Category Archives: parenthood

BABIES OR BULLDOGS?

sleeping dogs and baby

When I turned 40, I stood before my husband, a large box under each arm.
“Pampers or Depends, sweetie, you pick. But one way or another we are heading towards diapers.”

A few years earlier, I had lobbied for French bulldogs.  So cute!  But we already had a dog, not to mention my father’s 23-year-old incontinent cat (we get a lot of incontinent animals), and my husband’s response was…not really printable.

So, I moved onto kids.  That day in Wal-Mart when I showed him our diaper options, I think he was leaning toward Depends. We’ll never know; I started gathering information about adoption the next day.
I had always wanted to adopt. I’m not sure why, but for decades the desire played like background music in my brain. I knew my child was coming to me via adoption. Child. Singular.  Tim agreed to ONE CHILD AND ONE CHILD ONLY, either homegrown or adopted.  And then he wheeled and dealt:  “I will say yes to two French bulldogs instead of one child.”  (He was a little nervous about the parenting gig at that point.)  I don’t blame him.

When we were in our twenties, he wanted two children. We were living in apartments (not very nice ones) at the time, eeking out bad livings as actors/couriers/waitstaff/reception/whatever we could get. When he said he wanted two kids by the time he was thirty, I thought, Suuuurrrrre. As if I’d become a mother under these circumstances. There’s plenty of time for that. Career was still far more important to me than motherhood. I was still far more important to me than motherhood.

And then my own parents died. And my uncle. And my aunt. That left me and my brother. Today is, in fact, the 18th anniversary of my beloved mother’s passing, Z”L (may her memory be a blessing).  At that point, Tim had lived through years of cancer and hospitals and my grieving.  He’d been gentle and strong and present for me, but he was tired.  We both were.  We needed a break and to get our happier lives back.  But when my parents were gone, I was thirty-five, and I realized that being a daughter was one of my favorite things ever. No career could come close to that feeling of unconditional love. I wanted it again, this time on the giving end.

We waited and we talked and we wrestled with the idea of a baby (if you read Carolyn’s last post, you know I do not make decisions easily…although not about clothes, Carolyn.  Please.  Look at my wardrobe.)  Nonetheless, at the ripe old age of 42 and 4o, respectively, Tim and I started the adoption journey.  And magic happened.  The kind of magic I think only God can orchestrate.  Carolyn and I got both got babies, and our lives truly began to intertwine.

–to be continued…

–Wendy

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Filed under Adoption, friendship, parenthood

Dating in Low Heels

kids datingMy ten-year-old is dating.  I found out by eavesdropping on the following conversation:

DD to her friends:  “Who are you all asking to the carnival, because I’m going with Z.  I have to buy the licorice, but he’s getting the cotton candy.  I had to give him a chicken nugget to get him to go, but now it’s for sure.”

Two other girls made immediate plans to give their crushes lunch at the earliest opportunity.

Say what?  It seems that just yesterday my daughter felt no need for a Ken doll to hang out with her Barbies:  “What for?  What’s he gonna do?”

Indeed.

Then she turned ten this past spring.  Ah, spring.  Such a ripe season, with little goslings following Mama and Daddy Goose on the pond near our house, rhodies bursting into bloom…and the girls from fourth grade quite suddenly figuring out why Barbie wants Ken.

One girlfriend, however, had a different take on the situation.  She sounded frankly appalled.  “You can’t invite a boy.  That’s called dating, and that is not allowed.  You’re too young to go on a date.”

Peer-driven mandates do not sit well with Miss, so she plopped her hands on her still boyish hips, whipping back, “I can, too, date.  I’m old enough.  I’m allowed.”

(Note to reader: Uh-uh.)

Anxiety clutched my chest as I listened.  I’d been counting on the tween years to start around eleven or twelve or, better yet, forty.  I needed more time before I relinquished my baby and all her innocence to the likes of Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus.

I wonder if the Berenstain Bears have a book about dating? I thought as I prepared to step in with as much good humor as I could muster.

Before I entered the room, however, I heard my daughter’s voice again, this time tinged by a modicum of doubt.  “I can date….”  There was a pause followed by this conclusion:  “I’m not allowed to eat too much junk food, but I can date if I want to.”

Indeed.

As it turned out, she did go to the carnival with Z—and her friends.  More on that next week….

For now, sign me:  ‘Tween Mom

–Wendy

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Filed under Children, parenthood

Culture Club

My daughter and husband can entertain themselves and each other for hours playing “Snakebite!”  It goes like this: With their arms raised, hands curved like the heads of a King Cobra, they circle each other in search of a vulnerable spot to attack.  Head, ribs, stomach–when they find an opening, they strike, hollering, “Snakebite!  Poisonous forever!”  Good times.

We used to watch the History Channel.  Lately Wipe Out has become the TV show of choice.  And, yes, occasionally I pull The Bachelorette up on Hulu when no one is around.  (But only because I’m a romance novelist and I have to research.)

Thinking we could elevate our entertainment tastes just a tad, I got us tickets to a piano concert.  It was inspired.  What a fabulous event!  There was singing, too.  Glorious singing by celestial children with voices that made me weep.  As the show ended and the crowd filed out, the three of us–husband, daughter and I–sat, staring at the now empty stage.  On either side of me, they were silent, their jaws slack.

It worked, I realized.  We’re reborn.  Today piano concerts, tomorrow the ballet! 

Turning first to my daughter, I kissed her temple.  “How you doing, dolly?”

“I think I had a seizure,” she said, shaking her head as if she had water in her ear.  “I totally zoned out.  What just happened?  How much time passed?  Can we go?”

She’s ten, I told myself.  Ten.  She may not be conscious of the enrichment she has just experienced, but it will linger.  It will feed her for the future.

I looked at my husband.  He’s the kind of guy who likes to move.  All the time.  Yet there he was, sitting, still staring at the stage that had just held such beauty.  And he didn’t look like he’d had a seizure.  I took his hand and squeezed. He squeezed back, an excellent sign.

“What are you thinking?” I whispered, remembering the old days when we’d attend the theater and talk for hours afterward.  “Your first thought.”

“I’m trying to decide between hamburgers or Mexican food.  We’re going to stay downtown for lunch, right?”

I’m not kidding.  That’s what he said.

“Mexican,” I responded flatly, hoping we could discuss Dia de los Muertos or something cultural over Super Burritos.

I tried.  But I tried to instill us with table manners, too, and that got me nowhere.  Last night, they used their forks to tap out “Yankee Doodle” on their dinner plates.  At least it was musical.

Wendy

 

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Filed under Family, parenthood

DUDE, THAT’S RUDE!

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

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

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

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

Apparently not.

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

“Of course not!  We just started eating.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Your lap,” I reiterated.

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

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

Flatulence and cackles followed.

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

Wendy

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

PREGNANT AT FIFTY

Too Hot Mamas has an announcement:  One of us is pregnant.

I looked that word up, and the dictionary definition is:  Heavy with child, significant, expectant.  I, Wendy, am all those things.  At fifty-two and fifty, respectively, my husband and I are in the process of adopting from U.S. Foster Care.  Our daughter is delighted and very ready to share her life with a sibling.  My husband is as scared as he was the first time around, I am cleaning out the basement (nesting), and our friends are, variously–supportive, excited, confused and aghast.

I understand the aghast part; I really do.  Our daughter is pretty darn easy, a delightful child with whom we share a terrific relationship.  Our careers are in flux—not easy, not secure, not gifting us with financial resources to spare.  And, WE ARE IN OUR FIFTIES.  So what are we thinking’?

I have many responses, but it all boils down to this:  It’s important to have parents acknowledge your birthday with joy.  To know you can go “home” for Thanksgiving and every other holiday.  To know that unconditionally loving parents accompany your walk through this beautiful, complex, wonderful, treacherous world.  And, far more selfishly:  Becoming adoptive parents is the best thing that ever happened to my husband and me or ever will.

It boils down to the article below.  I invite you to read  about Steven K. Walker.  Whether you’ve ever considered adoption or not, or are a parent or not, his story is a wonderful reminder that the greatest “success” in life is loving someone.

Wendy

From Summer 2011 Adoptalk

by Steven K. Walker

Steven was adopted from foster care at ten. Below he tells of the events that transformed him from an abused child to a national adoption advocate. Follow Steven on Facebook at the official page of Steven K. Walker, Adoption Advocate.

“He’ll never amount to anything.”

Would those words destroy or motivate you? For me, the words simply seemed true; I should be a failure. Statistics would predict that I’m in prison, but that wasn’t my destiny, was it? Who can know for certain if I will amount to anything, and why would they say that?

My story started in August 1987 when Alice, a mentally challenged alcoholic, gave birth to an undersized baby boy (me) in Niagara Falls, New York. There was no father listed on my birth certificate; it could have been any of the men she brought home from the bar most nights.

From the hospital, my mother brought me to a filthy four-room apartment that had only one outside window. There was no crib or baby formula, so Alice fed me whatever she ate. I often slept on a makeshift bed on the kitchen floor while strange men came over to abuse and take advantage of my poor drunk mother.

In November 1988, Alice gave birth to another boy, David. He and I shared everything and it was great because David gave me the attention my mother gave to strangers. Soon, however, life turned into a nightmare.

Alice kept bringing home men and some of them abused David and me physically, sexually, and emotionally. I tried to protect David by hiding us under the kitchen table, me covering him, and a blanket over us both.

If we refused to get out from under the table, the men would swear, rip me off of David, and beat him. When I tried to defend David and fight back, they beat me even more severely. Though I don’t remember specific men, all the abuse is like a vivid Van Gogh painting in my memory that can’t be forgotten or erased. Inevitably it defines, in part, who I am.

Memories ate at me and made me second-guess everything. Was the abuse my fault? What about my mother-why didn’t she defend me against abuse that left me with a dent in the back of my head and hand tremors? Alice never abused us, but she did not keep us out of harm’s way. Later, I came to realize that it wasn’t her fault, and believe now that she tried the hardest she could to keep David and me safe.

Through all the abuse, I cared for David as best I could. I always made sure he was fed before I was. I made certain he had a coat to keep him warm during the cold winters. Soon I became malnourished.

David and I moved into foster care when I was four years old. With our things in black trash bags, we were shoved into the back of county cars, and said goodbye to our mother. It was confusing. I felt like a prisoner, but prisoners know where they’re going and we didn’t. What if we obeyed instead of fighting and hiding?

David and I ended up at a farm, with a mother and father who seemed nice. It was a hardworking Christian family who prayed with us before bed and got us up early to work in the barn. David and I did as they asked.

One morning, the foster mom assigned us to milk the goats. We didn’t understand why this needed to be done and were struggling to comply. The foster mom tried to make it fun by squirting us with milk from the goat’s udder. Unfortunately, the raw milk hit me in the eye. Six years and several surgeries later, I became legally blind in that eye.

With my belongings in another trash bag, I went to the next foster home. My third foster home was supposed to be therapeutic. The mother had a Ph.D. in psychology and was a special education teacher. She claimed she knew how to care for David and me, but also told us that she really wanted a baby girl, not boys.

Just when I started to get close to the father, they pulled the rug out from under me. They claimed that I was a bad influence on David and sent me away. David stayed behind.

From this home I moved to a Pennsylvania group home. At age six, I was the youngest kid there. We had to complete chores to earn rewards but no one taught me how so I often had to do chores over when I messed up the first time. The head of the facility told me I should never have been placed in the group setting.

Imagine my mindset. I was separated from my brother, lied to, and kept in the dark about my future. When I asked where I was going, the response was often, “Do you like ice cream?” People were saying they loved me, but then giving up on me in less than six months.

Next, I moved in with an older couple in Buffalo, New York. They made it clear they didn’t intend to adopt me; they were only fostering to get money for the husband’s heart surgery. I was eight, but was treated worse than the couple’s five-year-old granddaughter because I was “not blood.” This saying irks me. When humans get cut, don’t we all bleed the same color?

On weekends, I visited potential adoptive families-too many to count. They all gave up on me, even the three families who signed the adoption papers. My feelings of hurt and distrust grew.

Just before my ninth birthday, I moved in with a family in North Tonawanda, New York. I knew them a little from having been in respite care with them a few times, including a time when David was there because his family went to Florida. Before I moved in, the family sent me a letter with pictures of the family, house, and school. The letter ended with a question: Did I want to adopt them as parents?

I was hesitant to fall in love, but this family reached out to me. They wore patches to see what it is like to be blind in one eye. They put ice on their hands to simulate tremors. Still, I could not give in. I hit, kicked, spit, bit, and swore. I told the mother that I didn’t have to follow her rules because she was not my real mother.

Her response was always, “I love you no matter what.” She got to know me and saw my broken heart. She learned that I loved sports and invested in hockey goalie equipment so I could take shots at her whenever I was angry. Afterward, she would rock me in her arms, give me a freezer pop, and tell me she loved me.

The mother was always open and honest with me. She and the father tried to answer my questions as best they could without lying. Around the time of Halloween, after I turned ten, they told me that they would only answer my questions if I called them Mom and Dad.

On New Year’s Eve, Mom and Dad took me to Niagara Falls to see the ball drop. At the time, they said, “How great it is to be celebrating both our anniversary and our son.” The words caught me. I chose to be adopted. I got to pick a court date and even change my name. To honor my dad, I took Kevin as my middle name.

On Tuesday, April 1, 1997, I went into the Niagara County Court House as a foster child and came out as Steven Kevin Walker, son of Kevin and Jody Walker. It was a relief, though I still wish I could have been adopted with my brother.

Since my adoption, my family has grown to include another boy and six girls. I graduated from high school at the top of my class, was Student Council president, captain of the football team, and a three-sport athlete. At community college, I was in more than 20 clubs, served as an officer in the student government, and earned my associates degree.

Today I am an adoption advocate. I share my story in the U.S. and Canada, have been published widely, and have appeared on television and in videos. A man in Florida who heard my story donated more than 400,000 suitcases for youth in care so they can move with some dignity instead of having their things stuffed in garbage bags. In 2001, I helped write legislation to keep siblings together in foster care in New York State. In 2006, I got to share my story with then-Senator Hillary Clinton and leave copies of my speech with all 100 senators (including Barack Obama).

The message I hope to convey is: Don’t give up on us. You never know who we can become. Accept each of us as your child; I am simply your son, not your adopted son, or foster son. All of the adoptive families who stick with the children they adopted from foster care are my heroes! Walk in our shoes and you will understand; our love is deep and the best place we have ever lived is the place with the family who keeps us forever.

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Filed under Adoption, Children, Motherhood, parenthood

A Marathon Runner Delivers a Baby

I’m jogging in place!

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

Wrong.

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

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

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

Heart failure?  Shake it off.

Stroke?  Just do it.

Amputation.  No pain, no gain.

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hose, not tights.”

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

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

“Yes, that would be awesome.”

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

Sign me,

The Broad With The Cat In The Hat Tights

Wendy

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

The Best Dessert You’ll Ever Eat…or The Best Kiss You’ll Ever Have? Take the survey and WIN

 

 

 

 

It’s time for Winning Wednesdays at Too Hot Mamas.

All righty, you’re menopausin’–pre, peri, in it, post, whatever–the point is you’re sweaty, a little ticked off in a permanent way, you’ve got kids, a job, you’re tired, so if you could choose only one of the following, which would it be:

THE BEST DESSERT YOU’LL EVER EAT (what is it?)

OR

THE BEST KISS YOU”LL EVER HAVE? (with whom?)

Reply and we’ll enter you in our bi-weekly drawing for a five-buck STARBUCK’S gift card.

Too Hot Mamas will answer this, too, of course.  We’re an open book.  But we want to hear from you first.

Carolyn and Wendy

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, aging, Children, friendship, Humor, Motherhood, parenthood

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring…HELP.

I love rain in summer.  The rhythmic tapping on the roof and rain gutters, the glassy droplets bouncing off bright pink rose petals.  The four kids who don’t know what to do in my 1100 square foot house–

AHHHGGGHHHH.  When I said yes to the sleep-over, I was counting on sunshine, the yard, a sprinkler, the banana chocolate chip bread I stayed up till midnight baking last night…and which my husband ate when he came home from work.  How can one thin man eat half a loaf of banana bread?

I was going to deep clean the house today.  Catch up on work.  Bwah-hah-hah-hah.  Obviously God wants me to get to know these kids.  Real well.  In an enclosed space.

Quick!    I need ideas that DO NOT involve the Disney Channel.  (Don’t get me started on Selena Gomez and the pre-sexualization of ‘tween girls.)

I found this on line:

JUST FOR KIDS: PEANUT BUTTER PLAYDOUGH
Read more about it at http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,199,149163-237203,00.html
Content Copyright © 2011 Cooks.com – All rights reserved.
1 c. peanut butter
2/3-1 c. nonfat dry milk
2 tbsp. honey
Mix ingredients. Add enough powdered milk to make playdough dry enough to handle. Shape into balls. Add raisins to make a face. Or stir in chow mein noodles and make a bird’s nest. Or stir in Cheerios or chocolate chips for fun. Eat and enjoy!

Too little-kid for the nine-year-old crowd?  What if I tell them it’s Peanut Butter Clay?  We could study the world’s great sculptors and turn it into a learning experience.   They’d love that.  (NOT.)  I could have them pretend they’re potters and then fill the “pots” with strawberries or chocolate chips or dollar bills.

It was so easy when they were really little and thought finding shiny wet rocks was as exciting as a trip to The Magic Kingdom.

Hurry with your ideas.  They are waking up now.  My house is shrinking….

Wendy

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Filed under Anxiety, Children, Cooking, Motherhood, parenthood

Kids Say The Darnedest Things

I’m currently in sunny (scorching) Southern California, visiting my in-laws.  I always love this trip as my in-laws are fantastic people and they all live in one ginormous, bee-autiful home.  I don’t have to travel anywhere in order to see them all, a plus as I was never a California summer-lovin’ girl, even when I grew up here.  The other reason I love this trip:  I have adorable nieces.  This morning, the seven-year-old awoke early to hang out with me and we chatted about vacations.

Niece:  It’s hard to sleep on a plane.

Me:  Not enough leg room?

Niece:  Yeah.  When we flew to Florida there was an old man behind me, and he kept kicking my seat.

Me:  That must have been frustrating.

Niece:  Oh, it was!  He was old.  He should have known better.  And he did it the whole way to Florida.

Me:  Did you ask him nicely to stop?

Niece:  Yeah.  No.  I don’t know.  He never stopped.  He was old.  He should have known it was not right and it was not polite.

Me:  True.  But if he was old, maybe he didn’t realize he was doing it.

Niece:  Maybe.  He wasn’t so old old, though.  Maybe…at least eighteen or nineteen.  Yeah, maybe he was too old to know what he was doing.

She’s so wise, don’t you think?  It just proves nineteen is the new one hundred.
Wendy

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Filed under aging, Children, Humor, Motherhood, parenthood, politeness, Travel

George Clooney is single!!

If I could only decide between the too hot mamas. Eenie, Meanie, Miney...

I know, I know, I promised that Wendy and I would be updating you
all from the Big Apple. But, we didn’t have time. As we were leaving for the
airport, the news broke that George Clooney was newly single, possibly in Manhattan… and the race was on.

It’s obvious that the boy is barking up the wrong tree with these super-skinny, super-attractive, super-young, super-models.   And, now that he’s 50, we’re guessing he’s
going to realize the error of his ways and start looking for a well-seasoned,
less-than-perfect woman to provide arm candy.
We think a little cellulite and some wrinkles are fine, because hey, we’re
not perfect, either.

So now, the question is, me or Wendy?  We asked our husbands and since neither of them seemed threatened in the least, it’s a horse race.

When we weren’t stalking Georgie Porgie Puddin’ Pie, we took a ton of pictures, visited 5 states, actually DROVE IN MANHATTAN (thank you, Darla, you rock), met with agents and editors, talked book deals, ate waaaaay too much, walked barefoot in Times Square at midnight and laughed ourselves half silly.  We came home speaking with distinct New York accents and are energized and ready to write.

Wishing you all a fab 4th!

Carolyn Clooney

Sounds good, huh, Wendy?

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, aging, Children, Geroge Clooney, Marriage, Menopause, New York, parenthood, Travel, Weight gain, wrinkles, Writing

My Fantasy Life

Muuaahahahahah! Alone at last!

I have a rich fantasy life.  But, it’s not what you’re thinkin’.  Sorry.  This time my fantasy involves planting the “Family Garden”.  Oh, yeah.  I could just see me in my floppy garden hat and a gauzy white sundress.  The kids, frolicking at my feet, digging holes and planting veggies that they would consume with relish, because they grew them with their own two hands.

(Wavily dream sequence music here).

“Oh, Mother!  Look at the beautiful broccoli plant I grew!  I can’t wait to eat of its
bounty!”

“Mommy, dearest, may I please harvest a zucchini from the lush depths of my little patch?”

“Why yes, darling, but remember, though eating from the garden is good for you, you must include other nutrients, such as sugar, in your diet.”

“Oh, Mumsie, but must we?  I prefer Brussel-sprouts!”

Sigh.  It all started so well.  “Kids! This year, I want each of you can plant your own raised bed with whichever vegetables you want!”

“Yay!  Oh, goodie. I get watermelon!”

“No!  I want watermelon!”

“What about me?  Don’t I get a watermelon?”

Heavy sigh.  “I’m sure there will be other things we might want to plant.”

Blank stares.

“Okay, kids let’s go to the nursery to get your plants.”

“Do I have to?”

“You don’t want to go?”

“If I have to…”

AT THE NURSERY

“Mom, look!  Let’s get this!”

“We can’t eat a flower basket.”

Mutter, mutter,cheapskate, economy, flowers, mutter.

“What did you say?”

“Nothing, Mom.”

“Great.  Let’s load the car.”

“Do we have to?”

AT HOME

“Okay everybody!  Hang tight while I go get my floppy garden hat!  While I am changing into my gauzy white garden dress, you guys take the plants out to the beds and start digging some holes, okay?”

“Do we have to?”

IN THE GARDEN

“Hey, Liv why are you the only kid in the garden with me?”

“The other kids are all asleep.  Mom, why are you dressed like that?”

“Shut up and weed.”

“Do I have to?”

Wavily dream music here.

And so, I spent another afternoon in solitude, planting my garden.  Note to self:  Want much sought after alone time?  Ask for help with the garden!

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, aging, Children, Cussing, Fitness, gardening, Humor, manners, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, parenthood

My carpet is disgusting

Wendy!  Get Rich Quick Scheme number 197,322!!!

I am thinking of calling it Nature’s Carpet, a revolutionary new flooring manufactured with the family in mind.  Envision this in your
own home.  Orange cat?  Nature’s Carpet will incorporate random tufts of orange hair into the weave!  Have a baby?   Imagine haphazard patches of mustard yellow and baby burp white!  For you dog owners, muddy paw prints in chocolate and caramel brown and some ‘oopsie’ spots for the puppy years.  I’m thinking the ketchup and pizza stain pattern is a must for a rumpus room.  And every guy will clamor for the barf and beer stain look for his man room.

Husbands?  Go ahead and take that motorcycle apart in the living room.  She won’t care.  Not with Nature’s Carpet’s “Garage Floor Stain” pattern.

Get that new carpet smell with the user-friendly feel.  No more need to chase that wet pet through the house.  Screaming at the kids over muddy boots is a thing of the past.  Peace and tranquility abound as you ‘go green’ with our bark dust, rabbit droppings and moss chunks pattern.

Your friend’s will turn puce with envy!

Wendy, my family will easily be able to do all of the design work.  You look into the patent deal.  I’m thinkin’ we’re on to something big this time.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Children, cleaning, Cooking, Cussing, Death, Dogs, Geroge Clooney, Humor, kids messy rooms, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, parenthood

Furious R-rated Don’t Read, Pt. 2.

"Make my day, doo-doo head!" This bad boy don't need to cuss.

   Why is it, when you make a decision to rumble with someone, to knock heads (I’m talking Bill Murray’s Ghostbuster rant about “disaster of biblical proportions, old testament, real wrath of God type stuff, fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, rivers and seas boiling, 40 years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria”–okay maybe not that bad), that you end up having to like, I don’t know, sit next to them on a plane, or be their lab partner or neighbor or something? 

Well, that just happened to me.  Remember the kid I was so hot under the collar over several blogs ago entitled Don’t Read, Rated R?  Yup.  Ended up spending a week with him at outdoor school.  (This year, we took on rocks and planets out in Eastern Oregon).

Yes.  I was scared.  I’m guessin’ he was too.

You know that theme from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly that always plays when outlaws are in the middle of a shootout at the O.K. corral?  The one where they squint at each other just before they draw their guns?  Here.  I’ll try a few bars for you:  Doo-doo-doo-doloo, Bah Wah, Wah. Doo-doo-doo-doloo, Bah Wah, WAH!  A big old ball of sage brush rolls by?  Yeah.  That song. 

It’s playing as I get on the bus, where I had to spend the next four solid hours.  And just who do you suppose is the first person I see?  The cussing eighth-grade rap-artist!  He was already seated.  The last empty seat was within spitting distance.  We eyeballed each other, brows a’see-sawin’.  Who was gonna draw first?  As I strolled down the aisle, we never broke eye-contact.  Didn’t smile.  Didn’t speak.  Slid into my seat.  Pulled down the brim of my hat.

Days passed.  Bumped into him every time I turned around.  I didn’t mention the obscene ballad to his mother he posted on Facebook.  He didn’t mention my vitriolic response.

I carry candy.  Lots of candy.  Especially when I’m forced into confined spaces with hormone-crazed middle-schoolers.  One blazing hot afternoon, he was hungry.  I had candy.  He wanted some.  I gave him some.  He said, “I love you!”  I said, “I love you, too.”

I think I got my point across.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Children, Clint Eastwood, Cussing, friendship, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Outdoor school, parenthood, please and thank you, politeness, The Bad and the Ugly, Travel, Young Love

Life Is Hard. Now Go Play.

Here at Too Hot Mamas, Carolyn and I have ever-so-humbly dubbed ourselves the Lucy and Ethel of Menopausal Motherhood.  (If you had any idea how many whacked-out schemes for one thing or another my blog mate comes up with on a near daily basis, you, too, would suspect Lucille Ball of staging a walk-in.)

But Carolyn is in Central Oregon roughing it with her kids’ school, and I…well, dear reader, I am not feeling funny today.  Hey, I can laugh at a toothache, but as my hilarious Great Uncle Henry used to say, “Some things ain’t funny, Magee.”

My last blog touched on the extraordinary grace under fire of one of our neighbors.  Since then the nasty stuff hit the fan in another neighbor’s life when she awoke to an intruder who assaulted her, brutally, in her home.  The police caught the guy, but will the judicial system keep him off the streets?  Will she find the peace that defies understanding and feel safe in her home again, or out of it?  Will the children who usually run up and down our block as if it’s Mayberry be allowed to play as freely this summer?

And then, on Tuesday, I went to juvenile court to support a friend who has raised her granddaughter since the child was born while her parents struggled with meth, domestic violence and parole violations.  For five years, this grandmother’s refrain regarding her granddaughter has been, “If I do my job well, she won’t realize [how much chaos and fighting surrounds her].”  Being the eye in the storm can’t have been easy, but the five-year-old is a happy, stable child, as innocent as she should be at her age.

Juvenile court—whew.  Stay out of there, if you can.  For what was probably no more than thirty or forty minutes (but seemed like hours)—we watched this lovely five-year-old’s fate be tossed about by a bunch of lawyers whose chief agenda appeared to be Don’t Bother-Me-With-The-Facts-I-Have-A-Case-To-Win.  I watched my friend attacked as the wicked interloper instead of thanked for her love and devotion.  Yeah, so much for that pesky commandment about honoring our parents.

My Uncle Henry had a tough life.  Thirty-five major operations beginning at age three, cancer more times than I can count, heart disease, went blind for a time, broke his back, yadda yadda.  None of his siblings made it much past sixty.  When Uncle Henry was ninety, a waitress (he loved to eat out) asked him if he’d lived in Los Angeles all his life.  “Not yet,” he deadpanned.

Uncle Henry was the happiest person I’ve ever known.  Like any Jewish fellow worth his salt, he knew how to grieve heartily, how to bemoan the fact that bad things happened to good people.  He was not shy about asking, “Why?”  But he had a philosophy of life that was as much a part of him as his brown eyes, and he taught it to us in everything he said and everything he did:  Life is hard, kinderle.  Now go play. 

A mother dies, leaving three young children….  A woman is attacked in her home in the quiet area she trusted….  A little girl may lose the only stability she has ever known and face an uncertain future….

Life is hard.  Sometimes it’s bitterly hard.  But in the midst of it all, there are people willing to be God’s hands here on earth.  On Sunday night, eighty people gathered around the home of the young mother who lay dying on her forty-third birthday.  With candles lit and their voices raised so she, her husband and children would hear them inside the house, they sang Happy Birthday.

Life is hard.  Now go play.

Wendy

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Live Like You Were Dying

Today is Sarah Bach’s 43rd birthday.  Yesterday she was given the last rites after a year-long battle with metastatic melanoma.  A battle that appears to have been grueling and filled with extraordinary grace.  I don’t know Sarah, though I have met her husband and kids a couple of times.  I’ve thought about her every day, though, for months.  Often several times a day, because of the ribbons.  Giant, happy-looking orange ribbons that circle the broad trunks of trees, the thin branches of azalea bushes and posts of mail boxes throughout our neighborhood.  If you live where I do, you know who Sarah Bach is even if you’ve never laid eyes on her.  You know, and your life has been changed.

Sarah is a mother with three young children and an adoring husband who thinks the world of her.  I doubt I’ll ever write a novel about a romance as real and eternal as the one Sarah and her husband have written this past year.

Their family is devoutly Catholic, blessed with a grace that has carried them through disappointment after disappointment as each new treatment failed to halt the progression of her cancer.  Together, last Wednesday, they told their children she was dying.  To me, the situation seems utterly wrong.  Unfair.  Horrible.  Tragic.  I know plenty of people who didn’t take care of themselves and healed.  We all do.  The photos I’ve seen of Sarah before she became ill show a gorgeous woman who is fit and vibrant.  Sarah had a legion of people praying for her.  And yet she’s leaving three elementary-age children.

Her husband and friends tied ribbons around the trees and then a local market began selling them.  More ribbons popped up throughout the neighborhood.  They reminded me to pray every day.  They reminded me it’s possible to care deeply about people we’ve never met and that no matter who we are or where we’re from, we’re all riding the same bus.  Every step outside my house is a visual reminder that communities grow when imperfect strangers become perfectly caring.

In the neighborhood, our children began asking about Mrs. Bach, her illness and whether she would die.  We had conversations with our kids we hoped not to have for a long time; conversations that blessed us and, I believe, them.

It is so easy to trust when life feels like a cleanly cut puzzle, one piece fitting neatly next to its neighbor.  I suppose the deepest trust, the richest faith, the one that works, is honed when it is tested, when we can somehow cry out, “It’s not fair!” and “Thank You,” in the same prayerful breath.

I hope Sara Bach won’t mind that some lady she never met is writing about her.   She’s part of my life now and, I hope, part of yours.  You can read Sarah’s Journey “Fight Like A Girl” on http://www.caringbridge.org/story_bach.  I hope you’ll read it.  And her husband’s blog entry on June 4th.  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/sarahbach  Let their story change your life.  We prayed for one kind of miracle and got another as we discovered we are all each other’s angels.

Wendy

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Cupcake Wars

One of my daughter’s early teachers was called “Cupcake” (not to her face) by the parents, because of her penchant for celebrating every birthday, half-birthday, and holiday, including obscure-in-America British holidays, by serving fluffy cakes with gobs of frosting.  She considered sugar to be, in part, a learning tool.  It was quite effective.  My daughter does not remember the storyline to The Lace Snail, which we read a gazillion times (it’s wonderful), but she still speaks fondly of London’s October Plenty.  Attempts to form letters were rewarded with m&m’s or bits of red licorice.

Why am I thinking about this now, a few years after the fact?  Because I just spent two hours learning how to make a radish mouse to entice my daughter to eat her veggies.   Any veggie.  A no-thank-you bite of cherry tomato.  A snippet of gray green bean out of her Alphabet Soup.

For many years I was a sugar-free vegan (this was before Carolyn and I began entering the Pillsbury Bake-Off, I grant you) and regularly offered collards and kale to my daughter, who ate her greens with gusto.   Oh, yes she did.  In fact, her favorite breakfast was brown rice with butter, tiny minced carrots, nori seaweed and gomasio.  And then…Cupcake.

I love you, Cupcake, I do.  When introducing children to school, it’s a Jewish tradition to dot the pages of a book with honey so the learning will be sweet.   My daughter’s books were smeared with buttercream; I suppose that’s close.  And when she majors in British history I’m quite sure I will remember you fondly.  But I can’t help the pang of regret and frustration I experienced when she saw that adorable mouse staring up from her salad.  Raising it by it’s long radish root tail, she stared ambivalently awhile then asked, “Do I get dessert if I eat this?”

My next attempt will be carrot-cake oatmeal.  I’ll post the recipe if successful.

Wendy

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Don’t read. Rated R. I’m furious.

If you are easily offended, stop reading now.  

Seriously.  Go ahead.  Trot off and have a nice cup of coffee and a chat with your neighbor.

And, whatever you do, don’t read the last paragraph. 

Still here?

Okay…here goes.  Last night, I logged on to Facebook, only to find a post on my wall by a charming eighth-grade friend of my children.  I think it should be titled Ode to My Mother, as he claimed he wrote it himself about his ‘explitive deleted’ of a mother.  He says he composed this thoughtful poem because she wouldn’t allow him to have friends and s**t over any more, although it smacks more of one of Eminnem’s masterpieces.  Dude. Word.

Anyhow, I get the feeling Mummy doesn’t alway check in on her little darling’s Facebook page to view his poetry.  People, people, PEOPLE!  Why are we allowing such blatant disrespect to run rampant on Facebook?  Not only did little darling’s post make me look like a white trash bimbo on my wall, it made his mother a laughing-stock.  6 people “Liked” his poetry.  Not one of them was his mother.

Another thing that children and adults alike simply don’t get it this… Your future employer LOOKS AT YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE when they are trying to figure out who and what to hire. At this rate, this kid’s career prospects are limited to gang member, rapper (and I hear it’s super hard to break in to the industry) and serial killer.

I know, a lot of you are thinking, “Hey, why doesn’t this uptight hag simply unfriend the kid?”    I did.  But not before he sullied my wall and the walls of anyone else on his list, including MY kids.  And as an adult, I don’t feel right about not saying anything.  About not hurting/embarrassing this kid’s precious inner-child.  Letting him throw a public tantrum isn’t responsible or self-actualized, folks.  It is cowardly and uncaring.  Why do we all sit around and put up with this crap, all  in the name of freedom of speech?  Hey, if you are a minor in my household, you are free to speak you mind.  But start up with the f-bombs and we’re gonna wrangle and I’m gonna win.

I have a feeling this kid (underneath his vitriolic spew) is probably a nice kid looking for guidance.  Clearly, he’s not getting enough at home.  He’s lucky he’s not my kid.  Because if he was, his Facebook account would be history.  As would his computer, iPod, iPhone, gameboy and Xbox 360 and all the other baby-sitting devices his parents are no doubt currently employing.  He would be assigned a mountain of chores (my toilets would sparkle!) and he would have to spend endless hours sitting with (and getting to know) ME!  his new best friend!  Oh, the ways we’d bond!  He could teach me to rap and I would teach him Ephesians 4:29.  And perhaps, in the future, we could avoid the four-lane car crash that he posted yesterday.

I don’t pretend to be a saint.  Far from it.  I spent waaaay too many years using language that I have come to realize made me look illiterate and low-class.  And, vulgar.  Trampy.  Disgusting.  And, while these things may still be true, at least I try not to give off the immediate impression anymore.

For those of you who hung in with me to the end of this rant, here is the edited version of this post:

&%$-ing slut you look like a mutt you held me in a rutt im done nomore fun we had a good run you too ton timeing #$%@! your a snitch you snaked my heart i dontmean to sound dark i guess it wasnt very smart to trust you in the first place when i got the first taste i got hooked i shouldve booked it when i got to chance no i dont dance or prance for you i stayed true too you oh boo whoo #$%@ you too.

I ache for his mother.  The spelling is atrocious.

Carolyn

 

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Filed under Children, Cussing, Facebook, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, parenthood, phone, please and thank you, politeness

The Pillsbury Fart-off…uh, Bake-Off

As you know, Carolyn and I are addicted to entering the Pillsbury Bake-Off.  Every spring break from school is an opportunity to corral our kids (plus the offspring of anyone cruel enough to drop their progeny off at Carolyn’s place during this time of year) into one room and ply them with experiment after experiment…er, rather, delicacy after delicacy.  On this year’s menu:

Vermont Maple Cupcakes With Georgia Peanut Buttercream (going with a state theme).  This recipe required several attempts and never really came together.  The kids began eating enthusiastically then quite suddenly looked as if they’d been stricken with a deadly disease.  We gave ’em a little bicarbonate of soda and got right back in the saddle with…

Meatball Hoagie Bake.  This was not bad, though it was overly complicated and kinda unattractive.  Took three or four swipes at this one over a two-day period with eight children and four adults taste testing.  Final decision:  Nah.

Next up:  Carolyn’s soon-to-be world-famous Sweet ‘N Smoky Baked Breakfast Pancake.  OMG.  Incredible.  We all thought so.  She made it several times–for breakfast, for dinner, for a snack.  We tried other baked pancake variations, too, plus more sandwiches, a couple of appetizers and an entrée.  All together we made seven trips to the supermarket, spent…well, I can’t say on the chance one of our husbands is reading, and sickened eight otherwise hardy children.  I overheard this comment from one of Carolyn’s daughter’s friends:

“Can we stop eating now?  I’ve been farting all morning.”

“Me, too,” whispered Carolyn’s daughter.  “I think they’re getting tired.  They’ll stop soon.”

That’s what you thought, missy.

We kept at it until there wasn’t a creative thought left in our brains.  We kept at it until the smell of exhaustion overwhelmed the smells of butter, sugar, toffee and cinnamon.  And soon, very soon, we’ll be in Carolyn’s kitchen again, prepping for the next bake-off.  Why?  Because there’s a million bucks, new appliances, a trip to Orlando and the promise of fifteen minutes of Pillsbury fame riding on this one.

And because we came up empty when we Googled “Bake-Offs Anonymous.”

Wendy

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The art of the arm fart

Hi, Everyone!  It’s raining–surprise!–in the Pacific Northwest.  Actually, the warm drizzle and gray sky are upping the cozy factor tremendously.  And, hey, who needs more sun spots?

My daughter is home with a nasty cold, so as we prepare for a cuddly day at home, I thought I’d inaugurate Witty Wednesday–a day to share the wacky, wonderful, witty or just plain weird witticisms of our pwecious wee ones.  I’ll go first; you go next.  Here’s what we heard at our house this week:

Daughter:  “Dad, do you arm fart?”

Dad:  “Not since I married your mother, honey.”

Daughter (looking at me and shaking her head sadly):  “That’s such a shame.”

Okay, share:  What have the little people in your life said?

Wendy…off to watch Dora….

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Pul-lease

Please:  an adverb, used as a polite addition to requests, commands, etc.

I’m Jewish, but I often attend church with my Christian husband and our daughter, who, although she will gladly participate in Shabbat candle lighting and any holiday involving matzoh balls, has let me know emphatically that her spiritual path is different from mine.

Not a problem.  I believe God speaks to us in different languages and through many different faiths.  In fact, I love our little church with its diverse, devout congregation.  These folks live their lives in wholeness and holiness.  They walk their talk quietly and with enviable grace.

But the Sunday school?  Oy gevalt! 

Young children frequently forget their manners, of course, but what surprises me is the Sunday school teachers’ reluctance to rein in our vilda chaya.  Let me say here and now:  If my child develops a mental block around politeness, go ahead and correct her.

I am sure the disciples used “please” and “thank you” at the Last Supper.   I bet they helped clean up.  And when Jesus spoke, I’m guessing they gave him their attention.  I’m sure no one wants to offend a parent, but better you should offend me than allow my child to offend you.

Yes, “please” and “thank you” are my parenting pet peeves.  Over the years I have doled out a quantity of snacks roughly equivalent to the number of hors d’oeuvres served at Kate and Williams’ wedding.  I’m guessing I’ll double that output in the years to come.  How many thank yous have I heard from the children who are not mine?  Too few, dear reader, too few.

Now, I’m not claiming my precious angel is perfect.  Oh-ho no.  When we’re in Chinese restaurants, she still sucks the filling out of the egg rolls…oh, wait.  That’s me.  Well, her table manners aren’t the best, either.  She learned from her parents, after all, and we’re not on the Queen’s guest list, believe you me.

And, of course, my daughter has a few other habits we need to break.  Like sitting in lectures and workshops, rudely passing notes with her friends and giggling at things that have nothing whatsoever to do with the topic at hand–

Oops.  Me again.

Dang.  But the giggling in workshops thing?  Honestly, that is almost always Carolyn’s fault.  She talks to me and obviously I don’t want her to think I’m rude so I answer.  If you read “Girl Fight” and “Cat Fight” then you know a couple of weeks ago we dragged two formerly polite and gracious women down with us.

Honestly, what is wrong with adults these days?

What are your politeness pet peeves?

Wendy…off to learn some manners.  Thank you for reading.

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Filed under Children, Humor, Jewish, Motherhood, parenthood, please and thank you

Dear Cinderella, if you want to go to the ball CLEAN YOUR ROOM!

When my daughter was three, I asked her to please remove her clothing from the dining room floor.  Like a shot–and with a sweetheart smile–she picked up the offending items, uttering this keeper comment:  “Sure thing, sweetie, I’m here to clean.”

Adorable.  Thought I’d never have a moment’s trouble with this one.

Current conversation with daughter, now eight:

Mother:  I asked you to clean your room last Sunday.  It is now Friday.  Please clean your room or forfeit attending your school dance tonight.

Long-suffering child:  I don’t know what forfeit means.

M:  It means that if your room is not clean by five p.m., you will be in there at seven while your friends are enjoying Katy Perry in the school auditorium.  The choice is yours.

LSC:  I’m hungry.

M:  There’s enough food in your room to get us through a subduction zone quake.

LSC:  I don’t know what subduction zone–

M: GO!

Three minutes later…

LSC:  I’m done.  That was exhausting.

M:  You are not done.  I just started cleaning my office, and I’m nowhere near done.

LSC:  You’re slower than I am.

We march to her room (well, I march; she stops three times in the hallway to practice dance moves).

M:  What part of the room did you clean?

LSC:  What part did you want me to?

Obviously she has been watching too much I Love Lucy and I am about to have a Ricky Ricardo meltdown.

M:  Mira caquilla cosa–

LSC:  I don’t know what–

She is in her room again now, the radio blaring very dramatic classical music.  I hear her creating a story to go along with the music:  “I loved you.  Why did you leave me?  If you come looking for me, I will be in the dungeon….”

The Brothers Grimm and Disney have been stringing people along for years, making us believe Cinderella was an innocent victim.   HA!  How much you wanna bet her room was a pigsty, and that’s why she wasn’t supposed to go to the ball?  From now on I’m on Team Wicked Stepmother.

What tricks/ mandates/ bribes/do you use to get your kids to clean their pits?
Wendy

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Filed under Children, Humor, Motherhood, parenthood, Writing

Cat Fight–The REAL Story

Here’s what really happened.  Four of us meet for breakfast to talk about a writer’s conference trip we are all taking to New York this summer to land agents and fabulous book and movie deals on our fascinating and hilarious lives as romance novelists/mothers/wives/slash/hacks/dog owners and, you know, a couple of other projects we’ve got stashed under the bed that we’re gonna take out and dust off and turn into gold. 

Wendy is late, as usual.  Don’t get me started.  Anyway, she comes skidding in to the restaurant, drops to into her chair, snaps her fingers for the ‘girl’ then goes off on her wrinkle jag, which we all know is a bid for attention.  The woman is adorable.  I don’t get the whole, “Oh, look at my teensy wrinkle and feel sorry for me,” deal.  But we have to humor her.  “Yeah, yeah, Wendy.  What are ya gonna do about the grand canyons on your face today?”  Furtive eye-rolling behind the menu.

In fact, while she was blathering on about the wrinkle thing, I snapped a pic of her with my phone, just to prove my point.

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wait… I got it here somewhere…

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Oh.  Yeah.  Here.  Now.  I ask you.  Is this a face or is this a face?  I just want to gobble her up.

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"Clinique has this AMAZING new product that they claim firms and tightens..."

 

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Over coffee (we’ve migrated to Starbucks by now) the four of us figure out all the details of our trip to the eastern seaboard and decide to ditch the writer’s meeting we’d planned on attending that morning in Portland and hit the mall instead. 

Wendy was still nattering about this miracle stuff she was going to spend waaaaaay too much money on and I wanted to find some pants that would make me look 40 lbs. lighter.

As I was off looking for “skinny jeans” (sheyeah, what a crock) Wendy gave us the slip.  We finally found her seated in the chair behind the Clinique counter getting her upper lip spackled.  Okay.  I get it now.  The whole wrinkle cream gig isn’t about fixing your wrinkles.  No.  Oprah, are you listening, because this is the real SECRET.  Wrinkle cream IS NOT about ‘fixing a problem’.  It’s about ‘confusing the eye’.  It’s about slathering a whole bunch of gummy stuff on your lip and telling you that your wrinkles are gone and then charging you $174 + tax. 

Wendy, I’m only gonna say this once.  “The emperor has no clothes!  B-U-C-K Naked!

Of course your friends are going to tell you that the flaky, chalky, goofy crud on your upper lip looks great because we love you. 

"I can't nove ny lits cuz this stuff is sooter hard!"

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Truth be told, we simply had no where else to look.  We had to avert our eyes.  That’s why no one noticed wrinkles.  A person can’t see when they’re all squinty-eyed and cringing. 

Carolyn

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Filed under aging, BOTOX, Children, Cooking, Death, Dogs, Fifteen Minutes of Fame, friendship, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, parenthood, Weight gain, Weight Loss, wrinkle erasers, wrinkles

Leggo of my Lego

My youngest son, age 8, is a Lego addict.  He is willing to admit that he’s powerless over Legos.  This is an expensive habit.  Needs to be fed often.  I don’t get it, but then chocolate is my drug of choice.

Yes, members of my family have spent hundreds of dollars, satisfying his Star Wars Lego fanaticism.  His latest kit is an extravaganza my sister spent at least $50 bucks on, but the joke is on me.   Seems it’s payback time for the multi-piece toys I naively gifted her children with, a decade ago.  Alas, there are over a gogillion pieces in his latest set for my new puppy to chew. 

New puppy you ask?  Yes, long story, but I digress.  Anyway, ever since my little darling has endeavored to build the Star Wars Deluxe Battleship with the triple phaser stun guns (ages 9-14) this is all I hear these days:

Him:  “Mom!  I can’t do this!”

Me:  “Yes, you can.”

Him: “Mom!!  I’m not 9 yet! Come and help me!  How do I start?”  He is staring dazedly at the directions.

Me:  “Gimme the manual.”  Hmmm. 

A HALF HOUR LATER

Me:  “Okay.  Look, I think we might have better luck if we sort the pieces.”

Him:  “I don’t know how.”

Me:  “Like this.  Dark here, small here, etc…”

AN HOUR LATER

Me:  “Son?  SON! Where are you?”

Muffled voice drifts from somewhere far away.  Perhaps from the trampoline outside?

Him:  “Are you done yet, Mom?”

Me:  “YES!  GET YOUR BUTT IN HERE AND BUILD YOUR SUPER FUN STARWARS LEGO BATTLESHIP THINGEE!”  (I get cranky when I’m stiff and in pain from sorting).

Him:  “Okay!”

TEN MINUTES LATER

Him:  “Mom!?  Where’s the first piece?”

Me:  Searching for my antacids.  “Here.”

Him:  “Mom!”  Where’s the second piece?”

TWO HOURS LATER Continue reading

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PLEASE FIRE ME.

Did you get your Thin Mints this year?

If not, then you are the only person within a 100-mile radius of me who didn’t get a box.  Or twelve.  Yes, folks, we have passed that time of year, that more-American-than-Thanksgiving extended holiday known as GIRL SCOUT COOKIE SALES.

Some of you probably read that and experienced a personal moment, the memory of peanut butter Do-si-Dos exploding on your taste buds as if you were biting into the real thing.  Good for you.  Me, I wrote that sentence and heard the Shark’s Theme from Jaw’s.

If you got your Thin Mints, there is one thing I know for sure:  You didn’t get them from me.   With our collective troop sales rocketing into the four digits, my precious child, aided and abetted by yours truly, sold a whopping four boxes.  Why?

BECAUSE I SUCK AT BEING A GIRL SCOUT MOM. In the 99-year history of our venerable organization, I am, I am quite certain, one of the worst Brownie moms the scouts have ever suffered.  The blustery (read: hurricane-like) day we sallied forth to sugar-coat our city drove the point home.

My daughter and I arrive at our assigned post–outside a local market near dinnertime– to take over from a harried-looking mother and four soaked scoutlets who have already sold out of Thin Mints, Tag-Alongs and Samoas.  “More are coming!” she says as she thrusts the crammed money-box into my hands.  Her gaze shifts to my daughter.  “Where’s her sash?”

I look at the other girls, decked out despite the impending flood in their Brownie regalia, patches marching proudly across their uniforms.    Crap. Totally forgot about the sash.  (Full disclosure:  Totally lost the sash.  Not a clue where it could be. )

“Um, she gets cold so easily.  She’ll probably keep her coat on.”  I glance at my daughter, who is in the process of flinging said coat to the sidewalk so she can play in the rain properly with her friends.

Harried mother ushers her girls home for dinner as we prepare to take over.  Almost immediately people line up for their annual Girl Scout Cookie fix.   “How much is a box?” asks the first woman in line. Continue reading

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Goodbye Teddy Bear…Hello Tiger

I have Carolyn’s youngest son at my place for a sleepover.  He’s one-day younger than my daughter.  Carolyn and I adopted the kids when we were mere seconds from menopause (a great story we’ll have to share sometime).

The two kids adore each other; they get along famously.  Always have.  Like brother and sister without the fights.  So, when they asked if they could sleep in my daughter’s room on the same bed, Carolyn and I decided that would be okey dokey.  They’re a few weeks away from turning eight, and not the most sophisticated flowers in the garden.  Very innocent.  Lucy and Ricky Ricardo are their media marriage role models.

My DD, however, upon hearing that they could indeed share the twin bed and kick each other silly all night long, suddenly turned coy.  “But that’s so romantic,” she giggled.

Romantic?  She just dared him to eat a caterpillar. Continue reading

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Doggy Daze

The Mutt Whisperer

 I love my daughter.  She is uber cool.  Funny, sweet, helpful and—oddly for a teenager these days—obedient   So, now and then I like to indulge her.  That must explain why I volunteered to be a community coordinator for her on-line high school.  Volunteering means I get to come up with clever ideas to amuse teenagers who have been chained to their computers for weeks on end.  And, since I am the community coordinator, or ‘in charge’, I get to go on these outings when I have strep throat.  Felt like I’d been gargling glass shards and razor blades the morning of our most recent trip.  I’m on antibiotics and not contagious now.  Dang.  No excuse to stay in bed…

Anyway, somebody suggested I organize a trip to the Oregon Humane Society to visit the doggies.  The volunteer hours would count toward National Honor Society.

How dumb am I?

Of course, my daughter gets there and finds “the dog”.  “Mom!  This dog loves me!  Look mom!  It’s like we have a psychic connection or something!  I have to rescue this animal!  Seriously, look at her!”

I’m looking.  I see an ageing, indistinguishable breed, lumpy-ear’d mutt staring dolefully at my daughter.  “Yeah, well you’ll have to get this past your dad.”  I’m golden.  He said no more dogs.

“Mom!  I just got off the phone with Daddy-kins!”

Uh oh.

“He’ll meet us here after work!  We just have to go home and get Thurston (our fat golden retriever) and the kids and make sure she likes all of us.”

Huh? Continue reading

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Happy Anniversary, TooHotMamas!

Here's to another FABULOUS year of Hot Flashing!

  Wendy, I simply cannot believe  that we have been blogging for a solid year now!  And, what a year it’s been.  Wendy has sold three books and her husband has starred on LEVERAGE (on TNT). 

I managed to unclog a stubborn drain and my hubby cut off the tip of his finger.  What will the coming year bring?  I shudder to imagine.

At any rate, this explains Wendy’s rather sporadic contribution to the blog.  She’s working.  I, on the other hand, remain firmly attached to her coattails, dreaming of the day when I’m sitting in the front row at the Academy Awards, sobbing ala Chad Lowe, while she accepts the Oscar for best screenplay adaptation of a novel.  I only hope she remembers to thank me.  You know, for handling the blog while she works on a paying gig.

Since we are embarking on a new year here at TooHotMamas, I thought I’d like to try something I’m going to call: The Story Of Us.

Basically, it’s gonna be a soap-opera type serial blog.  Cliff-hangers, love, live, death, barf, marriage, menopause, kids, George Clooney, you know, stuff about our dysfunctional—and oddly identical—lives and how we met and forged a sisteresque friendship.  This is going to be really fun for me, as Wendy is too busy earning a real living to actually check in here, at TooHotMamas, and so, I’ll be able to really dish the dirt.

For example:  Wendy used to go to school with what musical super star??

I’ll have that juicy answer…on the next episode of THM’s!

Carolyn

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I Want My MTV

 

My Spiritual Ducks

  One Sunday, several years ago now, the pastor of our church asked us to write down the three things that were most important to us on a slip of paper.  He waited while everyone smiled smugly and scribbled.  Knowing human nature, I can only guess that everyone’s list looked a lot like mine: 

1.  God  2.  Husband  3.  Family.  Yeah.  I’m pious.  Got the old spiritual ducks in the row.

Then the pastor asks us to write down the three things we spend the most time doing everyday.  An audible sigh rippled through the crowd and people began to slump in the pew.  My list? 

1. Watch TV  2. Nag Husband to turn the ESPN down.  3.  Nag children in other room to turn Disney Channel down.

I knew I had a problem when my then nine-year-old daughter came to my bedroom door wanting help with her homework and I made her wait outside while Mommy finished her show.  After all, Mommy’s show was about this rapist who was in the process of gouging out the eyes of his victim and I didn’t want to traumatize my daughter.  Just call me Mother-of-the-Year.   Couldn’t pry my eyes away from that show (sorry, couldn’t resist that pun) and, I have to admit, answering questions about erectile dysfunction commercials from a five-year-old were creeping me out.

So, we cut the cable.  The withdrawal was horrendous.  There should be a 12 step program.  Now, of course, we are that totally uncool, square family that never really knows what’s happening out there in the real world.  I hear about TV shows from friends, read about them on-line, see the articles in Entertainment Weekly, so I’m not completely clueless.  And, whenever a series catches my eye, like 24 or NCIS or LOST, I’ll go out and buy it on DVD.  No erectile dysfunction between stretches of action, and the hubby and I can watch an entire season in one marathon weekend of bloody-thirst and violence and then return to church on Sunday feeling proud that we didn’t make the kids sit outside of the bedroom door all month.  Just…you know…that one weekend.

Okay.  We still have some work to do.

Carolyn

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Drinking games

  

I'm so proud

  Wow.  Good old mom.  Has she ever changed.  Yesterday, I was standing in the grocery line, waiting.  The woman in front of me clearly knew the checker.  I couldn’t help but overhear this inspiring tidbit.

 

 Mom:  Yeah, that’s my beer.  Well, my kid’s, actually.  I let my son and his girlfriend have beer at home.  They’re in high school now, so it’s…

Checker:  Better than having them go drink somewhere else.

 

Mom:  Right.  Oh, this is so funny.  The other day, they were playing the f-word drinking game.  You know what that is, right?  The F-Bomb?

 Checker:  Gotcha.  Don’t have to spell it out for me.

 Mom:  Well, the kids were watching this movie, and every time they heard the F-word, they had to take a drink.  (Mom laughs indulgently).  Yeah, they got plastered.  Put ‘em to bed in my son’s room.

 Me:  (thinking as I drove home) Golly, I was watching Ozzie and Harriet just the other day, with my eldest (high school age, sweet, loving, adorable, virginal, drug-free ooo, I love her so much I could eat her with a spoon) daughter, and I realized:  I’m such an old-fashioned dirt-bag of a mom.  Geez, what a loser. Here I thought I was doing her a favor by steering her away from the harrowing foibles of my misspent youth.  My poor kid.  How the bleepity, bleep is she going to learn to drink?  Neither Ozzie nor Harriet dropped the F-Bomb once!  When I got home, I immediately threw that DVD out.  Then, I took inventory of our cupboards and realized, if she’s gonna get high, she’s gonna have to settle for tablespoon of vanilla on the rocks.  Couple the vanilla with Ricky Nelson and her seven-year-old brother (who will occasionally crawl into bed with her when he has his recurring bad snake dream) you ain’t got much of a partay, know-whut-ahm-sayin-ma-man?

 

 So, I’m headed back to the store for a copy of Bruce Willis’s Die Hard with a Vengeance, a case of Bud, a pack of smokes and a bag boy or two.  We’ll giter up to speed.  That way, she’ll be more acceptable in today’s society.  After all, I wouldn’t want her to be…different.

 Carolyn

 

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Everything old is new again

Like any seven-year-old, my daughter cannot wait to be a teenager.  Her target age:  nineteen.

“Mom, does this headband make me look nineteen?”  Absolutely.  And you could add another year if you detached the Minnie Mouse ears.

“Mom, look at my ballet slippers.”  (Extending her foot with a lovely pointed toe.)  “Do my legs look nineteen?”

“Listen, Mom, listen.  Does this song make me sound–”  Yes, sweetheart, yes, singing “We Are The Dinosaurs” at the top of your lungs absolutely makes you sound nineteen.

I’m not sure why she targeted that particular age.  Nineteen was certainly not my best year.  I was in my third year of college, a good forty pounds overweight, struggling to know more, do more and be more than I was comfortable with.

Nineteen was almost thirty years ago.  Now I’m trying to look younger, feel younger and still trying to do more than I am comfortable with.  Not that I  want to be nineteen again.  Noooo thank you.  But forty-two…yeah, that was a great year.

“Hey, world, if I wear this makeup, do I look 42 again?”

“If I lose ten pounds, will I look 42?  Will you like me better?  Take me more seriously?  Hire me?”

Recently, I was with the twenty-five-year-old niece of a dear friend.  When I say the girl is stunningly beautiful, I am issuing a gross understatement.  And yet she felt it necessary to have her first BOTOX injection at 24.  Apparently that is no longer uncommon; you get a head start on wrinkle prevention that way.

Annette Bening was my acting teacher twenty-six years ago.  She was, by far, the most confident woman I had ever met.  Today, she is one of the few actresses of her generation with the guts to age gracefully.   She is, by all accounts, the very hands-on mother to four young people.  Google her, and you will find that she spends a great deal of her time giving back to her community in addition to conducting what has amounted to a thoughtful, intelligent and wildly successful career.

Check the imdb boards, and you will discover that she is being slammed–rudely–for daring to age naturally.  One poster wrote that Warren Beatty is now “too good for her.”  Another brain trust labeled her “a hag.”

Great.  These are probably people who get tattoos and piercings so they can be unique.  I’m not knocking that, but guess what?  Aging naturally in Hollywood is probably as unique anyone is going to get.

I wonder if a woman posted the crack about Warren Beatty or the uber-intelligent hag comment?  Lord, I hope not.

Annette:  You glow, woman.  And may I say, “Thank you” for living the wisdom of taking yourself seriously…but not too seriously.  And for spending more time working to improve the world instead of your own skin.

Libbi, my darling daughter:  Slow down, baby.  There’s plenty of time.  Live the moment, because the time that yawns endlessly now will someday seem achingly brief.  And you don’t want to miss a second by trying to be someone else.  (Or even an older–or younger–version of yourself.

Note to me:  Ditto.

Wendy

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Like Totally

 

You like want us to clean? What's up with that?

 

I have teenaged girls. I love it, as I am a connoisseur of sarcasm and they just give me so much…fodder.   

Take today for example:   

15 year old:  Mom, when a man has his prostate removed, is he still, like, a man?   

Me:  No, darling.  The moment the prostate is removed, the poor slob becomes a unicorn.   

13 year old:  I would rather die, than eat a fly.   

Me:  You’re telling me that you’d rather light yourself on fire than eat a house fly?  Be torn apart by a grizzly bear?  Eaten by an alligator?  Sit on a stick of dynamite?    

15 year old: Mom!  Look!  The dog is lactating!  Eeew!  Hey…I wonder what it tastes like?   

Me:  Why don’t you hold her over your cereal bowl in the morning and find out?   

I know, I know, I should aim for a more mature, maternal tone.  But come on.  Like, they both totally wanted to throw their stupid printer away.  Until I plugged it in.   

Carolyn

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That Pioneering Spirit

"Oh goody. It's raining."

 If you enjoy wearing a pioneer woman costume and sleeping in a damp tent that you set up in the pouring rain while wearing your soggy pioneer bonnet and a soaked pioneer skirt that gets tangled around your legs as you try to pound a tent spike into solid rock while 3 third graders (also in pioneer garb) complain about the inclement weather under your feet…then you’d LOVE the field study I just returned from (see Wagon’s Ho blog entry) with my kid’s Living History charter school.

 We had a fabulous time.

Learned a lot.

Stood at the bottom of the famous Laurel Hill (shoulda been named Laurel Jagged Cliff) on the famous Oregon Trail (shoulda been named Let’s Commit Suicide by Wagon Train) and I thought, “Wow, I wonder if I ‘d have let my husband talk me into hurling our wagon/worldly supplies/children/oxen over the edge like the pioneers did back in the olden days?”  and “What the hell were they thinking?”  and “I wonder how far I am from Starbucks, right now.”

Apparently, one pioneer woman (her name escapes me at the moment), pregnant with her eighth child gave birth three days AFTER getting her family down the hill.  I’m such a loser weenie.  I rode to the historic site in a heated touring bus, ate the 6 thousand calorie meal we’d packed that morning for lunch, and felt sorry for myself because I was probably gaining back all the weight I’d recently lost (see the Gym post).

This trip shattered every illusion I had about being a pioneer in any sense of the word.  I am a wimp-o-neer.  A pio-weenie.

Luckily, the next field study (leaving this Monday with daughter number 2) is being held at the coast.  In a Yurt.  Gonna feel like the Hilton, compared to the tent. 

Carolyn

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Wagons Ho

I’m going on an Oregon Trail Living History field study with my two fifth graders. 

I hear naughtly little children taste just like chicken...

We are going to ‘experience’ the ‘joy’ of roughing it on the real Oregon Trail in real wagons and wear real costumes and stuff.   Gonna do it the way they used to.  No new fangled stuff like dental floss or deoderant.  We’re going to sleep in a tent.  Supposed to rain, maybe even snow.  Just like in the olden days.  I hear tell a ‘master camper’ (whatever that is) will be accompanying us.  His last name is–no-I-am-not-kidding–Donner.  Just like in the olden days.  If the kids in my tent give me any flack, (you know, middle school ‘tude), I think after lights-out, I’m gonna tell ’em the whole saga of the real Donner party.  Then, I might allude to the idea that our master camper might be…I don’t know…related some how.  

That oughta keep ’em in line.

I’ll report back on my adventures upon my return.

Carolyn

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Oh No!

One hot mama: The pre-breakfast routine.

 

Don’t you just love those bizarre celebrity death hoaxes?  Johnny Depp dies in freak skate board accident.  Miley Cyrus eaten by sharks.  Plastic surgery kills Kardashian sisters.  

 These goofy rumors got me to thinking that a lot of you out there are probably wondering what happened to Wendy.  The hotter of the two mamas.  No, contrary to the wild urban legends circulating Hollywood, she has not been kidnapped by terrorists.  Unless you count the PTA.  

 No, Wendy is simply busy.  Too busy to blog.   

 Why?  Because—like me—she cannot seem to bring herself to say ‘No’.   

 Why do we fear the word, No?  Hmm.  In my case?  I’m terrified I might miss out on the fun.  Couple that with my people pleasing tendencies and suddenly, I find myself in the process of making a Pioneer Costume.  For myself.  Yes.  Fitting that in before I pack my two fifth graders and me for a three day school Oregon Trail camping trip.  Couldn’t say no to their adorable doe-eyed faces, begging me to participate in all that chaperoning excitement. Neither could I say ‘No’ to the week long Marine Studies extravaganza with my middle school daughter’s class at the coast.  Thankfully I’ll have time to pack during the ten minutes I’ll be home between trips.    

     Bought the supplies I’ll need during the week I took off to get the kids back and forth to their fifty mile round-trip piano recitals.  Luckily, my husband was able to take time off work that week to get my son to his baseball games in other cities, since I don’t have a sewing machine in my car.  Yet.  As soon as they get one that plugs into the cigarette lighter, I will.   

     Fortunately, my computer has super good battery life, as my eldest daughter somehow talked me into serving as the Community Coordinator for her high school’s social network.  This way, I won’t be bored on those endless seconds I’ll have between building a Pirate set for Vacation Bible School and hosting the Spanish Club luncheon.  Thank heavens I was able to wriggle out of sewing 70 canvas field study bags—never admit you can sew—so that I can attend a college reunion, a baby shower, a writer’s meeting, enjoy TWO talent shows, THREE  plays starring my kids, and host out of town company.  

     All of this is, of course, on top of keeping a 7 person/2 dog household under some semblance of control.  I’m thinking about getting one of those digital voice recorders so that I can write novels while I’m grocery shopping, working out, paying bills, chauffering the kids, grooming the dogs, mowing the lawn and bathing.  

    Double-tasking?  For slacker weenies.  I’m coining the phrase Quad-tasking.  Why else would God have given us two hands and two feet?  

Carolyn

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Victoria’s REAL Secret

Hey, baby. What's your sign?

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

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Nuthin’ says lovin’ like something from the oven

We like him better this way

 

Wendy: 

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

Well, we do know one thing for sure. 

It’s not us. 

That’s okay.  There is always next year. 

Carolyn

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Bad Hair

Wendy and Carolyn Do Hawaii

 

Carolyn and Wendy Do Hawaii
 
The 35 Symptoms of Menopause: A continuing education.  Today, we explore Symptom #26:

Hair loss or thinning head or pubic hair.  Increase in facial or whole body hair.

So many of our friends complain about this symptom.  The hair falls off the head and seems to just explode out of everywhere else. 
 
So, girls.  How do we get rid of unwanted hair without the hideous pain of waxing / electrolysis and those horrible red bumps that come after shaving?  Well, after a LOT of debate–and experimentation–we’ve come to the conclusion that there is no solution.  Why are we fighting the inevitable, ladies? 
 
Let go of your inhibitions.  If you’ve got it, flaunt it.  Embrace your inner gorilla!  Oh, we’re not saying it will be easy.  The first time we hit the beach sporting our new hirsute look, we were a little bashful.  But as you can see by the video our husband’s shot, (above) after a couple Mai Tai’s we got into the rhythm. 
 
Carolyn and Wendy

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Kids Don’t Multi-task; Why should I?

Children don’t multi-task.  Unless food is being served, in which case they can throw, jump, dance, spin, talk incessantly and deliver an oral report on worm bins while they are chewing.

Ask a child to clean her room, carry a plate into the kitchen, take shoes to the closet or brush teeth before bedtime, however, and you will find God’s greatest example of living in the moment.

At the start of cleaning the room, there will surely be a rock that needs to be examined with the attention of a geologist.  Should a stray puzzle piece be found, an entire 100-pieces of Cinderella and her prince will be assembled on the spot.

Shepherding shoes from living room floor to closet (our house is tiny; it’s not that far) requires the addition of a dance recital delivered with the single-minded focus of a prima ballerina.

Women are supposed to be great multi-taskers; apparently it doesn’t kick in until adulthood.  It’s helpful for a while.  I can cook a meal, clean the house and pay bills while simultaneously brainstorming plots with a fellow author or getting (or receiving) phone therapy from a womanfriend.  I can pick up shoes AND do a dance recital.  Somebody’s got to.

It’s tiring, though–all that simultaneous activity.  I find I do it in my sleep now.  I think I’m resting, but I’m still plotting the next book, figuring out bills, wondering how to wedge violin lessons in between gymnastics and ice skating, planning a birthday party.  If you’re a woman, you know the drill.

You know how Shakespeare wrote that in old age we turn back into babies?  Well, now that I’m menopausal, I think I’ll sleep while I’m sleeping.  Perchance to dream…of sleeping.

Yes, I like this idea.  I may even try eating while I’m eating.  Talking to a friend while I’m talking to a friend.  Turning off the news while I do yoga.  I may even drop the five pairs of shoes I am lugging to the closet in between typing this, turn on Barbie Swan Lake and dance.

Wendy

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