We were driving along the highway lickity split when all of a sudden Len and I turn and look at each other, grinning like fools.
Both of us are fans of garlic. Lots and lots of garlic. So when we found ourselves behind a TRUCKLOAD OF GARLIC—our vehicle enveloped in a wake of the heady aroma—we we’re tickled!
It’s been said that garlic wards off vampires and ne’er-do-wells from the darker side of the spirit world. But why? A bit of internet research went a long way toward learning about the origin of this superstition:
“Mosquitoes suck blood and in doing so spread disease. So do vampires. Some of the symptoms of malaria—exhaustion, fever, anemia—are reminiscent of the reputed effects of being bitten by a vampire without being totally drained or turned. Garlic is a known insect repellent which reportedly works well against mosquitoes, perhaps people saw the similarity with vampires, especially when in their bat form.”
What’s the best Halloween costume that you’ve ever worn?
During a jaunt without Willa, amazing things happen. My four-mile gait is a consistent 15-minute mile which equates to a pretty fast walk (or a record-breakingly slow run).
Not “Blade Runner,” Willa is “Blade Sniffer.” She stops to smell—and pee on—every single solitary blade of grass. She moves at the speed of a herd of turtles in a jar of peanut butter. We might as well pack lunch, dinner, and headlamps ‘cause we’re not getting home until dark.
Willa’s favorite mode of transportation is catching G-force from the car window.
A trip to Whitefish, Montana had us laughing when we came across this fully loaded (pun intended) bicycle. With a six-pack caddy, wine bottle holder, and a single carrier on the front, it appears the would-be bicyclist is prepared to either celebrate profusely, or drown their sorrows.
Curious, I checked to see if it is or is not legal to drink alcohol while riding a bicycle. It turns out it varies by state and what they consider non-motorized vehicles—including horses. Depending on where you live, if you decide to drink and drive a non-motorized vehicle here’s what you might expect:
“You may not be arrested for drunk driving on a non-motorized vehicle, bicycle, etc. You may be cited for any individual violation that is committed, or possibly for drunk and disorderly (if the circumstances fit). Also, some municipalities have ordinances simply for being drunk in public, and if a horse rider were in one of these areas, then they could be arrested for that.”
While in Darby, Montana to finish writing The Business of Being, I passed this Lost Horse sign on my weekly drive to Hamilton to buy groceries. The mischievous side of me was desperate to strike through the word “lost” with a black marker and write “found” instead. I’m happy to report that the better part of me won out.
And though I didn’t lose a horse while on sabbatical, I lost some preconceived ideas and found better ones to take their place. For instance:
All males in Montana are not fashioned after the Marlboro man.
Not every public place in Montana has a spittoon.
There’s an incredible French bistro—Taste of Paris—in Hamilton, Montana. Who knew?!
The libraries in Montana (I visited four different ones) are amazing!
While there I learned that “creek” is pronounced “crick.”
On a Montana fun facts and trivia website I additionally learned that “the word ‘ditch’ can be used to order a drink. It means ‘with water.’ ‘I’d like a Jack Daniel’s ditch, please’ means, ‘I’d like a Jack Daniel’s and water.’ This is not a joke. In fact, all you really have to ask for is a ‘Jack ditch.’ Try it out the next time you find yourself in a Montana saloon.”
To extend their life, Len never (ever) puts freshly laundered socks in the dryer. In the summer he hangs them from clip-type hangers and air dries them; in the winter he drapes them over our geothermal registers.
When Len came to visit me in my sabbatical location, he washed a pair of wool socks and placed them on a heating register. When I came in from outside, my nose was assaulted — something’s burning! A quick search led me to these crispy critters. I laughed so hard my sides hurt.
Lots of things get burned in life; some intentional, some not:
Burnt toast — the only way I eat it.
Burned rubber — a quick departure.
Burned finger — forgot to wear the oven mitt.
Burned bridges — not a good plan regardless of the circumstance.
Reminder, the caveat of the Looking for Laurie game stipulates: “The first person to type the accurate city and state of my sabbatical location into the comments section of the Mar 28 post will receive a personalized copy of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth for themselves or as a gift to someone else.”
My recent travels took me through four airports: Boise, Portland, Chicago, and Seattle. It provided the opportunity to see baggage of every size, shape, and color—some carried, most of it pulled.
An enthusiastic proponent of offloading [emotional] baggage, I had to laugh at the ingenuity of the young traveler I captured in this photo. Rather than carrying baggage and letting it weigh him down, he got a ride on it!
Have you discovered the joy of offloading baggage?
I love the gift Len gave me to celebrate authorhood:
I’ve been thinking about getting him personalized aviation license plates that feature a small airplane and say “Fly Idaho” as opposed to “Famous Potatoes.” However, rather than 7 characters, they’re limited to 5.
An extremely thoughtful pilot, Len always hands out a “personal access bag” to each passenger prior to flight in the event of air sickness. With that in mind, I think BRFBG would be hysterical!
If you have personalized license plates, what do they say? If you don’t, but had hypothetical ones, what would they say?
We haven’t had a television for 36 years, but we do enjoy borrowing and watching DVD’s from the library. We’re absolutely hooked on Sherlock, a modern take on the classic Arthur Conan Doyle stories. The often humorous, edgy camaraderie between Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dr. Watson (Martin Freeman) is priceless. And while I don’t pretend to even come close to Sherlock’s deductive reasoning, I’d like to think my observation skills are fairly well honed.
Walking along the Greenbelt, I spot a fishing bobber among the tree limbs. Serving multiple purposes, it suspends bait; can carry a baited hook to otherwise inaccessible areas of water; and serves as a visual bite indicator. For me the bobber brings to mind my focus word for this year—alliance. One small literary community accomplishing many big things.
What’s your most recent, could-have-remained-unseen observation?
Oh, and just in case you missed it…
It’s clear that the angler is a flannel-shirt wearing, left-handed male with a sluggish metabolism who parts his hair down the middle, has delayed signing divorce papers that arrived via Express Mail a month ago, ate drive-thru for breakfast this morning, and being tight-fisted, will return for the bobber once his hangover wears off.
Living a stone’s throw from the Laura Moore Cunningham arboretum, we enjoy frequent off-lead romps with Willa. On a recent occasion, we saw our big girl—from a distance—preparing to stop, drop, and roll—not because her britches were on fire, but because she was getting ready for a liberal application of eau de skunk from the famous fragrance design house, Mother Nature:
Base notes: putrid, sulfur
Middle notes: lingering, burning rubber
Top notes: bitter, rotten eggs
We bolted and reached her in the nick of time, preventing what would have been an extremely smelly event. As it turns out, skunk urine is an eco-friendly deer repellent that keeps them from munching on the trees in the arboretum.
I use a “repellent” too. A long time ago I discovered that positivity repels negativity. No need to roll in it, a little goes a long way. Positivity is a warm and delightful scent from the famous fragrance design house, Conscious Choice: