Friday, May 26, 2017

Author Spotlight: Vikki Claflin "Chin Hairs & Back Fat"

     I'm so excited to announce that my dear friend Vikki Claflin just published her THIRD book!! And it has already hit #1 in Kindle sales in two humor categories! I laughed my way through her last two, Shake Rattle & Roll With It  , Who Left The Cork Out Of My Lunch, and her newest book, Chin Hairs & Back Fat,  is just as hilarious. I can relate to pretty much everything Vikki writes about, so what's not to love? I was honored that she asked for a review of her book, and this is what I wrote:

     "Vikki Claflin has done it again with her latest collection of witty tales from midlife and beyond. She has the uncanny ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary by casting a humorous spin on everyday situations. From empty nesting to fashion faux pas, tacky Valentine gifts and the art of martial seduction, this book has it all. Vikki is the BFF we all wish we had because she tells it like it is and leaves us laughing until our bellies hurt. Grab a glass of wine and settle in for an enjoyable read. You won't be able to put this one down." 

   I'm thrilled to share a chapter of her book on my site today, because I'm certain many of you will relate to her midlife humor. I love this book, and so will you. Order your copy today!!

I’m 60. How the Hell Did That Happen?

This year, I’m turning sixty. 6-0. As in “years old.”
How is this possible? Yesterday, I swear I was forty. I’ll always be forty. I liked forty. But I woke up this morning, and I’m twenty (count ’em…twenty) years older than I feel. That’s a whole lifetime for a college student. So I’m an entire lifetime older than the average undergraduate. Awesome.
Turning twenty was fun. You’re officially an adult, but you’re young enough to have your mistakes forgiven because you’re still a puppy to the rest of the world. Thirty was great. You’re more sophisticated now, and have started making “life decisions.” Marriage? Kids? A mortgage? A beagle or a dachshund? And forty is sexy. You’re a woman, not a girl. You’re interesting. You have things to say, and people actually want to hear them. At fifty, you’ve run smack into midlife. I’ll admit, fifty was a little tough for me. All that push to get an AARP card, remembering to ask for the Honor Menu at every restaurant, and deciding whether or not to go gray now that you’re a “senior.”
Sixty leaves me somewhat stymied. I have no precise words to express exactly how I feel about it. It’s clearly not “middle age”(unless we’re planning to live to be 120). We’ve been seniors for ten years already. So what are we now?
I recently attended my 42nd high school reunion. It was a wonderful evening of wine and laughter, with much to-do about getting older. Many of us expressed the same observation. Everybody looked great, but somehow older than we remembered them. Then when we saw the photos on Facebook the next day, we noticed that we all look exactly the same age as everyone else else. Boom.
The publishing world is full of books, articles, and websites about the frustrations and seemingly inevitable downfalls of aging. Whether we see it from a humorous perspective or something to approach from a fetal position on the bed, sobbing into an oversize decanter of Cabernet, there’s nary a woman alive who can’t recount tales of aging woes.
By sixty, our body parts have shifted downward, our skin has lost elasticity, we still experience occasional menopausal flashbacks that make us human space heaters, and our weight has moved into our bellies and hips like squatters on the Back 40 of the Ponderosa.
But I’ve decided that I’m giving myself a birthday present this year. I’m giving myself a break about the aging thing. Yes, I’m aware that my boobs haven’t been within howdy-neighbor proximity to my clavicles for at least two decades and that my butt jiggles like a Jello mold, even when I’m standing still. But maybe sixty is finally time to embrace the journey. Youth may come with smooth skin and perky behinds, but often in exchange for angst and uncertainty. (Honestly, would you be 25 again??) Middle age (and beyond) brings with it a certain peace. A letting go of the anxieties and often limited perspectives of youth. It’s liberating.
And so, for my birthday, to balance the scales of publishing, I’ve decided to write down my Most Fabulous Things About Turning Sixty.
1.      We’ve learned to accept our bodies. Gone are the days of puking, pills, eating nothing but grapefruit and chewing gum, full-body Spanx under everything, and workouts that leave us shaky and exhausted instead of energized, futilely trying to beat our ancestoral gene pool into submission to create a body we were never designed to have. I’m short and curvy, and I’ve given birth (although my son is now 27, and says I really must stop blaming my jelly belly on him. Ungrateful brat).

2.      The world is less black and white. We’re less quick to judge. By now, we know that every story has three sides: yours, mine, and what really happened. When we hear that Aunt Bebe ran off with Uncle Stu’s Krav Maga instructor, we’re less likely to assume Aunt Bebe is simply a tramp who likes martial arts, and more likely to reply, “There are probably pieces of this story we don’t know.”

3.      We get to wear whatever we want. At this age, fashion, which tends to target the young and the anorexic, is more about what we know works for us than what’s on Project Runway. Love leather moto jackets? We wear ours with everything we own. Hate trendy, low-rise jeans that give you Texas-size muffin top? We get to skip this one.

4.      There’s less drama. After six decades, we begin to realize that not everything is worth fighting over. As my grandma used to say, “In 50 years, we’ll all be dead and none of this will matter.”

5.      We get grandchildren. We’ve had the responsibility of raising tiny humans into socially acceptable adults. Now we get to simply love the crap out of our offspring’s mini-me’s, with our primary role being somewhere between Obi Wan Kenobi and Santa Clause.

6.      We learn to cherish our girlfriends. We’ve attended Sally’s four weddings, got Missy through three stints in rehab, and lived through Susie’s douchy husband’s affair. We’ve supported Jenny’s new career as a nude art model, bailed Karen’s son out of jail (again), and cried together when Linda got cancer. We have history.

7.      Our marriages are stronger. There’s no way two people can spend several decades together and have every day be a lust-filled day of mutual wonder and adoration. Not. Possible. We’ve had rough times, disappointments, and days when we’d unhesitatingly sell each other for a frosted margarita from the local taco wagon. But we’re still together. It’s that kind of love.

8.      We laugh more. We see the silliness in things more easily. We’re not as easily offended. Simply put, we’ve lightened up.

9.      We’ve discovered new passions. Boomers are being called “The Reinvented Generation.” We’re going back to school, learning new languages, traveling to new places, running marathons, and writing novels. We’re not retiring. We’re living longer than ever, and we’re doing it in a red convertible.

So as I kiss my fifties goodbye and face a new decade, I feel…well…good. In fact, I feel better than good. I feel like getting out there and kicking some jiggly ass.

Vikki Claflin is an international best-selling author, humor blogger, and inspirational public speaker. She lives in Hood River, OR, where she writes the award-winning humor blog Laugh Lines: Humorous Thoughts and Advice on How to Live Young When You're...well...Not, where she doles out irreverent advice on marriage, offers humorous how-to lists galore, and shares her most embarrassing midlife moments. 
Vikki has been featured on the Michael J. Fox Foundation website, Erma Bombeck's Writer's Workshop, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Midlife Boulevard, Better After 50, and Funny Times Magazine. She received a BlogHer14 "Voices of the Year" Humor award, and has been a featured guest on over 40 radio programs throughout the US and Canada.

Chin Hairs & Back Fat is Vikki's third book. Shake, Rattle & Roll With It: Living & Laughing with Parkinson's, and Who Left the Cork Out of My Lunch? Middle Age, Modern Marriage & Other Complications are all available at You can find more of Vikki’s writing at 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Selecting The Right Electric String Trimmer: Which One Is Right For You?

My husband and I love gardening and have made our backyard an oasis, which is why I am happy to share this informative guest post on trimmers today from Karen Neilson.

Selecting The Right Electric String Trimmers – Which Is Right For You?
In the current world, electric string trimmers are essential equipment for adding the finishing touches to a newly bought lawn. Well, with the increased number of varieties to select from, picking the right equipment is a challenge. Nonetheless, before you spend your hard earned cash purchasing a trimmer, it is vital that you spare some time and walk around your backyard. This will assist you in gauging the length of time that you will take to finish the trimming. If this sparks an idea, then you should continue reading the rest of the article and learn other factors that you should consider.

Factors to Consider While Selecting the Right Electric String Trimmers
String trimmers have the capabilities of collecting all the elements that lawn mowers leave off. As a result, users get the right finishing touches because the trimmer whisks away every grass around flower beds, trees, and driveways, among other places. Therefore you should follow the advice that you will learn from this article while selecting the best electric string trimmers.

You should handle the trimmers at the regional store and evaluate their balance. The first thing involves adjusting the fore handle to gain a comfortable position. Consequently, you should hold the electric string trimmers in the right cutting angles using both hands. You should feel the weight of a trimmer at all points such as bottom and top. At times, you might feel the largest weight at the trimmer’s top. Nevertheless, you should make sure that the trimmers control edging smoothly and have easy reaches.

Corded trimmers
Weight around five and ten pounds, corded trimmers are the lightest among all the trimmers in the entire market. The corded trimmers are user friendly because they just require you to push a button and you are ready to work. More so, they produce limited noise while working with them. This is advantageous because you will not disturb neighbors or your siblings while working during the day or night. 

Alternatively, corded trimmers limit the users in terms of space covered while working. For instance, while working with a corded trimmer you can only cover a restricted area depending on the cord’s length. The restriction goes as far as a hundred feet and anything longer than that will not provide the electric string trimmers with sufficient power.  Most people make us of corded trimmers, but for people who own large properties should select the cordless trimmers. On this point, let us discuss the cordless trimmers.

Cordless trimmers

Unlike a corded trimmer, a cordless trimmer is free from restrictions based on its cord extension. This implies that you can move freely to whatever point you want regardless of how large your property is. However, cordless electric string trimmers utilize rechargeable batteries, which supply them with the necessary power for edging. There are cordless trimmers whose batteries can go up to one hour while others sustain power for around 15 or 20 minutes.

What to Look For In an Electric String Trimmer

There are many types of electric string trimmers with different features. Not all trimmers are created equal. Unlike other products, you can’t decide based on the price alone. A higher price DOES not necessarily mean a better trimmer.

With that said, here are some of the most important things you need to look for when purchasing an electric string trimmer.

1. Weight & Maneuverability

Maneuverability is an important factor that you need to take into consideration. Trimming will require you to move around a lot for long periods of time. You need a light-weight trimmer that you can easily carry around. There are some electric string trimmers that come with shoulder straps to make it easy for you. We strongly recommend that you consider such trimmers.

2. Trimming Power

A trimmer power mainly depends on your edging and trimming needs. If you have unruly weeds and extremely tall grass, you’re going to need a string trimmer that features dual nylon lines. Thicker lines are essential if you want to cut through tough and dense vegetation.

3. Edging and Finishing

Most string trimmers these days come with an edging option to ensure a clean finish. Make sure that you purchase such a trimmer as it will help you create a nice crisp edge.

4. Vibration

String trimmers tend to vibrate a lot when functioning (both gasoline and electric powered). Electric powered trimmers don’t vibrate as much as gas-powered trimmers. But still, their vibration can cause your hands to fatigue. So make sure that you look for a trimmer with low vibration.

5. Automatic, Semi-Automatic or Bump Feed

An automatic string trimmer advances the string automatically without any user intervention. Then you have the semi-automatic trimmer that will advance the line each time you stop and then restart the trimmer.  A bump feed string trimmer on the other hand requires you to tap the trimmer on the ground to release a new length of string. From a speed point of view, an automatic trimmer is ideal. But when it comes to dependability and ease of repair, bump feed trimmers or semi-automatic trimmers are the best choices.

6. Runtime

When you’re purchasing an electric string trimmer that’s battery powered, make sure that you choose one that has the runtime to handle all the trimming and edging required in your landscape.

Some battery powered trimmers can take hours to recharge. It can be frustrating. So make sure that you take the size of your landscape into account and purchase a trimmer with a suitable runtime. Make sure that the trimmers capable of fulfilling all you’re trimming and edging needs in one go. There are however a couple of cordless trimmers that have a rapid charge cycle of an hour or less such as the Worx WG155or the Black & Decker LST136.

7. Service Centers

Nearly all brands of electric string trimmers tend to offer a good warranty on their products. But that doesn’t mean they are the best. When purchasing a trimmer or any such tool for that matter, make sure that the service center of your chosen brand is easily accessible to you.  This is essential because not all brands have centers everywhere.

****Karen Neilsen is an enthusiastic person who loves writing about the string trimmer on Hub names. She hopes to share her experience with all of her readers.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fly On The Wall In The Old Folk's Home

     Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings, hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today, nine bloggers are inviting you into their homes for a glimpse of what you would see and hear behind closed doors.

     When I participate in these Fly On The Wall posts, most of the comments I share come from my husband, who certainly has a way with words. His quick wit is what attracted me to him in the first place. Sort of like flies to honey (see what I did there?). He had some zingers this past month, and I've been grabbing my pen and pad every time he says one of his off-the-wall comments.

"I have my own floatation device in the pool----it's called an 'inner tube waistline'."

"You know you're getting old when you have to keep floss in every room."

"I forgot to shower and my armpits smell like tacos. I've sniffed them so many times today that now I'm craving Taco Bell."

"I just got carded. But not for looking under 21. The clerk wanted to know if I was entitled to the senior citizen's discount."

"My food traps are so bad, I need a pressure cleaner to get the extra food out of my molars."

" has a package deal on sale today. You should get one so we can finally find out what your DNA is."
"No thanks. I'm too afraid to find out that I might be kin to a schnauzer."

"I picked up the bedroom furniture you ordered. It's the wrong size."
"What do you mean? I bought a dresser and two end tables."
"The furniture is for a baby's room. The drawers wouldn't even hold a stack of onesies, let alone my t-shirts."
"I'm not sending it back. We just have to make it work."
"Then you can forget about filling it with adult diapers when you're old. And don't be surprised if the nightstands come with baby bottle holders."


"I just don't feel attractive anymore. My skin is as saggy and wrinkly as an elephant's, and no one wants to f#@k an elephant."

"Male UTIs are the worst. It feels as if someone put a cattle prod up my urethra."

"Why do you always attract so many mosquitos? They're swarming all over you."
"Because my DNA is made up of 40% crap."

"I look so old----people probably mistake me for the grim reaper."

"Our favorite doctor is no longer on our insurance plan. I really need to get an endoscopy for my esophagus, but with my luck, I'll be sent to a doctor named 'One Tooth Fred' who'll put the tube up the wrong orifice."

    Is it any wonder why I've been married to this guy for 33 years? He keeps me laughing, and laughter keeps us both young. It's a win-win situation. I think I'll keep him.

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

Baking In A Tornado        
Menopausal Mother           
Searching for Sanity       
Eileen’s Perpetually Busy    
Spatulas on Parade          
A Little Piece of Peace       
Never Ever Give Up Hope         
Bookworm in the Kitchen       /   
Not That Sarah Michelle                                           

Friday, May 5, 2017

If My Tchotchkes Could Talk.....

     I've written before about the odd little tchotchkes in my home---stuff that other people may see as a collection of junk, but to me, they're treasures. Each one carries a specific memory, and for that reason, I hang onto them. I'm not a hoarder (well, maybe when it comes to squirrel stuff I am, but....), and I DO try to keep my tchotchkes organized. Just the other day, I removed all of my pug-faced pillows and stored them in the closet so that they wouldn't clutter up my bedroom. Perhaps I should have donated them or tossed them out, but you never know when someone might be in dire need of a pug pillow.

     My home is full of amazing little items that make me smile whenever I happen to spot them on a table or shelf. Or when it's time to bring out the duster, because God knows, the more tchotchkes you have, the more dusting you'll do.....

This metal biplane was given to me eons ago at a surprise birthday party hosted by my husband. At the time, I was fascinated with World War I aviation and even rode in a biplane that had an open cockpit. Crazy for someone like me who has a fear of flying, right? Oddly enough, I felt safer in the old Sopwith Camel than I ever did on a commercial jet. Which is why you won't see me flying again any time soon. It's not the turbulence I'm worried about; I don't want to get bloodied and bruised while being dragged off an airplane that has oversold its seats. 

This is just a SMALL sampling of squirrel figurines that I have in my curio cabinet. Yes, I can always make room for more.....

What home would be complete without a model of the ship that sank in 1912, killing 1500 passengers? For me, the Titanic is a reminder of why I don't do cruise ships. Ever.

There was a time when I had a THING for Captain Jack Sparrow. Seriously---I had posters of him all over my house, and collected any type of memorabilia from Pirates of the Caribbean---like this doll. Okay, so maybe it was just because I really had a THING for Johnny Depp. Several years ago, I was
fortunate enough to see Mr. Depp sing with his band when they came to our town. I was right up front by the stage, too, until an unruly young woman tried to elbow me out of the way. We almost got into fisticuffs, but I stood my ground. The concert was great, yet all I remember was my urgent need to use the restroom and being forced to keep my bladder on hold for fear of losing my spot by the stage. Lesson learned---next time I go to a concert that is standing room only, I'll bring a travel pack catheter. 

These are no ordinary finger puppets. These are magic puppets to spark the creative juices. How do I know? They were given to me at the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop by my hilarious friend Elaine Ambrose, when I attended her seminar. These guys sit at my desk now and cheer me on whenever I feel uncreative. The one on the left represents my current status the best.

This little replica of the Fountain Of Youth was purchased at the museum after a grueling walk through St. Augustine during the summer when it was above 90 degrees. My husband was certain that the park was near our hotel, so we set out on foot to the museum. Two hours later, drenched in sweat and with blisters on our feet, we finally reached our destination. I was hoping that the Fountain of Youth was large enough for me to throw my entire, sweaty body into the cool oasis, but all we found was a small trickle of water coming out of some rocks. So I did the next best thing--I drank the water in the hopes that I would stay forever youthful and free of hot flashes. And then I made my husband call a taxi.

What sort of unusual tchotchkes do you have on display at your house?

******WANT MORE MENO MAMA? This week I am honored to have my first piece up on The Mighty: How I learned To Live With My Anxiety Disorder. I also have a humor article about menopause on Medium that you can read here:


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