Stayin’ Alive, part III of Krav Maga

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

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

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

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

“We hit past each other,” she admonished.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Nothing doing, Lucy!”

–Wendy 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DON’T MESS WITH MAMA

We warned ya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, Lady.

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

I really did understand that.

I just didn’t care anymore….

 –Wendy

Part Three– “The End”– on Friday…

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

HOW KRAV MAGA IS MAKING A MAN OUT OF ME

Don’t Mess With Bubbie

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

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

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

“But Ethel—“

“Nothing doing!”

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

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

“No.  What is it?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“OW!  Sonova–  Hey, lady!”

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

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

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

“Stop asking me that.”

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

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

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

Part Two on Wednesday.

 –Wendy

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We want a Black Belt.

And this was only our first lesson!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

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

EQUAL TIME FOR KITTIES

How Dumpster Kitty Helped Me Fall In Love (Again)

Once a Dumpster Kitty, now a Daddy’s Girl

 

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

And then life happened.

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

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

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

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

And then came Dumpster Kitty.

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

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

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

“NO.”

I hear ya.

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

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

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

“Shh!  You’ll scare her.”

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

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

“Two hours.”

“In this downpour?”

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

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

Gotta love that guy.

Wendy

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

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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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Filed under Dogs, friendship, Humor, Writing

We’re Baaaaaack!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

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Are you married to this man?

Needs more wood, eh?

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

“Sure!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Dad, my marshmallow just disintegrated!”

“Get a new one.”

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

“Well, move back a little bit.”

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

“He’s just resting.”

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

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

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

Carolyn

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Filed under Anxiety, Cooking, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

What do

 BILLY THE KID

SADDAM HUSSEIN

SIRHAN SIRHAN

ADOLPH HITLER

ROBERT GRAYSMITH (ZODIAC SERIAL KILLER)

MARC LEPINE(MASS MURDERER OF 14)

JACK THE RIPPER

LEE HARVEY OSWALD

JOHN WILKES BOOTH

JEFFREY DAHMER

CHARLES MANSON (CULT LEADER)

“MONSTER” CODY (L.A. CRIPS GANGLORD)

HAVE IN COMMON?

They did not have a father!  Here, at TooHotMamas, we salute:

OUR FATHERS (for keeping us out of prison)

OUR HUSBANDS (for keeping our kids out of prison)

And every involved father, grandfather, mentor, big brother, uncle who is making a difference in the life of a child.  Because, without your time, energy and love, this is what we are seeing:

Sad Statistics

63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)
90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (Source: Center for Disease Control)
80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes (Source: Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26, 1978.)
71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (Source: National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.)
75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes (Source: Rainbows for all God`s Children.)
70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988)
85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home (Source: Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections 1992)

Here’s to you, Dad!  Thank you and we love you,

Toohotmamas


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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Adoption, Dads, Fathers

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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EeeeeeK!!!

The Savage Field Mouse

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

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

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

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

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

“Yeah,” they shouted as they lapped me.

“Forget it.”

I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong.

Carolyn

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

MAYDAY! MAYDAY!

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

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

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

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

My bad.

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

Hunh.  I thought I did.

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

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

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

The Nancy Drew Turder Mysteries


Nancy Drew Super POOch

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

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

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

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

Famous last words.

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

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

Famous last words.

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

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

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

The Hunger Games make me hungry

Why do I suddenly want lemon bars?

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

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

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

I get that.

Carolyn.

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

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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When it rains

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

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

“Have you taken any Airborne?”

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

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

The Naked and the Dead

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

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

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

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

Have we met?

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

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

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

Mom getting bombed

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

I’m so proud.

Carolyn

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

Texting for the menopausal

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

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

BYOT:  Bring your own teeth

DWI:  Driving While Incontinent

FYI:  Found Your Insulin

LMDO:  Laughing My Dentures Out

LOL: Living On Lipitor

OMG:  Oh My!  Gas.

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

TTYL:  Talk To You Louder

 

Carolyn

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

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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The Face(s) of Sixty

Multiple Choice

Pop Quiz:  What does 60 look like?

Still thinking?  Of course you are; it’s a trick question.  Nobody knows, because so few people have the chutzpah to age these days.  So who looks better–Cher, Diane Keaton or Joan Van Ark?

My husband was torn between Cher and Diane Keaton.  Not I.  For me, it’s Diane by a mile.  I look at her face and see a woman who has spent more time parenting her kids, taking photos, pondering the world and her place in it and making thoughtful movies than running to a plastic surgeon.  I see a woman with the guts to be fully herself and to challenge Hollywood to respect a woman over fifty.  Better yet, to simply acknowledge that there are women over fifty.

No wonder poor George Clooney is so confused about who his peer group is.

Thank you, Diane.  And a big shout out to Annette Bening and Jacqueline Bisset, too.

Wendy

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Filed under aging, Geroge Clooney, Golden Girls

Fun with Photos!

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

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

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

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

Before his Cheerios:

 

 

 

 

 

 
Annnnnd, after:

Amazing, that airbrush, huh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now, there is me…  Before my coffee:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Carolyn

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Filed under Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, wrinkle erasers

HOW TO PICK YOUR HUSBAND

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, duh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wendy

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Doody Heads

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

HOW SICK IS THAT?

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

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

Carolyn

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

Ben & Jerry Drop The (Schweddy) Ball

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wendy

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DUDE, THAT’S RUDE!

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

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

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

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

Apparently not.

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

“Of course not!  We just started eating.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Your lap,” I reiterated.

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

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

Flatulence and cackles followed.

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

Wendy

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

Ghost Child

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

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

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

Carolyn

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A Fish Tale. The End.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She made the sound of a toilet flushing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes, sweetie.”

“Do we have to get rid of his body?”

“Yes.”

“Is it gonna stink?”

“Not if we do it soon.”

“Can we have a funeral?”

“Absolutely.”

“And then get pizza?”

“You bet.”

“Goody!”

 

R.I.P. Bluestar

 

 

–Wendy

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Boys are from Mars

Where is my nose?

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

Unfortunately, we have no polish remover.

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

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

I’m just so proud.

Carolyn

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

Teen Slanguage

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

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

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

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

1.  Annie Slike and 2.  iMall Ike.

Translated:

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

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

Used in conversation:

iMall Ike “Where?”

Annie Slike  “There?”

iMall Ike “Okay.”

Annie Slike  “See ya.”

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

Carolyn

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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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We’re Driving Now!

Is this a One Way Trail?

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

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

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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Pregnant with number 20

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

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

BIG, BAD DOG. The End.

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

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

Well.

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

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

Oh, holy God in heaven.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“All done.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I agreed, hugging my new bff.

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

Husbands, wives and pets…gotta love us.

Wendy

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

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BIG BAD DOG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued…on Monday.  Honest.

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PREGNANT AT FIFTY

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

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

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

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

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

Wendy

From Summer 2011 Adoptalk

by Steven K. Walker

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

“He’ll never amount to anything.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Adoption, Children, Motherhood, parenthood

Just Write It

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

“Mom!”

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

“Honey, where are my car keys?”

“I…uh…huh?  What are sharkies?”

“What’s for dinner, mom?”

“I don’t know.  What did you make?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

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

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

This is my favorite swimsuit ever!

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

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

Oops.

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

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

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

Aloha,

Carolyn

 

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

Wendy’s big date with… George Clooney!

Dough boy, George?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

 

 

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

Wendy says good-bye to her 40’s…

Wish you were here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aloha

Carolyn

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

BRISKET TIME WITH CAROLYN

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

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

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

BRISKET TIME WITH CAROLYN

2 1/2 lbs brisket

2 small-medium onions, chopped.

2 large parsnips, sliced.

4 large carrots, sliced.

4 garlic cloves (more if you love it)

salt to taste (1-2 tsp)

2 bay leaves

3/4  C ketchup

2 T Worcestershire sauce

1/2 C beer

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

Preheat oven to 375

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

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

Wendy

 

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Bad Dog!

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

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

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

I introduced my husband to Rusty.

“What is that?” he asked.

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

“Where is he injured?”

“His left front leg.”

“He’s not limping.”

“I know.  He masks his pain.”

My husband invoked the name of the Lord several times.

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

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

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

“He doesn’t look injured.”

“That’s because he—“

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But the other dogs intimidate him.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued…

Wendy

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Filed under Dogs, Humor, Marriage

A Marathon Runner Delivers a Baby

I’m jogging in place!

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

Wrong.

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

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

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

Heart failure?  Shake it off.

Stroke?  Just do it.

Amputation.  No pain, no gain.

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

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

The Food Network at Home

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

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

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

“What do you mean?”

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

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

“What’s in the chili?”

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

“What else?”

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

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

I bowed.

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

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

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

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

“Thank you, Chef.”

“Thank you, Judge.”

Thank you, Food Network.

Wendy

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Filed under Children, Cooking, Humor, Motherhood

Husbands, Wives And The Pets They Divorce Over

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Their stipulations were as follows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Dunno,” they said.

Good enough.

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

Part Two Next Thursday.

Wendy

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Filed under Dogs, friendship, Humor, Marriage

The Pros and Cons of Being Queen.

Strange hats? I can do that!

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

There have been kidnapping threats.

Etiquette lessons.

Demands to give Wills a baby.

Extreme weight loss.

Now, lets examine the cons…

That does it.  I’m in.

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

Yeah.

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

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

Carolyn

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

Royal Qualifications

I would strive for good shoes.

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

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

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

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

4.  Mockable body parts!

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

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

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

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

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

10. Three daughters for more televised wedding fun!

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

I welcome all thoughts,

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hose, not tights.”

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

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

“Yes, that would be awesome.”

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

Sign me,

The Broad With The Cat In The Hat Tights

Wendy

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

Most Powerful Women?

Wait a minute! That’s not us!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It???

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

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

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