Thursday, September 25, 2014

Grand Canyon Or Bust

Not to brag or anything but I'm going on vacation. Yep, my mother and I are travelling across the country in a big bus where our final destination will be the Grand Canyon. The picture to the right is when I went 4-wheeling in the canyon a few years ago.

We're travelling with the some of the same folks that we went to Germany with last year.

I'm very excited because I haven't been to Las Vegas since 2006. I wonder if it has changed much? Probably not--bright lights, tourists everywhere and an energy that can only be found in Sin City. It's one of my favorite places!

We're making stops along the way in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. I'll be posting updates along the way on my Facebook page so you can check that out if you want.

Mom has been practicing her poker face because she wants to play Texas Hold'em and I've been brushing up on my dice throwing for the Craps table. I LOVE Craps!

We'll be gone for almost two weeks and will get back in time for the beginning of all the fall festivals. As Mom said in an earlier post, "I'm a fall person!" Me too and I know we are going to have a great time.

If you have the time, please send out positive thoughts to Sister, she's been feeling a bit under the weather. And don't worry, you are definitely getting the biggest and best souvenir.

See you on the road!


Monday, September 22, 2014

The Poopmobile

****Author's note**** 

The following story is from my latest book Scrunchie-Fried and tells the story of my family car, the Poopmobile, and the fun we had in it. I hope you enjoy it.

 Growing up in southern Ohio during the 70s and 80s was a lot of fun. We lived on a small farm in rural Ohio about forty miles from Cincinnati in Adams County. I lived midway between two towns, Winchester and Cherry Fork, where about the only exciting thing happening was chasing the neighbor's cows when they got out or riding my Shetland pony, Silver, which was not for the faint of heart. That pony could buck anyone off (except Dad), usually in a matter of seconds.

In 1978, after several discussions, Mom and Dad decided it was time to purchase a new car.  There were only two choices to pick from and that was a Ford or a Chevy. My parents decided on a Ford and that's how we became the proud owners of a new, silver Ford LTD.  Mom would be driving the car to work and it also became the family car. The one early memory of the car that I have is that the payment was going to be $206 a month.  Back in the day, that was a huge amount, and mom had it taken out of her credit union so they wouldn't have to face the daunting task of writing a check for that amount every month.

By the time of my sophomore year when it was time to get my driver's license it had become obvious that I wasn't going to have my own car. Dad had lost his job at the pants factory in Manchester where he was a pattern marker for the Hercules Trouser Company and was unemployed.  Mom was still holding onto her job as a supervisor at the Robertshaw Controls Company in Hillsboro but every product line she managed seemed to get shipped off to a foreign country, namely Haiti. Jobs were hard to come by and money was tight. The idea of a 16-year-old girl finding a job and making enough money to purchase a car seemed totally out of reach at the time, so the LTD would have to do. It would become my ride and ferry me and my friends up one side of the street and down the other.  After all, it was 1983, and cruising was the name of the game.

The LTD was a large car, not quite the land yacht of the day like a Caddy or Lincoln Continental, but large enough to hold the starting five on the boy's basketball team and my friend, Barbie and me. Barbara Thomas Downing, named after her father, Tom, was two years younger than me, lived about a half mile or an easy bike ride away and had the only paved driveway with a basketball hoop in the area.  We went to church together but didn't really start hanging out until she reached high school.  That fall, we started riding to basketball practice together, and before too long, became fast friends.

My house was at the top of a hill and surrounded by trees. Parking was outside, on the gravel driveway or in the yard; we never had a garage.  Come to think of it, the only people that had a garage were Barbie and her family; no wonder everyone always hung out there.  One side effect of living in a rural area surrounded by trees is birds.  Birds were everywhere. And for some reason, all of those birds were attracted to my mom's silver LTD. 

I don't know if it was because of the color or maybe the birds could see their reflection or thought it was another bird. I'm not sure, but for whatever reason, the birds pooped, messed, pooped some more and even splattered on the windows at a breath-taking pace.  The LTD, or Poopmobile, as it was to become known as was more decorated than any city statue of a long forgotten war hero and was certainly as well covered as the Plaza Piazza in Venice, Italy.

I'm not sure who came up with the name Poopmobile but I think it might have been Nancy Doorneweerd, who was in the same grade as me. As a teenager you would have thought that I would have been totally embarrassed by it; I mean riding around in a vehicle with bird crap all over it ain't exactly the best way to attract a date if you know what I mean.  But, if I wanted to get out of the house, it was the only way to go. A typical night consisted of putting $3 worth of gas in it, always checking the oil because that car used a lot of it and hitting the road.

 We usually rode up to old Doc Salamon's office, back down through town and made a right on Highway 770 and went around Sam (Sam's) McClellan's Frostee Freeze. We usually ended back at Sam's sometime during the evening (if you could find a place to park) to grab a pizza burger and a chocolate ice cream cone. After turning around at Sam's we would go back into town and make a right on Highway 247 and then go up and turn around at the car wash owned by the Hall family and head back to Doc Salamon's office.
The amount of time that it took to complete this loop invariably depended on who else was cruising that night. Depending on the time of year and what crops were being planted or harvested usually dictated who was out and about. It was farm country and there was always lots of work to be done. I should know, because we raised tobacco and it was some of the hardest and nastiest work that I have ever done. But, it didn't matter because it put food on the table and usually provided us with our Christmas presents each year.

I guess the story I remember the best about my time spent with the Poopmobile was a Sunday night in December that we all decided to skip church and travel to Blue Creek to check out Rudd's Christmas Farm. Every year, Mr. Rudd decorated entire hillsides with Christmas lights. Over the years, people came from all over the world to view the "Lights" as we locals called it.  At least three carloads of teenagers set off from Winchester to travel the twenty some miles to Blue Creek. Along the way we made a pit stop in Blue Creek where I showed my friends where my Granny lived. (We didn't actually cross the water bridge to go see her because the creek was too high and she wouldn't have approved that we had skipped church to go.)

In the car with me as I remember it was me, Barbie, maybe Anita and most of the starting five from the high school boys' basketball team. Roger, Tim, Bill, Jason and possibly David were crammed in as tight as a can of sardines.  Following along behind us with another van full of kids was Tammy and another car behind her was stuffed too. Sometime during the trip we had to make a pit stop because the lid of the trunk popped open. The Poopmobile had suffered two serious incidents in a relatively short period of time. Mom had hit a deer in the front of the car and my brother, Kevin, had been rear-ended during a winter storm. Neither of these accidents had taken the Poopmobile off the road; it just wasn't particularly pleasant to look at.

After repeated attempts to close the trunk it became apparent that it was going to have to be tied down. There were four boys in the car but none of them had on a belt. Luckily, the gold, stretchy metal belts that were so popular back then was around my waist and it worked perfectly. We tied down the trunk and continued on our way. We laughed the whole way and when we reached the "Lights" and started spilling out of the car, folks were amazed at how many kids it would hold. It was a super fun night and one I'll always remember.

The Poopmobile was a fun part of my high school years. Its legend will be forever immortalized in our Class of '85 yearbook.  In my class will, I dedicated my car, the Poopmobile, to others so that they could continue to make their curfews on time and have as much fun as possible.

Yes, it was covered in bird crap, but in the big scheme of things, isn't it what's on the inside that matters most? And the inside of this car was always filled with a lot of laughs, and, most importantly, lots of love.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Top Ten Signs You Are Going On Vacation Very Soon

It's time for another trip of a lifetime. And, yep, I'm going too. Somehow, I talked my mother into going on a bus ride across the country to see the Grand Canyon.

Plus, we're staying a couple of nights in Las Vegas too.

We're very excited!

So here are the top ten signs that you are going on vacation very soon:

10. Your Facebook page is full of the places you are going to visit.

9. You're worrying because you haven't counted to see if you have enough clean underwear.

8. All work related emergencies are not your top priority.

7. You're broke!

6. You're the only happy person in the room when the boss says everyone has to work overtime the day you go on vacation.

5. No one likes you because they've already used up all of their vacation time.

4. The cats won't get out of the suitcase so you can pack.

3. Every piece of clothing you own has been tried on repeatedly and you are now convinced that the bright purple shirt goes with the too tight red pants and lime green flip flops.

2. You've concluded that there isn't enough time to lose that last ten pounds, said *uck it and have just eaten a box of donuts.

1. The car breaks down and you are presented with an estimate that costs twice the price of your vacation.

Be sure and check back again, I'll be doing updates from the road.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Silent Reminder

In memory of those who lost their lives on that tragic day and for the family and friends that continue to grieve for you, I silence my laughter on this day and fill my heart and soul instead with the prayers and songs of those who remember.

You will never be forgotten and we will never forget.

God Bless America.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Top Ten Things Joan Rivers Would Have Said At Her Own Funeral

A part of me died recently with the passing of Joan Rivers. From the first moment that I heard one of her jokes I was hooked.

She was brash, bold and funny.

Very funny.

Her jokes ran the gambit from popular culture to political satire and everything in between. No one was off limits from her razor sharp wit.

Including herself.

Self depreciation was a large part of the schlick, and why not, from the plastic surgeries to the only girl in the men's club, she was an easy target.

She made people squirm.

And offended.

And pissed off.

I wanted to be like that.

But most of all, she made you forget what was bothering you and that life was meant to be enjoyed. She entertained us in the best possible way by not only laughing at us but with us.

So, out of respect for my favorite comedian, I give you the top ten things Joan Rivers would have said at her own funeral:

10.  Oh my God. How much am I making for this gig? I haven't seen this many accountants in  one     place since NBC fired Jay Leno from the Tonight Show. And hired Conan O'Brien. And fired Conan O'Brien. And hired Jay Leno. And fired Jay Leno. Really? You could have had me for nothing.

9.    Howard Stern? You tall schmuck. Your private parts really gross me out. And that hair? It's 2014, get a stylist, for Christ's sake. Try a relaxer or something.

8.    Can we talk? Can we talk? No, we can't fucking talk. Those fucking bagpipes are way too loud.

7.    Hollywood, people. I said I wanted Hollywood. Not the B list. Kathy Griffin? Sarah Jessica Parker? Matthew Broderick? Who the hell are they?

6.    Damn it, I'm not ready, yet. I'm scheduled to do Trump Plaza in December. (Oh, wait, that check will probably bounce.)

5.    The makeup artists did a good job, didn't they? I look more lifelike now than I have in years.

4.    Who am I wearing?

3.     Stop crying! Quick, some one tell a joke...

2.     My vagina is so dry

1.     How dry is it?

Thanks for asking, but it's time for me to go.

You've been a great crowd!


Rest in peace, Joan Rivers, wait--- scratch that---I'm sure there's quite a crowd wherever you are and they could probably use a laugh.

Knock'em dead!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mountain View, California? Who Are You?

Hello Mountain View, California!

It's nice  to meet you!

But who are you?

I know there are people all over the world that like to drop in on the middle-aged fat woman and I really enjoy it. There is a tracking system that I use called Feedjit that tracks the somewhat precise location of where a visitor is from. I say somewhat precise because it says I'm from another  town which is sixty miles away.

It lists the city and state and in lots of cases the country, too.  I'm always intrigued when a new country pops up--last week someone from Malawi visited.  I can assure you that I have never been there but it might be a fun place to check out.  I'm sure mom would like to go!

One of the regular city/state combinations that pops up is Mountain View, California.  In my travels out west I've yet to grace California's doorstep; in fact, I've come about 17 miles short on more than one occasion. I don't think I have any relatives that live there, either, so the visitor must be totally interested in sharing a laugh with me.

How cool is that?

(Author's note: I'm still waiting for my friend from Mountain View, California to introduce themselves to me. Also, I'm heading out west at the end of the month and I just might make it to California this time.  I hope so, anyway!)

Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. Mom says hi!


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