How Dumpster Kitty Made Me Fall In Love (Again…and again)

On October 29, 2013 our sweet Phoebe passed away…looking at Tim as she fell asleep, just like always.

In her honor, I’m reprising this article.  Thank you, Phoebe.

How Dumpster Kitty Helped Me Fall In Love (Again)

Once a Dumpster Kitty, now a Daddy’s Girl

 

            In a world of cat and dog people, I am both.  Marrying a man who loves animals was a no-brainer (and the inability to become absurdly besotted by four-legged children was a deal-breaker).  When I was twenty-three and met a man who was willing to carry a wounded bird two miles back to our house so we could call a vet and who took it upon himself to drive an especially huge black widow spider twenty miles outside of town so it could live out its life in a field, well…  Yes, Reader, I married him.

And then life happened.

When we were in our thirties, my husband helped me care for my terminally-ill father, three rescue dogs and my father’s twenty-two-year-old cat that regularly awakened us at six a.m. with ear-piercing howls to demand moist food and decided that the stroll to the litter box was too much bother, but that the bathroom cabinets would do nicely when he needed to relieve his pinhead of a bladder.  During a drive to the vet, Snowflake was on my lap, unfortunately facing my husband when he projectile vomited like I have never witnessed before or since.  Poor kitty.  Poor husband.

It’s understandable, I suppose, that Tim decided to take a hiatus from all dependent creatures at that point:  “You can have dogs and cats if you want to, but please do not involve me.  I’m done.  I’m not kidding.”

I was disturbed.  I was disappointed.  I was totally disbelieving that he meant what he said.  On the other hand, I, too, wanted a break from litter boxes and incontinent animals and things that could die and break your heart.

We still had a beloved dog, but decided No More Cats. Seriously. And, since I had adopted the dog, we’d consider her my responsibility.  Tim would be as free as that bird he’d rescued all those years ago.

And then came Dumpster Kitty.

DK lived in the basement apartment of the house next door.  Our neighbors there found her in a trash can and brought her home, but she was frightened of their cat (and of everything else animal, vegetable or mineral), so she spent most of her time alone under the stairs.  She was especially afraid of men.  When the couple who found her split up and the woman moved out, DK relocated herself outside to an area beneath the porch–in November, during a series of thunderstorms.  She emerged only to eat, darting out from her hiding place, her belly so low to the ground that her “run” looked more like a slither.

“I feel terrible for that cat,” my husband said.

“Well,” I offered, “the neighbor doesn’t really want her.  Do you—“

“NO.”

I hear ya.

When our neighbor went away for a few days and asked me to put our food for DK, I tried to befriend her, but she was simply too frightened.  I gave up.

One day, when I pulled up to the house after work, I saw my husband crouched on our front porch in a torrential downpour.  He was wearing a coat and there appeared to be something other than my husband inside it.

“What are you doing out here?” I called above the pounding rain.

“Shh!  You’ll scare her.”

Dumpster Kitty was huddled on his lap, her huge green eyes staring up at his face, one paw extending lovingly toward his chin.

“How long did it take you to get her to come to you?” I asked in amazement.

“Two hours.”

“In this downpour?”

He nodded, gazing as sweetly at the cat as she was gazing at him.  “She’s very gentle,” he murmured.  “We’ll need to take her to the vet.”

Dumpster Kitty was a year old then.  She’s twelve now, renamed “Phoebe.”  Our friends call her “Invisa-cat,” as she still has a tendency to hide and few people outside the family have made her acquaintance.  She is, however, quite the cuddler with us.  And her favorite place is still Tim’s lap.

Gotta love that guy.

Wendy

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Lowes Fires Nanna Because She Cares!

Hey Dear Readers:  A couple days ago, Toohotmamas wrote about One Hot Mama who went the extra mile to protect her company, only to get the sack.  Karen Sizemore is one awesome Mama and GrandMama and we want to help her get her job back (or better yet, get a bouncer gig with Home Depot!).  Take a second and sign the following petition to Robert A. Niblock, First Vice Chairman, Chairman, President & CEO, Lowe’s, which says:

Lowe’s fired a grandmother after 18 years of dedicated employment for helping catch a shoplifter she witnessed stealing a $600 tool kit. Since corporate companies have turned their backs on their courageous employees, lets turn our backs on them and support this hero!”

Will you sign her daughter, Angela’s, petition? Click here to add your name:

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/lowes-fires-grandma-for?source=c.fwd&r_by=9197187

We, here at Toohotmamas do a lot of remodeling and we have family members and friends who are building contractors.  We’re going to be shopping at Home Depot until Lowe’s comes to their senses.  Yeah, maybe you have rules about shoplifting procedure.  So, chew Karen out for bothering to risk her tushy for your lousy store, then give her a raise.  How many faithful employees do you really have that would risk their lives for your bottom line?  Now that she’s gone, I’d venture…none.

Carolyn

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Lowes: An excellent place to shoplift!

People!  Christmas is coming and I know, because of the economy, it’s not easy to get dear old dad that nifty Dewalt power tool he’s been wanting.  Well, now you don’t have to worry!  Just go to the Lowes Store in Kentucky and steal it!  Seriously!  They don’t care.  In fact, if a brave, menopausal woman who works there should try to stop you?  She’ll be fired!  Yeah!  Take a hike, granny!  We like it when people rip us off.

I’m telling you, people, I don’t usually get all on the soap box, here in this blog, but C’MON!  I think Karen Sizemore should be getting a plaque, not the sack!  They’re just lucky I wasn’t the old lady who saw this jerk stealing that tool.  I’d have been tempted to use it on him in creative and painful ways not intended by the manufacturer.

But alas, that might make me a big meany, huh?

Full details on this ridiculous story below:

When Lowe’s employee Karen Sizemore saw a man shoplifting from her Kentucky store, she says she snapped: “It was just the adrenaline rush, I’m not taking it anymore. You just get to the point where you’re so tired of people stealing from you.” So Karen, a grandmother and 18-year employee of the chain, followed the thief out to his car and reached into the backseat trying to retrieve the Dewalt tool kit, valued at $600. She wasn’t able to get it but she did get the man’s license plate number and car make, leading to his arrest. The incident made her a minor celebrity in town and with her coworkers, who nicknamed her “Rambo.” But the pursuit also backfired, when Karen was fired this week. Fighting back tears she explains, “their explanation was I put myself and other people in danger and they fired me.” Lowe’s issued a public statement: “Our policies are in place for the safety of our workers. We have very specific guidelines when it comes to handling potential shoplifters, to ensure the well being of not only our team but our customers.” The corporate office has since added that they will further investigate the incident.  

I LOVE YA, KAREN SIZEMORE!  You are my hero.  Wish there were more out there, just like you!

Carolyn

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7 Habits of Ineffective Living

Hello dear friends!  This message is to let you know my new address!  Yes, I have moved!  I no longer live at my house anymore with my husband and family, as, well, it just became too impractical.  So, I moved into my mini-van.  Packed the backpack, the lunch box, the overnight kit with emergency floss.

Oh, sure, I try to get back and visit the old hacienda now and then.  Mainly between the hours of 1am and 6am.  I mumble to the hubby.  He mumbles back.  We snooze for a few nano-seconds.  Then, I fire up the coffee pot and hit the road again.

Yesterday, I was in the van, either driving or waiting for 7 and 1/2 hours.  Not even kidding.  It was the first day of college for my two eldest daughters.  Since they are still trying to master the art of driving (they haven’t hit anything in weeks), I am still serving as the family chauffeur.  But…that’s okay.  I’m organized.

Made lists for each of my five kids.  Passed them out.  Expected them to actually look at them.  Yes.  I am naïve.

Morning went like this:

ME:  Good morning!  Rise and shine!  It is 6 am!  As I am sure you consulted your evening list and laid out your clothing and lunches and books, all you need to do now, is glance over your morning list, gather your items and meet me out at my place (AKA: my minivan).

1 hour passes as I enjoy my coffee and the kind of Nirvana that comes from knowing the troops are organized and well rested.

ME:  Let’s go!

Them:  What?  Why didn’t you wake me!?  I’m not even up yet!

ME:  You went back to sleep?! Are you kidding me?  We’ve gone over this!  Up at 6!  Out at 7!

Them: (screaming) It’s SEVEN?!

Son:  Where’s my homework?  Where’s my shoe?  Where’s my lunch?

ME:  You told me you consulted your list last night!

Son:  I did!

ME:  (screaming) Then WHY AREN’T YOU READY?   WHY DIDN’T YOU PACK THE STUFF ON THE LIST?

Son:  You didn’t tell me I had to PACK the stuff.  You told me to CONSULT the list.

Them:  WE CAN’T GO TO SCHOOL WITH HORRIBLE HAIR AND NO MASCARA!  TAKE HIM TO SCHOOL AND COME BACK FOR US!

ME: (still screaming) BUT THAT’S 20 MILES OUT OF  MY WAY!   By then, I was talking to the bathroom door.

Which…(sigh)…after driving him to school, them to school, me to shopping, him home from school, them home from school, him to soccer, her to her job at the fast food place, him home from soccer, her home from the fast food place, really doesn’t seem like that much out of my way in the scheme of things.

Anyway, dear ones, if you’d like to visit me, you can usually find me whizzing down an on/off ramp of a high/free-way in one of 4 different cities.  You can’t miss me.  I’m the one with the bulging veins on her neck and the half-dressed, half-fed, half-awake people screaming in the back.

Carolyn

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The Road Home

man-walking-down-country-road-29683842It’s Yom Kippur.  The destination, if you will, of a trip that begins with Rosh Hashana.  What a great holiday!

If you’re familiar with the Twelve Steps, the days from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur are like doing steps 4-9: taking a moral inventory of oneself (we don’t get to inventory anyone else; bummer), admitting our mistakes–especially the ones we keep repeating, making amends to the humans we have harmed and, finally, re-turning to God.  Because, let’s face it, most of us turn away from what is right, sometimes several times a day, and as a result we feel fractioned.  Our destination on Yom Kippur is that sense of wholeness, home.  Returning to God, Whom, we discover, has been there all the time, waiting.

The Yom Kippur prayers are beautiful.  So many of them tell us that we are human, with human traits that are both positive and negative.  We do not expect to levitate  above our humanity; we’ll be here again next year, God willing, asking for forgiveness for mistakes we have made, vows we have broken, potential that went unfulfilled.  But hopefully we will have done better.  We will have consciously tried, anyway.

Perhaps the best part of this process is that we do it together, as a community of souls.  Saying the prayers together is a reminder that no one is any better or worse than her neighbor–of any faith, race, gender, sexual orientation, et al.  If we’ve turned away, we make the decision to turn back.  And God will accept us again…still…in our brokenness and our beauty.

Parenting at its best.

Wendy

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Identical Cousins…And Sisters Of The Heart

DSC03559My daughter has lots of cousins.  Because she’s adopted, she’s not related to any of them by blood.  Most of them aren’t related to each other by blood, either.  Blood shmud.  I have girlfriends who are my sisters.  We give each other b-day cards that say so.  I would go to the ends of the earth for them, and they’ve already done the same for me.

Some of the cousins are the children of Tim’s and my blood relations and some are my friends’ kids.  I forget which is which.

When my daughter was five, Carolyn and her kids made a Cousin Adoption Agreement, signed by them all.  They’ve introduced each other as “My cousin” ever since.

…They’re Cousins, Identical Cousins, All The Way…

Recently, my DD (third from the right, above) called in a promise that she could get her ears pierced at age ten.  The night before, she decided to watch a YouTube video of a nine-year-old getting her ears pierced at Claire’s.  Big. Mistake.

“Mom, I’m dizzy,” she said.  The child turned whiter than I am, no joke.  “I can’t do it,” she cried.  “I wanna do it.  I wanna do it sooo bad, but I can’t do it.”

I told Carolyn, and the next day she and all her children were at Claire’s, holding my DD’s hands as she got her ears pierced…and learned that love lends courage.

DSC03563My “sister” Judy just sent beautiful earrings–and these days stays on the phone longer with my daughter than she does with me.

My “sisters” Su and Darla were the first people to greet us–at ten-thirty p.m. in a winter storm–when Tim and I got off the plane from Guatemala with our new baby.  Neither of them lives anywhere near the airport.

“Aunt Terry” and “Aunt Micki” are beloved in our home, their visits eagerly anticipated by all.

Sisters…Cousins…they come in all different colors, from lots of different places.

And thank you, God, for them all.

Who are the sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles of your heart?

Wendy

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I’d Love to Cook Something, but I’m COOKING

My family wants sweet and sour chicken, black bean baos, stir-fried veggies and fried rice for dinner.  Yuh, right.

It’s ninety degrees today.  They’ll be lucky if I unwrap the popsicles before I hand them out.

I used to revel in cooking elaborate meals from scratch.  Now I have menopausal ADD.  Midway through the Sweet and Sour Chicken, I will notice my Vegan Crockpot Cooking book and switch to vegetarian chili.  Or, I’ll do a load of laundry and forget that I was supposed to cook dinner altogether.

Pioneer Woman is not menopausal.  It couldn’t be any more clear.  She and all those other over-achieving bloggers who have made posting pictures gorgeous pictures–de rigueur  with their recipes, are just baffling.  IF I made a gorgeous meal, I would not be able to snap a photo before my family stuck a fork into the Four-cheese Porcini Mushroom and Smoked Sausage Fettucine.   C’mon.

Are these women really cooking for their families, or are they making beeeauutiful blog food, setting up lights and hiring professional photographers while their families eat Cap’N Crunch with Crunch Berries? … Hey, that sounds good.  Maybe I’ll slice a banana on top if the weather cools off.

ADD Moment:  Just checked my e-mails.  Carolyn is still in Uganda.  She says the food is great and that everything is mashed.  Mashed beans, mashed nuts, mashed bananas over brown rice.   Now that’s the kind of cooking I can get behind.  Maybe I’ll mash the popsicles and say it’s sorbet.

And photograph it, too.  Maayyyybe,

–Wendy

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I Can’t Find Carolyn

Carolyn has been gone over a week, and despite the laundry list of possibilities that could befall a post-menopausal woman in Uganda without a Starbucks, she seems to be doing fine. 

Better than fine.  I’ve received several e-mailed updates, and, in fact, there are baristas in Uganda, and they make outstanding lattes.  More importantly, Carolyn says that her work with Kuza has been life altering.  Her descriptions of Uganda are riveting.  To learn more about what she’s doing, I decided to Google KUZA.  Here’s what I found:

Apparently, the gentleman above is a musician named Mike Kuza, and I’m pretty sure Carolyn is not with him.  I don’t think we’ll know for sure, however, until she gets home and we check her for new piercings. 

Next, I found KUZA Beauty products.  They have 100% Indian hemp oil and Apricot Body Scrub.  Sounds good, figured I’d buy some, but I still don’t feel closer to Carolyn.  So, I Googled again and found

post4

THAT’S CAROLYN IN THE BLUE SCARF ON THE FAR RIGHT!!!!  Her daughter Maddie is in front of her.

If you want to learn more about this KUZA and what Carolyn and Maddie are doing in Uganda, go here:

http://kuzaprogram.org

What a beautiful, inspiring organization.  I’m sure Carolyn will tell us all about it when she returns. 

She said she feels like a changed woman.  I wonder if she’ll still want to write books?  I wonder if she’ll still be menopausal?

In the meantime, I’m home, cleaning my house, buying school supplies and thinking about adopting from China.

What are you doing with the rest of your summer?

Wendy

 

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Change A Life–Yours

For several months, I’ve been mentoring a young boy who is in relative foster care.  More on that in a future blog, but for now, I want to say simply that working with an “older” kiddo has been one of the most profound and moving experiences of my life.  He understands exactly how precious a family and/or mentor relationship can be and his gratitude for the time we spend together is matched only by mine.

If you want to grow your heart and spirit in ways you may never have imagined, MENTOR a youth in foster care.  It may take as little as four hours a month or as much time as you and your mentee choose to spend together.  There are some wonderful organizations like Big Brothers, Big Sisters to guide you.

Here in Oregon, we have Christian Family Adoptions and A Family For Every Child–both these adoption agencies have mentor programs and are eager to hear from adults who want to learn more about mentoring.

Most of you probably already know that Carolyn and I are adoptive mothers, so I want to touch a bit on adoption today, too.  Every now again, we’re going to start featuring on the blog kids who might age out of the system with no family unless someone steps forward to make a connection.  More details and statistics, too, in a future post regarding what happens when kids age out without a stable adult in their lives (unfortunately, it won’t be funny).

For now, there is a young man in China, who is about to age out of the  system there, which allows for adoption only until the age of 14.   He is blessed with a great foster mother.  He needs a permanent one.  

“Jordan’s” video grabbed my heart.  Take a look and see if he grabs yours, too:   http://coleman-bunkbeds.blogspot.com

Do you know anyone who might want a fantastic son?  If so, share the link.

Lot of love,

–Wendy

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This Is What 57 Looks Like–Sometimes

Would I let you people down?

Nick the stud

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In Whose Image?

Recently, my husband told me he is proud of his body, because he is made in God’s image.

God has man boobs?

Kidding, sweetie.  But we aren’t aging quite as well as some others.  Currently, we have house guests.  One of them is a 57-year-old man who looks like he is maaaybe 40.  If you cut off his head (but no one would, because it’s too cute), he looks twenty-two.

 For his 57th b-day, which was this past week, he swam 57 lengths of a pool, biked 57 miles, ran 5.7 miles (wimp), and did 57 crunches, chin-ups and other stuff.   ALL IN A SINGLE DAY.

I think he’s afraid of aging.  Obviously, I am not.  But I think that for my 52nd birthday, I will do 52 minutes of exercise a day all year.  Or bake 52 cupcakes all at once.  I have a couple of months to decide.

In the meantime, I am going to try to take a photo of our house guest as he gets in the shower.  I know that’s not polite, but for you, dear readers, I am willing to violate the Hostess Code.  Hopefully I’ll be posting his pic tomorrow.

–Wendy

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“My Bags Are Packed And I’m Ready To Go…”

girl-suitcases-young-woman-retro-style-old-31355831I’m sitting opposite Carolyn as she listens to a travel alert on her computer so she can scare the holy doody out of herself before she heads to Africa to work with Kuza, a fabulous organization that helps young people in Uganda attend college.  Apparently now there is just the slightest chance she could be riddled with bullet holes prior to the trip home.

Here’s what I love about Carolyn:  She is Lucy Ricardo.  I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating:  You say, “Hey, Carolyn, you want to–” and she is signed up, suited up and waiting with the car running before you’ve completed your sentence.  If no one has suggested an adventure in, oh, say the past seventy-two hours, she will surely come up with something.  It will be big.  It will be whacky.  It will require inoculations.

So when she heard about Kuza’s work in Uganda, she said to me, “I’m going to go to Uganda someday.”  She occasionally confuses the words “someday” and “tomorrow.”

She’s already taking medication to ward off malaria and rabid dysentery and has been inoculated for  yellow fever, red fever, pretty much every color of fever known to humankind.  She leaped first.  Sometimes it’s hard to believe that we are best buds; it takes me an hour to decide whether to go to Bi-Mart.

I think about things.  A lot.  One might argue “too much,” but at least I am prepared.  Carolyn had no idea how to spell dysentery until I mentioned that I’d Googled it and that she could get it.  Now, I’m sitting across from her as she reads about it.  She’s turning a mite green, but that’s okay; she’s informed. 

I love being Carolyn’s friend.  She’s gets me into all sorts of situations I would never get into on my own.  She’s the reason I nearly got strangled in a Krav Maga class and almost got arrested in a NY subway.  I was with her when she stopped the car to try to break up a street fight in Woodburn.  I have seen her fly across the country to pick up a baby she didn’t know she was going to parent until only a day before, and I’ve watched her enroll her five kids in a school I told her about only that evening.  Split decisions that turn out beautifully are her gift.  So is steadfast friendship.  Should I have the need, I know she would fly to the ends of the earth to accompany me on whatever adventure I get into my head (after a suitable mental incubation period, of course).

She’ll be in Uganda eighteen days if the typhoid doesn’t get her.  I’m going to miss her.  I will have to go on some kind of adventure while she’s gone.  Oh, what the heck: Bi-Mart, here I come.

Safe journey, Carolyn.

–Wendy

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“I am so, too, old enough to date.”

So.  After my ten-year-old daughter announced to her friends that she was going to go on a date (“Dating in Low Heels”), she set about convincing her father and me.  We were a tougher sell.

“But every single girl my age has gone on a date already,” she argued.

“In Barbie Fairytopia, yeah.  You are not going on a ‘date.’”

“You guys are crushing my spirit.”

Woah.  First time we’d heard that one.  Had to give her props for outstanding achievement in manipulative skills.

“Define ‘date,’” I said.

“Well…we’re not going to kiss, if that’s what you mean.  I can’t even stand to watch you two do that.”  She shuddered.

After a great deal of discussion and assurance that the parents of her main squeeze were on board with a brief and thoroughly public rendezvous, we agreed that they could arrange a meeting.  The happy couple decided on the bench near the play structure at their school.  Recess, high noon.

The morning of the big day, she argued less than usual about brushing her hair.  Her socks almost matched.  And she chose a tee shirt with only one hole.

“How did it go?” I asked as soon as I picked her up from school.

“Okay.”  She shrugged.

“What did you do?”

“Sat.”

“Uh huh, and what did you talk about?”

She frowned.  “Talk?  We didn’t do that.”

“What did you do?”

“Sat.”

Time to put on the reporter’s hat, obviously.  “While you were sitting, did you hold hands?”

She wrinkled her nose.  “No.  Mom, c’mon, he’s a guy.”

“So, you think you want to date again?”

“I guess.  But this time, we want to invite more people.”

“Ah, a double date.”

“What’s that?”  I explained that she would have two more people on her date.  “Oh.  No, we want more people than that.  Like, enough for kickball.”

“Ah.  Good thinking.”

“Yeah.  So, see, Mom, I am old enough to date.”

Absolutely.  Last night, though, two months apres The Date, she told me she is through with men until she is at least fifteen.  “They’re too complicated.”

Indeed.

–Wendy

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I just can’t wait…to be queen

It’s a sign!  Kate Middleton gave birth to a baby boy on…JULY 22!!  The very same day I married my darling husband (I forget what year, but I think the automobile had already been invented) and I TOO, GAVE BIRTH TO A CHILD on JULY 22!  Yes!  Our first daughter was born on our wedding anniversary, isn’t that weird? No, we didn’t have to get married, lest anyone fret, it was our 16th wedding anniversary. But anywho…back to the main point…

Our faithful readers know that I have wanted to establish a royal family in the good old U.S of A. for a long time now.  Just think of what it could do for our economy!  The gossip, the scandal, the paparazzi…I’m ready to take the throne.  And, when I’m done reading the National Enquirer in the bathroom, I think I shall renew my campaign efforts.

Then again, why should I bother?  The common people have no say in such matters.  Royalty is not elected.  Therefore, I shall simply take office.  No one else has jumped in, so why not?

Okay then.  Ah hemmm…  ATTENTION!

I hereby declare myself to be Queen of the United States of America.  My first act as HRM Carolyn Zane?  Take my son to the doctor to get his wart frozen off.   And then?  Ice cream to celebrate.  I’ll try to get a play-date going with Wills and Kate’s kid soon.  There will be pictures.  I have all kinds of advice for the new parents.  How to get a Lego out of a nostril, for one thing.  Not as easy as it sounds.

Carolyn

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Dating in Low Heels

kids datingMy ten-year-old is dating.  I found out by eavesdropping on the following conversation:

DD to her friends:  “Who are you all asking to the carnival, because I’m going with Z.  I have to buy the licorice, but he’s getting the cotton candy.  I had to give him a chicken nugget to get him to go, but now it’s for sure.”

Two other girls made immediate plans to give their crushes lunch at the earliest opportunity.

Say what?  It seems that just yesterday my daughter felt no need for a Ken doll to hang out with her Barbies:  “What for?  What’s he gonna do?”

Indeed.

Then she turned ten this past spring.  Ah, spring.  Such a ripe season, with little goslings following Mama and Daddy Goose on the pond near our house, rhodies bursting into bloom…and the girls from fourth grade quite suddenly figuring out why Barbie wants Ken.

One girlfriend, however, had a different take on the situation.  She sounded frankly appalled.  “You can’t invite a boy.  That’s called dating, and that is not allowed.  You’re too young to go on a date.”

Peer-driven mandates do not sit well with Miss, so she plopped her hands on her still boyish hips, whipping back, “I can, too, date.  I’m old enough.  I’m allowed.”

(Note to reader: Uh-uh.)

Anxiety clutched my chest as I listened.  I’d been counting on the tween years to start around eleven or twelve or, better yet, forty.  I needed more time before I relinquished my baby and all her innocence to the likes of Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus.

I wonder if the Berenstain Bears have a book about dating? I thought as I prepared to step in with as much good humor as I could muster.

Before I entered the room, however, I heard my daughter’s voice again, this time tinged by a modicum of doubt.  “I can date….”  There was a pause followed by this conclusion:  “I’m not allowed to eat too much junk food, but I can date if I want to.”

Indeed.

As it turned out, she did go to the carnival with Z—and her friends.  More on that next week….

For now, sign me:  ‘Tween Mom

–Wendy

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Culture Club

My daughter and husband can entertain themselves and each other for hours playing “Snakebite!”  It goes like this: With their arms raised, hands curved like the heads of a King Cobra, they circle each other in search of a vulnerable spot to attack.  Head, ribs, stomach–when they find an opening, they strike, hollering, “Snakebite!  Poisonous forever!”  Good times.

We used to watch the History Channel.  Lately Wipe Out has become the TV show of choice.  And, yes, occasionally I pull The Bachelorette up on Hulu when no one is around.  (But only because I’m a romance novelist and I have to research.)

Thinking we could elevate our entertainment tastes just a tad, I got us tickets to a piano concert.  It was inspired.  What a fabulous event!  There was singing, too.  Glorious singing by celestial children with voices that made me weep.  As the show ended and the crowd filed out, the three of us–husband, daughter and I–sat, staring at the now empty stage.  On either side of me, they were silent, their jaws slack.

It worked, I realized.  We’re reborn.  Today piano concerts, tomorrow the ballet! 

Turning first to my daughter, I kissed her temple.  “How you doing, dolly?”

“I think I had a seizure,” she said, shaking her head as if she had water in her ear.  “I totally zoned out.  What just happened?  How much time passed?  Can we go?”

She’s ten, I told myself.  Ten.  She may not be conscious of the enrichment she has just experienced, but it will linger.  It will feed her for the future.

I looked at my husband.  He’s the kind of guy who likes to move.  All the time.  Yet there he was, sitting, still staring at the stage that had just held such beauty.  And he didn’t look like he’d had a seizure.  I took his hand and squeezed. He squeezed back, an excellent sign.

“What are you thinking?” I whispered, remembering the old days when we’d attend the theater and talk for hours afterward.  “Your first thought.”

“I’m trying to decide between hamburgers or Mexican food.  We’re going to stay downtown for lunch, right?”

I’m not kidding.  That’s what he said.

“Mexican,” I responded flatly, hoping we could discuss Dia de los Muertos or something cultural over Super Burritos.

I tried.  But I tried to instill us with table manners, too, and that got me nowhere.  Last night, they used their forks to tap out “Yankee Doodle” on their dinner plates.  At least it was musical.

Wendy

 

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Letting Go

Today is yard sale day at our place.  Mostly we’re getting rid of the children’s clothes, toys and uber-cool loft bed with slide attachment–wheee!–that we have been hanging onto for our next child.  Our home study to adopt from U.S. Foster Care is one year old on July 11th.

We’ve been in the process much longer than that, however,

I wanted to adopt a second time six months after our daughter came home.  Hubby wasn’t ready. For eight years, I agonized over raising an only child.  I agonized over my unfulfilled longing to give an older child a home; I’ve wanted to do that since I was ten.  Weird, but true. Then he was ready and we started our home study.  

I’m still agonizing.

In one year, we’ve come close a couple of times, but ultimately no kiddo.  Lately, we haven’t heard anything in response to sending out our home study.  And so I wonder:  Are we too old?  Don’t make enough money?  Is it not God’s will? Two of my friends brought home their children mere minutes, it seemed, after completing their home studies.  And so I scan the photo sites (so did they, after all), looking for kids who need families.  Last week I found myself scanning them while my daughter was wondering why we don’t do dance parties at night like we used to.  Because I’m busy trying to get you a sibling, that’s why. 

Uh oh.  Wrong answer, even if I only said it in my mind. 

And so, I am releasing the clothes and the toys and uber-cool bed today.  I am releasing the intense need and the fear of it never happening and the resentment I feel building, because it hasn’t happened yet (and this is a blog about menopausal mothers, not about twenty-somethings; time’s marchin’ on).

I will hang onto the dream; I’d be lying if I said anything else.  But I will also hang onto my gratitude for the family I have.  For the friends and cousins my daughter loves and who love her back.  I’ll hang onto God and to seeking God’s will for me, because when I seek to be more serving than served, really good things happen–for others as well as for meImage.

And tonight, my darling daughter, we will dance. 

Wendy

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Support Salad Diversity this 4th of July!

IMG_1959Happy Fourth of July!!!!

Too Hot Mamas are spending the day together at Carolyn’s place with our families and friends.  There will be laughter.  There will be fireworks.  There will be FOOD.

As I avoid animal products 90% of the time (with a carnivorous husband and child, I have learned to flex that other 10%), I will be feasting on a vegan salad with vegan dressing.  My contribution to tonight’s buffet of delights, however, will be my family’s favorite salad with HOT TURKEY BACON AND BASIL DRESSING.

This dressing is low-fat and so dang good that my ten-year-old will eat any vegetable I soak in it.  That she will even sit down long enough to eat is a testimony to the wonderfulness of this recipe.  The dressing is from a homey little cookbook entitled Honest To Goodness Country Cooking by Arletta Lovejoy–who, not incidentally, won a National Chicken Cooking Contest in 1970 (note to Carolyn: I wonder if she ever entered the Pillsbury Bakeoff?).  I am reprinting her recipe here without permission, which probably isn’t legal, but that’s how much I love you people.

(Another Note: I just Googled the book. It’s available used on Amazon for 49.95.  If I can sell my copy for that much, I’ll make more than Carolyn and I are going to earn for the e-book we just spent six months writing, but I digress….)

Without further ado–and in the hope that someone named Lovejoy will not sue me–I offer for your picnic pleasure:

Hot Turkey Bacon and Basil Dressing

10 strips bacon (Arletta uses the real thing, God bless her; I use turkey bacon without nitrites.  Toss a little olive or coconut oil in the pan to get it crisp.) Fried crisp and cut into small pieces.

1 1/2 C granulated sugar

1 T cornstarch (Arrowroot is better.  Sorry, Arletta.)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp mustard

2 T minced fresh basil (Arletta says 1 tsp.  Trust me, use 2 T. )

1 1/4 C water

1/2 C apple cider vinegar

Combine sugar, arrowroot, salt, mustard and basil.  Add water and vinegar.  Pour over bacon in the same pan you used to fry the bacon.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the dressing thickens.

My family–and every kid I’ve ever met– likes this best over a combo of spinach and “regular” (e.g. iceberg) salad.  Yummy with sliced baby portabella mushrooms, red pepper, crispy cucumbers, skinny-sliced red onion rings and sliced hard-boiled eggs.  I assemble the salad, drizzle a little ranch dressing across the top then douse with the bacon dressing.

If you serve this with challah bread, you will be loved and revered forever.

HAVE A HEALTHY, HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!!!!

Wendy

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FFY Night

When things get busy at our house and I can’t make it home in time to toss a meal together, we have what we like to call, FendForYourself for dinner.

“Mom!  What’s for dinner?”

“Fend for yourself, I just got home and I’m fried.”

My youngest son, now age 10, has a bit of a sweet tooth.  So, the other day, after a particularly grueling afternoon spent driving everyone to their various appointments, I decided that it would be FFY for dinner.  When I came into the kitchen to forage, I discovered my son eating brownies for his main course.  Side dishes included: Top Raman, Mac and Cheese and Ice Cream.  When I asked him what on earth he thought he was doing, he said, “You told us it was Fun For Yourself night.”

Fun.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Diet, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

It’s a…book!

Some of our dear readers have wondered why our bi-weekly blogging schedule has slowed to a bi-annual pace.  Well, this is top secret, so be sure to burn this blog after you read it, but we are writing a book together!

What? You say?  A book?  Tell us more!

Thought you’d never ask.  Yes, by now, you are all aware that left to our own devises, we don’t get a lot of writing done.  But put us together?  Sheeeeewie!  We still don’t get a lot of writing done, but at least it’s twice as much as before!  Not to mention a heck of a lot more fun.  We just finished and turned in our first novel and will have all the details here on the blog soon.  Since it’s a series, we are already hard at work writing the second one.  Sort of.  We’ve been busy.  It’ll get done.  About 30 seconds before the deadline.

Carolyn

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You forgot I was coming today?

I hate surprises.  I hate to be startled.  I hate surprise parties.  I love to throw them, but I hate it when it’s for me, because I’m not prepared to make chit chat with all the people in my world who don’t know each other.  It’s awkward and exhausting.  Guess that’s why I hate the phone.  Even with Caller ID, it can be a surprise and awkward, “What are you doing this Friday?  Please come and do This Thing with Us Bozos and I know you’ll say yes, because I caught you OFF GUARD.”

So, you can imagine my chagrin, when the Loan Inspector Guy (we are refinancing again) shows up at my door (I forgot he was coming) and catches me…OFF GUARD.  Yes, people.  I was sound asleep. The dogs went bananas and jolted my out of bed and sent me staggering—uncaffeinated, mind you—   downstairs.

I yank open the door and blink while a strange man recoils in terror.  Poor slob.  First of all, he had to put up with my uncombed hair and unbrushed teeth.  Then, the dogs, who were not in their pen, jumped all over him and the young pup, who we are still potty training, made a welcoming wee-wee and doo-doo.

Then, Loan Inspector Guy, who is battling his fear and horror, asks if he can go through the house and PHOTOGRAPH IT for THE RECORDS that will go down in the annals of ALL TIME!  So, he proceeds to take pictures of my piles of dishes (it’s Pillsbury Bake-Off season) in the kitchen, my piles of laundry in the laundry room (did I mention it’s Pillsbury Bake-Off season?), the pile of bills on my desk (again, Pillsbury) and the welcoming piles of doo-doo.

The Loan Inspector Guy left my house with a serious case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Man, I hope we get than re-fi.

Carolyn

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It’s Pillsbury season! I smell a million dollars!

Wendy!  It’s NOT TOO LATE!  We missed the dinner category entries…but we can still jump on the dessert band wagon!  Yes, yes, we will gain weight.  And yeah, the kids will get tired of eating Crescent Rolls bent into weird shapes and slathered in Timtella (Trademark Pending) Sauce.  But WE CAN’T QUIT NOW!  We have too many years (not to mention the thousands we have spent) into this project.  We just need to tweak a few ingredients…and the million dollar prize is ours!  Unless the following is true…?
pillsbury

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Humor, Making Money, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Pillsbury Bakeoff

Sexy Beast

Okay,  you want to know what’s fun about having an iPhone?  Having a 14-year-old son.  He loves Siri (for those of you old fogies who have never heard of Siri, she is the iPhone’s computer generated voice that answers your questions—sort of like Hal in 2001, A Space Odyssey).  My son is fond of asking Siri ridiculous questions and then, laughs himself silly at her computer generated answers.  For example:

Son:  “Siri, will you marry me?”

“My end user licensing does not cover marriage, my apologies.”

Giggles.

Son:   “What are you wearing?”

“I can’t answer that, but it doesn’t come off.”

Laughter.

Son:  “Open the pod bay doors.”

“That’s it.  I’m reporting you to the intelligence agency for harassment.”

Hysterical laughter.

Son:  “You make me feel like I’m walking on sunshine.

“You are certainly entitled to that opinion.”

Son:  “I’m drunk.”

“I hope you do not expect me to get you home.”

Son:  “Where can I hide a body?”

“What kind of place are you looking for?  Reservoirs, dumps, metal foundries, mines, cremation services, mortuaries, swamps, funeral services.”

Aaaanyway, when he grows bored with that, he gets into my phone’s inter-sanctum—that place that anyone over 40 is incapable of accessing—and changes my user name to Sexy Beast.  So, now my phone informs me in her superior tone, “You’re Carolyn, but since we are friends, I get to call you Sexy Beast.”

I just caught him telling my phone, “I love you,” and the phone responded “I love you, too, sexy beast.”

There’s nothing like a good affirmation from your phone to give your self-esteem a little boost.

Carolyn

 

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Back on the Juice Wagon

Well, here I am at day 3 again, after a junk food side trip during the Oscar party.  Not gonna beat myself up.  Just going to persevere.  Number one son juiced a fabulous batch of carrot, apple, kale juice and I am sipping my way through the fast food withdrawal symptoms.

Even though daughter number two made some kind of savory chicken dish that smelled soooo good, I was tempted to scramble down the stairs like Gollum and start screaming “My Precious” at the bird, I was able to stay out of the kitchen to avoid temptation.

How, you ask?  How does Carolyn have such incredible will power?  Well, it seems I have stumbled upon the secret to weight loss and total self-control.

It’s all in a yoga-esque exercise routine called Callenetics.  Found it, covered with dust at the bottom of a pile of exercise videos.  Thought, hey, this looks gentle.  No panting, no wheezing, no sweating.  Took an hour to do it.  Woke up the next day, couldn’t get out of bed, let alone make it to the kitchen.  So, problem solved.

Weight loss update:  starting weight +20.  Current weight +17.

Carolyn

 

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Joe Cross, Juicing, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Weight Loss

Juicing, day 4

I fell off the wagon.

Yep.  Not proud.  Went to an Oscar party with my friends from college and got so excited I downed half a box of Wheat Thins before I realized I hadn’t taken the time to juice them properly.

So.  I must begin again.  I’ll get back with you tomorrow and let you know the new plan…   (heavy sigh–no pun intended).

Thank you all for your support and stories of commiseration.

Carolyn

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Day Three

Yesterday, I was too weak to post.  Okay, lazy.  But I have to admit, I’m hungry.  Got a little snippy with the family.  Fantasized about eating Sushi.  Fantasized about eating anything.

However, I did drag out the juicer and concoct some delicious Kale, Carrot, Apple, Orange juice and have to admit, I was more awake and energized to enjoy my starvation.  Had a headache, probably because of all the times I hit myself upside the head for fantasizing about Sushi.  Also could be detoxing from my addiction to chocolate.  I did walk on the treadmill.  Noticed how winded I was.   Considered liposuction and other plastic surgery, but, since several more of my kids still need braces, that didn’t seem fair.  Kept walking.  Happy to report today’s number is + 18.5.  (start number was +20) So, I’ve probably lost a pound of water, half a pound of muscle (in my head), but hey, a loss is a loss as Bob and Gillian say.

Going to curl back into my fetal ball now.  Will keep you posted,

Carolyn

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Menopausal Belly Fat

Before menopause, every month I was bloated.  It was so miserable.  Pants would not button, I looked pregnant (sometimes, I was) and I found it impossible to ignore the siren call of the refrigerator.

I used to rage against the ebb and flow of the estrogen.  Why couldn’t I just be one size all month-long?  Blast these hormones!

Now, I long for the monthly bloat because at least it would disappear now and again.    Unfortunately, my wishes have come true and I am one size all month-long.  Size bloat.  Thanks to menopause, I’m stuck with the dreaded ‘belly fat’.  Oh, I hear the ads on the radio about the miracle menopause pills designed to dissolve my fat, give me untold energy and the sex drive of my unneutered male Cocker Spaniel, but I have a feeling that the changes are not going to come from a pill.

They are going to come from two things:  My son Gabriel (seeking retribution for all the room cleaning I demand) and Joe Cross, the king of Juice.  Gabe has designed a fitness plan for me and…as I write this, he is setting up the family room for my “burn”.   My daughter, Grace, is manning the juicer.  I’m popping One A Day Silver’s like they were M&M’s.

Why juice you ask?  Well, because last year, my doctor asked me to watch the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” (I was too fat, sick and nearly dead to be offended) and I did the juice thing during the summer and it worked.  Unfortunately, I had no muscle tone to keep it off, so Halloween candy through New Year’s party dip helped pile it all back on.

Why on earth is she telling me this? you are all scratching your heads and asking.  Well, since we are two months into the New Year, it is becoming clear that I need an accountability partner.  No.  Scratch that.  I need all 3-4 thousand of you, dear readers, to crack that whip and keep me moving.  So, here’s the deal.  I’m going to watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead again (yes, it is inspiring, but mainly, Joe Cross, with his Australian accent, it so cute and this movie is really fun to watch with a tub of butter flavored popcorn and a large Coke) and start my fitness regimen today.  Gonna build some muscle.  Thought I’d start with the jaw.

Since I have no intention of telling you my actual weight, I shall say only that we are at +20 and the goal is to get to +0.  I’ll check in with my daily weigh-in’s  if my son’s ‘burn’ program doesn’t kill me first.  Now.  I must get out of bed.  I really, really don’t want to.  Maybe I should start this whole thing tomorrow…

Carolyn

 

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Exercise, Fitness, Health, Humor, Joe Cross, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Weight gain, Weight Loss

We’re doin’ taxes

The hubby just came in from an afternoon spent sorting out our taxes and showed me (to the tune of hundreds of dollars) how I dropped the ball by incurring late fees and interest rates.  I HATE THAT!  I hate throwing perfectly good money out the window.  Why couldn’t he have simply left me in my ignorant bliss?

I blame the children.  They distracted me.

I also blame menopause.  I can’t remember when the actual due date of each (and there are plenty) bill.

I also blame Andy Williams (may he rest in peace).  Not sure why I am blaming poor Andy, since I love him.  At any rate, one of his Christmas ditties inspired me to write the following.  You may wish to sing it at your house.

Ahhhh, hemmm.  Here we go:

It’s the most horrible time of the year 
When the husband is yelling
And the IRS is telling you something to fear 
It’s the most horrible time of the year 

It’s the crap-crappiest season of all
With those 1040 tax forms and  and letters to inform you owe Uncle Sam your soul 

It’s the crap- crappiest season of all 
There’ll be dwindling tax shelters leading to homeless shelters  and having to sleep in the snow 

There’ll be scary audit stories  and now we are sorry about purchases from long, long ago 

There’ll be much Pepto-Bismol  and things sure look dismal  when April fifteenth comes near 

There’ll be much pencil throwing and hearts will be glowing  with horrible heartburn severe 

It’s the most horrible time

It’s the most horrible time

It’s the most horrible tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime!

Of the year!

Happy Taxes, everyone! 

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Dads, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Tax season

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wendy and I have really great husbands.  No, they are not perfect, but they are perfect for us.  Wendy is fond of saying that Tim is her best friend.  I’m not jealous.  Okay.  Maybe a little.  My husband, Matt, is amazing.  He gets up every morning at the crack of dawn, goes out and works like a dog so that the 5 kids and I can eat, and then, he comes home, and helps out with the chores and homework.  He is an amazing cook (his “Leftover Surprise” soup is to die for) and he even does the laundry, which can be very confusing for a man with 3 teenage daughters and a wife.

Especially, concerning underwear.  Mine was disappearing into my daughter’s drawers, and since they would all rather die a thousand deaths than be caught wearing granny panties, it gets shoved to the back of their closet and I can’t find my underwear…

“I’m telling you, I washed your undies and put them away!”  (he gets a little testy when quizzed about these matters).

One day, while foraging for a pencil or something, I ran across a pile of my undies, stashed in some junk drawer or other, thank you girls.  So, now, I write MOM in black Sharpie on the back inside waistband  so that my hubby can get them back to me in a timely fashion.  This works very well for him.  And the girls.  But most especially for me, as now, when I go potty, I look down and see that MOM, upside down, is WOW!  And, there is nothing like getting that WOW! feeling, when you are seated on the pot.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Matt.  You rock!

Carolyn

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Bucket List!

Quick!  Make yours!  Because tomorrow?  The Mayan Calendar just…ends.  Kaput.  Done.  It’s all over.  Again.  Yes, hard to believe, but the world is going to end yet again.  This will be the third time in just over a year, and I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to become a little jaded.

Frankly, I’m expecting this old ball to continue rotating until God himself, says we’re done.  So, until then what’s on your list?  Mine might have been a lot different, before this last week.  Might have had stuff on it like; Kiss the Blarney Stone, hug a llama, tell Donny Osmond in person how much I love him, stand before the queen…

Since the horrors of last week’s massacre in Newton, CN, my list?  Kiss my husband, hug my children, tell all of them how very, very, very much I love them, and stand, unashamed of our country’s  Judeo/Christian values and thankful for our freedom.  Why should it take something so horrific to wake us all up and begin living life as if we never have tomorrow?  Because, when you think about it…  we don’t.  Today is all we’ve ever got.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Donny Osmond, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

Happy Thanksgiving

About 2 years ago, Thanksgiving morning, we discovered our refrigerator had gone out.  Since I was expecting about 20 people for dinner, this was worrisome.   But, trying to stay thankful and upbeat, I suggested that we clean it out while we cooked the holiday meal.  Because he’s awesome, my husband decided to continue his cleaning jag by dusting the light fixtures and replace the bulbs in a big fixture that hung over the island.  He needed to climb up and stand on the stove top to do that.  Unfortunately, our stove top was glass and I heard a loud “Pop!” and then my husband saying stuff that was less than thankful.  So, now I was down 2 appliances with T-3 hours till the company arrived.

We screamed at the kids to keep cooking while we ran to Home Depot, grabbed a new stove-top (which by the way, broke yesterday–I hate glass cook-tops), installed it and used coolers with ice for the fridge until Monday when the repair guy could come. Since my daughter was left to cook the holiday turkey, and I was preoccupied, she accidentally put the bird into the pan upside down and stuck it in the oven, breast down.  The rest of us did the best we could with the microwave, while the hubby wired the new stove-top.

Faithfully, my daughter basted the bird every half hour, then came to get me when she thought it was done.  I stared at the bird’s butt for a moment, wondering why it looked so weird (and freaking out , because the meal was already pretty sketchy without a fridge and stove) before I figured out what was wrong.  We decided to flip it and let it brown for a few minutes.

And?

When we cut into it, it was incredible.  Seriously.  The best, juiciest white meat ever.  The rest of the food?  Just fine.  Now, it’s a family tradition.  Upside-down turkey.

And, apparently, a broken  stove-top.

Carolyn

 

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We’re kickin’ some buns!

We have daughters here at Toohotmamas, and we are always looking for great ways to keep them safe.  So, today we are reblogging this awesome message from Sorenthan.

THROUGH A RAPIST’S EYES” (PLS TAKE TIME TO READ THIS. it may save a life.)

It seems that a lot of attackers use some tactic to get away with violence. Not many people know how to take care of themselves when faced with such a
situation. Everyone should read this especially each n every girl in this world. THOUGHT THIS WAS GOOD INFO TO PASS ALONG…

FYI – Through a rapist’s eyes! A group of rapists and date rapists in prison were interviewed on what they look for in a potential victim and here are some interesting facts:

1] The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle.
They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun! , braid, or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.

2] The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women who’s clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around to cut clothing.

3] They also look for women using their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered.

4] The number one place women are abducted from / attacked at is grocery store parking lots.

5] Number two is office parking lots/garages.

6] Number three is public restrooms.

7] The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to a second location where they don’t have to worry about getting caught.

8] If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn’t worth it because it will be time-consuming.

9] These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas,or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands.

10] Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you’re not worth it.

POINTS THAT WE SHOULD REMEMBER:

1] If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question, like what time is it, or make general small talk:
can’t believe it is so cold out here, we’re in for a bad winter. Now that you’ve seen their faces and could identify them in a line- up, you lose appeal as a target.
2] If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell Stop or Stay back! Most of the rapists this man talked to said they’d leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would
not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target.

3] If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes,) yelling I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent.

4] If someone grabs you, you can’t beat them with strength but you can do it by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm between the elbow and
armpit or in the upper inner thigh – HARD. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands the guy needed stitches. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it; it really hurts.

5] After the initial hit, always go for the groin. I know from a particularly unfortunate experience that if you slap a guy’s parts it is extremely painful. You might think that you’ll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our
instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause him a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble, and he’s out of there.

6] When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. The instructor did it to me without using
much pressure, and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked audibly.

7] Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can and if you see any odd behavior, don’t dismiss it, go with your instincts. You may feel
little silly at the time, but you’d feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.

FINALLY, PLEASE REMEMBER THESE AS WELL ….

I know you are smart enough to know these pointers but there will be some, where you will go “hmm I must remember that” After reading forward it to someone you care about, never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do it.

2. Learned this from a tourist guide to New Orleans : if a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you…. chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or
purse than you and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car: Kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won’t see you but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping,eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON’T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side,put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU CLOSE the DOORS , LEAVE.
5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
a. Be aware: look around your car as someone may be
hiding at the passenger side , peek into your car, inside the passenger side floor, and in the back seat. ( DO THIS TOO BEFORE RIDING A TAXI CAB) .
b. If you! u are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
c. Look at the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot).

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP IT! It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well-educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked “for help” into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
Send this to any woman you know that may need to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it and it’s better safe than sorry.

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Self Defense

Looking for something spoooookey?

USA Today has a great idea for that adrenaline junkie who has everything!

Beyond the Storm, Carolyn Zane

What it’s about (from the publisher):

After a tornado rips through her town, store owner Abigail comes across a piece of fabric from a wedding dress among the devastation. Abigail is moved to start collecting other swatches of fabric she finds – her neighbor’s kitchen curtains, a man’s necktie, a dog’s bed – which she stashes in shopping bags. As she pursues her seemingly absurd quest, horrible realities spark the question, “What kind of a God would allow such tragedy?”

As she struggles to reconcile her right to happiness amidst the destruction, Abigail begins piecing together a patchwork quilt from the salvaged fabric in hopes it will bring some peace. But a new relationship with Justin, a contractor, may require too much of her fragile heart. Will her pain and questions of faith give way to the courage to love?

Why you should read it: This book was not at all what I expected from the cover or the series title, Quilts of Love, and its tagline, Every Quilt Has a Story. In all honesty, I didn’t expect to like it. I expected to be bored. I wasn’t. This is not some sweet homespun tale, as the cover suggests; it is, at times, a heartbreaking and frighteningly realistic picture of nature as a predator.

Although the many points of view might take a little to wrap your mind around in the beginning, the characters quickly become like your neighbors, each one with his or her quirks and each one with a story that explains unfinished business the storm has brought to life.

For those who have lived through the heartbreaking devastation of a natural disaster, there might be some emotionally difficult moments while reading. The author paints stark images of a tornado’s destruction both on the town itself and within the lives of its inhabitants. Yet even in the darkness, hope shines and love is born, and reborn, beyond the storm.

Tidbit: If you visit the author’s website, you might agree with me that Carolyn Zane’s last name should maybe be pronounced with a long “e” on the end. This zany lady has pets named after characters from Gilligan’s Island// and compares her family to the Brangelina brood, except to mention that her family is “better looking.” Carolyn also writes under the name Suzy Pizzuti and has published more than 35 books while blogging about how to tackle marriage, motherhood and menopause “without ending up in prison” at the blogToo Hot Mamas.

A writer, performer and accomplished partaker of dark chocolate, Serena Chase lives in Iowa with her husband and two daughters. Her reviews can also be found at the blogEdgy Inspirational Romance.

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Beyond the Storm, Marriage, Menopause

Cover Girl!

Those of you who have lived as long as I have, no doubt remember Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show and their Top 40 hit, Cover of the Rolling Stone.  For those of you who don’t, the chorus goes something like this:

Rollin’ Stone 
Wanna see my picture on the cover (Stone) 
Wanna buy five copies for my mother! (Yes)

(Stone) Wanna see my smilin’ face 
on the cover of the Rollin’ Stone 
(That’s a very, very good idea) 

So, last month, when my publicist called and told me my mug would be gracing the cover of Christian Fiction On-line Magazine for the launch of my latest book: Beyond the Storm, I dropped an email to my hubby with the news that I could scratch ‘cover girl’ off the old bucket list.

Carolyn to Hubby

SUBJECT:  Finally made the cover of the Rollin’ Stone!

I got the October of Christian Fiction On-line Magazine!  Gonna buy five copies for my mother!  Wanna see my smilin’ face on the cover!

Hubby to Carolyn

SUBJECT:  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?

The Rolling Stone?!  Seriously?  I knew this is the best book you’ve ever written, but the Rolling Freaking Stone??!

It’s really nice when your family believes in you.  But talk about gullible.

Carolyn

http://christianfictiononlinemagazine.com/home.html

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Stayin’ Alive, part III of Krav Maga

When last we left Too Hot Mamas, they were in their free trial Krav Maga class, learning that, in fact, nothing in life is free.  Carolyn was bleeding happily and Wendy was preparing to kick the stuffing out of the senior lady who had been whomping her butt for the past hour and fifteen minutes.  Now you’re up to speed….

So, Ma Barker invited me to hit her first, instructing me to aim for the pad she was holding up by the side of her face and I who cannot squash an ant, I who have held funerals for birds I had no part in killing, I who am incapable of purchasing a pound of ground round without envisioning a cow mooing mournfully for her lost calf, I, dear reader, did not aim for the pad.  Oh, no.  After being sent flying by Ma’s skinny wrist more times than I could count that day, I discovered the true power of Krav Maga.

See, I think Israeli Street Fighting is designed to get you so pissed off you’d hit your own Bubbie while she was handing you a honey cake.

BAM!  I let Ma have it, right between the eyes.  She blocked (I knew she would…honest), but she wasn’t happy.

“We hit past each other,” she admonished.

“Really?  Sorry.”  WHOOSH!  I let one fly, right toward her shnoz.  “Sorry again!” I lied cheerfully after she slapped me away.  “I was trying to find my power as a woman and slipped.”

“That’s not how we do it.  Let me show you—“

“We’re almost out of time,” Mini Krav called from the front of the room.  Proof of a loving God.  “Line up,” Mini Krav instructed, “in the middle of the room.”

I shrugged at Ma and moved to the center of the room.

Cool.  This must be like in my daughter’s gymnastics class when the girls get stickers and a small snack after a job well done.

“Close your eyes,” Mini Krav instructed.  I thought that was cute.  They were going to surprise us. After the single-minded focus on maiming each other, I must admit this bit of after-class whimsy was most welcome.

Eyes closed, I waited, smiling, for my reward.  I could sense someone approaching very softly and held out my hand.  Ten very strong, very insistent, steel-like fingers curled around my throat.  Yeah, that’s right: my throat.  And they weren’t exactly massaging.

My eyes shot open.  Krav Maga Man, the surly one, the one who beamed at Carolyn once she started bleeding, was “pretending” to be an attacker.

“Break my hold!” he commanded, his dark eyes boring into my by this time bulging blue ones.

“What?”

“Do what you were shown.  Break my hold!”

Were we shown that?  Uhhhm…oh yeah.  Pulling back the hand I’d been holding out for candy, I grabbed his wrists and twisted.  Nothing.  Diving both hands in between his arms, I executed a quick hacking maneuver.  Nada.  I think his hold on my neck tightened.  I tried looking around for Carolyn, but couldn’t turn my head.  It was getting a little hard to breathe, too, so I rasped out, “I can’t.”

This seemed to disgust him.  “Use your strength and punch through my arms from up above!” he shouted like a good drill sergeant.

I did as instructed, wrenching his arms as hard as I possibly could.  He did not budge.

“I’m just here for the free trial class,” I gurgled in a high, alien-like voice, the only one I could squeeze out.  “I can’t break your hold.  Please let go.”

KMM rolled his eyes, but he released me.  It was a pity release, I get that.  Still, I was free and ready to collect Carolyn and her son and get out oft here.

KMM wasn’t done yet.  “Kick me between the legs!”

“What?”

Standing in attack mode, flashing irritation and challenge in equal measure, he growled,  “I let you go, now kick me to make sure I’m incapacitated.”

I shrugged.  “Sure.”  Balancing on my left foot (I’m really very good at that, thanks to yoga), I kicked toward his chest with my right.

He flicked my foot away like it was a fly.  “Not at my chest.”

“Well, where do you–  Oh!”  I giggled. “I couldn’t possibly.  I don’t know you well enough.  Shouldn’t you at least buy me dinner first?”  Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.

I won’t bother describing his expression; I’d rather not relive it.

I raised my knee and performed the maneuver, adding a hearty “MUH!” for good measure.   I’m sure he’s still having nightmares about meeting me in a dark alley somewhere.

Carolyn, her son and I left with sweat rolling down our faces and backs.  There wasn’t much talking in the car on the way home.   We agreed to try aikido next.  I agreed only to get them to go home so I could slather my body in Tiger Balm, slap a few Salon Pas on my lower back, and crawl into bed.

For the record, I would like to reply in advance and in public to my dear friend Carolyn’s next suggestion for a great adventure:

“Nothing doing, Lucy!”

–Wendy 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DON’T MESS WITH MAMA

We warned ya

Let me catch you up in case you missed Monday’s post:  Carolyn dragged me to a “trial” Krav Maga (Israeli Street Fighting) class.  She dressed properly; I didn’t. She brought water; I didn’t.  She was paired with a sparring partner who made Gabrielle Reece look like a flabby midget.  I got a cross between Gloria Steinem and Ma Barker, whose periodic lectures on women and power while she knocked me on my can were starting to irk me.

“Time out,” I gasped at one point, partly because I needed to search the floor for my liver after her last blow and partly because I saw that Carolyn was bleeding.  A lot.

“I need to help my friend,” I tossed over my shoulder to Ma, who stood in “ready position.” Let her wait, I thought.  Preferably for the rest of the millennium.

Rushing to Carolyn, who was being patched up by Krav Maga Man, I asked loudly, “ARE YOU OKAY?” thus laying the groundwork for our immediate departure.

She waved me off.  “It’s nothing.  This is great! I’m sweating like a pig.”

Since when do “great” and “sweating like a pig” belong to the same thought group?

Krav Maga Man, who had frowned at me so unequivocally when we’d first arrived, was now smiling real big at Carolyn, who grinned back.  Bonding over her loss of blood.

He gave her the all clear.  “All right, champ, get back in there.”

Glancing at Ma, I saw that she was practicing chest-level kicks, obviously prepared to perform more Crouching Tiger on my butt the moment I returned.

“Carolyn, be my partner!” I whispered desperately, but she didn’t hear me and trotted away.  (For the sake of our friendship, I choose to believe she did not hear me.)

KMM called out new instructions.  I slouched off to get gloves and some big rectangular padded thingies, because apparently now we were going to throw punches at each other’s heads.  Good times.

As I inched reluctantly back to Ma, she inquired, “Would you like to hit me first?”

Oh, Lady.

As she held the rectangular pads up to either side of her face, I understood this to mean I should aim for something other than her nose.

I really did understand that.

I just didn’t care anymore….

 –Wendy

Part Three– “The End”– on Friday…

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HOW KRAV MAGA IS MAKING A MAN OUT OF ME

Don’t Mess With Bubbie

Carolyn told you a bit about our foray into self-mutilation…whoops, I mean “defense.” She left out a few things.

Remember how in I Love Lucy, Lucy Ricardo would come up with some cockamamie plan and just assume Ethel Mertz would go along with her?  Every couple of episodes, Ethel, bless her heart, would try to grow a backbone and stand her ground.  But Lucy always won.

“Ohhh no, Lucy, count me out of this one.”

“But Ethel—“

“Nothing doing!”

And the next thing you knew, Ethel was standing on the ledge of their apartment building, dressed like a martian.  Well, that’s Carolyn and me.

“Hey,” I said one afternoon when I had obviously lost my mind, “have you heard of Krav Maga?”  (Never, ever EVER ask Carolyn if she’s heard of something.  EVER.  Ever.)

“No.  What is it?”

“Israeli street fighting.  It’s supposed to be a near deadly form of self-defense—  Whom are you calling?“

She had us registered for a trial class in under five minutes.  I am not exaggerating.

“We should at least think about this, Carolyn.  We don’t know these people.  What if they’re not licensed or insured or sane?  We should at least look at the studio first….”

The next day, our local Krav Maga studio –the one with the logo of the snarling bulldog—had three new students.  (Carolyn brought her 14-year-old, star-athlete son.)

The workout/torture room was dreckorated in black and gray, not a whisper of cheerful color.  The instructors and other students were dressed in black and gray, too, as the Krav Maga uniform is part of the registration fee.  Coincidentally, Carolyn had worn black yoga pants and  shirt for our trial class.  I had dressed in jeans and a pink and yellow v-neck “Peace” tee (so cute, really) with hot-pink, lace cami underneath.

Guess who got the look of admiration from Krav Maga Man, the verrrry serious owner of our new home away from home?  He spared me a glance.  “Did you bring water?”

“I don’t want to get hurt!” shot from my lips before I could stop myself.

Krav Maga Man scowled.  “Did you bring water?”

“No.”

Looking disgusted, he walked away.  “What is his problem?” I whispered to Carolyn.  “They didn’t tell us to bring water.  Did you bring water?”  She raised a quart-sized sports bottle.  It was black.

KMM returned with a tiny bottle of Kirkland H2O, which he handed to me.  “Get going, you three.  Class has started.”

I liked the warm up.  My confidence soared, in fact, as I lunged, squatted, tossed in a yoga asana, rolled my shoulders and shadow-boxed.  The nice teacher was smiling at me.  He was smaller, younger, far friendlier than Krav Maga Man.  Let’s call him Mini Krav.

Glancing at Carolyn, who looked sweaty and focused, I grinned.  Self-defense wasn’t so bad.

After teaching us a few lethal punches and kicks, Mini Krav paired us up—men with men and women with women.  Carolyn was partnered with a statuesque 20-something whose muscles appeared to be sculpted from Caesarstone.  After some deliberation, I was matched with a very quiet, much older woman whose loose tee shirt hung past her knees and whose stooped shoulders gave the impression that a trip around the block with her walker might put her into traction.

I’m not going to lie to you people:  My feelings were hurt.  I mean, I work out.  I own FOUR of The Firm DVD’s.   Okay, I haven’t played them much lately, but c’mon.  (That’s all I’ve got, just…c’mon.)

Looking on the bright side, at least I was unlikely to be injured and could help Carolyn get home after Ms. Olympia 2012 took out a kidney.

I smiled encouragingly at my frail partner and graciously held the provided padding, so she could hit me first.  “Don’t be afraid, I’m tougher than I look,” I crooned.  “You can—OWWWWW!”

The old broad didn’t even wait for me to stop speaking!  Just punched me so hard I thought I lost a lung, even with the padding.  Without waiting for me to catch my breath, she pivoted, letting me have it with the other fist while shouting, “MUH!”

“OW!  Sonova–  Hey, lady!”

“Historically, women have been afraid of their full power, so we don’t hold back in class. Do we?”  Her eyes bore into mine and her lips barely moved when she spoke, making her look less Someone’s Grannie and more CIA Assassin.

“Fine, but from here on I’d like to invoke the Marquess of Queensberry rules, so–  Owww-owwww.”  She got me again.  “I was still talking! What is wrong with you?”

“Attackers don’t play by rules, do we women don’t hold back. Do we?”

“Stop asking me that.”

“Practice your kicks!” Mini Krav called above the shouts and groans.

Instantly, I dropped the pads and used the same signal my daughter makes when she’s playing tag, hoping it would translate.  “Time out.  No puppy guarding.”

I looked around for Carolyn and saw her with the owner of the studio.  He had his first-aid kit open as blood was streaming down her hand….

Part Two on Wednesday.

 –Wendy

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We want a Black Belt.

And this was only our first lesson!

No, silly’s.  Not the kind you wear with a dress.  The kind you have to earn.  The kind that make bad guys shake in their boots when you come at them, with your French Tips nails in full eye-ball gouge mode.  I want to have to register my stilettos as deadly weapons, and not just because I fell off them and broke my hip.   I want to be known by code name: HEAD (Hot-flashing And Extremely Dangerous).  Don’t look too closely at that acronym, cuz it’s messed up, but so what?  I said, SO WHAT?!

Why, you ask, does Carolyn suddenly want a black belt?  I’ll tell you why.  Because a few days ago, I saw in the news where a 72-year old-woman was bird-watching in Central Park when she was attacked and raped at 11am!  Broad daylight, folks!  In a section of the park where there are a lot of people!  According to the news, she’d seen him exposing himself a few days earlier and snapped his picture.  He’d chased after her (eeeewww) and demanded that she delete the picture.  Apparently, she said no.  The day he attacked her, he asked her, “Do you remember me?”  (Eeeeeewwww, eeeeek!)  Poor, bird-watching Nana!  Don’t the bad guys have some kind of code of ethics that says you don’t rape little granny’s who spend their time watching birdies at the park?

Clearly not.  I don’t want this to happen to me.  To my daughters.  To my Wendy.

So, Wendy and I decided that very morning that it was time for us to get our black belts.  To heck with the osteoporosis.  Forget about the fact that only thing we’ve ever punched was a mound of bread dough.  Time to explore our local self-defense options.

After a lengthy discussion, our first choice was a weekday, noon, free trial Krav Maga class.  The price was right!  What is Krav Maga, you ask?  Why, it’s the official hand-to-hand combat system of the Israel Defense Forces, duh.  Perfect for a couple of hot-flashers, huh?

Okay, aside from the fact that the Krav Maga class nearly killed us, we feel invigorated!  Empowered!  Ready to head to the park, for some bird watching, binoculars in hand, ready to kick the butts of perverts everywhere.  Yeah!

Then again, maybe I’m not quite ready to fight crime just…yet.  It’s been over a week and I’m still so sore, I can still barely get out of bed.  That, and the fact that I couldn’t bust away from Wendy’s choke hold (did I mention she’s still a tad miffed at me over some negative comments I made about her latest manuscript?), and I had to put my head between my knees (never eat a big lunch before doing any kind of military hand-to-hand combat) and I’m thinking maybe we should take another class.  Or two.  We’ll see.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Humor, Jewish, Krav Maga, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Self Defense

EQUAL TIME FOR KITTIES

How Dumpster Kitty Helped Me Fall In Love (Again)

Once a Dumpster Kitty, now a Daddy’s Girl

 

            In a world of cat and dog people, I am both.  Marrying a man who loves animals was a no-brainer (and the inability to become absurdly besotted by four-legged children was a deal-breaker).  When I was twenty-three and met a man who was willing to carry a wounded bird two miles back to our house so we could call a vet and who took it upon himself to drive an especially huge black widow spider twenty miles outside of town so it could live out its life in a field, well…  Yes, Reader, I married him.

And then life happened.

When we were in our thirties, my husband helped me care for my terminally-ill father, three rescue dogs and my father’s twenty-two-year-old cat that regularly awakened us at six a.m. with ear-piercing howls to demand moist food and decided that the stroll to the litter box was too much bother, but that the bathroom cabinets would do nicely when he needed to relieve his pinhead of a bladder.  During a drive to the vet, Snowflake was on my lap, unfortunately facing my husband when he projectile vomited like I have never witnessed before or since.  Poor kitty.  Poor husband.

It’s understandable, I suppose, that Tim decided to take a hiatus from all dependent creatures at that point:  “You can have dogs and cats if you want to, but please do not involve me.  I’m done.  I’m not kidding.”

I was disturbed.  I was disappointed.  I was totally disbelieving that he meant what he said.  On the other hand, I, too, wanted a break from litter boxes and incontinent animals and things that could die and break your heart.

We still had a beloved dog, but decided No More Cats. Seriously. And, since I had adopted the dog, we’d consider her my responsibility.  Tim would be as free as that bird he’d rescued all those years ago.

And then came Dumpster Kitty.

DK lived in the basement apartment of the house next door.  Our neighbors there found her in a trash can and brought her home, but she was frightened of their cat (and of everything else animal, vegetable or mineral), so she spent most of her time alone under the stairs.  She was especially afraid of men.  When the couple who found her split up and the woman moved out, DK relocated herself outside to an area beneath the porch–in November, during a series of thunderstorms.  She emerged only to eat, darting out from her hiding place, her belly so low to the ground that her “run” looked more like a slither.

“I feel terrible for that cat,” my husband said.

“Well,” I offered, “the neighbor doesn’t really want her.  Do you—“

“NO.”

I hear ya.

When our neighbor went away for a few days and asked me to put our food for DK, I tried to befriend her, but she was simply too frightened.  I gave up.

One day, when I pulled up to the house after work, I saw my husband crouched on our front porch in a torrential downpour.  He was wearing a coat and there appeared to be something other than my husband inside it.

“What are you doing out here?” I called above the pounding rain.

“Shh!  You’ll scare her.”

Dumpster Kitty was huddled on his lap, her huge green eyes staring up at his face, one paw extending lovingly toward his chin.

“How long did it take you to get her to come to you?” I asked in amazement.

“Two hours.”

“In this downpour?”

He nodded, gazing as sweetly at the cat as she was gazing at him.  “She’s very gentle,” he murmured.  “We’ll need to take her to the vet.”

Dumpster Kitty was a year old then.  She’s twelve now, renamed “Phoebe.”  Our friends call her “Invisa-cat,” as she still has a tendency to hide and few people outside the family have made her acquaintance.  She is, however, quite the cuddler with us.  And her favorite place is still Tim’s lap.

Gotta love that guy.

Wendy

This article first appeared on “Help Miss Mousie,” a blog dedicated to securing the funding that will provide life-saving surgery for a senior foster cat.  If you’d like to help, visit http://www.helpmissmousie.blogspot.com

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Rebuttal

Image

Does this look like a killer to you?

Honestly Carolyn,

I have no idea how you managed to turn the incident of YOUR BRAWNY
SON BITING MY DOG into an account of a sweet, formerly abused, still-working-on-his-self-esteem, TOY poodle biting your boy.  That’s low.  Even for you.

Now that we’re back on the blog, I’d like to state for the record that I had no problem with your critique of my book.  None.  Whatsoever.  Come on, I’ve been writing longer than you’ve been blonde; I’m used to critiques.  I can’t help it if Bailey read it, though, and got upset.  He’s very loyal.

As we are a Mom blog and as some folks may take your writing seriously (although personally I’ve never met anyone like that), I want to point out that I would never, ever , EVER harbor a dangerous animal, no matter how few teeth he has left.

Anyway, thanks for watching the dogs.  The kennel cough is almost gone, and I’m sure the nightmares will abate soon.

Your BFF,

Wendy

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We’re Baaaaaack!

Wonder where we’ve been?  Us, too!  The rumors of our break up have rivaled those of the Beatles, and I’m here to assure you, all is well!  Sort of.  Okay, the truth?  I think Wendy’s a bit miffed with me.  It all started about a month ago when she let me have a little peek at her work in progress.  I read it.  I wasn’t bowled over.  I may have been a tad snarky with some of my comments.  Perhaps the Zzzzz’s indicating the places where I’d drifted off to sleep weren’t exactly…helpful.  Or…polite.  Wendy laughingly referred to my remarks as passive aggression.

So, when she had to leave town and wanted to drop her little dog at my house, I thought, sure!  I’m a dog lover.  Bring it on.  For years I’ve looked after her big dog, Autumn, whenever they are on vacation.  Wonderful animal.  Love her.  Don’t really want to give her back when Wendy comes home.

How shall I describe Wendy’s new doggie?  The term Parana comes to mind, but that’s not really fair to the poor, sweet fish.  Wendy arrived, docile pile of poodle in hand, and she, all smiles, assured me that, “Oh, noooo!  Your comments were really helpful!  Wonderful!  Insightful!”  Yeah.  Right. I should have known something was afoot.  Before she drove away, she gave us a few minor warnings about this newest member of her family, “He tends to be a tad grumpy sometimes…Oh, and he loves to run, so be careful not to let him out.”

The burning rubber of her tires hadn’t even stopped smoking as she peeled out of the driveway, before Bailey (aka: Beelzebub) drew blood.  Seemed he didn’t like the idea of a walk and let us know it by taking a chunk out of one of our thumbs.  Screaming ensued and Beelz…er…Bailey’s lips curled back as, snarling and snapping, he treed all of us (my three dogs included) on the dining room table.  Thankfully, my eldest daughter (age 18) took matters in hand by announcing, “I’m not afraid of this bleeping animal.  Come here, you!  I’m alpha dog and you are going outside to the pen!”  She jumped off the table, bravely grabbed the leash and dragged Baily outdoors…where…his head slipped out of the collar and he took off.

More screaming.  A new version of the Incredible Journey was born as Bailey began his 20 mile quest for Wendy’s house.  Luckily, my 3rd daughter, age 13 is not only brave, but fast.  Arms waving like an outboard motor, she managed to head Bailey off at the pass, while daughter number 2, age 15, grabbed a brick of cheese and hefted it into the pen.  “Here, Satan!  We have cheese for you!”  The boys slammed the door and when the dog had finished the cheese, it sneered at us, passed gas, and passed out.  Being a terrorist takes the starch out, it would seem.

When Wendy and her husband, Tim, (who starred on a recent episode of Grimm, by the way) returned, I regaled them with this tale and Wendy seemed appropriately shocked…but she’s nearly as good an actor as her husband.  He on the other hand looked outraged…that we’d managed to catch the dog and bring it safely home.  Apparently he wasn’t very complimentary about Wendy’s latest manuscript, either, and shortly thereafter, she adopted the little dog.  Coincidence?  I think not, Timmy.

Carolyn

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Are you married to this man?

Needs more wood, eh?

“Do you really think we should put more wood on the fire pit?” I asked my hubby as he prepared our patio for s’mores with the kids.

“Sure!”

“But the sparks…look.  They are really flying out of the fire and I just bought a new canopy for this gazebo.”

“The sparks are burning out before they get that high.”

“Yeah, but every time you poke the wood, they get bigger and hotter. Look at that one up there, clinging to the new canvas!”

“It’ll burn out.”  Poke, poke, stir, poke.

Me, white knuckled.  “The smoke is really strong.”

Him, “Smoke follows beauty, har, har.”

Me, “Hack, acchooie, honk, kersnort, I think, the, hack, cough, canopy is on fire.”

“Dad, my marshmallow just disintegrated!”

“Get a new one.”

“Dad, the chocolate is liquid and the crackers are black.”

“Well, move back a little bit.”

“Ow!  Dad, the sparks are burning me and the dog just fainted from the heat.”

“He’s just resting.”

“Honey, seriously, stop poking at the flames, and really?  More wood?  The paint on the house is blistering.”

“No it’s not!  You  all just need to chill out.”

The kid and dog headed to the pool.  I went inside.  He headed to the wood pile for more fuel.

Carolyn

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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

What do

 BILLY THE KID

SADDAM HUSSEIN

SIRHAN SIRHAN

ADOLPH HITLER

ROBERT GRAYSMITH (ZODIAC SERIAL KILLER)

MARC LEPINE(MASS MURDERER OF 14)

JACK THE RIPPER

LEE HARVEY OSWALD

JOHN WILKES BOOTH

JEFFREY DAHMER

CHARLES MANSON (CULT LEADER)

“MONSTER” CODY (L.A. CRIPS GANGLORD)

HAVE IN COMMON?

They did not have a father!  Here, at TooHotMamas, we salute:

OUR FATHERS (for keeping us out of prison)

OUR HUSBANDS (for keeping our kids out of prison)

And every involved father, grandfather, mentor, big brother, uncle who is making a difference in the life of a child.  Because, without your time, energy and love, this is what we are seeing:

Sad Statistics

63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)
90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (Source: Center for Disease Control)
80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes (Source: Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26, 1978.)
71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (Source: National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.)
75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes (Source: Rainbows for all God`s Children.)
70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988)
85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home (Source: Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections 1992)

Here’s to you, Dad!  Thank you and we love you,

Toohotmamas


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Attachment Parenting

I’d just like to point out that the great thing about being an OLDER MOM, is that the kid wouldn’t need a chair.  So.  Have you heard of attachment parenting?  I managed to get 5 kids into their teen years without it, but now that I think about it, I was a fool.  I only nursed my kids for a year.  All that money wasted on those little boxes of fruit drinks for the soccer team?  With some jumping jacks, I could have served milkshakes.  This attachment parenting thing makes so much sense, especially for the menopausal mom.  I can think of a ton of ways we could share.  “When I’m done wiping you, you do me, honey.”  And, we could gum our peas together, spit up together and share diapers when the child is older.  I mean, if we’re not going to wean, why potty train?

I have always dreaded the empty nest.  This way, I don’t have to.  Independence is totally over-rated.   In fact, I’m thinking about starting a movement: Never-ending breastfeeding.  This way, I can feed the grandchildren.   I love our society today.  We just never seem to know when enough is…enough.

Carolyn

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EeeeeeK!!!

The Savage Field Mouse

After a full day of errands, I pull into my driveway to spot my 13 and 9 year-old sons sitting on the roof.  I’m from the school of parenting that touts, Scream first, ask questions later.  So, after I was done chewing their behinds with, “What would you have done if one of you had fallen off the roof and cracked your skull open on the patio, like a raw egg?!  WHAT THEN?!  ANSWER ME!  WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!?? ”  They were sheepish and on the verge of tears when they finally admitted.  “We saw a mouse in the house and it was HUGE!!”

“A mouse?  You see a mouse and you CLIMB ON THE ROOF?”  I was speechless.   These are the same boys who brag about how they’d judo chop a midnight intruder and kick him in the ya-ya’s and render him unconscious by defending the household from evil with their various Nerf weapons and Lego battleships.  I growled some more and told them if I ever, EVER found them on the roof again, especially if their dad or I are not home, they’d be a couple of sorry ninjas.

And, with that, I headed into the family room, turned on the fan, flopped on the couch and took a load off.  I was just finding my serenity again, when I felt the fan blowing my hair.  I reached up to discover that it was not the fan moving my hair, but a teensy, weensy (smaller than my thumb) field mouse, lost and terrified and trying to get away from our dog.  If it hadn’t been a baby, I’d have had a heart attack on the spot and died.  But, as it was, I only shrieked at the top of my lungs, flew off the couch and was halfway to the roof, my ninja warriors hot on my trail.

“The MOUSE!  IT’S BAAAAAAK!” the boys screamed.

“I KNOOOOOOOWWW!!!” I shrieked as I flew through the door.  “You know all that stuff I said about not getting on the roof?”

“Yeah,” they shouted as they lapped me.

“Forget it.”

I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Cussing, Dogs, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

MAYDAY! MAYDAY!

Don't worry, kids! I know what I'm doing!

As you may know, I am in the process of teaching daughter #1 to drive.  This came to a grinding halt (no pun) about a month ago and I’m waiting for my heart rate to return to normal before I ride with her again.

We were cruising along on the Interstate and I was riding shotgun.  Daughter #1 was doing an awesome job, relaxed, in control, confident.  I was impressed.  So much so, I relaxed, too.  Daughter #2 was sitting in the back seat and we started to gab about some juicy bit of teen stuff, I can’t recall, but it probably had something to do with cute boys.

Casually, as we all nattered on, I told Daughter #1 to switch to the center lane from the left (or “slow”) lane, as we needed pick up the pace if we were going to get to Portland on time.

My bad.

I didn’t nag her about looking over her shoulder.  Last time I did that, I got the eye-roll and the “Yeah, I KNOW, Mom.  It’s not like YOU look every time you change lanes.”

Hunh.  I thought I did.

Anyway, we were jabbering about 55 wpm and she executes a lane change with carefree abandon.  That’s when the screaming began.  #2 and I were shrieking and freaking, throwing ourselves on the floor and begging God to spare us.

“Whut?”  Daughter #1 asked, apparently not seeing the GIANT SEMI-TRUCK THAT SEEMED TO HAVE ATTACHED ITSELF TO OUR BUMPER.

We’re going to DIE!!!”  #2 and I screamed and clutched at each other.  I was chewing on my heart, trying to get it back down into my chest.  I’m too old for this kind of stimulation.

Daughter #2 is now old enough for her permit test.  Heaven help me.  Today, as I drove #2 to piano, she spotted a Help Wanted sign posted on a School Bus.  “Look!” she cried.    “Daughter #1 is looking for a job!  She should apply!”

As I am now suffering from PTSD, the look on my face must have said it all because she shrugged and said, “Oh.  No.  Probably not.”

Carolyn

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The Nancy Drew Turder Mysteries


Nancy Drew Super POOch

Number One Son (age 13)  was thrilled to be offered a money-making opportunity to dog-sit, over spring break.  He is saving up for an iPod Touch, and this piece-of-cake gig was going to put him close to his goal.  Talk about easy money.  As you can see by the picture on the left, Nancy Drew is a tiny thing, coming in at a mere dozen pounds or less.  Her owners instructed Number One Son to feed her a small cup of kibble, twice a day and to be sure to let her out because she was nearly potty trained, but still had the occasional ‘oopsie’ when she was nervous (or in the throes of solving an important case, I maintain).

Nancy left her first “clue” in my closet.  On my freshly laundered sweat pants.  “Number One Son!” I called on the intercom.  “Get the pooper scooper and the Lysol and report to my closet!”

I heard him laugh as he gathered his ‘Mystery Solving Kit’.   Moments later, the clue was disposed of as Nancy watched.

“That was about a cup of kibble right there,” Number One chortled.  “No need to let her out now.”

Famous last words.

“Number One Son!” Number Two Sister called. “Get the kit and meet me at the piano!”  Nancy had left a Major ‘clue’ on Brahm’s Concerto in D Minor.  To be perfectly honest?  I think Number Two sis was delighted as she had never really liked that piece.

Number One groaned and scratched his head.  “Already?  Huh.  Must not have been done. “

Famous last words.

“Number One!” Number Three Sister shrieked.  “Nancy has left a clue on my pillow and I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!”

Number One issued some guttural groans and headed for the kit.  Nancy was hot on his trail.  “How much poop can come out of such a tiny dog?”

Nancy gave him one of her famous toothy grins. The next clue was found in my office, behind the door.  Number One Son was growling now.  Before the end of the day, Nancy had given Number One Son and his kit at least a dozen clues and the Mystery was in full swing.

“I can’t figure out how one tiny little dog can make SO MUCH CRAP!”

Nancy simply gave him a mysterious, knowing, Mona Lisa style smile.  She knew. This was only day one.

Carolyn

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Filed under Dogs, Humor, Making Money, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

The Hunger Games make me hungry

Why do I suddenly want lemon bars?

My husband is out on a date with daughter number two and daughter number three.  The Hunger Games Movie.  Oh… yeah.  I came across the book on Amazon when I searched “Young Adult Books… that you can’t put down” and that title came up, over and over.   Hmm.  This was 4 years or so, ago.  Since I can never resist a book that cannot be put down, I ordered a copy and gobbled it up.  I had to wait on pins and needles for the next edition–Catching Fire– and when it came, I devoured it, and couldn’t wait until the third one.

When the hubby had to go  to Washington DC for his annual business trip, I sent him with Book One, telling a skeptical man,  “You won’t be able to put it down.”  When he got to DC, he called and told me to Fed Ex book 2.  This, from the man who is very, very, very, very, need I say…VERY picky about his reading material and only sanctioned my writing ability at book 35.

So, tonight, the girls got all dolled up and ordered tickets on-line, in a countdown ticket ordering frenzy, called their dad (several times) cooked him dinner, and breathlessly waited for him to arrive home to chauffeur them to the long, long, long-awaited movie.   As I write this, they are there, gobbling popcorn and screaming at the fabulous, heart-stopping drama.  I’m here with the boys, watching a something on Netflix and eating lemon bars and wishing I was there…but sometimes, a girl just wants to go out with dad.

I get that.

Carolyn.

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

Size IS Everything

ImageWhen it comes to body image, boys are from Mars and…well, so are girls.  Or maybe they’re both from Venus, I don’t know.   

 When my daughter was five, she refused to wear her puffy red coat, because another five-year-old said it made her look fat.  Miss E was a far cry from “fat.”  At almost nine, she still weighs in at only 55 pounds, and that’s solid muscle.  If I had her booty, I’d be so proud I’d wear a thong to the supermarket. 

But I digress (and have probably caused you to regurgitate a little.)  My point is:  How did “fat” get to be a bad word in kindergarten?

 It starts young, this body image business. Even with boys, although they apparently have a different concern about size.

 This week, a friend of mine watched her four-year-old son get bumped—hard–in the family jewels.  She ran over to give him a hug.

 “Honey, are you okay?”  Buried against the comfort of his mother’s bosom, he shook his head.  “Awww,” she crooned, rocking him.  “Did you hurt your little penis?”

 The crying ceased. 

He reared his head back and stared at her, outrage shining from wide liquid eyes.  “It’s not little.” 

 Mom wisely interpreted this as one of those seminal moments when she would either hit on the right response or have to switch the 529 to a therapy fund. 

  “Oh no. Right,” she said.  “No.  I mean… It’s exactly the right size for you.”  She looked up at her friends, who all began nodding. 

 “Absolutely.”

 “You bet.”

 “A-plus, buddy.”

 Who knew you had to start reassuring them that early?

 Dontcha know some woman is going to have to go through that all over again when he’s fifty?

 –Wendy

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When it rains

Don't tell me you're going on ANOTHER business trip!?

Why is it, that the minute my husband leaves on a business trip, the kids start barfing and all the major appliances blow up?  You think I’m kidding, but sadly, no.  Every year, he flies to Washington DC to attend a trade-show and every year, our normally serene life becomes a seething cauldron of germs and stress and broken crap.  This month, while he was packing, I started to sound like James Earl Jones after a carton of Camel unfiltered cigarettes.  “THIS… IS CNNnnnaaaachhhooie!   Ahhhhuuuggghhh, NO!  NO!  THIS. CAN. NOT.  BE.  HAPPENING.”

“Have you taken any Airborne?”

Yeah.  Like Airborne is going to help ward off the demonic forces circling our house.  I’m not superstitious, but ever years it’s the same story.

This year, as he pulled out of our driveway and headed to the airport, the kids all started getting stomach cramps.  By the time he was on the plane, I was in bed, coughing up a lung–after all, I had two–and the kids were busily clogging the toilet.  In the spirit of letting me recuperate, they didn’t bother to inform me about the toilet issue until there was an inch of water on the bathroom floor.  There was only an inch because most of it was busily pouring down into the family room, via the ceiling.  No problem.  I am woman.  Here me roar.  THIS IS CNN.  Hack, cough, pant.  Kersnort.  I turned off the toilet valve and James Earl Jones hustled my cramping kids to the towel closet.  We mopped up the excess water and tossed the towels into the washer, which yes, you guessed it, sprung a leak and flooded the laundry room, which yes, you guessed it, I didn’t discover until the next morning.

After I mopped up the laundry room, I made a pact with the kids not to use the toilet or the laundry room for a week, then fell into bed and slept until the hubby came home.  On the bright side, the hubby is back, everything works, we all feel great and… new carpet and linoleum are being installed next week.

Next year, we’re all just going to go with him.

Carolyn

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