Friday, October 27, 2017

Winter Writer Series: Guest Post By Margaret Lashley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Wanna beer?”

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

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

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

“No thanks. I’m good.”

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

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

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

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

I whirled around to face her.

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

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


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

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

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Switch Up Your Mealtimes...For Good!

     Do you miss the good ol' days when family actually sat down to share dinner together? No cell phones at the table---just old fashion family conversation? It's difficult nowadays to plan meals together, and even more difficult to keep the kids entertained at the table without the use of electronics. My guest writer today, Giles Moore of Ceramictopia, has come up with a product that will help make mealtime more fun for your kids:

Switch Up Your Mealtimes…For Good!

In recent years, I’ve noticed a change in family meal times, with technology having a dynamic effect. I wondered if we stripped it all back to the basic, the simple dinner plate and mug, whether you could still boost imagination, playfulness and engagement for the kids and families as a whole. 

There’s also the challenge of being able to encourage your kids to eat all their food, and as we all know, there is no set method, each one of us has to come up with their own idea and/or version. 

However, it appears Ceramictopia may have found a solution, (click here to see our Kickstarter campaign)

I went on a mission to try and find a way by using just the plate and mug, if I could bring back fun to meal times. The actual concept stemmed from my brother having fun in an arts and crafts café with various paints, and for fun, he created a Giraffe that went across the plate and mug, which immediately made me think.

We have since created a unique and original concept, being the first company in the world to combine the plate and mug. Individually the products create a scene but together they form an entire story and they really do make you smile every time you look at them. 

My company, Ceramictopia, are working with various artists from around the world to create unique and individual designs that have their own distinctive personality.  For the Ceramic and Glassware ranges, the designs are focused on animals, sports and landmarks, and for the Paper products, they are focusing on seasonal events such as Halloween, Bonfire night, Christmas, New Year as well as big sporting events such as the Superbowl. 

We are running a Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds for the tooling, so they can create the products on mass scale. Please do make sure you check out our Kickstarter Campaign because we believe this is one of those products we need in this world. 

  About Ceramictopia:
Ceramictopia, a new Sheffield start up, is the first company to combine and create a story using every day dinnerware. Established in the UK using only English products, Ceramictopia is looking to work with artists around the globe to create unique and original designs for dinnerware, to reinject fun back into meal times. All designs are available on ceramic, glass or paper and are based on a memory, dream or an experience. Ceramictopia are launching a Kickstarter Campaign to produce the tooling for the artwork so the products can be mass produced. Go to for more information and to back our Kickstarter Campaign. (Press Kit) PHOTO: Giles Moore

Friday, October 20, 2017

Fly On The Wall In October

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

     The fly buzzing around my house this past month saw several birthday celebrations and a whole bucketful of love. I feel so blessed to have all of my children living nearby. I see them every weekend, and sometimes during the week. How cool is that? I am also blessed to be married to my best friend, who never fails to make me laugh no matter what curves life throws me. These are the best years of my life, and I look forward to many more birthdays with this crazy family of mine.

     Here are some snippets of conversation shared with my hubs this past month:


"We ate too much bean dip at the party. I'm pretty certain we'll be farting in bed all night."
"Well, don't be surprised if we wake up to find our sheets on the ceiling."

"How was your birthday trip to St. Augustine? What did you guys do?"
"Fat. We got fat."

"Why do you need another purse? You already own a gazillion of them."
"I need different colors and sizes to match my outfits."
"Then men should be able buy dozens of wallets for every occasion. A church wallet, a fine dining wallet.....a velcro one for sporting events, a casino wallet with lots of pockets, and a date night wallet with a condom holder...."
"Okay, you made your point. But I'm still buying the damn purse."

"I'm tired of food having so many calories. From now on, I'm eating off your plate because your calories don't count."

ME TO HUBS: "It's time for me to teach you how to twerk."
HUBS: (dressed in underwear and socks) "Are you making me do this because I may or may not have had too many glasses of wine tonight?"
ME: "No, I'm asking you to do it because I need to be entertained."
HUBS: (grabbing bedrail in an attempt to hold his balance while he moves his butt back and forth) "Is this the right way?"
ME: (gasping for air because I can't stop laughing) "It's right if you're trying to imitate a manatee during a mating ritual."
HUBS: "Glad I could amuse you, but I think I just threw my back out...."

"Geez, it's October and its still 87 degrees out. This heat makes it harder than normal for me to be fat."

"You know you're old when you have to pack a knee brace, arch support pads, and extra pain relievers for a trip."

"How's the diet going?"
"Great! I had three egg whites for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and chicken for dinner."
"Good for you---but why can't I find my six leftover chicken wings that were in the fridge?"
"I didn't say what kind of or how MUCH chicken I ate, did I?"

"Did you know that you walk like a penguin when you wake up at 3:00am to go to the bathroom?"
"Yep. I'm doing my best imitation of a Weeble wobbler because they don't fall down."

"Let's buy our Halloween candy now before the store runs out of the good stuff."
"You're not fooling anyone with that excuse. Those mini chocolate bars are for your personal stash. If I buy the treats now, there will be nothing left to pass out on Halloween except for candy corn and gum."
"After 33 years of marriage, you know me too well. Time to trade you in for a newer model..."

****WANT MORE MENO MAMA? Check out my first humor piece on ROBOT BUTT: "The Seven Neighbors Mister Rogers Never Imagined."

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

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

Friday, October 6, 2017

How To Be A Hipster In Your Midlife Years

     You've seen them. The Millennial hipsters who wear t-shirts sporting logos from rock bands you saw in concert during the 70's and 80's. The same people who crowd the check-out lines at Starbucks, Whole Foods, and the free beer-sampling stand at the local arts and crafts festival. Seeing them makes you wistful for your younger days when Mom and Dad paid your car insurance and served free hot meals from the kitchen.

     No need to despair. You too, can become a hipster (like your adult children) despite your advanced age, by following these easy, "I'm-Gonna-Stay-Young-Forever" steps:

Stock up on plaid flannel shirts from Urban Outfitters and a pair of Doc Martens to conceal your rubberized arch support pads.

Learn how to crochet a sweater made from wheat grass and hemp.

Cash in your 401k and travel around the country in a vintage Airstream to sell healing crystals, Buddha bracelets, and your own brand of organic hummus made from cage-free chic peas.

Grow your own cannabis in decoupage milk cartons stored on your back porch.

Carry a ukulele everywhere you go, even if your rendition of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" sounds more like the neighbor's cat in heat.

Call yourself a "craft brew aficionado" and be well versed in the difference between IPAs and Stouts.

Recycle EVERYTHING, including lint from the dryer that can be knitted into socks.

Enroll in yoga classes but make sure you take plenty of Gas-X before you stretch into downward dog position.

Ditch the frozen meatloaf from 2012 in the back of your freezer and become a vegan.

Master Corn Hole and giant Jenga blocks.

Buy a used Prius---or better yet---get a gerbil-powered bike.

Get a Tattoo of your spirit animal inked on your shoulder---even if that animal happens to be a hippopotamus.

Stash some edibles in your faux leather fanny pack before heading out to a tribal funk music concert at the park.

Learn how to pronounce quinoa.

Grow a beard and buy special wax for shaping it into a facial topiary.

Protest against social inequality, corporate greed, and Alpaca farms.

Buy organic, gluten-free, locally grown food at the farmer's market, even if it means you'll have gastrointestinal issues for months to come from the amount of kale you'll consume.

Take a class in latte art.

Leave a final request in your will to be buried in a biodegradable burial pod, or to have your cremated remains turned into family heirloom jewelry.



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