Monthly Archives: October 2011

Just Write It

Writing a novel with a tight, two month deadline with 5 kids 3 dogs and 1 husband in the house leads to some interesting conversations:

“Mom!”

“Not now, darling, I’m in the middle of killing someone.”

“Honey, where are my car keys?”

“I…uh…huh?  What are sharkies?”

“What’s for dinner, mom?”

“I don’t know.  What did you make?”

I have written on a plane, I have written on a train, I have written when I’m hot, I have written on the pot.

I have written during a meal, I have written as I deal, I have written as I walk, I have written as I talk, I have  written as I sleep, what I write has made me weep.

What I write has made me glad, what I write has made me sad, but what does all this mean to you?  It means it’s something You can do!

You can do it when you’re busy, you can do it in a tizzy. You can write it as you fight, you can write it late at night.

Write that book, just write it now.  Take a look, I’ve shown you how.

There is no excuse as you can see, for not writing.  Just ask me.

Carolyn

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

Whale…er…weight watcher’s trip on Maui?

This is my favorite swimsuit ever!

So I get to Maui and the three Barbie dolls I travel with have all joined Weight Watchers.  Have I mentioned that one of them used to be (and still could be) Miss Kansas?

Then it dawned on me.  The reason I’m shaped like the cabbage patch kid and am wearing a swim Burka that I had imported from Babylon, is because I’M NOT ON WEIGHT WATCHERS!  Duh!  So, my slim and trim and ever-so-energetic, bikini wearing friends DRAG ME TO A MEETING.  While I’m on vacation.  So, now there is much guilt involved with every chocolate covered macadamia nut I stuff into my face.  Did you know that there are 6 points in only 4 lousy, teensy-weensy candies?  And did you know that there are an entire days worth of points in only one box?

Oops.

So, Wendy.  Before I fly George up for your Birthday bash…oh, the plans I have for you…I’m going to drop a few pounds.  Thankfully, I have eaten all of the Mauna Loa candy, so that’s out-of-the-way.

And, to make things a little more interesting, my daughters are going to ‘race’ me to the finish line.  They jumped onto the Weight Watcher’s Band-wagon with gusto and have already lost 2 pounds each.  I have lost none.  But then again, slow and steady wins the race.

Check out my new diet page (hopefully up by this weekend) and read what the girls have to say about living with me on a diet!  Big, big fun.

Aloha,

Carolyn

 

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Geroge Clooney, Humor, Marriage, Maui, Menopause, Motherhood, Travel, Weight gain, Weight Loss

Wendy’s big date with… George Clooney!

Dough boy, George?

Happy birthday, hot mama!  You have finally caught up with me and George, age-wise!  As you may have ascertained by now, I am arranging a special outing for you, with Georgie-Porgie-Puddin-Pie
Cloonster to celebrate your milestone. I guess you could say that this is not really your gift, as much as it is Georgie’s.  It’s high time that he experiences some superlative conversation with a seasoned  woman of a certain age and not the bimbo-prattle he’s used to.

And, what do I have planned for your Mystery Dream Date?

First, I’m going to fashion a gourmet meal for you both from products made by our favorite company in the universe (are you listening, John Lilly?) PILLSBURY!  I have perfected an appetizer, main course and dessert from the dough boy’s spectacular array of delicious and easy to prepare products!

Then, after a sumptuous repast, I will put you both in my mini-van (aka: THE SKOW) and drive you to the Red-Box to pick out the movie of your choice.  Red vines and popcorn are on me!  (Score points by picking something starring George and not your husband, the lesser known, but not lesser talented actor, Tim Blough, Wendy).

After the movie, it’s time for Yoo-hoo and PILLSBURY cake with PILLSBURY frosting adorned with fifty candles!  Make a wish, darlings!  (Wendy, this would be a good time to wish that we finally WIN the PILLSBURY BAKE OFF!!!  Because, hell-freaking-oh, we aren’t getting any younger).

Then, Wendy, I really need you to have some intellectually-stimulating conversation with this misled boy, who seems to think that women cease to exist after they are 21.  Show him some sparkling banter, dazzle him with your brilliance, keep him on the edge of his seat with your wisdom and charm!

Then, like a salmon at spawning time, we’ll turn him loose and hope for the best.

I’ll be on hand, the entire evening to document every moment in pictures and post them here to share in an exclusive blog with our lucky
readers!

Hang tight, darling.  I’ll be home from celebrating your birthday on Maui soon to gather George and pick you up for your whirlwind evening.  In the mean time, Ha-ah-ah-uu-ah-moo-moo-ah-poo-poo (as they say here on the islands) and many more!  (The poo-poo part becomes very important, once you’re past 50…)

Aloha, girlfriend, welcome to the 50’s!!

Carolyn

 

 

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Geroge Clooney, Humor, Marriage, Maui, Menopause, Motherhood

Wendy says good-bye to her 40’s…

Wish you were here!

This morning, I got a message from Chase on my cell phone:  Credit Fraud Alert!   Did you attempt to steal $160 on your credit card?  If yes, reply “yes”.  If no, please reply “no”.

Are they serious?  Why on earth would I admit to trying to steal money if I had stolen it?  Why on earth would I admit to trying to steal the money, if I hadn’t stolen it?

That’s what I call a lose/lose kind of question.

Because I am in Maui to celebrate the birth of my dear sister/friend, Wendy (yes, it’s that time of year again) I went to the store and bought a weeks worth of groceries and supplies, but neglected to tell my credit card company I was on the move.

Anyway, today is Wendy’s last day of being in her 40’s.  Tomorrow, she moves into her 50’s with the rest of us.  I’m just so sorry she isn’t here for the big party I throw for her every year.

Tomorrow, I’m going to announce my amazing gift to her so you’ll want to stay turned!

Aloha

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Birthdays, Marriage, Maui, Menopause, Motherhood, Travel

BRISKET TIME WITH CAROLYN

As it’s Tuesday, it is Coffee Time With Carolyn, but Carolyn is in Hawaii, turning golden brown, which somehow made me think of brisket.  So, in lieu of Carolyn I give you my mom’s recipe.  Everyone loves it, just like they love Carolyn.

Serve this with kasha varnishkas.  If you’re not Jewish or have otherwise been deprived of kasha varnishkas and brisket gravy up to now, you don’t know what you’re missing.

For a vegan substitute, which does not remind me  of Carolyn, try tempeh or frozen then defrosted extra-firm tofu.  (Freeze the whole block, defrost, squeeze out the extra water, cut into cubes. )  Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the gravy for richness. And now…

BRISKET TIME WITH CAROLYN

2 1/2 lbs brisket

2 small-medium onions, chopped.

2 large parsnips, sliced.

4 large carrots, sliced.

4 garlic cloves (more if you love it)

salt to taste (1-2 tsp)

2 bay leaves

3/4  C ketchup

2 T Worcestershire sauce

1/2 C beer

2 C of water (or enough so that liquid covers the brisket half-way up)

Preheat oven to 375

Put all ingredients in a heavy pot with a good lid.  Cook for 2 hours.  Check the brisket and add enough water to make liquid come half-way up the brisket again, if necessary.  Replace cover and continue to cook another 45 minutes to 1 hour, until meat is tender.   You can put the brisket, gravy and veggies in the fridge and eat them the next day, because this tastes better and better the longer it sits.

Your brisket will be as brown and gorgeous and will make people as happy as Carolyn.

Wendy

 

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Bad Dog!

All right, so where was I?  When last we left my story about Husbands, Wives and the Pets They Divorce Over, I had just brought home Rusty, the impossibly tall shepherd/giraffe mix who loved me to distraction.

Remember, now, he was a foster dog only, on leave from his stay at a no-kill shelter due to a leg injury and the fact that the other big doggies  were being unkind to him.

So, even though my husband had requested (picture a 5-foot 11-inch male walking toward me on his knees with his hands in prayer position) that I wait one year after the passing of my beloved collie girl before I grace our home with another canine, I figured a foster dog in need would be okay.

I introduced my husband to Rusty.

“What is that?” he asked.

“It’s Rusty.  He’s sweet and injured and in need.”

“Where is he injured?”

“His left front leg.”

“He’s not limping.”

“I know.  He masks his pain.”

My husband invoked the name of the Lord several times.

“How is Rusty with cats?” Tim asked, though, honestly, I have no idea how he got any sound out with his jaw so tight.

I recalled what the gal at the shelter had told me:  Dunno.

“Honey, look at him,” I said.  “You can tell he’s a gentle being.  A gentlemanly dog.  He’s innately calm.  And our cat is used to dogs.  Besides, he’s injured.  He’ll be resting a lot.”

“He doesn’t look injured.”

“That’s because he—“

Tim waved his arms, and I took this as a signal to quit while I was ahead.

So.  Rusty and cats.  Well, we’ll never know for sure how he would have behaved as our cat took one look—way up—at him and decided that summer was a fine time to camp outside.

My daughter and I (Rusty loved her, too) got the dog settled in, and everything seemed to be going quite well until Tim went down to the basement.  He was only down there about fifteen minutes, but that was enough time for Rusty to display his short-term memory disorder.  Rusty and I were in the kitchen when Tim started up the stairs.  I was facing away from the basement, but a sudden and intense growling made me whip around.

Tim was frozen on the staircase, stopped by Rusty whose every hair seemed to be standing on end, his impressive teeth bared and his growl most sincere.  The dog meant business.  No one was getting up those stairs.

“I think he doesn’t recognize you,” I explained above the snarls.  “Try to look more like yourself.”

“Are you out of your mind?”  Tim looked from me to the dog.  “That dog goes back to the shelter tonight.”

“But the other dogs intimidate him.”

I wish I could describe Tim’s face when I said that.

Anyway, Rusty was returned to the no-kill shelter where he quickly found a permanent home with someone who appreciated his body-guarding skills.

“No more foster dogs,” I swore/lied when I told Tim I was still going to volunteer.  “I’ll just walk the dogs.  Little ones.  With no teeth.”

And I did.  I walked a schizophrenic Jack Russell terrier, a one-eyed obese beagle cross whose head was bandaged from the fight he’d started with another inmate (probably Rusty), and a sweet elderly mutt that liked to stop every few feet and look at me as if to say, “Who are you?  How did we get here?  What are we doing?  Are we walking?”

And then came Buster.  Oh, Buster.  Buster was a BIG DOG.  In fact, he had the biggest canine head I’ve ever seen.  And big…something else, too.  I mean, really impressive.  He’d been recently neutered, but instead of deflating as expected, his…um…area formerly known as testicles had actually increased.  Lest you think I exaggerate, on one of our walks (he walked just fine, thanks) a car stopped a few yards ahead of us.  The driver turned around, pulled up alongside and exclaimed, “Are those real?!”

Please.  Assuming I knew where to get fake canine ones, why would I?  And yet this was not the only time the question was posed.  Buster started conversations.

It turned out that Buster was in need of a temporary medical foster home.  Honest.

To be continued…

Wendy

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Filed under Dogs, Humor, Marriage

A Marathon Runner Delivers a Baby

I’m jogging in place!

When I first saw this headline, I thought, “Isn’t that nice?  Some good Samaritan gave up their dreams of victory to stop and help a pregnant woman deliver a baby.”

Wrong.

The Marathon Runner had the baby.  She ran during contractions.  At 39 weeks.  Here is a snippet of this insanity:

Amber Miller, 27, had competed in two races while 17 weeks pregnant. But on Sunday she combined two major events in one day. Running while 39 weeks pregnant, she finished the marathon in 6 hours and 25 minutes, then gave birth to a baby girl about seven hours later. Miller said she didn’t feel any ill effects from her 6-hour and 25-minute effort during the marathon, except sore feet and a few blisters.  She set an easy pace, running two miles, walking the next two — finishing three hours off her personal best for a marathon. “I don’t feel anything from the marathon, but I do feel what you’d expect after giving birth,” she said during a Monday press conference.

Hearing this ruined my day.  Now, complaining about a hangnail doesn’t seem like a good enough excuse to skip out on exercising.  Apparently, unless I’m in the throes of labor, I have no excuse.  And, because labor is a thing of the past for me, I suppose any excuse that would put me in the hospital now…doesn’t cut it.  Thanks a lot, Amber.

Heart failure?  Shake it off.

Stroke?  Just do it.

Amputation.  No pain, no gain.

Amber, it’s people like you, who make the rest of us look bad.

Folks, it should also be noted, that Amber ran a marathon with her other two pregnancies, but only up till 17 weeks.

So, Amber, we can see that you are in the mode to stretch yourself.  What’s next? You have the baby at the half way mark, strap the kid into a jogger and press on till the finish?

And…how would you top that?  Give birth to your twin grandchildren during a marathon?
I wouldn’t put it past you.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Children, Cussing, Exercise, Fifteen Minutes of Fame, Health, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, parenthood

The Food Network at Home

My family and I have become addicted to the Food Network.  Episodes of Sweet Genius and Halloween Wars find my husband and daughter glued to the set.  I simply cannot miss Chopped.

On Friday, I had the following conversation with my daughter as I set her dinner in front of her, or attempted to.

“Mom, serve it to me the way they do on Iron Chef.”

“What do you mean?”

“Tell me about the food when you put the plate down.”

“Ookay.  Well, this is a tortilla—that I got from a package—and I filled it with chili.”

“What’s in the chili?”

“Ground turkey, beans, tomatoes and a rich assortment of seasonings…I’d have to check the can to be sure.”

“What else?”

Seriously?  Generally if food is not televised, the child can hardly be bothered with it.

“Well, thinking the chili might be too highly seasoned for a young palate—“ I started getting into it, encouraged by her nodding  “—I added a dollop of sour cream to tone it down and stirred in a sprinkle of grated cheddar.  I warmed the mixture to blend all the flavors and then stuffed the tortilla.  On the side you will find small red chili beans, again mildly spiced for your pleasure, and brown rice with olive oil and salsa.  Please enjoy.”

I bowed.

“Thank you.”  But instead of digging in, she folded her hands on her lap and studied the plate.  “What I see is that you have a lot of brown on this plate.  It would have been better to use more color.  Red or green or orange.  A vegetable, perhaps?”

Get real!  When was the last time the child ate “a vegetable perhaps” without threat of losing Moshi Monster privileges for a week?

“And,” she continued, delicately tasting a corner of her Mexi-melt, “while the taste is quite nice, the presentation will count as fifty percent of your score.”

“Well, I’ll keep that in mind when I present your oatmeal to you tomorrow morning.”

“Thank you, Chef.”

“Thank you, Judge.”

Thank you, Food Network.

Wendy

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Husbands, Wives And The Pets They Divorce Over

 Carolyn and I have lots in common, as you know.  One big thing:  We lie about pets.

Over the years, the fibbing has multiplied along with the number of four-legged and finned creatures in our homes.

At the time we sold our first books–to the same publisher, for the same line—Carolyn and I also both had beloved dogs that kept us company as we wrote.  She had Bob Barker, a giant golden retriever, as friendly as all get out, and I had my Chauncie, who, despite being given an English butler’s name by her previous owner, was a gentle female collie mix.

When our dear companions passed away, the similarity between Carolyn and me became quite pronounced:  We realized we were both married to the same man.

“Do not get another dog right away,” Carolyn’s husband requested.  “We have kids and bills.  I loved Bob, but let’s take a break.”

I believe that at the exact same moment and in the exact same pleading tone, my man said, “Please wait a year before you bring anything else live into this house.  You know I loved that dog, but the shedding was unbearable.  Let’s leave everything as it is.”

Well.  Naturally, we agreed, because we care about our husbands’ needs, and they had always embraced our pets with love (eventually).  Waiting was the least we could do.

Carolyn waited one week. I held off nine days, which felt like a year.

The other thing Carolyn and I have in common:  We don’t like to grieve.

I contend our husbands must have known, deep down, that “no pets” was a mandate we would rationalize our way around sooner rather than later, because they added admonitions, and you don’t do that if you think the original request is going to be honored.  Right?

Their stipulations were as follows.

From Carolyn’s husband:  Housebroken.  Nothing large.  The dog must be spayed and have celebrated its five-year birthday before its paws cross the threshold.

From my husband:  Under forty pounds.  Housebroken.  No shedding.  Not a barker.  No shedding.  Doesn’t chase cats.  No shedding.  Won’t eat us out of house and home.  No shedding.

Carolyn got a puppy.  Adorable.  A golden retriever like Bob, destined to enter the Guinness Book of World Records as largest golden in history.  Not quite housebroken what with being under ten weeks old and all at the time of his adoption, but he figured out the difference between the Berber carpet and the acre of backyard behind the house.  Eventually.

I went to a local animal rescue.  And because there were no dogs available matching my husband’s requirements, I decided to soothe my grieving heart by volunteering.

Enter Rusty.  A German shepherd-Akita cross who required a place to stay while he recuperated from a leg wound.  Rusty couldn’t “relax,” apparently, with other males around (he was very sensitive), and this hindered his recuperation.  Rusty was a big loverboy in the shelter.  He gave me his tennis ball then rested his forehead against my stomach.  Yes, he was tall and a little bit over forty pounds (approximately sixty pounds over), but how could I turn my back?

“Is he safe with cats?” I asked, heeding at least one of my husband’s requirements.

“Dunno,” they said.

Good enough.

I mean, he was such a sweetheart.  Plus, it was only temporary, and I defy anyone else to guess that Rusty had rage issues….

Part Two Next Thursday.

Wendy

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The Pros and Cons of Being Queen.

Strange hats? I can do that!

Yesterday, I was standing in the grocery line at Wal-Mart, striving to appear as if I was not reading the tabloid covers, but come on, I was at Wal-Mart?  Just call me oxy-moron.  Anyway, I see that poor Kate Middleton has hit a bit of a rough patch and that got me to thinking:  Do I really have the chops to represent the USA as her Queen?  Let’s weigh the pros and cons, shall we?

There have been kidnapping threats.

Etiquette lessons.

Demands to give Wills a baby.

Extreme weight loss.

Now, lets examine the cons…

That does it.  I’m in.

My greatest fear—or—given our current culture of crude ‘reality”—asset, would be hoof-in-mouth disease or even worse…being thought too common.  For example, I recall the horrifying moment when Lady Di was presented with something made of china as a gift and she had the audacity, gasp!! to turn it over and look for the label.  Tres gauche!  I just wanted to curl up and Di.

Yeah.

I don’t know my Waterford from a hole in the ground, so Di was light years more savvy than me and she still had people fainting over her horrendous faux pas.  I can only imagine what the good people will say when I serve baloney boats and Coke at my coronation.  And my youngest daughter can belch like a long-shoreman, so…guess I’m gonna have to speak to her about that before my big day.

Joyce, I agree about the Facebook thing, so that’s my number 2 item for change.  Keep ‘em coming, people.  What good is having a queen, if she can’t make life a little easier for us all?

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Cinderella, Facebook, Fifteen Minutes of Fame, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Queen of the USA, Weight Loss

Royal Qualifications

I would strive for good shoes.

In my recent quest to ascend to the position of Queen of the USA, it has been brought to my attention that I will need to ‘qualify’.  Here is the list of reasons I feel that I qualify for the job:

1.   Bossy on my first through fifth grade report cards.

2.  Talks too much.  On all report cards.  Communication skills, huh?  Huh?

3.  I have five children.  Right there is proof I can run a country.

4.  Mockable body parts!

5. Plenty of skeletons to drag out of the closet for more tabloid fodder.  (Misspent youth will finally come in handy).

6.  I will invent some skeletons when the real ones run out.  As a novelist, I have ideas that will shock, as well as please.

7.  Number one son is an awesome athlete and polo will be a piece of cake.

8.  That hat that Beatrice wore to Will and Kate’s wedding?  I have one.  And it’s bigger.

9.  I like tea.  Those little cakes are delicious.

10. Three daughters for more televised wedding fun!

Now, I am still working on my platform for change.  So far, I have the number one slot filled with the whole charger cord issue, however, I would be a Queen who listens to the people.  So.  People.  What should we change?  There is so much to think about, my head is whirling.  Palace or condo?  Throne or Lazyboy?  Carriage or van??

I welcome all thoughts,

Carolyn

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The Girl With The Cat-In-The-Hat Tights

You know the ditty about wearing purple when you’re an old woman?  I don’t think we should wait.  I think we should chop up our Nordstrom’s cards (all right, full disclosure: My “Nordstrom’s” card says, “Marshall’s,” but you get my drift) and start shopping anyplace that sells white tights with bold red stripes in Queen Size.

I don’t know about you, but I have spent an inordinate amount of time in my life attempting to be appropriate.  If you are a parent, you surely recognize that word.

“Sweetie, it’s not appropriate to cartwheel during communion.”    (Or maybe it is?)

“Darling, it is not appropriate to see if a person can drink orange juice through a straw stuck up her nose….   I don’t care if your if your father is doing it, it’s not appropriate in a restaurant.   Tim, stop encouraging her.”

Of course I think it’s important for parents to provide a bumper, of sorts, along the road to their kid’s maturity, bouncing them back onto the path when they stray too far, but now that my daughter is growing up, I’m already missing her little girl ways.  A recent example:

She grew a few inches this summer, so I asked her to sort through her clothes and set aside the items she could no longer wear.  She came out of her room dressed in white tights with fat red stripes.  I hadn’t seen those in a couple of years.

“From now on, Mom, I want solid colors, not stripes or flowers.  It’s more grown up.”

“Okay.”  I sighed, thinking she looked so dang cute in her Cat-In-The-Hat tights.  “We’ll get solid colors.”

“Hose, not tights.”

“Ah.  Hose.”  I nodded, the sadness undeniable.

“Yeah.”  She looked down.  Gave her striped legs an affectionate stroke.   “I could still wear these sometimes, though,” she ventured.  “But just to special occasions.  Like weddings.”

“Yes, that would be awesome.”

Do you know of any weddings we could crash?  ‘Cause I really want her to wear those tights again before it’s too late.  I’ll be wearing a pair, too, beneath my uber-appropriate wedding attire.  I may have to paint the stripes on a pair of opaque white pantyhose, but I am determined to have Cat-In-The-Hat shins.  Now that I’m forty-nine with a bullet, maybe I can let go of the correctness of my youth.  Express myself more.  Fit in less.

Sign me,

The Broad With The Cat In The Hat Tights

Wendy

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