Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tough Times....Part I...Year V


I had to go to Walmart the other day to pick up a few things I needed and took my cart over to the checkout lanes when I finished. Of course, all of the lines were extremely long so I just settled into line behind a little old lady that closely resembled my late Granny.

"Oh, my goodness!" she exclaimed. "I don't know how these people can get away with charging three dollars for a loaf of bread. I'm just a little old lady on a fixed income and I can't afford these prices. I stayed at home my whole life caring for my husband and my children only to be left nearly penniless by some fat cat insurance company in New York. Health Care reform, I think that's what they are calling it. A thousand dollars a month for health insurance, who would pay that? I was hoping to have an easier time in my Golden Years and now I can barely afford food for me and my handicapped son. I had to leave him out in the car because I upset him when I get to complaining about these prices. I don't mean to, but I'm doing the best I can."

"I'm sorry to hear that," I said. I felt sorry for the lady, I really did. Times are tough all over. I knew exactly how that lady felt about those astronomical premiums, I've been paying them myself.

It was finally her turn to begin placing her items up on the register belt and she began talking to the cashier and pointing to me in a friendly manner. I wasn't really paying attention to what they were talking about. I had just discovered a copy of The Global Wacko News that had Tim Ruse on the cover saying that he was the reincarnation of Lon R Cupboard and was trying to convert the world into his new class of Cosmetology that would be opening new centers worldwide whenever he had another hit movie and earned enough money to do so. (Good luck with that.)

The little old lady kept gesturing and smiling at me. I didn't want to be rude so I gave a little half-smile and nodded in agreement to whatever they were so animated about. You know what I'm talking about. When somebody tells a joke and you laugh along anyway even though you don't get it.

By now, there was enough space on the belt for me to begin placing my purchases alongside the lady's items. My first item was a huge 16-roll pack of toilet paper that was on sale and it separated my things from hers. It also separated me from her as she gave another wave and headed out the door.

"That was awfully nice of you," said the cashier. "Your Great Aunt said you was going to pay for her groceries. That will be $88.32."

"Excuse me..."

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mom's Birthday...Year VI

Today is my Mom's birthday. Of course, I can't tell you how old she is because that wouldn't be daughterly. She is older than me but hasn't reached that age where she goes around telling everybody how old she is.

For example: One might ask, "It sure is beautiful weather we're having."

"I'm 87," might be the response.

I'm really lucky to be her daughter. Mom always has a unique and mostly upbeat attitude about things which is very helpful during stressful times. Her calming manner has defused many a situation at home and at work. She's mostly retired now, and enjoys her dance lessons and Travel Club meetings.

She's a fun person to be around and I'm glad she's my mom.

Here's to you Mom!

Happy Birthday!

Friday, March 21, 2014

I Want A Do-Over

The following story was my entry into the 2014 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. Unfortunately, it wasn't selected as a winner but I bet there aren't many folks around who can say they left their mark in the Grand Canyon for all eternity.

Furthermore, it is just one of many such occasions that I am chronicling into a new book "Places I've Been And Left My Mark." Available soon in a small portable format with biodegradable paper for emergency use.



"Let's do it again," I said breathlessly. "I want a do-over."

"A do-over?" my friend questioned.

"Yes! This is the most fun that I've ever had." And it was. When was the last time that I had experienced pure joy?
Searching my memory, I thought back to the various birthdays, vacations, holidays and other social gatherings that I had been a part of. They were fun but it didn't compare to this.

Breathlessness.

Laughter.

Unrepressed joy.

Childlike happiness.

Are adults supposed to feel this way?

I had been to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon before, what made this trip any different?

"Let's take a flight down into the Canyon and take a ride to the rim that overlooks the river," my friend said. "You can ride in a van or on a four-wheeler."

"Oh," I said. "You know I don't ride four-wheelers. The van ride might be nice. Let's do it."

We signed up and the morning flight to the bottom of the Grand Canyon was breathtaking. We landed at the Bar10 ranch and after a short safety lecture it was time to load the vans. "Folks, if anyone is interested, we do have a new mode of transport," the guide said. "It's a Mule--almost like a souped-up golf cart. You can drive and ride in it for an extra fee. They can ring you up inside and don't forget to use the facilities while you're here. There isn't any place to go out on the trail."

With eyes wide open we ran inside to sign up for the Mule. What followed next was four hours of dirt, sand, dust, and jostling mixed with screams of laughter, muffled bumps and shouts of excitement as we four-wheeled through the Grand Canyon. "This is the most fun I have ever had," I yelled.

"I know; me too," my friend said. "Are you okay?"

Now doubled over at the waist, I began the all too familiar panicky dance that those around me knew all too well. It was the dance of agony as my "trick stomach" began to warm up for it's opening act.

"Not here, not now," my friend said between teary gasps of air as she tried to contain her laughter.

"I can't hold it!"

Away from the group in the middle of the Grand Canyon, I found myself squatting behind a large boulder and small cactus clutching my midsection as I peered at my travel companions looking into the river below.

"Still want a do-over?" I heard from afar.

At that moment, as my mind raced back over the last four hours, all I could manage was "Absolutely, just make sure to bring an extra tissue next time."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

More Crumbly Biscuits


I'm a pretty easy going kinda girl but there are a few things that get on my nerves. One thing that I seem to be having difficulty with lately are biscuits. Not just any biscuits, but crumbly biscuits.

I'm not talking about the kind of biscuits that you make at home. You know, you smack the can against the counter or stick a knife into the can and wait on edge until it pops. Those biscuits aren't crumbly; they have too many artificial ingredients in them to fall apart.

I'm talking about fast food biscuits.

Most of the time, I eat fast food biscuits in the car. And no matter how many different ways I try holding it or arranging the wrapper or adding an extra napkin a large chunk of biscuit falls off, usually into my lap. I then end up doing the brush off or picking up tiny crumbs constantly looking down to find any leftovers and swerving all over the road.

What's really bad is if I am going to work and then I end up with a big grease spot. At least I know it's a grease spot. I've gotten looks before and I knew what they were thinking: That I somehow had gotten one of those wet-looking spots that men get when they hadn't utilized the old shake or tap method. Nasty!

One of the first things I need to do when getting out of the car is check myself for biscuit crumbs. The problem is that by the time I get to where I'm going I have forgotten all about it. I was made well aware of this fact not to long ago when I met mom for a shopping trip. As we were walking back to the car she commented, "You know ya got a big 'ol biscuit crumb sticking to your butt."

"Dang it! I hate crumbly biscuits. They get everywhere."

"I know," she said. "I've switched to wraps. They aren't crumbly, but I have a hard time keeping the egg from falling out. I still end up with a grease spot sometimes; make me look like I didn't do the old wave and shake, ha ha. You'd think they would be able to fix that problem?"

"Maybe no one ever complained about it?" I said.

"Yep, you're probably right. I wonder who we could call?"

Monday, March 10, 2014

An Ode To EBWW '12

The time was here and it was time to go,
Northward, and upward, to Dayton to show
That I'm a writer, I belong,
No apologies, you know?

The phone rang at five with Sharon on the line,
We're here in the bar with EB and the gang.
Are you coming tonight in support of our Wanda?
In case you forgot, she won Honorable Mention.

Tracy, of Lost in Suburbia fame was the featured speaker,
Another faculty member was there too, but I can't pronounce her name
It's Wojciechowski of Wojo's World.
Nice to meet you, she said.
How do you pronounce your name?

It's Gianetta, I said and I'll sit right there,
Oh, no you won't, not in that chair.
Could you move to the left said the feeble old voice,
A gray-haired lady helped make my choice.
A neighbor of Erma's, she turned out to be
She hated going places where she just couldn't see.

At the hotel with business cards in hand,
I was hanging with Rose, EB and the gang
Introducing myself to everyone I saw
Another faculty member, it's Suzette, ya'll

Then there was Donna, Steve, Bonnie and Jeanne
Too many others, as I worked the scene
Over to a table where they quietly sat
Two ladies with journals and paper to pen

I'm Gianetta, I said; it's sure nice to meet you.
You're the middle-aged fat woman, one said and we read you!
Unbelievable, I thought; it's finally happened
Acknowledgment for my craft and they weren't even kin.

Onward to dinner with Donna Louise and friends
Which started a tradition; perhaps a new trend.
For every meal of which I was to partake
My table's food was absent, impossibly late.

The ballroom was jumping, we were feeling alive
When up stepped Zweibel from Saturday Night Live.
Stories of Lorne, Gilda and he
Comic talents unleashed for the world to see

Morning dawned bright as I searched the round tables,
Searching for an agent was the topic I chose
No agents were there, we wondered and supposed.

Off to the lectures of Lefler and Berk
Beautifully talented women with knowledge to share
Approachable, engaging with time to spare.
Answering questions from a rookie like me
Keep on writing, it'll happen, you'll see.

The noon meal was spent with a Pulitzer Prize Winner
You're a writer, she said, we need more women.
More voices to spread the joy of laughter
Oh crap, I thought, I've got to meet her.

Gianetta, she said. Did I pronounce that right?
Tell me about yourself, what is it that you do?
Hello? Are you in there? Cat got your tongue?
The silence was looming; I was completely stunned.

Only once before had I lost my voice
My first time on radio announcing the news
Uh, Pulitzer Prize winner, I'm in awe, can't you see
I'm the Middle Aged Fat Woman, people call me G.
Well, I think you're beautiful, a fellow Buckeye too.
Do you have a card, she asked?
Why yes, why yes, I most certainly do.

Lights! Camera! Video with the Bobblehead Dad
Videos are great to add pizzazz to your brand.
Let the readers know what you're all about
This iPhone right here, I can't live without.

No time to rest, no time to change gears
We left the UD Campus with knowledge to spare.
Back to the Marriott for another late arriving meal
To hear Adrianna speak of growing up well

Well represented in a big Italian family
A Cosby Show Writer fresh from Indiana.
Big Stone Gap and many others to follow
Laughter, applauding making it difficult to swallow.
The entrée of choice wasn't a favorite of mind
Thank goodness for dessert, chocolate, my favorite kind.

There I stood waiting patiently in the drink line
When a Bombeck approached, with a thought on her mind.
We spoke of our mothers, not so different
Both women of Ohio; trendsetters and gifted.

Little sleep in the night; I was too wound up
Back the next day for some Hypnotic Recall.
My visit from Dad and a message for me
Hey, kid you're doing all right, I'm really glad to see.

More chatting and visiting with my new found friends
Geneva,Carolyn, Leigh and lunch with Ilene Beckerman
The story of her grandmother and growing up in New York
In Goldberg's candy store, where they ate no pork.

Another book signed and me late for class
I slipped in the back in the next to last seat.
Soon I was joined by the lunch time speaker
Ilene, my goodness sitting right next to me.

Do you Twitter she asked, awaiting my reply?
Not enough I'm finding out but I really do try.
It's hard for me to get right to the point
I'm Southern now, and I like things drawn out.

We planted a spruce in honor of Erma
A kid walked by and asked what's this, I'm from Burma.
Celebrating a life that made us all laugh
He nodded and bowed, what a life she had.

Dinner that night was with Gina B.
Whilst going steady with the toilet paper roll
Is the funniest thing I've heard
It 'bout made me pee.
Astoundingly funny is all I can say
What a way to end it; to wrap up the day.

So there you have it
My ode to the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop.
Erma would have loved it

…And poked fun at it!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Necrotizing Fasciitis...Brother's Leg...A Six Year Journey

Remember this?

This is what necrotizing fasciitis can do to you. And thankfully, my brother only lost his little toe. This photo was taken in August 2008. Makes you want to advert your eyes, doesn't it?

But, that was then.






Almost six years have passed.

This is what his leg and foot look like now.



It doesn't look pretty, that's for sure.

But at least it's still there.

And almost healed....



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