February 13th, 2007 | Uncategorized

Helen here. This feels highly experimental and postmodern. It has just taken us about an hour to figure out how Alison and I can swap blogs for one post. Anyway, i’m in her house in the woods and Alison tells me that if we stepped outside right now we would die from the cold, so it’s a little like a hostage situation with free stir-fry.

Earlier she somehow persuaded me (an unfit city girl in new long-johns and what i am reliably informed are the wrong kind of winter hiking boots) to go snowshoeing, which is where you put tennis-racket-type things on your feet and walk in the snow. But you probably know that. We saw where the deer had spent the night. Here’s Alison pointing out their ‘deer-beds’ as she endearingly put it. I think she looks like a knight.

She filmed me, i photographed her, and now we are sitting next to each blogging about it. From a ten-minute experience during which i fell down three times, we sure got a lot of mileage.

It has suddenly struck me that some of you might choose to comment on this post, which is kind of intimidating to me. So now i think i’ll go and eat a chocolate.

Nice meeting you,

72 Responses to “blogswap”

  1. Aunt Soozie says:

    Hi Helen,
    Welcome and please don’t be intimidated!!!
    Stay warm and cozy.
    Nice to meet you as well,

  2. meg says:

    well met, Helen, and, cresmer, I’m first!

    Now go eat chocolate!

  3. meg says:

    ok, second… πŸ™

  4. Deena in OR says:

    Which would make me what, fourth??? Welcome, Helen. Delightful to have you visit.

  5. Amberooni says:

    She *does* look like a knight. Is that a flashlight on top of her head? I’m very impressed by the hat with the ear flaps. hats with ear flaps are such a smart design. who invented them? I’m even more impressed that she looks just as dapper in a hat with ear flaps as she does without. I don’t wear hats well. Plus it messes up my hair do.
    what kind of chocolate are you having? I like to eat vicariously.

  6. Robin B. says:

    Wow, when I first read the post, I thought “Helen” was Alison’s mother, and I found it so moving that she would note (correctly) that Alison looks like a knight. But then I realized it was a different Helen. Ah, well. Maybe I’ll just pretend pleasurably that AB’s mother did admire her daughter’s knightliness.

  7. Lisa Guidarini/Bluestalking Reader says:

    Helen, you get today’s good sport award. Very well done for getting out there and braving Nature with a capital N. Very H.D. Thoreau and Walden-y of you. Next you’ll be refusing to pay your taxes and Alison will have to come bail you out.

    Hopefully you’re feeling equally brave about receiving comments now. See, now, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Have a bit more chocolate, there’s a love!

  8. Ronijn says:

    LOL! Don’t be intimidated for your post made me smile and chuckle (not that Alison’s don’t, but I have the near daily experience of almost falling on my ass/face/knees while walking on my way to class in the snow with, what I’m sure are also improper snow boots… the last time I ended up halfway under a parked car… wow this is a long parenthetical remark).

  9. Deborah says:

    I love the blog swap! Thanks Helen and Alison.
    And now I will geekily try to figure out which DTWOF character will soon be buying pens at the megaplex!!

  10. Jana C.H. says:

    Another chocolatist-roader!

    Welcome to the blog. You’ll get used to us.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Floss Forbes: If you don’t know the tune, sing tenor.

  11. Frances says:

    Can you give more details of the stir fry?

  12. Elaine says:

    hehe, a knight in shining gauntlets! πŸ™‚

  13. Ian says:

    Hiya Helen, lovely to have you here. No doubt you swapped stories of the recent snow in Britain (no more than 6 inches deep) was major news and almost brought the country to a halt. To which (having watched ABC world news on the BBC last night and its report on the snow there) I can imagine AB laughing like a drain.

    I hope you took AB some decent European chocolate. Thanks to Wal-Mart taking over our local ASDA supermarket we now have things like Hershey’s Kisses and Reese’s peanut butter cups (which I love actually) which I’ve read about so many times in US literature but never tried. I’ve not worked up the courage to try the Hershey’s stuff but it’s next on my list.

    Oh, and yeah, more stir fry details please. Cooking goes down big on this blog! πŸ˜‰

  14. LEM says:

    Where do find Helen’s blog?

  15. AnnaP says:

    Warm wellcome from here as well! We finally have enough snow here for skiing and snowshoeing in here as well.

    And more about the stir fry please!
    Not too much though I do not want to open a blog for another dish.

  16. Elisablue says:

    Bienvenue , Helen …. : ) …

  17. Chewy says:

    This switcheroo is a great idea. Happy Valentine’s Day.

  18. Kat says:

    oh helen….I know your pain. I, too, was conned into snowshoeing by people who live in the woods…..I think I lasted only just longer than you, at which point I sat down in the snow and refused to move anymore. Not out of any sort of pout or whatever, but just because my body refused to take any more…….There must be some trick that, once you’re used to snowshoeing, is impossible to explain. Novices fall down everywhere, while veterans tell you that there is no trick. Or maybe Alison knows the trick? Did you get an explanation??

  19. Silvio Soprani says:

    Welcome, Helen!
    I’m glad you did the snowshoeing in the freezing air FIRST, because now you will find yourself unable to tear yourself away from the computer, sucked in by the ongoing revelations of the BLOG.

    Just when things slow down, Alison always changes the paradigm . I like the blog switch!

    Chewy, your Indian Pez picture is wonderful.

    Today in Baltimore we have about 3/4 of an inch of snow and a lot of ice; consequently all the schools are closed. (Loud derisive hoots of laughter ensue from all the Northern Regions of the USA!) But I am grateful because it allows me a 3rd cup of coffee at home and time to read the BLOG!

    Can a deer really survive in zero degrees sleeping on the ground in the snow? Are they really designed for that? (Last night I watched part of the Westminster Dog Show on TV; all those Topiary-Edward Scizzorhand-shaped poodles! Scary!

    Well, here’s to the continuing enrichment (for us) of the BLOG SWITCH!

  20. jmc says:

    I must say that I love the Swix temp gauge (shown by AB on HS’s blog)!

    And yes, chocolate is clearly the thing to turn to after adventures in the cold.

  21. leighisflying says:

    Welcome Helen,

    You should suggest to Alison that a nice warm night in a snow cave or quinzee would be another fantastic winter experience you should enjoy while visiting…

    LOL, great post and Thank You!

  22. Ann S in Madison says:

    I can’t help it…AB stuff always puts me in mind of Jane Austen. This time it’s the dashing, manly practical-yet-romantic Mr. Knightley from _Emma_. Yep, I can see AB as Mr. Knightley in a play sometime. Or perhaps that stuff’s only for the moms? but, methinks, there’s plenty of limelight and ham to go around.

    (Did somebody say ham? Why does this blog always make me HUNgry, darnit?!)

  23. ragthetiger says:

    Hi Helen! How was the chocolate? I love snowshoeing even though I’ve only done it once so far. And it’s odd, b/c I HATE snow!

    For some reason I didn’t fall down… and I’m so unathletic and clumsy, that really is a miracle.

    Anyway I loved it for the same reason I love kayaking – you get to go places you normally can’t. Meandering streams, deep snow.

    Helen, go have some more chocolate, OK? Dark chocolate, that’s the best. Need a reason? it’s Valentine’s Day! Not that chocolate needs a reason, of course.

  24. Alex K says:

    “Scott Baio”?

    Wow, that came in from left field.

    A poll: Does ANYONE want to be Scott Baio? Except Scott himself (hi Scotty! Didn’t know you read this), of course.

  25. Aunt Soozie says:

    I can’t believe you would say Alison is not Scott Baio.
    That’s just crazy. Of course she’s Scott Baio.
    And I like the reflective stuff on the gloves…very handy when you loose them in the deep dark snowy night…or when you have to flag down the ski patrol because you’re having an inconvient arrhythmia.

    Anyway, remember that long winded story about area codes with 9’s and 1’s in ’em. Let’s just say I just had a visit from the local police…again. I’m snowed in…or really ICED in…with two children. So, it was a welcome distraction. I begged the officers to take the children for a brief outing but they refused. So, it’s up to me to venture out and make them get some fresh air and shovel and de-ice-ify my vehicle. My daughter lamented…”is this some kind of punishment? It’s freezing out there. Don’t make us go out!”
    “No honey, it’s a treat to go out in the snow, uhm, ice storm…”

    Today is a good day to eat chocolate. We have some Godiva truffles here and some giant chocolate covered strawberries.

    If anyone can cope with a bright and very active five year old boy and a similarly disposed ten year old girl it’s Aunt Soozie right? Pray for me…they’re pretending they’re birds now and making nests and laying eggs…


  26. Aunt Soozie says:

    or an inconvenient arrhythmia…
    oh gawd…now they’re pretending to regurgitate food for their offspring…get the snow boots and woolies on kids…you’re goin’ outside…

  27. Aunt Soozie says:

    and one more thing…
    (remember, I’m iced in here…)
    those cops had some really hot black boots…
    where can you get those?
    Can a woman of a certain age wear those and look as good as those young male police officers?
    I’ll take my leave now…and await your next post Helen.

  28. leighisflying says:

    Aunt Soozie,

    Just be glad they aren’t playing my favourite game when I was 6 years old and staying at my long-suffering great-grandmother’s house: “cleaning out Grandma’s cupboards”. Which really amounted to emptying the contents of said cupboards and then leaving. Or, “fireplace” where we ripped up old magazines and threw the kindling under her coffee table…God, I was a horrible child!

    “Bird” seems so much more innocuous.

  29. Chewy says:

    Aunt Soozie, I have a pair of the (Lady) Magnum boots. “The tactical boot for speed and stability.” Or as I like to think, “a nice pair of sensible shoes.” They look like a combo of a sneaker & boot.

  30. DW says:

    Helen, Has AB told you this snow we’re getting today is just a normal Vermont snowstorm?

  31. Butch Fatale says:

    Anyway, i’m in her house in the woods and Alison tells me that if we stepped outside right now we would die from the cold, so it’s a little like a hostage situation with free stir-fry.

    The secret to Stockholm Syndrome discovered!

  32. --MC says:

    I’m Scott Baio, and so is my wife!

  33. Feminista says:

    Hello all–Very cool snowshoe photo of AB. And nice to hear your musings about the US,Helen.

    Snowshoe hiking isn’t all that hard–I find it easier on my arthritic 50-something joints than x-c skiing,and I’ve never fallen. Managed to go 2-1/2 miles one day,and around 3 on another,on a group weekend trip in the Oregon Cascades.We saw squirrels and woodpeckers,and had great views of Mts. Jefferson and Washington. But the weather was much better than in VT; I won’t go out in temps below 20 F.

    Went to a free chocolate tasting on Sunday (all organic,free-trade and delicious) and off to another at the People’s Food Coop later today. I’m giving myself a Valentine’s Day gift of a therapeutic massage after that,and then it’s off to my weekly writing group.

  34. shadocat says:

    Welcome Helen! Happy Valentine’s Day (or as I like to call it in my house “Happy Another Excuse To Eat Chocolate Day”)!

    Perhaps now that you’ve had the “snowshoeing experience” you can let the rest of us in the country know–what is it with these “Great White North-people” types and their love for going for long treks in the piney-woods late at night in sub-zero temperatures? It’s all a mystery to me…

    Try to stay warm–I could survive forever on a diet of stir-fry and chocolates!

    Aunt Soozie—Hang in there! spring really is coming! (So they tell me…)

  35. Aunt Soozie says:

    I love that fireplace game. Your Grandma must have loved you kids alot.

    and Lady Magnum TACTICAL boots
    designed for speed and stability…
    (to be read as if you’ve been possessed
    by the spirit of Scarlett O’Hara)

    “Oh my. Those are some lovely lil’ boots are’nt they. I do think I’ll step outside and get a bit of air. I’m positively flushed. Would you be so kind as to pass me my wrap and my fan darlin’? Thank you. I’ve always relied on the kindness of strangers.”

    Oops, Southern cross pollination, sorry.

  36. Aunt Soozie says:

    Thanks Shado…notice I haven’t actually dragged the kids outside yet, but, gotta, fore the ice starts to get to solid to shovel again. so, bye.

  37. Jana C.H. says:

    Did someone say boots? Here they are:

    I’d call them waffle-stompers, which I wore all the way through college. Jeans, plaid flannel shirts, and waffle-stompers are the official Pacific Northwest Uniform. Around here you don’t have to be a lesbian to wear them.

    Jana C.H.
    “At least my feet don’t hurt.”

  38. geogeek says:

    Another seattleite asks: Hey, which PCC is doing free chocolate tasting? Or is it all over town?

  39. Ruth says:

    Am I the only person reading this blog who had to google Scott Baio, and still don’t understand why he was mentioned in the first place?

  40. Elisablue says:

    Hear, hear , Ruth … πŸ™‚

    And , ahem, speaking of chocolate, am I the only one around who loves English chocolate : Cadbury flakes ? …

  41. --MC says:

    My bosses gave me a modicum of Hershey’s Kisses today.
    I indifferently unwrapped one, and popped it in: expecting a solid candy, I bit it, and it turned out to be filled with caramel.
    How long has this been going on?

  42. Lea says:

    no ruth, i’m completely clueless, too. i blame it on my mostly tv-free childhood…

  43. Ellen Orleans says:

    I’m Scott Baio and she’s Spartacus and Hershey’s Kisses have diversified into hugs and almonds and carmels. It’s a strange world.

  44. Murk says:

    Awww…you guys went snowshoeing and are now snuggled up in the nice warm house blogging together…how cozy! Could it be there’s something else in the air other than stir-fry? (wink)

  45. Silvio Soprani says:

    I never heard of Scott Baio, and after googling him, I totally do not recognize him from Happy Days. Did he go snowshoeing with Fonzie or something?

    Regarding Hershey’s Kisses, it is a disgrace what they have done to them. Caramel, vanilla, peanut butter, you name it. it is all SO WRONG. But you know, Coke did it; Reese’s did it, there’s no stopping all the diversifying.

    What I am happy about is how a troll has no chance whatsoever of pushing anyone’s buttons anymore on this blog. We just riff right off on it and keep on going. πŸ™‚

    I am also happy to report that the fine old city tradition of meeting one’s neighbors while shovelling the sideway is alive and well in Baltimore. This morning I met a perfectly sweet medical student on my block for the first time. People don’t make an appearance on the sidewalk here until it snows.

    I am still giggling about the Scott Baio reference. And Ruth, no, I can’t make head or tail of why he was mentioned. All I remember of Happy Days was the coffee shop, and perhaps Fonzie’s motorcycle (in the coffee shop.) Neither of these seems to relate to the spectacle of Alison and Helen on snowshoes…perhaps it was the camera aspect of it all.

    Is “Baio” a veiled reference to “Maoist” you-know-what?

  46. cybercita says:

    ian — hershey’s kisses taste like chocolate flavored wax.

    there. i said it.

  47. Silvio Soprani says:


    Actually, they FEEL like wax; they still TASTE like chocolate. They have a hard, unforgiving texture. (Not like a truffle…)

  48. Pope Snarky Goodfella of the undulating cable, JM, CK, POEE, KOTHASK, EOTHIDIAUTP says:

    Hail Eris!

    On Thursdays, when I’m not otherwise occupied with being (mistaken for) one of a dozen different Usenet Bullies (Sarcastic Satirists From Hell), I’m Scott Baio, and so are they.

    BTW, Mr. No-Name, why did you pick exactly the wrong blog-post to make that comment? It’s not like there’s a shortage of Alison’s own posts here…


  49. Pope Snarky Goodfella of the undulating cable, JM, CK, POEE, KOTHASK, EOTHIDIAUTP says:

    Hail Eris!

    Silvio — Scott Baio was Chachi, Fonzie’s nephew (IIRC).


  50. Ian says:

    Thanks for the info on Hershey’s. I’m so glad you have Cadbury’s Flake and Creme Eggs (allegedly for Easter but appear on the shelves on Boxing Day, along with Hot Cross Buns).

    As for AB I’m thinking less Scott Baio and more Tintin in Tibet, examining a Yeti’s footprint.

  51. Aunt Soozie says:

    I haven’t had or heard of cadbury flakes…what are they?
    Cadbury eggs we had…but, we don’t have boxing day so they just come around near Easter.

    Scott Baio was only on Happy Days for a short while and he was the love interest of Richie Cunningham’s younger sister…what was her name? That actress…who played her…I remember reading…was quite disgruntled with the whole experience of being on that program. Then there was a spin off I think, after Happy Days…so and so and Chachi…about the two of them and their enduring love.

    But, Tintin in Tibet examining the Yeti’s footprint seems more fitting for the photo above.

  52. Amberooni says:

    I had a crush on one of the characters from Happy Days. Not the Scott Baio character. Not a female character either. (I didn’t know yet.) Can you guess which one?

    I have to have some sort of filling in my chocolate…nuts, nougat, caramel, peanut butter…I don’t like Hershey bars or kisses.

    I like regular kisses, though. πŸ˜€

  53. panorama says:

    diverting blog diversion, Helen! Who came with the idea?

  54. Squeako says:

    What’s up with ‘no name’? Is he grumpy about something? Anyway, good work on the blog-swap, and Alison’s spotting of the deer beds. For some reason it puts me in mind of the well known activity of ‘cow tipping’ (ok, well known in Wales) where you creep up on sleeping cows in fields at night and, um, tip them over…I’m sorry, I was 16 and we didn’t have night clubs..
    I’ll go now.

  55. Mame says:

    Helen: Tell Alison to go rent episodes of “Bad Girls” (which is FINALLY airing in the US now and season one is available of video) for those winter nights went she thinks hiking in the dark sub-zero outside is a smart way to spend the evening….

  56. Deb says:

    LOL I can’t think of a more fun ‘hostage’ situation to be in………..especially with free stir fry! I love the blog-swap. How fun is this?

  57. --MC says:

    Cadbury Flake bars are very good. I prefer Maltesers though, or a good Violet Crumble.
    I had the Scott Baio Orange Cake once, and do not recommend it.

  58. Jude says:

    The Scott Baio/Erin Moran spinoff was called, originally enough, “Joanie Loves Chachi,” IIRC.

    I had a crush on Pinky Tuscadero.

  59. Chewy says:

    Pinky Tuscadero played by Roz Kelly. Remember her sister Leather Tuscadero? Played by Suzi Quatro.

  60. cybercita says:

    hi silvio,

    hershey’s kisses taste sort of like chocolate.

    the first time i tried a truffle, in belgium, i realized that i had never actually eaten real chocolate before.

    cadbury’s caramello milk chocolate… can’t tell you how many times i’ve broken my diet over those.

    think i’ll stop on my way home and get one!

  61. Maggie Jochild says:

    My red Abyssinian cat, Rusk, came out of the late 70’s and a lesbian household with a new nickname: Pinky Ruskadero. Lasted the rest of his life.

    MC, did you have the Baoist Orange Cake that Duncan Hines put out in a box? Or the original version published in the pages of Burning Spear?

  62. Mordecai says:

    @squeako: I’ve been led to understand that cow-tipping is also popular in upstate New York (not far from Vermont at all). Not that growing up in NYC I ever had any direct experience of this…

  63. Doctor E says:

    Scott Baio? Such an odd reference, and so many things can be read into it. Besides his Happy Days role, Baio played a teen drunk in several after school specials of the late seventies, spent most of the eighties as a male nanny in Charles in Charge, and used his telekinetic powers to forcibly undress teenaged girls in Zapped.

    He’s also famous for sleeping with many famous and near-famous actresses. As far as I know, he does not snowshoe or make stirfry.

  64. --MC says:

    Maggie: the mix cake. Back in the day, a friend got a promo box of the Baio Cake Mix with her subscription copy of “Tiger Beat”, and baked one of the cakes. It turned out all right, but the cloying orangey taste put me off the stuff for life. (I was offered a slice of the stuff at a postmodern wedding reception — the gride and broom were dressed for roller derby — but declined it. Fool me twice, shame on me.)
    I was going to suggest that Alison was looking less Baio and more like Jane Wiedlin of the Go Gos — but their faces are nothing alike, so my comparison falls apart — but it was a good excuse to spend an hour Google image searching for pictures of Jane Wiedlin. Ah, Jane.

  65. Silvio Soprani says:

    Pope Snarky of the Many Handles,

    Why do you keep hailing Eris?

    And why does Eris not hail you back?

    MC, “Tiger Beat” sounds familiar. Was that a British teen magazine?

    It seems that today I have nothing but questions.

  66. --MC says:

    Silvio, “Tiger Beat” was — er, is still — a magazine featuring pictures of beautiful boy stars for preteen girls to define their desires with. The magazine was all powerful during the boyfilled 1970s — Donny, David, Michael, et al posed and strutted among the pages, filling many young hearts with yearning and frustration. Here’s a page with an early cover (Sonny and Cher!):

  67. Amberooni says:

    I abused Tiger Beat in order to feed my New Kids on the Block addiction back in the day.
    That’s really embarassing to admit, but there you go.

  68. Maggie Jochild says:

    TIGER BEAT! Oh, I had forgotten. Back when I was 13, when I had already kissed a girl (cue Jill Sobule) but then denied I was queer to her, I covered for a year by plastering my bedroom with boyflix torn from Tiger Beat. Mark Lindsay from Paul Revere and the Raiders, Davy Jones from the Monkees, and Sajid Khan from a TV show I can’t remember now. I mean, they were pretty in a girlish kind of way. But who I dreamed about when going to sleep was Paula from Daktari and Donna Mills, who was then an actress on Love Is A Many Splendored Thing. I’d known I was a lesbian since age nine, and had a Plan since reading about the Stonewall Riots in Time Magazine — I was going to move to Greenwich Village, wear tailored slacks and oxford shirts, and write.

    When I was 14, I kissed a girl again. She kissed me back. I tore down all the Tiger Beat photos. I discovered a drugstore in a small town one county over that sold Ann Bannon novels (my town had 86 people in it). That kept me going until graduation in 1973, when I joined the Lesbian Nation and never lacked for reading material again.

  69. cybercita says:

    hi maggie,

    left you a msg on helen’s blog.

  70. Silvio Soprani says:

    I don’t remember reading about Stonewall when it happened (I was in high school then), but I do vividly remember a multi-page photo spread in Life Magazine around 1967 or 68 I think about homosexuality in New York City. They profiled a man who went down the street (in the Village I suppose) for a newspaper wearing his bedroom slippers and never returned home to his wife. (Because he changed his lifestyle, not because of murder or anything like that.) This article made such an impression on me (a sheltered, suburban Catholic school girl) that for years I wondered what became of this man.

    I supposed it was a pretty radical story for Life Magazine. The only story I remember that affected me as much (and I religiously read it cover to cover at the time) was the one around the same time about a young couple (a man and a woman) who were addicted to heroin. It followed them around and except for their drug use they seemed very sweet.

    I think my point is how easy it is to forget , once you have left home and had some experiences, how completely clueless young people were in the 60s about how people of other lifestyles lived, and how valuable it was to have a window on these experiences. I suppose this is the same role that reading literature can play, but then you think it is just a story.

  71. Danyell says:

    I like this idea. This post was incredibly sweet and endearing. You should swap more often.