Friday, March 24, 2017

Fly On The Wall In An Oddball Home

     Welcome to another addition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings, hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today nine bloggers are inviting your to catch a glimpse of what you'd see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes.

     As always at my house, the fly is left scratching his head over the oddball comments he hears on a daily basis here. But then again anyone who enters my home ought to know by now what to expect, and normalcy is never in the menu......

"I'm giving you the delicate nose hair trimmer designed for ladies. I'm taking the man's trimmer that uses a chain saw to cut the log hairs out of my nose."

"The dog jumped so hard on my stomach, I think he pushed my diaphragm up into my throat."

"I get tired of going to the Renaissance Festival every weekend. It's the same old stuff every time....comedy acts, turkey legs, and knights jousting in the arena. They need to add something unique to next year's manatee jousting on the lake...

"Don't bother your dad today. He's in one if his moods."
"In other words, he's a Hallmark card just waiting to happen."

"How come the grass at the funeral home is growing so much better than ours?"
"They have an endless supply of natural fertilizer."

"You can use that flowery spray in the bathroom all you want to cover up the smell, but you're not fooling anyone with the scent of Poop De Fleurs."

"We need a security code just to break into her box of Godiva chocolates."

"Who are you talking to?"
"My liver."
"I'm giving it a pep talk----brace yourself, liver. The weekend festivities are upon us."

"The kids taught me how to "dab." Now I can look cool."
"No, you look like you're having a seizure. Stop it."

"We should refer to our new puppy as an Oscar Meyer pug."
"He looks like a roaming, fat sausage on short little legs."

"I like Mom better when she's eating fattening food and drinking wine. This new mom who refuses to cheat on her diet is always HANGRY."

"Being a good dog owner means knowing how to open a cheese stick wrapper without making any noise."

"I love sitting in the hot tub with you, but could you please stop sticking your bare belly out above the water and yelling 'BEACHED WHALE ALERT' ?"

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? This week I'm on BLUNT MOMS dishing up on the "change of Life." Happy to have my post on a husband's perspective of menopause up today on BLU

     Please click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado         m
Menopausal Mother           
Searching for Sanity                 http://singlemumplusone.blogsp
Eileen’s Perpetually Busy            http://eileensperpetuallybusy.
Go Mama O                    
Spatulas on Parade                    http://spatulasonparade.blogsp
Never Ever Give Up Hope                   http://batteredhope.blogspot.c om
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy 
When I Grow Up              whenigrowup/

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Husband's Perspective: Eight Ways Menopause Has Changed My Wife

     As bad as I feel for women experiencing the symptoms of menopause, my heart goes out even more to the men who have to live with them while they endure "the change of life." When my husband and I exchanged wedding vows 33 years ago, neither one of us had any idea that I would one day morph into the Tasmanian devil at the onset of menopause. Most of the time, I don't even recognize myself. I have to give the guy credit for sticking by my side as long as he has. I'm not sure what's in it for him, other than the occasional back rub and someone to stop him from heading out to the pet store in his torn cargo shorts and t-shirt that reads, "Cat: The Other White Meat."

     Although menopause has changed me, my husband has learned to go with my emotional flow that's as unpredictable as a summer hurricane. All that matters is that we're still holding hands during the stormiest of times.

     Recently, I pressed him for details about the changes he has witnessed in me over the last few years, and he was a little TOO quick to fill in the blanks......

1. My wife once had the energy of a toddler after too many cups of Kool-Aid. But these days, sleep is her priority...even over sex and chocolate. She'd stay under the covers all week if I let her. But someone has to cook a meal every now and then.....unless the family doesn't mind the gastrointestinal apocalypse that would occur if I did the cooking.

2. When she's not in bear hibernation mode, my wife is a creature of the night. Insomnia often robs her of a decent night's rest, but rather than squeeze in some valuable writing time, she prefers to stalk Pinterest recipes or shop on Amazon for decorative pillows. How many pillows does one person need? The good news is that I no longer need an alarm system for the house. While I'm snoring in the bedroom, my better half is wide awake and will release a blood curdling war cry if an intruder tries to break in....or if a cockroach skitters across her path.

3. There isn't a husband on the planet who doesn't live in fear of the dreaded question, "Do these pants make me look fat?" The first year my wife started menopause, we went though four different scales because she was convinced they were all inaccurate. Her pension for chocolate and pizza had nothing to do with her weight gain. At least she can blame menopause for her extra pounds. The only excuse I have is beer.

4. We always "spooned" when we went to bed together. It was comforting to feel her body pressed against mine each night before falling asleep. Now that she has night sweats, if I try to cuddle up to her, I'll likely lose a limb.

5. Dear God, the pendulum mood swings. If I survive these, I can survive anything. Forget Jekyll and Hyde. I'm living with Donna Reed and Attila the Hun. To say that my wife is "a little on edge" is an understatement. If I leave so much as a dirty coffee cup on the counter, her patience level will snap in a nanosecond and I'll find myself fighting for space on the dog's bed each night.

 6. Ever since the hot flashes started, my wife has become a thermostat nazi. When I come home from work, I feel as if I've been magically transported to Alaska. It wouldn't surprise me if I came home one day to find icicles hanging from the ceiling.

7. My wife and I have always been a passionate couple, but after menopause struck, her sex drive plummeted. I'm not the virile youngster I once was, either, but nowadays in order to get things heated in the bedroom, I need a gallon of wine for my wife and the Jaws of Life for easy access.

 8. Forgetfulness comes with age, but menopause can make a woman senile. My wife was one of the most organized people I knew, to the point of being OCD about the house and our family routine. We depended on her to keep us scheduled and sane. If it was up to me, the kids would have gone to school late in their bedroom slippers and have nothing but corn chips in their lunch boxes. But along came menopause, sucking every organizational cell out of my wife's body and leaving me with a pod person who's suffering from constant brain fog. Car keys in the fridge. Water bubbling over on the stove. Dog poop on the carpet because SOMEONE forgot to take the fur balls for a walk after lunch.

     I think it's time to book a room for my wife at the Forget-Me-Not Manor for Senile Seniors. Better yet, I'll take the room for myself, because no one will yell at me for leaving a dirty coffee cup on the counter. And hopefully I'll get to keep all of my limbs.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Puppy Chronicles

     The following is the story of Yoda the pug, and how he recently came to be a part of our family. He's a bit spoiled by us, but he's just a puppy, and all puppies deserve a lot of love. Here's what he has to say about living large in the Doyle house: 

   My earliest memory is of sharing a room with several other squirmy, little fur balls that looked a lot like me. I don't remember how many there were, I just know it was hard to take a nap with so much activity around me.

     I stayed at that house with all my siblings for awhile until I was able to eat puppy chow on my own. The next thing I knew, this man and woman met me in a parking lot at an interstate rest stop. Some green paper bills were exchanged, and then I was placed in the arms of a funny looking lady with purple hair. I liked her right away because she let me lick her face and she even let me nibble on her ears! She just laughed and laughed. It was a long drive home but the nice lady held me the entire time while the man drove the car. Every now and then I got to lick his face, too.

     When I arrived at my forever home, there were a bunch of other humans there who were anxious to meet me. They were all laughing and passing me around like I was some sort of squeaky toy. I had to pee really bad and the couch seemed like a good place to do it. Luckily, my new owners didn't mind.  They tried to show me how to potty on a crinkly pad by the door, but I preferred the carpet (which I discovered was even better for pooping).

     There are two other pugs in this house----a chunky dude who wears a diaper and who looks an awful lot like a sumo wrestler. He's very gentle though, and he likes to play, "Catch-me-if-you-can" around the living room. The humans call him "Brewski." I have no idea why, since I've also heard them use the same name when they drink this liquid stuff out of glass bottles and cans.

     There's also a chubby girl pug here who was rude to me when we first met. She's a pretty thing----I tried to kiss her, but she smacked me in the face with her paw and told me to get lost. I think the humans should have named her "Diva" but they call her "Savi" instead. She has a bad habit of humping pillows......I'm not sure what that's about. Why does she need to dominate a pillow?  I was scared of Savi for awhile because she growled at me whenever I tried to play with her. But I won her over when I shared my rubber ducky with her. A few days later, she finally let me snuggle up with her for a long nap. But oh man, does she snore! She sounds like a freight train barreling through the room when she sleeps. She says likes me best when I'm quiet, but I'm just a hyper puppy who loves to chew on ears and tails.

     It's pretty great living here. I'm learning to do my business outside in this big, grassy yard that's loaded with squirrels and birds. I try to steal the seeds and peanuts that they drop on the walkway, but my owners chase me away whenever I do it. They can't catch me, though. My little legs are fast as lightning and I've become an expert at hiding under the bushes. My owners hate that the most because they don't like crawling around on their knees to pull me out of my hiding spot.

     The chow they feed me here is really good, but I always want more, even when my belly is stuffed and round like a Buddha's. Whenever the lady with the purple hair is in the kitchen cooking stuff, I smell wonderful things that I would like to eat. Sometimes I get lucky when she accidentally drops food on the floor. I've learned to snatch it up quickly before the other pugs get a chance. I'm sneaky like that. Savi tells me not to be so greedy, but she's not my real mom, so I don't have to listen to her. I think she has forgotten what it's like to be a pup. I'm always hungry!

     I haven't destroyed any shoes yet, but I've discovered how fun it is to chew on books and furniture legs. I like socks, too. Brewski the Diaper Dude eats poop in the yard, but I don't think I have the tastebuds for that. Besides, it makes his breath stink, and I definitely don't want to lick his face after he eats that stuff.

     My owners are really fun people. They love to play and cuddle with me all the time. They've taught me how to catch and play tug-of-war. They also invite other humans over here to play me, which is cool because some of them bring over furry critters like me, which I'm told are my cousins. Things get pretty crazy here when there are five of us dogs barking and running around the house together. We get really excited, but sometimes we also fight over toys, and then one of us has to go into time-out. When it's me, I just poop on the floor to let the humans know that I don't like being separated from my  pals.

     Everyone says that I'm growing up really fast. My feet have gotten so big that I trip over them sometimes when I run. I haven't figured out yet how to slow down my legs. My tail never stops wagging, either. I've tried to catch it a few times, but it seems to have a mind of its own.

     I really love these people who've adopted me. They bought me a nice bed and lots of toys (but I still prefer to chew on their feet). I get lots of smiles and kisses from them, even when I'm being naughty. This will always be my forever home with these awesome human parents. I sure am one lucky pup! Now, if only I can get that chubby diva pug to give me a little kiss.......

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fly On The Wall In A Busy Home

    Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings hosted by Karen of  Baking In A Tornado. This is your opportunity to get a sneak peek at what goes on behind the closed doors of the writers who are participating in today's postings.

     Things have been pretty busy here since January, but rather than tell you all about it, I'll SHOW you what the Doyle family has been up to. If you've been reading my Fly On The Wall posts on a regular basis, then you know there's never a dull moment around our home. I am blessed with a loving, crazy, close-knit family that enjoys being together and having fun. These photos tell it all:

Ringing in the New Year with close friends and family. The evening would not have been complete without a champagne toast, some booty dancing, and a surprise appearance by Olaf the snowman. Um, yeah.....don't ask.....

My daughters and I are sticking to our New Year's resolutions to get in shape and stay that way with the help of our awesome Zumba instructor. Nothing like a vigorous dance workshop to sweat off the holiday pounds. And God knows I had a LOT of cookies and egg nog to work off.

I finally completed something on my bucket list: a trip to Disney World to celebrate my granddaughter's fifth birthday. We made some incredible memories that I hope she'll always remember and hold dear.....because I certainly will.

Check number #2 off my bucket list: For years I have wanted to raise a pug puppy, but never had the opportunity, until recently. This beautiful, furry ball of love was adopted by us just a few weeks ago. Say hello to Yoda, the little boy who melts my heart (and destroys my shoes). He's the best cure for depression! Yoda always makes me laugh because he's such a little stinker, but I love him to bits. Our two, adult pugs are still confused about his presence and wondering when his real parents will return  to pick him up. Sorry guys, but Yoda is here to stay. #MyForeverPup

This photo is blurry for a reason. My daughters and I were laughing too hard at our annual Super Bowl party. Did I watch the game? Nope---just the commercials. But I had more fun goofing around with my girls. Super Bowl to me is synonymous with chicken wings, chip & dip, and unlimited desserts. That's okay though, because everyone knows that calories don't count during the Super Bowl weekend.

After all the excitement, it was time to wind down with a visit to our favorite local park----Morikami Japanese Gardens. It's our little slice of heaven on earth that we can't live without. We're lifetime members, because the beauty and serenity of Morikami's zen gardens center us after a hectic week.  It has nothing to do with the fact that their cafe also makes the best tempura I've ever eaten....and I'm totally addicted to the stuff. Maybe calories don't count in Morkiami, either.

Check #3 off my bucket list: Seeing Andrea Bocelli in concert! My daughter and her boyfriend surprised us with the tickets, and we were thrilled! It was a lovely evening with dinner on the water in Miami, and then being treated to hours of superb music. Best Valentine's Day gift ever!

     Up next: we're off to the local Renaissance Festival, so you know there's going to be some unusual photos in my next FOW post.  Didn't I tell you Doyles like to have FUN?

Be sure to visit the other bloggers participating in today's Fly On The Wall group posting. Click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado         
Menopausal Mother           
Searching for Sanity       
Eileen’s Perpetually Busy   
Spatulas on Parade          
A Little Piece of Peace       
Never Ever Give Up Hope           
 Dinosaur Superhero Mommy       
Cluttered Genius                        

Friday, February 3, 2017

Good Stuff, Bad Stuff, And All The In-between Stuff

     I'm always on the lookout for future blog posts ideas because it's hard to come up with subjects that are original, especially when you consider the amount of websites crowding the blogosphere. I recently stopped by one of my favorite blog sites, The Chubby Chatterbox, written by Stephen Hayes, and was delighted to find that he'd written a post, "Peculiarities", that was refreshingly unique. He took photos of odd items in his house and posted them on his blog with a little background info on each one. I thought it was an incredibly clever idea, and told him that I was going to plug into his creative genius to write about the peculiar stuff collecting dust in my own home.

     George Carlin once said, "A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff." This pretty much describes the strange items I have taking up space in my house. Will I ever part with my stuff? Nope, because it has sentimental value to me. In reference to other people's stuff vs my own, George said it best: "Their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff."

I gave this comical stone to my mother many years ago because she always had permission to spoil her eleven grandkids. When Mum passed away last year, it was only fitting that I proudly display the stone on my own coffee table since I have a granddaughter I thoroughly enjoy spoiling. And no one is gonna spank me, either.

 This two-faced man hangs from my keychain as a reminder not to talk out of both sides of my mouth. Unless, of course, I'm plotting to take over the world.....or at least connive my husband into giving me the last spoonful of ice cream left in the container.

 Everyone knows I'm a nut for squirrels (see what I did there?). I have a gazillion squirrel figurines, but this is one of my favorites because he looks eerily similar to me when I'm holding a cupcake in my hands.

 My parents brought home these miniature clay pots from a trip to Mexico when I was little. They were a gift for my sisters and me. I've always loved all things small, but whenever I tell people that, my husband takes offense.....

 This sorority paddle was given to me in college after I passed my initiation into Alpha Omega Epsilon. It hung on my dorm bedroom wall for four years and is now on the wall in my office. Contrary to belief, I was never paddled with one of these, but I did have to crawl blindfolded through a maze with a raw hotdog in my mouth as part of the initiation. Don't ask....

 The infamous cat mask was purchased for one dollar several years ago at a weird garage sale that took place at one of our vacation campsites. Since that time, it has played a part in family photos and videos, and is now a requirement for all new guests to wear at the Doyle abode. Yes, we know how to have fun here on a Saturday night.

     I think my stuff is pretty special....and there's plenty more stuff out there to add to my collection. What stuff do you have?

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? This week I'm on SheSavvy talking about insomnia. You can read the article here:

Friday, January 27, 2017

Wonderful Winter Writers Series: Guest Post By Molly Stevens

     I'm thrilled to have funny lady Molly Stevens guesting on my site again today! Her blog, Shallow Reflections, always has hilarious posts that resonate with mid lifers like me. Today she is sharing something near and dear to my gluttonous heart----her eating habits and the desire to tame her appetite. I CAN TOTALLY RELATE!! Please welcome Molly to Meno Mama's site today with lots of comment love. Enjoy!


I noticed a few months ago that five extra pounds had settled onto my pint-sized frame and I could not move the needle on the bathroom scale, even when I made the supreme sacrifice of skipping dessert for a couple of days.
I began to fuss about it, blaming my metabolism, my sedentary job, and the stress of the presidential election.
My husband, the truth teller AKA excuse slayer, interjected, “Molly, you eat a lot. (He said ‘a lot’ with ‘a lot’ of emphasis). Have you noticed you eat more than I do?”
“Whoa!” I countered, “When you leave perfectly good food on your plate that is too little to save but too much to waste, what am I supposed to do with it?”
But the truth of his words burrowed into my cellulite.
I am a volume eater.
Photo courtesy Pixabay, edits by author
I like the feeling of an overstretched stomach. Couple that with speed eating, perfected from years working as a nurse with a 7-½ minute lunch ‘hour,’ and I think you can understand the enormity of my problem.
I knew I had to employ tricks to eat in bulk, yet cut calories. I looked to the experts and tried proven strategies.
The plate method. This is a simple concept of filling half of your plate with low-calorie options like lettuce or broccoli, ¼ with lean protein and ¼ with a healthy starch. This seemed like the perfect solution until Patrick queried, “Molly, do you think a turkey platter is the best choice for this technique?”
When you want something sweet, eat fruit. After dinner, I notoriously crave something sweet, so instead of scooping Ben and Jerry’s, I sliced an apple and savored every morsel. It was difficult to transition from the tartness of the apple to the creamy sweetness of the ice cream but I did a stellar job. Patrick observed, “Molly, do you think this means eat fruit AND dessert?” I quipped, “Won’t the fruit cancel the calories in the ice cream? And what about the legion of calories I burned crunching on that Mac?”
When eating out, eat half of all servings. Patrick and I went to Geaghan’s Irish Pub recently and we split an order of house wings, though Patrick believes I ate two more than he did. Serves him right for going to the bathroom leaving me alone. I always eat more when I’m lonely.
Anyway, I decided to try their homemade bread pudding for dessert, and when it arrived I asked for a take home box. I scooped half into the box while I ate the other half mindfully, resting my spoon on the table between bites.
When I finished Patrick was still eating wings he had hidden behind the napkin holder. It was boring to watch him eat so I decided to take a bite of my sequestered pudding. Which led to another bite. Was it my imagination or did Styrofoam make it more delicious? I don’t know how it happened but I found myself staring at two empty pudding vessels.
Patrick blabbed, “The server who brought the container just saw you eat the second half.” Embarrassed I acted quickly and plunked my crumpled napkin in the container, creating the perfect illusion that it enclosed a half serving. When it was time to leave, I clutched my crock of deception and gave our server an airy wave goodbye.
Not to be defeated I have contrived a sure-fire way to kick-start my weight loss progress. I’m eating three fewer bites of each meal.
I wonder how long it will take Patrick to notice I’m using serving tongs.
Are you a volume eater like me? What are your failsafe weight loss tips?


Molly Stevens arrived late to the writing desk, but is forever grateful her second act took this direction instead of adult tricycle racing or hoarding cats. She was raised on a potato farm in northern Maine, where she wore a snowsuit over both her Halloween costume and her Easter dress.    

She blogs at where she skims over important topics, like her love affair with white potatoes and why she saves user manuals.  No one knows for sure if her ideas result from eating too many carbs, or childhood exposure to herbicides in the well water. 

She has ‘practiced’ professional nursing for *mumble,mumble* years, and someday hopes to be competent or retired, whichever comes first. Her husband, is watching for early signs of dementia, and will have her put in a home when she shows an enthusiasm for camping. 


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Festive Home Decorating Ideas for Moms on a Budget

**The following is a guest post by Sam Jones, digital marketing expert** 

Its been nearly ten years since I lost my job during the recession. Those were some pretty tough times for many moms. Holiday season is particularly difficult when trying to stay on a tight budget. Dazzling lights, trees, wreaths, gorgeous nativity scenes and stars… it was all right in my face, everywhere. As tempted as moms may be by all of the decorating possibilities, there are times when we need to figure out how to do more with less.

Through years of experimenting and trial and error, I’ve managed to learn a lot about affordable home decorating for the holidays:

It all starts with a tree - Any tree will do. There is no rule that says moms have to buy a real or large tree, or a real large tree. It can be a small tree in any color. I use a medium-sized white tree since it looks great with contemporary decor. There is no need to put a lot of decorations on it, either. Sometimes, less is better - especially if you’re like me and have a small living room that will look too cluttered with an overly decorated tree. I recommend investing in an artificial tree rather than a real one. Even though the initial cost is higher, the artificial tree will last for years to come. If, however, you’re certain that your financial situation will be improved a year from now, go ahead and get a real one for this year. This Old House offers helpful advice on how to pick the perfect real tree. 

Bringing out the cozy decor with inexpensive throws and pillows - Add a bit of warmth to your decor with fuzzy holiday throws in colors like red, green, silver, gold, plaid, etc. Any retail store like Walmart sells cheap, pretty throws for $10 and less. I like to mix things up a bit. In some rooms, I’ll cover a piece of furniture with a festive throw in some rooms, and keep them rolled up and plopped up with pillows in other rooms. I’ve only ever had compliments about the throws from guests; none of them have ever seemed to realize that they were just cheap Walmart items.

Being frugal with dining room decor - Since you’re probably not planning to throw a fancy Christmas dinner this year, you can get away with cheap, yet inventive dining room decorations. Last year, I used an ordinary red woolen scarf as a table runner. For the centerpiece, I just placed one large green candle surrounded by several mini white candles. This year, I plan to experiment with pine cones and whole walnuts by painting them gold or silver and placing them strategically around the kitchen. 

Displaying cards and family photos - Some of the most beautiful decorations are something that friends and family send you for free: cards. Hang them up around the fireplace, front door, or on the wall surrounding the tree. Take out a few of your favorite family photos from the past year and display them with gold and silver picture frames. I have a personal preference for the silver ones, since they match my white tree.

Saving money on outdoor decorations - No home is complete during the holiday season without a wreath hanging on the door. Like the tree, just about any wreath will do. You can get a plain one and just decorate it yourself. I just use a red ribbons, mini candy canes, and small red ball ornaments. If you’re a DIYer, Better Homes and Gardens offers tutorials on making “easy & inexpensive Christmas wreaths”. As for lights, it’s perfectly fine to go with a minimalist approach. Simply outline the windows or door with a string of lights, or place one large snowflake lighting decoration on each window. 

If there’s one thing I learned through experimentation these years it’s that making the house look festive and pretty does NOT have to cost much money.


Sam Jones is a digital marketing expert, social media and branding consultant and guest blogger for various publications, including Business2Community, and EZSiteBuilders. In her free time, Sam is an avid traveler, foodie and lover of all things technology. She's also a fitness fanatic (in the making). 


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