Tag Archives: Erma Bombeck

Part-timers disease

Now then.

More than two months ago, I announced here that I’d be letting out a little slack in the blog, to free up mental energy for a busy work season. I was buckling down to pressing obligations and, until those were tended to satisfactorily, there’d be no time for frivolous writing. Big mistake.

If you’re wondering how my September 23 resolutions turned out, I indeed completed the work, meeting all deadlines. To top that off, I pulled off the largest closet cleaning in 20 years.

Then, I erected more barriers. Believing I couldn’t clear my head enough to get my blogging groove back if obligations remained, I addressed, signed and stuffed 230 Christmas cards and finished 95 percent of my shopping. I even have most of my out-of-town packages ready to go in the mail.

But every time I sat down to tap out what used to be a free-flowing daily ditty, my skin itched. My teeth clenched.

Oh, sure, I’ve sneezed out a handful of posts this month, but they’re not my best work. And they’ve troubled me all the more for their awkward sparseness.

In an attempt to reverse my blog atrophy, I spent yesterday afternoon re-reading my blog posts of last November and December. I didn’t even recognize the writing.

This setback has proven the validity something my father once said. Over the last few years, people asked if he had considered shifting his writing and performance schedule into a lower gear. His answer was always that part time doesn’t work. The frenetic schedule kept him sharp and productive and able to maintain the rhythm. I see now that he was absolutely right.

(To give equal time, my mother suggested that, if I cleaned out my closets, things might flow more freely in other areas of my life. She too was right.)

Today is the first Monday of the season of Advent. Yesterday our priest encouraged us to take up renewed discipline—of the spiritual kind. I do intend to do that and, now that I’m ahead on many of my Christmas preparations, I might even have energy left to artificially resuscitate my inner Erma Bombeck, William Safire, Roseanne Roseannadanna, or whoever else I feel like being this season. Maybe even myself.

Did I really begin with “Now then?” That makes no sense.


Filed under Family and Friends, Holidays, Marketing/Advertising/PR, Technology and Social Media

It’s time

This week I have been spending a fair amount of time in the air. 

I don’t travel as often as George Clooney in Up in the Air but, like George’s character, I am robotic in my process.  I go through security like a zombie—that’s the best way to do it, actually—and seldom get rattled.  I often rent cars on the other end and that too has become rhythmic.

I don’t even travel as often as many of my colleagues.  I have one client who flies out of Philly so often she’s been offered the airport employees’ discount at Auntie Anne’s.

Erma Bombeck wrote a popular book entitled, When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It’s Time to Go Home.

While, sadly, I haven’t used my passport in quite some time, Erma’s book title swooshes through my head during some of my busiest domestic travel weeks.  In fact, during time spent recently in a boarding area (no, not that time), I drew up a list of it’s-time-to-go-home triggers.

It’s time to go home when:

  • you check the Departures monitor for your gate and have to look at your boarding pass to remember where you are going
  • you and the US Airways flight attendants recognize each other–and smile fondly
  • you use your travel toiletries more than the ones at home
  • you sit down in a restaurant and look for the seat belt
  • you achieve frequent shopper status at Taxco Sterling and HMS Newsstand (and Auntie Anne’s).  The woman at the Taxco counter at National Airport knows which pieces I already have.
  • you spot the same set of identically dressed adult twins twice (not yet, but it’s bound to happen!)

How about you?  When is it time for you to go home?

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Filed under Foibles and Faux Pas, Food, Movies, Television and Radio, Travel

Stop her before she crafts again

Our beloved Erma Bombeck left us 14 years ago today and oh, how we miss her.  In honor of this talented, yet humble icon–who entertained readers with stories of everyday situations–I’d like to pause today to share a personal story of my own:

When will I learn?  I have no aptitude for crafts.  Granted, my first paying job was at a yarn store.  I was hired after, desperate for the job, I overstated my knowledge of knitting, crocheting, embroidery, cross-stitch, crewel, latch-hook and macramé.  Despite my best efforts to learn, my yarn career didn’t last long, especially with seasoned needle-workers coming in to the store seeking tutelage on elaborate projects. 

I don’t decoupage.  I can’t even frame a lousy picture.  The problem is, I have great ideas—grand visions for craft projects.  I can visualize an extraordinary outcome but lack the ability to execute ordinary steps. 

Case in point:  I had the brilliant idea to take a 25-year-old clipping from my college newspaper and create a plaque for a former classmate.  I bought the wood, the glue, the shellac and a good brush.  I picked up a fancy hanger to affix to the back so she could display this memento in her home.  I was so heavy handed with both the glue and shellac that they bled through the faded newsprint, rendering the article and its photo indiscernible.  This also rendered the shellac unable to dry.  Problem was, it was to be a birthday gift at a party taking place at Morton’s Steakhouse that night.  I set the plaque outdoors so it would dry and the toxic odor would fade.  No dice.  With no other choice, I slipped it gingerly into a gift bag and took it to Morton’s.  I set it by my feet during dinner, pretending to ignore the strong odor.  When the time came for gifts, I handed my friend the bag.  As she pulled out the wet, sticky plaque, the dining room filled with noxious fumes.  She looked at the plaque, politely trying to figure out what the heck was glued to it.  She flipped it over.  She and I both noticed that the hanger had been nailed in upside down.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Recently I went to the craft store with another vision, a personalized tote bag for my mother to carry her medical files around to her various doctors.  I purchased a pretty pink canvas bag and some iron-on lettering for adorning the bag with cute and inspiring phrases.   I was a little heavy handed with the iron.  Ironed the whole bag shut.

As if my failed projects aren’t reminder enough of my deficit, I think I saw the security guard at Michael’s tacking my picture up on their Do Not Craft list.


Filed under Family and Friends, Foibles and Faux Pas