Jul 102012

This was the last sentence of a consent form that I signed the other day…

“I am aware that the practice of medicine and diagnostic imaging is not an exact science and I acknowledge that no guarantees have been made to me concerning the results of the procedure.” (I read: If we F this up, you’re SOL).

Wouldn’t it be great if every job that required “customer” service had its own consent form?

Here’s how the one at the DMV would read:

“I am aware the practice of issuing all things vehicle related is not an exact science. I acknowledge that my entire morning will be shot, standing in line. I understand that I am not allowed to ask what the hell is taking so long, because that would be insensitive to the “workers” who are busy painting their ridiculously long fingernails, or simply staring at the walls. No matter how bad it gets, I will not comment on the smell. And I know my picture is going to look like shit, because the camera was specifically designed (during the Hoover administration) to make everyone (including Mother Theresa) look like an escaped convict.”

Tech Support:

I am aware the practice of offering technical support, whether it be for phone, internet, e-mail or cable TV access, is not an exact science (even though it kinda is). I agree to believe that my technician’s given name really is “Steve,” if he agrees to believe that I look exactly like Julia Roberts. Despite the fact that I’ve already tried it ten times, I will not complain when Steve asks me to shut down and restart my computer. And when “Steve” finally determines that my issue will require a tech visit, I acknowledge that no guarantees can be made regarding the words “between one and five.”   

Oh, how I wish we had one of these back when I was a caterer…

“I am aware that the practice of catering is not an exact science. Food does get dropped and spilled. Electricity goes out, ice melts in the heat, pets have hair, glassware breaks—especially the really expensive stuff, and some guests can be major assholes. They are my friends, after all, not the friends of my caterer. I acknowledge that my caterer can make no guarantees regarding the sobriety of our musicians, the condition of the bouncy-house, or the behavior of the ponies.  And, contrary to what I might believe, my caterer has absolutely no control over the weather. For assistance on this front, I will need to petition the Infant of Prague, Mother Nature and/or God Himself.”

Hope you have enjoyed reading.

The practice of blog writing is not an exact science.


Mar 082012

I had a mammogram the other day, and there are a couple of people I’d like to address.

To the woman who was ahead of me in line,

I promise not to publish it, despite the fact that I now know your full name, your address, who and where your gynecologist is, and every last detail of your current cervical condition. If you noticed, I was trying to be discreet, staying behind the strict, invisible HIPPA line, but I have two functioning ears, and unfortunately, they listen, even when I don’t want them to. I’m saying a prayer right now that you are not still sitting, waiting for your doctor to send over the order.

To President Obama,

Perhaps you already know this, but I’m going to tell you anyway. Forty is the recommended screening age for mammograms. A forty-year-old female body, just FYI, Mr. President, produces odors that can only be described as alarming. The need for deodorant is paramount. We (read: me) cannot sneak by without deodorant the way we could in our twenties, or even our thirties. Go ahead, and ask Michelle. I’m certain she will “have my back” on this issue.

I am sincerely offended by the smell of BO, mine or anybody else’s. And I find it very hard to believe that a few swipes of deodorant, which I was told not to wear, would be capable of disrupting the effectiveness of such “advanced” technology. So since you’re in mandating mode, how about mandating that the National Cancer Institute get together with the folks over at GE, and develop a mammography device that can say…stand up to the active ingredients in Lady Speed Stick?

While you’re at it, I’d also like you to mandate that someone (I suggest starting with Apple, since I’m pretty sure my iPhone already has the capabilities) invent a mammogram machine that acts more like it’s taking a picture, and less like it’s backing a minivan over my boobs. I must tell you, Sir, that I looked down while in mid-mammogram, and because of what I saw (think: map of Poland) I intend to seek permanent disability for mental health reasons.

If you’d like me to appear before Congress with these requests, I am at your disposal.

Sep 052011

What I did on my summer vacation: 

  1. Went to Omaha, AKA—The Big “O.” Appeared on The Morning Blend, and did a reading at Anthony’s Steakhouse. Learned that people really like book readings when there are drinks involved. Thanks to Nikki, Shannon and the Lunch Bunch. What a blast.
  2. Got a puppy (see inset). Named her Stella—as in Artois. Walk her what seems like twenty times a day. As smart as she is, she still barks at Weber grills, garbage bags, and dirt piles. I’m teaching her to heel, but not very well. I like the way her paws sound in the grass. Considering writing a book about her so I can claim her as a business expense.
  3. Did reading at Milwaukee Country Club. Thanks to Patty and Mike. Learned that no matter how fancy the setting, folks still laugh out loud when you talk about boogers and chafing. Who knew?
  4. Had a “book” booth at Ben Fest in Chicago. Relearned that I don’t do arts and crafts for kids very well. Sorry about the permanent marker folks.
  5. Flew to Boston, and did a reading at Anthem Kitchen and Bar. Thanks to Betsy, Peggy and all that attended.  Walked on the freedom trail, and learned that an oyster shooter absolutely must be chased by a beer. Ach!
  6. Went to Wausau, and did a reading at The Wright Place on 6th—cozy, adorable, and great food. If you ever find yourself in Wausau (at Rib Mountain maybe), do check it out. Patty Kay, you’re the best.
  7. Did a reading at Books & Company in Oconomowoc—a wonderful little Indie outside of Milwaukee. Great group. Lynn even made Miss Willie’s Banana Cream and Custard pies.
  8. Book clubs, book clubs, book clubs. Thanks to everyone for inviting me. Keep ‘em coming!
  9. Drove down to Kenosha for a reading at House of Gerhard.  Thank you Kathy, Gary, Angie and Dick for providing a wonderful cap to a summer chock full of book events. Excellent food and lovely group. Tons of fun.

Just read that there is a frost advisory for Northern Wisconsin tonight. I guess summer really is over. Time to pull out my jeans and see if they still fit…

Apr 182011

Giddy Up!

Howdy folks. Spring Break 2011 is long gone. San Antonio has been left in the dust. Jeans are a little tighter, got my new boots on (see inset), and I’m still, quite possibly, the whitest woman in America. All is right with the world. San Antonio, it turns out, is a delightful place to visit. I can’t say exactly what I was expecting—more pistols in holsters and spittoons in the corner, I suppose—but what I found was a delightful little river walk, and delicious food (and margaritas) aplenty.

If you have the time, check out a place called Bohanan’s. We had dinner there on Friday night—Fr. Dan’s choice. Excellent food, a little pricey, but my brother-in-law picked up the tab, so…you know…well worth it from my seat. I took advantage of a Canon Law loophole—something about the Feast of the Annunciation falling on a Friday during Lent, and the Blessed Mother Herself giving the green light on red meat—and ordered the rib eye and the white Bordeaux.  I know, I know, white wine and red meat, not exactly an Emily Post pairing. But don’t knock this lovely little combo ‘til you’ve tried it. I doubt Ms. Post ever took her cowboy boots for a spin in her bathing suit either. Giddy up!

Book adventures continue…

Reading last Wednesday at the Vintage Brewery in Madison was a smashing success. What a gem of an evening! Thanks to everyone who attended. Also, attended my first book club at Susie Pop’s house. Great fun. Lots of laughs—lots of chats. Was told that I do not, in fact, have cankles. I’m looking at them right now, and I have to say…I disagree.

Next Up:

Reading at Nina’s Café, St. Paul: Saturday, May 7th, 6:30 PM.

Morning Blend: Monday, May 16th, 9:00 AM. (Note to self: lose 15 pounds).

Reading at Next Chapter Bookshop: Wednesday, May 18th, 7:00 PM.

Reading at Jack Pandl’s Whitefish Bay Inn: Sunday, May 22nd, 2:00 PM.

Mar 182011

I read something the other day that claimed, “Forty is the new twenty.” On really, really good days—on days when there is a little less clicking and popping when we get out of bed—maybe.

When I was in my twenties, a bunch of us rented a condo in Vail for spring break. It was a ski-in-ski-out with a balcony that looked right at a chair lift. Since there were about twenty of us piled into two rooms, and it was the tail end of the season, by Vail standards, it was cheap. In the morning I woke up next to empty beer cans, dirty ashtrays and empty pizza boxes, slapped on my ski boots, and tore up the slopes like…well…like you do when you’re in your twenties, skiing four days straight, stopping only to pee. I came home with an impressive tan, and a beautifully fit windburn.

Last year I turned forty, and decided to take yet another ski trip, this time with some family, out to Breckenridge. The condo was nicer, more expensive, less crowded, no ashtrays, and beer bottles—not cans. I had my own bathroom and a hot tub outside my bedroom door. After the first day of skiing, my boots felt like concrete blocks, and despite my preemptive Advil strike; I could not walk down the stairs. After the second day, I couldn’t walk up them. I took to buying “half” day lift tickets and told my family to meet me on the patio for an après ski beer. “I’ll buy,” I said. I came home with a hangover, a rash, and what I believe may have been a torn meniscus.

Next week marks the beginning of Spring Break 2011, and there’s no snow in the forecast, at least not in mine. I’m leaving my skis in the closet, and heading down to San Antonio to crash the sabbatical of a priest friend. While crashing a sabbatical sounds like a ton of fun, it does not, in my opinion, seem like “new twenty” behavior. It does, however, seem decidedly forty. Thank the Baby Jesus. The hotel has four stars and a mini bar. Evidently, there’s a river walk, and of course, there’s the Alamo. There will be sitting and sunscreen, and conversations that start with, “Where are we eating next?” If all goes according to plan, I will kick the “new twenty” to the curb with a few extra pounds, and a pair of awesome cowboy boots, which I’ve always wanted but could never afford. And I will come home as Wisconsin white as I am today.

Mar 082011

Adventures in Self-Publishing—Take Two.

Memoir of the Sunday Brunch is now available at Boswell Books on Downer Avenue, the Milwaukee WaterFront Deli, the Boelter SuperStore, and Fitzgerald’s Pharmacy.

The book is online with an Amazon rating of 60,779. Funny how hilarious and humbling are such great Karmic pals. It’s on the shelves—last name beginning with “P”—Plath, Plato (Cher, Bono, so much for originality), Poe, Potter. Not bad company there. It’s in the trunk of my car, next to the loose change, snow pants, ski poles, and a pair of really expensive sunglasses that belong to I-Have-No-Idea-Who. And, most importantly, it’s in hands.  It’s in the hands of family and friends, and it’s in the hands of strangers, which frankly, has been scary enough to produce a bit of a rash on my forehead.

Press release—check, responses—zero, though there was the tiniest blurb in the Cue section of yesterday’s paper, for which I will take full credit.

Stalking booksellers around town—check.

Stalking various traditional and social media outlets—check.

Stalking friends and family who live in St. Paul, St. Louis, Denver, Chicago and Omaha—check.

Stalking Ellen Degeneres—check.

Thinking about stalking Oprah, but I’m scared of Oprah for reasons I can’t quite explain. It could be the simple fact that my Mac recognizes her name. It does not underline it in red the way it does Degeneres. This is unnerving for some reason. Oprah is not in my Webster’s—I looked. It goes right from Oppunger; that which opposes, to Ops; strength, riches, Roman Goddess of the harvest. There’s something ironic about the fact that, if Oprah were to appear in my Webster’s, she would land atop a word that in Latin means “Plenty,” and in Sanskrit means “Goods and Property.”  Hmm…perhaps I will start stalking her.

Until next time—Happy Reading.







Feb 252011

Memoir of the Sunday Brunch is now available on Amazon Create Space. For those of you who are Amazon members, the traditional Amazon site will be up within five to seven business days. Kindle version to follow in four to six weeks. YAHOO!! What a ride, and, if you’ll excuse the Carpenter’s reference, it’s only just begun.

Here’s a little story from the adventures of promoting a book using, among other things, social media. While putting the final touches on www.juliapandl.com, I ran into a snag that required a trip to the Apple store, and an appointment at the Genius Bar. Genius Bar—Genius name. The mere fact that I am allowed to belly up to such a place does something wonderful for my self-esteem. You should try it sometime.

A few days earlier my friend, Gerry, had brought over a phone that she picked up at a garage sale (just for kicks). It’s a yellow, rotary phone circa 1972, perhaps, ‘73; it’s hard to say. For those of you who remember, it’s the phone that sat, and stayed, on the end table next to the couch, near the ashtray and the TV Guide. It’s an old Western Electric number—a throwback to the days before the dawn of caller ID. The phone we used to clamor over each other for, and answer with anxious anticipation, without knowing who was on the other end. It even has a wad of gum stuck to the bottom.

In a post-Packer’s-Winning-The-Super-Bowl Sunday afternoon daze, I was starved for a little entertainment, so I decided to bring the yellow phone to the Apple store with me, and walk around with it as if its technology was only slightly less advanced than say…the iPhone 3.

I don’t always think things through. That’s the problem. There’s the idea, which makes me smile, then, with a little luck, there are the eventual laughs, but somewhere in the middle things tend to get fuzzy. It seems technology—forward and backward—can cause quite a stir. Naturally, because it was a Sunday afternoon, the store was packed with customers. Maybe it was me, pretending to talk on the phone that caused all the strange looks, I can’t say for sure, but I will tell you this—that yellow phone made those customers uneasy in much the same way the VCR made my parents uneasy back in the ‘80’s. Look at that lady? Why does she have that? What is that? Is she actually talking on that thing? I don’t understand. Someone should call 911? It’s itchy there in the middle. My skin tingled and I started to feel like I had crossed the line—the one between laughter and lunacy—like I had walked into the Apple store, wearing nothing but that yellow phone and a MacBook.

If you’re already naked, really, what’s the sense in covering up? So I bellied up the Genius Bar, slammed the yellow phone down, looked the “tender” in the eye and said, “I’m waiting for a very important call. And when we’re done with the website stuff, I’d like to talk about a possible upgrade.”

He pointed to the phone, looked at his co-worker and said, “Hey, Dude, she wants to get a new phone. Can you transfer her information from that phone to the new one?”  Bless his heart.

Feb 102011

If you write a blog, and nobody reads it, is it still a blog? Or is it just a bunch of words, hanging with the other billions of words, out there in the Internet ether? I guess I’m about to find out.

My name is Julie Pandl, and this is my very first blog. If you’re here, and you’re still reading, I thank you. If you have already thrown in the towel…have a nice day.

They tell me it’s important to have a blog. I’m not sure about that. I guess it depends on how you define “important.” I believe in the sharing of words and ideas, but I’ll be honest, on most days I prefer it when the exchange happens in person, at a bar, over a couple of beers. But alas, here I am, and here you are, so let’s get started.

Since I am a born and bred Wisconsinite, and a proud cheesehead-wearing Packer fan, I must first tip my hat to our beloved, World Champion, Green Bay Packers. The Thrill of Victory Thaws the Agony of Wisconsin Winter!

Aside from being a Packer fan, here are a few important things (in the interest of being up front) I would like to share with you, whoever you are.

  • Just in case you have stumbled into this blog by accident, I’m here because I have written a book called Memoir of the Sunday Brunch (available for sale on Amazon).
  • I am forty-years-old, but don’t be fooled, I have an inner sixth-grader that is alive and kickin’. You may see her in future blogs.
  • The book I am reading right now is called Truck—A Love Story, written by a fellow Wisconsinite named Michael Perry. Though I have never met Michael, and I believe he is married, I have a huge crush on him and I would like to be his BFF.
  • I am the baby of nine, which is probably why my inner sixth-grader remains healthy and happy.
  • I am Austrian, Irish and German. (Insert stereotype here and you’re likely to be dead on). Tends to avoid confrontation, yes. Likes to drink beer a tad more than she should, yep. Naughty, definitely. Stubborn, right again.
  • I don’t plan on offering any religious commentary, but I am a practicing Catholic.
  • I grew up in the restaurant business, so I know how to cook, though; I’m not a fan of recipes with more than five ingredients. (One exception: Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volumes one and two).
  • My vacuum cleaner has been in the middle of my living room floor for a week. There are almost always dirty dishes in my sink. My favorite television show is Deadliest Catch (rest in peace, Captain Phil). I am addicted to peanut M&M’s, and my favorite smells are Old Spice, grass clippings in April, and bacon frying on Sunday mornings.

Looking forward to sharing with you again.