Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Necole Monere: Glitter is Good

I come to you today to admit I have a problem:

I love glitter.

I love sparklies, rhinestones, and shinies so much, I have caused entire raid wipes because something sparkled in the distance, and my obsessive, ferret-brain overtook my senses and forced me into action. I have an actual rhinestone dealer saved in my bookmarks...and I am convinced all enemies can be defeated with a glitter gun.

The movie, Predator. Imagine, if you will, an alternate timeline...where Arnie carried glitter guns instead of regular guns. What do we always see in movie-ism, where the bad guy or threat is invisible? Nobody can do anything until they can spill some ink or water (or something liquid-ous) on said Baddy McBadderson.

Now, think again: Predator is invisible…and that dude is, well...kinda sticky.

Introducing: THE GLITTER GUN! Arnie would have made short work of Mr. Dental Nightmare with just one dose. That shizzle would have stuck EVERYwhere! So, first now Predator has a SUPER obvious (and prominently pretty) target on his back.

Secondly...glitter is kinda gritty. IMAGINE what that thigh-rash duder is gonna have after a mile with that stuck in his crotch. AND...if Predator gives up the silly goose and goes home...Mrs. "Dental Nightmare" is totally gonna know he was at the strip club. Done-zo, buddy.

Predator = 0, Glitter = 1

Depression. Now, I know you might be thinking: "Well, that escalated quickly," but hear me out. How can you be upset if you sparkle? Having a bad day? Pop some shimmer lotion on! Need a quick pick me up? Try a laser pointer and a fur, pant-wearing quadruped. The results may not be as long-lasting, but it will definitely provide a distraction and a quick dose of snicker-giggles.

Depression = 0, Shinies = 2

Did everyone see the viral video of the engineer who put glitter bombs into packages to thwart package thieves? Despite perhaps being staged, those peeps still got a massive dose of craft herpes, followed by an intense battle with a vacuum. And speaking from experience, the vacuum did not win. They're still finding bits when out and about!

Staged thieves = 0, Glitter 5 

So, at this point our count looks like:

Enemies = 0
Glitter/Shinies/Sparklies = 7

But be warned...you can turn the tide of battle against yourself!

Raid = 0
Home Team = 0

Team-Killing Glitter Distraction = 20, full wipe.

Healers in tears. Tank takes ball and goes home.

Necole Monere is the published author of a plastic-bag-addicted tabby and glitter aficionado, Captain of the Silly Song Club, and humor columnist. Often found annoying cats by twerking. If you wish to read more of her work, check out:

...a tale of tabby woe, as a hefty kitty deals with his crinkly addictions.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Pour It Slow: Time to "Hunker Down"

Folks in Wyoming are used to a "storm slammin'" or two (or several!) during the Winter months. I can rightfully say I've adapted to the weather changes again, even after a 30-year absence, and I did miss the seasonal changes...a real, defining "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter"...and even though some here would say I'm crazy for not zipping up my coat, or wear gloves or mittens, I just laugh and say, "Isn't this great?" Of course, they also don't know that they keep the station at what feels like 100 degrees, so...yeah, there's that!

But Californians aren't used to the weather they're getting right now. High winds, flooding, a good snow dumpin'...as I look at Facebook posts by my friends, by CalTrans, CHP and other news channels, it reminds me of my time in Pioneer, where if we didn't have a good few cords of wood for our stove split well ahead of time, Winter would've been mighty cold! I remember sitting in the living room, watching the flames rage in the stove as the snow would fall and the temps drop outside.  Fortunately, we had a full house generator, but when gas prices were near $5/gallon, it was sure a hit on the ol' pocketbook. Still, I cherish the memories of my home in the El Dorado forest, and hope that all my friends are safe and sound and warm.

So what do you do if (and when) the power goes out, or the roads are too bad to travel? Since being back home, the power has only gone out once, and that was for just a little over an hour. My phone is always on the charger, but I do have a landline as well. I have plenty of candles. So what I usually do is: Clean. Wash the dishes. Find a nice warm blanket and read a book. Or...I make a French press coffee, go over to my folks' place (who have a generator), pop popcorn and practice my shots on the pool table!

I have boxes filled with sheet music that were gifted to me by friends and family over the years. I sometimes sit in the middle of my disheveled music room (that I've been avoiding for months)...and read through the music. It's like stepping into a time machine...

I take out my recorders and practice, trying to get the right fingering for a good pitch and tone. It's not easy, especially since I have perfect pitch (a blessing and a curse)...but one can only try to master "Scarborough Fair" and "Danny Boy" until the lights come on. Hey, I didn't say I was any good, I'm just saying that I'm "practicing". LOL

Perhaps the thing I love the most about "hunkerin' down" when the wind blows and the snow falls is, well...sleeping. I surely don't get enough of it. I know most of you know me as a real upbeat, positive, energetic, super caffeinated person, but...I'm also only human. At some point, my brain needs to shut off and I need to just "chill". Not a problem here in Wyoming, but figuratively-speaking, I often just need time. Time to relax, regroup and refocus.

Music and writing. Two things that really don't need electricity to do. So if you find yourself "hunkerin' down"...break out that instrument. Put that pen to paper. Put that brush to canvas. Light that candle and start at that bookmark.

Because life doesn't end if the Internet is down...maybe it will begin!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Road Trippin': Miles and miles...of heart.

On my way to Casper this weekend (which has turned out to be a frequent trek)…I stopped at an old historical landmark, “Hell’s Half Acre” (pictured below). Despite the single-digit temps (add the wind factor, and it’s in the negative integers), I got out of my comfy “Prius Pod” and took a couple of shots (photos, not espresso). Hell’s Half Acre has been but a glance for destination-bound road trippers buzzing through the flat prairies. I remember, when I was a kid, my folks would stop there to stretch before taking to the road again. There used to be an average-sized billboard sign that pointed to the attraction, but that has long since been torn down and replaced by a small green road sign, and you might miss it if you weren’t paying attention…or didn’t actually know it was there.

For those who don't know...it was the locale for shooting the bug planet scenes for the movie, Starship Troopers.

Despite the sub-zero temperatures, I do still try to get away on the weekends. I always check the road conditions on WYDOT first and plan accordingly. If there’s a good day or two of sun after a storm, I can pretty much maneuver the wind and the roads pretty well. Saw that California was (is) getting quite a dumping…brought back memories of mountain living in Pioneer at 4000 feet.

I sit here at City Brew Coffee in Casper - enjoying two delicious coffee drinks: A Coconut Caramel Macchiato and a Honey Macchiato - scrolling through all of your Facebook posts. I love when you do that, by the way. It’s so nice to see what’s going on in your lives…the ups and downs, laughter and tears, joys and pains. New life with the births; happiness with the relationships and marriages...grief, yet shared memories and celebrations of life for those dear to you who have passed. Thank you for enriching my life by sharing yours!

If you haven’t noticed lately, I’ve taken a long break from political “discussions” and debates. But one post this week in particular caught my eye and triggered a response:

Should we build a wall? Yes or No.

As I much rather prefer questions like: “Bacon on your burger?” or “Espresso at three in the afternoon?”, I indulged the post with my answer:

“Yes…and then we need to tear down that damn Statue of Liberty.”

After all, what it stands for would no longer apply.

Prisons have walls. Churches, mosques, temples and synagogues all have walls. Interstates have sound barriers. There are gated communities, “good” neighbor fences (at least we hope they're good), etc. etc. There are even “invisible fences” to keep animals and pets on our properties. All fences and walls serve some purpose, but while no one thing can keep everything out…what’s more to consider is what is kept inside.

America has a myriad of problems. Domestic violence, child endangerment and neglect, animal cruelty, sex slavery, robbing, thieving, bullying, abuse and battery, suicide, mass murder. Prison overcrowding. Drunk driving. Bigotry. Hate crimes. White collar crimes. Those are just some of the problems I could think of off the top of my head while sipping my coffee within the cozy walls of City Brew Coffee. Walls don’t make problems go away, and Trump’s wall isn’t going to make America’s problems go away. In my opinion, this whole "build a wall" business is a distraction that points a “scapegoat finger”, always posed and ready to shift the blame on a bordering country and/or people. A wall that would keep heads in the sand, noses to the grindstone, and control on the masses…when such monies could be better spent on finding the solutions to the problems that have historically plagued us. Money put towards resources that would improve our communities’ overall health and wellness. Money better spent on our own roads and interstate highways, historic parks and landmarks, our environment and water sources. Money invested in building each other up, solving the crises of homelessness and joblessness.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it sure fell, and fell hard. Hitler’s rise to power didn’t happen overnight, but the impact of his fall surely shook the very foundation of any World War II veteran who may have had to witness the horrific aftermath inside the walls of Holocaust concentration camps. There are students today who don’t even know (and weren’t taught) about the Trail of Tears and the genocide of Native Americans as “progress” pushed out to the "Wild West".

Hey, I get progress. I just don’t get why it has to happen one funeral at a time. I guess we will never learn our history lessons if we continue placing Sponge-Bob Squarepants band-aids on the present’s gaping wounds.

Because America also has an Achilles heel:


What makes America great? Our Constitution. That we as Americans do have rules to abide by and rely upon...rules that should help us in our hopes and dreams to achieve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They should help us. But we are constantly distracted by red herrings, allow bills to pass into law without our knowledge or consent, are taxed without representation. We are gridlocked by extreme partisanship, glued to the political bickerings on the TV news channels and talk radio stations. We are controlled by corporate interests…and all the while the homeless populations grow, crime and violence increases, and prison walls start to bust at the seams.

My mom used to say: “Every generation needs to do it better than the one before it.” Make it better by doing it better. America is great because, along with that Constitution that has survived 229 years and 44 (now 45) Presidents…We the People also have something that is very effective when it is collectively used for the good of the nation:


Each year after the Super Bowl, I have a tradition of watching the movie, “The Replacements”, and there’s a scene where a news reporter asks Coach McGinty (played by Gene Hackman):
Reporter: What will Washington need to get back into this game?
Coach McGinty: Heart. Miles and miles of heart.

I took the photo below on my way back from Casper a few months ago. It's the "Tumble Inn", Powder River. I’m always intrigued by old neon or vintage signs, or fading murals. I get nostalgic, thinking of the eras gone by...how folks just probably drive on by, not thinking or caring about that old motel, an old café or that old drug store that used be a hopping place at one time.

What will it take America to get “back into the game” when it comes to the dealing with its own weakness of greed? How can we “do it better” than the generations before us? How can We The People save the very Constitution that seems to be always used against us, when it was supposed to be written for us? I can tell you right now, it won’t be done with endless gridlock and bickering, nor walls of cement and steel.

It will be done with heart. Miles and miles of heart.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
– The New Colossus, inscribed on the plaque of the Statue of Liberty

Carol Harper

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Road Trippin': Gaining Altitude!

I usually take a weekend off, once (or twice) a month to get some R&R. I call it an investment in my health and well-being...sometimes I can get so wrapped up in work, in projects, in stress and worries, the drama du jour...that it doesn't take much for me to drop everything, say "no" and go!

Last weekend, I spent the weekend in Casper, visiting my coffee buddy, Cheryl. Gifted her with some beans from Brown Sugar Coffee Roastery. Spent the day shopping...got a pedicure...popped some tags at a huge thrift store. That night we hopped over to the Beacon for a couple of beers, some live music and a little people-watching. Believe me, you just never know what you'll see. Next time you see me, ask me about "Festus".

South Pass was pretty clear, but there were icy spots and blowing snow across the highway. Gotta say, between Farson and Rock Springs, there was a big white Ford pickup being towed out of the ditch off the highway by a tow truck. I just slowly passed by in my little Prius, thinking:"Karma's a bitch, little man in a big truck! 😉

Onward towards Rock Springs, I saw this cloud formation a ways off, outside of Eden. Pretty cool as I got closer:

This weekend was my monthly getaway to Utah. "When in Rome..." I stay in Rivendell. Okay, okay, I lied; there's no magical wonderland of elves, it's Riverdale (and not the TV series). It was much warmer there than back here at home...I could get away without a coat, and layer up in an undershirt/sweatshirt. First priority is to get my monthly massage at The Lotus Dawn. After that, I'm pretty much free to roam! There's plenty of shopping, dining, events, lots of things to do. I usually hit Trader Joe's, Target, Ocean Mart (Asian supermarket), Ross, thrift stores...I choose from a growing list of my favorite Indian, Thai and sushi restaurants, and of course...pho!

Perhaps the most fun was going to the Pre-Opening of the trampoline park, Altitude, in West Jordan. My nephew, Cory, runs one in Texas, and he was up here helping out for the opening of this one.

More photos below, and on my [personal] Facebook wall.

I try to make it a point to swing by MountainStar Air Care's Ogden crew house for coffee and convo on my way out of town. Sometimes I miss the peeps at Guardian Flight, so it's good to get together with them whenever I can swing it. Love you, Brian and Konnie! Keith...one of these days, I'll make it up to Worland for a visit again. Have the coffee on! 😉

What a great name for a trampoline park! Altitude. I think about pilots trying to gain altitude...clouds above the high plains and mountains of Wyoming...about kids, young and "older", trying to jump to reach the highest "whack-a-mole" pad. Every day brings trials and troubles that are discouraging, frustrating...way too" eye-level"...and sometimes we need a break so can rise above...gain altitude, get a better view, see the bigger picture.

These are my Sunday morning thoughts, as I scurry back to my home, sweet home. I absolutely love my weekends away, but...like Dorothy, I will always say that there's no place like home.

Now, unpacking from all the shopping? That's another story.

Next trip? Denver in mid-February. Hit me up if you're there, let's grab a mug of joy!


Altitude Trampoline Park

Sunday, January 13, 2019

That's so "Jackson Elementary"...

I woke up, stumbled down the hall towards the kitchen, and...by rote, made my Sunday morning coffee. As I sleepily filled the carafe while looking out the kitchen window, my jaw dropped. It was so very quiet; there was a thick fog in the valley...and the trees were laced with what I call "snow frost". "Magical" is the only word I could think to describe it.

As if the "frost fairies" came in the night and dusted everything with powdered sugar.

There are so many things that make me happy on most every morning. Snow frosted views from my warm, cozy home. Fresh ground/brewed coffee. Thick woolen socks to keep my feet warm. Great-smelling laundry that just came out of the dryer. An egg scramble with fresh mushrooms and onions. A bowl of oatmeal with fresh blueberries. Clear roads on West Main (thank you, City of Riverton!). Texts and messages from family and friends asking how I'm doing. Taking a drive down Sunset Drive on a Sunday morning...

That's Sunset on a Sunday...

Today I drove past Ashgrove Elementary School. It triggered many memories. True stories ahead...

I originally attended Jefferson Elementary School, in Kindergarten. I loved Mrs. Frost! I think we all did. To me, she was a "Mary Poppins"-type who would take us on an adventure of some sort, every day. School was magical; it was the highlight of my day, every day! Mind you, before I even started Kindergarten, I was steeped in piano lessons at the age of four, so I was immersed in music. My Mom created a "school closet" loaded with books, instruments, crafts, math and science projects. But to sit with my classmates and dream about what was possible in the world, well...back in the day, our teachers could very well nearly been the staff of Hogwart. That's what "school" meant to me.

But I was also a weird one. A nerd. My mom took me to a specialist for an IQ test when I was very young, and although I was considered a "genius", I never 1) knew what that ever meant, and 2) ever questioned adult authority. My parents raised me to respect my elders, respect present institutions in place for my good.

However...there was this ever-so slight complication. An issue:

My laugh.

I transferred from Jefferson Elementary to Jackson Elementary...to the classroom of Mrs. Legler, who had absolutely no sense of humor at all. In fact, the first Parent-Teacher conference report indicated that (in so many words): "Carol disrupts the class with her laughter, causing others to laugh..."

Etc. etc. You get the drift.

Upon hearing such, my Mom immediately pulled me out of Jackson Elementary and put me right back into Jefferson Elementary, where Mrs. Sackman and the entire classroom threw me a party, with a banner that read: "Welcome back, Carol. We love your laugh!"

I have carried that story with me throughout my life. My Mom and I would laugh about it, right up until the day she died. Laughter is and always will be the best medicine! Because, c'mon...if you can't laugh at what is truly funny...what is truly "true"...truly tragic...then what is life really about?

Those who know me well, know that I've been through pretty dark times. What held me through? Laughter. Laughing in the face of death. Laughing in the face of anxiety and stress. This, too, shall pass...like gas in the night.  

This Government shut down is another fart in the wind. So laugh! Laugh in the face of disparity. Laugh, because we know better! Laugh, because those who voted for these idiots will hopefully know better! Because...

This is Soooo "Jackson Elementary"...

Carol Harper

Monday, December 31, 2018

"Turn Off the Main": 2018, A Year in Review

I made a new friend recently, and we sat down for a couple of brewskies and some "Facelook" time. We got to talking about what we had learned in the past year, and I'm happy to say that most of the things we experienced, we could laugh about...and just a few we had to ask the bartender for "another". All in all, we were able to fill the little think clouds over our heads with some pretty good memories...and pop all of the others. That, and a few pints of Guinness...!

He told me a story about how when he was young; he learned a lot from his dad on how to fix things and, as a result, became a pretty good fix-it guy...handy with tools, good trouble-shooting skills, etc. He recalled one job in particular where he was working on a water pipe that had burst, and right when was pretty proud of himself about fixing the pipe, he thought he'd tighten it a bit more with "just one...more twist..." The part broke, and water went gushing everywhere, creating a worse problem than the one before. His father, calmly standing by and watching, said: "Well, did you think about turning off the main?"

Hooray for the teaching moments of life...and some things only need teaching once for the learning to sink in (no pun intended).

Believe me, I'm always looking for those application components of life. I readily admit that there are moments where I can SOOOooo get on overload and distracted, but one of the most important mottoes of my life has been: "Keep it simple and excellent. The more complicated you make it, the more you have to manage."

We could also add: "...and the more things can slip through the cracks and create more problems than the ones before."

So what did 2018 teach me? What did I learn? For me, it was a year of many adjustments, twists and tweaks, but I'm happy to report that I've been able to solve many problems because I remembered to "turn off the mains" and focus on the things that really matter:

My family and friends. My home. My job, my clients. My life. My thoughts and feelings. Choosing my path; deciding what to do and who I want to be. Some of these choices have required great sacrifice. But at the end of the year, I can look back with a brand new friend and honestly say it was a good year, raise the pint and say, "Here's to simple and excellent!"

These are some of the things I've learned in 2018:

- Utah drivers are the worst drivers I've ever known.
Once a month, I usually visit Ogden (Riverdale area) for some R&R...see my massage therapist, catch up on shopping at stores that aren't in Wyoming (Trader Joe's, Bed Bath & Beyond, Ross, etc.), catch a movie at a theater with reclining seats...get my fix for pho and Indian cuisine and other favorite restaurants.
   However, driving in Utah (every time I've gone) is a nightmare! Doesn't even matter what kind of vehicle they drive, they whiz past me at 15-20 mph over the speed limit, cut in front of me with absolutely no regard for what might be in their peripheral vision/blind spot...they tail you unmercifully, even in icy, snowy conditions. Accidents are usually very bad, and jam up the roads for hours.
   It's not even that I'm from a small Wyoming town! I've lived and commuted in San Jose, Sacramento and Nashville. I've driven through St. Louis, Lincoln, Denver, LA and San Diego, and I would still say SLC/Ogden is the worst ever.
   What have I learned? The back roads! 😉

Coffee that is consumed en masse (in one day) can be, like, the equivalent of freebasing crack.
The Roasters Rendezvous weekend (Sept 7-8) was EPIC for this coffee aficionado! Attending this wonderland with me? One of my HS girlfriends, Cheryl [Hubbard] Payton, and we had a blast! Literally. We wandered through the Farmer's Market downtown in front of Bar 10, where they served coffee-infused adult drinks. The next day was the actual sampling of coffees and workshops. It was, like, a Disneyland for rural coffee drinkers. I can't wait until next year. If you wanted to and didn't make it, come on up and make a weekend of it here in Riverton, WY in 2019! Hell, I may just do another open house just for some of the roasters!

When road-tripping...always stop if your gut tells you to.
I've taken several trips in, out, around and through the state this year, and sometimes I would see something, do a double-take...and wanted to stop. I should've stopped...but didn't. I've learned to take that exit...capture that sunrise/sunset photo, check out those tourist traps, stop at that old diner, take that road less traveled.
   This year, I'm gonna make it more about the journey than the destination. I have so many friends to thank for taking me to places I never even knew about...and had enough energy to catch up with me and my road trip spontaneity!
   Have Prius, will travel!
The Grand Tetons

Stream near Dubois

Sinks Canyon, above Lander, WY
It's the little things...that are the BIG things!
The smell of fresh ground coffee brewing in the morning, and that very first sip! Wasabi peas. Bubble baths after a long day. The perfect margarita. Your favorite songs on your playlist. Watching a summer sun set with a cold beer or wine cooler. A game of pool with old vinyls playing in the background. Family/high school reunions.
   Growing a garden. Cooking up some new recipes and getting your "kitchen witch" on! Dancing at a pow wow and sharing an Indian taco. A Sunday drive through the Wind River Canyon.
   Blowing bubbles. Chocolate-dipped candied ginger. Buying an ice cream cone in Farson. Playing vintage music on the piano...listening to vintage music!
   Pop popcorn and binge-watch my favorite shows. Finding a bird's nest in your breaker box. Listening to the horses neigh, the coyotes howl, the owls hoot and the hawks screech...
   Chatting with your best friend until late at night...or early into the morning...
   Saying or doing something nice for someone. Thanking someone for saying or doing something nice for you.

Ignoring and letting go of certain "nouns" (people, places and things) has been a great move towards inner peace.
I have rid myself of the noise of greed, jealousy, hypocrisy and, well...folks just being downright mean, wanting nothing to do with me. That's okay. In fact, it's more than okay, because that saves me a lot of "trouble with the mains".
My philosophy of life is very simple: Be good. Be nice. Be strong.
Be good. We know what it means to be a good person. If you choose to be bad, I'm going to avoid you. Doesn't mean I judge you; it simply means I have nothing in common with you. Everyone knows what it means to be good...even if you've been through a lot of bad. Don't make it an excuse.
Be nice. How difficult is it to choose to just be nice?! I could be nice...or I could be an asshole. You treat me like crap, I could respond with just as much crap. But why? What's your end game in being the asshole, in being known as an asshole?
   Suck it up. Take the higher road. Or better yet, get eye level and say, "Hey, I see you, I get you. I've been there, too." Because, really...we've all been there. Everyone has a story. You might be surprised how close your story is to the life you're judging. So be nice. You may be looking into a mirror...
Be strong. We have ALL been through SOME kind of shit! We all have our battle wounds and scars. They've shaped us, formed us...hell, they may have even defined us, to a point. But they can make you bitter or better. Remember to "shut off the main". If the past or present is what's dominating your mind and soul (no matter what or how you believe), or is consuming you...let it go. Focus on you, and how you want to be...not how others want you to be. Politically, socially, spiritually...ALL aspects of life. Rid yourself of all of the marketing schemes, the motivational speakers, the preachers from the pulpits. You know what is good, nice and right...even if you found out that what is good, nice and right was through the wrong means. Your own timeline and life lived is what will make you strong.

And good. And nice. And that is my hope for all of you in 2019. That we will be good and nice and strong. That we will not accept bad as good. That we will think with our own minds and not what is media-marketed to us.

Because when I sat with a new friend this weekend, thinking about the past, present and future, I also thought about the path that I've recently forged for myself. It's not the "main"...

It's a new path, but...it is a good one.

Happy New Year, everyone!

- Carol [Starks] Harper

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Red Flags

Been trying to figure out how to write this post today...bear with me...it's a long one.
(Oh, and just FYI...today I've been sucking down the last dregs of my Skyway Roasters beans.
- On Friday evening, November 16...I was at a birthday celebration in Midvale (Happy Birthday again, Nicki!) As most of you here in Wyoming know, that was the evening the recent snow began to fall. I think I headed out from the party back home at around 9-9:30. Had only one beer that night, over the course of about 2-2.5 hours, and lots of water, so I was good to go. Not drunk or buzzed. Just tired after a long day...)
🚩(Red Flag #1: Fatigue DOES affect your acuity.)
- So...a significant amount of snow had accumulated on my little Prius. It was dark, and for some reason, I couldn't find my scraper/brush anywhere (I do have one, it just wasn't in the car...a lot of good that did me at the time)...so I brushed the snow off with my bare hands and a plastic bag I found in the car.
🚩(Red flag #2. Make sure your vehicle is fully equipped for Winter weather.)
- Because it was dark (WY nights)...and snow covered the country roads...I crept out of the parking lot and temporarily put on my brights so I could adequately find the 8 Mile Rd/134 intersection. No problem for me (fully admitting that even I...born and raised in these parts...was a bit disoriented) but...I could see it could be a problem for someone who didn't know these back roads.
🚩(Red flag #3. Know exactly where you are in relation to main/cross roads...especially at night. And tell a friend or family member where you are, in case of an emergency. You might not have cell service, and if you're in an accident, emergency personnel and First Responders need pertinent info.)
- I went down 8 Mile Rd (speed limit=55) at about a 35-40 mph. Dealing with kaleidoscope vision (due to the falling snow/wind)...I kept on a steady crawl within ONE set of tire tracks made by the auto ahead of me. Yes, there were deer...fortunately, none of them pranced out in front of me, but they were on the edge of the road, totally deciding whether to...
🚩(Red flag #4: Unpredictable conditions. Do you really want to hit a deer at 55 mph on a dark, snowy, low-vis night? Um, no.)
- Once I got to the highway, I looked both ways, over and over, and didn't venture out until I saw that it was completely clear, NO headlights whatsoever, either direction. Crawled out...
🚩(Red flag #5: You think Main highways are gonna be cleared off frequently. Um...nope.)
- Was doing awesomely fine, then made it about 3 miles away from my home on the edge of town, when some !@#$% coming down the highway from the other direction...decides that they're invincible in their awesome, big ass truck...and whizzes by at high speed.
🚩(Red flag #6: There are !@#$% assholes in big trucks who don't understand the !@#$% laws of physics...much less give a flying !@#$ about other vehicles on the road, except for theirs.
- The after-effect of the truck, combined with the weather/wind...literally "whooshed" my entire little car UP OFF of the pavement, and set it completely out of control. I went zig-zagging across both lanes of the highway. Doesn't matter that I had all-season tires...I did my very best, turning into the slides. At no time did I brake, but...I could "feel" the fish-tailing from the back end. It took everything in me to not "over-correct" and stay calm. I was just lucky that there was no oncoming traffic when it happened...or ironically, the Riverton EMS crews would've had to scrape me up off the highway!
So there, yes. I said it. And I get that everyone thinks it's a !@#$% joke that I drive a Prius, and that they might feel they have to compensate for their own insecurities through their big ass vehicles, but...let me lay it out on the line for all of you:
1. Just because you have/drive a 4WD truck/vehicle, doesn't mean you're invincible. You are most likely more the problem than the solution in hazardous road conditions.
2. I've only been with the EMS crews for a shy of a year, and I know very well that any conditions on the road...dry, wet, snowy, slick, DUI, etc...do not discriminate. Whether it's drunk driving, careless driving, reckless driving...pompous ass driving...you put everyone at risk with your stupidity. And you know what? You never know. The person/people you hit and injure/kill might be someone you know, a friend or a family member(s).
3. I drive a Prius, okay? I get the jokes, and I'm good with them all. I'll laugh with the !@#$ best of y'all. But c'mon. Don't !@#$% dent my car with your door. Don't spit on my windshield/windows. I'm not going to disrespect the vehicle you drive, as long as you don't disrespect the vehicle that I drive. Isn't it ludicrous (and I realize that's a big word for some of you) that it's come to this in the world? Yet, it is what it is.
I told this story because it's something I just experienced, and thought I'd share. If you've read this far...OMG, you read!!!!
Given that, here are a few helpful web sites:

(Hey, Millennials...Google the rest, I'm not going to spoon feed you...)