Category Archives: Writing

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 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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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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FROM HERE TO MATERNITY LEAVE

Stork

Hi, everyone!

It’s Wendy, one half of two hot mamas, back from a maternity leave that consumed all of 2014.

Yes, that’s right: Just like Sarah in the bible, I became a mama again when I was not merely “too hot,” but practically charred. It was a miracle, although not quite like Sarah’s.

This “baby” was birthed via adoption, and she was almost five. Carolyn was there the whole way, acting as our doula, helping mother and child to make it through some rocky times while my husband worked out of state for most of the year. Frankly, Carolyn saved the adoption more than once.

Along the way, she and I fulfilled two more dreams—writing a book together (we’ve published a combined total of fifty novels on our own, but never before collaborated), and home schooling our tweens. And, she got her three oldest settled in college/early college and jobs.

We meant to blog during all this; we really did. But, let’s face it: We were lucky to shower—

Aw, crud. I knew we forgot to do something.

Well, anyway, we’re back now. Look for fresh blogs every Tuesday (and reruns on Thursdays…unless we’re napping).
Happy 2015,

–Wendy and Carolyn

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How Dumpster Kitty Made Me Fall In Love (Again…and again)

On October 29, 2013 our sweet Phoebe passed away…looking at Tim as she fell asleep, just like always.

In her honor, I’m reprising this article.  Thank you, Phoebe.

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

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Lowes Fires Nanna Because She Cares!

Hey Dear Readers:  A couple days ago, Toohotmamas wrote about One Hot Mama who went the extra mile to protect her company, only to get the sack.  Karen Sizemore is one awesome Mama and GrandMama and we want to help her get her job back (or better yet, get a bouncer gig with Home Depot!).  Take a second and sign the following petition to Robert A. Niblock, First Vice Chairman, Chairman, President & CEO, Lowe’s, which says:

Lowe’s fired a grandmother after 18 years of dedicated employment for helping catch a shoplifter she witnessed stealing a $600 tool kit. Since corporate companies have turned their backs on their courageous employees, lets turn our backs on them and support this hero!”

Will you sign her daughter, Angela’s, petition? Click here to add your name:

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/lowes-fires-grandma-for?source=c.fwd&r_by=9197187

We, here at Toohotmamas do a lot of remodeling and we have family members and friends who are building contractors.  We’re going to be shopping at Home Depot until Lowe’s comes to their senses.  Yeah, maybe you have rules about shoplifting procedure.  So, chew Karen out for bothering to risk her tushy for your lousy store, then give her a raise.  How many faithful employees do you really have that would risk their lives for your bottom line?  Now that she’s gone, I’d venture…none.

Carolyn

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Lowes: An excellent place to shoplift!

People!  Christmas is coming and I know, because of the economy, it’s not easy to get dear old dad that nifty Dewalt power tool he’s been wanting.  Well, now you don’t have to worry!  Just go to the Lowes Store in Kentucky and steal it!  Seriously!  They don’t care.  In fact, if a brave, menopausal woman who works there should try to stop you?  She’ll be fired!  Yeah!  Take a hike, granny!  We like it when people rip us off.

I’m telling you, people, I don’t usually get all on the soap box, here in this blog, but C’MON!  I think Karen Sizemore should be getting a plaque, not the sack!  They’re just lucky I wasn’t the old lady who saw this jerk stealing that tool.  I’d have been tempted to use it on him in creative and painful ways not intended by the manufacturer.

But alas, that might make me a big meany, huh?

Full details on this ridiculous story below:

When Lowe’s employee Karen Sizemore saw a man shoplifting from her Kentucky store, she says she snapped: “It was just the adrenaline rush, I’m not taking it anymore. You just get to the point where you’re so tired of people stealing from you.” So Karen, a grandmother and 18-year employee of the chain, followed the thief out to his car and reached into the backseat trying to retrieve the Dewalt tool kit, valued at $600. She wasn’t able to get it but she did get the man’s license plate number and car make, leading to his arrest. The incident made her a minor celebrity in town and with her coworkers, who nicknamed her “Rambo.” But the pursuit also backfired, when Karen was fired this week. Fighting back tears she explains, “their explanation was I put myself and other people in danger and they fired me.” Lowe’s issued a public statement: “Our policies are in place for the safety of our workers. We have very specific guidelines when it comes to handling potential shoplifters, to ensure the well being of not only our team but our customers.” The corporate office has since added that they will further investigate the incident.  

I LOVE YA, KAREN SIZEMORE!  You are my hero.  Wish there were more out there, just like you!

Carolyn

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The Road Home

man-walking-down-country-road-29683842It’s Yom Kippur.  The destination, if you will, of a trip that begins with Rosh Hashana.  What a great holiday!

If you’re familiar with the Twelve Steps, the days from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur are like doing steps 4-9: taking a moral inventory of oneself (we don’t get to inventory anyone else; bummer), admitting our mistakes–especially the ones we keep repeating, making amends to the humans we have harmed and, finally, re-turning to God.  Because, let’s face it, most of us turn away from what is right, sometimes several times a day, and as a result we feel fractioned.  Our destination on Yom Kippur is that sense of wholeness, home.  Returning to God, Whom, we discover, has been there all the time, waiting.

The Yom Kippur prayers are beautiful.  So many of them tell us that we are human, with human traits that are both positive and negative.  We do not expect to levitate  above our humanity; we’ll be here again next year, God willing, asking for forgiveness for mistakes we have made, vows we have broken, potential that went unfulfilled.  But hopefully we will have done better.  We will have consciously tried, anyway.

Perhaps the best part of this process is that we do it together, as a community of souls.  Saying the prayers together is a reminder that no one is any better or worse than her neighbor–of any faith, race, gender, sexual orientation, et al.  If we’ve turned away, we make the decision to turn back.  And God will accept us again…still…in our brokenness and our beauty.

Parenting at its best.

Wendy

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Identical Cousins…And Sisters Of The Heart

DSC03559My daughter has lots of cousins.  Because she’s adopted, she’s not related to any of them by blood.  Most of them aren’t related to each other by blood, either.  Blood shmud.  I have girlfriends who are my sisters.  We give each other b-day cards that say so.  I would go to the ends of the earth for them, and they’ve already done the same for me.

Some of the cousins are the children of Tim’s and my blood relations and some are my friends’ kids.  I forget which is which.

When my daughter was five, Carolyn and her kids made a Cousin Adoption Agreement, signed by them all.  They’ve introduced each other as “My cousin” ever since.

…They’re Cousins, Identical Cousins, All The Way…

Recently, my DD (third from the right, above) called in a promise that she could get her ears pierced at age ten.  The night before, she decided to watch a YouTube video of a nine-year-old getting her ears pierced at Claire’s.  Big. Mistake.

“Mom, I’m dizzy,” she said.  The child turned whiter than I am, no joke.  “I can’t do it,” she cried.  “I wanna do it.  I wanna do it sooo bad, but I can’t do it.”

I told Carolyn, and the next day she and all her children were at Claire’s, holding my DD’s hands as she got her ears pierced…and learned that love lends courage.

DSC03563My “sister” Judy just sent beautiful earrings–and these days stays on the phone longer with my daughter than she does with me.

My “sisters” Su and Darla were the first people to greet us–at ten-thirty p.m. in a winter storm–when Tim and I got off the plane from Guatemala with our new baby.  Neither of them lives anywhere near the airport.

“Aunt Terry” and “Aunt Micki” are beloved in our home, their visits eagerly anticipated by all.

Sisters…Cousins…they come in all different colors, from lots of different places.

And thank you, God, for them all.

Who are the sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles of your heart?

Wendy

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I just can’t wait…to be queen

It’s a sign!  Kate Middleton gave birth to a baby boy on…JULY 22!!  The very same day I married my darling husband (I forget what year, but I think the automobile had already been invented) and I TOO, GAVE BIRTH TO A CHILD on JULY 22!  Yes!  Our first daughter was born on our wedding anniversary, isn’t that weird? No, we didn’t have to get married, lest anyone fret, it was our 16th wedding anniversary. But anywho…back to the main point…

Our faithful readers know that I have wanted to establish a royal family in the good old U.S of A. for a long time now.  Just think of what it could do for our economy!  The gossip, the scandal, the paparazzi…I’m ready to take the throne.  And, when I’m done reading the National Enquirer in the bathroom, I think I shall renew my campaign efforts.

Then again, why should I bother?  The common people have no say in such matters.  Royalty is not elected.  Therefore, I shall simply take office.  No one else has jumped in, so why not?

Okay then.  Ah hemmm…  ATTENTION!

I hereby declare myself to be Queen of the United States of America.  My first act as HRM Carolyn Zane?  Take my son to the doctor to get his wart frozen off.   And then?  Ice cream to celebrate.  I’ll try to get a play-date going with Wills and Kate’s kid soon.  There will be pictures.  I have all kinds of advice for the new parents.  How to get a Lego out of a nostril, for one thing.  Not as easy as it sounds.

Carolyn

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Letting Go

Today is yard sale day at our place.  Mostly we’re getting rid of the children’s clothes, toys and uber-cool loft bed with slide attachment–wheee!–that we have been hanging onto for our next child.  Our home study to adopt from U.S. Foster Care is one year old on July 11th.

We’ve been in the process much longer than that, however,

I wanted to adopt a second time six months after our daughter came home.  Hubby wasn’t ready. For eight years, I agonized over raising an only child.  I agonized over my unfulfilled longing to give an older child a home; I’ve wanted to do that since I was ten.  Weird, but true. Then he was ready and we started our home study.  

I’m still agonizing.

In one year, we’ve come close a couple of times, but ultimately no kiddo.  Lately, we haven’t heard anything in response to sending out our home study.  And so I wonder:  Are we too old?  Don’t make enough money?  Is it not God’s will? Two of my friends brought home their children mere minutes, it seemed, after completing their home studies.  And so I scan the photo sites (so did they, after all), looking for kids who need families.  Last week I found myself scanning them while my daughter was wondering why we don’t do dance parties at night like we used to.  Because I’m busy trying to get you a sibling, that’s why. 

Uh oh.  Wrong answer, even if I only said it in my mind. 

And so, I am releasing the clothes and the toys and uber-cool bed today.  I am releasing the intense need and the fear of it never happening and the resentment I feel building, because it hasn’t happened yet (and this is a blog about menopausal mothers, not about twenty-somethings; time’s marchin’ on).

I will hang onto the dream; I’d be lying if I said anything else.  But I will also hang onto my gratitude for the family I have.  For the friends and cousins my daughter loves and who love her back.  I’ll hang onto God and to seeking God’s will for me, because when I seek to be more serving than served, really good things happen–for others as well as for meImage.

And tonight, my darling daughter, we will dance. 

Wendy

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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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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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Rebuttal

Image

Does this look like a killer to you?

Honestly Carolyn,

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

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

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

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

Your BFF,

Wendy

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Attachment Parenting

I’d just like to point out that the great thing about being an OLDER MOM, is that the kid wouldn’t need a chair.  So.  Have you heard of attachment parenting?  I managed to get 5 kids into their teen years without it, but now that I think about it, I was a fool.  I only nursed my kids for a year.  All that money wasted on those little boxes of fruit drinks for the soccer team?  With some jumping jacks, I could have served milkshakes.  This attachment parenting thing makes so much sense, especially for the menopausal mom.  I can think of a ton of ways we could share.  “When I’m done wiping you, you do me, honey.”  And, we could gum our peas together, spit up together and share diapers when the child is older.  I mean, if we’re not going to wean, why potty train?

I have always dreaded the empty nest.  This way, I don’t have to.  Independence is totally over-rated.   In fact, I’m thinking about starting a movement: Never-ending breastfeeding.  This way, I can feed the grandchildren.   I love our society today.  We just never seem to know when enough is…enough.

Carolyn

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Size IS Everything

ImageWhen it comes to body image, boys are from Mars and…well, so are girls.  Or maybe they’re both from Venus, I don’t know.   

 When my daughter was five, she refused to wear her puffy red coat, because another five-year-old said it made her look fat.  Miss E was a far cry from “fat.”  At almost nine, she still weighs in at only 55 pounds, and that’s solid muscle.  If I had her booty, I’d be so proud I’d wear a thong to the supermarket. 

But I digress (and have probably caused you to regurgitate a little.)  My point is:  How did “fat” get to be a bad word in kindergarten?

 It starts young, this body image business. Even with boys, although they apparently have a different concern about size.

 This week, a friend of mine watched her four-year-old son get bumped—hard–in the family jewels.  She ran over to give him a hug.

 “Honey, are you okay?”  Buried against the comfort of his mother’s bosom, he shook his head.  “Awww,” she crooned, rocking him.  “Did you hurt your little penis?”

 The crying ceased. 

He reared his head back and stared at her, outrage shining from wide liquid eyes.  “It’s not little.” 

 Mom wisely interpreted this as one of those seminal moments when she would either hit on the right response or have to switch the 529 to a therapy fund. 

  “Oh no. Right,” she said.  “No.  I mean… It’s exactly the right size for you.”  She looked up at her friends, who all began nodding. 

 “Absolutely.”

 “You bet.”

 “A-plus, buddy.”

 Who knew you had to start reassuring them that early?

 Dontcha know some woman is going to have to go through that all over again when he’s fifty?

 –Wendy

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How to embarrass your teen

During a recent trip to the dentist, my daughter asked, “Mom, are they gonna give me a shot today?” (She is terrified of needles).
I guess I need to take a twelfth step style inventory of my compulsive sarcasm, because I simply can’t seem to resist.
“For a teeth cleaning? They’ll probably put you under.”
“No. Really. Will it hurt?”
“Not really. Unless you object to being stripped naked, told to start running and then being shot at. With a Novocain cannon.”
“Mom. Seriously. Stop.”
“Okay. It won’t be quite that bad.”
“I hate getting my teeth cleaned. I just know this is going to be awful.”
“Now, now. It’s not the teeth cleaning that’s bad. It’s when they try to pick your nose that it gets a little strange.”
“Mom! People can hear you!”
“I’m just sayin’.”
Ah. Nothing like a good trip to the dentist to get me laughing.
Carolyn

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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

The Dance Recital

I admit it: When it comes to dance recitals, I am Scrooge. My daughter recently participated in her fourth recital, which left me wondering, once again, why do we need dance recitals?

Perhaps for the photo ops? I grant you, the four-year-olds in sixty-five dollar tutus are darling, especially when they are balancing on one pink-slippered foot, wobbling and staring at the audience like drugged flamingos. And, I admire like heck the blond cherub who discovered that she could multi-task by picking her nose at the same time.

I’ve got a sense of humor. Until it’s about my kid.

This fall, I took Mommy ‘N Me Tap with my eight-year-old. There were four of us until the word “recital” was uttered, whereupon our ranks dwindled to two. Since this was to be a kids-only recital (the instructor being wise enough not to even broach the idea of mothers squeezing into sequined leotards), my daughter was faced with the option of performing a solo or forgoing the performance altogether and simply dancing in class for the love of it. She chose to perform.

“Really?!” exclaimed the thrilled dance teacher. “Great! You’ll be the only solo.”

“Really?” worried I, the disbelieving mother who remembered that one year ago my daughter was so shy she could barely walk into this dance studio. “A solo. Honey, are you sure? You don’t have to. You know, this semester you could dance just for the love of it.”

My child looked at me as if I were reading aloud from The Iliad. “Huh?”

In one year, she had been fully indoctrinated in the recital culture. If you dance, you perform. You, the child, spend weeks on one routine while the parents spend more on your costume, tights, shoes, hair ornaments, flowers, group photo and DVD than they will spend on holiday presents for the entire family. Bah humbug.

Okay, she wanted to do it ,so we did it. I checked in with her a few times during rehearsals:

“Are you sure? A solo. I know it’ll be fun, but it’s also okay to dance just for the joy—“

“Mom, stop. I want to do the recital.”

Despite our rotten finances, I shelled out the costume money. And, I must admit that as we drew closer and closer to D-day I began to marvel that my once excruciatingly shy daughter had blossomed so beautifully. And then, three days before the big day, she asked this innocent question:

“Mom, what’s a solo?”

Oh, crimeny. Continue reading

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Too Hot Mamas. M.I.A.

Where’s Waldo? 

The answer to that is no doubt simpler than the explanation of where Carolyn and Wendy have been in the past month.  You know that schedule we made?  Meno-Mom Mondays, Tuesdays at Carolyn’s Cafe, Winning Wednesdays where we promise you gift cards for winning contests we never actually run… ?

Yeah, good times.  But, life changes and we must change with it.  So, even though Carolyn is, at this moment, sitting beside me, Wendy, screaming, “We need a new schedule!” I’m not going to type her directives.  I’m simply tired of lying to y’all. 

We’re NEVER going to get our act together.  That’s part of our charm.  You want work ethics?  Let’s have a shout-out for Pioneer Woman, who keeps it together, because, hey, she still has the hormones to do it. 

In fact, Pioneer Woman–we’re talking to you now, Ree–we’re going to start referencing you in all our tags in the hope of purloining a few of your loyal fans.  We see it this way:  You’ve got a successful blog, a handsome husband, a book deal, all them cows.  We know you’ll remember to blog.  In fact, we’ve stopped reading our blog, because you’re always there, and you’re good.  Frankly we’re unreliable. We hope you won’t mind sharing.  ‘Tis the season to gift us with a few of your readers. 

 Now, as to why Caroline and I have been M.I.A.:  We’ve been in labor.  Both of us.

As I said, Carolyn is seated beside me right now, and I can tell you she looks exhausted.  Dragged through the mill.  Half dead already.  Who can blame her for not blogging?  For the past few months, she has been hard at work on a new novel with a deadline as tight as my old Levis.  80K words in three months, which as it turns out is appx 20K words more than she needed to write,but she’s always been an overachiever.  Also, she’s menopausal and forgot how many words the contract stated.  She’s produced a masterful novel about a woman–and a town’s–resurrection following a devastating tornado.

I, on the other hand, have been creating tornadoes.  My family and I have spent the past two months visiting on and off with a young woman in foster care.  Recently she spent a week with us.  What a fabulous, life-altering, terrific experience for us all.  Although we are not going to adopt this young lady, we are certain that we will pursue adoption of an “older” child from U.S. Foster care.

So.  Too Hot Mamas are back.  Better, stronger, faster…

Okay, let’s just leave it at we’re back.

 

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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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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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BRISKET TIME WITH CAROLYN

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

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

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

BRISKET TIME WITH CAROLYN

2 1/2 lbs brisket

2 small-medium onions, chopped.

2 large parsnips, sliced.

4 large carrots, sliced.

4 garlic cloves (more if you love it)

salt to taste (1-2 tsp)

2 bay leaves

3/4  C ketchup

2 T Worcestershire sauce

1/2 C beer

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

Preheat oven to 375

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

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

Wendy

 

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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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Carolyn, the Queen of Everything

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wendy

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Kids say the darndest things…

Today is Kids say the Darndest Things Day here at Toohotmamas, and my kids are always saying some darned thing.

I’ll be darned if I can ever remember…

Carolyn

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FUN WITH FOOD

Well, it’s Friday, and we’re supposed to be having fun with food.  Carolyn is probably off making a TUNA SANDWICH or FISH AND CHIPS and having a picnic by her koi pond.  (See her callous response to yesterday’s post in the comments section.  She tried to reply anonymously by signing ‘c’ and eliminating our avatar.  Whom does the woman think she’s kidding??)

In honor of the still-rallying Bluestar …whom I just realized I forgot to feed!  Dang it!  Hang on…

All right, I’m back.  In honor of Bluestar, whose appetite is excellent this afternoon, I am posting a recipe for MOCK Tuna salad.  For those of you who are not presently vegan and never intend to be, tempeh will sound weird, look weird, smell weird, but, really, it’s quite tasty and very nutritious.  Look for it in the refrigerator section of your local health food store.  I also buy it at Trader Joe’s and Fred Meyer here in the Pacific Northwest.  And now…

The Bluestar Special

1 80z package tempeh–Trader Joe’s is pre-cooked, which will save you a step.

1 T Soy sauce or tamari–or more, to taste

1 T lemon juice

1/3 C mayo–vegan, homemade or regular, you choose

1/4 C diced red onion or scallions

1/3 C diced cucumber–because my mommy used cucumber; you can substitute celery if you want

1/4 tsp. curry powder, optional

black or lemon pepper to taste

Whole-grain bread, cheese slices or vegan “cheesy” sauce, avocado, tomato, whatever else you want

Steam or boil the cake of tempeh for twenty minutes if it is not pre-cooked.  Grate or crumble it into a bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and adjust the seasonings.  Refrigerate awhile to let the flavors blend then assemble a “Tuna” Melt and grill in a pan coated with olive oil or just make a yummy sandwich and enjoy. 

Wendy and Bluestar

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ONE FISH, TWO FISH, DEAD FISH, NEW FISH

Remember our Betta fish–the one we saved from the dreaded Ich?  Well, we didn’t.  Not that he’s completely dead, though he has a running start; he just never had Ich in the first place, apparently.   How do I know this?  To date,  I have logged 24 phone calls to various pet stores, 5 hours searching the Betta fish sites on the net, and  made 6 trips to pet stores near and far.

We have now spent fifty-three dollars on a four dollar fish, not including toys to cheer him up.

Carolyn, do not comment on this post.  I am well aware of your views regarding extraordinary medical efforts to save small fishies and plan to disconnect the garbage disposal should you come to visit before Bluestar dies from natural causes.

But I digress…

Bluey seemed to rally after we doused him in Ich cure, but then he got kinda raggedy looking and developed several new symptoms that, I swear, have put me off eating anything with a fin, probably forever.

Our most recent medical excursion was to a pet store about a half hour from us.  They had a very knowledgeable aquarium  expert, who sold us 13 dollars worth of anti-biotic.  It comes in only one size; there will be enough for us to keep Bettas for the rest of our lives, as long as they all develop bacterial infections, and we live to be a hundred and twenty-six.

“You’ll have to disinfect his bowl, rocks, toys and heater, of course, before you administer the first dose,” the fish guy informed us.  “Treat him for two days, then two more, changing 25% of his water on days three and four.  Take a day off, watching him carefully and then begin the process again.  Now, naturally, when you feed him, you remove every piece of food he does not eat.”

Naturally.

My husband looked at me…not happily, as he is in charge of Betta water and waste removal.

I looked at our daughter.  “Sweetie, why don’t you pick out a new collar for Autumn?” I suggested.  We watched her skip off in the direction of the dog collars and then I turned to the fish expert.  “Listen, how long do Betta’s live in general?”

“Two years.”

“Two years!” my husband exclaimed.  “He’s two years old already.  Are you telling me we’ve spent this much time tying to save an 80-year-old fish?”

Fish Expert looked a bit affronted.  “Sometimes they live to be three.”

I held out the anti-biotic.  “Where are the ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ papers?”

He didn’t smile.  “Your fish is probably only sixty.”

Well, that did it, hit us right where we live.  Tim will be fifty-two in November.  I turn five-o in October (it’s amazing how much closer that seems to sixty than 49 3/4 did.)

We bought the stuff.  We’re medicating, changing water, removing leftovers.

Why?  Because we relate.  We’re feeling our mortality, too.  Maybe hoping someone will change our water, buy us extra toys and drive all over town for the right medicine.  Although I don’t know; if I look like Bluestar someday, I think I’ll just go ahead and sign those Do Not Resuscitate forms.  And make a nice tuna sandwich.

For now, though, Bluestar is blowing bubbles (a good sign) as I type this.  And it’s almost time for another water change.  Keep your fins crossed.

Wendy

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Just Tell Me WHY…

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

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

WHY?

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

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

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

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

Sign me,

Happy Just Wonderin’

Wendy

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Meno Mom Mondays…the things we menopausal mothers say and do

 

Mom to seven-year-old:  “Go to your room right now.  I’m having a mood swing.”

Thanks to my peri-menopausal friend for making me laugh (even if her daughter didn’t :-D)

Have a lovely Menopausal Monday!

Wendy and Carolyn

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They ate WHAT in the White House??

As Friday is Fun With Food Day, I thought an interesting bit of trivia might be in order.

I’ve been cleaning out the basement and rediscovered my mom’s extensive cookbook collection.  The First Ladies Cookbook especially caught my eye.  Detailing the food preferences of the presidential families from The Washingtons to the Carters, this book gives some very interesting info on what the commander-in-chief has been eating through the decades.  And may I say, “No wonder these men all look like they have indigestion.”

The Tylers and the Fillmores had some nice recipes (they liked their sweets), but be thankful you weren’t on Andrew Jackson’s guest list.  Meat Jelly?  No thank you.  There was a lot of roasting of entire animals and fowl back in the day, which aside from making me want to run screaming to PETA, is just not pretty in the photos.  I think that’s a cherry in the pig’s eye.

Personal gross-outs aside, those southern-bred presidents knew their cornbread.  Yummy.  And I wouldn’t mind trying Bess Truman’s Ozark Pudding.   But the recipe I am going to plagiarise for you today comes from the inimitable Betty Ford’s White House kitchen.  I’m going to try it–with chicken for my carnivorous family and tempeh for me.  If you try it, too, tell us how you like it.  Enjoy!

The Fords’ Ruby-Red Grapefruit Chicken

2 Ruby-red grapefruit

1/2 C whole cranberry sauce

1 T honey

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp salt

1 fryer chicken, its little limbs ripped to pieces…kidding, the book says “disjointed”  Wendy says try a nice big package of tempeh.

3 T butter or margarine (I’m going to use grapeseed or olive oil)

Peel and section grapefruit, squeezing all juice from membranes into saucepan.  Add cranberry sauce, honey, cloves and salt, mixing well, then bring to a boil.  Stir in grapefruit sections.  Brown chicken (or tempeh) in butter in frypan, then place in shallow baking dish.  Baste with grapefruit sauce.  Bake in 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes, basting frequently.  Serve chicken (or not) with remaining grapefruit sauce.  Serves 4.

 

 

 

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Those Sexy, Sexy Graham Crackers

Sooo sexy

Menopause Symptom #7 is Loss Of Libido, and now Too Hot Mamas is going to share with you the cure!

Did you know Graham Crackers were invented by the Reverend Sylvester Graham to cure “the fever of lust”?  That’s right.  The reverend believed whole, bland foods would cure us of carnal urges.

This is a load off of Too Hot Mamas’ minds and, we bet, off of yours, too.

We are not in menopause, after all, ladies; we have simply eaten too many Golden Grahams.  Granted, the Rev. Sylvester probably wasn’t thinking about slapping a hunk of Hershey’s and a big ol’ marshmallow between his biscuits, like we do, but still graham crackers and other bland, whole or nutritious foods could be responsible for the crash of our libidos.   Also, in Sylvester’s day milk and meat were considered to be responsible for sexual appetite, so you know the top ten anti-aging foods–all those fruits and veggies and lean things you’ve been told to focus on? They don’t seem so helpful anymore, do they?

Girlfriends, we have been sold a bill of goods about our diets.  Salmon, blueberries and broccoli are supposed to kill hot flashes.  Well, they’re gonna kill your libidos, too, sisters, so tell the waiter to bring you that Mississippi mud pie, after all, one fork.

You’ve burned your bras, now open that bag of Lays and don’t you worry your pretty heads about eating just one.

Thanks for the great tips, Reverend Sylvester.  You are our new diet guru.  We’re putting a brisket in the oven, baking up a Death-By-Chocolate cake and digging the 400 thread count sheets out of the laundry, ‘cause love is in the air.  Or it will be, as soon as we’ve eaten the better part of a herd of cattle.

Happy dining!

Wendy

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Company’s Coming!

Come on, people! Let’s get crackin!

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

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

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

No-Labor Day

So, the whole point of Labor Day is to stop laboring, n’est-ce pas?  And yet, I have had three phone conversations already this morning (it’s only 10:17 a.m.) in which already exhausted mothers have told me what they cooking, what they are cleaning and what they are making their husbands do to prepare for the BBQ they are having/pot lucks they are attending later today.  Holiday?  I think not.

We mamas need to practice the art of relaxation.  In countries that honor the tradition of the siesta, they practice relaxing every day.  Then again, I’ve never been to one of those countries; maybe the women are busy fluffing pillows, preparing snacks and drinks and just generally busying themselves while the kidlets and menfolk snooze.  I mean, in England someone’s gotta make those cucumber sandwiches for high tea, right?

I don’t know the last time I relaxed, truly relaxed for an entire day and evening.  Do you?  Today, I’m going to make a chocolate zucchini bread and pasta salad for our block party, sort through my daughter’s clothes and prep our lunches for the start of school (and my school-year writing schedule) tomorrow, file the paperwork that has collected and apparently procreated in my office, clean the nasty bathroom and wash the dog.  My husband is at Home Depot right now, picking up lumber to finish the kitchen remodel we started a year and a half ago.

Labor Day.

Maybe it should be called No-Labor Day, thus avoiding a mixed message and allowing us all to r-e-l-a-x.  What are you not doing today?

Too Hot Mamas wishes you a Labor Day filled with friends, family, laughter and a whole not of nuthin’ else!

Wendy

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Sexy Older Women Have Fun With Food

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trust Me, I’m Lying

One thing you gotta love about Too Hot Mamas:  When we say we’re lying, we mean it.

See the nifty section to the right that claims “Our Blog Schedule”?  Carolyn and I decided to impose some actual order onto this blog when we realized we were getting more readers and also because we’ve been asked to turn our blog into a book proposal.  So, hey, we ought to actually be blogging on a regular basis, right?  It took us five weeks to decide on the schedule you see and two weeks to completely ignore it.

I mean, “Winning Wednesday: Enter our bi-weekly sweepstakes!”??   Come on.  My husband is still waiting for his Christmas and anniversary gifts since 1998.  (And now that I think of it, honey, so am I.  What’s up with that?)

Let’s be honest here:  Sam, you won the very first drawing.  Have you received your free book yet? I thought not.

Rhonda, you scored a giftcard to Starbuck’s.  Check’s in the mail, babe.

We mean well.  Honest.  But we are menopausal and can’t remember crap, and I think that is way more valid than the Twinkie Defense, I don’t care what anyone says.

I am suggesting that you stop wasting your time here and head on over to The Pioneer Woman blog.  That Ree Drummond is amazing.  Four kids, the blog, a TV show, she Tweets, and I’m guessing that whoever won the Le Creuset pot she  gave away in her contest last week has actually received it.   The woman not only cooks, she finds the time to photograph her dinner.  With four kids!  I have a husband and one child (and usually one or more of her ravenous friends) and if I paused to get my camera out, the dinner would look like road kill before I snapped the first shot.

Ree Drummond is a role model.  But not for us Too Hot Mamas.  No, not for us.  If  Pioneer Women is in peri-menopause (never mind the full meal deal) I’ll eat my red hat.   She’s far too together and organized.  She remembers what she was about to say.  Her mood seems stable.  She has great hair.  Now that I think of it, after you visit her awesome, entertaining and cozy website, pop back here for a dose of reality.  We’ll make you feel so much better about yourself.  No, you may never receive anything you win, but at least then you’ll have a reason for those pesky mood swings.  And, really, don’t you enjoy having a place where you can let your hair down…even if it is chin hair?

I thought so.  We’ll see you here tomorrow then, for Food Friday, when we will discuss the removal of pet hair from furniture.

Wendy

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You idiot.

Where's the idiot?

     Do you ever fantasize about what a good time you are going to have on a road trip? I do.

     Oooo! It is going to be SO FUN to cram 9 people into an 8 passenger van and drive for HOURS!  We’ll play the license plate game!  We’ll sing camp songs and make s’mores!  We’ll take pictures!  The kids and the hubby!  And, if that’s not enough, let’s throw grandpa and grandma into the mix! Yep, yep, yep… Big fun.

I should have suspected that we were in trouble when I politely cautioned my husband to remember that my mother (tortoise) does not drive as fast as he does (roadrunner) and to keep her in his rearview because she does not know exactly where we are going.

“Oh.  Like I’m going to go speeding off and leave my mother-in-law in the dust,” he jeers.

You know, like I’m the idiot.  Funny, he didn’t seem as jazzed about this trip as I was.

And so, after five delightful hours in the mini-van, we make it to the magnificent Painted Hills.  It’s a bazillion degrees in the shade, but we gamely get out of the van and hike UP the mountain to the view-point.  I flirted with heat-stroke, but then I love living on the edge.

We took the required pics.  We admired the splendor.  We praised God because we are pious, godly people with thankful hearts.  We headed back to the van.  It was decided that this would be a good time to have Daughter # ONE drive, as she is accruing her 100 hours of permit driving before she gets her license.

She leaps behind the wheel of the van.  Hubby calls shotgun.  The kids all pile in behind her, with the exception of Daughter #2, poor kid.  She and I end up with grandma and grandpa in their car.  The car that has no map.  Because, hey, why should we need a map when we are following the husband who would not leave us?  Forsake us?  Without cell reception.

While they are all buckling up, I open the back of the van to get some water.  Did I mention we were in hell?  While I’m quenching my thirst, Daughter # ONE, in her teenage zeal, doesn’t know (or care) that the hatch is open as she starts the engine and stands on the gas.

I run after them as she tears out of the parking lot.  “THE HATCH IS OPEN!  THE HATCH IS OPEN!”  I’m waving my arms and jumping up
and down.  Several visiting families to the Painted Hills are amused at my antics (but, I must add sourly, don’t help).  Grandma leans on her horn.  Daughter jams on the breaks.  Hubby leaps out, slams the hatch and Daughter # ONE achieves warp speed before I can climb in with Grandma.

“Follow that car!” I shout.  Have I mentioned  Grandma (tortoise) is a cautious driver?  It is not until we arrive at the intersection that I realize the hubby and daughter are gone.  And, THEY.  HAVE. THE.  MAP. AND.  THE. WATER.

What ensues in our car was not pretty.  “Idiot!  Big, fat idiot!  How could I have married such an….idiot!?”  To my way of thinking, my husband—who, if you will remember, I did warn not to abandon Grandma—should be telling the kid to slow down and wait for us.  Grandma nobly reminded me that nobody is perfect and that we all make mistakes and that I should not be so hard on my husband.  I found this exceedingly annoying.

While we deliberate the route, Daughter # TWO tells us she has to go potty.   Grandma pulls over, lets us out at a rest area near the intersection.  She then speeds off to explore where Daughter # ONE and the IDIOT might have gone.

By the time Daughter # TWO and I are out of the bathroom, Grandma roars up in her car and is on the verge of divorce with Grandpa who is now—brace yourselves—an IDIOT!

Much arguing ensues.  MUCH.  ARGUING.  There were tears.  Recriminations.  Accusations. You’re an idiot!  No! YOU are the idiot!

And still, no Daughter # ONE or hubby.  Tempers continue to soar with the mercury.  There is no sign of the van.  We locate a tree and park under its shade and out of boredom, turn on each other.  Daughter # TWO is looking rather traumatized.  And I think, Wow, this is so freaking MUCH FUN!

And then, I start to laugh.  Super hard, convulsive laughter.  Painful, loud, tears-down-the-face-laughing. Must have been contagious
as everyone else joins in.  My father turns around and says to Daughter # TWO, “Honey, never get married.”

I wipe my eyes and tell her, “Nah, get married.  Just remember.  You’re an idiot.”

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Anxiety, Cooking, Cussing, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Travel, Writing

Wise quotes

We love wise quotes.  Happy quotes.  Funny quotes.  One of the best aspects of menopause is that we get to let go of the old– old beliefs, pre-conceived ideas, limitations, etc., and rebuild our minds. Quotes are great for this.

Here’s a great quote we  heard today:

“I prefer to live the power of  ‘and,’  not the tyranny of  ‘or.'”

Love it.  Hot Mamas’ friend’s son related that one.

Use it, dear friends.  Live it.  We’re going to try to.

Too Hot Mamas

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How I (Almost) Ruined Our Summer Vacation

Do you have to-do lists for your summer vacation?  Please say you do, and if you don’t, please lie to me, because I don’t want to be the only Type A, summer-killing, Wicked Witch of the West weenie who made a list, cracked the family whip…and didn’t get a darned thing done, anyway.

What is it with me and summer?  I have a friend who takes her kids to the coolest places and does the most interesting things over the summer school break.  They camp out in tree houses, fly to other states to attend fairs, go on field trips to meet rulers of the free world.

I told my family we were going to:

1.) Sand and paint the molding throughout the house.  It really needs it.

2.) Pull down the hall wallpaper, which we started pulling down 2 years ago until I gouged the wall with the Paper Tiger, and we realized we’d have to drywall, too.  It’s time to turn that mess into a proper hallway.

3.) Work on daughter’s spelling, reading and math—just fifteen minutes a day, but we must be disciplined.

4.) Organize all desks, bookshelves and closets so our mornings can proceed in a smooth and joyous fashion.

Of course I planned to reward us for each project we completed.  A long bike ride, a sleepover for my daughter, a night out for the hubster and moi.

I was excited about summer, because I envisioned its conclusion with us toasting each other in our clean, lovely, drywalled home while our daughter rattled off a few dozen perfectly spelled, three-syllable words.

Yeah.  So here’s what happened:

Me, resplendent in my husband’s tool belt, and holding a clipboard:  “Okay, troops, here’s the list of what we’re going to accomplish today!”

Husband:  “Great, honey, but before you read that, we’re going to go on a bike ride.”

Me:  “Well, actually, I was thinking…”

Daughter:  “Yeah, Mom, and when we get back,  (insert name of friend here) is coming over, okay?  Please?  We haven’t seen each other since school and we probably won’t be in the same class next year (she used this same pitch for every friend all summer) and her parents said she could have a play date if you say it’s okay and I promise I’ll learn any words you want me to as soon as she leaves unless you say she can sleepover too can she please?” 

I look at husband, who shrugs, not that he even attempts to follow that kind of run-on pleading.

And there I am, left with the drill sergeant and the pushover debating in my head:

We have to get something done.  The house is a pit. 

 Ookay, but it is summer.

 Yeah, well the hall looks like a still photo from Nightmare on Elm Street.  I’ve seen people tremble on their way to our bathroom.  And if DD doesn’t study a little bit, her brain will turn to mush and she’ll start the school year behind all the kids who are studying over the summer, and then she’ll feel bad when the teacher gives her “baby math.” 

 I know, but it’s summer.

 No buts!  The closets—

 Maybe tomorrow.

 By this time, of course, the husband and daughter have left for their bike ride, and I have decided to do something really useful like vacuum crumbs out of the grooves in the dining table.  And, probably, this wouldn’t be a bad thing (there was roughly the equivalent of a loaf of bread in those grooves), except that the debate continues inside my head and every time I see someone to whom I’m related, I grab the clipboard and ask them to commit to a chore and a time slot.

On a couple of occasions, I got them to join me for entire days devoted to one project or another, and when I wasn’t successful, I talked about all the work we still had to do.  Doesn’t that sound fun?

And then I heard my husband and daughter talking about the fun they really were having riding their bike rides and playing Karate Kid Meets Ninja Turtle and engaging in an eight-year-old version of Name That Tune.

Up to that point, the most fun my daughter and I had was writing her spelling words on the sidewalk with 3-D chalk.  (Well, I had fun.)  So I gave up.  I put the tool belt in the garage (though I thought it made me look kinda butch in a good way), ditched the clipboard and made plans to have a Halloween party in our hallway.

Tonight Carolyn’s sons are having a sleepover at our place.  I walked the dog three miles while the boys and my daughter rode their bikes up and down hills, shrieking like…kids in summer.  We got ice cream at the local store, came home to make giant chocolate chip cookies and built our own ice cream sandwiches.  Now they’re watching Surf’s Up.

They’re giggling.  I feel wonderfully relaxed.  And it finally feels like summer.

Wendy

P.S.  Someone will need to remind me about this next year when that hallway and I are playing “Six Degrees of Separation) from Freddy Krueger.

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Filed under Anxiety, Children, Death, Dogs, Travel, Writing

You WON, You WON!!!!

The winner of our first bi-weekly drawing for a $5 Starbuck’s Gift card is…

RHONDA!!!!!!!

Congratulations.  Pretty dang exciting.  Sure, Pioneer Woman gave away a darling lime-green Le Creuset pot on her blog this week, but that pot costs as much both of Too Hot Mamas’ family automobiles put together.  As Too Hot Mamas always tell their children, “You’ll take what you get and like it.”

Rhonda, e-mail your snail-mail address to Carolyn or Wendy at one of their web sites …or, no, aren’t you related to Carolyn?  She’ll have your addy, right?

Don’t worry folks, it was a random drawing, but we knew all three people who entered.  There’s no conflict of interests on this blog; we’re inclusive and believe everyone has a right to five dollars’ worth of lattes.

Stay tuned for the next Wacky Wednesday, where we will discuss graham crackers and sex.  Oh, yes we will.

Wendy and Carolyn

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My writing partner/my husband

I've got it! How about...a lightbulb?

It is so fun to brainstorm story ideas with my husband.  Especially when he’s awake.  Took me a few years to figure out that the best time to catch him is early in the day, when he is sitting upright. Because once he’s horizontal, I can pretty much guarantee that if I’m pitching the Wizard of Oz to him, he’ll be snoring long before I get to the tornado.

The car is good.  If he’s driving, he’s upright.  Usually not snoring.

Today, we had a three-hour commute home from our place at the beach.  I needed to come up with some names for my characters and so I told him he could name some of them.  He likes to do that.  He named a character for me one time that landed an eighteen book deal.  Seriously.  So now, he fancies he’s got some kind of “knack”.

“Who am I naming?” he asks.  I can tell he’s feeling helpful.

“I’m thinking about a young guy who is a body builder/personal trainer.  Kind of arrogant.”

“Sort of a jarhead?”

“Yeah.”

He mulls.  “Got it.  Timmy…Tenderloin.”

“Timmy?  Tender…loin?  I’m not writing for the porno channel.  Do you ever want me to work again?”

He’s screaming with laughter at the windshield.

I’m beginning to worry as he is swerving.  “Forget Timmy Tenderloin.  Let’s move on.  I need a middle-aged woman.  Owns a Jamba Juice shop.  I’ve got to kill her off.”

“Nice gal?”

“Salt of the earth.”

“Got it.  I’m thinking…Mae.  Yeah.  Mae.  Born in May.  Dies in May, right?  Last name…Bury.  A little foreshadowing there, huh?”

“You want me to name the Jamba Juice lady Mayberry?”

More riotous laughter.  “Next?”

“I need a Chinese guy to run the restaurant.”

After we’d established that the Chinese dude was second generation American, the hubby has it.  “Okay.  His name is Miyagi Waxoff.  And his kids are Ashley and Tyler and…they’re ice-dancers.”

More howling.  I’m staring at him. And thinkin’ he’s lost the knack.  Then again…I might be able to do something with the ice-dancers.

Carolyn

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Middle-aged Foreplay…Sweet Nuthin’

Maybe this should be menopause symptom number 40 or something: The end of foreplay as we once knew it.

A couple of days ago, Carolyn wrote a tad (forgive me, dear friend), but she wrote a tad too realistically about romance for my taste.  And that’s fine.  She doesn’t pen romance novels for a living anymore.  I do.  So I still BELIEVE, Carolyn (and George Clooney, if you’re listening). I believe in Romance.  Please do not louse it up for me.  If Carolyn is correct, and my husband picks his nose in his truck, I do not want to know it, and I do not want to see it.  I don’t care how long two people have been married; there are things that should be picked only in private.  (The same goes for you in your Beamer, George.  Both hands on the wheel.)

And yet, Carolyn’s blog did get me thinking.  Things have changed around here; I have noticed it.  An example:

When I was forty-one, I was chatting with a group of women who mentioned—several times—how old we were all getting.  I went home and told my husband, who placed his hands, those strong and tender, big latte-toned hands with the sprinkle of caramel hair on his manly-man knuckles, on either side of my face.  He gave me the soul-mate gaze, and he said:

“Just tell them you’re my wine.”

Did he get lucky that night?  Oh my, reader, yes he did.

But that was almost nine years ago.  For eight of those years, I have been a mother and for five I have been in menopause.  Probably so has he.

Skip ahead to last week when I donned a hot pink sleeveless tee shirt to show off the upper arms I have been diligently sculpting all summer.  (It’s hard to sculpt mashed potato, but I’ve made some serious headway.)

“Hi, sweetie,” I said to my beloved, flexing and giving him a seductive wink as I pretended to reach for something on a high shelf (still the only way I can get my delts to pop, and, okay, we weren’t near a shelf, but I think I pulled it off).

He gave me a long, considering look.

Grrrrr. I love that look.  You, sir, are about to get lucky for the second time in nine years.

 “Honey,” he said in his velvet, Elvis baritone, the voice that still makes me shiver, “you could use a new bra.   I don’t think that one is doing what it’s supposed to.”

That is NOT foreplay!

Now he’s going to have to wait another nine years.

And I may need a new career.

Carolyn, you up for a trip to Victoria’s Secret?

Sign me,

Wendy– sadder and, uh, apparently lower than I used to be.

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Exercise, Geroge Clooney, Humor, manners, Marriage, Menopause, politeness, Writing

Scenes you’ll never read in a romance novel

 Call me slow, but I am only just now realizing that the romance novels I’ve read (okay, and written) aren’t exactly realistic.  I know, I can hear you gasping from here.  Why, Carolyn, whatever could you mean?  Well, I guess I mean that people claim they want a real hero, but how real is too real?  As writers, could we be doing a disservice to the reader by painting a less than accurate portrait of a real relationship?  For example, I have never seen:

Stone sat in his sports car at the corner of 12th and Main, his mind idling along with his powerful engine.  His finger was buried up to its second knuckle in his nostril as he reflected on the short skirt his secretary had worn to work that morning.  She was one hot tamale he mused, as he flicked a booger on his car mat.  Yeah, she had some serious cellulite and a muffin top, but hey, nobody was perfect…

Flooded with relief, Hunter made it to the men’s room just before the diarrhea reared its ugly head.  Oh man, I hope I don’t break the porcelain
he thought as he perched on the toilet, his trousers down around his ankles.  Hopefully, being that this was their first date and all, Lucy wouldn’t leave before the cramps did…

Stag ambled to his motorcycle and straddled the seat.  It was a great day for a ride in the country.  There was nothing like the thunder that roared from between his legs as he fastened his helmet.  Then, he kick-started his bike and revved the engine.  Man, he loved eating at Taco Bell, but he was going to have to ride like the wind to get away from that smell…

As Suzy lay basking in the afterglow of their lovemaking, Rafe’s horrendous morning breath assailed her nostrils.  She smiled down at him.  He really needed a shave.  And about a gallon of mouthwash.  And then, there was the matter of that nasty gunk in the corners of his eyes…

Ah well.  Maybe I’m just ahead of my time.

Carolyn

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Moms Say The Darnedest Things

Heard this week from my mom friends:

“If I see you trying to drown your brother one more time…”

“Don’t hit your sister with that lizard.  That is not nice.  That poor lizard.”

“Well, how did you get bird poop in your cereal?  You’ve been inside all morning.”

“Buddy, please don’t rinse your mouth again with that water.  That’s where the geese go poo.”

Your turn!  Share some crazy mom talk!

Wendy

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Kids and Pets

I love animals, always have.  My parents said I began petitioning for a pet dog shortly after exiting the womb.  So when my daughter asked for fish for her seventh birthday, it seemed like a no-brainer.  We got gold fish.  Note to future gold-fish owners:  They don’t do well in bowls.  Two days after her birthday, with the three fish painstakingly named and characteristics assigned (Natalie was the shy one; Lolla, the inquisitive one; and Dorie, the happy one), we settled in to watch them frolic amidst the plastic greenery.  Natalie took ill first, followed swiftly by Lolla.  After several frantic calls to the pet store, we determined that a bowl was the wrong environment, that we had purchased the fish from a less-than-adequate supplier and that Dorie, the happy one, was soon going to be Dorie the tragic.

“I suggest a pond for your goldfish,” said the young ichthyologist at the pet shop specializing in fishies.

“We’ve got to get Dorie to a pond stat!” I called to my husband over my daughter’s tears.

Off we went with Dorie in a sterilized peanut butter jar (Natalie and Lolla having been respectfully buried by this point) to the nearest pond.  With all the joy and anticipation of the Adamsons releasing Elsa the Lion back into the wild (“She was born free, and she’s got to live free!”), we sent Dorie off to stretch her fins in Mother Nature’s bounty.  After some reminiscing about all the good times we’d had during our 48 hours together, we walked away, hand in hand, to let Dorie get acclimated on her own.

Suddenly I felt a tug.  “Look, Mom, look!  Dorie’s got friends!!!”

I turned and sure enough there were two ducks zooming toward Dorie.  With friends like those….

We tried a Betta next.  So easy, the pet store assured us.  Well, Bluestar has been with us fifteen months now, it’s true, but easy?  I don’t know.  We’ve spent waayyy more on accessories for Bluestar’s comfort than we’ve spent on our own home this past year, we’ve dropped him twice during heart-stopping (for us) water changes, and now he is ill with ich and clamp.  We’re medicating him appropriately, but it doesn’t look good.  And my daughter, who can no longer hear the words “tuna sandwich” without dissolving into tears because someone, somewhere is eating a fish, may be about to bid farewell once more to a finned friend.

It’s aging me, and we all know by now how I feel about that.

Well, I’ve got to return to the fish watch now.  We’re attending him pretty much around the clock.

What was your favorite pet as a kid?

Wendy

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Carrot Cake Oatmeal Recipe

I promised you this recipe many a blog ago.  Here it is, better late than never…which is pretty much how meals arrive at our dining table.

I made this in an effort to get my daughter to school with something resembling a whole food in her tiny belly.  She loves this breakfast; she loves anything that sounds like dessert at 7 a.m.  I know it’s summer now and cold breakfasts taste better than warm, hearty oatmeal, but we’re in the Pacific Northwest; we can eat this stuff ten months out of the year.

Like Edith Piaf, Je ne measure rien.  (I’m sure that’s what Edith meant. ) Just put in as much as you want of the following.

Oh–one more thing;  If I were Carolyn or anyone remotely able to post a photo, I would.  But I’m not, so you’ll just have to trust me.

Libbi’s Carrot Cake Oatmeal

Steel cut oats–organic.  One quarter cup dry measure equals one serving.  You’ll need four times the amount of liquid.

vanilla rice milk (You can use all rice milk –or soy or almond or coconut or whatever–or part milk and part water.  Or try orange juice and water.  Or all water,  But that’s kind of boring, and you’re not boring, are you?)  Remember; 4 parts liquid to 1 part steel-cut oats.

organic raisins (Pay extra; imported grapes are on the list of most toxic fruits.  CostCo usually has a good deal on organic raisins.)

grated carrots–yeah, organic

honey or agave and/or mashed banana for sweetness

shredded coconut (optional)

chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

pinch of sea salt

Toppings:  Many options.  See below.

METHOD…and we do have one…

Before you go to bed one night, measure out your oats and the liquid you’re using for the number of servings desired.  I combine these in a PYREX glass bowl.  Add some raisins (the golden kind are super in this), cover and stick in the fridge.  The raisins will plump deliciously and sweeten the cooking liquid.

When you get up the next morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Add grated carrots and sweetener to your oatmeal.  Libbi likes a lot of each.  Add your pinch of sea salt  plus coconut and nuts as desired.  Slide this in the oven uncovered and go about your business for 35-45 minutes.   When both it and you are ready, serve the oatmeal as is or with a little more milk, maybe stir in a little nut butter for protein if you want, some maple syrup or sprinkle with chocolate chips and top with a little whipped cream. We’ve tried all that so far and it’s all yummy.

Try it and tell Too Hot Mamas what you think.  Bon Apetit! L’Chaim!

Wendy

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Sliding Doors

Steady...steady now...

On the 4th of July, we had the kind of company you want to impress.  (My agent and her family).  Yet, my hard-working hubby saw the day off as an opportunity to strip the house of every interior door to patch, prime and paint.  I’m sure the bizarre impact of no bathroom or closet doors  didn’t occur to him when he hatched this amazing scheme.  Isn’t the closet where you cram everything when company comes?  The bathroom problem is self-evident.  Anyway, as you can imagine, what with 7 people and 3 dogs at our house, our doors can get pretty shabby looking.

He has a clever way of spreading a giant tarp over the driveway and arranging the doors (think dominos) vertically with supports holding them at the top.  In the past, on a windless day, this has worked beautifully.

Because of the barbecue, he only had enough time to get the doors in domino stance, then he had to go to work for me.  (I love this man).  After the fireworks, we all had a great night’s sleep, but woke to find that the doors had toppled.  Some broken.

Yet, my intrepid hubby (after some pithy verbiage and a moment to sulk in my arms) strode back outside to face the door dragon.  Thankfully, only 2 of the doors were damaged.  He spent the day patching them and putting them back up with reinforcements. Then, off to work to make a living the next day.

While the kids were splashing in the pool, the first row crashed.  The kids started screaming.  “Mom!  THE DOORS!”  They thrashed out of the pool and raced to the driveway only to arrive in time to watch the second row fall.  My thirteen-year-old daughter burst into tears.  “Poor, Dad!”  The boys, (including one of their classmates) all looked on morosely.  “Man, that bites!”  The older girls were mad and verbal.

“Come on, you guys!  Grab a door, let’s get this cleaned up before Dad gets home.”

In no time, the doors were stacked and sorted (only 2 more broken this time) and it was up to me to make the scary phone call.

Stony silence followed by expletives deleted.  Yet, he came home, figured out a new way to arrange the doors (like tables with short legs) sprayed them, flipped them, sprayed them again and now…taaaa…daa…I have beautiful, shiny, amazing doors in my house.

Thank you, sweetheart.  You are awesome.

Carolyn

PS:  If you haven’t seen Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow, it’s fascinating.

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We’re Plucking As Fast As We Can

Too Hot Mamas are traveling again, and as we prepare to visit friends and relatives, we must ask this question:

Why is it that we can shave our legs today and not have to do it again until summer 2012, but if we pluck our chins at 8 a.m. we’ll have stubble before we see the bottoms of our coffee cups?

Have you noticed any startling body phenomena lately?

Too Hot Hairy Mamas

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, aging, Humor, Menopause, Writing