Category Archives: Humor

Change of Life Baby

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

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

How I Became Your Mother

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Or worse…you!”

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

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

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

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

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

Two weeks later…I was pregnant.

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

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

 

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Older writers

How I met your father…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

 

 

 

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

How I met your other: the beginning

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Older writers

I’d Love to Cook Something, but I’m COOKING

My family wants sweet and sour chicken, black bean baos, stir-fried veggies and fried rice for dinner.  Yuh, right.

It’s ninety degrees today.  They’ll be lucky if I unwrap the popsicles before I hand them out.

I used to revel in cooking elaborate meals from scratch.  Now I have menopausal ADD.  Midway through the Sweet and Sour Chicken, I will notice my Vegan Crockpot Cooking book and switch to vegetarian chili.  Or, I’ll do a load of laundry and forget that I was supposed to cook dinner altogether.

Pioneer Woman is not menopausal.  It couldn’t be any more clear.  She and all those other over-achieving bloggers who have made posting pictures gorgeous pictures–de rigueur  with their recipes, are just baffling.  IF I made a gorgeous meal, I would not be able to snap a photo before my family stuck a fork into the Four-cheese Porcini Mushroom and Smoked Sausage Fettucine.   C’mon.

Are these women really cooking for their families, or are they making beeeauutiful blog food, setting up lights and hiring professional photographers while their families eat Cap’N Crunch with Crunch Berries? … Hey, that sounds good.  Maybe I’ll slice a banana on top if the weather cools off.

ADD Moment:  Just checked my e-mails.  Carolyn is still in Uganda.  She says the food is great and that everything is mashed.  Mashed beans, mashed nuts, mashed bananas over brown rice.   Now that’s the kind of cooking I can get behind.  Maybe I’ll mash the popsicles and say it’s sorbet.

And photograph it, too.  Maayyyybe,

–Wendy

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FFY Night

When things get busy at our house and I can’t make it home in time to toss a meal together, we have what we like to call, FendForYourself for dinner.

“Mom!  What’s for dinner?”

“Fend for yourself, I just got home and I’m fried.”

My youngest son, now age 10, has a bit of a sweet tooth.  So, the other day, after a particularly grueling afternoon spent driving everyone to their various appointments, I decided that it would be FFY for dinner.  When I came into the kitchen to forage, I discovered my son eating brownies for his main course.  Side dishes included: Top Raman, Mac and Cheese and Ice Cream.  When I asked him what on earth he thought he was doing, he said, “You told us it was Fun For Yourself night.”

Fun.

Carolyn

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

It’s a…book!

Some of our dear readers have wondered why our bi-weekly blogging schedule has slowed to a bi-annual pace.  Well, this is top secret, so be sure to burn this blog after you read it, but we are writing a book together!

What? You say?  A book?  Tell us more!

Thought you’d never ask.  Yes, by now, you are all aware that left to our own devises, we don’t get a lot of writing done.  But put us together?  Sheeeeewie!  We still don’t get a lot of writing done, but at least it’s twice as much as before!  Not to mention a heck of a lot more fun.  We just finished and turned in our first novel and will have all the details here on the blog soon.  Since it’s a series, we are already hard at work writing the second one.  Sort of.  We’ve been busy.  It’ll get done.  About 30 seconds before the deadline.

Carolyn

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You forgot I was coming today?

I hate surprises.  I hate to be startled.  I hate surprise parties.  I love to throw them, but I hate it when it’s for me, because I’m not prepared to make chit chat with all the people in my world who don’t know each other.  It’s awkward and exhausting.  Guess that’s why I hate the phone.  Even with Caller ID, it can be a surprise and awkward, “What are you doing this Friday?  Please come and do This Thing with Us Bozos and I know you’ll say yes, because I caught you OFF GUARD.”

So, you can imagine my chagrin, when the Loan Inspector Guy (we are refinancing again) shows up at my door (I forgot he was coming) and catches me…OFF GUARD.  Yes, people.  I was sound asleep. The dogs went bananas and jolted my out of bed and sent me staggering—uncaffeinated, mind you—   downstairs.

I yank open the door and blink while a strange man recoils in terror.  Poor slob.  First of all, he had to put up with my uncombed hair and unbrushed teeth.  Then, the dogs, who were not in their pen, jumped all over him and the young pup, who we are still potty training, made a welcoming wee-wee and doo-doo.

Then, Loan Inspector Guy, who is battling his fear and horror, asks if he can go through the house and PHOTOGRAPH IT for THE RECORDS that will go down in the annals of ALL TIME!  So, he proceeds to take pictures of my piles of dishes (it’s Pillsbury Bake-Off season) in the kitchen, my piles of laundry in the laundry room (did I mention it’s Pillsbury Bake-Off season?), the pile of bills on my desk (again, Pillsbury) and the welcoming piles of doo-doo.

The Loan Inspector Guy left my house with a serious case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Man, I hope we get than re-fi.

Carolyn

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It’s Pillsbury season! I smell a million dollars!

Wendy!  It’s NOT TOO LATE!  We missed the dinner category entries…but we can still jump on the dessert band wagon!  Yes, yes, we will gain weight.  And yeah, the kids will get tired of eating Crescent Rolls bent into weird shapes and slathered in Timtella (Trademark Pending) Sauce.  But WE CAN’T QUIT NOW!  We have too many years (not to mention the thousands we have spent) into this project.  We just need to tweak a few ingredients…and the million dollar prize is ours!  Unless the following is true…?
pillsbury

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Humor, Making Money, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Pillsbury Bakeoff

Juicing, day 4

I fell off the wagon.

Yep.  Not proud.  Went to an Oscar party with my friends from college and got so excited I downed half a box of Wheat Thins before I realized I hadn’t taken the time to juice them properly.

So.  I must begin again.  I’ll get back with you tomorrow and let you know the new plan…   (heavy sigh–no pun intended).

Thank you all for your support and stories of commiseration.

Carolyn

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Menopausal Belly Fat

Before menopause, every month I was bloated.  It was so miserable.  Pants would not button, I looked pregnant (sometimes, I was) and I found it impossible to ignore the siren call of the refrigerator.

I used to rage against the ebb and flow of the estrogen.  Why couldn’t I just be one size all month-long?  Blast these hormones!

Now, I long for the monthly bloat because at least it would disappear now and again.    Unfortunately, my wishes have come true and I am one size all month-long.  Size bloat.  Thanks to menopause, I’m stuck with the dreaded ‘belly fat’.  Oh, I hear the ads on the radio about the miracle menopause pills designed to dissolve my fat, give me untold energy and the sex drive of my unneutered male Cocker Spaniel, but I have a feeling that the changes are not going to come from a pill.

They are going to come from two things:  My son Gabriel (seeking retribution for all the room cleaning I demand) and Joe Cross, the king of Juice.  Gabe has designed a fitness plan for me and…as I write this, he is setting up the family room for my “burn”.   My daughter, Grace, is manning the juicer.  I’m popping One A Day Silver’s like they were M&M’s.

Why juice you ask?  Well, because last year, my doctor asked me to watch the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” (I was too fat, sick and nearly dead to be offended) and I did the juice thing during the summer and it worked.  Unfortunately, I had no muscle tone to keep it off, so Halloween candy through New Year’s party dip helped pile it all back on.

Why on earth is she telling me this? you are all scratching your heads and asking.  Well, since we are two months into the New Year, it is becoming clear that I need an accountability partner.  No.  Scratch that.  I need all 3-4 thousand of you, dear readers, to crack that whip and keep me moving.  So, here’s the deal.  I’m going to watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead again (yes, it is inspiring, but mainly, Joe Cross, with his Australian accent, it so cute and this movie is really fun to watch with a tub of butter flavored popcorn and a large Coke) and start my fitness regimen today.  Gonna build some muscle.  Thought I’d start with the jaw.

Since I have no intention of telling you my actual weight, I shall say only that we are at +20 and the goal is to get to +0.  I’ll check in with my daily weigh-in’s  if my son’s ‘burn’ program doesn’t kill me first.  Now.  I must get out of bed.  I really, really don’t want to.  Maybe I should start this whole thing tomorrow…

Carolyn

 

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Exercise, Fitness, Health, Humor, Joe Cross, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Weight gain, Weight Loss

Cover Girl!

Those of you who have lived as long as I have, no doubt remember Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show and their Top 40 hit, Cover of the Rolling Stone.  For those of you who don’t, the chorus goes something like this:

Rollin’ Stone 
Wanna see my picture on the cover (Stone) 
Wanna buy five copies for my mother! (Yes)

(Stone) Wanna see my smilin’ face 
on the cover of the Rollin’ Stone 
(That’s a very, very good idea) 

So, last month, when my publicist called and told me my mug would be gracing the cover of Christian Fiction On-line Magazine for the launch of my latest book: Beyond the Storm, I dropped an email to my hubby with the news that I could scratch ‘cover girl’ off the old bucket list.

Carolyn to Hubby

SUBJECT:  Finally made the cover of the Rollin’ Stone!

I got the October of Christian Fiction On-line Magazine!  Gonna buy five copies for my mother!  Wanna see my smilin’ face on the cover!

Hubby to Carolyn

SUBJECT:  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?

The Rolling Stone?!  Seriously?  I knew this is the best book you’ve ever written, but the Rolling Freaking Stone??!

It’s really nice when your family believes in you.  But talk about gullible.

Carolyn

http://christianfictiononlinemagazine.com/home.html

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Stayin’ Alive, part III of Krav Maga

When last we left Too Hot Mamas, they were in their free trial Krav Maga class, learning that, in fact, nothing in life is free.  Carolyn was bleeding happily and Wendy was preparing to kick the stuffing out of the senior lady who had been whomping her butt for the past hour and fifteen minutes.  Now you’re up to speed….

So, Ma Barker invited me to hit her first, instructing me to aim for the pad she was holding up by the side of her face and I who cannot squash an ant, I who have held funerals for birds I had no part in killing, I who am incapable of purchasing a pound of ground round without envisioning a cow mooing mournfully for her lost calf, I, dear reader, did not aim for the pad.  Oh, no.  After being sent flying by Ma’s skinny wrist more times than I could count that day, I discovered the true power of Krav Maga.

See, I think Israeli Street Fighting is designed to get you so pissed off you’d hit your own Bubbie while she was handing you a honey cake.

BAM!  I let Ma have it, right between the eyes.  She blocked (I knew she would…honest), but she wasn’t happy.

“We hit past each other,” she admonished.

“Really?  Sorry.”  WHOOSH!  I let one fly, right toward her shnoz.  “Sorry again!” I lied cheerfully after she slapped me away.  “I was trying to find my power as a woman and slipped.”

“That’s not how we do it.  Let me show you—“

“We’re almost out of time,” Mini Krav called from the front of the room.  Proof of a loving God.  “Line up,” Mini Krav instructed, “in the middle of the room.”

I shrugged at Ma and moved to the center of the room.

Cool.  This must be like in my daughter’s gymnastics class when the girls get stickers and a small snack after a job well done.

“Close your eyes,” Mini Krav instructed.  I thought that was cute.  They were going to surprise us. After the single-minded focus on maiming each other, I must admit this bit of after-class whimsy was most welcome.

Eyes closed, I waited, smiling, for my reward.  I could sense someone approaching very softly and held out my hand.  Ten very strong, very insistent, steel-like fingers curled around my throat.  Yeah, that’s right: my throat.  And they weren’t exactly massaging.

My eyes shot open.  Krav Maga Man, the surly one, the one who beamed at Carolyn once she started bleeding, was “pretending” to be an attacker.

“Break my hold!” he commanded, his dark eyes boring into my by this time bulging blue ones.

“What?”

“Do what you were shown.  Break my hold!”

Were we shown that?  Uhhhm…oh yeah.  Pulling back the hand I’d been holding out for candy, I grabbed his wrists and twisted.  Nothing.  Diving both hands in between his arms, I executed a quick hacking maneuver.  Nada.  I think his hold on my neck tightened.  I tried looking around for Carolyn, but couldn’t turn my head.  It was getting a little hard to breathe, too, so I rasped out, “I can’t.”

This seemed to disgust him.  “Use your strength and punch through my arms from up above!” he shouted like a good drill sergeant.

I did as instructed, wrenching his arms as hard as I possibly could.  He did not budge.

“I’m just here for the free trial class,” I gurgled in a high, alien-like voice, the only one I could squeeze out.  “I can’t break your hold.  Please let go.”

KMM rolled his eyes, but he released me.  It was a pity release, I get that.  Still, I was free and ready to collect Carolyn and her son and get out oft here.

KMM wasn’t done yet.  “Kick me between the legs!”

“What?”

Standing in attack mode, flashing irritation and challenge in equal measure, he growled,  “I let you go, now kick me to make sure I’m incapacitated.”

I shrugged.  “Sure.”  Balancing on my left foot (I’m really very good at that, thanks to yoga), I kicked toward his chest with my right.

He flicked my foot away like it was a fly.  “Not at my chest.”

“Well, where do you–  Oh!”  I giggled. “I couldn’t possibly.  I don’t know you well enough.  Shouldn’t you at least buy me dinner first?”  Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.

I won’t bother describing his expression; I’d rather not relive it.

I raised my knee and performed the maneuver, adding a hearty “MUH!” for good measure.   I’m sure he’s still having nightmares about meeting me in a dark alley somewhere.

Carolyn, her son and I left with sweat rolling down our faces and backs.  There wasn’t much talking in the car on the way home.   We agreed to try aikido next.  I agreed only to get them to go home so I could slather my body in Tiger Balm, slap a few Salon Pas on my lower back, and crawl into bed.

For the record, I would like to reply in advance and in public to my dear friend Carolyn’s next suggestion for a great adventure:

“Nothing doing, Lucy!”

–Wendy 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DON’T MESS WITH MAMA

We warned ya

Let me catch you up in case you missed Monday’s post:  Carolyn dragged me to a “trial” Krav Maga (Israeli Street Fighting) class.  She dressed properly; I didn’t. She brought water; I didn’t.  She was paired with a sparring partner who made Gabrielle Reece look like a flabby midget.  I got a cross between Gloria Steinem and Ma Barker, whose periodic lectures on women and power while she knocked me on my can were starting to irk me.

“Time out,” I gasped at one point, partly because I needed to search the floor for my liver after her last blow and partly because I saw that Carolyn was bleeding.  A lot.

“I need to help my friend,” I tossed over my shoulder to Ma, who stood in “ready position.” Let her wait, I thought.  Preferably for the rest of the millennium.

Rushing to Carolyn, who was being patched up by Krav Maga Man, I asked loudly, “ARE YOU OKAY?” thus laying the groundwork for our immediate departure.

She waved me off.  “It’s nothing.  This is great! I’m sweating like a pig.”

Since when do “great” and “sweating like a pig” belong to the same thought group?

Krav Maga Man, who had frowned at me so unequivocally when we’d first arrived, was now smiling real big at Carolyn, who grinned back.  Bonding over her loss of blood.

He gave her the all clear.  “All right, champ, get back in there.”

Glancing at Ma, I saw that she was practicing chest-level kicks, obviously prepared to perform more Crouching Tiger on my butt the moment I returned.

“Carolyn, be my partner!” I whispered desperately, but she didn’t hear me and trotted away.  (For the sake of our friendship, I choose to believe she did not hear me.)

KMM called out new instructions.  I slouched off to get gloves and some big rectangular padded thingies, because apparently now we were going to throw punches at each other’s heads.  Good times.

As I inched reluctantly back to Ma, she inquired, “Would you like to hit me first?”

Oh, Lady.

As she held the rectangular pads up to either side of her face, I understood this to mean I should aim for something other than her nose.

I really did understand that.

I just didn’t care anymore….

 –Wendy

Part Three– “The End”– on Friday…

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Exercise, Fitness, friendship, Humor, Krav Maga

HOW KRAV MAGA IS MAKING A MAN OUT OF ME

Don’t Mess With Bubbie

Carolyn told you a bit about our foray into self-mutilation…whoops, I mean “defense.” She left out a few things.

Remember how in I Love Lucy, Lucy Ricardo would come up with some cockamamie plan and just assume Ethel Mertz would go along with her?  Every couple of episodes, Ethel, bless her heart, would try to grow a backbone and stand her ground.  But Lucy always won.

“Ohhh no, Lucy, count me out of this one.”

“But Ethel—“

“Nothing doing!”

And the next thing you knew, Ethel was standing on the ledge of their apartment building, dressed like a martian.  Well, that’s Carolyn and me.

“Hey,” I said one afternoon when I had obviously lost my mind, “have you heard of Krav Maga?”  (Never, ever EVER ask Carolyn if she’s heard of something.  EVER.  Ever.)

“No.  What is it?”

“Israeli street fighting.  It’s supposed to be a near deadly form of self-defense—  Whom are you calling?“

She had us registered for a trial class in under five minutes.  I am not exaggerating.

“We should at least think about this, Carolyn.  We don’t know these people.  What if they’re not licensed or insured or sane?  We should at least look at the studio first….”

The next day, our local Krav Maga studio –the one with the logo of the snarling bulldog—had three new students.  (Carolyn brought her 14-year-old, star-athlete son.)

The workout/torture room was dreckorated in black and gray, not a whisper of cheerful color.  The instructors and other students were dressed in black and gray, too, as the Krav Maga uniform is part of the registration fee.  Coincidentally, Carolyn had worn black yoga pants and  shirt for our trial class.  I had dressed in jeans and a pink and yellow v-neck “Peace” tee (so cute, really) with hot-pink, lace cami underneath.

Guess who got the look of admiration from Krav Maga Man, the verrrry serious owner of our new home away from home?  He spared me a glance.  “Did you bring water?”

“I don’t want to get hurt!” shot from my lips before I could stop myself.

Krav Maga Man scowled.  “Did you bring water?”

“No.”

Looking disgusted, he walked away.  “What is his problem?” I whispered to Carolyn.  “They didn’t tell us to bring water.  Did you bring water?”  She raised a quart-sized sports bottle.  It was black.

KMM returned with a tiny bottle of Kirkland H2O, which he handed to me.  “Get going, you three.  Class has started.”

I liked the warm up.  My confidence soared, in fact, as I lunged, squatted, tossed in a yoga asana, rolled my shoulders and shadow-boxed.  The nice teacher was smiling at me.  He was smaller, younger, far friendlier than Krav Maga Man.  Let’s call him Mini Krav.

Glancing at Carolyn, who looked sweaty and focused, I grinned.  Self-defense wasn’t so bad.

After teaching us a few lethal punches and kicks, Mini Krav paired us up—men with men and women with women.  Carolyn was partnered with a statuesque 20-something whose muscles appeared to be sculpted from Caesarstone.  After some deliberation, I was matched with a very quiet, much older woman whose loose tee shirt hung past her knees and whose stooped shoulders gave the impression that a trip around the block with her walker might put her into traction.

I’m not going to lie to you people:  My feelings were hurt.  I mean, I work out.  I own FOUR of The Firm DVD’s.   Okay, I haven’t played them much lately, but c’mon.  (That’s all I’ve got, just…c’mon.)

Looking on the bright side, at least I was unlikely to be injured and could help Carolyn get home after Ms. Olympia 2012 took out a kidney.

I smiled encouragingly at my frail partner and graciously held the provided padding, so she could hit me first.  “Don’t be afraid, I’m tougher than I look,” I crooned.  “You can—OWWWWW!”

The old broad didn’t even wait for me to stop speaking!  Just punched me so hard I thought I lost a lung, even with the padding.  Without waiting for me to catch my breath, she pivoted, letting me have it with the other fist while shouting, “MUH!”

“OW!  Sonova–  Hey, lady!”

“Historically, women have been afraid of their full power, so we don’t hold back in class. Do we?”  Her eyes bore into mine and her lips barely moved when she spoke, making her look less Someone’s Grannie and more CIA Assassin.

“Fine, but from here on I’d like to invoke the Marquess of Queensberry rules, so–  Owww-owwww.”  She got me again.  “I was still talking! What is wrong with you?”

“Attackers don’t play by rules, do we women don’t hold back. Do we?”

“Stop asking me that.”

“Practice your kicks!” Mini Krav called above the shouts and groans.

Instantly, I dropped the pads and used the same signal my daughter makes when she’s playing tag, hoping it would translate.  “Time out.  No puppy guarding.”

I looked around for Carolyn and saw her with the owner of the studio.  He had his first-aid kit open as blood was streaming down her hand….

Part Two on Wednesday.

 –Wendy

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Filed under aging, Exercise, Fitness, friendship, Health, Humor, Krav Maga

We want a Black Belt.

And this was only our first lesson!

No, silly’s.  Not the kind you wear with a dress.  The kind you have to earn.  The kind that make bad guys shake in their boots when you come at them, with your French Tips nails in full eye-ball gouge mode.  I want to have to register my stilettos as deadly weapons, and not just because I fell off them and broke my hip.   I want to be known by code name: HEAD (Hot-flashing And Extremely Dangerous).  Don’t look too closely at that acronym, cuz it’s messed up, but so what?  I said, SO WHAT?!

Why, you ask, does Carolyn suddenly want a black belt?  I’ll tell you why.  Because a few days ago, I saw in the news where a 72-year old-woman was bird-watching in Central Park when she was attacked and raped at 11am!  Broad daylight, folks!  In a section of the park where there are a lot of people!  According to the news, she’d seen him exposing himself a few days earlier and snapped his picture.  He’d chased after her (eeeewww) and demanded that she delete the picture.  Apparently, she said no.  The day he attacked her, he asked her, “Do you remember me?”  (Eeeeeewwww, eeeeek!)  Poor, bird-watching Nana!  Don’t the bad guys have some kind of code of ethics that says you don’t rape little granny’s who spend their time watching birdies at the park?

Clearly not.  I don’t want this to happen to me.  To my daughters.  To my Wendy.

So, Wendy and I decided that very morning that it was time for us to get our black belts.  To heck with the osteoporosis.  Forget about the fact that only thing we’ve ever punched was a mound of bread dough.  Time to explore our local self-defense options.

After a lengthy discussion, our first choice was a weekday, noon, free trial Krav Maga class.  The price was right!  What is Krav Maga, you ask?  Why, it’s the official hand-to-hand combat system of the Israel Defense Forces, duh.  Perfect for a couple of hot-flashers, huh?

Okay, aside from the fact that the Krav Maga class nearly killed us, we feel invigorated!  Empowered!  Ready to head to the park, for some bird watching, binoculars in hand, ready to kick the butts of perverts everywhere.  Yeah!

Then again, maybe I’m not quite ready to fight crime just…yet.  It’s been over a week and I’m still so sore, I can still barely get out of bed.  That, and the fact that I couldn’t bust away from Wendy’s choke hold (did I mention she’s still a tad miffed at me over some negative comments I made about her latest manuscript?), and I had to put my head between my knees (never eat a big lunch before doing any kind of military hand-to-hand combat) and I’m thinking maybe we should take another class.  Or two.  We’ll see.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Humor, Jewish, Krav Maga, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Self Defense

Rebuttal

Image

Does this look like a killer to you?

Honestly Carolyn,

I have no idea how you managed to turn the incident of YOUR BRAWNY
SON BITING MY DOG into an account of a sweet, formerly abused, still-working-on-his-self-esteem, TOY poodle biting your boy.  That’s low.  Even for you.

Now that we’re back on the blog, I’d like to state for the record that I had no problem with your critique of my book.  None.  Whatsoever.  Come on, I’ve been writing longer than you’ve been blonde; I’m used to critiques.  I can’t help it if Bailey read it, though, and got upset.  He’s very loyal.

As we are a Mom blog and as some folks may take your writing seriously (although personally I’ve never met anyone like that), I want to point out that I would never, ever , EVER harbor a dangerous animal, no matter how few teeth he has left.

Anyway, thanks for watching the dogs.  The kennel cough is almost gone, and I’m sure the nightmares will abate soon.

Your BFF,

Wendy

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We’re Baaaaaack!

Wonder where we’ve been?  Us, too!  The rumors of our break up have rivaled those of the Beatles, and I’m here to assure you, all is well!  Sort of.  Okay, the truth?  I think Wendy’s a bit miffed with me.  It all started about a month ago when she let me have a little peek at her work in progress.  I read it.  I wasn’t bowled over.  I may have been a tad snarky with some of my comments.  Perhaps the Zzzzz’s indicating the places where I’d drifted off to sleep weren’t exactly…helpful.  Or…polite.  Wendy laughingly referred to my remarks as passive aggression.

So, when she had to leave town and wanted to drop her little dog at my house, I thought, sure!  I’m a dog lover.  Bring it on.  For years I’ve looked after her big dog, Autumn, whenever they are on vacation.  Wonderful animal.  Love her.  Don’t really want to give her back when Wendy comes home.

How shall I describe Wendy’s new doggie?  The term Parana comes to mind, but that’s not really fair to the poor, sweet fish.  Wendy arrived, docile pile of poodle in hand, and she, all smiles, assured me that, “Oh, noooo!  Your comments were really helpful!  Wonderful!  Insightful!”  Yeah.  Right. I should have known something was afoot.  Before she drove away, she gave us a few minor warnings about this newest member of her family, “He tends to be a tad grumpy sometimes…Oh, and he loves to run, so be careful not to let him out.”

The burning rubber of her tires hadn’t even stopped smoking as she peeled out of the driveway, before Bailey (aka: Beelzebub) drew blood.  Seemed he didn’t like the idea of a walk and let us know it by taking a chunk out of one of our thumbs.  Screaming ensued and Beelz…er…Bailey’s lips curled back as, snarling and snapping, he treed all of us (my three dogs included) on the dining room table.  Thankfully, my eldest daughter (age 18) took matters in hand by announcing, “I’m not afraid of this bleeping animal.  Come here, you!  I’m alpha dog and you are going outside to the pen!”  She jumped off the table, bravely grabbed the leash and dragged Baily outdoors…where…his head slipped out of the collar and he took off.

More screaming.  A new version of the Incredible Journey was born as Bailey began his 20 mile quest for Wendy’s house.  Luckily, my 3rd daughter, age 13 is not only brave, but fast.  Arms waving like an outboard motor, she managed to head Bailey off at the pass, while daughter number 2, age 15, grabbed a brick of cheese and hefted it into the pen.  “Here, Satan!  We have cheese for you!”  The boys slammed the door and when the dog had finished the cheese, it sneered at us, passed gas, and passed out.  Being a terrorist takes the starch out, it would seem.

When Wendy and her husband, Tim, (who starred on a recent episode of Grimm, by the way) returned, I regaled them with this tale and Wendy seemed appropriately shocked…but she’s nearly as good an actor as her husband.  He on the other hand looked outraged…that we’d managed to catch the dog and bring it safely home.  Apparently he wasn’t very complimentary about Wendy’s latest manuscript, either, and shortly thereafter, she adopted the little dog.  Coincidence?  I think not, Timmy.

Carolyn

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Filed under Adoption, Children, Dogs, friendship, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

EeeeeeK!!!

The Savage Field Mouse

After a full day of errands, I pull into my driveway to spot my 13 and 9 year-old sons sitting on the roof.  I’m from the school of parenting that touts, Scream first, ask questions later.  So, after I was done chewing their behinds with, “What would you have done if one of you had fallen off the roof and cracked your skull open on the patio, like a raw egg?!  WHAT THEN?!  ANSWER ME!  WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!?? ”  They were sheepish and on the verge of tears when they finally admitted.  “We saw a mouse in the house and it was HUGE!!”

“A mouse?  You see a mouse and you CLIMB ON THE ROOF?”  I was speechless.   These are the same boys who brag about how they’d judo chop a midnight intruder and kick him in the ya-ya’s and render him unconscious by defending the household from evil with their various Nerf weapons and Lego battleships.  I growled some more and told them if I ever, EVER found them on the roof again, especially if their dad or I are not home, they’d be a couple of sorry ninjas.

And, with that, I headed into the family room, turned on the fan, flopped on the couch and took a load off.  I was just finding my serenity again, when I felt the fan blowing my hair.  I reached up to discover that it was not the fan moving my hair, but a teensy, weensy (smaller than my thumb) field mouse, lost and terrified and trying to get away from our dog.  If it hadn’t been a baby, I’d have had a heart attack on the spot and died.  But, as it was, I only shrieked at the top of my lungs, flew off the couch and was halfway to the roof, my ninja warriors hot on my trail.

“The MOUSE!  IT’S BAAAAAAK!” the boys screamed.

“I KNOOOOOOOWWW!!!” I shrieked as I flew through the door.  “You know all that stuff I said about not getting on the roof?”

“Yeah,” they shouted as they lapped me.

“Forget it.”

I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Cussing, Dogs, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

MAYDAY! MAYDAY!

Don't worry, kids! I know what I'm doing!

As you may know, I am in the process of teaching daughter #1 to drive.  This came to a grinding halt (no pun) about a month ago and I’m waiting for my heart rate to return to normal before I ride with her again.

We were cruising along on the Interstate and I was riding shotgun.  Daughter #1 was doing an awesome job, relaxed, in control, confident.  I was impressed.  So much so, I relaxed, too.  Daughter #2 was sitting in the back seat and we started to gab about some juicy bit of teen stuff, I can’t recall, but it probably had something to do with cute boys.

Casually, as we all nattered on, I told Daughter #1 to switch to the center lane from the left (or “slow”) lane, as we needed pick up the pace if we were going to get to Portland on time.

My bad.

I didn’t nag her about looking over her shoulder.  Last time I did that, I got the eye-roll and the “Yeah, I KNOW, Mom.  It’s not like YOU look every time you change lanes.”

Hunh.  I thought I did.

Anyway, we were jabbering about 55 wpm and she executes a lane change with carefree abandon.  That’s when the screaming began.  #2 and I were shrieking and freaking, throwing ourselves on the floor and begging God to spare us.

“Whut?”  Daughter #1 asked, apparently not seeing the GIANT SEMI-TRUCK THAT SEEMED TO HAVE ATTACHED ITSELF TO OUR BUMPER.

We’re going to DIE!!!”  #2 and I screamed and clutched at each other.  I was chewing on my heart, trying to get it back down into my chest.  I’m too old for this kind of stimulation.

Daughter #2 is now old enough for her permit test.  Heaven help me.  Today, as I drove #2 to piano, she spotted a Help Wanted sign posted on a School Bus.  “Look!” she cried.    “Daughter #1 is looking for a job!  She should apply!”

As I am now suffering from PTSD, the look on my face must have said it all because she shrugged and said, “Oh.  No.  Probably not.”

Carolyn

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

The Nancy Drew Turder Mysteries


Nancy Drew Super POOch

Number One Son (age 13)  was thrilled to be offered a money-making opportunity to dog-sit, over spring break.  He is saving up for an iPod Touch, and this piece-of-cake gig was going to put him close to his goal.  Talk about easy money.  As you can see by the picture on the left, Nancy Drew is a tiny thing, coming in at a mere dozen pounds or less.  Her owners instructed Number One Son to feed her a small cup of kibble, twice a day and to be sure to let her out because she was nearly potty trained, but still had the occasional ‘oopsie’ when she was nervous (or in the throes of solving an important case, I maintain).

Nancy left her first “clue” in my closet.  On my freshly laundered sweat pants.  “Number One Son!” I called on the intercom.  “Get the pooper scooper and the Lysol and report to my closet!”

I heard him laugh as he gathered his ‘Mystery Solving Kit’.   Moments later, the clue was disposed of as Nancy watched.

“That was about a cup of kibble right there,” Number One chortled.  “No need to let her out now.”

Famous last words.

“Number One Son!” Number Two Sister called. “Get the kit and meet me at the piano!”  Nancy had left a Major ‘clue’ on Brahm’s Concerto in D Minor.  To be perfectly honest?  I think Number Two sis was delighted as she had never really liked that piece.

Number One groaned and scratched his head.  “Already?  Huh.  Must not have been done. ”

Famous last words.

“Number One!” Number Three Sister shrieked.  “Nancy has left a clue on my pillow and I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!”

Number One issued some guttural groans and headed for the kit.  Nancy was hot on his trail.  “How much poop can come out of such a tiny dog?”

Nancy gave him one of her famous toothy grins. The next clue was found in my office, behind the door.  Number One Son was growling now.  Before the end of the day, Nancy had given Number One Son and his kit at least a dozen clues and the Mystery was in full swing.

“I can’t figure out how one tiny little dog can make SO MUCH CRAP!”

Nancy simply gave him a mysterious, knowing, Mona Lisa style smile.  She knew. This was only day one.

Carolyn

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Filed under Dogs, Humor, Making Money, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

The Hunger Games make me hungry

Why do I suddenly want lemon bars?

My husband is out on a date with daughter number two and daughter number three.  The Hunger Games Movie.  Oh… yeah.  I came across the book on Amazon when I searched “Young Adult Books… that you can’t put down” and that title came up, over and over.   Hmm.  This was 4 years or so, ago.  Since I can never resist a book that cannot be put down, I ordered a copy and gobbled it up.  I had to wait on pins and needles for the next edition–Catching Fire– and when it came, I devoured it, and couldn’t wait until the third one.

When the hubby had to go  to Washington DC for his annual business trip, I sent him with Book One, telling a skeptical man,  “You won’t be able to put it down.”  When he got to DC, he called and told me to Fed Ex book 2.  This, from the man who is very, very, very, very, need I say…VERY picky about his reading material and only sanctioned my writing ability at book 35.

So, tonight, the girls got all dolled up and ordered tickets on-line, in a countdown ticket ordering frenzy, called their dad (several times) cooked him dinner, and breathlessly waited for him to arrive home to chauffeur them to the long, long, long-awaited movie.   As I write this, they are there, gobbling popcorn and screaming at the fabulous, heart-stopping drama.  I’m here with the boys, watching a something on Netflix and eating lemon bars and wishing I was there…but sometimes, a girl just wants to go out with dad.

I get that.

Carolyn.

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

When it rains

Don't tell me you're going on ANOTHER business trip!?

Why is it, that the minute my husband leaves on a business trip, the kids start barfing and all the major appliances blow up?  You think I’m kidding, but sadly, no.  Every year, he flies to Washington DC to attend a trade-show and every year, our normally serene life becomes a seething cauldron of germs and stress and broken crap.  This month, while he was packing, I started to sound like James Earl Jones after a carton of Camel unfiltered cigarettes.  “THIS… IS CNNnnnaaaachhhooie!   Ahhhhuuuggghhh, NO!  NO!  THIS. CAN. NOT.  BE.  HAPPENING.”

“Have you taken any Airborne?”

Yeah.  Like Airborne is going to help ward off the demonic forces circling our house.  I’m not superstitious, but ever years it’s the same story.

This year, as he pulled out of our driveway and headed to the airport, the kids all started getting stomach cramps.  By the time he was on the plane, I was in bed, coughing up a lung–after all, I had two–and the kids were busily clogging the toilet.  In the spirit of letting me recuperate, they didn’t bother to inform me about the toilet issue until there was an inch of water on the bathroom floor.  There was only an inch because most of it was busily pouring down into the family room, via the ceiling.  No problem.  I am woman.  Here me roar.  THIS IS CNN.  Hack, cough, pant.  Kersnort.  I turned off the toilet valve and James Earl Jones hustled my cramping kids to the towel closet.  We mopped up the excess water and tossed the towels into the washer, which yes, you guessed it, sprung a leak and flooded the laundry room, which yes, you guessed it, I didn’t discover until the next morning.

After I mopped up the laundry room, I made a pact with the kids not to use the toilet or the laundry room for a week, then fell into bed and slept until the hubby came home.  On the bright side, the hubby is back, everything works, we all feel great and… new carpet and linoleum are being installed next week.

Next year, we’re all just going to go with him.

Carolyn

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

Mom getting bombed

This is what happens when your 13-year-old son gets interested in making home movies…

I’m so proud.

Carolyn

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

Doody Heads

I have been hearing about Voodoo Donuts now, for several years as it is one of Portland’s weirder tourist attractions. Because we had a fieldtrip to go downtown to Powells Bookstore, my kids talked me into a sugar fest, first. After all, we needed the energy to prowl Powell, as it takes up an entire city block. When we got to Voodoo Donuts, there in showcase was a giant, chocolate covered, cream filled…phallus. And, of course, my 13-year-old son wanted that. It was huge and he’s in a growth spurt. Luckily, he’s still relatively innocent as to the crudities of the world and I’d like to keep it that way for as long as possible. So, when, eyes shining, he pointed to the confection, I had to intervene, sotto voce, and ask the girl behind the counter if there were any non-penis shaped donuts that still offered the same ingredients.

HOW SICK IS THAT?

Wendy, I feel for you with the whole Ben and Jerry’s Shweddy Ball ice cream outing you wrote about in your last post. And now, Cock ‘n Ball Donuts from Voodoo Donuts? Is this advertising tactic supposed to tempt me? Aside from sounding vaguely diseased, odorous and bug infested, I ask you, what is the world coming to? Have we become a society that cannot consume our food and entertainment without referencing our crotches? Wendy and I have been talking, and are starting a list of Doody Heads who feel that the only way they can make money is to drag our kids into the sewer. And, before you call me a prude, just know, I’ve been to the sewer. Used to live there. It made me, and those around me miserable. I’m a reformed sewer rat and trust me when I tell you, life is better without all the sleaze.

I’m mad as heck and I’m not gonna take it anymore. Ben and Jerry’s? DOODY HEADS! Voodoo Donuts, DOODY HEADS! Somebody out there, offer me a Hero sandwich with a side of Good ‘n Plenty.

Carolyn

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

Ben & Jerry Drop The (Schweddy) Ball

Recently a good friend gave our daughter a generous Groupon coupon to Ben & Jerry’s, so after Christmas we trooped to our local store, where the trees out front were still festooned with twinkly lights.  I ask you:  Could any outing say “family” more than a winter trek for ice cream, the kids giggling inside their hooded coats, swearing they can eat two waffle cones each despite the frigid weather?

This is just like It’s A Wonderful Life, I thought, grinning as we approached the door.  On the glass was a big sign advertising their newest flavor.

Nice work, B & J.  Care to explain your latest creation to a few curious nine-year-olds?  Yeah, me either—especially to the ones who aren’t mine.

Pretending I needed to use the entire right side of my body to shove the door open, I blocked the sign as best I could and started brainstorming an excuse to stand in front of it on the way out.  It’s not that I’m prudish…’kay, maybe I am, because after we got into the store and I saw the sign below the cash register, on the glass above the ice cream case and behind the counter, I felt a hot flash coming on—the kind that accompanies a dangerous spike in blood pressure.

What does Too Hot Mamas have to do to teach you folks some manners, Ben?  Jerry?  Dudes! Did you even read my blog about farting at the dinner table? Ah, never mind, you boys probably get a kick out of that sort of thing.

My husband, you will be happy to know, has been singing a little ditty about your ice cream flavor, set to the tune “Lonely Is The Man Without Love,” ever since our trip to your store.

Listen, I know you’re not going to take down a few thousand signs across the nation, because one mother in Oregon questions your sensibilities.  But, if you’re going to hawk Schweddy Balls in front of impressionable youths, then how about giving equal time to your menopausal friends?  We could use the media attention.

On that note, I’d like to see a flavor called Droopy Booby.  Perhaps vanilla ice cream, overripe peaches, maybe a few Jelly Bellies?  We hot mamas are buying as much of your product as anyone else.  Probably more since we like ice-cold treats in the depth of winter to counter those hot flashes.

Think about it, fellas.  Droopy Booby could increase sales among the senior crowd and spark insightful conversations about body image.  How many insightful conversations do you think you’ve elicited with that other flavor?

Be the change you want to see, Ben and Jerry.  We’re counting on you.

Wendy

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Filed under Bathroom Humor, Humor, manners

DUDE, THAT’S RUDE!

In an ongoing effort to transform our dinner table from a trough to a haven of grace and civilization, I recently purchased the books DUDE, THAT’S RUDE and TABLE MANNERS FOR KIDS (of all ages).

When gas is released during the meal and elicits cackles of hyena-like laughter from all present (except me, and kindly do not refer me to Walter, The Farting Dog; I’m not gonna laugh at flatulence when I have slaved over lasagna Florentine)…well, that’s when I think we’ve gone too far.

I decided to read aloud from DUDE over a dinner of spaghetti marinara.  I chose that entrée deliberately as our spaghetti feeds typically resemble the Brown Derby scene in I Love Lucy, wherein Lucy tries to manage giant balls of pasta or endeavors to suck up endless strands, and Ethel resorts to snipping the noodles with a pair of scissors.

With the book as a guide, I modeled twirling a manageable forkful lightly against my spoon.  Twirling—that’s fun for kids, right?

Apparently not.

“I can’t do it,” my daughter complained, letting her fork clatter to her plate.  “Not to be rude, but I don’t like spaghetti anyway.  May I be excused?”

“Of course not!  We just started eating.”

Tim patted her on the arm.  “Mom doesn’t want you to take a huge mouthful, that’s all.  Here, try this.”  He forked up a couple of strands, puckered and inhaled—with agonizingly slow glee—so that the spaghetti looked like live worms, attempting to wriggle away and splattering marinara along the way.  Now our daughter liked spaghetti.

I kicked him under the table.  “Let’s work on our napkins.  They should be placed on our laps–”

“I don’t have a napkin,” dear child pointed out, searching around her placemat.  “You never give us any.”

“All right.”  I got up, scrounged in a drawer and slapped a few wrinkled napkins on the table.  “From now on we’re using napkins, and they should be placed on our laps.”

My husband wiped his mouth delicately then tucked his napkin under his plate.

“Your lap,” I reiterated.

“It’s easier to get to this way.  You don’t have to reach below the table.”  He demonstrated.  “Besides, did you notice how I raised my pinkie when I wiped my mouth?”

He and our daughter proceeded to entertain each other by seeing who could keep their pinkies raised longest while performing various tasks, most of them not dinner related.  I felt a different finger trying to rise, but that would have been rude, so I practiced not speaking with my mouth full.

Flatulence and cackles followed.

It may look like I’m defeated, but I’m not giving up on those books or on us.  And if you think I’m being a stickler, invite my family to dinner sometime.  You’ll thank me.

Wendy

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Filed under Bathroom Humor, Children, Humor, Marriage, Motherhood, parenthood

Ghost Child

At our house, we have a ghost child. His name is Jimmy. Jimmy is a clumsy, stupid child with an evil sense of humor. Jimmy is the one who makes huge, horrible, malodorous poop in the toilet, and never flushes. Jimmy is the one who never, ever puts a lid back on anything and in fact, hides or throws the lid away. When he actually manages to clean up after himself, he perches the lidless jar/bottle/tub at the very edge of the refrigerator shelf and carefully closes the door so that when some unsuspecting innocent wants to make dinner, BLAM-O! Broken, splattered, wasted, whatever…everywhere. Jimmy is also the one who leaves the lights on in both the house and car, leaves the doors unlocked, leaves the heater on and the door wide open. Jimmy uses the last of the shampoo/toilet paper/dry towels without replacing them. He has broken a Wii, lost cell-phones and iPods, screwed up our computers, scratched DVD’s…If it’s costly and irritating, you can be sure Jimmy did it, because none of my perfect darlings would ever be so dastardly. Or so they tell me.

It puzzles me, how Matt and I managed to raise 5 relatively perfect teenagers, and yet put up with the boorish behavior of this ill-mannered ghost. If we simply got rid of Jimmy, imagine how seamless our lives would be!

In fact, as I list my grievances against Jimmy, I am experiencing a bit of a hot flash. I think I’ll just run to the store for some garlic and a silver bullet. Invite Bill Murray and Dan Ackroid over for dinner… I’ll let you know how it goes.

Carolyn

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

A Fish Tale. The End.

You learn a lot about people when they are grieving for a fish.

After one-and-a-half years, at least nine lives and more medicine than I have ingested in fifty years on this planet, our betta, Bluestar, has gone to his reward.

When I say “our betta,” I mean, of course, the bowl-housed betta for which my daughter begged and pleaded and, not unpredictably, swiftly pronounced “kinda boring,” thereby bequeathing his care to my husband and me.  We thought he was neat-o.

Bluestar’s passing was not unexpected.  We had anticipated this moment for six months, which was when Bluey began to perfect his dead fish float.  Tim or I would wake up and shuffle to his bowl to feed him, only to find our blue-finned friend lying motionless on his side near his heater.  We’d gather the family around the bowl, say a prayer and plan the funeral.  Before we could decide which spot in the yard was most suitable for his final resting place, however, Blue would leap from his coma, take a crazed victory lap around the bowl and come to stare at us, his fins fluttering in what appeared to be piscine glee.

“Hey, lookit me!  Didn’t I look like a dead fish? Didn’t  I? Hahahaha!  So what’s a guy got to do to get a meal around here?”

As the months went on and Blue’s impersonation of Dead Mr. Limpet began to last longer and longer, he was less able to wring sympathy from his mourners.  Some of them, anyway.  Tim decided to hold his tears until we figured out a way to take a fish’s vitals, though he must be credited for continuing to search for new and better fish medications.

Carolyn, to whom I have turned for consolation and advice innumerable times in our long and enduring friendship is, I am sorry to say, crap at comforting the bereaved when they are grieving a fish.  Oh, yes you are, Carolyn.

Her kids had fish for years, and she gave Bluestar two of his favorite toys, so naturally I would appeal to her in times of concern:  “I think Bluestar is sick.  He’s growing white fuzz balls on his fins!  What do I do?”

“Take him to the vet at Wal-Mart.  Hahahaha.”

“I didn’t know there were vets at Wal-Mart.”

“Oh, sure.  You take in the sick fish, and they give him back–better than ever. Hahahahaha!”

“Where are the vets?  In back of the pet section?  I’m not sure our Wal-Mart has a veterinarian.”

“Wendy, just take the fish to Wal-Mart.  Your betta will live for years.  Hahahahahaha!”

“Carolyn, honestly, I don’t think our Wal-Mart—“

She made the sound of a toilet flushing.

Oh.  My.  God.  Without even a proper burial!

When Bluestar’s eyesight began to wane and he regularly over- or undershot his food, I bought a hand feeder.  Nifty little gadget, but it takes time and a lot of patience to get the hang of it, and Blue, as it turned out, didn’t have enough left of either.

Ironically, Carolyn was with me when I discovered, for the last time, Bluestar on his side.

Carolyn peered into the bowl.  “He’s faking.”

“He is not, not this time.”  I felt my nose begin to tickle.  “This is different.  This time he’s at the bottom of the bowl.”

“Wendy,” Carolyn’s lovely eldest daughter pointed out quite gently, “fish float to the top when they’re dead.  He’s probably just sleeping again.”  She said nothing about Wal-Mart, for which I bless her.

“Thank you, honey.”  I nodded.  “But Bluestar always did things his own way.  I’m sure he’s passed on this time.”  And he had.

After we buried the little guy, disinfected his bowl, toys and heater and packed up his belongings and meds up to give to some other family embarking on fish ownership, I began to contemplate our various responses to Blue’s brief-ish life.  I wonder if the way we each reacted reflects the fact that lately we’ve all given some thought to dying?  Maybe this is how we’re going to treat our own elder years, particularly when we come to the point where our mortality seems more imminent than philosophical.

Tim will be proactive but stoic.  Carolyn will request that her children set her off on an ice float like an ancient Eskimo, and you will hear the sound of her laughter echoing on the air.  I will be propped up with pillows, surrounded by costly supplements, squinting at my laptop and dangerously raising my cortisol levels as I Google alternative treatments.

It bears some thought.  Watching Bluestar live taught me how to enjoy life even when my bowl is smaller than I would like it to be.  Now his death is pretty instructive.

Our daughter, by the way, did tear up when she realized that her pet, the one she had chosen so painstakingly from all the many containers of bettas at the pet store, was gone for good.  “Is he really dead this time?”

“Yes, sweetie.”

“Do we have to get rid of his body?”

“Yes.”

“Is it gonna stink?”

“Not if we do it soon.”

“Can we have a funeral?”

“Absolutely.”

“And then get pizza?”

“You bet.”

“Goody!”

 

R.I.P. Bluestar

 

 

–Wendy

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Filed under Death, Humor, Pet fish

Teen Slanguage

Jeff Foxworthy’s Redneck Dictionary offers a crash course in southern slang.  Here are a few of his examples that got me to thinking about writing a book of my own:

bay • ou (bi´-ü), v. and n. to purchase for another. “I just walked right up to her and said, ‘Hey darlin’, lemme bayou a drink.’
doo • dle (düd´-el), n. and v. a male person and his predicted actions. “Don’t even look at him, ’cuz that doodle kill you.”
tor • toise (tort´-es), v. and n. to have imparted knowledge or wisdom to a group. “That stupid teacher never tortoise nothin’.

As handy as this book no doubt is, a conversation I overheard in my car the other day has me guessing more American households could use a Teen Slang Dictionary

I thought I’d begin with two phrases that initially had me stumped:

1.  Annie Slike and 2.  iMall Ike.

Translated:

1.  “And, he said.”  (Literally, “And he is like.”)

2.  “I said.”  (Literally, “I am all like.”)

Used in conversation:

iMall Ike “Where?”

Annie Slike  “There?”

iMall Ike “Okay.”

Annie Slike  “See ya.”

We welcome your additions to Toohotmama’s Teen Slang Dictionary,  cuz iMall Ike excited about this project, no waddam een?

Carolyn

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

BIG, BAD DOG. The End.

When last we parted, Buster the Giant Foster Dog had made clear that he didn’t like the new human mommy the shelter had chosen for him.  The day before I was supposed to wrestle him into the car to go home with said mom, I awoke in the wee hours of the morning certain that I was participating in a crime against the big, sweet, lovable  lug. Kinda like giving Orphan Annie to Miss Hannigan.

Unable to sleep, I prayed, turned on my computer and, voila–an email whose subject line read, “Do you still have the dog?” I didn’t know the sender, but several days earlier, I had sent an e-mail describing Buster to a dog-loving friend of mine.  Apparently, a gentleman who was fixing her computer “accidentally” read the e-mail and felt a months-long depression lift.  Get this:  He’d had a 100 lb pooch who had sat faithfully with him while he underwent chemotherapy.  Man and dog had adored each other and when the dog developed cancer and died the following year, the man was devastated.  Nothing seemed to cheer him up…until he saw the e-mail.

Well.

I phoned them first thing the next morning.  Certain this was Buster’s true family, I raced to the shelter, where the woman interested in adopting our  convalescent pal was supposed to be filling out her paperwork.  Ticking off the shelter and the woman more and more with every word I spoke, I nonetheless convinced them to give other Buster to the other family. Then I filled out the paperwork on the new family’s behalf (they lived five hours away), phoned them with the great news that Buster was officially theirs, and we had a tearful celebration on the phone.

All this took one and a half hours, during which Buster had been home alone.  He’d been home alone before.  This time he must have sensed something, because…

Oh, holy God in heaven.

In that exciting, celebratory hour-and-a-half, Buster, who had been resting in his usual tongue-protruding stupor when I left, had managed to rouse himself and rip my house to shreds.  Literally shreds.  Shredded curtains in the kitchen, living and dining rooms. (I hated those curtains, anyway.)  Shredded giant picnic basket containing my shredded knitting.  At some point he had climbed onto the kitchen counter and tore the café curtains, rod and all, down from the above-the-window sink.  Cushions had been removed from chairs.  A baby gate was thrashed.  Buster had been busy.  On the bright side, he was obviously feeling more energetic.

On the down side, I had to phone his new family to apprise them of this behavior, plus face my husband whose trust and faith in my judgment I had begged (yes, I’d actually said “have faith in my judgment”) prior to bringing Buster home in the first place.

Buster’s new family was easy:  “Oh-ho, our Bob did the same when he first arrived.  Managed to chew an entire 6 foot fence.  It’s to be expected.  Then they settle right in.”  (And do what?  Eat the drywall?)  Whatever, they wanted Buster just as soon as they could get them.  My friend Su and I loaded Buster (along with about half a pound of bacon as a bribe) into the back of my Outback and off we went. Busty didn’t make a sound.  With the exception of a brief round of projectile drooling (I hope it was drool), he behaved like a perfect gentleman.  If the drive went well, the hand-off to the new family was a moment of true heart, warmth and inspiration.  Hallmark for canines.  I left feeling mighty grateful to have been part of the moment.

My husband kissed me when I got home.  “You did a good thing.  I’m proud of you.  It would be nice to take a break now from fostering dogs.  For a while.  Okay?  I know you still miss Chauncie terribly, but–”

“Sure, honey, sure.  You’ve been so understanding and so tolerant of all the dogs coming in and out of here.”

“Well, it’s all over now.  We’re done fostering?”

“All done.”

He hugged me.  “I’m not going to miss the dog hair.”

“Me either.  I am finished with shedders.”    Buster’s hair had blown out in black tufts that clung like webbing.

So, we returned to our peaceful, dog-less lives.  I stared at photos of my dear Collie girl, the one whose passing had kicked off the round of foster dogs so I wouldn’t have time to cry.  I cried a lot that afternoon, though, missing her gentle licks, the way she cocked her head as she tried to understand her people’s silly babble, the charming way she protected babies.  There would never be another being as kind and sweet and easy. …

So why wait?  I had agreed not to get another foster dog.

Within a week, I had Autumn , who came to us from the Humane Society.  There was a sign on her cage that said, VERY NERVOUS LITTLE DOG.  Little?  Her paws were enormous, with extra toes.  Nervous was correct, though:  She was so scared in the shelter that she wouldn’t stand up in the run.  As for cars?  Pooor baaaaaby.   Such a shy, needy dog.

Who knew she’d hate cats?  Or weigh 65 pounds so quickly?  and no one mentioned that she’d blow her coat twice a year and shed continuously.  I didn’t know.  Honest.

“I’m not walking her,” Tim said when I brought Autumn home.  “I’m not  feeding her or buying Frontline or sweeping four times a day.  This is all yours.”

I agreed, hugging my new bff.

That was five years ago.  Tim has never fed her (anything but leftover roasted chicken, meatloaf and spaghetti…).  He doesn’t buy Frontline; it’s true.  When he sweeps, he just happens to get some of her hair along with the other stuff into the dustpan, and he only walks her because I look like I could use a break.  As for playing with her, I wish he’d rein it in; he keeps her up way too late.

Husbands, wives and pets…gotta love us.

Wendy

P.S.  Buster and his family are still doing great!

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Filed under Dogs, Humor, Marriage, Writing

BIG BAD DOG

It’s Friday, and you know what that means at Too Hot Mamas:  It’s time for Thursday’s Tea Time With Wendy.  (Yeah, you got that if you know us at all.)

So, two Thursdays ago, I started to tell you about Buster, the BIG DOG with the even bigger, uh, male parts.  Buster came home from the shelter with me as a medical foster dog, and a more grateful patient you have never seen.  Buster was a delight.

When I walked my new friend, people coming toward us literally crossed the street.  Buster looked mean.  He didn’t intend to, and perhaps it had something to do with having swollen…you know…but Buster tended to scare people.  Perversely, I admit that I found this amusing, because Buster was a giant pussycat–terrified of cars, stairs and anything slippery.  He needed a lot of reassurance.

My husband—the one who just days before had begged me not to bring home another canine—really liked Buster.  It was hard not to.  Buster’s paws looked like snowshoes.  His head was massive.  The dog could eat Manhattan.  And yet, he allowed my then-three-year-old to wrap his body in bubble wrap and pop him.   He’d considerately lie down when a cat came near, so as not to intimidate kitty.  He felt no such duty to consideration regarding other dogs, however, and they—the big, male ones in particular—did not care for him.  Pure envy, if you ask me.  Frequently during walks, I would hear growling from some other mutt.  Buster never backed down, and if he didn’t want to behave on a leash…well, may I just say, “Terribly sorry for all the trouble we caused.”  Given Buster’s size and inherently menacing appearance, non-compliance while strolling through the neighborhood was clearly going to be a problem.  And that car issue…

Busty refused to get within five feet of a moving vehicle.  He would plant himself and that was that.  When I needed to transport him, I asked my husband to help.

Poor Tim.  Able to bench-press more than he weighed, he got Buster into the car, but Buster panicked and jumped out.  At Tim.  Tim’s back went out, and he wound up in bed for a couple of days recuperating with the faithful (and, I am persuaded, repentant) Buster by his side.  Buster slept a great deal at this point.  He was still recuperating from his neutering, after all, poor baby.

After a week or so, the shelter phoned.  Someone had stepped forward to adopt our dear Buster.  We met.  Unfortunately, Buster refused to get in her car.  Refused to walk with her, too, nor did he particularly care to be anywhere near her.  And she was scared of him, which made the adoption a little problematic in my opinion, but the shelter did not share my point of view.  The night before I was supposed to turn him over to his new mama (how this was to be accomplished remained a mystery to us all), I couldn’t sleep, convinced this was the worst dog-human pairing in recent history.

Being a praying gal, I had a talk with God then, at three a.m., got up to have a chat with Buster and to check the e-mail I hadn’t had time for the previous day.  There in my inbox was a note from someone I did not know with the subject line “Do you still have the dog?”

To be continued…on Monday.  Honest.

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Filed under Dogs, Humor

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

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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Filed under Children, Cooking, Humor, Motherhood

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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Filed under Dogs, friendship, Humor, Marriage

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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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Fifteen Minutes of Fame, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

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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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, aging, Humor, manners, Menopause, Motherhood, parenthood, politeness, Writing

Most Powerful Women?

Wait a minute! That’s not us!

Excuuuuuuse me?  This is the list of the most powerful women in the world?  Hello? Wendy?  Where were we?  How could they neglect to mention the Queen and Crown Princess of the United States of Marriage, Motherhood and Menopause?  I ask you, what could they do all day that is any more harrowing than teaching their exceedingly blond daughter how to drive when they are suffering from Menopause Symptom number 16 (see bowel/bladder control problems)?

Don’t say complex political issues and difficult paperwork, because I’m not impressed.  Do they have to deal with the ENDLESS RED TAPE associated with choosing which soccer photos to order—the deluxe pro-trading cards with 2 5×7, 1 8×10 4 wallet in a pear tree or the completely useless mini-mouse pad and bobble-head coffee mug combo—when they are simultaneously trying to recall the structure of a 5 paragraph essay, WHICH WAS DUE YESTERDAY, DEAR, while under the influence of a hot flash?  I think not.

Here’s a snippet on these supposed “Power-Women”, from Fortune 500 magazine:  There’s been plenty of turmoil atop Fortune’s annual Most Powerful Women list.   Meg Whitman crashed the party, coming in at No. 9 when she became CEO of Hewlett-Packard. (As CEO of eBay, she was on the list from 1999 to 2007.)

What party?  And why didn’t we crash it, Wendy?  It would have been a perfect opportunity to take George Clooney with us and show him what he’s missing by dating kindergarteners!  Let’s not let that happen again, okay?  Plus, this Meg Whitman actually left eBay, the shopping-palooza event of the century to go work for HP?  Gack.

While Oprah Winfrey fell 10 spots to No. 16, her power and influence in flux without the platform of her eponymous syndicated talk show. [sic]

Cry me a river.  And okay, what does eponymous mean, anyway?  I’m sure if we had to, we could totally be eponymous.

Perhaps the biggest change of all? Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld takes the No. 1 position from PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi, who topped the list for five years. This ranking is all about power, and while Nooyi runs the bigger company, Rosenfeld’s decision to split Kraft into two entities shows she has it and knows how to use it.

It???

Try splitting an order of fries that nobody fights over, girls, now that takes skill.  Here at Toohotmamas, we have it and we know how to use it, too.  We just have to find ‘it’.  And then… of course, use ‘it’.

So.  Next year, Wendy, we’re gonna be on that list.  Fortune 500, Schmortune Shmive-hundred!  That’s right.  Stand back, Irene.  You.  Me.  My kid driving my minivan.  On the freeway. Then we’ll see who can really hack it.
Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Geroge Clooney, Humor, Making Money, Marriage, Meg Whitman, Menopause, Motherhood

Carolyn, the Queen of Everything

After Carolyn’s post yesterday, I probably should be throwing my tiara in the ring, lobbying to be Queen of the United States, or at least the area around my easy chair.  I have been trying for ages to get my family to address me as Your Highness, but they are so resistant to change.

The thing is, I’m not the queen type.  I prefer to fly slightly under the radar.  Besides, I get hat head.  Carolyn has really thick hair; she’ll look fabulous after the hat comes off–and it’ll probably be an adorable hat she made from a sweater or a dog bed or an empty Ritz Cracker box or something.  She is brilliant at making hats.  Honestly, she should have been a milliner.

So, Carolyn, you’ll have my fealty if you make me a hat.

Also, I think that when you are queen you should make George Clooney date women born before 1985.  This is really important.  With a Too Hot Mama on the throne, we can mandate this kind of validation for women over forty-five.

Wow.  I can’t believe I once stepped in human urine while walking through Central Park with the future queen of the United States.  (After the hats and George Clooney, you might want to do something about that urine situation.)

All hail Carolyn!  Long may you rain… rein…reign…    Well, enjoy bossing people around, dear friend.

Wendy

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I Want to be Queen

It’s Winning Wednesday here at Toohotmamas…hang on just a sec…Okay, I’m back after having laughed myself half silly.  When we came up with the harebrained idea to hold a bi-monthly sweepstakes, I thought Wendy was going to run the contest and she thought I was.  We should have known it would be a disaster.  Just look at all the success we’ve had with the Pillsbury bake-off contest.

Anyway, I have an idea for a contest where the contestant would be…me.  I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, especially since Wills and Kate got married, and it dawned on me that we don’t have any royalty in the United States.  Oh, sure, there was that whole Kennedy/Camelot thing, but come on, we all know he was the president and not the king.

Where is OUR Wills and Kate?
Celebrities, such as Queen Latifa and Burger King don’t count.

I think I would make a really good Queen for several reasons:

1.  I would lobby to make all chargers (phone/iPod/etc.) USE THE SAME CORD!

2.  I have plenty of cellulite to mock and plaster across tabloid covers.

3.  I already have a scepter (okay, septic, so shoot me).

4.  I love hats.  And tiaras.

5.  I really, really, really want to be Queen.

So, I’m working on my platform (think battery chargers) and am wondering if I should simply appoint myself (since Queendom is not a  democracy) and throw a coronation party here, at Toohotmamas.

I welcome all ideas for change that you’d like to see added to my reform agenda.  Wendy would automatically be princess (unfortunately, there can only be one queen, and it was my idea and I am older), and heir to the throne.  We will have to establish a hierarchy for the kids, as they will be the ones running around creating scandal and playing polo.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to post my mission statement next Wednesday.

Long live the queen,

HRM Carolyn of Manchester.

(I love the name Manchester.  Reminds me of my bra size).

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Children, Cinderella, Fifteen Minutes of Fame, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

I LOVE THIS BOOK!

I love a book I can sink my teeth into!

Have you ever read a book that was so good you just gobbled it up?
My dogs have!
I bought this book at the Scholastic Book Fair for my son and after he was done tearing through it, the dogs did!
Maybe it was the picture on the front…maybe it was the element of suspense.  Maybe it was the meaty goodness of the cardboard, but when we came home after a shopping trip, Lovey Howl had chewed through it and Thurston was on the waiting list.
So Wendy, I’m thinking…We have neglected an entire audience!  Fiction for Dogs!  I’ll loan this sucker to you after Thurston’s done.  See if Autumn like’s it?  If so, I have an idea for a real tail-wagger!
Carolyn

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I HATE ZUCCHINI

 Did you know that zucchini seeds are magic?   Did you know one plant will produce enough food to feed a third world country?  Did you know your kids probably hate zucchini? Mine do.

 

We made the mistake of planting an entire package of zucchini seeds this summer.  They burst out of the ground like Jack’s beanstalk and each plant produced a zoogillion zucchinis.

 

Now, I have zucchini coming out of my ears.  And other places.  I’m holding a contest at my house called, “most creative use of zucchini”.  Aside from the mundane zucchini casserole and zucchini bread and cake we have; zuk-kabobs, deviled zuk, zukironi and cheese, zuk au gratin, zuk cordon bleu, and zuk under glass.

 

We have grilled it, fried it, mashed it, baked, boiled, broiled, frickken fricasseed it.  We have tried it with a fox, we have tried it in a box, we have tried it here and there, we have tried it everywhere.  We do not like it Sam, I am.

 

We’re sick of it.  I am writing this blog at a table built of zucchini and seated on a zucchini bench.  I sent my youngest son to school in a pair of shoes fashioned from zucchini.  I sent it to my daughter’s class to celebrate her birthday.  What? The kids didn’t enjoy the piñata stuffed with zucchini?  What did they want?  Crook-neck?  Lousy kids.

 

I’m thinking next year, we’re gonna win the Pillsbury Bakeoff with something made from zucchini, Wendy.   Nothin’ says lovin’ like a zucchini in the oven.

 

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Cooking, gardening, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

Just Tell Me WHY…

Why, why, WHY…when I tell my daughter to get ready for church, she pulls a shirt so stinky it is practically smoking out from beneath her bed, where it clearly has been languishing for months and is now lathered in dust bunnies.   Maybe she likes the fur look?

BUT when this same child tries on a CLEAN blouse in the morning before school and decides, “No, I think I’ll wear my blue instead,” the first shirt is deposited instantly into the dirty laundry hamper despite the fact that it has been worn for two and one-half minutes.

WHY?

And why–this question is from my husband, who, I suspect is in a menopause of his own–do kids pour glasses of milk the approximate size of Seven-Eleven Big Gulps, take two sips, leave it, then pour grape juice into a thermos, take two sips of that before abandoning it forever all the while hollering, “Mom, we’re thirsty and there’s nothing to drink”?

As I get older, I seem to crave order and logic, two virtues that held no appeal in my youth.   Why?  Why do I want to impose order and logic on my life now when I am surrounded by children and filled with menopausal ADD?  How’s that gonna work?

My timing’s off.   Assuming I could impose a neat cause-and-effect rhythm to each and every day (or even half of them), what would I gain?  Sure, a kid who never smelled like a stable during benediction, but I’d also lose the hair bands attached to each and every doorknob in the house; houseplants lined up in the bathroom like thirsty soldiers, water and soil draining onto the floor; and the little thrill of the unexpected when I open the freezer to search for dinner and find, instead, a Groovy Girl doll seated between the lasagna and the peas (don’t ask; I have absolutely no idea).

I don’t need logic at this point in my life.  What would I do with it now that my memory’s failing?  And, really, if one is trying to stave off senility, what better way to exercise the brain than to try to figure out how a child’s mind works?

Sign me,

Happy Just Wonderin’

Wendy

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Children, Humor, Writing

Household hints, by Carolyn

It’s shocking!

I just learned the COOLEST hint today from the lady at Costco.  You know how, when you are in
the grocery store and you get shocked every time you touch the freezer case or anything metal?  You don’t?  Then you must not have shopped with my boys.  They love to scuff their feet along the aisle and zap each other.  And me.  And unsuspecting sisters.

 

Anyhow, if you look closely at the bottom of your grocery cart next time you are at the store, you might see this piece of wire hanging off the cart and dragging on the ground?  It’s the cart’s ground wire!  If it’s not touching the ground and you are zapping and snapping up a storm, just bend it down and let it drag.  Problem solved!

Oh!  And another totally helpful hint?  Don’t teach your teenaged daughter to drive.  I am just now learning that one.  More later, should I live so long.

 

Carolyn

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

Company’s Coming!

Come on, people! Let’s get crackin!

Ever tried to accomplish a giant task while you have company?  I’m facing that …oh, what’s the word… ‘excitement’ now as I have a book deal for a rather lengthy manuscript on an extremely tight deadline.

So.  My father is turning 80.  On the same day, his brother is turning 82.  On the same day (no, this is not a typo) my daughter is turning 13.
October 9 is a popular day to birth babies in our gene pool.  Relatives are flying in from the four corners of the earth to celebrate.

What with me being in menopause and having the five kids under 18 and all, I’m feeling a tad stressed. However, I am nothing if not organized and I love to delegate.  So, I’m thinking I’m going to ask for a little help.  They say it’s one of the hardest things a person can do, this asking for help business.  To that, I say, “Heeeeeeellllllllllllppppppppp!”

Yeah, yeah, yeah, grandpa is turning 80.  Big whoop.  He can make the spaghetti.  Aunt and Uncle are clean freaks, they can tackle the pantry.  My cousin and her daughters are creative and love to talk/tell stories.  I’m passing out plot cards when they walk through the door and sending them off to enjoy some quiet time and a jolly good writing exercise.  We can discuss character arc at the party, and goal, motivation and conflict over dessert.  After the gifts are open, everyone will get a party favor pencil and go to work.  Scenes for the kids, chapters for the adults.

That oughtta gitter done.  By the time I have to take them to the airport, I should be able to swing by the post office and mail the completed manuscript, therefore giving two birds the old one/two punch with one stone.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Anxiety, cleaning, company, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, romance novels, Writing

Sexy Older Women Have Fun With Food

 Wendy wanted to call Friday’s Segment:  Fun With Food.

I added the Sexy Older Women part, because believe it or not, I just read an article where somebody took the time to research the top words in blog titles that people search and the winner was:  SEXY OLDER WOMAN.

Wow.  So, even if your blog is about say, Home-school Curriculum or Colonoscopy or Boy Scouts,  or Federal Agriculture you should try to work these words into the title.  Mind boggling, huh?

Anyway, Wendy has some awesome ideas about helping people with Menopausal Attention Deficit to make simple and nutritious fare.  But, since I don’t want her to do all the blog work, I’m going to share my thoughts on fun food this Friday.

Eat a box of Wheat Thins.  I’m doing it now.  As I type this blog!  Simple.  Nutritious.  Less than 5 seconds to prepare. If the old adage, “You are what you eat” is true, you will wake up in the morning thin and golden brown.  That’s what I’m going for.  Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Cooking, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Weight gain, Weight Loss, Writing