The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

6 More Things I Learned at EBWW

Have I mentioned that I attended the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop in Dayton, Ohio, last weekend?

Kidding. Obviously I can’t stop talking about it. But the rules of good blogging still apply and thus I have chosen to divide and conquer with several posts instead of one so as not to overwhelm or bore you to death. See? See how much I care for you people?

So, picking up where I left off last week… here are the rest of the gems I simply must share with you about my EBWW experience.

7.) It can be a real pickle to write your truth about people you know and not be chased out of town with torches and pitchforks. But here is the best advice I heard all weekend about how to walk that fine line:

“Cut as close to the bone as you can without getting sued or divorced.” ~Adriana Trigiani

In other words, change their name and write the hell out of that sucker. Wise words indeed! (Love her!)

8.) When you declare your intentions to the universe, the universe will send you all the resources you need to stay on your path and achieve your goals.

"One of these things is not like the other..."

That photo was taken at dinner last Friday night with writers Michelle Freed and Kathy Buckworth. Earlier that day, Michelle gave me a family sized pack of my current vice of choice, York Peppermint Patties, just because. How awesome is that?! Somebody better stop me before I break into a Dionne Warwick song. And you know I will, dammit.

The next day, I met Ernie. 

Ernie and Leslie at the Erma Bombeck tree dedication.

Ernie and I hit it off right away. We both wear funky glasses, we both have a fondness for hair styling products, we’re both fluent in sarcasm, and neither of us were imbibing. We were pretty much attached at the hip from the moment we connected. Thank you Ernie! You were just what the doctor ordered.

9.) The banana phone is alive and well in Dayton, Ohio. And if you ever want to make friends real fast in between conference sessions, whip out your banana phone and call someone. It’s a real crowd pleaser, believe you-me.

Check out my sisters-of-slapstick, Julie Ott of ott mama and Stacey Hatton of Nurse Mommy Laughs, working it old school.

10.) You’re never too old for the buddy system, especially while traveling in a strange city. Plus, a travel buddy makes it safer to share your cab with a strange man in Uni-Bomber sunglasses who may indeed turn out to be not so strange after all. In fact, he might just turn out to be one of the highlights of your trip due to his incredible wit and willingness to go with the flow…even in the midst of a very invasive trip through security.

And that’s how Nicole and I met Jef, of The Cult of Jef, a blog that’s “Sporty, yet casual.” I have found myself repeatedly laughing out loud at everything I’ve read there so far. Do yourself a favor and check him out. Here’s a good place to start.

11.) Pack your dirty skivvies in a bag at the BOTTOM of your suitcase so the poor man searching your luggage for the giant metal EBWW souvenir water bottle that looks incredibly similar to a pipe bomb doesn’t have to touch every. single. filthy. garment in your bag. Oh dear God in heaven, now I know why those poor things wear gloves. Bless his heart!

"Lord Almighty, what is that smell?"

"Ma'am, is this your large metal cylindrical object?"

Not unrelated, the brand name of the EBWW souvenir water bottle is “Bullet.” Not kidding. See for yourself:

Yessiree Bob, there’s nothing quite like transporting an extra large silver bullet through airport security. Good times.

12.) Normally I don’t advocate cracking jokes about granny panties with just any TSA Agent, but I must say, this sweet man was a wonderful sport (and quite gentle with my delicates). Life lesson: asking a stranger for a hug can really make almost any embarrassing situation feel a little better.

I always enjoy a little cuddle after my full body cavity searches, don't you?

And that concludes my list of all the wonderful things I learned last weekend thanks to the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop. Please tune in tomorrow to read about all the qualities I look for in a good roommate! (Don’t worry Nicole, your secrets are safe with me.)

your travel buddy,



  1. Ernie was so lovable. How I miss having a friend like that in real life.

  2. Sounds amazing! I’m only 45 minutes from Dayton – I have this on my list for next year!

  3. You became besties with someone named Ernie at Ermie’s? I find that cosmically sort of wonderful and am happy for you except that I’m also green, green, green with envy. And you brought home a Bombeck bullet? Also fantastic. Every “mommy blogger” (really? do we still have to call ourselves that? could we be … writers?) – but every mommy blogger should have a little Erma widget on her page b/c she was one of the first to write about her life and make it resonate in all kinds of ways. That woman knew her way around a sentence.

    • WORD on the whole “mommy blogger” moniker…GAG. Love your idea for an Erma widget! Oooh, what about a “What would Erma say” app for the iPhone?! Just choose your situation from the drop-down menu and a perfectly suitable Erma quote appears to make us laugh/cry. I call dibs!

  4. Dan at TSA just called me on the banana phone and said he found your granny panties and do you want them shipped or burned? Loved the blog…as always! Smootches

    • Dammit, I knew I was missing a pair. Were they stuck to the bottom of his shoe? I hate when that happens. Tell him to go ahead and burn them if they haven’t already self-combusted.

  5. I had fun at EBWW, but I think you had way more fun than me! I’m tracking you down next time, Missy!! 😉

  6. this room mate quality wouldn’t be the ability to grow extended nose hair would it?

  7. Iris, don’t you wish you could have met every single person at the Erma Bombeck Conference? What an amazing group of people! I am really sorry I didn’t get to meet YOU, but delighted to see your post re-tweeted and I am signing up to follow your very funny blog. Hope our paths cross in 2014! Best wishes!

  8. All I can say is- Thank you Universe – Iris is in my inbox – been fighting with the internet company for 4 F****** hours. I need a banana phone, new glasses, a full body search and a hug. And an apology to my husband, because I cussed him out. I will also be checking out your new friends in this batch – should you warn them? I really like the last bunch and subscribed.

    • Oh, krikey – nothing worse than spending half your day on the phone with those asshats. Yes, you will surely enjoy all the links I’ve mentioned. It is a universal truth that people who get the whole Erma thing are awesome.

      Sending you hugs and banana phones!

  9. Proud of that glass of H2O I saw you swiggin’ up there in the pics. Good for you!

    However, can you go anywhere without groping people and tossing your panties around? Anywhere?

    (You make me wish I had been there. You make me wish I lived closer. You make me wish I had granny panties. You make me wish I bought bananas at the store yesterday so I could bring one to work and use it as my phone.)

    I’d be your roommate. (But the minute I met a strange man with or without uni-bomber glasses, you’d have to go.)


    • 1.) Thanks Honey. It gets a little easier every day!
      2.) No, no I can not. I’m a groper and a panty tosser, and you know it.
      3.) Quit wishing and make it happen. CARPE FUCKING DIEM, yo.
      4.) Good to know. I’ll make sure I have a backup plan if I ever see a tie on the door of our hotel room.
      5.) Love you.

  10. Today I stopped to pick up a large bag of Peppermint Patties.
    I regret it already.
    On a side note, I cannot believe you are still trying to pass off The Bullet as a water bottle – I accidentally packed your endless battery, its in the mail 😉

    • Bwhahaha! Girl, that Bullet is HUGE. (Yikes!) It’s like Quarter Horse sized. I can’t even say Quarter Horse without thinking of Alan Zweibel now. Wait. Where was I?

      Oh yeah, pass me a Peppermint Pattie, beeyotch.

  11. “I always enjoy a little cuddle after my full body cavity searches, don’t you?” Great caption!!! LOL

  12. Leslie, now I know why 14 billion people have visited my blog today. Thanks for linky love!

    I never realized that I wore Uni-Bomber sunglasses. Now, I’m feeling self-conscious. When I met 2 F’s, the told me my haircut made me look like Timothy McVey. Hmm … I’m seeing a disturbing pattern here.

    And I can personally vouch for TSA agent sifting through your intimate apparel. You really handled it with style and grace. Thank God the water bottles were a distraction. If security had done a body cavity search, they may have found the Cuban cigars!

  13. tracy@sellabitmum

    April 30, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    I loved that you hugged the TSA gentleman. I am totally trying that trick the next time I go through security. Brilliant.

    • Try it! It rocked, for both of us. And, everyone in the vicinity enjoyed the show as well. I feel like it was the least I could do, holding up the line like that. 😉

  14. I better go buy some new skivvies! I don’t need my stretched out granny panties on display in the SOUTH!
    Whenever I find myself in a pickle, which is often, I just ask to “Hug it out”!
    Kerry at HouseTalkN

    • It really IS the answer to almost any predicament, isn’t it?! And girl, you better get to shopping. Life is too short for bad panties.

  15. I just can’t get over the fact that you got a TSA dude to pose for a picture with you after discovering an Erma Bomb in your suitcase. Dayton. Jeez. Just try that in Newark, why don’t you?

  16. Bernie Bickers

    May 1, 2012 at 10:16 am

    You can’t say BOMBeck on an airplane!

    Great, now the terrorists are going to read this, start hugging TSA agents to distract them while they smuggle thong bombs, Pantene sample-size napalm, and nail clipper nun-chucks aboard and bring down Western Civilization and all its Kardashianess. Real smooth Iris, real smooth.

    On a different note, I’m thinking of painting “TSA SUX” across my bare ass in metallic glitter before the next time I have to step through that body scammer (sic). What’s the over/under I end up on the evening news?

    • Oh, that’s easily a 5 point SPREAD. Those new full-body scans are so invasive! I haven’t had to assume that position since the riots of ’94. (*shudder*)

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