My knees. And how the only way they do not fail me is by providing fodder…
Do your ears hang low, do they wobble to and fro?
It was a warm, sunny evening.
Peacefully sitting in the yard, that obnoxious song blared from the ice cream truck. It rambled up the street, with kids running out their doors, clutching dollar bills, screaming, “STOP!” Decades ago, I was doing the same thing; running, screaming “STOP,” clutching a quarter in my hand. That was back when my knees worked and a quarter bought more than 15 minutes in a parking meter.
A funny thing happened… my most embarrassing moment. Ever. I learned to really appreciate this quote:
“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Ah, yes. The famous quote. By this standard, I am Wonder Woman.
I’d like to add my own quote:
“When your life flashes before your eyes, stupid quotes and clichés race through your head.” – Lynne Cobb
I recently had the privilege to attend the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop (EBWW). It was a dream come true. Erma was my favorite – my inspiration as a young writer. I was beyond giddy to attend.
Earlier this year, I kicked off the New Year by attending a local writers’ workshop where we discussed the importance of writing goals and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. It was there I took a short survey that revealed my “word of the year,” which was brave.
It’s a total self-diagnosis. A few hundred people get it around this time of April, about every two years.
“I really can’t tell that you are excited…” – My husband
From the moment I started reading newspapers in the morning – so, basically, many moons ago – I’d always read Erma Bombeck’s column. When I was a local columnist, and a reader wrote that I reminded her of “a young Erma Bombeck,” my heart soared and my ego inflated! Someone compared me to Erma! Whoa!
Shear terror – an ironic play on words. I submitted this piece to the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop pre-conference writing contest. Alas, it was not, a-hem, cut out to be a winner. I did however, want to share it, as many other contestants have shared their “losing” submissions. Sure, I was a little disappointed to have been trimmed. Maybe I missed winning by a hair! Who knows? But, after last week’s very somber post, I thought I’d lighten the mood and post one of the funniest stories I have about being a military wife.
ZZZvumm. The sound still haunts me.
I was a young, newly-wed Army wife. We had just recently moved to our new duty assignment. Money was tight, and we looked for ways to save our pennies.
“Clothes make a man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain
Well, Mr. Twain, I beg to differ. Little did you know that we’d have naked dating shows, naked real estate shows and naked survival shows. Oh, and naked restaurants. I’m thinking naked people do have a wee bit of influence these days.
Oo la la! France is on my bucket list of travels. Food, wine, fashion and sites – oui! I am looking forward to seeing more of the country than I saw recently, which was the inside of an airport on a layover.
Naked and afraid to eat…
But, one place I will definitely avoid is the new, all-nude restaurant. (Don’t believe me? Google it. I can’t be responsible for the spam bots, okay? Okay!) Hey, if I plan to drop a boatload of money on clothes in Paris, I want to show them off. Right? I mean, I’m all for themed-restaurants, but who comes up with the idea that people want to eat when they are nude? I’m thinking they aren’t going to be famous for their wings, ya know?
My mind goes places. Places I don’t want it to go… like to pre-teen immaturity when I hear “naked.”
So, please bare with me while I have a little fun.
Merry Christmas Eve Eve – the longest day of the year – especially if you are a parent!
It’s December 23, and if you are a parent, today is – without a doubt – the longest day of the year. I remember my brood of four bouncing off the walls on “Christmas Eve Eve.” Every. Single. Year.
I’d try my best to keep them occupied by decorating cookies or have them cleaning their rooms… yes, they had to make room for the anticipated new gifts. Whatever works! Or, if the weather was good, I’d send them outside to wear themselves out playing in the snow.
Author anxiety and public events. The struggle is real. Whether you have a book signing, a speech or other public venue scheduled on your calendar, have a laugh and do as I say, not as I do did.
Over the years, I have planned some successful soirees – our daughter’s backyard wedding; baby and bridal showers, holiday brunches and so forth. My expertise is not so much in the planning, as I’m happy to be the behind-the-scenes supporting cast. No one complains about issues at when you are serving them wine and chocolate cake.
But there I times that I have to strike out on my own, which can produce author anxiety. Especially as a midlife writer attending my first book signing.
Though I didn’t plan the main event I will be attending, I certainly had to plan for my own little part of this big day.
Am I anxious? You betcha! It is like the first day of school – excited to see everyone, nervous I will be making a faux paus or two.
The Girl Scout in me is doing my best to “Be Prepared.” The MilSpouse in me knows I can pretty much roll through anything.
So as I scrutinized myself in the mirror this morning, looking for blemishes and stray hairs, a few practical event-planning ideas popped into my brain. Though my dad used to mention I might be “a hard-head,” I prefer to think of myself more as a “hands-on learner.” Trust me when I say I have a Masters in How to Embarrass Myself and a Doctorate from the School of Hard Knocks.
Allow me to share what I have learned in life, should you need to represent yourself at a public event:
Facial waxing: Don’t do this the day of your event. A red, swollen lip will just bring attention to the fact you have waxed your meno-stache. Some beauty secrets needn’t be shared. Plus it affects your speech. Trust me, you will thank me for this.
New make-up: The day of your event is not the time to experiment with the latest make-up trends. One time, I thought adding a bit of blue eye shadow to my lower lid would make my eyes pop and look fab with my dress. Sadly, I looked like Mimi from The Drew Carey Show. Also, if you have never used eyeliner, THIS IS NOT THE DAY to try it. Heed my advice and eliminate stabbing yourself in the eyeball, making tears of colors streak down your face while sporting the Elvira look.
Workout routine: The day before your event is not the time to go the extra mile – literally or figuratively. I may have tried to do a plank one time, which may have pulled a muscle that I didn’t know existed, which may have prevented me from breathing properly when trying to talk in front of a small crowd. Maybe.
Fine dining: Stick to a what you know works well with your body. A new food may result in hives or digestive issues. And think about your favorite foods, like that yummy garlic dip with fresh-baked pita bread. Um, experience has taught me that the aroma of garlic seeps from every pore of one’s body. Though I’ve been told garlic is good for keeping colds and flu at bay, it is also good for keeping people at bay.
Clothing: Try on your outfit ahead of time, using a 360-mirror. And don’t decide to change your turtle neck after you have curled and shellacked your hair in place.
New shoes: Of course you need new shoes! Duh!!! That being said, test them first. Limping and wincing doesn’t make you look like a heroine, however, it may get you some sympathy sales.
Lugging gear: A few summers ago, I almost bought a collapsible shopping cart for going to our local farmers’ market. But since that would have given off an “old lady vibe,” I concluded that struggling with heavy plastic grocery bags that cut off the circulation in my hands would be the better option. I’m fairly certain that blue-tinged fingers without any sensation won’t allow me to sign any books, so I now use a carry-on bag with wheels to lug my gear.
Beauty sleep: “Don’t be anxious about tomorrow. You need to be rested for your writers’ debut.” These are wonderful and wise words from my dear husband. After thirty-plus years, he knows the deal. That even if I look like I am asleep, my brain doesn’t disengage. “Do I have enough books to sell?” or worse, “Will I sell anything?” Or, “What if I trip in front of everyone?” Or, “What if I get a zit?”
Which leads me to my final bit of advice:
Breathe. Hah! How can I do that when I’m caught up in my brain’s “worst case scenario” escapades? When my frontal cortex goes into all out panic, I tend to forget to breathe. So, I will mentally note to make use of my lungs. And as a precaution, I will toss some relaxation-inducing essential oils into my carry-on bag. Who cares if it is a placebo effect? Whatever works, until I can get home and toast the day with a glass of wine. And some chocolate.
If you have any tips to share, please do so in the comment section! Also, if you think my experiences will help someone plan for an event, feel free to share using one of the social media icons on this page.
Not able to attend the book signing? Here’s a link to Feisty after 45.