Seriously. What are the odds?

This news story made me laugh. For the sake of one bear and a freaked out traveler, I probably shouldn’t laugh. But I did. Now you know what kind of a person I really am.

Man Swerves to Miss Moose and Hits Bear

(Newser) – An unlucky Norwegian man driving on a country road at night swerved around a moose in the road only to hit an even unluckier bear. Wildlife officials say the bear, one of only around 150 in the country, was injured in the crash, Reuters reports. They have found traces of blood indicating internal injuries and are trying to track the wounded animal. The car was damaged in the collision but the driver—and the moose—were unharmed.

What are the odds of you swerving to avoid a moose only to hit one of the 150 bears in the entire country?

That sounds like something I’d do.
If only I were brave enough to drive in the Norwegian mountains.
Or rich enough to fly across the pond.

Get your Guessing Caps on

Today I sprained my ankle. I was playing. In Colorado.

There is a story to be told.

Before I tell it, I am inviting you to guess what I was doing/playing when I incurred the injury.

Give it your best shot in the comments field. If you get it right, I’ll buy you a Slurpee.

When the cat loans out her camera…

…the mice take freaky shots.

Actually, there’s only one mouse.

And we all know who he is.

No one can contain him. No agency will take him. No books describe him. But he has a really nice uvula. Is that how you spell that? Given my recent struggles with “coop,” I do have to wonder…

Country Miles

People don’t go running in the country.  Ever.
I mean it.
But I live in the country. And I go running. So now there is one person that goes running in the country– if you can call what I did tonight running.
There is a recent rash of people I know joining Couch to 5K programs. There are websites and podcasts and probably many other instructional forums that teach a person how to go from slug to sleek. I don’t seem to know where any of these instructions are. I thought about asking my neighbors for advice, but again–they don’t go running. So I was forced this week to come up with my own program for couch to 5K.

Day One: Get off the couch and go to bed. I did that one on Monday.
Day Two: Get off the couch and think very hard about exercising. Then eat Cheetos. I did that one on Tuesday.
Day Three: Stay on the couch and plan the exercises you will do on Day 4. That was yesterday for me. It went well.
Day Four: Get off the couch and do the exercise you planned yesterday. This was today. I ran–hobbled, really–to the Shell station down the road. It is exactly one mile from my house. So if I hobble there and back, I have hobbled 2 miles.

It was 6 o’clock tonight when this plan came together and there was no more avoiding the 5K portion of the Couch to 5K program. It was time. I put on actual running clothes and actual running shoes and I headed out the door with money in my pocket. If I was going to end up at the Shell station, I didn’t want to be limited by being broke. I was thinking I would reward myself with a cold bottle of water.

In my mind, I could envision myself completing this mission. I would be agile. Nimble. Impressive. Not at all winded. And as I started down my driveway, this was the picture in my head that i carried with me. Out on the main road, I shook my head to catch the wind in my hair. I actually had the “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick” thing rolling through my mind. There were a couple of problems with making that whole nimble thing happen: (1) I was running on a busy, busy road without much shoulder. This meant that most of my run was cross-country, in a sloping ditch. In the country, there are a lot of ant beds. Jumping over these ant beds on the side of the road was nimble one time. 500 times, not so much. Don’t even ask me about the incline.  (2) I haven’t gone running in 6 months. Maybe STARTING nimble was too lofty a goal. Let’s back it up to: Don’t throw up within sight of a passing monster truck.

I discovered a heavily guarded section of road as I lumbered along. It surprised me, too. I didn’t see that one coming. Perhaps the volume of my huffing and puffing kept me from hearing the bounding and barking of the largest german shepherd I’ve ever seen. When I did spot him, it was a “Whoa, nellie” moment and I immediately crossed the road to the other side. But as I did so, I got hit with a two-dog combo unit. A chihuahua and a rotweiler team. GET OUT, was the message. Go home, sweaty girl. People don’t run here. Clearly. These dogs were fenced, so don’t be alarmed. But I wasn’t totally convinced the fences would hold them. They did not like me being there.

I finally made it to the Shell station. I only stopped to double over and pant like 13 times. I retrieved a bottle of water as my reward and then began to think about lunches for tomorrow. We needed Ritz crackers. You know how convenience stores sell those, right? You get one sleeve of Ritz, boxed neatly inside a very expensive Ritz package. It’s like $11 for one sleeve of crackers. Still, I was there. And I needed them. And it was cheaper than the kids buying school lunches. So I took my bottle of water and my skinny little Ritz box up to the counter and smiled at the scruffy fella behind the counter. I decided not to shrink back from people, in spite of my smell and appearance. There are a lot of sweaty people in country stores. Many of them do not even have shirts, so I was way ahead of that game.

He rung me up and I handed him my five dollar bill. He handed me my change and slid my water and my crackers back across the counter to me. What? No bag? I guess this looks like a very simple and portable purchase. I, however, still had that final mile to run. I decided to take what he had given me and not ask for a bag. After all, a bag couldn’t help me now anyway. So, because the first leg of this journey had gone so well, I decided to add an awkward and delicate item to each hand for the journey home.

And off I went, with a half-empty sloshing bottle of water in one had and a sleeve of Ritz crackers in the other.
This was not in my Couch to 5K plan and this is not done in the country. People walk home carrying 12-packs of Miller Lite. They do not run home with Ritz crackers.

There is a reason people coined the phrase, “country mile.” It’s because one mile feels really, REALLY far. There is not a phrase, “country mile with crackers.” Well, maybe there is. But it means something entirely different.


Observations from a mostly country life

This morning I was set to hold a garage sale at my old house to sell off what we didn’t take with us. Instead of staying at the old house till all hours like I would normally have done, I came home–home–and went to sleep. I set my alarm for 5:45 a.m. to get up and get back over there for an early set up. I never sleep well with looming deadlines. I sat up in the night no less than 4 times, absolutely certain that I had overslept, only to discover it was 4:38, or 5:05, or two other non-5:45 numbers.

When it was actually 5:45, I got up and gathered my stuff. I needed my shoes on the back porch, so I went out there for them. That’s when I discovered a new level of carnage. Small-disgusting-creature-in-the-trash carnage. We’ve had many, many racoons in our trash over the last 3 weeks. We’ve even housed a possum in one of the trash cans.  But today was different. Walking out onto the porch in the dark minutes of pre-dawn, I felt like I had interrupted a profane feast. The trash can was on its side below the deck and pieces of the trash were everywhere. Some of it had been dragged up onto the deck where, if I squinted just right, I could see the slight outline of a furry butt print. Had that bottom been there just moments before? I couldn’t stay to find out. Todd got a rude surprise when he went out on that deck after the sun was up. Sorry, dear. I had to just walk away from that one.

After a long, strange day of very formal occasions and play dates, I picked all of the kids back up and went to pick up Todd for a dinner at Buddy Freddy’s. Yes. Buddy Freddy’s. Because we live in the country now. It’s just what you do. Mama’s Boy ate 63 pounds of food. It’s really astonishing to watch him. How he isn’t 6 feet tall OR wide is amazing. Yet, he is actually quite tiny.

The most interesting sighting of the day came at dusk after the very pleasant dinner at Buddy Freddy’s. We were on our way back home. The light was soft and hemming every leaf and every blade of grass with a deep, blooming green. I was drinking it in.

And that’s when I saw him.
The guy.
Sitting by the side of the road, at the end of his country driveway.
He was in a metal folding chair that was positioned there as if it were the most normal place for a chair in the world. Out there. At the edge of a busy road. On his feet were cowboy boots that came to his hairy bare shins and the rest of him wore jean shorts and a turquoise tank top. At the top of this mysterious figure was a light gray cowboy hat that was pushed down over a whole bunch of white hair.

Todd saw him too at the  precise moment I did. This old timer with the long hair and long, white beard was leaning over a styrofoam cup with the straw in his mouth like he was sucking down the very source of life.
He never looked up.
He just kept drinking.

“Whoa,” Todd commented.
“I know,” I replied. “What do you think that was about?”

I have no answer.

We’re in the country now.

I do have to wonder what was in that cup…

Universally awkward forms of expression

Have you ever stopped for just 15 seconds to consider just how terribly awkward winking is? Stop right now and think about it. No one pulls it off successfully. Men in their 30s and 40s try it and come off looking like creepy stalkers. Toddlers try it and look like their face is spasming. We laugh at them squeezing not one eye shut, but two. No one — and I mean NO ONE — can pull off the perfect wink.

No one.

And yet, I’ve taken up the habit. I was never a winker as a younger person. I don’t know when, how, or why this occurred, but it seems to have had something to do with turning 40. Though the number 40 doesn’t bother me, it hasn’t been graceful. I’ve been packing pounds on like I’m storing nuts for a 6 year winter and my face now flinches at men, women, and children as I attempt to convince them this this is all perfectly natural.

But it isn’t.

I think it started with winking at my kids when I would deliver information that I knew they weren’t going to accept with joy. Hey kids, when we get home I’m going to scour your hands with a fingernail brush, ok? Wink, wink. Kids, we’re headed to the doctor for your booster shots. There will be about 10 minutes of searing pain when the medicine goes in. It’ll be great. Wink, wink, wink. Hey, everybody, today is cleaning day! You get to scrape toothpaste off your counters! ANDDDD, wink.

Somehow I have become convinced that the wink takes the edge off when it fact it adds a whole new edge that’s a whole lot worse than the original edgy edge. Now, not only have I hit them with bad news of some sort, I am creeping them out with facial tics.

But the biggest problem of all is this: once you start winking, you can’t stop. You’ll end up winking at the sacker in Publix, the little old man building your chicken coop, and maybe even your mother-in-law.

See ya at home, Mother-in-Law.
Wow, that was awkward.

So with this one blog and the 17 people that will see it, I am issuing a formal and sober declaration to put an end to winking. Let there be no discrimination. Young or old. Mexican-American, Norwegian, or Pakistagliafghanisargan. Guy with hook for hand. Lady who needs to pluck her upper lip. NO MORE WINKING.

I’ll do my part. If I wink at you, feel free to react with utter disdain. Or smack me. Maybe that would break the cycle…

Wink, wink.

Bizarro Day on Facebook

Facebook is an unusual animal. If you can tame the beast and teach it to do your bidding, it is undoubtedly one of the best networking tools in the world. In 5 minutes, you can find out any piece of information, survey all of your friends, or arrange a social engagement from start to finish. I found a bike seat on Facebook. I find recipes on Facebook. I stalk people on Facebook.

But you have to be careful that the beast does not tame you and teach you to do its own bidding. It is easy to sit down for 5 minutes and then look up two hours later, having no idea that you’ve been sitting there so long. Doing nothing. Really.

Last night I became friends with a dog on Facebook. I just hardly even know what to say about this. There it was: a Friend Request. In my Friend Request section. Lucy Pug, the dog of my best friend in my childhood neighborhood, was there in my box requesting me as a friend on Facebook. I stared at that request for a couple of minutes while my finger wavered on the mouse button. Finally, I selected Yes. Sure, Lucy Pug. I’ll be your friend. Far be it from me to be the lady who won’t be her friend’s dog’s friend on Facebook. It’s a mouthful, I know. Two minutes later, a message came up. It said simply: Lucy Pug has accepted your friend request.

Wait a second. What?
She accepted MY friend request?
Apparently I hadn’t been asked to be her friend. She had suggested that I ask her. And I never saw it coming.
And I requested that a dog become my friend.

But at least she said yes.
At least there’s that.
If that dog had turned me down, this would be a whole different blog.