Monday, February 23, 2009

The Scoop Sisters

The news competition between my aunts is more fierce than the battle between Fox and CNN. Whether it's telling relatives about my Gracie Award (;jsessionid=a630ae1d944478e88a342e40341b1b105158?ID=830) or keeping us all informed about my uncle's lung surgery, Aunt Nell and Aunt Reacie have a burning desire to break the story.

My mom and my other two aunts don't play the news game. It isn't for sissies. You have to dial fast, talk fast and not be afraid to get your feelings hurt if you want to tangle with the Scoop Sisters. Unsuspecting family members and clueless friends of the family get used for information. Don't think for a second that you can dish to the sisters without repercussions. They will betray their sources to lend credibility to their stories. The really juicy tidbits start something like, "I should probably let Deano tell his own news, but" or "we've got to pray for Peanut because..."

Aunt Nell is the self-appointed editor of the family newsletter. She's got cousins I've never even met on speed dial. You've never heard disappointment until you've listened to the defeated sigh of Aunt Nell when she finds out that Aunt Reacie was the first to spread the word. Deaths, divorces, pregnancies, promotions, engagements, accidents, hospitalizations and incarcerations.... a fully-staffed newsroom couldn't get the story to family members faster. Aunt Nell ( has more slashes in the win column than Aunt Reacie. But when Aunt Reacie owns the scoop, she will drive to Aunt Nell's house and do a victory dance in her front yard. There haven't been any fist fights yet, but Aunt Reacie has been having shoulder trouble, so I wouldn't put it past Aunt Nell to take advantage of the weakness.

When you have news in the Holloway family it spreads very quickly and you have to think twice before you decide who to tell first. When my mom had surgery recently, I kept it neutral by giving the recovery details to Aunt Ada, the Sweden of the family. It was up to her to decide whether to give the story to the "Linell Enquirer" or the "Reacie Times." Yes, it was a punk move on my part, but I don't feel the least bit guilty about sacrificing Aunt Ada. She's older, wiser and has been dealing with her sisters longer than I have.

My mom, Wheezy, takes a more organic approach. Whoever calls Wheezy first, hears the news first. So this morning when Aunt Reacie called to tell my mother about her weekend trip, she heard the Gracie Award details and rushed off the phone. She said she'd tell Aunt Nell last because she didn't want to give her sister the opportunity to scoop her. I had a moment of courage and dared to ask why she couldn't let Aunt Nell have the story too. Her answer was, "she's been doing this for years and we're too old to change." Within 5 minutes of talking to Aunt Reacie, I received a call from Aunt Ada. Fifteen minutes later I got a congratulatory call from Aunt Nell. After getting a few details about the gown I'd like to buy and the price of the tickets, she said, "I gotta go!" She didn't break the story, but now she's hitting the phones with fresh, inside info. The battle of the Scoop Sisters is ON!!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Never 2 Fake for Oscar

Sure I'd like to see "Slumdog Millionaire" win best picture and take the trophy for best original song (, but routing for my favorite movie or actor takes a back seat to THE RED CARPET! Oscar night defines glamour and style( It shows us just how good celebrities can look after weeks of dieting and hours of spray tanning, teeth whitening, hair styling and make-up artistry. The best actors in the world give us their best performances a few hours before the Academy Awards. On the red carpet they pretend to be secure, calm and completely comfortable in diamond shoes and gowns glued to their bodies with two-sided tape. They will suffer and smile unlike your Aunt Barbara, who'll kick off her shoes at a wedding reception before the bride and groom have even arrived.

For us regular girls, its nice to pick the Oscar looks we can steal for proms, weddings, charity events and holiday parties. The problem is that most of us will get dogged by friends, family members and random groups of female strangers if we over-glam. My friend Momma (the nickname she prefers), has a "2 Fake " rule. If you aren't a celebrity you max out at two unnatural beauty items. If you have hair extensions and colored contacts, then you should NOT plump your lips. Acrylic nails and breast implants? Stay away from the fake lashes... though I think you can bend the lash rule if you've got good natural-looking lash extensions (

Nothing is too fake for Hollywood. A star can go from a B-cup to a D-cup and back in a week and we act like it's just something that happens with the right bra ( She can go from a chin length bob to a lush mane cascading down her back in a few hours and no one blinks and eye. Try going from straight to curly in the same month. It'll drive your co-workers to distraction!

So let's just enjoy the red carpet for what it is. An opportunity for people who can't be more than "2 Fake" to decide which beauty illusions we'll buy and which ones will tank?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Call the Doctor

The typical conversation starts like this...
Ramona: How are you feeling today, mom?
Mom: I broke out in hives last night. I couldn't sleep and now I feel weak.
Ramona: Call the doctor
Mom: I have an appointment coming up in December of 2015. I'll just wait and ask him then.

Why is it so darn difficult to get my mother to call her doctor? He's a nice guy who specializes in senior medicine. He takes time to find out what's going on with her and listens to her stories about our dog, Henri. Dr. Pham's nurse, Sharon, returns every phone call with patience and understanding. Our family budget hasn't gotten to the point that she's eating dog food and can't afford the gas to get to her appointment.

So, I threaten to call, knowing that I'll be asked a thousand questions that mom needs to answer...

Ramona (on the phone with the doctor's office): My mom woke up with hives and feels weak.
Doctor's office: Is she having an allergic reaction to something she ate or has there been a medication change?
Ramona: (repeats questions to mom sitting right next to her)
Mom: (relays answers to Ramona who must then relay answers to doctor's office)
Doctor's office: (ten more questions)

This scenario usually ends with mom getting upset because I've made the appointment for a time that conflicts with her hair salon/physical therapy/soap opera ( time. I just can't figure out WHY the doctor calling process has to be so complex.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thou Shalt Be Classy

I've been blessed with the opportunity to host two radio shows. Both programs air on secular stations and both are produced by Brent "Bandy Boo" O'Brien (;jsessionid=a630e54e758fd42582167a22157636a1d601?ID=11). "The Matt and Ramona Show" can best be described as a raucous version of "Regis and Kelly." My co-host, Matt Harris, practically bounces off the walls while we are on the air. Don't believe me? Check out the webcam sometime (;jsessionid=a630a5ed5821fb127e0a1e321c42565b577c). If there was a national contest for making sexual innuendos I doubt anyone could beat him. The other program is called, "The Satisfied Life (" My co-hosts are Pam Stone, a comedian and Sharon Decker, a minister. We like to think of the show as a fun, faith-based version of "The View."

It wasn't until I started co-hosting the faith-based show that I began receiving messages like this one from a woman named Sue:

"I listened to your show Living the Satisfied Life this past Sunday and I thought to myself, Ramona is a classy woman. Sure you are funny, open and intelligent however this show really shows the listeners that you have class. Do you find that you struggle with doing a Faith Based Show on Sunday and then participate in shows like the one today? I frankly don't find it classy to hear how people get hurt while engaging in physical activity with their mates."

Sue, both shows are a collaborative effort and both target adults. Matt brings his outrageous sense of humor to my weekdays and Pam ( brings her silly humor to my weekends. However, no matter who I'm sharing a studio with, I'm the same struggling, imperfect Christian. I don't consider conversations about sex to be anti-Christian. I believe encouraging people to go out and have risky, meaningless sex would disappoint God.

Some might think I'm just trying to justify the times when the content of "The Matt and Ramona Show" isn't exactly what you'll be hearing during next Sunday's sermon ( Perhaps I am. But when I get "thanks for the laugh" e-mails from a woman who is unemployed and fearful about her future or from a man who is watching his wife endure painful chemo, I have believe that the laughter they've been given by "The Matt and Ramona" show is a blessing. However, I must admit that if God had to choose between the shows, He'd probably be partial to "The Satisfied Life." Sharon's Weekly Word ( always manages to get me choked up or make me think long and hard about how I'm living my life.

Being a part of both of these shows is only a religious conflict when I feel I haven't done my best to express my values. Most of the time the topics that get fellow Christians riled up fall into the category of what you consider good taste or poor taste. Will hearing a listener share a story about a REALLY bad night of love-making with her hubby keep us out of heaven? I don't think so. Our views of what is acceptable for Christians to discuss, wear, drink, read and do are as varied as the names of our churches ( Thankfully, come judgement day, when God runs down the list of commandments "thou shalt be classy" won't be on the list.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Don't Give me the Tweet-ment

Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Xanga... all that social networking can become a nightmare. There was a time when networking just meant passing out a few business cards during happy hour. Once happy hour was over your networking day was done. Internet networking is nonstop around the clock. It never ends. Sure I've heard from a girl I worked with for 2 weeks in the dining hall at Penn State, but I barely have time to socialize with the friends I work with right now. My failure to spend significant quality time with people I love causes a lot of guilt. My pal Cheryl (, who is fairly new to Facebook, says while social networking is fun, she really doesn't need something else in her life that presents an opportunity for failure.

As a woman who is failing Social Networking 101, I totally understand where Cheryl is coming from. I can't even remember my MySpace or LinkedIn login info. And I wish someone would tell me how to stop from sending me e-mails about the people who've viewed my profile?

Please don't remind me about what social networking can do for my career/social calendar/love life. I don't care if Facebook is sooooo 2006 and Twitter is what's happening now. With about 200 unanswered Facebook messages haunting me, I will go Britney Spears if somebody tries to Tweet me on Twitter!