Smack, Whack, the Ice Is Cold

Over the holidays (yeah, I know I’m still back there…still recovering), I spent some time with that fluffy, white stuff that falls from the sky. Snow! Lovely snow. Lovely cold, icy, slippery snow. In all its many forms, a beautiful sight and a great way to bring in the New Year.

A few years back, I drove with my sister and our kids for hours around the mountain in search of untainted, pure white snow. Ha. I  think we actually would have settled for brown snow. The fact is, where there should have been white there was only brown, and it wasn’t snow. We checked. Dirt and such.

This year, luckily, we saw plenty of snow thanks to a couple of recent storms. We had a blast sledding down the mountain, dragging our circles of snow behind us.

Here’s what I now label safe, hazard-free, predictable snow play. Notice the wide, gentle slopes, cushioned with a reliable amount of soft snow.

Snowplay
Closely monitored. They tell you when.

Fast forward to our rockin’ New Year’s Eve bash. Here we are in the empty ice rink.

IceRinkParty
The disco ball showered tiny green dots across the ice. There’s that.

Apparently, the guests were coming back pretty soon, uh….later. Like never.

A few other guests did make it, a mother and her two daughters. We talked for a bit and she revealed to me how her step-daughter was in the ER due to a concussion she suffered while sledding. Apparently, her step-daughter wanted to be as bold as her brother and followed him down the hill. I knew the place. We had passed it earlier and had already promised the kids we would go the next day.

The place, Little Sweden. It’s a former ski resort, closed down years ago and now a popular destination for snow play, so long as you can get a parking spot. We kept our promise and went on New Year’s Day. Big mistake! The place was teeming with sledding daredevils and, unlike the safe cushion of the soft snow above, this hill was icy and hard, and the wind picked up.

After successfully going down the bunny hills and the next level hill up, my son coaxed me into going down the big hill. The monster!

Here’s some pics of my son going down the mountain to give you a sense of it:

Top of hill (see red arrow)

thehill1

There he goes:

thehill2

Going:

thehill3

Still going:

thehill4

This hill is completely insane! How did I not notice? Do you see those little dots at the end of the hill? Those are people and those are cars that line the road. I hope you get a sense of the steepness. Add to this, the total chaos of bodies flying down in all different directions. Oh, it was madness.

Why I decided to DO this, I have no idea! My son and I went together on the sled, which is probably our first mistake. With so much weight, we had a lot of speed, hit a huge bump on the way down, went flying, actually got some air and BAM! I hit my head. Translated in haiku:

Smack, whack, the ice is
cold as my head rolled inside
stinging, swirling stars

The impact was pretty solid, like a cement block crashing into my skull. If someone caught it on video, I don’t think I could even watch it. I have no idea what happened. I do know I was scared to death. I didn’t pass out. I got up right away. My head hurt, and I was dizzy. My son was okay and asked me a series of questions, which I answered correctly.

Friends…I’m lucky to be alive.

I knew about the dangers of this hill and worried sick over my kids hitting their heads. Recall, only the night before I learned of a little girl laying in a hospital bed due to THIS hill! I saw plenty of accidents when I was there, too. What I forgot was that I was just as equally at risk as anyone else.

What’s completely amazing to me is after such a hard-hitting blow, I bounced back as if it never happened. I even drove 100 miles after on a windy road I had never driven before. “Kids, if I pass out, call 911. Okay?”

I bounced right back. That’s what we do. But I wanted to pause and reflect on it. I know I’m lucky and I’m so very grateful I’m here. It’s a rough start to the new year, but it also puts things in perspective for me. I don’t take anything for granted. Your life really can vanish in a blink of an eye. All the petty things just got squeezed out. It’s a reminder for me to linger a little longer in the moments that matter, making them as full as possible. I wish you a great new year, savoring the moments that count.

Advertisements

Weekly Photo Challenge: Circle

This week’s photo challenge is Circle. Let a familiar shape inspire you.

Here’s the Circle of the Snow.

Circle1

Drag it.

Circle2

Sit on it…or not.

Circle3

Everyone has their own tethered donut.

Circle4

Whatever you do…

Circle8

…don’t go

Circle6

…without it.

Circle5

To see more Circles, visit the Weekly Photo Challenge site.

 

Thanksgiving Quandries

For this year’s Thanksgiving meal, I will responsible for cooking. This also includes planning. We all know that the secret to a successful Thanksgiving meal with numerous side dishes delivered to the table piping hot all at once is….more than one oven! Correct? But unless you live in a hotel or you’re just lucky, you’re like me and most likely have just the one oven.

So, in my mental preparations, I’ve determined what I need is one less side dish that requires cooking in an oven. In a quick Google search, I discovered the Pinch of Yum blog and this dish:

bacon-and-brussels-sprout-salad-1
Bacon and Brussels Sprout Salad. Image Source: Pinch of Yum

Doesn’t this look fabulous? The perks: it’s cold and crunchy so no oven is necessary, and it has bacon! Double win.

After discovering Lindsay’s recipes over at Pinch of Yum, I wondered if I, too, could be a food blogger. I’m sure I don’t have what it takes. Seriously though, I could just look at Pinch of Yum’s photos all day long. Everything looks just yummy!

I decided I want to make this recipe in place of the green bean casserole that everyone pretends to like. I’ve tried for years to consume the green bean casserole, placing mere spoonfuls on my plate and leaving them for the last possible moment at which point they were simply too cold to swallow. I have now solved my problem. It’s called Bacon and Brussels Sprout Salad.

If you make this salad, however, don’t be tempted to buy those chopped bags of Brussels sprouts you see at Trader Joe’s, because they are not, I repeat are NOT, the delicate shavings of Brussels sprouts you see in the photo above. And believe me, I’m tempted by the pre-chopped bags. How much of difference is there between chopped and shaved Brussels sprouts? Apparently, a lot. It’s all about the texture, darling, and texture is everything. It always is.

So, how does one accomplish these fine, delicate shavings of Brussels sprouts? I’m so glad you asked. You use a nifty, little cooking tool called a mandoline, which is also capable of crinkle-cuts and playing music if you strum it just so. Kidding okay. Please don’t try that at home.  I understand it’s sharp and possibly a good idea to wear gloves while using the mandoline, so now it seems this recipe has become a bit pricey and dangerous.

Be careful out there. Aside from my this splendid recipe, a tremendous storm is in the forecast in the Sierra Mountains, possibly preventing half our expected party from attending Thanksgiving dinner. While we couldn’t be happier that snow is in the forecast (go snowpack!), it’s coming all at the wrong time. I guess I can’t expect the weather to follow the holiday schedule. Personally, I think the weather knows exactly what it’s doing.

Will I make the Bacon and Brussels Sprout Salad? Will my family make it over the snowy mountain? I just don’t know.

In the meantime, do you happen to have a mandoline I can borrow? Do you eat the green bean casserole? What’s your favorite vegetable side dish?

Wishing you a safe, warm and Happy Thanksgiving if you’re celebrating the holiday. And if you’re not, I still hope you’re happy, safe and warm!

Ride of a Lifetime – Friday Fictioneers

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers, a weekly link up that challenges writers to compose a 100-word story based on a photo prompt. Thanks, as always, to our gracious hostess Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s photo was provided by Dee Lovering. Thank you, Dee.

The place in this photo looks really familiar. If it’s the place I’m thinking about, it’s a park in San Francisco. I’m wondering if it’s the same place! That’s what my sparked my imagination for this story. My initial story came in at 300 words. I had a yipping Pomeranian dog who had to go, as well as lot of description of the snow. I hope it makes sense. Enjoy!

If you would like to participate, here are instructions. All are welcome.

unnamed
PHOTO PROMPT © Dee Lovering

Genre: Fantasy/Horror (100 words)

Ride of a Lifetime

“Look, Nana. A carousel!”

“I can’t believe it’s operating.” Snow, unheard of in these parts, blanketed the earth. She couldn’t deny her granddaughter a ride of a lifetime.

Riders hoisted onto clowns and horses.  Julia jumped onto a bear, grinning in her white dress with pink ribbons in her hair. The revolving carousel undulated in gracious dips.

One rotation Julia was there; the next, gone. The ride expired and everyone disappeared.  Nana ran to the bear. Blood dripped from its claws, holding a doll wearing a white dress with pink ribbons in her hair, her eyes dark pools of terror.

*********************

For more stories from the Fictioneers, click here.