Friday, March 20, 2020

Fly On The Wall During A Quarantine

     Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings, hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today, five bloggers are bravely inviting you into their homes to see what goes on behind closed doors.

     The fly at our house is going a little stir crazy since our town is pretty much on lockdown due to COVID-19. No restaurants, schools, bars. gyms....and even our beaches here in South Florida are closed. You know things must be bad when even your adult kids choose to hang out at your house on a Saturday night to play cards because THERE IS NOTHING ELSE TO DO. But the good news is, the gatherings offer some pretty funny conversations:

"Eat as many carbs as you want, dear. Calories from stress eating definitely do NOT count when you are quarantined for the Coronavirus."

"It's understandable that we have to keep washing our towels during this virus, but why do the wet towels left overnight in the washing machine smell like death in the morning?"
"They died from the virus."

"I just stress-ate all three packages of the Hot Tamale Peeps and now my colon will never be the same."
"Have fun with that since there's no toilet paper to be found in the stores."

"Where are my car keys? Who took my damn car key?!? Oh wait---- they're right here..... in my hand."
"Forget about the keys----call the doctor instead. You're either feverish from COVID-19 or you're already exhibiting signs of early dementia."

"I almost took one of the dog's chemo pills by accident instead of my antibiotics. I probably would have grown a third arm out of my back if I'd taken it."
"Yeah, and that new arm would also have Carpal Tunnel."

"Social Distancing? Awesome! I finally have an excuse to avoid all the idiots in my life."

"There's only one solution to getting around town and staying virus-free. We need to learn how to levitate."
"Thay skill will definitely come in handy in five years when you're too old to walk anymore."

"When they were testing the basketball players for the Coronavirus, they found that a lot of the guys only had 3% body fat. I have more than that in one earlobe."

"I was looking on Amazon for arch supports, and the ad right next to it was for filet knives. Am I supposed to trim my arches?"
"Yeah, they did it that way so that you can make Filet of Sole."

"I predict three things from the outcome of the COVID-19 quarantine: A boom in births in December, a higher demand for therapists and anxiety meds, and everyone on the planet will have the cleanest homes this world has ever seen."

     Hope this Fly Post brought you some smiles during these trying times. Stay safe, my friends. Sending virtual hugs to all!

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? I'm so excited to share the news that I had my very first humor piece published in Slackjaw! I had a blast writing it, too! It's called, THE FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF WHILE BUILDING AN IKEA ENTERTAINMENT CENTER.

***I also have my first humor piece published on Manopause, which you can read here: THE LITTLE WHITE LIES MIDDLE-AGED MEN TELL THEMSELVES

***As always, I have new work on CONSIDERABLE this week. You can read all of my articles for them here:

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

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

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Super Spring Writers Series: Guest Post By Shari Bender

     Today on the blog I have author Shari Bender, who just happens to be a peri-menopausal mama. When I read her guest post, I found myself laughing and nodding my head in agreement at her experiences because I have certainly been in her shoes for a long time. I have a hunch many of you will relate to her tale.....

Then and Now: My Peri-menopausal Journey
My phone is showing me ads for period underwear. Clearly, it has me confused with someone Not googling menopausal symptoms. 
I’m 48 and going through menopause. Peri-menopause started in my early 40’s (ask my mother, I’ve always been precocious). Oh, it’s been fun thus far. Thankfully I have a super patient and understanding gynecologist who I consider to be my vaginal spirit animal if that were a thing. 

Peri-menopause joys, oh let me count the ways! 

Then: you were afraid those few extra pounds would make you look pregnant
Now: You’d be flattered if someone thought you were young enough to be pregnant

Then: Excuse: Sorry I’m on my period
Now: Excuse: Sorry I’m (peri)menopausal 

Then: It’s freezing in here!
Now: Why is it so hot in here?

Then: I should get my hair cut
Now: I should get my chin hair cut

Then: Eats entire sleeve of thin mints, doesn’t gain an ounce
Now: Eats three thin mints, walks 1 mile and gains two pounds 

Then: Gets called “Miss” and goes on a feminist rant 
Now: Gets called “Ma’am” and barely restrains a lunge at the barista

Since I’m on the younger side of the menopausal spectrum, often I’m met with disbelief. And I don’t want to believe it either! But reality stares me in the mirror, particularly the hall bathroom mirror. My iPhone with all its fancy built-in filters makes me feel like a spry still-menstruating woman. Hall bathroom tells a different story. Who is this woman with ever-expanding grey roots and ever-deepening crow’s feet? And don’t get me started on that now visible upper lip peach fuzz. I need extra hair on my head, not my face. Menopause is clearly missing that memo.

You will know when you are truly heading towards menopause when hot lemon water starts to become your beverage of choice. Grab a bestie for hot lemon water happy hour! I’ve become a wine on weekends only type of girl thanks to wine calories finding their way directly to my menopausal mid-section. Menopausal metabolism gets a bad rap for a reason because it is real. A dinner out can require strategic planning in order to keep the scale happy. Prunes have also found their way to a permanent residence in my pantry.  

There are some upsides to this menopausal journey.  For example, money saved on feminine products now can be used towards anti-wrinkle cream. You can finally go and enjoy the hilarious melodic truth that is Menopause the Musical. You also become very adept at the cross-legged sneeze and the ability to wake up every morning at the crack of dawn without an alarm clock. You also free up a lot of closet space, since you no longer wear bulky sweaters or any real winter clothes. You discover novel and socially acceptable ways to stave off a hot flash, instead of frantically ripping off your clothes.  My favorite was passed on by my mother-in-law during a particularly bad hot flash during my sister’s 50th birthday dinner- hold a glass of ice water and be sure to position your hands so that your wrists get a feel of the cold. If you’re at home when a hot flash hits, sticking your head in the fridge for 10 seconds works wonders!

The menopausal journey is a time of shifting hormones and levels of sanity. If you are bone-cracking knees deep in this phase of life just remember, you’re not alone in this peri and menopausal madness. My motto? Be loud, Be proud, Be (hot) Flashy.


Shari Bender is an empty-nesting peri-menopausal mama.  She earned her BA in Communication from Stanford University in 1992 and currently works as Communication and Marketing Director for a large electrical firm on Long Island.  Shari is a cat-loving spiritual vegan who loves embracing her empty-nest along with her husband of 27 years. Her musings are featured regularly on Grown & Flown.

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? Find my latest work on CONSIDERABLE Here

Friday, February 21, 2020

Fly On The Wall: All-Time Favorite Remarks (Part Three)

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

     Every now and then I enjoy looking back on past Fly On The Wall posts and reading some of the funnier comments made by family members. Today, I'm sharing my favorites from 2016 (with the startling realization that not much has changed around here in four years---my family is still nuts).

HUBS: "My legs and knees are so sore and stiff from driving in this car for five hours, I can barely stand. It's a good thing no one is trying to rob us at gunpoint right now because I wouldn't be able to run. I'd just hand over my wallet and tell them they're welcome."

SON: (attempting to iron his shirt) "Who the heck put the iron setting on wool, for god sake?"
HUBS: "I did. I ironed sheep yesterday."

INSURANCE SALES REP: (on the phone with my husband): "Mr. Doyle, I'll need you to sign the insurance documents we sent to you, then scan and email them back to me. You do know how to do this, right?"
HUBS: "Are you kidding me? My wife and I are so old, we still use Wells Fargo to deliver everything by horse."

HUBS: "For us, the saying 'Ride or Die' is the equivalent of sitting in a motorized wheelchair and pretending we're Peter Fonda reliving his role in Easy Rider."

HUBS: "Isn't it cool to think we're staying at a hotel on Aviles street---the oldest street built in the U.S.?"
ME: "As old as you are today, I would think you'd recall watching them build it."

HUBS: "You carry enough cheese sticks in your purse to open your own dairy farm."

ME: "There's some leftover steak in the fridge if you're hungry."
HUBS: "No thanks. I still have a couple of hooves in me from last night's dinner."

ME: "Look at that giant harvest moon!"
SON: "What is it harvesting?"
ME: "Your brain cells."
HUBS: "That will be a small harvest...."

HUBS: "You know you're old when you have to drive with a knee brace on."

ME: "Why are you breathing so heavy?"
HUBS: "I'm practicing Lamaze for when I give birth to my holiday food baby. "

SON: "The hot dogs have gone rogue. They abandoned their packaging and fell down into a bin at the bottom of the fridge."
HUBS: "Yeah, I know about that bin---our refrigerator is an official wiener collector. "

ME: "Why do you take a nap on the couch an hour or two before going to bed at night?"
HUBS: "It's a part of my 'Pre-Sleep' ritual."

HUBS: "I ate too much of that Cuban picadillo tonight. I'm crop-dusting beans and rice everywhere I walk. "

ME TO MY DAUGHTER: "Of course I won't tell anyone what happened. I understand the girl's code of silence."
HUBS: "Since when do girls know how to keep silent?"

     My husband just might be right about that. After all, nothing is too sacred when it comes to these Fly On The Wall posts....

****WANT MORE MENO MAMA? You can find my latest work for CONSIDERABLE here:

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

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

Friday, February 14, 2020

12 Valentine's Day Gifts That Are Worse Than A Bowel Resection

     Ahhh yes, it's Valentine's Day---the most dreaded day of the year for the majority of the male population. No one needs a GPS to find their man after work on this particular holiday. They're lined up at the drugstore card counter, sweaty palms leafing through pink and red cards on the stands. Turn down the next aisle and you'll find them grabbing heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates off the shelf. If they're lucky, they might even find a few rose bouquets left in the cooler near the checkout counter. Nothing says "You're The Love Of My Life," than a last-minute discount gift from a drugstore.

     But there are gifts that are far worse.....and if your significant other gives you any of the following items, you have my condolences on Valentine's day......

1. A BOGO sale on pre-approved cemetery plots

2. Edible beef jerky underwear.

3. Milk chocolates made from molds of your lover's unmentionables.

4. His ex-girlfriend's favorite cologne, White Shoulders.

5. Novelty toilet paper with your boyfriend's image printed on each sheet (nothing says LOVE like wiping your backside with your man's face).

6. Sparkling rose wine bottled in the basement of his cousin's home in Asbury Park, NJ.

7. Paper roses made from recycled buffalo dung.

8. Jenny Craig lifetime membership.

9. A pregnant hamster.

10. Twelve wilted roses bought from a shady- looking guy who approached your car window when you were stopped at a red light.

11. Nose hair trimmer, bikini wax kit, and his & her tongue scraper set.
12. A sensor-activated Build-A-Bear with a continual song loop of "Every Breath You Take."

Here's to hoping you have a very NORMAL Valentine's Day with a cheesy, sentimental card and a box of cream-filled chocolates to celebrate love. Cheers!

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? Check out my weekly contributions to CONSIDERABLE, the website where I'm a regular content creator now. (LOVE MY JOB!!) You can find my work  here:

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Hair Loss Treatment For Women: Hairmax laser

     Ever since I hit menopause ten years ago, I've noticed hair loss around my temples. When I pull my hair back into a ponytail, the spots are more obvious and a bit embarrassing. I love that I now have a reliable option to grow some of that hair back through laser treatments because I plan on rocking a ponytail for many years to come! Check out the HairMax company info below if you'd like to have healthier, thicker hair.


There is not a single topic that garners a bigger readership than articles on hair; hairstyles, hair color, hair treatments, you get the drift. Women care about their hair. It’s not called our “crowning glory” for nothing. Sadly, our hair ages right along with our bodies. Although stress, diet, nutrition, and illness contribute to hair loss, for most of us, hair loss is triggered by the onset of menopause.

The transition to menopause is a time of reflection and changes some positive and some negative. We may feel a sense of freedom and find it a time of personal growth. “The Change”, also brings changes to our bodies, both internally and externally, and unfortunately, it also produces changes to our hair. We see more of our once crowning glory in our brushes and shower floors than on our heads.

Hair loss during menopause is the result of a hormonal imbalance related to a lowered production of estrogen and progesterone. When these levels drop, it causes hair to grow more slowly, and as the follicles shrink, the hair grows in much thinner. This type of hair loss is typically called female pattern hair loss, hereditary hair loss and medically known as Androgenetic alopecia.

This image shows how the hair follicles shrink or miniaturize; the hair that was once thick and healthy starts to slowly grow in weaker, shorter and wispy.

Until recently, thinning, lifeless hair was just an accepted product of aging. No more. Let us introduce you to HairMax, a superior hair loss treatment. It is now possible to reverse thinning hair and enjoy denser, fuller, hair growth – so when you look in the mirror, you’ll love seeing a more youthful person looking back at you with a beautiful head of hair!

What is HairMax and how does it bring back your hair? HairMax pioneered at-home laser technology for hair loss treatment and is the global leader in the field. HairMax Laser devices are FDA Cleared for men and women, and clinically proven to treat hair loss and regrow hair and recommended by doctors worldwide.

HairMax Lasers utilize nourishing laser light to energize and enliven your follicles where thinning hair starts, at the root! Regular use of HairMax reverses thinning, wispy hair and helps it to start growing back thicker, fuller and healthier. Unlike so many other products you may have tried, this is a hair loss treatment that actually works.

Use a HairMax Laser Device just 3 days a week for a few minutes and give your follicles the boost they need to produce healthier fuller, thicker hair. HairMax not only nurtures new hair growth, it can also help prevent further hair loss by keeping your hair follicles healthy and active. That can mean a lifetime of healthy, fuller hair – All from a simple hair loss treatment you can do from the comfort of your couch.

Think hair loss treatments take too much time & effort? Think again. You can use HairMax wherever, and whenever you want – at home or on the go. Our laser devices are designed for easy storage, and can be used while you’re:
  • Watching TV
  • Reading
  • Answering emails
  • Putting on your makeup

Or, just about anywhere. At any time.

You may not be able to stop Father Time or Mother Nature. But you can stop it from making you look older than you are. A HairMax laser can be your secret to a fuller, healthier head of hair that’ll make you look and feel great at any age.

Visit for special offers

By: Francesca Dubsky

HairMax Company Bio:

Based in Florida, HairMax is the global leader in laser hair growth technology. HairMax laser devices are the first device on the market to receive FDA Clearance as a medical device to treat hair loss and stimulate hair growth. Dedicated to enriching the lives of those suffering from hair loss, HairMax provides a comprehensive array of treatments including FDA Cleared and clinically proven laser hair growth devices, Bio-Active Hair Therapy, Dietary Supplements and more. 
HairMax laser devices have been the subject of 7 clinical studies proving both efficacy and safety with an over 90% success rate. Today, HairMax laser devices hold 8 FDA clearances and 14 medical device licenses world-wide. Sold in over 170 countries, HairMax is the trusted choice of 1.7+ million men and women to treat hair loss and stimulate hair growth.


Friday, January 24, 2020

Fly On The Wall With The Man Who Won't Let Me Sleep

     Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today, five brave bloggers are welcoming you into their homes for a peek at what goes on behind closed doors. At my house, the fly is always entertained by my husband's witty comebacks. No matter what comment I make, Mac has something to add to it. Unfortunately, these funny conversations often take place late at night while I'm trying to sleep. I say something, then he says something weird back, and then I can't stop laughing, which sends me into a coughing fit....and then I have to pee. That pretty much sums up my evenings.

     Here's a little sampler platter of our latest midnight conversations:

"At your funeral, instead of putting up sentimental photos of you in a slideshow, I'm going to share photos of every weird thing you've ever done."
"That's going to be the longest funeral in history."

"You must be getting old. The first thing you do every morning is take Meloxicam just so you can get out of bed without  pain."
"It could be worse. What if the first thing I needed to get out of bed was an antiinflammatory suppository?"

"Your stomach feels like a big, hard lump."
"Don't worry----that's not a tumor. It's last night's noodle casserole."

"You're not sleeping well because the window is open and there's a strong breeze blowing through."
"No, it's because there are too many strong rum drinks blowing through me."

"Can you reach the light switch? Your arm is longer than mine."
"Not everything on me is long anymore, you know......"

"When I put the food that I ate today into my Fitness Pal app, it answered by telling me I need to go on a diet."
"That's because your stomach has a built-in GPS system for navigating the best snacks in the house. "

     Maybe tonight when I go to bed, I'll just fake-sleep so that my husband doesn't keep me awake. Ha! Who am I kidding? My bladder will never let me sleep through the night anyway....

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? You can read my interview on the craft of writing with Writer CEO HERE,  And my latest for CONSIDERABLE HERE.  But what I'm REALLY excited about is the publication of my first article with AARP on eye health, which you can read HERE.

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

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


Friday, January 10, 2020

Wonderful Winter Writers Series: Guest Post By Stephanie Jankowski

I'm so excited to feature my friend and author Stephanie Jankowski on the blog today with a sample chapter from her new book, Schooled. Several of my adult children are teachers, so I can relate to many of the funny stories in this delightful book. I've known Stephanie for quite some time now and have always enjoyed her hilarious blog "When Crazy Meets Exhaustion." She is such a talented writer and I'm just thrilled to share a portion of her book with you today!


In this collection of hilariously frank essays, high school English instructor and popular parenting blogger Stephanie Jankowski throws open the classroom door to the victories, challenges and WTF-moments of today's teachers.
Laugh and commiserate with Steph’s no-holds-barred commentary on lighthearted subjects such as being mistaken for a high schooler as a first-year teacher, accidentally saying the “c-word” at a school-wide assembly, and navigating tricky student questions like “Are Trojan condoms named after those soldiers in the Odyssey?”. You’ll nod along as she tackles more serious topics like race and education, the death of a student, and teaching with empathy.
Anyone with a pulse will enjoy this book, but it should be required reading for every passionate, dedicated educator who’s felt like banging their head against the blackboard. Schooled shouts: “I see you, fellow teacher…and you’re not alone.”


When You’re a 22-Year-Old Teacher and Your Students Are 18

Hall Duty, 2004. 

Because my colleague had to cover another class, I was canvassing the halls solo that day. It was eerily quiet, the usual suspects nowhere to be found. I’d grown accustomed to multiple trips around the building—front to back, up and down the steps—and learned that changing into comfortable sneakers was a necessity. Heels stashed under my desk back in the classroom, I was business on top and Nike runners on the bottom as I walked the halls of our high school that day.

In retrospect, it made sense: a young-looking female, tennis shoes, hair pulled back in a low ponytail. I should’ve seen it coming.

Rather, I should’ve seen her coming.

Passing the copy center, I continued down the long empty corridor, removed from the steady lineup of classroom doors. As I rounded the corner leading to the gym’s back entrance, the most remote part of the building, I heard a quick shuffling behind me. She grabbed me by the arm just above the elbow, spinning me around to face her. Stunned, I couldn’t find words; there was no time. Her hot breath flooded my face, our noses mere inches apart. “What do you think you’re doing? Get back to class!”

Sighing loudly, I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, hi. Barbara? We’ve been through this. I work here. I’m a first-year teacher.”

This was the eleventeenth time our school nurse had intercepted me in the hall with accusations of cutting class. I’d run out of fucks somewhere around our third confrontation. 

Barbara released her death grip and took a few steps back, studying me. Her eyes widened in surprised amusement to find me on the receiving end of her mistake once again. “I just keep thinking you’re one of the students!” I fought the urge to roundhouse her. This level of stupidity was ridiculous. Not to mention the fact that she put her hands on me—again. She’s lucky I wasn’t one of the students, because I’d seen enough of them throw down with one another in those very hallways and one even try to fight our principal. Either our nurse was unaware of her handsy repercussions or she just didn’t care. I was leaning toward the latter. 

So many bizarre and blatantly inappropriate things happened during my first year of teaching, most of them simply because I was a young woman. Beginning a career at the age of 22 is a daunting task for anyone, but when your subordinates are only a couple years younger, and when those subordinates are actually juniors and seniors in your English class, situation and circumstance are complicated in a way I never learned about in college.

Like the day my students were working in pods. To accommodate the desks, I had to move a cluster of them close to the door. The move was against my better judgment, as I was all too familiar with the risks of desk-to-door proximity. No teacher in America can compete with the temptation that is The Hallway. I’ve seen students break their necks for just a quick peek into the enticing abyss outside the classroom. Voices, footsteps, the bang of a locker—teachers don’t stand a chance. And if someone knocks on the door? Mayhem. 

Unfortunately, I had no choice that day; the pods were a necessary evil. I ran interference as best I could by physically standing between the students and the door, but because it was approximately 105°F that September, the door and windows had to remain open if there was any chance of survival.
P.S. Ms. DeVos, please do something useful like equipping schools all over America with air-conditioning. Or resigning. Thank you.

Moving on.

One of the usual hall wanderers was in full effect that day. I didn’t realize it, but he was lingering just outside my classroom and any time I stood in front of the door, specifically when I bent over a desk to help students, this young man was . . . how do I put this delicately?

He simulated . . . no.

He pretended to . . . not quite right.

He . . . okay, fine. I’m just gonna say it.

He air-humped me. And I was completely oblivious, chatting up students about the author’s purpose in the text. Not until one of my female students quietly motioned toward the door did I ...... ***WANT TO READ MORE? BUY THE BOOK HERE


English teacher by trade, smack talker by nature, Stephanie Jankowski subscribes to the mantra, “Life is too short, laugh!” She finds the funny in everyday life on her blog,, and in education on sites like We Are Teachers and Hey, Teach. Steph lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband and their three children. Schooled is her first book and writing it gave her the nervous poops.


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