Tag Archives: romance novels

How I Became Your Mother

Kids, even when you are absolutely, positively, beyond the shadow of a doubt CERTAIN that you do not want kids, the biological clock can be a powerful monkey wrench in one’s plan to remain slim and tan and rather wealthy into ones’ golden years.

As I recall, when I turned 35, your father and I had a conversation that went something like this:

“Hey, I heard on the news today that they are calling it a “geriatric pregnancy” if you are over 30 when you get pregnant.”

“Seriously? Wow. You’re 35. What word would they use for you? Elderly?”

“Shut up. I don’t want to have kids. And if I did, I would not have one that came out of us, I mean, can you imagine?”

“That is scary. I mean, what if it turned out like you?”

“Or worse…you!”

“If we were going to do it—and I’m not saying we are—we should adopt.” We had just adopted a puppy. It was fun. Except for the chewing. But babies didn’t have teeth so that was cool.

On a whim, we looked into foreign adoption. Big time. Contacted the agency, gathered info, discussed how completely altruistic we were…especially considering we never thought we even wanted kids! How awesome were we? Then, we got to the part about the fees, and holy cow! Adoption was like…seriously expensive!

We could save so much money by just making one of our own.

So…because we were now sort of excited by the whole kid thing, we decided to try getting pregnant. Chances were, we’d waited too long, the plumbing was corroded, stuff had dried up, whatever.

If no baby happened, we would throw in the towel. Admit defeat and skip off into the sunset. And if we did by some miracle, manage to get pregnant in our advanced years…well, we figured we’d just have a single child. That way, if we didn’t like it, we only had to put up with it for 18 years.

Two weeks later…I was pregnant.

And, she was born on our 16th wedding anniversary. And, we liked her. We really, really liked her. We were complete boobs. Everything about her completely charmed us. It was as if we were the first people on the planet to ever have such an adorable child! She was perfect in every way and we would spend hours smiling dopily at her, waiting for her to wake up so that we could play with her, taking thousands of pictures, and bragging about her to our long-suffering friends and family.

And, babies, like Lays Potato Chips, were addicting and we knew there was no way we could eat just one…but kids, that’s another story and it gets sort of tangled up with Wendy’s story, so I’ll get to that next time.

 

Carolyn

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

HOW 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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Middle-aged Foreplay…Sweet Nuthin’

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

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

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

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

“Just tell them you’re my wine.”

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

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

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

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

He gave me a long, considering look.

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

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

That is NOT foreplay!

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

And I may need a new career.

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

Sign me,

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

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

Live Like You Were Dying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wendy

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Filed under Children, Death, friendship, Marriage, Motherhood, parenthood, Writing

Victoria’s REAL Secret

Hey, baby. What's your sign?

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

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Filed under Anxiety, Children, Making Money, Menopause, Motherhood, parenthood

Saw II… Husband -vs- Power Tool. Oh yes, there will be blood.

I have not seen this movie.  There is something about the cover of this DVD that just makes my skin crawl.  It used to be in the display facing the front door of our local Hollywood Video store.  Gross.  I would always skip past that section.

This? Nuthin. You should see my hubby’s fingers

Anyway, this last Saturday, my hubby, Matt, was puttering in the garage.  He’s a regular Tim-The-Toolman-Taylor.  Every now and again, he’ll smash his thumb with a hammer and curse a blue streak, but that’s about it.

Little did I know, his luck was about to run out.  Notice how I’m clueing you in on the terror to come?  In the writing business, we call that “foreshadowing”.  Cool, huh?  (Insert scary horror film music here).   So, anyway, I was inside, pretending to write, but really napping (shhh), when our daughter comes screaming into our bedroom, “DAD’S HURT HIMSELF! COME QUICK!” 
 
I don’t remember getting out of bed.  I think I levitated to my feet, hit the floor once and was downstairs before I’d opened my eyes.  I’d just completed a course in CPR/First Aid and thought I was all Greg House.  Nope.  Couldn’t remember a dang thing.  Two chest compressions and 30 breaths?  uh… that can’t be right…  Stumbled out to the driveway and found my husband staring dazedly at his hand.  Blood everywhere.  The tip of his finger still in the garage I guess.
 
I shout at the kids to get my purse and my shoes.  My daughter, still screaming, throws her father’s giant clown slippers at me.  Other daughters gather towels and begin to boil water.  The sons are bawling.  The husband wanders back into the garage to…uh, who knows.  Look for his finger?  I’m in the car gunning the engine, yelling at him to get in or get left behind.  Once I’m strapped in, I’m either Starsky or Hutch, whichever one took the corners on two wheels.  My husband asks, “Hey, are you all right?”   Okay, shouldn’t that be my line?  I should have paid more attention to the “comforting the victim” portion of my CPR training.  Shouting “Shut up and let ME do the driving!” is hardly compassionate.
 
You know, I had no idea that while I’d been sleeping, my hair and make up had become so…attractive.  Couple this with the clown slippers?  Yeah.  I go screaming into the ER, “MY HUSBAND HAS CUT HIS FINGER OFF!”  They had the nerve to look bored.  Apparently, they see oh-so-attractive middle-aged clown people like myself dragging some bone-head like my husband in every single day.  In fact, you out there, reading this?  Odds are, you’re missing a digit.  I am shocked at how many people have come to me with missing finger stories.  I go to church with one lady who has THREE people in her immediate family, who are missing one or more fingers.  Hello?  Like maybe they ought to think about being, oh, I don’t know…CAREFUL?
 
Anyway, I’m not impressed with this movie poster any more.  Really, it’s nothing but a bad manicure.  I’ve seen worse.  Oh, yeah.  A lot worse.
Carolyn

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Filed under Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Older writers, Writing

Bad Hair

Wendy and Carolyn Do Hawaii

 

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

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

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

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Filed under Anxiety, Children, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, parenthood, Weight gain, Writing

delusions

Just got an e-mail from a college friend.  She proposed that with all the negative news on shows like CNN, people must be rushing out to buy romance novels and she pictures me “prosperous, delighted and rolling in abundance.”  I’m rolling, alright.  ROFLMAO.

I haven’t written back yet.  Printing the truth in black and white could require a Margarita drip…except that I don’t drink, so maybe a cake?  The big kind, from Costco.  The whole thing.

Being a broke artist at twenty was exhilarating.  Being a struggling artist at thirty was motivating.  At forty–a great spiritual growth experience.   At forty-eight?  It sorta bites.

Here’s the thing.  Ever since menopause and the disappearance of my jaw line (how is it you have still have a sculpted jaw, Carolyn?  If you’re getting nipped without telling me, I’m gonna get upset)…anyway, ever since menopause and, let’s face it, the myriad physical changes (and that brings me to why it’s REALLY called “the change,” but that’s another blog), I feel, well, grief when I think of the expectations I had and the reality I live.  The reality is GOOD, GREAT in so many ways, but…different.  And there is grief involved in its acceptance.   Grief in letting go of so much.  All those delicious delusions of grandeur.  I really liked those.

Anyway, I know this menopause thing is a marvelous opportunity to grow.  To find the endless summer within.  And I’ll do that.  Uh huh.  Right after we win the Pillsbury Bake-Off, hit the NYT list and join a gym to sculpt age-defying muscles.    Denial first, acceptance later.  😀

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