, collecting, having kids. This happens, like the family that starts out with a three car garage and after ten years, a dog and kids, the whole thing is stuffed with boxes of who-knows-what and the cars are out in the rain. It’s like saggy-jowels on a old woman, it just happens.
4. One present on Christmas Eve. Now this one does go back to my parents. I think it was because they came from opposite philosophies and had to reach some type of compromise. Since this all happened three siblings before I arrived on the scene, I’m fuzzy on the specifics of who won or lost, but essentially, it comes down to this: open 1 present Christmas eve and the rest on Christmas Day. Of course, every year, this is a battle of the sexes at my house, since the boys want it all NOW and the girls are all about anticipation. No shock there.
I almost feel downright
anti-Christmas: who
knows a skinny Santa?
A’course that’s why I like it!
5. Giving the 12 days of Christmas. My dad gets credit for this one, for it is he whom I remember loaded us up in the car and picked up huge hams and turkeys and just about every other expensive meat product that would be appreciated by families in need. Furthermore, he’d buy presents for the chosen family(ies) we were going to help. This, by far, was my favorite tradition growing up. It goes like this:
a) pick a family in need- you either know them or don’t. All thats required is the ability to get to their front doorstep without getting caught.
b) 12 days before Christmas, you start leaving anonymous gifts on their doorstep. It’s a morning surprise, every morning (back in those days, we prevented thievery by ringing the doorbell and running away). 
c) every night thereafter, we’d have to be sneaker because soon enough, the family was in on the jig. We had to get downright conniving and scheming to get away without getting caught. Even as I write this, my heart starts fluttering with the anxiety that accompanied our good deeds.
d) at the end, sometimes they caught us, other times the recipient family would leave US a thankyou pie or something. Whatever happened in the end, I always felt the very best about this act that we did as a family, for another family. I’m now leaking and must move on.
6. Shrimp on New Years. I think my oldest sister gets credit for this one, but I’m always too busy eating to ask. Why shrimp? Why not? It’s easy finger food and almost everyone eats it. I like it, eventhough it’s weird and out of left field.
7. Christmas card posting. I’m not talking about ours (though we have one for that as well), I’m talking the cards we receive. Just today, I opened our first, from the Parkers. It gets a tack and goes on one of our log poles by our kitchen. That way, we can feel surrounded by everyone we love (or at least those that express love, never sure on that one). Everyone else does it on the mantel or the kitchen, why not a pole, I say? I’m just sure to place the tacks on the lines so I don’t make it look like we have a serious termite infestation.
8. Pre-Christmas Chocolate. The time has past for this one, but it’s very real and present each year so I thought I’d mention it. The weekend after Thanksgiving is when we put up our tree and decorations, but the week before, I go out and get an advent calendar full of chocolate from a local Swiss chocolater. I send or hand these out to all family members (e.g. one per sibling to share with their own fam). For twelve years now, they get to eat their way through the 25 days till Christmas. It’s addictively awesome.
9. The thankful circle. On Christmas Eve, before we open the first present, we sing a song (and Rog has never really liked this, though it’s easier with kids, because quite frankly, we can’t shut them up from singing). After that, we read the Christmas story and go around the circle, saying what we are most thankful for. I insisted that I record it, much to Rog’s dismay and irritation. Now he is so grateful. Some of the most precious moments have been when our children have lovingly said what means most. It’s great.
Even non-hunters can like a lodge tree
10. Orange rolls (or buttermilk/sour cream coffee cake) Christmas morning. This is all mom, aka, Lindalu. Orange rolls are a Swedish-persons take on cinnamon rolls, and are much better (though we are equal opportunity eaters at my hefty home, so mom makes both). I can’t claim to do the rolls every year, but I always do the coffee cake. It needs to sit overnight, and makes it dense and divine. I’ll post the recipe this year when I do it. 
That’s it. No matter what is created, start now. It’s never too late, and actually, we evolve and seem to add one here and there. It’s a family thing, just as Christmas traditions should be.

Two days later: 10:04 am- forgot one- and it I remembered just a I did it this morning:
** small presents hidden in the tree. Don’t recall how this started or by who, but it is from my childhood. Nothing is more fun that searching for presents below the tree, and, upon finding none, feeling all bummed out until “lo!” a small present is found sitting on the branches of a tree limb. Dad used to hide mom’s jewelry present boxes in the tree, so the notion of great gifts in small items is always left for the tree. It’s the last place we look, and the most fun.

Full Stop and other conversation stopping phrases

Talking with my producer. I’m saying something important. To me. He tried in vain to get a word in edgewise, but I really didn’t hear him until he said-

“Sarah. Full stop.”

Wha…full what? It got me to stop. Then I noticed that this special two word phrase is invoked quite often by my husband, the other person in my two-cell pond of a life. He’ll be going on, telling a story or making a point, and right at the punch line, instead of closing his statement with a period or a complete sentence, he abruptly announces “full stop,” a fragment sentence done proud.

It reminded me of the other choice two-word used by none other than the Illustrious She. Don’t bother with the raised hand, palm up, the visually insulting but ever-useful gesture for “stop talking,” “go away,” or “you bore me and I’m done with you.” Her favorite “the end.”

Here again, she’ll be talking, making her point and out of nowhere, “the end.” Like this.

“When I talk to the manager about the terrible salad and gum on the seat, I’m getting my money back or a gift card. The end.”

See how effective that is? Makes the point without a curse word, the exclamation point appropriately placed without raising the voice either. It’s amazing.

Now I regularly invoke both The End and Full Stop. Little did I know Full Stop has a legacy from the century. Whatever. I just like using it.

Great example just earlier today. I’m on the phone with a CEO who called me from his ivory tower penthouse in New York to discuss movies and money therein. He’d asked me to explain a particular financial arrangement, so I did. Right in the middle of talking through a complex transaction of millions of dollars, he interrupts me.

“Stop,” he interrupted. “I got that covered.”

One word. Rude. I was bound to one-up him by my response.

“No, you don’t,” I told him, “My team of attorneys are already working on it. The end.”

P.S. Sure as shootin, he stopped cold and moved on.

I particularly like it when you can use both.

That’s it. Full stop. The end.

Liberation and slavery

Liberation is an accidental deletion of ones blogs, email and anything associated with my google credentials. Slavery is realizing that losing eight years of emails and 500+ blogs didn’t free my mind from creating stuff that, in the moment, is relevant to me. It’s like my Porridge Pot (Or Magic Porridge pot as its known in the UK), it’s overflowing even though I’d had more than enough.

Thus, my mother said I “purposefully” deleted all. Not so, I told her. I was attempting to delete a blog that I created but don’t maintain. I hate loose-ends, and it was like running around with my fly unzipped, or worse, showing some butt-crack in low-riser pants. All bad.

What really happened is that a little box says “to delete accounts using these credentials.” I’m more than slightly mortified to say I never thought Google was stupid enough to replicate Independence Day, and use the credentials (my username and password) to blow up the master ship (in this case, all accounts linked to my username and password. As an aside, the joy of single-sign-on with Google is that with two words, I can access every ad account, blog, email etcetc I control. In hindsight, that’s giving a pound of coke to an addict. Also muy malo. Thus, when I hit the delete account, the virus passed to my Borg ship and KAboom! it all went away.

I had three days of peace before my illustrious She couldn’t take it anymore. She demanded my credentials and in less time it’s taken to write a single paragraph of this blog, she had reinstated all my accounts.

“You’re my hero!” I texted her.

“I know I am,” she texted back. “Get to it.”

I did. Once I finished my porridge.

Crack-addict boyfriend be-gone

This evening I’m talking to my girlfriend Kelly on the phone, (you remember her, the one who got hit on by the cuter waiter at the Italian joint, followed by the serenade from the mafia don), when lo, I see her car at the Tiger Mt Country Store. I pull in to see her lounging in the front of this cute, western-style convenient store that is appropriate for our neck of the world, covered in pink from head to toe, looking like a candy-striper from Santa’s elf shop out on a smoking break. Since my car is in the shop, I pull up in my husband’s hee-haw pick-em up truck, missing the small animals that rumble up from the nether regions of the woods to see if, in fact, an earthquake is occurring, and go sit by Kel on the park bench.

After we get done talking about her slippers, her fingernails and how she’s gone “all girl” on me, the lights start to dim and the cashier comes out to yip at Kelly the store is closing, and if she “wants her soda now, she better get it.” The words were said with humor, and it’s clear the cashier is on familiar terms with my friend in her PJs.

Picture me & my friend Kel (in pink PJs) sitting
at the park-bench thing, kickin it. You should join. It’s a good time.

I find this interesting, for I myself, have oft frequented this little shack in the woods, and nary a smile do I usually get from this young woman, though I did mention to Kelly she’s become markedly nicer to me, and for lack of a better phrase, more “present.”

“It’s like she’s been undergoing a transformation,” I told Kelly. Gone is the nose-ring, lip ring, orange and yellow hair. Her skin has cleared up. Her eyes aren’t glassy anymore, and quite frankly, she smiles and looks like she’s gotten a good night’s rest. “When I talked to her before, it was like she was seeing through me.”

Kelly nodded like she understood, and in her quippish, “I’m-a-counselor-mode” (which she is by professional actually), she says, “well her crack-addict boyfriend got arrested and is in jail, so of course she’s better.”

Well. That says it all I guess. I had no idea. It was her crack-addict boyfriend, who also used to work at the store, who helped me get my car keys from a crack in the wood slats on a Friday night after they fell out of my purse. He always smiled and was very social. Of course, he was missing a few critical teeth here and there, his face was sallow and sort-of yellow, and his hair was colors not found in nature, but whatever. I’d never have guessed.

“Your so naive,” she tells me. I suppose. It’s not like I have crack-radar or something. He wasn’t holding me up, nor being rude. All is well now in our little part of the woods. I, like hundreds of others, continue to stop by, fill up, grab some food and be on our merry way. Tonight, I’m a bit merrier however, knowing that with one-less crack addict boyfriend, another woman is finding her way and letting her bright light shine through.

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