Wednesday, August 12, 2015


We took Ensley and her brother to the movies recently. No big deal, we've been doing that for more than a decade. The tradition began when Ensley's brother was 3 years old and we've been taking Ensley since she was a baby. Movies, Target toy shopping, and Grandparent Date Nights are our ongoing rituals. 

Ensley is 10 now and, of course, dresses herself. Before the last movie, she walked into the kitchen, wearing gym shorts and a tee-shirt, declaring she was ready to go.

"Are you wearing shorts?" I asked.

"Yes. Why?" 

"I never wear shorts to movies. I read this study about fecal matter on the theater seats, and now I always wear long pants so I don't get fecal matter on me." Even I could hear the Old Lady in my voice.  

"What's fecal matter?" Ensley asked.

"Poop. I'm talking poop," I explained. 

Ensley laughed. "Yes, I'm wearing shorts."

So off we went to the movies. Me and Grandpa in long pants, Ensley and her big brother in shorts. Whatever.

We made it into our seats, hands overflowing with buckets of popcorn, all kinds of rubbery candies and soft drinks, both Diet and regular. The trailers began and we settled in, Ensley next to me. She got into the habit of sitting next to me when she was little so she could crawl into my lap when the movie bored her. Ensley has napped through more movies than even her Grammy.

The four of us started stuffing our faces with popcorn when I saw Ensley drop a piece of popcorn on her seat, reach down, pick it up and toss it into her mouth.

"Oh, Ensley! That chair is filthy. You might as well have eaten a piece of popcorn off the floor," I exclaim, a little horrified.

Without blinking an eye, Ensley says, "Grammy, look!" and as I watched, she stood up, reached down to the floor, picked up a piece of popcorn and popped it into her mouth.

Truly horrified now, these thoughts ran screaming through my mind: Whose popcorn was that? Is it too late to try to fish the popcorn out of her? How will I ever kiss that girl again? Is this going to make her sick?

But no, Ensley didn't get sick. Instead,  Grandpa spent the night in the bathroom with some stomach bug. Go figure. Karma must be near-sighted. 

Now they say that little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice and I can see that this is true, although I don't necessarily believe those ingredients are in equal parts. Ensley, the first girl to be born into three generations of our family, is full of sweet sugar and all things nice, but she also is made with an extra scoop of spice.

A giant scoop.

And it makes her delicious. It also sometimes gives me heartburn. 

For instance, while all my other grand-kids call me Grandma, Ensley has a special name for me. When I hear a voice yell GRAMMY, I know my Ensley is calling. She's the only granddaughter who's ever told me, "I don't have to listen to you, you're not the boss of me." She's also the only granddaughter to push Grandpa out of bed so she can sleep (ie. giggle and whisper and play word games) with me.

She pretty much has me wrapped around her finger. It happened long before she started leaving drawings on my pillow when I came to visit. 

Our Grandparent Date Night doesn't include parents and we take turns picking where we will eat. The Golden Rule is that we don't  complain about the each other's choice, although Ensley's brother and I often roll our eyes when we have to eat at Cici's again. Cici's is  really Ensley's 2nd choice. We veto eating at RaceTrack Gas Station, no matter how much she swears they have the best hot dogs in the universe.

And really, why would I trust her judgement in food?

After all, she thinks movie theater floor popcorn tastes great. 

c2015 Linda S Amstutz 

Monday, June 8, 2015

THE 1950's DIET

Open your old photo book (we used to call them Scrapbooks) and find your family photos from the 1950’s. See any fat people?


So, History teaches us yet another lesson: If we eat like they ate in the Age of Elvis, we’ll be skinny.  And I’m here to show you the way. Just follow my diet plan --

THE 1950’s DIET

Breakfast – start the day with a glass of orange juice and 2 slices of toast. The toast should be generously buttered, and when the butter is melted, sprinkled with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

Lunch – A bologna and mustard sandwich on Sunbeam white bread, a handful of potato chips (if you like, you can sprinkle the potato chips inside the sandwich), and an apple. If you’re still hungry, you can have 1-2 Fig Newtons.

Supper – Meatloaf, of course. And not some fancy meatloaf with an exotic blend of ground meats, but a 1950’s meatloaf made by mixing ground beef with ripped up white bread crust, one egg,  and globs of catsup, mustard,  and Worcestershire sauce.  Oh, and brush additional catsup on the top of the meatloaf before it’s baked. Accompanying the meatloaf, you may have mashed potatoes. And corn or peas, your choice. For dessert, you may have a slice of chocolate layered cake or a scoop of ice cream in a metal bowl.


Breakfast -- a glass of orange juice.  A bowl of Sugar Frosted Flakes with whole milk generously poured over it.

Lunch -- A Leftover Meatloaf Sandwich, with catsup, on Sunbeam white bread. And an apple. If that leaves you still hungry, you can have 1-2 Fig Newtons.

Supper – Tuna Fish Casserole. With crushed potato chips generously sprinkled on it. Eat with a big scoop of green beans. And for dessert, a bowl of Jello. Preferably green Jello because you can never get enough green into your diet.  If you have the time, shred up a carrot and stir it into the Jello before it solidifies. Good stuff.


Breakfast – A glass of orange juice. A cup of oatmeal, with cinnamon and sugar.

Lunch – a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on Sunbeam white bread. Today’s potato chips must be placed in the middle of this sandwich to make the perfect blend of sweet and salty. Because it’s the middle of the week, treat yourself to a can of sliced peaches to complete your lunch.

Supper – Spaghetti! Not too spicy, either. Just ground beef, tomato sauce, tomato paste, a little oregano, and a teensy bit of chopped onion. (Since the 1950’s food was not very spicy, we must conclude that spices are one of the contributing factors to today’s obesity epidemic.)  The pasta should be broken in half before boiling. No linguini, penne, or orecchiette. Nope, just plain ole low-calorie spaghetti. With the spaghetti, you may have a side salad comprised of hand-ripped iceberg lettuce, sliced radishes, chopped carrots, and tomato chunks, topped with the popular 1950’s French dressing (mayonnaise mixed with catsup.) You won’t even want dessert after this supper.

Breakfast – See Monday’s breakfast.

Lunch – See Monday’s lunch.
Supper – Chop Suey. Made with sliced round steak, celery slices, onion, 1 can sliced mushrooms, 1 can water chestnuts, soy sauce, molasses, salt & pepper. Cook until the round steak is tender. Serve over cooked white rice. Top with La Choy Chow Mein Noodles.


Breakfast – A glass of orange juice, a bowl of Sugar Frosted Flakes with whole milk.

Lunch – A cheese sandwich. This consists of 2 slices of Sunbeam white bread, one slice of American cheese, and a thin layer of mayonnaise. Add a handful of potato chips, or maybe some potato sticks and an apple.

Supper – This Catholic non-meat meal consists of baked fish sticks, macaroni and cheese, and peas mixed with carrots. (While appealing to the eye - the square chunks of orange carrots with the round green peas - this was, and is, a gag-worthy combination of vegetables.) For dessert, have some chocolate pudding with Reddi-Wip.


Breakfast – scrambled eggs. Bacon. Toast with butter and cinnamon and sugar. A glass of orange juice.  Jackpot! It’s your reward for making it through the week.

Lunch – leftovers. Any kind. Rummage through the refrigerator and fill your plate with leftovers. In the 1950s, leftovers had to be heated in a pan on the stove, or eaten cold, so take that into consideration, but don’t let that stop you from having a feast!

Supper – hamburgers. Fried in a skillet. And French fries. Hand peeled and cut, fried in a deep skillet with lots of melted Crisco, then sprinkled with lots of salt. Baked beans. Tomato slices. Onion slices. American Cheese for those desiring cheeseburgers. All you can eat …… which in the 1950s meant one serving.

Snack – Saturday Night is synonymous with a big bowl of popcorn. Pop it yourself in a skillet with Crisco. Shake and cook that popcorn, pour it into a big bowl, melt a stick of butter in the pan and drizzle it over the popcorn. Shake again. Add salt to taste. Enjoy your one weekly snack.


Breakfast – a quick glass of whole milk before church.

Lunch – a garlic infused roast of pork loin, center cut, with gravy. Steaming hot white rice dripping with pork roast gravy. Cucumbers sliced and slathered with sour cream, sprinkled with paprika and pepper. Sweet and sour red cabbage. Hot rolls with butter.  Peach cobbler for dessert.

Supper – Any sandwich you want as long as you make it on Sunbeam white bread. It can be meatloaf, pork sandwich, a spaghetti sandwich, a cheese sandwich, anything you want. And you can finish it with any leftover dessert you can lay your hands on.

You must follow this diet, exactly. No substitutions. Week after week. I think you’ll find that after a month, you will look just look all those characters in Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, or Ozzie and Harriet, and by that, I mean you will be  skinny, white,  married with 2.5 children, and smile all the time.  

c2015 Linda S Amstutz

Sunday, October 26, 2014


One of my young friends called me this week, looking for a little nurturing and advice. She was suffering through her first heartbreak. "How do I get over these sad feelings?" she wanted to know.

Well, you've come to the right lady, My Chickadee. I have the How to Heal Your Broken Heart Method, Step-By-Step Instructions and I'm gonna share them with you. Let's start at the beginning: 

Cry it out. 

That's right, go ahead and cry. And if you need a little help, watch one (or however many it takes) of these tear-jerkers: 

The Way We Were
Steel Magnolias
Terms of Endearment
Fried Green Tomatoes
Boys Don't Cry
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
500 Days of Summer
Say Anything 

I call this step WALLOWING and it's the first step in the recovery process. 

Warning: Do not skip this step. Feel your feelings. Don't quit crying until you're practically dehydrated. How will you know when you've cried enough? When you're so bored with crying that you could cry! 

Only you can't. 

There are no more tears.

Now, you move on.

Unfriend him. 

I know. You promised to stay friends together, no matter what. But friends don't make friends cry. And friends don't mock and humiliate each other on social networks. Friends also don't flaunt their new relationships all over their FB page just to show you. Nope. Those are the actions of an Unfriend. 

So, as much as you ideally want to act mature and stay friends, Unfriend that creep.

And then Block his ass, too. 

Dance It Off

This is the step where everything gets better. Mark my words. And then go directly to YouTube and listen to Gloria Gaynor sing I Will Survive. 

Listen to it 5 times and then go to iTunes and download the song to every computer and phone you own. This is your new anthem. Play it often. 

Sing to it.

Dance to it.

Believe every word of it. 

Fall Out of Love

So, you're done crying. Well, mostly. And you're not seeing his face all over your Newsfeed. Good. Now, it's time to quit romanticizing him. 

Tape his photo on your bathroom mirror. While you brush your teeth, look him in the eyes and tell him, "Hey, you! Guess what? I don't love you anymore. I really don't." It might even help if you pointed your toothbrush at him while you say that. 

And every time you get to thinking how much you miss him, tell yourself, "But I don't even love him anymore." 

And in the morning, before you put your feet on the ground, say these words, "It was nice while it lasted, but I don't him any more."

And in the evening, when you lay your head on your pillow, say this, "I loved him once, but I don't love him anymore." 

I know you're thinking that this won't work, but it sure will. As surely as we can talk ourselves into loving someone, flaws and all, we can talk ourselves out of loving someone, good traits and all.

Try it. 

Letting Go

Turn on your computer and make a new Folder. Call it OVERANDDONE. 

Now find all of your Couple Photos on your phone and on Facebook. Copy & Move them into the OVERANDDONE folder. Then delete the originals.

If you haven't done it by now, change your Facebook status to Single.

Clean out your closet and medicine cabinet and dump everything that was his. If he hasn't asked for it by now, he doesn't need it. And neither do you.

In your cellphone Contact list, remove him from your Favorites. 

Start going out again. Hang out with your friends. Have a party. Attend a party. Go for a walk, or a bike ride, or a run. 

Open your eyes. Look around. This is one, big ole sweet-ass world we live in and there are lots and lots and lots of men in it. I bet you can find one you like. 

But there's no hurry. You're fine just the way you are. Really, you are complete. And a prize. And if there's ever another guy in your life, make sure he knows you are a prize.

And he treats you like one. 

c2014 Linda S Amstutz 

Saturday, May 10, 2014


I'm happy to share my READERS' FAVORITE review with you. Just click here.  (Guess which essay made them laugh the hardest......)

You can order TICKLED GREY from Amazon books.  In paper or an ebook. 

OR ...........

 you can get a signed copy directly from me by visiting and Send Money to The cost is $5.00 a book, and $3.50 each for shipping, unless you order more than 3 books, then contact me for a accurate shipping cost. And remember to tell me who you want the book signed to. 

Tickled Grey makes a great gift for anyone with an AARP membership. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

TICKLED GREY has arrived. Yay! If you want a book, or more, you have 2 options: 

#1--order from Amazon  


#2 -- you can order a signed copy/copies from me. The books are priced at $5.00 each, plus shipping. Shipping is $3.50 a book, unless you order more than 4, then contact me and I'll figure out the shipping. Don't forget to let me know who to sign the book to. You can pay by visiting and send the payment for the book and shipping. They will provide me with your shipping info and your note on who to sign the book to. Or you can mail me a check to Linda S Amstutz, PO Box 50329, Columbia, SC 29250. I accept credit cards, so you can provide me with that info, or you can send a check, I wouldn't want you to send cash.