Kathleen Harper is a southern gal who can't quit saying what she really thinks, calls things as she sees 'em, and has the ability to find the humor in everyday life. In her second compilation of entertaining essays, Harper shares her twisted opinions on men, menopause, neighbors, and children from a unique Southern outlook.
Harper, the author of Why, Shut My Mouth!: Southern, Sassy and Proud of It, offers a laugh-out-loud look at life from a Southern woman's perspective that reminds us that life is as funny as we make it. Harper's humor is relevant to any woman who has experienced hot flashes so sizzling that she feels like a neon sign blinking on the side of the highway; has wondered why a search for her bikini body suddenly feels like a never-ending scavenger hunt; and has shrieked, "Gotta have 'em!" while trying on the sexiest shoes ever.
In Hot Flashes and Southern Sasses, Harper shares another sassy, opinionated, and truthful journey through the life of a middle-aged Southern gal that encourages women everywhere to laugh often, never take life too seriously, and most of all, to always have fun.
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Hot Flashes and Southern SassesHumorous Little Stories with a Southern Drawl; Not for Snobs, "Doormats" or Naturally Skinny People!
By Kathleen Harper
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2010 Kathleen Harper
All right reserved.
Chapter OneHot, Hot Flashes ... I Feel Just Like a Neon Sign!
You think I'm kiddin', don't ya? I light up so much around here lately, that the temperature of the room actually changes. I can go from dry to wet in 30 seconds, my face turns beet red, and I feel like the whole world can see it. And they can too, 'cause I've seen 'em staring, then look the other way to keep from laughing. Damn them!
"What's wrong with you, Kathy?" as one of my co-workers sees me fanning and pulling my shirt away from my chest, and it ain't to be sexy. Right now I would like to run to the freezer in the back hall of the building, strip down, and drop ten degrees.
"What do you think is wrong with me? You immune or something? I'm having a hot flash and this goes on about every hour. Wanna join me in the freezer?" I say with a little cockiness in my voice, which is just about all of the time.
Laughter, cackle, ha ha ha! But I ain't the one laughing this time. "Sorry! You're just a little different shade of crimson right now," my coworker says with a hearty laugh.
"No %$#@ kidding!" I say and keep on fanning. I'm too hot right now to be amused. I get up, take my fanning and my perspiration and go elsewhere, which is to my office.
Good ole menopause ... what a big bummer it is too! Heck, I got rid of most of the things that cause it many years ago, but the good doctor managed to leave just enough there to have me go through this now. Bless his heart, I'd like to pour that bucket of ice water over him, like I'm fixin' to pour over me. He didn't want to take everything away from me at the time, and said that some of my parts would be good for ten or so years. Well, well, I've almost gotten seventeen years out of "my parts". Woo hoo for me!
Talking about body parts makes you think you are in a hardware store or somethin'! You know what? If we could have replaceable parts like a car, maybe none of us would have to go through this middle age inconvenience. Ah heck, I'll just call it middle age Hell and be done with it.
I talked about this thing called menopause in my last book, but I think I was just in the beginning phases of it, called premenopausal. It's the same thing as being a little bit pregnant; you either are or you ain't. Well, I am in "it" as of now, full-blown right in the middle. Menopause has snatched me up, and ain't lettin' go until it gets good and ready. And ready it ain't!
I actually used to snicker and maybe just downright laugh. at women who I would see in passing, just sittin' around and fanning themselves to death. Wiping their forehead, pulling their shirts out and fanning in there too. They would be absolutely soaking wet, and I just couldn't see what the heck all that was about. Certainly wasn't going to happen to me! No, no, no. Those women were just exaggeratin' a bit and puttin' on. Nobody could be that damn hot!
I used to have a friend named Julie, who was an Infection Control nurse. She would have on a short sleeve silk shirt, no coat, and be standing outside in ten-degree weather. That's pretty cold for coastal South Carolina. I would just look at her and say, "Julie, where is your coat? Are you not freezing to death?"
She would just look at me with a smug, stoic-like look on her face, would cock her brow and say, "You'll be like this one day. I stay hot all the time ... feel like I'm in a never ending sauna, and don't even think I'm gonna wear a blasted coat; you might as well kill me!"
And later on, I would see Julie in the office with her silk blouse on, the hair at the nape of her neck soaking wet, and her face as red as a beet ... no ... she was glowing she was so red.
I thought, "What's up with that?" Now I know! No wonder she and her husband eventually moved to the mountains ... Geez ... she needed year round air conditioning. Or maybe she liked the snow piled up to her neck in the winter. I bet she finally put the fire out of her hot flashes then!
Now, I see where all the sweating, fanning, turning red, and crankiness come from. I'd settle most of the time for just a cool breeze or someone just to blow in my face. Those hot flashes come on quick, make you flush in a hurry, cause you want to turn the air conditioning down to zero, and go run and take a cold shower. Make you want to strip down to your panties, but in the middle of the office is not a good place. I know 'cause I've just about tried, with no men present of course! And if they had been there, I would have thrown their butts in a closet just to be ice cold for about five minutes.
Menopause is a miserable time for the majority of it, but I've heard from some reliable sources that it doesn't last too many years. Years, hell ... then how long will I have to put up with this? I have to almost sleep naked at night now, turn the thermostat down to fifty eight upstairs, the dog is freezing, my husband is freezing and you'd think I was puttin' them in an igloo! You can almost see their breath it is so cold. If I can see my breath, it's "hallelujah, it's finally cold enough in here!"
My husband just rolls over and says "Can't you put a blanket on this bed? I'm freezing!" (Geez, you would think he could manage to put a blanket on his side of the bed.)
"Sure Hon, if I can find one. I can't sleep with all the cover that I have on the bed now. As soon as I get comfortable, I have to take all the cover off of me and have to change my pajamas again. "I can't stand to be hot!" I reply in an escalating tone.
My husband then backfires, "I'm cold ... so if you can put another blanket on the bed, I'd appreciate it. This is ridiculous, that you have to have it so cold in here." He then bounces and turns over to face the wall opposite me, so he doesn't have to see my icy eyes.
"Ok, but if you're that cold, put some pajamas on instead of sleeping in your underwear! Or you can sleep in the guest room, because I'm not gonna sleep in a sauna!" I reply and turn over with my own bounce. I really was hoping I'd bounce him onto the floor.
When I wake up in the morning, you can't see through my windows for the water that has condensed on them from the competition with the outside. My power bill every month is about a hundred dollars more than it should be, but for that amount of money, and for me to stay cool and not sweat to death, I'll gladly oblige South Carolina Electric and Gas. I haven't given the dog or my husband pneumonia yet, so that is a plus, but the year is still young.
I have a friend that I have told you about in my first publication, that literally does the same thing as I do. She sleeps in an igloo at night. Brenda turns her thermostat down to freezing, turns two fans on, gets almost in her birthday suit and her husband will even sleep with her (I bet the birthday suit does the trick). He actually stays in the room and doesn't complain a bit. Probably goes and gets his own damn blanket. Good for him!
I do read a lot, and I always try to go the natural or organic route to solve any medical problems. Like niacin for high cholesterol, fiber for intestinal health, yogurt, etc., and now natural remedies for hot flashes. I've tried black cohosh, soybeans, soymilk, you name it, just like the doctor and my witch doctor have instructed me too! I think the black cohosh helped for a while, but for the flashes that I'm having right now, it's not extinguishing 'em one little bit. I think its effectiveness is done for!
I have thought about hormones, drugs; but I'm afraid of 'em. Heard all the headline news, read a bunch of articles, talked to a few doctors. I'm just not interested in taking something that might keep me cooler, and then turn around and give me cancer for the convenience. Not convenient in my book! I'll just have to deal with the hot flashes and staying wet most of the time for now, and biting the head off of everyone that gets within my six feet "bitch zone".
I guess I'll just have to suffer, until my personal summers pass. Since I'll be sittin' around and fannin' for a long time to come, I might as well get comfortable. In the meantime, I am going to invest in a good "fan" stock, because I fear I will be buying a few of those. Might even design a new chic hand fan in matching colors to go with my designer outfits, with the coordinating shoes and handbag. Get some thermal pajamas with matching thermal hat for my husband that has to sleep with me, and a chic sweater for the beagle girl, and a second job for me to pay the power bill. I might also need to get a very long fly swatter, to swat every person that comes by and snickers because they know what is "going on", or why I'm dripping all over the floor!
So ladies here's the deal, we have it, it's here to stay for a few years, so we might as well not whine and deal with it. On second thought, whining is an absolute necessity and a God given right. We can either suffer through it or move to Antigua or the French Riviera where nudity is accepted. And if you'll hurry up and get your tickets, we can be on the next plane!
Happy flashing y'all. And my husband still hasn't gotten his own blanket yet!
The Grueling Gym; An Unsuccessful Story and a Little Bit of Insanity!
I must be totally insane or just a tad "nuts" as this book implies, but I have joined a gym so many times that I have literally lost count. And newsflash ... I will sign up for a year or so, go for a few visits and never finish my membership. And why do I continue this insane behavior? I dun no, and it ain't because I'm blonde!
I have this notion, that I will get a fabulous body in return for a gym membership. I really don't watch too much TV, but I guess I do! All of those pretty shiny machines will whip me into shape by themselves. I don't have to do one thing except show up, to give me that "I can now wear a bikini!" body. Ha! That's bull and all you girls know it!
I didn't even wear a bikini when I was just over twenty, and I'm absolutely sure I ain't gonna wear one now in the prime years of my life. But I might think about it real hard. Especially if I pass somebody on the beach that weighs about one hundred pounds plus more than me, and is wearing one with pride; in hot pink or neon purple to boot! Come to Garden City Beach, and I'll show ya where she parks her beach chair or her beach wagon for that matter. And I'll show ya her Hummer size cooler, to boot!
Those butt whipping gyms (aka spas, fitness and workout centers, even a dusty treadmill or a bike at a yard sale), can literally reel me in like a fishing rod. I start getting depressed about my "love handles" or rolls of fat that most of us middle-agers have. My clothes are getting tighter, maybe won't zip up, and I hate the side view in the mirror. Looks as big as the front view everyday.
I see the ads for Jenny Craig and NutraSystem on television, and all of the pounds that Kirstie and Valerie have lost and say, "let's order it"! Doesn't matter if it may taste like freeze dried poo, if it will help me lose weight, I need to get some now! (I know that wasn't nice, but we'll get over it.)
Getting back to the gym, they do reel me in as soon as I hit the door. I just wanted to go in and "see". Maybe get a tour to "just see". And then the next thing I know, I am signing on the dotted line for a membership at the special price of one hundred dollars for signing up, and thirty dollars a month for the next two years.
"Let's see, I just agreed to pay eight hundred and twenty dollars, and it started out as a whim. Mmmm, must be a condition that I have. Or maybe it was the cute male trainer in a spandex workout suit that helped me to make up my mind?" I think to myself as I realized that I have just gotten suckered again. Damn "rock hard" muscles and spandex tighties! And you know why they hang around at the front door; they ain't stupid! Cha ... ching!
Believe it! I have done this many times, when the urge hits me. Pretty gym, pretty machines, pretty or good looking trim trainers, and I want to look just like 'em. And all I have to do is come here every day for the rest of my life or for the two-year membership whichever comes first, and it will happen! That's where the bull comes in.
Well for starters, I get my membership and want to start it the next day. I've got the spandex gym shorts, designer type, with matching spandex top. I have nice new tennis shoes, couldn't wear my old ones, which weren't old, since I had to look bright, shiny and new. I have the sweat bands on both wrists in case I sweat, new sweat towel, the bottle of Evian water, Food Lion brand won't do, and have just applied new lip gloss. I am ready to go and ready to start searching for my new body. And it is a long search, probably more like a scavenger hunt. And you know you never get to the end of a scavenger hunt; at least I never have.
I have now arrived at the gym on day two, and I am ready for my personal training session. The trainer comes out in his tighties and he takes me around to every machine and shows me how to properly do each exercise. "Kathy, now start off slow, and then work your way up in weight and repetitions," the little trainer or rather the "way younger than me" trainer tells me every time I have gone to a gym. Every time!
"I wonder why they don't get more people my age, that are realistically out of shape a tad but still manage to trim up a bit, to be the trainers? Not this rock hard, little young thing that doesn't have an ounce of fat on his body, and I could literally bounce off of his abs?" I was thinking, as I was half listenin' to what he was telling me. "Have heard this all before, young 'un!"
Well, you know I don't listen to this, 'cause I wanna get the body now. So I'll just add a little more weight and a few more repetitions to start off. Won't hurt nobody and the cute tight trainer won't know. Plus, I'm more interested in watching him show me how to do the exercises. OK, I'll get back on track now!
I did do it my way, and the next day couldn't move, much less walk! I was so stiff and sore, and felt muscles that I didn't know I had. I did forget willingly to warm up before and stretch after, too time consuming, so I didn't bother with that either. I just wanted to hurry up and get my new body, but the way I was feeling, it was going to be in a wheelchair.
After a few days, after the soreness passed, I decided I would go back to the gym again, which was really day two. I went around to every machine and hand picked the ones that I wanted to use. "Too hard, too much trouble, hurts, don't like it, awkward, don't want to do it", so I had only a small handful that I would actually get on and use. "Up and down, up and down, this is boring", so I decided to go and try one of the exercise classes.
I walked into a Pilates class, and decided that it looked incredibly easy and thought, "Ah heck ... everybody rolling around on the floor, and they think this is going to give them a bikini body? Looks too easy to do that!"
So I got on the floor with the rest of them, my legs in the air, and realized that Pilates was going to be work, and a heck of a lot of it. And it was uncomfortable too! "Mmm ... didn't realize this body thang was going to be so much work. Or have me looking this awkward! Besides, the mall people can look in here through those little windows, and the view that they are looking at, is not my best side."
I stayed in that class for a little while and decided that halfway through it, I would excuse myself and take a bathroom break. That break took a long time, almost to the end of the class. I then decided that Pilates was not for me, too much work and made me swear, so I then went to give the bicycle, treadmill and elliptical machine a try. "How much trouble could this be, just moving my legs and arms, and going a little faster than I normally walk?" Wishful thinking.
Excerpted from Hot Flashes and Southern Sasses by Kathleen Harper Copyright © 2010 by Kathleen Harper. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Hot, Hot Flashes ... I Feel Just Like a Neon Sign!....................1
The Grueling Gym; An Unsuccessful Story and a Little Bit of Insanity!....................6
Ugly Don't Just Go Away, You've Gotta Work at It....................13
This Southern Girl's Got "Big Apple" Blood in her Veins....................19
If the Choo Fits, You Gotta Wear It!....................23
Shame on You, Mr. Wilson ... and I ain't Talkin' About Dennis the Menace Neither!....................29
Birthdays and Sex are Overrated; I Want Tiffany's!....................34
I'm a "Closet" Goodwill Shopper ... and I've Got the $3.79 Price Tag to Prove It!....................39
Forget All that Crap I Said About Stilettos ... Gonna Rewrite the Story....................48
Why Do I Always Tell the Truth ... Ain't No Use in Sugarcoatin' It!....................57
Don't Ever be Ashamed of Your Simple Roots ....................64
It's Not My Job to Do the Dishes ... then Tell That to the Dish Fairy!....................70
Don't Ever Make Fun of My Southern Accent!....................75
When You're Sick ... the Last Thing You Need is Fifteen Relatives at Your Bedside, and a Whole Lotta Praying Going On....................81
My Husband and I on a Road Trip......Get Out the Boxing Gloves!....................88
How Did I Get So Outspoken ... Well?....................102
A Little Backwards Glance at "Podunk, USA"....................109
I Refuse to Be "Old" ... But I Don't Mind Getting Older....................117
Those Blasted Bifocals and Me....................121
New Pocketbook and Credit Card ... I'm on a Mission!....................127
One of My Favorite Restaurants is a Truck Stop ... Never Mind All That Fluff!....................132
Is Being Overweight or "Just a Tad Fat" a Blessing?....................138
Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned ... And You Better Believe It!....................143
You Really Are a Crappy Neighbor ... if You Won't Let My Dog "Sprinkle" on Your Precious Lawn!....................150
Ever Had a "Cold Fish" Handshake ... From a Boring Twit?....................155
Time to Make Fun of My Husband Again ... You Know, that Paper Bag Thang....................159
It Ain't Time for Christmas Yet ... Heck, I Ain't Through Sweatin' From the Summertime!....................165
Honey, Do I Look Like a Bathroom Drunk to You?....................171
Tales of Some Males, Which I Should Have Kicked to the Curb!....................175
Does Kneeling on the Dirty Kitchen Floor While You're Frying Chicken, Count as a Marriage Proposal?....................184
If You Tell Me I Dress Like a "Cougar" ... I'll Either Smack You or Give You a High Five!....................189
I'm Just About Sick to Death of Politics ... So Throw Me Some Rolaids!....................194
And It all Started Because of a "C" in English....................202
Raising a Daughter Like Me ... Multiply my Sassiness by Two, and Divide My Common Sense by One Half....................207
Wanna be Alone ... Maybe the Smokers have Something?....................212
Quick ... Run From those Neighbors that Drive You Freaking Bonkers!....................216
Maids, Momma, and Letting my Husband Clean the House!....................221
"Granny" the Steward, and the Plane from Hell!....................228
Don't Get Hooked Up with a Man that Doesn't Love Dogs ....................234
If You Want to Know Everything, about Anything ... Just Listen To Your Hairdresser and Take Notes!....................239
They Called Him John, John T., Johnny, Granddaddy ... I Called Him "Dad"....................244
the Window ....................249
Some Little and Some Long Tidbits ... 'Cause There Ain't Nothing More Aggravatin' than ....................253
Funny Things That I Have Heard from Other People ... While I was Eavesdroppin'!....................262
Afterward ... Or Getting my Last Two Cents In!....................267
Recipes from the Southern Heart ....................270
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved it! Reminded me of sitting on my front porch swapping stories with an old friend. A great read!!!!
This is a great little book for easy reading. I gave several to my friends and family, and they love it. Not a joke book, just full of cute short stories told by a Southerner. Enjoy!
I just bought my best Christmas present ever... for me! When I saw Kathleen Harper had written another book of Southern-isms, I just HAD to add it to my Christmas list. I even put it in my OWN stocking! She tells it like it is in the South- not the backwoods- but almost... I love her down-home humor and dry wit. It's a good night read- or as she puts it- a good bathroom read. The only problem there is my family kept banging on the bathroom door wanting to know when I would be out! I just couldn't put it down. Read it and weep- with laughter! You just KNOW where she's comin' from! Gini Abee, Murrells Inlet, SC (The best little Fishin' Village in tha' South!)
Overworked and doesn't ring true as "southern" to THIS carolinian of the same generation. Couldn't get past second page of second chapter. Don't waste your money on this one.