Tag Archives: Writing

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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Filed under Children, Marriage

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

ROAD TRIP

Start spreading the news...I'm leavin' today...

Wendy and I are hitting the road.  It’s Manhattan or bust, baby.  We’ll be updating you all from the Big Apple, God willing, oy.  We’re taking the red-eye and should be boarding in a matter of hours.  Since both of us have a bit of anxiety when it comes to flying, we will be medicating, hence drooling on each other and snoring in each other’s ears.  I only hope we wake up in time to get off the plane and don’t end up in, you know, Aruba… or…

I’d better pack a swim suit.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Fifteen Minutes of Fame, friendship, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, New York, Outdoor school, Writing

Oh No!

One hot mama: The pre-breakfast routine.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

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

For the Birds

I am easily distracted.  As a writer, this is not good.  However, since I have begun writing all night long and sleeping in the mornings, my productivity level has dramatically increased.  Until yesterday.

He’s back.

The bird.

I write near a huge glass door that leads to a balcony.  Every year, robins build about a half-dozen nests in the nooks and crannies just under the balcony’s eves.  What’s cool about this is, each spring the kids can creep out on the deck, peer between the boards and see the baby birds all fat and fuzzy, open-beaked, screaming to be fed.  Kind of like them, come to think of it.

Anyway, along with the lady birds and their babies, comes the hero.  There to serve and protect.  And every year, this guy (this is his 4th year on duty) lands on the railing and gives his reflection the stink-eye.  I can practically hear the thoughts whirring in his bird-brain.  “Who are ya, ya barmy router?  Stay away from the ladies, ya handsome devil.  No?   You dare to puff yourself at me?  I’ll just have to fight ya then!” 

I’m not sure why, but in my head he has an Irish accent.  And so, he blows up to twice his size and begins to strut.  He’s adorable.  “Yer not leavin’ then?  Okay for you, ya rounder, you!”  Then, tail slashing, my hero proceeds to fashion a pile of droppings, apply a generous coating to his feet and then fly at his enemy.  AKA:  my window.  What amazes me is that the dogs can sleep through this.  The same dogs that will claw their way through the door to attack a gust of wind.

You know that sound it makes when you drag a fork across a chalkboard?  Yeah.  And, he keeps it up until the window is so coated with dung that he can no longer see his reflection.

All very conducive to writing.  And sleeping.  The Herald is back.  Spring is here.

Carolyn

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Filed under Writing

All Dolled Up, Part Duex Deux

Ahhh, Wendy.  My Wendy. Every woman needs a BFF to tell you how much she hates you when she thinks you look good.  This is so satisfying.  Especially when all I can see are the parts of me that are falling apart, and for whatever reason–cataracts?–she can’t.

Anyway, yesterday I was desperate to get out of the house to be with friends.  I convinced myself, and my 6-year-old son, that we were done with the stomach flu and it was time have a playdate!!  Four adult writers–and two little kids– out to hear Kristen Hannah speak at Powells Books!!  After that, lunch at McGraffs!!  No more vomit!! Yay!  Time to get dolled up!  Roughly translated, shower.

I remember this one time, when I was a kid, my entire family had the stomach flu.  My mother, sick of being housebound, managed to convince my dad that it was time to go out to dinner.  We were “well”, dammit, Jim!  (my dad’s name is Doug, but whatever).  Anyway, we get to the Chinese restaurant and my sister has to throw up.  So, my mom, clearly in denial, says, “Carolyn, please take your sister to the bathroom,” and proceeds to order us all these hurking combination plates.  Being that I was still suffering, I was probably not at my most patient.  Especially considering I was 10 and she was 8.  Okay, so in the bathroom there is one stall available.  And, I was crowded in there with her.  And the more she throws up, the less ‘good’ I feel, until we are both on our knees, fighting over who gets to puke into the public toilet.  Since that day, Hoisen sauce still makes me think of toilets.

All this to say, I now have complete sympathy for my mom.  Yesterday, my sweet son was submitted to multiple humiliations because of my premature need to get out of the house.  I knew we had a bit of a problem when his French fries arrived and he didn’t fall into them face first and devour them in his usual style.  “These make me want to BARF!” he announced.  I laughed, thinking, oh, look how he’s showing off for Wendy’s daughter, also age 6.  So, of course, I have to eat his fries.  Then, he had to go to the bathroom.  NOW.  Wendy’s daughter came with us and found it both fascinating and hilarious that my son had to use the Ladies Room.  When I finally got him into a stall, he…stalled.  Couldn’t get his shoe off.  Not getting the shoe off, means not getting the pants off, which means not being able to climb up onto the toilet…in time.  Oops.

I was tempted to flush his underwear down the toilet, but hey, that would clog the plumbing and besides, that’s what those sanitary paper protectors are for, are they not?   And so, I return to the table, an aromatic package sticking out of the top of my purse, polluting its contents, spreading the love, so to speak.  

Thank God I’d taken the time to get all dolled up.

Carolyn

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Filed under Motherhood, Writing

Hello world!

Hey, Wendy:

Well, here it is.  Ta-da.  I managed to actually launch a Blog for us without the help of a 6-year-old or the Geek Squad.  I hope the picture of me, sitting in bed with my laptop is okay with you. 

So far, I find this Blogging thing very similar to shopping with money.  When I am broke I can go to a store and find 50 things I want to buy.  But if I have money, I can’t find anything I want.  Same with blogging.  Before we actually had a blog I thought maybe I had something to say on the subject of menopause, marriage and motherhood.  But now that we have this blog…not so much.

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The dog just walked over the keyboard.  At least someone has something to say.  Oh, and I still can’t figure out if that little snowflake deal is permanent, or we can somehow post our pictures there.  Not that I want my picture there.  Maybe we should put the dog’s picture there.  She seems to like this whole Blogging scene.  Maybe we should give her a column.  Dog Blog.   Some dog’s probably already done that. 

Carolyn

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Filed under Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood