Friday, September 19, 2014

Fly On The Wall In Weirdsville

Welcome to another edition of the Fly On The Wall group posts. Today, 14 brave bloggers are inviting you into their homes for a glimpse of what you'd see if you were a fly on the wall.

This month, the fly has seen our family dip from a hokey ghost tour downtown and cut loose on the dance floor at an island party. The usual chaos reigned at the Doyle abode with a toddler, a teenager, eight pets and three adults in the house.  I'm still yelling at the computer screen while editing my book and feeding my anxiety with Hershey's Kisses. 

If you were a curious fly at my house this month, this is what you would have heard:

"You're not going through menopause. It's more like MENTALpause."

"We have weevils in the pantry. We need to throw out all the pasta and rice."
"What about the bag of ground coffee?"
"Unless you see hyper weevils, I think it's safe to keep."

"Seesaws are the reason I have trust issues."

"Our granddaughter's toddler bike has no training wheels. And no pedals."
"That's because it's a Fred Flintstone bike."

"I'm so A.D.D. that if my penis wasn't attached, I'd probably lose it."

"While I was a the clinic today for knee pain, I think the doctor slipped a chip in my leg."
"In your case, that would have been a potato chip. The trans fats have gone to your brain and made you dumber."

"I've been unemployed for six months now. No one is going to hire me because of my age, so I've decided to start an alpaca farm. I'm going to use their milk to make alpaca cheese."

"I know what I'm getting you for your next birthday since you always have to pee when we go out."
"A traveling bathroom?"
"Even better---a catheter that has its own collection bag."
"That's fine---as long as you promise to change the bag for me."

"I have a new theme song our granddaughter. It's called, 'Don't Whine For me Argentina.'"

"Dad, are you making eggs again for us this morning?"
"I hate to be hard boiled about it, but NO, I am NOT making eggs. Today, we eat cereal."
"The Egg King has spoken."

"You're not constipated---you're hoarding your poop!"

"I'm starving. When will dinner be ready?"
"You can help out by setting the table and then I can dish up the food."
"Thou preparest a table before me."
"Who are you? Jesus?"

"This ghost tour is silly. The only spirits these dowsing rods are going to lead us to are Rum, Vodka and Tequila."

Want more Meno Mama? This week I'm featured on Lefty Pop which you can read here: and also over at Humor Outcasts where I'm looking for my lost period. You can read it here:

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:                           Baking In A Tornado                                The Rowdy Baker                                Just A Little Nutty                                         The Momisodes                       Spatulas on Parade                               The Sadder But Wiser Girl                          Follow me home . . .                  Stacy Sews and Schools                             Menopausal Mother                                        Go Momma O                                     Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                           Juicebox Confession                         Someone Else’s Genius                               Battered Hope

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wacky Wednesday Writer Guest Post By: Cellulite Looks Better Tan

     I am so pleased to introduce you to my new WWW guest today! Please welcome Mandi from Cellulite Looks Better Tan! I found Mandi's site last winter when several of my bloggy friends were raving on Facebook about a post they read called, The Cycle. I just HAD to check this out--not only because the post was so popular, but because of the name of her blog. Hey, it's true----cellulite really DOES look better tan!

     I wasn't sure what to expect when I hopped over to her site, but WOW, did her writing blow me away. I even scrolled through older posts to read more of her work. Mandi is a gifted storyteller---many of her posts read like fiction, even though the tales are based on true life. Some stories tug on my heartstrings, while others have me laughing out loud. She is a versatile writer who shares her life and love experiences not only on her blog but also on Sisterwives, where she is a contributing blogger. Do yourself a favor and check out Mandi's blog. I promise, you'll LOVE it!

      Please be sure and welcome this lovely and talented writer to Meno Mama's site today with lots of comment love!

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Mandi

It’s a beautiful morning. I think I’ll go outside for a while. And smile.” My roommate’s alarm clock sang from her bedroom.

“Ugh.” Every morning, her alarm clock would sing that dreadful song, and every morning I would have to go to her room to turn it off. On this particular morning, I was pretty sure that an elephant had come into my apartment and shat in my mouth while I slumbered.

I raised my head and tried to pry open an eye. Through a blur, I saw a boy sleeping next to me. Saturday night started to come back in flashes. There were shots involved and daiquiris, and beers, lots and lots of beers. My stomach started to turn as the night played in my mind. I worked late at the piano bar. Then I stayed even later, drinking and smoking too many cigarettes with my fellow waitresses and the bartender who I was pretty sure was the boy lying next to me in my bed. I tried to gulp down the cotton in my mouth and rolled over still listening to my roommate’s alarm clock singing away in her room.

I pushed myself off of my bed. I swayed a bit allowing my head to connect back to my body then stumbled to my roommate’s room to yell at her to turn off her alarm. The boy next to me groaned.
My roommate wasn’t home (of course), so I silenced her alarm and noticed the time.

I muttered some explicit language and then went back into my room to wake the boy and make him leave.

I pushed the lump beneath my comforter a few times, poking him in various areas. Finally he rolled over and looked at me. Yep, Bryce, the hottie bartender.

“You have to leave.”

“Why?” He stretched and yawned and tried to pull me to him. “It’s too cold and way too early to get up.” He snuggled into the comforter and pillow making no moves to get out of my bed.

“I have to go to church.”

He laughed, “What?”

“Shut up. I have to go to church, and I’m going to be late.”

“I think God will forgive you one Sunday, Mandi.”

“No, you don’t understand. I have to play the piano for my church. For my dad’s church. And you have to leave….now.”

He pushed the comforter off of him. I stole a glance. Boxer briefs. Thank God he wasn’t naked. I was pretty sure nothing happened but two drunken people passing out in the same bed, but that mystery would have to wait to be solved because I had to wash away last night’s alcohol and head to church STAT!

I managed to shower, dress, and make it to my car in less than fifteen minutes, all the while trying to rouse Bryce to leave my apartment. He walked out with me and tried to kiss me before he left. I just smirked at him and said, “Sorry, God’s waiting.”

Apparently, after Bryce and I had passed out at my apartment, a layer of ice developed over the roads. I drove very defensively, hands carefully resting at ten and two, eyes on the road. My dad’s church was just outside of town, so it required a few country roads to get there. I had recently almost died in a car accident, so to say I was a bit of a nervous driver was a ridiculous under-exaggeration. Driving still petrified me. Driving on ice scared the living daylights out of me, so I was careful. Very careful.

About a mile from the church, I found myself driving on a very slippery two lane country road with deep ditches on either side. Out of nowhere, a Chevy Impala came whizzing by me. I gripped the steering wheel tighter as he veered into my lane only he didn’t wait until he was around me. He ran me off the road into the ditch. I over-corrected and fishtailed but managed to get back on the road. At this point, I was no longer being careful. I was pissed.

I sped up to him waving one particular finger and shaking my fists, yelling every single awful word my mother told me never to use all the while telling him what a whore of a mother he had and where he could put her. At the stop sign, he turned right. I turned right, too. Then at the next stop sign, he turned right, which was exactly where I had to turn right.

Panic started to set in.

Oh no, oh no, oh no. Please, please don’t let him be heading to my church.

I didn’t recognize him, and I knew everyone in the congregation.

I prayed, “God, please don’t let him go to church today. Make him go somewhere else. Please. I promise I will never drink again or have another boy spend the night even though I’m pretty sure we didn’t do anything. Please God. I will even pay attention to the sermon today and read my bible every night if you will just please not let him go my church.”

He signaled that he was turning right again.

Into my church‘s parking lot.

Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God…I mean, gosh.

I debated driving pass the church, telling my dad that I was sick and unable to play the piano, but I knew my dad would never believe me and would only assume that I drank too much at the bar where I worked the night before, which was true, but still. I took a deep breath as I pulled into the parking lot and parked my car toward the back.

Then at that moment, I learned that Satan himself was playing a joke on me, and I was the punch line.

As the man who ran me off the road got out of his car, I watched my father run down the steps to greet him with outstretched arms, a giant smile spreading across his face. They hugged, both embracing each other like long lost…friends.

Sigh, what the ever loving fu…dge? You have got to be kidding me with this one, God.

I watched them talking and laughing in front of the church. Then my mom came out and hugged the reckless driver.

Who is this guy? I wondered, but I had absolutely no idea who he was. I thought maybe he was a missionary who my parents knew before I was born, or maybe a friend of my dad’s from the Navy. All I knew for certain was that he knew my dad, my preacher father, and apparently knew him very well, and I had just cussed him out and flipped him off at least a hundred times. Surely he saw me in his rearview mirror.

I stepped out of my car and tried to sneak pass them.

“Mandi,” my dad called after me.

I pointed to the door and then to my watch and played the air piano trying to get my dad to realize that I needed to get inside and get started, but he wouldn’t just let me slip by.

“Mandi, get over here and say hello to Sam.”

Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam? I searched my brain for any bit of recollection.

As I approached him, I hung my head hoping that he wouldn’t place me as the road raged lunatic behind the wheel of the car that he just ran off the road.

When I finally saw his face, I knew immediately who he was: One of my dad’s oldest friends. Sam, his friend who was BLIND, who only had one eye and was legally blind in it. Why he was allowed to drive is beyond me, but if ever I was going to swear and throw the bird at my preacher father’s buddy, 

I’m glad I chose the blind one.

I shook his hand and headed to the piano. Then I looked up to the sky and mouthed a “thank you” to the big guy upstairs. I owe you one.


Mandi is a happy-go-lucky Texas girl who loves to tell stories, laugh, and have dance parties in her kitchen. She tries to keep life simple and to live on the bright side. To learn more, visit her at: Cellulite Looks Better Tan and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
If the links don’t work: Twitter:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Growing Up Groovy

 I was just a little girl in the sixties, so my memories from the "groovy" era are sketchy at best. I have a vague recollection of black lights, station wagons, white GoGo boots and psychedelic Jimi Hendrix posters on the wall. There were only a handful of channels on the TV, and afternoons were spent playing kick the can or riding our Schwinn Sting-Rays until our mothers called us in for dinner once the street lights came on.

I do remember my older sister wearing bell bottom jeans, love beads and a peace sign necklace. Her bedroom was adorned in rock band and anti-war posters, the lingering scent of sandalwood incense permeating the air. Those were the flower power years, and although my memories are cloudy, it's pretty cool to say that I was alive when Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

By the time the seventies hit, I was happy to shed my adolescence to step into my teen years. It was the "far out" era of CB radios, waterbeds, muscle cars, 8 track tapes, lumpy bean bag chairs and STAR WARS. My biggest problems in life were wondering if the cute boy in B lunch would wave to me or how I was going to memorize all those formulas for my geometry test.

Here's a glimpse of what it was like growing up groovy in the 70s:

 The median household income was $11,800; a gallon of gas was .57 cents; a dozen eggs cost .77 cents, and a gallon of milk was $1.57. The average home cost $22,000 in the early seventies and rose to $62,000 at decade's end.  The U.S. population in 1975 was 216 million and the life expectancy was between 68-76 years of age.

POPULAR TV SHOWS:  I loved racing home from school to watch reruns of oldies such as Twilight Zone, Outer Limits and Dark Shadows. But the popular shows of the decade included M*A*S*H, The Brady Bunch, All In The Family, Laugh-In, Happy Days, Three's Company, Marcus Welby M.D., Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, American Bandstand, The Carol Burnett Show, Johnny Carson, and  Saturday Night Live.

BOX OFFICE HITS: I'll never forget catching a taxi to downtown Ft. Lauderdale with my boyfriend to attend the premiere of Jaws. Movies cost $2.00 back then, and the theatre was packed. Needless to say, our beaches were a little less crowded after Jaws made a splash on the screen. Other big hits included The Exorcist, Rocky, American Graffiti, Blazing Saddles, The Deer Hunter, Saturday Night Fever, Animal House, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Grease, The Godfather, Deliverance, and the mega hit STAR WARS.

FASHION: The early 70s clung to the hippie mindset of the 60s, so people were still rocking mini skirts, afros, flared bottom jeans, big belts, peasant blouses, smock tops, afghan coats, rock t-shirts and granny dresses. Women wore their tresses long and straight while men kept their sideburns thick and their hair well past their collar. Once disco was ushered into the mid 70s, polyester, platform shoes and shiny, metallic   clothing became popular. Men wore leisure suits, wide lapels, and painter's pants while sporting mustaches the size of giant caterpillars above their lips. Women gravitated toward wedge shoes, halter tops, hip huggers, tube tops, satin pants and big hair.

IN THE NEWS: We started out the decade with Richard Nixon as our president until the Watergate scandal occurred, placing Gerald Ford in the oval office after Nixon's resignation. Next came Jimmy Carter, and we never looked at peanuts the same way again. As a family, we gathered each night around our Zenith TV and watched the news unfold.  In the 70s, the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam, Roe v.s. Wade legalized abortion, terrorists attacked the Olympic games in Munich, Elvis died, Jimmy Hoffa went missing, Patty Hearst was kidnapped, Mikhail Baryshnikov defected, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System was finished, Iran took American hostages in Tehran, the first test tube baby was born, Nadia Comaneci scored seven perfect tens, the Jonestown massacre shocked the nation and the Three Mile Island catastrophe left America in fear of a nuclear holocaust.

WHAT WE DROVE: The cool kids in school drove the Trans Ams, Corvettes or Mustangs. Dodge Chargers and Challengers were also popular, but most of the kids I knew drove explodable Ford Pintos. If those were out of their price range, they borrowed the family Pacer or Gremlin. Which makes me wonder what the people at AMC were smoking when they designed those cars.

CELEBRITIES: I kept up with celebrity news through a subscription to Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine. While sipping Tab soda, sucking on Blow Pops and making gum chains, my girlfriends and I poured over glossy photos of David Cassidy, Bobby Sherman, the Bee Gees, Andy Gibb and The Osmonds. Other celebs in the news that caught our attention were John Travolta, Farrah Fawcett, Mr.T, Burt Reynolds, Olivia Newton-John, Tom Selleck, Gilda Radner, Cybil Shepard, Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Chevy Chase,  Cher, Jack Nicholson, Jodie Foster, Barbra Streisand, Woody Allen, Susan Sarandon, Jim Belushi, Robin Williams, Bill Murray, Henry Winkler, Raquel Welch, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Jane Curtain, Sylvester Stallone, Marlin Brando, and Steve Martin.

PARTYING IN THE 70s:  When I was a teenager, the drink of choice to smuggle into a party was Boones Farm Strawberry Hill Wine. We chugged it right out of the bottle in many a driveway before entering a house party. If we were lucky, someone would have a flask of Bacardi in their pocket that we could add to our colas before a rousing game of ping pong or pool. We snacked on deviled eggs, potato chips and onion dip, rumaki, Jiffy Pop, cocktail wieners and deviled ham on toast points. We lined up on the dance floor for The Hustle, The Bump, The Bus Stop, Pogo dancing and The Latin Hustle, while the adults sipped on Harvey Wallbangers, Manhattans and vodka screwdrivers.

BIG NAMES IN SPORTS: I was never one to follow sports, but I do remember being caught up in our town's frenzy after The Miami Dolphins went undefeated in 1972. Popular sports icons of that time period include John McEnroe, Larry Bird, Bobby Riggs, O.J. Simpson, Bruce Jenner, Billy Jean King, Muhammed Ali, Jack Nicholas, Hank Aaron, Joe Frazier, Bob Gibson, Dorothy Hamill, Arthur Ashe Jr., Mark Spitz, Roger Stauback and Pete Rose.

THE SOUNDS OF THE SEVENTIES: Music is what put the 70s on the map. I had a round transistor radio that hung from a chain in my bedroom, and I kept it playing for hours. When my friends came over, we brought out the vinyl records to spin on a portable turntable. I had hundreds of albums, which I'm convinced is where the majority of my allowance went when I was a teenager. I could never get enough of The Partridge Family, Abba, Donna Summers, Elton John, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Rod Stewart, Gladys Knight, The Eagles, John Denver, Queen, Pink Floyd, The Beach Boys, Foreigner, James Taylor, Led Zepplin, The Bee Gees, Chicago, Frank Zappa, Linda Ronstadt, Harry Chapin, Creedance Clearwater Revival, The Rolling Stones, Peter Frampton, Simon & Garfunkle, Journey, The Grateful Dead, Genesis, Meatloaf, The Guess Who, KC & The Sunshine Band, Styx, Supertramp, Carole King, The Carpenters, Earth Wind & Fire, YES and Eric Clapton.

The seventies were a magical time to be a teenager; a decade of simplicity, change, and the freedom of expression. People were kinder, less self-absorbed, respectful of others and worked hard for what they earned. Families shared dinners around the table, watched g-rated TV programs together, and made each other a priority. We didn't have cell phones, iPods, computers or social media.

And we grew up just fine.

Want more Meno Mama? This week you can find me on The Huffington Post dishing on being "Over The Hill." You can read it here: And you can also find another featured post of mine this week on BA50:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Wacky Wednesday Writer's Guest Post By Pixie.c.d.

 Today on WWW I'm featuring the very talented, super funny Chris Dean of  Pixie.c.d.! I love everything she writes not only because she is freaking HILARIOUS, but she also posts very relatable material. Four adult kids and a house that doubles as a petting zoo because of the animals she hoards? Oh yes, we are sisters by another mister.

     I found Chris on Facebook when she started leaving some seriously funny remarks on my blog status updates. I liked her immediately and hopped over to her blog. I've been laughing ever since because we are indeed kindred spirits in humor (and tequila). She also shares some snort-worthy memes on her Facebook page, which is a great way to start off the day with my coffee.

     Chris has always been very sweet and supportive of my blog, and I'm thrilled that we will be appearing together in an upcoming book to be released later this fall (more info on this later!). Please welcome her to Meno Mama's site today with lots of comment love!

Mr. Smiley-Toy’s Moment in the Sun

 My Mom always said kids are supposed to learn from their parent’s mistakes, so they can avoid making the same ones. Overall, I think I did a pretty decent job of finding new ways to fail on an epic level, but purely by accident. It’s not like I ever really listened to know which mistakes she’d already tried. Unless, of course, we’re talkin’ underwear drawers. THAT was a mistake I witnessed firsthand.

 Mom was old school in her belief that the drawer for a person’s drawers was sacred. It was the one place an adult could hide anything they didn’t want their nosey kids to find. Which only goes to show how naive she could be, considering I’d found the mystery toy that lived under her undies, by the time I was 10.

 This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill adult toy, but eight inches of neon green, squeaky, rubber peen with a giant smiley face on the...head - a gag gift from her Bridal Shower she’d been too afraid to throw out, for fear of some nocturnal critter ripping the bag open or a Trashman accidentally tearing it. She couldn’t face the possible horror of waking up to that “thing” on the curb in front of our house!

 So the “toy” with its big smiley face, lived on in the corner of her dresser. Until the day she had new carpet installed.

 Having made the decision to get new carpet in their bedroom, Mom and Dad had also decided to save the pulled muscles and bickering, by letting the guys laying it do all the heavy lifting. The only thing Mom had to do was stay outta the way, which was why I was there; to distract her.

 Carpet Day found us in the kitchen, washing dishes and discussing the hotness factor of the young men crawling around at floor level. As I recall, the term eye candy came into play repeatedly, usually followed by loud giggles form both of us.

 We were in the middle of a heated discussion on the pro’s of tight Levi’s on Carpet Layers, when we heard the man-giggles coming from the bedroom.

 “Umm...excuse me, Ma’am.” The oldest of the crew popped his head into the kitchen. Judging by the way he was stuttering and stammering, face the color of a fully ripened Bing Cherry, this was not an errand he had volunteered for. “We’re getting ready to clear the bedroom and umm...were aaaaaa...wondering if ummm...Well - did you have anything in the aaaaaa...dresser you might want to ummm...take care of first?”

 Apparently, as Mom had dug around for a comfy pair of hole-less knickers for the day, she’d inadvertently uncovered Mr. Smiley-Toy. When the men had started prepping the dresser to move, which included removing the drawers, the first thing they’d encountered was the little guy’s wide and raunchy smile, front and center.

 Ash white does not even begin to describe the instant color of my Mom’s face! 25 years of hiding this thing for fear of what the neighbors would think, culminated in a walk of shame down her own hallway - a hallway lined with four young, hot guys, every last one purple faced and holding his breath in an effort not to openly laugh.

 As Mom tried to nonchalantly haul-ass to her room and stuff the damn thing into her bra (because if they couldn’t see her carry it out, it didn’t exist), the house was silent. Right up until Mr. Smiley-Toy squeaked.

 The hunky guys looked like weird Easter Island statues, with their eyes bugging out and mouths frozen in noiseless, Oh’s! You could’ve heard a pin drop - if it hadn’t been for my scream-laughing coming from the kitchen. We’re talking, cross-your-legs-doubled-over-crimson-faced-tears-rollin’-laughter that includes the ragged gulping of air in between ear-and-side-splitting bursts.

 Nobody won that day. (Except Mr. Smiley-Toy, who finally got his moment in the Sun.) Operation Toy Removal was a complete and utter failure, I was busted for going through her dresser 15 years earlier and she was busted for thinking kids obeyed the rules when their parents weren’t around to enforce them.

   Mom spent the rest of the day hiding in the living room with a vodka and Diet Coke and I was put in charge of any and all further communication with the Carpet Guys. And sworn to secrecy.

 Which appears to have worked just about as well as being told to stay out of her dresser.


Chris Dean (aka pixiecd) writes at pixie.c.d.

(formerly Life Your Way!) where she shares acts of stupidity, life with adult Offspring, and the occasional useful bit of info on life with chronic illness. She lives in Indiana with her amazingly tolerant Hubby (who swears he doesn't mind putting up with her), their four adult-kids, and the
petting zoo of cats, dogs, chickens, Muscovy ducks, and geese she’s systematically managed to turn their home and yard into. When not writing, you can find her avoiding laundry on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Book Review: Jen Mann's "People I Want To Punch In The Throat."

     I've always been a big fan of Jen Mann's blog, People I want to Punch In The Throat and knew that her book by the same name would not disappoint.

     Jen's writing is reminiscent of a modern day Erma Bombeck with a mix of snark and razor sharp wit. The book is a cohesive blend of short but well-crafted stories depicting the humorous side of suburban life and the craziness of parenthood. Her shrewd observations of overachieving parents, humble braggers, pretentious play groups and obnoxious room moms are snort-worthy and relatable.

     What I love most about People I Want To Punch In The Throat is that it reads like an entertaining memoir of the author's family life. Jen Mann is very comfortable in her own skin and not afraid to tell it like it is with her readers. Her raw honesty is a refreshing change from the typical "momoirs" because she writes openly about things that most parents cringe at or are too afraid to voice an opinion on.

     Among my favorite stories are "You've Got Mail", "Just Some Of The Many Reasons The Neighbors Always Hate Us", "Gomer Might Be A Racist", the VERY relatable, "I Thought Mother's Little Helper Was A Babysitter" and the hysterical, "Mom's Night Out On The Gun Range."

     I highly recommend adding People I Want To Punch In The Throat to your reading list. It's a hilarious romp through suburban life that delivers plenty of belly laughs. A fast and funny read that will have you rushing to her blog site for your daily dose of hilarity.

                                             BUY THE BOOK HERE!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

What Makes A Best Friend?

I recently had lunch with a friend I hadn't seen in a long time, and it was so refreshing to get out of the house for a day. Being a writer, I sometimes forget that there's a whole world outside of the blogging bubble that I live in. I've always fostered my online friendships, but I needed some quality bonding time with my gal pal.  

We sat in the booth at the restaurant for four hours and shared lots of laughs, gossip, wine and some great Mexican food. It was such a nice change of pace for me to get away from book edits, emails and blog postings. Being with her reminded me of how much I miss the days when I had the freedom to attend spontaneous gatherings with friends over dinner and drinks. Lately, I find myself apologizing to the people I haven't been able to spend enough time with. But here's the cool thing---my closest buddies understand how crazy my life is right now with the upcoming book release, and they don't judge me for not having time to hang out. They know I would love nothing more than to spend a few hours sharing funny stories and laughter over a good bottle of pinot grigio, but they also respect the time constraints of my writing career.

These ladies are my tribe. What makes us best friends? We don't judge each other, lie to one another or gossip behind each other's back. My gal pals send me funny pictures of baby owls and squirrels when I'm having a bad day because they KNOW what will cheer me up. The same goes in the blogging community----my closest buddies and I share each other's writing and are happy for one another's success. It's all about support----not a competition to see who has more readers, more features or more awards. Sharing is synonymous with spreading the love when it comes to blogging, and my friends (both online and off) are an integral part of that success.

In the spirit of friendship, I'm sharing another one of my favorite posts that originally appeared on In The Powder Room. This is dedicated to all my besties out there…you know who you are.

   When one of my best friends moved away several years ago, I was crushed. We had been friends since the late 1980s and shared just about everything. We raised our children together and spent our weekends at the beach and backyard barbecues. Some of my happiest memories are from the twilight hours in her kitchen where we cooked side by side, swapped recipes, and gossiped over a bottle of wine while the kids played outside.

What makes a best friend? There are certain qualities we look for in our gal pals: loyalty, honesty, and trust, the trifecta of friendship. Once that's established, it's the little things that become the glue that holds a friendship together:
  1. She doesn't tag you in unflattering pictures on Facebook and is happy to crop the photo if you think your hips look enormous.

  2. Tells you if you need to pop a mint, clip your nose hairs, or pluck your unibrow. Got spinach in your teeth? She'll help you dig it out. She'll also tell you if your arm pits smell and let you borrow her roll-on deodorant.

  3. She'll keep up with you shot for shot at the bar and never judge you for getting sloppy drunk or crying over the man who broke your heart. She'll also hold your hair out of your face while you pray to the porcelain god.

  4. Tells you if your new jeans really do make your butt look big.

  5. She has your back at parties and will warn you if the guy you're flirting with has “douchebag” written across his forehead. She'll also alert you of any exes prowling the room and goes into guard dog mode if he comes near.

  6. Accompanies you to awkward appointments like a bikini wax or pap smear.

  7. She's being honest about your new haircut by asking if your stylist's name is Edward Scissorhands.

  8. When you need to break your diet with snack cakes or a tub of cheese balls, she'll break her own diet too and help you eat the junk food just so you won't feel guilty.

  9. She shares equally embarrassing stories of sexual mishaps in the bedroom, which makes you feel a whole lot better about the time you let some gas slip during an intimate moment.

  10. Never tells your husband how much you REALLY spent on that new dress.

  11. Your periods sync up, enabling you to sympathize with one another when you flip the switch into bitch mode. 

  12. Accompanies you to public restrooms and doesn't care if you pee in front of her.  If you don't make it to the toilet on time and have an accident in her car, she's okay with that, too.

    ****Want more Meno Mama? This week I had a post featured on Humor Outcasts. You can read it here:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Wacky Wednesday Guest Post By: Sandra Tyler

     I have a rock star as my WWW guest today on the blog. Please welcome Sandra Tyler of A Writer Weaves A Tale! Sandra is one of the first bloggers I met online when I started blogging three years ago, and she has always been so kind and supportive of Menopausal Mother. Over the years, she has given me the help and guidance needed to make this blog a success, and I owe her a HUGE thank you!

     Sandra is not only an extraordinary writer, she's also the fabulous Editor-in-Chief of the eclectic magazine, The Woven Tale Press. Just take a peek at her bio and you'll understand why I'm so excited to be able to showcase this talented woman's work with you here today. Please welcome Sandra to Meno Mama's site with lots of comment love…..and a pot of coffee sure would be nice, too! Enjoy!


I was making dinner. My mother called in great distress: “I can’t get it open. The chicken.”

Meals for my mother have become an issue, so on my weekly visits, I’ll either bring her meals to freeze, or pick up precooked meals like recently, a roasted chicken, that came in a convenient plastic storage container.
 Well, I assumed it was convenient….

“It has a lid on it,” I said. “You just have to take the lid off.”
“I know it’s got a lid, I haven’t completely lost it…”  she snipped, the kind of comment she can make when I remind her about an upcoming doctor’s appointment; one she may remember is on a Friday, but unable to find her datebook, she neglects to write down what Friday.
I’ve resorted to these precooked chickens for ourselves, so I was familiar with the “convenience” of this container, a plastic lid fitted over a black plastic base. 
There was a loud raucous crackling of plastic.  “I’ve been struggling with this forhours…”
It could actually have been hours. Or at least as long as it can take for her to get dressed in the morning, her aching hip making it hard to pull up her socks and tie shoes; as long as it could take to settle into the passenger side of my car, her feet just inside the door jam so I could finally shut the door; as long as a short walk could turn into a long one, barely getting us back before dusk; as long as she could pour over charitable solicitations or the fine print of medical side effects of her prescriptions.
“The lid has a little lip or handle on one corner,” I said. “Lift that up.”
“There’s no lip. It’s sealed shut tight.” These days, I’m rarely right. I win few arguments. Like the one we have most often, about her leaving the phone off the hook. Even after a Verizon customer service rep confirmed for me that a busy signal means it’s off the hook, not call waiting. “It’s not off the hook,” she always asserts. “It’s broken. I need new phones.”
Okay, so we buy new phones every six months or so….
I put my own phone on speaker, as dinner was burning  too late. The rice was stuck to the bottom of the pot. The broccoli reduced to mush. Just how the boys refuse to eat it, “puke green and mushy.” It was hard enough to produce for them the perfect palatable texture without simultaneously having to help my mother open a plastic chicken container long distance.
With the speaker on, the plastic crackling grew louder, like a super bad phone connection.
Little Bro came in, opened the refrigerator. “What’s that noise?”
“Gramma. No snacks. Dinner’s soon.” Daily, we have this refrigerator confrontation, when one or the other of my boys wants cheese sticks just before sitting down.
“I’m taking a steak knife to it,” Gramma said.
Little Bro’s big blue eyes grew wide. “A knife? To what?”
“A chicken,” I said, distractedly, cursing internally, somewhere deep down in my bowels, or maybe in the core of my liver I’d neglected to put our own main course in the oven. Chicken. Drumsticks. 
My little six year old’s big blue eyes grew bigger. “Gramma’s killing a chicken?”
This is so stupid!” came Gramma’s voice too loud and succinct from the counter beside the sink where I’d laid her down. Precariously close to a pile of chopped onions.We both looked at her. A cordless phone. Such a large dreary contraption compared to my sleek iPhone, but whose speaker mode nonetheless was far more effective.
Little Bro’s surprised look turned to one of scorn. “Why’s it always ok for Gramma to say stupid and not us?”
“No cheese sticks.”
“Then what’s for dinner?” 
I was at a loss for words. “Rice and broccoli.”
He crinkled his nose. “Is that it?”
“You can have cheese sticks.” That now was the main course.
Then came my mother’s voice small and tinny behind the loud crackling of plastic. “You have me on speaker?”She hates when I multitask. To keep from doing so, I often resort to the cord phone upstairs so I’m chained to a wall. Except when I’m making dinner. Which I’d forgotten to put in the oven, anyway.
The crackling stopped for a moment.
“Gramma, what are you doing to a chicken?” Little Bro asked.
“Just trying to open it, Dear.” Her voice was even and joyful as when they’d play double solitaire together.
I took the phone off speaker, turned off the stove and left the room. I heard Little Bro opening the refrigerator, rummaging through a drawer for the cheese sticks, and anticipated the trail of wrappers he would leave behind as he would his dirty socks.
But when my mother is upset, my brain seizes and I can only focus on her crisis at hand. Last week, she’d called to announce that she couldn’t find her purse.  I’d suggested she look under the bed. 
“Of course, I looked under the bed. There’s a gremlin in the house. It’s not under my bed. Neither are my slippers. He took those too.”
The purse was under her bed, where she couldn’t see it, and so were her slippers, both which her cleaning lady found the next day.
I sat in the hall, on the bottom stair. I was whispering now, in my most pacifying voice. One that I try to hold just steady enough so that I can sound daughterly without patronizing. “Mom, I don’t think it’s actually sealed shut.”
“Of course it is. Then why otherwise would it take me hours to open a container of chicken?” I could hear her stabbing now, at the plastic container. “Oh, why does everything have to be so complicated?”
There was truth to this. As much as she would argue with me about the phones, I could see how it would seem reasonable enough to put the phone back in the cradle having forgotten to press the off button. Or with all the buttons phones have now, even being able to find the off button.Then there are the simplest of things that have become near impossible, like opening a bottle of tonic water; working a can opener, her dominant hand greatly weakened by arthritis; opening a chicken container.
I thought about walking her through dissecting the chicken container, as through a surgery (having been watching too many Grey’s Anatomy reruns). “Mom, take the knife and slip it in between the clear plastic top section and bottom section.”
“Don’t you think I tried that? Just horrendous that anyone would do this to a person.” She was near tears, complaining as she does about the childproof pill bottles that she claims not even an adult can open. “This is not good for my blood pressure!”
Big Bro came downstairs, “Mom –“
“Not now.” It was happening. I was moving into snappy mode. From the living room, from our food-and-drink-stained couch, where I knew Little Bro sat peeling string cheese sticks, he said, “Gramma’s killing a chicken. She’s opening it up.”
“Pick up your wrappers,” I called out snappily, getting up to move into another room. The gerbil room. Oddly, their incessant chewing can calm me more than the $5 little fountain I bought on sale at CVS bubbling next to their tank.
“Wait, I’m getting it,” my mother said. “I’m just going to…hold on. I need two hands.”
She was the one to put me on speaker now.
“There. I got it.”
There was a moment of quiet, calm at both ends of the phone. That quiet of recouping after another little crisis in my mother’s daily struggle to retain her independence. My mother would be able to enjoy her precooked chicken now. And knowing how important it is for her to do just that, be independent, the survivor, really, that she’s always been, I was ok with overcooked rice, mushy broccoli and cheese sticks for dinner.

Author of Blue Glass, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and After Lydia, both published by Harcourt Brace; awarded BA from Amherst College and MFA in Writing from Columbia University; professor of creative writing on both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including at Columbia University, (NY), Wesleyan University (CT), and Manhattanvill College, (NY); served as assistant editor at Ploughshares and The Paris Review literary magazines, and production freelancer for GlamourSelf, and Vogue magazines; freelance editor; Stony Brook University’s national annual fiction contest judge; a 2013 Voices of the Year. Editor of The Woven Tale Press magazine.  (Please link to site!)