Monthly Archives: February 2010

The Thigh Master

Well.  I have to bow to Suzanne Somers’ greater success with menopause.  She is, apparently, sleeping, having sex, increasing bone density, improving her memory and looking younger every day.  SO WHY IS SHE AIR-BRUSHED ON THE COVER OF THAT BOOK, CAROLYN???  Answer me that.

And those lips?  Plump from bio-identical hormones or collagen injections?  I mean, how do we know what’s really working?  We don’t even know whether Courtney Cox is twenty, forty or sixty.  Meg Ryan could be a centenarian.  But we’ll never know, BECAUSE NO ONE AGES ANYMORE.

It’s not easy being one of only two menopausal mothers in my daughter’s first grade.  The other moms arrive at pick-up in their sweats, with a healthy glow from their workouts.  I’m usually in the middle of a hot flash.   I mentioned that once, and they tilted their heads like, “Huh?”  They thought menopause was an urban legend.

Aging is not an easy road, but someone’s gotta do it.    Suzanne Somers has obviously dropped the ball.  I’m just sayin’.

Wendy

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I Forgot What I Just Remembered

I’ve battled my weight all my life.  Not that I was obese exactly, but nobody would ever mistake me for Kate Moss.  The only way I was able to keep it under control was by working out 3 hours a day and counting every calorie.  That worked until I got pregnant with my first baby.  I gained 40 pounds with each of my five kids.  And, since three of them were adopted, this was… well, a bummer.  I managed to lose most of it, but now, as the years pass, it gets tougher and what with menopause, gee whiz, it just seems hopeless. The Kate Moss thing, I mean.

I’m big into self-help tomes and have tried all the diet books with varied but temporary success.  And then, a friend told me about Suzanne Sommer’s books on menopause and how they revolutionized her life.  So, I bought two.  They have done nothing for me.  But then, I haven’t read them yet.

However, I have high hopes.  From what I understand, bio-identical hormones will give me so much energy that I’ll no longer need sleep.  This will come in handy as I also hear—when I’m not training for a marathon—I’ll be busily ripping my husband’s clothes off in a dither of connubial bliss.  No more personal summers.  No more brain fog.  And skin?  Dewy as a rose petal at dawn.

 I think my family might be happier if I don’t replace the est-road-rage-en, but hey, anything has got to be better than the…the…uh…oh…the…uh, you know…the…               what was I talking about?

Carolyn

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Kids Don’t Multi-task; Why should I?

Children don’t multi-task.  Unless food is being served, in which case they can throw, jump, dance, spin, talk incessantly and deliver an oral report on worm bins while they are chewing.

Ask a child to clean her room, carry a plate into the kitchen, take shoes to the closet or brush teeth before bedtime, however, and you will find God’s greatest example of living in the moment.

At the start of cleaning the room, there will surely be a rock that needs to be examined with the attention of a geologist.  Should a stray puzzle piece be found, an entire 100-pieces of Cinderella and her prince will be assembled on the spot.

Shepherding shoes from living room floor to closet (our house is tiny; it’s not that far) requires the addition of a dance recital delivered with the single-minded focus of a prima ballerina.

Women are supposed to be great multi-taskers; apparently it doesn’t kick in until adulthood.  It’s helpful for a while.  I can cook a meal, clean the house and pay bills while simultaneously brainstorming plots with a fellow author or getting (or receiving) phone therapy from a womanfriend.  I can pick up shoes AND do a dance recital.  Somebody’s got to.

It’s tiring, though–all that simultaneous activity.  I find I do it in my sleep now.  I think I’m resting, but I’m still plotting the next book, figuring out bills, wondering how to wedge violin lessons in between gymnastics and ice skating, planning a birthday party.  If you’re a woman, you know the drill.

You know how Shakespeare wrote that in old age we turn back into babies?  Well, now that I’m menopausal, I think I’ll sleep while I’m sleeping.  Perchance to dream…of sleeping.

Yes, I like this idea.  I may even try eating while I’m eating.  Talking to a friend while I’m talking to a friend.  Turning off the news while I do yoga.  I may even drop the five pairs of shoes I am lugging to the closet in between typing this, turn on Barbie Swan Lake and dance.

Wendy

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Crrrraaaaaap

         Here’s one reason I like the idea of a big family.

    I wonder if she’s menopausal.

                                                                    Carolyn

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The Dance

Last night Libbi and I had a “sleepover” in the living room, kicked off by a dance party.

She really let loose on Just Around The River Bend from Pochahantas.  Hair swinging, body arching forward and back, arms and legs swaying like tree branches in the wind, her whole body interpreting.  It was pure creativity, unfettered by concern over technique or self-consciousness.  It was joy.

Suddenly I felt as if I were in college again, where we did what we did because we loved it.  Everything to gain and nothing to lose.  (At least in the fine arts department. )

Do you still have something in your life that feels like that? Something you fling yourself into out of sheer love, allowing your heart to choose your steps?

Is anyone out there reading this? If you are, I’d love to know: Now that you’re all grown up, do you feel that way about something in your life?

Here’s another question for you:  Does turning a passion into a vocation necessarily alter our experience of the things we love to do?  Is there a benefit to making one’s passion a hobby rather than a career?

What do you think?

Now that I’m “of an age,” my relationships are becoming more and more my passion.  When I’m in the moment, looking into my daughter’s eyes as I answer her questions or listen to her stories, really watching her during her nightly gymnastics exhibition off the sofa–instead of trying to clean my purse, sneak in a little computer time or otherwise “catch up” when I could be fully present–I feel joy.  And contentment.

I have more to say (what a surprise), but my daughter just came into the room.  And I don’t want to miss this moment.

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Taxing

Iiiitttsss Tax Time!

My husband does ours.  Which means I’m due for my annual verbal spanking.

“Do you have any idea how much we spent on fries this year?”

“Uh, no?”

“SIX.  THOUSAND.  DOLLARS!”

What?”  Okay, what with 5 kids, I don’t have a lot of time to cook, but I’d had no idea.

“What did you buy?  Gold plated keyboards?”

Huh?  Oh!  Frys  Electronics!  My hearing ain’t what it used to be.  Phew.

Our diet is safe for another year.

Carolyn

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For the Birds

I am easily distracted.  As a writer, this is not good.  However, since I have begun writing all night long and sleeping in the mornings, my productivity level has dramatically increased.  Until yesterday.

He’s back.

The bird.

I write near a huge glass door that leads to a balcony.  Every year, robins build about a half-dozen nests in the nooks and crannies just under the balcony’s eves.  What’s cool about this is, each spring the kids can creep out on the deck, peer between the boards and see the baby birds all fat and fuzzy, open-beaked, screaming to be fed.  Kind of like them, come to think of it.

Anyway, along with the lady birds and their babies, comes the hero.  There to serve and protect.  And every year, this guy (this is his 4th year on duty) lands on the railing and gives his reflection the stink-eye.  I can practically hear the thoughts whirring in his bird-brain.  “Who are ya, ya barmy router?  Stay away from the ladies, ya handsome devil.  No?   You dare to puff yourself at me?  I’ll just have to fight ya then!” 

I’m not sure why, but in my head he has an Irish accent.  And so, he blows up to twice his size and begins to strut.  He’s adorable.  “Yer not leavin’ then?  Okay for you, ya rounder, you!”  Then, tail slashing, my hero proceeds to fashion a pile of droppings, apply a generous coating to his feet and then fly at his enemy.  AKA:  my window.  What amazes me is that the dogs can sleep through this.  The same dogs that will claw their way through the door to attack a gust of wind.

You know that sound it makes when you drag a fork across a chalkboard?  Yeah.  And, he keeps it up until the window is so coated with dung that he can no longer see his reflection.

All very conducive to writing.  And sleeping.  The Herald is back.  Spring is here.

Carolyn

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Menopause, love and logic

I know that Love & Logic parenting is all the rage.  With due respect to its creators and many adherents, ARE ANY OF YOU FREAKING MENOPAUSAL????

Give me a moment; I’ll take my estrogen and explain…

When I got in the shower this morning, I discovered that, once again, my daughter has been “making potions” during bath time.  The making of potions a la Libbi entails dumping all of my body wash, body scrubs, conditioning gels, lotions and liquids (absolutely essential to avoid that “mature” alligator-with-eczema look) into the bath water and then making her own sludgy combos to refill the containers.  (She puts them all back very neatly, gotta give her that.  I never know she’s done it until I wash my hair with bath salt.)

Now, I have previously explained that this situation is not acceptable and determined the “logical,”  “loving” course of action–a shower instead of a bath for her, which would be a tragedy and probably effective.    IF I COULD REMEMBER TO ENFORCE IT.

You see, Love & Logic parenting requires two things the menopausal mother of a young child does not have in adequate supply: patience and a memory.

Am I really supposed to remember at six p.m. the thing that pissed me off that morning?  Not gonna happen.  I consider that one of the perks of menopause.

I tried 1-2-3 Magic, which I liked when my daughter was younger, but now, with menopause-induced ADD, I’m onto another topic by the time I get to 3.

So, I propose a more satisfying, more effective way for a menopausal mother make her point:  The next time I get into my shower only to find that my expensive cream rinse has been diluted to drool, I am going to scream “WHICH ONE OF YOU YAHOOS IS MESSING WITH MY STUFF AGAIN????  WHOEVER IT IS , YOU ARE IN SO.  MUCH.  TROUBLE!!!” at the top of my lungs.   I think that’s going to work.  And at least I won’t have to try to remember where I put my Love & Logic book.

Wendy

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You Are Only Old Once!

Hey, Wendy!   First the Delany sisters and now this!  Clearly, the best writers are old writers!

I was just reading Green Eggs and Ham with my 6-year-old son, and some questions came up about Dr. Seuss.  So, we Googled him. I did not know that Theodore Geisel’s (aka: Dr. Seuss) career as the writer we know and love began after he was 50 years old!  Yes, he did write before he was 50.  But the whole Green Eggs and Ham phenom happened later.

 Apparently, in May 1954, (he was born in 1904) Life magazine published a report on illiteracy among school children, which concluded that children were not learning to read because their books were boring.  And so, an editor at Houghton Mifflin compiled a list of 348 words he felt were important for first-graders to recognize and asked Geisel to cut the list to 250 words and write a book using only those words.  The editor challenged Geisel to “bring back a book children can’t put down.”   And Cat in the Hat was born.

In 2000, Publishers Weekly compiled a list of the best-selling children’s books of all time; of the top 100 hardcover books, 16 were written by Geisel, including Green Eggs and Ham, at number 4, The Cat in the Hat at number 9, and One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish at number 13.

Another interesting tidbit?  He did not win the Caldecott –or–the Newbery Medal.

Just goes to show you.  You can be old.  You can be a loser.  But you can still have a whippin’ good career as a writer.

Carolyn

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Dating at six

About “All dolled up, part deux…”_

I like that my daughter saw your son crap his pants.  I don’t know if you heard, but all through dinner she kept telling him, “You have to find your true love.  She could be in this restaurant.”  Probably she scared the **** out of him.

Anyway, this is good.  This is what marriage is really about.  First you meet your prince in the restaurant.  You go on a honeymoon and have babies.  Then you spend your golden years following him to the bathroom so you can help him wipe.

That is way more reality than The Bachelor will ever show.

Wendy

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The World’s Oldest Author, and it ain’t me!

Wendy!

Number one son just brought home the Guinness Book of World Records and yes!!  There is hope for our careers!!

Apparently, Louise Delany and her sister, Elizabeth Delany published their second book, The Delany Sisters’ Book of Everyday Wisdom’  back in 1994, when she was just 105 years old.  I don’t know about you, but this puts a HUGE gust of wind in my sails.  I’m not even half her age yet.  You know, we outta think about doing a book together one day, in say…50 or 60 years.  Yeah, sure, we’d be all done with menopause, so we’d have to think up some new thing to gripe…er, offer wisdom about, but I say let’s go for it!

I’m gonna go to Amazon now, and see if I can get ahold of a copy of their book.  It’s my new holy grail.

Carolyn

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All Dolled Up, Part Duex Deux

Ahhh, Wendy.  My Wendy. Every woman needs a BFF to tell you how much she hates you when she thinks you look good.  This is so satisfying.  Especially when all I can see are the parts of me that are falling apart, and for whatever reason–cataracts?–she can’t.

Anyway, yesterday I was desperate to get out of the house to be with friends.  I convinced myself, and my 6-year-old son, that we were done with the stomach flu and it was time have a playdate!!  Four adult writers–and two little kids– out to hear Kristen Hannah speak at Powells Books!!  After that, lunch at McGraffs!!  No more vomit!! Yay!  Time to get dolled up!  Roughly translated, shower.

I remember this one time, when I was a kid, my entire family had the stomach flu.  My mother, sick of being housebound, managed to convince my dad that it was time to go out to dinner.  We were “well”, dammit, Jim!  (my dad’s name is Doug, but whatever).  Anyway, we get to the Chinese restaurant and my sister has to throw up.  So, my mom, clearly in denial, says, “Carolyn, please take your sister to the bathroom,” and proceeds to order us all these hurking combination plates.  Being that I was still suffering, I was probably not at my most patient.  Especially considering I was 10 and she was 8.  Okay, so in the bathroom there is one stall available.  And, I was crowded in there with her.  And the more she throws up, the less ‘good’ I feel, until we are both on our knees, fighting over who gets to puke into the public toilet.  Since that day, Hoisen sauce still makes me think of toilets.

All this to say, I now have complete sympathy for my mom.  Yesterday, my sweet son was submitted to multiple humiliations because of my premature need to get out of the house.  I knew we had a bit of a problem when his French fries arrived and he didn’t fall into them face first and devour them in his usual style.  “These make me want to BARF!” he announced.  I laughed, thinking, oh, look how he’s showing off for Wendy’s daughter, also age 6.  So, of course, I have to eat his fries.  Then, he had to go to the bathroom.  NOW.  Wendy’s daughter came with us and found it both fascinating and hilarious that my son had to use the Ladies Room.  When I finally got him into a stall, he…stalled.  Couldn’t get his shoe off.  Not getting the shoe off, means not getting the pants off, which means not being able to climb up onto the toilet…in time.  Oops.

I was tempted to flush his underwear down the toilet, but hey, that would clog the plumbing and besides, that’s what those sanitary paper protectors are for, are they not?   And so, I return to the table, an aromatic package sticking out of the top of my purse, polluting its contents, spreading the love, so to speak.  

Thank God I’d taken the time to get all dolled up.

Carolyn

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all dolled up

So yesterday morning, my dear blog buddy told me she was getting “all dolled up” for our trip to hear the marvelous NYT bestselling author Kristin Hannah read from her new novel, WINTER GARDEN.  (If you enjoy staying awake until 3 a.m. with a box of Kleenex and a whole new appreciation of love and the women in your life, read Kristin’s books.)

Now, despite the fact that I love seeing Kristin and love going to Powell’s bookstore, I had planned to wear my customary Saturday attire–discreetly stained sweatshirt and jeans that smell vaguely of dog if you get too close to my leg.  When I heard from Carolyn, however, I began to worry that perhaps I was not being respectful enough.  Or that I’m lazy or possibly defeatist, so I figured I’d freshen up a bit, too.

A little trivia about Carolyn:  She has a pact with the underworld and does not age.  To those of us who went through premature menopause, this is very disturbing.  Annoying, even.   I try to say the serenity prayer before I see her.

Okay, so I figured it would take me ten, maybe fifteen minutes to “doll up” for the big outing.  It.  Did.  Not.

With a career, a first-grader and a DIY kitchen remodel that could take us into the next millennium, I haven’t had a lot of time for makeup.  Apparently since I last visited my modest stash, my husband used my mascara to darken his beard for an audition, and there wasn’t much left (and also, eew).  My daughter “practiced” with the single lipstick I still own (looks more like she ate half of it), and my eyeshadow had gone a bit crumbly.  I did, however, find a brand new lip pencil!!!!!  I’ve always liked my lips, so I decided to concentrate on them.

Holy Mother of God.

I have a clear memory of watching my mother’s lipstick climb slowly up the lines leading from her top lip to her nostrils, and thinking, “Why does she let it do that?”  LET it.  I thought there was a choice.  I was wrong.

At forty-eight I have never smoked a cigarette.  Only rarely have I ingested liquid through a straw.  Yet within seconds of penciling my lips red, I looked like I had a bloody nose.

It won’t be easy explaining to my daughter that I’ve used her college fund for my BOTOX injections.

So my point:  Getting “all dolled up” is different now.  It takes longer.  It takes, actually, a little grieving and a lot of  surrender.  The gift, as far as I can tell at this juncture, is that  the focus shifts from worrying about what you think of me to the simple enjoyment of being in your company.  (Except, perhaps, for Carolyn’s company.  Because, I’m sorry, but when she loses weight she gets a jawline, and when I lose weight I get a turkey waddle, and I’m just not that spiritually evolved.  Yet.  I’ll get back to you.)

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delusions

Just got an e-mail from a college friend.  She proposed that with all the negative news on shows like CNN, people must be rushing out to buy romance novels and she pictures me “prosperous, delighted and rolling in abundance.”  I’m rolling, alright.  ROFLMAO.

I haven’t written back yet.  Printing the truth in black and white could require a Margarita drip…except that I don’t drink, so maybe a cake?  The big kind, from Costco.  The whole thing.

Being a broke artist at twenty was exhilarating.  Being a struggling artist at thirty was motivating.  At forty–a great spiritual growth experience.   At forty-eight?  It sorta bites.

Here’s the thing.  Ever since menopause and the disappearance of my jaw line (how is it you have still have a sculpted jaw, Carolyn?  If you’re getting nipped without telling me, I’m gonna get upset)…anyway, ever since menopause and, let’s face it, the myriad physical changes (and that brings me to why it’s REALLY called “the change,” but that’s another blog), I feel, well, grief when I think of the expectations I had and the reality I live.  The reality is GOOD, GREAT in so many ways, but…different.  And there is grief involved in its acceptance.   Grief in letting go of so much.  All those delicious delusions of grandeur.  I really liked those.

Anyway, I know this menopause thing is a marvelous opportunity to grow.  To find the endless summer within.  And I’ll do that.  Uh huh.  Right after we win the Pillsbury Bake-Off, hit the NYT list and join a gym to sculpt age-defying muscles.    Denial first, acceptance later.  😀

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February is “Stomach Flu Month”

Wendy:

You’re doing good!  You actually got on and made a comment!  I can see you are frustrated.  Don’t worry, I’m sure that behind every Menopausal Blogger, stands an adolescent with a pocket protector.  Grab the paper boy or your babysitter and force one of them to help.

Anyhow, we’re all squeezy here today.  My doctor once told me that February is Stomach Flu Month, which made me laugh, because how would a virus know the date?  Well, slap my face and call me Earl, cuz she was right.  Just like clockwork, everyone at our house got a splitting headache on…February 1st!  By the second, my oldest daughter was spewing.  Then, number one son.  Then, husband.  The rest of the kids are complaining of headaches, (but I think one of them secretly feels great, she just doesn’t want to do the dishes) and saying their stomach’s hurt.

I was thinking about asking one of the kids to lick me, as the stomach flu is a quick and easy way to lose several pounds, and bathing suit season is just around the corner.

Carolyn

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We’re Bloggin’ Now!

Wendy, seriously.  This blogging thing isn’t that scary.  If the dog can do it, anyone can.  Just go ahead and jump in the deep end.

The water’s great!

Carolyn

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Hello world!

Hey, Wendy:

Well, here it is.  Ta-da.  I managed to actually launch a Blog for us without the help of a 6-year-old or the Geek Squad.  I hope the picture of me, sitting in bed with my laptop is okay with you. 

So far, I find this Blogging thing very similar to shopping with money.  When I am broke I can go to a store and find 50 things I want to buy.  But if I have money, I can’t find anything I want.  Same with blogging.  Before we actually had a blog I thought maybe I had something to say on the subject of menopause, marriage and motherhood.  But now that we have this blog…not so much.

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The dog just walked over the keyboard.  At least someone has something to say.  Oh, and I still can’t figure out if that little snowflake deal is permanent, or we can somehow post our pictures there.  Not that I want my picture there.  Maybe we should put the dog’s picture there.  She seems to like this whole Blogging scene.  Maybe we should give her a column.  Dog Blog.   Some dog’s probably already done that. 

Carolyn

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