Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I LOVED that book! What was it about again?

When I was a little girl, my mom would read stories to my sister and I.  We loved story time, we would curl up as close to my mom as possible, as if the closer to the source of the words we were, the more magic they held over us.  We had to see the words, touch to pages, watch my mom's face as she transitioned from character to character.  My favorite book was James and the Giant Peach, I am pretty sure my mom read that about a billion times.  And while I was an avid listener, I did not turn into an avid reader.  So by the time I was in the second grade my mom, who was a school teacher, decided I should be reading more and did what any good parent/teacher would do, she bribed me, with money:

Mom:  Pud, how 'bout I pay you for...
Me:  Yes

According to my memory (see blog post #1, My first time), I received $1 for each book I read, my mom says it was $0.25.  Either way I would say she owes me a lot of money because I have read tons of books since our agreement was reached.  But I will let it slide since she has bought me stuff through the years, and there is that whole giving birth thing, so let's just call it even.  Operation "Bribe Pud to Read" worked so well on me that my parents decided to try it with my sister when she entered the second grade:

Mom and Dad:  Puck, if you start reading we will pay you $1 for every book!  How does that sound?
Puck:  I will start reading when I want to.

Puck was not as easily persuaded as yours truly.

Soon after being bribed to read, I found that I loved reading.  I became immersed in the stories, which played like a movie in my head.  I could see, smell, touch everything the characters could.  I would read and it was as if I was in a trance, my immediate surroundings turned into whatever scene I was reading in the book.  No stimulus from the real world could break my concentration.  Sometimes I would pretend I was one of the characters, other times I would become a new character that I had made up and inserted into the story.  Reading was fun.

My first "chapter" book was The Boxcar Children.  I didn't quite get the concept of chapters so I picked the chapter with the best sounding title and started there.  Turns out "chapter" books do not make much sense if you start in the middle.  I then moved on to "series" books, The Babysitters Club, Anne of Green Gables, The Chronicles of Narnia.  I couldn't stop reading, I wanted to know what was going to happen to the characters as soon as I could, I had become friends with them, so to speak. 

I loved reading so much that I would read anywhere, on vacation, on a raft, during BBQs, inside, outside.  I would read during class; math class, science class, social studies.  I thought I was sneaky, I thought no one could see that I was holding a book inside the cubby of my desk and reading it during class.  It turns out the teacher could.  In the fourth grade my teacher sent a note home to my parents stating that I read too much.  This is probably the only case in the history of the world of a teacher discouraging a child from reading.

When we were given a book to read at school we were only supposed to read the pages assigned, we would then discuss what happened.  The problem was, I couldn't put the book down, and I usually finished it within a few days.  Of course I forgot all the minute details and even major plot lines, and when it came time to discuss the book I was at a loss.  This problem was not exclusive to books assigned in school.  Even when reading books for leisure I would forget plots or confuse characters.  As time progressed I read more and more, which meant I accumulated more and more characters and plots to mix up and intertwine in my memory .  It's like a 40 story New York City tenement building up there.

Yet somehow I persevered.  I kept on reading.  And while the genre of books have changed over the years a few things remain the same.  I am still put in a trance whenever I read, I can still see the stories playing like movies in my head, I still see myself in the stories, I still feel like I am losing a friend whenever a story or series ends.  I still love to read.

My favorite book is that one where Elizabeth Bennet falls in love with Prince Caspian who is in love with Kate Minola who may or may not be a vampire and who's family is mortal enemies with the Montagues who are werewolves and live at Hogwarts in Paris immediately after World War I where all the young people just seem so lost so they all start going to Spain to watch bull fights.  Don't worry there is a happy ending, I think, I can't really remember.

Monday, November 28, 2011


During one of my previous lives I lived in a real mountain town, this being defined as having more than one mountain, a ski resort instead of a ski hill, and a bar to people ratio of 1:10.  Most people moved to this town with one goal, to ski.  And while some may have called us locals, we preferred to be called ski bums.  Ski bums alone are not enough to keep the economy of a small mountain town alive, unless it is a hops based economy.  There must be an outside source helping to support the local economy.  Enter the tourist.

Tourists are great, they stimulate the local economy, they are excited to be there, and they are grateful for all the help from  the locals.  Tourists look at locals like zoo animals.  Not just any zoo animal, the cool zoo animals, the lions, the penguins, the Asiatic black bear with Kung Fu moves (seriously check it out on YouTube):           
 Tourist:  "Look Timmy this young woman actually lives  here!  She gets to ski every day and party every night!  Isn't that great!  Maybe some day  if you work hard enough you will get to be a ski bum!  How does that sound?  Now go stand next to her and I'll get your picture!"
And while most tourists are pleasant there are always those few that act as if being on vacation is some kind of horrible punishment.  And if they must suffer, then damn it, so must everyone around them.  These people are called tourons (think moron + tourist = touron).

Tourons are generally unhappy to be anywhere outside their natural habitat (sitting on their couch watching TV).  They think locals are only there to serve them, to unzip their neon colored onesies so they can use the bathroom.  They ski in jeans and a Starter jacket, and refuse to take their ski boots off, even hours after they have stopped skiing and are sitting in a restaurant eating dinner.  When it comes to tipping they still live in 1950, and you will take that dollar and be  you will be happy that you got anything at all.  Tourons look at locals as creatures that even Dr. Frankenstein would not create:

Touron:  "Jimmy get away from that local!  There is no telling where he has been!  You must not get any closer or you may catch whatever disease he has that causes him to be a lazy, unproductive member of society!"

Anyone who has ever been on vacation has been either a tourist or a touron, and whichever you may have been (more than likely a tourist), one thing is certain, you asked a stupid question.  And no matter how serious you were about getting a straight answer, the local ski bum delved down into the deepest darkest part of his wit and gave you a smart-ass answer.

Note to reader, the following questions have actually been asked by tourists.

Example #1
Tourist:  What do you call those white bumps on the ski slopes?

Local:  Moguls

Tourist:  Yeah mobiles! Where do you store them in the summer?

Local:  In a warehouse

Tourist:  What do you store in the warehouse during the winter?

Local:  Bear, deer, moose.  In the summer we pull them out of storage and strategically place them around the mountain so tourists can have their pictures taken with them.

Tourist:  Did you hear that Henry, they have Nature Animals during the summer!

Example #2
Tourist:  Will our river rafting trip end at the same place along the river      where it begins?

Local:  Yes, rivers in nature are exactly the same as the Lazy River at Six Flags.

Example #3
Tourist:  At what elevation do deer turn into elk

Local:  Due to the genetic differences between deer and elk, one cannot turn into the other at any given elevation.  However elk turn into moose once the temperature drops below 15 degrees F.

Example #4
Tourist:  (as a beautiful, ethereal whistling wafts through the forest) What kind of bird makes that song?

Local:  That's an elk bugling

Tourist:  Ohhh, I've never heard of an elk bugling bird!

So as you and yours prepare for winter vacationing season, remember; leave good tips, be respectful, have fun, and unzip your own onesie.  Now I have to go explain to some tourist why only one side of the chair lift is loaded with people.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Hipster (with MANY apologies to Chaucer, and a few to Jon D)

The Hipster lives downtown
Above a store where music is found
He plays his guitar to spread his word
He wants nothing more than to be heard

Wearing corduroy coat, capris and a beard
He frequents dive bars and drinks micro brewed mead
To talk about the latest Indie band
And teach you as much as he can

Not that you need or want to know
But he'll tell you anyway just to show
You don't know about what you speak
His pretentiousness cannot be beat

He can't hold his liquor
But will tell what drink is better
His band doesn't want him
But he says he's just too good for them

Years of formal education
Yet his lack of knowledge is a frustration
He is blind to this however
And cannot be corrected, ever

Seeing himself as Kerouac
He'll snap is fingers instead of clap
To prove to you that he is cool
When actually he plays the fool

They say ignorance is bliss
And with that I must insist
The Hipster is content
Believing he's so important

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's Snowing! What should I do?

Well it's finally here, we had our first major snow in TMT this week.  The change in the season means beautiful contrasts between evergreen trees, crisp white snow, and clear blue skies; the laughter of children as they fly through the snow on their sleds; the excitement that builds as the holidays approach; and... oh my...what was that huge crash...oh yes, people have forgotten how to drive.  This is understandable since it's been a whopping 5 whole months since the last time we saw snow.  Somehow 5 months seems to be that magical cut off where people have just forgotten what snow looks like, let alone that it's slippery. 
Some people walk out of their houses and say "snow, eh, this doesn't change a thing, I will go about my day exactly as I would if there was no snow, I mean there is only 4 feet, just a light dusting really." 

Then there are those who will peak out from behind their blinds and gasp in fear, retreating to the safety of their plushly duveted bed muttering "I can't go out there, what is all that white stuff, it looks scary, it is sure to kill me if I turn my back on it or attempt go out in it!  I mean there is a whole inch of it out there, what if I fall, no one will ever find me!"

Both of these people cause serious problems on the road after a snow storm (or even just a flurry).  The former tends to drive their typical 10 miles over the speed limit, changing lanes erratically, splashing slush onto unsuspecting drivers.  This person usually drives a large truck so if they are in an accident they generally don't know it happened, ("what was that speed bump doing in the middle of the Interstate, they really shouldn't put those there").  Then there is the latter, this person drives so slow and so cautiously that the season is likely to change at least two more times before you reach your destination.  This driver is easy to find, just look for the line of cars that snakes through 15 miles of interstate.  Or listen for the symphony of honking horns, if you use your imagination it's like cars singing Christmas Carols.  This person tends to drive a very compact car with rear wheel drive and no clearance, in other words a car well suited for a place that doesn't get snow, you know, the opposite of TMT.

Now I am a fantastic driver which is why I can pass judgement about the skills of other drivers.  I have never almost slid off of an icy road, except for that one time.  I have only been in a handful of accidents, of which some were NOT my fault.  And getting pulled over once every few years for speeding falls within the acceptable range I'm told.  So when I hear people complain about the driving conditions after they took an hour to drive the 5 miles to work, I just chuckle to myself, shake my head and think "where did these people learn to drive anyway"?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hands off ladies, the man is mine.

Like any sophisticated woman of the 21st century, I have the latest in fashion accessories, a gay.  Finding a gay in TMT is not an easy task, so a girl has to take what she can get.  My gay is married, straight, and has a fashion sense that would cause Carson Kressley to call an emergency meeting of the Queer Eye guys, but hey, beggars can't be choosers.  In fact, I was lucky enough to have Theodore (Theo for short) approach me! 

We had been friends for a few weeks after having met at work, when Theo came to me and informed me he was my gay.  With any relationship one wants to take their time, not move too fast or make hasty decisions.  It is advised that people get to know one another before taking the next step.  And so upon careful consideration I decided that Theo's proclamation had been given at an appropriate time, and I accepted.

We had just entered tricky territory.  There is no how-to book on having a relationship with a (fake) gay, and me and Theo quickly realized there are a lot of questions that arise.  For instance, was I allowed to have another gay, and was Theo, for that matter, allowed to be another woman's gay?  Is he required to go shopping with me despite his flawed fashion sense?  Am I to include him in every girls' night out?  We were afraid we were getting in over our heads.

Fortunately Theo and I didn't come across too many of these hurdles, until one day last week when he told me "I am someone else's gay."  I was hurt and angry.  "Who is she?"  I demanded, "does she work with us?"  He said no, but this didn't make it much better.  After I calmed down I realized that I have no true claim to Theo, we had never really determined what the rules were, we were learning as we went. 

In the end "the other woman" was a non-issue, she informed Theo that she no longer needed a gay, which was fine with me, but Theo seemed a bit down.  Oh well, I don't remember any rule saying I had to offer a shoulder for him to cry on, I'm pretty sure that's his wife's job.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Mountain Town Part 2

Upon my arrival in TMT, my first goal was to make friends, a task that has never been particularly hard for me given my cheery disposition and welcoming personality (please see first blog).  Alas, everything is different in TMT, and my goal of creating friendships was met with many obstacles, the first of which was my vocal disdain for TMT.
Potential friend:  (with big smile and wearing the latest in road bike fashion) "How do you like TMT?  Aren't you just so excited to be in the greatest place in the world?  You are so lucky!" 
Me:  (with smirk and raised eyebrow) "No, this place really isn't that great.  I moved here from Utopiaville and TMT can't even hold a candle. It has no charm, it's too industrial, there is only ONE mountain, and the closest city is two hours away and every time I go there I feel like a volunteer for the Peace Corps."

Usually at this point, the sky clouds over, cars screech to a stop, women quickly pull their children into the nearest place of refuge, and my potential friend has just realized they have somewhere else they need to be.  And there I stand on the street, alone, except for that tumble weed that just rolled by.

Needless to say I didn't make friends as quickly as I usually did.

Somehow I did find a guy who seemed pretty cool and we began dating.  It didn't take long for conversation to turn to the one thing I wanted to avoid, the amazing awesomeness of TMT.  Hiding my true feelings is not something I have ever been good at, so while Jimbo rattled off the list of what made TMT so great, I felt myself losing control until I couldn't hold it anymore and I just had to let it out.

"No, I hate it hear, I miss Colorado, I wish the east side of town didn't smell like dog food all the time, I wish there was more open space, better shopping, better skiing...".  At this point I am not even sure what I said, but I think my tirade went on for weeks.

The next day Jimbo called me up, "I think I have done all I can for you.  It is time for you to go out on your own and make your own friends."  I had just been dumped, and the reason, shockingly enough, was my attitude towards TMT. 

People say it's not the place that matters as much as the company, and I knew that I needed to make friends if I was going to enjoy living in TMT.  But in order to make friends in a place full of people who loved the very town I hated, I needed to change my attitude, keep some of my thoughts and feelings to myself, smile, nod and say "yeah, TMT is growing on me."  Maybe if I lied enough I would believe it.

As soon as I made this change, I actually made some friends.  With my new friends I got out more, visited some bars, hiked around, went skiing at the local mountain, and started to like TMT. 

Now almost three years after moving here I not only have a solid group of friends, a boyfriend (NOT Jimbo), a few favorite bars, and a favorite place to shop, but I feel like TMT could be home.  My boyfriend and I are looking to buy a house, so we may be here a while.

I still miss Colorado, and hope someday to move back there, but in the meantime it isn't too far to visit.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

THE Mountain Town Part 1

I arrived in THE Mountain Town in the latter part of January 2009 after having left Utopiaville, CO a few days before.  There had been many times in my life when I had arrived in a new town, site unseen, knowing nobody, and excited about what was to come.  But this time was different.  I was making this move because I finally got a "real" job.  One that not only used my two degrees, but also didn't end when the season changed.  And as much as I tried to resist this blind dive into the real world, it was a necessary move.  After all I had just turned 31 only a few weeks before and it was time for the world's longest SpringSummerHoliday Break to end.  I could hear my parents' sighs of relief 2000 miles away. 

Despite my apprehension, I was excited about this new chapter in my life.  Everyone told me "you are going to LOVE THE Mountain Town!  It is just like Colorado!  It's amazing, the best place in the whole world!  You are sooooooo lucky!"  So I packed up my Subaru Forester (a required car if  you live in Colorado), put my cat Piglet in his carrier, placed him in the passenger seat and naively set out for my new life.

Then I drove into The Mountain Town, and all that excitement gushed out of me like a deflating balloon.  The first thing I saw besides The Mountain (there is only one), was the dog food factory.  The surrounding hillsides had been gouged, the material removed for road construction and landscaping, leaving behind abstract mounds that only a pretentious New York art collector could love, if they were on crack.

I quickly made my way to my new apartment, surely it could only get better.
I was wrong.  My apartment which I had rented site unseen, was not in the nicest part of town, a relative statement to say the least.  Upon entry I noticed a pond of water which had settled into a depression in front of the refrigerator.  I called the leasing office was told "it wasn't like that the last time maintenance was in the apartment and besides, our maintenance guy is on vacation and there is nobody else available to fix the problem".  I crawled up in my sleeping bag (my furniture had not yet arrived) and bawled, and bawled, and bawled, for about a week.  I was alone, in an ugly town, in a crappy apartment, with no friends and only my cat to comfort me.  Maybe this wasn't such a great idea.  Maybe I should have stayed in Utopiaville, CO and worked seasonal jobs for the rest of my life.  I mean really, who needs savings and a retirement fund? 

For the first time in my life, I called my parents crying, telling them how unhappy I was and that I just didn't want to be there.  My parents were in Australia, and while they tried to sound concerned as they insisted it would get better, I got the feeling they were the ones concerned, concerned that I may back out of this new grownup lifestyle and return to SpringSummerHoliday Break land.  Then, as I heard a didjeridu and cheering in the background, my mom quickly exclaimed "Don't worry sweetheart you'll get through this you always do we have to go they are about to put the shrimp on the barbie!"  Thanks Mom and Dad, by the way your Australian accents sound more Long Island than Crocodile Dundee.

Within a week I had broken my lease and by the end of the month had moved into a new, much nicer apartment.  I still didn't know many people in town, but at least I didn't need a snorkel to access my 'fridge.  Baby steps.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My First Time

This is my first entry for my first blog and before I let you in to my world, before I divulge all my dreams and fears, before I relay all the drama of this small mountain town, I should warn you...I lie.

I'm not talking about little white lies, please, everyone tells those.  Nor am I refering to compulsive lying, where the person knows very well they are lying and continues on with the conversation as if nothing happend while the other people look at each other as if to say "should we call him out?" "No, it's not worth it, just smile and nod, and eventually he will go away, and then we can totally make fun of him."  We all know someone like that, and as I can only speak for myself, I totally make fun of them.

My lying is unintentional. It is more like a mean trick played on me by my brain.  I have a great memory, until I tell someone a story from my past and someone else, usually my mother, informs me "No, that's NOT how it happened at all.  You didn't save your sister from drowning in the swimming pool by diving in, pulling her out and performing CPR on her, in the middle of a hurricane, while being attacked by killer bees.  You screamed at the top of your lungs 'Mom, Sis is getting in the pool!  Remember you said we couldn't get in the pool untill you were here! MOM!  She is breaking the rules!'"  I still think she could have drowned and by me telling on her, I save her life.

Changling memories aren't the only way my brain plays tricks on me.  There is also the concept of point of view.  Whether I am involved in the situation or just an interested bystander, I tend to retell the story based on how I percieve things happened.  This is typical for pretty much everyone, so in order to be different I will retell my stories as extravagantly as possible.

Filling in the blanks.  This isn't so much a trick my brain plays as it is a helpful way to piece together what happened during those times I blank out during the day.  I have a hard time concentrating, my mind wanders, my eyes glaze over, I think of driking a hot chocolate (I hate coffee) in a Parisian cafe, kicking everyone's ass coming down the mogul run, writing a blog.  Yet while I am thinking these terrific thoughts, there is an important life changing meeting going on, and now they need my input.  Crap. 

And with that, I invite you into my little corner of the world, and hope you visit often.  But consider yourself forewarned, what I tell you is an embellishment of the truth at best, if not a full out lie.  Please feel free to call me out anytime, I will answer with the truth.  Then again, you will never know.