Click any letter for a look at my prize-winning essay from the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. You don't even have to buy a vowel.

Friday, December 30, 2011

An Open Letter to My FaceBook Friend-To-Be

Dear Friendless,

I see by my little pop up timer that you want to be my friend. That’s thoughtful of you and I’m sure you have a great personality; a people person that draws other folks to you like barbecue draws rednecks. But upon searching my memory banks, my old address books, and the pictures from my high school yearbook, I find I have no clue to your identity. I’m afraid to check the mug shots on the county jail website.

I asked my children if they had teachers that might be motivated to make my acquaintance on the sly. I wondered if my coworkers had friends with motives for revenge. Aside from folks touched by that episode with the chocolate diaper in the microwave, I can’t think of any work-related citizens who might bear ill will toward me.

I’d like to think you’re a fan, too shy to say anything out loud, but wanting to duplicate my every move so that you can be more like me every day.

Sort of like a stalker with poor life choices.

Sort of like the shy girl who sits in the corner by the cheese dip waiting for the chance to say “No problem” when someone drops a jalapeño in her shoe.

Sort of like the fellow that knew how to work the slide rule in math class back before everybody had calculators that could figure the change in your body fat ratio before you ate the chocolate chip cookie.

I married that guy.

I was going to ignore your friend request. I was going to go gleefully on my way accepting gifts for my virtual megafarm. I was going to go toss a pie at one of my less needy friends.

But then I looked closer. That’s not a stalker. It’s not even a fan. It’s a picture of me at a recent Christmas party.

I’m sitting by the cheese dip.

And eating out of the bowl.

And picking a jalapeno out of my shoe.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Man Hunt

I'm hunting men this Christmas
The one I want the most
Is really most elusive
Down here so near the coast

The weatherman says eighty
So again this year you'll find
Me at the kitchen window
Building snowmen in my mind.

Best wishes for a very merry Christmas and a blessed and peaceful New Year!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Snap, Crackle, Christmas

It's Snap and Crackle and Pop! Oh my! Things are getting sticky over at An Army of Ermas where I tried to mix up a little holiday cheer until things went horribly wrong.

Who knew the HazMat people made housecalls? I hope Santa calls back.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Merry Christmas, Eeyore

I’m a little bit of a late bloomer when it comes to getting ready for Christmas. I'm kind of like those bulbs you have to plant in your flower garden in the dead of winter to turn into flowers come spring. Or maybe it’s the seeds you plant. However it goes, Father Christmas won't be seeing my bloomers til half past Valentine's Day.

But for the first time since the Power Ranger incident of '02, I started shopping before Christmas this year. I was going to wait, but the operators were standing by and I had to call right away to get the Ginsu knives.

Although I don’t go full out in the decorating area, you can tell it’s Christmas around my house by subtle changes in the décor. Just keep an eye out for mutations in the dust patterns on the coffee table.

I’ve moved the nativity scene that I forgot to put away last Christmas from the shelf in the laundry room to the top of the entertainment center, dusted off the baby Jesus, and removed the dryer sheet from the shepherd’s staff. The shepherd isn't quite as festive without his lint-free banner, but now it smells a little more like a stable and less like the Snuggle bear.

What appears to be stray tree limbs connected by lumps of fur in one corner of the living room is actually a small Frasier fir holding up under the strain of the investigative processes of two Labradors, three cats, and an inquisitive Dachshund sporting a Christmas tree skirt. Occasionally the tree gives a shudder and deposits various small animals on the floor. If it lived in the Hundred Acre Wood, my tree would be Eeyore.

There are 1,497 gift bags of assorted sizes and heritage covering every available flat surface, along with several containers of used bows that are perfectly suitable for family gifts if you affix them to packages with a loop of Scotch tape. There is no Scotch tape anywhere in the house. There are several dozen wood screws of assorted sizes in the junk drawer, but repeated attempts at giftwrap show that the wood screw is not a device that is effective for this purpose.

The kitchen table is covered with bits of burned sugar cookies and ingredients for partially assembled gelatin salads and casseroles that will bear offerings of melted cheese and Ritz crackers come Christmas day. This is not considered untidiness in the kitchen, but rather food preparation with holiday flair.

There is a wreath on the outside of the closet door instead of the inside of the closet door. The wreath boasts a giddy Snowman who is on the verge of bursting into the songs of the season just as soon as the Captain tells me where he hid the batteries.

There is a car in the driveway awaiting new tires, a replacement windshield wiper, and a brake job. Nothing says Merry Christmas at our house quite like "there's a front end alignment with your name on it just around the corner."

So for all of you folks who have every Martha Stewartesque napkin folded into snowflakes, don’t judge me on my lack of handmade ornaments and scented candles. Christmas at my house might have a different flavor and a smell that tends more toward PineSol than pine branches, but the spirit is the same.

I might deck my halls with takeout boxes instead of tinsel, but I still have the hope that good will is not just a store where you can get half off every Tuesday.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hip Hop

I’m like Shakira--my hips don’t lie.

Even when threatened.

However, without much coaxing they’re willing to reveal every bite of doughnut I’ve had in the past ten years. Try to stuff them inyo a pair of pantyhose and they’ll also let on what happened to the last box of Thin Mints, the banana bread the neighbor brought over, and the six dozen Rudolph cupcakes intended for the third grade Christmas party.

My hips and I have never had a very good relationship. All I long for is to see daylight between my thighs one time before I die. On the other hand my hips fantasize of a day when we can coexist on the buffet deck of the Love Boat without me snarling every time a skinny chick sucks down a milkshake without scraping off the whipped cream.

These days they’re spreading the dream to my chins, who have rebelled and resorted to disguising cookie crumbs in their folds for a late night snack. I’m so nearsighted, I thought it was just stray whiskers. If I ever locate my bifocals, I intend to act sternly in regards to my personal appearance. I may have to read up on excavation techniques.

When I was fifteen, I was all shin bones and shoulder blades. Now I’m fifty and I’ve discovered that love handles are the new hipbones. I used to sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” but now I have to admit that my head and toes lost touch long before size 10 became the new obese. My knees are still active, though. They take every opportunity to go out. So these days, I’m more likely to sing “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” and hope I don’t lose anything important when I stand up.

Last week I wanted to buy a pair of hip hugger jeans, but I had two get three estimates on the location of my navel to determine the right size. I was going to wear them with a halter top, just like the old days, but my kids hit me with a restraining order, the entire population of the tri-state area staged an intervention, and the government declared my entire Head to Toe area unsafe. I’m expecting FEMA to approve my application for natural disaster assistance any day now.

In the meantime, I’m investing heavily in Krispy Kreme. Because hips don’t lie, but maybe they can be bribed to keep the sugar coated truth to themselves.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rear View

Dear Santa,

It all started when I married the Captain. I had known him for a long time, Santa; the excellent table manners and casual, maddening tidbits of knowledge on everything from Darwin to Dadaism. I expected to lose at Trivial Pursuit, get skunked at Jeopardy, and have copies of completed New York Times crossword puzzles strewn about the parlor.

The Time Lord thing, though, was a bit of a shock.

I didn’t realize I was marrying a Doctor.



Little did I know that an intergalactic smuggler with an itchy blaster finger, a starship captain with an overachiever complex, and a 900 year old doctor with a sonic space tazer came along with the deal. (Don’t leave me comments. I’ve lived this life for 20 years and nothing you can say hasn’t already been attempted by Vulcan mind meld. Resistance is fertile.)

I’m not holding all this against you Santa; I just wish you had given me a hint before I walked down the aisle surrounded by 30 phasers set on sugar shock.

But as long as we’re talking sci-fi, there is one thing I would like to have for Christmas. Keeping in mind that whole “bigger on the inside than on the outside” theme, all I’m asking for this year is. . .TARDIS PANTS!

Eat your heart out Kim Kardashian. You might have a butt that won’t quit, but I’ll have stretch pants that fit.