As a frequent visitor to many yard sales in my area I jumped at the chance to go to the World's Longest Yard Sale that stretches through five states over a four day period every August. The yard sale winds for 654 miles from West Unity, Ohio to Gadsden, Alabama. And trust me when I say that a lot of people participate in this yearly adventure. If you are looking for a particular item to complete a collection or looking for an unusual gift for someone, then you have found the perfect place. There is only one problem: Where do you start?
Since I live relatively close to Alabama, my mom decided that we should head over that way. We started out early (about 9:00) and were on our way. As we left town, it seemed that every other house was having a yard sale. (Hhhmmmm) Houston, I think we have a problem?
Mom looked over at me and asked, "Do you want to stop at any of those?"
"No! I want to go to Alabama, let's keep going."
We kept going, and in the first twenty miles we probably passed over 20 yard sales. (I noticed Mom glancing over at me and frowning as we passed by each one.) We were over 100 miles from the official longest yard sale. I guess everyone wanted to get on the bandwagon.
After driving for an hour and a half we reached a town that was "officially" a part of the 654 mile shopper's paradise, Summerville, Georgia. Mom looked over at me and asked the same question once again. "Don't you want to stop at any of these sales?"
Quite unexpectedly, I made a sharp right hand turn into a church parking lot that was crammed full of would be shoppers. I almost threw mom into the backseat and was rewarded with a look that used to send shivers of fear down my spine when I was a child: The over-the-glasses look. When you saw that look, you knew you were in trouble.
I was out of the car in a flash and was making my way to a local park that was packed with sellers of all kinds. Mom, who was a little out of breath when she caught me wanted to know why I was in such a hurry.
"Trolls," I said.
"Oh dear," she replied. "We're never getting out of here."
To the uneducated and uninformed, troll collecting is a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide. People have been known to spend their life savings on just the perfect troll. Trolls come in many shapes and sizes, colors and styles, and each collector has his or her own particular reason for collecting them. I have a reason but I keep it to myself.
I walked right over to the troll vendor and began to peruse her wares. I looked up one table and down the next. (Nothing) I moved down to the next table and there it sat. Troll perfection!! It was a 1935 green-haired, orange-eyed beauty manufactured by the Alexander Family of southern Ohio. It stood slightly over 12 inches tall and was made of corn husks. It was a gold medal find in an unlikely place. It was the troll that I needed, longed for, and just had to have to complete my collection. Twenty years of collecting was boiling down to the next few minutes.
The owner of the troll table sidled over to me and looked to be as old as the troll that I now held in my hand. "I see you're interested in old Tallulah?" she asked.
"Not really," I said. (I was ready to negotiate but didn't want to give myself away.)
"Who you think you're kidding?" she said. "I've been waiting on someone like you for about 10 years since I decided that I was getting too dang old to collect these trolls anymore. I don't have family to pass 'em on to, and I sure as hell don't want the government to get 'em. I know how much the blasted thing is worth, so don't try to wear me down. How much you give me for it?"
"I'll tell you what, I like the looks of you, you seem like nice folks, being here with your mom and all, I'll sell Tallulah to y'all for one dollar. That's my final and only offer."
As I looked over at mom and asked to borrow a dollar (I had brought only hundreds to purchase the troll.) I tried to keep my composure. By this time the old lady was wrapping up my purchase and cackling to herself. I murmured a thanks and was about to walk away when suddenly I turned around and gave that woman the biggest hug I had ever given anybody. As she pulled away from the embrace she gave me one last look and said, "You take care of Tallulah for me." (Yes, ma'am!)
That's the story of my participation in this year's longest yard sale. We walked around the park and sampled a few food vendors and then were ready to go. I didn't make it to Alabama. In fact, I only made it to one town. And that was fine for me. There's always next year!! (I have a collection of kazoos that I'm working on.)
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Posted by Gianetta at 10:36 AM
Thursday, April 21, 2016
I've learned a lot of things over the years. I went to kindergarten, elementary, junior high, high school, junior college, and finally, a four-year university. I have had lots of book learning.
I have held many jobs over the years and learned many different skills and abilities that were helpful in that particular situation. I can serve you a glass of wine and sell you a stamp without breaking a sweat.
But there are things that I have learned in my life that I don't remember being taught. One matter that got my attention was seeing state troopers parked together along the highway waiting on the next unlucky speeder heading in that direction. I'm all for law enforcement slowing the public down. Americans drive too fast and it uses quite a bit more fuel when you exceed the posted limits.
When I passed the troopers, my first thought was to tap the brake and slow down. (After all, I drive a red Mustang) I glanced at my speedometer and I was going 72 in a 65 mph zone. True, I was speeding, but, not by much. (They didn't pursue me.)
I watched the officers fade in my rear view mirror and I continued on my journey. But as cars began to approach from the opposite direction, I started flashing my headlights. I was signaling oncoming traffic, letting them know that there were cops up ahead. Where did I learn this? I don't think it was a question on the driver's licensing test. I didn't take a class for it. I never learned that at any job that I have had.
People will say that you learned that from watching your parents drive when you were young, and they learned from their parents, and so forth. Okay, I can agree with that, but automobiles only go back for a hundred years or so, which would be my great grandparents. I learned that trick somewhere along the way, but who taught them?
Monday, April 18, 2016
A good question.
I've thought about how to answer this question: with a joke or a long-winded tale involving a trip with my mother or one of our conversations, but the clock is ticking so I'll get right to the point.
I'm taking a break.
I've been blogging here regularly since early 2008 and in blog years, that's like a 100 years. Honestly, I don't feel that way but the amount of time spent thinking about and keeping the blog up has taken me away from what I really want to do at the moment which is finish my novels.
I also have realized over the last few weeks that I spend entirely too much time on Social Media. I recently went a 24-hour period without checking any of my accounts and at the 12-hour mark I thought I was going to have a fit or the world would stop spinning if I didn't "like" something or see if someone "liked" something I did.
But, I had a snack instead and soon the day was up.
A small win, yes, but more importantly a lesson to myself that life isn't lived through computer screens admiring someone else's vacation photos (I have plenty of those myself) or scrolling mindlessly through advertisements and political posts that usually make me gag.
I can eat an onion if I want to gag.
I'm working (writing) my way through a three-book fantasy adventure series that needs more (all) of my attention. I owe it that! I really think it has potential.
There are plenty of older posts to keep you occupied while I'm gone, but hey, why not pick up one of my books until we meet again.
You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I do write back!
Wish me luck as I finish my three novels and save me a place at the dinner table--especially if you're having mashed potatoes. (Mom says hi)
Until next time,
Posted by Gianetta at 10:48 AM
Sunday, April 10, 2016
*****Author's note: This is my version of EBWW '16 and it's a really long post. I've tried to include as many as I could in this and my previous post. I hope you'll read through clear to the end. I saved the last word for Erma and she says it best. Enjoy!
For two years I waited to be with my tribe once again,
My registration, plagued with troubles, was outsourced to Sister's best friend.
Not again, she said, what's the problem this time?
The power is out, so get off the line
I tell ya, I feel it, a sell out it'll be
Six hours later, the whole world could see
That the word was out about our Erma club
No tickets remained, not even on Stubhub
Soon it was the new year and new people dropped in,
Worrying and wandering, starting a new trend.
What to wear, what to bring, should I have my nails done?
Stop fretting, we said, we're here to have fun
No one cares what you look like,
Or if you're gonna walk, or take a bike
The new venue is close, the shuttle runs all day,
Please stop stressing, it's gonna be okay
Soon it was March with Dayton on our mind
Chilly and windy, north of the sweet tea line
A few days with family, the nieces and friends
Finally, it's Wednesday, March 30, time to check in
This time was different, the third time's a charm
I'm staying at the Marriott and not the family farm
Too much I've missed, in the room, halls and bar
I might have a drink since I won't drive my car
I rolled right up to the hotel's front door
My eyes popped wide and my heart hit the floor
Sitting out front was our own Gina B
Bout time you got here, wanna have lunch with me?
My stuff's right here, so go check in
Don't look so surprised, the fun's about to begin
Meet you back here, I'm starving, let's meet
I know of a place, it's off campus, just up the street
A wonderful lunch, the time flew by,
We'd better get going, I think you know why
It's off to the library where I'm the emcee
I must go prepare, they'll be looking at me
The contest winners and Betsy Bombeck, too
My family is coming, they want to meet you
Thanks, doll, my pleasure, the week's just begun
Don't know about you, but I'm here to have fun
Six trips later, my car now unpacked
I wondered aloud, did I need this much stuff?
My cooler was filled, the Diet Coke on ice
Why yes, I agreed, 3 bucks for a coke, not at that price
At the library to celebrate the contest winners
Wonderful essays read aloud by those that entered
Entered the contest, their words shared with us
Waffle irons, plumbers, shape shifters and tattoos
A drive by wave, to Betsy I gave
Sister and friend watching, I tried not misbehave
Four years ago I waited in line
Only to be told we're out of her books at this time
Not this time, so I snapped up two
Elizabeth, my friend, I have one for you
From our friend Gina, a shared name Rose
Her stories live on, inside of my prose
It's back to the hotel to wrap this night up
A phone call I placed, looking for friends
We're drinking, I'm told, you wanna come up?
Certainly, I did, I didn't want it to end
The time had flown and we're only one day in
Where could I go to find more of my friends?
A trip in the elevator down to my floor
Come to the bar, don't go through your door
More people to greet, new ones to see
I'm looking for Cathryn and Judy C
Right there they sat eating at the bar
I've admired you both, mostly from afar
Conversations on life and living in the south
I couldn't stop talking once I opened my mouth
California's a place, I've yet to see
You'll love it you said, take it from me
Back to my room trying to wind down
I hoped to sleep in cause no cats were around
An ear piercing alarm at three am
A tornado watch issued, good grief, I'm wide awake again
Checking my phone I was glad to see
The alert for Atlanta and not for me
I closed my eyes and settled back down
Sleep was illusive nowhere to be found
The light back on, it was 4:15
To work on my pitch, since I couldn't find my dreams
The words were coming, I couldn't shut them down
I posted on FB, anyone around?
It's 7 am and I'm down to the lobby
Fresh coffee, new friends and Mary Lovstad
She was the first to join, but wasn't the last
An hour later, it's packed, we're having a blast
Off to breakfast we kept pulling up chairs
Too many to count, we were everywhere
I said my goodbyes, the pitch on my mind,
Back to my room to see if I could find
The three or four words that still wouldn't come
The walls closed in I needed some fun
Down to the lobby with laptop in tow
Looking for words, trying to catch my flow
Not much later, A Canadian named Kelly
Sat down beside me and listened again
I read it to her, but there's a problem with tense
It's a problem of mine, it makes me feel dense
A short time later more friends passed by
When down to the lobby someone caught my eye
It was Cathryn and Judy, looking for coffee
What'cha working on they said? Isn't it too early?
I threw out my pitch to the Hollywood crew
The beginning needs work, who're you pitching this too?
Kelly and I, we stared at each other
Incredible, she said, a gift like no other
Soon it was time to head in for lunch
Our crew kept growing, another large bunch
Back to the lobby, I greeted all that came in
Cabin girl, Elaine, Rose, and Jo, all my friends
Many, many others introduced to me
We know you they said, are you on the faculty?
No, I am not, but it's what I do
I'm here to greet old friends and everyone new
We all checked in and received our nametags
Dinner approaching we carried our Erma swag
Wanda, Suzanne, Kate, Leslie, Kate and Pam Sievers
Barbara, Gail, Astra, Judith and my first wine spritzer
Patricia Wynn Brown our fabulous emcee
Started off the conference as we waited patiently
For the wine to be served and the chicken passed about
I kept waiting on dessert, the lemon cake I hoped, waiting to be handed out
The evening speaker was Roy Blount
I had difficulty hearing, of what he's all about
More fun and laughter and more people to meet
I excused myself I really was beat
Still it was midnight but the sleep wouldn't come
An early morning loomed, I was up with the sun.
I ordered room service cause I needed protein
Muffins and pastries aren't my friend.
Out the door I went, I boarded the 7:30 bus
Speed dating for writers, was first up for me
Tracy and her whistle keeping up with the time
And agent I met with I'd screwed up big time
I wasn't prepared, I didn't know what to expect
No time to fret it was onto the next
Cindy Ratslaff, who asked good questions
Listened to my pitch, please come to my session
Onto the next I met Katrina Little
I'm coming to your class
I need help with description
I'll see you then, Saturday at nine
Your pitch is good it really sounds fine
Alan Zweibel of Saturday Night Live fame
His class was packed everyone knew his name
Sitting in the back with Christy, Lori, Ginger and Jim
We laughed our asses off, we had no shame
Out came the cameras, selfies galore
I can't get up, as my butt hit the floor
We giggled and giggled and then laughed some more
I'm okay, but no more squatting for G.
An old softball injury, I've got two bad knees
A short break to grab a refreshing quick snack
Jim and I off to the next class and we sat in the back
Judy Carter and the Message of You
Writing exercises and a brave few
To come up to the front to tell of their mess
Amazement around when they all were finished
Shari Cooper sitting tall in her chair
I have cerebral palsy, so why do you stare
I'm a snappy dresser and have great hair
So keep on looking, I don't really care
Just cause my body looks different from yours
Doesn't mean my mind isn't better than yours
So keep on staring and looking at me
I'll be laughing, it'll be good to see
When I have your job,
You'll all be saying, the laughs on us, that darn Shari?
Time for lunch with Amy Ephron
Stories of her family but I couldn't really see
My back to the stage
I looked out at the trees
It's Friday afternoon, already half over
Off to another session
Jenny Lawson, she of The Bloggess website
Brutal honesty of problems she's faced
Anixety disorders written all over her face
It's her first conference but you did a great job
We all laughed and listened and you didn't get mobbed
Another short break and the last session of the day
It was Erma 101 with our friend Gina Barreca
If you lean in will men just look down your blouse
Had the crowd roaring, it was a packed house
Erma was insurgent, a housewife to be heard
Hundreds of papers we hung on every word
Three times a week she pumped out the columns
Her collective word count extremely large in volume
Friday was over and back to the hotel
I waited on Gina as she spoke to everyone
Jane C Rosen walked us out to her car
Hop in, she said, it isn't that far
A convertible I said, let's put the top down
It's a nice day, Gina agreed, let's take the long way around
We giggled like schoolgirls as we drove back
Signing books in the parking lot, now that is so WHACK!
Friday night dinner, a reading of Wit's End
David, Christy, Jen and her friend
Keith, Gina, Barbara and Gail
We laughed and cheered all without fail
For what we were watching now that I think back
Was our Erma's columns, it was her life
Her three children seated in the front row
Childhood recalled, the memories flowed
Another late night with dessert, wine and friends
I speak for many others, we didn't want it to end
Everywhere I went and happened to be
Hey look they yelled, it's our new friend G.
Saturday morning, our last day of fun
My body said sleep, these hours you keep
It's not something you normally do
You missed the first session, shame on you
Off to the venue, I found Erma's Selectric
A photo op for sure, before it got hectic
Minding my business recalling all the fun
Holy crap, I asked, are you Amy Dickinson?
A few moments later Gina breezed in
They greeted each other just like old friends
Newspaper columnists read all around the land
Sometimes being late makes you onhand
For once in a lifetime meetings like these
Our nighttime speaker, Leighann Lord breezed right in
Another great photo, how lucky I am
Nice shirt one said, it was my green Jimi shirt
Talk to me later, I wanted to blurt
No time for that, on to the next session, then lunch with Kathy and Cindy
Come sit with me, I'm Wendy Liebman
I know who you are as my knees started to shake
Her dessert I spied and wanted to take
For the salad and cold soup aren't favorites of mine
A Cadbury egg in my bag I was glad to find
Another session before my big chance
To share with others what I've been trying to do
Stop rocking you said, you've got this, it's you
My name finally called the nerves went away
Thank you so much for deciding to stay
The feedback was good and you taped it too
For me to have later, I really owe you
Our Saturday night special, one very funny lady
She reflected on her parents, both pushing 80
The house stood up, a standing ovation
A great way to close, we gave applause with no reservation
Next on the list was the comedy workshop
Fifteen brave souls busting our chops
Many first-timers, who did a great job
Three minutes of time, we felt we'd been robbed
I could have stayed and laughed all night
We'd got to go, some said, I've an early flight
We closed down the bar and they kicked us out
We had our own session, lounging about
In the hotel front lobby
While the bowlers came and went
Dropping rhymes with Abbe and Lela Davidson
Angela, Jim, Ginger and Jill
We rocked the mic, we were writing on the fly
And in walked another, a very drunk guy
Come join us we said, we're here just tonight
I can, he said I've got a late flight
A big thanks too the hotel staff
For putting up with us, as we made them laugh
Rapping and rhyming and expressing ourselves
We were using our skills, no longer on the shelf
Being creative, it's really up to you
Lots to think on as we endured Erma flu
The four days gone by, ever so quickly
I hoped it'd missed me and I wouldn't be sickly
For my birthday was close, we missed it by one day
But my Erma friends had a lot to say
Happy Birthday, my friend, we're gonna miss you
Thank you very much, I'll miss you too.
Now, I've returned home to a yard that needs mowing
Basking in the beauty of Erma, it's ever glowing
So Teri, our captain, another job well done
I'm happy to say, I was a lucky one
This workshop, life-changing I'll say it again
It's a blessing for writers, it is our best friend
I'm happy to speak and spread the word
Of Erma Bombeck, I'll give her the last word
It takes a lot to show someone your dream
But always remember we're on the same team
Never get discouraged and continue the fight
Three words you need, YOU CAN WRITE!
Posted by Gianetta at 5:21 PM
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Well, I'm back from another trip north of the sweet tea line--that's the Ohio/Kentucky border for those of you that are new to the middle-aged fat woman gang and a lot happened. And when I mean a lot. I mean A Lot!
But that's the next post or perhaps the next one after that.
I went to Dayton, Ohio for the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop and somehow they let me in for the third time. (I must be paying all the right people.)
I hung out with Gina, Judy, Betsy (she's a Bombeck), Cathryn, Cabin Girl, Lori, Gail, Kate, Linda, Mindy, Linda, Sarah, Teri, Patricia, Nancy, Vikki, Sherry, DC, Chrissy, Allia, Kim, Jane, Stephanie, Elly, Lou, Anna, Tami, Mary, Kathryn, Maggie, Joanne, Kristi, Susanne, Leighann, Kim & her daughter, Lois, Lisa, Beth, Denise, Jen, Ann, Diane, Shawna, Rachel, Judith, Suzette, Lela, Abbie, Jill, Jim, Elaine, Marcia, Ann, Janine, Rae Jean, Norm, Ginger, Yvonne, Angela, Leslie, Kelly, David, Jo, Anne, Tracy, Amy, Wanda, Rose, Dawn, Pam, Maureen, Sharon, Barb, Astra and Kranky Kitty. (And that was just the first half hour.) Many more to talk about and that's what I'll do later.
I'm lucky to get out of my house on occasion and when I do I like to go out to eat. Who doesn't, right? One of the medicines I take to help manage my diabetes is called Invokana and one of the side effects is having to go to the bathroom frequently. (Bascially, you have to tinkle a lot.)
What this means for me is I see the restroom facilities everywhere I go and you can really tell a lot about any establishment by their cleanliness or lack thereof. One thing they all have in common is this:
If I could be in charge of anything, I would like to be in charge of the placement of this sign in all facilities. I would, however, make one noticeable exception to the wording on the sign. I would change "employee" to "everyone".
Wouldn't that sign make you feel more comfortable knowing that everyone must wash their hands before leaving the restroom and not just employees? Would it bother you if you were reminded to do that in a bathroom? It wouldn't bother me in the least little bit because people might sometimes forget. I'm mentioning this because a very bad case of convention flu is making the rounds through some of the workshop attendees. (I haven't gotten it.)
I don't think any of us are the source of the bug because I passed several groups of folks that were staying at the same hotel for a bowling convention. One appeared to be under the weather and remarked to no one in particular. "I feel like crap. A guy was sneezing and hacking all over the balls in the practice lane, probably gave this shit to me."
Another replied, "That ain't it. I used the same balls as he did and I ain't sick. You're just wasted. Plus, you smoke too much."
Then she sneezed.
To which the first replied, "I may be wasted, but at least I'm not getting sick. I went and washed my hands and my balls after he sneezed for the hundredth time."
"Oh, go pass out somewhere."
We'll never know the source of the crud. It might have been the bowler sneezing on his balls or one of many other persons.
The best advice no matter where you are: wash your hands.
And your balls!
It may very well save you from a bout of the convention crud...
Posted by Gianetta at 1:33 PM
Monday, April 4, 2016
Saturday, April 2, 2016
One of the first friends that I made when I started blogging was Joe, otherwise known as Crotchety Old Man Yells At Cars. Back in the day, circa 2008, blogging was a relatively new thing, and humor blogs were extremely hard to find. After an Internet search one day, I stumbled across a website called Humorblogs.com and if you wrote humor this was the site you wanted to be a part of.
It took me a few weeks of reading the various other blogs before I left a comment on Crotchety's "Caption This" contest. It was usually an odd picture of some kind and whomever left the best caption won a few Entrecard credits (that used to be the big thing) and the coveted zucchini award (which was very stylish). It was all in good fun.
Crotchety Old Man had another blog, too, and that was Diabetes Destroys. I think that was one of the reasons that we connected so well and that was our shared opinion on Diabetes. It does destroy and it had wrecked havoc on Joe for many years. At one point he spent almost an entire year in the hospital and still tried to keep up his blog. When he felt well, his posts were frequent and you always knew when he wasn't feeling up to par because it could be weeks or months before he would post again. But he always came back.
Joe stopped blogging a few years ago but we stayed in touch. We spoke on the phone a few times a year and I always called him on his birthday which is April Fool's Day. I thought he was joking with me when he told me that the first time but he wasn't.
I had lost his phone number and did a search online hoping to come across it but I found something that I wasn't prepared for: his obituary. He had passed away in October 2014.
I hadn't known and it was very upsetting to me.
A phone number was listed but I didn't know what to do so I called it anyway. I thought it might be disconnected. A female voice answered and I asked for Joe. She asked who was calling and I told her and she told me the terrible news.
Nicole, if you ever read this, I just want you to know that your father was a very funny guy and loved by many in the blogging world. I know he went through a lot but he was always positive and I'm glad I got to be friends and share a few laughs with him along the way.
He will not be forgotten.
Lastly, and this is for you, Joe: I really believe the Yankees are going to win it all this year. Go Yanks!
Friday, April 1, 2016
|"I don't know who that woman is, I've never seen her before today and I'm certainly not paying for her groceries," I replied.
"Well, Ma'am, she said she knew you. You were being very friendly towards her. Are you running some sort of scam? If you are, you could be charged with shoplifting or as an accessory."
"I don't know that woman, and I am not running some sort of scam. Why do you let people walk away without paying for their stuff? You better call security. Where did she go? She's gonna get away with it if we don't go find her. Come on, let's see if she is still in the parking lot."
At that moment, the cashier, the security guard, the manager and myself went running outside to see if the lady was still in the parking lot. As we looked over the parking lot the Walmart employees began to look at me suspiciously. They thought I was a part of this lady's scam. All I had been doing was being nice--lending a sympathetic ear. I had been taught to be polite to my elders, and now, I might end up in jail.
I really didn't want to go to jail. I know they provide three hots and a cot but I got this thing about confined places. They make me a little edgy. I was surveying the parking lot and there putting the last of her bags into the trunk of her 2013 Cadillac SRX was that nice old lady that was trying to stick me with her grocery bill. The nerve of that woman--telling me such a sob story about her finances, her handicapped son and paying a thousand dollar a month for insurance premiums.
I pointed to her car and all of us went running over to where she was parked. "Lady, what are you doing? What are you trying to pull? You almost got me arrested for shoplifting. I've never seen you before today. I didn't want you to think I was being rude, so, I listened while you went on and on about all of your troubles, and here you are driving a Cadillac. Would you kindly tell me and the others here what kind of scam you are trying to pull?"
At that, the lady took one look at the cashier, the manager and the security guard and her shoulders just slumped in surrender. She looked past them and began to shuffle her feet as she fought for the words to explain this situation. "I bet you're wondering what this is all about," she said.
We all nodded our heads in unison and waited patiently for the answer. "All of that stuff I told you in the store...about my finances, raising my kids, losing everything I had because of those high insurance rates...Well, I was just pulling your leg just like I'm pulling yours now.
I told this story last year and I liked it so much, I told it again, with a few updates!
Happy April's Fool Day!