Friday, January 29, 2016

Wonderful Winter Writers Series: Guest Post By Michelle Poston Combs

I'm delighted to share a funny post today from one of my favorite bloggers, Michelle Poston Combs of Rubber Shoes In Hell. I've always loved her honesty and sharp wit. She never ceases to make me smile and it's such an honor to be able to feature her on my site! Please welcome Michelle to Meno Mama's blog today with lots of comment love. Thanks!


Google ‘what not to wear after age 50’ and you will have your pick of thousands of articles telling you what looks terrible on your old ass body.

I want to point out to the writer who wrote the ‘no-no’ article, you need to remember you are writing for women over age 50, not preschoolers. I don’t think I’ve said ‘no-no’ since my youngest was a toddler.
We could spend hours studying the clothes we shouldn’t wear and the slang we shouldn’t use and the makeup techniques we need to retire.

Here’s me, weighing in on this topic.
You are over 50 for fuck’s sake. Wear whatever you want. If you’ve made it to 50 and still need to consult articles on how to dress appropriately then you are so missing out on one of the best things about being over 50. One of the best things about getting older is realizing that we don’t have to spend our energy worrying what other people think and we get to be comfortable in our own skin with our own freak flags.
Still, there are a few things that women over 50 really shouldn’t wear:
The weight of the world. When you wear the weight of the world on your shoulders, you age. If you like the feel of the world’s weight and don’t want to give it up, then try scaling back a bit. Perhaps just wear the weight of a few of the smaller continents. For instance, I am only wearing the weight of Australia and a made up country called ‘Michelloponia’. I think it they have a slimming effect.
Shame and regret. So few people can carry this look off. Most of us just end up looking haunted or like we were forced to eat liver and onions. Shame and regret are especially hard to wear after fifty. Wearing shame and regret past fifty is one of those things that make your eyes all red and runny looking. The downward spiral just snowballs from there. Once the eyes get old lady looking, then you have to re-evaluate the wisdom of black eye liner. I say give up wearing shame and regret and fuck giving up on black eye liner.

Rose colored glasses. Oh, sweetheart, you know who you are. Those glasses do nothing for you. Not only do they make you look like you’ve been smoking weed for days, they also keep you from examining life and your surroundings realistically. Yes, reality sucks, but by the time we hit fifty, we need to suck it up, take those glasses off and dick punch reality into submission. Or just get some really big dark sunglasses instead. They cover all manner of sins.
Stiff upper lip. There is a time and a place for the stiff upper lip, but damn, it can’t be worn all the time. Too much stiff upper lip causes those funky vertical lines between your upper lip and your nose holes. We don’t always have to be stoic. I’m not suggesting that you wear your heart on your sleeve, but that is a  much softer look than wearing a stiff upper lip.
Too many hats. Personally, I can’t pull off wearing one hat much less many hats. I don’t have a hat head. My hair poofs out and my ears look like car doors when I wear a hat. Wearing too many hats just exacerbates these issues. When you wear too many hats, it’s easy to forget which hat you’re wearing. For instance, are you wearing the ‘no nonsense corporate’ hat when you meant to wear your ‘quirky and kicked back’ hat? We’re not getting any younger, you know. Sooner or later you’re going to accidentally wear your court jester hat to the gynecologist and then where will you be? I’ll tell you where you’ll be. You’ll be in an undignified position and wearing a stupid hat is where you’ll be.

Resting bitch face. Hahahahaha. Just kidding. Wear that one all you want. Although, it wouldn’t hurt if every once in a while, you had a welcoming and kind look on your face. At least that’s what I hear from other people.
There isn’t anything wrong with getting advice about updating your look or what to wear, but we are just inundated with that shit, aren’t we?
Who says what is appropriate? From where I sit, it seems ‘appropriate’ changes based on geography, social status, income and size. After a while, the advice becomes a confusing blur. I think I’ll just keep wearing my Keds and jeans and black tee shirts.
Oh, I do have one real tip. Stop wearing holiday theme clothes. Seriously.

***Even more fun----read the sequel to this post on Michele's site: WHAT WOMEN OVER FIFTY SHOULDN'T WEAR: PART DEUX 


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Why You Need To Think On Your Feet

***The following is a sponsored post by Michael Peggs, founder of Marccx Media. His company is a digital marketing agency that specializes in SEO and Content Marketing.

Why You Need to Think on Your Feet

It’s no secret that as we get older the old gray matter starts to become less effective. How many times did you go upstairs to look for your glasses and come back down empty-handed, or remember what you wanted to say to your sister three days later? While there still isn’t a cure for aging (sadly) we can do our best to keep our minds sharp. Training ourselves to think on our feet is an excellent way of keeping us – literally – on our toes (orthotic arch supports and all).

While finding the right words to say or the right actions to take in the heat of the moment can be difficult for anyone (and harder as you age), it’s actually something that you can teach yourself to get better at. And learning anything new is a great way to stimulate your mind. So instead of replying with “umm, I don’t know” the next time you’re asked a question out of the blue, try replying coherently, clearly and calmly instead.

Become a Better Communicator – Instead of descending into panic and scrambling around for something to say, make sure that you actually heard the question right and ask for clarification if you need it. There’s nothing worse than hot flashes and awkward rambling, except for hot flashes and awkward rambling in response to the wrong question. Learn to listen to people, look them in the eye, breathe for a moment and, if you’re really not comfortable with the answer, keep it short. Or act like a politician and respond to the question with another question, or change the subject completely.

Learn to Slow Down – This is an excellent exercise for your life in general. Try slowing down. Have you thought about taking up yoga? Meditation? Or Tai Chi? While this might sounds at odds with learning to speak well under pressure, your heart actually accelerates when you feel stressed and your words speed up. What you need to train yourself to do is exactly the opposite; when you don’t know what you’re going to say next, you should reply as slowly as possible to give your brain more time to respond. Practicing calming breathing exercises and hobbies (even just allowing yourself to read a book every now and then) can be good for this and your overall menopausal health in general.

Become More Interesting – Prepare answers to commonly asked questions, such as “how’s your job going?”, “how’s Sally getting on at college?”, or “what’s new with you?” Think about your answers in advance and have a clear idea of what you want to say; what is interesting with you? Don’t get left wishing you had said something else. When you think in advance, not only will you respond better, but you’ll have a clearer understanding of how things are going in your own life as well.

Thinking on your feet isn’t only crucial in business environments. There are so many occasions that you stand to get more out of when you know how to respond appropriately under pressure; even if it is just having the satisfaction of getting one up on an old school colleague.

And remember that while you’re thinking on your feet, make sure that you’re looking after them. Because menopause can come with unwanted foot pain, make sure that you’re comfortable in your shoes and slip in some superfeet insoles so that you’re not in any physical pain the next time you get put on the spot by your ex-husband or boss.


Michael Peggs is the founder of content marketing agency and SEO agency Marccx Media, where they specialize in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.

Friday, January 22, 2016

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

     It's hard to believe that this week marks two years that I have been participating in Karen of
 Baking In A Tornado's Fly On The Wall group blog posts. I looked back on some of my favorite, older posts from January of 2013 when I first began writing the FOW's (you can read the very first one here) and laughed out loud at some of the crazy stuff that came out of the mouths of my family members. These older posts are like little time capsules of so many memories of the fun times we've had together. Today I'm recalling some of my favorite remarks that were shared on the blog in 2013 and part of 2014.

"Who wrote 'Lazy Ass' in pen across all of my Breathe Right Nose Strips?"

"Hey, your 1099 tax form just came in."
"Is it addressed to 'Loser'?"

"What are those brown specks in the dog's water bowl?"
"It's special pug fecal water---made from the finest backyards in America.

"I can't walk that fast! My thighs are going to chafe and create a fire."

"Why is the van lurching at stop lights?"
 "Because that's what's called the death march of the Honda Odyssey.
" Find me a gun. It's time to put down the minivan."

"I've heard of butt floss before but this dog puts a whole new spin on it when he eats dental floss and poops out a connected trail of sausage links."

 "Stop speaking with a Jamaican accent. You weren't born in the Caribbean. You were dropped in the middle of a cornfield in Missouri when the mother ship rejected you."

 "Forget Irritable Bowel Syndrome. You have a case of Irritable Spouse Syndrome."

"You don't need weight training---I'll bet your right arm is already huge from opening the refrigerator door so many times."

  " I want a free, catheter sample pack for Father's day!"

  "Stop hanging out with kids who try to duct tape your legs together!"

 "You let the dog lick your face? He just ate his own poop!"

  "What the heck is that noise my chinchilla is making in his cage?"
  "It sounds like he's using a nail file on the bars to break out."

 "You're the only kid I know who would go on a cruise ship and play the Titanic theme on his recorder as the boat was pulling away from the dock."

 "Turn up the fan---I have clammy butt syndrome."

 "I have a stomachache---like hot, burning gas. My butt feels like it's on fire. What does that mean?"
    "Lay off the Mexican food."

 "No, I don't want a hard boiled egg and a grilled chicken breast in my salad. That would be like eating the mom and her baby on a bed of lettuce."

"I'm not getting out of this bed until my minions bring me some coffee."
 "Honey, we don't own any minions."
  "Yes we do----they're called children, and the chief minion's name
is 'Husband-Who-Runs-With-Coffee'."

 "Isn't it great becoming a year older? You recognize all the music playing in elevators and mysterious skin tags show up in your arm pits."

 "How would you like to spend your birthday?"
 "Tipsy shopping and drunk eating, of course."

"It's pretty sad that I can sum up the past year of my life in five words: wine, Nutella, squirrels, blogging and menopause."

"I'm so sweaty in this dress, I have to wing out my thighs. "

"Did you give the pug your birthday dinner leftovers? He just farted and I swear it smells like Cantonese shrimp."

"I'm pretty sure these are rogue fat cells attacking my butt. It has nothing to do with the grilled cheese sandwiches I ate."

"Mom, where's the antibacterial cream?"
"You mean the Neosporin?"
"No, the generic one you bought since we can't afford the real stuff. POOR-sporin."

"No, old underwear does NOT make good Chinese lanterns."

"I'll bet you were one of the cool kids who sat at the back of the bus during school field trips."
"I've been to the back of the bus. All you do is smell urine. It's not a glamorous thing."

 "For my retirement party, I don't want a gold watch--- I want a penis pump!"

"Stop dropping gas bombs in the car. You smell like processed ass."
"You're the one who bought me the fried chicken tenders, Dad. They upset my stomach."
"Chicken tenders? More like chicken stinkers out the butt."

"Hon, you've eaten so much on this trip, I think we need to stop at Walmart and get you some men's maternity pants."

"Stop making booger patches on your side of the car!"

"You know I had a good time in those heels last night if my toe nails fall off."

"That kid is killing our grocery budget. You might as well strap a feed bag on him and call it a day."

"I think the laundry breeds while we sleep. There's baby socks in there, and we don't have a baby."

"I can't stay in this ice bar much longer. My testicles are receding. If they go
up any further, I'll be singing soprano in The Vienna Boy's Choir."

"I ate too much Honey Bunches Of Oats this morning and now my bowels hurt. That cereal should be renamed, 'Honey Bunches Of Bullshit'."

"For Christmas, I'm going to ask Santa for an artificial urinary sphincter."

"This coffee doesn't work for me anymore. I think someone is punking me by filling the pot with decaf."

"When the office pooper takes a break, everyone knows it's goin' down in toilet town."

"I should get transvaginal mesh surgery."
"That might be a problem since you're a man."

"I just got pulled over by a cop for speeding and he gave me a ticket! It probably didn't help that somebody drew a picture of a large penis on the back of my dusty car window."

"I used to eat chalk and lick erasers on a dare when I was a kid."
"Well, that certainly explains a lot."

     Like I always say, there is never a dull moment in my house. I live with a bunch of lovable lunatics who keep me laughing on a daily basis. And I am blessed to be a part of their craziness.

Please be sure to check out the posts from all 12 bloggers participating in today's Fly On The Wall group postings!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Eight Things I Suck At

     Cooking is something I do well. I enjoy spending time in the kitchen and I'm proud of the meals I prepare for my family. But it wasn't always this way.

     Right after I got married, I decided to host a dinner party for my family. My cooking repertoire was limited to mac & cheese, bean burritos and scrambled eggs, but this didn't stop me from attempting a gourmet meal for company. The recipe I found in a popular women's magazine looked simple enough----chicken with a creamy wine sauce nestled in the buttery layers of a flaky pastry shell.

     I prepped in the kitchen all day, cleaned my tiny apartment from top to bottom and lit candles to enhance the cozy mood I wanted to create. The evening started off perfect with lively conversation and plenty of wine as we snacked on appetizers.  Once my family gathered around the table, I couldn't wait to serve them my masterpiece. It was the first real meal I'd made since returning from my honeymoon and I was damn proud of it, right down to the chopped parsley I sprinkled over the top of the chicken breast.

     The results were not what I expected.

     The room fell silent as everyone chewed....and chewed....then quickly reached for glasses of water to wash it down. Puzzled by their behavior, I lifted a forkful of the stuffed pastry into my mouth and was horrified to discover that the meal that had taken me three hours to prepare tasted like wallpaper paste and had the same consistency of glue. It was inedible, and I don't think I've ever been more embarrassed than when I dumped all the food in the trash bin and ordered pizza for everyone. I learned from my mistake though, and after experimenting with a variety of cooking techniques, I was finally able to host more dinner parties, which were fortunately a success.

     But there are still plenty of things in life that I suck at and that I'll probably never be able to improve upon:

1.) DRIVING:  I've always said that if I win the lottery, the first thing I'm doing is hiring a chauffeur because I hate driving. I still have nightmares about the crash dummy videos they showed us in Driver's Ed class. Anything over 35 mph is risky to me, which means you will never find me on the interstate. I don't like making left turns at intersections without a turn signal, either, so that pretty much limits how far I can drive from my house. I'm still waiting for the day we get George Jetson cars that fly. Maybe then I'll finally be able to make a left turn.

2.) ACCEPTING COMPLIMENTS: I like to be appreciated just as much as the next person, but compliments on my appearance make me feel awkward. I don't know how to accept them because  my insecurities won't allow me to believe them. My husband tells me I look tousled and sexy in the morning when I crawl out of bed, but when I look in the mirror,  I see Medusa cracked out on Flakka.

3.) DIETING:  I can stick to a diet for about three days, until the food starts tasting like something my husband dug out of the mulch bin. That's when dreams of juicy cheeseburgers and greasy chicken wings invade my sleep, and I wake up to a soggy pillow that looks like its been gnawed on by a pack of hungry wolves.

4.) RETURNING PHONE CALLS: I'm awful at returning phone messages and will text the person back rather than get stuck in a twenty minute conversation. Who uses phones nowadays to talk? The only calls I get are from debt collectors or people trying to sell me buy-one-get-one-free deals on cremation urns.

5.) GROCERY SHOPPING: Being the Foodie that I am, nothing pleases me more than being surrounded by chilled cases of gourmet cheeses or the smell of warm bread on racks by the bakery counter. I love to go to the grocery store with a budget in my head and a shopping list in my hand, but that's when I become A.D.D. and am easily distracted by all the pretty displays. It never fails that despite promises to my husband of sticking to the items on the list, I come home with five pounds of dog biscuits and a tub of Goober peas.

6.) FASHION: A fashionista I am not, and I'd rather pick the lint out of my air conditioning vent than shop for new clothes. Years ago when my kids were young, I bought them clothes made by a company called Garanimals, that took the guess work out of matching clothes for children. All a parent had to do was buy items with matching animal tags---a giraffe-tagged shirt went with a giraffe-tagged pair of shorts, and so on. I need some Garanimals today, but in an adult version, because I have no clue how to put the perfect ensemble together. The one thing I'm good at is matching black with black. And yes, I'm totally cool with people thinking I attend a lot of funerals.

7.) SINGING IN PUBLIC:  When I was in college, I was a soloist in the school choir, sang at many of my friend's weddings and occasionally stood in as a lead singer for a few bands. I loved singing until the day I entered a voice competition and forgot the lyrics. Being booed off stage was not my idea of fun, and I vowed never to sing in public again. Fast forward fifteen years to a good friend's wedding. I agreed to sing for her even though I was nine months pregnant and experiencing Braxton Hicks. The night of the wedding, my nerves were shot but I sang my heart out until a swift contraction caused me to hit a sour note that left the congregation wincing in their seats. I'm pretty sure there was a coyote howling at me all the way from Montana. For that reason, my singing is now limited to the shower.

8.) WORKING OUTDOORS IN THE HEAT:  I love gardening, as long as it's only 65 degrees outside or cooler. I live in sunny south Florida, so this means I only garden 2-3 days out of the year. I want the garden to look nice all the time, but there's nothing worse than being drenched in sweat, covered in dirt and under attack by an army of hungry mosquitos. My only other option is to weed the garden after midnight with a flashlight.

     Even though there are numerous things that I suck at, there are plenty of things I excel in. I'm a good wife and mother, and I'm great at multitasking----I can sing off-key in my car while wearing all black....and make the smoothest right turn you've ever seen.

***NEWS FLASH***  This has been an amazing week for Meno Mama! My NEW post, "My Love Of Pets Started To Affect My Marriage" has been shared in several major magazines, including Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Women's Day, Country Living and House Beautiful. I'm already loving 2016!!

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? Catch my NEW humor post, " Why I Don't Sleep With My Husband" featured on Bonbon Break this week! You can read it here:

Friday, January 8, 2016

Wonderful Winter Writers Series: Guest Post By Elaine Ambrose

     I have a special treat for you today on my blog----a superstar guest writer to kick off the New Year! Please welcome my dear friend Elaine Ambrose, an internationally recognized syndicated blogger and award-winning writer of 10 books! Elaine's bio reads like a "Who's Who" in the writing community, and I'm incredibly honored that she was willing to share one of her hilarious posts on my site.

      A little background info: I "met" Elaine a few years ago online in one of our midlife writer's groups and have been addicted to her blog ever since. Her writing is reminiscent of Erma Bombeck's classic humor, and believe me when I tell you, once you start reading one of Elaine's books, you won't be able to put it down. Ladies, I hope you've been practicing your Kegels before you read Elaine's work (or at least have a thick liner in your underwear) because there's heavy bladder leakage in the forecast.

     I'm looking forward to meeting this funny, talented writer at the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop this spring. She knows how to find me---I'll be the one waving a bottle if cabernet in one hand and a box of adult diapers in the other. Please welcome Elaine to Meno Mama's site with lots of comment love!

Friday, January 1, 2016

My Realistic New Year's Resolutions

     Before the ball drops in Times Square, we have our New Year's resolutions figured out. We toast to a prosperous year ahead and have every intention of following through on our resolutions.

     And it works....for about three months. It's easy to get sidetracked from our goals by stress, boredom and a really good plate of pasta marinara. Over the years, I've learned not to make such stringent resolutions for myself. What's the point? I know I'm going to break them anyway, since I'm as easily distracted as a six-year-old in the toy aisle at Target.

     When I was in my early twenties, it was simple to make a bucket list of things I wanted to do for the coming year. Hop on a plane to Paris, explore the Greek islands, or run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Now that I've hit my middle-age years, I'd be lucky to run with the llamas in Bolivia.

     My expectations are lower these days, freeing me from the guilt trips I faced when I broke my resolutions early in the new year. I know what I'd like to see happen in the coming year, but I'm a realist, and frankly, if I can get through the next twelve months without breaking any bones or needing cholesterol medication, I'd call the year a success.

 Lose Weight
     Resolution: I'm going to lose these extra pounds that have inflated my waistline like the Goodyear Blimp. I'll just cut back on portion size, skip the carmel lattes and eat more leafy greens.
     Reality: Is that a bag of Doritoes?

Exercise More
     Resolution: I'll join a gym so that I can be in shape for swimsuit season. Working out with weights every day will get rid of my underarm wing flaps so that I'm no longer mistaken for a sugar glider.
     Reality: I haven't been to the gym in three months because I'm too damn busy. I have dirty laundry piled higher than the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, and there's a colony of dust bunnies breeding under my couch. I'm terminally tired and easily swayed by the sweet siren song of my memory foam mattress. I'll go to the gym tomorrow, I promise.....

Save Money
     Resolution: I need to put more money into my retirement fund. Winnebagos aren't cheap.
     Reality: My appliances have different plans for me this year. With a weeping toilet, an ornery washing machine, and a dishwasher that gave up the ghost two days ago, the only recreational vehicle  I'll be driving after retirement is a Vespa.

Drink Less
     Resolution: It's bad enough that my brain isn't as sharp as it used to be when I was in my twenties. I need more gingko biloba and less tequila.
     Reality: Wait a minute---have I had two margaritas, or three? How can I cut back on drinking if I can't remember my resolutions by the time I've had my second drink?

Get More Sleep:
     Resolution: I'm going to get to bed earlier instead of staying up late every night to watch Netflix.
     Reality: I'm only going to watch one more episode of Downtown Abbey and then I swear I'm going to bed.

Spend Less time On The Internet
     Resolution: Social media is a time-suck. I'm going to deactivate all my accounts and focus on socializing with my real friends, not the ones who live inside my computer.
     Reality: I need to see the latest food porn photos on Instagram and Facebook to find out what my friends are eating for lunch. Hopefully Pinterest has some clever recipes for deconstructed tuna casserole since I'm obviously not going to have time to cook tonight.

     I've accepted the fact that I suck at keeping New Year's Resolutions. For this reason, I'll be happy to raise my glass when the ball drops and toast to a future filled with long naps, Netflix, and maybe a llama or two.


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