Archive for the ‘Funny Things That Happen To Me’ Category

Celebrity sighting in Idaho!

Well, consider the Coca-Cola Polar Bear a celebrity, anyway.

Coca-Cola bear

This was at Schweitzer Mountain Resort, which is near Sandpoint, in northern Idaho. My husband saw an actual celebrity there while staying at our friends’ friends’ condo sometime last year:

Ben Stein


Yep, Ben Stein, aka the “Bueller” guy. Kind of jealous of that one.

Anyway, when I wasn’t hob-nobbing with the rich and famous, I was hitting the (bunny) slopes, mowing down any and all small children in my path. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I managed to swerve out of the way before plowing into them. Most of the time. But there were definitely more french fries than pizza this ski trip. Zoe would be proud.


In which I school a small child at my beginners’ ski lesson. Kind of.

When you've forgotten how to ski, they start you off with the wee ones.

When you’ve forgotten how to ski, they start you off with the wee ones.

Sometimes, I’m a bad Montanan and forget to go skiing for 15 years. Which is mostly my loss, because it’s one of the few ways to actually enjoy the five-month-long mini Ice Age known as “winter” here.

So, for the first time since an eighth-grade field trip, I decided to unforget how to downhill ski one weekend and took a beginners’ lesson up at the local mountain. I assumed the other people in my lesson would be first-timers — kiddos, mainly — and I planned to totally school these pint-size fools on how to pizza and french-fry.

Skiing basics, courtesy of this site. Which probably got it somewhere else.

Skiing basics, courtesy of this site. Which probably got it somewhere else.

I got to my lesson though, and it was just some punk-kid instructor, “Landon,” and Zoe, a 7-year-old girl who had apparently been abandoned by the rest of her family so she could learn how to ski while they gallivanted across the mountain.

Now, I’d like to say I schooled Zoe in our lesson. But after “Landon” had trouble hiding his frustration and impatience with her as she struggled to master the basics after our first run, which prompted her to start crying because she missed her mommy … well, that would just seem kind of mean.

Things started out all right. I was pizza-ing and french fry-ing like a pro in no time. Zoe did fine on the bunny hill, and we went up on the lift after just two practice runs.

This is when Zoe fell apart. Her french fries led to speed she just couldn’t handle. Speed she just couldn’t handle led to falling. Falling led her to point her skis down the mountain instead of across it. Pointing her skis down the mountain instead of across it led to her to slide down it instead of pushing herself up. Sliding down the mountain instead of pushing herself up led to her scarf falling off and her coat coming unzipped, which I helped her reassemble after it became clear “Landon” wasn’t going to do a damn thing about it.

(I use quotes not because that wasn’t his real name — it was — but to help convey the appropriate amount of disdain you should feel for  him. It’s not that he was mean to her on purpose, per say; more that his tone was better suited for one of his brahs than a first-timer tyke.)

We got to the end of the run, and it was clear “Landon” was not particularly impressed with either of us, and was downright fed up with Zoe and her pizza-french fry issues. So we decided to take a break in the lodge to warm up. We sat down, and I tried to make conversation with Zoe to help her feel more comfortable. (“Hey, want to see a picture of MY BUNNY?!” — my go-to conversation starter with every child I encounter).

This is the point when she burst into tears (which I hope doesn’t reflect poorly on me or Pancake). I ran over to her side of the table, asking what was wrong. She missed her mom, who was God-knows-where on the mountain. Luckily, shortly after she started to cry, an adult she knew (I think) came by and consoled her. “Landon” took this as a cue to head back up on the lift, and that was the last we saw of Zoe on the slopes.

(Moments later, it occurred to me that I may have just let Zoe get kidnapped by a sexual predator. Don’t worry though! I saw her with her family as we were leaving the mountain, and she looked happy as a clam and had apparently moved on from any lingering abandonment issues.)

(It just now occurred to me that the man from earlier could have been some sort of weirdo cult leader who led Zoe away to join him and his cult brethren in the woods, and she’s probably performing  some bizarre marmot-sacrifice ritual as I type. Zoe’s family, if you’re reading this: I’m really sorry about the cult thing. I should have seen that coming.)

So, yeah … considering she started crying for her mom and may or may not be sacrificing a marmot in the woods right now, it seems a bit harsh to say I “schooled” Zoe at beginners’ skiing. But I since I didn’t start crying for my mommy, I think it’s fair to say I had the better time.

Sadly, Zoe could have used this info, "Landon."

Sadly, Zoe could have used this info, “Landon.”

I won an award! (not really) (at all)

The local paper I work for has a “Young Professional” article in the Business section each Sunday. It features a short profile on a younger working lad or lass in the community, who is typically nominated by the area chamber of commerce. Sometimes we don’t have any submissions though, and a staffer has to step up. And, lucky me, I was The Chosen One this past weekend.

So, really, my Young Professional profile is more of a “we didn’t have any submissions so you have to do it” kind of thing than “an honor,” but I tried to have some fun with it. Check it out if you feel so inclined.


My triumphant return to Apples to Apples!

Apples to Apples

I don’t play Apples to Apples often. Whenever Zach and I go to a get-together involving party games, I have to warn the host that if we play it, my husband will literally flip the f*ck out.

This weekend, I went over to some friends’ house for sushi and games, sans-Zach. Of course, one of the first options everyone wanted to play was Apples to Apples, because it’s America’s favorite party game, and what kind of psycho doesn’t like it, anyway?

It’s a damn shame I don’t get to play it more often, because I’m awesome at it. I can use my Jedi mind-trickery to persuade just about anyone to pick just about any combination, no matter how absurd. Even though I was a bit rusty, my green cards quickly piled up, and I was declared the victor. Everyone found this quite touching because of the aforementioned psycho-husband-fun-hater thing.

OK. So it was Apples to Apples Junior. Up to a third of my competitors may or may not have been adorable children.

And it’s possible that at one point, I tricked convinced an 8-year-old girl that she should pick “horrific surprise party.” Because what if you don’t really like surprises and you went to a surprise party and the surprise gave you a heart attack and you DIED? Horrific, indeed.

But I also convinced a grown-ass man to pick “quick hamburger,” which really required me to ramp up my persuasion prowess. It was between that and “horse,” the more logical option, clearly. But if you order one of the most popular options at a McDonald’s drive-thru, what are you going to get? That’s right: a quick hamburger. Booya.

And then I just got damn lucky with my winning card. My friends’ 9-year-old son drew “best” for the green card, and the stars aligned, as I had “Legos” in my hand. I admit, I was sweating bullets as he weighed my card against “bacon.”

I quietly celebrated my victory with an inconspicuous  fist pump and subtle “YESSSSSSSS!” Everyone was truly happy for me.

The 8-year-old, whose four green cards also had her on the verge of victory, seemed only mildly disappointed. I’m pretty sure she didn’t cry herself to sleep. Pretty sure.

The year Thanksgivukkah was almost RUINED!

I hope everyone had a great time celebrating Thanksgivukkah, the epic, totally real holiday combining Thanksgiving and Hanukkah! The two holidays overlapped this year, and you won’t have another chance to celebrate it for approximately 80 gazillion years!

(I should probably note that I am not, in fact, Jewish. I’m a full-blooded Gentile. I just wish I were. I’m Jew-wish, if you will.)

We honored the rare holiday in the best way possible: With T-shirts and sweet potato latkes!

Thanksgivukkah shirt

Gobble tov!

Gobble tov!


But our celebration was almost ruined — RUINED, I say! — by a freak delivery mix-up, courtesy of

See, I ordered two sweet shirts at the end of October: One Thanksgivukkah shirt for me, pictured above, and one particularly adorable shirt for my (actually) Jewish friend’s even more adorable 2-year-old son:

First Thanksgivukkah


The package arrived in plenty of time. But much to my dismay, when I ripped it open, the contents consisted of these, which had absolutely nothing to do with Thanksgivukkah:

Disney birthday



Seems my order got mixed up with that of some lady in Pennsylvania. While I’m sure she was ecstatic to receive this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show off some amazing Thanksgivukkah shirts instead of her order featuring every Disney character ever created, I was quite dismayed that my shirts had not made it safely to Montana.

Fortunately, Zazzle’s customer service was quite accommodating in getting the mix-up sorted out. I called, and they assured me they’d get my actual shirts out to me right away. (They arrived  in plenty of time for the festivities.) I asked how I should go about sending the wrong shirts back, and they said I didn’t need to worry about it. I asked if they were sure I didn’t need to send them back. They were.

So, there I was, stuck with these Disney monstrosities, size XXL and child’s medium, with no one to, uh, regift them to.

Luckily, upon hearing my tale at work, one of my friends said she’d gladly take the Mickey and Co. shirt off my hands. See, her brother’s birthday also fell on Thanksgivukkah, and he had apparently slighted her a gift for her most recent birthday. And, according to my co-worker, getting a giant Disney shirt with “The gang’s all here for my birthday!” splashed across it is, in fact, worse than getting nothing at all for your birthday.

She was right:


Glad I could help make another Thanksgivukkah miracle come true, Kristen!

So, I still have a pink Winnie the Pooh shirt in a child’s medium up for grabs. Let me know if you need help fulfilling any Thanksgivukkah and/or Festivus miracles!

Update: Facing my childhood fear of ‘The Green Ribbon’

Well kids, I did it! I dressed up as Jenny from “The Green Ribbon”! I’m finally absolved of my childhood fear of that awful, awful story.

Well, not really. Now I’m actually more terrified of myself dressed as Jenny:

Somehow, Jenny got even more terrifying.

Dressing as Jenny also led to the most unflattering photo of me ever, hands down. And there are a lot of unflattering photos of me out there, trust me.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! It probably doesn’t help that I managed to buy the most poorly made wig ever known to man. (Tip: Don’t buy child-size wigs on sale at Walgreens.)

I wore this to work today, and a lot of people didn’t get it. But those who also read the story as kids were immediately creeped out when I pointed to the ribbon.  Success!

‘The Green Ribbon’: Why the eff is this in a children’s book?

Jenny and her goddamn falling off

Jenny and her stupid ribbon = the root of all my issues.

Who else read In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories, the so-called “children’s book,” when you were growing up? I read it for the first time in first grade after we’d ordered it from the Scholastic Book Club (a catalog I was always super excited about because — shocker — I was a huge nerd.)

One story in particular pretty much traumatized me for life: “The Green Ribbon.” In it, a girl named Jenny always wears a green ribbon around her neck. She meets a boy, they grow up, fall in love, get married … but she’ll never tell him why she wears the green ribbon. Until … one day … well, see for yourself:


AAAAAAAAACK! I still remember the first time I read that story: I screamed at the end and my mom cackled. (Yes, CACKLED. Thanks, Mom. That didn’t make it worse or anything).

It gave me nightmares for months. MONTHS. Sometimes, I wanted to be brave and would try to read the entire story without getting scared or screaming or closing my eyes when it got to the end, but that would just perpetuate the cycle of Jenny-induced nightmares. More than 20 years later, I still have to resist the urge to close my eyes as the story nears its fateful end and Jenny’s goddamn head falls off.

How the eff did this make the cut for a children’s book? (And why are any of the books by Alvin Schwartz considered children’s books?)

Also, was it really feasible for Jenny’s head to be attached to her body by a mere ribbon her ENTIRE LIFE? Was she ever worried that someone might sneak up behind her at a party and untie it as a joke? And her goddamn head would fall off in front of everybody? These are the questions that need answering.

On a slightly more positive note, I’m now considering coming to terms with my childhood fear by dressing up as her for Halloween:


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