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Over the past week, I started my blog hopping to promote The Six Train to Wisconsin!
So far, it’s been a blast.
I stopped by the awesome Peter Andrews’ How to Write Fast Blog on 5/10/13 to talk about my inspiration for Six Train and share a few productivity tips.
This Monday, the fabulous Carrie Rubin of The Writer’s Transition shared her rib-tickling take on Grandma H as a mindreader.
And yesterday, the amazing Fel Wetzig of The Peasants Revolt picked my brain about what type of drink I am, my writing process, and why I use a pen name for my YA.
Thank you to Pete and Fel for asking cool interview questions and giving me a chance to showcase my book. Thank you to Carrie for featuring my book and inviting readers into the world of Grandma H.
To showcase the generous and talented bloggers who are hosting me, I am going to dedicate one post a week to listing where I’ve been. I hope you’ll check out a few of them and maybe find a few new blogs to follow.
This week I received my first official book review from Sandra Schwayder Sanchez of BookPleasures.com! Thank you Sandra!
And a big thank you to the blog buddies and readers have taken the time to post Amazon reviews! Thank you thank you thank you to EllaDee, Carrie, Catherine, Jen, Robin, and Marilyn!
Yesterday, I kicked off Six Train’s Biggest Fan Giveaway to thank all my supporters and readers! Taylor Swift is one of my favorite artists, so I’m giving away two tickets to her 7/6 concert in Pittsburgh, PA. You can find out more details and enter the giveaway here: http://www.facebook.com/kourtneyheintzwriter/app_228910107186452
Today, I’d like to share some life lessons from a woman who inspires me, who continually teaches me how to be more comfortable in my own skin, who owns who she is and invites others to do the same:
1) Grandma H knows exactly what she wants and isn’t afraid to demand it.
We went to the drugstore to get Ambesol to help with her toothache. I suggest Orajel, but she overrules me. She tells me she wants the gel, not the cream. I try to recommend a few, but she wants to know about every type of tooth pain reliever there on the shelves.
She grabs one and demands, “What about this one?”
“Um, well it’s for braces pain.”
“Put it back.”
When we get to the check out counter, she tells me, “Get three cents.”
She pulls out a ten dollar bill and checks three time to make sure it’s only a single ten. Then she tells me to check it again.
Finally, we complete the transaction and the saleswoman says, “Have a nice day.”
Grandma H responds, “Whatever.”
2) Grandma H selects a phrase of the day and employs it throughout our adventures.
“Mother of good God.”
3) Grandma H loves being appreciated
As we drive to the mall, I tell her, “All my blog followers love you. They want me to say hi to you from them. They rush to read your posts.”
She replies, “Oh, my public likes me.”
4) Grandma H isn’t ashamed of where she came from
“Is that the pond you swam in as a kid?” I ask.
“We’d come out of the water covered in bloodsuckers.”
“Why’d you keep swimming there?” I ask.
“It was so refreshing and so close to home. You just had to yank them out.”
5) Grandma H doesn’t give up
We have a routine at the mall. We go in and immediately hit the lotto seller. Then we sit on a bench so she can scratch them off. If she wins, we buy more. If she loses, we buy more. Then we make our way to Ihop.
At Ihop, Grandma H and I split a meal. I start to place the order and realize this breakfast doesn’t include pancakes. So I ask her, “Is that okay?”
She says, “I don’t want the god damn pancakes, they’re usually cold.”
The waitress says, “It comes with toast.”
I’m lowcarbing and Grandma H has a toothache so nothing hard to eat. “No toast.”
Grandma H says, “I’ll take the toast.”
“With your teeth?” I ask.
“Just bring lots of butter to soften it up,” she tells the waitress.
6) Grandma H isn’t afraid to make a mistake
We are talking about Grandma H’s teeth problems.
I say, “Mom said you had scarlet fever when you were younger.”
Grandma H says, “Two o’clock.”
“When you were two?”
“Yes, when I was two years old,” she explains like I’m the ninny.
Later she tells me, “Your uncle went into the tunnel.”
“He went where?”
“The tunnel. For his back.”
“You mean the MRI machine?” I ask.
“Yeah that tunnel thing.”
7) Grandma H can joke about anything
Grandma H keeps repeatedly taking ice cubes from my glass.
I tell her, “If it falls in your cleavage, I’m not going to get it out.”
She looks at me, “I’d rather stick it in your cleavage.”
We both burst out laughing.
In celebration of the Beauty of a Women BlogFest, here’s a list of the other bloggers participating in this epic event! If you have a second, please check them out.
- Amber West: A Beautiful Stream of Consciousness – Beauty of a Woman BlogFest
- Liz: The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest
- Bill Parker: On the Multitudinous Beauties of Women
- Coleen Patrick: Service Chic vs. Soul Deep: The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest
- Barbara McDowell: Beautiful Things Blossom From Caccoons
- Kassandra Lamb (Misterio Press): You Are Beautiful and Strong, Sweet Child of Abuse
- Marcy Kennedy: What Would You Trade to Look Young Forever?
- Rebekah Loper: 2013 Beauty of a Woman Blogfest – Comfortable in My Own Skin
- Lissa Clouser: Beauty of a Woman BlogFest: Part 2—An Unlikely Role Model
- Jennette Marie Powell: Beauty of a Woman: Don’t judge us by our covers!
- Amaryllis Turman: Beauty BlogFest 2012 – What is REAL BEAUTY?
- Kathryn Chastain Treat: The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest II
- Donna Galanti: Beauty is the Place Where Love Resides
- Linda Adams: My Relationship With My Glasses
- Ellen M. Gregg: The Beauty of a Woman: Inside Out
- Audrey Kalman: I want to be like Carol Winfield even when I’m dead
- Catherine Johnson: Beauty of a Woman BlogFest and Giveaway!
- Tameri Etherton: Shakespeare Totally Knew the Beauty of a Woman
- Catherine Krummey: Beauty (tumbler)
- Jenny Hansen: Beauty of a Woman BlogFest: Do Breasts Define a Female?
- Lindsay: Chronically beautiful…
- Inion N. Mathair: Beauty of a Woman’s BlogFest
- Jennifer M. Zeiger: The Eye
- Michel King: BOAW Fest – Eye of the Beholder
- K.M. OSullivan: Beauty of a Woman BlogFest 2013: The Beauty Box
- Kate Wood: The Beauty in Me
- Sabrina Garie: Owning Your Own Beauty
- Kerry Ann: Beauty of a Woman: Beyond Skin Deep
- Kim Jorgensen Gane: The Beauty of Women Friends
- FactoryMaid: Lying in the Mirror
- Renee A. Schuls-Jacobson: The Beauty of a Grandmother
- Jess Witkins: What Makes a Woman REDHOT?
- Sue: Beauty of a Woman BlogFest: Skin Deep
- Misty Dietz: The Paradox and Beauty of a Woman
- J. Keller Ford: The Beauty of a Woman
- David N. Walker: Beauty of a Woman
- Erin/Lux: One sees clearly with the heart
- Reese Ryan: Phenomenal Woman – That’s Me
- Maggie Amanda: 30 Years of Learning About Beauty
- Lena Corazon: Beauty of a Woman Blogfest: The Power of Natural
- Subtextreadalwaysnew: Moments of Beauty
- Nicole Basaraba: Beauty of a Woman – Body Culture
- Ingrid Schaffenburg: The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest
- Clearly Kristal: Mirror, Mirror
- Kristine Erickson Parker: Woman, love thyself!
- Patricia Sands: She Walks in Beauty ~ Beauty of a Woman BlogFest
- Vivian Kirkfield: Martha Washington: America’s First First Lady
Journey back with me to Christmas Day. A day of Grandma H moments…
Grandma H and I sit side by side eating ham at dinner. It was a buffet-style dinner so everyone had to grab their own utensils.
She has a fork. I have a fork and knife and spoon.
Not for long…
She says, “Give me that knife.”
I say, “I need it.”
She says, “So do I.”
I hand her mine and ask my cousin, “Can you grab me a knife?” I’m seated against the wall trapped beside Grandma H and she doesn’t move when she’s eating.
I get my knife and commence slicing my ham. Grandma H looks over at me. “I’ll take that spoon too.”
I have nothing on my plate that requires a spoon. Plus it’s Grandma H so I hand it over.
We eat for a bit in silence. Then I look over. She’s slicing her ham with the knife but holding it in place with the spoon.
I ask, “Why are you using the spoon like that?”
“Because it’s easier to scoop up the juice.” She sounds mildly annoyed by my ignorance.
“But to hold the meat in place when cutting?” I ask.
“It’s how I like to do it.”
Later we are sitting in the living room. Grandma H decides to start a conversation by asking, “So Steve, do you have water in your basement?”
It’s the weirdest conversation starter ever. I giggle.
Steve however goes with whatever topic is thrown at him and launches into a story about his basement flooding in the past but no longer.
Later, we sit around talking about an old family friend. Someone calls her to touch base. The phone gets passed around.
Unbeknownst to Grandma H, the call is ended.
The family then chats about the old family friend.
Grandma H looks to be stewing.
As the conversation gets louder, she shhhs everyone and says, “She’s still on the phone.”
My aunt says, “No she isn’t.”
Grandma H points to my cousin and insists, “He’s holding the phone talking to her.”
My cousin unfurls his hand which was beside his temple. “No, I was just resting my head on my hand.”
“Why would you do that?” Grandma H asks in a huff.
Everyone bursts out laughing.
I get in the car with Grandma H and pull out my lip balm. (It’s in a tube)
Grandma H asks, “Is that lipstick?”
“No,” I say, “It’s lip balm.”
“You could put on a little lipstick.”
“I don’t like lipstick. It dries my lips out.”
“But you’d be so pretty with a little lipstick,” she insists.
“I’m good with chapstick.”
“But you could put on lipstick.”
“I could also have sex with ten men,” I say.
She giggles. “Well, sex with ten men sounds better than lipstick.”
I burst out laughing.
We are shopping in the mall at Sears in CT. She is drawn to a boucle tan sweater jacket.
“Oh, this is nice,” she says.
I check the price tag. “It’s 120.”
“No pesos,” I say.
She bursts out laughing.
We are in IHOP talking about my eating low carb again.
She says, “You look good, stick to it.”
“I plan to.”
“Maybe you can get a boyfriend?” she asks.
“Yeah, once I lose the weight. I’m just not comfy getting naked in this body.”
With extreme vehemence, she says, “Oh no.” And shakes her head.
“It’s not that bad,” I say.
She realizes how disgusted she sounded and starts to laugh. That silent shoulder shaking, going to pee myself kind of laugh.
I can’t help joining in.
I stop by Grandma H’s house and she’s sitting at the table drinking orange-red colored stuff.
I ask, “Is that tomato juice or sauce?” (This is a valid question with Grandma H)
“It’s something eight,” she says.
“Something eight?” I ask.
My mom jumps in. “V-8.”
“Ah,” I say.
We are at IHOP and I tell her how people keep asking me where my cousin has been. It’s annoying.
Grandma H says, “Tell them he has toemain poisoning.”
“Toemain poisoning. It’s a real thing. Google it,” she tells me.
I look it up. It’s spelled ptomaine poisoning and you get it from canned foods.
So I ask, “Where did you learn about that?”
She shrugs. “TV.”
I’m at Ihop with Grandma H and she says, “You should go to a drive by.”
I ask, “You mean a drive through?”
“What’s the difference?”
“One I get shot at, the other I order my food to go.”
She giggles. “The other one then.”
We are sitting in Ihop and I start to take off my long sleeve shirt because it’s warm and I’m wearing a tank top underneath.
Grandma H exclaims, “Are you going to strip?”
“Just to my tank top today.”
When we are seated at Ihop, an older couple is seated behind Grandma H. We all get our menus at about the same time. Grandma H and my food arrives. We are half-way done eating, when the waitress appears at the table behind us and they start asking lots of questions about the menu.
Grandma H asks, “They didn’t order yet?”
She whispers, “Are they old?” (Note: Grandma H is in her early 80s.)
“Yeah, they gotta be pushing 90.”
“They don’t have time for this,” she says.
“They’ll be here all night,” she says.
I mention, “It always surprises me how much slower people get when they are toward the end of their lives. You think with that limited time, they’d do things faster.”
She cackles, “I know.”
A while later, the waitresses come to sing “Happy Birthday” to the little girls at the other end of our row of booths.
Grandma H says, “I hope that’s not for the old couple, they’ll be dead by the time the singers get down here.”
We are walking through the mall and a man is covered from scalp to toe in soot or grease walks toward us. Grandma H uses her outdoor voice and demands, “Where did he come from?”
I remind her, “That was really loud. Try to use your indoor voice or keep those kind of thoughts in your head.”
“Alright, but WHERE DID HE COME FROM? You saw him. Covered in dirt. Walking around. He must have escaped from prison.”
“Or he was working underground or as a mechanic.”
“He was filthy.”
“Maybe he needed to run an errand on his lunch break.”
“He shouldn’t come out in public like that.”
Last week, I spend a few days and nights with Grandma H. She reminds me a lot of the desert. You think things are pretty boring, but then something jumps out at you.
Grandma H is reading her book on Jackie O at the kitchen table. She’s eating a hodgepodge of leftovers and drinking 7 Up out of the can.
I’m sitting at the other end of the table on my MacBook Pro working on my manuscript.
For some weird reason when I get a drink of water I feel the need to remind her about liquids being dangerous to my computer. So I say, “I’m putting my glass of water on the other side of the table because my laptop cannot get wet. Ever.”
She nods, “Smart idea.”
Not 5 seconds later she reaches for her 7 Up and knocks the entire can over. I leap up, set the can to rights, pull my cord away from the spillage, move my papers from the mess. We both grab paper towels. Luckily, the table runner and newspaper caught most of the liquid.
It’s my Auntie’s table runner. I look at Grandma H and say, “Oh, you’re in trouble.”
She takes the runner out on the front porch to dry out.
When she comes back in she goes, “And you just said to be careful too.”
“I guess you weren’t really listening.”
Later on, I hand wash the table runner in detergent and we let it dry outside. By the next day we can put it back on the table. Crisis adverted.
We are in the car. Grandma H handed me the key. I try to give them back to her, but she’s pinned my arm behind hers so everytime she reaches for them she pushes my arm further back.
She gets frustrated, “I can’t reach the keys.”
I say, “Well, stop pushing my arm back and let me hand them to you.”
She bursts out laughing when she realizes she had my arm pinned back.
I come home from lunch with a friend and Grandma H sees the leftovers in my hand. “Oh good, I hoped you’d bring food back.”
“Why? I still have my tuna melt from yesterday,” I say.
“No, you don’t. I ate it. By accident,” she says.
“How do you eat a tuna melt by accident?” I ask.
“I was finishing the leftovers. I was half way through eating it when I realized what it was.”
I burst out laughing. Tuna is the most pungent food. “How did you not taste it?”
“Well, you put a lot of cheese on it.”
Grandma has a tv schedule that starts at 7pm: Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Mary Tyler Moore, Dick Van Dyke, All in The Family, the news. Grandma goes to bed at 10ish. But I don’t go to bed until 12/1 ish.
Grandma tells me, “I can’t fall asleep until you’re upstairs.”
“But I need to work,” I say.
“You work too much,” she says.
Mind you I cut my computer time to 1/3 when I was with her. LOL
All time favorite moment:
We are in the kitchen and Grandma H announces, “I’m going to take my bath, I’ll be five minutes.”
It takes at least 5 minutes to run the bath. I laugh. “I don’t need to get in the shower for an hour.”
“I’ll be two minutes,” she says.
On Easter, we gathered at Auntie’s for a little dinner. We were sitting on the back deck and Grandma H was sitting below a pine tree on the patio, enjoying the sun.
I was up under the umbrella on the deck with Dad, Auntie and Cousin P (a strapping 20-year-old). Uncle had just gone inside to make coffee.
All of a sudden, Grandma H goes, “OUCH!”
Auntie asks, “Did a nut fall on you?”
Grandma H says, “No, an egg.”
I’m confused. Mom hid Easter eggs for a little hunt, but how did one fall on Grandma H? Where did it fall from? The pine tree is at least 10 feet above her head.
Auntie says, “An egg?” And walks over to Grandma H.
I’m holding Emerson and I get up.
Yolk glistens in Grandma H’s hair.
And beside her on the brick patio is a tiny white egg shell with yolk spewed on the bricks.
We look up and see a badly built bird’s nest out in the limb’s of the pine tree. And a bird’s head looks down at us. But he doesn’t leave the nest.
His tail is twice the size of the nest and sticks out into the air.
Auntie tells Grandma H, “Go rinse your hair.”
Grandma H says, “No, I just got it done. Get me something to wipe the yolk out.”
Auntie rushes inside. She gives a wet cloth and mirror to Cousin P.
Poor Cousin P goes to hand it to Grandma H and she says, “You fix my hair.”
Cousin P looks around. I take pity on him. “If you take Emerson, I’ll fix her hair.”
He smiles and grabs my dog.
I try to get the egg out of Grandma H’s super hairsprayed hair. Then I wipe up the bricks so Emerson doesn’t eat raw egg.
And when my Uncle comes out, he’s so mad he missed everything.
Grandma H tells him, “The yokes on you.”
Yesterday Grandma H and I went out to lunch. She mentioned that Cousin P forgot his key to his dorm room at home Easter Sunday. She tells me, “He has that thing, DDT.”
I burst out laughing. “ADD?”
“Yeah, what did I say?”
“You named a chemical, I think it was a pesticide in the 70s.”
Her shoulders shake and she laughs.
I’m sitting at the kitchen table with Grandma H and she tells me, “We have to go back to the cemetery. We made a mess of the graves.”
My jaw drops.
“We put those fake flowers where the crocuses will come up. And the crocuses haven’t come up yet because they know they aren’t supposed to.”
The heater pings.
My mom asks, “What was that?”
Grandma H says, “The spirits.” She bursts out laughing. “No, just the heater.”
We are at a little picnic at my aunt’s house. My dad moves his chair back near the sliding glass door.
Grandma H says, “Don’t sit there, you’ll back into the glass and get decapitated.”
I ask, “Decapitated?”
She nods. “His head will come right off.”
We are talking about my grandfather’s bad driving.
Grandma H says, “He couldn’t really move, he had a fat neck. Seventeen and a half.”
Grandma H tells us about her last trip to the casino. “A guy sat down beside me. He had a scab on the side of his head. I couldn’t help looking at it.”
“What did you say?” I ask.
“Somebody hit you?”
“What did he say?” I ask.
“No, I fell on the floor,” she says. “So I told him, ‘It looks painful.’”
“What did he say?”
“Nothing. He got up and moved away from me.”
Ah, Springtime. When everything returns to life. New beginnings.
With Grandma H, it’s grave cleaning time.
She pulls into the cemetery driveway and tells me, “You are the look out. If you see a rapist, you tell me.”
“Uh..okay?” I say.
“And you run as fast as you can.”
“I’m going to have to. He’ll take one look at you and be after me,” I say.
Grandma H giggles hysterically.
We pull up and park the car. She tells me to grab the rake. When we get to the graves of her parents and her sisters, she does some weeding and assigns me to raking. As I’m raking, she says, “You’re not being the look out. You have to rake and be the look out.”
Grandma H says, “I’m only taking out library books if I find something good.”
“Those three I took out disappointed me. I skimmed them. But you know it’s outside,” she says.
“What is it? The bushes, a person what is outside?”
She sighs. “It’s spring time. Time to be outside.”
“Ah. I didn’t get that from it’s outside.”
She shakes her head.
Grandma H decides she wants to try Olive Garden. On the ride over, I say, “I think you will like the breadsticks.”
Grandma H says, “I hate breadsticks.”
“They call them breadsticks but they are more like rolls.”
“No seriously chewy like hotdog rolls and long like breadsticks.”
“I’ll try them.”
We get to the restaurant and Grandma H takes her first bite. “These are delicious!”
“We can get more right?”
“And the salad too?”
For the next hour she tells me four times how great the breadsticks are.
Her eggplant parm meal comes and she say, “I’m only eating a little pasta. I’ll take it home so I can eat more salad and breadsticks.”
I don’t eat my spaghetti so she scrapes it onto her plate and takes it home for dinner.
Grandma H comes into my mom’s house and announces, “We have to go to Poppy’s grave to check on the angel. I think the grave diggers ran her over.”
“What?” My mom and I ask in unison.
“They are digging a new grave near your grandfather’s. And I think they backed into the angel and broke it. We have to go check.”
I nod. “Sure.”
She gets a menacing tone in her voice. “And if it’s broken they are going to fix it.”
“Okay, let’s just make sure they did something wrong first,” I say. Grandma H has a tendency to open with mean.
Grandma H’s favorite place to drive by is the horses on Woodtick Road. There are about 6 horses in a paddock below street level.
Every time we drive by she slows down and gazes at the horses. Her voice gets buttery and her eyes sparkle. She adores the horses. And it never gets old. We’ve been driving by them for two months and she gets excited each time.
Sometimes it surprises her and she tells me, “I like horses. I really like horses.”