Category Archives: friends

Where Were You in…a Long, Long, Long Time Ago?

Here’s a picture of me in my new Spanx. They really do work.

One of those high school reunions ending in a zero was fast approaching, and no way was I close to my goal of losing ten pounds and getting a facelift.

 A classmate told me not to worry, that it was just “a bunch of old people,” but I do have my pride. So I bought a pair of Spanx. In case you’ve never watched Oprah, Spanx resemble what we called a “girdle” back in high school, a device I swore I’d never wear again after the invention of pantyhose. Then, a few years ago, I renounced pantyhose. So wearing Spanx would be a real devolution for me, though they promised to smooth out unwanted rolls, lumps, and whatnot.

I probably burned a few calories squeezing into them the week before the reunion and wearing them around the house for practice. But, in the end, I opted for the ability to breathe unassisted.

But to the reunion:

The Food: Since I still hoped to lose a few pounds, it was fine with me there was no dessert at Friday night’s $17 hotel dinner, but I did hear some grousing. At the next day’s luncheon, one woman eyed the red and white peppermint in our hamburger carton and drolly remarked, “Great, we got dessert this time.”

The Reading of the Dead: Good news for one classmate—as the reading of names began, someone pointed out that one person on the list was not only still alive, but was also eating his lunch at a nearby table. I think he stood up and someone congratulated him. The woman faced with the task of reading the names, obviously flustered, said in all seriousness, “If I call out your name, raise your hand.”

A REAL reunion story: I’ll call them Bob and Peggy Sue. Bob and Peggy Sue split up during high school. Seems Bob got another girl pregnant and did the honorable thing and married the girl without bothering to explain the situation to Peggy Sue. Peggy Sue—heartbroken—eventually married someone else. Then, after decades of marriage, Bob and Peggy Sue both divorced their respective partners.

Bob immediately began looking for Peggy Sue, found her, married her, and now both are living happily ever after. I told him he was lucky she took him back.

By the time I’d heard the same version of this story from each of them, I was missing my own husband and my dog, who were three hours away. Besides that, my hotel room was too hot, and the wind had whipped my hair into what looked like half-eaten cotton candy, so I cut out early and headed home.

As a result, I missed Elvis, who was set to perform that night, but since I’d seen him in concert years ago when he was alive, I’ll hang on to that memory.

I do regret missing out on the barbecue dinner, but I’m thinking of it as the equivalent of losing five pounds and avoiding Spanx again when the next reunion rolls around.

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Filed under Abilene, dogs, fat, friends, High School Reunions, home, husbands

When Fast Food Isn’t

There I was, just sitting in the drive-through line at Taco Bell, minding my own business,  when I spotted my friend Mary in the car in front of me. I could tell it was Mary because her eyes and her glasses were reflected in her drivers’ side mirror.

She was laughing and waving her arm, while carrying on a spirited conversation with the boy working the window. So spirited, in fact, that after a while I began to wonder if she was ever going to finish her business so I could pick up my order. I was in a bit of a hurry because I really needed to get the tacos to my mother, who’s in a local nursing home, before she ate her regular meal.

But Mary was determined not to leave. She continued laughing and waving her arm out the window of her car. That’s when I got the bright idea to call Mary on her cell phone. So I did. But when it went straight to voicemail, I knew Mary had left the house without turning on her phone. I decided to leave her a message anyway, telling her I was behind her and why wasn’t she moving and was she flirting with the boy at the window or what? Mary, I said, quit flirting with the boy and move on so I can get my tacos. But, of course, Mary didn’t hear me because her phone was turned off.

That’s when I decided I would change tactics. You see, Mary has a penchant for getting into little spats with people in grocery store lines. Wouldn’t it be funny if I made Mary angry, only to have her realize I was the person behind her? So I honked my horn and frowned at her and motioned her to move on. I was pleased when Mary frowned back at me in the mirror.

Except that’s when I noticed Mary’s arm looked a little larger than I remembered it. And Mary’s eyes and glasses suddenly didn’t look like Mary’s eyes and glasses at all. And this not-Mary was now glaring at me.

 Oops, I thought.

I quickly pasted a huge smile on my face and waved enthusiastically at not-Mary as if she and I were long-lost friends.

 Not-Mary looked a bit puzzled, but I breathed a sigh of relief when she drove off without beating me up.

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Filed under embarassing moments, fast food, friends

Great Dane! And I don’t mean Hamlet

Though the headline is a tad confounding, if you keep reading, all will become clear. Yes, this is an old trick to entice you to keep reading. I’m a former English teacher. Enough said.

It was like old home week today at Waco’s Animal Birth Control Clinic monthly shot clinic, where I signed copies of my romantic comedy Dog Nanny, released in June.

First of all, a former student I hadn’t seen or heard from in 31 years showed up. Then my friend Patty, former colleague from Abilene High, appeared with her friend Sunny from nearby China Spring. (Photo above: Sunny, Patty, me)

In between, several local dog lovers dropped by:

Cyndi McDonald, my favorite dental hygienist (is that an oxymoron?), whose name I finally learned to spell–though I had to look up “hygienist” just now and probably will again

Shirley Whitaker, my mother-in-law, who wanted me to know she “supports me” (gotta love a MIL like that)

Bruce Kabat, my former editor at Waco Today magazine


Betty Hall from the local Romance Writers of America group (thanks, Betty)

Sandy Sanchez (an author herself), wife of Waco Tribune-Herald editor Carlos–of the same last name–and mother to Alec, Armand, Avi, and a couple of rescue dogs.

And my husband Bill, who, among other things

–took pictures
–ran over to Target and bought chocolate Hugs and Kisses (which promptly melted in the 100-degree-plus temps)
–didn’t flinch when I referred to him as my “manservant”

Meanwhile, several wonderful volunteers for the ABC efficiently herded a hundred or more dogs and their humans through the parking lot, under the awnings, and into rooms of the much-too-small clinic. It’s a precision performance you have to see to believe.

In case you haven’t been keeping up, the ABC really needs money so they can give the go-ahead to start work on their new building. And they really need a building of their own so they can move from their present cramped quarters.

So BEST OF ALL (see why below**), I sold 25 copies of Dog Nanny, which is a phenomenal amount considering I’m not Janet Evanovich (though as I mentioned in my previous blog, I wouldn’t mind being her, but only after I’ve first lived as Cher through one Las Vegas concert).

**Proceeds from sales of Dog Nanny are going to the ABC for its MUCH-NEEDED BUILDING FUND.

A final note of trivia from my four hours as a Janet Evanovich wannabe:

A woman I mentioned earlier (whose name I promise never to reveal) made this comment. “I can’t believe they can spay and neuter all those dogs so quickly!”

When I explained that today’s clinic was only for injections, tags, and microchipping, she clasped hands to her bosom and drew a deep sigh of relief.

So did the (intact male) Great Dane who’d been eavesdropping.

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Filed under Abilene, Animal Birth Control Clinic, dog nanny, dogs, friends, Waco