Heights Are for the Birds

My Los Angeles sister had a birthday this week and she wanted to take a balloon ride, so her husband organized one over Temecula. It seems that region now sprouts vineyards and beautiful landscapes. So they got up at the crack of dawn to be in the basket by 6:30. They were there with several other crazy people armed with bottles of champagne and off they went like Mary Poppins. She loved it.

I would have turned green and hung my head over the side and thrown up the entire time. I do that on boats, too. Balloon

I remember years ago taking a chairlift ride over a theme park with Alf and my children. My legs dangled from the seat and there was only a minuscule handlebar keeping me in.

There was too much sky and space around me.

I couldn’t look down.

I couldn’t look up.

Either direction made my stomach flip.

I had to keep looking straight ahead and pretend this was a bad dream that I’d soon wake up from.

Then it the middle of the ride, the chair stopped. The cable made loud, crunching noises. There I was suspended between earth and sky.

I began to perspire.

My hands locked onto the handlebar.

One of my flip-flops came off and sailed into the giraffe area.  While my children squealed with delight, I was having a panic attack.

The ride resumed with a jolt and continued on forever.

I wanted to yell at the top of my lungs that I wanted off! Nobody warned me this would be hazardous to my health. So I did the next best thing – I closed my eyes, took deep breaths, and visualized strangling the owners of the park. There should be warning signs in large letters before a person gets on one of these things. How do skiers do it? I know. They’re packed into parkas and boots for protection. Me? I was in shorts and sunglasses. More in keeping with a Margarita on the ground.

Calvin says, “I love heights. I can drool and fart to my heart’s content.” beagle

 

 

You Wouldn’t Want to Walk in My Shoes

I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect pair of shoes to solve my foot problems.

I blame it on my last pair of tennis shoes. I wore them down and didn’t throw them away for a new pair.

But finding a new pair of walking shoes isn’t easy, I’ve discovered.  rainy-evening

I began my search in Berkeley, the home of seasoned walkers. I came away with a pair of Mephisto’s with a scandalous price tag. I have never spent so much money in my life on a pair of shoes and I was feeling quite guilty about it. I rationalized it by telling myself the shoes would outlast me in longevity and I could bequeath them to my daughter along with the African Grey parrot that will outlive her.

I walked in them for a few hours inside the house to test them out. Pretty soon my feet were on fire. Not a good sign.

I went back to the store and discovered I couldn’t get my money back, only store credit. So I came away with two pairs of shoes that were on sale for the price of the one pair I returned. There were two I didn’t really need – a pair of Dansko’s and fleecy bedroom slippers – but could use them eventually. I felt somewhat better but not a whole lot.

Then I realized the Dansko’s weren’t really walking shoes as much as standing-on-your-feet-for-a-long-time kinda shoes like chefs need or tulip growers in Denmark.

This time I tried several shoe stores in San Francisco. The sales personnel at one shop were used car salesmen in another life, trying to sell me shoes that didn’t fit my needs. The next shop didn’t have anything that remotely looked like it could support a gymnast let alone me.

But I hit the jackpot in the third store.

I came away with a pair of Jewish shoes. I should have known. I have Jewish feet. Of course Jewish shoes would fit me.

They’re Naots and they’re made in Israel.

It was as if a Jewish shoemaker had measured my feet and created a tailor-made pair for me.

And I didn’t have to pay as many shekels for these.

Calvin says, “I have English paws. If anything happened to them I’d need a trip to England for replacements.” beagle

 

The Olympics Are Over. Now What?

The Olympics are over. I’m going to miss them.

It was something to look forward to every night. Especially the weekends when television programs are notoriously bad.

Television producers should take note of the Olympic events: they had drama, tension, suspense, tears, and happiness, all under fifteen minutes. The gamut of human emotions was on display for the world to see and react to. There were successes and failures. Highs and lows. Every event had its moment. And as a spectator, you lived through them with the athletes.

London did a smashing job as host. Granted it cost them $14.5 billion to pull it off.

I always ask where does a host country get that kind of money when they can’t seem to do a very good job of taking care of their domestic affairs?

And here I thought Europe was in a financial crisis with the euro. Apparently not in London.

Did Queen Elizabeth use some of her stashed cash under her mattress at Balmoral Castle?

Did Prince Phillip sell a few gold bricks?

Maybe the newlyweds the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sold some of their wedding loot.

The question of where the money came from eludes me completely.

But the bigger question that stumps me is this: what is London going to do now with the new stadiums, race courses, and buildings that were build specifically for the Olympics? Who pays for their upkeep?

Calvin says, “I spotted the Queen in her bloomers warming up for a game of beach volleyball at the Horse Guards Parade.”

What Dr. Cal Lightman Taught Me About Relationships

Esther’s heart pounded in her chest. Sam was dreamy. They were eating dinner at a funky, out-of-the-way bistro he had selected. Never mind that it was by the highway. The conversation flowed over the cheap wine, the chemistry was heating up, and Esther already envisioned herself in a wedding gown. Finally the man for her.

If Dr. Cal Lightman, the central character of the TV show Lie To Me, had been in the restaurant, which I doubt, he would have noticed right away that Sam wasn’t as interested in Esther and she was in him. In fact, by the time their overdone steaks had arrived, he had cooled towards her, but she hadn’t noticed. His pupils weren’t dilated, his smile didn’t crinkle the corners of his eyes, and under the table his feet were pointed in the direction of the exit. Lightman would have said, “Doomed before dessert.”

Lie To Me is about observing body language and micro-facial expressions to bust bad guys. It’s good. You need to watch it. It’s valuable education. Based on research by clinical psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman, the show will give you critical insight into what the behavior of others is telling you.

Whether you’re looking to become the hottest marketer in your company or find Mr. Right, you need this.

The body speaks louder than words. Secret Service agents know this. Actors know it. And now you, too, can know it.

Want to know quickly what someone is thinking about you?

Check his feet. If they’re pointed at you, in a parallel line, he is positively engrossed in your every word.

If his feet are angled away from you and pointed in the direction of the exit, change the subject or run.

How do you know if the guy you’re dating is interested in you?

See if he leans in with his head when you’re talking. That’s one good sign.

If he talks to you with little expression on his face, or if he keeps a football stadium length between you and him, call a cab quick and high tail it out of there.

So what do you do to become an expert in these clues?

Watch the shows. Not only are they entertaining, but you’ll have a leg up on everyone else.

Calvin says, “Beagles come fully loaded knowing this kind of stuff. It’s all wired into our noses.”