Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Winter Writer Series: Guest Post By Juju Hook

     I'm so pleased to have Juju Hook, author of the new book, Hot Flashes, Carpools, and Dirty Martinis--The Quintessential Guide for Turning Midlife into PrimeTime on the site today! I met Juju online through social media, and was immediately intrigued by her quirky, midlife humor. She was kind enough to send me a copy of her book, along with a lovely martini set-up. That's when I knew she was my kind of gal! I love her comedic style of writing, and wanted to share her book with you, dear readers, because so many of you will relate to what she writes! 

     Juju has graciously agreed to share an excerpt from her book on Meno Mama's site. After you take a look, please click on her Amazon link and order your copy today! 


I was 35 when our son, Christian, took his first breath. We had him late by parenting industry standards. That put all of us in the unenviable positions, years later, of me beginning early menopause just around the time Christian was reaching puberty. Menopause and puberty go together like beer and ice cream. For about a year, our house was constantly in a low state of rumble, right on the edge of serious upset.

One morning when Christian was 13, we had a Jerry Springer Show episode in our house. It left me sitting on the edge of his bed, with him having just climbed out his second-story window into a rainstorm. And me with my head in my hands, pajamas smelly and soaked, asking myself through the olive-tinged fog of a martini hangover, “How the hell did we get here?”

This episode also launched me into a new career.

I had awakened that Friday morning to the sound of rain pounding on our clay-tile roof. The pounding in my head was an echo. The night before, I’d made a bold choice to forego the Pinot Noir I’d come to love (and trust) with dinner, and instead enjoy a couple of dirty martinis. My rationale was entirely sound. The recent shift in my hormones had played a cruel trick on my relationship with velvety red wines. The wine still went down like a charm, but the days that followedno matter how small the quantity consumedhad become painful, muddled, gloomy, and unproductive. I’d wisely decided to try something different.

I’d also hot-fashed through the night, in a repeated cycle that was longer but every bit as reliable as the cycle of waves that tumbled onto our beloved Ponto State Beach down the street. The cycle began the moment I fell into my deepest sleep, and repeated once every 20 minutes until the 6:00 a.m. alarm. Each time, I’d be pulled out of a serene and glassy slumber by an internal heat wave that would rise and crest gloriously at what felt like a thousand degrees. Then I would kick off the covers in a fit and drift back to sleep. Moments later, I’d be woken againdrenched from sweat, totally exposed, teeth chatteringas the wave crashed, right at the edge of my sanity.

One of the few pursuits more frustrating than struggling to sleep through hot flashes is fighting to wake a pubescent boy. So while the morning alarm marked the end of one battle, it signaled the beginning of the next. My body was awake. But my sense of humor would need a while to catch up.

Groggy and preoccupied, I headed downstairs to the kitchen, an angry and insistent voice in my head screaming, “COFFEE, COFFEE, COFFEE!” As I walked off the last step, my bare foot landed squarely in a plushly carpeted puddle of freezing water.

It was on like fucking Donkey Kong.

My in-laws were in the house that morning. They were wintering with us, having recently flown in from Germany, which helped to create the perfect storm. The entire situation was intensified by the actual storm that had seized San Diego after months of drought, and by my lack of attention to the sticky slurry of leaves and dirt that had clogged our rain gutters in the meantime.

The small lake that snapped me out of my stupor was about three inches deep and ran the length of our hallway. It took me only 10 frantic seconds to discover the source. At the rate of approximately one bucket per minute, water from outside was gushing through the vent into the laundry room, just on the other side of my in-law’s bedroom wall.

While my screams of “SHIT, SHIT, SHIT!” were not a terribly elegant way to wake the sleeping Germans, they were effective. In a split second, we were all standing in the hallway, our pajama bottoms soaked, staring at one another like passengers on a sinking ship.

German in-laws, as beautiful chance would have it, are the best possible houseguests in a moment of non-existential crisis. They know what to do when shit hits the fan. And they are unbelievably efficient at getting it done.

In a literal flash, my father-in-law was outside assessing the lake that had formed along the side of the house. Seconds later, he was on the roof (torrential downpour be damned), scooping leaves from the gutter. My mother-in-law grabbed a broom and, before I could shout a single obscenity more, began sweeping water from the laundry room into the garage. I gathered towels, rugs, and finally the dirty laundry, to sop up what she couldn’t sweep.

Nearly 45 minutes whizzed by before I realized I’d forgotten to wake the sleeping teen.

Today was an especially bad day for a late awakeningMastery Learning Day. This would set the stage for an emotional terrorist attack from which we wouldn’t recover until hours later. And for an existential crisis for me that took me the better part of two years to clean up. (Sadly, my German in-laws had no efficient solution for this.)

Mastery Learning Day was a hallowed occasion and somewhat new to our family. The process at The Grauer School, where Christian was a new seventh-grader at the time, works like this. The students are required to set a Mastery Learning Level in each class of no lower than 80%. They must complete every assignment at or above that grade level, even if it means reworking it several times. Using this system, the students master subjects before moving on. On the last day of the quarterdubbed Mastery Learning Daythey must submit portfolios for each class, organized to include every assignment from the prior 13 weeks.

There’s a tasty carrot for the kids on this special day. If they present their fully organized portfolios and obtain signatures from every teacher, they earn a half day off school to muck around and celebrate. Otherwise, they’re required to hang out at school and finish whatever assignments are missing or not up to par, while their friends are out having a blast.

This was to be our family’s second experience with Mastery Learning Day. The first had been a veritable shit show, filled with drama and tears. Christian was upset as well. He had to complete three hours of make-up math work while the other kids hung at the beach, and he sulked for days afterwards. 

If you’ve ever met any 13-year-old boys, you know that “organized” is a wholly unnatural state for these perpetually preoccupied creatures. So you can imagine my trepidation as Isoaked, sleep-deprived, still in fight-or-flight mode, and without my morning coffeeclimbed the stairs to his room, knowing that today organization would be the key to the kingdom.

I threw open the door, switched on the light, and shouted......

WANT MORE??? Buy the book and you can read the rest HERE


Juju Hook is a brand strategist, author, coach, and speaker dedicated to rebranding middle age for women. Her goal is to inspire one million women to live out the second half of their lives with more passion and joy than the first. Her proprietary system uncovers the 1 question, 3 problems, and 6 lies that midlife women must recognize and overcome in order to live out the dreams that they’ve set aside—or kept hidden—until now. Using Juju's system, women turn midlife into PrimeTime, and free themselves to pursue goals that have, until now, been beyond their wildest imagination. And in the process, they become a whole lot happier, and groovier to be around.

Juju is a firm believer in both big, hairy goals and the enduring truth the past is not a reliable predictor of the future. She ran her first marathon at 40, completed her 200-hour yoga teacher certification at 45, ran her first triathlon (an Ironman 70.3) at 46, and walked away from a 25-year-career and started an online business at 47. 

And at 50, she wrote her first book: Hot Flashes, Carpools, and Dirty Martinis--The Quintessential Guide for Turning Midlife into PrimeTime. 

Juju lives in San Diego with her husband, her son, and her Golden Retriever.


  1. Great story by Juju. I'll be buying her book. I can so relate to the hot flashes.

  2. Great sense of humor. I can't directly relate to the hot flashes but I can still remember when my wife went through them.

  3. I’m seriously flashing right now. I need this book obviously! Thanks for sharing this author, Marcia. I can always use more laughs in my life 😊

  4. Oh my goodness, what a story! I can relate to waking up to water. I won't bore you with the story, but I could have had a very nice luxury car for what it cost me to get water out of my basement. I empathize with parents of teens and the stress of these tests and milestones. I've walked in those shoes, and even while in them could see the system was flawed, and yet couldn't figure out how to change it. I love your humor... laughter definitely helps!

  5. Thanks so much for all the wonderful comments! I'm so excited that Marcia shared the book here! Cheers to all the menopausal moms! -Juju

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