Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year End Closeouts...Part One

Happy Last Day Of The Year!

It's not how I normally say Happy New Year but I'm still thinking about 2015 so let's not get ahead of ourselves. A few years ago, I did the blog topic "Year End Closeouts" and talked about things I should've done but for whatever excuse and reason you can think of didn't quite get accomplished. This time around, I'm not going to concentrate on what "didn't happen" but instead what "did happen."

I hope I get to everything, but you know what they say about middle-aged women---What? You can't remember?--Well, that makes two of us so let's just move on.

January--The first month of the year I was still recovering from an intestinal issue that sent me to the hospital. It might have been a bad case of the Mexican-Chinese flu but I'm not sure because I was diagnosed and dismissed with the same thing I went in for: "severe intestinal distress". Take two bottles of Pepto and don't call me in the morning.

February & March--After dropping 15 pounds during Thanksgiving, the Christmas Holidays and the first month of the year, my body decided it was okay and was starving for nourishment. I'm not just talking nourishment for the body, but a complete overhaul of the nourishment I was providing for my brain. I needed to read more. I needed to write more. I needed to make upgrades to the blog. I needed to do something other than stuff potato chips and Rolos down my gullet and "think" about what needed to be done.

I'd been thinking for years, but this time, something was different: I actually told someone what I was thinking and they took me for my word. The banner at the top of the blog was done by a friend that I met at the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop in 2012. Amy Hartl Sherman is an exceptional artist and can be found at Kranky Kitty dispensing quips as only she can do. She did a fantastic job and it really improved the looks of the blog.

Something else I was thinking about--and totally jumped the gun on--was the novel I was slightly less than halfway finished with and hadn't written anything in for almost 18 months and didn't know if I ever would write in again--was going to need someone other than me or my family to whip it in to shape and to quote a friend "give it the line edit it deserves."

I'm still amazed about what happened next. I emailed my friend Gina Barreca asking for a recommendation and two weeks later had someone interested and inquiring about the status of my project. Niamh Emerson is who I am thrilled to be working with and she's agreed to come along on the next book. Two books? WHAT? How did that happen? That's the thing when you stop thinking to yourself and let others in on the secret: something might actually happen! (Niamh is featured in the book Make Mine A Double.)

April--My birthday month--always a fun time--but this year something extra. I received an email from the library in my home county in Ohio inviting me to do a book signing in the last part of the month. WHAT? How did that happen? There was a small scheduling conflict: I was supposed to be on vacation in Savannah on the same day. No worries! I said "YES, I WOULD BE THRILLED TO ATTEND," and hopped on a plane and flew to Dayton where Sister lived and she drove me to the book signing. It was exciting! Oh, and since I had someone lined up to edit my book, I started writing again.

May--Mom was off on another trip of a lifetime. Aunt Phyllis went with her and they spent two weeks in Alaska travelling by planes, trains and ships. Aunt Phyllis didn't do too good on one of the plane rides and puked the entire time, wasting a cool four hundred bucks. Mom said it wasn't wasted since Aunt Phyllis had her head in a bag she could look over her and see out both sides of the plane and that doubled Mom's view. (Makes sense to me.) I also continued on my novel and was amazed how it was progressing.

June--Another fellow ERMA buddy, Kari Lynn Collins was in Atlanta for the weekend for a wedding and we somehow managed to spend a raucous Friday afternoon and evening at the bar in the hotel where she was staying. I met most of her family and got hugs from everyone--albeit reluctantly, 'cause I'm a hand shaker, not a hugger--but that's how they do things in Texas (where she's from) so everyone got their necks hugged.

A week or so after that I actually finished the novel I was working on for four years and shipped it off to my editor. (I really like saying that.)

But the month wasn't finished. Nope, during the time of writing my novel, I planned my 30-year high school class reunion and the last weekend of the month travelled back to Ohio for the fun event. I had such a good time at the book signing in April, I was invited to come back for another book signing event which happened to be the afternoon of my class reunion. I had about an hour between events and I'm not sure how it happened because everything went off without a hitch. We did almost get thrown out of the hotel for making too much noise and my oldest crush said he named one of his goats after me so you really can't top that...

I was going to put the whole year in one blog post but too much stuff happened so come back tomorrow for the rest of the year.

Be safe if you're out celebrating this year...

Friday, December 25, 2015

Rudd Christmas Farm...A Southern Ohio Memory

***Enjoy this classic holiday post***

A holiday tradition that many people in southern Ohio enjoyed throughout the years was a visit to see the lights. Actually, it was called Rudd's Christmas Farm and it featured almost a million lights by the time it closed in 1999. The light display was nestled in the hills of southern Ohio near the Shawnee National Forest in a town called Blue Creek.

I knew Blue Creek because that's where my Granny and Uncle Tommy lived. Each year after Thanksgiving Mr. Rudd would flip the switch and the twinkling lights would fill the nighttime sky with a dazzling display of electric sunshine. If you were looking for plastic Santa Clauses or mechanized Frosty the Snowmans then this light display wasn't for you. Rudd's Christmas Farm celebrated the true meaning of Christmas, which was the birth of Jesus. Some years he would have live animals on display and a manger scene was usually set up in the barn.

We usually went to see the lights on Christmas night. We had spent the day at Granny's house--eating and running down all of the batteries in our new toys. As darkness began to close in it was time to load up in her truck and drive over to see this year's display. I don't know how we managed but we always seemed to fit 23 people in Granny's truck, plus a wheelchair.

The drive to see the lights was an adventure by itself. It was a couple miles back a curvy road with a large stream on one side and a big drop off down into a gully on the other. Throw in some icy weather and a couple tour buses and you got yourself a happening situation.

Once we unloaded and made our way through the display it was time to meet Mr. Rudd. Both Mr. Rudd and my Granny had extremely large families. He didn't know who you specifically belonged to, but he knew you were one of Margaret's kids' kids. Greetings were exchanged and Christmas carols were sang with full-bellied gusto. It was a good time.

I guess the event that stands out the most about my visits to Rudd's Christmas Farm was the year he did something special for my family. Due to horrible weather and a death in the family we were unable to view the lights on Christmas night. We had several family members that didn't make it to Granny's house until well up into January. Granny placed a phone call and asked if Mr. Rudd might turn on the lights for a few minutes so we could witness the majesty of his display. Not a problem, he told my grandmother, come on over.

Now, that's the true meaning of Christmas.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve Traditions

Some of my fondest memories around the holidays occurred on Christmas Eve. It wasn’t the actual event that was so much fun but the preparations up to that special day.

My Dad would always help in the decorating of the living room. There are certain decorations that had to go in a specific spot each year. We always had red and green crepe paper chains that ran across the ceiling of the living room. We would take branches from the bottom of the Christmas tree and place them on the mantel above the fireplace. We had a fabulously colored gold and shiny tinsel looking thing that hung from one of the doorways.

My job on Christmas Eve was to always set out the different food-laden bowls in the living room. We always had a bowl with various nuts, mainly walnuts. We had a specific bowl for the fruit, mainly navel oranges that we ordered from the FFA each year. And you can’t forget about the cheese plate. (Which was my favorite.)

Both sets of my grandparents would come to my house each year for Christmas Eve dinner. My dad’s mom and my step-grandfather, both affectionately known as Mamaw and Papaw, as well as my mom’s mother and her brother, also known affectionately as Granny and Uncle Tommy. You needed to make sure you called Mamaw “mamaw” and Granny “granny”, or they’d let you know about it.

We would have a very big meal and then get to open our presents from our grandparents. I always knew what I was getting. Mamaw gave up buying us presents when we were really young. Instead, we were given money to go buy ourselves a present, which you had to wrap and then open in front of Mamaw.

Granny had so many grandchildren that all she could afford was usually a dollar bill and a pair of socks. I didn’t mind because I always knew that I would get a new pair of dress socks for Christmas.

Christmas Eve also meant something else too. That night the furnace got turned up to almost 80. Both grandparents were extremely cold-natured and we would have the fireplace going full blast and the furnace wide open. I loved it! I swear that was the coldest house I have ever lived in. The furnace had two vents—one into the living room and the other into mom and dad’s bedroom. There was an exhaust pipe that ran up through the ceiling and on out to the outside. The pipe was right beside my bed and I would hug it (it was warm) before I burrowed into my bed covered with about 15 quilts and blankets.

It seemed we were in bed relatively early and we tried to stay awake so we could monitor the comings and goings of the busy bees downstairs as they readied the living room for Christmas morning. I’m not sure what time they got to bed but everything was always perfect.

Our Christmas Eve dinners were always a lot of fun and something that we looked forward to. Sadly, several of the key players are no longer with us and they are deeply missed. We have a new tradition for Christmas Eve that we started after we lost Dad. I’m not sure why, but now we always go out for Chinese food.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Thing About Birthdays So Close To The Holidays

I was holiday shopping recently and got behind a group of people that included a grandma, daughter and several grandkids. The mall was so packed it was hard to get past them as they paused to window shop so I just fell along behind them as they lingered near several stores that catered toward a younger clientele. The stores that seemed to capture their attention the most was the Disney Store and the Build-a-Bear Workshop.

When the family stopped first at the Disney Store the children went absolutely bananas. "Oh, Granny, can we get a princess dress? Oh, Mommy, can we get a movie? Pleasssseee. It's almost my birthday. Pleeeeeeazzzze."

The daughter looked toward her mother who just shook her head and gave her an 'I don't know' look. "No, honey. Not today. It's almost Christmas and you're going to get lots of presents from Santa and your Aunt Susan and Aunt Alice."

I watched the children frown slightly as they processed this information so they stopped looking and continued on through the mall. What was surprising was that the kids accepted what their mother had told them and hadn't pitched a royal fit.

When we arrived at the Build-a-Bear Workshop the excitement started all over again. "Granny! Mommy! Can we make a bear? I just love teddy bears, don't you?
Oh, please! Cam we make one, please? My birthday is in TWO days. Pleeeaaase."

Mother and daughter exchanged another look and this time the grandmother said, "Sweetie, you're gonna get lots of presents for Christmas."

"I know, but they won't be for my birthday," one said with a pronounced frown.

At that moment, an older gentleman walked up and everybody just squealed, "Grandpa!"

"What's going on?" Grandpa asked.

Granny and daughter informed him about the shopping they had done and wondered where he had been. "I've been sitting on that bench over there with all the other old guys," he said with a chuckle. "I saw y'all over at the bear shop and wandered what you was fussing about?"

"Well, the kids were wanting some things for their birthday," said the daughter.

"What's wrong with that?" he asked.

"Dad, they are going to get tons of presents for Christmas. They do every year and we have this same conversation every year."

"That's a load of crap. It seems to me that it isn't the kids' faults that they were born so close to Christmas. Go ahead, get 'em what they want and I'll pay for it."

My thoughts exactly!

(I just hope you have a grandpa to pay for it.)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Looking For A Last Minute Gift?

Can't guarantee the print edition by Christmas but all formats of my books are on sale.

Here are the links:

                          Reflections On A Middle-Aged Fat Woman


Not sure how long the sale will last so pick up your version today!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Inadvertent Touching

A while back I mentioned that I would be posting a few of my favorite stories from the past few years. My search for a better haircut has been elusive for the last 20 years until I discovered my new hairdresser P.

In case you missed how we met, here's a link to that story: Should Your Hairdresser Really Be Eating Mexican Food

The following story is the next chapter in this series.


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 y'all. That's why I'm here; the gray is coming back fast."

"Oh, chica, what is y'all? 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 y'all 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 y'all 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 y'all 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!"

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VI...Day 12

On my twelfth day of dieting my body said to me:

12 disappointing weigh-ins

11 times the kitties have told me to pick up her book

10 minutes of walking

9 times I've cheated

8 glasses of water

7 slimy salads

6 sugar-free Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Thank goodness, that's over! There's always next year!

Now, let's eat!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VI...Day 11

On my eleventh day of dieting my body said to me:

11 times the kitties have told you to buy the book

10 minutes of walking

9 times I've cheated

8 glasses of water

7 slimey salads

6 sugarfree Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VI...Day 10

Hey! This thing is almost over.  Have you picked up my book yet? If you have, then I say, "way to go." If not, I say, "What are you waiting for?"

On my tenth day of dieting my body said to me:

10 minutes of walking

9 times I've cheated

8 glasses of water

7 slimy salads

6 sugar free Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VI...Day 9

On my ninth day of dieting my body said to me:

9 times I've cheated (ate at Red Lobster)

8 glasses of water

7 slimy salads

6 sugar free Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VI...Day 8

Have you picked up a copy of my book yet? It makes a great gift!

On my eighth day of dieting my body said to me:

8 glasses of water

7 slimey salads

6 sugarfree Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VI...Day 7

It's less than three weeks until Christmas and the goodies are everywhere. But stay strong, you're over halfway there.

On my seventh day of dieting my body said to me:

7 slimy salads

6 sugar free Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VI...Day 6

On my sixth day of dieting my body said to me:

6 sugar-free Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

HEY! It's Christmastime! Don't you need an extra gift for Uncle Fred or "the take the present and pass it game?" Give a copy of my latest book.  It makes a great gift.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VI...Day 5

On my fifth day of dieting my body said to me:

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VI...Day 4

Looking for a unique gift? Check out my latest book. You'll be laughing for days!

On my fourth day of dieting my body said to me:

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VI...Day 3

My crazy neighbor, Miss Merlethem Shatz, caught me outside today as I was putting up my Christmas lights. She said she had been watching me through the window and I looked like I could use a snack. Now, I'm always up for a snack, but she brought me one of those yucky tasting low-carb bars that usually results in a mad dash to the bathroom upon consumption.

I'm nothing if not neighborly, so I ate it works great in my song.

Don't forget to buy a copy of my book. It makes a great gift!

On my third day of dieting my body said to me:

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VI...Day 2

I did really well on my first day of dieting. I finished off the no-bake cookies. Now on to day 2...

Don't forget to pick up my latest book. It makes a great gift!

On the second day of dieting my body said to me:

2 hunger pains...


You're gonna do great! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VI...Day 1

It's December once again and you know what that means: It's time for the Twelve Days of Dieting!

Please join me as I continue my quest to become the MA not so Fat Woman. I'm sure you've heard the holiday classic The Twelve days of Christmas. Well, my version is The Twelve Days of Dieting.

Check back for added days and don't hesitate to sing along!

Don't forget to pick up my book; it makes a great gift.

On my first day of dieting my body said to me, "You can do it, just think how much better you'll feel..."

Monday, November 30, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Thirty

Day 30 of thankfulness: Today, I am thankful for the local library system that has computer access that allowed me to complete this last day after my Internet went kaput.

I'm also happy to report that I added 50,286 words to the second novel I am currently working on that is part of a four or five part series. I did complete #NaNoWriMo this month which is 50K written words in the month of November if you didn't know.

This morning my Internet went down; my power blinked on and off for three hours and the water has been shut off while they fix a leak in the bathroom. Mom--as level-headed as always--says "Nothing like a challenge on your last day."

Challenge is right. After a few choice words and several items tossed across the room, I came to the realization that today is the last day of the month. Thank heavens it's December 1 tomorrow and not the 31st; I've run out of things to throw.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Twenty-Nine

Day 29 of thankfulness: I am thankful today for the staff and clerks that have worked during this holiday weekend and hope you have been treated well. I hope you are able to spend some time with your own family before the craziness of December kicks in.

Remember, with out someone to stock the shelves and run the registers there wouldn't be any holiday season at all.

So thanks for all that you do. We're all grateful!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Twenty-Eight

Day 28 of thankfulness: Today, I am thankful for everyone that comes by and takes the time to read this blog. It's been something different this month--it was harder than I expected to come up with something different every day--to be thankful for without sounding like I was repeating myself.

Today is considered Small Business Saturday and as an independent writer, I guess I am my own small business. Here are the links for Scrunchie-Fried and Reflections On A Middle-Aged Fat Woman if you are looking for a gift for someone. Who doesn't love humor? And it's the perfect bathroom reader, short essays for whatever the occasion.

Also, don't forget that December is almost here and you know what that means here on the blog: Yep, it's time for 12 days of dieting.

Stay tuned!

And buy my books!

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Twenty-Seven

Day 27 of thankfulness: Today, I am thankful for a day at home, away from the madness of Black Friday, to enjoy my leftovers in the comfort of my own home.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Twenty-Six

Day 26 of thankfulness: On this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for the opportunity to spend the day with my family and friends to share a bountiful meal.

If you live in this country, you are one of the lucky ones.

Give thanks today and every day.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Twenty-Five

Day 25 of thankfulness: On this day before Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for the opportunity to do one of the things that I love to do best: Cook! (And taste test everything along the way.)

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Twenty-Four

Day 24 of thankfulness: Today, I am grateful for the doctor working in the ER Department nine years ago that told me if I didn't stop smoking I would have to carry around an oxygen tank for the rest of my life. As a smoker, I had chronic bronchitis, cleared my throat all the time and every morning spent ten or so minutes trying to cough up my lungs. I was a two-pack-a-day smoker and spent what now seems like most of my day with a live flame four inches from my face.

I enjoyed smoking--the socialness of it--at least it was social in the beginning. When I started smoking, you could smoke most anywhere. By the time I quit in 2006, you couldn't smoke anywhere, even outside in some locations. We smoked on the way to dinner. We smoked before, during, and after dinner. We smoked on the way home from dinner. No wonder a lot of smokers are so thin; they smoke a cigarette instead of eating the smoked salmon. At least I did, anyway.

That doctor wrote me a prescription for the medication Chantix which I'd heard about. So, I smoked a few cigarettes on Thanksgiving with my Aunt Phyllis outside at Mom's house and told her of my plan. She wished me good luck and on Black Friday I laid down the cigarettes for good. That was nine years ago. (I did cheat two times, once on the 4th day and another on the 12th day.)

I'm grateful for being a non-smoker, so if you want to give it a try, why not start on Black Friday; it worked for me. I'll be seeing Aunt Phyllis on Thanksgiving; she's trying to quit smoking too. I'll remind her of our conversation and wish her the same.

Good luck, Aunt Phyllis! We're pulling for you.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Twenty-Three

Day 23 of thankfulness: This morning after the first hard freeze of the season I am extremely grateful for my entire heating system process. From the furnace, to the ductwork and the pipes that carry it in the house. I'm even thankful for the gas company--although they've given me problems on and off for 20 years--the gas always gets here.

I do live in an old and drafty house. Last night relaxing in my recliner that sits right in front of a big, drafty window, I had on thermal pajamas, a sweatshirt pulled over that, two cats and a wool blanket. And I was still cold.

Either it needs to warm up or I need to turn up the heat.

Raised in a household where the furnace was never touched by anyone other than a parental unit, and that was done so grudgingly, I think there's a better chance that the weather will warm up.

Stay warm!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Twenty-Two

Day 22 of thankfulness: This morning I wake up grateful for the opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream. Growing up in southern Ohio, my family and thousands of other families enjoyed the beautiful Christmas displays assembled each year at Rudd Christmas Farm. Now, in celebration of that, I have my own display--not nearly as large as that--but enough to fill my entire front yard. This large Santa is twenty feet tall; this year's newest addition.

If you're in North Georgia in the next month or so and see this big guy make sure you beep the horn when you go past so I'll know it's you.

I'll be sure to wave back!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Twenty-One

Day twenty-one of thankfulness: On this weekend before Thanksgiving I am thankful for a varied set of cookbooks containing years of delicious recipes to share with family and friends. The problem is deciding which dish to prepare; there are so many to choose from. Happy baking!

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Twenty

Day twenty of thankfulness: This morning I wake up thankful for a good report from the doctor. As someone that manages multiple chronic health conditions on a daily basis, good test results are challenging to achieve and when I do it makes the meanest doctor I've ever had smile. Slightly.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Nineteen

Day nineteen of thankfulness: I'm thankful today for the  medicine that is available to me and millions of folks that need it on a daily basis. Also, for the medical professionals that provide care and support for the sick and disabled and often go way beyond the call of duty. So the next time you see a nurse or doctor, say thanks!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Eighteen

Day eighteen of thankfulness: I'm thankful today for my two cats, Wally and Ralphie, who show so much love and affection that I know one of these days they're going to speak aloud and say "I love you." (Wouldn't that be awesome?)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Seventeen

Day seventeen of thankfulness: I am thankful for my mother, not just today, but everyday, that she is still with me and has one of the best minds of anyone I have ever met. Love you!

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Sixteen

Day sixteen of thankfulness: After a weekend of sad and depressing news from around the globe, I am thankful to have the opportunity on this chilly Monday morning to begin my workweek and continue on with my journey in this life.

Sadly, many others won't.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Fifteen

Day fifteen of thankfulness: I am grateful today for the beautiful words by my friend and fellow writer, Gina Barreca, who captures what most of us feel about the tragic events in Paris.

The OP-ED  is from the Hartford Courant yesterday.

Please read and share:

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Fourteen

Lonely planet 

I had to turn off the television last night. The news reports of the events in Paris were so sad; my good thoughts and support go out to all of the families involved.

Day fourteen of thankfulness: I am thankful that I live in the United States, am protected and feel safe in my own home. Goodness and light will always prevail.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Thirteen

Day thirteen of thankfulness: I am thankful on this Friday the 13th to be off the roads after a trip to Atlanta during rush hour and construction work on the highways. Plus, a clean bill of health for mom who had a colonoscopy today. And of course we celebrated like we always do with a visit to Red Lobster.

There's always something to be grateful for. And there are only thirteen days until Thanksgiving; not that I'm counting.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Twelve

Day twelve of thankfulness: I am thankful today for everyone that reads my words and comes back to visit on a daily basis.

I'm working on the second book (my 4th, actually) Return To The Middle in a series I am doing and am nearly half finished with the first draft. It's something I'm really excited about and can't wait for you to read.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Month Of Thanksgiving...Day Eleven

Day eleven of Thankfulness: I am grateful for everyone that has served our country and especially my father, Harold G Palmer. Happy Veteran's Day. Miss you lots!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Ten

Day ten of thankfulness: Today, I am especially thankful for a weather forecast that includes more sunny skies than rainy days. At last. It has rained 14 out of the last 15 days so the sunshine will be a welcome reprieve.

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Nine

Day nine of Thankfulness: I'm grateful that I woke up this morning to enjoy another rainy day in Georgia. (That's about it. The rain has been here fro week.) Oh, and I still have some awesome chocolate chip cookies yet.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Eight

Friend and I had a terrific time at our cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta yesterday. If you ever have the opportunity to go do so, you'll meet some new friends and prepare some really good food.

Day eight of thankfulness: I am thankful for good friends, fun times and the best damn chocolate chip cookies I've ever eaten, all enjoyed in one memorable day.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Seven

Day seven of thankfulness: I am thankful today for the opportunity to do something that I have always wanted to do. I will be taking a baking class at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Atlanta. Watch out, Julia Child, here I come.

P.S. I'll be happy to share any leftovers...if there are any!

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Six

Day six of thankfulness: I'm thankful today for the birds chirping away outside on another dreary, rainy North Georgia day while I am inside staring at a blank computer screen typing this message hoping that more words will follow.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Five

For Christmas last year, I received a gift certificate for 12 water aerobic sessions at a local indoor pool. They are good for one year so today I attended for the first time.

Day five of thankfulness: I'm thankful that I didn't drown during water aerobics this morning and I kept up with all of the people in the pool who all were about 20-30 years older than me.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Four

It's another cloudy and misty day in the North Georgia Mountains but I'm still thankful.

Day four of thankfulness: I'm thankful that I went to the polls and voted yesterday even though there was only one issue on the ballot. Not many people get that chance.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Three

November is Diabetes Awareness Month.

Day three of thankfulness: As someone that has suffered from diabetes for nearly 20 years, I am thankful that I have the best care and access to the best medicine....yes, even the needles...that is available to the public. Many don't.

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day Two

Day two of thankfulness: I am thankful that it has finally stopped raining. It's time to start putting up the Christmas decorations.

A Month Of Thankfulness...Day One

I thought I would do something different on the blog this month. On Facebook, several of my friends always share what they are grateful for during the month of November to celebrate Thanksgiving.

So, I'm going to play along.

Day one of thankfulness: I am thankful to have a roof over my head and enough food in the pantry and fridge to keep me fat and sassy.

I'll be doing this all month, so feel free to add your own thanks in the comments.


Friday, October 30, 2015

How About A Nice Halloween Ride

Press play...

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Should Your Hairdresser Really Be Eating Mexican Food

Author's note: This is the first story I wrote about my hairdresser and my difficulties getting a good haircut. I've written another story but I want you to get caught up first.

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, October 26, 2015

The Super Enthusiastic Wave

I almost had a wreck the other day.

Why? You might ask?

I was startled by an overly enthusiastic wave.

Yep, I almost ran off the road because someone waved at me. I'm not such an ogre that I don't get the occasional wave or even my favorite, the extended forefinger aimed in my direction. But this wave was different.

This wave involved at least two individuals in a silver soccer mom van. I couldn't tell what they looked like--I only saw long dark hair on one of them. The person driving the van laid on the horn with one hand and had the other hand waving as fast as she could. The passenger had everything she could possibly find waving in my direction.

As I became somewhat distracted by all of these shenanigans, I felt my eyes widen as our vehicles became dangerously close to one another. The wavers' eyes widened as well but it didn't deter the waving; only increased it, I think.

I gave the perfunctory wave as I passed them, silently glad that they hadn't run me off the road. Later that day, I recounted  the story to my mom:

Me: "Two ladies 'bout ran me off the road today."

Mom: "They did? Were you going too fast?"

Me: "Nope. They were waving and beeping so much at me that we almost ran into each other."

Mom: "Huh?" Did you know 'em?"

Me: "I haven't the foggiest idea..."

Mom: "Maybe they was just messing with you.  I do that all the time--wave at people real big and act like I know them. Makes people smile...."

Me:  "Do you run them off the road?"

Mom: "Only if they don't wave back!"

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Crumbly Biscuits

I'm a pretty easy going kinda girl but there are a few things that get on my nerves. One thing that I seem to be having difficulty with lately are biscuits. Not just any biscuits, but crumbly biscuits.

I'm not talking about the kind of biscuits that you make at home. You know, you smack the can against the counter or stick a knife into the can and wait on edge until it pops. Those biscuits aren't crumbly; they have too many artificial ingredients in them to fall apart.

I'm talking about fast food biscuits.

Most of the time, I eat fast food biscuits in the car. And no matter how many different ways I try holding it or arranging the wrapper or adding an extra napkin a large chunk of biscuit falls off, usually into my lap. I then end up doing the brush off or picking up tiny crumbs constantly looking down to find any leftovers and swerving all over the road.

What's really bad is if I am going to work and then I end up with a big grease spot. At least I know it's a grease spot. I've gotten looks before and I knew what they were thinking: That I somehow had gotten one of those wet-looking spots that men get when they hadn't utilized the old shake or tap method. Nasty!

One of the first things I need to do when getting out of the car is check myself for biscuit crumbs. The problem is that by the time I get to where I'm going I have forgotten all about it. I was made well aware of this fact not to long ago when I met mom for a shopping trip. As we were walking back to the car she commented, "You know ya got a big 'ol biscuit crumb sticking to your butt."

"Dang it! I hate crumbly biscuits. They get everywhere."

"I know," she said. "I've switched to wraps. They aren't crumbly, but I have a hard time keeping the egg from falling out. I still end up with a grease spot sometimes; make me look like I didn't do the old wave and shake, ha ha. You'd think they would be able to fix that problem?"

"Maybe no one ever complained about it?" I said.

"Yep, you're probably right. I wonder who we could call?"

Monday, October 19, 2015

Song Of The Moment

I'm sure this has happened to you on more than one occasion. I was getting out of the shower the other day and was suddenly hit with an overwhelming urge to sing.


Yes, sing. What was more surprising was the choice of songs. In my head for a second and out of my mouth the next: Thump, thump, thump, another one bites the dust. Hey, hey, another one bites the dust. And another one's gone, and another one's gone. Hey, we're gonna get you through; another one bites the dust. Thump, thump, thump...chicachicachica.

When I awakened from my trance I found myself playing air guitar with the towel and both of the cats puffed up and hiding in the corner.  I guess they don't like Queen. Or maybe it's my singing.

That got me to thinking about where had that song come from. I don't have any Queen records. Or cassettes. Or CDs. Or even on my iPod. Since I no longer commute on a daily basis, I seldom listen to the radio. Where had I picked up this song?

As the day continued on, I found myself randomly singing, "Thump, thump, thump, another one bites the dust." Was I trying to kill somebody and not know it?

The days wore on and I was almost worn out. I was SICK of the thumps and I didn't care who bit the dust. This song had definitely worn out its welcome; time to move on. Take a bow, Queen; the song is over!

A few more weeks passed, and finally, the thumps began to subside.  I was visiting with mom at her house and the television was going full-blast in the background. There's something about her television that's not quite right.  You can barely hear someone speaking during a show but when the commercial comes on, it almost blasts you into outer space.

Mom was in the laundry room folding some clothes when I overheard her singing, "Thinking about working up an appetite, looking forward to a little afternoon delight. Sky rockets in sight, afternoon delight." Afternoon Delight? That was almost as bad as my Queen song.

A few moments later, mom was walking back into the room when I heard the all to familiar thump, thump, thumps; they were loud but they weren't coming from me. It was coming from the television; it was a Target commercial. Light bulbs went off in my head--so, that's where the song had come from. "Wow! What's that noise?" mom asked.

"It's a commercial," I yelled back.

"I know that. But, what's the song?"

"It's Another One Bites The Dust by the group Queen," I replied.

"Oh, I like it. It's got a good beat to it," she said.  "Thump, thump, thump; another one bites the dust," she sang as she walked away.

I just shook my head. Good--now, maybe I'll stop singing it all the time.

Later, back at home, I was getting out of the shower, when out of nowhere I bellowed, "Sky rockets in flight; Afternoon delight."

Oh, crap! I've traded in the thumps for a little afternoon delight.

I wonder what's next?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

What If I Don't Get In

I'll be honest; I'm already biting my nails, crossing everything that can be crossed and praying to every Saint, Deity and God that I have ever heard of in anticipation of what happens on December 1, 2015. No, the world isn't ending, but it may feel that way for some if they don't get in.

I know you're probably wondering what could make me and several other thousand writerly folks resort to such measures and it's quite simply the registration date for a writing workshop that takes place every two years.

But, this isn't any typical workshop. This is the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop that takes place at University of Dayton, in Dayton, Ohio, every two years. It's the only workshop in the country devoted to humor and trust me when I say not getting into the workshop is no laughing matter for those that have attended in the past.

Teri Rizvi, Director Extraordinaire of the workshop has set up a Facebook page detailing when registration opens and encouraging past attendees to spread the word to other writers.

That's where the trouble started.

If we spread the word to other writers, won't that decrease my chances of getting in? I know everyone can't write humor--and that's a shame--because it's really hard to do. But this conference for humor writers is like an Ivy League school--it's really hard to get into and can definitely change your life--only it won't bust your wallet in the process.

A past attendee and my friend, Janine, voiced what everyone was thinking: "I'll be on a plane flying from Budapest to India when registration opens and I'm going to HAVE to beg someone to register for me. What if I don't get in?"

Another pal and past attendee, Mindy, says she now sets the alarm on registration day and missed out in '04 and '06 because she forgot when the date was.

I knew exactly how both of my friends felt. Mom and I were cruising down the Danube River when registration rolled around last time and my friend, Kathie, had to do the registering for me. (She did get the biggest and best souvenir.)

I won't be floating down the Danube this time, nor will I be way down yonder on the Chattahoochee--where it does get hotter than a hoochie coochie--no, I will be sitting at my desk, in my straight back chair watching the countdown clock that I have set up on my computer.

It's at 28 days and counting…

Not to be outdone by any of us is my friend, Pam, who has already made her hotel reservation. "If I'm not staying at the Marriott, I'm not going," she said. And in the next breath, "I hope I get in."

I do, too, Pam.

Because I've already made my hotel reservation, too.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Got Gas...Revisited

****Read this story again before I post this year's story about my exchange with the gas company.****

Recently, a friend of mine was disgusted by the amount that she had to pay to purchase propane for her home in Virginia. I immediately knew how she felt because I have been battling with my propane provider for years and not just about price.

I thought I had already written about this crap but after checking back through the archives I only found a draft and not the actual finished piece. (Not sure why I never finished it.) Probably, because no one would actually believe it, I guess.

To keep it short and to the point, whatever could go wrong with ordering a tank of propane has gone wrong for me.

Here are a few examples:

I ordered gas and it never got delivered. (This happened three times.)

I left them a check taped to the inside of the lid of the tank but they wouldn't leave the gas because they couldn't find a check.

I ordered gas and they put it in the neighbor's tank.

They billed me for it and threatened to send it to collections before I could convince them about the mistake.

For over five years, they had one of the meanest customer service representatives that you could imagine. (She was finally fired.)

The new rep that replaced her listened to my stories of previous mishaps and assured me that those mistakes would never happen again. They had gone through several training classes and had a completely new staff. (She then used my account number for the lady that came in at the same time as me. Good thing I checked my receipt before I left. It took over 20 minutes of voiding and searching to get that mess straightened out.)

One could think that I was making all of this up because it all seems so impossible that the mistakes would keep happening. But, I'm not and it's always an adventure when I need to purchase fuel for my furnace. I do have to admit that the last three visits have been mishap free. (I guess that training paid off.)

Now, when I go I no longer begin my conversation with, "My name is Palmer and I've had some problems in the past." I just give my info and they ring me up.

Today was a little different. The woman that replaced the mean lady was there and had two new helpers. As I was waiting for one of the newbies to ring me up I mentioned about the price that Amerigas was charging my friend in Virginia which was $4.58 a gallon. My company is Heritage Propane and I was charged $2.29, which is substantially less. All three heads swiveled and looked at me when I mentioned the price and then they all looked at each other.

"I think they pay more up north and down in Florida," the lady I knew said.

"Yeah, I think you're right," another said. "It's probably because of the salaries; they make a lot more than we do."

Sounds reasonable to me.

The new lady rang up my purchase without any problems and I left them with a chipper "Goodbye and I hope to not see you again this year." We all laughed and I grabbed one of their 2015 calendars and headed out to the car.

Glancing down at the calendar I was surprised to see the Amerigas logo  on it. Oh, no, when did that happen?  My company was no longer small and independent. Maybe that was why the three women looked at me so funny when I mentioned the higher price up north.

I don't know, maybe the higher prices up north are paying for all of the training down here because it's been over two years since they messed up my account.

Good for me, but bad for my friend. On the bright side, I hear they are predicting a warmer and shorter winter for the northeast.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Recipes From My New Cookbook

I like unusual cookbooks and I picked this gem up at a yard sale a few weeks back. Glancing at the title before I bought it I didn't know if it had real recipes or was just a joke. I also wanted to find out if any of the foods that I liked to cook were inside. There's nothing quite like finding out you're white trash by the foods that you like to cook, and that somebody actually took the time to write it all down.

I've included a recipe from different sections of the cookbook:

Vegetables 'n Meats

Nobody's Corn Topper Casserole
1 pound can cut green beans, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pound can cream-style corn
4 tablespoons chopped onion
2 cups cubed cooked ham
3/4 cup Bisquick

Place beans in a 2-quart greased casserole, reserving a few for garnish. Sprinkle onion on top; spread with soup. Top with a layer of ham. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Combine, corn and biscuit mix. Spoon mixture on top of casserole. Bake for 20 minutes longer. Garnish with rest of beans.

Fish, Cooter 'n Shrimp

Clara Jane Vickar's Creamed Tuna Lunch
Brown 2 tablespoons of flour and 3 tablespoons of butter or oleo in a skillet. Add the tuna (big can is best) chunk style and 1 small container half-and-half or 2 cups of milk. Cook over low heat til thickened. Salt, pepper, and serve with toast or rice. Carnation evaporated milk is good in this, too.

Sandwiches 'n Eggs

Oozie's Okra Omelet
1 cup of fresh okra, cut in rounds
1/2 cup chopped scallions
6-7 eggs
1/3 cup of milk

Fry okra and onions in 2 tablespoons of bacon and grease or oil til onions are clear and okra is bright green. Remove okra and onions. Stir eggs into the skillet til they start thickening; then add okra and onions and work til done. 5-9 minutes. Serves 4 to 5. Best with cornbread.

Candies, Cakes, Cobbler 'n Cookies

Post Office Cookies
1 1/3 sticks oleo
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup flour (measure before sifting)
1 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon McCormick's vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten together

Cream oleo and sugar; add eggs and flour, vanilla and nuts. Cook in biscuit pan in a slow oven (250 degrees) about 40 minutes. When cold, cut in small pieces and roll in confectioner's powdered sugar.

Sweet Pones, Puddins 'n Pies

Sweet Tater Surprise
2 cups warm mashed sweet taters
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 whole egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup crushed cornflakes

Combine warm taters with beaten egg, sugar, and salt. Form into balls with peanut butter inside each one. Roll in crushed cornflakes. Brown in oven at 375 degrees. Marshmallows can be used inside the balls with the peanut butter for a little extra treat.

Cornpones, Cornbreads, Biscuits 'n Rolls

Spoon Bread
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 1/2 teaspoons Calumet baking powder
2 eggs, separated
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups of scalded milk

Mix cornmeal and salt. Add hot milk, and cook in double-boiler until thick and smooth, stirring it once in a while. Take it off the stove and cool it. Pour in well-beaten egg yolks, and fold in stiffly-beaten egg whites. Place in greased casserole, which has also had one tablespoon of melted fat. Bake in moderate oven, 375 degrees, for 35 minutes, or until firm and the crust is brown.

You should be able to serve a complete meal from the recipes above. Let me know how it turns out.

Are you white trash?

Or do you just cook like it!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Faux Southern Twang

Watching television these days is like trying to find a particular fish named Benny in the Pacific Ocean--a crap shoot at best. With choices like "The Real Housewives of I don't really care" and "It's another singing competition" and lest we forget "The dumber I sound and look the more the producers will try to make me look smart and educated" to my all time favorite "The ultimate survival show for people who are crazy enough to live where the rest of the 7 billion people on this planet would never dare to go."

Whew! A one time through my cable channel list and you find at least five choices each that are similar to the shows that I mentioned above.

Have they simply run out of ideas?

Or are there just too many channels?

I grew up in the 70s and had three channels to choose from: ABC, CBS and NBC. These stations all broadcast their signals from Cincinnati and we received the transmissions via a UHF antenna. There were other stations in the Cincy area but we didn't receive them because they were broadcast over the VHF spectrum and our antenna wasn't equipped to accept both signals. Many a time, I found myself outside in whatever weather conditions turning the 50-ft pole that held the antenna hoping for a clearer picture. During the week we only watched television to hear the weather forecast, hear what Walter Cronkite had to say and to watch Gunsmoke on Mondays and The Waltons on Thurdsays. Television was a luxury then, not the attention-grabbing, relationship-killing, mind-sucking and mindless sitting on the couch eating whatever you can find activity that so many of us enjoy today.

With all of the selections to choose from, I usually find myself watching a rerun of a sporting event from 1989 on ESPN Classic. I'm not really watching it but I have it on in the background as I waste more of my time cruising eBay, Twitter and Facebook. Occasionally, a program will come along that will grab and keep my attention for a few episodes....or until they start killing everyone off or there's a contract dispute. The best part about Friends and Seinfeld was that the original cast stuck together during low ratings, contract negotiations and television superstardom. Could you imagine someone other than Phoebe or Kramer in their respective ensembles?

The original CSI was one of the programs that I used to watch. Characters came and left; two additional shows were spinoffs and enjoyed their own successes. Ted Danson does a really good job playing the lead investigator and I found myself watching this past Sunday night. That's another thing--they change the time and night of your favorite program and you don't get the message. I thought the program had been taken off the air.

I was flipping through my channels hoping there might be something interesting on when I saw the promo for CSI and NCIS: New Orleans. Another eureka moment: Aha! I didn't know there was a third NCIS; it might be worth checking out.

I tuned in on Tuesday night and almost from the get go I was turned off.

WHY? Fake southern accents.

There, I said it. Yes, many southerners have a distinct drawl to their voice and are quite aware of it. Other southerners, such as yours truly, have migrated to the south and may have picked up a way of speaking that is different than how they were raised. I have incorporated "Y'all" into my  vocabulary with no problem but will occasionally throw out a "youze guys" just to confuse people.

In reality, most of the people down south don't speak with such a pronounced twang because a.) they've moved to the city from somewhere else or b.) no one can understand them and it's a perfect way to get teased mercilessly.

So why does Hollywood continue to perpetuate such a lie? I may be the only person that this bothers or I might not. Who knows? What I do know is that it bothers me enough to not pay attention to anything other than the fake accents during the show and that's reason enough to turn the channel.

If I need to hear a pronounced accent I can just crank my car, head on over to the 'Pig, grab myself a Coke and do some loafering.

Y'all get my drift...that's the real twang...and I'll see youze guys later.


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