Monday, August 31, 2015

Too Many Choices

On a recent Saturday morning I found myself doing errands in my hometown when I heard my stomach growl. My first thought was how could I possibly be hungry after what I had eaten the night before? My second thought was I wonder if they are still serving breakfast at McDonalds? After another two stops; one at the post office and another at the drugstore to pick up a prescription I found myself waiting in the drive-thru lane at my favorite fast food joint.

My anticipation was building as I slowly inched my way forward to the ordering speaker. Should I get an egg mcmuffin? Maybe, I should try the new oatmeal that Sister has been raving about? What about a sausage biscuit? Should I get a value meal? Do I really need hashbrowns? Should I get coffee? They can't seem to fix my coffee the way I like it. Actually, I don't know how many shots of cream or sugar to tell them; that's probably the reason.

I continued to to inch forward in the car when I heard the lady in front of me order the sausage mcgriddles. Oh My! Now, that's something I would like to try I thought to myself, but what if I don't like it. I better stick to something safe.

Order taker: "Hi, welcome to McDonalds! May I take your order?"

MAFW: "Hi, Uhh, I think I'll have the sausage biscuit with egg."

Order taker: "Okay, would you like to get an extra value meal?"

MAFW: "Uh, sure."

Order taker: "Okay, would you like small, medium or large?"

MAFW: "Uh, I'll take medium. How many hash browns do you get with medium?"

Order taker: "You get one hash brown."

MAFW: "Okay, I'll take medium."

Order taker: "What would you like to drink?"

MAFW: "I'll have a Diet Coke."

Order taker: "Small, medium or large."

MAFW: "Drinks are all the same price, aren't they?"

Order taker: "Yes, they are."

MAFW: "Okay, I'll have the large diet."

I was waiting for the guy to state my total and to please pull forward when I was asked something else. "Would you like the folded or round egg?"

MAFW: "Excuse me?"

Order taker: "Would you like the folded or round egg?"

MAFW: "Uh, what?"

Order taker: "Ma'am, would you like a folded or round egg with your sausage biscuit with egg extra value meal?"

Are you kidding me? I have a hard enough time trying to figure out where I want to eat and what I want to eat. Now I have to decide what shape of egg I want--give me a break! "I'm not sure," I asked. "Do they taste the same?"

Order taker: "Excuse me?"

MAFW: "Yeah,I was wondering if the folded or round egg tasted the same?" (Don't laugh, they could be serving sunny-side up or over medium.)

Order taker: "I think so, they come out of the same place, you know?"


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Look Where I Am

As someone that considers herself to have a humorous side, I'm always on the lookout for like-minded people. If you've been playing along then you will remember that I discovered the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop in late 2010 and had to wait another eighteen months before I could apply to go.

Fast forward to late March 2012--which is always an exciting time because Mom and I share a birthday only twelve days apart--and I received the info about who would be making appearances at the 2012 Workshop. Among others was Alan Zweibel who wrote for Saturday Night Live; Adriana Trigani who wrote for The Cosby Show; Ilene Beckerman who became a writing success later in life ; Connie Schultz, a Pulitzer Prize Winner that wrote for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and married to Ohio Senator, Sherrod Brown and Regina Barreca, PhD, UCONN English Professor and columnist for the Hartford Courant.

What stood out the most for me was Pulitzer Prize Winner--and since I'm from Ohio--Connie Schultz was the one person that I really wanted to talk to--about what? I didn't know, but I'm sure I would think up something along the way.

It's funny how things turn out sometimes.

At the 2012 conference, of the individuals listed above, the person I had the least contact with was Dr. Barreca. She  had the crowd of mostly women on our knees hugging our abdomens begging for her to stop so we wouldn't wet our pants from laughing. Yes, she is that funny and that ain't no joke. By the time I  regained my composure, her books had already sold out and I think I might have touched her scarf as she glided past on a cloud of feminism straight past me to who knows where.

The workshop had a profound effect on me--I was hooked--on humor and everyone that was committed to it.

Over the next year or so--I became friends with all of those above and many others--and continued writing on this blog and working on Scrunchie-Fried when out of the blue one day I received an email from Gina (as she goes by) that said "Hey, MA Fat Woman, you're in the column, doll!" WHAT? I'M IN HER COLUMN! Holy crap! She's syndicated all over the world.

That started an exchange of communication  on topics that I didn't really know anything about. Feminism. British Literature. Female humor writers from the past. The art of humor writing is more than just telling a joke. It's work and requires more--something I didn't really like to do--rewrites and edits than I had been doing. I could do better.

In 2014, when the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop rolled around again I wasn't nearly as nervous as I was in 2012. Or so I thought. I was sitting outside the hotel--trying to remain upright because I was experiencing hypoglycemia--and out walked Gina. "Hey, doll, what does the MA stand for?"

Well crap! (This was my hero.) My stomach dropped and I thought I was going to throw up. It was our first time actually meeting and I couldn't form a sentence. "Middle-Aged," I finally managed and before too long my sugar and senses came back up to an acceptable level.

We hung around together quite a lot during those three days and it's amazing what you can learn from observation. When to speak, when to listen, when to let the punchline build, and most of all, to laugh as much as possible.

I've learned more about the Pulitzer Prize from the person that didn't win--Not That I'm Bitter--and have been introduced to the works of Edith Wharton--who did win--I don't know how she feels about it because she's dead--and others and accepted the fact that winning a prize is nice but it probably won't help you write a better story. Hard work and dedication will.

So, that's what I've done. I've made the decision to keep up this blog on a fairly regular basis and continue working on a series of novels that I'm really excited about and am making great progress with. I intend to finish the second one by the end of the year.

Writing is a job; it takes time. And effort. I'm learning a lot along the way and I'm especially pleased to announce that the story about calling directory assistance is featured on the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop webpage. They even put my picture up there. To quote my mom, who is a woman of few words, "Wow!"

I couldn't have said it any better myself.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Palmer's Macaroni & Cheese...A Cherry Fork Road Memory

In my family, homemade macaroni and cheese has a place of honor. It all started with my Mamaw, my dad's mother, and has continued on through the family, at least with my sister and me.

Mamaw's macaroni and cheese was to die for. I only got to eat it one or two times a year, usually Christmas or Thanksgiving, but the weeks leading up to those festive occasions never went fast enough for me. I couldn't wait for the holiday season to begin on Cherry Fork Road. We hosted a dinner party every Christmas and Mamaw's macaroni & cheese was always on the menu. We ate it until we were as stuffed as the holiday bird.

Once we moved to Georgia and began to go our separate ways the macaroni and cheese seemed to be forgotten. Mamaw had passed away; Sister was always working; I was in college and Mom made a version of mac & cheese that none of us liked. I'm not sure what she put in it but I think onions and some kind of topping were included and that was nowhere close to Mamaw's recipe. I was disappointed to say the least.

Over the next few years Sister changed jobs and had a bit more time around the Holidays. We usually got together for about 48 hours when she would fly to Atlanta on Christmas Eve and then Mom would drive her back to Ohio to spend a few days. This was a happy time because Sister had mastered (if not bettered) Mamaw's recipe and we would eat enough to keep us going until the next year.

Somewhere along the line I grew tired of waiting for the annual macaroni and cheese dinner. I worked for the Post Office for almost ten years through the holiday season and was often, so tired, during our visit that I forgot to get seconds on the mac & cheese and Brother would eat it all. I didn't like that. I didn't like that at all.

So I did what any macaroni & cheese loving individual would do; I learned to make it for myself. As you can see from the photo, I did a good job.

I have even learned to make an extra pan for myself and freeze it so I can enjoy it several more times.

For some reason the last weekend of October is usually the first cold snap we have in North Georgia and nothing says warm me up better than a big pot of mac & cheese. By the way, if you're wondering what is so special about our family's recipe, just be sure and ask the next time I have you over for dinner.

Until then...I'm warm and cozy...and I'm keeping it all to myself.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

It's My Lucky Day...Year VIII

****It's the eighth time around for this post! Can you believe it? What's really fun is that I am going to see Joan Jett & the Blackhearts at Harrah's Casino. I just know those slot machines will be spinning in my favor.

****It's the seventh 7! time around for this post. LUCKY NUMBER 7! This is it! This is the year I've been waiting for. Seven will be my lucky number. I think I'll buy a bunch of lottery tickets that all have the number seven on them. I just know that this will be my luckiest day ever.

****It's the sixth time around for this post. It's hard to believe I have been blogging for this long. I am absolutely positive that this is going to be my luckiest day ever. I sure have changed a lot in the last year. I'm not really a middle-aged fat woman any more. I'm still middle-aged but not nearly as big as I once was. (I'll wait while you tell me Congratulations!) Anyhow, I'll let you know how it all turns out.

****It's the fifth time around for this post. I'm incredibly excited about the whole month of August this year, not just my lucky day. Super things are happening for me right now so I just know this will be my luckiest day ever!

****It's the fourth time around for this post. I don't even remember what happened last year but I just know that today is my lucky day and the Pythagoreans believed that four was a perfect number. A perfect number for a perfect day!

****It's the third time around for this post. I just know that this will be the luckiest day of the year...Third time's a charm, right?

****This was what I posted last year on my lucky day. It didn't turn out as lucky as I would have wanted. So, I'm giving it another whirl. Maybe, better luck this year...year two!

Today, August 22, is the luckiest day of the year for me. If something exciting is supposed to happen, it usually happens on this day. I can't remember the specific events (okay, maybe I can, but a girl has to have some secrets) but I do know that it was on this date. I do remember that I got my wisdom teeth pulled on this date in 1989. I know that wasn't lucky but I did get to eat mashed potatoes for every meal for a few days. And luckily, my favorite food is mashed potatoes.

I think I am going to try my lucky numbers on the lottery this evening. The problem is that I have to pick five numbers and I only have two: Eight for August and twenty-two for the twenty-second. That means that I will only get two out of five numbers and you don't win anything with just two correct. But, since it is my lucky day, I might get the other three numbers as well. I'm a winner and I didn't even know it.

Now, what am I going to do with all that cash?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Calling Directory Assistance

For someone my age-mid 40sish and up calling directory assistance was something you only did in cases of extreme emergency. For starters, making a long distance phone call was not done on an everyday or anytime occasion. At my house we had one telephone and it hung on the wall in the kitchen. It must have had at least 50 feet of cord attached to it because you could take it outside, across the porch and almost to the end of the sidewalk. That was your only chance for privacy--at the end of that long cord. Of course, calls were never uninterrupted because someone was always running in and out the door or you were being yelled at to get off the phone because there was work to be done.

When mom was going to make a long distance call we all gathered around and tried to pick up any good tidbits of information such as who was coming to visit, where we were going on the family vacation or who had gotten sick and died. Long distance was for important and emergency calls only--plus, it was downright expensive. And you never called the operator for any reason other than to ask what time it was after a long power outage.

My, how times have changed.

Nowadays, when I need to find a number, I normally use usually with mixed results. You have to be careful what you click on though because a wrong click can send you on a search for every pervert within the tri-state area or even worse--a site where all of the Republican Presidential Candidates are playing "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the biggest boob of all." (Everyone's a winner!)

Through trial and lots of error I can usually find the number that I'm looking for but this wasn't the case recently. I finally decided--as a last resort-- that I would call directory assistance. I remembered the number--it's 1-the area code-555-1212; in my case it was 1-706-555-1212.

The following is my conversation:

Nationwide Directory Assistance (D.A.): "If this is a police or fire emergency, hang up and call 911. Say your city and state, like San Francisco, California or Chicago, Illinois."

MAFW: "Rome, Georgia."

D.A.: "I'm sorry, I didn't catch that."

MAFW: "Rome, Georgia."

D.A.: "I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. Please say your city and state like San Francisco, California or Chicago, Illinois."

MAFW: "Rome, Georgia."

D.A.: "Okay, did you say Augusta, Georgia?" (Um, no--it's on the opposite side of the state.)

MAFW: (Yelling loudly into the phone) "NO! ROME, GEORGIA."

D.A.: "I'm sorry, I didn't catch that."

MAFW: "Rome, Georgia."

D.A.: "I'm sorry, your call cannot be completed at this time. Goodbye."

Now, I know I've acquired a southern twang these last thirty or so years that I have lived south of the sweet tea line (Kentucky/Ohio border for those that don't know) but it isn't THAT twangy. I didn't have a cold so I didn't sound nasally; I decided to try it again and this time I used my radio voice and e-nun-ci-a-ted ev-er-y damn syl-la-ble.

It was the exact same results: The automated voice kept wanting to connect me to Augusta, Georgia. I don't know, maybe it had a Caesar complex or something. (Let me know if you get that.)

Not one to give up, I changed tactics and decided to call the operator directly. This I did reluctantly because somewhere in the back of my mind I could still see my mom holding the phone bill and shaking her head yelling: "Who's been making long distance calls?" and "Who called the operator?" while all of us kids scattered to the far corners of the property.

The following is my conversation with the operator:

Operator: "Hello? Operator?"

MAFW: "Hi, I've been trying to get a number at directory assistance and it doesn't seem to be working."

Operator: "I'm sorry about that. It's fully automated."

MAFW: "I know. I kept asking for Rome, Georgia and it kept giving me Augusta, Georgia. Those towns are on opposite sides of the state."

Operator: "I'm sorry you're having trouble. Did you hang up and try again?"

MAFW: "I tried several times, so that's why I'm calling you."

Operator: "It's fully automated." (For the third time.)

MAFW: "I see. Can you connect me to the number?"

Operator: "No, ma'am. It's fully automated. Make sure when you get your bill that you weren't charged for the attempt."

MAFW: "What?" (Realization finally beginning to sink in.)

Operator: "Directory Assistance is fully automated. We no longer give out numbers."

MAFW: "Even for a fee?"

Operator: "Not even for a fee. Is there anything else I can help you with?"

MAFW: "I need a number in Rome, Georgia."

Operator: "I'm sorry. Have you tried"

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

This Is Me

This is a clip from my book signing that I had last week for all of my friends that couldn't make it.

I'd like to thank "Starting Over and Accepting Change" for visiting, someone in Mountain View, California, several of you from Great Britain and Germany, Pascagoula, MS stops by a lot, another from LA and San Francisco, Canada and Michigan, my FB, Humor Blog and Ohio friends and my friends from New York, New Jersey and CT.

Texas, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Illinois also show up as having visited so I say "Thank You".

I love to write these stories but it's even better when someone reads them and especially when they laugh.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Friend's Birthday...Year VII

Birthday wishes go out to the Friend that I mention in my posts. Friend has experienced several of the MA Fat Woman's mishaps and can always be counted on for a good laugh, a no nonsense quote, or a story that will upstage mine every time.

Which reminds me of a story about Friend. Friend had a big time job and several underlings at her disposal for years. When birthdays and holidays floated around they always celebrated big. Everyone got cakes, presents, and usually taken out to dinner or the such. Well, Friend was really excited when it was time to celebrate her birthday. She had heard them planning and plotting the details of the party and was very excited.

It didn't turn out that way. It seems the person that had done the planning had an emergency and all of the plans fell through. On the day of the birthday, there was nothing.

No dinner!

No presents!

And no cake!

Somebody realized what had happened and ran to Walmart to get an emergency cake. The day was a Friday and the office was scarcely staffed. After about 3 or 4 people sang Happy Birthday, each grabbed a slice of cake and scattered back to their respective offices.

When it was time to go home that evening Friend went into the break room to get the cake to take home... wasn't there!

"Where's the cake?" she asked.

"Oh, so-and-so took it with her. She said nobody had chipped in, so she was taking it home!"

I know! Stuff like that happens all the time to her.

Happy Birthday, Friend!

I hope you get a cake that is all yours...

Monday, August 3, 2015

FoxTale Book Shoppe Event

FoxTale Book Shoppe

I'm super excited to be participating in Emerging Author's Night at FoxTale Book Shoppe this Friday, August 7, 2015 at 6:00 pm.

I will be the third author to discuss their books and you can be sure I'll be talking about humor. (Without humor, there would be no humans.) It will be a short 3-5 minute presentation and hopefully I won't be as nervous as I was at the last one.

What really makes this so exciting is that it is being held in Woodstock, Georgia. I worked for nearly ten years at the Woodstock Main Post Office and still have a lot of friends there and in the local community.

Here are the details:

When: August 7, 2015 @ 6:00 pm

Location: FoxTale Book Shoppe
                 105 East Main St #138
                 Woodstock GA 30188

Telephone: 770-516-9989

Stop by if you have the chance and I hope to see you there!

P.S. More good news: I'll also be at the Decatur Book Festival Labor Day Weekend--details to come.



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