Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When it rains, it pours. It pours WHAT?!

I don my exercise clothes and walk to the gym just about every day.  I pull the bill of my baseball cap down low, thinking that no one will see what I look like if I can’t see them.  I’d rather throw on my cloak of invisibility, but it got lost in the dryer along with a sock.  Hiding behind a baseball cap is the next best thing, especially since there are no low-lying branches on the way.  The cap keeps the rain and the frogs off.

Yes, frogs.  It’s a fact that when it rains, it sometimes pours . . . frogs.  Some of my friends, my kids, and my husband can attest to it.

We were visiting Gulf Shores one May in the late eighties.  Four families returned to the same favorite spot, the Moonraker, year after year.  We loved spending time together at the beach just across the street; but when we tired of ocean water, we swam in the Moonraker’s swimming pool.

One afternoon, it rained like crazy.  We were in the pool when it started but quickly got out to seek cover.  As soon as the rain stopped, we returned—only to find little frogs everywhere, swimming their little hearts out, jumping in and amongst the chaise lounges.  We were amazed by the miraculous appearance of the little hopping devils.

Of course, we laughed that it couldn’t be real.  Years later, though, I looked up the phenomenon on the internet.  I found that it had rained frogs elsewhere.  Here’s a video to support my claim.  (Don’t dwell on the fate of these poor creatures.)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'll Never Be a Rockette

A previous blog entry describes me as directionally challenged.  Another one brings my good sense into question.  (REMINDER:  Don’t remove any clothing while using the treadmill.)  And you know I have space issues, as in:  I’m here/the tree’s there/avoid it/BANG!  My latest admission is something that just came to the forefront recently.  I can’t kick.

This is news to me.  When I was a cheerleader, I could kick.  Just what have you been doing in the intervening 40 years, you ask?  And I answer, Definitely not honing my kicking skills.

This came to light with my recent membership in a health spa.  It offers classes designed to raise your heart rate and humiliate your psyche with the hope that you’ll continue to pay big bucks to avoid remaining the ungainly klutz you prove yourself to be.

One of the classes is called BODYCOMBAT.  It combines kicks and punches most commonly used by—I’m only guessing here—ninjas.  I’m not a ninja nor will I ever be a ninja.  And this is why:  I can’t do two things at once.  Ninjas can sneak and punch.  Ninjas can spy and kick.  Ninjas can go in for the kill while maintaining their center of gravity low to the ground and disappear into thin air before their opponents gasp their final breaths. 

Sometimes I remember to breathe while kicking or punching . . . but usually not.  And, if reminded to do so, one of two things happens:  1) I kick wildly with the wrong leg, or 2) I punch wildly with the wrong fist.  When the instructor tells me to tuck in my chin, keep my fist next to my cheek, and “left/right/jab/jab/uppercut/kick, those are more directions than I can handle and I stop to simply . . . breathe. 

I took karate once, never progressing beyond the white belt because I refused to yell HIYAHHHHHH!  But even so, punching came back to me much like people claim riding a bike does—well, except for the random flailing and the short-term attention span which results in not knowing what goes where, when. 

The kicks are a different story.  If someone could read me like a book, the page would read, “You look pathetic!  Get that leg up, girl!  Snap it!  Don’t be so wimpy!  No, your other left!”

But I’m trying, and that’s what counts.  While I’m admittedly kick-challenged, I have other strengths. 

Give me a moment, and I’ll think of them.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jack Sprat and Wife Separate

Catching my eye this morning was an article in the paper about Jack Sprat.  After reading it, I have the skinny on the dude.  It turns out that he could eat no fat, but his wife—name unknown—ate fat like crazy.  Every day started the same—without fail, Jack choked down dry toast while his wife knocked back a half pound of bacon, a few eggs fried in oil, and a dozen buttered biscuits dripping with honey. 

After suffering the same indignity day in and day out—just because he didn’t eat fat didn’t mean he didn’t want to—he demanded a divorce, claiming that his wife had kept her medical condition secret at the time he proposed. 

“Ha,” she said.  “Just look at me.  Does it look like I hid anything?”  She winked.  “I guess my voluptuousness blinded him.”  Being the injured party, she retaliated by taking him for all he was worth. 

Jack’s wife eventually remarried—well, I might add—and lived happily ever after off the fat of the land. 

But Jack, now a wizened, bitter stick of a man, made no bones in telling people that his wife took him to the cleaners where she hung him out to dry.  He suffered some seriously lean times, all because his inFATuation kept him from sizing up his potential mate.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Share this with your artistic friends

Monarca Press Seeks Illustrator
Are you a talented illustrator? Would you like to illustrate children’s books in support of http://bit.ly/ReadConmigo Infinity’s new bilingual child literacy program? E-mail ReadConmigo@InfinityAuto.com to find out more.

At http://www.readconmigo.com/, you'll have the opportunity to read and sign up to receive Monarca's first three books, including Alicia Saves the Day by Bonita R. Herold, illustrated by Nancy Cote.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hiking is good for me. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Keeping with WAG, I’m up to a mile.  It may not seem like much, but it’s all I got.  I couldn’t do it if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve always enjoyed being on the move, despite the fact that I seem to smash into things on a regular basis.  I love brisk walks through the neighborhood as much as rigorous hikes through the woods. 

That’s what I did this past week.  My husband and I camped at Mohican State Park in Ohio next to the rushing water of the Clear Fork River.  A tad unfortunately for us, the online map showed the river but not the highway on the other side.  But it was beautiful anyway, and traffic died down by 10.  The weather was perfect, although we had to change our plans to go canoeing; the canoe liveries weren’t operating due to recent heavy rains.  And because of budget cuts, the lovely pool wasn’t yet opened during the week nor was the bathhouse nearest us.  But never mind . . . we like to walk.

So we traveled one of the trails the first day, and nothing untoward happened.  It was a pleasant two-hour hike with the sighting of a small snake, a few chipmunks, a squirrel or two, waterfalls, and a packed picnic our reward.  I slept well that night, thanks to the exercise, the night air, and my new best friend Tylenol PM.
The next day’s three-hour hike struck me as being beautiful but oddly surreal. When driving to our starting point, we encountered the unusual sight of women wearing long skirts riding bicycles.  Their clothing and bonnets identified them as Amish.  After we parked and approached the path on foot, we ran into another small party of Amish.  Two of the men stared unabashedly, giving us the most intense skunk eye I've ever had the misfortune of receiving.  When my husband said, “Good morning,” though, they responded in kind.  They may have been skittish, waiting to see if we meant any harm, or simply didn’t approve of my shorts and the baseball cap that soon got me in trouble.

As we traveled along the banks of the beautiful river, there were a few muddy spots so I tried to tread extra carefully.  With the cap to keep the sun off and my eyes glued to the ground, I didn’t see the tree branch until too late.  A resounding WOMP filled the air as my head struck it.  My husband quickly turned back to see if I were laid out on the ground.  Fortunately, I wasn’t.

We continued on without mishap and found ourselves at the campgrounds.  We hadn’t realized when we drove to the trailhead that our own origination point was within walking distance of our campsite.  Fortunately, while the budget cuts apparently erased a need for rangers and check-in personnel, it didn’t affect the camp store.  So after a brief respite of cookies and milk, we returned to the trail.  Being cognizant of the location of the offending tree, I passed it by with a sigh of relief and once again glued my eyes to the ground.  BAM!  I walked smack into a different branch!  The resulting tears were more from indignity than hurt, although there was plenty of that to go around as well.
When returning to the car, it all felt surreal again (or still).  I had just experienced something that most hikers don’t—a twofer head-bopper.  Try following that with a vision of 30 buggies with four times that many Amish fishing and playing hoop games.  I would have wondered at my level of consciousness had I not seen a few earlier.  To cap off the surrealistic scene, one horse nosed through the open dumpster while the others grazed quietly in the nearby woods. 

I bet they never hit their heads.