Category Archives: Laughter Is Good

Why I’m Not Ordering Today

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve been receiving offers from Publishers Clearing House for at least forty-five years. I used to order magazines through them and enter the sweepstakes. Later on they started offering other “items” for purchase when the bottom seemed to fall out of the magazine ordering business. I’ve ordered a few things from that over the years.

But lately it’s gotten completely ridiculous, and today when I opened the 50th sweepstakes envelope I’ve received this year,  I snapped. If you don’t buy something, they often don’t want you to use the order form to enter the contest. Instead, your are required to jump through other hoops. Lately, they’ve also included a flimsy slip of paper on which you are asked to explain your decision NOT to purchase something when you enter. WhyI'mNotOrdering

Since I’m older now, I often find reasons to send out letters, telling a company how I feel about the way they operate. Today is one of those days, and I’m including the “attachment” I’m sending in with my sweepstakes entry. I hope some of you agree with me.

Why I’m Not Ordering

By Patricia Smith Wood

You want to know why I’m not ordering today, but the slip you sent me to outline that information for you is too small. So here’s the story.

I’m a member of the older generation of Americans, much as that pains me to admit to you. Because of that I have decades of experience and wisdom about purchasing and spending money. Yes, I have purchased items from you in the past. Sometimes a gee gaw reaches the childlike portions of my brain and says, “Oh, look at the interesting toy! Buy me!”

I’ve gone years at a time without even opening your sweepstakes mail because I know: 1) I don’t need anything you are offering; 2) I’m strapped financially and am watching my expenditures; 3) I resent the concept that I can enter the sweepstakes “free” but often I’m told I can only do it online or by sending in an empty envelope with my forty-seven cent stamp.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE to buy stuff, but I’ve become more selective in that process over the years. Plus, as most Americans my age, I’m trying to downsize and get rid of the “junk” purchases I’ve collected during my lifetime. I’m in the process right now of cleaning out my elderly mother’s home after forty-one years of occupancy. I don’t want that same sort of burden to fall to my daughter.

You want to know why I’m not ordering today? Please don’t send me two sweepstake offers a week—it cheapens the entire process. What a waste of postage on your part, and a definite landfill glut for the public. If I send in an entry once, that should be enough. Either you draw my number or you don’t. Please avoid implying that multiple entries matter in the grand scheme of things. I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday.

Be clearer on how many of these “sweepstakes” you are running at once. Eventually it becomes suspect, and we think there is NO sweepstake at all! I’ve never seen the “announcement” on television you are always touting. All I see are commercials about Publishers Clearing House and people who may or may not be real people notified that they have won.

Now you know why I’m not ordering today, and perhaps never again. I hope someone in charge reads this. I suspect, instead, this will go into the same trash I’ve been tossing the majority of the entry letters all these years.

Déjà Vu All Over Again

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI heard about Yogi Berra’s death this past week and thought about all the times I’ve used one of his famous quotes. The guy had a way with words that made people laugh and think at the same time.

I found myself using one of those quotes earlier this month when Hubby and I had an evening at the theater. The first thing you must know is that, left to his own devices, Don would not choose to spend a Saturday evening at the theater, watching actors rush around the stage, spouting lines that half the time you can’t even understand. But because he loves me, and I love going to the theater, he will suck it up and take me there when I have a burning desire to see a play.

I had hinted around for a couple of months that Arsenic & Old Lace was coming to the Albuquerque Little Theater, and that I would like to attend a performance. As often as I said that, it never got a response. As all wives know, after subtlety goes out the door, the brutally direct approach is next.  I said, “I want to go to the Little Theater this Saturday night to see Arsenic & Old Lace.” We quickly eliminated the various friends he suggested I take with me, leaving him as the last man standing (so to speak.) I made the reservations and on Saturday evening, September 12, we headed downtown to the Little Theater.

All right, it’s confession time. In one of my previous lives within this current life (I can explain that to anybody who doesn’t immediately get it) I was an active participant in the Albuquerque theater community. For more than ten years I did shows with Continue reading Déjà Vu All Over Again

Ode To My Computer

I am NOT a poet. However, one evening, in a fit of despair, I created this little diddy.

 Ode To My Computer

101_0687I love you . . .

And I hate you . . .

 

You are my communication tool . . .

You are my encyclopedia . . .

You are my creative companion.

 

You are my nemesis . . .

You are my frustration . . .

You are my enemy.

 

You help me seek out knowledge . . .

You keep me in touch with friends and family . . .

You give me a canvas to paint my words.

 

You give me headaches . . .

You hurt my wrists . . .

You make me groan with despair.

 

You are a genius of engineering . . .

You are an invention of monumental importance . . .

You constantly grow and improve.

 

You defeat me at every turn . . .

You mock me in my ignorance . . .

You withhold results for no apparent reason.

 

Why do I put up with you?

Am I truly such a masochist?

Are you really so impossible to replace?

 

Yes.

Monday Observations

This morning was a fairly typical beginning of the week. I’m looking to get organized for the next seven days, and I’m brimming with insights.

DSCF22331.  I’ve Become My Father – No lie, I remember when I was much younger, I saw my father entering into “old fogeyness” (if that’s not a word it should be!) It seemed to me he railed against everything new and, in my opinion, exciting. Whereas all my life we’d enjoyed the same music, now he thought Elvis Presley was too loud and vulgar. Not only that, but his conversations were peppered with phrases like, “Well when I was young . . .”; “In my day we were more . . . ” and similar observations. I think he would love being here now to see Continue reading Monday Observations

Conferences, Confidences, and Chums

The wind that should have blown in March, continues into April, and I’m so tired of it! I cough a great deal, and it makes me edgy and unsettled. I’m ready for the REAL spring!DSCN1460 DSCN1305 DSCN1334 - Version 2 DSCN1304 DSCN1302

We had a fabulous trip to Colorado Springs in March at Left Coast Crime. We arrived on Wednesday afternoon late, and all was fine until we woke up Saturday morning to a icy cold day with snow all over the place! It wouldn’t have been so bad except our hotel rooms were all separated from the main building that housed the conference and eating facilities. It also caused a huge delay in our long-anticipated Saturday afternoon interview of Craig Johnson by Lou Diamond Philips.  Poor Lou was stuck in the airport in Albuquerque waiting for the Denver airport to start receiving flights. He finally arrived during the banquet Saturday night about 9:30 p.m. The interview got going at 11 p.m. (only seven hours later than scheduled!) But Lou and Craig were great troopers and were in fine form.

I tremendously enjoyed the panels I sat on. It felt really good to finally be up there as a published author. The Sunday morning panel was the best of all. Catriona McPherson is a hoot! She had everybody in stitches, and the panelists went along for the fun-filled ride. Catriona was born in Scotland and has the most delicious accent. She won the Bruce Alexander Historical mystery award the night before at the banquet, so spirits were high for the 9 a.m. session. The authors on that panel were such good ad libbers, and the questions kept the audience laughing. We all had a great time, and it was the perfect top off for the conference.

My traveling chums, Charlene (our intrepid driver) and Margaret (my wing-woman) were such fun to be with. Our rides up and back were non-stop conversation. This did not and does not surprise my husband in the least. He maintains that each time our critique group gets together (of which Charlene and Margaret are members) the talk is constant, simultaneous and impossible for him to follow tucked away in his office down the hall. He says we make his head spin, and he closes his door to shut us out. He says men’s head are filled with individual boxes. A guy takes out one box, which contains one subject, like perhaps sports, and he deals with that subject. Then he puts that box away and takes out a box for some other subject. He even has a boxed labeled “Nothing” and when he has that box open, and his wife asks him what he’s thinking, he says, “Nothing,” and it’s completely true!

Women, on the other hand, have all these wires crisscrossing back and forth in their brains. He says we access everything, all at once, all the time. To illustrate to me how my mind and that of my friends works, he places his fingers above his head, wiggles them frantically, and makes a long, drawn-out buzzing sound. He sounds like a bee, and he says that’s what our brains do.

But I digress. We had informative, instructive and deeply revealing conversations both up there and coming back. The only thing better would be hiring a driver with a van that would hold eleven of us, and we could all talk, all the time, the entire trip. Of course, we’d have to put the driver in a sound proof booth, or he’d lose is mind!

Hey, maybe that would be the thing for Left Coast Crime 2014 in Monterrey, California!

Innocence Ain’t What It Used To Be

Since I was a teenager in the 1950s, my “awareness” of life and some of it’s more “adult” themes was, at age 18, not what the youth of today would understand. Let’s face it. When I was a teenager, “I Love Lucy” was the biggest show on television and “Lucy” and “Ricky” slept in twin beds. In fact, any time a married couple’s bedroom was shown on television or in the movies, they had twin beds. Even in the 1960s, on the Dick Van Dyke Show, Rob and Laura Petrie had twin beds. All this is by way of letting you know that young, unmarried girls (at least those in the group I grew up with) lived in an atmosphere that didn’t impart much knowledge about sex.So, having set the stage, I will tell you about an incident that occurred on my first job after high school. A week after graduation, I got a position at Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company as a stenographer in the State Engineering Department. I was part of a “steno pool” of girls who Continue reading Innocence Ain’t What It Used To Be

How Dry I Am

In 1942 when I was three, most small towns in Texas were “dry,” and we lived in one. This meant that liquor was not sold in our town, and, in theory, drinking the evil brew was effectively curtailed. As always, there were ways around this situation. You could purchase booze in areas close by which were not “dry” and transport it back to your home, and this is how people who liked a little nip occasionally handled this mild inconvenience. But most of the residents were (on the surface at least) teetotalers.My parents were both very young at that time. Dad was only 22 and Mom was 23, and they frequently had friends over to our apartment for an evening of socializing and beverage consumption. I was usually up and mingling with the guests during at least part of these evenings (there was, after all, no television in those days.) Plus, I had many relatives back in Fort Worth, which was not dry, and they all enjoyed a cocktail or a beer every now and then. So, to me, social drinking was a normal component of a party.My Mom worked hard to get to know the townspeople and make friends. During the time we lived there, she was able to stay home and be a housewife, so it was important to meet people and establish relationships. A few months after we arrived, Continue reading How Dry I Am

Embarrassing Your Child – Advice From an Expert

Most parents have experienced some embarrassing moments, thanks to their offspring. The tiny tots have a tendency to throw tantrums and tell family secrets. Sometimes, in their childish innocence, they make comments in front of strangers that can reduce the parent to red-faced, squirming despair. It’s just one of life’s little moments and you pray for the strength to walk away with some dignity. At such times, your thoughts turn to the hope that someday, they too, will be parents and have their turn.But my child didn’t have to wait that long. She had her mother to do the honors. Without deliberate malice or forethought, I began paying her back when she was about eleven.I’ve had a slight hearing impairment for many years, and I sometimes hear things “funny”. So if I hear something that sounds strangely out-of-place, I repeat it to get clarification and it usually gives people a chuckle. When my daughter, Paula, was eleven, she didn’t find much humor in the way I heard things. One day we were shopping for school clothes and she was showing me a shirt she found. What she actually said was, “Look, seams inside out!” But I repeated back to her what I thought she said, which came out Continue reading Embarrassing Your Child – Advice From an Expert

The Exploits Of David – Part 2

Anyone who has been part of a family with more than one child can attest to the fact that the younger children often reach adulthood due to the benevolence of the older ones. Of course, if you personally happen to be a younger birth-order child, you might not agree with me. But I know older siblings will see it my way.
My baby brother, who is definitely no longer a baby, owes me his life. I was an only child for so long I had grown to accept it as my lot in life. While I sometimes wished for a sister to play with, and to stand with me against the tide of adult family members, I realized there were many advantages to my only child status. By the time I was thirteen years old, I no longer gave it a thought, and I was well entrenched in my identity as the “only” one. Then one drizzly, gray February morning I was home from school because I had a cold. I was sitting at the breakfast table with my mother after my father had gone to work. I was trying to eat my oatmeal and feeling generally “yucky”. My mother got it into her head to cheer me up, so she said, “Well, I have something to tell you that will make you feel better. You are going to get a baby brother Continue reading The Exploits Of David – Part 2