Friday, December 31, 2010


OK I am using you all as experimental guinea pigs. I noted that on the days when I have the word "Panties" in my title, I have tons of people click in to read whatever I have said about them. Even people in South Africa and in far corners of the world.

In my researching phase of life, then, I am just checking to see if my hypothesis is true. If you put the word "Panties" in your title, more people will click on. You be the judge. If you are here reading this, and you have never been on my blog before, I say it is working.

We are getting ready to go to New Year's Eve dinner with my son, Cory, and my daughter-in-law, Ashlee. It is our first dinner where they (Ashlee) have cooked for us so I am looking forward to it, playing with the cats, and enjoying being with them. Life is good right now.

Just in case you are wondering, I am wearing panties. Have a great Happy and Safe New Year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Week After Christmas

Yes, I know I just wrote another blog on Self-Cleaning Ovens but I thought you, the readers, might enjoy my take on "The Week After Christmas."

‘Twas the week after Christmas
And Jeanne was still working
The shopping all finished
The housework she’s shirking

The cats are lying all snug in their beds
While visions of catnip danced in their heads.
The dryer was spinning the laundry with care.
In hopes that someone would soon be right there.

The washer had started, the clothes were all in it
But the pile of laundry had grown by the minute
with underwear, tablecloths, towels by the score
alas, the poor washer just couldn’t take more.

We put away presents, we took down the tree
We swept broken ornaments , just 2 or 3
Shiny glass ornaments make good cat toys
Swinging and swaying, and CRASH, what a noise!

The doggie had doodled once more on the rug
“Too cold to go peepee,” she said with a shrug.

The list of the things I must do is too long
I’ve crossed off the first three
Now I’m going strong

But wait, there are messages now in my box
My Kindle is waiting; I need my warm sox.
I should be writing and cleaning my home
But it’s time for a nap so just leave me alone!

Self-Cleaning? Really?

If you have been reading my blog, you probably remember that I had a dastardly cookie explosion in my oven during the week before Christmas. The peanut butter cookies (with the Hershey's kiss in the middle) slid right off the cookie sheet and landed in the bottom of the oven, igniting a few flames here and there.

I hoped that some little elves would come in and take care of it for me so I left it go till the next day. In the afternoon, I peeked in the oven and 'twas a sorry sight. The oven was a mess. I do have a magical self-cleaning oven, but this looked like too much for even an experienced oven. So I tried to wipe some of the slick black mass off the bottom of the oven. Alas, my arm muscles need more development for that type of torture. I gave in and turned on the self-cleaner mechanism. Time for the big guns.

The next day I am prepared to wipe out the ashes and dust that would be flaking my oven floor. I wiped it with a cloth. Some of it came off but the rest held tight. What was I to do? What I always do. Consult the internet.

The women on the internet recommended an Easy-Off product that has no fumes, so you don't asphyxiate as you clean. It is used for "self-cleaning ovens", which is beginning to sound like an oxymoron to me. Today I sprayed some on and was able to wipe away a bit of it but there is way more to go.

This brings to light many concerns facing me and my family.

1. Should Jeanne Kraus be allowed near an oven?
2. Should "self-cleaning ovens" be renamed?
3. If I have a self-cleaning oven, how come I am back to Easy-Off with the rubber gloves? I have taken a major step back in time.
4. Did men invent self-cleaning ovens? What do you want to bet?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Cookie Disasters

On my last blog, I confessed that I did indeed flunk my Crock Pot Virgin Initiation. It seems that my Crock Pot (and a few other things) have a will of their own, wreaking havoc on what could be a normal Baby Boomer life.

The last two days have been cookie baking days. As I have mentioned before, my baking is somewhat better than my regular cooking ability. Which isn't saying much. Today, I had issues with cookie baking, which you can view for yourself in the set of pictures here on my blog.

I started out nicely with Bella the cat helping me to gather my ingredients. Eventually, she had to be shooed off the counter because I created such a mess with my cooking frenzy. I had several batches done when disaster struck. My new cookie sheets are very slippery. As I attempted to remove one sheet of peanut butter cookies (with Hershey's kisses) in the center, the whole tray of cookies slid downward.

Downward to the bottom of the oven, where it caught fire on the heating element. Downward to the seams in the door where it would be difficult to get out. Downward to the floor of the kitchen, where hungry dogs roved.

It was terrible. I screamed. George ran in and beat out the fire. We scooped as many of the crumbs out of the oven as we could.

George threw the defective cookies in the garbage.

Rewind: Jeff, my oldest son, started unwrapping Hershey's kisses again.

I started mixing new batter. Later, a new batch of cookies, unharmed. Voila!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Flunked Crock Pot

My cooking skills have been sort of the joke of the family for years now, ever since my grown up boys were weaned off Gerber and tried Mother's first homemade meal.

"Ptooey!" they would say, and spit it across the room. No I am just kidding. It wasn't that bad, but there were times when my cooking was a close call. I remember making brownies one time, a solidified brick, that ended up serving as a foundation cornerstone of our new home. Wish I would have saved it to donate to the military as a secret weapon of mass destruction.

Then there was my ham glaze, which my sons still remember lovingly. I made a ham glaze and it did not seem to be thickening so I dumped a huge amount of cornstarch into it. Not only did it thicken up, it got up and walked away from the plate, looking for trouble. Jeff and Cory described it as Primordial Ooze.

My latest conquest was the Crock Pot. I had a Crock Pot years ago, when first married. We made all kinds of good dinners in it, no problems. Now that I have decided to go Crock Pot again, against my husband's better judgment, I bought a new Crock Pot.

You see, George does all the cooking. He is a good cook and it works out well for us. But I wanted to initiate him to the wonders of a Crock Pot. So we bought a beef roast, and followed the directions in my Crock Pot cookbook. We cut the meat into cubes and browned it. Dumped it in along with carrots, onions and potatoes and celery. So far, I was feeling pretty confident. Then I got to the rest of the ingredients list. We had no beef broth, whole tomatoes, bay leaf and other spices. So we improvised, which included adding a large can of crushed tomatoes. Let me tell you, when the can says crushed, it means crushed.

When we got done, it looked like a sea of tomato sauce. With misgivings, I turned it on and reassured myself that it would magically turn into a wonderful meal. 6-7 hours later, we looked in the pot. The meat had shrunk down to the size of pencil erasers. You needed a magnifying glass to find it. The sauce was bitter.

George got a bowl and sat down. "How is it?" I inquired.

"It's edible!" he said. He was being kind, very kind.

Later on, Ashlee, my daughter-in-law came over for a visit. She came over to fix everything in my life that I had screwed up or could not get to work. We spent about 3 hours on the computer, and then I let her look at the leftover dinner. She wrinkled her nose at the pathetic leavings in the bowl.

"How can you mess up a crock pot dinner?" I think she was in awe of my womanly powers. She examined the eraser sized meat. "I think you cooked it too long. You really did not need to put the tomato sauce in."

I listened intently. In the future, she might be giving me Crock Pot lessons. She is less than half my age. But the girl can cook.

Next stop: Christmas Cookies.

As Ashlee left, she gave me this reason for hope. "I told Cory that you were making Christmas cookies. He looked pretty concerned but then reassured me. He said that, 'Well, she's not so bad at baking (excluding that pan of brownies) so maybe they will be okay.'"

I'll take whatever confidence I can get.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

They Call This Low Maintenance?

If you know me, or have read my last book, you are aware that I lead a Low Maintenance Life, frugally saving so many hours in my life that I have added years on to my expected lifetime. My Low Maintenance lifestyle includes cutting back on things such as make-up application longer than 1 minute, hairstyling extravaganzas such as coloring and highlighting, manicures, etc. However, I added on one extra detail as of today.

Every 6 weeks I go in to JC Penney and get my hair washed and cut. I also get my eyebrows waxed. In a burst of interest in my personal appearance, I also had the beautician look at my upper lip.

"Do you think I need to have it waxed?" I asked, sure that she would say no.

"Yes!" she said, as though she had been waiting for that question. "And let's do the sides of your face also."

To be honest, I had noticed that I was sprouting an unattractive peach fuzz on my face. I figured my mother had it, her mother had it. I would be hairy also. But then I decided to do something about it. What the heck. I would go for broke.

A little while later, my face was hairless and ready for her to cut my hair.
She wrapped a towel around my neck under my cape and we were ready.

George arrived to drive me home. I was done so I stood up and headed for the front counter. My hairstylist had to call me back to take off the cape and towel. As I neared the counter to pay, George noted that 2 long hairs were hanging where the towel had covered my neck. So back to the chair for a retouch. As I sat down, I leaned too hard on one side of the chair and tipped it over to the side,nearly going down with me in it.

Altogether it took about 1 hour of my valuable time, which was not too bad. Unfortunately, I had gotten there early and had time to the inexpensive visit wasn't so inexpensive once I spent 65.00 at JCP. But it was all on sale!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Key to Life

It has been a crazy week. I keep losing things. I had too much STUFF to deal with all week, on the home front and at work and just could not keep track of everything. Nothing unusual as of late. This week I once again lost my work key. Now I wear my key to my office around my neck with my laminated ID card. I always put it in the same place, almost always anyway, when I take it off. On Wednesday, I got in the car to go to work and noticed. My key was missing. Oh, I had remembered my jingle bell necklaces but my key that I needed all throughout the day? MIA.

I did not go back home to look for it. There wasn't time. I was pretty sure it was at work. So I got to work, annoyed and bothered by the missing ID tag. I made it down to my office and could not get in, of course. Silly me. My door was locked and I had no key. So my friend Daniel kindly let me in. I frantically ripped through everything in my office for about 5 minutes and then had to leave for AM duty. (If you work in a school you know what that is) I went to the cafeteria, ID and keyless, still bothered by the loss. By 9 AM I had decided not to worry myself over it. If it showed up, I would be happy. If not, I would have to report to the office manager that Jeanne Kraus, nitwit, had struck again. Not that that would be a surprise.

Around 12:30, I untangled my 3 bell necklaces and Eureka! There was my ID tag and key hanging around my neck. This meant that (A) It had been there all the time, (B) Someone had sneaked up on me and dropped it over my head when I was not looking, and (C) I found it myself and put it on without thinking.

For me, these are all totally credible possibilities. For now, I shall just enjoy the magic of Christmas and the Return of the Key.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Memories

In an elementary school, the last week before Christmas is a hectic one. For some reason, the kids are all revved up, not wanting to multiply 9 x 8, or write complete sentences. They're not on their best behavior, despite the undeniable fact that Santa lurks right around the corner.

As a child, I remember believing that I had to be "especially good" before Christmas or Santa would just skip right over me. I also believed the story that Santa would only come if we were in bed. If I got up to even just go to the bathroom, and it happened to be the exact moment that Santa arrived, he would not come in. On Christmas Eve, I tried to go to bed early so Santa would have plenty of time in which to do his good deeds for us. Oh, I was gullible.

But the year we got bicycles was probably the high point of my believing anything. My parents had bought us new bicycles and stored them in the garage. In order to keep us out of the garage, they told us that an exterminator had sprayed a toxic lethal poison in that garage to kill bugs. If the door was opened even a crack, the person would instantly die. Not once did we wonder about parents who would allow such a noxious chemical to be sprayed in our garage. We just stayed out of the garage and hope that no fumes would leak under the door. For two weeks, we breathed a sigh of relief that we had made it through each day. Even on Christmas, when the bikes were delivered by Santa, and the toxic poison seemingly and mysteriously evaporated, I didn't figure out that the bikes had been in the garage all along.

But the last couple of days of school have been filled with gift-giving, poinsettias, singing, cookies, candy and good wishes. I wore my 3 jingle bell necklaces every day and alternated my snowflake/snowman earrings daily. I was jolly. I was festive. I was in the spirit.

Today was Polar Express Day. We love the book and the movie. The movie was shown to the classes during the day and everyone, kids and staff, dressed in their jammies.

At the end of the day, I hopped aboard one of the buses to keep order with the kids on their last day. The bus dropped me off about 4 blocks from school. You may have seen me, in my candy cane jammies, Santa hat, decked out with jingle bell necklaces with a walkie talkie in my hand. Ah! Christmas memories.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Which Way Do I Go?

As the holidays approach I find that my attention span takes a lot of twists and turns. Of course, there are the endless Christmas lists, which I write out, lose and write out again. I think I have made 6 or 7 copies this year. A lot of shopping is done online, thank you. Love that convenience. I do not do any crowd-pushing, in-line standing things to get a special item. No one I know wants anything that bad and if they do, they can stand in line themselves.
How my attention veers off, is that I find things I want for myself. George and I don't do much in the way of gifts for each other so when I find something I want, or something I know he would like, I bring it home along with the gifts. TOday's find was buttons that you can attach on your pants when they get too tight and it will loosen up your waistband for you. Not that I know anyone who will need to use them.
For some reason, the Christmas season brings out the organizer in me and you will find me, in addition to wrapping gifts and searching for Christmas decorations, rearranging my files and my office. Today I came home with some bargain binders from Office Depot. 2.5 inch rings with 2 packages of paper included in each binder for 94 cents each. I had to buy them. I wiped out their entire selection.
Next was the annual Christmas cards and letter that probably puts everyone to sleep that reads it. But I have to write it, because it is one of my few traditions that I stick to. Around this time, I start searching for my Christmas decorations and gift wrap. I find my bell necklaces and snowflake earrings and my sets of Xmas socks and my 3 Christmassy sweaters and Santa Hat and I dress with festive pride to go to work.
We have a little Christmas table-top tree, pre-lit, which was greatly appreciated by George. I managed to get him to put it up last week. I started wrapping the gifts that I had gotten and it looks very nice. However, the ornaments and decorations are still stored in the garage so I have that to do tomorrow. By the time I have all the parts of Christmas together, it will be here.
I am also of the mind that when it is over, it's over. It is not unlike me to take the tree down the very next day after Christmas.
Christmas is also Maggie's birthday. Maggie is my little wiener dog and she is a Christmas baby. So we will have to sing HB to her in addition to our Christmas songs.
So as you can see Christmas is a many-splendored thing in our home. The best thing for us though is that we manage to help out someone less fortunate with a dinner, gifts, toys, whatever they need. All the's just tinsel. Happy Hollydays!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Open and Shut Cases

If you have met me in person you know that I am a firm believer that every time a door shuts in your life, a window, or a new opportunity arises. It happens to me all the time, in my relationships with people, in my job, in my writing career and in my personal life. As of late, however, the doors are shutting faster than I can manage to find the nearest windows. This weekend I am happy because tutoring extra is allowing me to get some extra money for Christmas gifts. Until, Maggie, our precious wiener dog, woke up Saturday with a totally swollen face. We took her to the vet immediately and she needed dental surgery on 3 teeth, to the tune of 1500.00. Door slams.
But they have a credit plan with no interest for one year. Window opens. I can do that and pay it off during the year, provided no other expenses happen.
I have not been marketing my books for the past month. Too much going on. No window in sight. The door is nailed shut. Yesterday, I get a request for an interview and a copy of my book for a review. The window is open again. I feel motivated to work on my marketing strategies.
Since we are living on one car, we thought we would save the cost of a car payment each month to put aside for a new down payment on a car. So far, in the 6 months we have lived with one car, I have saved a partial roll of quarters and one complete roll of pennies. Oh and a one-dollar coin. The year end sales for cars are happening without us. The door is swinging shut rapidly. But there may be a window opening in January, when George is entering Medicare world and off my insurance. Is it possible that we could save some money then? Hope blooms in my soul!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Make Life Easier

Everything is a crisis in the U.S. People are always worried about their rights being trampled on. Their privacy being invaded. The latest one in the news is the full-body scanners at the airports. Now, personally, I have no negative feelings whatsoever about full body scans. If they want to see my innermost body workings, more power to them. I will not be responsible, however, if they gasp in horror and pitch over dead in a heart attack. As a matter of fact, I intend to wear a shirt that states clearly and simply "Enter At Your Own Risk."

I don't know what the big brouhaha is all about. I feel safer knowing that everyone's crotches and armpits are being explored. Other body openings are perfect for little mini-weapons just waiting to be used. I do have some suggestions for the airline companies to make it more appealing to those who find it degrading.

1. The obvious answer is to let them find alternate transportation. Perhaps a bicycle could be provided for those people who feel violated.
2. If the TSA people could have specialized agents for the scanning that would help. (I am thinking Richard Gere, Brad Pitt, the Chippendales, Calendar firemen, People's Sexiest Men of the Year.) Any guy that looks good in a Speedo would be okay for the women. And for the men, some Playboy bunnies, Hooter's girls, and anybody topless would be okay.
3. I know that I myself would plan on flying more often if Richard Gere was doing body searches. Maybe once a day or more.
4. If that plan does not seem feasible, then let's get x-ray technicians to the airports and have them do a body scan, print out how our health is, and give us a free check-up along with each trip. The best for me would be of course having Richard Gere do the scan and passing the information on to a technician who would then interpret it.
5. There are a lot of benefits to this type of security precautions. Not only will we be safer, we will be happier travelers.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jennifer Grey

It really annoys me sometimes that I am not Jennifer Grey. I was watching some of her interviews and her dancing on DWTS and it occurs to me that she and I are very similar. Yet, she is winning accolades for her talent in dancing and I am not.

Well, to be quite fair, I am a klutzy dancer. I have a poor sense of balance and I am more likely to fall over on some of the fancy moves. And swinging me around in the air would probably not be the best thing for my back that has a rod implanted in it. And I do have a bad case of vertigo that would affect me.

And Jennifer Grey is very tiny and does not have a big protruding stomach. She can do real splits without hurting her crotch area and after flying all over the stage, she is still smiling and not dead.

It might seem to the uninitiated that we have little in common. Not true. First of all we are both women who liked Patrick Swayze a lot. We are both brunettes, although I have let my hair turn gray now. And our first names begin with "J."

A little more research and I am sure I could uncover some more information for you on how Jennifer Grey and I are similar. I think perhaps I will let her take over and determine our similarities. I can't do ALL the work!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gas on Mars

George, my husband, likes to watch anything educational on TV. As for me, I don't really want to be educated in my spare time. I teach in a school all day and by the time I get home, I look forward to TV's best mindless drivel shows. I don't want to have to think.
However, George was explaining, in his own unique way, what he learned from his latest educational show and I have to tell you, it interested me a great deal. It seems that, now remember, this is all coming from George's memory. I am not ascertaining that it is scientific fact, because I did not watch the show. But it seems that scientists have discovered fresh methane gas on Mars. So what, you say?
Well, I'll tell you what. A good source of methane gas is, of course, fresh cow patties out in the pasture. It is the same gas that causes...well, farts.
So what does that lead me to believe? Lots of interesting theories.
There are cows on Mars.
Martians tend to be a bit gassy.
Martians eat a lot of beans, which means beans grow on Mars.
I am not sure that we should be thinking about going to Mars anymore. We have enough gas here on earth.
It is nice to know that we are not the only gassy beings in the solar system. Now I am suspicious about that dense layer of clouds around Venus. Venusians are probably farting up a storm there. Time will tell.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Away For the Weekend

George and I did something unusual for us. We went away for the weekend, up to Orlando to visit my son, Jeff and his beautiful girlfriend, Shannon. It was a relaxing and fun weekend. It started off with a big bang. I left my travel bag behind on the sofa at their house when we went out to eat and when we came home, Abbey, my grand-dog, had helped herself to several granola bars, cookies, an entire package of Skittles and a partridge in a pear tree. (Just kidding, but there was an awful lot of chewed paper on the rug.) We waited for the eventual barf-a-thon, or rampant diarrhea that was sure to occur but Abbey remained steadfast. Not even any gas. Amazing dog.
My son had just purchased a Jeep Wrangler with all the cool jeep stuff on it that guys drool over. Shannon and I sat in the back, with the top off (the top of the jeep, not our tops) and the wind whipped us into a frenzy on the highway. You could hear "Yee Hahs" from me a mile away as we tooled down the road.
Sometime during his late 20s our musical interests merged more than they ever had. On this trip, Jeff confessed that he actually like a lot of the 60s music, and one favorite of his was "Runaway" by Del Shannon. One of my all time favorites. I found myself interested in what he had playing from his i-pod. Particularly a "song" called "Detachable Penis." The back up singers repeat that phrase over and over during the song and so we all sang "Detachable Penis" in the jeep on the highway.
Of course a trip to Orlando was not complete without, you guessed it, Bubble Tea. Evidently someone in the course of history decided that a smoothie would taste better with a bunch of balls of tapioca dumped into it Black balls at that. The drink comes with this really wide straw so that you can sip the balls right up. So we had Bubble Tea. I ordered Mango, Shannon got Watermelon. Jeff for some reason ordered Green Tea Bubble Tea and George said he would have what Jeff had ordered.
Later, George confessed that the Green Bubble Tea tasted like grass.
I asked him why he ordered it.
"I didn't have my glasses on and couldn't read the menu. So I just got what Jeff got."
A lesson well learned. The grassy green bubble tea was not tasty and was dumped at some point.

Our trip was complete with a horsedrawn carriage ride in Mount Dora, Fl. It was a beautiful day. I could not help but reminisce with the driver about the Seinfeld episode where the horse had tremendous gas after eating a whole can of Beanarino. He had heard that story one too many times. I guess he thought it took out the romance of the trip.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

More Punny Stuff

Today was a tough day. All of the schools in Broward County were on lockdown because of a threat posed by a phone call. I spent 3 hours with two fourth grade classes. At the end of the day, we still had kids who had not had lunch because the lockdown determined that we could not go out and go to the cafeteria. So it was challenging. So I determined that it was a day for puns. I need a little humor.

I have a few favorites here.

A cardboard belt is a waist of paper.

Contacts are easy to lose, so keep your eyes on them.

Police were called to a daycare where a three year old was resisting a rest.

Show me me a piano falling down a mineshaft and I'll show you A-flat minor.

What did the grape say when it got stepped on?
Nothing-but it let out a little whine.

A will is a dead giveaway.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daylight Saving Time

In my quest for accomplishment, I always look forward to daylight saving time. I am gifted with an extra hour for each day. It's like a dream come true. And it leads me to visions of extraordinary productivity, at least on the first day.

In my book, "Wrinkles, Waistlines and Wet Pants," I actually examine the data of how leading a low-maintenance kind of Jeanne Kraus life can actually provide many extra hours of fun, frolic, and general carousing. Careful comparison of my maintenance lifestyle to those of a HMC (High Maintenance Chick) revealed some interesting data. My life yields an extra 66 hours and 30 minutes per week, compared to the HMC. In the average year, I can gain 3.445 extra hours. In ten years it swells to 34, 450 hours, which amounts to 1,435 extra days to play around with.

So my low maintenance lifestyle is a blessing I bestow upon myself. And daylight saving time, well, that is the icing on the cake. So today should be productive.

Unfortunately, some issues this morning have caused it to be a little less productive than I had hoped. The camera we rushed out and bought Friday night does not seem what we wanted at all, and so we have to return it today. In addition, I spent my extra hour trying to figure out how to send an email on a mailing list site, which is supposed to be so easy even a monkey can do it.

Add to that several errands, and the fact that I got a reminder call that I am due for a haircut appointment today (my one high maintenance allowance for myself) and my Sunday off is frittered away like seeds on a windy day. Oh well, there is always next weekend.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween Went to the Dogs

My friend Trish called me on Halloween and asked us to go to the Dog Park with her and Nobu, her little dog. Oddly enough we live only 2 blocks from a dog park but have never been there with our 12 year old wiener dog. There is a good reason for that.

The story begins way back when Maggie, in the early bliss of puppyhood, suffered a traumatic event at a dog park. She was tiny, about 4 pounds soaking wet, and was innocently trotting down the sidewalk of Doggy Town. All of a sudden, she was accosted by a huge Rottweiler. It was a friendly Rottweiler, who obviously felt great maternal yearnings toward the tiny puppy. She picked her up in her cavernous mouth and carried her a brief distance before George, Maggie's panicked daddy, whisked Maggie away and wiped off all the slobber with his shirt.

After that, Maggie's time in the dog park was spent in George's arms, way out of the reach of other dogs. It seemed that they all wanted to sniff her, lick her, eat her, etc.

So Maggie had not been to a dog park in over 12 years.

We were getting ready to leave. George was in favor of leaving Maggie home. I disagreed.

"You've got to be kidding!" I exclaimed. "We're going to a dog park without our dog? How pathetic is that?"

George eyed Maggie. She knew some major decision about her future was being discussed. Her tail wagged and her eyes pleaded for...whatever it was.

George scooped her up and off we went. The dog park had a fenced off area for little dogs. We headed in there. Nobu and Trish were there and so were a dozen poodley type dogs, a pug and some mixed breeds.

Several of the dogs, being that it was Halloween, had on costumes. One dog seemed content to wear a bumblebee costume even with the little feelers on his head. He seemed unaware that he appeared to be a dork dog. Even Nobu had a devil costume on.

Dog society is quite interesting. Of course, Maggie remained in her daddy's arms. She watched canine life unfold from the safe height of the park bench we sat on. Nobu sniffed and lifted his leg on every leaf, every piece of grass he came in contact with. I watched intently and am quite certain there was no pee at all coming out, but he was still lifting his leg on everything. He was quit social, going all the way to the far end of the dog park to stick his nose in everyone's business. Trish ran after him, armed with a Publix brand poop bag.

Then there was Stud Muffin. One little poodle, probably about 3 pounds at the most, trotted past us a number of times. He was a well hung specimen, his balls probably 2/3 of his body weight. At least they kept him firmly anchored to the ground. We dubbed him Mr. Balls. My personal opinion was that I would have left his hair a little longer to conceal his genitals. Or maybe a fig leaf would work. But he knew....he was a major stud.

All hell broke loose. 7 fuzzy German Shepherd puppies caroused into the puppy yard. The activity level of the area zoomed to a new high. Unfortunately so did the poop content of the area, the owner not interested in cleaning up after her rollicking brood. They were cute little poop producers though.

We don't plan to wait till next Halloween to go to the dog park again. Maggie enjoyed sitting with the grownups, far above the snorting, sniffling butt-lickers she considered as commoners. George covered her eyes when she observed a gang-banging group of horny canines engaged in a major hump-a-thon. But Maggie had eyes only for Mr. Balls.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Candy

I am not a big fan of Halloween. Oh, I like to see the kids, especially the little tykes, dressed up in their costumes. And I enjoy the Halloween activities and festivities around our neighborhood but the Halloween candy is such a problem. This year I did my usual thing. I bought some candy that I knew I would not be tempted to eat. I would give it all away. If, by any chance, it looked like I would have some left over, I would give it all to the lucky late-comers.

Nothing worked out according to plan. I bought a big bag of miniature Tootsie Roll pops. They sat on the table near the door unopened for several days. On Halloween we went out for a bit and came home and got ready for our trick or treaters. There were none. NONE! The word was out that we were giving out cheesy little suckers I guess. I went to bed undisturbed, but yet certain that the minute my head touched the pillow, the doorbell would ring. Not so! However, I got up in the night and ate 7 of the little Tootsie Roll Pops, even an orange one.

The next night, I raided the bag again. George awoke to a battlefield of candy wrappers and sticky sticks. He looked at me quite sternly.

"We need to get rid of these Tootsie Roll Pops!"

I agreed. They were a hazard to my health. I took them to school where I teach the next day, and planned to pawn them off on someone. But who? I did not want to keep them and maybe nobody would want them either. Then I had a brilliant idea. Put them in someone else's mailbox and let them deal with them.

I had finally solved the problem. I went to my next meeting in the principal's office. Halfway through, in walked the teacher who had been gifted with the Tootsie Roll Pops. She did not want them either. She gave them to us for our meeting. In no time at all, they were put into a nice wicker bowl and we each had a lollipop. They are obviously stalking me.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Punny Stuff

I love puns and plays on words. I probably will have to include some in my next book, which I am intermittently working on. I get a lot from e-mails so thought I would send some your way if you have not seen them already.
One of my favorites was an email about the "family tree" about Vincent Van Gogh, whose name leads to a lot of punnery. A couple of the entries were...
His dizzy aunt...Verti Gogh
The brother who ate prunes...Gotta Gogh
The fruit lover... Man Gogh
The bouncy nephew...Poe Gogh
The magician uncle... Where Diddy Gogh

If that was not enough, how about some punny sayings?

There was once a cross-eyed teacher who couldn't control her pupils.
A grenade thrown into a French kitchen would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
The butcher backed up into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.
(great visual)
The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.
What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh
What is the difference between a miser and a canary? One's a little cheap and the
other is a little cheeper.
Corduroy pillows are making headlines.
It's not that the man did not know how to juggle, he just didn't have the balls to
do it.
When I saw my first strands of gray hair, I thought I'd dye.

OK OK I'm done...for now. I am a real fan of the pun!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

At Least You're Not Bait

For the first time in Jeanne Kraus history, I had a totally free Saturday. The world was ours. George and I made a conscious choice to leave the computers behind and go to the beach.
Before you get scared that I am going to share some pictures of us in thongs and such, we dressed like old people in shorts and shirts and sensible walking shoes. No excessive skin was showing, a fact I am positive that the beach-goers would have appreciated, had they known.
It was a beautiful breezy and cool morning to go out on the fishing pier. There were things flying in the air.
"Look, George," I said. "Those things that people ski from. What are they called?"
"No," said George emphatically. "I can see them. They're kites!" He pointed out a couple of them that were hovering just about the shore line, matching crescent moons.
About five minutes later, we noted that they had moved out into the water, and were indeed parasails and were taking off into the water. One after another dotted the water until we were awed by the spectacle of it. I turned to George.
"They're not kites." I told him.
"I know," he admitted.
There were two sad moments on the pier. Number one, there were absolutely no pelicans. This led to a lively discussion on pelicans and why they were missing. George tried to convince me they fly north for the winter. I wasn't having that. Now I'll be doing pelican research.
The other thing was that we passed this bucket that had water cycling through it and there was a long skinny fish swimming in it. He had a panicked look on his fishface. George informed me that he was "Bait." I wondered what it would be like to just be "Bait."
Do baby baits have a knowledge of where they are heading in this world? Do they pray to come back as something better than bait? How do we get so lucky to be humans and others are just bait? How can anyone say that they have a tough life? At least they're not bait.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Day to Remember

Today is a day that will go down in Jeanne Kraus memory. I had the opportunity to speak to a stroke survivors' group. This group, known as the Golden Rule Stroke Survivors' Group, meets at JFK Hospital in Atlantis, Florida, about an hour north of us. I didn't know what to expect from this speaking engagement. But I was strongly drawn to doing it.

We met for lunch in the hospital cafeteria with some members of the group. One out of every two people there had suffered the effects of a stroke. And we were so impressed by their spirit, their attitudes and their humanity. I knew right away that I would not have to tone down my speech content for these people. They were real.

Of course, peeing figured prominently in my speech. That and doctor visits. What is cool is that a stroke does not in any way impair sense of humor and I was able to entertain them for 45 minutes with my particular Jeanne Kraus type of humor. No matter where I go, where I speak, I will always be thinking of my friends at Golden Rule Stroke Survivors'.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I know it has only been a few weeks but I am finding this daughter-in-law relationship pretty cool indeed. There's a lot of perks no one ever told me about. First of all, a new female friend which is awesome. The fact that she loves my son and lives with him and watches out for his welfare is of course the best. But I think my relationship has more perks than the usual.

First of all, I really love her. Like one of my own. She keeps in touch without me having to ask her to call. She lets me know how things are going. And although Cory is not the best communicator with family, it doesn't matter because she communicates through phone, texting, email, you name it.

She is so smart! She is my computer guru. When I need help on something (daily) she can tell me how to do it. She even can enter my computer screen and work the mouse for me while I put my feet on my desk for a brief nap. How cool is that? And she doesn't make fun of me for my lack of technical knowledge. She is working on my new website right now.

She has already asked me for a list of people who she and Cory should send Xmas cards to. They will probably keel over. He has never sent out cards, always depending on mine to say "Jeanne, George, and Cory!"

Cory and Ashlee have a special relationship that makes me so happy. Both of them light up when they're together. I have never seen him so happy. When your kids are happy, the mom is ecstatic.

Ashlee is someone I can be totally honest with. We are not afraid to tell each other what we like or don't like because there is a lot of trust between us. Except during Scrabble games.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Writing is basically a solitary habit. When you actually sit down to pound it out, there is no one between you and your computer. But life itself is the food and creative energy that drives our thoughts and emotions. Networking is one of the great gifts given to writers to help them in their quest for the written word.

That's why, when my friend Dennis Chall, contacted me to participate in a day of literary conversation at Florida Atlantic University, I agreed to come and looked forward to it. It was not a time to sell my books but to talk to students who were interested in writing and wanted to learn more about publishing. It was a beautiful day, cool and breezy and we were situated outside in a shady patio area with tables and chairs. College students wandered through and drafted bits of poetry and quotes on chart tablets placed strategically around the tables. I had set up my books, my reviews, some blurbs from my blog and business cards.

Before long I had a table mate. Dr. Sean Kenniff joined me at the table and set up his books, and various advertising items also. Hence the beginning of a great networking experience. Sean has had a very interesting life. First of all, he was one of the people on the first season of Survivor. As a matter of fact, I think he was voted off the island first.

I did not watch Survivor but I knew of Sean from watching TV. As a doctor, he did a health segment on one of the major TV stations for a while. Good looking, affable, and personable, he was quite popular and did a great job on the health segments. As with all good things however, he was written out of the time slot. The network no longer wished to have a health segment. What a shame.

He was devastated by the loss of the program. His personal life suffered in addition. He needed new direction. So, as he said, "I went to live with the cows."
Hence, his new book, "Etre the Cow." It's a parable about life through the life of cows and the whole thought intrigued me. He was going through a personal and professional crisis and poured all his feelings out into this cow story. Well, anyway it is my next read, although it is not for the squeamish. (Think about what happens to cows at the end and you will get my drift.)

His book was recommended by Jane Goodall and in an unusual twist, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The story behind the latter recommendation is a hoot, told by Sean. He had been trying to get in touch with Desmond Tutu for quite some time and had not been able to connect. So, one day, one of his friends was at a sports event and called Sean, telling him that he was sitting right near Desmond Tutu at the game in Miami. Sean grabbed a copy of his book, sped to Miami, and got to the game, only to be turned away without a ticket. He was not going to give up. He went around to the back and somehow found a way in. He was stopped by some guards but managed to get the book to Desmond Tutu finally. Wow! What perseverance!

So, in addition to all this, he is a neurologist, and he actually works with veterans right now. His story was so interesting that I never once thought of asking him why I have these frickin' headaches all the time.

So we traded books and I will be reading "Etre" this weekend. Not sure if he will read "Wrinkles, Waistlines and Wet Pants" but perhaps....My thoughts don't go quite as deep as his do!

The story behind the stories is fascinating to me. I always like author bios to determine why they write what they do. I think we are going to be seeing more of Dr. Sean Kenniff.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Fun-Filled Day

Assuming you have read any of my posts, and noted that at times my life, as my friend Matt commented, is a "mess," then today's post won't disappoint you. As you may recall I had a week where I was inundated with a kidney stone, a klutzy fall on our tile floor (the day of my son's wedding) and a hastily put together, but beautiful wedding. The kidney stone was blasted from my being last week and I have been feeling pretty good. This weekend however, things started to go downhill. I started having, to put it delicately, urinary urgency, pain, and my personal internal faucet slowed down to a drip-drip-drip.
This morning I contemplated going to the doctor, fearing a new infection. For the second time in 20 minutes, I headed to the bathroom. Lo and behold! The drip-drip-drip became a gusher! I heard strains of the Hallelujah Chorus and all was well with the world. Evidently a big hunk of kidney stone is now down in our plumbing somewhere.
George took me to the medical center for new x-rays. The young man who took the x-rays for me last week was there again. He recognized me.
"You're the one with the rods in her back."
You would think I was the only person who ever had steel rods in her back. But we get along good. We are forming a nice friendship now. As I got ready to leave I asked him if I could borrow the gown (open in back) for our upcoming Character Parade at school next week. I promised to bring it back.
He looked concerned. "I am not supposed to let you do that. I could lose my job."
He looked around. "Don't you have a bag you could put it in?"
Well, I did not so I stuffed it in the front of my pants. He looked at me critically and said, "Looks good to me."
I viewed myself in the mirror. I looked like a 60 year old pregnant woman. "Are you kidding? Is this what I looked like when I came in? How can you say it looks fine?"
We argued all the way out. He did point out that if I want the gown, I should be happy with how it looks. We got to where George was in the waiting room and I pointed at my new friend. "He knocked me up back there."
Now I have to figure out what else I need to get for the character. I have an x-ray. He didn't have one of those little hats you wear in surgery.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Panties Again

I know that many of you think that I am way too interested in underwear and you may be right but let's face it. It is an interesting topic. Companies make a fortune on the underwear idiosyncracies of the buying public. It's a part of our culture.

A recent article I read capitalized on this interest by discussing the fact that many women go pantyless. Now that is nothing new. According to her, Cleopatra herself chose to wear nothing below her Queenlike robes. I am not sure I believe that.

First of all, didn't they wear figleaves or something like that during that time?
Secondly, how would anyone know? Did she wear those shiny patent leather sandals that show what is going on in your personal female parts? I would have to do some extensive research on Cleopatra to determine that fact, assuming that her underwear habits are covered. No pun intended.

The author goes on to talk about many famous people "going commando" under their clothing. Of course there are the famous instances of papparazzi shots of women who expose their innermost secrets as they emerge from their limos. Like I really want to see that.

In between my first and second marriage, my friend and I who went to many singles' dances to get out in the world, heard that you felt more sexy when you went without underwear. So we would head to the ladies' room, peel off our undies and stuff them in our purses. It was true. We did feel more naughty. And it eliminated pantylines. Not that it got us any more action. But it was a little uncomfortable at times.

Friend: Did you take them off?
Me: Yup. I'm feeling the breeze.
Friend: How do you feel?
Me: Sexy and slutty. It is really amazing.
Friend: I'll be right back. I'm doing it too.

Later on that evening, we meet up...

Me: How's it going?
Friend: I put them back on. I felt too naked.
Me: Me, too. And there is nobody good here I want to waste my nakedness on.

But we tried. An interesting thing about no panties is that you still get wedgies. Not my most attractive moment.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What's New?

What's New in our house is that the A/C has not worked for 3 days. It could be worse. There has been a coolness in the area but still it is south Florida. The humidity alone has probably plumped out all my wrinkles. So a benefit to add to the sweating.

Today is an important day for my husband, George. It is "Be Bald and Be Free Day." Of course, he celebrates this one day in and day out since at least I met him 16 or so years ago. Oh he still has hair around the sides of his head. But he is bald on top.To other men who have joined the ranks of the rug-wearers, I say "Throw your toupee up up and away. Live freely and hairlessly!"

There are a couple of important holidays for tomorrow I want you to get ready for. Tomorrow is National Boss's Day. If you want to keep your job, remember this one because if you don't everyone else will and you will look bad.

It is also the International Day of Rural Women. I am relieved to hear that. I am tired of all the city women being featured in magazines. Let's get some women in overalls and aprons and housedresses, collecting eggs and shoveling manure. Equal time for them.

Two more things. It will be National Mammography Day. Make sure you have had yours. I did a couple months ago. My girls are safe and happy for another year.

And it is National Grouch Day. Get it over with in one day and don't foist your attitude on us the rest of the year. For those of you, who seem to think every day is National Grouch Day, it is not. Get over it. Go back in your cave until next October 15th.

The only other things occupying my mind is what book character to be in our annual character parade at school. I need to portray a children's book character. Now that is a tantalizing problem.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


As a writer/author, I guess I strive for recognition. The knowledge that someone has read my work and thought about it, maybe even liked it, is the tantalizing reward for hours of looking for just the right way to say what I am feeling. Today was my reward.
I stood in line for 45 minutes to buy some CLEARANCE merchandise at a department store that is closing. The salesgirl was overwhelmed, the line was long, and she was so incredibly slow-paced that I was glad my will was up to date. I might not have made it through the line, which would mean that I would not be purchasing my sale items anyway.
I was wearing my "Annie's Plan" t-shirt. (Annie's Plan is my second children's book that I wrote for Magination Press. I put the cover of the book on a t-shirt to advertise.) Today I was not really advertising. I was wearing the shirt because I had just done a rather ineffective workout with my trainer and I still had the sweaty shirt and pants on. Hardly something to be proud of.
As I stood at the front of the line, seriously wondering if I should leap over the counter and take over for the poor clerk, a little girl behind me asked in a loud voice:
"Did you write Annie's Plan?"
I nodded and smiled. Her brother came forward.
"Our teachers read that book to us. We love that book."
My back ceased aching, I stood up straighter and everyone around me smiled. I had fans!
They were looking at me like I was a mega-star. Justin Bieber had nothing on me at that minute. I scrabbled through my purse, and found 2 of my business cards with my books pictured on them and handed them to the kids. They gushed. And then...
"Could you sign them for us?"
For a big-time author, this moment might mean very little. But it meant the world to me.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Limited Vision

There's something wrong with my eyes. Well, actually, that is nothing new. I have very poor vision in one eye and 20/20 in the other. If I lose the sight in my good eye, I will be on the street corner with a tin cup selling pencils for a living. With my wiener dog guiding me around. But I am not talking about real vision. I am talking about perception.
I have never been in fashion. Even way back in 6th grade, I could not get with the fashion program, as so many of the girls were able to do. I remember a hot pink A-line knitted skirt (just below the knee) that I wore with a cream-colored blouse with roll-up sleeves. I thought it was the coolest thing around. My sister says she still has nightmares about that outfit being worn day in and day out.
I haven't changed much. As a young person, during the 60s and the 70s when bell-bottoms came into fashion, I hated them. Absolutely hated them. Would not wear them. By the time that bell bottoms were no longer in fashion, I found a pair on the CLEARANCE rack and tried them. Guess what? They were pretty decent. The fad had died but Jeanne Kraus alone would wear them as a fashion statement.
Now that bell bottoms have resurfaced, I hate them again. I don't know what happened to the fashion part of my brain, but I don't get it. Friends are stylish. They buy the "right" brands, whatever they are. All of my favorite brands are labeled "CLEARANCE."
I guess it all came to light the day I was shopping in J.C. Penney's one day. I found a dress that I liked and after trying it on, and thinking that I looked hot in it, headed to the register to pay for it. A little old lady in a walker came by and nicely commented on my choice. "Dear, that is a great dress for you. It will flatter your figure so nicely."
"Thank you." I smiled at her. She reminded me of my late grandmother, probably about 80 years old.
Then she hit me with a bombshell. "I have the same dress at home."
Yes, it was true. I had picked out an old lady dress. What's more, I thought it looked great on me. What's with those mirrors in the dressing rooms?
Perhaps relying on CLEARANCE as my clothing label has its pitfalls. But as long as nobody tells me I'm out of style, I'll be okay.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Well once again I can't sleep so don't read this with a really critical eye. It may not make sense. It may have a row of zzzzzzzzzz's across it that I miss when I edit. It may be in a heretofore unknown language. If it is coherent, that is better than most of my ramblings.
When the kidney stone blasted from my body, and I will assume for now that it really did and it is not some giant hoax perpetrated on Jeanne Kraus, it must have taken away my ability to sleep. All I do is drink and pee. Then I stare into the toilet, which is black, and try to see if I have peed a kidney shrapnel. They did not give me a little strainer so I am left wondering if the gravel and grit is indeed leaving me or traveling to a more funky area of my body.
I read an article at the waiting room though that I wanted to share with you. Equality has now hit the auto safety industry and they are now using female crash dummies. This is probably what is keeping me awake. How can they use female dummies? First of all, men have been pretty appropriate, because no matter what you build they are pretty much the same. They can measure the extent of their injuries by checking their brain and looking for evidence of damage to the TV-watching area, the testosterone level, and the fact that if the dummy had been looking where it was going it would not be sitting there decapitated. Also, the dummy's inability to ask for directions probably would have cut back on the number of accidents. Researchers, realizing this inequity, have now turned to women.
Women, being insightful and able to multi-task will find that their dummies' results will be skewed. Will there be make-up and hair brushes provided for the dummies who are not quite ready when they get in the car? Will there be low maintenance dummies like me who won't have to have that issue? Will the cup sizes be different on the dummies' bras to add absorbency impact?
And what about dummies who have resorted to plastic surgery? Do we need to know how that affects their liposuction, or their nose job?
Will the crash dummies revert to their wild state and look immediately for any male crash dummy for help? How will this work? I can't imagine. I thinking that these experts have a lot more work to do before unleashing these women dummies on the world!
One more thing...will they all be blonde?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Laser in the Stone

Well, it is pretty mysterious. The procedure was done at 8:30 this A.M. I of course have no notice of being blasted. The things I do remember are:
One surgeon who came through, clustered into a bevy of boomer humor type nurses, told stories of his bad headache and not feeling entirely well. I was glad he was not my doctor but he was very cute, kind of had that Mark Harmon look going on there. Chick magnet.
Another thing I noticed was that this Surgical Center is not going to be in the news any time soon for operating on the wrong side. They kept asking me which kidney it was and then I started to worry about myself. I told them to look on the chart if they were concerned but they wanted my professional opinion, an opinion, heavily drugged at the time.
I tried my best Boomer Humor on my nurse but she was totally professional, not one of the ones hanging all over Dr. Cutie. Damn.
Well we got home 3 hours later and I feel fine. I laid down just in case but could not go to sleep. I still can't go to sleep as a matter of fact. Hopefully they actually removed the kidney and didn't just sit around and joke about Dr. Cutie, who was supposed to be in another surgery by the way.
I liked the Surgery Center Care, I just wanted to be a little bit more involved with the "in" crowd, just just a horizontal body on a stretcher. Will try harder next time.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Panties Galore

One of the topics I discussed in my book was Underwear and what it says about you. Evidently a lot more people than I find this to be an intriguing subject because there are a lot of commentaries about it. The first item of note I ran across was an article about wedgie-free panties. These panties by Hanes are said to keep your mind free of the distraction of fabric folds in your crack. Better for businesswomen, women on first dates, and women at the altar, about to be married. Who wants a wedgie there? In fact, who wants a groom with a wedgie there?
Perhaps you scoff at a claim for a wedgie-free panty. Well, Hanes has a money back guarantee. (Not sure if they want you to send the panties back.)
Several articles claim that the color of panty you choose tells you what mood you're in. I'm not sure I agree with those claims, but I do agree that wearing no panties sends a definite message.
One of the guests commenting on this article states that he prefers a classic white cotton panty for his girlfriend. It portrays the schoolgirl look and he wisely comments that in a few years her "ass will be flat and saggy" anyway, so why wear thongs that let it all hang out? It always helps to have an insightful guy around to help you plan your wardrobe!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Urology 101

Well I finally had my first "procedure" with a urologist. A "procedure" is a civilized term for when a doctor inserts a foreign object into one of your orifices that you normally do not have on display for the general viewing public. My nurse was Angela and she had a ton of personality, considering she worked in an office involved with urine. She left the room, for my "privacy" so I could remove my shorts and underwear and sit on the chair with a stirrup on either side. Oh, I knew what those stirrups were for! Despite the time she gave me for privacy, she had a full view of my private parts anyway.
Her prepping job was to put iodine on my nether regions and coat my urethra with a numbing gel. That was her first problem.
"I can't find your urethra," she giggled. "I've never had this problem."
That figured. With the week I had had healthwise, I was not surprised.
I commented, "Don't worry. It's no different than the rest of my week."
Angela looked at me with wide eyes. "You mean someone else couldn't find your urethra either?"
She was cracking me up. "No, that's not it," I explained.
But she continued to talk. "Why was someone else looking for your urethra?" she asked.
I finally got it straightened out but she continued to frown at my private parts." I have to call the doctor in, " she announced. "I can't find your urethra anywhere."
Great. Another problem.
A few minutes later, they both breezed in.
Angela explained again, "I can't find her urethra."
They clustered around my "private" area, both looking intently. The doctor smiled. "Here it is," she announced. "It's kind of hidden and small."
Great news. There is something on me that is small. Wow!
She pointed out my urethra to Angela, who gushed over it as though it were a newborn. "Oh, a baby urethra! It's so little and tiny, just a teeny little hole. It's so cute!"
The doctor pointed out to her that it was not just tiny, but my bladder had dropped and the urethra was tilted. So, another age-related problem. But Angela did not care. She still felt that it was the most precious urethra she had ever seen.
After they both eyeballed my private area intensely for a few minutes, the doctor did the procedure and left the room.
Angela offered to leave to "Give me my privacy" but I declined and got myself dressed. I did not see any reason to have privacy for putting on my clothes when they had seen everything under them anyway. It's a good thing I have no modesty left.

Post Wedding Fun- The Medical Maze

As the bride and groom adjusted to married life, I still had a kidney boulder lodged in my body. I could not live on wedding memories alone. I've always hoped I could go through life without ever consulting a urologist but now I was entering Urology World.
The pain of a kidney stone is akin to an elephant trying to suck a bowling ball up into his trunk. I was ready to blast that sucker out.
The urologist scheduled me for a laser blasting appointment next week. She asked me for the CD from the ER, documenting where the stone was. Alas, they had not given me one. She was surprised. She told me to get an x-ray from the outpatient center and bring that to her along with the CD from the ER.
She gave me a paper to take to the Outpatient Center, which had no appointment needed. Sounded easy. Good thing, because I was not feeling up to par.
At the outpatient desk, a bulldog was running things. Not a canine bulldog but a human woman bulldog. She told me I needed a prescription from my PCP. I offered her the urologist's orders. She won. It was the PCP or nothing.
I had to go home and rest. I called my PCP and made an appointment for the next day. So the next morning we walked into my PCP. He was surprised that an x-ray was needed. But he obligingly wrote a prescription with STAT on it, so that would get me through quickly. A nice touch.
Back to the bulldog. I triumphantly waved my prescription. She looked it over through her thick lenses and said, "There is no diagnosis on here."
I had a whole purse of papers with the diagnosis from that very hospital so I fished them out and flung them at her. No good. Once again we were out in the street. My kidney stone was probably having a good laugh.
I called the PCP. The nurse promised to fax the prescription back over with the diagnosis on it. I rested for a bit and we came back to the now familiar Outpatient Waiting Room. It had taken so long that Bulldog was leaving as we came. She was not at all interested in the fact that I had finally achieved the right to an x-ray.
Another lady called me up to the desk. "We need authorization from your insurance."
I was losing it. "Look I have been here 4 times and each time they keep adding something on. Is there something about me you don't like?"
She called my urologist, not wanting to deal with an unstable person, and they put Angie on the phone. For some reason I could not get authorization for this procedure today at the hospital but I could go to a different place and walk in without an appointment.
Did that sound familiar? So we opted to go there, I called and got directions. We were told to be there before 3. It was 2:10.
We got lost 3 times. Each time I called I got a little more of the directions so that we were getting closer but not there. Finally I handed George the phone and he got the directions in his direct fashion. We arrived at 2:30. I had my x-ray.
Oh, one more thing. As George waited for me in the waiting room my cell phone rang. George answered it. It was the office where we were, asking if we were on our way. They were waiting for us. George had to tell them we were there already and I was already having my x-ray.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Just After the Wetting

The wedding is over. The vows were said, the rose petals were scattered, the sand was poured and the bride was as beautiful as any bride I have ever seen. And the groom, well he could have graced a romance novel cover. Just a few wrinkles occurred.
The rain continued. We opted for Plan B. As Ashlee and Cory arrived at my house to get ready, I tripped over the cat and scraped up both legs, also bruising my ankle severely enough to have to hobble all day. Cory and George went over to Ron and Jeanette's house and Ashlee and I followed later. When we got there we found out that Ron, Cory's Dad, had been taken to the hospital after experiencing severe bleeding from a procedure he had had the week before. So...we were at their house, but they were not there. Cory and Ashlee were in agony. Should they wait? Change their date? It was a lose-lose situation. Finally, a call to Jeanette solved the problem. She told them to get married, everything was ready.
The wedding was beautiful. Their home was a beautiful backdrop for the pictures. Then the wedding party of Cory, Ashlee, George and I headed to the hospital to go to the ER to see her new father in law just out of recovery. Seeing Ashlee striding down the corridor in her gown was a hoot, and she got many a smile and a "Congratulations." My daughter in law has a big heart and she showed it that night.

The Meaning of Stress

I think I have removed five years off of my life this past week. Besides the usual work stresses and bills, obligations, we have added a couple of major issues this past week. First of all, if you have been following my blogs, you know that my son got married this week. We had one weeks' notice.
I have no problem with that. We love Ashlee and Cory. We would do anything to help them out in their beginning of a new life. But a wedding ceremony in one week. Now to be honest, they were just going to go to the courthouse and get married. Parents and their respective spouses only would be there. That was their plan. Then Jeanne (me) opened her big mouth and said, "How about a beach wedding?" They discussed that and decided that since Ashlee would love to go barefoot for her wedding, that it was a go.

They picked out the beach and Ashlee and I shopped for her gown. Not having any girls of my own, that was fun, although Ashlee missed her mom there. Then we shopped in earnest. For a quickly put together wedding, Ashlee knew exactly what she wanted.

So we are prepared for the wedding. The gown is bought, the veil, the sand ceremony items, the flowers ordered, a friend who is a photographer will be there, and the other friend who will conduct the ceremony.
Of course, you know that we are in hurricane season here in Florida. The last few days have been overcast and downright rainy. The chances of rain was 90% for the wedding day. Not good odds. But I was determined to remain positive.
Then on Monday, I awoke with nausea and intense abdomen and back pain. George took me to the ER and I had an unusually large kidney stone, more of a kidney boulder. I was put on pain meds and sent to a urologist for a session of laser blasting. That cannot be done for another week. That is okay because the pain has abated with the pain meds.
Unfortunately I may be pretty loopy at the wedding. If there is a heavy breeze on the beach, I'm going to topple over like a felled Xmas tree. In the sand, covered with rose petals.
So now we have Plan A and Plan B. A of course is the beach and B is at Ron (groom's dad) and Jeanette's house. We won't know until that morning. Aaugh!
Plus, because I don't know how I am going to be feeling, so we are planning on probably canceling our trip to Orlando this weekend.
Stay tuned!

Monday, September 27, 2010


Ah, weddings. Joyous occasions. Dreams of a lifetime coming true. Each wedding as unique as a fingerprint. And so it goes with my son Cory and Ashlee, his betrothed.
"What?" you say in shock. "I did not know Cory was engaged!"
Don't feel bad. It just happened a few days ago. Cory texted me to tell me that he needed to talk to me and I should stay up late till he got off work so he could call. OK my mom antennae were working overtime. He nicely added, "It's nothing bad!" so that I would not totally freak out.
All evening I wondered. George went to bed but he couldn't sleep because he wondered too. What was going on with Cory?
Finally he called after work to tell me that he and Ashlee were getting married.
We were excited to hear they were engaged.
Then he said, "We're getting married Wednesday. This Wednesday."
My previously baby boy then told me that they had talked it over and wanted to get married without a lot of people telling them how to handle it. Then he said they did not want a formal wedding, just a justice of the peace type ceremony because after all, it was not about the fancy party, but all about them and their relationship.
Wow. When I wasn't looking he had grown up.
So we have been in a flurry of preparation. Even a quick ceremony needs some planning. Right now, we are anticipating stormy weather on the day of the event, Sept. 29th, so we don't know how a wedding on the beach will go off. But it will happen. Cory and Ashlee are determined that it shall.
I picture us at the beach, with a tropical storm on our heels. The anchorman for Channel 7 is standing there, whipping in the wind, rain soaked and hardly able to stand. He is commenting about the storm's fury. He has to shout to be heard.
"The winds are now up to about 45 mph. I can hardly stand. I cannot see too far in front of my face but...wait, what is that?" The camera pans in on a small group of people, each clutching a palm tree to anchor themselves to the sand.
"Oh, my God, there is a wedding going on here in this hellhole of a day! I can't believe these hardy souls. They are determined."
He momentarily stops as something white cartwheels across the sand and disappears into the gloomy windy scene. "Oops, here comes the bride!"
Sorry, my imagination just got hold of me. We are hoping and praying for good weather. Please hope for us.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Power of Laughter

Writing a humor book is definitely a boon for the author. People tell you how much they liked your book, how they laughed out loud, laughed on the airplane so hard that people were looking at them in concern. One woman has it in the bathroom so she can read it while she is parked in there. Often, her family hears uncontrolled fits of laughter from the bathroom and they know mom is reading the "Wet Pants" book again. That stuff is good to hear.
Likewise, I heard from a nurse the other day. She treated a patient in the emergency room for some varied complaints. It turns out that her husband, a man she was extremely devoted to, had just passed away, leaving her alone and lonely. She was depressed without the man she had lived with for so long. Her symptoms were severe enough to have her admitted to the hospital and she talked to the nurse that night.
"I don't have anything to laugh about," she confided. "I need to be able to laugh again."
The nurse, who had just finished my book, left and came back with the book, urging her to read it. The next time she walked in, the patient was giggling, especially impressed by the gynecologist with the bad toupee. When she was discharged, the nurse gave her the book as a gift. Now that was nice.
A friend of mine, who volunteers at an assisted care facility, read from my book each day to the residents. She said they laughed and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, it seemed that a few more than usual passed away in the weeks after, so we wondered if it had to do with my book.....
We all need laughter in our lives.

The Art of Freecycling

If you have read my book, Wrinkles, Waistlines and Wet Pants, you hopefully noted a chapter on my freecycling hobby. A few years ago someone introduced me to the Freecycle Network online. It's a very cool way to get free stuff that you don't want to spend money on and it's a cool way to get rid of the crap in your house that you don't like, but someone else with much worse taste than you will love. It's a great system. Of course, it has its downfalls.
Lately, I have been noticing that some of the "givers," assuming that others should be grateful for the items they post on freecycle should respond in a way that shows extreme respect for their gifts. One freecyclist lists each item separately:
1 barbecue fork
2 used candles
a table with 3 legs (can be propped against a wall)
12 issues of AARP
Only one to a customer please and email me with which item you want and what you want it for. No resellers please. Note: I go on EBAY every day and if I see my items on there, there will be big trouble.
So some free things come with a price tag anyway. The last thing I got seems to have a price tag. It is a "wood" dresser. Now mind you I don't need a dresser. But I got it in case my mother in law would like it for her spare room or my son would want it for his. We got to the house. The lady was very nice. The dresser was huge. It is like a triple size, and not in the best shape. However, neither of us had the common sense to say that it was just not right for us and George sweated and hauled that sucker out to the truck. When we got home, he sweated and hauled that sucker out to the garage where it still is.
We debated. Put it out for bulk pick up? Well, then George would have to haul it out again. I felt he had done enough of that. Then we thought, "Put it on freecycle." So I did, with a picture so people would know the size of it. The first lady that wanted it kept updating me for 5 days when she was going to pick it up. I finally gave up on her. But I had another taker. She was delighted to take it off my hands. We planned for 3 days when she would come. Today at 2:00. Now she tells me she has changed her mind.
Today I am thinking that if I open all the drawers and set it in the yard, it could make a nice apartment house for mockingbirds and bluejays. They could each build their nest in a drawer. Meanwhile I am looking for other stuff to freecycle.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


It has been an interesting week. Say what you want about the "full moon" folklore. Any classroom teacher will be able to ascertain when the full moon is in effect by the behavior of her children. And so it went this week. The full moon bloomed. So I thought it was time to put the week behind me and look forward to whatever holidays were in store for me for Friday. The first two were not particularly helpful to me in my quest for a stressfree day.
Tomorrow, first of all, is Celebrate Bi-Sexuality Day. It seems that this movement was started in 1999 in an effort to allow bi-sexuals to become recognized as a distinct group. Previously, people assumed that you were either a heterosexual or a homosexual. The addition of bi-sexuals shows that you just can't assume anything.
The second "holiday" is "Earth Over Shoot Day." Now, this day reflects, unfortunately, the fact that we are using up our natural resources faster than our earth can regenerate them. "In 2010, the worldwide human population is projected to use 150% of the resources the earth can generate in a year." Recycling, everyone? (I do feel that they could have named this a bit more creatively. I wish they would have asked me for help.)
And, finally, the holiday I really need. Friday is "Innergize Day." In other words, you need to destress by taking time for yourself and taking care of you. (Just make sure you recycle while you are doing it.)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Speaking in Public

Well I have not spoken in public for a while but Saturday was the day. I did a workshop at Holy Cross Hospital for pre-school teachers on the subject of ADHD. It is an easy topic for me, I have probably done 50 such talks on the subject so anecdotes come easily to mind. What is funny about my presentation is that I followed a group of therapists and social workers who had their very nice organized powerpoint lectures.
Me, being one step ahead of hieroglyphics, stepped up to the podium with my overhead transparencies dropping out of my hands, falling to the desk in a disarray of organization, my notes not quite in order. The facilitator of the meeting, who is wonderful, had to assist me with techology issues for my DVD segment. So while she was doing that, I sold raffle tickets for her for a basket of arts and craft projects. Definitely a many-faceted speaker.
But the audience was so impressed with my ability to plug in an overhead projector, sell raffle tickets, and juggle transparencies, that they crowded over to my table to buy any books I had written. Even though I added my disclaimer about the Wrinkles, Waistlines and Wet Pants book: "You know, this is not a children's book. It is for feisty women of baby boomer age. My evil twin wrote it." They still wanted it.
It was a great morning!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rabbit Trails

I find that I need some little projects to break up the hugeness of marketing attempts, or even writing a book. When you self publish, you own all of the material in your book so that kind of works out for me in other ways. As I am working, I may take time out to polish an essay or short story and send it off to a contest. My writings, being humorous types, can stand alone as a written piece so often I will enter a chapter or part of one in a writing contest. It keeps me sharp and helps me hone my writing since I am going to be sending it to someone else to read.

I have had a couple of short stories and poems published this way, and placed in some contests. There is nothing better for the psyche, especially an ego that feels overwhelmed by entering the publishing world in today's economy.

I am also learning that I am becoming a little more flexible in my way of thinking. I keep hearing "e-books" and it gives me the willies, because to me books have always been tangible. But I am crossing over to the e-side and learning about electronic books and why they are the wave of the future. Also working on a video trailer and some short "YouTube" videos for promotion. Whoa! Who would have thought that could happen?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Full Time Job?

I have to be kidding in my last blog. Marketing is a full-time job? Nonsense. I have a full-time job, I am a reading specialist in a busy elementary school. That's my full-time job. In addition, I tutor about 6 hours a week and am working on a second humor book. Throw marketing into the mix. Well, the first thing I had to do was set a parameter. I had to give up one thing. I temporarily halted work on my second book so that I could work on spreading the word about Wrinkles, Waistlines and Wet Pants.

My next attempt was an event called the Senior Expo. At first thought, this seemed right up my alley. I thought to myself, "Self! Here is the venue for you. Lots of gray haired people who are at that time in their life where they say what they want, do what they want. My kind of people. Well, it turned out not so good for my book. As a matter of fact, the only people who bought my books were my gracious critique group who came out in force to support me. The senior citizens at the Expo seemed more interested in anything free than in my book. However, I took down some email addresses and some phone numbers for a mail list and it netted me 2 definite speaking engagements and a couple of others that I have not followed up on.

I've heard that radio stations prefer to set up interviews with an agent or publishing company. I tried to contact a couple of baby boomer stations that I found with no success in getting an answer. Then I contacted my favorite oldies station that I listen to all the time. I emailed the station manager, gave him the facts that I was an avid listener, and got an interview on the air on the morning show (aired twice). So I will be trying for more of that.

My next step was to initiate my blog, with the help of a couple people. Thanks to Ashlee and Matt I am up and running. I never even heard of a widget before so I am glad to have help. They connected my blog to my books which is really cool. Ashlee is now redesigning my entire website so that it will not look like a techno-dinosaur did it.

This week I plan to contact all the local libraries and send them a bio of me with a picture of the cover of the book. And I will contact our local newspaper to see if they can do an article. Local magazines will be a target too as I get going.

I am currently reading other blogs and getting to know bloggers and hoping they get to know me.
The more I read, the more I find out that I am getting confused. So now I am thinking I need someone to put all the inbetween parts together. And I am debating? Do I advertise on Facebook? Do I pay to have my blogsite linked to a whole bunch of others? It is probably time for an expert to step in.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Self Publishing- The Next Phase

So I was started. All my friends and co-workers had bought the book. I could see it on Amazon and on the iUniverse page in all its glory. My first attempt was in using Facebook. I was a Facebook user already but not daily so this was going to be different.

The first thing that happened is that I found people from my high school graduating class that I had not spoken to since graduation. I found a friend of mine, and one thing led to another and soon I was emailing with lots of them. I talked about my book. That caused some mild interest. Then Elaine Landau (prolific children's author and friend) made an offer on Facebook. She said, "I will send you a book if you promise to send a book out to five other people before the end of the year." It did not have to be a book we had written but just a book that was something special to us. So I took her up on it.

I sent Elaine a copy of Wrinkles, Waistlines and Wet Pants and she sent me a copy of one of her hundreds of books. Then I advertised her message on Facebook. The first person who agreed to do it was one of my old high school buddies. I packaged up WWW to her and sent it off. She loved it and filled Facebook with her comments. She ordered more copies, her friends ordered more copies.

Then she started a Facebook page for me about my book. That was pretty neat. Her enthusiasm bolstered my confidence and I started being more vocal about my book. It was not unusual to see me give out my card at doctor's offices, at Weight Watcher's meetings, at libraries, etc.

Then I started talking to people who were going through the same issues I was. I got a recommendation to contact a Communications Agency that sends out press releases in order that you can offer your book for reviews. In about 2 weeks, I had around 30 requests for copies of my book for review purposes.

Out of that group of books I sent out, I got about 23-24 reviews, most of them excellent. Many are on In addition I received an invitation to do an interview on a radio show. That was a lot of fun.

Next, I thought about the market that I wanted to target, which is of course Baby Boomers. I contacted a place that does marketing for baby boomers, including book reviews in their magazine. I paid a modest fee and had a book review put in their magazine and did 2 radio interviews.

All this time I was surfing the net and looking for more instances of baby boomer sites that might be of help to me. I realized that marketing was a full-time job.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

To Market, To Market: A Daily Report

Well, the realization has hit me that I am going to be marketing my book like crazy. My first 2 books (children's) were traditionally published and my marketing has consisted of public speaking and signing books, giving workshops on writing to children, literary and educational conferences and flyers. Word of mouth does a lot also. But the publisher, Magination Press, also has a Marketing Department, which sends out review copies, press releases and rents booths in major conferences. So my books are seen whether I am out there pushing them or not. They have even been translated into Korean, which is way cool.
Now comes my next book. This book is self-publshed by iUniverse and I cannot complain about the quality of the book. One of the best things was that my assigned editor was a Baby Boomer Woman who totally identified with the book. She was my target audience and she was editing my book. I felt very fortunate. I had some reasons for self-publishing this time. I wanted my sister to collaborate with me on it and do the illustrations, a dream of mine I have had for years. In addition, I just did not want to go through the extensive rejection process with the slim hope that someone would want my book illustrated by my talented sister. So I went with iUniverse, since a friend had used them and was very pleased with the product and the process.
It was harder than I thought. Being traditionally published means that the most technological you have to get is to correct the editing that goes back and forth between editor and author. You never have to worry about how many spaces after a period, or a semi-colon or where to put the paragraphs, etc. So I was surprised how much work went into the technology of the book, especially since I had to scan the illustrations and make sure everything was the right size. Deciding where to fit the illustrations was also interesting. Would they take up a whole page, half page, quarter page? They were asking an awful lot of a person who is technologically challenged. Then there was the process of working with an artist. My sister does not do time lines well, I don't know many artists that do. She is a perfectionist and long after I would have pronounced the drawing "Perfecto!" she would still be rubbing it with her eraser and adding extra lines to it to get just the right look. And it takes a lot longer to draw illustrations than it does to edit. I have to say though, that her illustrations are amazing and I would not change them in any way.
So all that work, over a year to get the book in shape, over a year to get the illustrations in shape and finally, VOILA! A book is born. A bouncing baby book titled Wrinkles, Waistlines and Wet Pants! Now the real hard stuff began I had to market this book. How would I begin?
Read tomorrow's blog for my first steps into marketing....

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Hamster Hotel

I must admit that I perseverated a bit today on a juicy little tidbit I found in an article online about a place called The Hamster Hotel in France. I found out that if you want to see what life would be like as a hamster, you can go to this hotel, which is very reasonably priced, by the way, and live out your dreams as a furry little rodent. Evidently this creative gem is not pricy at all compared to the five star hotels and might be an excellent choice for your next trip. After registering at THe Hamster Hotel, you will find that your room resembles a giant hamster cage. Each guest is outfitted with a hamster mask. (I believe if you want an entire costume, you would have to provide one yourself.) Meals are nutritious hamster type meals; fruits and grains and nuts, healthy for humans as well. Drinks are provided in water bottles with straws coming out from them to get that real hamster feel. Bedding is made of hay/straw type stuff and it was not clear if you just lay on that or if there is some kind of fabric or mattress provided. In addition, exercise wheels are provided for you to run throughout the night. My son, Cory, and his girlfriend, Ashlee came up with some thoughtful questions about the hotel. They seemed quite interested in the thought of being a hamster for a get away weekend.
1. Is an exercise ball provided for you to roll in?
2. Does it smell like a hamster cage? That would not really be attractive to me.
3. Is care taken to limit birth control there? Hamsters multiply like crazy.
4. Is the water bottle attached to the wall?
5. When you have to go to the bathroom, do you just go in the hay/straw or is there a non-authentic bathroom for humans?

Hmm. Good questions. I'll get back to them on that.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Deadly Spork

Cafeteria lunches in the elementary school! I never had the luxury of eating in the school cafeteria. At Rupley Elementary we went home for lunch. I lived right down the street from the school and we went home where Mom made us tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, just like a Campbell's commercial.
Nowadays, though, children eat in the lunchroom and it is a scene like no other. Each child has a 5 digit number which they punch into the computer. Their account comes up and they are charged for the lunch. Things have changed in school cafeterias. Dessert has been eliminated from the menu. No more cookies or cake. However, carbs rank high in the food line. Children can choose from tacos with mystery meat surprise, very cheesy macaroni and cheese the consistency of denture paste.Rolls and mashed potatoes and plantains. There are a lot of names that fall short of the real food, like "riblets" and "chiken." Pizza is always served on Friday, a hit with the kids, as is Mexican pizza, little octagonal pizzas with what appears to be kibble on the top.
My favorite food is a corn dog. Call me an idiot but when Corn Dog day comes around, it's all I can do to not lunge at the trays as the kids go by with their weiner-on-a-stick.
Children can also get frozen pops with their lunch at times. Blue and red lips and tongues result. In addition, you can usually tell what was served at lunch by what the children are wearing on their clothes. More food gets on the child than in. Also on the floor, and on the tables.
It is hard work monitoring the cafeteria. If you are walking around, you spend your whole time answering questions during the kindergarten and first grade lunches. You walk all the way across the cafeteria, spotting a child with a raised hand.
"I don't have a spork." Fine, I have a whole pocket full of sporks here. Then the child next to him raises her hand. Soon I have a whole chain reaction of hands going up in the air.
"I have to go to the bathroom."
"She looked at me."
"He said a bad word."
"She took my sandwich."
"I feel sick."
"I want my mommy." Tears start at that point.
"Could I have some ketchup?"
I answer back, "Why do you need ketchup? You ate all your lunch already."
Shoulder shrug. No ketchup provided.
Just as you think that you are going to die if you have to answer one more question, a little girl calls you over and when you get there, she gives you a hug and says, "I love you."
I melt. I am ready to do it all over again.
I often station myself at the compactor. Now this can be a dangerous place because not everyone has mastered the art of aiming and putting the tray in the compactor in one smooth motion. It splatters and as the person helping out, it splatters on me. Call me Sticky. But it is interesting to note the eating habits of elementary children.
Most of the food, whether it is brought from home or bought in the cafeteria, goes into the garbage, especially anything that could provide any kind of nutritional benefit to the child. What is always eaten is candy, cookies, chips, ice cream (sold on Wednesdays) and juice (with 10% real juice and 90% real sugar). What isn't eaten is cafeteria broccoli, salads, green beans, and fresh fruit. Kids with lunches from home toss lovingly packed sandwiches, fruit, healthy snacks and salads. Well, they try to toss these things. I make them take them home to show Mom they are not eating them so that they will rethink what to pack.
So on a diet of sugar, sugar and preservatives, the kids then, covered with ketchup and mustard and chocolate milk stains get in line to go back to the classroom to try to learn for the next two hours.I know how that is going to go.
But my problem is a little more self-serving. Those carbs can look mighty tasty as they get swallowed up by the compactor. So far I have resisted the urge to yank a couple of chicken nuggets off the trays for a quick snack. And the corn dogs, well they are just not the same once the cornbread coating is eaten off the hot dog and all that is left is a naked wiener with a bite in it going down the chute. But I have been tempted, signs that I have been doing this for too long.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Clue in the Dog Bone- Thank God, the Ending! Nancy Drool

George and Bess stared in disbelief when they found Nancy waiting for them at the airport arrival gate. “How did you get here so fast?” demanded George. “We thought we were finally rid..I mean, we were worried that we would have to get along without you.”

Nancy plunged into a long-winded account of her adventurous journey. When she got to the part about the large expanse of bubble gum, Bess gasped. “You didn’t use all the peanut butter, did you? I have been dying for a peanut butter sandwich. Oh well, you didn’t by any chance save any of that bubble gum, did you?”
“Bess!” yelled Nancy. “Will you forget about food? We have a mystery to solve. Now here’s my….where did George go?”

Bess whirled around.. George was nowhere to be seen, but there was a folded slip of paper where she had been standing. Nancy read it aloud.

To Whom It May Concern:
While you were standing here arguing about the peanut butter, a man sneaked up behind us and kidnapped me in connection with the mystery. He has a lot of money and isn’t bad looking so I’ve gone over to the side of the enemy. Happy Hunting!

Nancy stuffed the note into her pocket to be used later as evidence. “Bess, we’ve got to find George. She doesn’t know what she’s up against.”

“What is she up against?”

“I don’t know. But if that guy is as rich as she says, I’d like to get a look at him.”

The two girls decided lunch was more important than George. So they stopped at an attractive little tearoom called “The Red Teapotskaya.” Nancy happened to have an expert command of the Yugoslavian language and ordered for both of them. As Bess reached for her fourth piece of cabbage pie, Nancy bolted up and dashed for the rear of the restaurant.

The minutes ticked by. Bess waited patiently, then started on Nancy’s dinner. Just as she finished dessert and began on the sugar bowl, Nancy appeared, white and trembling.

“Nancy!” exclaimed Bess with her mouth full of sugar. “Did you get any new clues?”

“No,” muttered Nancy, clutching her stomach. “I was throwing up in the bathroom. I think I have the flu.”

This new development forced Bess to postpone her second dessert and assist Nancy to the hotel. A surprise was awaiting them at the door of their suite. Three young men were standing there.

“Ned Tickertape!” exclaimed Bess. Instantly Nancy seemed to feel better.

“Wait a minute!” she bellowed. “You’ve got Dave Sevens. Stick to your own territory.”

“Bess thought it over. “What will you take for Ned?”

“Twenty-five dollars.”

“I’ll give you a dime.”

“Fifteen dollars,” Nancy bargained.

“A quarter.”

“Ten dollars!”

“Thirty-five cents.” Bess wasn’t giving up.

Suddenly Ned burped.
“Ugh!” Bess shuddered. “You can have him.”

“Boys- and girl,” said Nancy in her pompous-detective-like voice. “We must find George and save her from a fate worse than death.”

“That’s all right,” put in Burp Meddlesome. “I can always find a new girlfriend.”

“Well, that’s true, but she hasn’t paid me back for my plane ticket yet. And besides, I have a feeling that finding her will provide a clue to help us solve the mystery….” Everyone groaned.

“---and get a reward that we can split among us so if anyone wants to be cut out….”

Everyone assured her that they would help her to the very end.

“Well, what do we do first?” inquired Bess.

“Hmm, for one thing, we’ll investigate all the dog bone factories in the area,” said Nancy. “Burp, you get a phone book. Dave you go rent a car. Ned, you check out all the local dog pounds and see if you can find any more suspicious looking bones. Bess, you…”

“I’ll go get us some refreshments,” said Bess quickly. As soon as they were all gone, Nancy lay down and took a nap.

By the time she awoke, Burp had copied the names and addresses of 3 dog bone factories, along with directions for getting to them, Dave had parked a battered green roadster in front of the hotel, and Ned was rushing in with a collection of dirty rubber bones.
He was excited. “What a clue!” He exhibited a yellow bone with a message inside:

Winski’s Gourmet Shop
12 East Slovakia Blvd.
We handle everything for the discriminating Slovakian dog.

Nancy was ready for action. “Okay, team, time to move in!” She caught up her detective kit.

Burp grabbed his size 15 FF cowboy boots. “You think we can solve the case today?”

“No! I said it’s time to move in. We need to find another hotel fast, because I think Bess may have gotten us thrown out of this one.”

Bess followed Nancy out the door, brandishing the remains of a Plaster of Paris leg of lamb. “How was I to know it was just for display? Next time, make sure the hotel has a 24 hour restaurant attached.”

The five chumps squeezed into the roadster, with Ned driving and Nancy navigating. The gourmet shop was about 4 blocks away and it took them most of the afternoon to get there.

An old lady with snow white hair and twinkling blue eyes greeted them as they rushed into the shop. Nancy was elated to find four rubber bones for sale, identical to the one Pog had dropped on her toe.

“I’ll take all four of these,” she ordered, pulling out her Rent-a-Czech credit card. In addition to the bones, the group purchased a leash and harness for Dave, who was always wandering off and getting lost, a rubber mouse for Burp to squeak on the plane ride home, and a rawhide bone to tide Bess over until dinner.

As soon as they returned to the car, Nancy began to tear open the rubber bones with her handy detective knife. Each one contained a folded piece of paper!

“Inspected by Operator 27,” she read. “That’s no help.” She gave the bone to Burp, who tossed it at the car behind them.

Ned checked the next bone. “This one contains a recipe for cabbage rolls.” Nancy tossed the bone out the window while Bess stored away the recipe for evidence.

The third bone contained nothing but an advertisement for ear syringes. In the fourth bone, was a number.

“16-27-L-M-93,” read Dave Sevens. “It sounds like a code.”

Ned pulled up before a long white building. “Well, here’s the dog bone factory.” He was busy cleaning out his ear with the end of the rubber bone.

The 5 chumps scrambled out of the roadster and headed for the rear delivery door. What would they find inside?

Nancy, clutching the code paper and an assortment of rubber bones, led the way into the darkened factory. No sooner had they stepped into the room and closed the door, than 2 men in ski masks emerged with a large burlap sack. The men grabbed Ned Tickertape, stuffed him inside and disappeared in the darkness!

“Well, this looks like the place.” Nancy was pretty sure. “Everyone start looking for clues.”

Bess dropped to her hands and knees and began to sniff the ground. Nancy sniffed the air in the corners for a moment and then hurried over to a dark corner. She tripped over a cast iron dog bone and fell into a pit full of boxes.

No one could find her. The remaining 4 chumps waited for over an hour. Bess’s stomach began to rumble. Finally Burp heard a noise. A hidden door on the south wall opened and Nancy emerged, clutching a box.

“Nancy!” cried Bess. “Are you all right? What about Ned? Did you solve the mystery? Did you happen to notice any rest rooms?”

Nancy brushed a patch of dust off of her sleeve. “Well, I found the storeroom!” she announced gleefully. She dragged an old man forward.

“Professor Ironbeard!” exclaimed Bess in disbelief.

“No, this is Professor Ironbone!” explained Nancy.

"For years now, he has been locked up in this dog bone factory, hidden away by his evil twin brother in Quiver Hites. Professor Ironbeard inherited the family fortune, once his brother was MIA for the last 7 years. Professor Ironbone hoped that someone would find one of his bones and save him from his life imprisonment."

"What's the reward?" asked Bess excitedly.
"Er...that is one of the shortfalls of mysteries sometimes. They don't always pay off," declared Nancy. "But we do them out of the goodness of our hearts, anyway."

"Yeah, well, the goodness of my heart is not going to pay for my trip here. Or my other expenses. Or my valuable time," said Burp. He had quite an attitude.

"And of course, we lost George and can't find her," said Bess loyally.

"True," said Nancy. "But my main concern is that she owes me for the airplane ride. So I say we start a new mystery and see if we can find her."

Stay Tuned for the Quest of the Missing Sap.