Monday, April 30, 2012

An Ode To The EBWW

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!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Importance Of Walking...Again

***This was forwarded to me in an email. I thought I would share it with you!****

Walking can add minutes to your life. This enables you at 85 years old
to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $7000 per month.

My grandpa started walking five miles a day when he was 60.
Now he's 97 years old and we don't know where he is.

I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

The only reason I would take up walking is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.

I have to walk early in the morning, before my brain figures out what I'm doing..

I joined a health club last year, spent about 400 bucks. Haven't lost a pound.
Apparently you have to go there.

Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise', I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

The advantage of exercising every day is so when you die, they'll say,
'Well, she looks good doesn't she.'

If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.

I know I got a lot of exercise the last few years,...... just getting over the hill.

We all get heavier as we get older, because there's a lot more information in our heads.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Every time I start thinking too much about how I look, I just find a Happy Hour

and by the time I leave, I look just fine.

You could run this over to your friends... But just e-mail it to them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


It's the perfect reader to keep you laughing while you're know!

Show 'em how much you care: It's the Reflections On A Middle-Aged Fat Woman book.

It's just the perfect size to slip into your purse or carry along in your man bag or backpack! Great to take along to the beach!

Show mom she's not the only middle-aged fat woman in the world and it is OKAY to laugh about it by presenting her with this funny book.

Hurry, get your copy today!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Reflections On The Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop

I had an awesome time at the conference but it can be summed up in a few quick words: I came.... I laughed.... I wet my pants.... MA Fat Woman

Friday, April 20, 2012

Revisiting Inadvertent Touching

Recently, I went back to my new hairdresser, P, to get a touch up on my newly fabulous hairdo that I've been sporting. I learned my lesson about going on Wednesday, thus avoiding the fumes that arose from the all-you-can-eat extrema burrito fiesta.

I believe it was on a Tuesday afternoon and the salon was hopping. It turned out that P had started teaching a class at the local community college and on that particular day he was teaching the new students in his salon. When he saw me at the front counter, he threw up a hand in greeting and squealed, "GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG, Hola`, chica. My goodness, what has happened to your coif? P did such a fabulous job on you last time."

"Hola`, right back at ya'll. That's why I'm here; the gray is coming back fast."

"Oh, chica, what is ya'll? It is just me, P. Anyway, you have come on good day. I am showing these P wannabes how to become a stud in the world of beauty and salon. Come sit here."

And with that I was led to the first chair and then immediately surrounded by a gaggle of cackling old bitties, three young wide-eyed teenagers and one young ex-Marine with a "I love doing hair" tattoo on his left bicep that greeted me with a wide grin and a strong nod. "Howdy, ma'am!" he said.

Over the next few minutes or so I listened somewhat stoically as my favorite hairdresser launched into the story of our first meeting and of our mutual agreement that my hair was a complete disaster. I was a perfect example of what not to do if you wanted to do your own hair or were too cheap (or broke) to go to a professional salon. "Come closer," he said to the class as he whipped out an iPhone from his fanny pack. "This is chica before and this is chica after P has finished with her. See the difference of what a professional can do?" he said.

"Hey, I didn't know you had taken my picture," I said.

"Oh, bambino, you were too worried about my burritos and my snake. You wanna see it again?"

"Wait a minute," one old bitty said. "I don't wanna see ya 'all's snake. What kind of place you runnin' here? Honey, have you seen his snake before?" she said as she edged closer to the chair and nudged me slightly.


"Whaddya' sayin?" she said and nudged me again.

I wasn't sure what I was nudged with the first time, but I became acutely aware of what it was the second: her boob. They were big and large and were laying straight out, almost in an upward direction. At least she had on a good bra I thought to myself...

...Yeah, she must have a really good bra on to keep those things up like that, I thought to myself. I was thinking about asking her where she did her undergarment shopping when I got nudged again. Stop touching me!

Now, I'm really a patient person and fairly easy-going but there is one thing that drives me absolutely bananas and that is being touched by someone's body part when it is not supposed to be there, if you know what I mean. For that matter, I really don't like being touched at all unless I know its coming.

I've been that way my whole life. I can remember battles with Sister over control over the best end of the couch and rides in the backseat of the family car, stuck in the middle between Brother and Sister riding on the hump, hoping that neither would reach over and pinch, touch or even acknowledge that I was there. "Mom, Sister touched me," I would moan or "Mom, Brother keeps calling me Froggy," which would then result in either a headlock and a noogie or a flick of my ear.

I'm not sure which hurt worse.

Pedro gathered all of his students around him as he prepared the coloring mixture for my hair. "You must be very careful when mixing chemicals. You don't want to turn your client's hair green or blow somebody up. Hee Hee. All measurements must be exact and precise."

The group watched in fascination as P measured this and mixed up that, and finally finished with a flourish. "Bueno! It is finished. Come. Now, let us turn, chica, into a beauty once more."

The crowd gathered around me in anticipation, with Miss Triple Ds in the back row trying to see around the ex-Marine and a tall blond with even taller hair. "Mr. P, I can't see nothing from back here. Can I move up front?" she asked.

"Oh, yes. Make way for Dolly up front," he said.

"My name's not Dolly," she said.

"Oh, I am sorry, chica. You are all so new and P has not had time to learn your names, but it is because you look like Dolly, that I call you Dolly," he explained.

As she moved from the front to the back, nudging me in the process, she took her place behind the teacher and waited for him to begin. P turned around with chemical in hand and ran smack into the large, upturned chest that had been repositioned behind him. "Mos Dios! Aye, yigh, yigh!" he exclaimed as the mixture sailed out of his hand and onto the plastic cape that was draped over me. "Oh, chica, P is terribly sorry. Dolly, where did those boobies come from?" he asked.

"Oh, my goodness. What a hot mess this is. I am so sorry, bebe, but I have the super duty heavy plastic cape and it shouldn't leak through it. Even if it does, that shirt you have on does not suit you anyway."

I was too surprised to say or do anything except look in the direction of where the mixture had been tossed from. Somehow, I wasn't too surprised when I felt a now all too familiar nudge as the large-breasted lady busied herself with trying to clean up the hot mess that was splashed across my chest.

Nudge. Stop it!

I continued to sit in silence as Dolly and P now took turns dabbing at the spill on my chest. Dolly had grabbed the towel that was wrapped around my neck under the plastic cape and P had whipped out a few moist towelettes from his fanny pack. Meanwhile, Sgt. Hair had worked his way through the crowd of stunned onlookers and now stood off to my right side, almost out of my vision. "Mister P," he said in a heavy southern accent. "I've got some more towels here, if you need 'em? All ya'll look like you done a fine job of cleaning her up, if you ask me."

Pedro looked at the ex-soldier and smiled broadly. "Thank you, Sarge, but I think we have it all cleaned up now."

My hairdresser removed the soiled cape from me and began searching for a new getup to replace it. "Does anyone have a clean towel for chica's pretty neck?" he said with an extra ounce of sauciness.

"I do," said Sgt. Hair.

"Oh, good! Come and I will let you be the first student to place the cape and towel."

I smiled up at the ex-Marine with the cool tattoo and strong jawline and caught his smile as he leaned over my body to place the towel around my neck. Nudge. Holy Crap! Here we go again.

"Nice job!" said P. "Now for the cape. Make sure you do it with a flourish. It is all part of the experience, you see."

P handed over the new plastic cape to Sgt. Hair who now had moved in around behind me. I felt another nudge and then a whoosh as the cape sailed up and over and settled perfectly upon me. "Terrific!" said Pedro. "Class, don't you think Sarge did an excellent job?"

The crowd murmured in agreement with "Yes, great job" and "Awesome" and "I wanna try". Sarge remained standing behind me soaking up all the attention, while edging closer and even still closer to the back of my chair. Nudge.

Nudge. "Great job!" said Dolly.

"Will ya'll stop touching me?" I said in exasperation.

"What is wrong, chica? Who is touching you?"

"Well, Dolly there has been beating the hell out of me with her boobs, nudging me every time she comes within three feet. And Sarge here has proven that he's carrying more than a loaded weapon and might just be happy to see me."

"Thanks, ma'am," said Sarge with a flip of his hair and a tug of his groin. "I am enjoying being amongst ya'll and I do apologize if 'Lil Sarge offended you in any way."

I was trying to recover from the 'Lil Sarge comment when I heard sniffling beside me. "Oh my, I am so sorry, being large-breasted has hurt me my whole life," said Dolly. "I thought I could do hair without 'em being in the way, but I was wrong," she said with a sad sigh.

"Oh, Dolly, it is okay," said my hairdresser. "We have just gotten starting in our training. I was so excited when I saw G walk in today that I forgot a first basic step in hairdressing, and that is where to place your junk. In my case, it is where to place my snake without offending the customer; that is why I wear a fanny pack. See, watch? I can nudge chica all I want and it will not bother her," said P as he nudged my chair with his fanny pack.

"But what about me? I don't have a snake and I think I would need a burlap sack to cover up my girls," said Dolly.

"Hmm, yes, you are a challenge but I think I have the answer. Your girls are very pretty and are standing upright, but I think we must get back to nature. You must free them and let them hang the way God wanted them to be."

With that, my hairdresser walked into the back part of the salon and came out with an armload of new smocks for the girls and a leather fanny pack for Sarge. "Here you go everyone. Please put on your new accessories and let's practice not touching our client. You don't mind, do you, chica? I give you half price."

"Go right ahead. For half price, you can touch me all you want," I said. Soon, I settled into a half-sleep state as I tuned out the activity around me. I received a few nudges, one more visit from 'Lil Sarge and then there was nothing. I sensed the activity around me and felt the hands in my hair but I was no longer being knocked around by the various out of control body parts that had tortured me earlier.

"Very good, Dolly!" I heard P say as I became more alert. "You have done a fabulous job."

Dolly handed me the mirror nervously and I glanced at my reflection. My hair looked fabulous. "It looks great, Dolly!" I said. "And I didn't feel a nudge or anything. I think you found your calling."

Dolly had done a good job and other than the sight of seeing her braless chest as she removed her smock, I was quite pleased with the way everything had turned out. I finished settling my bill and exchanging pleasantries with P when I noticed Sarge giving Dolly the eye. "I love the way you did her hair, Dolly," he said as he continued looking at her chest. "You wanna go get a latte?"

Her answer was a wide smile and a nod of her head and I heard P giggling behind me. "Oh, chica, I think I let Dolly's girls go and they have captured Sarge's heart. Such is life at the hair salon. You be good and I will see you in six weeks!"

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Revisiting Should Your Hairdresser Eat Mexican Food

I've mentioned a few times in the past about my difficulties getting a decent haircut. I've lived in Georgia for 25 years and I've never had a regular stylist--one who knew what I wanted without me--a complete idiot when it comes to such things--having to explain it all. Yes, I DO want my hair stylist to read my mind.

Anyhow, I've become friendly with the nice lady that works the drive-thru where I do my banking and I noticed that she had a sassy new haircut. "Who does your hair?" I asked.

"Well, he's a new guy at that Hollywood place right beside the Mexican restaurant. He's from California or somewhere, I have no idea how he made it all the way to North Georgia but he sure has my hair lookin' good, don't you think?"

"Yep, sure does. That's why I asked. I can't seem to get a good haircut in this town."
"Me either. Did you ever get that Edward Scissorshand lady up at that quick-cutting place?"

"Holy Crap! She 'bout took my ear off one day. I stopped going there after they scalped me on my birthday. I had to go to Savannah looking like a fresh-faced recruit headed for eight weeks of boot camp. A different lady cut it that time and she even admitted she cut it too short. I was so mad I made myself cry; I hate it when I do that."

"You poor thing. Well, check him out, just" I didn't hear the first part of what she said because another car had pulled up behind me so I drove off with a jovial wave of my hand...

...A few days later after another unsuccessful attempt at fixing my hair I decided to go to the Hollywood place and check out the guy from California. I was worried about having an appointment or having to wait a long time; I guess that's why I don't have a regular stylist because I don't like to do those things.

I walked into the salon, the music was pumping and the place was decked out with faux head models wearing every flavor and size of wig, hair extension and several headpieces that involved various fruits and feathers. MA Fat Woman--you ain't in North Georgia no more, I thought to myself. As I stood with mouth agape staring at one particular headpiece that seemed to sway with the rhythm of the music a snappily-dressed Hispanic man munching on tortilla chips came out from the back. "Hola', you like hair sculptures?" he said with a sweep of his hand.

"Uh, sure. That one seems to be moving, though," I said.

"Oh, yes, si! That is new design; very nice. You want? Good price!"

"You mean somebody's gonna pay to have you put that on their head? How much?"

"For you, cheap price. Only 75. Today is good day, too. We not so busy on Wednesday," he continued in his broken accent.

"You mean for $75, you'll attach a basket of fruit to my head and somehow get it to dance. It sounds like fun, but I was just looking for a haircut."

"Hehehehheh, oooohh, Chiquita, you make me laugh, not $75! It's $7500!
"Oh. Not to hurt your feelings or nothin', but I don't think ya'll is going to sell many of those in this town."

"What is ya'll? There is no one else, only me. I am Chucko Pedro Santa Rosa Hose Munoz from California."

"That's some name..."

"Gracias, but people call me..."

"Wait! I bet they call you Pedro?"

"No, Chica. But you are close. They call me 'P'."

"Well, that's some coincidence. I'm called 'G' and I'm from Ohio."

"Ah, Ha! High in the middle and round on both ends. You like Bengals? Carson Palmer was one of my first customers."

"What's that smell?" I asked...

...As Pedro launched into a full-blown Telenovela about the time he spent in California and the one that got away (a former Bengals quarterback) he escorted me over to his salon chair and offered me a seat. "You are lucky today, Chiquita. P normally has a three month waiting list. I am always free on Wednesday, but nobody ever wants to come in on that day."

"What's that smell?" I asked again.

P ignored my question, threw the smock over me, then twirled me a round with a flourish. "Hmmmm, what are we going to do with you?" he said more to himself than me. "You sure you don't want hair sculpture. I can make you look like Snooki."

"I'm a little too tall to be confused with Snooki, don't you think?"

"Oh, is she short? I was talking about her boobies. Bebe, you got the big D's like she does. You got the nice body, why you hide it under big t-shirts? Don't be afraid to let it all hang out? You wanna see my snake?"

Pedro continued to tilt my head from side to side murmuring to himself in Spanish. I was still in shock from the snake suggestion and my nose kept twitching from some smell that I couldn't quite identify. "Do you smell something?" I asked.

This question was asked to no one because P had slipped away into the back room and after a few minutes came out with a burrito in one hand and a roll of aluminum foil in the other. "We color!" he said as he took a large bite of the burrito and placed it on the stand.

As P continued to get the coloring equipment set up, the smell of the food started drifting toward me. It smelled just like the horrible stench that I had been smelling since I entered the salon. Could the smell from the burritos be drifting all the way from the back?

BBBBBBrrrrppppp, rip, ripp, pow "Perdone," I heard from the back...

As I sat slouching in the barber chair totally inundated with the toxic, but not quite deadly combinations of refried beans and coal-tar petroleum hair dye I heard another volley fired off near the vicinity of where I had last seen P.

Papappapow. Snap. "Ooooh!" Pedro exclaimed. "Perdone! Excuszi! My Gawd, P, what have you been eating?" he chuckled to himself.

I sat in stunned silence. What should I say? What could I say? Should I laugh it off? Should I ignore it? Pedro walked over with the coloring mixture, grabbed another bite of the burrito and began the task of wrapping my hair in foil and applying the goop. When in doubt, do nothing is a motto that had helped me in the past and that is what I did now; absolutely nothing. As Herr Shultz would say: I see NOTHING! I know NOTHING!

Soon my new hairdresser settled into a routine. While humming the Hispanic version of We Are The World to himself complete with dead-on impressions of the different voices...i.e...Bob Dylan, The Boss and Michael Jackson I soon found myself join in. "Oh, Chiquita, can you sing the girly voices for me? I didn't wear the tight pants I need to go high."

"Weeeeellllll, well, well, there's a choice we're making. We're saving our own lives." I sang in my best Cyndi Lauper voice while P chimed in with a silky falsetto that would have made Barry Gibb proud. PPPPPaaaappapp. Snap "Holy Crap, P! You're killing me with the gas!"

For a few moments as the green cloud spawned from P's flatulence floated around and fell down upon me I soon realized that what I was smelling was the end result of my hairdresser's Mexican food binge. I mean, really, should a hairdresser really be eating Mexican food? No wonder there wasn't anyone here today.

Before too long, P had finished wrapping and applying the color mixture and announced, "we wait", set the timer and said, "I'll be right back" and walked outside. I began to wonder if I might have made him mad because he seemed a bit subdued. As I worked my way through an out of date hair style magazine I was surprised to see Pedro walk back into the salon with an overflowing bag of what turned out to be more Mexican burritos. "Wednesday is all-you-can-eat burrito day," he said to my surprised look. "Would you like one?"

Oh, really! Now, everything made sense. No wonder nobody came on Wednesdays. Who could stand the stench? For the next hour or so as P finished up my new hairdo (which turned out great) we continued to chat and munch on our burritos and it wasn't too long before I felt a rumbling in my gut. Poot!

"Awwww, Chiquita! I like you a lot. There is nothing wrong with the passing of the gas. It is a natural thing. I told you, P lets everything hang out. I have something special for you. Do you want to see my snake?"

"Uhhh!" And just like that, Pedro whipped off his shirt and showed me the coiled cobra that adorned the full-length of his back. Now, I'm not really into snakes or tattoos but I knew when something needed to be said to acknowledge such a fine piece of work. "Cool beans!" is all I could muster.

"Oh, Bebe, thank you! There is no better honor than a 'cool beans'. Most people scream and hide their eyes when I offer to show them my snake. For you, half price on today's treatment and I'll schedule you for another Wednesday in three months for a touch up and more burritos."

"Uh, thanks!" (Hey, you can't turn down 50% off, especially in this economy.)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Erma, Here I come!

Since I started this blog almost five years ago, it was my intent to provide insights, stories of memorable happenings and the occasional tidbit of useless information. I enjoy the process of getting an idea, working through the structure of the story and then trying to figure out how to get it to appear interesting on the blog. Deep down, I've always wanted to be a writer.

About two years ago I watched a CBS Sunday Morning news report on Erma Bombeck and the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop held every two years in Dayton, Ohio. Of course, I had missed the deadline for the 2010 event, but what's another two years, right? Having said all of that, guess what? Yep, the event is this week and the Middle-Aged Fat Woman is going!

Here are some of my thoughts on the trip:

As a middle-aged fat woman, I'm preparing for my trip to the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop. This entails several things: making sure my mustache is shaved and how to introduce myself.

Should I go with the casual, "Hi, I'm the Middle-Aged Fat Woman?" Or how about by nickname since childhood, "Hi, I'm G." and to really confuse people I can introduce myself by my Mother-given name, "Hi, I'm Gianetta Mia Palmer" and indeed watch all sorts of questionable looks appear on others' faces.

I can see it now: "What?" "What did you say your name was?" "I don't think it's really polite for me to call you MA Fat Woman?" "Do you have anything else you go by?" "How do you pronounce your name again?" "Ohhhh, now I know why you go by G." "How do you spell that?" And so forth and so on...

As I continue on into middle-age and watch my hormone levels go up and down like a ship on the high seas I am becoming increasingly aware of the many dark hairs sprouting on my upper lip; the worst part about it is that mustaches aren't even in style anymore. Such is the life of a middle-aged fat woman; always a day late and a dollar short as the saying goes.

Hopefully, once the introductions are over and I've eradicated that last pesky hair I'll actually learn something. There are supposed to be some really famous funny people there.

It'll be interesting to see if I can make any of them laugh...

...or better yet, they like me well enough to offer me a book deal. A girl can hope, right?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Stop, Drop And Roll...Again

***In case you missed this story the first time around***

I've learned I'm really stupid around fire. I don't know if you call what I do "panicking" or not when I get around an unexpected fire.

If you count running around in circles looking at the fire, frantically trying to remember where I put the fire extinguisher, yelling, "What should we do? Should we pour water on it? Should I blow on it?" and "Can I hold anything for you?"--then, yes, I guess it is panicking.

It all started a few weeks ago. I had a baked potato explode in the oven and it created a royal mess; spuds everywhere. The exploded potato landed on the heater coils and smoked and smoldered so much that I had to open all of the doors and windows (the stove doesn't have an exhaust) during the latest cold snap. For several hours, one couldn't tell the difference from being inside the house or out.

I wanted to make a banana bread recipe that I found online but either didn't have the right ingredients nor the time to accomplish the task. Until today. The recipe called for a loaf pan that measured 9x5x3, I had a pan that measured 9x5x2.25, so I figured it was close enough and used that. The mixture fit nicely into the pan with ample room at the top for expansion--or so I thought.

The bread was going to take at least an hour to bake at 325, but within a few minutes, the oven began to smoke, and smoke, and smoke. I was occupied elsewhere and hadn't noticed how bad the smoke was getting until Friend asked if something was burning. I opened the oven door and more smoke billowed out; the banana bread had boiled over and was now smoldering on the floor of the oven. (I know, I should have placed a pan under it.)

Since I had been through this recently, I wasn't that worried. After a few more minutes and a lot more smoke--smoke that was coming up through one of the burners, I opened the door again and was met with a wall of smoke and a ball of fire. Holy crap! The oven was on fire.

"It's on fire!" I yelled.

Friend jumped up off the couch and rushed into the kitchen. "It's on fire! Get me something. Get me something!"

"What should I get? You want the fire extinguisher? Where the hell is it?

"I don't know. Don't you know where it is? Can you work it?" she asked as I pulled the extinguisher from the closet. "Get me some water?

"Should I blow on it?"

"No! Don't let the oxygen get to it. Get the racks out of there."

I was going in circles trying not to panic. I had found the fire extinguisher but I didn't know how to work it. I wanted to blow on the fire or possibly even find something like a dish towel to try and beat the flames down, and now, Friend, wanted a pan of water. "Are you going to throw that water on it?"

"No, I don't know what kind of fire it is. It could have grease in it. I'm going to take the bits of burning batter with these tongs and drop them in the pan of water. Now, hold the pan!"

Friend, so calm, so cool, so collected, even while I'm running around in circles, thinking the only thing I really remember about fire training is to Stop! Drop! And Roll!

BTW, we got the fire out and nothing was damaged. Except, maybe, the bread, it came out well done!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Last Meal

In honor of my birthday last week, Mom and I headed off to our favorite eatery to celebrate. If you're a regular reader of this blog then you know that we love to go to Red Lobster. We always get the same thing. Usually.

I always go for the Create a Combo section on the lunch menu and get the shrimp scampi and clam strips. Mom gets the combo, too, but chooses the crunch-fried fish and scampi. Mom was perusing the menu when she noticed that the restaurant was featuring Lobsterfest. "I've always wanted to try the lobster here. Does it come from Maine?" she asked.

"I don't know. If it did, I'm sure they would have an advertisement saying that. I tried lobster once and it tasted a bit fishy to me. It probably had scallops for its last meal."

"Yeah, you're right. I've got square-dancing tonight; I don't want to try something new that keeps peating and repeating. Order my usual for me; I'll be right back."

Mom had been gone for a few moments when I caught sight of her standing near the front entrance. She seemed to be staring at something. I got distracted when the waitress brought our drinks and didn't notice Mom slide back into her seat. "Did you get my Blue Cheese on the side?" she asked.


"Good. I'm hungry."

"What were you looking at over there?" I asked.

"Well, all that talk about the lobster got me wondering about the lobsters in the tank over there."

"Wondering about what?" I asked.

"I was wondering if they get fed or not--you know; like a last meal or something. I didn't see any fish food over there."

"Maybe they keep it in the back," I said.

"No, probably at the hostess station; it's closer!"

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bread For Easter Dinner

I'm always looking for new recipes to try and came across this recipe in a magazine and thought it would be good to make for Easter dinner. I've provided step-by-step pics for you to see how I did it.

Getting everything set out and ready to go.

Dissolving yeast in luke-warm water

Milk scalded and left to cool until luke-warm

Incorporating the shortening

Adding the flour

Greasing the bowl to let the dough rise

A floured surface for kneading

Adding flour to make dough more manageable

Removing dough from prep bowl to the floured surface for kneading

The kneaded dough ready for rising

Risen dough after one hour

Dough ready for separation into loaf pans

Loaves after another hour of being left to rise

Halfway done

Just out of the oven

Easy out of the pan

Buttered to golden perfection

A slice warmed with butter and blackberry jelly

Well, there you have it. If you'd like the complete recipe just drop me an email. It called for a tablespoon of salt which Mom thought was too much. (It did taste a bit salty.) I also overcooked it, but other than that, it turned out great!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's My Birthday!

It sure is going to take a lot of hot air to blow out all these candles.

Having problems deciding on what to get me for my birthday? Just leave me a comment and that will be just fine. (Except, of course, my family members and inner circle of friends. I'm sure you have spent weeks looking for just the perfect gift, and it's in the mail, right?)

MA Fat Woman

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tough Times...Part II...Year 3

"That will be $88.32," said the cashier.

"What are you talking about? You haven't rung up any of my stuff yet."

"Well, that lady said you were going to pay for her groceries. She said that you were her Great Niece and that you take her out to Walmart once a month to purchase the things she need."

"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 2010 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!


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