two sweeps to the canadian rockies

This first one, provocatively titled Pick Your Powder Contest, is for a week in the Canadian Rockies. It reminds me how absent snow is from our lives this winter. Here on the East Coast, we’re stuck in what feels like an interminable November. Temperatures rarely dip below freezing, precipitation is scant. Isaac and his classmates are scheming for a snowstorm, enough white stuff to call off school for the day. (Wear your pajamas inside out, leave ice cubes by your bedroom window, and so forth.)

Snow was one of the most delightful features of my childhood. Watching flakes fall was nothing short of magical, going outside and playing in it was, too. We blinked at the blinding sunlight, sledded down the steep hill at the elementary school; in the warm house, we peeled off wet layers of clothing and let our cold-numb limbs thaw.

To enter, click HERE. The deadline is February 28.

Here’s another one to the Canadian Rockies.

To enter, click HERE. The deadline is May 4.

Things are getting dicey with my neighborhood fortune teller. As you may recall, she gave me a blessing in the produce section of the supermarket the week I was dealing with my spinal tap complications. I gave her $10 then and there. I bumped into her on Thursday morning on my way home from taking Isaac to school. She was wearing a fur coat. I couldn’t tell if it was real or not. Either way, is this not a fur coat neighborhood. She asked me how I was, asked if she could light a candle for me. I hemmed and hawed, knowing what was next: asking for money. When she did, I told her I had no cash on me, which was a lie. I told her next time. Then and there, I realized that this could go on and on, and that if I didn’t cough up cash, she might put a hex on me. That is the last thing I need here. I mean, my luck so far this year has been succotash. (Not that I’m not appreciative for the things that are going right in my life.)

This morning, who was walking down the street as Isaac and I walked out of the supermarket? The neighborhood fortune teller. I quickly introduced Isaac, who of course knows nothing about my association with a soothsayer. “This is my son,” I told her in a loud voice, thinking she’d take the hint – she’s a grandmother for crying out loud -- and refrain from attempting to ply what is increasingly feeling like a wiley craft. No such luck. “How about a little something?” she asked. “I lit a candle for you yesterday.” I told her I had no cash on me. She suggested I go to the ATM machine, pointed to it as if I didn’t know where it was. I told her we were late, we were meeting Isaac’s father. True story. Of course Isaac was full of questions when we parted. “Who is she? Is she poor? Why was she asking for money?” I don’t remember how I explained her away. She’s not poor, we bump into each other now and then, she gives advice for a fee. Fortunately, this satisfied Isaac. We walked down the street, our backs to the wind and a snowless sky and a woman who I am most definitely going to have to start avoiding.