Saturday, August 31, 2013

Oh what a night!

My excitement began with an email invitation from Stephanie Gold (Gloria Gaynor's manager) to meet them personally and attend a private event concert on Friday night. I inquired about formal/informal attire, and Stephanie replied that it was 1970s -1980s party theme, and we were to dress accordingly.

We four local contributor's to Gloria Gaynor's (soon to be released) inspirational book, We Will Survive, had only days to hit the thrift shops and reduced racks at local department stores to find appropriate disco outfits and accessories.

What a laugh we all had when we saw one another's costumes. We were a sight to behold with our bangles and jangles. We arrived an hour early and paraded into The Hyatt Regency Hotel lobby looking like... well as one of the young female hotel employees said when she saw us, "Oh, painted ladies."
                              Alice Muschany, Linda O'Connell, Gloria Gaynor, Lynn Obermoeller, Cathi Lamarche
Gloria Gaynor and Stephanie Gold came to greet us. You know how you have only one chance to make a first impression? Well we certainly did! I can only imagine what they thought about us as we all sized one another up.
I was quite impressed with the informal and friendly manner of both women. They led us to the pent house lounge. We sat on a sofa and overstuffed chairs, and after the formalities of introducing ourselves and discussing our individual stories, we relaxed and chatted like old friends. Ms. Gaynor put us all at ease as she shared intimate details about her life—which we could all relate to. She shared confidences about some of the other stories in her new book, details about the anthology's promotion, and she talked about actors and actresses you'd all recognize by name, including Oprah. Time flew as we shared histories, ideas, and opinions on relationships... and men. Oh yes we did! We laughed a lot as we made connections and accepted her generous gifts of autographed CDs and photos.

Ms. Gaynor is such a down-to-earth, spiritual, fun woman. She's someone you'd want to share a cup of peach tea with. Well, not the same cup! Each of us could feel her genuine spirit. It was as if she were an old friend. When Lynn presented her with homemade gooey butter cake, she looked into the gift bag and cracked us up when she said, "Oh my, this is going to be my last supper!"

Years ago, the uplifting lyrics to her song, I Will Survive, carried me through some tough times. When Gloria Gaynor spoke to us in person in that lounge, she spoke to the part of our hearts and souls where her voice and lyrics have been imbedded for decades. She touched us deeply.

Stephanie Gold is petite and mighty, unpretentious, the most energetic and real New "Yorkeh" I have "eveh" met. She has a passion for animals that resonated with all of us. She is not only a manager, it is obvious that she is Ms. G's dedicated, true friend.

She took us behind the scenes, into the green room, and back stage. Gloria said that she has been and done many things in her life, but on Friday night, she was experiencing a first; she was going to be someone's "birthday present." Can you imagine your husband hiring your most favorite singer to perform at your fiftieth birthday party? It was an awesome party.

Gloria Gaynor's energy level on stage surpassed that of any of today's rock stars. Her concert was incredible. That woman can get down! And her voice! And her band! And the duets! Oh, it was a glorious and memorable night, not only for the birthday girl, but for the four old gals whose stories Ms. Gaynor selected to include in her book.

As I watched her prance across that stage, listened to her belt out songs, and observed how she connected with her audience and fans, I stood on the dimly lit dance floor and sent up a humble prayer of thanks for such a wonderful and unexpected opportunity.

Then, Cathi and I darted to the ladies room. We were walking back through the lobby when we heard the lyrics, "At first I was afraid, I was petrified..." We RAN in our clodhopper shoes and made it back into the reception hall in time to raise our hands and voices and join the party and the birthday girl in singing our anthem, I Will Survive!

This could be the beginning of something really big...and that is all I am going to say. I wish Ms. Gaynor success beyond compare with her anthology, WeWill Survive based on her # 1 hit song, I Will Survive.

Shh! Anna Mae Bullock, aka Tina Turner, contributed a celebrity quote.

Watch out world, here we come!


Big news coming, even bigger than what's poosted here

Seriously, I have so much to tell you about my event last night with Gloria Gaynor, but hubby is rushing me out the door to a family reunion. I will survive, and I will return. Standby... or better yet, come back tomorrow, as it will be late night when we return from out of town.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Did I ever tell you about...

Those of you who follow my blog know that I am meeting with Gloria Gaynor on Friday. I am usually not star struck. But this time my heart is all aflutter.

About 20 years ago we bought our first video camcorder to film our grandchildren. Before Hubby left for work, he told me to take it to the mall with me and practice with it. I was very excited to see the Platters, who were doing a free concert in the mall. I found a seat in the back, and turned on the video camcorder and proceeded to film them as they sang a hit song. I squinted one eye at them and kept the other on the view finder. I filmed them as they sang, greeted the audience and talked to a person filming a copyrighted event. I kept thinking, What an idiot! Then one of the guys said, "LADY! Turn it off!"

I wanted to sink to the floor. But, I wanted to hear their concert, so I put it in my purse, shrugged and mouthed an apology.

Then I hurried home to wait for my hubby to return home from his afternoon shift so I could give him a piece of my The Platters gave me a piece of theirs.

Uhm, I know better now, so I will not be bringing a video cam to the event on Friday. I do have a cell phone...hmmm.

I will be dressing in period attire for the private event which has an 70s/80s theme. I may be stopped this time for street walking.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Free books and my winning recipe

Interested in receiving a free book?

I would like to thank Jennifer Brown Banks for interviewing me about my writing success with Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Please click on this link to read it.

Next Friday, August, 30th,  at 3:00 p.m. I will put the names of those who have left a comment on Jennifer's blog (about the CS interview) in a drawing for a free, autographed, Chicken Soup for the Soul book. Call your friends and ask them to leave a comment. I like comments, too, but I will only be counting the names on Jennifer's blog. Only one response per person will be eligible. So, if you leave ten comments, you will still have your name thrown in the hat ONLY one time.

If Jennifer receives 1-10  comments, I will pull one name.
If she receives 11-20 comments, I will select a second winner.
If she receives 21-30 or more comments, I will choose a third winner.

Winners may choose from these titles:

Chicken Soup for the Soul Think Positive
Chicken soup for the Soul Finding My Faith
Chicken Soup for the Soul Reader's Choice (20th Anniversary Edition)
I also have one copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul Married Life

Please, drop by Jennifer's blog and start talking! Call a friend, tell a writer, ask them for a favor, and who knows, one or both of you may be a winner.

Thank you, one and all!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thrilled beyond words

Oh my gosh! I received an email today that made me sit up and take notice. Actually, it made my heart pound rapidly, and I did a happy dance. I had to wait to calm down before responding.
Months ago I submitted to a call out for an anthology titled, We Will Survive.

Gloria Gaynor's #1 hit song in the 1980s, I Will Survive, inspired her to develop an anthology based on how her song inspired others. My story was one of those selected, along with three other local writer friends. Gloria Gaynor's publicist asked if I would contact the others to see if they wanted to meet GG briefly next week when she is in town for a private event.

We were very excited, and I answered YES on behalf of Lynn Obermoeeler and Cathi Lamarche, Alice Muschany, and myself.

Then a little while ago, I received an update: Would we like to be Gloria Gaynor's guests at her concert, a private event in town? We will join her an hour beforehand to chat.
Now how cool is that?!
Gloria has been honored with awards, had many guests appearances in the United States and other countries, and has received accolades worldwide. Along with her global reach through concerts and engagements, Gloria uses the platform and inspiration of I Will Survive to give back. "I Will Survive should remind us to be proactive in this world." Gloria embodies this through her work with the American Diabetes Association, Save the Children, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, among others.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Corn left on the cob

We are driving past a cornfield. It triggered a repressed memory. My former husband and I were in our teens. We were going camping and had a cooler filled with food. I asked him to stop so I could pick two ears of corn from a farmer's field. That evening I cooked dinner. I boiled that corn and buttered it. But, we couldn't eat it.Those kernels were so tough we couldn't sink our teeth in.

We later learned that farmers plant the first three rows of "feed" corn for horse and cattle. Let me tell you horse corn is strictly for horses.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Tuckered out

Sorry, I don't have time to check in on blogs. I am working hard on editing Not Your  Mother's Book...On Family. This project has consumed almost every waking moment all week. I will be returning to blogs by Wednesday, I hope.

All work and no play makes me a little cranky. So, we decided to take advantage of a free admittance ticket to Boogie Nights, a 1970's dance venue, just to see what it was about. We used to dance a lot. I miss that.

The music was deafening, and the DJ had the bass so loud our legs vibrated as we sat. Speaking of sitting, there were twelve tables in the whole place and booths for VIPs. Booths that cost $100 to rent for the evening. I laughed out loud at the price.

The music was not the only entertainment. There was a guy in his early 20s wearing jeans and an open vest. He had abs of steel. I commented to the older lady next to us, "All brawn, no brains, probably." We had a good laugh.

Then when a young lady, also early 20s roller skated past us in too short, short-shorts, my honey made a funny as he caught a glance from behind.
"Whoa! That girl is nuclear. She has fallout."

We danced. We DANCED! We fast danced to four songs, I think, maybe it was five, because there was no break between songs and they all had the same beat. After that, we sat down, winded, caught our breath and left. Revived. Ready for bed.

Off to more editing. I will check in now and then, but doubt I will have much time to respond.
Please don't go away for good.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Some teachers!

Tonight is Open House at preschool. I am excited to meet my new students and their parents.
Someone sent me an old joke which made me laugh out loud.

Preschool teacher goes around room asks seated parent and child to introduce themselves.

She says to first mom, Welcome Mrs. Jones. Your child is named Penny. Obsessed with money, are you?

To second parent: "Well, Miss Taylor, I'm glad to meet Candy. Food addict huh?

To third mom: Welcome Mrs. Smith. Brandy is a cutie. Closet boozer, are we?

At that, a mom in the room jerks her kid by the hand, stumbles down the aisle and runs for the door, "Come on Dick, let's get out of here."

Monday, August 12, 2013

20! I have attained my goal.

Since I was home alone, my honey can't confirm it and wouldn't anyway. He says sometimes there are no explanations for these sounds.

My lower back aches from sitting so long, 9-2 at the computer editing Publishing Syndicate's anthology, Not Your Mother's Book...On Family. Some great funny stories! 

Bill went out to get a taco and I sat here engrossed in my work. I heard an awful ruckus in the hallway, like lots of things falling and hitting the floor. I do not hear voices! Even my skeptical honey has heard things 'falling' in this house and then when we go to look, there is nothing there.

Nothing was out of place, not in any room of the house. I think it was my late mom sending me KUDOS from on high. I sat back down at the computer and saw that I had received an E mail from Chicken Soup for the Soul. They sent a contract for the Dating Book coming out in December. I await final selection, but it looks like this one has a good chance. That will be 20 Chicken Soup for the Soul books that my stories will be published in.

Insiders news: Amy Newmark contacted contributors to let us know Chicken Soup is making a movie! They've also come out with a line of soups.

Speaking of soup...I'll give you a preview of what my story is about. Three dining disasters. One was when Bill put a bowl of soup on the table and trotted back to the buffet. I tasted it, and it was so good, I ate every last drop of ... his brown gravy for his roast beef.

I've just heard from two writer friends who have also received acceptances for the same book.

You can do it, too. Sit down and write a slice of life, personal essay.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Yank a little more!

My honey did a load of  laundry (yes, I am blessed) and dropped his two clean pair of cotton, elastic waist lounging shorts on the dresser. One pair is gray and the other black.

In the evening when I was busy writing, I heard a yowl that made me sit up and take notice. It wasn't one of his crazy TV show characters. It was him. I ran to see if he was OK, and there he was, the black shorts pulled up past his knees and stuck on his thighs like teenage Barbie trying to squeeze into ten-year-old Skipper's clothes. Okay, that's a bad image, but you know what I mean.

I doubled over laughing as he struggled to get into and then (not so quickly) out of my black shorts, which I had left on the dresser.

I know, it's not nice to laugh at old folks, but I can't help it.

Did you know that Chicken Soup for the Soul is seeking stories for the upcoming book, Home Sweet Home? Deadline in October or Nov, I think. Remember, the early bird, gets the worm! I just submitted. I hope you do, too.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Just a little dab'll do ya!

It's peach season here, and I am enjoying every juicy bite, every single day. Granddaughter Nicole came over for a while, so I made us peach crepes. We stirred up some thin pancake batter and I added ingredients.

"Yummy, that brown stuff (cinnamon) smells so delicious. And that white sweet stuff (powdered sugar) smells even better. And wow! You're even putting some on the sliced peaches. Oh, Nana, yummy! I can't wait."

She was even more excited when I placed her peaches in the crepe, rolled it and dusted hers with more powdered sugar.

Then I made mine. I poured us a cup of milk in fancy floral tea cups. We sat down to enjoy our meal.
She was like Bob in the movie, What About Bob? After each bite, she moaned, "Oh Yummmmm, uhhhhmmmm, I love this!"

Okay, it was good, but not spectacular. The ones I made for Sunday breakfast were much tastier. In fact mine was rather bland, but I ate it and smiled as Nicole devoured itty bitty morsels to make it last longer.

As I was cleaning up the kitchen counter I discovered the powdered sugar bag sitting next to the pancake batter bag. Uh-huh! I had GENEROUSLY dusted mine with pancake flour!

Lock me up! Give me an aspirin. It has been one of those days.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Out of place or out of their minds?

WHAT is it? WHERE is it? Tell me what your first thoughts were.
It's about a mile from our house on a well-travelled street. When it was being built, neighbors and passersby in this older neighborhood of small brick bungalows and modest ranch homes thought it was a church. Imagine the speculations when those gargoyles were positioned on the roof. Some people thought it might be a gothic hotel or bed and breakfast. Others wondered if it was going to be a reception hall. The sign in the yard advertises the sustainable building materials.
As it turns out, it is a monstrosity of a castle-home that dwarfs the well-kept single story houses. The news station investigated, obtained the owner's name, but he did not respond to a request for a statement. The investigative reporter discovered that county zoning laws do not cover aesthetics, only building codes. So, in the county of St. Louis, you too, could have something like this towering over your home sweet home.
And then, a block away from the castle is the gingerbread house. This picture does not depict the details, the stained glass sugar plums and doo-dads, nor the many hues of purple.

Both houses look very out of place in the neighborhood, but I'll bet you can guess which one I would prefer as a neighboring home.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Possibly her last hormonal hurrah

Cruise ships offer something for everyone all day long. If you want to be a passive observer there are many people, places and things to watch. If you want to be an active participant, there are lots of things to do.

There are the interactive family-friendly Hasbro games with over-sized playing pieces. Selected volunteers play on stage and win prizes. The retelling of the Three Bears is a hoot. Several people are selected to be the characters. They stand shoulder to shoulder in line. Each time their name is read in the newspaper account of the Three Bears they have to leave their place on stage and run around the entire group. It gets faster and faster and funnier and funnier. It would be a great party game.

The Newlywed Game is hysterically funny. Three volunteer couples are chosen: a newlywed couple, a couple married twenty years, and a couple married fifty years. They are seated back to back on stage, and the questions are as funny as the answers.

There's ice carving, Bingo, trivia games, name that tune, word games, sing alongs. There are roving reporters with cameras who capture candid shots and interview guests. These snippets are compiled into a video and at the end of the cruise they're sold as a vacation memento. Believe me, some things you want to forget, like this event, the hairy chest contest which was held on Lido Deck where one can dance, swim, dine or drink till they're done. The place was packed.

This crazy daisy's swim suit cover up should have been an indication. She was very short, with a very big mouth, and maybe fifty years old. Goof ball raised her hand and hustled up when the activities director barked a request for volunteers.

"Do you have a hairy chest?" he asked.

"I want to be a judge!" the kook among us shrieked and jumped around like a little kid who couldn't hold it.

Six guys volunteered to take their shirts off and strut their stuff in front of the four female judges who were instructed to vote on the guy with hairiest chest. If they felt the urge, they were given permission to touch the guys' chest fuzz. The guys were all ages, some had abs and others had flab, but ding-a-ling didn't care.

The old guy with a white chest pelt enjoyed every minute of her exploration... of his behind. She grabbed every guy's butt as they strolled past her. The young guys zigged and zagged and danced in circles to avoid her clutches, but she managed to out-dance them and get a grip, anyway.

Wal-mart You Tube people, watch out! One of your video vamps has made it to the big time. No, we did not purchase the video.