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,

-Leslie