Monthly Archives: April 2010

Calendar Girls

The Locker Room: "Care for a healthy snack post workout?"

What’s up with women who like to clean out their purse/apply makeup/blow-dry/socialize in the locker room without a stitch of clothing on? Are you one of those? If so, please, explain yourself. Don’t get me wrong. A quick, naked dash from the locker to the shower, standing in your area, dressing, undressing, whatever. But naked chit-chat? Naked stretching? Naked application of nail polish? Don’t get it. 

Yesterday, after a traumatizing workout, I drag myself into the locker room only to be further traumatized by the nudist loitering in front of my locker. Awkward. She is bent over, doing something to her feet. Or her breasts. Don’t know which, since they were both in that…area. Couldn’t look. Too freaked out. She seemed to have no intention of dressing. No clothing anywhere in sight and a laissez faire attitude that screamed, “Hey, I grew up in the 60’s so deal with my carefree abandon”. I felt like a perv, trying to reach around her and retrieve my purse. 

How does one arrange one’s face when speaking to a nude stranger? How does one make small talk? “Hey, I love your… your…uh… your…” Where does one train one’s gaze? 

I’ve never been that uninhibited. Unless you count the times I was in labor with daughter number one and three. (Daughter two’s labor was kindly handled by another brave woman). When I was being stitched up by the doctor, everyone from the labor nurses to the computer maintenance guy seemed to pass through my room while my legs were strapped into stirrups and flung as far as east is from west. “Hey, what’d we have?” the custodian asked, leaning on his mop. “It’s a girl!” I crowed, not caring a fig about my nakedness, but then, remember, I was swacked out of my mind on drugs. 

What is the excuse for the locker room nudist? Are we too hot from all that exercise? Killed the ‘inhibition’ brain cells back at the commune? Fighting a vicious laundry soap allergy? Or is it just me? Am I simply a big party-pooper who has yet to find the joi de vivre in flaunting my flab? The ecstasy of blow-drying sans brassiere? The rapture of panty-less eye-shadow application? 

Yeah. Well. I can see I’m gonna have to loosen up. 

Carolyn

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Filed under Exercise, Fitness, Health, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Weight gain, Weight Loss

THE GYM: Day One

Whoa, Dude. Exercise? Me?

Got to the club. Was assigned a Personal Trainer. He carried a little note card around, said he was gonna make notes for exercises that would help make my ‘Menopause Journey’ a ‘healthier’ prospect for me and get my daughter into an ‘active’ life-style. He’s a total hottie. I wink at the daughter. She winks back.

Machine number one:
Personal Trainer: Let’s start out by warming up. Hop on the treadmill and give me 10, trotting.

Daughter: Trotting on machine next to mine. Zen-esque. Beaming at the hottie. Show off.

Me: I wonder if he meant 10 seconds? I’ve been trotting for well over a lifetime and the clock on the machine says I’m only up to one minute. Holy crap. I’m ready for a nap. Hope this is all he expects today. Is it normal to fall off the machine?

Machine number two:
Personal Trainer: Now that we’re warmed up, let’s try some resistance exercises.

Me: Good Grief! Should I tell him I just herniated my heart? Lacerated my liver? Exploded my spleen? Several people on other machines are staring at my beet red face with concern and murmuring amongst themselves.

Daughter: Drops into the chair, adds 10 lbs to her recommended weight and powers through the first set. I don’t like the smirk on her face.

Machine number three:
Personal Trainer: This is my favorite for Buns of Steele.

Me: Call 911. I’m sure I just heard something pop. I think it was my spine. I swear I can’t feel my legs. Woman on machine next to me asks if I need defibrillator paddles.

Daughter: Don’t know where she is, as she has already completed three sets. I hear her singing somewhere in the distance. She’s grounded.

Machine number four:
Personal Trainer: This one is guaranteed to give you a six-pack.

Me: Someone get me a six-pack. Stat. With a Ringer’s lactate chase. I’m hearing the Hallelujah chorus and am heading toward the light. I’ve decided I LIKE the way my thighs sag. And what’s wrong with wearing a bra sized 38-Long? Are we done yet?

Daughter: High-fiving the Pilates instructor. I hate her.

Machine number five:
Personal Trainer: Feel the burn.

Me: My head is spinning. I can’t focus. I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. Have I given birth to my lower intestine? Should hemorrhoids fill your pants out that way? My shrieks of pain are drawing looks of annoyance from the other members. Up theirs. And the barbell they rode in on.

Daughter: Joined several peers for a quick game of racquet ball. She’s so outta the Will.

Machine number six:
Personal Trainer: This one’s for the Gipper!

Me: Shoot me. I don’t care. I stopped breathing 10 minutes ago anyway. Someone call the morgue. I think I’ve had a series of mini-strokes because I’m drooling now and have lost the ability to communicate in anything other than Klingon.

Daughter: She’s fifteen. Close enough. She’s driving us home. Now.

Looking forward to tomorrow.
Carolyn

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Filed under Exercise, Fitness, Health, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Weight gain, Weight Loss

Swimsuit season already? Ack!

Spring is here.

I hate the tabloids. They like to take pictures of celebrities with fabulous figures and zoom in on their rear ends and critique bums that, in my opinion anyway, look great.

Far, far better than mine.

I always wonder, who writes this mean stuff? And, what does their bum look like under the telescopic lens?

Anywhoo, it’s that horrible time of year again. Everyone’s a critic. My oldest son–who by virtue of a lucky African gene pool was born tan–tells me I need a little color. The daughters agree that I could wear my bathing suit top backwards and it would still fit perfectly. The hubby is generous enough to say, “We’re both needing a little exercise.”

The scale confirmed their candid consensus. Bummer. (no pun). So, it’s off to the gym. Today is Day One. April 26th, 2010. As good a day as any to start, I guess. I’ve put off the New Years resolution as long as possible. In order to have some accountability, however, I’ll call today Ground Zero and admit that I need to head toward ground -25. I’ll report back here, every so often and let you all know how I’m doing. Dragging the teenage daughter with me, as she needs to head to ground -10 for optimum health.

We are both excited. Have the Gym Bag packed with water, towels, shampoo, sleazy-bum-mocking-tabliods, all the required accoutrements for a day at the spa. Gonna tackle a split routine. Legs today. Tomorrow, upper bod. I’m thinking we’ll both have our Jillian Michaels goin’ by July. All lean and tan and stunning. People are gonna look at us and say, “Hey, now THEY oughta be on the cover of the tabloid with their rock-hard bums!”

Jealousy? Yeah, it’ll be tough to live with people hating us because we’re beautiful. But we’re up for it.

I’ll report back tomorrow and let you all know how Day One at the gym goes.
Carolyn

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The Menopause Survival Kit: Don’t leave home without it!

Hi ho! The Seven Cures for Menopause Kit


I have the world’s BEST neighbor. Recently, she gifted me with the coolest present I’ve ever gotten. The Menopause Survival Kit. It came in a blue gift bag that said: YOU ROCK! (which is true, I do!) Inside, though, was the good part. First, there was a note of instruction: Dear Carolyn, I hope you enjoy this Menopause Survival Kit. Many women just like you have utilized kits like this to help them through this stage of life. Within this bag you will find Seven Items. Please begin with Item One.
ITEM ONE: A huge bag of Lindor chocolates.
The note read: Because everyone needs chocolate from time to time, especially to soothe the hormones…I mean nerves.
C: I promptly used this item until it was done. Amazingly, IT WORKED! My kids and hubby tried to steal some of my ‘medication’ but I valiantly fought them off.
ITEM TWO: Duct (Silver Duck) Tape
Note: Well, just in case you need to tape something(one) up. It can be for the arms or mouth or to treat a ding in a table.
I love this and will probably have to use it over MY mouth.
ITEM THREE: Hole Punch Ticket
Note: This ticket permits you to kick or punch one free hole in the wall of your choice. I haven’t asked Matt’s permission yet, but I doubt he’ll mind as he’s handy (refer to Saw II post) plus, this ticket could save a life!
C: Yes, and the life it saves may be his. I have tucked this ticket away in a safe place.
ITEM FOUR: Freezer Cool Pack
Note: You know what this is for!
C: Yes, it’s in the freezer, chilling now.
ITEM FIVE: Ice Breaker Mints
If the cold pack doesn’t work.
C: Um hmm, plus, they’re a little classier in public.
ITEM SIX: Blue Bandana
Note: This is the “Don’t Mess With Mama” bandana. All you have to do is put this on, around your head, neck or wrist to communicate “Don’t mess with mama” This will help you when you feel and episode coming on, so everyone will know.
C: I’m wearing it now.
ITEM SEVEN: Movie Pass
Note: This is a Movie Pass which may be redeemed at a time of your choosing, and I will whisk you away to a cinema where we can watch a movie.
C: I have tucked this away with the Hole Punching ticket, just in case I need a quick get-away and hiding place.

I encourage you to create your own kits for the special women in your life. Bag: $2 Ingredients: $20 or so. Sanity provided? Priceless.
Carolyn

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Victoria’s REAL Secret

Hey, baby. What's your sign?

Sleep Apnea, part 2: Medical Fashion! YAY!
Probably the best part of Sleep Apnea is the really cool machine you get to take home and use every single night for the rest of your life! But before you can be trusted with the Nimbus 2000, you have to take a class with members of your non-breathing peer group. At first, it’s much like an AA meeting in that you don’t want anyone to know you’re there. Everyone takes a seat, looking as if they are facing their sentencing for crimes committed while asleep. If you’re lucky, you get the Good-Humor Man as your instructor to loosen things up. And, I gotta tell you, once everyone puts on ‘the mask’ it’s a veritable festival of fun. One guy in my class (a four-year veteran of Sleep Apnea) said it takes all the ‘mystery’ out of love-making. Apparently, when the wife sees him sans mask, she knows what time it is. Yeah, it takes the old mystery out of a lot of stuff. Another guy in my class was gonna order a mask for his wife so they could play Darth Vader. Everyone’s a comedian. I think my big beef is the lack of bling. A lady who sat across from me was wondering if we could maybe bedazzle the straps or get a model in leopard print or dayglo pink. I’d like to see the thing double as a blow dryer for those of us who like to double task. Anyway, if you have read this blog for any length of time, you know I’m big into get rich quick schemes, and I think I’m onto something with the Sexy Cpap machine (continuous positive airway pressure). Gonna get on the horn with Victoria. I think there’s a market here.
Carolyn

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Filed under Anxiety, Children, Making Money, Menopause, Motherhood, parenthood

I am your mother, Luke.

Ever wake up in the middle of the night, certain that something in your body has… stopped? You might have Sleep Apnea. The first time this happened to me, I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. That day I’d just felt her move for the first time. That night, I thought we’d died. I woke up clawing and gasping and my ever-helpful husband roused just enough to tell me to shut up. “But, I’m having a HEART ATTACK!” “Then play a spade or a club,” he muttered and rolled over. This has gone on (and off) for years. Me, waking up dead. Wondering, what causes this strangeness?

I am not an animal!

After about a dozen years (don’t take a house to fall on me) I called the doctor and they scheduled me for a sleep test. If you’ve never had one, ooo, what a treat. They glue wires all over your body and then tell you they are going to go in the next room and stare at you, while you sleep.
Oddly, I slept like a baby. Or so I thought. According to the test results, I’m fond of not breathing for loooong stretches at a time. And, perhaps this is why I drag through the day, blaming old age, bad diet, a penchant for staying up all night long, global warming, Bernice Hudeen from the 3rd grade, whatever.
Anyway, it’s official. Sleep Apnea. I’ll be back with an overview of the cure. If I live that long.
Carolyn

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Nuthin’ says lovin’ like something from the oven

We like him better this way

 

Wendy: 

Today is the day the Pillsbury winner is slated to be announced on Oprah.  The Million Dollar Bakeoff Winner.  Wonder who that lucky person might be.  I wonder if they took time away from their precious children to perfect their recipe?  I wonder if their marriage suffered because their husbands thought they were stupid to be chasing a pipe dream?   I wonder if the winner has five little tykes, every single one of which needs braces? 

Well, we do know one thing for sure. 

It’s not us. 

That’s okay.  There is always next year. 

Carolyn

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Filed under Cooking, Making Money, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, parenthood, Pillsbury Bakeoff

Open Letter to John Lilly, head of Pillsbury North America…or We’re not bitter, part II

Dear Mr. Lilly:

Today I received yet another in a recent onslaught of emails from Pillsbury offering me “fabulous” recipes and coupons for your products so that I might effectively execute said recipes.  I believe I can speak for my friend Carolyn when I say that we are more likely to eat the goopy stuff that collects in the corner of dogs’ eyes than to slam back one more poppin’ fresh anything.

It cannot have escaped your notice that in all fifty states and parts of Canada people have been ingesting dangerous amounts of your dough boy in an effort to better their circumstances.  The Pillsbury Bake-Off gave us all hope.  Hope, sir, that even in the face of our husband’s laughter, our children’s tummy aches, unstable blood sugar and alarming increases in dental caries we might win a new refrigerator or perhaps a trip to the Magic Kingdom.  For months we fell asleep dreaming of new uses for crescent rolls then awoke like children on Christmas morning, eager as all get out to see if we had e-mail.  Did Pillsbury like the Money Bunz? we wondered.  Did the Cookie Fries make them smile??  (And by the way, I have never seen anyone work with more single-minded focus than Carolyn Zane did when she perfected Cookie Catsup.   Her kids weren’t allowed to eat anything else for days.)

But we heard nothing–not a word, not a peep, not a giggle from the dough boy–to acknowledge our hard work and self-sacrifice in making your contest a success.

Yeah, I know you’re busy; we’re all busy.  Carolyn and I should have been writing books last spring, but did we?  Nooo.   We put the 65th annual Pillsbury Bake-Off first.  We would  appreciate a little acknowledgment, not another e-mail about Topsy Turvy Apple Pie and Chicken Nugget casserole or whatever that last one was.  Yuck.  (Did you even taste our tofu quiche?  Oprah would have loved it.)

All right, look, here’s the deal:  We’ve got your dough boy.  If you want him back in one yeasty piece, cease and desist all further emails unless it’s to say THANK YOU, LADIES from the bottom of your heart.  I  mean it.  We will eat that little dough man bit by bit, starting with his puffy white fingers (where are his fingers, anyway?) for every self-promoting e-mail you send.

With all due respect, take your head out, John:  No one who has spent a hundred gazillion hours and most of their children’s college fund entering your Bake-Off wants to try last year’s recipe for Maple-glazed Green Giant Spinach crescent rolls.  I’m just saying.

Best,

Wendy


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We’re not bitter…much.

Wendy…I hate to be the one to break the horrible, nay, nay hideous news, but… we were NOT selected as finalists in this year’s $#%@!! Pillsbury Bake-off 100 Finalists.  Yes, I know, last year, we spent nearly all of our savings on Pillsbury products, slaved hours in the test kitchen (okay, my kitchen), force-fed everyone we know Pillsbury products, and yes, even sacrificed our hips and thighs.  For what? 

Oprah to announce Million $ Winner!

To say I’m bummed is like saying the Grand Canyon is just a ditch.  I’m wrecked.  And the kicker in my Pillsbury depression?  The winner will be announced on… Oprah.  Yes.  Our Oprah.  The one you and I have always fantasized about being interviewed by and whose book club we aspire to being chosen for.  I am banging my head against the monitor as I write this.

Our entire year of labor is flashing before my eyes…

Remember how we put off entering our recipes until the deadline day?  Remember how your computer was broken and I drove 450 frikkin’ miles to your house and forgot to bring mine?  Remember how we got up early and borrowed your neighbor’s library card?  Remember how, when we got to the library, all the computers had people using them?  Remember how we cussed?  Remember how, when we finally got on a computer, we accidentally submitted some of the wrong measurments…and then the computer shut off, because we’d used your alloted half hour and your neighbors alloted half hour and we were locked out?  Remember how we cussed some more?  Remember how smug we were when we knew we still had one more half hour because we had your husband’s card… and then found out that the stupid contest closed at noon EASTERN TIME??  HUH?  REMEMBER?

Yeah.  Good times.

We should do it again.

I’m including the announcement below:

Although the cooking finals will be held here in Orlando, the winner of  the 44th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contestwill be announced April 14, 2010, on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” The 100 finalists will assemble and compete at the Waldorf-Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek hotel, preparing their original recipes in 100 mini kitchens stocked with all of their ingredients.  The four category winners (Breakfast & Brunches, Entertaining Appetizers, Dinner Made Easy and Sweet Treats) will be announced in the evening April 12 at the Hilton Bonnet Creek.  Then, in a first for the contest,  four finalists will be flown to Chicago  to appear on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”  On Wednesday, April 14, 2010, Winfrey will reveal the $1 million grand prize winner on her show. Visit http://www.bakeoff.com for more information, as well as past recipes.

I’m gonna go plunge a fork into my eye now.

Carolyn

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Saw II… Husband -vs- Power Tool. Oh yes, there will be blood.

I have not seen this movie.  There is something about the cover of this DVD that just makes my skin crawl.  It used to be in the display facing the front door of our local Hollywood Video store.  Gross.  I would always skip past that section.

This? Nuthin. You should see my hubby’s fingers

Anyway, this last Saturday, my hubby, Matt, was puttering in the garage.  He’s a regular Tim-The-Toolman-Taylor.  Every now and again, he’ll smash his thumb with a hammer and curse a blue streak, but that’s about it.

Little did I know, his luck was about to run out.  Notice how I’m clueing you in on the terror to come?  In the writing business, we call that “foreshadowing”.  Cool, huh?  (Insert scary horror film music here).   So, anyway, I was inside, pretending to write, but really napping (shhh), when our daughter comes screaming into our bedroom, “DAD’S HURT HIMSELF! COME QUICK!” 
 
I don’t remember getting out of bed.  I think I levitated to my feet, hit the floor once and was downstairs before I’d opened my eyes.  I’d just completed a course in CPR/First Aid and thought I was all Greg House.  Nope.  Couldn’t remember a dang thing.  Two chest compressions and 30 breaths?  uh… that can’t be right…  Stumbled out to the driveway and found my husband staring dazedly at his hand.  Blood everywhere.  The tip of his finger still in the garage I guess.
 
I shout at the kids to get my purse and my shoes.  My daughter, still screaming, throws her father’s giant clown slippers at me.  Other daughters gather towels and begin to boil water.  The sons are bawling.  The husband wanders back into the garage to…uh, who knows.  Look for his finger?  I’m in the car gunning the engine, yelling at him to get in or get left behind.  Once I’m strapped in, I’m either Starsky or Hutch, whichever one took the corners on two wheels.  My husband asks, “Hey, are you all right?”   Okay, shouldn’t that be my line?  I should have paid more attention to the “comforting the victim” portion of my CPR training.  Shouting “Shut up and let ME do the driving!” is hardly compassionate.
 
You know, I had no idea that while I’d been sleeping, my hair and make up had become so…attractive.  Couple this with the clown slippers?  Yeah.  I go screaming into the ER, “MY HUSBAND HAS CUT HIS FINGER OFF!”  They had the nerve to look bored.  Apparently, they see oh-so-attractive middle-aged clown people like myself dragging some bone-head like my husband in every single day.  In fact, you out there, reading this?  Odds are, you’re missing a digit.  I am shocked at how many people have come to me with missing finger stories.  I go to church with one lady who has THREE people in her immediate family, who are missing one or more fingers.  Hello?  Like maybe they ought to think about being, oh, I don’t know…CAREFUL?
 
Anyway, I’m not impressed with this movie poster any more.  Really, it’s nothing but a bad manicure.  I’ve seen worse.  Oh, yeah.  A lot worse.
Carolyn

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Filed under Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Older writers, Writing

The 35 Symptoms of Menopause. Symptom #36

Warning:  Some information may not be suitable for younger readers.  (In other words, I’d hate to scare you before your time.)

Menopause Symptom #36:  In menopause your face will change every day.  That’s right:  EVERY SINGLE DAY, YOU GET A NEW FACE.  This is kinda cool, except it’s never the one you want.

I’m shocked that this isn’t on the list, but I suspect that if the authors of the “35 Symptoms” explained this startling phenomenon (and offered photographic documentation), there would be mass panic.

If you’ve been following the blog for long, you know that since February (All Dolled Up) and March (Tying Scarves) I have been trying to make peace with the–continually– new me.   In lieu of peering too long into the mirror, I’ve been committed to looking more deeply at life, at relishing–or at least accepting–the wisdom of menopause.

Yeah, that was then.  Now it’s April, and I WANT MY FACE BACK. What triggered my relapse into discontent?  Oh, a couple things.  Chief among them, my daughter’s sudden fascination with skin care ads and her running play-by-play:  “That woman on TV looks good.  Lemme see your eyes, Mom.  Yep, you need that cream.  Let’s go get it, let’s go get it.”  (No more adult programming for you, missy. )

Second, and perhaps more alarming, was my dermatologist’s reaction when I visited her to check out a suspicious bump on my leg:

“No, that’s nothing, you get ’em with age” she said after a cursory glance at the red lump trying to take over my shin.  With a family history of melanoma, I expected a talk about what to look for, etc.  Nope.  She was too focused on my forehead.

“I can do something about that,” she said, pointing above my eyes.

I was still concentrating on the whole deadly mole issue and hadn’t been looking in the mirror lately (see above), so I was a bit alarmed.  “What?  What’s up there?” I reached for my forehead.  “Is it bad?”

She tilted her head, considering.  “It’s advanced, but we can make some progress.”

“Some progress”?   Only “some”?  I began mentally planning my funeral and got as far as the music (John Barry) when she pulled out a syringe.

“Have you not considered this before?” she asked.

Considered…?

“BOTOX.  It’s terrific.  I do it to myself!”  She pulled back her bangs.  “Look at my forehead.”

Torn between relief and…not relief…I had to admit she won the forehead contest, but still I raised my (sagging) chin confidently.   “I don’t want BOTOX.  I want to age naturally.”  Unfortunately, I followed that immediately with, “How much does it cost?”

She named a sum that almost exactly matchesour food budget for two weeks–for each syringe, and then mentioned that I might need several, one each on various “trouble” areas.  No way can I afford that, so I declined and prepared to leave.

“Oh, don’t go!”  She looked worried.  “We can work something out.  Honestly, I want to do this for you.  Sometimes I do trades.  What is it you do for a living?”

“I write romance novels.”

“Oh.”  She was silent for a moment, exchanged a glance with her nurse and then brightened.  “Well, you can give me a book.”

“They sell for 4.75 at Wal-Mart. ”

“Hmm.”  She studied me some more.  “Listen, when my friends really need it, I do it for free.”  She looked touchingly sympathetic–and so did her nurse–as they left the room.  “Think about it,” she called over her shoulder.  “Oh, and I don’t do Restalayne, but I’m sure you can find someone who’ll work out a good price.”

Well, of course they will, BECAUSE I AM OBVIOUSLY A DESPERATE CASE.  When your dermatologist is more concerned about your wrinkles than your melanoma risk factors it is clearly time to a.) get a new dermatologist and a subscription to Crone magazine, or b.) begin researching wrinkle treatments.

Stay tuned for an account of The Galvanic Spa.  Guaranteed to erase age spots, soften deep lines and restore skin elasticity.  It was only as expensive as one-and-a-half week’s worth of groceries.

Can anyone post a good recipe for beans and rice?

Wendy

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