BABIES OR BULLDOGS?

sleeping dogs and baby

When I turned 40, I stood before my husband, a large box under each arm.
“Pampers or Depends, sweetie, you pick. But one way or another we are heading towards diapers.”

A few years earlier, I had lobbied for French bulldogs.  So cute!  But we already had a dog, not to mention my father’s 23-year-old incontinent cat (we get a lot of incontinent animals), and my husband’s response was…not really printable.

So, I moved onto kids.  That day in Wal-Mart when I showed him our diaper options, I think he was leaning toward Depends. We’ll never know; I started gathering information about adoption the next day.
I had always wanted to adopt. I’m not sure why, but for decades the desire played like background music in my brain. I knew my child was coming to me via adoption. Child. Singular.  Tim agreed to ONE CHILD AND ONE CHILD ONLY, either homegrown or adopted.  And then he wheeled and dealt:  “I will say yes to two French bulldogs instead of one child.”  (He was a little nervous about the parenting gig at that point.)  I don’t blame him.

When we were in our twenties, he wanted two children. We were living in apartments (not very nice ones) at the time, eeking out bad livings as actors/couriers/waitstaff/reception/whatever we could get. When he said he wanted two kids by the time he was thirty, I thought, Suuuurrrrre. As if I’d become a mother under these circumstances. There’s plenty of time for that. Career was still far more important to me than motherhood. I was still far more important to me than motherhood.

And then my own parents died. And my uncle. And my aunt. That left me and my brother. Today is, in fact, the 18th anniversary of my beloved mother’s passing, Z”L (may her memory be a blessing).  At that point, Tim had lived through years of cancer and hospitals and my grieving.  He’d been gentle and strong and present for me, but he was tired.  We both were.  We needed a break and to get our happier lives back.  But when my parents were gone, I was thirty-five, and I realized that being a daughter was one of my favorite things ever. No career could come close to that feeling of unconditional love. I wanted it again, this time on the giving end.

We waited and we talked and we wrestled with the idea of a baby (if you read Carolyn’s last post, you know I do not make decisions easily…although not about clothes, Carolyn.  Please.  Look at my wardrobe.)  Nonetheless, at the ripe old age of 42 and 4o, respectively, Tim and I started the adoption journey.  And magic happened.  The kind of magic I think only God can orchestrate.  Carolyn and I got both got babies, and our lives truly began to intertwine.

–to be continued…

–Wendy

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Middle School and Menopause

Whaddya get for Valentine’s Day?  I got a Renuzit Air Freshener, lavender-vanilla scent, from my 12-year-old.

According to Renuzit, “Lavender & Vanilla is the perfect scent to fill your bedroom, or any room in your home that is your tranquil haven.”

Awesome.  Just one problem: There no longer is a room in our house that is a tranquil haven, BECAUSE I HAVE A TWELVE-YEAR-OLD.  The child I have loved, liked, adored beyond all reason is now a middle schooler with this super power:  At one hundred paces, she can make her dad’s and my heads explode with the force of an M67 grenade.  Just by glaring at us.  This child who mere weeks ago prompted me to describe her as a big squishy heart with arms and legs, could now more accurately be likened to Rambo–with permanent PMS.

Yeah, you don’t want to cross her.  If you’re her parent, that is.  Her teachers continue to describe her as “darling…so sweet…what a dolly….”  And her new friends tell me, “We love her.  We LOVE her.  She’s so funny and SWEET.”

‘Kay.

This is what comes of waiting to become a mother:  Instead of the 30-year-old who would be calling right now to see if I’d like to sip a latte while we watch my grand kids make kissy faces at the warty pigs in the zoo, I am living in a zoo.  I can’t tell if I’m having hot flashes or my blood pressure has risen to a stroke-producing high.   Probably both.

I wish I could call my mother and apologize, but she passed away before Karma began to have its way with me.

Ah well, at least daughter No 2 is only six.  By the time she’s going through pre-adolescent psychosis, my husband and I will be too addled to realize it.  That’s one of the bennies of being an older parent–a total break from reality just when you need it (or, the wisdom to fake it).

Good luck to all you menopausal middle-school mamas out there.  Let us know how you’re dealing with it.

–Wendy

 

 

 

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Change of Life Baby

Kids, this is where Wendy comes into your Dad’s and my parenting picture. You see, before you were born, Dad and I didn’t think we wanted you. Remember, we were young. And brain-damaged. Anyway, we thought we wanted someone else’s kid. We weren’t sure that bringing someone with our chromosomal predisposition to lunacy into the picture was such a good idea. We thought, why inflict the world with more of…us. Why not give a home to a pre-owned kid? Didn’t that just scream altruism? And if there was one thing we cared about, it was appearing as if we cared about other things.

So, before we birthed you, we collected a ton of adoption data. Keep in mind, this was before the Internet, and we actually had to sit down and write with a pen and paper and use the U.S. Postal service and everything. But, as you know, that dream sort of fizzled when we decided that though the quality might not be there with a homemade kid, the price was right. So there you are. Literally.

One day, I told Wendy about my laundry basket full of adoption materials that we’d never be using. Since she and her husband, Tim, had wanted to adopt forever, I offered it to her. She took it and put it to good use and I got to live vicariously through her thrilling search. After all, I was so done having kids.

Then one day, Wendy called. It seems she’d been offered a baby through a private adoption. Squeee! I was over the moon excited for her.  An infant! A boy! He was so cute!  I’d be the best Auntie ever!

Now kids, this might be a good time to take a rabbit trail and talk about how Wendy and I shop. I am the kind of shopper who sorta knows what I want when I get to the mall. If I see it—or something vaguely similar—at the first store and it fits my body and my budget, I buy it, and take it home. I may look somewhere south of stylish, but at least the tedious search is over.

Wendy on the other hand, will go to all the stores, and when she can’t decide, will visit all the other malls. Usually, in less than a year or so, she will finally select a store, tentatively make her purchase, take it home, try it on, decide it is not right and return it.

Same thing with our writing. I’m a fan of the “lick-and-a-promise” school of editing. Wendy is more the considerate, “anguish-over-each-word” school.

I think that we can thusly surmise: I am an ill-dressed purveyor of schlock and she is a semi-nudist with a shelf full of writing awards.

So, I was not totally surprised when Wendy wasn’t sure if the baby she’d been offered was…hers.

Kids…it turns out the baby was mine. But that story is going to have to wait until next time.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Adoption, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, The Bi-Racial Family, Weight gain

Rosemary’s baby

Linda BlairOkay, kids, where was I? Oh yes. We were the first people to birth the perfect child. Clearly, she was so wonderful because we were the perfect parents. Waiting 16 years to have her had obviously mellowed us into a sweet and creamy perfection and our child could sense our superior harmonic waves and was thriving accordingly. And because she slept through the night right away, hardly ever cried, was endlessly amusing, we decided to give her a sister.

Whoa.

I sensed the difference months before she was born. Where my husband would talk lovingly to my belly with the first kid and she would gently stroke his nose through my uterine wall, the second kid would haul off and slug him.

She came out swinging and screaming and no amount of prayer or exorcism seemed to help. We’d failed. We’d lost our mojo.

The moment she was old enough for a toddler bed, we held a garage sale and sold everything ‘baby’. We were done. No more gambling with our precious sleep. Besides, I was 40. Having a baby after 40 was just plain crazy. I mean, that’s what you call a ‘change-of-life’ baby. A big fat accident.

So…what do you call it when you adopt an infant at age 45?

Kids, we’ll tackle that insanity next time. Carolyn

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The 35 Symptoms of Menopause. Symptom #37

Libbi and Bayley July 4thSee the cute doggie in the photo?

It just peed on my refrigerator. Yeah, that’s right. In the past two years since we sprang it from its cage at Small Pet Rescue, it has peed on my chaise, the sofa, any number of table legs, the living-room drapes, and, inexplicably, a bowl of Bartlett pears.

What does this have to do with menopause?  I’m getting there.

The weird thing about this dog is he seems to know what he’s supposed to do. For months he will trot out the doggie door and return positively dancing with pride. “Lookit me, people! Look what I did! I peed outside!!!! Don’t you think I’m brilliant? Come on, give me some sugar. Get down here and hugmehugmehugme!!!!!!”

And we do. Oh, yes. The family standing outside in pouring rain or blistering sun, throwing a “potty party”, complete with dancing and our doggie’s favorite snacks? That’s us. We followed the trainer’s tips to the letter. I tethered the little dear to me for hours…days…weeks. We used a crate. We threw the ubiquitous potty parties. And everything works. For a few months. Until once again I see the tell-tale dribble of yellow on my Bartletts (which were on the kitchen table, in case you are wondering).
We have called Bichon Rescue…Poodle Rescue…the shelter advice line. We bought a “Belly Band”—which, the pundits proclaimed, was the only “solution” we had left.

Changing a dog’s diaper for the next 13 years (Bichons and Poodles live a long time…if you don’t kill them) did not sound like much of a “solution,” but I couldn’t find anyone else stupid enough to take a non-housebroken, 2-year-old, brain-addled Bichon-Poodle mix, so I bought the Belly Band.

“Dogs never pee in the Belly Band,” assured the lady at Bichon Rescue. “Unless…they’re incorrigible.”

“What do I do if he’s incorrigible?”

“You could put a sanitary pad in the Belly Band to catch the pee.”

“What?! I am all through with sanitary pads! It’s one of the perks of menopause,” I insisted to the poor woman who thought I’d just phoned to talk about the dog.

“Well…” she sounded nervous “…I’m sure it won’t come to that anyway. Almost no dog pees in the Belly Band.”

Right.

We now have three Belly Bands, so we can alternate when one has to be washed. I think the dog is brain-damaged (probably from my screaming, “STOP IT RIGHT NOW,” in its tiny little ear), though not as brain-damaged as I am for keeping him. But here’s the thing…

I think I am suffering from Menopause Symptom #37:

INCREASED COMPASSION FOR THE INCONTINENT

I mean, let’s face it: I am so close to incontinence myself, it would be bad karma to ditch the pup because he’s peeing where he shouldn’t.  I don’t want to give my kids any ammunition.  So, yes, nine years after I bid farewell to the feminine protection aisle, I am back.

Depends are probably just around the corner.

–Wendy

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I Am NOT Ready For My Close-up; I Am In Menopause

I have loved being in my fifties.  Sure, sometimes I look worse than ever before in my life.  Sometimes I feel worse.  But I became a mother again.  I have cared more about what’s in my head than on my face.  I’ve cheered women like Helen Mirren and Annette Bening who have had the chutzpah to keep their real faces throughout their fifties, thereby empowering us all.  But that was then.

Helen had a “lower face and neck lift.”  And now I want one.  I want one, actually, that starts from my ankles and pulls everything up.  Everything.  Up.  Several inches.

What happened?  I am interrupting our regularly scheduled programming (How I Met Your Other And Became A Menopausal Mother), to tell you.

Yesterday, I was happily working on a book when my husband said excitedly, “Will you take my head shot?  The light right now is PERFECT for a photo.  Right now.  We have to do it now!”

Head shots help him get work and that makes him happy, and I like it when he’s happy, because I like(d) him.   So I stepped away from my own work to help him.  Out of the goodness of my fifty-three-year-old giving heart. 

After snapping some lovely shots of him looking very debonair and James Brolin-ish in the allegedly PERFECT LIGHT, he offered, “Let me take a couple shots of you.”  How sweet.  I would post the results of those shots in THE PERFECT LIGHT here, but pride will not allow.

Have you ever made Flubber?  It’s really cool.  Flubber stretches and pulls, and you can poke your fingers in it.  It’s fun to play with.  IF IT’S NOT YOUR FACE.

Not only have my cheeks and jawline turned into Flubber, a network of lines–some of them actually intersecting–have crisscrossed what used to look like skin, but now resembles a U.S. Geological Survey map of earthquake faults.  In California.  Also, my left eye is nearly completely covered by what I assume is my left eyelid (although I didn’t know eyelids could stretch that far).

“AUUGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!  Is that what I look like?  Is that what you see?  Is it?  Is it?  IS IT???????” I screamed, pointing at the giant head displayed on the jumbo tron my spouse calls a computer.

“No, no, no!” he screamed back, obviously startled, but then he seemed confused.  “Well, yeah.  I mean…yeah.  Why?  You look good.  Honey, don’t you ever look in the mirror?”

The lines on my forehead must have reconfigured to spell the word D-I-V-O-R-C-E, because he quickly backpedaled.  “No, no, you have to remember that is a photograph.”

“So?”

“So your head’s really big up there.”

“Yeah?”

“And my camera picks up every li–.  Every detail.”

“Uh huh.  So in real life, you can’t see that many details on my face?”

“Noooo.”

“And I do still have an upper lip?  And a left eye?”

He hesitated a tad too long.

I started to sniffle.  “I’m aging badly.  When I’m sixty, our children will pretend they don’t know me.”

He put his arm around me for a snuggle. “Come on, they do that now.”

I smiled.  A little bit.

“Listen,” he said, “you grow as a wife and mother and woman every day.  You make menopause beautiful.”  I smiled a little more.  He draped an arm around my shoulders and walked with me back to my desk.

I nodded against him.  “It was just such a shock.”

“I know.”  He kissed my temple. ” I think the best thing to do is to make a list of all the reasons you always tell me you’re grateful for menopause and read it regularly. That will keep your mood calm.”

“That’s excellent advice.”

“Yes.  And whatever else you do,” he murmured, helping me into my chair, “please don’t ever, ever let anyone take a picture of you in full daylight again.”

Wendy…about to Google Sublative Rejuvenation.

 

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How I Became Your Mother

Kids, even when you are absolutely, positively, beyond the shadow of a doubt CERTAIN that you do not want kids, the biological clock can be a powerful monkey wrench in one’s plan to remain slim and tan and rather wealthy into ones’ golden years.

As I recall, when I turned 35, your father and I had a conversation that went something like this:

“Hey, I heard on the news today that they are calling it a “geriatric pregnancy” if you are over 30 when you get pregnant.”

“Seriously? Wow. You’re 35. What word would they use for you? Elderly?”

“Shut up. I don’t want to have kids. And if I did, I would not have one that came out of us, I mean, can you imagine?”

“That is scary. I mean, what if it turned out like you?”

“Or worse…you!”

“If we were going to do it—and I’m not saying we are—we should adopt.” We had just adopted a puppy. It was fun. Except for the chewing. But babies didn’t have teeth so that was cool.

On a whim, we looked into foreign adoption. Big time. Contacted the agency, gathered info, discussed how completely altruistic we were…especially considering we never thought we even wanted kids! How awesome were we? Then, we got to the part about the fees, and holy cow! Adoption was like…seriously expensive!

We could save so much money by just making one of our own.

So…because we were now sort of excited by the whole kid thing, we decided to try getting pregnant. Chances were, we’d waited too long, the plumbing was corroded, stuff had dried up, whatever.

If no baby happened, we would throw in the towel. Admit defeat and skip off into the sunset. And if we did by some miracle, manage to get pregnant in our advanced years…well, we figured we’d just have a single child. That way, if we didn’t like it, we only had to put up with it for 18 years.

Two weeks later…I was pregnant.

And, she was born on our 16th wedding anniversary. And, we liked her. We really, really liked her. We were complete boobs. Everything about her completely charmed us. It was as if we were the first people on the planet to ever have such an adorable child! She was perfect in every way and we would spend hours smiling dopily at her, waiting for her to wake up so that we could play with her, taking thousands of pictures, and bragging about her to our long-suffering friends and family.

And, babies, like Lays Potato Chips, were addicting and we knew there was no way we could eat just one…but kids, that’s another story and it gets sort of tangled up with Wendy’s story, so I’ll get to that next time.

 

Carolyn

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How I met your father…

Okay, kids, I just read how Wendy told you she and I met.  I’ll get to your father in a minute…

Apparently, it was in line for lasagna, and not in line for the Rita Awards Ceremony. Kids, I think it’s fair to say that we are not actively trying to deceive you with revisionist history, it’s just that we have no foggy idea how we met, and it really doesn’t matter at this point.

So. Where was I? Oh yes. How Carolyn Sue Got Married. (Suzanne really is my middle name).

Matt was not sweetly romantic, like Tim. I guess if I had to describe Matt: the early years, it would be Joey Tribianni from “Friends”. “How you doin’?”

So, after we’d dated awhile and he casually mentioned that something we’d just said or done would be “A great story for our grandchildren,” I was surprised. “What grandchildren?” I asked. “The kids our kids will have,” he explained, as if I was dim.  “Our… kids?” (I’d been under the impression we eschewed kids, and he’d never mentioned anything about us staying together past winter term). “Yes, our kids. We’re getting married, ding-dong.”

That was my marriage proposal. No ring. No bended knee. Just, “We’re getting married, ding-dong.”

Which, looking back, was the perfect proposal for a nineteen-year-old girl who—a year later—tried to get her mother to buy her a new coat instead of the wedding dress they were shopping for.  To say I was immature or, perhaps, a late-bloomer was a gross understatement. I was a complete ding-dong. So was he. We, as it finally turned out, ended up being perfect for each other, but the early years were not without a lot of pain and suffering.

We were in fact, two non-swimmers jumping into the deep end of the marriage pool. More than once we nearly drowned each other as we thrashed off in opposite directions, looking for new, more exciting horizons.

I’d love to tell you it was all happily ever after. True, some of it actually was quite blissful. Some…not so much.

See, kids…we were kids. Stupid, vapid, self-absorbed kids who bought into the new, 80’s ideology that loyalty lasted as long as your feelings did, and life was about being happy and not about living up to responsibility. Thankfully, we were smart enough to realize that if we had kids, we’d ruin them.

So, we managed to cling to each other until we grew up. Found God. Realized the good thing we had in each other. Learned about forgiveness. Learned about the precious thing a best friend is–when you are as terrible as you can be to that person–and they still love you and want to grow old with you, warts and all.

So, it took us a little longer than most.  We got there.  And, we’re staying.  And kids, I gotta tell you, I’m glad.

Carolyn

 

 

 

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How I Met My Husband and Became The Oldest Mother In Kindergarten, part II

Here’s what I remember about my husband when I first met him: I remember the way he looked at people when they spoke to him And that way was simply this:  He looked at them.

Have you ever talked to an actor at a party or at an audition or in a market or on a street corner or in his living room or any dang place where the actor thinks there might, just might be someone who can give him a job? His handsome mug may be pointed in your direction; his eyes, however, will be scanning the room. (I’m sure I did that, too. I apologize to everyone I spoke to during my acting years.)

So, when I walked into the first rehearsal for Of Mice and Men, I saw Tim, surrounded by people, and what I noticed was that he listened to them. He cared about what they were saying—even if it wasn’t about acting. Each person deserved his attention. He seemed oblivious to his own appeal or whether he was upping his own status in the room. He spoke humbly and with authenticity.

Integrity.

That’s the word that went through my mind as I watched him. (Note to our daughters: Consider putting that quality at the top of your list of traits to look for in a potential husband. Thirty years after “Wow, he’s cute!” has worn thin, “Wow, he has integrity” will still pack quite a wallop.)

I liked him. I really, really, really liked him. He gave great pre-show hugs. He liked animals. And when my character was choked to death on stage and my skirt somehow inevitably wound up over my hips night after night, he was the only cast member who would find a way to push the skirt back into place, so I didn’t have to lie on stage with my tush on display for the next twenty minutes (I was dead, after all; I couldn’t do it.) So thank you, cute and considerate actor.  Will you marry me?

He did. But later. A lot later. Twelve years later.

The fact is, DH and I make decisions about as fast as sap can drip up a tree. During a frost.  After we married it took us another five years to decide to become parents. Ironically, we flip-flopped our positions: I was ready to have kids, and he wasn’t so sure.

Before kids, though, we got Carolyn. More on that next week as she returns to blog about how she and I met.  I think she’s returning to blog.  She’s currently in Cabo, getting relaxed, tan and blonder.  I’m insane with envy.  Hopefully she will come home and resume her responsibilities as a blog partner on Tuesday. Until then—

–Wendy…not in Cabo, not so relaxed, white as a 1000-watt daylight bulb, and in desperate need of some highlights.

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Before We Were “Too Hot” Mamas

Dad, Libbi and MomCarolyn suggested we tell you all the story of how we met (standing in line for lasagna at a publishing party in Florida), how we discovered we had a lot in common (high anxiety…we are oodles of fun on a plane together), and how, after that first meeting on the opposite side of the country from where we both lived, our lives as writers and mothers began to intertwine in the most wonderful of ways.

I liked reminiscing about it all. Then she said, “Begin with your marriage. That’s how motherhood started.” Yeah, that’s a little harder, because now I have to be honest, and, well…eew.

Being honest about my husband is easy; he’s one of the most transparent people I’ve ever known. But we met when I was twenty-three, and I cannot say that transparency was one of my salient qualities back then.

I grew up hiding—or trying to hide–big chunks of myself. I was a people pleaser, a classic human chameleon. I stumbled into the real me, turning holes in my character into a whole human bit by fumbling bit. And for nearly thirty years now, my beautiful, honest-until-it-hurts husband has ridden shotgun.

When we met, I knew what I wanted in a boyfriend—a sense of humor, intelligence, a creative spark, strength and mystery. (I have no idea what I meant by mystery, and note to my daughters: That is a really asinine trait to look for in a life partner.)  He and I had crossed paths a couple of times. We were both acting in theatre and had been cast in the same plays twice, but either I took the role offered while he turned his down, or vice versa. And then we both auditioned for Of Mice And Men.

He remembers watching me at the audition as I was playing with a little girl in the lobby of the theatre. In that moment, he knew I’d make a great mom someday. Ooookay, here’s where the icky, eewie truth comes in. That little girl was the director’s daughter. I was playing with her because I thought it would score me some points if I was nice to his kid. I DIDN’T WANT KIDS. Well…someday. About ten or twelve years from that night. Maybe fifteen years. Possibly twenty.   It took a lot of time, a lot of tears and a very, very cool plot twist that involved Carolyn to get to the point where we squished that adorable baby in the photo between us.

To be continued on Thursday, because I promised Carolyn I wouldn’t get diarrhea of the keyboard.

Wendy

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How I met your other: the beginning

Kids, in order for you to understand how I met your other (toohotmama) and launched a blog about Marriage, Motherhood and Menopause, I should probably tell you a little about the Marriage and Motherhood piece.

One of the first actual conversations I had with Matt, my now husband of many years happened back in college, when we were teenagers. At the ripe old age of eighteen, we mutually decided that if—and when—we ever married (we took the plunge at twenty) we were never, ever, EVER, not in a million years, ever going to have children.

Why?

We wanted a VCR, instead. See, kids, back in the day, a VCR cost $700 and well, as we were making $1.84 an hour and paying our way through college, a baby just didn’t seem to provide the entertainment value.

Besides, there were tons of kids out there, somewhere, who didn’t have any parents, and though we’d rather have a VCR, we also hated injustice and considered ourselves to be enlightened freedom fighters who would someday, maybe, (after we’d bought a house, a couple cars, traveled Europe, acquired fabulous wardrobes, a big screen TV, a second VCR—to tape all the shows we were missing by watching the movies we rented—climbed the ‘80’s corporate ladder, smashed through the glass ceiling and became legends on Wallstreet) go out and adopt some lucky orphan.

But probably not. Because we didn’t really want kids. Not someone else’s. And certainly not our own.

We’re still scratching our heads over the fact that we ended up with five…but kids, it’s getting late, and that part of the story will have to wait. Carolyn

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How I Met Your Other (Too Hot Mama)

Kids, over the years, many of our faithful readers have asked the thought provoking (and thoroughly legend…wait for it…dary) question, “How did you two meet?”

The simple answer is, we were standing in line for an awards ceremony at a writer’s conference (where Wendy was—as usual—up for an award) and I offered her some anxiety meds (which she politely declined), then I blathered on about my acute stage fright, and my total fear of vomiting or fainting in public to such an extent that the woman behind us (an anxiety counselor) offered me her business card.

If Wendy had been smart, she’d have picked up the skirts to her stunning cocktail gown, grabbed her husband by the hand, and rushed to her seat. But instead, we got into this hilarious conversation about how social anxiety gives us both humiliating verbal diarrhea, and a lifelong friendship was born.

Because this story is in fact, rather longer and more miraculously wild and wonderful than either of us can recount in a single blog, I’ll be tackling it in little Bob Sagget-esque flashbacks over the next few weeks.

So, kids, I’ll be back on Thursday, with my part of the beginning. Carolyn

 

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Cleanse, Shmense.

scale cartoonMy esteemed blog partner was supposed to post, but she can’t; she’s recovering from her health-juice cleanse.

I told you so, Carolyn.

Hey, blog readers, have you ever done an “internal cleanse”? I have. They’re great. For the first five days, you are filled with energy. You’re lighter than air. Your skin glows. You glance into mirrors, eager to greet each long-lost muscle as it reappears. You love everyone.

“Hello, Happy Mail Carrier Person!”

“Good day to you, Darling Dog Groomer!”

“Love ya, Safeway Cashier! That bag of Ruffles With Ridges you just rang up is not for me, by the way; I’m juicing!”

You even think that maybe, just maybe, your new-found inner clarity and serenity could yield the secret to world peace. Does anyone have the number to the Oval Office?

On day six, you wish you could stir a little simple syrup into that kale juice. On day seven, you take a three-hour nap. On day eight you would eat the dog if someone gave you a bottle of ketchup. And on day nine, you ask your blog partner to Google Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, because you know you have it, and, oh crud, you slept instead of posting a blog.

I told you so, Carolyn.

You’re de-toxing. We’re menopausal. We have so many toxins, they just pour all over the place when we try to tease them out of their hidey-holes.   Look, I get it: You were trying to rid yourself of two of the classic symptoms of menopause–weight gain and sluggishness.  But it’s a dangerous game you’re playing, my friend.

I was just at Bob’s Red Mill. Do you know that Bob Moore, the king of whole grains, is going to be 86 next month and is still working a full schedule? If he says he’s going to blog, he blogs.  I ate at his restaurant, and they serve GIANT 3-egg omelets smothered in three cheeses, with fried potatoes, whole-grain biscuits and butter. They would NOT do that if it was bad for us.

While I was at the Red Mill Store, I bought you a big ‘ol peanut butter cookie.  It’ll stop that nasty detox in its tracks. I expect you’ll be writing a blog asap.

I’ll drive over with the cookie.  First, though, I’m going to take a nap, ‘cause I’m still a little full from lunch.  Come to think of it, I feel kinda sluggish.  And I think I gained weight.

If you have any extra juice, I’ll have a sip or two when I see you.

Love you.
–Wendy

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FROM HERE TO MATERNITY LEAVE

Stork

Hi, everyone!

It’s Wendy, one half of two hot mamas, back from a maternity leave that consumed all of 2014.

Yes, that’s right: Just like Sarah in the bible, I became a mama again when I was not merely “too hot,” but practically charred. It was a miracle, although not quite like Sarah’s.

This “baby” was birthed via adoption, and she was almost five. Carolyn was there the whole way, acting as our doula, helping mother and child to make it through some rocky times while my husband worked out of state for most of the year. Frankly, Carolyn saved the adoption more than once.

Along the way, she and I fulfilled two more dreams—writing a book together (we’ve published a combined total of fifty novels on our own, but never before collaborated), and home schooling our tweens. And, she got her three oldest settled in college/early college and jobs.

We meant to blog during all this; we really did. But, let’s face it: We were lucky to shower—

Aw, crud. I knew we forgot to do something.

Well, anyway, we’re back now. Look for fresh blogs every Tuesday (and reruns on Thursdays…unless we’re napping).
Happy 2015,

–Wendy and Carolyn

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No…no…wait…it’s toohotmamas?

They said we wouldn’t be back until this happened and lo and behold…

What?  Pigs are flying?

What? Pigs are flying?

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Bathroom Humor, hot flash, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

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

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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Filed under Beyond the Storm, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Older writers, Writing

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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Filed under Exercise, Health, Humor, Krav Maga