Friday, December 21, 2018

Fly On The Wall During The Christmas Holiday

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

     The fly buzzing around the Doyle house has witnessed a frenzy of holiday activity in preparation of Christmas Day. We've been shopping and baking and decorating like crazy, but more importantly, we've been spending time together in appreciation of who we are as a family.

     This year, Christmas is extra special with the addition of my second granddaughter. I was blessed to have my sweet Isabella, but now I am doubly blessed with angelic much to be thankful for this holiday season!

     I've spent a few weekends baking with my family (and making a sugary mess of things):

     Got in some Christmas shopping and lunch with my oldest daughter. She brought Alessandra, who passed her first shopping excursion with flying colors!

     We did quite a bit of decorating----no small feat with the 23 large containers of holiday items that I had stored in the attic:

     And then there was one particularly poignant moment when I took a break from cookie baking to watch my oldest granddaughter playing in the backyard garden. She was wearing one of her mother's old dresses and when she stood under our arbor, I had to catch my breath. It was as if I was looking into a crystal ball, and there was my Izzy, twenty years from now on her wedding day. My eyes blurred with tears as I said a little prayer of thanks for the gift that is my granddaughters.

     Family is everything to me, and the people in these photos are the reason for my joy during the holiday season. They are my sanity when life becomes messy, and my heart when I feel their love surround me.

     From our house to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas, a peaceful holiday season, and a happy New Year. See you in 2019!

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

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

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Ways To Hire A lawyer When You Have Low Income

     Today on the blog I have guest writer Will Bail, a freelance link-builder and web developer, here to share his advice on hiring a lawyer if your income is low. As we know, lawyers are very expensive. If you do a little research and use the connections you have, you'll find one who is affordable.

Ways to Hire a Lawyer When You Have Low Income

I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for working with my hands. So, when my uncle approached me at the age of 19 to start a residential construction company with him, it seemed the perfect fit. 

To make sure I was a qualified business partner for him, I enrolled at the local community college. Being one of the only women in my classes was one of the largest issues I faced; the actual course work came rather easy for me. With some additional real-world lessons working alongside my uncle, I felt confident that going into business with him would be my answer to fulfilling the American dream; I'd be a young business owner, calling the shots on my schedule. 

What I didn't realize at the time was that construction would not be the only industry knowledge I'd need. The logistics of starting a business, making sure we had proper contractual agreements and legal documents to protect us were among the many key considerations that I had not previously explored. It was clear to me that we needed professional help to navigate the legal side of our adventure. 

By this point I had student loans, a minimum wage job and only a few thousand dollars that I'd managed to save as my contribution for our start-up. As I began researching lawyers, a large pit grew in my stomach; there was no way we could afford the help we needed. Luckily, the determined entrepreneur in me found some creative ways to not let this be the end of our new venture. 

There is one key factor to remember when seeking a lawyer on a low income: It is all about who you know. 

If you have a close friend who is a lawyer or have one in the family, don't be shy to ask for their time. In most cases, they are technically not allowed to sell you their services. Buy them a meal while you talk business and you both get out pretty cheap. 

For me, I knew students, and a handful of them were paralegal assistants or soon-to-be lawyers. I asked a lot of questions, was given the inside track on creating my own documents and getting them notarized to save money. One student even suggested a law firm that he knew of who specializes in Construction Law (if you'd like to take a look visit Roberts Legal lawyers Newcastle). I used this and similar websites to better understand what we needed and what questions to ask when interviewing lawyers. 

Yes, that's right, interview lawyers. Shop around to find out rate information, gauge their customer service level, response time and make sure your personalities are a good fit for a working relationship. 

Knowledge is power. Ask questions. Use internet resources. Once you've done the research and completed all possible forms and documents on your own, you can cut down on the face time you pay fees for when meeting with a lawyer.

Will Bail is a freelance link-builder and web developer. He has an adventurous mind but seldom travels as he would rather stay home and make client's business websites more visible on the internet. When not working, you can find him playing nintendo games or hanging out at the church.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Life In The Old School Lane: Things Our Grandkids Will Never Know

     When I remind my kids that my generation grew up without microwaves, cell phones or cable TV, they pretty much envision me being raised by a pack of wolves in the forest. They have no idea what it is to WAIT for things, because instant gratification is the name of the game nowadays. Sure, I enjoy the convenience of text messaging, Netflix and Uber Eats, but there is something to be said about the good ol' days when anticipation led to a deeper level of appreciation.

     Millennials are probably relieved to have missed out on many of the things that we once considered a convenience, just as our Baby Boomer generation is thrilled that we grew up with modern washing machines and didn't have to scrub our clothes on a board like our grandparents did. Or do our business in an outhouse at 3:00 in the morning!

     If my future grandchildren ever want to know what life was like in the 60's, 70's or early 80's, they'll have to go to a museum just to see how it felt to dial a rotary phone, write in cursive, wind a clock or adjust the rabbit ears on a sketchy black and white television set.

     I'm guilty of digging my heels in when it comes to modern technology. I was the last person in my family to own a cell phone, and I completely resisted the idea of buying a home computer until it was obvious that my kids needed one for school. More importantly, I didn't take kindly to comparisons of our family living in the Dark Ages, or that our level of technological communication was on par with early cave drawings.

     Life without my cell phone or my trusty laptop is unimaginable now. When the power goes out and the Wifi is down, I feel as if I've been cut off from civilization, stranded on an island with two tin cans and a string for communication.

     A quick trip down memory lane serves as a perfect reminder of what will forever be lost on future generations:

*The thrill of renting a VCR tape from Block Buster to see the latest movie release (which was usually six months past by the time it was available). God forbid if you returned the tape late or---the horrors---you forgot to rewind it!

*The joy of receiving a 10 page, handwritten letter in the mail from a friend (Emails lack that personal touch). I really treasured those long letters and anxiously waited by the mailbox when I heard the postman's truck down the street.

* Flipping cards in a Rolodex to find a phone number. I also kept a small address book that contained every phone number I would ever need in my purse. This was accompanied by a pocket calendar and a notepad.

*Airplanes had wider seats, served full meals at no cost, and your baggage amount was unlimited, free of charge. I know this because I traveled frequently and carried enough luggage on my trips to open up a clothing boutique.

*Using cassette tapes to record our favorite songs off of the radio. This enabled us to pop our favorite tunes into the car stereo system for road trips. A few diehards stubbornly stuck to their 8 track tapes, but I loved my cassettes and kept dozens of them in a large carrying case the I dragged with me on every trip.

*MTV was actual non-stop music videos, not freakish reality shows featuring Botoxed women sipping champagne and complaining about their sugar daddies.

*Passing private notes that were folded into paper footballs across the aisles in both junior high and high school. Of course, there was always the risk of getting caught by the teacher, but it was a helluva lot more fun than texting.

*The sheer anticipation of waiting for your camera film to be developed at the Photo Mart Kiosk. It usually took 5-7 days to process, but if you were super anxious, you could pay extra and have those glossy prints in your hot little hands within 24 hours.

*Full service gas stations were THE BEST convenience. You never had to leave your car to use the pump or swipe your credit card. A nice man with his name stitched across the front pocket of his shirt came out to fill your tank, wash your windows and check your oil while you waited. If you had car troubles, the garage for repairs was right there. No mini grocery stores, though. If you were hungry or thirsty, you had one vending machine for sodas and one for candy bars and chips.

*Research of any type was time consuming. If your folks didn't own a set of World Books or the Encyclopedia Britannica, you had to trudge to the local library and spend hours searching through the card catalog or scanning microfiche film to find the information you were looking for. Siri and Google have made this practice pretty much extinct, THANK YOU JESUS.

*Road trips were quite the adventure in cars that didn't come equipped with GPS systems, electric windows or even seatbelts. This was great when I was kid, because my siblings and I could crawl to the back of the station wagon and build a fort with suitcases while Mom and Dad argued over the directions on a road atlas.

*No television remote controls, so we got our daily exercise by getting up from the couch numerous times to switch the dial around the only three channels available. You could lose five pounds in a day if you changed it often enough.

*Phones were attached to the wall and placed strategically in busy areas of the house so that everyone in the family knew your business. If you were lucky, the phone had a long, curly cord that could be dragged into the bathroom for private conversations.

*Automatic ice makers were not part of the freezer. If you wanted ice, you bought several metal ice trays, filled them with water and waited several hours before being able to chill your drinks. Something that could be heard nightly in every house in America: "WHO LEFT THE ICE TRAY IN THE FREEZER WITH ONLY ONE CUBE LEFT?"

     Our generation survived just fine without ATMs, Alexa, water purifiers, craft beer and Starbucks. The list goes on and on, and although I'm incredibly grateful for my espresso machine and Bullet blender, I still prefer a handwritten letter and a bowl of popcorn that was popped on the stove, not in a microwave.

     Now if you'll excuse me, someone is calling me on my princess rotary phone and I can't miss the next episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show.

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? You can catch me this week on The Sisters' Hood with my humor post on The 10 Commandments of Middle Age.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Fly On The Wall In The Fall

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

     At the Doyle house, we're still recovering from "Distended Belly Syndrome" caused by all the Thanksgiving food we consumed yesterday. I've always said my family eats like vikings, and last night's meal was proof of that. Who can say no to 8 pies, 2 turkeys, 3 different homemade breads, and  5 ridiculously good side dishes?? And don't even get me started on the appetizers. I'm actually looking forward to starting a new diet on Monday! JUST SAY NO TO CHEESE.

     As always, there have been some weird conversations floating around the house (what else is new??). If you were a fly in the wall at my house, here's a few things you might have heard:

"Hey look---it's a landscape worker channeling his inner triceratops."

"Studies show that cats have better hearing than dogs."
"Well, they sure don't act like it."

"You haven't been watering the flowers outside. They're all dead."
"That's because I'm growing zombie flowers."

"Why is it that every time you sweat heavily with a t-shirt on, it leaves wet stains on the fabric in the shape of a smiley face?"
"I don't know; I guess I'm just one giant, human emoji."

"I've been researching homeopathic remedies to relieve my carpal tunnel."
"I can save you the time. It's called, 'Get a Hacksaw'."

"I need something to stop my constipation. All I can do is poop pebbles."
"Yes, and Bam Bam is soon to follow."

"I don't know what's in it, but maybe I should order the mystery box for dinner."
"I have a mystery box that I can show you...." <wink wink>

"This bathroom stall is so tiny---you have to be a contortionist just to be able to turn around and wipe your backside."

"Why is it taking them so long to bring me the Cuban sandwich I ordered? Did they have to go to Cuba to get it?"

 "I've been a Baptist, a Methodist, a Lutheran, and now a Presbyterian."
"That means that you're a sampler platter of religion."

"One of the side effects of this medicine is tarry stools."
"That sounds like a name for a British rock band....."

     Hope everyone had a lovely holiday. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to gnawing on my turkey leg and washing it down with some mashed potatoes. That diet might start sooner than I thought....

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? I was recently featured in MomCave TV discussing teens and the funny lies we as parents believe. You can read it here:

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

Baking In A Tornado        
Menopausal Mother           
Never Ever Give Up Hope  
Spatulas on Parade         
Go Mama O.                   


Monday, November 19, 2018

BedJet: The Must Have Holiday Gift For Night Sweats/Hot Flashes

     I started menopause about nine years ago, and I've struggled with getting a good night's sleep ever since. Hot flashes and night sweats often interrupt my sleep pattern, so I'm always looking for products that will help me get through the night. BedJet is the perfect solution to my problem, and for those of you suffering from the same symptoms of menopause, I think this would be a top notch product for you!

BedJet Is Must Have Holiday Gift for Night Sweats/Hot Flashes

Change in sleep can be one of the toughest parts of menopause to navigate.  Every day at BedJet, we hear from women struggling with menopausal night sweats and hot flashes that leave them tossing, turning and waking up sweaty in bed.  Their sleepless nights often mean their days are spent feeling extremely fatigued, irritable and unable to concentrate. On top of everything, their need for a very cool sleep temperature can cause major problems in their relationships. In the worst cases, their partners have been literally frozen out of the bedroom and sleep in another room because they have the windows open during winter, or the air conditioner as low as it will go. (We call this unfortunate scenario “sleep divorce.”)

The good news is that there’s a solution.  The BedJet climate comfort system just for beds is the first clinically proven device to help relieve menopausal sleep disturbance due to menopausal night sweats and hot flashes. The BedJet installs on any size bed and can be pre-programmed with custom sleep temperatures for each hour of the night - can provide relief without the use of drugs or hormones. 

Check out this video to see how it works!

In a new clinical study* that will be published in Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society next month, the BedJet climate comfort system for beds was proven to be a highly effective, non-hormonal treatment for women suffering from menopausal sleep disturbance. The study results are exciting for anyone suffering from lost sleep during perimenopause/menopause:

94% of study participants reported improved sleep
89% of study participants reported improved daytime function
85% of study participants reported reduced hot flashes and night sweats

The BedJet (currently on Holiday Sale for $299) comes in different configurations for singles and couples. If it’s just you in bed, you can use the BedJet with your regular sheet or their Single Zone Cloud Sheet for the best cooling experience. If you sleep with a partner who doesn’t want to feel the cooling air, BedJet’s Dual Zone Cloud Sheet will allow you to cool your side of the bed without affecting the other 

All BedJet products are currently on sale for the lowest prices of the year for A LIMITED TIME ONLY. All BedJet products are covered under our 60-day No Sweat guarantee – free shipping (US Only) and free shipping on returns (US Only). Shop here or get in touch with us at / 401-404-5250. We’re happy to help answer any product questions!

*The study, titled The Efficacy of the BedJet Climate System® for Peri-Menopausal Night Sweat and Hot Flash Symptoms and Corresponding Impact on Sleep will be published as an abstract in the December issue of the scientific journal Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society . The results were recently presented at the North American Menopause Society Conference on October 4th, 2018.


Sarah McClutchy is the Marketing Manager at BedJet, based in Newport, Rhode Island.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Sneak Peek: Elaine Ambrose's New Memoir, Frozen Dinners

     I'm very excited to share with you today an excerpt from Elaine Ambrose's new memoir, Frozen Dinners: A Memoir Of A Fractured Family. I've been waiting a long time for this book to come out, and now it has! Like me, Elaine is a humor writer, and I have throughly enjoyed reading her humor books, but the memoir intrigued me because it is unlike anything she has written before. There's so much good writing here, and I can relate to many of Elaine's experiences as well as her family dynamics. I loved the book, and I think you will, too. But don't just take my word for it---check out the excerpt below and order your copy today!

                                     THE QUILT

Irritated clouds of old gray dust swirl behind my car and settle back onto the patches of scruffy
sagebrush as I drive a back road into the village of Wendell, Idaho. I turn down 4th Avenue
and stop in front of an insignificant old house where my family lived before my father became rich. Decades of decay and neglect are exposed as cheap vinyl siding sags on the outside walls and dead vines hang on crooked trellises over weathered boards thirsty for paint. I stare at the window of my former bedroom and wonder if it’s still nailed shut.

I drive two blocks to the Wendell Manor and Nursing Home. Before I get out of the car to visit my mother, I follow a familiar routine: I pull the jar of mentholated cream from my purse, unscrew the cap, and dab the pungent ointment into both nostrils to mask the odors inside the nursing home. Despite the best efforts of the janitors who continually clean the facility and open the old windows on frigid winter days to exchange stale air for fresh, regular visitors anticipate the pervasive smells of bleach and urine and take necessary precautions. The analgesic rub originally was designed for temporary relief of aches and pains, but the ritual of using it in my nose enables me to enter and greet my mother with compassion. Sometimes she doesn’t recognize me, and that leaves an ache that no balm or medication can soothe.

The building is a hundred years old and so are many of the residents. My father was born there in 1928 when the building was a hospital. After it became a nursing home, my grandmother died there, curled into a fetal position after several strokes. My eighty-seven-year-old mother occupies a tiny room down the hall. On good days when she can concentrate, she turns on her CD player and listens to her favorite artists: Lawrence Welk’s orchestra, Tennessee Ernie Ford, several religious selections, and her collection of big band music from the 1940s. She can’t remember how to use the remote control for the television, so the music is her daily companion.

Her room is simple. Furniture consists of a single medical bed, two antique nightstands from a home my parents once owned in Butte, Montana, her music table, and a wardrobe closet. Beside the unused TV sits a life-sized, wood carving of praying hands, a gift from my father after she “lost that one baby” seven years after I was born. Family pictures line the walls, and after she forgot our names I added colorful name tags to each photograph. There is a pendulum wall clock, perpetually tilted and ve minutes slow. Two bookcases support scrapbooks, large-print novels, assorted knickknacks, and her Bible. A stained-glass dove hangs in the one window, and a smiling cloth doll in a frilly dress perches on the bed. A calendar on a small table notes that she is scheduled for a shower twice a week and her hair is curled on Wednesdays. My mother once lived in a mansion on a hill. Now she has one room with a private bathroom.

The room is tidy except for the scars on the corners of the wall where her wheelchair has rubbed as she maneuvers to get into the bathroom. She is completely incontinent, even after several
failed surgeries to correct the problem, but she still attempts to get to the bathroom, often with disastrous results. If she falls, she pushes the call button hanging from her neck and the staff comes running to help and then lifts her back into her chair. They tried attaching an alarm to her chair so they would know when she moved out of it, but she stubbornly continues to attempt to stand. It’s that feisty spirit that keeps her alive. Though her body and mind are weak, her heart and motivation remain strong.

The rules at the nursing home are strict but understandable. No hot plate, no candles, no refrigerator. Her scissors were taken after she accidentally stabbed herself and needed stitches. Her three moments of daily adventure come when she wheels herself to the dining room for meals. She usually declines the games of checkers or Bingo after lunch and returns to her solitary room after finishing a typical meal of meatloaf, warm vegetables, and soft potatoes with creamy gravy. She has been a widow for twenty-five years and is well-accustomed to living alone. I visit at least twice a month, and she has a regular group of friends from her church and from her women’s association who stop by with cards and small gifts.

I enter her room with a cheery “Hello, Mom” and place a vase of owers and a new air freshener on her table. She sits in her wheelchair, too weak to walk after breaking her back and her hip in separate falls. She looks sweet. Today’s outfit is a comfortable sweatshirt covered with appliquéd flowers, black knit pants, and sturdy black shoes. And imitation pearls. Always the pearls. She has a strand of real ones but hides them in a drawer because she says they are “too nice to use.” She glances up, focuses on my face, cocks her head, and then her eyes widen with a look of anticipation.

“You’re finally here,” she said. “I keep watching for you.” 

“Yes, Mom,” I say as I kiss her cheek. “I’m here.”

“Did you bring soup?” she asks, her face hopeful.

“No soup today. It’s too hot outside. I promise to bring you some potato soup in the fall.”

She loves my potato soup, made with new spuds, fresh cream, browned sausage, celery, onions, spices, and mustard seeds. One of her favorite Bible verses describes how virtuous people can move mountains if they just have faith as small as a mustard seed. Her mountains haven’t budged despite a lifetime of adding countless seeds into every recipe.

I smile into the weathered face, take her eyeglasses and clean off the smudges, gently reshape the bent frames, and ease them over her ears again. She often falls asleep in bed wearing her glasses so they become contorted in various angles on her face. Today, her mood is agitated, and my filial  offering of fresh flowers and clean, straightened glasses does not soothe her.

She leans forward and whispers, “ They took my quilt!” 

“Your grandmother’s quilt?” I ask, looking quickly around the room. At almost every visit she rues the loss of one thing or another and every time the item is never really gone, just moved from its usual place.

“Yes! It was on my bed. And they took it.”

I know this expertly crafted quilt, hand-stitched by my great-grandmother in the 1930s. She used one-inch scraps of my mother’s baby dresses to patiently sew each section and bind and pad the cover onto white cotton material. The quilt remained in my mother’s cedar chest for decades until I took it out and placed it on her bed in the nursing home. I thought it would make her feel more at home but she had been alarmed about using it.

“No, Elaine, put it back in the chest. I don’t want it out because it’s too good to use.”

“But it was made for you,” I said. “Why not enjoy it?”

“Because,” she said with an unexpected tone of firmness, “someone will take it."

The quilt looked at home on the bed, a colorful and familiar splash in a drab environment. I didn’t fold and store it as she requested. I wrapped her bed with the quilt, smoothed the center, and tucked in the edges. But now it was gone, just as she predicted.

Rather than acknowledge the possible theft of an old, hand-stitched heirloom, I comfort my mother and suggest that maybe the staff lost it. More than fifty residents live in the nursing home and the beleaguered workers do their best to feed and care for them as well as wash their laundry. I can only hope this was the case here, and that my great-grandmother’s handiwork remains somewhere inside this old building.

Gently rubbing her stooped shoulders, I try to sound reassuring. “I’ll go look. Be right back.” As a precaution, I slip the jar of mentholated cream into my sweater pocket.

I find the head attendant pushing a portable shower chair on her way to the shower room. For bathing purposes, the invalid residents are undressed, lifted onto the chair, and sprayed with warm water before being dried, dressed, and returned to their rooms. The staff attempts to treat each person with kindness, but the orderly system doesn’t provide attention to the resident’s dignity or personal needs. My mother hates shower day.

“Excuse me,” I interrupt the attendant. “Can I talk to you about my mother’s missing quilt?”

“Gotta go, hon,” she replies. “You should talk to the director.” 

The attendant disappears into a room and I hear her cajoling a woman named Mildred to get ready. Mildred doesn’t want to go. The attendant closes the door and I assume the shower will soon take place. I turn to find the director’s office. We’ve never met because she’s new at the job, and my first impression is that she’s in her late twenties. My mother was the town’s matriarch before this woman was born.

“Hello, I’m Elaine, Leona’s daughter,” I say, stretching out my hand. 

Miss Evans looks up from behind the piles of paperwork on her desk and sighs as if to acknowledge another family member with yet another complaint. She nods but doesn’t shake my hand or ask me to sit.

“My mom’s quilt is missing, and I need to find it. Do you know where I can look?”

The director is young and has no idea why this quilt is so important. She also has no clue that my mother, the feeble old woman in Room 17, was once the matriarch of the town, or that a gentle pioneer woman patiently weaved tiny stitches through bits of cloth by light of a kerosene lantern.

“A quilt? Well, is her name on it?”

“No,” I reply. I’d thought about that when I placed it on her bed but hated the idea of marking the delicate fabric. “I didn’t want to write on the quilt.”

Miss Evans shakes her head and sighs again. “I can take you down to the laundry room,” she says. “You can go through all the nameless stuff.”

Nameless stuff. I wince.

Heels clicking on worn linoleum, I follow her through several hallways, down two steep staircases, and then down a ramp into the basement. Carved into the ground a century ago, the dark and dank room would never pass any official inspection today. Electrical wires hang exposed overhead, an old boiler sits useless in the corner, too big to extract, and several industrial washing and drying machines hum and rattle in another corner amid waiting lines of burdened baskets. Several bare bulbs hang overhead, casting low shadows in the corners of the windowless room.

“There,” she says, pointing to six long tables burdened with mounds of limp clothing and blankets. "This is where the nameless things go. It might be in there. Let me know if you have any trouble.” 

And with that she leaves me alone in the basement surrounded by rejected artifacts...... 


Elaine Ambrose is an award-winning, bestselling author of ten books and a popular humorist, public speaker, and workshop facilitator. Her books have won six national writing awards in the past four years. Publishers Weekly reviewed Midlife Cabernet as “laugh-out-loud funny!” and Foreword Reviews wrote that the book was “an argument for joy” similar to Erma Bombeck. Her book, Midlife Happy Hour, was a finalist for 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year and won two writing awards. Her bilingual children’s book, The Magic Potato – La Papa Mágica, was selected by the Idaho State Board of Education for the statewide curriculum and won the 2018 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. Her memoir, Frozen Dinners, was released in November, 2018. One of her syndicated blog posts became one of the most-read posts in the history of The Huffington Post. Elaine lives and laughs in Meridian, Idaho. Find her books and blogs at

Friday, November 2, 2018

Welcome To The World, Alessandra!

     On Thursday, October 25th, my second granddaughter was born, and what a glorious day it was! Welcome to the world, Alessandra Harper Lira. Mom got through surgery just fine and Dad is over the moon happy. We all agree that Aless looks most like her daddy right now, but she DOES have the round cheeks of a Doyle baby. She has a healthy appetite too, which doesn't surprise me in the least since several of us in the Doyle family tend to eat like Vikings (nope, not naming names!).

     I fell in love with Aless the minute I laid eyes on her, as did her big sister Isabella. I think these two girls will always be close sisters, and I can't wait to see what life has in store for them!

     Everyone has been asking for photos, so there you go. And there's plenty more where these came from!

Proud big sister!

Poppi and Alessandra

Sleeping Beauty

Those Doyle cheeks!

Nonnie with Aless

The eyes of an old soul

Can you feel the love?

     We are truly blessed with the birth of a second grandchild. I pray that there will be many, many more in our future!!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Fly On The Wall: The Endless Celebration

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

     The past few weeks at the Doyle abode have been busy indeed. As promised in my last Fly post, I  have some photos from my daughter's baby shower, along with pics from my vacay in St. Augustine and a lovely birthday dinner celebration with my family.

     The games played at the baby shower were INSANE. One was a baby bottle beer drinking contest (the men really appreciated that one), another involved wrapping people in "diapers" made from rolls of toilet paper, and then there was my personal favorite---twerking with a tissue box filled with ping pong balls strapped to your butt. No, I did NOT participate, but I couldn't stop laughing.

     My daughter received so many lovely gifts, but before this baby comes next week, I need to load her up with some Carter's outfits and some other cool kids' gear. Her c-section date is Oct. 25th, and I'm ridiculously excited to welcome my new granddaughter into the world!

     Last week the Hubs and I went on our annual trip to St. Augustine, Florida, for an early birthday celebration (Yes, I am the type of person to extend my birthday celebration for an entire week). But it wasn't just about the birthday---this was truly a celebration of life after my recent health scare. The whole ordeal was an eye opener and made me appreciate my blessings even more than I already do. Cliche as it sounds, life really is short and we need to make every minute count.

     There's just something special about the historic town of St. Augustine, and how it always feels like home to us whenever we visit. We spent our time exploring museums, shopping in some cool hipster boutiques, and eating our way through the town's finest restaurants, but I have to say that my two favorite activities involved a horse-drawn carriage ride and what I jokingly refer to as our "clown car" rental. There's nothing like zipping around the backroads of a city in a tiny, yellow convertible with a loud horn.

When we returned home, we gathered the family and went to a dinner celebration at one of my favorite seafood restaurants. After all the eating and drinking I've been doing this past week, I think it's time to renew my diet vows....but not until I finish this last box of Godiva chocolates....

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? Check out my latest on Weekly Humorist: "A Sampling of Brett Kavanaugh's Home Brewed Beers."

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

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


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