Friday, January 11, 2019

14 Things I Should (But I Probably Won't) Do In 2019

     I decided several years ago not to make New Year's resolutions after a series of failed attempts at improving myself. Not a whole lot of change going on over here at my age. I'm pretty happy right where I am, but it's nice to dream about certain resolutions coming true. Lose weight? Maybe a pound or two. Finish my memoir? Absolutely! But don't ask me to give up chocolate or lemon drop martinis because that will never happen.

     What else will I resolve (but fail) to do in 2019? Everything on the list below. You might even find a few of these on your own to-do list for the New Year.

1. Buy a Peloton bike for my morning workout. This will be great.....for about a month. By February, the bike will be used as a place to drop my clothes. I don't need an expensive laundry hamper like that.

2. Begin the Keto Diet. Everyone knows what happens with this resolution. It ends up being the Eat-O-Diet.

3. Be more patient with people. Which I can totally do until I get into my car. "WHAT THE HELL, DUDE, MOVE! IT'S A GREEN LIGHT! ARE YOU COLOR BLIND?"

3. Get organized. In theory, this is a wonderful idea. Usually I start with the Tupperware drawer in my kitchen. But after finding ten containers and only two matching lids, I get frustrated and quit. I'm pretty sure those lids were abducted by the same aliens who stole the other half of my matching sock sets from the dryer.

4. More "me time" for pampering. I'd love to try goat yoga twice a week. Just remind me not to leave my mat unattended for any length of time.

5. Travel the world and experience new cultures. The problem is that I don't fly. As soon as someone builds a bridge over the Atlantic, I'm sure I'll get there.

6. Resolve to make amends with the people who treated me crappy in 2018. Nahhhhhh......I'll let karma handle that one.

7. Practice Five Minute Meditation. Which is fine, until it turns into a three hour nap.

8. Drink less alcohol. HAHAHAHAHA.

9. Save Money. Does this means I can no longer collect sequined poop emoji totes??

10. Spend more time with family and friends. Does interaction on Snapchat count? Asking for a friend....

11. Lose Weight. This might work if my favorite source of entertainment wasn't rummaging around in the refrigerator every 30 minutes.

12. Find a new job. Sure, I could easily go from being a stay-at-home writer to being a stay-at-home professional napper.

13. Learn a new skill. There's no better time than 2019 to master playing beer pong with my left hand.

14. Volunteer time to a worthy cause. Since I'm allergic to grumpy old people, incontinent cats and cranky toddlers, it looks like a dolphin rehab center would be more my style.

     All kidding aside, my resolutions to love more and to treat each new day as a gift is an easy one to keep. 2018 was a mixed bag of emotions for me with health scares, political drama and hurtful people, but I finished out the year in the most spectacular way with the birth of a new granddaughter. And with the recent announcement of my son's upcoming nuptials in April, it looks like 2019 is already off to a great start. I'm really looking forward to what the new year has to offer. BRING IT ON, 2019!!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Sneak Peek: Lee Gaitan's New Book, "Lite Whines And Laughter"

     I'm so pleased to have author Lee Gaitan on the site today! I met Lee several years ago at the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop and absolutely adored her. She is a kind, witty woman with a bubbly personality and a caring heart. In 2013, Lee published her first book, My Pineapples Went To Houston, and now she has a new book out, Lite Whines and Laughter, which I think you will enjoy. I invited Lee on the blog today to share an excerpt from her hilarious new book. Please welcome her to Meno Mama's site with lots of comment love.....and BUY THE BOOK! It's GREAT!

                                                  Lost in Translation

If you’ve ever been offered baked goods made “from scratching” or asked if you give hard “testes,” there’s a good chance you teach English as a Second Language (ESL). Our crazy language is a minefield of unintended consequences, just waiting to ambush new learners. One seemingly insignificant change in spelling or pronunciation can affect meaning in a very significant way.  I had the same experience a few years ago when I changed one teensy little vowel in Italian and instead of asking for my room key ended up inviting a hotel clerk in Florence to have sex with me. In the most explicit terms possible. (Not that I was opposed to the idea, mind you, but I still needed my key.) 
Those teensy little changes will get you every time. That’s all it took for one of my favorite students to become temporarily—but hilariously—lost in translation. Olga had been in the U.S. only a few weeks when she enrolled in my adult ESL class. One day she came to my room about fifteen minutes early and we began chatting. She told me how hard she was working outside of class to improve her English. She had started reading the newspaper in English, she said, and as a result, she’d made an important life decision.
“I read an article about how is good for the woman to have the condom,” she told me with great certainty. “So, I decide I want buy the condom.” 
As Diet Coke was shooting out of my nose, she quickly reassured me of the wisdom of her plan.
Si, si, Lee, I think is very good idea,” she insisted, nodding her head vigorously. “You have the condom, Lee?” she asked.
“Well, not on me,” I said, a little flustered. “I don’t really, I mean, my husband had a vas—um, never mind. No, I don’t have a condom.”  
She was looking at me quizzically when suddenly—pop—the light bulb flipped on for her, but not quite all the way. “Oh, Lee, I know what you think. You think I am crazy. Is so much money for buy the condom.”
“No, it’s not that,” I said, puzzled. 
“No worry, Lee,” she continued. “Is cheap for me because I no buy new condom. I only buy used!” She dramatically drew out the word “used” for about three syllables.
I couldn’t even speak. All I could picture was a clothesline of freshly laundered condoms, just a-swinging in the breeze.
In my head I was screaming, Oh, dear God, here’s ten bucks—please splurge, buy new!
Then suddenly—pop—the light bulb again flipped on, but this time for me and, I was pretty sure, all the way. “Olga, what do you think a condom is?” I asked.
“Uh, is like apartment,” she answered with a casual shrug of her shoulders.
“No, my dear Olga, it is most certainly not like an apartment,” I said emphatically. 
I then filled her in on the difference between “condo” and “condom.”  One teensy little letter.
I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the particular shade of red her face turned. When the blood, shock and laughter finally receded, she shook her head and said, “Ah, si, it is like you say in the class. One little letter makes the big difference.”

Ah, si, indeed it does. And in this case, adding one teensy little “m” could be the difference between converting that spare bedroom in your condo into a home office…or a nursery.


Lee Gaitan is an award-winning author of two previous books, Falling Flesh Just Ahead, and the Amazon #1 bestseller My Pineapples Went to Houston—Finding the Humor in My Dashed Hopes, Broken Dreams and Plans Gone Outrageously Awry. Her work has been featured on The Huffington PostErma Bombeck Humor Writers’ WorkshopThe Good Men Project, Mothers Always Write and Bella Grace among others. Lee lives with her husband and dog in suburban Atlanta where she divides her time among speaking, writing, teaching and keeping tabs on her tri-continental family. 

Social Media Links

Amazon link to book

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Guest Author Angela Verges: "Menopause Ain't No Joke"

     Today on the blog I have the author of Menopause Ain't No Joke Angela Verges. The minute I saw the title of her book, I knew I had to invite her to my site to share some of her menopause wisdom with my readers. Angela has performed standup comedy with a skit titled, "Menopause Ain't No Joke" and her brand of comedy has also been shared at women's retreats, birthday parties and a pageant. Below is a brief summary of her book along with some sample excerpts for you to enjoy!

     Summary: "This collection of essays focus on the uncomfortable physical realities of menopause including hot flashes, unusual hair growth, and mood swings. Angela shares personal examples that reveal critical strategies for managing change: a sense of humor, reliance on scripture and an unfailing faith. The book includes stories or episodes in parenting my two teen boys as they were going through puberty as I was beginning menopause. At the end of each essay is a scripture and space to write a reflection.

    Menopause sample stories for review by Angela Verges

The Dental Visit

The hard leather like chair was in a reclined position. I rested my head against the back of the faux leather. My mouth was wide open. Dr. R. touched my gums with his metal dental instrument. He asked questions as he gave special attention to each of my teeth.
“Has anything changed since your last visit?”
“Yes, menopause,” I said.
“Oooh, yes,” Dr. R. dragged the words from his mouth. That can cause changes in your gums and teeth.
“Hmph, give it to me straight, Doc. How much time do I have left with this set of teeth?” I asked.
He didn’t give my teeth an expiration date. His cheekbones raised beneath the mask covering his mouth. A gentle smile was developing. I told Doctor R that from that point on I would be smiling every chance I got.
During a different visit Doctor R. examined my teeth further.  He pulled and tugged on my cheek, touched my teeth with a gloved hand and said, “Your teeth look great.”
I attempted a gurgled response, and he removed his hand. I smiled and said, “Thanks.” What I really wanted to says was, my teeth should look good, I bought most of them from you. Crowns, caps, fillings, oh, my.
“And he said unto them, ‘Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician heal thyself’: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.” Luke 4:23 KJV

Nutrition – Food for Thought

It’s expensive to eat healthy. I started a nutrition program with a group of ladies at the fitness gym where I have a membership. One of the ladies mentioned Ezekiel bread as something healthy to eat. I went to the store in search of this Ezekiel bread. At first I didn’t even know what they were saying.
I found this bread in the Organic section of the store and it cost $5.99. Yes, $5.99 for bread that had the name of a prophet from the Bible. My thought was…Is this bread expensive because it comes with a scripture or a prophetic word? “Thou shalt not overeat.”
Is this the biblical version of a fortune cookie? I’m not comparing the word of God to a fortune cookie. Well, I am, but I’m not saying this as being superficial. Both include a message. The Ezekiel bread does, in fact, have a scripture reference on the package.
We need manna to keep our bodies functioning, just like a car needs fuel. Sometimes you may choose the mid-grade gasoline for your vehicle; sometimes the high octane is your choice. Comparatively speaking, Ezekiel bread can be viewed as that high octane fuel that you sometimes choose for your body.
 “Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself.” Ezekiel 4:9

The Football Scrimmage

Commitment, dedication, devotion these are the things my teen son focuses on during football season. The same is required for parenting through football season. This was evident on the day of our first scrimmage of the season.
As I backed my car out of the garage, rain pelted the rear of the car. The sound of the drops increased in volume as the entire car emerged from the shelter of the garage.  I adjusted my windshield wipers from slow to medium speed.
There was a scattering of parents sitting on the metal bleachers when I arrived at the football field. I walked up with my stadium chair strapped on my shoulder, an umbrella in one hand, and a blanket under my arm. This game was the Blue and White game, where the varsity players scrimmaged each other rather than another team.
I stood along the chain-linked fence with my rain gear, debating whether I wanted to stand or sit. I stood, rain bouncing from my umbrella and my eyes scanning the field for my son. There were no numbers on the player’s shirts. I could not see my son’s signature dreadlocks dangling from his helmet.
Heavy raindrops pelted my umbrella and dripped onto the back of my pants. Within minutes I was soaked and still searching for my son. I kept my eyes on the defensive players, wondering why I was there. I couldn’t identify my son form the other players. Commitment, dedication, devotion.
Finally, I identified my son by his confident stride and blue Nike cleats. Mission accomplished. I saw my son maneuver a couple of plays, then shuffled my way back to my car. By this time, I felt like a toddler in a wet diaper. I just wanted to go home and change clothes.
Once in the car I sat a few minutes to collect my thoughts. This situation deserved to be a blog post. The players began to leave the field. The game was called due to the rain.
My son walked over to the car and said, “I’m mad that they stopped the game. We barely played.” For him, the rain was no obstacle. He just wanted to play. For this Mama, I wanted a fuzzy bath robe and socks.
“For this child I prayed and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him.” 
1 Samuel 1:27-28 ESV

Author Bio:

Angela Verges is an award winning humorist (in training, waiting to be discovered). She has shared humor through blogging, women’s retreats and other Christian venues. Angela is a graduate of Michigan State University and mother of two young adult sons. She uses humor to survive the throes of parenting. 

Angela is a lover of words, coffee, and books. Relaxing for Angela is sitting at her favorite coffee shop with her laptop, sipping steaming coffee and starring out a window. She encourages the use of humor for healing and believes you can relieve tension, one laugh at a time.
Social Media Links...
Facebook is Angela Verges
Instagram is writtermama223
Book is available at Amazon

Friday, December 21, 2018

Fly On The Wall During The Christmas Holiday

     Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings, hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today, four bloggers are welcoming you into their homes for a glimpse at what goes on behind closed doors.

     The fly buzzing around the Doyle house has witnessed a frenzy of holiday activity in preparation of Christmas Day. We've been shopping and baking and decorating like crazy, but more importantly, we've been spending time together in appreciation of who we are as a family.

     This year, Christmas is extra special with the addition of my second granddaughter. I was blessed to have my sweet Isabella, but now I am doubly blessed with angelic much to be thankful for this holiday season!

     I've spent a few weekends baking with my family (and making a sugary mess of things):

     Got in some Christmas shopping and lunch with my oldest daughter. She brought Alessandra, who passed her first shopping excursion with flying colors!

     We did quite a bit of decorating----no small feat with the 23 large containers of holiday items that I had stored in the attic:

     And then there was one particularly poignant moment when I took a break from cookie baking to watch my oldest granddaughter playing in the backyard garden. She was wearing one of her mother's old dresses and when she stood under our arbor, I had to catch my breath. It was as if I was looking into a crystal ball, and there was my Izzy, twenty years from now on her wedding day. My eyes blurred with tears as I said a little prayer of thanks for the gift that is my granddaughters.

     Family is everything to me, and the people in these photos are the reason for my joy during the holiday season. They are my sanity when life becomes messy, and my heart when I feel their love surround me.

     From our house to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas, a peaceful holiday season, and a happy New Year. See you in 2019!

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

Baking In A Tornado        
Menopausal Mother          
Never Ever Give Up Hope 
Spatulas on Parade         

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Ways To Hire A lawyer When You Have Low Income

     Today on the blog I have guest writer Will Bail, a freelance link-builder and web developer, here to share his advice on hiring a lawyer if your income is low. As we know, lawyers are very expensive. If you do a little research and use the connections you have, you'll find one who is affordable.

Ways to Hire a Lawyer When You Have Low Income

I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for working with my hands. So, when my uncle approached me at the age of 19 to start a residential construction company with him, it seemed the perfect fit. 

To make sure I was a qualified business partner for him, I enrolled at the local community college. Being one of the only women in my classes was one of the largest issues I faced; the actual course work came rather easy for me. With some additional real-world lessons working alongside my uncle, I felt confident that going into business with him would be my answer to fulfilling the American dream; I'd be a young business owner, calling the shots on my schedule. 

What I didn't realize at the time was that construction would not be the only industry knowledge I'd need. The logistics of starting a business, making sure we had proper contractual agreements and legal documents to protect us were among the many key considerations that I had not previously explored. It was clear to me that we needed professional help to navigate the legal side of our adventure. 

By this point I had student loans, a minimum wage job and only a few thousand dollars that I'd managed to save as my contribution for our start-up. As I began researching lawyers, a large pit grew in my stomach; there was no way we could afford the help we needed. Luckily, the determined entrepreneur in me found some creative ways to not let this be the end of our new venture. 

There is one key factor to remember when seeking a lawyer on a low income: It is all about who you know. 

If you have a close friend who is a lawyer or have one in the family, don't be shy to ask for their time. In most cases, they are technically not allowed to sell you their services. Buy them a meal while you talk business and you both get out pretty cheap. 

For me, I knew students, and a handful of them were paralegal assistants or soon-to-be lawyers. I asked a lot of questions, was given the inside track on creating my own documents and getting them notarized to save money. One student even suggested a law firm that he knew of who specializes in Construction Law (if you'd like to take a look visit Roberts Legal lawyers Newcastle). I used this and similar websites to better understand what we needed and what questions to ask when interviewing lawyers. 

Yes, that's right, interview lawyers. Shop around to find out rate information, gauge their customer service level, response time and make sure your personalities are a good fit for a working relationship. 

Knowledge is power. Ask questions. Use internet resources. Once you've done the research and completed all possible forms and documents on your own, you can cut down on the face time you pay fees for when meeting with a lawyer.

Will Bail is a freelance link-builder and web developer. He has an adventurous mind but seldom travels as he would rather stay home and make client's business websites more visible on the internet. When not working, you can find him playing nintendo games or hanging out at the church.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Life In The Old School Lane: Things Our Grandkids Will Never Know

     When I remind my kids that my generation grew up without microwaves, cell phones or cable TV, they pretty much envision me being raised by a pack of wolves in the forest. They have no idea what it is to WAIT for things, because instant gratification is the name of the game nowadays. Sure, I enjoy the convenience of text messaging, Netflix and Uber Eats, but there is something to be said about the good ol' days when anticipation led to a deeper level of appreciation.

     Millennials are probably relieved to have missed out on many of the things that we once considered a convenience, just as our Baby Boomer generation is thrilled that we grew up with modern washing machines and didn't have to scrub our clothes on a board like our grandparents did. Or do our business in an outhouse at 3:00 in the morning!

     If my future grandchildren ever want to know what life was like in the 60's, 70's or early 80's, they'll have to go to a museum just to see how it felt to dial a rotary phone, write in cursive, wind a clock or adjust the rabbit ears on a sketchy black and white television set.

     I'm guilty of digging my heels in when it comes to modern technology. I was the last person in my family to own a cell phone, and I completely resisted the idea of buying a home computer until it was obvious that my kids needed one for school. More importantly, I didn't take kindly to comparisons of our family living in the Dark Ages, or that our level of technological communication was on par with early cave drawings.

     Life without my cell phone or my trusty laptop is unimaginable now. When the power goes out and the Wifi is down, I feel as if I've been cut off from civilization, stranded on an island with two tin cans and a string for communication.

     A quick trip down memory lane serves as a perfect reminder of what will forever be lost on future generations:

*The thrill of renting a VCR tape from Block Buster to see the latest movie release (which was usually six months past by the time it was available). God forbid if you returned the tape late or---the horrors---you forgot to rewind it!

*The joy of receiving a 10 page, handwritten letter in the mail from a friend (Emails lack that personal touch). I really treasured those long letters and anxiously waited by the mailbox when I heard the postman's truck down the street.

* Flipping cards in a Rolodex to find a phone number. I also kept a small address book that contained every phone number I would ever need in my purse. This was accompanied by a pocket calendar and a notepad.

*Airplanes had wider seats, served full meals at no cost, and your baggage amount was unlimited, free of charge. I know this because I traveled frequently and carried enough luggage on my trips to open up a clothing boutique.

*Using cassette tapes to record our favorite songs off of the radio. This enabled us to pop our favorite tunes into the car stereo system for road trips. A few diehards stubbornly stuck to their 8 track tapes, but I loved my cassettes and kept dozens of them in a large carrying case the I dragged with me on every trip.

*MTV was actual non-stop music videos, not freakish reality shows featuring Botoxed women sipping champagne and complaining about their sugar daddies.

*Passing private notes that were folded into paper footballs across the aisles in both junior high and high school. Of course, there was always the risk of getting caught by the teacher, but it was a helluva lot more fun than texting.

*The sheer anticipation of waiting for your camera film to be developed at the Photo Mart Kiosk. It usually took 5-7 days to process, but if you were super anxious, you could pay extra and have those glossy prints in your hot little hands within 24 hours.

*Full service gas stations were THE BEST convenience. You never had to leave your car to use the pump or swipe your credit card. A nice man with his name stitched across the front pocket of his shirt came out to fill your tank, wash your windows and check your oil while you waited. If you had car troubles, the garage for repairs was right there. No mini grocery stores, though. If you were hungry or thirsty, you had one vending machine for sodas and one for candy bars and chips.

*Research of any type was time consuming. If your folks didn't own a set of World Books or the Encyclopedia Britannica, you had to trudge to the local library and spend hours searching through the card catalog or scanning microfiche film to find the information you were looking for. Siri and Google have made this practice pretty much extinct, THANK YOU JESUS.

*Road trips were quite the adventure in cars that didn't come equipped with GPS systems, electric windows or even seatbelts. This was great when I was kid, because my siblings and I could crawl to the back of the station wagon and build a fort with suitcases while Mom and Dad argued over the directions on a road atlas.

*No television remote controls, so we got our daily exercise by getting up from the couch numerous times to switch the dial around the only three channels available. You could lose five pounds in a day if you changed it often enough.

*Phones were attached to the wall and placed strategically in busy areas of the house so that everyone in the family knew your business. If you were lucky, the phone had a long, curly cord that could be dragged into the bathroom for private conversations.

*Automatic ice makers were not part of the freezer. If you wanted ice, you bought several metal ice trays, filled them with water and waited several hours before being able to chill your drinks. Something that could be heard nightly in every house in America: "WHO LEFT THE ICE TRAY IN THE FREEZER WITH ONLY ONE CUBE LEFT?"

     Our generation survived just fine without ATMs, Alexa, water purifiers, craft beer and Starbucks. The list goes on and on, and although I'm incredibly grateful for my espresso machine and Bullet blender, I still prefer a handwritten letter and a bowl of popcorn that was popped on the stove, not in a microwave.

     Now if you'll excuse me, someone is calling me on my princess rotary phone and I can't miss the next episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show.

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? You can catch me this week on The Sisters' Hood with my humor post on The 10 Commandments of Middle Age.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Fly On The Wall In The Fall

     Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings, hosted by Karen of Baking in A Tornado. Today, five bloggers are brave enough to invite you into their homes for a sneak peek at what goes on behind closed doors.

     At the Doyle house, we're still recovering from "Distended Belly Syndrome" caused by all the Thanksgiving food we consumed yesterday. I've always said my family eats like vikings, and last night's meal was proof of that. Who can say no to 8 pies, 2 turkeys, 3 different homemade breads, and  5 ridiculously good side dishes?? And don't even get me started on the appetizers. I'm actually looking forward to starting a new diet on Monday! JUST SAY NO TO CHEESE.

     As always, there have been some weird conversations floating around the house (what else is new??). If you were a fly in the wall at my house, here's a few things you might have heard:

"Hey look---it's a landscape worker channeling his inner triceratops."

"Studies show that cats have better hearing than dogs."
"Well, they sure don't act like it."

"You haven't been watering the flowers outside. They're all dead."
"That's because I'm growing zombie flowers."

"Why is it that every time you sweat heavily with a t-shirt on, it leaves wet stains on the fabric in the shape of a smiley face?"
"I don't know; I guess I'm just one giant, human emoji."

"I've been researching homeopathic remedies to relieve my carpal tunnel."
"I can save you the time. It's called, 'Get a Hacksaw'."

"I need something to stop my constipation. All I can do is poop pebbles."
"Yes, and Bam Bam is soon to follow."

"I don't know what's in it, but maybe I should order the mystery box for dinner."
"I have a mystery box that I can show you...." <wink wink>

"This bathroom stall is so tiny---you have to be a contortionist just to be able to turn around and wipe your backside."

"Why is it taking them so long to bring me the Cuban sandwich I ordered? Did they have to go to Cuba to get it?"

 "I've been a Baptist, a Methodist, a Lutheran, and now a Presbyterian."
"That means that you're a sampler platter of religion."

"One of the side effects of this medicine is tarry stools."
"That sounds like a name for a British rock band....."

     Hope everyone had a lovely holiday. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to gnawing on my turkey leg and washing it down with some mashed potatoes. That diet might start sooner than I thought....

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? I was recently featured in MomCave TV discussing teens and the funny lies we as parents believe. 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        
Menopausal Mother           
Never Ever Give Up Hope  
Spatulas on Parade         
Go Mama O.                   



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