Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop

In 2012, I was lucky enough to attend the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop in Dayton, Ohio. I had such a good time that I went back two more times. Not only do they change writers' lives (notice, I said writers--that's another thing they say it's okay to do: call yourself a writer) by offering advice, education, (free wine) (and lemon cake) and a whole lot of camaraderie with like-minded people but they also hand out these terrific looking bags.

ERMA swag



Today, November 29, 2016, is designated as Giving Tuesday across our great country. It's a day to give what you can, to whomever you can, and when you're deciding on a charitable cause to give to on this wonderful day, I hope you'll consider a give to the Endowment Fund of the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop.


After you've made your gift, snap an #UNselfie of yourself and post it online. Just like this:

#UNselfie



Erma changed my life, and the friends I met there have become my family. We listen to each other. We love each other. And most of all, we laugh together. There's nothing better than that.

Here's the link to donate, again: Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop

Thanks so much and I'll let Erma have the last line "Did you ever notice that the first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone?"

#GivingTuesday

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday Sale

Need that perfect gift?

Why not give the gift of laughter this holiday season?

It's on sale today!

Here are the links for the perfect bathroom reader:


                               Reflections On A Middle-Aged Fat Woman



                                                        Scrunchie-Fried

After you've made your purchase, please write a review. Reviews really do help independent authors move up in the ranks at Amazon.

Happy Cyber Monday!

And most of all, thanks!

Gianetta

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

It's a few hours before the meal and I'm already stuffed. No, I'm not the turkey.

I almost had a major meltdown earlier over the deviled eggs.

You wouldn't think that it would be that hard to boil eggs and then peel the shells but somewhere there was a major breakdown in this process. The shells would not come off the eggs and I had to take a butter knife and chip the shells off. This process resulted in four different opinions as to why the shells would not come off more easily.

Mom says that the eggs were too fresh and that was the reason the shells were difficult to remove.

Sister says the eggs needed to be at room temperature before they were boiled.

Niece says the eggs probably came from the chickens outside and have been buried out behind the outhouse for the last few years.

The MA Fat Woman didn't say anything but just kept swearing under her breath.

Brother says the eggs weren't boiled long enough and the shells needed to be removed promptly after boiling.

After this discussion which took almost an hour it was time to make the deviled egg mixture. Again, an hour to discuss how to make the mixture and four differing opinions.

If we're having this much trouble with the eggs I can hardly wait until it's time to mash the potatoes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It's Customer Appreciation Day At The Gas Company...The Complete Story

If you've been following along for the last several years, then you know that I enjoy a special relationship with my local gas company. On more than one occasion I have received the worst customer service imaginable from this company but for some reason I keep going back.

Am I a glutton for punishment?

Am I such a loyal customer that I will stay with them no matter what?

Or maybe, I'm just plain dumb?

All three could possibly be correct, but when I saw a handwritten sign driving past the local office one day advertising an upcoming customer appreciation day, I thought if anyone needs to feel like they're appreciated, it's this customer.

A week or so later, I was at my mom's house in the next town up the four-lane and mentioned that I wanted to go to the customer appreciation day. I had driven past the office where I had originally seen the sign earlier in the morning but nothing was set up except the handwritten sign. Pitiful. And typical. The gas company has another office in her town and I had driven past it and they had a big tent, balloons, stacks of cases of Cokes and free hot dogs and brownies for anyone that showed up.

We put it on the list of things we were going to do that day and more than once I griped about the office in my town and how they hadn't set up anything near as comparable to what the office in Mom's town had. We giggled about it and soon found ourselves visiting one yard sale after another and when my stomach growled Mom remarked she was hungry. It was slightly after two o'clock and when we pulled up to customer appreciation day they were out of hot dogs, Cokes and were already taking down the tent.

"Had a huge crowd," said one of the workers in a friendly voice.

"Shoot, we missed it," I said.

"I think they've got a balloon over there you can have," Mom said helpfully.

I looked where she was pointing and there was a man in a clown face rubbing a balloon all over (I mean ALL over) his body trying to create enough electricity to make it stick to his head. It was weird. And gross. "Um, I think I'll pass."

"You can always check out the one in Jasper," said the worker.

"I went past there today and they didn't have anything up but a hand-written sign. I was disappointed but not surprised," I said. "I haven't had the best service from them."

"Hmm," she said, "well, they probably didn't have anything but the sign because their customer appreciation day isn't until next Saturday. I'll be up there, too, passing out the free Cokes and $25 gift certificates. Don't forget to bring a canned good for the food pantry to get your gift certificate. I'll see you then...

Yes, you will.

In the middle of the week, I rode out past the gas company and there wasn't any sign of customer appreciation day. In fact, the hand-written sign wasn't even there. Typical, I thought.

Saturday morning, Mom called and wanted to go to a movie, but I was working around the house and didn't want to go. She reminded me of the customer appreciation day and told me to call if the hot dogs were any good, (we have no problem dropping everything and driving 25 miles for a good hot dog) and I said I would. 

I ran a few errands around town and it was exactly noon when I approached the gas company. Traffic was heavy (as it usually is on a Saturday morning in town) but I was surprised to see a line of cars in front of me waiting to pull into the drive of the gas company. 

The place was packed. They had a big tent outside with the same stacks of Cokes I'd seen last week. The delivery drivers were manning the grill. The nice lady I had spoken with the previous week was minding the serving table and the picnic tables under the tent were completely full with people enjoying the food. I found a place to park in the side yard in front of  the big propane tank (no problem parking in the grass, it's so dry because of the drought that vehicles were parked everywhere; however there was a guy smoking a cigarette nearby) when I was more surprised by the sight of a clown coming out of the back of the building. He saw me, gave me a wave and started the rubbing routine with the balloons and headed the opposite way.

I did an about face, nearly ran into the guy smoking right beside the no smoking sign and made my way to the serving line. "Nice crowd," I said to the nice lady from last week.

"Yes, not as big as last week, but still good. I see you made it in time for the food. Where's your momma at?" she asked looking around.

"She couldn't make it today," I said.

"That's too bad. She was nice people--I felt like I knew her," the lady said.

"Well, she does get around," I said. The woman looked at me strangely and I continued "She goes to a lot of yard sales around town."

"Maybe," she said handing me a plate. "Go ahead and fix yourself a plate and when you get done, take your canned goods inside to the donation box and they'll fix you up with your $25 coupon."

"Thanks," I said looking at the spread in front of me. CANNED GOOD? Oh, no. I had forgotten to bring any cans for the donation box. The smell of the grill and platter of hot dogs soon had my full attention and I focused on dressing up my dogs (straight ketchup) (I ain't messing with mustard, chili, slaw or onions), grabbing a bag (or two) of chips, a chocolate chip cookie (or two) and two cans of Diet Coke and made my way to one of the tables. (I got seconds with my firsts because I didn't want people to see me getting seconds.)

I was enjoying myself tremendously, (the food was good) and keeping a wary eye out for the clown. Different people came and went--some stopping for food, but most seemed to be carrying canned goods and with a wave from the lady manning the paper plates hurried up the  steps and inside the building.

"Mind if I join you?" asked a voice. "I noticed you was eating alone."

I looked up and standing there in front of me was the clown that I had seen earlier, except he didn't look like a clown. He had changed his clothes and now wore a biker jacket, a "Jesus loves me" t-shirt, jeans, and a belt with a big buckle that might have resembled the state of Texas, but I couldn't be sure because my gaze was drawn to his head. He had a balloon stuck on his head. Actually, it was in the shape of a snake and it wiggled every time he moved his head.

"Sure," I said. "I'm just finishing up. I want to get one of those $25 coupons before they run out."

He sat down and we started chatting about the drought, the upcoming election and the crowd of people at the customer appreciation day. "I'm surprised how many people are here," I said. "I'll have to come to this every year. I haven't had the best luck with their customer service, but this almost makes up for it. How long have you been a clown?"

"I've been clowning for 50 years or so. I just moved to the area and this is the first time I have performed in North Georgia," the man said. "The gas people had another clown in another town last week but they got a few complaints about him or something. I don't know what the details are..."

"I heard about that," I said. "Well, it was nice talking to you, but I need to be going. I forgot my canned good so I'm gonna run up to the Dollar General and pick one up for the donation box so I can get my coupon."

"It was nice talking to you, too, but you don't need a canned good, just tell 'em the clown sent you. I hope I see you around town."

I waved goodbye and went inside the building waiting my turn to approach the counter. "I forgot my canned good but the clown told me to tell y'all that he sent me," I said.

"I thought he left a while ago," one of them said. "I don't know why he told you to say that because several folks didn't bring a can and that's all right, too. But hey, this is customer appreciation day and we want to thank you for being a customer, so here is your $25 coupon."

"Great! Thanks," I said. "I didn't think I was going to get to see you guys this year after the mix up last spring."

"What mix up?" one asked.

"Oh, when I ordered gas in March, I only ordered 100 gallons, but I got 400 gallons instead."

"That's where I remember you from," one said. "Well, we're glad you came to see us today and that we got that all worked out."

"Don't forget to use your coupon," one hollered after me as I walked out the door.

I walked to my car and was surprised to see something through the back window. My stomach dropped a bit when I saw what was on the hood of my car. It was the balloon I'd seen earlier on the head of the man that asked to sit with me. I picked up the balloon and looked around but saw no sign of the clown. There was a note attached to it that read "I remember you and your mother from last week. Hope you got your coupon."

Weird.

Really weird.

Later in the day when I was recounting the story to Mom (who thought it was weird, too), I picked up the $25 coupon from the gas company and read what it said. Mom was telling me about the boxes of books she picked up at a yard sale for only a buck when I made the oddest noise she had ever heard.



"Are you all right?" she asked.

"They've done it, again," I said.

"Who did what?" she asked.

"The gas company."

"Oh, my. What happened this time?" Mom asked.

"Listen to this," I said and read the fine print on the coupon. "This $25 coupon is good off the purchase of 150 gallons or more of propane."

"So, you always get that much, don't you?"

"I normally do, but remember they filled the tank up by mistake last year."

"That's right. I  forgot," Mom said. "Well, you can always use it later in the winter."

"Not hardly," I said.

"Why?"

"It expires December 31, 2016."

"Oh, well. Look on the bright side, you won't have to spend $500 right before Christmas. Maybe, you can go to Vegas or somewhere," Mom said....

What a great idea....I think I will.


Monday, November 21, 2016

It's Customer Appreciation Day...At The Gas Company...Part II

In the middle of the week, I rode out past the gas company and there wasn't any sign of customer appreciation day. In fact, the hand-written sign wasn't even there. Typical, I thought.

Saturday morning, Mom called and wanted to go to a movie, but I was working around the house and didn't want to go. She reminded me of the customer appreciation day and told me to call if the hot dogs were any good, (we have no problem dropping everything and driving 25 miles for a good hot dog) and I said I would. 

I ran a few errands around town and it was exactly noon when I approached the gas company. Traffic was heavy (as it usually is on a Saturday morning in town) but I was surprised to see a line of cars in front of me waiting to pull into the drive of the gas company. 

The place was packed. They had a big tent outside with the same stacks of Cokes I'd seen last week. The delivery drivers were manning the grill. The nice lady I had spoken with the previous week was minding the serving table and the picnic tables under the tent were completely full with people enjoying the food. I found a place to park in the side yard in front of  the big propane tank (no problem parking in the grass, it's so dry because of the drought that vehicles were parked everywhere; however there was a guy smoking a cigarette nearby) when I was more surprised by the sight of a clown coming out of the back of the building. He saw me, gave me a wave and started the rubbing routine with the balloons and headed the opposite way.

I did an about face, nearly ran into the guy smoking right beside the no smoking sign and made my way to the serving line. "Nice crowd," I said to the nice lady from last week.

"Yes, not as big as last week, but still good. I see you made it in time for the food. Where's your momma at?" she asked looking around.

"She couldn't make it today," I said.

"That's too bad. She was nice people--I felt like I knew her," the lady said.

"Well, she does get around," I said. The woman looked at me strangely and I continued "She goes to a lot of yard sales around town."

"Maybe," she said handing me a plate. "Go ahead and fix yourself a plate and when you get done, take your canned goods inside to the donation box and they'll fix you up with your $25 coupon."

"Thanks," I said looking at the spread in front of me. CANNED GOOD? Oh, no. I had forgotten to bring any cans for the donation box. The smell of the grill and platter of hot dogs soon had my full attention and I focused on dressing up my dogs (straight ketchup) (I ain't messing with mustard, chili, slaw or onions), grabbing a bag (or two) of chips, a chocolate chip cookie (or two) and two cans of Diet Coke and made my way to one of the tables. (I got seconds with my firsts because I didn't want people to see me getting seconds.)

I was enjoying myself tremendously, (the food was good) and keeping a wary eye out for the clown. Different people came and went--some stopping for food, but most seemed to be carrying canned goods and with a wave from the lady manning the paper plates hurried up the  steps and inside the building.

"Mind if I join you?" asked a voice. "I noticed you was eating alone."

I looked up and standing there in front of me was the clown that I had seen earlier, except he didn't look like a clown. He had changed his clothes and now wore a biker jacket, a "Jesus loves me" t-shirt, jeans, and a belt with a big buckle that might have resembled the state of Texas, but I couldn't be sure because my gaze was drawn to his head. He had a balloon stuck on his head. Actually, it was in the shape of a snake and it wiggled every time he moved his head.

"Sure," I said. "I'm just finishing up. I want to get one of those $25 coupons before they run out."

He sat down and we started chatting about the drought, the upcoming election and the crowd of people at the customer appreciation day. "I'm surprised how many people are here," I said. "I'll have to come to this every year. I haven't had the best luck with their customer service, but this almost makes up for it. How long have you been a clown?"

"I've been clowning for 50 years or so. I just moved to the area and this is the first time I have performed in North Georgia," the man said. "The gas people had another clown in another town last week but they got a few complaints about him or something. I don't know what the details are..."

"I heard about that," I said. "Well, it was nice talking to you, but I need to be going. I forgot my canned good so I'm gonna run up to the Dollar General and pick one up for the donation box so I can get my coupon."

"It was nice talking to you, too, but you don't need a canned good, just tell 'em the clown sent you. I hope I see you around town."

I waved goodbye and went inside the building waiting my turn to approach the counter. "I forgot my canned good but the clown told me to tell y'all that he sent me," I said.

"I thought he left a while ago," one of them said. "I don't know why he told you to say that because several folks didn't bring a can and that's all right, too. But hey, this is customer appreciation day and we want to thank you for being a customer, so here is your $25 coupon."

"Great! Thanks," I said. "I didn't think I was going to get to see you guys this year after the mix up last spring."

"What mix up?" one asked.

"Oh, when I ordered gas in March, I only ordered 100 gallons, but I got 400 gallons instead."

"That's where I remember you from," one said. "Well, we're glad you came to see us today and that we got that all worked out."

"Don't forget to use your coupon," one hollered after me as I walked out the door.

I walked to my car and was surprised to see something through the back window. My stomach dropped a bit when I saw what was on the hood of my car. It was the balloon I'd seen earlier on the head of the man that asked to sit with me. I picked up the balloon and looked around but saw no sign of the clown. There was a note attached to it that read "I remember you and your mother from last week. Hope you got your coupon."

Weird.

Really weird.

Later in the day when I was recounting the story to Mom (who thought it was weird, too), I picked up the $25 coupon from the gas company and read what it said. Mom was telling me about the boxes of books she picked up at a yard sale for only a buck when I made the oddest noise she had ever heard.



"Are you all right?" she asked.

"They've done it, again," I said.

"Who did what?" she asked.

"The gas company."

"Oh, my. What happened this time?" Mom asked.

"Listen to this," I said and read the fine print on the coupon. "This $25 coupon is good off the purchase of 150 gallons or more of propane."

"So, you always get that much, don't you?"

"I normally do, but remember they filled the tank up by mistake last year."

"That's right. I  forgot," Mom said. "Well, you can always use it later in the winter."

"Not hardly," I said.

"Why?"

"It expires December 31, 2016."

"Oh, well. Look on the bright side, you won't have to spend $500 right before Christmas. Maybe, you can go to Vegas or somewhere," Mom said....

What a great idea....I think I will.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

We're On A Diet, Remember?

The fridge is closed.
Over the last few months I've watched the thingy on my scales continue to lean steadily to the right--sorta like what the country did in the last election. I can't say what the long term effect will have on the country because it's too soon to tell, but I can tell you that the immediate effects on me aren't pretty.

I've had some changes in my medication that may or may not have contributed to the extra pounds and I've been very lax with my diet. I'm no stranger to any of the restaurants in town...well, maybe the one that offers an all-you-can-eat salad bar (I stay away from that place.), but pizza, wings, and scattered and covered hash browns from Waffle House probably does have a lot to do with it.

Ten years ago I quit smoking and gained a lot of weight in a two-year period. I replaced one vice with another. I've lost half (had) of those extra pounds, but as the year has progressed, my progress has been slipping away-kinda like the progress of the last eight years--and my clothes are getting too tight to wear.

If I assessed myself a baggage fee for the extra poundage I'm transporting right now, I'd have a nice bank roll to spend on my upcoming trip to Vegas.

But, what really made me stand up and pay attention was when my boy, Ralphie, began having problems jumping. He's always been "built like a brick shit house" as we like to say in my family which translates to "solid, stout and muscular with a few rolls that jiggle when you run."

We hopped on the scales and sure enough, Ralphie was about two pounds over his normal weight. Every time I go to the refrigerator for a snack, he does too, and if I don't give him something he will meow for the next half hour. Loudly. And I'm not kidding.

I've examined his back legs thoroughly and spoken with the vet. It could be age (I think he's about 9 or 10). I mentioned the extra weight and they recommended to scale back on his food to see if he might lose those two extra pounds.

A few days passed and each time I went to the fridge, Ralphie would stare at me and wait for his snack. After a few times of not receiving anything and voicing his displeasure, he stopped meowing and looked at me just like the picture above.

It took me a while, but I finally got it.

No snacks for Ralphie means no snacks for me.

I decided not to wait until the New Year because the upcoming season of gluttony is almost upon us. I'm sure I could've added a few more pounds and the extra fees would've been good for my bank roll, but the extra rolls on me and Ralphie are bad for our health.

It's early in our journey and I'll be sure to keep you posted. I'll enjoy this Thanksgiving a bit more sensibly, and so will Ralphie, but until then, the fridge is closed.





Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Need A Lift...Election Day Humor

I did what millions of other Americans did on Election Day recently and that was to vote. I live in a small town, roughly 2000 people, and the precinct that I vote in is at the middle school just up the road. I've never had to wait more than five minutes to exercise my constitutional right which is a good thing. I've heard horror stories of people waiting eight hours or longer to exercise that same right. You would think in this advanced technological age that we could vote online by now without too much cheating, but for whatever reason, it hasn't happened.

On my way into the gymnasium to cast my ballot I became distracted by yelling across the street. It was the family and friends of those running for office urging us, the voters, to support their candidate. I gave a nonchalant wave of the hand and nearly ran smack dab into the back of a little old lady pushing a walker. "Hey! Watch it! Little old lady walking here!" she exclaimed.

"Oh, I'm terribly sorry," I said. "Those people across the street distracted me. Are you okay?" I asked opening the door for her.

"Yes, I'm fine. Thanks for holding the door," she said. "I don't know why they make these doors so heavy. When you get my age, it's hard to get around," she said motioning to the walker. "The legs don't work quite like they used to."

I smiled in response and settled into line behind her. We went through the usual steps of filling out the paper, showing our Ids and receiving the plastic key card that is inserted into the voting machine. "Push this button when you are through casting your ballot," said a nice old man. "Make sure to hand your key card to Alice," he said, "she's handing out the "I voted today" stickers."

"Thank you," I replied. I'm not sure how long it took me to vote but I got held up on the wording of one of the proposed constitutional amendments. It didn't sound right so I kept repeating it. After the fifth time of reading it, I gave up and just pushed the "no" button. It must not be that important.

I received my sticker from Alice, gave her a smile and headed out to my car. Unknowingly, I had parked right beside the lady with the walker who was now standing directly beside a very large pickup truck. "Another year of doing my civic duty," she said.

"Me too," I replied. "I got hung up on one of those amendments; it didn't make sense to me."

"That used to happen to me too, sometimes. Now, I just vote no on everything new. If you vote yes, it's usually just going to cost you more money," she said looking around the parking lot.

"That makes sense," I said. "Well, you have a good one," I said opening my car door.

"Honey?" she asked looking in my direction.

"Yes?" I replied.

"Would you mind giving me a lift?" she asked.

"Sure," I replied. "Where to?" I knew it couldn't be far because she had just voted and you had to live close by to be able to vote in this precinct. I had walked around to the passenger side of the Mustang and opened the door. "It's hard to get into sometimes, because it's so low to the ground."

The lady had continued searching the parking lot, frowned slightly and looked back in my direction. "My daughter was supposed to give me a lift but she isn't here yet," Looking at the open door of my car she chuckled, "Thanks, honey. But that's not the kind of lift I need. I need a boost up into my truck. I can get down all right; it's just climbing back into it that gives me fits."

I closed the door of the car and walked over to where she was standing. "Okay, do you want me to pick you up?" I asked.

"Nope. Wait until I step with one foot, grab the steering wheel and then start to lift myself up. Then put your hand under my butt and kinda throw me up into the truck. I'll turn slightly and slide into the driver's seat. I've been doing it this way for years and it works every time."

"Okay?" I said with a questioning look.

"Oh, don't be afraid of it. It'll be all right. If you feel something squishy, that's just my adult underwear. You ready? On the count of three…one…two…lift."

And I did. She stepped up, grabbed the steering wheel, adjusted her hips and slid right behind the wheel. It worked perfectly. "There you go," I said.

"Perfect," she said. "Thanks, honey, put my walker in the back, will ya?"

I did as she instructed, stepped back around to my car and opened the door, "Take care," I said.

"Okey doke," she said. "I'll look for you the next time I need a lift when I'm out somewhere. Most people are afraid to help me; afraid I might sue them or something if they drop me. Or when I mention the squishy part," she chuckled. "That scares a lot of them off," she said driving away.


"Glad I could help," I said with a final wave. Yep, the squishy part nearly stopped me from helping her but I'm glad it didn't. You never know, I might need the same kind of help  someday, squishy pants and all.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

It's Customer Appreciation Day...At The Gas Company...Part I

If you've been following along for the last several years, then you know that I enjoy a special relationship with my local gas company. On more than one occasion I have received the worst customer service imaginable from this company but for some reason I keep going back.

Am I a glutton for punishment?

Am I such a loyal customer that I will stay with them no matter what?

Or maybe, I'm just plain dumb?

All three could possibly be correct, but when I saw a handwritten sign driving past the local office one day advertising an upcoming customer appreciation day, I thought if anyone needs to feel like they're appreciated, it's this customer.

A week or so later, I was at my mom's house in the next town up the four-lane and mentioned that I wanted to go to the customer appreciation day. I had driven past the office where I had originally seen the sign earlier in the morning but nothing was set up except the handwritten sign. Pitiful. And typical. The gas company has another office in her town and I had driven past it and they had a big tent, balloons, stacks of cases of Cokes and free hot dogs and brownies for anyone that showed up.

We put it on the list of things we were going to do that day and more than once I griped about the office in my town and how they hadn't set up anything near as comparable to what the office in Mom's town had. We giggled about it and soon found ourselves visiting one yard sale after another and when my stomach growled Mom remarked she was hungry. It was slightly after two o'clock and when we pulled up to customer appreciation day they were out of hot dogs, Cokes and were already taking down the tent.

"Had a huge crowd," said one of the workers in a friendly voice.

"Shoot, we missed it," I said.

"I think they've got a balloon over there you can have," Mom said helpfully.

I looked where she was pointing and there was a man in a clown face rubbing a balloon all over (I mean ALL over) his body trying to create enough electricity to make it stick to his head. It was weird. And gross. "Um, I think I'll pass."

"You can always check out the one in Jasper," said the worker.

"I went past there today and they didn't have anything up but a hand-written sign. I was disappointed but not surprised," I said. "I haven't had the best service from them."

"Hmm," she said, "well, they probably didn't have anything but the sign because their customer appreciation day isn't until next Saturday. I'll be up there, too, passing out the free Cokes and $25 gift certificates. Don't forget to bring a canned good for the food pantry to get your gift certificate. I'll see you then...

Yes, you will....


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