Are you a toon?

Woody and Jess Pez I love cartoons and puppets. I always have. Maybe it comes from my love art, drawing, and doodling or from growing up on Sesame Street, but cartoons and puppets have always made me smile. On a dreary day or when I’m in a bad mood nothing can lift my spirits and bring me out of the dark places like an episode of the Muppets, Despicable Me, Minions, or old episodes of Pinky and the Brain, Animaniacs or just good ole’ Looney Tunes.

I have always been a bit of a toon myself. Over the years, many of my friends have said so. Andy, my hubby, agrees with the statement too, he even thinks I’m part Muppet. He says he can tell when I’m really mad because I get “Muppet lips.” Except for Janice on the Muppets, they don’t have lips. So, I guess that means my lips disappear. He knows I can’t stay mad when he tells me I have “Muppet lips.” I can’t seem to keep myself from laughing when he says it.

I am blessed that I have a husband that loves cartoons as much as I do. There have been many times when Andy and I were the only adults in the theater without children with us. We even had one little boy, barely able to see over the seat, turn around and say, “Where are your kids? What are you doing here?” He just couldn’t wrap his little mind around the fact that we were there to see the movie with just as much excitement as he had. Often times when asked what the last movie we saw together was, we received a strange look when Andy and I both name whatever the last cartoon released on the big screen.

It wasn’t until we moved with the Army to Germany in the late 90s that I realized I wasn’t the only toon in the family. Most people don’t see it, but my husband is quite the toon himself. If you have never met my husband, here is the visual… Andy is 6 feet tall and weighs about a buck forty-five soaking wet. He is lean and mean and still wears the same clothes he had in high school. He wears his hair Army short. He never wears anything but cowboy boots and jeans. His idea of dressing up is a big silver belt buckle and a western shirt to go along with the boots and jeans. He tops it all off with a straw cowboy hat. I fell in love with the guy in that cowboy hat.

One afternoon we made our way across post housing in Bad Kreuznach, Germany where we lived at the time, to barbecue with friends. As we walked closer to the playground where the barbecue area was, our friends 4-year-old son yells across the play ground in a crystal clear voice, “Woody!”

At that time, “Toy Story” was the latest Disney movie and 4-year-old Shane, thought Andy was the cartoon character come-to-life. Well, from that moment on every kid in the neighborhood and most of the adults called him “Woody.” Sometimes, I still do. I even have a little Woody figurine that sits on my computer desk at work to remind me of the toon that I love the most.

Shane is all grown now, and probably doesn’t even remember “Woody” but we will never forget that adorable little 4-year-old and the cartoon legacy he left with Andy.

Are you a toon? Maybe you just need to let your inner toon free. Trust me, it will make you smile, even if you don’t want to. If you could be a toon, which one would it be?


Thanks for reading.

Reposted from January 2011.

The Gummy Bear “Cleanse”

Sure, they look innocent, but are they? That grin looks a little evil.
Sure, they look innocent, but are they? That grin looks a little evil.

I have been on a low-carb diet for a few years now and I love it when I find a new product that fits into my lifestyle. I thought I had found just that product this weekend when I bought sugar-free gummy bears. Low-carb, sweet, perfect for movie night. Or so I thought, until the next day. Let’s just say I will NEVER touch another sugar-free gummy bear as long as I live.

I only wish I had seen the following Amazon review, BEFORE I made my movie night selection. All I can say is this review is dead-on. Please let this be a warning to any consumer.

40,637 of 41,263 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just don’t. Unless it’s a gift for someone you hate., October 3, 2012
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Haribo Gummi Bears Sugar Free 5lb Bag (Grocery)
Oh man…words cannot express what happened to me after eating these. The Gummi Bear “Cleanse”. If you are someone that can tolerate the sugar substitute, enjoy. If you are like the dozens of people that tried my order, RUN!

First of all, for taste I would rate these a 5. So good. Soft, true-to-taste fruit flavors like the sugar variety…I was a happy camper.

BUT (or should I say BUTT), not long after eating about 20 of these all hell broke loose. I had a gastrointestinal experience like nothing I’ve ever imagined. Cramps, sweating, bloating beyond my worst nightmare. I’ve had food poisoning from some bad shellfish and that was almost like a skip in the park compared to what was going on inside me.

Then came the, uh, flatulence. Heavens to Murgatroyd, the sounds, like trumpets calling the demons back to Hell…the stench, like 1,000 rotten corpses vomited. I couldn’t stand to stay in one room for fear of succumbing to my own odors.

But wait; there’s more. What came out of me felt like someone tried to funnel Niagara Falls through a coffee straw. I swear my sphincters were screaming. It felt like my delicate starfish was a gaping maw projectile vomiting a torrential flood of toxic waste. 100% liquid. Flammable liquid. NAPALM. It was actually a bit humorous (for a nanosecond)as it was just beyond anything I could imagine possible.


I felt violated when it was over, which I think might have been sometime in the early morning of the next day. There was stuff coming out of me that I ate at my wedding in 2005.

I had FIVE POUNDS of these innocent-looking delicious-tasting HELLBEARS so I told a friend about what happened to me, thinking it HAD to be some type of sensitivity I had to the sugar substitute, and in spite of my warnings and graphic descriptions, she decided to take her chances and take them off my hands.

Silly woman. All of the same for her, and a phone call from her while on the toilet (because you kinda end up living in the bathroom for a spell) telling me she really wished she would have listened. I think she was crying.

Her sister was skeptical and suspected that we were exaggerating. She took them to work, since there was still 99% of a 5 pound bag left. She works for a construction company, where there are builders, roofers, house painters, landscapers, etc. Lots of people who generally have limited access to toilets on a given day. I can’t imagine where all of those poor men (and women) pooped that day. I keep envisioning men on roofs, crossing their legs and trying to decide if they can make it down the ladder, or if they should just jump.

If you order these, best of luck to you. And please, don’t post a video review during the aftershocks.

PS: When I ordered these, the warnings and disclaimers and legalese were NOT posted. I’m not a moron. Also, not sure why so many people assume I’m a man. I am a woman. We poop too. Of course, our poop sparkles and smells like a walk in a meadow of wildflowers. Thanks for all the great comments. I’ve been enjoying reading them and so glad that the horror show I experienced from snacking on these has at least made some people smile.


The Hatchet Lady

Hatchet on wood
Picture of a hatchet: Microsoft Clipart

Running a business can be full of life lessons. Shortly after I became the managing editor of the Knoxville Focus Newspaper, I learned a very valuable lesson. A great team is worth more than gold, and that one bad apple, can spoil the whole basket.

It was a hard lesson to learn, but it has served me well over the years. I had been in management roles before, but I was never in control of who to hire and who to fire. This was my first foray into that aspect of Human Resources. I inherited a good team and everything went great for a while; but as we grew and things changed, people left for one reason or another and I found myself needing to replace team members.

After a long time employee left the front desk position, I had to begin the search for someone to fill that very important position. The person had to be good with people, able to multitask, take classified ads, invoice customers, do collections and work with route carriers, all with a pleasant attitude.

After going through countless resumes, I thought I had found the perfect candidate. On paper she had the skills, her background came back clean, she interviewed wonderfully. I thought I had found the missing piece of the puzzle.

Sometimes, what seems to be, and what actually are, can be very different things. After training was complete and a few months of settling into the position, she became comfortable, too comfortable. The nice portion of her facade began to crack away and something witchy, this way came.

At first I tried to be tactful and ask if there was a problem, then I tried to counsel, finally a write up. Other members of my team were complaining about invoices and tearsheets going to the wrong people, messages not getting to them and worse, leads not getting to them. The writing was on the wall, I was going to have to lower the ax.

It was just after Thanksgiving, and being the nice person I am, I felt that if I could just hold off until after the holidays it wouldn’t be so hard on the lady. I mean who wants to get fired at Christmas?

It just wasn’t meant to be. After walking in the office and hearing a very loud, rude conversation with a customer, I fired her on the spot and escorted her from the building. I felt horrible. I was Ebeneezer Scrooge!

Thankfully, the rest of my team breathed a collective sigh of relief and rallied around me. It was then, that I knew I had done the right thing for the business and the team.

It wasn’t until Christmas week that I knew how deeply this bad apple had actually effected everyone else.I believe in open and honest communication, so I encouraged dialog. I needed to know where I had gone wrong. Things came to light that no one wanted to talk about before, I learned a few things. we cleared the air and started fresh.

Christmas eve, my sales manager walked into my office with a gift from her and her husband. She snickered as she handed me the box. She had an air of childish mischief about her and I knew it couldn’t be good. Much to my surprise, I opened the box to find a gleaming hatchet with a huge red bow on it. Seems she had told her husband about it all and he figured that if I was going to have to give people the ax, I needed the proper equipment.

I laughed so hard I cried.

Then I hung it on the wall above my desk.

For my next 4 years at the paper, everyone I interviewed had sit across the desk from me and look at that hatchet adorned with a big red bow.

It was a constant reminder to me that sometimes you have to do the hard things, prune the deadwood from an organization, for the good of the whole vine, too keep things growing and going in the right direction.

When a prospective employee would eventually look up on the wall, I could literally see the question forming. “Why do you have a hatchet with a big red bow hanging on your wall?”

I would smile and say with a giggle, “I’m the hatchet lady.” Then in the way of explanation I told them something along the lines of, “With business management comes responsibility, and if a person’s actions harm the business the team is trying to grow, they have to be cut, regardless of the season.”

They either got the symbolism in the conversation or they left thinking I was an ax murder. Since things went really smooth after that, I’d like to think they got the symbolism.

I’m way too nice to be an ax murder, I’m just the hatchet lady.

Sidebar: For those of you who don’t know me. I’m harmless, really, with a nerdy sense of humor. Honest. 🙂

The Deviled Egg Debacle of 2011

By Charmin Foth

For those of you who know me, housewifery is not my strong suit.

Don’t get me wrong, I can clean and do laundry with the best of them, but when it comes to all things kitchen, it’s scary. I’m not saying I can’t cook. I can, and generally the things I make are edible, even tasty. I would say I’m better at baking, but that’s not entirely true either. And sharp objects, don’t even get me started. They banned me from the kitchen of the church where I used to attend, because of a little accident cutting apples at a church sleepover. Let’s just say, life with me is never boring.

The church where we attend was having a church picnic and someone suggested that I make deviled eggs. Since we have chickens and usually an abundance of eggs, I thought, “cool, I can do that, no problem.” Ha, I should have known better.

My wonderful hubby, helped me out by boiling the eggs and putting them in the fridge for me. That way I could make the deviled eggs at my convenience after I got home from work. (I really think he is afraid for me to use the stove.)

Well, after a day of crazy work and errands, I open the door and see the pesky boiled eggs staring at me when I open the refrigerator door. So I sigh, and set myself about the task of making deviled eggs. I get all my ingredients out, a mixing bowl, a big wooden spoon and then I spy a long forgotten gadget hiding in the drawer with the mixer, my cookie gun. Yes, I said, cookie gun.

I thought, “Oh! That will make fancy work of these eggs, I’ll be done in no time.” Ha, again.

I prep the eggs, mix all the ingredients and I’m ready to fill the cookie gun with the yummy egg filling. There are several different options for how I want the mix to fill the eggs. there is an attachment for making Christmas tree cookies, stars and all sorts of cookie shapes and then there are attachments for cake decorating, like rose petals and ribbons and such. So I thought, “Hmmm, egg filling is kind of thick so lets go with the one that has a wide star shaped opening.”

 Sounds easy enough, so I set it up, and load the egg filling into the gun. Here’s where it gets interesting…
The first few eggs looked beautiful, and then nothing so I keep pressing the trigger on the gun. Rapid fire, is never a good idea.

Before I knew it, so much pressure had built up in the cookie gun, that it exploded deviled egg filling across the kitchen counter top and it ricocheted all over me. I was covered in deviled eggs. I looked like I had been spackling a very colored ugly room.

Not all of the egg concoction fit into the gun, I still had enough to fill the eggs I had, so I thought, “all is not lost, I can still make this work.” So I wiped the egg off the counter and me. For some reason, I still thought the cookie gun was a good idea. All I can say, looking back, is duh. Anyway, I changed the decorating tip on the cookie gun to different tip, thinking the star pattern was the problem.

It wasn’t. The problem is that pickle relish gets stuck in the little prongs of the decorating tips and causes a huge back up in the gun. And it has serious repercussions to the one wielding the weapon. I don’t know if I will ever get all the egg out of my spiky hair. It is now brown, silver and yolk colored.

Ah, but alas, I am not one to give up. I must have a persistence gene that just won’t allow me to give up on things. I think it has plagued me all of my life, now that I think about it. At any rate, I still had egg goo left and I was determined I was going to get the gun to work or die trying.

I did get the gun to work. I took the decorator tip off all together and it worked like a charm, and I had just enough egg filling left to fill all the eggs. However, there was a drawback to this methodology, without the pretty decorator edges, my eggs looked like little yellow piles of dog poop. Yumm! How appetizing is that?!

So I’m home all alone, looking at these eggs, and laughing my butt off. I have truly lost it. I can’t serve dog poop eggs to the people at church, or can I? Hummmm. So I got a little spoon and smashed all the little piles down and swirled them around and covered them with paprika. Maybe, maybe not, I can’t decide, take them don’t take them? I’m the only one who knows they looked like dog poop for a short time in their lives. Andy may get to eat a lot of deviled eggs, and then he’s going to have to sleep in the barn.

The moral of the story is, use a spoon, unless you are authorized to use the gun.

Thanks for reading.