Tag Archives: Children

Middle School and Menopause

Whaddya get for Valentine’s Day?  I got a Renuzit Air Freshener, lavender-vanilla scent, from my 12-year-old.

According to Renuzit, “Lavender & Vanilla is the perfect scent to fill your bedroom, or any room in your home that is your tranquil haven.”

Awesome.  Just one problem: There no longer is a room in our house that is a tranquil haven, BECAUSE I HAVE A TWELVE-YEAR-OLD.  The child I have loved, liked, adored beyond all reason is now a middle schooler with this super power:  At one hundred paces, she can make her dad’s and my heads explode with the force of an M67 grenade.  Just by glaring at us.  This child who mere weeks ago prompted me to describe her as a big squishy heart with arms and legs, could now more accurately be likened to Rambo–with permanent PMS.

Yeah, you don’t want to cross her.  If you’re her parent, that is.  Her teachers continue to describe her as “darling…so sweet…what a dolly….”  And her new friends tell me, “We love her.  We LOVE her.  She’s so funny and SWEET.”

‘Kay.

This is what comes of waiting to become a mother:  Instead of the 30-year-old who would be calling right now to see if I’d like to sip a latte while we watch my grand kids make kissy faces at the warty pigs in the zoo, I am living in a zoo.  I can’t tell if I’m having hot flashes or my blood pressure has risen to a stroke-producing high.   Probably both.

I wish I could call my mother and apologize, but she passed away before Karma began to have its way with me.

Ah well, at least daughter No 2 is only six.  By the time she’s going through pre-adolescent psychosis, my husband and I will be too addled to realize it.  That’s one of the bennies of being an older parent–a total break from reality just when you need it (or, the wisdom to fake it).

Good luck to all you menopausal middle-school mamas out there.  Let us know how you’re dealing with it.

–Wendy

 

 

 

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Children

Change of Life Baby

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

How Dumpster Kitty Helped Me Fall In Love (Again)

Once a Dumpster Kitty, now a Daddy’s Girl

 

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

And then life happened.

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

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

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

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

And then came Dumpster Kitty.

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

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

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

“NO.”

I hear ya.

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

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

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

“Shh!  You’ll scare her.”

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

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

“Two hours.”

“In this downpour?”

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

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

Gotta love that guy.

Wendy

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Identical Cousins…And Sisters Of The Heart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And thank you, God, for them all.

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

Wendy

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Filed under friendship, Writing

I Can’t Find Carolyn

Carolyn has been gone over a week, and despite the laundry list of possibilities that could befall a post-menopausal woman in Uganda without a Starbucks, she seems to be doing fine. 

Better than fine.  I’ve received several e-mailed updates, and, in fact, there are baristas in Uganda, and they make outstanding lattes.  More importantly, Carolyn says that her work with Kuza has been life altering.  Her descriptions of Uganda are riveting.  To learn more about what she’s doing, I decided to Google KUZA.  Here’s what I found:

Apparently, the gentleman above is a musician named Mike Kuza, and I’m pretty sure Carolyn is not with him.  I don’t think we’ll know for sure, however, until she gets home and we check her for new piercings. 

Next, I found KUZA Beauty products.  They have 100% Indian hemp oil and Apricot Body Scrub.  Sounds good, figured I’d buy some, but I still don’t feel closer to Carolyn.  So, I Googled again and found

post4

THAT’S CAROLYN IN THE BLUE SCARF ON THE FAR RIGHT!!!!  Her daughter Maddie is in front of her.

If you want to learn more about this KUZA and what Carolyn and Maddie are doing in Uganda, go here:

http://kuzaprogram.org

What a beautiful, inspiring organization.  I’m sure Carolyn will tell us all about it when she returns. 

She said she feels like a changed woman.  I wonder if she’ll still want to write books?  I wonder if she’ll still be menopausal?

In the meantime, I’m home, cleaning my house, buying school supplies and thinking about adopting from China.

What are you doing with the rest of your summer?

Wendy

 

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Change A Life–Yours

For several months, I’ve been mentoring a young boy who is in relative foster care.  More on that in a future blog, but for now, I want to say simply that working with an “older” kiddo has been one of the most profound and moving experiences of my life.  He understands exactly how precious a family and/or mentor relationship can be and his gratitude for the time we spend together is matched only by mine.

If you want to grow your heart and spirit in ways you may never have imagined, MENTOR a youth in foster care.  It may take as little as four hours a month or as much time as you and your mentee choose to spend together.  There are some wonderful organizations like Big Brothers, Big Sisters to guide you.

Here in Oregon, we have Christian Family Adoptions and A Family For Every Child–both these adoption agencies have mentor programs and are eager to hear from adults who want to learn more about mentoring.

Most of you probably already know that Carolyn and I are adoptive mothers, so I want to touch a bit on adoption today, too.  Every now again, we’re going to start featuring on the blog kids who might age out of the system with no family unless someone steps forward to make a connection.  More details and statistics, too, in a future post regarding what happens when kids age out without a stable adult in their lives (unfortunately, it won’t be funny).

For now, there is a young man in China, who is about to age out of the  system there, which allows for adoption only until the age of 14.   He is blessed with a great foster mother.  He needs a permanent one.  

“Jordan’s” video grabbed my heart.  Take a look and see if he grabs yours, too:   http://coleman-bunkbeds.blogspot.com

Do you know anyone who might want a fantastic son?  If so, share the link.

Lot of love,

–Wendy

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“I am so, too, old enough to date.”

So.  After my ten-year-old daughter announced to her friends that she was going to go on a date (“Dating in Low Heels”), she set about convincing her father and me.  We were a tougher sell.

“But every single girl my age has gone on a date already,” she argued.

“In Barbie Fairytopia, yeah.  You are not going on a ‘date.'”

“You guys are crushing my spirit.”

Woah.  First time we’d heard that one.  Had to give her props for outstanding achievement in manipulative skills.

“Define ‘date,'” I said.

“Well…we’re not going to kiss, if that’s what you mean.  I can’t even stand to watch you two do that.”  She shuddered.

After a great deal of discussion and assurance that the parents of her main squeeze were on board with a brief and thoroughly public rendezvous, we agreed that they could arrange a meeting.  The happy couple decided on the bench near the play structure at their school.  Recess, high noon.

The morning of the big day, she argued less than usual about brushing her hair.  Her socks almost matched.  And she chose a tee shirt with only one hole.

“How did it go?” I asked as soon as I picked her up from school.

“Okay.”  She shrugged.

“What did you do?”

“Sat.”

“Uh huh, and what did you talk about?”

She frowned.  “Talk?  We didn’t do that.”

“What did you do?”

“Sat.”

Time to put on the reporter’s hat, obviously.  “While you were sitting, did you hold hands?”

She wrinkled her nose.  “No.  Mom, c’mon, he’s a guy.”

“So, you think you want to date again?”

“I guess.  But this time, we want to invite more people.”

“Ah, a double date.”

“What’s that?”  I explained that she would have two more people on her date.  “Oh.  No, we want more people than that.  Like, enough for kickball.”

“Ah.  Good thinking.”

“Yeah.  So, see, Mom, I am old enough to date.”

Absolutely.  Last night, though, two months apres The Date, she told me she is through with men until she is at least fifteen.  “They’re too complicated.”

Indeed.

–Wendy

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Culture Club

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wendy

 

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Letting Go

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

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

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

I’m still agonizing.

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

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

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

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

And tonight, my darling daughter, we will dance. 

Wendy

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Sexy Beast

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

Son:  “Siri, will you marry me?”

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

Giggles.

Son:   “What are you wearing?”

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

Laughter.

Son:  “Open the pod bay doors.”

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

Hysterical laughter.

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

“You are certainly entitled to that opinion.”

Son:  “I’m drunk.”

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

Son:  “Where can I hide a body?”

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

 

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

Are you married to this man?

Needs more wood, eh?

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

“Sure!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Dad, my marshmallow just disintegrated!”

“Get a new one.”

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

“Well, move back a little bit.”

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

“He’s just resting.”

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

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

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

Carolyn

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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

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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Ben & Jerry Drop The (Schweddy) Ball

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wendy

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Filed under Bathroom Humor, Humor, manners

DUDE, THAT’S RUDE!

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

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

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

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

Apparently not.

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

“Of course not!  We just started eating.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Your lap,” I reiterated.

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

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

Flatulence and cackles followed.

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

Wendy

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

A Fish Tale. The End.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She made the sound of a toilet flushing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes, sweetie.”

“Do we have to get rid of his body?”

“Yes.”

“Is it gonna stink?”

“Not if we do it soon.”

“Can we have a funeral?”

“Absolutely.”

“And then get pizza?”

“You bet.”

“Goody!”

 

R.I.P. Bluestar

 

 

–Wendy

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Filed under Death, Humor, Pet fish

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

BIG, BAD DOG. The End.

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

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

Well.

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

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

Oh, holy God in heaven.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“All done.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I agreed, hugging my new bff.

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

Husbands, wives and pets…gotta love us.

Wendy

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

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Filed under Dogs, Humor, Marriage, Writing

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

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

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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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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Carolyn, the Queen of Everything

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wendy

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12 steps for menopausal motherhood

Wendy and I are starting a support group for menopausal mothers.  This was overheard at our first meeting:
“Hey, Wendy! How are you doing today?”

“Yes!  It is windy today!”

“No.  It’s Thursday!”

“Me, too.  When are those cheap hotmamas gonna serve the coffee?”

I think we’re making great headway.

Car0lyn

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My writing partner/my husband

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sort of a jarhead?”

“Yeah.”

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

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

He’s screaming with laughter at the windshield.

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

“Nice gal?”

“Salt of the earth.”

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

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

More riotous laughter.  “Next?”

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

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

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

Carolyn

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Moms Say The Darnedest Things

Heard this week from my mom friends:

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

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

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

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

Your turn!  Share some crazy mom talk!

Wendy

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HE LIVES! The fish, I mean.

Okay, for you, Carolyn, grinding little guppies in your Insinkerator.   But our fish, Bluestar, has been SAVED!  His pretty blue fins are unclamped, his I’d-as-soon-kill-you-as-look-at-you personality is back in full force, his appetite…

Oops.

As you all know, the family and I were prepared to go to extreme lengths to help our little Betta friend heal from the multiple fungal, bacterial and depression issues he appeared to be having.  (We change his water regularly, use water conditioner, warm his bowl to the appropriate-for-Bettas temperature, etc., I swear.)  Well, after many a run to pet stores and calls to ichthyologists, we found the right combo of treatments.  And Bluestar, bless his fishy heart, responded.  He even turned to stare at us with what we all agreed was gratitude.

Tim and I high-fived, wiped our tired brows, kissed our relieved and teary daughter, promised not make any more tuna melts lest we inadvertently ingest Bluestar’s cousin (whatever, she’s eight) and got some sleep.  And, uh, you know, forgot to feed the little guy.

For a couple of days.

Maybe that wasn’t a look of gratitude. 

We finally remembered the meal issue after he began ramming his nose into the glass.  This time he looked like he wanted to phone PETA, pronto.

Listen, Mr. Fish, I am menopausal and you are soooo lucky I was able to focus long enough to medicate you.  You are not the first family member whose dinner has been a day or two late.  Just grab a Snickers like the others and chill.

I just gave him a few Top Fin pellets and am now off to find dried worm things or some other Betta delicacy to express my apologies properly.  My husband says we’re too old for any more live things and has asked me to let everything not on two legs die out without seeking its immediate replacement.

We’ll see.  We’ll have to wait and see.

Wendy

 

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Filed under Children, Death, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Pet fish

Kids and Pets, part 2…till death us do part…

I have this thing about death:  I like to avoid it.  In people, in pets, in the tiny ants my husband tries to send to the great ant farm in the sky while I race around, scooping them up (I have a method) and removing them to the outdoors before he can commit mass ant murder.

If you’re ever ill, call me; I will be right over with an arsenal of home cures.

When my 16-year-old poodle was dying, I begged the vet to do his best to help my puppy.  “His best years are ahead of him.”   As my father’s 23-year-old cat lay gasping, his breaths numbered, I held him on my chest and implored the frail guy to rally.  “We can play with your mousie.  I’ll make fried chicken (his favorite).”

Yeah, I need therapy.

In the meantime, we are still working hard in my house to keep the Betta fish, Bluestar, from turning into Mr. Limpet.

My blog mate is, as many of you undoubtedly know, far more practical than I.  She has  suggested that when the life of a finned pet is hanging in the balance, the parents should make an emergency “vet” visit…to Wal-Mart.

“Wal-Mart doesn’t have vets,” I thought…ohhhhh.

Carolyn (I hope her kids aren’t reading this) has apparently taken many a sick fish to the “vet” at Wal-Mart, where they are miraculously healed and returned to their owners better (and younger) than ever.  I don’t even want to think about what happens to original.

I can’t quite give up on Bluestar yet, so we’re continuing to medicate, and I must say my daughter seems to be more accepting of any outcome.  I think that’s because her friends know best how to comfort her through times like these.

One sweet nine-year-old put her arm around my daughter’s shoulders and offered solace.   “You have to remember, he did a lot of fun things in his life.”

Someone else comforted, “We’ll never forget him,” and another looked in the fish bowl and nodded gravely.  “Yup, it’s his time.”

The best comment, however, and the one that cheered my daughter the most was simply this:  “As soon as he dies, you can ask your parents for a ferret.”

Kids.  So practical.

Hang on, Bluey, the chicken soup is on the stove.

Wendy

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Life Is Hard. Now Go Play.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life is hard.  Now go play.

Wendy

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Cupcake Wars

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

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

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

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

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

Wendy

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The Pillsbury Fart-off…uh, Bake-Off

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s what you thought, missy.

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

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

Wendy

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The art of the arm fart

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

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

Daughter:  “Dad, do you arm fart?”

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

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

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

Wendy…off to watch Dora….

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Pul-lease

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

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

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

But the Sunday school?  Oy gevalt! 

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

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

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

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

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

Oops.  Me again.

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

Honestly, what is wrong with adults these days?

What are your politeness pet peeves?

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

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Goodbye Teddy Bear…Hello Tiger

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Adoption, aging, Children, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, parenthood, Young Love

Kids Don’t Multi-task; Why should I?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wendy

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