Sunday, February 14, 2010

Older and Wiser?

Today I was retelling an old tale that I thought maybe my blog readers might enjoy.

It happened last year around this time when the river that runs behind our farm became jammed with ice resulting in the river running over its banks in many places. One of the places that it ran over was in the back of our field which then froze and provided a nice little patch of ice to skate on (for a couple of days) before we eventually decided to make our own rink closer to the house (another tale that should be retold).

I used to figure skate. I started at about age 6 which is considered old to start and so my Olympic dreams where already about 3 years behind my peers when I started. Never the less I loved to skate and continued to do so in some capacity up until the point that I became pregnant with Little Bear.

When the ice rink formed in the back field I thought this was an excellent opportunity to strap on the ol' blades and revisit the sport I enjoyed for years (Papa Bear and I have some argument about whether or not it is actually a sport - we won't go there).

The first obstacle that I came across was that both pairs of skates that I own seem to have shrunk? No, that's not right but they sure as heck didn't fit well at all. Oh well I bucked up and tied them up anyway. No pain, no gain right? More like no pain, no blisters but either way I sucked it up. The second obstacle was that my skates had not been sharpened in over 6 years, also a problem but not enough to stop me.

It was a pretty shaky start but eventually it got a little easier and I felt pretty good skating around in circles and testing edges with ease. Stopping resulted in a few near falls but I felt great. So great that I thought what the heck lets try something bigger. I started with a few really simple jumps that didn't require much skill and when they were successfully executed I got a little cocky and decided to go BIGGER. That is where the trouble started.

It was a pretty basic jump (which I am not going to mention the name of because of how basic it is and so it would be that much more embarrassing). I entered the jump not too badly. Even the take off was not terrible but the landing, well the landing didn't really exist. Instead I ended up flat on my back staring up at the sky. I remember laying there and can clearly recall the fluffy white clouds floating in a blue-grey sky. I remember laying there unsure whether or not I was capable of getting up as my body reminded me I was not 18 anymore.

I remember laying there thinking: I hope nobody drove by at that particular time that I made my failed attempt. I have to get up but just not quite yet. If my mother in law looks out her kitchen window right now and sees me laying here like this she is going to panic and think that I am hurt (or possibly dead) and send someone out here. I have to get up.

So I gathered myself (and my dignity) and picked my poor aching body up off the cold ice and stood there for a second thinking about what an idiot I was for trying to launch my older, larger, wimpier body into the air. Was I nuts? Older and wiser? - I think not!

The rest of my skating for the rest of the winter kept both my feet on the ground (except when my butt was). I don't think I will be attempting anything that crazy again at least until I have removed some of the obstacles such as getting skates that fit better and that have nice sharp blades. For now I will have to settle for watching others hurl themselves into skating jumps on TV from the safety of my couch.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Surviving Chesty's Driving

Have you ever been in a vehicle with a straight up wild, crazy, bad (not so much bad as ummmm....manic) driver? I have and her name is Chesty McBreasty (OK, that's not really her name but it is her well deserved alias). She's nuts.

I recently traveled to a meeting an hour and a half or so from home with Chesty. If you follow the blog you know I am a Freak Behind The Wheel and will not/can not drive in busy traffic so my only other choices were to not go or endure Chesty's driving. I know from past experiences that Chesty's driving is not a smooth ride so the thought of taking a Graval before leaving popped into my head almost immediately.

While I am very, very grateful to Chesty for driving I have to say that I am pretty sure I had a brush with death during that round trip.

It started out not too bad with just the usual last minute stops and fast corners and from there got more and more interesting. On the way to the highway a very brave raccoon decided to cross Chesty's path and scampered across the road and actually made it safely to the other side. It must have been his lucky day.

It was when we entered the highway that Chesty's little pink (yes, pink)and black Neon became a little pink and black rocket as she sped through the lanes of traffic. Surprisingly this was the most relaxing part of the trip.

We arrived at our destination in one piece. The ride back was a lot more interesting.

I became the designated texter (thankfully) and had the job of reporting our whereabouts to Mr. Mad-face (also known as Chesty's husband) and our estimated time of arrival back at home. All was fine until Chesty decided it was a good idea to talk to her mother on her cell at the same time as drive. She should know from past experiences that she is not fully capable of driving and talking and doing so usually ends up in a ticket for failing to stop at a red light or stop sign.

The talk and drive resulted in Chesty almost missing our turn off and pulling a super wide frightening crazy turn which thankfully she was able to barely keep out of the path of an oncoming transport truck. I'm pretty sure that little pink hot rod was up on 2 wheels at some point.

Back in town, we had one more stop to make before bidding ado and heading our separate ways. A block from that last stop there was a stop sign that Chesty SLOWED at and while looking around at her surroundings stomped back on the accelerator without noticing the poor kitty trying to make his way across the street. RUN KITTY! I'm pretty sure he used up one of his 9 lives right there and was probably searching for the nearest litter box (I know I was).

In the end my nerves were frazzled. My pants were slightly soiled (not really but close) and my heart had stopped a total of half a dozen times but I was still alive and kicking. Really when I think about it, it was really just one really long roller coaster without a track and I love roller coasters! I had survived Chesty's driving - Let's do it again!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mama Long Legs

I have long legs, like really long legs. Long legs are great for all kinds of things. They give me extra height (so I can reach things on the top shelf in my kitchen cabinets) and help to make me appear thinner (always a good thing). They look great with high heels (now that I can walk in them) and look nicer with capris (though my legs are long they are very skinny and chickeny so shorts are out of the question). They are not however great or good for one thing for this Mama Long Legs and that is buying pants.

Who gets to decide what is considered average leg length? A midget (sorry, little person to be politically correct)? Have they lost sight of the fact that pants can be hemmed but they can not be lengthened? Short people get petite sizing which is available just about anywhere and the rest of us get average. I know there are tall sizes but you can’t just walk into your local Walmart and find them and when you do find them they are usual higher priced. What’s the deal with that? They make shorter pants so shrimps don’t have to pay to have their pants tailored but I have to pay more if I want pants to fit.

I’m cheap. I mean frugal so I don’t spend a lot on my clothes (which may or may not be obvious by my wardrobe). Most of my apparel was purchased at the Walmart Boutique where I frequently shop. I have 4 pairs of jeans that I have purchased there and all of them supposedly the same size. They all fit when I tried them on in the change room (where on one trip Fuzzy was adamant that he was going to eat a mint he found on the floor). However, only one pair fits after a trip through the dryer. None of them are the same length, not one pair. They all say on the tag that they are the same but in reality that is a big fat lie.

One pair is just completely out of question for me to wear in public. My ankles are cold when I wear them so, with a big roll of the hem they have become a pair of capris and now belong in my summer wardrobe. Two of the other pairs are close to the same length, neither of which are the proper length to wear with any kind of shoes and therefore I’m not comfortable sitting down while wearing them especially if my routine leg shaving has been neglected for a few days or if my socks don’t match (it happens. In fact it has happened today). The fourth pair are great and even long enough to wear with a pair of low heels. Unfortunately I have not been able to find a pair that long since for under $25.

Then at Christmas time my mother in law bought me some long sleeve shirts from a higher class boutique (higher class than Walmart anyway) that where unfortunately too short in the sleeves. (I have freakishly long arms to match my long legs making it difficult to buy long sleeved shirts as well). When I took the shirts back I was given a store credit. I went directly to the jeans. They didn’t really have a lot to choose from and a lot of what they did have was kind of…grandma-ish and then I picked up a crazy long pair that looked like something a person in their (late) twenties could wear.

When I put them I didn’t know if the pant legs actually had an end they were so incredibly long. Impressed, I did the regular check. Ass looks good, check. Waist does not create a muffin top (the roll of fat that falls over the top of a pair of pants that don’t fit properly in the waist and makes you look the same shape as a muffin), check. There was no need to check the length to make sure I wasn’t waiting for heavy rains since I was standing on the pant legs. Since I was using my store credit I only briefly glanced at the price tag - $95 reduced to $55. Holy crap! Thank god for Christmas gifts that don’t fit!

After a trip to the tailor – yes the freaking tailor – Mama Long Legs has a pair of jeans that fit just like I like them in the length and my super long fabulous jeans where ready to be worn like nobody’s business. I have never in my life had to have a pair of pants hemmed until now and it is great to be able to pick how long I want my pants. I am now so envious of short legged people who get to enjoy this luxury on a regular basis. I want pants that are too long from now on. If anyone knows where I can get some (cheap) let me know.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Stoup's On

I am a big fan of soup. I like most soups with the exception of just about any soup with noodles. Noodles belong on a plate and for me that's where they shall stay not in my bowl of steamy, delicious soup. I am a fan of soup but have never made my own unless you count the soup I prepare with help from the people at Campbell's or at the Donut Shack where I add the water. Papa Bear must have been feeling in a festive mood or something and decided to make a turkey for dinner the other night and I thought it was a great opportunity to make some fresh, homemade turkey soup.

I didn't know to make turkey soup so I Googled it like I do everything I don't know. I swear I have learned more by Googling than I ever did in school. The results of my Google search were some fantastic sounding recipes but included all kinds of herbs and spices that I do not stock in my very limited pantry. So what do you do when you need some help? Ask for it in a Facebook status of course. I asked and I received some guidance from an old friend.

I wasn't about to call Papa Bear with a grocery list of things like garlic cloves, bay leaves and thyme to pick up on his way home but carrots and onions he can manage so I called his cell phone that rang from the china cabinet behind me... Thankfully Papa Bear is in the habit of calling before he leaves work to see if we need anything. What a good Papa Bear :).

While I waited for Papa Bear to arrive with the rest of my ingredients I started at tearing the turkey carcass apart. For some reason I find turkey joints and tendants really creepy and found myself with a case of heebie jeebies (as my Nana says). Just gross. I'm sure I'm not all that beautiful under my skin but eww.

In no time my house smelled of the delicious smelling concoction even though it looked like swamp water. The broth production was a very successful operation so I strained and chopped up my veggies. I don't really care for dark turkey meat nor does anyone else in the Bear family so I kept a little bit of it in the pot but the dogs got the majority of it. I'm sure they are both going to sleep in their little doggy houses with big smiles on their faces tonight.

The tough decision for the soup was barley, rice or pasta. I already expressed my dislike for noodles in my soup but Papa Bear is pro noodle and tried his best to sway me to the noodle side. The barley I thought was in the cupboard was not so rice won the spot in the soup. Now, deciding how much rice to add is a hard call and I really like rice but I did know that it would absorb the broth and only added 3/4 of a cup. That would turn out to be a poor choice and a big over estimate. Shortly after I started to cook the soup again with the rice and veggies included I looked in the pot to no longer find soup but instead what will be referred to as stoup - not soup, not quite stew but somewhere in between.