Monday, January 30, 2012

Skinny Carolyn's Diet Advice

Bracelet news: I got to take one off! I chose the tightest one... it must have been meant for a littler girl than me! The bangley-jangley ones are still annoying me to PUT DOWN THAT CANDY BAR! My little sister Carolyn has no such qualms. She eats chocolate ice cream. She used to be heavier than she is now. She's lost weight and had to get new pants... skinnier ones. So I asked her what I need to do to lose weight, too. "Eat chocolate," she said, "then exercise." Is that diet advice that you could follow?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Buggy Bracelet Diet

I'm okay with being a big girl. After all, I've been one all my life. I don't aspire to be model skinny, but what I'm not okay with is being a bigger girl, big enough that my jeans don't fit. I don't want to go out and buy new clothes. So, drawing on my successful experience at 10 years old when I wore an elastic around my hand and snapped it whenever I caught myself biting my nails, I dug around for the most annoying bracelets I own and put them on. The plan is that when I lose an inch from my waist, I'll remove a bracelet. When I lose another inch, I'll remove another bracelet, and so on, until my arms are free and clear, and my jeans are zippable.
Goodness gracious, it's hard to type with all this hardware on my wrists. One bracelet is so annoying that its dangling snowflakes and snowdrops catch in my hair and snag my clothes. So I'm wondering, should I take that one off first? Or should I save it until last for added motivation?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Never Fear, Grammy's Here!

If you want to sleep on the floor, who do you ask? Ask Grammy!
If you want a gourmet cupcake, who do you ask? Ask Grammy! If you want to wait an hour and a half in a casino to see a mermaid, who do you ask? Ask Grammy!
And if you're driving on Tropicana Boulevard in Las Vegas just after dark and the interior light comes on and the "door open" alarm starts beeping, who will turn the car off at the next red light so the doors can be open and shut tightly? Grammy! Not being able to start the car after was also of Grammy's doing. Eventually realizing that the car wasn't in "park" solved the problem, although the traffic light had turned green by then and the drivers behind were restless. Arriving home from that debacle, my newly-turned-10 grandson said, "I've got to sit down and rest from that adventure." For two days and two nights, Grammy ruled the roost and watched her little chickadees while her son and daughter-in-law were away.
We had another adventure going to "Disney on Ice: Toy Story III" the next evening - walking half a mile with the youngest in a stroller. (Oh yeah, oh yeah. Grammy even went up the event center stairs two at a time while escorting grandchildren to the bathroom. She didn't even feel the burn. Way to go, water aerobics! Way to go bike riding!) Grammy liked the event as much as the kids, laughing especially at the troll dolls. The skaters only used their legs from the knees down and their forearms and hands to gesture because most of their body was stuffed up into the tall troll doll hair. Hilarious. That night Grammy was up four times, for an overflowing toilet, a baby crying, a diarrhea victim who missed, and a prowling teenager trying to figure out who and where everyone was after nearly tripping over someone sleeping on the floor.
Never fear...
What are your best babysitting adventures?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Had any Time Gangsters pop in on you lately?

I’m crouched here in a New York City alley scribbling notes on Berin Stephens’ “Time Gangsters,” which is a refreshing new approach to time travel. Readers join adventurers 12-year-old Billy (boy) and his 12-year-old cousin Danny (girl… short for Dannielle - because her father wanted a boy.) The two are caught up in a time bridge from modern day Colorado to the speakeasy gangster era of 1927 New York City. If that’s not enough adventure for you, throw in some magical gold coins (or “medallions” as Billy’s best friend, Wheezy, repeatedly reminds everyone as he discovers their Egyptian words to unleash their really useful powers.)
Gangsters, cops, and kids travel through time, fighting for possession of the magical medallions that, as well as time travel, make the bearer jump high, throw fire, control wind and water and heal wounds. I really like how Stephens put the young protagonists in situations that are genuinely frightening where they face the possibility of real bodily harm from heartless gangsters, but also engage in funny banter amongst themselves, such as the "Middle Name Curse." It’s a great mix of suspense and humor.
Uh, oh. Here comes a gangster. Whaddaya mean, “How do I know?” Because he’s wearing a trench coat and a slouch hat and carrying a tommy gun. It’s pointed my way! Ack! He’s under the streetlight… what’s this? It’s Berin “Reeds” Stephens. Of all people, the one who created this adventure in the first place.
Berin: Sh. Keep your voice down.
Shirley: Oh, yeah, these New York streets are dangerous in 1927. Shall we walk? Let’s keep to the sidewalk under the streetlights and avoid the dark. Hey, Reeds, we all want to know how you thought of putting American gangsters and Egyptian gold coins together in a story.
Berin: Well, for lack of a better explanation, I had a dream about gangsters with magic coins. I added the Egyptian stuff later to make it a little more exotic.
Shirley: (Screams) Ahhh! Is that a rat?
Berin: You dirty rat! Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat
Shirley: Uh, don’t you think a machine gun is a bit of overkill?
Berin: Nope.
Shirley: Yikes! Headlights up ahead, on a black car, moving slowly!
Berin: Quick, turn the corner! Walk casually. There. We lost them.
Shirley: Good move. You've done this before. Hey, is there some of you as a kid in the main character, Billy? I mean, your names start with the same letter and have the same number of vowels. What gives?
Berin: No relation. And he's nothing like me. He's adventurous, I just drive a car and hide behind a saxophone while playing in clubs. But I did choose his last name of Fairbanks because I was born and raised in Alaska.
Shirley: Have you ever wanted to time travel? Where did you go? (Ahem), I mean, where would you go?
Berin: Let me take this opportunity to make a public service announcement: time travel is dangerous. Don't do it unless you are a certified time travel professional. There are too many consequences from it, like paradoxes created, people who end up not being born, and whole civilizations being wiped out. Not to mention the whole disruption of the space-time continuum that destroys all creation; that's usually considered kind of bad. But if I could travel through time with no consequences? Medieval England, but I'd only want to visit, not live there.
Shirley: I had to laugh when you made 12-year-old Danny taller than her 12-year-old cousin, Billy, because that is how it was when I was 12. Their banter was a funny spot in a frequently tense storyline. Did you have a sister or cousin to banter with while you were growing up?
Berin: No, I was an only child and so was my brother (we were six years apart in age so we didn't have a lot in common). But I do have five kids, who are great source material. And as far as the size difference, I teach music lessons to a lot of junior high aged kids and I visit schools a lot. It just strikes me as funny that junior high girls are often taller than the boys. I just wanted to have some fun with that.
Shirley: Hey, what’s that on the ground up ahead? It’s glinting like…gold.
Berin: I’ll get it.
Shirley: (Walking faster) No, it’s okay, I can get it. You’ve got that heavy gun and everything.
Berin: (Breaking into a run) No, I insist.
Shirley: Finders keepers!
Berin: Losers weepers! Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat
Shirley: (Screams) Ahhh! What’s that? You shot ink all over everything.
Berin: Writing is my secret weapon. You go ahead and keep the medallion, I’ve got plenty more in the pages on my laptop.
Shirley: Ladies and gentlemen, would you ever have guessed? A gangster with heart, and a great story. So where are you off to now, Reeds?
Berin: There are still many adventures happening out there: in outer space, in dystopian worlds, and with super heroes. As of right now, I don't have plans for a sequel for Time Gangsters. We'll see how well it does. But if there is a sequel, it just might take place during World War II, but no promises. But I gotta go. The boss asked me to fill up the Duesenberg before I drive him to the horse races.
Shirley: Bye Reeds! There you have it. Find "Time Gangsters" right here, at this link, go ahead, click on it! (I promise no gangsters will pop up out of your computer screen.) Now click! TIME GANGSTERS!
The Big Boss says to show you this exciting poster if I want to keep all my fingers. And I do. CLICK!
Fingers sore yet? Here's the website where it all came down. CLICK
If you're still conscious, try this blogspot. It could be fuuuun! CLICK
And the one who brought it all to light - the Big Boss publisher! CLICK

Monday, January 9, 2012

Do Cows Eat Snow?

DON'T MISS TOMORROW's SPECIAL EXTRA BLOG (details at end of post) and CLICK HERE to read about the MYSTERY OF MERMAIDS (hey, they live in MELTED snow!) at!
When I first saw the article about cows eating snow, I wanted to shout, "Stop! Don't! Hypothermia!" But it turns out that with four stomachs covered by hide and fur, cows CAN eat snow, and like it! In fact, in a year more snowy than this central Utah's balmy January 50 degrees, cows can get ALL their water needs from snow! But they have to learn how. It's a peer pressure thing.
"Ahem, excuse me, where's the water trough?"
"We don't use a water trough. We eat snow."
(Mooey sort of gasp) "No!"
"Come on, take a mouthful."
"No! It's cold! It's fluffy! It gets up my nose!"
"Come on, just one won't hurt. Look, I'll do it myself." (Bite, crunch, swallow.) "See?"
"Ahhh! Your tongue is blue!"
But, eventually, thirst or curiosity wins the new cow over and she gets addicted to eating snow.
(I wonder if cows eat yellow snow?)
Did you eat snow as a kid, catching snowflakes on your tongue? Or did you peel it off the road?
COME BACK TOMORROW for one of my inimitable book reviews (that means no one can imitate them! I'm the only one who can put you inside the story like I do by browbeating the poor, unsuspecting author!) So come back and read about Berin Stephens' new "Time Gangsters" adventure, you dirty rat!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Crazy - er - Creative Flavor

I was in the store the other day, innocently passing the candy aisle, when I was stopped dead in my tracks by a picture of a hot red chili pepper on a chocolate bar wrapper. What the hooey? At first I thought it was some kind of joke, like Harry Potter booger flavored jelly beans or something, but then I picked up the chocolate bar and saw printed on the wrapper, "Excellence Chili is an exceptional and entirely new taste experience combining Lindt's finest aromatic dark chocolate with the well balanced spice of premium red chili."
Excuse me, but calling something "premium" does not fix the problem when it has no business being there in the first place. (Did these people imbibe in too much liquid holiday cheer or what? They must have all killed their taste buds. That's the only rational explanation!) Chilis go in salsa, not chocolate.
Yet I suppose it's no weirder than the peanut butter baloney sandwiches my oldest son insisted on eating when he was three years old.
What strange tastes do you have? (Which ones will you admit?)