Friday, July 12, 2013

Coffee With Erma

 
  Once again it's time for the Secret Subject Swap hosted by Karen at http://www.bakinginatornado.com. I was fortunate enough to receive my prompt from one of my favorite bloggers, Starr, of http://hypnoticbard.blogspot.com. Her question for me: "If you could meet any author, past or present, dead or alive, for coffee, who would it be and why?"


     During the Jurassic era when Meno Mama was attending Stephens College with all the other dinosaurs, our commencement speaker at graduation was the well-known humorist, Erma Bombeck. I remember wondering who she was and thinking that she was incredibly funny. Little did I know how fortunate I was to witness this icon of humor deliver the most entertaining graduation speech I would ever hear.
     Fast forward to 2011 when I decided to dust off my diploma and put my writing skills to use in the form of a blog. I thought of Erma immediately and devoured every Bombeck book that I could find. She has been my muse from that point on, and is the inspiration behind every blog post I write. When I received Starr's prompt for this Swap, it took less than a nanosecond to decide who I would share coffee with. Bombeck's famous quotes have stuck with me over the years, so I pulled some of my favorites from the archives and centered our coffee conversation around them.
     Readers, meet my new friend, Erma Bombeck.


     "Erma, I've admired your work for so long. Every blogger out there wants to emulate your writing style. I was terrified of hitting that 'publish' button when I wrote my first post. Were you nervous when you sent out your first article?"

      "It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else." 

     "That's right. For the first few months, I felt like I was swimming alone in the murky waters of blogging until I started meeting other writers."

     "Dreams have only one owner at a time. That's why dreamers are lonely.

     "It's hard on my family, too. They understand I need time alone in my room to write. But it sure would be nice if they tossed a sandwich and a bag of chips at me every now and then so that I wouldn't starve to death while sitting at the computer all day. Maybe that's their new diet plan for me. Seriously though, when I look around my messy home, I feel bad about neglecting all the chores that need to be done. It's a problem when the dog has eaten all the wooden legs off the sofa because no one remembered to feed him."


     "Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving!"

     "That's just it; the guilt is killing me."

     "Housework, if you do it right, will kill you."

     "My mother was an incredible housewife. She cooked from scratch, scoured the house until it shined and ironed everything, including the bedsheets! Mine resemble failed, origami projects shoved into the abyss known as our linen closet."

     "Ironed sheets are a health hazard."

     "The only time I don't feel guilty about letting the housework go is during football season. I figure if my husband can't be bothered with mowing the lawn for a few weeks, I can skip vacuuming the carpets for awhile..."

     "If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead."

     "He already spends too much time on the couch. I'm afraid one of these days I'll come home and all that will be left of him will be a chalk outline on the sofa and a remote control. He really needs to get out and jog."

     "The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I can hear heavy breathing again!"

     "Tell me something, Erma---you faced quite a bit of adversity in your life with polycystic kidney disease and breast cancer. How were you able to write such powerful humor during those years?"

     "Laughter rises out of tragedy when you need it most, and rewards you for your courage....if you can laugh at it, you can live it."

     "My laughter and pain is often intertwined. I'm either slipping into insanity or suffering from the raging hormones of menopause."

     "There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt."

     "You certainly found a way to bring laughter into this world. It amazes me that you started off by writing weekly newspaper columns from your small bedroom in Ohio, then quickly rose to be a popular humorist nationwide. Fourteen years later, 900 newspapers were publishing your column. That's an incredible accomplishment!"

     "I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian."

     "A lot of bloggers can relate to that statement. I think we're all searching for that little slice of fame through our blogs."

     "Don't confuse fame with success. Madonna is one. Helen Keller is the other."

     "I love that you were able to find humor in your everyday experiences as a wife and mother. Some of my favorite stories are the ones about your children and how they drove you crazy!"

     "Insanity is hereditary. You can catch it from your kids."  

     "You had three of them---you should know!"

     "Never have more children than you have car windows."

     "Especially if your fourth one is a belligerent seventeen-year-old who likes to make potato bombs and burn plastic milk jugs in the house to set off the fire alarm at an ungodly hour."

     "A child needs your love more when he deserves it the least.

     "It's hard to control my temper around him. I'm trying to be patient and understanding but sometimes I just want to sell him to a traveling circus....or duct tape him to a chair until he turns 21."

     "It's not until you're a mother that your judgement slowly turns to compassion and understanding."

     "I'm still waiting for that concept to kick in..... if you could start all over again as a young mother, Erma, what changes would you make?"

     "Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment, realizing that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle....I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains....I would have talked less and listened more....and when my kids kissed me impetuously, I would have never said, 'Later. Now get washed up for dinner.'"

     "And if you had your whole life to live over again?"

     "There would have been more 'I love you's' and more 'I'm sorry's'....I would have cried and laughed less while watching television, and more while watching life....but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute....look at it and really see it....and never give it back." 

   
     We sipped our coffee in silence after that, then shared a few more family stories before it was time for her to leave. As I thanked her again for spending the afternoon with me, she popped open a flowered umbrella and headed out into the rain. I watched her disappear behind the silvery mist of water falling from a bruised sky and knew that I would never forget this remarkable, enchanting woman of humor.


      Please be sure to stop by and read the posts from the other bloggers participating in today's Secret Subject Swap!


http://BakingInATornado.com                         
http://themomisodes.com/                                  
http://www.justalittlenutty.com/                     
http://followmehome.shellybean.com                  
http://stacysewsandschools.wordpress.com/               
http://thesadderbutwisergirl.com                           
http://menopausalmother.blogspot.com/                   
http://dinoheromommy.com/                             
http://hypnoticbard.blogspot.com/                             
http://singlemumplusone.blogspot.com                       

     

    

     

     

     

     

 

90 comments:

  1. The one about football has me cracking up!

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    1. Yes, because she was just spot on about that!!!

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  2. I <3 ERMA and I <3 this post!!!
    AWESOME!! LOVE IT!!!!

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    1. She was one of a kind, that's for sure. My hero.

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  3. I love how you did this and enjoyed reading all her quotes. Great job babe.

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    1. I had fun doing it because I adore Erma!!!

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  4. This prompt was perfect for you. You made me laugh and gave me goose bumps all at once. Erma would be proud.

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    1. Awwww...I love hearing that! I had goosebumps when I wrote the ending!

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  5. What a fabulous post! I've done a couple of posts on Erma myself - with some of the same quotes you've used.
    How incredible that you got to hear her speak.............
    Laurie from Heaven's Walk is constantly comparing me to her ( a compliment I will never deserve !!!!!!!! ) but it's such an amazing thing to hear, every single time!
    You're just fantastic - really you are - to have come up with this!
    XOXO
    P.S. If life is a bowl of cherries - what am I doing in the pits????????

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    1. I really am fortunate to have heard her--she had us all howling with laughter---truly one of a kind and way ahead of her time. The world lost a great person the day she passed away.

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  6. OMG Marcia. This post actually made me cry. I absolutely loved Erma Bombeck and still read her books over and over. You remind me of her so much and now I know why. Thanks so much for this!!!

    You are both so warm and funny.

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    1. Oh Penny, that's so sweet of you to say! I think you write a lot like her too---we can relate because of our teenagers, you know? Erma was such an amazing woman who left this earth far too soon.

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  7. I loved every bit of this post, Marcia. Erma was an icon with such humility and humor. Love the quote about success and fame; so true. I can absolutely envision you two sitting over a cup.
    What an honor for you to have had her at your graduation! Thanks for the genuine smiles <3

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    1. She was a gifted speaker and I was so lucky to have the chance to hear her. I remember thinking at the time how much I wanted to be like her. So glad you liked the post, Michele. Now if only you and I could meet up for coffee one day.... XO

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  8. I love that you turned it into an interview with quotes from her! I loved this so much. I'm all teary eyed and I feel the need to tell a few people I love them before it's too late.

    <3

    -The Insomniacs Dream

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    1. It was an AWESOME prompt and I'm so glad it came from you---thank you for coming up with it!

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  9. Erma Bombeck has always been an inspiration to me. I wanted my own space in my garage when I was married, but my ex wouldn't build a garage for me and the shed held only enough space for a lawn mower :)

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    1. I think all of us who grew up with her can relate to her, especially now that we are mothers and seeing the world through her perspective. She really was ahead of her time and still to this day is timeless!

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  10. That Erma sure knows her stuff. I especially like the comment about guilt. I might know a thing or two about that...

    Thanks for always supporting and linking up to my weekly BlogLovin Hop (http://www.journeysofthezoo.com/search/label/BlogLovin%20Hop). I’m a follower of yours.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo
    BlogLovin: http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/4064788/journeys-of-the-zoo

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    1. Oh yes-- I think we can all relate to the things Erma said. Thanks fro stopping by, Sarah. I love participating in your blog hop!

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  11. Very, very nice interview over coffee... So enjoyed that. She was amazing!!!

    Happy Friday, Slu (declared legally dead years ago) Ha!!!

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    1. You are too funny, Slu! Glad you enjoyed the post. Erma has always been my idol.

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  12. I enjoyed that! The quotes are spot on and the comments even better! Loved the one about blogging and fame...so true!

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    1. She was incredible, wasn't she? I have all her books but it just isn't enough....wish there was more!

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  13. I love the way you did this post. I've always been a fan too and wanted to be her when I grew up.

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    1. I think as bloggers and writers, we all aspire to be like our beloved Erma!

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  14. The sound of total and complete satisfaction: Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

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  15. She was such an amazing woman. I truly enjoyed this post.

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    1. She certainly was--they broke the mold when they made Erma Bombeck!

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  16. She was an original. Died way too soon.

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    1. I agree--and for no good reason. She went in for kidney surgery and died shortly after.

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  17. Loved your post and so pleased you were inspired by this amazing woman.

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    1. Thanks, Lanthie! She has always been my favorite writer. Glad you liked the post. Hopefully this will encourage a few people to pick up one of her books and start reading her unique humor.

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  18. I've not heard of this woman by name but she really did seem to make a positive impact on you and that's what counts today. It's all about people leaving behind positive memories for others to latch on to and to succeed.

    I'd definitely have coffee with you Mama. No, tell a lie. I'd definitely have a nice sweet rum punch with you any day of the week :)

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    1. Then you must come to the U.S. sometime RPD!! I'll take you to the beach and we will sip on some amazing rum runners...I live in the tropics, after all....and oh, the conversations we will have!

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    2. I'm gonna hold you to that Mama. We shall do rum all day and talk all night.

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  19. She sounds like a fantastic lady! I just searched my local library to find there was nothing by her there. I shall scour the internet to experience this first hand.

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    1. Oh, please do!!! You can easily order her books through Amazon. I read several off my Nook!

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  20. That was brilliant! Excellent writing! I too loved Erma Bombeck when I read her thirty odd years ago. No wonder you've won so many awards... you're awesome!

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    1. Awwww, thank you, Pinky! Erma was easy to write about because she has been my hero for a long time!

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  21. Absolutely brilliant! Like Erma, I also find humor in life's darkest moments and some people just don't relate to that. For me, you either laugh about the crap you are given or you go insane. I choose laughter.

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    1. You and I are on the same page here. I would have lost my mind a very long time ago if I hadn't been able to see the humor in every situation.

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  22. When I saw your post was about Erma Bombeck, it flooded my memories of my mom... I didn't really get to know my mom until I was 15 as I was separated from her for 10 years... She was an avid reader and one of her favorite writers was Erma Bombeck... I fell in love with every book she wrote and laughed with my whole heart, she was so down to earth... thanks for sharing Marcia:)

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    1. I'm glad I could bring back some happy memories for you, Launna. Erma was the best!

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  23. Beautiful! I ADORE Erma Bombeck! And you chose some fabulous quotes!

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    1. There were SO MANY good quotes from her, it was hard to pick which ones!

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  24. I hate to admit that I haven't heard of her. Although, I loved this. I'm gonna go Google her now, I would love to read some of her stuff. BTW.. I love all the windows behind you.
    xoxo

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    1. Oh Ellen, PROMISE me you will read Erma! You will be hooked after the first couple of sentences!!! Those windows you see are hurricane windows that overlook my backyard garden. I love that room--it's ALL windows except for one wall.

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  25. Marcia, that was absolutely beautiful!! Very well-written, entertaining. I think Erma would've loved this!

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    1. Oh Teri, thank you SO MUCH!!! What you just said means a lot to me! I'm so happy I was able to hear this fine lady speak when I was younger---she left a lasting impression on me and has always been my hero.

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  26. :) you remind me a lot of her. Great job with the prompt!

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    1. Awww....thank you so much, Ashley! I'm truly honored!

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  27. Love how you did this! Am especially fond of the housekeeping quotes. ;) Also love the one comparing fame and success. So true.

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    1. I think we can all relate to the housekeeping quotes, right? She had so many good ones--especially about her children when they were teens--it was hard to pick which ones to use. I could have turned this blog post into a mini novel! The fame and success quote was definitely one of my favorites!!!

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  28. I think that if Erma Bombeck was still alive she would totally embrace the online writing world! She left us way too soon! The way you used this prompt was great-the way you imagining having coffee with Erma using her quotes is something that I would have never thought of! There were quite a few things things in here that I don't remember her saying and made me lqtm!

    (I also totally think Erma would meet you for coffee if she could!)

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    1. Oh wow, that would be a dream come true for me!!! Not sure how I came up with this idea--it just popped into my head--I could actually see us together, laughing over coffee. What an amazing woman she was, huh?

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  29. I love Erma! She is so funny in a down to earth, I wanna hang out with her kind of way! Hmm, kind of like another writer I know, rhymes with schleno hama ;)

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    1. Hahaha you crack me up. That shouldl be my new drinking name, "Schleno Hama" !!!

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  30. Erma Bombeck...a legend! Wish she was still here!

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    1. Me too! And I'd still be buying every one of her books--can never get enough Erma!

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  31. I enjoyed this immensely. I thought it was a unique and original approach to your prompt. And some great quotes. I haven't ever read any of her work, but I have heard many of those words before. It doesn't surprise me that you would find such a woman to emulate. You also have a knack for finding the humor in life's hard times... Way to go!

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    1. Thanks, Jon. Erma was correct---you have to learn to find the humor in EVERY situation life throws at us. And life is too short to dwell on the bad stuff. Her life was cut far too short. I think everyone needs to adopt a bit of Erma's attitude!

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  32. Oh, I have to admit I got a little lump in my throat reading your post. Erma was my first contemporary writer love, when I was probably about 10. I've loved her since, and loved your post. For a little while, you gave her back to us.

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    1. Oh, that is so sweet!!!! I wanted everyone to know who this amazing woman was and to remember the lessons she taught us about life---to not take things too seriously!

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  33. Beautiful, Marcia!! You used her quotes perfectly!! And, Erma is simply amazing!

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    1. Thank you, Roshni! She certainly was one of the best and I wish this coffee time together really could have taken place!

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  34. What a clever way to pull this off. Maybe I should do an interview with Carole Lombard over pizza and rums and cokes.

    If I get to watch three consecutive football games, I would be dead - because it would feel like Heaven.

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    1. My husband would feel the same way. And yes, you absolutely should have that pizza and rum & coke with Lombard!

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  35. Oh man, girlfriend, I wish you'd been reading her in the '70s which was her heyday! Since you're my age you could have appreciated her even though you'd have been a teenager...I *loved* her columns and so did my mom. I used to cut them out and save them in a scrapbook...then threw it away when I realized most of them were the basis of her next book. I remember my mother seeing or reading her in an interview and Erma was asked about her most notable fan and she said she heard from a woman who was in prison for, I think, having murdered a family member (I may have the details wrong, I was in high school when we had this convo) and the woman said, "If I'd had your books I 'd have never done what I did." She didn't know she could laugh about all this stuff...

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    1. My mother always read her newspaper columns over breakfast. I remember Mom laughing out loud as she read. Hearing Erma speak was such a privilege and it left a lasting impression on me.

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  36. I love how you did this post in a conversation format! Way to use those quotes and make us feel like she was actually there! Erma is just...there are no words to describe her. She's my all time favorite as well.

    Stopping by from the Humor Me Hop! I linked up http://momopolize.com/2012/10/25/what-happens-in-greensboro-doesnt-stay-in-greensboro/

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    1. Glad you liked it and happy to see you linking up with the hop!

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  37. I don't know where my message went, boooohooohooo, I bumped the computer, and poof.

    Anyway, I was saying (if it's not a duplicate) that you were lucky to have Erma Bombeck speak at your commencement, we had Dick Cheney, lol.

    It's impossible not to love her writing, and this was a fabulous post!

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    1. Thank you so much, Rosey! That's too funny about Dick Cheney!

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  38. That's a great story, thanks so much for sharing. I hate to admit it, but I have never heard of Erma Bombeck until today, but now I am going to explore more about her and learn all I can.

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    1. She was truly the icon of housewife humor and quickly became my inspiration for writing once I got out of college. I hope you get the chance to read some of her books--I promise they will make you laugh and laugh....

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  39. wai wai wait, you felt completely alone for only a few months?! I'm at it almost 2 years and when I express frustration I'm treated like a freak of nature.. ?!! Thank you for this... it weasled it's way into a little crack in my completely used-up heart today

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    1. Don't ever feel overly frustrated--you are certainly not alone. As bloggers, I think we all go through this phase, and more than once. Hang in there and keep writing. I hope I was able to bring you a little bit of cheer today, and I appreciate that you stopped by to have a look!

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  40. I have been an Erma fan since I got a paperback copy of "If Life Is a Bowl Of Cherries..." for my mom for Mother's Day. She read it and then I did. Then I went on to read all of her books. Her humor and insight - something to aspire to. Loved this post Marcia.

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    1. So glad you liked it! I enjoyed writing it--it made me feel like I actually got to share a little time with her.

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  41. + do you want to follow each other?
    http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/8806045

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    1. Thans, Daria. I'd be happy to check out your site.

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  42. Marcia, I love the way you set this post up. I love your writing and all of your posts, but I have to say that I think this is one of my favorites, not only because it was so creative in its set-up, but also because it was about someone you look up to and emulate. Loved loved loved it!

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    1. Awwww...thank you so much for the kind words, Shay. You just made my day! XO

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  43. My mom had every one of her books. I grew up reading them and loved her! :) The perfect person to have a great cup of coffee with. :)

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    1. It would be nice if I could step back in time and actually do that....can you imagine the blogging material I would come up with?

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  44. Erma was da bomb -- your post was a perfect way to honor her!

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    1. And that is the ultimate compliment! Thank you!

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