"Any arbitrary turn along the way and I would be elsewhere; I would be different." ~ Frances Mayes

After losing 112 pounds in almost a year and a half, I have come to realize how very much I was missing. I may be Late to the Party, but I am doing my best to catch up in my own unique way!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Christmas House Tour - Part 1

Yesterday I promised some "Christmasey" entries on Late to the Party and last week I promised to share some of my decorating efforts.  I TRY to keep all my promises, even though I am not always successful.  With that in mind,  today I will open the door to my home and share the Christmas spirit that lives here.  AND....since Layla over at The Lettered Cottage is having a blog link party showcasing mantels, I thought I would join in the fun! If you have time, go to the link above at Layla's blog and see all the beautiful and cute ways that others have decorated their own mantels!


The nutcrackers have been collected mainly over the past 10 or 12 years, even though the very first one I got in 1973!  Some have been gifts, some have been purchased by me for me, some have been yard sale finds.  I love them all!  Big, small, skinny, fat.

The little red birds scattered thoughout the garland are vintage rescued from Goodwill.  They have found quite a home in the greenery and are very well-behaved, although I cannot attest to what they may do when I am not home! The white and gold skinny nativity set was a much wished for gift from my daughter.  I love my mantel! Other than the tree in the nearby corner, it is the focal point of my great room and looks so warm and inviting.  

Soon I will post another room or collection!  Maybe the hearth will be next to complete the fireplace. Hope you will enjoy the tour and feel a little bit of Christmas spirit when you come to visit the blog!  You can never have enough Christmas, that's what I always say!

Thanks for stopping by! Come back soon!  Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mob mentality

Let me be the first, I hope, to say it!  Merry Christmas!  The excitement is in the air!

Do you love Christmas as much as I?  I love every single thing about it!    And I LOVE to give gifts!  So, with that in mind, I am offering a new feature on the blog!

But before we get to that, let me apologize for not having a Confession Friday last week.  And since it is Monday, I think I will confess something.....What better day to confess than Monday, a new beginning, a new week?

Here is my Monday's Confession Friday:  I have found a new interest....something I terribly want to do.  I want to be part of a mob.  I know, I know, it is shocking.  But just not any kind of mob.  It's really isn't what you think.  I have discovered a whole new world of Flash Mobs.

If you are like me, I had NO idea what a flash mob is until just recently.  A flash mob is when a large group of people gather in very public place, appear to be part of the normal activity, say like in a mall food court or Grand Central Station, and then put on a brief performance of some kind.  They get people to participate by spreading the word via viral emails, social networking sites like FaceBook, or other forms of telecommunications.

The term flash mob made it to the 11th edition of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary in July 2004, defining it as an "unusual and pointless act" . Websters Dictionary defines flash mob as “a group of people who organize on the Internet and then quickly assemble in a public place, do something bizarre, and disperse."  Maybe that's what intrigues me so about flash mobs.  They have been used as protests, but the original intention is for the performance aspect.  The very first flash mob was staged in New York City at a Macy's Department store in 2003.  Over 100 people gathered on the 9th floor of the store and surrounded a very costly rug, telling store clerks that they all lived together in a warehouse and had decided to buy a "love rug" and that all decisions were made by the whole group.  What a hoot!  Now that to me is the ultimate practical joke!

So now, as of this week, I am introducing Flash Mob Mondays for the holidays! A gift of sorts from me to you!  So sit back and enjoy the very first of the Flash Mob Monday here:

Be sure to look for next week's Flash Mob Monday video!  And stay tuned for some really "Christmasey" entries!  Got to run!  A cup of hot coffee and a Christmas movie are calling my name....sweet indulgence in the middle of the day!
P.S. Did I mention that I LOVE Christmas?  Just in case you were wondering....... 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Take time to smell the turkey

And so it begins....the holiday madness!

I usually don't decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving, but this year is different. Traditionally, the only thing "Christmasy" that does come down from the attic pre-T. Day is the tree. Before we bought our current smaller pre-lit tree a couple of years ago, we had a 10 foot tree, which was not pre-lit, and it would take a great part of a day (and a lot of under-the-breath cuss words) to get it up and working.  For Ed, it was always a labor of hate. So to save time, the weekend before Thanksgiving, down would come the giant tree from its resting place in the attic,  for assembly only, and then shoved into the living room corner, lights on but no decorations.  On Thanksgiving weekend - Sunday afternoon, when all the Fab 5 and their parents had evacuated the premises, I would start decorating in earnest.  That "earnest" usually takes about a week to finish, including the outside and the tree.  But this is THIS year and things are different.

I sat down about a week ago with a calendar and I began to calculate.  Let's see.....Turkey Day is on Thursday, the 25th.  Hmmmm....only 4 weeks to Christmas from that day.  One week to decorate, 4 weeks to enjoy.  Oh, but look....our calendar has something scheduled for the weekend after Thanksgiving, the next weekend, AND the next.  So exactly when will the bulk of this decorating get done?  Panic set in.  There won't be enough time!  Plus, the three of the Fab 5 that reside in South Carolina don't usually come here during the holidays since we go to their house at Christmas, so they don't recall what PamPam's house looks like for Christmas and they are getting old enough to really enjoy the decorations. Time to re-evaluate! Ed capitulated and brought the boxes and tree down from the attic on Thursday.

So for the past 4 days, between teleworking, Carson's last soccer game, yard sales, weigh-in, Christmas shopping, grocery shopping, going to see Harry Potter, packing an Ebay box to ship, making a birthday present for Olivia's friend, cooking cornbread for dressing, my house looked as though a holiday bomb had gone off.  Boxes in every conceivable corner, garlands on the floor, tissue paper wrappings tossed wildly aside.  I refer to it as "Christmas vomit".  At least Olivia came and helped me on Friday, thank God!

Checklist:  North Pole Village...check.  Nativities....check.  Nutcrakers.....check.  Stockings and stairs.....check. Carson was here last evening and "helped" as much as a 7 year old has the inclination to do.  Santas....check.  Mantle....check.   Snowmen....check.  Angels.....check.  Today I worked harder than a sled dog and got all the loose ends, boxes, and wrappings tamed and shoved back into the storage.  Garland on outside door....check.  Dining room table and buffet....check.  Bakers rack.....check.  Guest bathroom...check.  Breakfast bar....check.  Kitchen island....check.  Breakfast table....check.  There is Christmas in every conceivable corner, nook and cranny of my house and I say that literally.  The tree still needs to be decorated, but it can wait till Sunday.  Ed needs to hang the wreaths on all the windows, but that isn't as big a priority as the interior.  Next week I will take some pictures and share.

With the biggest portion of the decorating marked off my "to do" list, you would think that the panic would subside, right?  But, oh, no....not this gal. I have a hundred things that need to be done ASAP and there are how many days till Christmas?  Plus, there are dozens of items on my list that have a deadline in just a week or two.  That's what I meant in my opening line....and so it begins.  I will be busy day and night.  This week alone I am getting ready for Thanksgiving, creating things to sell AND give, keeping track of some Ebay items I have up for auction.  I am going to bed late and I wake up earlier with my mental day tracker ticking off all that has to be done.  I am in creative overdrive, which I love, but there aren't enough waking hours.

So I am writing this to remind myself that I need to breathe.  I need to savor the special moments that always happen during this season.  I need to be open to changing plans, if needed, or by serendipity.  I need to kick back with a cup of joe every now and again to catch my breath and enjoy my efforts that surround me in my home.  What I can get done is great, but if it doesn't all get completed, well, that's okay, too.  I need to reflect on the joy of the holidays and capture that feeling of the true reasons we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Tomorrow is a full day at the office.  Wednesday may be a half day, maybe a full day.  I will hit my front door running every evening this week till our Thanksgiving dinner. I know that many of you will do the same. But even in the midst of all this craziness just for one meal, I invite you to join with me to take a deep breath and remember to smell the turkey.  And before you go, please leave a comment on what you are grateful for this Thanksgiving! 

Happy cooking and let the Holidays begin!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Have You Etsy-ed Today?

Have you Etsy-ed today?

There was no Confession Friday this week, although Lord knows I have enough to confess.  However, Friday I teleworked, then late Friday evening I decided to start decorating for Christmas.  Many of you know that when I decorate for the holidays, I DECORATE for the holidays.  It will take me almost a week to get it all done.  Thank goodness that Oliva, one of the Fab 5,  was here to help.  She worked her heart out for me and that is not an easy task.  But she owed me for taking her out of school at lunchtime for an early Friday surprise.

 Back to the subject at hand, I was busy on an entirely different level yesterday  and today on top of everything else that was going on. The reason?  I am a shop owner!  There are no bricks or mortar, no huge inventory, no employees, no parking lot, no building, so you cannot physically come to my store.  But there is this marvelous invention called the internet and yesterday I became the owner of my very own Etsy shop!

  The Flyboy's Baby, Purveyor of Vintage Items and Things That Look Old
First to the name of my shop. My dad was a pilot in WWII and he loved to fly.  Before he left the Army Air Corp, which was the beginning of the Air Force, he carried a pilot's license to fly any plane in the AAC.  Keep in mind, this was before jets.  And my dad loved old things.  So I am the Flyboy's baby, literally AND figuratively.

So now, what is ETSY?  Well, according to Wikipedia, Etsy is, and I quote:
" a social commerce website" focused on handmade or vintage items as well as art and craft supplies. These items cover a wide range including art, photography, clothing, jewelry, edibles, bath & beauty products, quilts, knick-knacks and toys. Many individuals also sell craft supplies like beads, wire, jewelry making tools and much more. The vintage items on the site have only one rule to follow: they must be 20 years or older. These items range from old boots and ice skates, to dresses, hats and scarves. The site follows in the tradition of open craft fairs, giving sellers personal storefronts where they list their goods for a fee of $0.20. It has been compared to "a crafty cross between Amazon and eBay", and to "your grandma's basement".

So last night I opened my shop with items that I have procured from all sorts of sources, yard sales, thrift stores and flea markets.  I will be adding some handmade items, as well.  So come take a gander at what I have so far! Just click on the link provided above beside my dad's picture.  And come back often as I am always finding new things to list and sell.  And if there should be something you want to buy, just let me know!

But wait!  There's more! This is a two-fold announcement!  I have a VERY talented friend, Sonya, who also opened HER own shop on Etsy in October! She does beautiful work!  I encourage you to visit her site at Etsy, too! Her cards and tags are to die for!  Just click here and you can see for yourself.

While you're at Etsy, explore and see all the wide range of items so many talented people are creating and selling.  Who knew so long ago what the internet would do for us?

It is 1:15 in the morning and have a lot more to do before I go to bed.  There are so many ideas I want to create or try out and the house needs more Christmas.  I just wanted to share my excitement over my new venture, as well as Sonya's.   Good night and Happy Etsy-ing!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Reveal time - Another swap, another friend

Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.
 ~Ruth Ann Schabacker

By now most of you know that I like to participate in craft swaps and the three I joined this fall were outstanding.  Each swap was different and unique and I received the most beautiful things - all gifts of the heart and imagination.  The last and latest was a Christmas ornament swap.

The rules were pretty simple.  Buy or create an ornament that reflected something about you and that also catered to your swap partner's taste.  Since I LOVE paper crafting, I decided to hand make my ornament for my swap partner.  Her name is Diane and she has a wonderful blog that you can see here !  She is getting ready for a huge holiday craft Open House and how she had the time to make my ornament is beyond me!

Before I reveal what she sent to me, here is what I sent her! 

I had lots of fun making it and hope she likes it.  She loves vintage and has a red and white tree.  The top paper had the cutest vintage looking snowmen on it.  I couldn't resist the bling!  And the "dangley" at the bottom was fun to create.
Now, let me show you what she sent me.  I love, love, love it! It will hang on my tree with pride and with much awe at the handiwork.

So without further ado - TADA!

Isn't it the cutest?  I don't know about you, but I think I got the cream of the crop!  It is even lined inside the little pocket!  And the whiskers on the mouse are krinkley and wiry, just like a mousey's whiskers should be. He's dressed for the weather, that's for sure, with his little wool scarf.  If you can't tell, the snowman is made from felted wool, down to his carrot nose and his eyes and teeth of "coal".

Now I can't wait to get my tree up and introduce my little snowman pocket to his new snowmen friends that hang on my tree.  But until the first week of December, my little snowman is tucked away safe and sound awaiting his debut. 

How lucky can a gal be?  A new friend, a new ornament and something to look forward to!  Life is sweet.  Thanks, Diane!

If you want to see the other ornaments that the other gals swapped, we are having a big reveal party on December 1st at  http://sassyminidolls.blogspot.com/.  It will be fun to see what everyone received!  Come and join us!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November Word of the Month

We are full steam into November and it is time for Word of the Month, so here goes:

"Remember what Bilbo used to say: It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.  You might step unto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept."~ J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

At 58, I have learned some things, many things in fact, and it amazes me that the older I get, the more I learn.  Here's one of the things I know:  Sometimes we are so set in our ways that to even imagine breaking away from our routines is daunting. But don't be afraid to change your plans at a moments notice! Wonderful things can happen!

 My birthday was on Sunday, October 10th.  And where was I at 9:00 a.m. on that recent Sunday morning?  Hiking the Appalachian Trail up to Lover's Leap in Hot Springs, North Carolina, an arduous but fun endeavor.  After lunch, Ed and I completed yet another different trail hike and were on our way to hike one more when we got sidetracked.  We were driving on a gravel road following the French Broad River and had somehow missed the trailhead.  As we prepared to find a place to turn around, there was a bend in the road and I wanted to see what lay ahead.  What I saw piqued my curiosity, and from that point on, we abandoned our immediate plans and forged ahead.  We had come upon an area known as the Paint Creek Corridor in the Cherokee National Forest just over the Tennessee boundary with North Carolina. Once we committed to the adventure, we never looked back.

We had entered the forest primeval - a shadowed, magical, mystical place. The road was paved but that was just about the only modern thing we saw for miles.  The temperature had been 80 degrees at the entrance; it dropped 15 degrees in less than 10 minutes.  At 4:00 p.m. it looked like 7 at night.  Paint Creek twisted and turned as we followed its course.  Further into the forest, there began to appear picnic areas on the banks of the creek and local families were preparing to start fires and grills to enjoy a crisp fall evening.  What struck me, however, was the quiet.  No loud yelling, no loud cars, no radios, just the occasional sound of a voice mixed with the constant sound of the mountain stream rolling and tumbling over ancient rocks. It reminded me of a church sanctuary with its sense of reverence and holiness and I suppose others felt that too, thus the subdued nature of sounds.

Several times we almost turned around because we didn't have a clue as to where we actually were or  how long it would be before we reached an end and entered civilization again.  But we pressed on, both Ed and I wanting to see what was around the bend.  Our curiosity paid off in the forms of two waterfalls.

Dudley Falls

Kelley Falls

Another view of Kelley Falls
 As the road continued its twists and turns, there was a portion of the stream where trout fishing is allowed and we stopped to watch one fisherman casting and retrieving his line, like a well-choreographed dance.

When we reached what would turn out to be almost the end of the road, there was a campground, equally as quite and peaceful as the rest of the park. We had traveled approximately 5 miles, but it had taken us over an hour or more to get to the end and by the time we made our way back to the highway via a different route and into Hot Springs, it was much too late and dark to take on any more hiking and thus we ended our hiking adventure weekend on that note.  The surreal images of a pristine forest and stream imbedded themselves into my mind and I carry them as some of my favorites memories of that trip.  I wouldn't have missed that drive for anything, even though it was completely unplanned and uncharted on our schedule.

And that brings me to our November Word of the Month: Serendipity.  Doesn't it roll off the tongue delightfully?

Serendipity is a noun meaning "an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident."  If we never venture off the beaten path or veer in any other direction than straight ahead, think of all the wonderfully fantastic opportunities and delights that may literally be just around the corner.  It is remarkably freeing when serendipity presents itself all by chance, a gift really, to be opened in two ways, one being slowly and deliberately, savored to the nth degree, or two, by maniacally shredding off the wrapping and revealing the contents immediately. 

Both have their merits, as long as you, the recipient squeal with joy, literally or figuratively!  Children understand serendipity so much better than adults and it is shamefully woeful that we lose the art of serendipity with each passing year.  As grown-ups we make excuses, sometimes for no reason at all, and miss going out to lunch with friends, or taking the time to make a sidetrip on a vacation, or engaging in conversations with complete strangers. 

It reminds me of the quote from the movie Forrest Gump: "Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you're gonna get."   But I maintain that if you never buy the box of chocolates in the first place on a whim for yourself, or never open it, or you use the enclosed diagram which shows exactly what each piece of candy had inside, then you have missed the adventure.

 I think this is why I love yardsales so much, because I never know what I may find.  Case in point, I just recently came upon a pair of snowshoes, of all things, at a yardsale.  I have wanted an old pair of snowshoes to decorate the front door or hang over my mantle for Christmas all my adult life! They were tucked back into a corner and had been overlooked by all the other people there. They were meant to be mine. No questions asked, I paid the asking price of $4 on the spot. Serendipity!

My advise is to loosen up, enjoy the ride.  Learn to say yes!  Do something out of the ordinary; depart from your routine.  I would rather have one great evening of serendipity in a magical forest than live a thousand years of boredom.  I hope you find your own serendipity today or this weekend.  Above all else, don't be afraid!

Postnote:  My friend Evelyn found her own form of serendipity this past weekend.  She and Forrest, her longtime best friend of nine years, eloped to Las Vegas for a romantic wedding just for two.  Congratulations, Evelyn and  Forrest! I hope your lives are filled with sweetness and joy and contentment and, most of all, serendipity.  It is in serendipity of life and love that the other three ingredients are often found.  Treasure the quiet times that everyday life brings, but embrace the unknown adventures that lie before you.  Here's to love!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Confession Friday - You can have your cheese and eat it, too

Time for Confession Friday! 

I love cheese.  A fairly simple confession, don't you think?  A lot of people like cheese.  So what is the big deal?
First, let's look at cheese more closely....

No one knows for sure where or when the first cheese was made.  Possibly as far back as 8000 BC.  This makes me ponder.....was the first cheese a mistake, a fluke or was it a series of well planned experiments thought of by some uncivilized human, an early scientist who liked to play with milk products?  Did he think, "Gee, I wonder what will happen to this milk if I store it in this animal stomach I just happen to have hanging around and let it sit for a while?"  And wouldn't the odor caused by the chemical reactions been incentive to toss out whatever was in that said stomach?  Whichever is closest to the truth, the bigger question is who was brave (or stupid) enough to take the first bite? These are things I think about and want answers for!

By the time of the Roman Empire, cheese production was in full swing in Europe, aided further by those methodic Romans with the cheese making techniques and standards they introduced with their conquests of various regions.  As Rome failed, cheese became more diversified and regions began to hone their cheese making skills and develop flavors to reflect their tastes and preferences.  Switzerland had the first cheese factory in 1815, but the first cheese factory using milk gathered from various nearby farmers was up and running in Rome, NY, in 1851.  This practice spread over the next several decades and hundreds of dairy associations were formed throughout the United States.  Factory production of cheese overtook traditional cheese-making by WWII.  Presently in America, we buy more processed cheese than the real deal.  Leave it to us to take a perfect food and "improve" it by making it fake.  Go figure.  But, I do admit there is nothing better than a hot, grilled cheese sandwich, fake though it may be

As for my own personal taste, I love a good cheddar cheese.  Natural cheddar, that is.  When Ed and I went to New England one fall, we happened upon a little town in New Hampshire, Sugar Hill by name.  This is where we found Harman's General Store, one of the three or four buildings in this quaint little village.
They sell a wonderful New York cheddar that is aged at least 2 years before being hand-cut in the back of the store and offered for sale.  By the way, you can order this cheese through their website or by mail order.  The closest thing to it that I can find in a grocery store here is a Cabots Seriously Sharp cheddar and I highly recommend it.  Closer to home there is the Ashe County Cheese factory and store in West Jefferson, North Carolina.  It was on one of our rambling trips in the Blue Ridge and Appalachians that we found this little town.  Ashe County Cheese was once owned and operated by Kraft starting in 1930 until 1975 when they sold it to a local business man.
You can go and take a close-up look at how cheese is produced  and then head across the street to their store to stock up.  The cheeses made here are pretty good basic cheese and it was on this NC trip we discovered that the combo of cheddar, sweet apples, crackers, beef stick and a good quality beer makes an incredible fall picnic, especially when consumed by the banks of a trout stream while watching the local anglers.

I love to try cheeses from different countries but this can be a little intimidating, especially on a limited pocketbook.  You don't want to spend $6 or $7 for a small block of cheese, only to discover that it stinks, literally and figuratively.  For a really good cheese, try the Boars Head horseradish cheddar at your local Publix deli counter.  Delish! At least they will give you a sample before you plunk down that cash!

There are soft cheeses like Brie.  Is there anything so yummy as a baked Brie in pastry, warm and gooey spread on crackers?  There are hard cheeses like a real Parmesan, wonderful when freshly shaved over spaghetti.  The Kraft brand of Parmesan cheese in a box, ground like fine powder, doesn't hold a candle to an honest-to-goodness REAL Parmesan.  I love Gouda, Monterey Jack, Munster, Harvarti, Mozzarella, and on and on.  The sad thing is cheese is loaded with fat and is not a regular in my diet anymore since I have lost so much weight, but every now and then I treat myself.  In the meantime, there are some really good low fat alternatives.  The Lite Laughing Cow wedges is one and are a creamy non-guilty substitute when I have a small craving.

Now that I have extolled the many culinary virtues of cheese, did you know that there is another side of cheese that you may not know?  Cheese can be a source of entertainment.  And, no, I am not talking about the type of entertainment found by young boys and men known as "cutting the cheese".  I have never found out why this is so funny to them, but apparently it is a male bonding practice and we shall leave that for another day.  If, however, you can offer any insight as to why this may be, please feel free to disclose and educate the more refined female readers of this blog.

Back to cheese entertainment.  Have you ever heard of the annual Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling?  It takes place at Cooper's Hill, a picturesque place in England and is probably 200 years old.  Throngs of people stand at the top of Cooper's Hill, a steep, grassy hill where a big roll of Double Gloucestershire cheese is released, followed by the mob chasing it at breakneck speed.  The first one to catch up to the cheese and seize it is the winner.  There is even a women's category, should any of you be interested in trying it. And don't forget to let the kids in on the action.  Don't worry, the kids' race is rolling the cheese UPHILL.
The cheese can reach up to 70 miles per hour and the hill is so precariously dangerous that there are always injuries in the form of broken ankles, legs, arms. The official website offers the practical advise of making sure that your will is up to date before the day of the race.  Should you take part in this event, be comforted that there are emergency services waiting at the bottom of the hill just in case, as well as several pubs within a few miles of the event.  I am not sure which one would provide me with the most comfort! I guess it depends on the extent of the injuries and whether I had sought comfort and solace at the pubs BEFORE the roll. 

The event has grown to such proportions with an ever-growing number of cheese-chasers that it was "officially" cancelled last year.
Undaunted, those who came to chase the cheese carried on anyway.  You can't keep a good cheese chaser down!  I would love to travel to England one day to see it!  Great scrapbooking pages!

This style of competition has now spread across the globe.  There is a similar event at Whistler Mountain outside of Vancouver, BC, Canada, and one in Japan, too.  Ah, youth and/or stupidity combined with athleticism and/or beer is an inspiring thing!

Here in the United States, a new form of cheese recreation has evolved - cheese racing.  It seems when young people are hiking long distances on the Appalachian trail and they "hook up" at camping sites along the way, they are very ingenious in creating ways to amuse themselves in the evenings when it is just them, the trees, nature and a dying fire, preferably one that is contained in a small, very portable grill.  If they are lucky enough to have American cheese on hand, the Kraft kind, individually wrapped, of course, then the fun is for the taking!  Up to four pieces of cheese can be placed on the grill at a time.  Did you realize that the little envelope of plastic protecting the cheese slices will not melt upon contact with heat? And when exposed to said high heat, there are no toxic fumes or smells? But the magic occurs when the cheese comes to a boil, releasing gas, which in turns causes the plastic sleeve to inflate and swell.

If your cheese slice reaches complete and total inflation first, you WIN!  However, there are rules you must follow!  It has to be the real deal American cheese, no diet or low-fat slices can be used. Kraft American  is the preferred cheese, but Borden's or a generic store brand will do in a pinch. The players MUST throw the cheese slices on the BBQ at the same time and there is no overlapping of cheese allowed.  Players are not allowed to blow at the dying embers or fan them to induce more heat.  There seems to be a great controversy over the direction of the seam of the envelope.  Some players swear that seam side up (an "uppie") is better, but others deem that a "downie" -seam side down - is the best.  It is an argument that will be debated for generations of hikers to come.  If there are more than four racers, winners are determined by "heats". Ok, you caught me....a blatant pun!  I don't know about you, but I'm ready to race!

See how versatile cheese can be?  And I bet you had the misconception that cheese was boring and had never given it much thought!  So the next time you are wandering down the deli aisle in the grocery store, take the time to peruse the cheese case.  Go ahead and take a chance.  Buy some cheeses you may never have tried before.  What you do with it when you get home is your own business!