“I have writer’s block. It’s the worst feeling in the world.”
Sophia: “Try ten days without a bowel movement sometime.”
Do you ever fantasize about what a good time you are going to have on a road trip? I do.
Oooo! It is going to be SO FUN to cram 9 people into an 8 passenger van and drive for HOURS! We’ll play the license plate game! We’ll sing camp songs and make s’mores! We’ll take pictures! The kids and the hubby! And, if that’s not enough, let’s throw grandpa and grandma into the mix! Yep, yep, yep… Big fun.
I should have suspected that we were in trouble when I politely cautioned my husband to remember that my mother (tortoise) does not drive as fast as he does (roadrunner) and to keep her in his rearview because she does not know exactly where we are going.
“Oh. Like I’m going to go speeding off and leave my mother-in-law in the dust,” he jeers.
You know, like I’m the idiot. Funny, he didn’t seem as jazzed about this trip as I was.
And so, after five delightful hours in the mini-van, we make it to the magnificent Painted Hills. It’s a bazillion degrees in the shade, but we gamely get out of the van and hike UP the mountain to the view-point. I flirted with heat-stroke, but then I love living on the edge.
We took the required pics. We admired the splendor. We praised God because we are pious, godly people with thankful hearts. We headed back to the van. It was decided that this would be a good time to have Daughter # ONE drive, as she is accruing her 100 hours of permit driving before she gets her license.
She leaps behind the wheel of the van. Hubby calls shotgun. The kids all pile in behind her, with the exception of Daughter #2, poor kid. She and I end up with grandma and grandpa in their car. The car that has no map. Because, hey, why should we need a map when we are following the husband who would not leave us? Forsake us? Without cell reception.
While they are all buckling up, I open the back of the van to get some water. Did I mention we were in hell? While I’m quenching my thirst, Daughter # ONE, in her teenage zeal, doesn’t know (or care) that the hatch is open as she starts the engine and stands on the gas.
I run after them as she tears out of the parking lot. “THE HATCH IS OPEN! THE HATCH IS OPEN!” I’m waving my arms and jumping up
and down. Several visiting families to the Painted Hills are amused at my antics (but, I must add sourly, don’t help). Grandma leans on her horn. Daughter jams on the breaks. Hubby leaps out, slams the hatch and Daughter # ONE achieves warp speed before I can climb in with Grandma.
“Follow that car!” I shout. Have I mentioned Grandma (tortoise) is a cautious driver? It is not until we arrive at the intersection that I realize the hubby and daughter are gone. And, THEY. HAVE. THE. MAP. AND. THE. WATER.
What ensues in our car was not pretty. “Idiot! Big, fat idiot! How could I have married such an….idiot!?” To my way of thinking, my husband—who, if you will remember, I did warn not to abandon Grandma—should be telling the kid to slow down and wait for us. Grandma nobly reminded me that nobody is perfect and that we all make mistakes and that I should not be so hard on my husband. I found this exceedingly annoying.
While we deliberate the route, Daughter # TWO tells us she has to go potty. Grandma pulls over, lets us out at a rest area near the intersection. She then speeds off to explore where Daughter # ONE and the IDIOT might have gone.
By the time Daughter # TWO and I are out of the bathroom, Grandma roars up in her car and is on the verge of divorce with Grandpa who is now—brace yourselves—an IDIOT!
Much arguing ensues. MUCH. ARGUING. There were tears. Recriminations. Accusations. You’re an idiot! No! YOU are the idiot!
And still, no Daughter # ONE or hubby. Tempers continue to soar with the mercury. There is no sign of the van. We locate a tree and park under its shade and out of boredom, turn on each other. Daughter # TWO is looking rather traumatized. And I think, Wow, this is so freaking MUCH FUN!
And then, I start to laugh. Super hard, convulsive laughter. Painful, loud, tears-down-the-face-laughing. Must have been contagious
as everyone else joins in. My father turns around and says to Daughter # TWO, “Honey, never get married.”
I wipe my eyes and tell her, “Nah, get married. Just remember. You’re an idiot.”
We love wise quotes. Happy quotes. Funny quotes. One of the best aspects of menopause is that we get to let go of the old– old beliefs, pre-conceived ideas, limitations, etc., and rebuild our minds. Quotes are great for this.
Here’s a great quote we heard today:
“I prefer to live the power of ‘and,’ not the tyranny of ‘or.'”
Love it. Hot Mamas’ friend’s son related that one.
Use it, dear friends. Live it. We’re going to try to.
Too Hot Mamas
Even for a Too Hot Mama? I think, maybe, it is. Alas, small mouths want to be fed. Also, THM said we were going to blog about food about Fridays, and we’re trying to develop a work ethic here. So…
I’m going to give you my mama’s recipe for Bleu Cheese Biscuits. They pair beautifully with a salad, and the family thinks they’re getting more than rabbit food for supper. Enjoy!
Bleu Cheese Biscuits
1/4 C butter
2 T crumbled bleu cheese
1 t lemon juice
1 10 oz package refrigerated biscuits, unless you are motivated enough to make your own.
Combine butter and cheese in a small sauce pan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until butter and cheese melt. Add lemon juice and continue to stir until slightly thickened. Pour this mixture into a 9″ round cake pan.
Cut each biscuit into quarters and place on top of mixture. bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
If you’re in peri-menopause, you’ll want to double this recipe, because they are very good leftover and very comforting at 3 a.m.
Do you have to-do lists for your summer vacation? Please say you do, and if you don’t, please lie to me, because I don’t want to be the only Type A, summer-killing, Wicked Witch of the West weenie who made a list, cracked the family whip…and didn’t get a darned thing done, anyway.
What is it with me and summer? I have a friend who takes her kids to the coolest places and does the most interesting things over the summer school break. They camp out in tree houses, fly to other states to attend fairs, go on field trips to meet rulers of the free world.
I told my family we were going to:
1.) Sand and paint the molding throughout the house. It really needs it.
2.) Pull down the hall wallpaper, which we started pulling down 2 years ago until I gouged the wall with the Paper Tiger, and we realized we’d have to drywall, too. It’s time to turn that mess into a proper hallway.
3.) Work on daughter’s spelling, reading and math—just fifteen minutes a day, but we must be disciplined.
4.) Organize all desks, bookshelves and closets so our mornings can proceed in a smooth and joyous fashion.
Of course I planned to reward us for each project we completed. A long bike ride, a sleepover for my daughter, a night out for the hubster and moi.
I was excited about summer, because I envisioned its conclusion with us toasting each other in our clean, lovely, drywalled home while our daughter rattled off a few dozen perfectly spelled, three-syllable words.
Yeah. So here’s what happened:
Me, resplendent in my husband’s tool belt, and holding a clipboard: “Okay, troops, here’s the list of what we’re going to accomplish today!”
Husband: “Great, honey, but before you read that, we’re going to go on a bike ride.”
Me: “Well, actually, I was thinking…”
Daughter: “Yeah, Mom, and when we get back, (insert name of friend here) is coming over, okay? Please? We haven’t seen each other since school and we probably won’t be in the same class next year (she used this same pitch for every friend all summer) and her parents said she could have a play date if you say it’s okay and I promise I’ll learn any words you want me to as soon as she leaves unless you say she can sleepover too can she please?”
I look at husband, who shrugs, not that he even attempts to follow that kind of run-on pleading.
And there I am, left with the drill sergeant and the pushover debating in my head:
We have to get something done. The house is a pit.
Ookay, but it is summer.
Yeah, well the hall looks like a still photo from Nightmare on Elm Street. I’ve seen people tremble on their way to our bathroom. And if DD doesn’t study a little bit, her brain will turn to mush and she’ll start the school year behind all the kids who are studying over the summer, and then she’ll feel bad when the teacher gives her “baby math.”
I know, but it’s summer.
No buts! The closets—
By this time, of course, the husband and daughter have left for their bike ride, and I have decided to do something really useful like vacuum crumbs out of the grooves in the dining table. And, probably, this wouldn’t be a bad thing (there was roughly the equivalent of a loaf of bread in those grooves), except that the debate continues inside my head and every time I see someone to whom I’m related, I grab the clipboard and ask them to commit to a chore and a time slot.
On a couple of occasions, I got them to join me for entire days devoted to one project or another, and when I wasn’t successful, I talked about all the work we still had to do. Doesn’t that sound fun?
And then I heard my husband and daughter talking about the fun they really were having riding their bike rides and playing Karate Kid Meets Ninja Turtle and engaging in an eight-year-old version of Name That Tune.
Up to that point, the most fun my daughter and I had was writing her spelling words on the sidewalk with 3-D chalk. (Well, I had fun.) So I gave up. I put the tool belt in the garage (though I thought it made me look kinda butch in a good way), ditched the clipboard and made plans to have a Halloween party in our hallway.
Tonight Carolyn’s sons are having a sleepover at our place. I walked the dog three miles while the boys and my daughter rode their bikes up and down hills, shrieking like…kids in summer. We got ice cream at the local store, came home to make giant chocolate chip cookies and built our own ice cream sandwiches. Now they’re watching Surf’s Up.
They’re giggling. I feel wonderfully relaxed. And it finally feels like summer.
The winner of our first bi-weekly drawing for a $5 Starbuck’s Gift card is…
Congratulations. Pretty dang exciting. Sure, Pioneer Woman gave away a darling lime-green Le Creuset pot on her blog this week, but that pot costs as much both of Too Hot Mamas’ family automobiles put together. As Too Hot Mamas always tell their children, “You’ll take what you get and like it.”
Rhonda, e-mail your snail-mail address to Carolyn or Wendy at one of their web sites …or, no, aren’t you related to Carolyn? She’ll have your addy, right?
Don’t worry folks, it was a random drawing, but we knew all three people who entered. There’s no conflict of interests on this blog; we’re inclusive and believe everyone has a right to five dollars’ worth of lattes.
Stay tuned for the next Wacky Wednesday, where we will discuss graham crackers and sex. Oh, yes we will.
Wendy and Carolyn
It is so fun to brainstorm story ideas with my husband. Especially when he’s awake. Took me a few years to figure out that the best time to catch him is early in the day, when he is sitting upright. Because once he’s horizontal, I can pretty much guarantee that if I’m pitching the Wizard of Oz to him, he’ll be snoring long before I get to the tornado.
The car is good. If he’s driving, he’s upright. Usually not snoring.
Today, we had a three-hour commute home from our place at the beach. I needed to come up with some names for my characters and so I told him he could name some of them. He likes to do that. He named a character for me one time that landed an eighteen book deal. Seriously. So now, he fancies he’s got some kind of “knack”.
“Who am I naming?” he asks. I can tell he’s feeling helpful.
“I’m thinking about a young guy who is a body builder/personal trainer. Kind of arrogant.”
“Sort of a jarhead?”
He mulls. “Got it. Timmy…Tenderloin.”
“Timmy? Tender…loin? I’m not writing for the porno channel. Do you ever want me to work again?”
He’s screaming with laughter at the windshield.
I’m beginning to worry as he is swerving. “Forget Timmy Tenderloin. Let’s move on. I need a middle-aged woman. Owns a Jamba Juice shop. I’ve got to kill her off.”
“Salt of the earth.”
“Got it. I’m thinking…Mae. Yeah. Mae. Born in May. Dies in May, right? Last name…Bury. A little foreshadowing there, huh?”
“You want me to name the Jamba Juice lady Mayberry?”
More riotous laughter. “Next?”
“I need a Chinese guy to run the restaurant.”
After we’d established that the Chinese dude was second generation American, the hubby has it. “Okay. His name is Miyagi Waxoff. And his kids are Ashley and Tyler and…they’re ice-dancers.”
More howling. I’m staring at him. And thinkin’ he’s lost the knack. Then again…I might be able to do something with the ice-dancers.
I love to feed my dog. LOVE it. She actually eats what I cook. Licks her chops afterward. Licks me. The dog adores salads, sauteed kale, brown rice and quinoa pilaf. I think she’s my soul mate.
My husband and daughter? Not so much. I know they wish our kitchen window was a drive-up. This week, DD and her friend were in the front yard, saw me standing at the sink and yelled, “Can we have Big Macs, fries and lemonade?”
“No, but I have something so much better! I made Hawaiian tofu wraps, sweet potato tater tots and sparkling apple juice.” I waited for the shouts of joy.
My daughter and her friend looked at each other.
“We’ll wait,” my daughter said.
I loved my mother’s cooking. Everyone did. My husband tells me that my mother was able to make even packaged food taste better than the manufacturer ever dreamed. So that got me thinking…
I pulled out my mother’s personal cookbook, packed with the recipes of my youth. In her later years, she began altering her recipes to reflect a simpler cooking style, and I think I know why: Menopausal ADHD–Attention Deficit Hotflash Dissorder. I don’t have the attention span to make anything elaborate. We eat raw half the time, because five minutes after I turn on the flame, I will forget that I was cooking at all and burn the whole meal. HOWEVER…
Here’s a recipe I believe I can do. We ate it for breakfast or dinner when I was a kid. I’m going to give it a whirl. I know the dog’s going to be ecstatic, and perhaps my two-legged family will look forward to eating at home. They might even lick me.
BUBBE’S BLINTZ SOUFFLE
12 frozen cheese blintzes (use the tofu kind from Trader Joe’s and non-dairy sour cream for a dairy-free version, but don’t blame Bubbe if it’s not as good as the original recipe)
1 large carton sour cream
4 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp vanilla
Your favorite jam
Place blintzes in casserole so they touch, but are not more than 1 layer deep. Mix remaining ingredients together–pour over blintzes. Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
Dab a little jam over the top of each serving and accompany with fresh fruit.
Maybe this should be menopause symptom number 40 or something: The end of foreplay as we once knew it.
A couple of days ago, Carolyn wrote a tad (forgive me, dear friend), but she wrote a tad too realistically about romance for my taste. And that’s fine. She doesn’t pen romance novels for a living anymore. I do. So I still BELIEVE, Carolyn (and George Clooney, if you’re listening). I believe in Romance. Please do not louse it up for me. If Carolyn is correct, and my husband picks his nose in his truck, I do not want to know it, and I do not want to see it. I don’t care how long two people have been married; there are things that should be picked only in private. (The same goes for you in your Beamer, George. Both hands on the wheel.)
And yet, Carolyn’s blog did get me thinking. Things have changed around here; I have noticed it. An example:
When I was forty-one, I was chatting with a group of women who mentioned—several times—how old we were all getting. I went home and told my husband, who placed his hands, those strong and tender, big latte-toned hands with the sprinkle of caramel hair on his manly-man knuckles, on either side of my face. He gave me the soul-mate gaze, and he said:
“Just tell them you’re my wine.”
Did he get lucky that night? Oh my, reader, yes he did.
But that was almost nine years ago. For eight of those years, I have been a mother and for five I have been in menopause. Probably so has he.
Skip ahead to last week when I donned a hot pink sleeveless tee shirt to show off the upper arms I have been diligently sculpting all summer. (It’s hard to sculpt mashed potato, but I’ve made some serious headway.)
“Hi, sweetie,” I said to my beloved, flexing and giving him a seductive wink as I pretended to reach for something on a high shelf (still the only way I can get my delts to pop, and, okay, we weren’t near a shelf, but I think I pulled it off).
He gave me a long, considering look.
Grrrrr. I love that look. You, sir, are about to get lucky for the second time in nine years.
“Honey,” he said in his velvet, Elvis baritone, the voice that still makes me shiver, “you could use a new bra. I don’t think that one is doing what it’s supposed to.”
That is NOT foreplay!
Now he’s going to have to wait another nine years.
And I may need a new career.
Carolyn, you up for a trip to Victoria’s Secret?
Wendy– sadder and, uh, apparently lower than I used to be.
It’s time for Winning Wednesdays at Too Hot Mamas.
All righty, you’re menopausin’–pre, peri, in it, post, whatever–the point is you’re sweaty, a little ticked off in a permanent way, you’ve got kids, a job, you’re tired, so if you could choose only one of the following, which would it be:
THE BEST DESSERT YOU’LL EVER EAT (what is it?)
THE BEST KISS YOU”LL EVER HAVE? (with whom?)
Reply and we’ll enter you in our bi-weekly drawing for a five-buck STARBUCK’S gift card.
Too Hot Mamas will answer this, too, of course. We’re an open book. But we want to hear from you first.
Carolyn and Wendy
Call me slow, but I am only just now realizing that the romance novels I’ve read (okay, and written) aren’t exactly realistic. I know, I can hear you gasping from here. Why, Carolyn, whatever could you mean? Well, I guess I mean that people claim they want a real hero, but how real is too real? As writers, could we be doing a disservice to the reader by painting a less than accurate portrait of a real relationship? For example, I have never seen:
Stone sat in his sports car at the corner of 12th and Main, his mind idling along with his powerful engine. His finger was buried up to its second knuckle in his nostril as he reflected on the short skirt his secretary had worn to work that morning. She was one hot tamale he mused, as he flicked a booger on his car mat. Yeah, she had some serious cellulite and a muffin top, but hey, nobody was perfect…
Flooded with relief, Hunter made it to the men’s room just before the diarrhea reared its ugly head. Oh man, I hope I don’t break the porcelain
he thought as he perched on the toilet, his trousers down around his ankles. Hopefully, being that this was their first date and all, Lucy wouldn’t leave before the cramps did…
Stag ambled to his motorcycle and straddled the seat. It was a great day for a ride in the country. There was nothing like the thunder that roared from between his legs as he fastened his helmet. Then, he kick-started his bike and revved the engine. Man, he loved eating at Taco Bell, but he was going to have to ride like the wind to get away from that smell…
As Suzy lay basking in the afterglow of their lovemaking, Rafe’s horrendous morning breath assailed her nostrils. She smiled down at him. He really needed a shave. And about a gallon of mouthwash. And then, there was the matter of that nasty gunk in the corners of his eyes…
Ah well. Maybe I’m just ahead of my time.
Heard this week from my mom friends:
“If I see you trying to drown your brother one more time…”
“Don’t hit your sister with that lizard. That is not nice. That poor lizard.”
“Well, how did you get bird poop in your cereal? You’ve been inside all morning.”
“Buddy, please don’t rinse your mouth again with that water. That’s where the geese go poo.”
Your turn! Share some crazy mom talk!
Okay, for you, Carolyn, grinding little guppies in your Insinkerator. But our fish, Bluestar, has been SAVED! His pretty blue fins are unclamped, his I’d-as-soon-kill-you-as-look-at-you personality is back in full force, his appetite…
As you all know, the family and I were prepared to go to extreme lengths to help our little Betta friend heal from the multiple fungal, bacterial and depression issues he appeared to be having. (We change his water regularly, use water conditioner, warm his bowl to the appropriate-for-Bettas temperature, etc., I swear.) Well, after many a run to pet stores and calls to ichthyologists, we found the right combo of treatments. And Bluestar, bless his fishy heart, responded. He even turned to stare at us with what we all agreed was gratitude.
Tim and I high-fived, wiped our tired brows, kissed our relieved and teary daughter, promised not make any more tuna melts lest we inadvertently ingest Bluestar’s cousin (whatever, she’s eight) and got some sleep. And, uh, you know, forgot to feed the little guy.
For a couple of days.
Maybe that wasn’t a look of gratitude.
We finally remembered the meal issue after he began ramming his nose into the glass. This time he looked like he wanted to phone PETA, pronto.
Listen, Mr. Fish, I am menopausal and you are soooo lucky I was able to focus long enough to medicate you. You are not the first family member whose dinner has been a day or two late. Just grab a Snickers like the others and chill.
I just gave him a few Top Fin pellets and am now off to find dried worm things or some other Betta delicacy to express my apologies properly. My husband says we’re too old for any more live things and has asked me to let everything not on two legs die out without seeking its immediate replacement.
We’ll see. We’ll have to wait and see.