Category Archives: Marriage

It’s that time of year…

The hubby just came in from an afternoon spent sorting out our taxes and showed me (to the tune of hundreds of dollars) how I dropped the ball by incurring late fees and interest rates.  I HATE THAT!  I hate throwing perfectly good money out the window.  Why couldn’t he have simply left me in my ignorant bliss?

I blame the children.  They distracted me.

I also blame menopause.  I can’t remember when the actual due date of each (and there are plenty) bill.

I also blame Andy Williams (may he rest in peace).  Not sure why I am blaming poor Andy, since I love him.  At any rate, one of his Christmas ditties inspired me to write the following.  You may wish to sing it at your house.

Ahhhh, hemmm.  Here we go:

It’s the most horrible time of the year 
When the husband is yelling
And the IRS is telling you something to fear 
It’s the most horrible time of the year 

It’s the crap-crappiest season of all
With those 1040 tax forms and  and letters to inform you owe Uncle Sam your soul 

It’s the crap- crappiest season of all 
There’ll be dwindling tax shelters leading to homeless shelters  and having to sleep in the snow 

There’ll be scary audit stories  and now we are sorry about purchases from long, long ago 

There’ll be much Pepto-Bismol  and things sure look dismal  when April fifteenth comes near 

There’ll be much pencil throwing and hearts will be glowing  with horrible heartburn severe 

It’s the most horrible time

It’s the most horrible time

It’s the most horrible tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime!

Of the year!

Happy Taxes, everyone! 

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Cussing, Dads, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

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

Rosemary’s baby

Linda BlairOkay, kids, where was I? Oh yes. We were the first people to birth the perfect child. Clearly, she was so wonderful because we were the perfect parents. Waiting 16 years to have her had obviously mellowed us into a sweet and creamy perfection and our child could sense our superior harmonic waves and was thriving accordingly. And because she slept through the night right away, hardly ever cried, was endlessly amusing, we decided to give her a sister.

Whoa.

I sensed the difference months before she was born. Where my husband would talk lovingly to my belly with the first kid and she would gently stroke his nose through my uterine wall, the second kid would haul off and slug him.

She came out swinging and screaming and no amount of prayer or exorcism seemed to help. We’d failed. We’d lost our mojo.

The moment she was old enough for a toddler bed, we held a garage sale and sold everything ‘baby’. We were done. No more gambling with our precious sleep. Besides, I was 40. Having a baby after 40 was just plain crazy. I mean, that’s what you call a ‘change-of-life’ baby. A big fat accident.

So…what do you call it when you adopt an infant at age 45?

Kids, we’ll tackle that insanity next time. Carolyn

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

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 My Husband and Became The Oldest Mother In Kindergarten, part II

Here’s what I remember about my husband when I first met him: I remember the way he looked at people when they spoke to him And that way was simply this:  He looked at them.

Have you ever talked to an actor at a party or at an audition or in a market or on a street corner or in his living room or any dang place where the actor thinks there might, just might be someone who can give him a job? His handsome mug may be pointed in your direction; his eyes, however, will be scanning the room. (I’m sure I did that, too. I apologize to everyone I spoke to during my acting years.)

So, when I walked into the first rehearsal for Of Mice and Men, I saw Tim, surrounded by people, and what I noticed was that he listened to them. He cared about what they were saying—even if it wasn’t about acting. Each person deserved his attention. He seemed oblivious to his own appeal or whether he was upping his own status in the room. He spoke humbly and with authenticity.

Integrity.

That’s the word that went through my mind as I watched him. (Note to our daughters: Consider putting that quality at the top of your list of traits to look for in a potential husband. Thirty years after “Wow, he’s cute!” has worn thin, “Wow, he has integrity” will still pack quite a wallop.)

I liked him. I really, really, really liked him. He gave great pre-show hugs. He liked animals. And when my character was choked to death on stage and my skirt somehow inevitably wound up over my hips night after night, he was the only cast member who would find a way to push the skirt back into place, so I didn’t have to lie on stage with my tush on display for the next twenty minutes (I was dead, after all; I couldn’t do it.) So thank you, cute and considerate actor.  Will you marry me?

He did. But later. A lot later. Twelve years later.

The fact is, DH and I make decisions about as fast as sap can drip up a tree. During a frost.  After we married it took us another five years to decide to become parents. Ironically, we flip-flopped our positions: I was ready to have kids, and he wasn’t so sure.

Before kids, though, we got Carolyn. More on that next week as she returns to blog about how she and I met.  I think she’s returning to blog.  She’s currently in Cabo, getting relaxed, tan and blonder.  I’m insane with envy.  Hopefully she will come home and resume her responsibilities as a blog partner on Tuesday. Until then—

–Wendy…not in Cabo, not so relaxed, white as a 1000-watt daylight bulb, and in desperate need of some highlights.

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Before We Were “Too Hot” Mamas

Dad, Libbi and MomCarolyn suggested we tell you all the story of how we met (standing in line for lasagna at a publishing party in Florida), how we discovered we had a lot in common (high anxiety…we are oodles of fun on a plane together), and how, after that first meeting on the opposite side of the country from where we both lived, our lives as writers and mothers began to intertwine in the most wonderful of ways.

I liked reminiscing about it all. Then she said, “Begin with your marriage. That’s how motherhood started.” Yeah, that’s a little harder, because now I have to be honest, and, well…eew.

Being honest about my husband is easy; he’s one of the most transparent people I’ve ever known. But we met when I was twenty-three, and I cannot say that transparency was one of my salient qualities back then.

I grew up hiding—or trying to hide–big chunks of myself. I was a people pleaser, a classic human chameleon. I stumbled into the real me, turning holes in my character into a whole human bit by fumbling bit. And for nearly thirty years now, my beautiful, honest-until-it-hurts husband has ridden shotgun.

When we met, I knew what I wanted in a boyfriend—a sense of humor, intelligence, a creative spark, strength and mystery. (I have no idea what I meant by mystery, and note to my daughters: That is a really asinine trait to look for in a life partner.)  He and I had crossed paths a couple of times. We were both acting in theatre and had been cast in the same plays twice, but either I took the role offered while he turned his down, or vice versa. And then we both auditioned for Of Mice And Men.

He remembers watching me at the audition as I was playing with a little girl in the lobby of the theatre. In that moment, he knew I’d make a great mom someday. Ooookay, here’s where the icky, eewie truth comes in. That little girl was the director’s daughter. I was playing with her because I thought it would score me some points if I was nice to his kid. I DIDN’T WANT KIDS. Well…someday. About ten or twelve years from that night. Maybe fifteen years. Possibly twenty.   It took a lot of time, a lot of tears and a very, very cool plot twist that involved Carolyn to get to the point where we squished that adorable baby in the photo between us.

To be continued on Thursday, because I promised Carolyn I wouldn’t get diarrhea of the keyboard.

Wendy

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Filed under Adoption, friendship, Marriage

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

How I Met Your Other (Too Hot Mama)

Kids, over the years, many of our faithful readers have asked the thought provoking (and thoroughly legend…wait for it…dary) question, “How did you two meet?”

The simple answer is, we were standing in line for an awards ceremony at a writer’s conference (where Wendy was—as usual—up for an award) and I offered her some anxiety meds (which she politely declined), then I blathered on about my acute stage fright, and my total fear of vomiting or fainting in public to such an extent that the woman behind us (an anxiety counselor) offered me her business card.

If Wendy had been smart, she’d have picked up the skirts to her stunning cocktail gown, grabbed her husband by the hand, and rushed to her seat. But instead, we got into this hilarious conversation about how social anxiety gives us both humiliating verbal diarrhea, and a lifelong friendship was born.

Because this story is in fact, rather longer and more miraculously wild and wonderful than either of us can recount in a single blog, I’ll be tackling it in little Bob Sagget-esque flashbacks over the next few weeks.

So, kids, I’ll be back on Thursday, with my part of the beginning. Carolyn

 

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, aging, Bathroom Humor, Children, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Older writers, Writing

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No…no…wait…it’s toohotmamas?

They said we wouldn’t be back until this happened and lo and behold…

What?  Pigs are flying?

What? Pigs are flying?

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

7 Habits of Ineffective Living

Hello dear friends!  This message is to let you know my new address!  Yes, I have moved!  I no longer live at my house anymore with my husband and family, as, well, it just became too impractical.  So, I moved into my mini-van.  Packed the backpack, the lunch box, the overnight kit with emergency floss.

Oh, sure, I try to get back and visit the old hacienda now and then.  Mainly between the hours of 1am and 6am.  I mumble to the hubby.  He mumbles back.  We snooze for a few nano-seconds.  Then, I fire up the coffee pot and hit the road again.

Yesterday, I was in the van, either driving or waiting for 7 and 1/2 hours.  Not even kidding.  It was the first day of college for my two eldest daughters.  Since they are still trying to master the art of driving (they haven’t hit anything in weeks), I am still serving as the family chauffeur.  But…that’s okay.  I’m organized.

Made lists for each of my five kids.  Passed them out.  Expected them to actually look at them.  Yes.  I am naïve.

Morning went like this:

ME:  Good morning!  Rise and shine!  It is 6 am!  As I am sure you consulted your evening list and laid out your clothing and lunches and books, all you need to do now, is glance over your morning list, gather your items and meet me out at my place (AKA: my minivan).

1 hour passes as I enjoy my coffee and the kind of Nirvana that comes from knowing the troops are organized and well rested.

ME:  Let’s go!

Them:  What?  Why didn’t you wake me!?  I’m not even up yet!

ME:  You went back to sleep?! Are you kidding me?  We’ve gone over this!  Up at 6!  Out at 7!

Them: (screaming) It’s SEVEN?!

Son:  Where’s my homework?  Where’s my shoe?  Where’s my lunch?

ME:  You told me you consulted your list last night!

Son:  I did!

ME:  (screaming) Then WHY AREN’T YOU READY?   WHY DIDN’T YOU PACK THE STUFF ON THE LIST?

Son:  You didn’t tell me I had to PACK the stuff.  You told me to CONSULT the list.

Them:  WE CAN’T GO TO SCHOOL WITH HORRIBLE HAIR AND NO MASCARA!  TAKE HIM TO SCHOOL AND COME BACK FOR US!

ME: (still screaming) BUT THAT’S 20 MILES OUT OF  MY WAY!   By then, I was talking to the bathroom door.

Which…(sigh)…after driving him to school, them to school, me to shopping, him home from school, them home from school, him to soccer, her to her job at the fast food place, him home from soccer, her home from the fast food place, really doesn’t seem like that much out of my way in the scheme of things.

Anyway, dear ones, if you’d like to visit me, you can usually find me whizzing down an on/off ramp of a high/free-way in one of 4 different cities.  You can’t miss me.  I’m the one with the bulging veins on her neck and the half-dressed, half-fed, half-awake people screaming in the back.

Carolyn

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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

Sexy Beast

Okay,  you want to know what’s fun about having an iPhone?  Having a 14-year-old son.  He loves Siri (for those of you old fogies who have never heard of Siri, she is the iPhone’s computer generated voice that answers your questions—sort of like Hal in 2001, A Space Odyssey).  My son is fond of asking Siri ridiculous questions and then, laughs himself silly at her computer generated answers.  For example:

Son:  “Siri, will you marry me?”

“My end user licensing does not cover marriage, my apologies.”

Giggles.

Son:   “What are you wearing?”

“I can’t answer that, but it doesn’t come off.”

Laughter.

Son:  “Open the pod bay doors.”

“That’s it.  I’m reporting you to the intelligence agency for harassment.”

Hysterical laughter.

Son:  “You make me feel like I’m walking on sunshine.

“You are certainly entitled to that opinion.”

Son:  “I’m drunk.”

“I hope you do not expect me to get you home.”

Son:  “Where can I hide a body?”

“What kind of place are you looking for?  Reservoirs, dumps, metal foundries, mines, cremation services, mortuaries, swamps, funeral services.”

Aaaanyway, when he grows bored with that, he gets into my phone’s inter-sanctum—that place that anyone over 40 is incapable of accessing—and changes my user name to Sexy Beast.  So, now my phone informs me in her superior tone, “You’re Carolyn, but since we are friends, I get to call you Sexy Beast.”

I just caught him telling my phone, “I love you,” and the phone responded “I love you, too, sexy beast.”

There’s nothing like a good affirmation from your phone to give your self-esteem a little boost.

Carolyn

 

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Back on the Juice Wagon

Well, here I am at day 3 again, after a junk food side trip during the Oscar party.  Not gonna beat myself up.  Just going to persevere.  Number one son juiced a fabulous batch of carrot, apple, kale juice and I am sipping my way through the fast food withdrawal symptoms.

Even though daughter number two made some kind of savory chicken dish that smelled soooo good, I was tempted to scramble down the stairs like Gollum and start screaming “My Precious” at the bird, I was able to stay out of the kitchen to avoid temptation.

How, you ask?  How does Carolyn have such incredible will power?  Well, it seems I have stumbled upon the secret to weight loss and total self-control.

It’s all in a yoga-esque exercise routine called Callenetics.  Found it, covered with dust at the bottom of a pile of exercise videos.  Thought, hey, this looks gentle.  No panting, no wheezing, no sweating.  Took an hour to do it.  Woke up the next day, couldn’t get out of bed, let alone make it to the kitchen.  So, problem solved.

Weight loss update:  starting weight +20.  Current weight +17.

Carolyn

 

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Joe Cross, Juicing, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Weight Loss

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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Filed under Diet, Exercise, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, The Oscars

Day Three

Yesterday, I was too weak to post.  Okay, lazy.  But I have to admit, I’m hungry.  Got a little snippy with the family.  Fantasized about eating Sushi.  Fantasized about eating anything.

However, I did drag out the juicer and concoct some delicious Kale, Carrot, Apple, Orange juice and have to admit, I was more awake and energized to enjoy my starvation.  Had a headache, probably because of all the times I hit myself upside the head for fantasizing about Sushi.  Also could be detoxing from my addiction to chocolate.  I did walk on the treadmill.  Noticed how winded I was.   Considered liposuction and other plastic surgery, but, since several more of my kids still need braces, that didn’t seem fair.  Kept walking.  Happy to report today’s number is + 18.5.  (start number was +20) So, I’ve probably lost a pound of water, half a pound of muscle (in my head), but hey, a loss is a loss as Bob and Gillian say.

Going to curl back into my fetal ball now.  Will keep you posted,

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Joe Cross, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

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

We’re doin’ taxes

The hubby just came in from an afternoon spent sorting out our taxes and showed me (to the tune of hundreds of dollars) how I dropped the ball by incurring late fees and interest rates.  I HATE THAT!  I hate throwing perfectly good money out the window.  Why couldn’t he have simply left me in my ignorant bliss?

I blame the children.  They distracted me.

I also blame menopause.  I can’t remember when the actual due date of each (and there are plenty) bill.

I also blame Andy Williams (may he rest in peace).  Not sure why I am blaming poor Andy, since I love him.  At any rate, one of his Christmas ditties inspired me to write the following.  You may wish to sing it at your house.

Ahhhh, hemmm.  Here we go:

It’s the most horrible time of the year 
When the husband is yelling
And the IRS is telling you something to fear 
It’s the most horrible time of the year 

It’s the crap-crappiest season of all
With those 1040 tax forms and  and letters to inform you owe Uncle Sam your soul 

It’s the crap- crappiest season of all 
There’ll be dwindling tax shelters leading to homeless shelters  and having to sleep in the snow 

There’ll be scary audit stories  and now we are sorry about purchases from long, long ago 

There’ll be much Pepto-Bismol  and things sure look dismal  when April fifteenth comes near 

There’ll be much pencil throwing and hearts will be glowing  with horrible heartburn severe 

It’s the most horrible time

It’s the most horrible time

It’s the most horrible tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime!

Of the year!

Happy Taxes, everyone! 

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Dads, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Tax season

Bucket List!

Quick!  Make yours!  Because tomorrow?  The Mayan Calendar just…ends.  Kaput.  Done.  It’s all over.  Again.  Yes, hard to believe, but the world is going to end yet again.  This will be the third time in just over a year, and I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to become a little jaded.

Frankly, I’m expecting this old ball to continue rotating until God himself, says we’re done.  So, until then what’s on your list?  Mine might have been a lot different, before this last week.  Might have had stuff on it like; Kiss the Blarney Stone, hug a llama, tell Donny Osmond in person how much I love him, stand before the queen…

Since the horrors of last week’s massacre in Newton, CN, my list?  Kiss my husband, hug my children, tell all of them how very, very, very much I love them, and stand, unashamed of our country’s  Judeo/Christian values and thankful for our freedom.  Why should it take something so horrific to wake us all up and begin living life as if we never have tomorrow?  Because, when you think about it…  we don’t.  Today is all we’ve ever got.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Donny Osmond, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

Happy Thanksgiving

About 2 years ago, Thanksgiving morning, we discovered our refrigerator had gone out.  Since I was expecting about 20 people for dinner, this was worrisome.   But, trying to stay thankful and upbeat, I suggested that we clean it out while we cooked the holiday meal.  Because he’s awesome, my husband decided to continue his cleaning jag by dusting the light fixtures and replace the bulbs in a big fixture that hung over the island.  He needed to climb up and stand on the stove top to do that.  Unfortunately, our stove top was glass and I heard a loud “Pop!” and then my husband saying stuff that was less than thankful.  So, now I was down 2 appliances with T-3 hours till the company arrived.

We screamed at the kids to keep cooking while we ran to Home Depot, grabbed a new stove-top (which by the way, broke yesterday–I hate glass cook-tops), installed it and used coolers with ice for the fridge until Monday when the repair guy could come. Since my daughter was left to cook the holiday turkey, and I was preoccupied, she accidentally put the bird into the pan upside down and stuck it in the oven, breast down.  The rest of us did the best we could with the microwave, while the hubby wired the new stove-top.

Faithfully, my daughter basted the bird every half hour, then came to get me when she thought it was done.  I stared at the bird’s butt for a moment, wondering why it looked so weird (and freaking out , because the meal was already pretty sketchy without a fridge and stove) before I figured out what was wrong.  We decided to flip it and let it brown for a few minutes.

And?

When we cut into it, it was incredible.  Seriously.  The best, juiciest white meat ever.  The rest of the food?  Just fine.  Now, it’s a family tradition.  Upside-down turkey.

And, apparently, a broken  stove-top.

Carolyn

 

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We’re kickin’ some buns!

We have daughters here at Toohotmamas, and we are always looking for great ways to keep them safe.  So, today we are reblogging this awesome message from Sorenthan.

THROUGH A RAPIST’S EYES” (PLS TAKE TIME TO READ THIS. it may save a life.)

It seems that a lot of attackers use some tactic to get away with violence. Not many people know how to take care of themselves when faced with such a
situation. Everyone should read this especially each n every girl in this world. THOUGHT THIS WAS GOOD INFO TO PASS ALONG…

FYI – Through a rapist’s eyes! A group of rapists and date rapists in prison were interviewed on what they look for in a potential victim and here are some interesting facts:

1] The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle.
They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun! , braid, or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.

2] The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women who’s clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around to cut clothing.

3] They also look for women using their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered.

4] The number one place women are abducted from / attacked at is grocery store parking lots.

5] Number two is office parking lots/garages.

6] Number three is public restrooms.

7] The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to a second location where they don’t have to worry about getting caught.

8] If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn’t worth it because it will be time-consuming.

9] These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas,or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands.

10] Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you’re not worth it.

POINTS THAT WE SHOULD REMEMBER:

1] If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question, like what time is it, or make general small talk:
can’t believe it is so cold out here, we’re in for a bad winter. Now that you’ve seen their faces and could identify them in a line- up, you lose appeal as a target.
2] If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell Stop or Stay back! Most of the rapists this man talked to said they’d leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would
not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target.

3] If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes,) yelling I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent.

4] If someone grabs you, you can’t beat them with strength but you can do it by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm between the elbow and
armpit or in the upper inner thigh – HARD. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands the guy needed stitches. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it; it really hurts.

5] After the initial hit, always go for the groin. I know from a particularly unfortunate experience that if you slap a guy’s parts it is extremely painful. You might think that you’ll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our
instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause him a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble, and he’s out of there.

6] When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. The instructor did it to me without using
much pressure, and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked audibly.

7] Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can and if you see any odd behavior, don’t dismiss it, go with your instincts. You may feel
little silly at the time, but you’d feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.

FINALLY, PLEASE REMEMBER THESE AS WELL ….

I know you are smart enough to know these pointers but there will be some, where you will go “hmm I must remember that” After reading forward it to someone you care about, never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do it.

2. Learned this from a tourist guide to New Orleans : if a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you…. chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or
purse than you and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car: Kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won’t see you but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping,eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON’T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side,put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU CLOSE the DOORS , LEAVE.
5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
a. Be aware: look around your car as someone may be
hiding at the passenger side , peek into your car, inside the passenger side floor, and in the back seat. ( DO THIS TOO BEFORE RIDING A TAXI CAB) .
b. If you! u are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
c. Look at the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot).

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP IT! It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well-educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked “for help” into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
Send this to any woman you know that may need to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it and it’s better safe than sorry.

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Self Defense

Looking for something spoooookey?

USA Today has a great idea for that adrenaline junkie who has everything!

Beyond the Storm, Carolyn Zane

What it’s about (from the publisher):

After a tornado rips through her town, store owner Abigail comes across a piece of fabric from a wedding dress among the devastation. Abigail is moved to start collecting other swatches of fabric she finds – her neighbor’s kitchen curtains, a man’s necktie, a dog’s bed – which she stashes in shopping bags. As she pursues her seemingly absurd quest, horrible realities spark the question, “What kind of a God would allow such tragedy?”

As she struggles to reconcile her right to happiness amidst the destruction, Abigail begins piecing together a patchwork quilt from the salvaged fabric in hopes it will bring some peace. But a new relationship with Justin, a contractor, may require too much of her fragile heart. Will her pain and questions of faith give way to the courage to love?

Why you should read it: This book was not at all what I expected from the cover or the series title, Quilts of Love, and its tagline, Every Quilt Has a Story. In all honesty, I didn’t expect to like it. I expected to be bored. I wasn’t. This is not some sweet homespun tale, as the cover suggests; it is, at times, a heartbreaking and frighteningly realistic picture of nature as a predator.

Although the many points of view might take a little to wrap your mind around in the beginning, the characters quickly become like your neighbors, each one with his or her quirks and each one with a story that explains unfinished business the storm has brought to life.

For those who have lived through the heartbreaking devastation of a natural disaster, there might be some emotionally difficult moments while reading. The author paints stark images of a tornado’s destruction both on the town itself and within the lives of its inhabitants. Yet even in the darkness, hope shines and love is born, and reborn, beyond the storm.

Tidbit: If you visit the author’s website, you might agree with me that Carolyn Zane’s last name should maybe be pronounced with a long “e” on the end. This zany lady has pets named after characters from Gilligan’s Island// and compares her family to the Brangelina brood, except to mention that her family is “better looking.” Carolyn also writes under the name Suzy Pizzuti and has published more than 35 books while blogging about how to tackle marriage, motherhood and menopause “without ending up in prison” at the blogToo Hot Mamas.

A writer, performer and accomplished partaker of dark chocolate, Serena Chase lives in Iowa with her husband and two daughters. Her reviews can also be found at the blogEdgy Inspirational Romance.

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Beyond the Storm, Marriage, Menopause

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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Filed under Beyond the Storm, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Older writers, Writing

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

EQUAL TIME FOR KITTIES

How Dumpster Kitty Helped Me Fall In Love (Again)

Once a Dumpster Kitty, now a Daddy’s Girl

 

            In a world of cat and dog people, I am both.  Marrying a man who loves animals was a no-brainer (and the inability to become absurdly besotted by four-legged children was a deal-breaker).  When I was twenty-three and met a man who was willing to carry a wounded bird two miles back to our house so we could call a vet and who took it upon himself to drive an especially huge black widow spider twenty miles outside of town so it could live out its life in a field, well…  Yes, Reader, I married him.

And then life happened.

When we were in our thirties, my husband helped me care for my terminally-ill father, three rescue dogs and my father’s twenty-two-year-old cat that regularly awakened us at six a.m. with ear-piercing howls to demand moist food and decided that the stroll to the litter box was too much bother, but that the bathroom cabinets would do nicely when he needed to relieve his pinhead of a bladder.  During a drive to the vet, Snowflake was on my lap, unfortunately facing my husband when he projectile vomited like I have never witnessed before or since.  Poor kitty.  Poor husband.

It’s understandable, I suppose, that Tim decided to take a hiatus from all dependent creatures at that point:  “You can have dogs and cats if you want to, but please do not involve me.  I’m done.  I’m not kidding.”

I was disturbed.  I was disappointed.  I was totally disbelieving that he meant what he said.  On the other hand, I, too, wanted a break from litter boxes and incontinent animals and things that could die and break your heart.

We still had a beloved dog, but decided No More Cats. Seriously. And, since I had adopted the dog, we’d consider her my responsibility.  Tim would be as free as that bird he’d rescued all those years ago.

And then came Dumpster Kitty.

DK lived in the basement apartment of the house next door.  Our neighbors there found her in a trash can and brought her home, but she was frightened of their cat (and of everything else animal, vegetable or mineral), so she spent most of her time alone under the stairs.  She was especially afraid of men.  When the couple who found her split up and the woman moved out, DK relocated herself outside to an area beneath the porch–in November, during a series of thunderstorms.  She emerged only to eat, darting out from her hiding place, her belly so low to the ground that her “run” looked more like a slither.

“I feel terrible for that cat,” my husband said.

“Well,” I offered, “the neighbor doesn’t really want her.  Do you—“

“NO.”

I hear ya.

When our neighbor went away for a few days and asked me to put our food for DK, I tried to befriend her, but she was simply too frightened.  I gave up.

One day, when I pulled up to the house after work, I saw my husband crouched on our front porch in a torrential downpour.  He was wearing a coat and there appeared to be something other than my husband inside it.

“What are you doing out here?” I called above the pounding rain.

“Shh!  You’ll scare her.”

Dumpster Kitty was huddled on his lap, her huge green eyes staring up at his face, one paw extending lovingly toward his chin.

“How long did it take you to get her to come to you?” I asked in amazement.

“Two hours.”

“In this downpour?”

He nodded, gazing as sweetly at the cat as she was gazing at him.  “She’s very gentle,” he murmured.  “We’ll need to take her to the vet.”

Dumpster Kitty was a year old then.  She’s twelve now, renamed “Phoebe.”  Our friends call her “Invisa-cat,” as she still has a tendency to hide and few people outside the family have made her acquaintance.  She is, however, quite the cuddler with us.  And her favorite place is still Tim’s lap.

Gotta love that guy.

Wendy

This article first appeared on “Help Miss Mousie,” a blog dedicated to securing the funding that will provide life-saving surgery for a senior foster cat.  If you’d like to help, visit http://www.helpmissmousie.blogspot.com

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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

Are you married to this man?

Needs more wood, eh?

“Do you really think we should put more wood on the fire pit?” I asked my hubby as he prepared our patio for s’mores with the kids.

“Sure!”

“But the sparks…look.  They are really flying out of the fire and I just bought a new canopy for this gazebo.”

“The sparks are burning out before they get that high.”

“Yeah, but every time you poke the wood, they get bigger and hotter. Look at that one up there, clinging to the new canvas!”

“It’ll burn out.”  Poke, poke, stir, poke.

Me, white knuckled.  “The smoke is really strong.”

Him, “Smoke follows beauty, har, har.”

Me, “Hack, acchooie, honk, kersnort, I think, the, hack, cough, canopy is on fire.”

“Dad, my marshmallow just disintegrated!”

“Get a new one.”

“Dad, the chocolate is liquid and the crackers are black.”

“Well, move back a little bit.”

“Ow!  Dad, the sparks are burning me and the dog just fainted from the heat.”

“He’s just resting.”

“Honey, seriously, stop poking at the flames, and really?  More wood?  The paint on the house is blistering.”

“No it’s not!  You  all just need to chill out.”

The kid and dog headed to the pool.  I went inside.  He headed to the wood pile for more fuel.

Carolyn

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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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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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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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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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The Naked and the Dead

Eat your burgers and shut up! I'm trying to drive here!

Last week, I was tapped to chaperone a field trip for my middle and high school kids at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.  Because my hubby was out of town and I had a pretty serious case of bronchitis I wasn’t exactly behind the eight-ball on a bunch of stuff that was going on in our household.  So, I dragged it out of bed the morning of, loaded up on cold meds and headed out to OMSI to get me some learnin’ with my kids.  Luckily—or not—I was clueless, going in and, because of an ill-timed bathroom break, managed to elude the docent’s speech on the exhibit’s particulars.

These ‘particulars’ being, that the room was full of DEAD, NAKED PEOPLE.   MY EYES!  MY EYES!  Posed in bizarre positions with their petrified junk exposed for all the world (and my kids) to gape at.  If you haven’t heard of this exhibit by Gunther Von Hagen, Google it and you’ll get some idea of what I’m talking about.  Anyhow, to say we all learned a little something that day, was to put it mildly.

And you know?  I have to admit, the human body is beautiful and magical, even as an over-sized hunk of beef jerky.  But it got me to wondering about a lot of stuff while I was there.  Who were these people?  What would compel them to pose naked for eternity, in odd positions such as a soccer player or a gymnast or a figure skating couple?

Have we met?

Did they even know how to figure skate?  Or play the clarinet?  Or steer a pirate ship?  Had the two skaters, now entwined for posterity, ever met in real life?  Did they really think through the part about being…oh, I don’t know…NAKED?  For earthly eternity?

And, if I could get beyond the nudity, would I consider donating my cadaver to such an endeavor?  And, in what position would they pose me?

The most obvious, of course, would be me, behind the wheel of my minivan.  One hand fused to the steering wheel, the other, raised and lobbing fast food into the backseat at a bunch of naked, petrified teenagers.

You know, I don’t think I saw a tribute to menopausal motherhood in that exhibit…

That would be one definite way to leave my mark on the world.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, aging, Body World, Death, Gunther Von Hagen Body World, 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

Texting for the menopausal

I got a new iPhone.  Still trying to get the hang of it.   Found these handy shortcuts for my generation…

BFF:  Best Friend Fainted—or—Best Friend’s Funeral

BYOT:  Bring your own teeth

DWI:  Driving While Incontinent

FYI:  Found Your Insulin

LMDO:  Laughing My Dentures Out

LOL: Living On Lipitor

OMG:  Oh My!  Gas.

ROFL…CGU:  Rolling On Floor Laughing…And Can’t Get Up.

TTYL:  Talk To You Louder

 

Carolyn

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Fun with Photos!

The other day, I was having some fun running some photos of myself through a Photoshop-esque type picture editor, you know, diminishing the age spots and such and adding a little virtual mascara.  Attempting to ignore the ravages of the ageing process for a few whimsical moments.  But, when all was said and done, my kids pointed out that the new, air-brushed versions of mommy weren’t true to form and that in the interest of total candor, I should show the “Before” pictures.

So, my younger son, who happens to be dangerous with an iPad in hand, took it upon himself to help me ‘get real’.

I started to worry—just a tad—when he rolled backwards on the bed and fell into a gasping fit that would have had me dialing 911 if it weren’t for his snorts and guttural shrieks of laughter as he served as my professional photographer.   Have I mentioned that I hate him?

Anyway, here, I give you the artist:  He’s eight.

Before his Cheerios:

 

 

 

 

 

 
Annnnnd, after:

Amazing, that airbrush, huh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now, there is me…  Before my coffee:

After a big cup of coffee and a bit of photo magic:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which one is the real me?  Depends on who you ask and what mood I’m in.  Anyway, to all this digital photo nonsense I say, “Pppfffffftttttt!”  Give me a Polaroid Instamatic any day.  Waiting for the picture to appear?  Now THAT was some good times.

Carolyn

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HOW TO PICK YOUR HUSBAND

STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Of late, my 8-year-old has been giving a lot of thought to marriage—and more specifically, to finding a husband. To wit: When her friend turned down several snack options in a row, El sought me out.

“Mom, she is a PICKY eater.  She’s going to have trouble getting a husband if she eats like that.”

And later:  “I think it would be good to know geometry before you try to get a husband, because…” She pondered.  “Because then you’d both know it.”

Right-o.  I mean, I’m not sure that both people knowing the difference between an acute and an obtuse triangle would qualify as being “equally yoked,” but it couldn’t hurt.

El’s musings got me thinking.  I watch The Bachelor, I admit it.  And, yes, I disrespect myself in the morning, but I am fascinated by what young women and men assume will make a relationship work.  Two minutes into meeting the prize—AKA, the bachelor—beautiful, seemingly bright women are passionately kissing this virtual stranger and claiming they’re sure he’s the one.  By the end of the evening, these same girls are sobbing inconsolably, because the bachelor has given their coveted rose to somebody else

Well, duh.

To all past, current, and future ABC bachelorettes:  I’m going to give you a little advice, and you should take it, because I’m a romance novelist, and I know about happily ever afters.

When you meet someone you consider forever-after material, keep your lips clamped unless you are opening your mouth to talk.  To talk, ladies.  You will not know he’s the one for you simply because you feel goose-pimply after he kisses you and fifteen other girls at an alcohol-soaked cocktail party.  (I’d feel goose pimply, too.  Eew.)  This is romance 101: Save your kisses for someone who’s kissing only you.

From now on, I want you to heed the wisdom of my 8-year-old:  At the very least, find out if you both like geometry before you begin doodling your name together with his on a cocktail napkin.

I tell my daughter all the time, “Marry your best friend.”  At the moment she’s taking me literally and is considering walking down the aisle with one of her girlfriends.  “’Cause we talk about everything, and we could share the same wedding dress, and wedding dresses are very expensive, Mom.’”

I question the practicality of two women and one dress in the same wedding, but I appreciate that she’s budget-minded and, for the moment at least, wise enough to want to spend her life with someone she knows, likes and respects.

As for The Bachelor/ette, Too Hot Mamas must send the show to the front of its Doody Head line asap.  Of course, I suppose I have to walk it there myself.

Wendy

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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

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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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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Boys are from Mars

Where is my nose?

     My 8-year-old son allowed his 13-year-old sister to paint his nails.  Why?  Wondered what they’d look like with red/brown polish.

Unfortunately, we have no polish remover.

Now, he has a sleepover date with the kids next door and no way to get the polish off his nails.  So, never one to be daunted by life’s inconveniences, he invents a story that will explain the rogue color on his fingertips and retain his masculinity.

“I’ll just tell ‘em that it’s blood.  You know, from picking my nose.”

I’m just so proud.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, The Bad and the Ugly

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

We’re Driving Now!

Is this a One Way Trail?

As Wendy mentioned in yesterday’s blog, we are huge fans of Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman Blog.  That big old ranch and the simple life-style… I always wanted to be a pioneer woman as a kid.  Live in a covered wagon, you know, one of them Prairie Schooners.  Yeehaw.  Until I got in one once and couldn’t find the electrical outlet.  How do you plug anything in?  Discovered I’m a modern girl at heart.  With one exception.
TEACHING MY DAUGHTER TO DRIVE.
If only I was teaching her to drive a Prairie Schooner.  If you were a fly on the windshield of our car, this is what you’d see/hear on any given day lately:
Me, praying:  “Our Father, who art in heavennnn Eeeaaauuuuggggghhhh!!!!!  Loook out!”
“Mom!  What?”
“Did you not see the people on the sidewalk, there?”
“Yes!  I saw them!”
Me, panting:  “Good.  Just checking.”
“Sheesh.  Relax.”
“Sure.”  Deep breaths.  “Okay.  Get off their lawn and back onto the road.  Okay.  No, really, that’s okay.  You’re fine.  Just get out of their living room and back on the road.  Oh, dear Jesus, forgive me for every sin I committed since my last driving session with my daughter, Lord.  Forgive me for those words I uttered in that intersection back there… Mother of Godzilla!!!    LOOK WHERE YOU ARE GOING!”
“Mom!  Chill!  I’m in control!”
“And, Lord, should I die, soon…”
“You’re really not helping, Mom.”
Darling, have I mentioned that we are not in England?  Nor are we in Australia.  No, no, darling, we are in the good old United States, where we drive on the right side of the road.  The Right.  The RIGHT!  The OTHER RIGHT!”
“Isn’t this a one way street?”
Auuuuuuuuuggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhooooooooooiiiiiieeeeeee!”
I bet you always wondered how to spell that guttural sound you make just before you die in a thunderous ball of fire.  I’m pretty sure that’s it, give or take a few h’s.
Ah, for the days of the 2 horse-power covered wagon.  Ree, we think you’re on to something.
Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Pioneer Woman

Pregnant with number 20

I know a lot of people think Michelle Duggar is a tad over the top by having baby number 20 at age 45.  But, as an older mother of only 5 children, I have to say I stand in awe.  I, too, had an infant when I was 45.  I gained 35 pounds with him, and he was adopted.  After the first week, I crawled out of the house and bought the book, What to Expect the First Year.  I was in peri-menopause and couldn’t remember what I was supposed to expect.  The book said, “Should be able to hold head up by week three.”   Uh…no.  I couldn’t do that until he was six weeks, and even then I needed help.  At week five, it stated, “Should be able to focus on, and pick up a raisin.”  Still working on that one, and it’s been 8 years, although I have mastered mini-Snickers.

After he was born, I decided to skip the whole infant thing altogether with my next bundles of joy, figuring I’d just go out and get a couple of darlings that were already able to fix their own breakfast, so we adopted through foster care.  Michelle, seriously, give it a shot.  It’s super rewarding and much easier on the body.

I look at Michelle and Jim Bob’s family and wish I had heard of them back when I was first starting my family.  First of all, they name all their kids with names beginning with the letter “J”.  As an older mom, I think this is brilliant.  I can’t even remember my name on most days so when my little darling holds up a drawing of a blob, I can boldly say, “Why J.J.! That’s an amazing…thing you drew there!”  Secondly, from experience, I can tell you that simply getting my hair combed on any given soccer or piano day is a major accomplishment and Michelle looks awesome.  If I’d birthed 20 kids, I’d look like Jaba the Hut’s ugly step-sister.  Thirdly, the fact that she has any kind of libido left at all is a testament to her supreme dedication to grow her family.

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar take a lot of flack for raising and taking care of and an interest in every single one of their beautiful children.  I know a lot of parents who only have one kid who couldn’t tell you where they were or what they have written on their Facebook pages.  Would I recommend giving birth to 20 children?  Heck no!  But would I want to be a part of their family?  I’m waiting for them to discover adoption.  And, when they do, I want to be first in line.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Weight gain

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

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