Thursday, June 25, 2015

High School Reunions



I've had thirty years to plan and be ready for my 30th high school reunion which is this weekend.

Here are a few of the thoughts that have been running through my mind:

Did I plan accordingly? (No)

Did I lose my stop smoking weight gain? (About half)

Have I become a published author yet? (Yes!)

Did I do everything I said I wanted to? (Who can remember that far back?)

Have I changed much? (Depends on how you define change; I'm in year 8 of the change.)

How many wrinkles do I have? (Several)

Have you concocted a Michelle & Romy story about creating PostIts so you don't look like a failure? (Working on it!)

Are you sure you are having a reunion? (I think so. I planned it on Facebook and people didn't shrink away in horror and revulsion.)

Will the old high school still be standing by the time you get there? (No. They tore it down.)

Will the old clicks and groups still be intact? (I hope not. I didn't drive 500 miles to put up with junior high drama--get over it already.)

How many people will show up? (Good question. We had 64 people in my class. Maybe 20)

How many reunions have you been to? (Three. Tenth, twentieth and twenty-fifth. I was drunk and smoked at one and smoked at the other. Now, I don't do either.)

One last question. (Okay)

Are you still excited about going? (I wouldn't miss it for the world.)







Monday, June 22, 2015

Book Signing In Ohio

I'm super thrilled to be participating in the Summer Reading Program at the Adams County Public Library in Peebles, Ohio this Saturday.

On Saturday, June 27 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm, the Peebles Magazine Club will host a Local Author Book Fest at the Peebles Library. Stop by to meet fourteen published authors with Adams County and Ohio ties, visit with them, and learn more about their stories. Signed copies of their books will be available for purchase. The authors’ works include humor, non-fiction, cookbooks, children’s stories, Amish inspirational fiction, wartime fiction, supernatural, suspense, self-help, and more.


Here's the flyer:



And here is where it is located:

Peebles Library
157 High Street
Peebles, Ohio 45660


Come on out and show your support.

Let's talk about humor!

And books!

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Men And Their Chainsaws...Part IV

...and he took the chainsaw with him.

Dad never really used the saw that much in his first couple of years in Georgia; there really hadn't been a need for it. That is, until the late winter blizzard hit in 1988. It was like a northern snowstorm, almost 21 inches of snow fell in North Georgia. And to make matters worse, it started to thaw quickly and then froze again, and then everything was covered in a sheet of ice.

That's when limbs started cracking, and branches started snapping, and before you knew it, any tree that was within 15 feet of a power line toppled to the ground. No lights. No furnace. No stove. No nothing.

It didn't take long once things had settled down before the locals started to work on all of those fallen trees. Dad had gotten the old yellow chainsaw out of the storage building and it cranked on the first try. Dad was able to cut his way down the driveway and cut the limbs away from the power lines so the electric company could begin to restore the power to the area. The saw was now over 14 years old and it worked like a top.

After that, I'm not really sure what happened to the saw, it just faded from memory. Until a few weeks ago. Mom had been having a yard sale and was cleaning out the shed when she came across a familiar object. It was the old saw and it seemed in pretty good condition, so she put it in the yard sale to sell.

It was late on Saturday evening and we had begun to put the things away that hadn't sold. An older gentleman in a beat up Chevy pickup pulled up in the driveway and asked if he could look around. We said sure and stopped what we were doing and watched the old guy browse what we still had left out. I didn't think he was interested in anything until he noticed the yellow chainsaw. My goodness...his eyes lit up, he picked up the saw, turned it this way and turned it that way. "Whatcha' want for this old saw?" he asked. "I had one just like it for over 35 years and it just cut out on me recently. It was the best dang saw I ever had."

I looked over at Mom not exactly sure what she was going to say. "My husband loved that saw, we got that for him on Father's Day back in '74. I'll tell you what, since it's so close to Father's Day, I'll let you have it for free on one condition."

"What's that?" he asked.

"Use it," Mom said.

"Yes, Ma'am," he said. And with that he pulled his hat down low over his eyes, lit himself a cigarette, and gave that cord a yank...


Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Men And Their Chainsaws...Part III

And so it began.

The neighbor nodded at Dad and hopped up onto one end of the big Oak. He pulled once, twice, three times, and finally, the damn thing belched to life. The neighbor lined his saw up at the widest part of the fallen tree and began to slowly eat his way through the massive trunk. He kept looking at Dad, waiting on him to get started. As he reached the deepest part of the log his arms began to strain from the exertion of pushing the saw through. Sweat started to stain his overalls and beads of perspiration began to drip off the brim of his cap. The chainsaw began to whine, to sputter, to spit, until at last, it just stopped.

Dad chuckled to himself, hopped up to where the neighbor had been sawing, pulled the string, and that new chainsaw roared to life. Dad pulled the brim of his hat low, chucked his cigarette towards the swollen creek, set himself and started to saw.

Dad finished the cut that the neighbor had started and began to work his way up the log. From time to time you could see him glance at the neighbor who was struggling mightily to restart his saw which didn't seem to be cooperating. Finally, in exasperation, he threw up his hands in defeat and asked my father if he wanted to take a break.

"Nah, that's all right," he said, "I'm just getting warmed up."

As I look back on this memory with amusement, it was amazing just how prophetic Dad's statement was. Once he started to use that chainsaw, he never stopped. He cut everything. He trimmed all the limbs on the trees that surrounded the house. All of the wood from the Oak tree was sawed in perfectly measured lengths so they would fit precisely in the wood stove.

Within a year's time, he had run out of things to saw, and the chainsaw was laid to rest. It was no longer needed, almost forgotten; in fact, Dad never used the saw again, until he moved to Georgia...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Men And Their Chainsaws...Part II

...trees across the road, trees down in the yard. It was like a tornado had come through. It wasn't that long after the storm had passed when you could hear the roar and the whine of the chainsaws as neighbors up and down the road got to work clearing a path.

Dad wasn't one to be outdone by the Dotson's so he grabbed up Brother, the chainsaw, and a couple of axes and headed towards the road. Never one to be left behind, I decided to tag along.

The destruction that this storm had caused was amazing. Big, bold, and majestic trees had fallen victim to Mother Nature. I'm not talking about the Scrub Pines that are so prevalent where I live now; I'm talking about Maples, Poplars, Elms, and sadly, the big Oak tree in front of the barn. Strong, sturdy trees that were toppled like matchsticks.

I started to follow Dad onto the road when I was quickly told to get my butt back up in the yard. This was no place for a kid and I was just going to be in the way. The road had begun to fill with the volunteers from the local fire department checking to make sure everyone was okay. Some power lines had fallen across one part of the road and traffic was being diverted around it.

The major concern was the big Oak tree; there was no way to go around it. You would end up in the ditch if you went one way or in the creek (which was flooded) if you went the other way.

Gentlemen, start your chainsaws!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Men And Their Chainsaws...Part I

Growing up on the farm on Cherry Fork Road was a lot of fun. I've mentioned before that we raised tobacco, had a HUGE garden, dabbled in the hog business and had a few cows and chickens. We had a tractor, a wagon, and a manure spreader as well as various lawn mowers, rototillers and chainsaws.

Give a man a chainsaw and it's like giving candy to a fat kid. They don't know when to stop.

My dad loved his chainsaw. I don't remember what the name brand was but it was yellow and matched his pickup truck. Throw in a Kool cigarette dangling out of his mouth and a John Deere hat perched on his hat and he was ready to do some sawin'.

One of the stories he used to tell was how he cut fence posts with his brother for about 30 cents a day. They didn't have a chainsaw back then, they used an eight foot blade saw with a brother on each end.

When it came time to do smaller logs, they would switch from saw to axe. My dad could swing a mean axe, his brother, not so much. In fact, the story goes that my uncle was swinging the axe and the blade flew off and cut my dad's little finger off. I'm not sure which pinkie it was because he had both of them cut off at different times. But that's a different story.

Anyhow, I remember the year my father got his new chainsaw. It was Father's Day, 1974, and let me tell you, that saw was needed. A late spring thunderstorm had blown through and there were trees everywhere...

Friday, June 12, 2015

Flax Seed Bread Recipe

I mentioned that I was on a low carb diet and that I have discovered flax seed as a great alternative for flour. The following is the recipe for flax seed bread that I got off the Internet. It's best for taste purposes if you let the bread cool completely and even rest overnight before ingesting. (It's really good used for french toast.)



Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

• 2 cups flax seed meal
• 1 Tablespoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1-2 Tablespoons sugar equivalent from artificial sweetener
• 5 beaten eggs
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/3 cup oil

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare pan (a 10X15 pan with sides works best) with oiled parchment paper or a silicone mat.

1) Mix dry ingredients well -- a whisk works well.

2) Add wet to dry, and combine well. Make sure there aren't obvious strings of egg white hanging out in the batter.

3) Let batter set for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken up some (leave it too long and it gets past the point where it's easy to spread.)

4) Pour batter onto pan. Because it's going to tend to mound in the middle, you'll get a more even thickness if you spread it away from the center somewhat, in roughly a rectangle an inch or two from the sides of the pan (you can go all the way to the edge, but it will be thinner).

5) Bake for about 20 minutes, until it springs back when you touch the top and/or is visibly browning even more than flax already is.

6) Cool and cut into whatever size slices you want. You don't need a sharp knife; I usually just cut it with a spatula.

Give it a try and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Where Do You Keep Your Money

In my family we like to have more than one bank account. I'm not sure why but I think it started with my Mamaw, who was my father's mother. Her name was Mary Lou Leonard Palmer Pitzer and she had money in every bank within a three county radius.

I never knew this until later, after she had passed away. I may have accompanied her to the bank once or twice when I was little but I can't say for sure. What I can say for sure is that I knew where Mamaw kept her spending money: in her bra. I wonder why she did that? She always carried a large pocketbook, full of all kinds of junk, but she kept her money close to her heart.

I've thought about doing that sometimes too, but I really don't have any extra room in there other than what is supposed to be in there(If you know what I mean.). Over the last couple of years, more than one bank that I am affiliated with has gone belly up. The next thing you know the old signs have either been removed or covered up by a new bank's banner from somewhere that I've never heard of. Then you get new cards, checks and all sorts of other junk from the new bank and you're supposed to chuck the rest.

Sometimes, I don't do that.

A few days ago, I had to visit different locations to handle several different transactions. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem. But someone forgot to tell me that. As I waited in the drive thru line mentally checking off items on my to do list, I realized that the lady at the bank was trying to get my attention.

"Ma'am?"

"Ma'am? Excuse me?"

"Ma'am? Hello? Earth to lady in the red Mustang..."

"Yes?" I replied.

"What account do you want this to go into? And while I've got your attention, are you sure you're at the right bank?"

"What do you mean, what account? Of course, I'm at the right bank." This lady had my attention now.

"Well, ma'am, you've given me a bank deposit slip from a bank that was shut down five years ago and you didn't write down the account number."

"Oh?"

"Oh, goodness! Can't you just look it up by my name?" I asked.

"Sure. I just need some identification."

"Okay." I began looking frantically for my license but it was soon apparent that I had forgotten it somewhere. I must have left it at the previous bank. I told the lady that I would be right back and drove back to the other bank.

The nice lady there saw me approach, waved my license in the air and offered these sage words of advice: "You know, you ought to keep that thing in your bra. My Granny taught me to do that after I left mine once. Yes sir, I keep it tucked right here, up close and personal. You have a good day now!"

Makes perfect sense to me!

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Feeling Is Mutual


I was driving home from the store the other day and was on a narrow road that cuts from the highway into town. I’ve been on this road probably thousands of times over the last fifteen years and have never found myself stuck behind a tractor. I came around a corner and crested the top of a hill and there she was; it was a thing of beauty.

For those of you that have lived in the city your whole life it’s probably hard for you to appreciate the finer aspects of a tractor; but us country-raised folk can tell the difference between a John Deere and an International Harvester from about 1000 yards.

I live in a rural area but only about a mile from the center of town. There are a few farms around but not any planted fields such as corn, soybeans, or wheat. The farms are mostly chicken and beef cattle farms.

Anyhow, the tractor that was ahead of me was a John Deere with an extremely good-looking man at the wheel. He had a John Deere hat perched upon ahead with curly blond hair. He was cute. I edged a little bit closer when all of a sudden he turned around and flashed me a grin. He looked up ahead trying to see if any vehicles were coming the other way. (It’s a curvy and hilly road—it’s hard to see in the opposite direction.)

We were just cruising along at about 20 mph. I wasn’t in a hurry; I knew I would be home in about 5 minutes. The guy kept turning around looking at me; I bet he was used to cars trying to run him off the road. I wasn’t. I was lost in thought about memories from my youth of being stuck behind tractors. Where I’m from we had combines and big tractors that pulled all sorts of equipment. If you got stuck behind one of those International Harvesters, you weren’t going anywhere until it let you. There were no passing lanes.

We approached a flat area in the road and he did the proper thing. He swung his arm around and began to motion for me to go ahead and pass him. Honestly, I really didn’t want too—I was admiring both him and the tractor. As I drove past he gave me another grin, tipped his cap and mouthed the words, “Nice car.” (Mustang)

I pulled into my driveway and stepped over to the mailbox to get the mail. I looked up when I heard the familiar sound of that John Deere Tractor as it headed my way. He looked at me and gave me a thumps up and said “Nice car” again.

I smiled back and gave my thanks. “Nice tractor,” I said. (I wonder if he would let me drive it.)

Too late! He was already out of sight...

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Blogaversary...Year 7


It's hard to believe that's it been seven years since I started Reflections on a Middle-Aged Fat Woman. Over the past seven years Reflections has grown from a one paragraph post about my visit to the doctor into stories of my farm life as a girl, my continuing search for the perfect job, tales of hospital visits, unfortunate mishaps at the drive through and the silly things that can happen in everyday life.

One of my readers once told me that the main reason they like coming to visit the site is they never quite know what to expect and usually, get a laugh in return. Personally, I still think that is the highest compliment that can be paid to a writer, and for that, I'm grateful.

Of all of the stories that I've written  my favorites are those that involve my family, especially my mom.  I've been very lucky to be able to experience trips to the mall, trips around the southeast, a cross-country bus ride trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon and a Christmastime Riverboat Cruise down the Danube with Mom and we always have a great time.

And in September we're heading up the East Coast on another bus ride to experience New England in the fall. I'm super excited about this trip and hope to have lunch with some of my friends along the way.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my stories and I hope to see you again real soon. As you've probably figured out by now, you never know what I'm gonna be talking about!


Gianetta

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