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Not Ready for Granny Panties
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The Woman’s Book of Dirty Words–Print and Ebook Now Available! (FOR NEW NRFGP POSTS, SCROLL DOWN!)


By: Mary Fran Bontempo

It’s here! The next book in the Not Ready for Granny Panties series, titled The Woman’s Book of Dirty Words, is now available in print and ebook versions. Check out the out this fabulous video below by NRFGP own amazing illustrator, Pat Achilles! (Am I using too many exclamation points?!!! I’m really excited!!!!!!) The Woman’s Book of Dirty Words, along with Not Ready for Granny Panties–The 11 Commandments for Avoiding Granny Panties, is available on Amazon and Barnes and Order yours today!

The Woman’s Book of Dirty Words

We women talk—a lot. Yet, the words that take others to their happy place often make us miserable. Words like “vacation,” “dinner,” and “holidays” can leave us breathing into a paper bag with our head between our knees. It doesn’t have to be that way. Join Mary Fran Bontempo and redefine the “dirty words” that make women cringe. You’ll laugh, learn, make some changes and trim your “dirty words” list down to size!

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Lady Gaga Sings the National Anthem

Mary Fran Bontempo

From a meat dress to a Golden Globe win, to an Academy Award nomination, Lady Gaga continues to surprise. Her rendition of the National Anthem at yesterday’s Super Bowl was pretty fantastic. Not Whitney Huston, but a decent first runner-up. If you missed, see the full performance, below.


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Cringe-Worthy Prom Pics

By: Mary Fran Bontempo

Dignam promThis past week, my high school boyfriend came back into my life.

No, it’s not romantic in any way–we’re both happily married. In fact, not only isn’t it romantic, I kind of threatened his life.

A few days ago, I received a Facebook friend request from John. And no, I won’t give you his last name, although anyone who sees the attached pictures and knows us will easily recognize him. Oh, okay, it’s Dignam. Why protect the not-so-innocent, as you’ll soon see?

We’ve seen each other perhaps three or four times in the last 35 years, usually in relation to some kind of play (we were both drama geeks in high school). So, I thought maybe a drama geek reunion was in the works. If only.

What was in the works was that John’s daughter discovered some of her father’s old prom pictures in the attic. And John, in one of those moves only men who have no sense of vanity can make, posted them online for all of the world, and all of our high school friends, to see.

You know that feeling you get right before you get hit by a bus? I’ve never been hit by a bus, but I’m pretty sure that’s what I felt. I’ll just say, it was not pretty. Nor was I, despite the assurances of the Facebook community that we were all gorgeous. Except for my other  friend from high school, Sean (McGrath–no mercy, here, either), who just posted, “Hahahahahahaha!” I can always count on Sean to be brutally honest, emphasis on the brutal. (Weird side note: All three of the girls in the pictures are named Mary. John also married a Mary. Catholics in the ’70’s….)

As we get older, some of us become nostalgic for our lost youth. I am not one of those people. My teenjuniorpromdignam years were painful; I wouldn’t go back there for anything. In fact, I’m pretty happy with where I am right now. Sure, I’d tweak a few things, but all in all, I’m good.

And as awful as those pictures are (Oh my God, he just posted another one–I think this guy hates me!) they have served to get some old friends back in touch–friends weighing in on the photos whom I haven’t seen in decades.

There may be a drama geek reunion in the making after all. And if there is, this time, I’m going to take and post a few pictures of my own. I’m no photographer, so I can promise, they won’t be pretty.

Which is exactly as it should be.

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Tech School Video Goes Viral!

Published on Jan 24, 2016

The video below was created by teacher, Scot Pankey and his students at A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School. What this amazing teacher asked of his students is below in his own words. Just incredible! Be sure to check out the video on You Tube and congratulations to this inspiring teacher and his equally inspiring students!

“I asked my kids at A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School to think outside the box and find a way to Uplift, Motivate and Encourage others. This is what they came up with. Enjoy!
BIG SHOUT OUT to my student Micah Garden, who shot the video in one take using an iPhone, walking backwards. AWESOMENESS!!!

Special Shout Outs to students Willie Johnson (Sound), Jesus Martinez (Production Coordinator), Sergio Chavez (Film Editing). Principal Lisa DeVeaux, Vice Principal Cynthia Sorey, Graphic Art Design by Amber Jackson, The life changing, AMAZING Faculty & Staff of A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School, Kendra Thomas and the AMSNTH Step Team, and last but not least the Smart, Talented, Incredible Students of A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School. You inspire me everyday with what you bring to the table.” –Scot Pankey

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Golden Globe Musings

By: Mary Fran Bontempo

golden_globes_logo_2011Last Sunday saw the Golden Globes, the Oscars’ drunken cousin, again assaulting the airwaves with its annual public Hollywood A.A. meeting airing on NBC. As an awards season junkie, yes, I watched, and as always, I have some thoughts and opinions, which will never be taken into account by anyone but me, to share. The Globes always make me feel better about myself, especially because it’s the one awards show where the creme de la creme are almost expected to behave badly–and often do….


1.  Ricky Gervais is gross. Period. And he delights in getting more foul every time he’s asked back. Enough already. Bring back Tina and Amy. Or Neil Patrick Harris. Or those two adorable little kids from “Blackish.” Bring back anyone but Ricky Gervais.

2.  JLo cannot, I’m happy to report, wear anything. The voluminous canary yellow dress she drug around all night made her look like Big Bird. In drag, but still Big Bird. I’m usually waiting to see which part of her body will be hanging out of her Globes dress, but this one covered her completely and I hated it. Of course that could be because I cannot wear yellow and I do not look like JLo. And what was with the leg sticking out? Wasn’t Angelina Jolie mocked enough for that move to let everyone know it looks stupid and vain? But I am glad I was spared yet another look at Jenny-from-the-block’s boobs or butt.

3.  Kate Hudson, on the other hand, could have used some of Jo-Lo’s excess fabric. Presenting next to her step-father, a still handsome after all these years, Kurt Russell, Kate wore a sequined tube top with a matching long skirt that looked like it was off the rack from Forever 21. Plus, it just looked creepy next to her dad. Ew.

4.  My sentimental favorite–Sylvester Stallone winning the Best Supporting Actor award for Creed. Sly looked dapper and thanked his “best friend” Rocky Balboa for being the best friend a guy could have. Nice.

5.  Best new growth of facial hair–John Krasinski. The formerly soft and sweet Jim from TV’s The Office, Krasinski bulked up and added a full beard for his latest role in 13 Hours. Presumably, wife, Emily Blunt, is a fan as John is still sporting the growth. Again, nice. Very nice.

6.  Best removal of facial hair–Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Both of these mega-stars have appeared in the recent past looking homeless. I’m sorry, fellas, but when you have the faces you two do, and you expect people to pay big bucks to watch you in the movies, you have an obligation to give us women what we want, which is both of you clean-shaven. We’d like other things from you, too, but let’s start there. Women everywhere remembered just why we go ga-ga over you both.

7.  Helen Mirren never misses, either in a performance or especially in formal wear. If you’re a woman of a certain age and you’re wondering how to dress for a special event, Google Helen Mirren. Then Google Jane Fonda and do not wear anything like that off-white abomination she wore. Jane looked like she was about to drown in a sea of ruffles. Yuck.

Again, these are only my mindless, jealous of the beautiful people, opinions, but yes, I definitely feel better now. Next month it’s the Oscars, which will no doubt be more sedate and probably more boring, but at least we won’t have to look at Ricky Gervais sloshing a beer to the microphone every time he was supposed to say something. Then again, the Oscars’ host is Chris Rock, which may lead to all sorts of trouble. Buckle up fans, it may be a bumpy awards season!

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My New Year’s Resolution

My New Year’s resolution. Which I’ll not likely manage to fulfill. Oh well.
–Mary Fran


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On Friendship

friendsby: Chrysa Smith

When I do writing workshops with elementary school students, my assignment to them is to write about their best friend. I’ve gotten some sad responses, like ‘I don’t have a best friend’ or ‘my dog is my best friend’ to the joyous ones: ‘What if I have more than one?’ And it all got me to thinking about friendship.

What better time in the year to celebrate our friends? Old and new, the phenomenon of friendship is interesting, as I found out from simply discussing it with some fourth graders. When I ask what makes that person their best friend, it is often a stumbling block. Sure, you can tell me what you do together, when you met, what they look like—but stop and think why? and it’s often a mystery.

So it was interesting to me that several weeks back I received an email from an old friend from high school. We were thick as thieves back then, but marriage and family (well, for me), distance and divergent paths led us in different directions. She had written many times, asking me to meet in NYC, where we grew up, but I could just never seem to pin her down when it came to finalizing a date. That is, until she had a business trip in Philadelphia.

Long story short, we met. While she was now blond and thinner than ever, career-driven, no children, we picked up like no time had transpired between us. For hours, we laughed, reminisced, ate and had a great time. And I mused at the fact that the girl who was late for school on a regular basis was now an executive vice president for a billionaire’s foundations.

It’s funny how life turns out with friends that come and go, those that stick and those you make later in life when you’re fully you, no masks or facades. So in this holiday season, I’d like to send a shout out to my friends, old and new, younger and older. For in the tapestry of life, all have added color, texture and threads that bind—even if just for just a little while.

Greetings to MaryFran, Pat, Carmen, Carol, Kathy, Kathy, Mary, Ruth, Amy, Amy and anyone else that has flitted on by or hovered close for some time.

Merry Christmas to all—and to all a good flight!


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Thankful for Gifts Large and Small

I wrote this post a few years ago, when my best friend moved back to her home state of Minnesota (something I will never understand, especially as winter approaches).  And I’ve since lost my dog, whom I miss daily (I know a dog isn’t a “whom,” but she was to me). Anyway, all of the sentiments still hold true. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!
By: Mary Fran Bontempo

This year, it’s tissues.

Every year, when the holidays roll around, I do the requisite reflecting, recalling those people, events and things for which I am grateful. Generally, I list all of the big ticket items: family, friends, home, work and so on. I’m always grateful for my dog, troublesome though she is, especially given her recent penchant for rising at 5:30 AM and begging to be let out. I’m grateful for food, the sustenance it provides and the comfort I get from a big, fattening chocolate chip cookie when I need a lift.

The “stuff” that makes my life easier inspires gratitude as well—cars (even though they don’t always work), computers (even though I’m borderline computer illiterate), everyday things like the washing machine and dryer. (I hate doing laundry, but scrubbing clothes on a rock and drying them on a tree branch hardly sounds appealing, so thank you, Kenmore.)

Yes, my annual gratitude-fest covers all of the expected blessings. But every once in a while, it’s fun to look deeper and express some appreciation for those little things often overlooked when holiday gratitude lists are compiled.

For example, electric hair dryers. When was the last time you didn’t use one? Every morning, I plug in the dryer, blast my head with a shot of warmed air and try to make myself presentable to the general public. Oh, it takes way more than the hair dryer, but on the occasions when I plug the thing in and it doesn’t turn on, the ensuing panic reminds me of just how important this overlooked device is to my morning painting and spackling.

And how about the microwave? A cup of tea in the morning with no kettle to rinse out and dry. A popcorn snack in five minutes to go along with a movie and couch snuggling. And best of all? A non-cook, nuked dinner of leftovers set on a single plate, no pots and pans to scrub.

But for the Bontempo women, one sorely ignored, everyday item is truly a gift: the lowly tissue.

We Bontempo girls are criers. We cry over everything, from Hallmark card commercials, to pictures of impounded puppies to re-runs of Full House. (Hey don’t laugh. Those little Tanner girls could really yank at a heartstring.)

Raising two daughters, I know a thing or two about tears. As in, there is virtually nothing that can’t cause a girl to cry. Most often, it’s boys, but it could just as easily be girlfriends, a miserably difficult chemistry class, not making the cut for a dance audition or even a person sitting alone in a restaurant. (Frankly, the idea of being alone in a restaurant fills me with visions of peaceful solitude, but my daughters liken it to solitary confinement.)

We go through copious amounts of tissues. Rare is the week when replacement boxes are missing from the weekly grocery list. My mother would say that the apples don’t fall far from the tree and she would be right. While I’ve managed to rein in my proclivity for bawling in my adult years, my youth was marked by perpetually swollen eyelids. It wasn’t pretty.

This holiday season, though, I’ll likely be besting my girls in the waterworks department. At a time of year when it’s all about family and friends, my best friend, Chris, is getting ready to move back to her familial home state of Minnesota. (Why anyone would move to Minnesota during the winter is beyond me, but she says she wants to. I’d have to be drugged and kidnapped to go to a state where the winter temperature hovers somewhere around 43 below zero.)

Since we met nine years ago, Chris and I have shared a lifetime of interests, laughter, joy, tears and love. Kindred spirits, we’ve sung together, shopped together, exercised together and generally kept each other grounded through alternating bouts of insanity. We’ve talked each other down from the ledge more times than either of us can remember and offered assurances over health issues real and imaginary. (No, the headache is not a brain tumor; it’s just a headache.) We’ve cried over crises with our children, our parents and each other. And we’ve laughed until we had to cross our legs because, well, use your imagination.

I’m trying not to think about her leaving because I will be truly bereft. But, at the holidays, it’s only fitting that I express gratitude for the blessing of a truly wonderful woman and the gift of her friendship. And while I’m at it, I’ll express thanks for the tissues that will dry the tears that come when she’s gone.