Friday, November 17, 2017

Fly On The Wall In November

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


     The fly buzzing around my house can easily see that this is my absolute FAVORITE TIME OF THE YEAR! Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve---I love it all. It's a special time to share with family and close friends, to reflect on all the wonderful moments in our lives, and to be thankful for our blessings.

     But let's be real......I'm also pretty damn pumped about the turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie, not to mention a few games of cornhole in the backyard and listening to my kids sing and play their guitars around the fire pit after dinner. I strive to make each holiday better than the last, because the three empty chairs at my table remind me how precious our time here on earth really is. As always, I miss my father, mother, and sister, when the holidays roll around, but I'm incredibly grateful for my children and husband, who continue the tradition of love and laughter around the dinner table.

Speaking of laughter, there was plenty of it around the house this past month with conversations like this going on:


"You walked the dogs, right? Did everyone poop outside?
"Well, the dogs did, but I haven't yet."

"We've got the whole crew coming over again this year for Thanksgiving dinner."
"You mean we've got all the 'gobblers' coming over for dinner."

"Don't mix the good red wine with the cheap stuff that's left in your glass."
"I'd NEVER do that. What do you think I am---some sort of red wine savage??"

"Insomnia again, huh? Can't get your brain to shut off?"
"What brain?"

"I have to pick up the company donuts on Friday morning for the meeting. There might be several missing by the time I get to the office."

"We should keep dental floss in the kitchen. It would make things easier after dinner."
"Screw that---we need to keep dental floss in every room."

"I accidentally put tanning lotion on my toothbrush."
" I don't think your molars would look good with a tan."

"Milton's Paradise Lost was required reading for you in high school? I'm from the sticks, and the only sophisticated, required reading we had was Green Eggs And Ham."

"Thanksgiving is the best holiday......I love watching the Macy's Day Parade, sharing the day with our family, gathering around the table for dinner, and counting all of our blessings."
"You're not fooling anyone. It's the biggest feast day of the year, and other than Christmas, it's the only time you get a free pass on calories!"


     Have a lovely Thanksgiving, everyone. I'll see you again once all the turkey leftovers have been devoured.



****WANT MORE MENO MAMA? Halloween marked the 8th anniversary of my sister's death. I wrote something new recently to honor her memory, and I'd love to share it with you. It is one of my most favorite pieces that I've ever written, so I hope you'll take the time to read it. Please check out The Fury Of Bereavement, published by Purple Clover. 


Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado                  http://www.BakingInATornado. com
Menopausal Mother                     http://www.menopausalmom.com/
Searching for Sanity                 http://singlemumplusone. blogspot.com
Spatulas on Parade                    http://spatulasonparade. blogspot.com/
Never Ever Give Up Hope                   https://batteredhope.blogspot. com
Bookworm in the Kitchen             http://www. bookwormkitchen.com/    
The Blogging 911                       http://theblogging911.com/ blog
                                                                                                                                          



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

How Cool-jams Can Help Night Sweats

     Last year on the blog, I wrote about some amazing wicking sleepwear I found that offered relief during my episodes with night sweats. I was so thrilled with my new pajamas, that I blogged about them (you can read it HERE).

     Today on the blog, I'm pleased to bring you more info about this fabulous wicking sleepwear from Cool-jams, and to let you know about a special giveaway they are offering my readers!


                        How Cool-jams Can Help Night Sweats



When you hear the word menopause, one of the first things you likely think of is hot flashes. Symptoms of hot flashes include a sudden warming sensation, a flushed appearance, rapid heartbeat, perspiration, and a cold feeling as the hot flash dissipates. Hot flashes are believed to be causes by changes in hormones and changes in the hypothalamus (the body's temperature regulator). Hot flashes that occur at night are called night sweats. One of the major causes of sleep disruption in menopausal women is night sweats. While you can't prevent night sweats, you can find relief with the proper sleepwear. 

Cool-jams™ offers a specially-designed collection of moisture-wicking pajamas, nightgowns, separates and travel sleepwear to help bring you relief from night sweats. Our collection comes in a stylish selection of designs and silhouettes that look like regular sleepwear, except they keep you more comfortable while sleeping.. Cool-jams™ sleepwear is made from a quality fabric that looks and feels like soft cotton, but has the remarkable ability to pull moisture and perspiration away from the skin to the outside of the fabric and then dries very quickly. The breathable fabric helps to enhance the drying rate to keep your body cool, dry and comfortable. In addition, this proprietary fabric helps eliminate bacteria-causing odor to help keep you feeling fresh. 

Our vast selection of designs and beautiful color assortment lets you fill your sleepwear collection with lots of options. From short nightshirts with long sleeves to racerback tank nightgowns and mix and match PJ toppers and pants, there's something for year-round wear. 

You'll love how soft and silky our sleepwear feels against the skin. The incredible drape and smoothness comes from a very thin micro-fiber yarn with four times the filaments of other yarns. The cotton-like feeling of our sleepwear is strong and durable, wrinkle-resistant, snag-resistant and quick drying. Caring for them is as easy as caring for your delicate clothing. Simply wash them in warm or cold water using mild detergent and avoid using chlorine bleach, fabric softeners, dryer sheets or dryer balls. Hang to dry or tumble dry on low temperature setting. 

The folks at Cool-jams have offered to give away a $50 gift certificate for Cool-jams Sleepwear to one of my lucky readers. To enter this giveaway, just visit https://www.cool-jams.com/contact.html  and let them know which style you like best. Select "Cool-jams Contest” from the dropdown menu on the Contact Form and enter which item you want to win in the comment section. Contest ends November 23, 2017. Good luck!



***To read more articles on Cool-jams, visit: https://www.cool-jams.com/resources.html

Friday, November 10, 2017

Winter Writers Series: Guest Post By Emily Gaffney

     I'm so thrilled to have Emily Gaffney, who writes over at 50 Shades of Aging, on the site today! Talk about a woman I can relate to!! Not only does she have a great sense of humor, but she's also a mid-lifer and an empty nester. A few weeks ago, Emily featured me on her site, and I asked her if she would be so kind as to share one of her inspirational posts here because I KNOW you guys are gonna love her!

     Please welcome Emily to Meno Mama's site today with lots of comment love!

                  IF I ONLY HAD A BRAIN.......

The speed with which I lost my membership in the Yummy Mummy club was crushing. I was an energetic, reasonably hot, 48 year old woman with comparatively taut skin, a head full of (almost) naturally brown hair, and a healthy amount of fine lines. My days were filled with GTL (gym-tan-laundry), volunteer work, and raising children. I had energy, ambition and a brain. 
Seemingly overnight, I was an aging, 50 year old mother of five grown kids, sporting gray roots, rosacea, lines in my upper lip, and hiding my neck under fashionable scarves. Most distressing was that my once highly functioning brain, had become a vast wasteland, operating at a snail’s pace. 
To say I was losing my memory would be a gross understatement. Forgetting what I had for dinner was normal. Forgetting what to do at a green light, was not. With a family history of brain cancer, and a father who just barely pre-deceased Alzheimers, I had valid reason for concern. I hoped I was just an average, middle aged woman suffering from average, middle age menopause....nothing a little estrogen couldn’t fix. I began my memory recovery mission with a visit to the gynecologist. 
The doctor shared the blood test results:
So...looks like you’ve been through menopause for about 10 years, but I see you’re still taking the pill? Let’s get you off that... Although not likely, it could be contributing to your memory issues... and the chances of you getting pregnant at 50 are slim. 
Whoooaa....ah... no... “slim” and 50 are not “chances” I’m willing to take.  
Well, we can start with a very low dose of estrogen, and ween you off slowly. We’ll check back in a month, and see how your memory’s doing.
Although optimistic at the outset, it didn’t take long to realize that HRT should rightly stand for WTF. All those years on the pill had apparently staved off aging in measurable ways. I anticipated hot flashes, fatigue and possibly dry nether-lands. What I got, however, was dry and thinning hair, gravity induced muscle loss, and collagenically challenged skin. Clearly my new estrogen level was inadequate. The dreaded phrase “you look good for your age” played like a broken record in my head... the kiss of death for a woman whose identity had been in part, defined by her appearance in younger days. No more “unwanted attention” from men (Husband excluded). My invisibility was cemented, and I still had the memory of a gnat.
More unsettling was the emotional fall out from my depleted estrogen. I braced for mood swings, indifference and fatique, but was met with depression and mourning over the loss of my 48 year old self. This minimal change in hormones, was having maximum physical, mental and emotional effect on me. I spent more time at home, and more time alone. My waning confidence was evident in my posture as well as my attitude. I was also sure I’d never be able to put two thoughts together, or craft a meaningful sentence again.  
Menopause (or, in my case, super post-menopause) hit me hard. I came to fully understand the mighty power of estrogen. I returned to my gynecologist after a month and detailed my hormonal woes. Her response was to up my daily dose... Cancer be damned. I was sure the negative effects of menopause would be reversed and I’d be the female Benjamin Buttons. But they weren’t... and I wasn’t. My brain was still on pause.
Lingering concerns about the big “C” lead me to my GP who thought I should see a neurologist. He intimated that I might consider a neuropsychological evaluation first; “It’ll give the neurologist more information to work with.” Truth be told, he thought I was losing it. 
Weeks later, after a full day of mind games and mental gymnastics, test results showed  no red flags or flashing red lights. For better or for worse, I was apparently “average,” and “within normal range.” Good news for those living with me, but my brain was still a sieve.   
The last effort on behalf of my memory recovery mission was to go right to the source; a brain scan. I struggled - would I rather succumb to the malady being investigated, or suffer through a slow and torturous MRI? With an “open” MRI option, I chose the latter. 
The neurologist was completely unimpressed with my colorful scan.  Again, tears trickled down my cheeks, but at least I had a “base line” for down the road, when I would certainly need it. 
Ultimately, scientific and emotional testing showed there to be absolutely nothing clinically “wrong” with my brain. Somehow, days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, and after a year or so, I’d forgotten about my devastating, apparently non-existent, brain defect. Although my memory didn’t improve, my attitude about it did. Questioning other menopausal women, and reading books on the subject, assured me I wasn’t in this memory loss thing alone, and that it was just another part of being an aging woman...and being an aging woman was just another part of my changing identity.
By the end of brain-gate, my kids had all flown the coop, and, like all baby booming, empty nesters, I decided to become a Realtor. Dormant memory concerns resurfaced, and I doubted my ability to pass the state licensing exam. Flash cards, highlighting, and on-line quizzes shored me up, and seemingly rebooted my brain. All that studying made it possible for me to postulate, consider, conjugate, formulate, fabricate, and manipulate all kinds of information again. My brain was on fire for the first time in years... expanding exponentially... and it felt great. I just couldn’t get enough of thinking or writing. First for real estate issues, and then for pleasure. 
These days, I don’t perseverate on what’s happening above my neck - inside or out. I understand that the operational success or failure of my brain and memory, are directly related to how much I use them. I’ve come to realize that my imagined “defect” was actually the result of simple inactivity. I’ve come to understand that my brain has muscle memory, and all I have to do to keep it in shape, is use it or lose it

With a clean bill of brain health, and my renewed confidence in all things written and oral, I’ve begun a new and exciting chapter in life. No longer fearful of forgetting everything I hear, or not remembering where I’m supposed to be, exciting opportunities are everywhere. I feel like a kid who’s just learned to ride a bike, and the open road is calling.  

Author Bio: 

Emily Gaffney is a post-menopausal, Baby Booming, Empty Nester who’s currently living life-on-hold, while her 91 year old mother (Right.Next.Door.) decides her next act. Emily’s days are filled with retail therapy, peddling real estate, and watching her friends on Bravo TV. She’s committed to throwing in the towel at 60, at which time she will joyfully end hair dying, weight watching and, working out. Find her (and Mom) at 50 Shades of Aging and on Facebook

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Natural Remedies For Hair Loss

     I've noticed that as I get deeper into menopause, I'm beginning to lose some of my hair, especially near my temples. Part of the problem may be due to me pulling my hair back in combs and ponytails every day. Since I've always been interested in ideas for  correcting hair loss, I'm happy to share a post today written by  Christina Morales on the all-natural remedies available for hair loss.


       Top 5 All-Natural Remedies To Cure Hair Loss



For women, hair is so much more than just hair. It’s our identity, a fashion statement and even provides a sense of security. If you have thinning hair or hair loss, this condition can be devastating but there are a variety of natural remedies for hair loss in women. Keep in mind though, if you have permanent alopecia none of these herbal remedies will help.

REMEDIES TO STOP HAIR LOSS
Hair loss can occur for many reasons. Here are some natural ways to prevent hair loss:
  1. Limit Damage to Your Hair – Excessive curling or straightening, putting your hair in tight updos, or brushing or washing it too much can cause thinning hair and hair breakage.
  2. Reduce Stress – Relationships gone wrong, a stressful job, and money problems are all huge stressors that can cause your hair to fall out. Exercise, meditation or taking up a hobby to reduce stress can help to bring your body back into balance.
  3. Add Biotin – Biotin, also called Vitamin B7, is extremely important for growing healthy hair. Oats, soybeans, nuts, broccoli, spinach, brewer’s yeast, potatoes, bananas, and cauliflower are all good sources of biotin.
  4. Block Dihydrotestosterone – Dihydrotestosterone is a hormone that kills hair follicles. Consuming saw palmetto or licorice blocks the formation of this hormone to prevent hair loss.
  5. More Vitamin C – Vitamin C (which is also called ascorbic acid) is one of the most effective and safest nutrients. Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron which is needed to prevent hair loss. Citrus fruits are a great source of Vitamin C.

REMEDIES TO PROMOTE HAIR REGROWTH
There are many ways to promote healthy hair growth. Here are some hair regrowth remedies that you can easily adapt into your lifestyle:
  1. Add Protein and Iron to Your Diet – Protein helps to strengthen the building blocks in your body. You should be eating two to three 3-ounce servings of meat or approximately four to five servings of dairy and beans each day to give your body the nutrition it needs to rebuild your cells.
  2. Coconut Oil Massage – Coconut oil has been getting a lot of attention lately for its many amazing benefits. When you slightly heat up coconut oil and massage it on your scalp, this will increase blood flow to the hair follicles to strengthen and condition them.
  3. The Benefits of Aloe Vera – Aloe Vera is a great option to promote hair growth and you can easily apply the juice or gel onto your scalp. Aloe Vera contains an enzyme called proteolytic that helps in repairing the dead skin cells on the scalp. This treatment can also be used as a conditioner to promote smooth, shiny hair and to manage dandruff or an itchy scalp.
  4. What’s a Vasodilator? – Vasodilators open up the blood vessels in the scalp therefore increasing blood and oxygen for healthy hair growth. Safflower and potassium rich foods like bananas are good sources of vasodilators.
  5. Rinse With Apple Cider Vinegar – This traditional remedy has been around for decades. Rinsing your hair with apple cider vinegar stimulates the hair follicles and maintains your hair’s pH balance which causes your hair to grow faster.
Sources
“Natural Ways to Strengthen Hair”. WebMD. Accessed October 3, 2017. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hair-loss/features/natural-treatments-for-hair-loss#1
“19 Amazing Ways To Prevent Hair Loss In Women”. Organic Facts. Accessed October 3, 2017. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/other/home-remedies-for-hair-loss-in-women.html

Author: Christina Morales
Bio: This article was written on behalf of Periscope Group, a consumer advocacy group that provides support, education and direct connection to legal counsel for those that have been injured by an unsafe drug or device.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Things That Make You Say, "Ugh!"

     We all have those craptastic days when multiple things go wrong. Bad things. Some call it Murphy's Law. Others simply refer to it as a streak of bad luck. I like to blame my misfortune on gremlins, because it's easier to blame them, rather than admit that I may or may not have done something stupid.

     I was inspired to write a post about the things that make me say, "UGH!" after reading my friend Seanna's blog---The Seanna Method, on this very same subject. She came up with quite a few things that drive her crazy, but I have some more pet peeves of my own to add to the list, such as:


Stepping outside your back door in the morning, right into a pile of dog poo....barefoot.

When you just finish waxing the car and it rains.

Digging out slimy food particles that are stuck in the dish drain <gag>

When someone puts the toilet paper roll on backwards. Savages!

You think you're done folding that mountain of laundry only to find that the dryer is packed with more clothes. Hey, at least they're clean!

When you're trying to stick to your diet and the kids bring home a large pizza....with extra pepperoni on top.

You get out of the shower, towel off, and realize you forgot to shave your legs. Decision time: shave or be mistaken for Bigfoot.

When you're napping on a Sunday afternoon and the kids pop over for a surprise visit...with three of their loudest friends.

The way your stomach feels when you overdo it.....such as after a Thanksgiving feast and that second helping of pumpkin pie you should have skipped.

You accidentally wash your new t-shirt in hot water and it shrinks down two sizes. Your shirt is now a crop top. Welcome to the 80's!

When you've sworn off sugar for the month, and someone shows up at work with a box of donuts.

You're late for an appointment but you can't find the car keys you had in your hand five minutes ago. Early dementia?


When its 90 degrees out, you're hot flashing, and the A/C quits.

You're more than halfway done writing an email or essay online and the internet goes out. And of course, you forgot to SAVE the document.

When you're trying to get some sleep but your neighbors have gone out for a late evening and left their non-stop barking dog outside.


You're late for work and drive six blocks from home before realizing you might not have locked the front door.

When you're in the middle of watching a really good television program and the cable goes out.

Solicitations for bank loans, credit card debt, and people looking for donations to save wayward cats, who phone your home during the dinner hour. Don't even get me started on the political phone calls......

When friends stop by your house unannounced and you haven't bothered to clean the place in a week. Even worse when you've just microwaved cabbage and salmon for dinner and the house smells like a fishing wharf.


     Can you relate to these troublesome situations? What sort of things make you say, "UGH!" ??

****WANT MORE MENO MAMA?  This past week I had two essays featured on different sites! Read about my Zumba class bonding experience at Her View From Home. Then check out my perspective on the elderly and how they are being shunned by today's youth-oriented society, which you can find at Fifty Shades Of Aging.






Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Winter Writer Series: Guest Post By Juju Hook

     I'm so pleased to have Juju Hook, author of the new book, Hot Flashes, Carpools, and Dirty Martinis--The Quintessential Guide for Turning Midlife into PrimeTime on the site today! I met Juju online through social media, and was immediately intrigued by her quirky, midlife humor. She was kind enough to send me a copy of her book, along with a lovely martini set-up. That's when I knew she was my kind of gal! I love her comedic style of writing, and wanted to share her book with you, dear readers, because so many of you will relate to what she writes! 

     Juju has graciously agreed to share an excerpt from her book on Meno Mama's site. After you take a look, please click on her Amazon link and order your copy today! 


                   MY JERRY SPRINGER SHOW MORNING

I was 35 when our son, Christian, took his first breath. We had him late by parenting industry standards. That put all of us in the unenviable positions, years later, of me beginning early menopause just around the time Christian was reaching puberty. Menopause and puberty go together like beer and ice cream. For about a year, our house was constantly in a low state of rumble, right on the edge of serious upset.

One morning when Christian was 13, we had a Jerry Springer Show episode in our house. It left me sitting on the edge of his bed, with him having just climbed out his second-story window into a rainstorm. And me with my head in my hands, pajamas smelly and soaked, asking myself through the olive-tinged fog of a martini hangover, “How the hell did we get here?”

This episode also launched me into a new career.

I had awakened that Friday morning to the sound of rain pounding on our clay-tile roof. The pounding in my head was an echo. The night before, I’d made a bold choice to forego the Pinot Noir I’d come to love (and trust) with dinner, and instead enjoy a couple of dirty martinis. My rationale was entirely sound. The recent shift in my hormones had played a cruel trick on my relationship with velvety red wines. The wine still went down like a charm, but the days that followedno matter how small the quantity consumedhad become painful, muddled, gloomy, and unproductive. I’d wisely decided to try something different.

I’d also hot-fashed through the night, in a repeated cycle that was longer but every bit as reliable as the cycle of waves that tumbled onto our beloved Ponto State Beach down the street. The cycle began the moment I fell into my deepest sleep, and repeated once every 20 minutes until the 6:00 a.m. alarm. Each time, I’d be pulled out of a serene and glassy slumber by an internal heat wave that would rise and crest gloriously at what felt like a thousand degrees. Then I would kick off the covers in a fit and drift back to sleep. Moments later, I’d be woken againdrenched from sweat, totally exposed, teeth chatteringas the wave crashed, right at the edge of my sanity.

One of the few pursuits more frustrating than struggling to sleep through hot flashes is fighting to wake a pubescent boy. So while the morning alarm marked the end of one battle, it signaled the beginning of the next. My body was awake. But my sense of humor would need a while to catch up.

Groggy and preoccupied, I headed downstairs to the kitchen, an angry and insistent voice in my head screaming, “COFFEE, COFFEE, COFFEE!” As I walked off the last step, my bare foot landed squarely in a plushly carpeted puddle of freezing water.

It was on like fucking Donkey Kong.

My in-laws were in the house that morning. They were wintering with us, having recently flown in from Germany, which helped to create the perfect storm. The entire situation was intensified by the actual storm that had seized San Diego after months of drought, and by my lack of attention to the sticky slurry of leaves and dirt that had clogged our rain gutters in the meantime.

The small lake that snapped me out of my stupor was about three inches deep and ran the length of our hallway. It took me only 10 frantic seconds to discover the source. At the rate of approximately one bucket per minute, water from outside was gushing through the vent into the laundry room, just on the other side of my in-law’s bedroom wall.

While my screams of “SHIT, SHIT, SHIT!” were not a terribly elegant way to wake the sleeping Germans, they were effective. In a split second, we were all standing in the hallway, our pajama bottoms soaked, staring at one another like passengers on a sinking ship.

German in-laws, as beautiful chance would have it, are the best possible houseguests in a moment of non-existential crisis. They know what to do when shit hits the fan. And they are unbelievably efficient at getting it done.

In a literal flash, my father-in-law was outside assessing the lake that had formed along the side of the house. Seconds later, he was on the roof (torrential downpour be damned), scooping leaves from the gutter. My mother-in-law grabbed a broom and, before I could shout a single obscenity more, began sweeping water from the laundry room into the garage. I gathered towels, rugs, and finally the dirty laundry, to sop up what she couldn’t sweep.

Nearly 45 minutes whizzed by before I realized I’d forgotten to wake the sleeping teen.

Today was an especially bad day for a late awakeningMastery Learning Day. This would set the stage for an emotional terrorist attack from which we wouldn’t recover until hours later. And for an existential crisis for me that took me the better part of two years to clean up. (Sadly, my German in-laws had no efficient solution for this.)

Mastery Learning Day was a hallowed occasion and somewhat new to our family. The process at The Grauer School, where Christian was a new seventh-grader at the time, works like this. The students are required to set a Mastery Learning Level in each class of no lower than 80%. They must complete every assignment at or above that grade level, even if it means reworking it several times. Using this system, the students master subjects before moving on. On the last day of the quarterdubbed Mastery Learning Daythey must submit portfolios for each class, organized to include every assignment from the prior 13 weeks.

There’s a tasty carrot for the kids on this special day. If they present their fully organized portfolios and obtain signatures from every teacher, they earn a half day off school to muck around and celebrate. Otherwise, they’re required to hang out at school and finish whatever assignments are missing or not up to par, while their friends are out having a blast.

This was to be our family’s second experience with Mastery Learning Day. The first had been a veritable shit show, filled with drama and tears. Christian was upset as well. He had to complete three hours of make-up math work while the other kids hung at the beach, and he sulked for days afterwards. 

If you’ve ever met any 13-year-old boys, you know that “organized” is a wholly unnatural state for these perpetually preoccupied creatures. So you can imagine my trepidation as Isoaked, sleep-deprived, still in fight-or-flight mode, and without my morning coffeeclimbed the stairs to his room, knowing that today organization would be the key to the kingdom.

I threw open the door, switched on the light, and shouted......

WANT MORE??? Buy the book and you can read the rest HERE

AUTHOR BIO: 



Juju Hook is a brand strategist, author, coach, and speaker dedicated to rebranding middle age for women. Her goal is to inspire one million women to live out the second half of their lives with more passion and joy than the first. Her proprietary system uncovers the 1 question, 3 problems, and 6 lies that midlife women must recognize and overcome in order to live out the dreams that they’ve set aside—or kept hidden—until now. Using Juju's system, women turn midlife into PrimeTime, and free themselves to pursue goals that have, until now, been beyond their wildest imagination. And in the process, they become a whole lot happier, and groovier to be around.

Juju is a firm believer in both big, hairy goals and the enduring truth the past is not a reliable predictor of the future. She ran her first marathon at 40, completed her 200-hour yoga teacher certification at 45, ran her first triathlon (an Ironman 70.3) at 46, and walked away from a 25-year-career and started an online business at 47. 

And at 50, she wrote her first book: Hot Flashes, Carpools, and Dirty Martinis--The Quintessential Guide for Turning Midlife into PrimeTime. 

Juju lives in San Diego with her husband, her son, and her Golden Retriever.



Friday, October 27, 2017

Winter Writer Series: Guest Post By Margaret Lashley

     I'm thrilled to have Margaret Lashley, author of Glad One: Starting Over Is A @%&%#! , on the blog today! I "met" Margaret online in one of the social media writer's groups that I belong to, and immediately felt that I had found a kindred spirit. Margaret has written several funny, women's fiction books, and today she is generously sharing a chapter from her latest. On Amazon, the book is described as, "Glad One is a satirical look at divorce, single-hood and climbing back up the social scale told through the eyes of a sarcastic, reluctantly redneck woman who's a magnet for the absurd."

     I'm already hooked after reading several chapters----Margaret's humor is something I can certainly relate to, and I think that you will, too!


                         GLAD ONE: STARTING OVER IS A @%&%#!


St. Petersburg, Florida only had two seasons – summer and not- summer-yet. It was not-summer-yet, but just barely. I first met Glad on May 10, 2009. I remember because I was trying to make the most of “The end of days.” I called the first two weeks of May that because anybody with any sense (translation, not a tourist or a transplant), didn’t venture out in the Florida sun between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. from the middle of May to the end of October. Not if they could help it, that is. And with no job at the time, I could help it.
I was determined to get to Sunset Beach early that Sunday. Not just to beat the heat, but the five-dollar fee as well. If I got there before the lot attendant, I could park for free at Caddy’s, my favorite beach bar.

I was attracted to Sunset Beach for three reasons. One, it was gorgeous – sugar-white sand and water the color of a fresh robin’s egg. Two, the tourists hadn’t discovered it yet. And three, it was the only local strip of beach that allowed open containers (aka BYOB alcohol). Caddy’s bar sat right on gorgeous Sunset Beach, sandwiched between a patch of virgin sand dunes and a recently erected, three-story McMansion the color of pumpkin puke.

In stunning contrast to the prissy new house, Caddy’s was pure, relaxed, old-school Florida. To be honest, it wasn’t much more than an old beach shack with a front porch and a rooftop deck scabbed onto it with bent nails and duct tape. The bottom floor facing the Gulf didn’t even have an exterior wall. If it rained hard or the temperature dropped below 65 degrees, the easy-going folks at Caddy’s unfurled plastic flaps like tent windows against the inclement weather. But on good days, which were most days, there’d be nothing between Caddy’s tipsy patrons and the turquoise Gulf of Mexico but a hundred feet of squeaky, blindingly white sand. Caddy’s fit right in with its laid-back vibe, good food, live music and a full liquor bar. Being a native Floridian, I appreciated that it wasn’t a tiki bar. After all, this was not freaking Hawaii.

When I got to the beach that morning, I’d planned on getting in a stroll before the humidity turned the air to soup, and then the sun heated that soup to steam. I thought about splurging for breakfast at one of Caddy’s picnic tables on the beach afterward. But being a loner, and on a budget as tight as last year’s jeans, I decided against it.

It was Mother’s Day. Not being a mother myself, or having one I was keen to celebrate, I planned to let the day go by as unnoticed as possible. I got lucky and pulled into the lot in time to avoid the attendant. I slipped off my flip-flops and shorts and put them on the floorboard of Shabby Maggie, my 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint convertible.

I had to admit it. Maggie suited me. Today’s cars all looked the same. I couldn’t have told a Prius from a Pontiac to save my life. But those older cars like Maggie had style. With her curvy, Batmobile rear-end, cherry-red upholstery and Wimbledon-white exterior, Maggie was a classic beauty. All the nicks and dents and faded spots reminded her she’d seen better days. Boy, could I relate.

As I reached into the backseat for my beach bag and chair, a loud wolf whistle rang out over the rumble of a diesel engine. I didn’t even waste the energy to look up. Instead, I just shook my head and wondered what desperate soul could find the sight of my flabby ass in bathing suit worth that much effort. I hoisted my beach chair under one arm, hooked my bag over the other and picked my way across the crushed-shell parking lot.

As I reached the white picket fence leading out to the beach, I spied an old woman lying on a lounger a good fifty feet from the shoreline. I’d seen her there countless times over the last few months. She was a wiry, leather-skinned old bat who, had I met on the street, I’d have labeled a bag lady. But there at the beach she fit right in. Maybe stripping down to a bathing suit somehow leveled the playing field.

To be honest, she reminded me a lot of my friend Berta, a crusty old psychologist from New York. We’d shared some laughs together in Italy, and she’d helped me get through some tough times in Germany. Before she died, Berta had warned me about making friends with strangers. I hadn’t heeded her advice then, but I was trying to now. I couldn’t afford another disastrous mistake.

The old woman always set up camp near the same wispy clump of sea oats, so it had been easy to avoid her so far. That day, however, my luck finally ran out. The wind blew sand in my eye, and as I fumbled along trying to get it out, I’d wandered blindly within earshot of her.

“Nice toe rings,” she croaked in a scarred, toady voice that perfectly matched her appearance.
Sprawled out on a pink, plastic beach lounger, she reminded me of one of those dried-up frogs you can still find now and then in politically incorrect souvenir shops.

I was running on just one cup of coffee that morning, so it took a moment to realize she was talking to me. I sighed and wiped my eye again.

“Thanks.” I turned to take a step toward the water, but the old woman wasn’t having it.

“Wanna beer?”

She grinned at me from under a pink Gilligan hat. Her oversized dentures looked clownish, wedged between two wide smears of bright-red lipstick.

“It’s Sunday, you know. They ain’t servin’ booze ’til ’leven today.”

Her salty-sweet Southern accent had a familiar ring. I’d spent three decades trying to rid myself of one just like it. She tilted her head and motioned toward a small cooler nestled in the sand beside her. I shook my head.

“No thanks. I’m good.”

I forced a smile and gave her a quick once-over. The old lady was one shade up from mahogany and as wrinkled as a linen pantsuit after a high-stakes game of Twister. Her arms and legs looked like four Slim Jims sticking out of a neon green bathing suit. It was the kind of simple, one-piece suit women over forty wear. One that supports the boobs and hides the belly. I was grateful for her modesty.

Freckles and white spots covered the old woman’s dark-brown arms and legs. The Florida sun hadn’t been kind. She could have been fifty-five or ninety-five. With hard-core beach bums, it was impossible to tell. But given the full-on dentures, I placed her in her late sixties – at the youngest.

“Okie dokie then, have it your way,” Slim Jim said.

She watched me carefully from behind black, bug-eyed sunglasses. Her gaze never shifted as she reached instinctively into the cooler, pulled out a can, then cracked the tab on a family-size Fosters. I turned and took another step toward the water when I thought I heard her say, “Screw you, Kiddo.”

I whirled around to face her.

“What?” I asked, thinking I must have heard her wrong......



Want to read more? You can buy the book HERE!

BIO:

A lover of laughter and aficionado of the absurd, author Margaret Lashley brings her unique, sideways look at the world to the page in her hilarious and irreverent Val & Pals series of seriously funny women's fiction. Each of her books explores the ups and downs of being a woman while mining life for all the laughs along the way. 

She also penned How to be Happy When Life Treats You Crappy, a personal workbook based on her world-wide travels in search of what makes people resiliently happy. Margaret is a native Floridian and lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. Write to her at: Contact@margaretlashley.com. She loves to hear from fans!

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